Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

My girls on Thanksgiving
We had a wonderful Thanksgiving this year!  This was my first year taking over the tradition of hosting Thanksgiving for my mom's side of the family (our New England relatives).  Thanksgiving has traditionally been the big family holiday on Mom's side -- when she was younger, my grandfather's side of the family would have huge celebrations often holding them at the church hall or in the lodge at the ski tow that my grandfather and his brothers ran.  Over the years, family members spread out across the country, some passed away, and the Thanksgiving group got smaller.  I believe the last church hall Thanksgiving was when I was a baby -- I've heard the story of my parents driving with me as a baby from NY to NH in a Volkswagen Beetle through such a terrible snow storm that the windshield wipers couldn't move all of the snow.  My dad, an engineer, got out and rigged string to the wipers and I believe he and Mom each held and string and pulled to move the wipers and clear the snow!  That's dedication to a holiday gathering -- or craziness...  ;)  They made it just in time for dessert!  My childhood memories are of Thanksgiving at my grandparents' house in NH.  Nana took over hosting for a number of years and many of my fondest childhood memories are of traveling Weds to Sun and spending the whole time playing with my cousins and surrounded by my family!  After my grandparents passed away in the '80's, my aunt took over and the celebration moved to her house in CT and then a number of years later she moved back to NH and so did Thanksgiving.  The location changed but the traditions remained the same, as well as my love for that particular holiday.

Last November, when we moved here to NH, Auntie Sandra told me that she was turning the reins over to me and that in 2014 I would get to take over hosting Thanksgiving (when she told me this my kitchen was a sea of moving boxes and I had no fridge for two weeks around Thanksgiving!!).  My family - cousins - teased me all year saying this would be a test run and they'd see how I did before we made it permanent!  We kept some of the same traditions -- we invited everyone to stay, even though almost everyone lives no more than 90 mins from us.  I was excited for my girls to get to experience Thanksgiving the way I remember it -- it's more than just a meal or a day in our family, it's a weekend-long sleepover!  Most everyone was planning to come on Weds and stay until Friday.  Then we got QUITE the storm, so most of the family decided to wait and come on Thursday.  My cousin Matt, who lives the closest at 35 minutes away, decided to leave early and come around noon on Weds.  It took him 2 hours, but he made it -- he walked in at 2:00pm and wouldn't you know, at 2:15pm we LOST POWER!  For FIVE HOURS!!  He is the best person to have around in a power outage though!  He kept the girls and I entertained for hours with stories, funny voices, and he and I even sang a few show tunes!  I absolutely LOVE candles -- some call it an obsession -- so I went around and lit tons of candles.  I had a house FULL of food, although most of it still needed to be cooked -- the power outage really put a kink into my prep plans!  We had ham sandwiches for dinner that night.  In spite of the lack of power, I did what I could to keep plugging along with my preparations, hoping that everyone would still be able to make it for Thanksgiving.  I mixed together a batch of my Nana's pumpkin bread -- realized before it was too late that I had mistakenly put 2/3 cup of sugar in instead of 2-2/3 cups!  I fixed that fortunately -- hey, it was dark!  When the power finally came on, I put a turkey in the oven (I made 2 -- had 15 people with a bunch staying over so I wanted leftovers!) and the pumpkin bread, which I again, in the dark (by candlelight) misread the recipe and put the whole batter into ONE loaf pan instead of TWO...  Matt and I entertained the girls by trying to clean out the horrible, smoking mess that occurred when the pumpkin bread batter spilled over onto the bottom of the oven!  We had a lot of laughs!  The pumpkin bread was a horrible mess but it was tasty!

Turkey Candy Nut Cups by Candlelight
Matt was impressed that I made all of these cute little turkey candy/nut cups (Nana and Auntie Sandra always put out cups with candy and nuts in them for everyone -- I just added my own twist with the beak and feathers!) by candlelight -- 15 of them!  Although he did tease me about turkey part -- said that's why I am hosting, because only I care about those little details!  Hey, they are adorable and festive, and my girls love them!  The rest of the holiday went without a hitch.  We had 15 altogether including my dad and stepmother who came out from NY.  A few family members stayed with us, a few stayed at a nearby inn, and a few headed home after dinner.  The kids had a wonderful time playing with their cousins and they all enjoyed playing out in all of the snow we got -- 13-1/2"!  On Friday, we kept up another tradition of a group of us (usually the women, although my dad joined in!) going shopping -- no "Black Friday" trips to the malls for us -- we stopped that years ago!  We always like to go to the adorable little country stores that are up in our area -- we've been doing that since Thanksgiving was hosted in CT.  This was the first time that some of the family got to go to the cute shops in my town and we also enjoyed lunch at a nice cafe in town.  My daughters stayed home and played with their cousins -- all four of the kids, my two and my cousin's two, were all so sad when it was time for the cousins to go home to CT!  My eldest daughter said she was so sad that Thanksgiving was over because she'd been looking forward to it all year!  Like mother, like daughter!  :)

I guess I did ok because my cousin Brett sent me a text later saying that I passed the preliminary test and can proceed with scheduling next year to further evaluate my capabilities!  ;)  Bunch of jokers in this family -- that's another longstanding tradition!  We only tease the ones we love!
Not too shabby for making them in the dark!

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