Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Our Thanksgiving Weekend, and Family Holiday Projects...

We are currently on our second day of  "back to business" after a really great long weekend/mini-staycation for the Thanksgiving holiday! It was great to have a few days to renew, recharge, and reconnect. The first three months of the school year have been an absolute blur, so this downtime was much needed. The Man was home from work this week, and we took most of the week off from our homeschool stuff, so we were able to really slow down and savor the holiday.

We hosted Thanksgiving here, but it was a small group... Myself, The Man, three of the five kids, and my wonderful cousin (who is more like a sister to me!) A big change from previous years was that, having the week mostly-off, I was able to actually enjoy the preparations for the holiday, without feeling stressed and rushed... I'm pretty sure that's the first time that's ever happened! We spent Monday and Tuesday cleaning, decorating and shopping. Tuesday night, we baked up all the desserts. Wednesday, I prepped most of the rest of the food (and finished in time for a date with The Man in the evening!)Thursday morning there was nothing left to do but set the table, put things in the oven, and put the finishing touches on the meal. 

Speaking of the meal... everyone always asks what we have for our Vegan Thanksgiving. This year, our main dish was, in fact, the ol' vegan standby, Tofurky! This is actually only the second time in nearly 30 years of vegetarianism that I've served Tofurky (last year was the first time!) but... the family likes it, and it's easier than the labor-intensive lentil loaves and such I've made in the past, so I was happy to oblige and make it again this year. Here's our full menu:

Appetizers

Crudite with dip
Cashew Cheese, pepper jam and crackers

Dinner

Autumn shredded kale salad
(with cranberries, pecans and apple cider vinaigrette)
Pumpkin Soup
Tofurky
 Roasted sweet potatoes and onions
Apple-cranberry stuffing
Balsamic roasted squash and brussels sprouts
Mashed potatoes
Corn
Cranberry sauce
Rolls 

Desserts

Pumpkin pie
Apple Tart
Molasses cookies
Spiced Cider
Tea

Next to the food, my other favorite tradition for Thanksgiving is the little "Thankful craft" we do every year... Starting about a week before the holiday, I leave out some paper leaves and markers, and throughout the week we all write down things we're Thankful for. We hang these leaves into a garland, and it just makes me so happy to see it hanging up as a reminder of all the good stuff we've got going on in our lives. 


A few of our Blessings


The garland, hanging on the mantle.

Speaking of seasonal crafts and projects... Today is December 1! (Seriously... can you believe it?!) so it's time for another favorite family project for this time of year... our Acts of Kindness Tree. (You can read more about that tradition in this post from last year) During our nice relaxing weekend, I got our tree ready, and later this morning we will be starting our first Act of Kindness. While I do think it's important to always be looking out for each other, and helping each other out all year long, it's really fun to have this little tree that reminds us to "step it up" during the holiday season, and do at least one kind thing for someone else every single day. 
Preparing... 

This year's Acts of Kindness tree
I've tried to work on reducing our obligations for the month of December, so that we can have a little bit more time to embrace the season, and do all the things we love to do this time of year. We'll spend more time in service to others, more time connecting as a family and more time making our home cozy for the long, cold winter ahead. 

Next post, I'll be sharing our seasonal decorating, which we'll be starting later this week.

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