Thank heavens! Today is the last day of National Blog Posting Month for this year! Things I’ve learned? The same lesson I always learn after NaBloPoMo, that my life may be incredibly busy, but it really isn’t ever that interesting to warrant daily blog posts.

With Thanksgiving over, the Christmas holidays have hit us full force. I realized earlier this weekend that we really don’t have any spare time between now and New Year’s! That’s a little depressing and makes me want to hide under my covers with no intention of coming out until 2015. Sigh.

But hopefully all the work craziness will slow down after mid-December. Until then, we’re working late, we’re working weekends, and we’re working until we can work no more! And in the middle of all this working, there’s gift wrapping, card writing, and holiday party planning. I always feel a little rushed to get all my holiday lists done, but this year with the work move, it has been particularly bad. But for now, I’m going to enjoy my beautiful Christmas tree and two sleeping puppies.

We always say we’ll replace our little Christmas tree next year. But every single year, our same little Christmas tree gets assembled and decorated. I think in the end, I just love how cozy it looks.

There you have it, thirty days of posts. Call it a blog hibernation, a well deserved posting break, or just plain lazy blogger syndrome, but it’s probably going to be a little while before I update the blog again. I’ll try not to make it more than a few weeks, but as previously mentioned, December is going to be crazy!

I know everybody has their favorite Thanksgiving leftovers, I definitely have my own!

Have leftover bread? Make some french toast!

Leftover turkey means delicious turkey pot pies, turkey hash, turkey sandwiches/wraps, and so much more! My absolute favorite is a simple recipe that my mom used to make for us: turkey + one can cream of mushroom soup + one head of chopped Napa cabbage + small amount of water to keep things gravy like, simmer until Napa cabbage is softened, serve over a big bowl of white rice. Yum.

This year, I’m feeling pretty economical if I do say so myself. After all the meat was pulled off the turkey, I used the bones for a giant pot of turkey stock. Freeze all that stock in ice cube trays, and I’ve got enough stock to last for a long long time. I figure I could substitute turkey stock in any recipe that calls for chicken stock. And the little pumpkins that I used for table decor? They’re actually tiny pie pumpkins. That’s right, I turned the decorations into more pumpkin puree for future pies and pumpkin needs. (I particularly like this Pasta with Pumpkin and Sausage recipe)

I like the idea of using every part of our Thanksgiving meal so nothing goes to waste. The best of type of green living, the one where I get to make/eat more tasty food! :)

So many things to be thankful for this year and every year. But we were thankful to have family over to our house for Thanksgiving! It was our first year hosting a big holiday. Scary stuff! But after lots of preparation, research, and extensive notes, we felt ready to take on the challenge! The total tally for the holiday was 8 adults, 2 babies, and 7 dogs. We had quite a full house! Okay enough of my chattering, how about some pictures of cute babies and fuzzy puppies? (and some photos of the rest of us too!)

Griffin and Hudson, father and son. My how the times do change!

Uncle Bodie and Aunt Sally enjoying a cup of coffee. Coffee is a constant in our family. No matter what happens, no matter what occasion, there will be coffee.

Sweet Baby Dayton spent a lot of the day sleeping, so we didn’t get a ton of pictures of her beautiful eyes open. But from the little time that she was awake during the day, her facial expressions and reactions are so precious!

Grandma Sherry and Baby Dayton sharing a moment.

And here’s a gif of the brand new blocks that Grandpa Rick made for Hudson.

I mean honestly, look at this beautiful baby boy! Those eyes are just brilliant!

And I did say there were seven dogs, right? Proof (in order of seniority)…

Dog #1 Bonnie Blue the Boston Terrier from Austin.

Dog #2 Our old grouch, Jabberwocky, who ignored the frenzy most of the time (unless there was food involved), preferring to sleep in her bed.

Dog #3 Turner the Black Mouth Cur mix from Mount Pleasant

Dog #4 Edison the King Charles Spaniel from Georgetown

Dog #5 Bo the Bulldog from Mount Pleasant

Dog #6 Cerberus the Poop Monster

And the newest edition to the pack, Dog #7 Tesla the King Charles Spaniel also from Georgetown.

We took several other pictures and you can see them by clicking here. It was a full house, but it was a fun house. It was great to get a chance to catch up with everybody. It was especially nice to spend time with our nephew and niece. Kids grow up so quickly, or so I’ve been told. So we’re trying our best to enjoy them as often as we can! Hope everybody also had a very Happy Thanksgiving 2014!

Have been up since 6:30 am preparing for our big Thanksgiving meal. Tired. Exhausted even.

Will just leave you with our menu listing, pictures from our Thanksgiving table, and our family group shot. Will update with more family pictures tomorrow (also, this allows me to stretch my Thanksgiving entry into two posts. Yay.)

I love my round table. However, all the fun table decorating ideas are for decidedly not round tables. So this is my best interpretation of Ina Garten’s gray and orange Thanksgiving table.

I like the mix of orange, gray, and white. Makes for a fun pop of color, so cheerful!

For the crudite tray, Andy’s family ALWAYS has canned black olives, bread and butter sliced pickles, and baby carrots. This is my take on a family tradition: marinated black/green olive antipasto mix with salami and provolone, gourmet kosher dill pickles, baby carrots with a garlic hummus.

Our perfect roast turkey!! Okay, it was a little dry because we got a little over cautious since it’s the largest bird we’ve ever cooked. But throw on a little gravy and it’s still a decent turkey!

Our crowded lazy Susan!!

On our menu tonight (with the recipes linked when available for your convenience)

  1. Wild mushroom risotto (this was an add on because…I’m a crazy person and decided to take on extra work 2 before Thanksgiving. I have no better reason besides it sounded good, I already had mushrooms, and I was worried we wouldn’t have enough food. Also…I hate making risotto. I always forget how much I hate making risotto until about halfway through the constant stirring process.)
  2. Honey White Bread (Homemade bread? Totally worth it.)
  3. Perfect Roast Turkey
  4. Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts
  5. Perfect Roast Potatoes (goose fat is hard to find, but available on Amazon. Not the healthiest thing in the world, but also SO worth it once a year for Thanksgiving.)
  6. Chipotle Smashed Sweet Potatoes
  7. The all American green bean casserole
  8. Some truly delicious dressing (provided by Griffin and Lauren, I must get this recipe for I love it so.)
  9. Gravy with hard boiled eggs (also provided by Griffin and Lauren, I’ve never had gravy with eggs in it, but I really liked the texture.)
  10. Cranberry Salad (a Thanksgiving family tradition, provided by Dad)
  11. Made from scratch pumpkin pie with homemade whipped cream
  12. Pecan Squares (speaking of unhealthy. This is probably the most unhealthy. But once a year at the holidays, let’s make an exception shall we?)
  13. Chocolate Chip Cookies (provided by Mom & Dad)
  14. And of course, a selection of wines, beers, and champagnes to go with the meal (provided by Aunt Sally and Uncle Bodie)

We are thankful again this year for our families and a lovely meal shared together!

Group pictures are hard to pick. But this one is the best for everybody (except Andy, but he deserves no pity since he decided on that goofy face he’s making in the first place).

A wonderful but long day (I seem to be having a lot of those recently). Sleeping now.

Thinking of my friend as her beloved Teddy passed away this week. He lived a good and long Yorkie life, but her house won’t be the same without him.

We’ll miss your old man grumbles, your toothless grins, and your fantastic outfits. You were the most ferocious protector a Yorkie could possibly hope to be. You did your job well little man and you will be missed greatly.

Let the preparations begin! The house is (almost) completely clean. Just a few last minute touch ups and we’ll be done. The decorations have been prepped and the cooking has already started! Call me cliche if you must, but I love the idea of an orange color themed Thanksgiving. It just seems right for our first Thanksgiving as hosts.

Nothing more cheerful than a pretty orange Gerbera daisy.

These fantastic orange tulips as our dining table centerpiece. Fun, fragrance-free, and a short enough arrangement so people can still see each other over the flowers. (Though Andy will probably make me move it when we eat :P)

Stack of tiny pumpkins! Actually, I was hoping for tinier pumpkins. But the pumpkin pickings are slim!!

And on the schedule for tonight? Ina Garten’s pecan squares! Our house smells beautifully of sugar, butter, and oranges.

Feeling pretty good about this week. The house is looking good, keeping my fingers crossed that the puppies will behave, have my detailed plan for the next couple of days, and I’m looking forward to relaxing once it’s all over! Maybe I will treat myself to a nice mani/pedi on Saturday?

Totally stole this idea from the amazing Alie and Georgia (from Tripping Out on the Cooking Channel). But here we go, one thing I love, one thing I loathe, and one thing I’ve learned.

Love – With the weather getting chilly, moisturizing is important stuff. To avoid cracked bloody lips, I love using Fresh Sugar lip gloss. It’s a nice mix between a chapstick and a lip gloss with just a hint of color.

With SPF 15 to boot! Perfect for work or just running around town!

Loathe – Really starting to loathe NaBloPoMo. (National Blog Posting Month, where you try to write something everyday for the month of November) I know I have less than a week before I’ve completed the challenge for 2014. But really guys, my life is not that interesting. The reason I don’t generally post everyday? Because I don’t really do very much everyday that’s worth mentioning!

Learn – I learned that in 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving to the fourth Thursday in November. He did this to increase the amount of shopping time for the holidays in an effort to boost the economy post Great Depression. Sound familiar? I suppose even back then, we loved a good Christmas sale. Now it feels like Thanksgiving is all but drowned out in the Christmas noise. No matter, I love Thanksgiving! I know I’m a lucky girl and I’m ready to celebrate all the things that I’m thankful for!

Alie and Georgia totally did theirs better (Being an awesome video and all. But trust me, you don’t want to see my after work face/hair tonight. We stayed late, sorted through a ton of old dusty charts, and moved heavy boxes. I’m a tired wreck!) I always look forward to new Alie and Georgia stuff!