Posted by wendiwendy
I just finished the last piece of apple pie, and I’ve been spending the day browsing sales and picking up a few Christmas gifts here and there (and plotting the rest). I am so far behind in that respect. Usually I have most of my shopping done by now, and I absolutely know what I’m getting everyone. This year the holidays kind of crept up on me. Suddenly it was Thanksgiving, and I hadn’t even thought about decorating the house yet. (Many years I have my Christmas decorations up before Thanksgiving, especially when it comes so late in the month like it did this year.) We always save the tree decorating for after Thanksgiving, but this year I didn’t even have a TREE by November. (We didn’t bring our old one when we moved because Dave was getting sick of it.)
As I’m typing this, by the way, it’s starting to snow. We seem to have moved to the snow belt here, where we get lots of lake effect snow. This is new for me – even though we lived near Chicago before, we never got lake effect snow; often they would predict a snow storm and it would miss us entirely. Since I love snow, this was rather agonizing for me. Here, though, we will get six inches of snow and the towns around us might get one inch, at the most. It is AWESOME and I love it!
So anyway, the holidays. I forced myself to start planning and it’s all coming together, to my great relief. We were keeping an eye on Black Friday sales, even though we don’t usually venture out to the stores on that day. I saw a pencil tree in the Michael’s flyer, but it was a door buster and Dave was not enthusiastic about heading to the store on Friday morning. Then the website I use to track Black Friday sales, bfads.net, mentioned that Michael’s had activated their Black Friday pricing starting on Monday the week of Thanksgiving. So we ran out and bought our tree that day.
We also finally came to a decision on our turkey (nothing like waiting til the last minute) and decided to get a bone-in turkey breast. Originally we weren’t sure how many would be coming for dinner, but by that Monday we knew it would just be us and Eric; Paige was working that day, and my mom wasn’t up to the drive. We still didn’t know if Eric was coming on Thursday or the Saturday after, so we decided to go with a frozen turkey breast (fresh wouldn’t last that long in the fridge).
Thanksgiving came and we had things well in hand. Got the turkey breast in the oven and immediately went out to pick up Eric. It had started snowing, of course, so our roads were slick but I was sure they would be clear in South Bend, Indiana where his train was arriving. I was wrong. It was worse in Indiana, so we had an exciting ride there and back. The train comes in at the airport, which was a little confusing, but now we have it down pat. Eric said he took a nap on the train (it’s a 2-1/2 hour ride); he closed his eyes in Chicago, where it was clear, and opened his eyes in Indiana to a white winter wonderland.
We had a light lunch when we got back, and then Dave checked the turkey which was supposed to come out of the oven around 3. It was about 1:45 and he said the turkey looked like it was done. We are still getting used to this oven, which either cooks hotter than our old oven, or our old oven sucked and this oven just cooks normally (most likely the latter). I could not believe it was already done; I still had to put together the green bean casserole and, geez, I was still full from lunch! Dave checked it again at 2 pm and announced that it was definitely, absolutely done.
So I went into overdrive, putting the green bean casserole together so it could go into the oven along with the sweet potato casserole while the turkey rested. We had no choice but to let it rest for 30 minutes, because we had to cook those dishes after the turkey came out. I had spent a couple days reading advice online about how to cook a Thanksgiving dinner with one oven. For the last 25 years, I used double wall ovens; the turkey went in one oven at one temperature, and side dishes in the other at their higher cooking temperature.
While I cooked, Dave started yelling. He grabbed Eric and asked for his phone. I thought I heard the word ‘turkey.’ This made sense because a few days earlier, a wild turkey had been walking around in our front yard. So I looked out the window and, sure enough, there were turkeys walking across the road by our neighbor’s house. Dave ran down the driveway in his socks (Eric was impressed by that) and took a photo, never even thinking twice about the fact that we had four inches of snow by then. Eric stepped out onto our back deck and got to hear them gobbling as they walked by. We figured it made a good story for our city-dwelling son to tell his friends – how often do you get to see wild turkeys walking around on Thanksgiving?!
We put up our Christmas tree on Friday, even though we were both wiped out from the day before. I had really wavered on the tree this year, because we don’t have much spare room in the living room. I was thinking we might just get a small tree and put it on top of the hope chest. Then I did some measuring and realized if we moved a small table and slid the hope chest over, we would have just under 25 inches of space for a tree. Dave talked me into it, and I went looking for a really skinny, tall tree. The one we ended up with is seven feet tall and 22 inches wide, and it is just right for the space we have. I did have to use a different tree skirt (the other one looked ridiculously large) and we left about 1/3 of the ornaments in their boxes, but all in all I declared the tree a success.
I got the rest of the house decorated on Saturday; what used to take sometimes as many as two whole days took me just an hour or so. I do miss having the room to put out all my decorations, but it was also fun to change things up and put things in new spots this year. Having even just a few decorations up makes all the difference in my holiday spirit.
Yesterday I started Christmas cards, and now today I am finally planning my gift giving. I also thought about doing Holidailies again, because I seem to have gotten out of the regular blogging habit. I’m not sure I can pull off a post every day, but I’ll see if I can’t show up here a little more often.
We had turkeys visit us on Thanksgiving … maybe we’ll see reindeer on Christmas? 🙂