Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

Happy Thanksgiving! And, if you're reading this post on Friday, Happy Love Actually Day! I'm planning to watch the movie later in the day, after Marshall is asleep most likely. We're spending the majority of the day at the Rose Bowl, rooting on the Bruins at their last game of the season against Stanford. Go Bruins!

We kicked off our turkey day with a bit of exercise. We packed up and headed to the beach for a four-mile trot along the Strand. We walked some, ran more than we expected to, and relished the fresh air on a warm-but-not-too-hot morning.

Our Thanksgiving celebration was really lovely. It was our first time hosting the big day, and I felt really great about the whole thing. I planned and planned and planned, and thankfully we got a lot done in advance, because we did have a few minor bumps on the day. For one, Marshall had trouble going down for a nap, and we were really counting on that time to get a few things done. Instead, Terry had to hold Marshall for his entire nap, struggling with some major fussing while I scrambled to try to finish as much as possible around the house. Then, my hair dryer suddenly wouldn't work, but Terry got it going at the last minute. Crisis averted.

Anyway, we had a small group of six adults, one baby, and one cat for the holiday. We took care of the turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce, potatoes, stuffing, and pie, and our guests provided a giant salad, fresh green beans, several appetizers, wine, beer, and two types of cookies. Needless to say, we had TONS of food! And Terry and I are now (happily) swimming in leftovers, which I'll bet will be gone before the end of the weekend. Seriously.

Ready for the festivities!

Ina's Perfect Roast Turkey, which really did come out beautifully

Most of the food

It was all SO GOOD.

All told, I'd say our first real Thanksgiving went well, but here are a few lessons I learned (or a few things I'd do again!):
  • Limit appetizers and filler foods. We kept it light on a few delicious appetizers and simply omitted bread/rolls. I thought it helped me appreciate the rest of the food even more. (Plus, it's a tip from Ina, and Ina knows all.)
  • Say YES when people ask if they can help. Any chance I had, I handed over jobs to others, like putting food into serving dishes or washing dishes after the meal. I think guests like to participate and feel awkward just watching the host(s) do all the work, so it's nice to be able to let those who want to help do so.
  • Plan, plan, plan. I really felt like I couldn't be prepared enough for the day. I wrote out a detailed schedule and did as much as possible in advance. The day-of stuff was kept to a minimum, which kept my stress level low.
  • Enjoy the day! I made sure to have a few glasses of wine, I chatted with our guests, and I definitely indulged in the food. 
  • Remove the giblets from the turkey. (Um...yeah...don't forget that...)

I'm most thankful for this little person, who has made my heart so full and looks painfully adorable in a bow tie.

It was a wonderful day of enjoying each other's company, laughing, eating delicious food, and celebrating the season. I hope yours was awesome as well. 

Happy Thanksgiving from the Heinrichs!

What's your favorite part of Thanksgiving? I truly loved hosting! It was so fun to prep, plan, and cook and to watch our guests enjoy themselves. 


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