Here comes my belated Thanksgiving post! The boy had family in town visiting and we’ve been busy bees ever since. Still, I have to put up some photos because this year marked the first time that I was the day’s host! My parents always made Thanksgiving dinner for our extended family, so taking charge this year just felt right. I was SO excited, and couldn’t stop planning – from food to decor. For our two round tables, I made centerpieces out of hurricane glasses, fruit, and ribbon. So simple, easy and pretty.

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We made an epically long shopping list and bought all the ingredients the weekend before. I spent a lot of time planning and making a cooking timeline; hey, don’t knock it…everything went pretty smoothly! While I cooked, the rest of the crew went surfing and built up an appetite. Only in California, right?

Just in time, Rachel brought over appetizers, including the infamous baked brie. I might have taken a break from the kitchen to watch some of the parade and eat a slice of this guy!

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In addition to the homemade centerpieces and place cards, I decided to get crafty when realizing we’d need to buy tablecloths. Enter, butcher paper! About an hour before eating, I laid out the paper and crayons, giving us just about the coolest dinner table I’ve ever seen.

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The boy took our little setup one step further by playing a roaring fireplace video on the projector screen. It was the perfect final touch.

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My menu included lots of favorites and firsts. I made my first turkey, gravy, stuffing, and sweet potato casserole. The turkey was surprisingly easy, even though I never found a consensus for the final temperature, which was a little disconcerting. For the stuffing, I followed an Ina Garten recipe that I didn’t really love, but the gravy step-by-step came straight from my dad. I added flour, boiling broth, rosemary, salt & pepper to the turkey drippings and to my surprise, it actually worked!

The menu also included mashed potatoes, biscuits, roasted brussel sprouts, sautéed mushrooms, peas, yams & apples, Rachel’s broccoli casserole, and homemade cranberry sauce. Yup, for 4 adults and 2 kids. We made a pretty decent dent though!

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For the first time ever, my stomach seemed to have shrunk and I could only eat ONE biscuit and ONE overflowing plate. Good thing, because I saved plenty of room for dessert! Wednesday night, I took a cue from my mom (who made SIX pies for Thanksgiving) and baked two homemade pies: pumpkin and chocolate pecan. Both came out really well…I’ve been eating slices every night since.

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While eating pie and drinking tea, we watched A Muppet Family Christmas. Growing up, we had taped the original version that aired on TV, and watched it every holiday season. The boy was sweet enough to track down the DVD version and it was as funny as I remembered. Possibly a little cheesier as well. But, how can you not love these faces?

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So, it’s officially the holiday season! I have one tree decorated and another ready to go up this week. I’ve started my gift shopping, and have the Christmas station preset on my radio. The Holiday and Love Actually are on rotation, and there’s a bottle of Mint Chocolate Bailey’s in the freezer. I’ll be smiling for the next four weeks!

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