One reason I love holidays is because it reminds me of being together with my family, making memories, reliving hilarious things we’ve done, and crafting and baking together. This was the first Thanksgiving I’ve not been around my Mom and it was tough on me. She’s in isolation now for her treatment and while we talk on the phone every day (okay okay, several times a day – sorry Mommy!!) it’s hard to not have her here in person to help chop, stir, read to the kids, etc. As James put it, the spark was not present on Thanksgiving dinner. She and my Dad shared Thanksgiving dinner together which must have been lovely and quiet. :)

We hosted dinner to my brother, sister in law, nephew along with a friend visiting them from China. My Auntie and cousin attended along with a friend of James’ from Australia who just moved here a week ago. I love sharing traditions with others, and it was great to explain Thanksgiving and share dinner with two new friends who hadn’t experienced it before.

I have to share this pic of Patrick from his preschool “dinner”

He’s descended from Myles Standish so to see him all dressed up like this was really special.

I am obsessed with flowers and wish I could have fresh blooms in every room every day. I try hard to always have something in the house, and was excited to order an arrangement from the local florist. I ask for a small one, and hello, anything but small. Just breathtaking!

I love the small touches like mini pinecones, the different textures, and colors. It is still so gorgeous sitting on our dinning room table.

For holidays or dinner parties, I always set the kids table with kraft paper and crayons. It’s a great way to get the kids to sit down right as I serve and I love what they create. I got some great white chocolate turkeys in NYC for favors, so the little ones also got a special treat in their bags.

The adults received these bags filled with tangerines and chocolate caramel treats.

This was the second year I made my veggie-turkey.

Appetizers included a giant cheese platter and goodies

along with some huge shrimp. I don’t know why but this is always the crowd fave and demolished the quickest.

I served lots of beer, wine, juice, and cranberry cocktails (and mocktails!) Love the frozen cranberries to keep the drinks cold!

James was in charge of the turkey and he’s chopping in this shot

This was by far the juiciest turkey we’ve ever eaten. We found a few recipes online, and then pulled from that. We cooked a 16 pound turkey upside down, tied with twine. Covered the top with a small amount of melted butter, lots of garlic, and fresh herbs at 450 for 30 minutes, then down to 350 until it had cooked through.

While James carved, I finished the gravy, stuffing, and brussel sprouts while the mashed potatoes got finished and the carrots were roasted.

I am not a fan of brussel spouts on their own and had to add bacon to make them edible. I sliced bacon, cooked it, and transferred the bacon to a plate. Then added shaved brussel sprouts to the bacon grease and cooked that on a high heat for several minutes and added the bacon. Too easy!

Little Marcus woke up right as we all sat down so James got to soothe him while Marina ate.

Games after dinner are a tradition, so the kids and I played a little CandyLand together.

I tried so hard to not nibble these little thighs and was unsuccessful. He’s sooo nibble-tastic!!

And I’m feeling very blessed to have my youngest cousin Ruthlyn cuddled up with my babies.

Although I was without my parents this Thanksgiving, there’s still so much to be thankful for and I hope we can all be together very soon. How was your Thanksgiving? Did you start any new traditions this year?