Last week was full of family and feasting!
My in-laws drove in the weekend prior to Thanksgiving for Hadley’s birthday party, which set us up perfectly to host everyone at our home for Turkey Day.
In the past, we’ve always traveled to my family in Alabama or his family in Texas for this holiday, so we were excited to host this year. We tried to host together last year, but Jamie’s deployment homecoming was pushed back 6ish weeks. His parents still came to our home, but we had everything catered from a local grocery store and had a very low-key day. This year, we were ready to pull out all the stops to throw an enjoyable day for/with our loved ones.
On Thanksgiving morning, we woke up before everyone else to get crackin’ in the kitchen!
First up: my mom’s perfect breakfast casserole recipe. We prepped it the day before (yes, we – Jamie was a massive help in the kitchen cooking everything with me!), let it set in the fridge overnight, and then popped it in the oven for an hour so that everyone would wake up to the smell of this casserole. I love making this for holiday mornings!
We had 14 people eat with us this year, so we made sure to have plenty of food. Everyone brought a dish, so Jamie and I were only in charge of the turkey plus three sides. Easy! Jamie did a killer job on the turkey and was proud as a peacock when everyone complimented him. 😉
We’re saving for a 10-top dining room table and chairs, so until then, we just have our former kitchen table in the dining room (seats 6). We made it seat 8, and then added a small rectangle folding table on the end. Hadley and Sadie sat at the kids table a few feet away. This worked well!
I didn’t even think about the tablescape until the night before, but I knew I needed to make it nice or my feisty grandmother would get onto me. 😉 Thankfully I had a bunch of random stuff on hand to make it semi work! I knew I really didn’t have anyone to impressive (besides my aforementioned opinionated lovely grandmother – I really do love her but she’s a tough critic at times!), so I didn’t worry too much about making this table perfect. I never judge (or even remember) anyone else’s table, so I just did the best I could and called it a day!
Sadie loves her Nana (my grandmother) so much (it’s a pretty mutual affection).
My brother David drove up with Birmingham, who is always ready to entertain the kids and play his uncle role well! (PS: He is a big Stitch Fix for Men customer and has looked SO sharp the last few times I’ve seen him. He has a successful career in business, and he loves how Stitch Fix keeps him looking trendy and put together professionally without any effort on his part.)
We grabbed a speedy family picture after dinner, and I was glad that ole’ Tedster made his way into it, too.
The girls and their grandmothers… sweet sweet sweet.
On Thanksgiving night, I gifted the girls their Christmas jammies (a tradition we started last year). I ordered early for our whole family during a 40% off sale from Hanna Andersson because their jammies are the best of the best of the best. Yes, they are pricier than Carters or Old Navy, but they are stretchy and last my girls forever (they continue to magically fit as they grow). Hadley’s still fit perfectly from last year, even though she’s five inches taller. We wear these Christmas jammies (Jamie and I too) all year long, so it’s worth it to me. 🙂
My favorite memory from Thanksgiving was when we were sitting around the table after we’d eaten, and I clinked my glass to get everyone’s attention. I then asked them to humor me by participating in an activity (if you eat dinner with me, you know Erica always has a conversation starter or activity!)
I asked everyone to consider saying something they appreciated or liked about the person to their right (I did place cards), and I started it off by saying something about my brother. We continued to go around the table, and man… it makes me very happy just typing this. Listening to my grandma say what she said about my mom (her daughter-in-law) brought several of us to tears. Listening to what my dad said about my father-in-law was also just really, really nice. I appreciated everyone participating in the activity I tossed at them, and I think it warmed everyone’s heart as much as it did mine.
In other Thanksgiving week activities –
… we celebrated my dear friend Erin’s birthday with a big group dinner at Purveyor! My in-laws watched the girls, and Jamie and I had the best night out with friends.
We walked around Bridgestreet a few times, obviously riding the carousel multiple times too. Sadie can’t get enough of the spinning tea cups, and it’s the cutest thing.
We ran into this guy!
Hadley got to do some Black Friday shopping with daddy to pick up a new TV!
But when said TV’s order was randomly canceled at Target, we all went to Best Buy to find another one!
And then we had a very, very giddy Daddy who was in Heaven playing with the new TV we’ve been dying to get for a while! It’s go above our fireplace just as soon as we can get a friend over to help Jamie out with taking down the other one and hanging this one. Heavy duty stuff, sheesh!
We grabbed our Christmas tree from a local farm (Trim A Tree in Athens) and had a super fun morning doing so!
The girls got to pet donkeys, ride ponies, drink hot chocolate, sit around a fire, and go on a tractor “sleigh” ride.
It took us a few days to get the tree put together, which really aggravated Hadley because she was beyond ready to get out the ornaments this year. Her excitement about all things Christmas this year is really pure and neat.
What a week! Looking ahead at December, our schedule isn’t overly full. I’m trying to leave lots of open days for resting, accepting potential last-minute social invitations, or doing something randomly fun – like ice skating if we’re up for it one afternoon/evening. I don’t want to burn any of us out by being overly committed, so I’m looking forward to seeing what this holiday season brings.
I hope you had a very sweet Thanksgiving as well, friends. xoxoxo
Do you enjoy hosting holidays at your home? Why or why not?
Hi! I’m Erica, and I absolutely adore sharing my life on this website with you! I come here almost daily to blab about all of the things related to being a regular wife and mother in today’s ever-evolving society. I share about our new home, what’s on our kitchen table, what we’re hanging in our closets, where we’re traveling to next, my crazy 5 a.m. work outs, how I make time for girlfriends, our faith, and much more. We always have a lot of balls in the air and somewhat thrive on the chaos. I believe in the power of story-telling as a form of inspiration and entertainment, so I’m here to do both! I was born and raised in north Alabama and recently re-planted roots here again after my husband transitioned out of the Army (he is now in the Reserve and it’s going so well!) I’m a super proud mom to two little girls (ages 5 and 2) who seem to be the stars of the show around here (for good reason – they’re pretty great!) I’m so glad you found me and are here reading! I hope we can get to know each other here on the blog as well as Facebook and/or Instagram. xoxo