We’ll be going to our monthly homeschool group activity this afternoon and will get home just in time to get ready for dinner, so I wanted to use part of the morning to get a good start on our Thanksgiving preparations this morning. Our menu so far is:
- roast turkey
- cornbread stuffing balls
- mashed potatoes
- roasted yams
- cranberry sauce
- sauteed green beans and matchstick carrots
- pumpkin pies
So far, we have 5 pans of brownies finished (courtesy of dd10 and ds8, and when I went into the kitchen I discovered that as I was writing this, ds3 took a small pinch out of the top of four of them;)), pumpkin pie filling made for several pies (ds11), flour ground and ready to start the pie crusts, a pot of potatoes boiling (ds8 peeled them all) and two 14-lb turkeys stuffed and basted (I’ll roast them when I get back). My mom is bringing the stuffing and yams so when we get home we just have to make the crusts and bake the pies, prepare the mashed potatoes, and make the vegetable side dishes. I’ll do the salad tomorrow so it will be fresh. Later tonight I’ll also do some preparations for Shabbos so that Friday can be a pleasant day instead of rushing around.
Every year that we’ve been doing this I’ve had a slightly ambivalent feeling about all of these Thanksgiving preparations, since we do this mostly because it’s important to my in-laws. (To be clear: I think having an annual day to consciously express gratitude is a beautiful idea, and I’m not in any way opposed to Thanksgiving. But I grew up having Thanksgiving weekend rather than one day and that would be my preference if it were up to me.) But it’s a lot of work for me and of course there are the usual Shabbos preparations to do for the next day. The first year or two I grappled with some feelings of resentment that I was doing something I didn’t really want to do for the sake of others and didn’t feel much appreciation, which is obviously not a very positive mindset. I moved towards accepting it as something nice that I can do for my in-laws, which was much more positive and allowed me to smile at them when serving and cleaning up and really feel the smiles! However, this year I realized that a higher level would be to embrace it rather than just accept it. Every opportunity to create family rituals and memories is something to appreciate and use to your advantage as a parent, and realizing that this is something for me and my family as much as for them is very helpful in having an even more cheerful perspective about all of the effort involved. It’s an opportunity for our children to be with their grandparents creating shared memories, something I never did with my grandparents since they lived so far away.
Meanwhile, it’s dd15’s birthday in a few days and when we prepared the envelope to send her birthday cards to her, we found that all of the cards that were laboriously created over three weeks ago (so it would get to her in time for her birthday) were accidentally put in recycling. So right now, the older four kids are preparing new cards for her, something totally different than what they did before. They told me they recorded themselves showing her the original cards on dd’s camera, so maybe we can get a cd made to mail to dd so she’ll see those as well. I’m so disappointed because everything was done three weeks ago in time for the party we held to record for her, and now after all of our advance planning, she’s not going to get anything in time for her birthday. And even worse, her dorm closes for Chanuka so everything that is mailed at this point will arrive after Chanuka, so nothing will get to her in time for her birthday. Even the present we sent with a classmate’s mother that I was sure would be given to her personally on the second day of Chanuka (a day after her birthday) is in question, since the mother won’t be visiting the school with the dorm being closed. Dd15 is the one who makes all the birthday cards and cakes for everyone else in our family (even in her dorm now she does a lot of that for other girls!) and it was especially important to me that she know how much we were thinking of her on her birthday. Ds17 called me to get her address since he wanted to send her a letter for her birthday, so hopefully that will arrive in time. It just goes to show that the best of plans can be waylaid.
Well, we better eat some lunch so we can get everyone out and ready for our homeschool meeting on time!