We had the most wonderful Thanksgiving holiday! Both sides of our family came to us this year and we were so excited to host everyone in our home! My heart could explode from how happy it made me to have the people we love most seated around our dining table.
On Thanksgiving morning I popped a breakfast casserole in the oven that my sister and I prepped the previous day. It was excellent (and is one of my go-to casseroles). After breakfast we went Uptown to watch the Thanksgiving Day parade. The kids absolutely loved it.
Matt’s parents arrived shortly after we got back home from the parade and my mom and I whipped up a ton of appetizers for everyone to graze on throughout the afternoon. Almost everything was from Trader Joe’s and we just popped it all into the oven — bacon wrapped scallops, bacon wrapped goat cheese stuffed dates (omg — so ugly looking yet SO delicious), french onion soup bites, mini brie puff pastry brie bites, cranberry sauce & cheese stuffed fillo bites, cheese & crackers, my favorite hot corn dip and a few other goodies!
I also really stepped out of my comfort zone this holiday and did something that is downright horrific in my family — in addition to serving a bunch of frozen Trader Joe’s appetizers, I ordered our entire Thanksgiving dinner from Publix. I’m not gonna lie, I was pretty nervous to pull out the oven safe plastic containers stuffed with pre-made casseroles for my side of the family who loooooooooooves a homecooked from scratch meal (my mom literally preps Thanksgiving food for like a week). And trust me, cooking is one of my biggest passions, so this felt strange!!!
But I decided it was more important for me to spend the morning at the parade and as much quality time with my family outside of the kitchen as possible.
And you know what? I wouldn’t change that for the world in hindsight.
My mom helped me manage all the timers and temperatures for each dish…and I got to enjoy the entire day bouncing around our home spending time with family!
To make the island a little more festive, I spread a gorgeous 18 foot fresh cypress garland that Lynch Creek Farm sent me down the center. It looked so pretty!
My sister and I decorated the cutest (& simple) kids table together using fresh eucalyptus, pumpkins, colored pencils, coloring activity place mats, and a delicious pie matt’s mom brought! Lindsey and Jackson really got in to the coloring contest…
The kids had the best afternoon playing together in the backyard and lounging around the house. Per usual, Thomas was glued to his grandad!
Lindsey and I dusted off my crystal wine glasses for the holiday. And yes, we did Thanksgiving in leggings!!! And yes, I know we look like twins…I’ll gladly take the compliment — because I’m two years older…and a lot less fit! my outfit: leggings/ sneakers/ sweater
Our attempt at a “let’s hold Ian up for a picture”…I’m still dying over this…After so many tries, we gave up and went with a normal sibling photo (plus Caroline)…
One of my favorite moments of Thanksgiving was once we got ALL the casseroles in the oven, the turkey in the fryer and a refill on all the drinks…we gathered the courage to do a (biodegradable — don’t yell at me!!!!) balloon send-off in honor of dad’s 62nd birthday. It was a bittersweet moment for us all and one that I’m so thankful we were able to have together for dad’s first heavenly birthday. Caroline was very concerned about whether or not Heaven has grass. And if so, wouldn’t the balloons pop on the grass as they enter heaven????? Good point, Caroline. After the balloon send off we gathered around to watch Ryan pull the turkey out of the fryer! Every single year Ryan begs for a fried turkey. And thanks to my girlfriend for loaning me her turkey fryer last minute (thanks Abby!), I was able to come through for my brother-in-law with a fryer so he could make his turkey dreams come true! Ryan fried up the most delicious fried turkey I’ve ever had in my life. It was truly incredible and he was SO proud of himself. And we were all proud too.
I do have to give Pubix some serious credit — their Thanksgiving meal was delicious! I ended up serving two of their Thanksgiving meals — the turkey meal and the ham meal. Both came with several sides and everything was delicious!I was thrilled with how my tablescape turned out. Almost everything came from Amazon (including the gorgeous candle holders!!!) and I went with disposable flatware and disposable plates which made clean-up a breeze! For the centerpiece I layered a few types of fresh eucalyptus and added some mercury glass votives. And at each placesetting, I busted out my old calligraphy pen and made place cards.
Once we were all seated, we prepared ourselves for the blessing.
A few years ago, when I learned our time with dad was limited, I started recording him saying the blessing at every meal I was present for. And with Thanksgiving being our first holiday without him, I sought permission from each family member to play a recording of him saying the blessing as a way for us to incorporate him.
It was incredibly painful yet beautiful all at the same time to hear dad prepare our hearts and bless our Thanksgiving meal.sources: candles / candle holders / gold chargers / black napkins / mercury glass votives / disposable flatware / disposable platesAfter dinner we surprised the kids with matching jammies! And that’s a wrap on our Thanksgiving Day!
Aileen Johnston says
Ok since I am reading this post at work, that should have come with a mascara warning. How utterly lovely to be able to hear your dads voice at Thanksgiving! What a great idea and whilst emotional I am sure everyone loved hearing him say the Blessing. Also I am all for getting food in from other places. I have this argument with my husbands family every Christmas. They invite us through to there house, Im told to arrive about 11 but then we don’t spend any time with them because they are all in the kitchen. By the time we get to spend any time together its at the dinner table and my child is now bored (she is the only child in the family). Drives me bonkers! I think this year I will take her out for a walk and we will go to the pub haha
Ditto – definitely teared up at work thinking about the lovely way you honored your dad.
Same! Especially since my dad is gone as well! 🙂
So many hugs to you friend. xo
What a fun Thanksgiving!! All of the Trader Joe’s apps you made look amazing. I miss the Charlotte parade so much- one of the things I for sure miss the most about my time living there!
It was our first Charlotte parade experience and we absolutely LOVED it!!!!
Kerrie Hofstad says
This is all so special. I’m so glad you had the time with your family. I know it must make your Dad so very proud to know how loved and honored he will always be.
Thank you so much, Kerrie!
Meredith Thompson says
Looks like a great one and I loved looking at your decor etc, but you had me in tears at the part where you played the recording of your dad saying the blessing. I really wish we had done that with my Grandfather last year.
The recording it bittersweet for sure! Hugs to you as you go through another round of holidays without your grandfather!
Cheryl Matheny says
What a beautiful, beautiful Thanksgiving…filled with love and overflowing blessings galore! I loved everything you did and especially how you incorporated your sweet daddy being there by him saying the blessing. Tears flowing for sure. I have a recording on my phone of my mom, we lost her 5 years ago and my world has never been the same, and I am so thankful to have it so I can hear her sweet voice. You are an amazing mother, friend, daughter and wife and I look forward to reading your blog daily. I feel like I totally know you all. You really should consider being a writer 🙂 Merry Christmas to you and your family!! Can’t wait to read all about it!! Love you sweet girl!!
You are seriously the sweetest. Thank you so much for leaving me such a kind message. This really made my day! xo
What a beautiful way to honor your dad on your first holiday without him. It was our first thanksgiving without my dear FIL who passed away on Father’s Day from cancer. I wish we had thought to record a blessing! I also love that you got permission from your siblings to play it. Very thoughtful.
I love your tablescape! I am going to copy it for Christmas. How many candles did you do? I am ordering the same ones. Thanks for the idea!
I was really nervous how everyone would respond to the recording (even though they were all prepped and ready). It ended up being truly perfect — sad but sweet all at the same time!
DEFINITELY copy the table — it was SO easy to throw together!!! I did two packs of the candle stick holders (large set and small set), the pack of black candles, and 4 of the gold mercury vases (but I totally could have added more of these)!
Cristina Pennington says
Okay, my heart is on the floor and currently looking for tissues. How amazing to hear your dads voice at Thanksgiving. I have started saving voicemails from my grandfather so one day, when the day comes I can still hear him.
So smart of you to save these messages! If you haven’t already, I highly recommend purchasing a recordable story book of The Night Before Christmas so you can hear him read it for many years ahead!
Susan Foster says
Kudos to you for focusing on the important things….you still had a delicious meal, and Trader Joe’s apps are always a good choice! ❤️😊
Thank you so much, Susan!!!!
Lauren @ Life as a Wife says
What a beautiful day!! I love that you prioritized time with family – it all looked delicious regardless of who cooked it 😉 You’re a wonderful hostess!
Thank you, Lauren!!! That means so much! xo
Before fully opening this blog I thought your sister was you but then thought well who is on her shoulders? I looked around to find your kids then saw the real you next to your sister and thought oh…..well wait! Huh?!!! Ohhh ok so the first girl I saw HAS TO BE her sister! 🙂 My sister and I get asked if we are twins all the time also & I am also 2 years older hahah She now has brown hair so we don’t get it as much, but even my youngest once was staring at me and said you look a lot like Nana (My sister’s name is Tanya). 🙂
Your gatherings are always so elegant. You sure know how to put on a good time!! I love your attention to detail with incorporating your Dad into your day in so many ways. Very sweet!
What a beautiful and very special Thanksgiving!!!