This week has been wonderfully busy, and having my mom around for Thanksgiving for the first time in years has been absolutely thrilling!  We have taken pitifully few photos over the week–the time just disappears before we even realize it.  Nonetheless, here is a quick re-cap. 

Early in the week was pretty normal, with homeschooling Monday-Wednesday.  I did a little pre-Thanksgiving baking to get me in the cooking mood, baking some apple and cherry pies for dinner one evening. 

My mom, “Nana,” came over for Thanksgiving Day, and voluntarily agreed to be a guinea pig for some of my latest cooking creations–natural lotions, lip balms, and some experimenting with food recipes for Thanksgiving.  My favorite experiment was brining the turkey. 

Turkey has never been a favorite of mine, as every time we have cooked it (we like to roast our turkeys), it winds up quite dry–especially as reheated leftovers!  This year, since we special ordered a free-range, all natural turkey, I feared it might be even worse (since there tends to be less fat to moisturize the turkey).   Furthermore, it was a big turkey at 18.6 pounds, so I knew the lengthy time roasting might dry it out.   So I did a little research and learned about brining.  It is an incredibly simple process, and produced, by far, the absolute best turkey I have every eaten!!  Even the reheated leftovers are deliciously moist!  So that experiment went over beautifully.  The pumpkin pie turned out acceptable, but my pumpkin bread was a complete flop!  Apparently, when I transposed the recipe I always cooked onto a recipe card, I mixed up my tsp with my TBSP, and wound up adding waaaaaay too much cloves and other spices.  It is edible, but not incredibly enjoyable!  I’ll have to fix that!  I also didn’t have very good success with my pumpkin cookies earlier this week.  I used my favorite recipe, but the altitude really affected the way they cooked.  I have to experiment some more with that.  And while my sweet-potato casserole turned out delicious, I learned an important lesson about why gourd squashes are used for decoration.  We got several of them through our CSA.  Being the practically-minded, waste-not people we are, we decided to forget tradition, and to chop those gourds open and eat them.  One was incredibly tough to cut into, had a pitiful amount of meat, but we went ahead and roasted it to decorate the turkey.   Then I tasted it.  BLEH!!!!!!!  There is a reason they are for decor only!  All in all, though, we had a wonderful Thanksgiving day.

Nana stayed the night, and then this morning, we pulled out the Christmas decorations.  We like to focus on Thanksgiving, and not overlook it.  To help, we refuse to pull out our Christmas stuff until after that special day has passed.  We do tend to pull it all out the following weekend however.  The kids got to help set up the tree, while I arranged my first nativity set.  Over the last couple years, I have absolutely fallen in love with the Willow Tree figurines.  I don’t have many yet, but I bought the nativity set last year at an after-Christmas sale.  This year was the first time I got to use it.  I have a few more pieces I would like to add to it, but I am so excited to have that up finally! 

 We finished most of the decorating by mid-morning, so, expecting beautiful weather, we loaded up and went for a several-mile mountain bike ride down the Santa Fe trail.   It was the kids’ first opportunity to really show off their bike skills to Nana.  Unfortunately, we forgot the camera.  That just means we’ll have to do it again.  Nana was so excited to be outdoors and active, she has already made us promise to take her hiking in the mountains tomorrow.  She may just wear me out with all this action!! 

So that was our week.  I hope yours was at least half as enjoyable and “thanks”-worthy!

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