Giving Thanks 2015

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us! We know that Advent has already started and the Christmas season is upon us, but we thought it would be fun to have a little remembrance of Thanksgiving 2015.

Jewel: Our Thanksgiving was a Friendsgiving this year! We celebrated with wonderful friends from La Crosse. When we went around before eating to say what we were each thankful for almost everyone mentioned having found such great friends. Kevin and I couldn’t imagine a better group of people to have met this past year. It makes being so far from family a bit easier. Thanksgiving was so fun with our cute little baby.

Someone LOVES standing up. It makes him so proud and happy.

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A family photo! Calvin looks nice and round.
Sweet Calvin playing with toys.

Much much much to be thankful for.

Janna: Oh, what a cute, cute, cutie he is. Thanks for those pictures, Jewel. I went to Mom and Dad’s again this year. Mom gave me the gift of being able to show up without needing to make anything. She has given me many gifts this semester and I am so thankful for her. Aunt Sherry and Jim came down with pies and flowers and Mom invited a few friends from church/school. Some of the many food highlights: Mom brined the turkey and made her cranberry salad. We tried smashed roasted red potatoes with garlic, which tasted delicious and came out a bit dense. Sophie brought homemade Chinese dumplings, which she boiled and steamed (one batch each) at the house. Yum. It was also Mom and Dad’s anniversary–44 years! I asked them about the secret of staying married for 44 years. They both talked about commitment and Dad also said choosing well at the beginning. I am so thankful for them and for you and for all that we have. And I will also be very thankful when the semester is done. Nine more days!

Most of the crew gathered before dinner. Behold the feast.
A picture quickly snapped of most of the crew gathered before dinner. Behold the feast.

Rachel: I have no photos of the day! We did 24 hours at the in-laws’ for Thanksgiving.  The company was great, the food was delicious as usual, and I enjoyed observing how my other family celebrates. There was alcohol and fancy cheese (things the Buckwalters do not indulge in!) and I got to sit in a chair and read a book while my kids were taken care of by relatives. After that trip, I got to spend three days at home with my kids which is always a treat for a working mama. I’m so looking forward to a few days all together with the Buckwalters at Christmas!

Esther: This was my first turkey-less Thanksgiving!! Even when I was in Mexico I cooked up a turkey with some friends. It was also my first Thanksgiving in the US without extended family (whether that be Buckwalter family, Epps family, or my adopted Wach family). Marcus and I went to NY in October to see his family, so for Thanksgiving we stuck around Berea. Life is fairly chaotic right now at work and at home with a move ahead (more on that later!!), so it was luxurious to be relaxing at home for three days off of work!

I watched plenty of Project Runway, and on Thanksgiving day itself I went for a walk in the park with my husband and ate Indian food with my friend Jessica. I’m so thankful for my husband, kitties, families, and my health. The Saturday after Thanksgiving I went to community yoga at Broadway Body Works in Berea and did some Christmas shopping online and at the Berea Farmer’s Market! 🙂 I’m excited for the next holiday and I’m missing you all.

My unconventional Thanksgiving meal: tandoori mixed grill from Masala in Richmond, KY! Yum!!
My unconventional Thanksgiving meal: tandoori mixed grill from Masala in Richmond, KY! Yum!!

Martha: This is the first year we have celebrated Thanksgiving since Era was a newborn and alas I have no pictures!  When living in Canada, we celebrated Thanksgiving on the first Monday of October with friends, and if we were close enough to home we would drive down for the November feast with family.  While I love Thanksgiving, it has never been important enough to me to re-create on our own here in Ireland, as the experience of Thanksgiving is really about being with family and/or friends.  This year we were invited to celebrate  a potluck Thanksgiving with another Irish-American family who have children that attend Archer’s school, and I got very excited!  With the children in school, we celebrated on Friday evening with a large group of their friends, and loads of children.

I made Martha Stewart’s macaroni and cheese, as the host requested macaroni and cheese.  I have only recently learned that macaroni and cheese at Thanksgiving is a thing (it never was for us!  Did you know this, sisters?).  It was the first time I’ve ever made the recipe with both cheddar and the other cheese it calls for, gruyere, which amazingly you can get at Aldi here. It was so so so good, the gruyere is a raw milk cheese that adds a depth of flavor that is reminiscent of the boxed mac and cheese everyone except me seems to love, but better.  I also made the fancy homemade green bean casserole from Smitten Kitchen that replicates that classic version with green beans, Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup, and French’s crispy onions (verdict: good if you have to have green bean casserole, but honestly I don’t think it was worth the effort to deep fry the onions, I would rather spend the time making other nice things).  I also made my mother-in-law’s cranberry salad recipe.  It has ground cranberries, celery, walnuts, and halved grapes suspended in lemon (or cherry) jello, much like this recipe but without the crushed pineapple.  This dish is very hard to explain to non-Americans, I have discovered.  Food, suspended in jello?   It was basically a novelty item, a 1950s throwback with no cultural references here, and I felt like I brought a calf with two heads to the Thanksgiving meal.  People took small bites and told me it was interesting.  Here, jello is called jelly and children eat it for dessert with ice cream or whipped cream.  I think I prefer cranberry sauce and will probably make that next year.

This year I’m thankful for maternity leave to spend with baby Tad, my adventuring family, and most of all that we will be flying ‘home’  to the States to be with you all NEXT WEEK!


The sisters




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