posts tagged with 'thanksgiving'

talking turkey

Meal planning this week continues to be complicated—or maybe simplified?—by all the Thanksgiving leftovers. There's way more than usual: we cooked a whole turkey for the five of us, and we also got lots more turkey from the food swap with Leah's family. Then the same with all the other stuff. Good thing we all love turkey! After the initial Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday we had turkey and everything sandwiches for lunch on Friday and another Thanksgiving dinner for supper, and pretty much the same on Saturday (though our sandwiches were much simpler, since we brought them on our picnic). Saturday I did have to make new mashed potatoes. On Sunday evening Leah made us a beautiful turkey pot pie, but even that didn't use up all the turkey (its leftovers provided Monday's lunch). Supper Monday I switched things up a bit with spaghetti and meatballs, but today the turkey was back again, seared in the skillet with cajun seasoning to go in burritos. But even that wasn't the last of it! Not that I'm complaining, mind you! As I say, we love it. I think tomorrow I'll try turkey salad sandwiches.

our Thanksgiving day

We celebrated Thanksgiving just the five of us, and it was nice. Originally we were going to get together with Leah's parents and brother to exchange food and take a walk, but due to the rain we postponed that until tomorrow. While it would have been great to see them, I think I'm glad things ended up the way they did, because it was actually really lovely to have a quiet cozy day at home in the rain, reading, playing cards, and slowly but steadily making food. And we made some food!

food on our table

a feast!

Leah took charge of the turkey. I made sides: mashed potatoes, green beans, gravy, cranberry sauce, and stuffing. I also made a pumpkin pie, but then when it came time for the boys to add their own contributions it turned out they all wanted to do desserts too. Harvey made an apple crisp and Lijah folded some pieces of Hershey chocolate in Pillsbury crescent roll dough to make some quite delicious chocolate croissants. Zion... caused ice cream to be purchased? Does that count? We all ate very well.

I was especially happy with the stuffing. It was the recipe my mom has used all my life (and probably long previous!), which I don't think I've ever attempted before. Why would I? I've always had the real thing available! My attempt came out a little different but just as delicious, and since only Harvey and I wanted any there's plenty left over. Actually, there's plenty of everything left over: with that spread, we couldn't even finish off the veggies and dip! And there will be more food coming tomorrow. Yikes! Good thing the rain's over so we can get some exercise.

We talked a little about what we're thankful for this year. Mostly surviving covid and enjoying some new opportunities in this strange pandemic world. Zooms with far-away friends and bubble school for the most part, but Thanksgiving around our own table came in for a little love too. I hope and trust we won't have to do it this way again... but maybe we'll want to, every once and a while.


dinner days

Not counting leftovers, we had two solid Thanksgiving dinners this year. And best of all they were on different days! On Thanksgiving proper we went to my parents' house; they won the honor because my brother and his family were there too. They live far away, so we tend to see them just once a year at most. They're planning to come up at Christmas time too this year, so Thanksgiving was an exciting bonus! Since the Archibalds are old-fashioned folks we ate our dinner at 1:00. There was all the food you'd expect, and each of us boys had a different thing we liked the best. The early dinner time was great because it let us digest for a little bit and then head out for a walk while there was still plenty of light. A short walk—we weren't really up for much exertion. And there was dessert waiting at home. I made an apple pie.

cousins mid-walk

On Friday we reprised the holiday with Leah's parents and brother. I was meant to bring corn bread, which was unfortunate because I'm not good at making corn bread and also because our oven stopped working briefly in the middle of the cooking. The delay meant I missed some playing and socializing time, but at least I wasn't late for dinner! I even got there in time to watch Leah's brother carve the turkey in the optimal scientific way, which was amazing. I should take lessons: I've never actually carved a turkey, but every time I try to cut up a chicken it's a disaster. This turkey, barbecued, was as tasty as it was well-carved. We got some of the leftovers too, and they were wonderful in sandwiches Saturday. I call this Thanksgiving a success.


Thanksgiving report

We survived an epic Thanksgiving week. Who knew sitting and eating could be so tiring?! After a warm-up dinner with friends on Tuesday we celebrated the real day as part of a party of 21 at my aunt and uncle's place. The boys were delighted to see their second cousins and their second cousins' second cousins, and were delightfully well behaved the whole time.

Harvey, Zion, and Lijah sitting at the Thanksgiving board

big kids table

They did lots of running around together inside and out, miraculously without any damage to the house. Harvey and Zion were huge fans of the other boys at the party; they're sad to hear my feelings about the likelihood of reconnecting with second cousins' second cousins, especially ones who live in New Jersey. Lijah impressed in how much he was able to keep up with the rough play, and when he got tired out there was always the football to watch.

Lijah watching an enormous television

what Thanksgiving is all about

Yesterday we went to Leah's parents' house, where we had a delightful time hanging out with them and her brother, recently moved away to California. It was so nice we didn't realize how late it was getting and didn't leave until after 9:00. So this morning was slow, but by lunch time we were galvanized and ready for our last party, with the Archibald grandparents and friends. It was another bigish gathering, but a very relaxed one.

Zion and Lijah eating at the kitchen table at Grandma and Grandpa Archibald's

a relaxed feast

With all that fine dining, the only thing we made ourselves was a loaf of bread and a couple of pies. True, without a dinner here at home we miss out on the best of the leftovers (though both grandmas were kind enough to send home doggie bags), but we have plenty of desert to go around!

lots of pies in various stages of consumption on our kitchen table

pie factory

I took pictures of each of my four turkey-dinner plates this week. Here they are, presented without comment (those are just the first helpings—in all cases I had at least seconds).

food on my plate

dinner zero, with friends

food on my plate

dinner one, the real thing

food on my plate

dinner two, with Leah's family

food on my plate

dinner three, with my parents and friends

Now I don't need to eat for a week.


Happy Thanksgiving

me and the boys holding up our Thankful posters (and a squash)

thankful and joyful

We're packing up to head down to a giant gathering of relatives for the day, but we took a moment to pause and be thankful as a family. Luckily, given the chaos, we'd done lots of the thankfulness prep earlier this week when the boys and I made posters showing some things we're thankful for. Well, the bigger boys; Lijah made a squash friend like in Sophie's Squash.

Whatever you have going on today I hope it's delightful. May all the travel be safe and easy, all the food delicious and easily digestible, and all the interactions with relatives joyful and life-giving! Happy Thanksgiving!

as attempt at the photo above, with everybody moving

thankful for this crazy family



I feel a little out of sync with most of the United States this evening. We have a fridge full of Thanksgiving leftovers and spent the morning decorating the church for Advent, so we're about ready to move on to December and turn on the Christmas lights out on the porch—they're already hung and ready! Not, of course, that I mind the prospect of another feast at Leah's parents' house tomorrow evening... but I could be done if I had to be.

Our own Thanksgiving dinner last night was lovely. With three adults and seven kids in attendance we didn't go in for elegance, but everyone was happy with something on the table—turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, rolls, cauliflower gratin, canned corn, steamed carrots; we cater to all tastes. Well, almost all: the visiting one-month-old drank milk at a separate seating. As chaotic as it was, we were so thankful to share our turkey and our home with friends.

And I've complained before about the lateness of US Thanksgiving, but this year it seems about right. I just finished putting down manure and mulch in the garden, so it seems like the perfect time to relax for a weekend and eat lots of food. Then the Christmas preparations can begin.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


Thanksgiving in pictures

Zion on a snowy morning

outside early for snow play

Lijah and his cousin in their baby seats in Grandma and Grandpa's living room

bumper baby battle

Grandma's table set for Thanksgiving dinner

ready for the food

Lijah with broccoli bits all over his face

broccoli fan

Harvey, Zion, and their cousin Leighanna working on an art project

cousins at work

trash all over the kitchen floor

Rascal had a party, too


many thanks

We're enjoying lots of chances to eat Thanksgiving dinners this year: after two over the weekend, with friends and at Leah's parents, we made our own this evening. We invited a few friends over to share it with us, but a winter storm—all the scarier for being the first of the season—kept them away. That was alright, though, because we had a fine meal with just the five of us: tablecloth and centerpiece and all! And because it was just us, we were free to power through the meal from start to finish in not much more than ten minutes!

No, that's not quite fair. The boys, especially Harvey, did an atypically great job of waiting until everyone was served to start eating, and that was after we all shared something we were thankful for. And Leah only rushed off because Elijah, who got into the spirit of things by keeping himself awake for the feast, needed to go to sleep immediately after finishing his mashed potatoes. And Harvey and I lingered for a reasonable time over our seconds and desert.

And any rushing wasn't due to a lack of interest in the meal: on the contrary, excitement was high! We've been studying the Pilgrims, so Harvey was enough in touch with the original feast to ask for corn and apples to be part of our meal—five minutes before we sat down to eat. Happily canned corn is quick enough to heat up, though hardly authentic. I'll see what I can do about making some samp for next year. And Zion got into the celebratory spirit by calling for toast after toast, which in practice meant clinking glasses a lot. Cheers!

I'm always thankful for my family, but it's nice to stop and notice it officially over Thanksgiving dinner. Grumpy or cheerful—and we had some of each today—I love being with them, and am grateful for how much time I get to spend hanging out. Each of them is wonderful, and none more than Leah who did all the cleaning up after our feast! She's also much more eloquent than I on the subject of giving thanks; here's what she had to say on Facebook earlier:

Because the snow kept our dinner guests away tonight, I am particularly thankful for my family of five who makes every meal feel like a party. I am thankful for Harvey who said, "My favorite part of thanksgiving is corn because the settlers had corn!" and for Dan who immediately rushed some canned corn onto the stove at my whispered request. I am thankful for Zion who owns his pilgrim name so much that he now refuses to be called "ZiZi." I am thankful for Elijah who rubbed a full serving of mashed potatoes all over his face, and then freaked out that there was mashed potato on his face. I am thankful that every year they are a little bit more themselves and a little bit more my own. So happy thanksgiving, Archibalds, I'd settle with you guys any day.

One more Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow... let the thankfulness continue!


thanksgiving report

Our Thanksgiving this year saw the largest congregation of Archibalds—eleven!—to be assembled in some time, and all of us got considerably larger over the course of the afternoon. Well, almost all: baby Nisia didn't get to enjoy the feast but second-hand, but I suppose since at four months she's growing the fastest of any of us it all comes out even. The Lexington Archibalds provided the table and the vast majority of the food: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, squash, roasted root vegetables, spinach, and salad. Oh, and three pies. We Bedford Archibalds chipped in rolls and cranberry sauces, while the Pembroke Archibalds brought an amazing chocolate toffy trifle. It went wonderfully well with pecan pie. And we're always happy to see the Ithaca Archibalds!

This was only the first of three Thanksgiving feasts for us: we'll be enjoying the treats of the season tomorrow and Saturday as well. But we didn't let that keep us from bringing home a nice collection of leftovers to help fill in the cracks!


songs of thankfulness and praise

As I biked home from work today just after noon, the world was full of signs of the Thanksgiving holiday: clear skies, brisk air, a gusty breeze blowing the last few leaves from the trees, and hordes of 8th-graders making the arduous migration from their school to the mating grounds of Lexington Center. Ah, early-release days.

I was talking to a couple of fifth-graders about the holiday yesterday, and explaining to them that we always have something to be thankful for no matter what our circumstances.

"What if you live in a box?" asked one.

"Then you're thankful for the box!" said the other. That's the spirit!

Naturally, they wondered what you'd be thankful for if you didn't have anything; I said you could be happy you weren't being hit with sticks, and they liked that answer. Things can always get worse, I told them. To some people that's a grim concept, because it can be a small hop from "things can always get worse" to "things will always get worse". A small hop, but a silly one. Of course things don't always get worse: sometimes they do, but other times they get better. By realizing that there's essentially an unlimited downside out there somewhere below us, we can focus on the awesome parts of whatever situation we happen to find ourselves in.

Me, I'm thankful for my wonderful family, for slightly gainful employment, and for being able to sleep mostly through the night with only one or two wakeups that we barely notice any more. Also for delicious cranberries fresh from the special Thanksgiving edition Lexington farmers market, which this evening I made into three different turkey toppings: orange-cranberry sauce, ginger-cranberry sauce, and orange-cranberry-pecan relish. Hopefully at least one will be edible. But if not I at least had fun making them! See how I focus on the positive?

Have a happy Thanksgiving everyone, and if nothing else be happy that you're not being hit with sticks!