Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

I love Thanksgiving!  There's really nothing better than good food and fun family time, and I love reflecting on what I'm most thankful for--my husband and sweet kiddos, great friends and family, our health, and that Dan and I get to spend this holiday together (not something to be taken for granted in the military!).  Our very first married Thanksgiving in 2004, Dan and I did the whole spread together, just for the two of us since we lived really far away from our families that year.  Our 2005 Thanksgiving together was spent at my grandparents' house in Ohio, and I didn't have to do any cooking, because my grandmother is the original Good Housewife, who taught my mom how to be the phenomenal housewife that she is.  I remember that Thanksgiving well because we had just found out we were pregnant with Abby.  :)  Thanksgiving 2006 was also spent at my grandparents' house, and this time, I convinced my grandmother to let me make the pies--kind of a big deal, since the recipes that my mom taught me are the ones that my grandmother taught her, and the bar is set really high.  Eyebrows were raised when I offered to make the pies--these pies are serious business in my family.  I wanted to help with the meal, though, and pies are something I make with confidence...although I truly have no idea how that happened, since I don't even make cookies from scratch!  As a caveat, both my mom and my grandmother make their pie crusts from scratch, and I do not--Pillsbury pie crusts are easy and fine by me.  I was super nervous about my pies not living up to my grandmother's standards at that Thanksgiving dinner, but everyone said they were delicious--and I was feeling great about it until my grandfather (who is a wonderful man with no qualms about telling you how it is) said, "Well, Jill--the pies were good...we're going to have to have Grandma teach you how to make crusts."  Thanks, Grandpa.  :)  We intended to spend our 4th Thanksgiving together in 2007 also at my grandparents' house, but Abby got sick, so my sweet grandfather drove an hour to meet Dan in the parking lot of a grocery store to exchange food (they made the turkey and sides, and I made the pies) so that Dan and I could still have a complete Thanksgiving dinner!  My grandfather must have thought my pies were okay if he was willing to drive all that way for them...just sayin'.

I make the Pillsbury pie crusts look as good as homemade!

Thanksgiving 2008 was in Virginia at my parents' house--I was pregnant with Jake, and contracted a nasty stomach virus Thanksgiving morning...  It had already hit my dad, my mom, and Abby, so I thought I was safe...but as soon as I saw the turkey my mom was fixing, I lost it.  Dan and I spent Thanksgiving in the emergency room because I couldn't keep anything down and needed an IV to get fluids for myself and the baby.  That was not our best Thanksgiving moment, but I did lose 10 pounds...I always wish something like that would hit me now, when I need to lose the weight!  Our 2009 Thanksgiving was Jake's first Thanksgiving, and we were living far from family in Texas--I was early in my pregnancy with Alex and had been feeling pretty rough, but I managed to make the whole meal for our little family of four.

Thanksgiving 2009

In 2010, Dan and I were not together on Thanksgiving--he was deployed to Iraq, so I was in Virginia and had Thanksgiving at my parents' house with all my siblings and their families...again, I made pie (but just the fillings, because my mom won't stand for store-bought crust in her house!).  Last year on Thanksgiving, Alex and I were sick (sensing a common theme here...late November illness seems to be a trend in our family), so my sweet dad picked Abby and Jake up and took them to my parents' house for the big meal with all my extended family.  He dropped them off along with leftovers for when we felt up to eating again.  2012 marks our 9th Thanksgiving together, and we spent the day at Dan's parents' house--his mom fixed everything for the main meal, but I contributed the ice cream and, of course, a chocolate and a banana cream pie.  :)

My chocolate and banana cream pies

I did have the thought to try to make the crusts from scratch this year--because The Project is forefront in my mind, I thought maybe I should attempt it this year.  I looked over the recipe and considered what I would need to make it from scratch:  I have a great mixer and of course I own a rolling pin, but I couldn't tell you where that rolling pin is...nor do I ever use my mixer--the last time may have been Thanksgiving 2009, sadly!  Using my mixer more will be something The Good Housewife Project tackles, but ultimately for today, I decided to just go with the Pillsbury crusts.  Dan's parents aren't as discerning when it comes to pie crusts, so I knew they wouldn't care at all if I used store-bought crusts.  Dan's dad loves my banana cream pie--he doesn't care how I make it, just as long as he gets to eat it.  :)  I did find a picture of Abby making pie crust with my mom in 2008, and that means she has made one more pie crust from scratch than I have!

My little pie maker--learning crucial future Good Housewife skills!

We are heading to my parents' house on Saturday for Thanksgiving Round 2 with my side of the family, and I'll be making 2 chocolate cream pie fillings--my mom, of course, is making the crusts from scratch.  Here's a picture of Dan's banana cream pie tonight--even with a Pillsbury crust, I think it looks delicious (and it was)!  Happy Thanksgiving!

Dan's super fancy pie presentation

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