Sunday, November 27, 2011

Family Traditions #8: Thanksgiving 2011

"Family traditions give identity and belonging to each member." - James Dobson

1. A Month of Thanksgiving: I think Thanksgiving just might be our favorite holiday. We celebrate it all month long! I love how it is a chance to look back and be reminded of God's faithfulness. I used to think Christmas overshadowed Thanksgiving, but now I think it gets lost in the midst of Halloween decorations and Black Friday advertisements. Here it is a lot easier to tune those things out.
{Real fall leafs are better, but in Petén these will do}
November is a chance to really get a heart of worship before we celebrate Christ's birth in December. So no decorating or Christmas music until after we celebrate Thanksgiving!
This is my same corn husk wreath from last year. I decided to embrace the effects of humidity. It curls the husks nicely. I just rotate it clockwise a little each morning to keep it even all the way around. Wish that worked for my hair.

2. Memory Candle: For the month of November we start off each morning with our memory candle on the breakfast table.
It smells like pumpkin and thankfulness! I shared about our candle here and how it reminds us of a very special Thanksgiving and God's faithfulness to us at that time. Over breakfast we reminisce over the year and share the things we are thankful for. Lots of times during stages in life you get to the end of a story, but never go back to look at how God work all through it. This gives us a chance to reflect and do that. It really grounds us in our faith and helps us renew our perspective for the next 12 months.

3. Growing Our Own Pumpkins: This was the first year Jimmy planted some on our land at our forever house. This is where we will be planting them in the future. Unfortunately when we got our grass plugs we asked the company not to mess with our pumpkins, but they thought they could move the vines. Well that killed our pumpkins.
{This was our pumpkin mound before the incident.}
Next year hopefully we will have a nice neat garden that no one will mess with! Thankfully we found 3 small imported pie pumpkins in Petén mid October. Then when we were in Guate we picked up a large one before they ran out. Yay! We have had 4 pies and have enough frozen pumpkin left to make 6 more!

4. The Food: We toasted pumpkin seeds again this year each time we pureed a pumpkin. The secret is sauteing them in butter, garlic, and salt before you bake them.
Our traditional Thanksgiving Day food like most is turkey, cornbread stuffing, sweet potato casserole, rolls, and pumpkin pie. I wanted to add a cranberry something but still was unsuccessful at finding anything available. A friend of ours who owns a restaurant here made the most incredible cranberry sauce for us one year, but they won't tell me the recipe...

Evidently a tradition that Petén has is running out of sweet potatoes right before Thanksgiving. The same thing happened to me last year and I was able to scrounge up a bunch of tiny ones to make do. This year we ended up paying a taxi driver to drive around to all the markets he knew of around this area to find some... and he did. They were the largest sweet potatoes I have ever seen. Jimmy had to cut them for me.
I had enough pureed sweet potato for a 9x13 pan and that much extra to freeze.
Silas loves watching me use the food processor. He waits and mimics the noise each time I turn it on.

Jimmy made a delicious turkey again this year. We decided that we need to have turkey more than once a year! After all, Jimmy brings down Miracle Whip just for leftover turkey sandwiches.

We invited Holly and Benj over for Thanksgiving Dinner. They live in the same town as us AND are not planning on leaving Guatemala soon... haha! We really enjoy spending time with them. Having them over made the day extra special. They have a son a year older than the boys, a daughter who is within days of Jonah and Silas, and she is pregnant. I hope our kids will be lifelong friends!
My goal this year was a feast without stress and it really was. With Jimmy making the turkey (which he has down to a science) and me doing all my cooking the day before, we really had a relaxing day with family and friends. And we are still enjoying leftovers!

5. Our Thankful Wall: I cannot believe a year later and we still are not in our forever house and writing the things we are thankful for on our chalkboard wall. We used the same substitute as last year. The boys loved the magnetic letters. I don't let them play with them normally because I am afraid the magnets might fall off and they'll swallow one. Well... one magnet off the back of a letter is still missing. I guess that is better than two.
{So I guess you can see the first name we chose for our little girl}

We have so many things that we are thankful for. More than anything I am thankful for the family that God has blessed me with. I love all the moments we share together.
We hope that all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving season as well!

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