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A Little Thanksgiving Tour – Part 2

Happy Thanksgiving, and welcome back for part 2 of our little tour! I’m guessing you are in the middle of your to-do list for Thursday’s big dinner, so thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to stop in for a visit here today. 🙂

As we prep all the food and get things ready for this meal, I can’t help but think of the countless Thanksgiving dinners I’ve enjoyed in the past. Growing up, our family never traveled “over the river and through the woods” to any relative’s home for the holiday. It was always Thanksgiving with just my parents and my siblings at our home.

My brother and sister and I would wake early to the smell of a turkey roasting in the oven.  (Heaven only knows what time my mother got started in the kitchen on that day!)  We would watch the Thanksgiving Day parades on television, and then my father would take us children outside to rake leaves in the yard. I am guessing part of the thinking behind this was to keep us out of our mother’s way in the kitchen. Smart man.

Our home sat in the first row of a large pecan orchard, so there were a lot of leaves to get up.  We would all rake them into large piles, and then we’d rake those piles onto big white bed sheets (yes really!)

Once the sheet had a pile my father deemed substantial enough, one of us would grip one end of the sheet with my father grasping the other, and we’d haul them to dump into the flower beds for mulch.

I’m sure along the way there were episodes of “jump in the leaf pile” with one of our beagles much like the scene from A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.

We’d take a break at lunch to go inside for the big meal my mother had single-handedly prepared.  We’d sit in the formal dining room with the olive green carpet.  My father would say grace, thanking God for our many blessings, and then we’d eat with the real silver, dining off green flowery bordered Noritake china, the Princeton pattern if  I remember correctly.

There was always turkey and dressing, ambrosia, deviled eggs, that wiggly jellied cranberry sauce, (that kept its perfect shape as it slid out of its can) a green bean casserole with the crunchy onion topping, celery sticks stuffed with pimento cheese, (my favorite!)  and a sweet potato casserole with that toasted marshmallow topping that we all fought over. For dessert, we would have pecan pie with shelled pecans from our orchard, made from the recipe on the back of the Karo syrup bottle.

There were probably other dishes as well, but they don’t stand out in my memory like these do.  I’m always amazed to think that my mom was able to serve all of those dishes out of her one little oven.  Just think how many of those things had to be baked!

And then after stuffing ourselves silly it was time for….watching football on tv? Nope.  Back to raking of course!  It was the Thanksgiving tradition! (I’m sure that’s what the Pilgrims and Native Americans did when they finished their feast, right? 🙂 )

And this tradition has continued for many many years. Even through college, when I would come home from good ol’ GSC (now GSU) for the holiday break, we would eat the traditional turkey and dressing meal and rake the yard on Thanksgiving Day.

Then I married, and I attended my first Thanksgiving with my husband’s family…quite a different affair.  His family has a BIG reunion with scads of aunts, uncles, and assorted cousins enjoying their meal….60+ people (rather overwhelming for a young bride!)

But good grief at the food!  It has always been “organized potluck” with specific dishes requested each year…my mother-in-law’s turkey and dressing, Janna’s sweet potato souffle, Lee’s green bean and corn casserole, an aunt’s ambrosia, and many many many more!  I always bring my raspberry ribbon salad (recipe here.)  (And we all playfully fight over the corner piece of Wanda’s caramel cake. 🙂 )

And in addition to all these family gatherings, I remember 30 years of school Thanksgiving dinners.

Each year on the Thursday before the Thanksgiving break, all the schools in the county have a “holiday meal.” (That’s what it’s called on the menu.)  In the elementary schools this was always a big deal.

Yards and yards of bulletin board paper would be rolled out to cover the tables.  In the art classes, centerpieces would be created from construction paper, perhaps toilet paper rolls, and even the proverbial pine cone.

The lower grades would create Native American head dresses and vests or Pilgrim caps and collars.  (It’s amazing what you can do with construction paper, scissors, and glue!)

And everyone would design paper placemats to use at their spot so that they didn’t get anything on the paper “tablecloths.”  This was a big deal because not only would other classes sit where you sat as the lunch rotation went through the cafeteria, but PARENTS were invited to this meal as well…and you sure didn’t want to leave a mess where a parent might possibly sit!

Some schools turned off the lights and lit candles for this meal. Heaven help us if the fire marshall ever showed up! We would have had a major “paper overuse” violation with an open flame on top of that!   But it would have been worth the write up.  When the excited children, all dressed in their paper costumes, came through that lunchroom door and saw all the decorations, their eyes would widen in awe.  They would point at the tables and just take it all in. It was a big deal. 🙂

And of course the wonderful lunch ladies prepared turkey and dressing (the recipe of which my mother-in-law still uses today!) On top of that delicious dressing would be a tiny white paper cup holding a spoonful of cranberry sauce, most of which none of the students would touch.  But there would always be one or two children in each class who would ask the kids around them, “Are you going to eat your cranberry sauce?” And before you know it, they would have 7 or 8 of those cups of it in their possession!

Years ago, those “holiday meals” included a scoop of sweet potato casserole with that yummy marshmallow topping, but I think that has been abandoned through the years with school lunchrooms having to be more mindful of nutrition. Some years there would be ambrosia made with oranges, coconut, and maraschino cherries, and other years would have an apple and raisin salad.  There would be those big amazing yeast rolls and a square of cake – maybe spice, maybe vanilla with a coconut frosting, or perhaps vanilla with a chocolate frosting.

Many of the children would have parents come and dine with them.  I would always sit with the ones that had no guests so that they would have “somebody.” And year after year, there would always be a child who would quietly ask me if they could wrap up their serving of cake to take home to a grandparent because “they would love it.” So we would carefully wrap it in a paper napkin, put it in a ziplock bag when we got back to the classroom, and they would take it home in their bookbag at the end of the day (along with an extra piece or two I retrieved from the sweet lunch ladies.)

Soooo many Thanksgivings to remember…and so much to be thankful for…family, friends, good health, a safe place to call home.  Our law school son will travel with friends to Montreal, and our Seattle son will be celebrating a Friendsgiving with his 4 new housemates and a group of friends.  I am sad our boys won’t be here this year, but I am thankful they each have friends with which to celebrate.

We’ll be splitting the day between families and having one meal here. I set up both the porch and dining room for you to see.  I would like to dine on the porch (just look at that view!) but I think it will be too cool, and we’ll have to eat in the dining room.  We won’t be raking leaves at my parents’ home because I have “mowed” their leaves, and the yard is clean!

Now I’m off to finish my to-do list.  There is a raspberry ribbon salad to make and bunches of turnips to wash and oranges to peel (all while listening to Christmas music. 🙂 )  Enjoy your day tomorrow!  Whether you are having a Thanksgiving meal with a small group, a big family reunion, or joining in a Friendsgiving someplace, I hope you have a very blessed day…remembering all that you are thankful for.  I count you as one of my blessings!

Until next time…
(when there will be Christmas decorations!)

 

You might enjoy these posts:

   
Judy - November 22, 2017 - 7:26 pm

Thanks for a lovely trip down memory lane for me. As my siblings and I got older, my family stayed home for Thanksgiving. Mom would get up at an ungodly hour to put the bird in the oven. As we helped with the prep, we were always watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. We especially loved the performance by the Rockettes. To this day, my daughter calls from her home in NY to remind me in Florida to turn on the TV to watch the festivities. This year, she has a new young daughter who will be watching the parade with her tomorrow. It will make me feel good just to think about this holiday tradition being passed on to a new generation. May you and your family have a safe and happy Thanksgiving day. We all have so much for which we are thankful this year.

Donna,ae - November 22, 2017 - 7:13 pm

I was just reminiscing with my cousin today about Holidays past that we used to celebrate together. Your table looks lovely. Happy Thanksgiving…let the feasting begin! 😉

Cynthia Hamsley - November 22, 2017 - 6:55 pm

Kelly, I enjoyed hearing about all of your Thanksgiving memories. We all have so much to be thankful for. I am thankful for your precious blog. Thank you for sharing your gifts of decorating with all of us. You are so talented. God’s blessings to your families during Thanksgiving. So blessed to have you as a friend.

At Rivercrest Cottage - November 22, 2017 - 6:16 pm

What a sweet story about your cafeteria when you were teaching. I cannot imagine how hard it is to see some sadness among the festivities, but I’m glad you were there for them. Our school cafeteria in the mid-50’s to 60’s had a wonderful woman in charge called Mrs. Beasley. I remember very little about my teachers, but can picture Mrs. Beasley’s face oh so many years later! Thanks for reminding me of these sweet memories.

Ren - November 22, 2017 - 4:19 pm

This is such a heart warming post. It brought back memories of Thanksgivings past for me. At my parents home, the ladies cleaned up everything after the feast while the men watched football. And I remember what an exciting time the Thanksgiving Feast at school was. Thank you for taking the time to share this post with your readers on this very busy day. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Sandy - November 22, 2017 - 4:05 pm

Oh, you brought back my memories of the first grade Thanksgiving lunches we held for sixteen years. Students dressed as Pilgrims and Indians thanks to our art teacher. After thirty-two years hosting Thanksgiving dinners at our home, I told my daughter it’s her turn. Therefore, we have dinner reservations at 1:30 for her family, her in-laws, and us. Small steps, ha, ha.
Wishing you and yours a blessed Thanksgiving. Eager to read and see your house decked out for Christmas. So happy you are finding some time to post your blog. Really missed you.

Debbie - Mountain Mama - November 22, 2017 - 3:03 pm

What a lovely post, Kelly, it’s so nice to get this background into your life! My parents are from Ireland so Thanksgiving was not as big of a deal to us growing up, not until my sister took over the holiday once she got married. Christmas is a bigger holiday in Ireland, so that was always quite the celebration and I have wonderful memories of Christmas as a child! Have a very happy Thanksgiving….and I’m so glad you no longer have to rake those leaves!! 🙂

Carola Crisp - November 22, 2017 - 2:21 pm

I loved reading your memories…thanks for sharing.
Your home is so serene and lovely, too.
Happiest of Thanksgiving to You and Yours!

Kathy - November 22, 2017 - 1:04 pm

Such a beautiful post. We all have so much to be grateful for. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

Carol Ann - November 22, 2017 - 12:37 pm

In addition to your many other talents…. you are an excellent writer. Love reading about your Thanksgivings. I can relate to so many of your traditions. Happy Thanksgiving and as always…thankful for you too. 🍂🏈🦃

Design Chic - November 22, 2017 - 12:36 pm

So fun remembering Thanksgivings through the years and like yours, ours have changed over time, but always a special time with family and friends. Wishing you and your beautiful family a wonderful holiday!

Marlene - November 22, 2017 - 12:25 pm

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. So love hearing about your Thanksgiving memories. So similar to mine. I always wondered how my Grandmother could do it all in her kitchen. Everything was so delicious! I can smell it now. Blessing to you and your family.

Terri - November 22, 2017 - 12:22 pm

I so enjoyed reading this post …. brings back so many wonderful memories of much the same as you….. ( Except for the leaves … lolol) … My daughter is a school teacher and so I still get to enjoy some of those wonderful Holiday dinners and decorating with her and the grands at their school !!! Happy Thanksgiving

Karen W. - November 22, 2017 - 12:21 pm

Kelly, I cried sweet tears of remembrance as I read your post. As a retired teacher, I pictured many years of Thanksgiving lunches lovingly prepared by school lunch ladies. Recent lunches with grandchildren are added to my memories. Their lunch ladies still use some of the old recipes! Large family dinners have been replaced with just our small gathering with our two daughters and their families, but we still carry on traditions of cookie turkeys with candy corn tail feathers, pine cone turkey placecards, and dishes prepared from family recipes. Thank you so much for sharing this post with us. I am always so pleased to see one of your posts in my inbox. Happy Thanksgiving!

Barbara (WA) - November 22, 2017 - 12:19 pm

Such wonderful stories shared, Kelly, thank you! Happy Thanksgiving!

Pippa - November 22, 2017 - 12:05 pm

It is so wonderful to see you posting your holiday splendor and think everything you do is so special and done with such love! When counting blessings, you are right in there on my list – the joy and happiness you’ve shared over the years has been a great inspiration to me and we love your thoughtful design sense!

Know this is off topic, but hope you were able to read the new Mitford book – “To Be Where You Are”. LOVED it to the nth degree and of course, there were a few puddles of tears as Jan captured the life and times of this special place. Really felt like it was set up to continue the story further which thrilled me to the nth degree. I reread the entire series again and reveled in the simple joys that it shares. Gratitude always rings true in Mitford. And having two little children being such a part of the story was pure delight! Oh, the joy of it all!!!

And much gratitude is felt for you and yours – thank you again for all you share and inspire! Hugs from the Rockies, Pippa

Dawn - November 22, 2017 - 12:02 pm

Kelly,

Thanks for sharing! I count you as a blessing as well! Happy Thanksgiving!

Dawn

Anne from Atlanta - November 22, 2017 - 11:59 am

Wow! We had to rake leaves, too, on Thanksgiving. I thought we were the only ones. We ate in the middle of the day so we got to start after Thanksgiving dinner so that we could watch the Parade in the morning. Thanks for sharing your memories. Love your beautiful home all dressed up for the holiday.

Sandy - November 22, 2017 - 11:43 am

I loved reading your memories. Very similar to mine, even the school memories..just not the raking of the leaves. I visited your neck of the woods this past August. I picked up our newest Springer Spaniel from Lanewood Kennels. The area was so pretty with all the pecan trees. I really want to come back one day and go to downtown Perry. I lived in Columbus twice in my life, but never made it to central Georgia. It is so pretty and your view from the porch is lovely.
Have a great Thanksgiving.

A Little Thanksgiving Tour – Part 1

Hi friends!  I hope you are finishing up your to-do list of things to get ready for this week’s big holiday.  Right now our home is in split-personality mode with all the bedrooms decked out for Christmas and the living areas ready for Thanksgiving Day.  So if you come in our front door, you will see the foyer wearing turkeys and pumpkins. (But if you want Christmas trees, you will need to go down the hallway in the other part of the house. 🙂 )

I am going to be in Vermont for a week in December, so a head start was needed in order to get all the Christmas things done in time, but I certainly wasn’t going to overlook wonderful Thanksgiving Day!

We ventured on a hiking trip with a couple of friends last month, and one of the guys generously brought us a sack full of pecans.  I’ve decorated with nuts before for Thanksgiving, and that sack of pecans inspired me to use them once again. (Thanks Jim!)

As you can see, I am using a red and brown color scheme once again this year.  The nuts automatically called for brown, and I am wanting to make an easy transition to Christmas in the rest of the house.  Naturally red was the perfect choice for that.

Red and brown make for such a warm and cozy color scheme, and Thanksgiving just seems to be a time for that.  In most places the weather has turned cold.  (It will even be that way here in Georgia this week! Yay!)

It makes you want to eat comfort food, gather with friends and family around a cozy fire, and just soak up in fellowship together.

I’ve rearranged the furniture in the family room (twice!) Even though the sofa doesn’t photograph as well in its new location, the space seems like it is actually more cozy.  The seating pieces are all drawn closer together….giving it a more intimate feel.

I didn’t purchase a single new item for this year’s Thanksgiving decor.  The big red storage box came down from the attic, and all the turkeys and pumpkins got scattered about.

This little turkey always adds a nice touch for the holiday.

 

Even Gabbie likes snuggling up by the fire this time of year. 🙂

I was going to end the post here since I said this was to be a “little” tour, but let’s just take a peek in the kitchen before we leave.

The black checked drapes are back in the closet, and my favorite red checked ones are out again.  (Since I get asked so much about the source of them, here you go: I made the drapes, and the fabric is the 4 inch red check available at Forsyth Fabrics in Atlanta. )

With the cooler weather and the holidays beginning, all our coffee makers and that big percolator are really put to frequent use this time of year. In fact, last Thursday I bought the ingredients to make my favorite hot Christmas percolator punch (recipe link here) and I think it will be great to have on Thanksgiving Day.  Besides having a delicious flavor, it makes the house smell absolutely wonderful. 🙂

And that does bring us to the end of this part of “the little Thanksgiving tour.”  I’ll be back early in the week with Part 2 to share the dining room and the porch.  Until then, I hope you have some time this weekend to snuggle in by a fire or perhaps under a cozy quilt…time to take a deep breath before we all dive into this holiday season…time for counting blessings and being thankful. 🙂

Have a beautiful weekend friends!
Until next time…

You might enjoy these posts:

   
Terri - November 21, 2017 - 9:24 am

Good Morning… WOW… I was so excited to see a post from Talk of the House in my inbox!!! Still … so love your home!!!! excited to see your Christmas post !!! Happy Thanksgiving to you & yours !!!

Debbie - Mountain Mama - November 20, 2017 - 4:11 pm

I just love your cozy home!! Those drapes are awesome, I can’t believe you made them….I can barely sew on a button, it’s just not a talent I possess, oh well. Did you make those really long ones also? I thought maybe they were from Country Curtains…who is sadly going out of business. Have a happy Thanksgiving!!

Margaret du Preez - November 20, 2017 - 11:18 am

So lovely to have a post from you. Missed you. All beautiful as always. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. We are sweltering here in Durban S.A so enjoy the cool weather.

Dawn - November 20, 2017 - 10:59 am

Kelly,

Your home looks lovely as usual. Gabbie looks like she is thankful for the ottoman and fire as well. Thanks for sharing! I always appreciate seeing and reading about others thankfulness this time of year as I have much to be thankful for as well. I can’t wait to see what else you have in store for us. Take care.

Dawn

Valerie - November 20, 2017 - 10:32 am

I always am inspired by your posts! Thank you so much and your Thanksgiving décor is beautiful! Happy Thanksgiving!

Karen B. - November 20, 2017 - 9:54 am

Happy Thanksgiving, Kelly. Your autumn touches are perfect. I love the red and brown! We’re enjoying family visiting from Austin, lots of good food and fun.
xo,
Karen

Rosemary - November 20, 2017 - 4:39 am

So good to hear from you Kelly … and see your home ready for Thanksgiving. Looking gorgeous, as usual. How wonderful to be visiting Vermont in December. Hope you get chance to write about it! Hope alls progressing well with your home. I did get chance to relax yesterday but not in front of the fire … not quite cold enough, yet. ..although snow predicted in a few weeks! Lots of snow on the mountains in Switzerland, where I’m hoping to be in January.
Take care, Kelly, safe travels and Happy Thanksgiving.
Rosemary

Amber Ferguson - November 19, 2017 - 9:58 pm

Such a beautiful post! I would love for you to link up this post or any other fall posts at the Farewell Fall Blog Hop! Have a great Thanksgiving!
https://followtheyellowbrickhome.com/farewell-fall-link-party/

Nan, Odessa, DE - November 19, 2017 - 1:37 pm

I just checked, knowing you wouldn’t leave us for Thanksgiving without a post. GREAT you are here!

Can’t believe how that dog has grown.
Please give us an update on the kids
Update on mother-in-law
Update on your parents
Did you meet your challenge to complete your home improvements?
HOW is Kelly?

Happy Thanksgiving!

kathy - November 19, 2017 - 8:52 am

I got so excited when I saw on Instagram that you had a Thanksgiving post!I was away from my computer and saved it until I got home. (It is just not the same on my phone.) You ALWAYS inspire me. I like that you were able to decorate without having to buy anything new. I love your Williams Sonoma turkey plates. They are 60% off in the outlet but I bought the Pottery Barn turkey plates last year….so I had to smack my hands not to buy. Your house looks all warm and cozy and beautiful. Gabby looks pretty in your photos. I think I have told you my son-in-law has the same breed. I am looking forward to Part 2 and a post about your trip to Vermont. That sounds wonderful! Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

Arlene Grimm - November 19, 2017 - 8:27 am

As usual your house is lovely Kelly. You put so much thought into your decorating and it is always just right…never over done. I love that. Happy Thanksgiving.

Debbie - November 19, 2017 - 8:12 am

Happy Thanksgiving Kelly! I always love seeing your blog posts in my email. Thank you for a dose of Thanksgiving decorating inspiration! Can’t wait to see your Christmas decorating!

Kay - November 19, 2017 - 5:59 am

Your red check kitchen curtains inspired me to hang said same red check curtains in our kitchen! Just an FYI: Country Curtains is going out of biz (sad!), so their check curtains + accessories are on sale, if any of them are left.

Leila Jane - November 19, 2017 - 12:37 am

Hi Kelly ~ If you’re going to Vermont, I hope you have time to stop in Bennington, my old hometown in the southwest corner. You would love the picturesque quality to Old Bennington with it’s Old First Church built in 1805 and large white colonial homes lined up in a row on Monument Avenue. Wherever you go, you almost can’t avoid seeing and traveling across an old covered bridge. There are 3 of them in Bennington. There is also a great little museum there with the largest collection of Grandma Moses paintings in the world. (I’m sounding like the Chamber of Commerce now, LOL!)
Anyway, be sure to bring back some “real” Vermont maple syrup and some Vermont cheddar cheese. The smoked one is especially good. Enjoy your trip but meanwhile Happy Thanksgiving!

Sandy - November 18, 2017 - 9:42 pm

Everything looks lovely as always. Gabby is adorable sitting by the fire. Vermont, I am so jealous. I have always wanted to go there. Can’t wait to see your pictures.

julia walker - November 18, 2017 - 8:44 pm

Happy Thanksgiving Kelly! I like your red and brown theme and the rearranged den. Gabby is so beautiful!!! Take care. Your friend in Cincy, Julia~Southern born, Southern bred, turnip greens by my bed.

DiAnne - November 18, 2017 - 8:40 pm

Kelly,
Your house looks so pretty. Happy thanksgiving! A trip to Vermont sounds wonderful and I hope we all get to hear all about it. I will have to try the Christmas Punch.
DiAnne

Cindy - November 18, 2017 - 8:19 pm

Really cute !! LOVE all your jars full of goodies !!

Janet Magina - November 18, 2017 - 8:18 pm

As a native Vermonter now let bing life as a Flatlander in Massachusetts I am jealous of your trip to Vermont. I hope you will post to let us know where you go and what you do. I love living vicariously.

Happy Thanksgiving🦃🦃🦃

Doris Condel - November 18, 2017 - 8:16 pm

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family! Your home looks so inviting for the holiday! Enjoy!

N from VA - November 18, 2017 - 8:14 pm

Lovely! Thanks for posting. And Happy Thanksgiving. N from VA

Lynne - November 18, 2017 - 7:54 pm

Your home always looks so cozy and inviting! Thank you for sharing. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

Leigh - November 18, 2017 - 7:42 pm

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. It is so good to get to visit in your lovely home for the start of tbe holiday season. Thank you for the post and I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and trip to Vermont 🦃🍂

Anita Christian - November 18, 2017 - 7:42 pm

Your home always looks so festive decorated for each holiday! You have the magic touch 🙂 I cannot believe how much Gabby has grown and such a beautiful fur baby!! Happy Thanksgiving!

Louvina - November 18, 2017 - 7:37 pm

Just happened upon your blog!What a great treat on this Saturday evening as I am checking off my “To Do” list and revising and tweaking! If you are going to Vermont you must go on that one horse open sleigh ride you’ve always wanted to do!! Right? Hope it snows so you can! I still remember mine back in Ky back in the early 60’s. Looking forward to Part 2 of your Thanksgiving blog. 💕🙏💕

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