Tuesday, November 29, 2011

We Gather Together

I have a million things that I want to post about and no time for 999,999 of them. Really annoying.

So, I decided to talk about Thanksgiving instead. We decided to host Thanksgiving this year. 12 people in our house (it was originally 15...so that was actually small). Basically, I'm just proud of myself. Is that wrong? Maybe, maybe not. Our thought process behind this undertaking was that last year we spent Thanksgiving with my family, thinking we'd go to Nags Head with my husband's family on Black Friday & spend the weekend. Well, my stepdad's cancer had progressed further than we expected, traffic stunk, and we had to be back in Richmond by Sunday. So, we stayed at my mom's the entire Thanksgiving. Plan B was that we'd spend Christmas Eve together in Newport News after Christmas Eve service in Richmond, have Christmas morning with my in-laws, and then head to my mom's later on Christmas Day. Also, ineffective. My stepdad was hanging on at that point and we really thought he would only make it until Christmas night. We didn't go to church together (sent the Preacher alone- hah) and we all sat holding a vigil at my stepdad's bedside until he passed on New Year's Eve. After that, splitting holidays sounded horrible, especially for this year. I hate the thought of my mom alone on holidays and I hate the thought of not seeing the in-laws on holidays. That's when one of us (probably me) said, "Let's just HOST Thanksgiving for EVERYONE!" (cue overwhelmed face and steam coming from our ears)
Obviously our house wasn't "picture perfect" like we'd hoped because there are NEVER enough hours in days, so we stayed up ALL NIGHT on Wednesday. It was like being in college...only with pie crusts. Not gonna lie, pretty proud of my Martha Stewart pies and made-from-scratch pie crusts. You'll see them in a moment. 

Anyway, we laid down for about two hours (actually, hubs only laid down for one) and then got started on the cooking around 10 a.m.! The BIG MEAL was scheduled for 2, so we had tons to finish up. Plus, we had to shower...what?! How do people find time to bathe when hosting holidays?!
I was really excited that we bought all white dishes this summer. It was great to make a fun table setting. My "little brother" Dillon had come over Wednesday night to help me craft some things from Pinterest so that the house would be uber-festive and everyone would have place cards. This is where my mom says, "You don't have to go overboard," but I thought it would be nice to have assigned seats. Ya know, when everyone goes to the same place every year, you have seats where you always sit. But here, nobody would really know, so I tried to make it a little less awkward. I hate awkward. "But you do it so well?" you say, ahh yes. Yes I do. Seriously though, let's be honest, the crafts were for me. It was all about the little things for me.

In another lifetime, I registered for chocolate brown and green table settings. Hooray! Those can be fall colors! I set the table with jars with golden floating candles, silver napkin rings, chocolate brown napkins, green place mats, and a few tealight holders, pumpkins, etc. Then I put everyone's place card pumpkin by their plate and lit the candles! Hooray! Happy Thanksgiving! :) I also recovered our chair bottoms, but I'll have to post about that later because I have to workout at 5 a.m. tomorrow, so it's just about bedtime.

Bring on the photographic evidence!

This was inspired by some Pinterest action. If I can find the felt flower tutorial I used, I'll link it up.

These were our little place cards. :) They were found from Pinterest  and my pin is linked to google. I'm sure I found a real tutorial. 


This is the view from the "kitchen" end of our living room. That's the dining table we used to always have out with recovered seats (I love my staple gun) and a table from church set perpendicular at the end. 

This is the other end. We covered the white plastic (borrowed from church) folding table with a brown table cloth so it would blend better with our table. Then we just put pine cones, votive holders, jars with water/floating candles, and some pumpkins (craft and real) in the middle. Yes, those are our rolls rising on top of our Thanksgiving crates in the background. We were close on time.

The main section of the table, pre-food.

Dessert bar! I made those pies from scratch (thanks to Martha Stewart's recipe) and we added a blueberry cobbler, a few more pies, and my grandmother's caramel cake to the spread. My Memaw also handmade that fall-colored runner. She taught me how this summer, but I'm clearly slower than she is at completing projects. :)

I'd love to say our house has stained this clean since Thanksgiving, but it hasn't. Our Christmas decorations are awesome, but were pretty late getting completed. Since I'm just now posting Thanksgiving right before New Year's, maybe Christmas will be up before Valentines' Day? It's a great reminder of all we have to be thankful for in our life. It was a fabulous first-host Thanksgiving! Happy Holidays! 

-Jessica (&Chris)

**tell us- how did YOU celebrate? any DIY projects? anyone else staying up LITERALLY all night to host people the next day? **

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