Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thanksgiving in Retrospect

This year I started Thanksgiving preparations early. Even though I had wonderful helpers (our new interns!) it felt like the first time it was all on me. That is where grace abounds… even when my first baking item comes out like this!


The first pan of spice cake cupcakes turned out great. We’re still not sure why the lower pan decided to explode. I’ve forgotten those semesters of food science!

Thankfully there were no more mishaps, apart from the butcher being very late on having our turkey ready. So my brining process was about 12 hours versus 24. Everyone complimented the turkey, so I can recommend Pioneer Woman’s  Favorite Turkey Brine. Just be sure to use a fresh turkey, for “they say” it can be too salty otherwise.

My next adventure was procuring flowers for our table since I’d never bought anything from a florist in Portugal. I was pressed for time, so I went to the first florist I came to. Another car pulled up at the same time, and the woman rushed in and bought nearly all the cut mums the florist had. I was left to choose between white or brown mums since there wasn’t many other Thanksgiving-ish options (since they’re not celebrating the holiday as we are). I got envisioned for the white mums once I saw the florist had some dried wheat. But how to arrange it all?


We have one of those long candles with multiple wicks that sits in a narrow tray on legs. Thankfully I had enough floral foam to fill the tray, so I covered the foam with the leafy branches the florist had.


Then I put the mums in. It was looking a little funeral-ish. Thank goodness for the wheat!


I was able to use the wheat in vases on other tables to pull it all together and some dried leaves to help it look a little more fall/Thanksgiving-like.


I used some linen remnants from curtains we hemmed at the Haven (the retreat center) as a runner and mix and match candlesticks and candles.


Abbie and Piccola (our interns) jumped right in and whipped up many of my recipes—things they’d never had to make from scratch before (like rolls). And several of our guests brought pies and/or food, so it really wasn’t all on me.


I wanted to share the sites I got the printables from for our dining table and our food table. The “Gather Here…” printable came from Craftily Ever After for FREE! Check out the other Thanksgiving printables and her new Christmas ones in a her blog archive.


The placecards, cupcake toppers, and napkin “rings” were downloaded for FREE from HWTM Daily Blog. There was so much more they offered that I didn’t even have a place to use!


This word really does sum it up. I’m very encouraged by the peace I had during all the preparations and the enjoyable, memorable time we had with our friends.


  1. You set a lovely table. The wheat was a super touch!

  2. nice blog... have a view of my blog when free.. http://www.lonelyreload.blogspot.com .. do leave me some comment / guide if can.. if interested can follow my blog...

  3. Wow--everything looks do delicious and BEAUTIFUL!!! Can't wait to come visit you! (PS I just adore Pioneer Woman, too!)

  4. ok...I have two things to say.

    1. That is a gorgeous set up!
    2. You're cool and I'm glad you found me because now I can read your blog!

  5. Love this too, Jenni! I'm getting excited over here at having a creative partner in crime. ;)



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