A Thanksgiving Timeline

The excitement of the holidays is upon us and I am relishing every moment!  This year not only will we travel to see my family, we will also be hosting my mother and father-in-law here for a Thanksgiving celebration!  There is so much to do, but I love the busyness of the season.  Sometimes it’s challenging not to let that busyness consume me and take me away from the things that really matter.

Whether you travel or host for Thanksgiving, the short weekend that comes along with it can often create for a little extra chaos in our already busy lives.  It’s a long weekend, but oftentimes not quite long enough accomplish all we want, plus enjoy the time with family or friends as well.

Why plan a holiday celebration if you can’t experience the joy that goes with it?

And, if there is no joy in what you are doing, your gratitude will often slip away as well!

“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and a thank offering and into His courts with Praise! Be thankful and say so to Him, bless and affectionately praise His name!”~Psalm 100:4 

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Being the control freak planner and organizer that I am, my family knows when November begins I’m attached to my planner and lists so that I can do what needs to be dome as the wife and mom, but still have fun as well.

While we do not host a big meal every year, I have a lot of cooking on my agenda (I am totally the Queen of Turkey roasting in our family), and make some pretty good deserts as well!   I’ve learned over the years, that the key to stress-free entertaining (and traveling with food to prepare) is to plan ahead.

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Don’t let a lack of organization and unnecessary stress steal your joy and rob you of a memorable and fun day with family. As wives, mothers and even grandmothers our mood often sets the mood for the entire home whether we intend for it to or not.  The Enemy loves to attack us in the sneakiest of ways and I think a stressed out wife is the most horrible of attacks!

“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice & be glad in it.”

Psalm118:24

Besides living in the Word, preparing and planning ahead is a great way to help prevent that unwanted attack from happening! By doing much of the prep work in advance, you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the company of your family and friends on the day of the feast!

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Here’s my simple timeline for Thanksgiving (& other major holidays) planning:

1 to 2 Weeks before Thanksgiving (This would be now y’all):

*Confirm the number of guests you are planning to cook for, whether at home or away.  Then plan your menu.

*Make arrangements for your turkey.  If you want a fresh one, order ahead.  I won’t go   into detail, but trust me, order early so that it is ready when you want to put it in the  oven.  Go ahead and pick up your frozen turkey early as well so that you aren’t searching feverishly for one large enough to feed 15 people two days before.

*Plan your table settings, serving dishes and decorations. If you want china, use your china.  If you prefer paper plates by all means use them and don’t apologize!

*Read through your recipes to determine the food and items you will need for cooking.  This is perfect to accomplish while watching Hallmark Channel movies in the evening.

*Make your shopping and to-do lists.

*Shop for nonperishable food items, plus anything else you need for cooking and setting the table.

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A Few Days Before Thanksgiving:

*If you are planning to brine your turkey (which I am this year), prepare the brine, cover and refrigerate.  Do not add the turkey yet.

*Prepare any food that can be done ahead of time, such as pie crusts and cranberry sauce.

*If your turkey is frozen, place it in the refrigerator to thaw.

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The Day Before Thanksgiving:

*Complete any shopping for food that you have left.

*Make plans to pick up your turkey if your ordered one fresh.

*If you are brining your turkey, place it in the brine and refrigerate.

*Prepare any dishes that can be made in advance, such as cornbread for dressing, soup and pies.

*Chop vegetables for the side dishes (if you have preteens and teenagers, this is a perfect opportunity for bonding in the kitchen), then refrigerate in covered bowls or Ziploc bags.

*Set the table.  This is also a great project for kids; give them a diagram of how to set a table properly and you have a learning experience as well!

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Thanksgiving Day:

*Prepare and stuff (I use fresh fruit & veggies in mine) the turkey for roasting and put in the oven at the determined time. Remember most turkeys take several hours to cook.

*Peel and cut potatoes (if you are using them for a side dish); place in cold water and refrigerate.

*Prepare the dressing and other side dishes.

*While the turkey roasts, you can make mashed potatoes; while the bird rests, make your gravy and finish (or reheat) any side dishes.

*Carve the turkey and call your guests to the table!

*And most of all, enjoy your Thanksgiving!

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Besides being easy to follow, the best part about this timeline is that there are several opportunities to delegate.  Use those to your advantage.  When you start to feel overwhelmed, step back, take a deep breath and regain your focus.  This is a holiday about family and remember THAT is the most important part of the day, even if you drop the turkey!

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“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…”

Galations 5:22-23

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Saturday Brunch for Two

Saturday mornings have become quite precious to Audley and me.  He travels so much during the week for work that we have truly come to value a quiet morning together on the weekend.

 We also know these are limited as four kids have kept us hopping for years with anything from color guard competitions to swim or wrestling tournaments.

Autumn-Flowers | ohfiddledeedee

Spending quality time together is something every husband and wife should make an effort to do to keep the lines of communication open and reconnect after the chaos of life has weighed us down.  These moments are also valuable as we go through different seasons together.  We want to be on the same path, not running opposite directions!  Our marriage has always come before our children and I am ever so glad as a new season of life is fast approaching in the form of the empty nest!

Autumn-Tabletop | ohfiddledeedee

Bradley’s wrestling season begins at the end of October, so Audley and I are savoring each Saturday we have available before the chaos of Senior year wrestling season begins.

 What’s a better way to enjoy a morning together and set the mood for conversation, than a pretty table and brunch for two?

Setting the table also creates a romantic atmosphere, and couldn’t we all use a little more romance in our lives?!

Autumn-Table | ohfiddledeedee

Contrary to popular belief, brunch does not have to consist of six or eight courses of fattening pastries, heavy breads, and complicated dishes.

Believe me, you can fill up just fine on bacon, eggs, and fruit.

Saturday-Bruch-for-Two | ohfiddledeedee

Just dress it up a little!

Herb-Baked-Egg-Brunch | ohfiddledeedee

This Herbed Baked Egg dish I served up for our brunch is perfect.  It looks so elegant, yet is so simple and delicious!

It’s also very filling, which we know is most important for our guys.

Assembling the dish takes a few steps, but it still comes together rather quickly (I know you don’t want to spend all morning in the kitchen), and allows for you to multitask if you’ve planned ahead.

Keep it simple and gather your ingredients for the entire brunch first.  This includes any sides that you have chosen.  I prepared bacon and fresh berries for our brunch.

Herb Baked Egg Brunch

 

 

 

The full recipe for printing is just below my steps here.

For the herb baked egg dish, I used four eggs, heavy whipping cream, real butter, freshly grated parmesan cheese, fresh herbs (dried will work), & garlic.

 

First, I put the bacon on, then completed the first steps of the recipe by combining the herbs and parmesan cheese and melting butter and cream in an individual cocette.

{The beauty of this recipe is that you can change up the herbs to suit your taste.}

Herb-Baked-Eggs | ohfiddledeedee

As I flipped the bacon, I added the eggs and the herb mixture to the cocette.

Finally, I removed the bacon from the pan to drain on a paper towel, then removed the eggs from the oven.

{Click here — Herbed Baked Eggs for the full printable recipe.}

 Herb-Baked-Eggs-Brunch-for-Two | ohfiddledeedee

All that is left is plating your food, which is simple enough.

 

Weekend-Brunch-for-Two | ohfiddledeedee

The romantic in me planned ahead for our brunch together and set a pretty table, but you can serve up brunch on paper plates if it works better for you.

 The idea is to spend a little quality time together without too much fuss.

Herb-Baked-Eggs-Brunch | ohfiddledeedee

You’ll enjoy the time and I know your spouse will as well.

What are some ways you and your spouse like to connect with one another?

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Family Birthday Celebration

It wasn’t until my kids started going to college and getting married that I understood how much it means to my own parents to have all of their kids in at once.  You really don’t think about those times when you’re living the everyday chaos of raising four kids, until one day you wake up and the house is just a little quieter and your schedule is just a little emptier.

It happens so fast!

Audley turned 46 while Madeline and I were in Cuba last month, so I wanted to make it up to him with a fun dinner celebrating him!  I found a weekend all the kiddos were actually free at the same time (really difficult when we’re spilt between three states), and planned a dinner party for us to all enjoy!

Early-Fall-Birthday-Tablesetting | Fiddle Dee Dee

Since we were celebrating Audley, I didn’t want him to have to man the grill and cook his own birthday dinner, so I put together a simple and lovely menu consisting of his home cooked favorites:

Pork-Roast | Fiddle Dee Dee

Pork Roast cooked in cast iron (Click here for the recipe with picutres or print Comfort Food – our Favorite Pork Roast here)

Potatoes & Carrots

Corn on the Cob

Crisp salad filled with farmers market fresh veggies

Sister Schubert’s Dinner Rolls

And of course a yummy birthday cake from Kroger bakery (picked out by the 20 year old child)

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I wanted to set a pretty table, but how do you do that for a man without being too frilly?  It took just a little thought, but was totally doable!

I layered my table linens, using a white tablecloth for the base, then topped it with a denim table runner.

After scouting the floral section at Publix, I found several bouquets with day lilies, sunflowers and really fluffy greenery (I have no idea whats it’s called) that looked pretty, yet not overly feminine.

I cut the flowers down and used stemless wine glasses for vases.

Birthday-Tablesetting | Fiddle Dee Dee

When doing centerpieces, while the large ones are beautiful, it is important to remember that you need a line of vision for your guests to promote easy conversation.

These short arrangements really worked well for creating a line of vision while still looking pretty.

Masculine-Birthday-Table | Fiddle Dee Dee

I also used small galvanized pots of succulents, wooden platters, and a rustic lantern to round out the table decor.

Fall-Birthday-Tablesetting | Fiddle Dee Dee

The yellows, greens and denim all looked so lovely together.

Tablesetting | Fiddle Dee Dee

To finish off the look I set the table with our simple white wedding china and antique glassware that belonged to Audley’s grandparents.

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While Bradley generally doesn’t pay attention to the little things, my girls loved the set table.  They all live such hectic and busy lives with school and work, it was so nice just to sit down and enjoy the food, conversation and uninterrupted family time.

Family-Dinner | Fiddle Dee Dee

Audley’s parents were able to drive down from Tennessee to celebrate with us as well!

I have always tried to set special tables for the family as our kiddos were growing up for holidays and birthdays and any other special day I could conjour up. It’s nice to know that it was appreciated and something they now look forward to when they come home!

Family | Fiddle Dee Dee

Our kids have grown up, and our family size grows as well!

And while they enjoy being treated special, I’ll savor the few weekends we can manage to have them all together at once!

Have a wonderful weekend!

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Luncheon for the Girls

Having spent much of my growing up years in the metro area as well as living in the metro a couple of times in our marriage, moving to Atlanta back in March was almost like coming “home” for me.

Home is such a comforting place and a welcoming word.  Just like we want our families to feel comfortable and welcome in our home, I also try to make each person who comes through the door feel the same. It doesn’t matter to me if it’s teenagers or adults, old friends or new, or even the Marine recruiter, I want everyone who crosses our thresh hold to know we love having them in our lives and treasure them.

Earlier this week I was so excited to open our new home to an old friend and fellow blogger, Tami Reed (Talking with Tami) for a luncheon and afternoon of girl chat. Tami is an Atlanta area lifestyle blogger who shares fashion, beauty, film, and travel.  She always has something exciting going on!

talking-with-tami | Fiddle-Dee-Dee

Tami checking out a sweet little bird’s nest that we found on the deck with little ones in inside!

It doesn’t matter what stage in life you are, us ladies need good friends!  Tami and I both have sons who will be seniors this year, husbands who travel for work and a desire to enjoy each and everyday so we have a lot in common which always makes for enjoyable moments.

Girls-Luncheon | Fiddle-Dee-Dee

With a little extra time on my hands, I found it fun to set a pretty, yet simple table using my vintage Noritake china and roses from Kroger.

Simple-Girls-Luncheon | Fiddle-Dee-Dee

Table-Setting-Girls-Luncheon | Fiddle-Dee-Dee

{You know I love fresh flowers & they don’t have to be expensive!}

Girl-friends-luncheon | fiddle-dee-dee

Orange-Riesling-Chicken | Fiddle-Dee-Dee

The roasted green beans were really good with a touch of the orange-riesling sauce.

On the menu was a flavorful resiling orange chicken (adapted from a Williams-Sonoma recipe from years ago), roasted green beans, spring greens with herbs, crisp veggies & French vinaigrette, and fresh berries and cream for dessert.

Berry-Bowl | Fiddle-Dee-Dee

Simple with few ingredients, delicious and ready in 35 minutes…. the perfect recipe for company dinner!

Click here for the full Chicken in Orange-Riesling Sauce

We really enjoyed the afternoon catching up with each other lives and it just really felt good!

Girl-Friends-Lunch | Fiddle-Dee-Dee

What are some of the things that make you feel “home”?  I would love to hear your ideas!  

Have a fabulous weekend!

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