Saturday, December 7, 2013

Thanksgiving means family time

We were in Arizona for Thanksgiving week.  It was warm and beautiful and cozy.  My oldest granddaughter, Heather, came on Wednesday evening to spend the night and to be my kitchen helper.  She was a great kitchen helper.  (Notice the dog show in the background on TV?  We had been watching the Macey's Thanksgiving Day parade and cheering on the Mountain View High marching band previously.)

She helped beat out the pomegranate seeds with a wooden spoon for our fruit salad.  She helped me with the Meyer lemon meringue pies and helped shape and form two kinds of rolls.  We made our usual crescent rolls but also made orange rolls.  She also helped in a million other ways from table setting to helping grandpa outside.  I couldn't have done it without her.

I love November in Arizona because of our ripe pomegranates, Meyer lemons, and Arizona oranges.  It is so fun to cook local.  I even put a cut lemon in the inside of the turkey with my fresh rosemary and a quartered onion.  I also make a lemon butter to put on the outside of the turkey.  This year for the first time I tried something different.  I put the dressing in the crock pot on low about the same time I put the turkey in the oven and then turned it to warm about 3 hours in.  It freed up oven space and I loved how moist it was.  It will be my new way to cook the dressing.

Heather's family joined us for dinner and brought the yams and mashed potatoes. We had a lovely meal and grandpa put a new twist on the traditional "what I am thankful for."  He challenged us to do it in rhyme!

Later in the week, after the leftovers were gone, we traveled south for lunch.  Joe's Farm Grill is one of our favorite Arizona spots for a great lunch.  I am in love with their hand breaded fried shrimp.  It is the best I have ever tasted and the side sauce is over the top.  Honestly, I dream about this shrimp and look forward to another visit.  Most the seating is outside at Joe's and it was a beautiful Saturday.

Emilia and our son, Ryan, joined us on this outing.  It was so good to have them with us from New Mexico.  We talked and talked in the beautiful outdoors.

Sunday night, December 1st, began our month of family Christmas FHEs (Family Home Evenings.)  Eric's family returned and we presented this year's Christmas book, tree ornaments with a scripture chase, and s'mores in the backyard. "Christmas from Heaven" came with a DVD of Tom Brokaw telling the story which we watched and then talked about.

The star ornaments that I found each had a different title or name for Jesus Christ.  We used our ipads to look up scriptures which included those names and talked about what each title meant.

Grandpa lit a wood fire in the outdoor fireplace for marshmallow roasting.  Toby demonstrates how to make a super sized s'more.

We roasted and ate and talked and laughed.

I have a small plaque on a wall in Arizona which reads, "I have learned that being with those I love is enough."

And that is exactly how I feel.

Monday night we had a repeat.  Middle son, David, and his family had returned home from a Thanksgiving week in Utah with his wife's family as well as with his sister and youngest brother.

Once again we presented the book and story, looked up scriptures, and then moved on to a s'more treat but this time we also celebrated birthdays.  David and his wife Sally would both have birthdays before we would see them again.  I made dinner as well.  David loves my homemade noodles cooked in chicken broth with chicken over mashed potatoes.  My neighbor had brought over a bag of Idaho potatoes straight from the farm, so we enjoyed a meal just like I was served as a girl in Idaho.  Yum!

I was organized so was able to send both families home with this year's wrapped Christmas gifts.  While in Utah we will have similar nights with our Utah grands, but it won't include s'mores outside.

I am so blessed to have family to love and to serve and to enjoy.  It is truly enough.

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