I Cook Turkey Now.


Thanksgiving 2017, I will never forget you, because you are the first year that I cooked the Thanksgiving turkey and IT WAS GOOD. I love WIlliams Sonoma for that meat thermometer. I love the internet for the zillions of recipes available. And I love my mom for letting me cook it this year (although she did ask me about 20 times how my cooking plan was coming along. WOMEN FOLK.) I stuffed that turkey full of butter and citrus fruit and the heavens parted in my mouth. Oh bless.

Thanksgiving 2017, I also won't forget you because you are the year that my son went down for a nap at 2pm AND NEVER WOKE UP FOR THE REST OF THE NIGHT. All that fresh air and playing with Daddy outside must have really gotten to him, because he napped the whole way through, only to wake up at 10pm to ask me to change him into his jammies. Then he crawled back into bed.

Thanksgiving 2017, I ate too much dessert.

Which is fine, because another round of Whole30 is coming in January. So I feel justified in my partying like a college freshmen until then.

Thanksgiving 2017, thank you for bringing my family together around my recently re-painted dining room table. Thank you for my Grandma's china, my mom's red table runner, my brother-in-law's mother's dining room furniture, and my own wine glasses. Which we ran out of. Because my family likes to drink all the wine and then have all the laughs. And then play all the board games.

Thanksgiving 2017, I love you to pieces and I am so grateful, so so so so SO grateful, to live in a place where I can live in all kinds of freedom and health. I can worship my Lord and Savior,  I can raise my children how I see fit, I can work and be home with my kids and listen to the new Taylor Swift album while I exercise and write my heart out on the Internet and call my sisters whenever I want AND SEE THEIR FACES (thanks FaceTime) and enjoy friendships and Starbucks and oh gosh I could go on and on and on. 

Thanksgiving 2017, I loved you for real, especially because now you've ushered in the official holiday season and my Christmas tree is staring at me, all glowy and starry-eyed. I'm ready to crush this season with my holly-jolly joy. And with unending movie marathons for all the most terrible Christmas romantic comedies out there. Thanks Thanksgiving, and thanks Netflix. ;)

An Unplugged Thanksgiving.

This Thanksgiving holiday came and went in a reflective, quiet kind of way. No hoopla, no drama, no pressure to Black Friday shop or even put on real clothes. Yes, I wore workout gear to Thanksgiving dinner (the rest of my family was dressed so nicely, then there was me, the enormous swollen person who fits into very little at this stage in the game). There were all the mainstay dishes and a wonderful smattering of family smiles and nothing out of the ordinary at all. And you know what? Nothing out of the ordinary felt really comforting. It was really nice to have a stable, dependable kind of holiday weekend. Because externally, there is a lot stirring in my family life, and my head gets a little foggy when I think too hard about all of it. Things like, my parents are moving out of their beautiful home next weekend. The house I love. I admit I'm sad about it. And also, I am having a baby sometime in the coming month. What is he going to be like?? Am I ready for two babies?! And of course, Christmas season is upon us! May the merriment continue onward!

Can we take 12 seconds to talk about this Japanese Maple tree in my back yard? I am so in love with the fiery red goodness its shed all over the fading grass. It's losing its leaves every day and I am so glad we snapped a few more good photos of it before autumn forfeits and gives way to real winter.

Also, I won this outfit on Instagram, you guys. Enter all the giveaways! You never know what you can win! And thank you to Seraphine, who sent me this wayyyy comfy active kit. Please don't hate me for not using it to exercise, because it's just not in the cards.

My sis. Does it look like I ate the third sister? #IpromiseIdidnt #shesinflorida

Don't move don't move don't move don't move. Whew. I just needed to get that out. They're not even moving far away, you guys. Haha I just can't handle the change.

Everett got the croup over the weekend and I think I was fighting off a little bug, too. We stayed in bed and rested a lot, and I actually think we caught his early enough that it didn't manifest into a full-blown sickness situation, thank goodness. I've been using a new brand of essential oils over the past few weeks and I don't mean to be such a crazy oil lady, but I actually think diffusing so many good oils in the house could have helped both of us from getting too, too sick. Time will tell, but I can see this whole essential oils thing becoming an addiction... I've already ordered more and I am really into concocting my own recipes for the house every day. #crazyoillady

I was really kind of terrible at documenting this holiday. I didn't get any pics with Stevie's fam, even though we totally celebrated with them the day before Thanksgiving. And I didn't take any food photos, even though I actually cooked a bit more than I originally planned. And - I even decorated our dining table and it looked so snazzy but alas - no photos. I just needed a good unplug and some extended rest and this was the weekend for it. I am so grateful for this family of mine. It's really everything. And now I'm feeling more refreshed and ready for December and all it's glow.

I hope your weekend was sweet and full of family and love and quiet and yes - Gilmore Girls! Wasn't that revival something?! I have so many thoughts, but I have to re-watch everything to really process the story.

What was your favorite thing about this holiday weekend? Did you have any killer good new recipes that are must-try? Happy Monday to you, friends! xox

P.S. - I have a few Cyber Monday promo codes for you to some of my favorite stores:

At ASOS - Get 30% off every single thing! Use Code THANKFUL30. Valid 11/24 8am – 11/29 8am GMT.

At Stella & Dot - Get up to 60% off flash sale items!

Shop the Handmade gifts section of Amazon for her, for him, and for kiddos. I heart Amazon this time of year.

At Modcloth - Everything is 30% off with Code: CYBER16!

7 Funny/Odd Things About Thanksgiving This Year.

Happy Thanksgiving week! This year is a funny one for Thanksgiving over at this household, for a myriad of reasons:

1.) I've been painting my dining room chairs for, literally, months, and that project has yet to be completed. So the hope is to have them done in two days. You know, so people can sit. But let's be real yall. I'm nine months pregnant.

2.) Let's talk about that - I'm nine months pregnant. NINE. And hosting Thanksgiving at my house. Let me just go ahead and put this out there - it's not gonna look like last year!

3.) My parents are moving out of their house in less than three weeks. Needless to say, their focus hasn't really been on the whole celebrating thing, either. My youngest sister and her hubby will join us, while my oldest sis and her family will be doing their own thing oceanside this year. So our crowd will be intimate and super relaxed. So relaxed, which brings me to my next thought...

4.) I offered to do tacos for Thanksgiving instead of the whole big-deal-meal, but my mom almost had a conniption fit over that suggestion. So apparently there is still a bird-and-stuffing situation still taking place this year.

5.) I am making one dish for the big meal, and only one (because of the whole being-nine-months-pregnant-situation); my classic Sweet Potato Souffle. Check out these old pictures with the recipe - they're soooo bad. I'll have to update the post this year, especially since I've cut a lot of the sugar and butter over the past few years. Thank goodness my food photography has improved, even if only slightly. Hahah this blog makes me laugh. I'm grateful for this record of memories.

6.) Gilmore Girls is almost overshadowing Thanksgiving in my heart. Is that bad? I mean, I just feel so thankful for the reunion that Netflix has brokered for us all. Bless them. BLESS THEM.

7.) Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping have been replaced by September Amazon-ing. Which I completed in September, because, again, I'm gigantically pregnant and swollen and unable to hobble around the aggressive crowds this year. So I hope everyone in my life likes candles, because there are a LOT of them wrapped in my closet right now :)

The good news about this holiday is that it is all about being thankful. Being in the moment. Reflecting and expressing gratitude. You don't have to have the Pinterest-perfect table settings or a Williams Sonoma-enviable meal to make this holiday special and memorable. Even though I love Williams Sonoma and I adore scouring Pinterest, it's not what it's really about. It's about the goooooooood people in your life, and taking the time to reflect on God's many many blessings. I love this holiday. I love that this year will be unique and faceted in it's own unusual way. And that is just so so wonderful.

You are probably going to have to share out loud with your uncles, cousins and children what you're thankful for this year. But let's take a brief break from the gratitude and honestly tell me - what makes this holiday funny/odd/strange/quirky for you this particular year? Because I think it's just OKAY to have one of those kind of years. I mean, I am having one of those. My guests my not actually have places to sit their behinds. Share your thought in the comments section, friends!

P.S. - Last year's Thanksgiving thoughts. Can we talk about how little my boy was back then?!

P.P.S. - Some in-depth thoughts about the Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life revival on the blog tomorrow :) And you thought I wasn't going to mention it again...

Our Thanksgiving!

We had the sweetest Thanksgiving this year in our new home. I am so unbelievably grateful that I had the opportunity to host my side of the family. My sister and her hubby and kids came and stayed with us, which was the BEST, and I got to soak in all the family moments I had been craving for such a long time.

I got to introduce my nephew to the golf cart, which he begged to ride over and over. I get it. Everett's first words in the morning are, "waffles?" and "g-ride!" (which is what we call the golf cart, ha.) So we drove the g-ride all over this town, and thankfully, we had wonderfully strange warm weather to enjoy so much time outdoors.

The meal went off without a hitch (mostly), and it was a fun twist to set a formal table for the meal. I don't think my family has ever sat down to a formal meal together. We just aren't formal people. But it was so fanciful and fun, it made me wonder why we have waited this long to do it. I had to look up on Martha Stewart's website how to actually set a formal table, and I was definitely missing a few necessary items (who has 10 mini butter knives??) but it didn't matter even the tiniest bit.

There was one moment when we were all sitting around the table, having dessert, that I found my mom staring into her coffee cup. "I never got to drink out of these as a little girl," she said, so softly, I almost missed it. She was pensive, but elated. She shared the memories of her parents and their parties, using my grandmother's china, and the years of hand washing each dish when the party ended. But she never got to enjoy the fancy dishes herself. So she was pretty excited to be sipping her coffee and eating her pie, kind of like having her cake and eating it too :) Oh, my sweet mom.

My new brother-in-law Chuck joined us for all the Spencer shenanigans.

My new brother-in-law Chuck joined us for all the Spencer shenanigans.

Because who doesn't want to dive into a basket of toys while staring at the glittery Christmas tree? Smart little lady.

Because who doesn't want to dive into a basket of toys while staring at the glittery Christmas tree? Smart little lady.

Macaroni and cheese was the only Thanksgiving food this kid would consider. Which is on his face. Am I failing as a parent??

Macaroni and cheese was the only Thanksgiving food this kid would consider. Which is on his face. Am I failing as a parent??

The beautiful people.

The beautiful people.

My mother is nuts.

My mother is nuts.

Sooooooo newlywed, Am I right?

Sooooooo newlywed, Am I right?



They are the best grandparents. I'm so happy for these kids to have them.

They are the best grandparents. I'm so happy for these kids to have them.

My sleepy little heart and soul.

My sleepy little heart and soul.

We didn't do anything out of the ordinary for Thanksgiving. We ate, took a walk (this year we also took a g-ride :), then had some dessert. Then we just hung out. It was so simple. It was an awful lot of work, but the kind that is so satisfying and filled my heart all the way up.

When everyone left the house the next day, things were so still and quiet. I found myself really sad, so I curled up on the couch and watched Everett play in the living room while the TV was on. But you know what? That boy came over to me, reached up so I would put him in my lap, and he just rested there with me. Thumb in his mouth, he just sat in my lap without wiggling, squalling or doing the hundred other boy-ish things he normally does when I take him captive and make him sit with me. On this day, he just rested in my lap, leaning his head against my chest, and I could finally breath really deep. It was the most calming moment with my little boy. And these are the ones, the little nuggets of time that life is all about. It's not about the monumental Thanksgiving and all it's glory, it's about the string of bitty moments that wrap the tree in the whitest of light. No one can take those lights away from my memory, and no one can replace the glow in my heart from this holiday. And even though I'm sad Thanksgiving is over and my family is dispersed across the southeast once again, I am the luckiest girl because I have this boy (okay, boys - Stevie counts!) who reminds me what this life is all about. Thanks boys. You're the best ones to me :)

I hope your Thanksgiving was the sweetest, friends.

P.S. - Stay tuned for my holiday gift guides, launching this week! xox

The Thanksgiving Plan.

Good morning! Are you ready for it friends? Thanksgiving is ON. It's 4 days away. I've been compiling my lists, recipes, cleaning to-do's and cooking to-makes and taking inventory of my supplies and dishes for weeks. I am a crazy person. I should have opened with that.

This is the first Thanksgiving that I have ever hosted.


Okay, I'll be honest. I'm a smidge-bit overwhelmed, too.

Like, how do I set a formal table? And um, apparently I should be tablescaping?! What is a tablescape, for real? I NEED CLOTH NAPKINS. Do I have enough water glasses? I don't have a pie server!

I'm not really trying to host the most perfect Thanksgiving dinner ever. I'm just aiming for decent food and you know, a clean bathroom. My family is cool as can be and doesn't require fanciness or formality, thank goodness. But still - I want it to be comfortable and for everything to go smoothly, as far as the meal is concerned. I wanted to share my plan with you friends, especially for those of you who are hosting or cooking something up yourselves.

The Dinner Menu:
- Turkey (bravely prepared by my parents - I couldn't take the pressure of the turkey and a clean house :) Cop out, I know.
- Stuffing & Gravy (via Williams Sonoma here, because I'm not trying to be some kind of hero and prepare absolutely everything from scratch. I'm a real human girl.)
- Cranberry Sauce (it's so easy to make it from scratch you guys, PLEASE try it this year!)
- Roasted Vegetables (something like this)
- Macaroni & Cheese (something like this)
- Mashed Potatoes (normal-ish kind)
- Sweet Potato Souffle (a much healthier version of this - let me know if you'd like to see the update)
- Rolls

The Dessert Menu:
- Pumpkin Pie (duh.)
- Traditional Apple Pie
- Dutch Apple Pie
- Pumpkin Tartlets (make them!)
- Probably ice cream too.

I am not preparing all of this. My mom, my sisters and myself are pulling this meal together, thankfully. But if you are still looking for some guidance on your menu, how to prep for the meal, and some tips and tricks for pulling off a Thanksgiving meal, here are a few resources I have found insanely helpful:

*Williams Sonoma's Guide to the Easiest Feast Ever.
*Williams Sonoma's Thanksgiving Tips & Tricks.
*The Pioneer Woman's Thanksgiving Recipes Galore
*Real Simple's 15 Tricks to Making Thanksgiving Easy
*Designsponge's Guide to Making a Magnolia and Fruit Garland for the Table

And in case you want to get fancy for your shindig this year, I've been crushing on this modern nude manicure, this hair blogger's Youtube braiding tutorials and this guide to dressing your family for the holidays.

What are you making this year? Are you trying out anything new-fangled or sticking with the tried-and-true basics? Do youhave any resources to share with the class? Pinterest has ruined me for Thanksgiving :)

Good luck with all your prepping, shopping, planning and executing! xox.