Friday, November 25, 2011

A themed Thanksgiving

My son got off the school bus on Tuesday bubbling over with excitement about his plans to have a "First Thanksgiving" themed Thanksgiving.

"We can make Pilgrim hats for half the boys and loincloths for the other half, and bonnets for the girls. Can we go to the fabric store right now? We need felt and leather and cotton prints, and..."

(WE!?! You know what that means, right?)

"Um, no, kiddo, I have to COOK! And clean toilets! And make Daddy's office and my sewing room into guest rooms for our overnight visitors! And COOK! I can't also make costumes for 12 people in 24 hours!?!"

So he went to his room, got on his computer, and printed out instructions for making bonnets out of construction paper, which we already have at home. He came down to get his instructions off the printer and went off in search of instructions for the loincloths and Pilgrim Hats. (sigh) How could I not cave in to his persistence and enthusiasm? Really, if my guests are in costume, perhaps they will be too distracted looking at each other to notice how dirty my house is. So I compromised - Pilgrim Hats made out of felt for everyone, and he and his brother had to help.

On Wednesday, we headed out, first to see the Muppets (priorities!!!) and then to WalMart to get felt. Thank goodness I was riding the feel-good high from the Muppets or WalMart on the day before Thanksgiving would have completely undone me! What a zoo!

Using a hat that he already had from Colonial Days at school as a guide, we used an assembly line to crank out 11 more hats - I cut and sewed, and the boys operated the glue gun.

When they went to bed, I started cooking and cleaning. Usually, my mom and younger sister are around to make the pies, but since they are in New Hampshire now, I rolled up my sleeves and gave it a whirl. Only to find out that my oven, which the appliance guy fixed on Tuesday afternoon, wasn't actually fixed. It heated up all the way to 250 degrees before it started cooling off again. Uh oh...

Do you know how long it takes to bake two pies and an apple crisp in the toaster oven? Three hours!!! I didn't get to bed until 2 AM on Wednesday night! But, during that baking time, I was able to make homemade Cranberry Sauce (first time - yummy! And I don't even usually LIKE cranberry sauce!), Broccoli Raisin salad (again, first time, but they serve it a lot down here in Virginia, and I've developed quite a taste for it), bread (in the bread machine), Candied Yams (boiled and peeled and layered with the good stuff, ready to be baked the next day), and prepped all the veggies to be sauteed and added to my stuffing.

Stuffing for the turkey. Fo which I did not have an oven to bake it. Hmmm...

On Thursday, woke up early and started on everything else. First, the turkey. I have a gas grill, and while shooting a prayer up to heaven to let this work, that's how I cooked it. I couldn't believe the compliments I got on the turkey! It didn't look so good - it was much darker on the outside than I usually make it, and the wing and leg tips were flat out burnt - but it was GOOD! My guests were surprised to learn that I had grilled it on a gas grill.

And collard greens, per my husband's request. I've never made those before either, but they turned out great! I'm so glad there were some left over! I finished the stuffing and heated it in the broiler on low - I think I actually like it better outside the bird than inside it! Who knew? The candied yams got finished off in the toaster over, and the squash and mashed potatoes were made on the stovetop. I can't believe I made a whole Thanksgiving feast on my own - I usually have siblings and a mom around to spread the work around. But, as I told my husband, it is the one time a year when I actually don't mind cooking.

And my guests were such good sports about the hats! We wore them while eating, while playing football,

while playing air hockey, while playing cards.

And everyone got to take one home as a souvenir of Thanksgiving 2011 at the Hutchinson household.

(Um, yeah, I'm on my hands and knees. You see, I wanted everyone in the photos so I set the timer on the camera and rushed back to get into position. It just wasn't supposed to be this position...)

Right now, I'm in Newport News, Virginia. The boys and I hopped the bus with the basketball team this afternoon to watch them play in the tournament at Christopher Newport University this weekend. I think we set a new record - we checked into the hotel at 10:09 PM, and by 10:15 PM, the boys were in the pool. Ha! But it wore them out, so when the security guard kicked us out at 11 PM, they went straight to sleep. Which is what I should be doing, too. And this weekend, while cheering the basketball team and supervising twice daily trips to the pool, I vow to finish my November Birdie Stitches BOM. Next time I post, there will be a photo, I promise!