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I was raised by parents who thought family was extremely important, and even though we moved around the country a bit, either we traveled or our grandparents did to spend time together at the holidays. I have carried on those traditions with my own family. We are blessed to have our children living in the same city, and other family members nearby. I wish we were closer to my extended family, but we are thankful for those who are near, and we miss those who aren't with us anymore. Much of the dishes I cooked today were based on the recipes my mother made. Today we had 21 family members who made it to celebrate the day together.

While the food is important to many, it is the family who is more so.

Spending time with each other when we all lead busy lives is nice.

I think the Thanksgiving meal is quite easy to prepare, but this year it was even easier, as I could parcel things out over several days. By yesterday at 1, the house was all setup,

everything that could be made in advance was, and I even had the coffee pot set to go. Today was a breeze. My turkey cooperated,

and surprising still had even more juices left after expelling so many in my car. I dry-brined it on Tuesday and stuffed it before it went in the oven today. There was not much left. The dressing was all gone as well, so a good thing I made an extra pan for my family to have later.

Since my house was set for Thanksgiving yesterday, Katie cooked us a delicious dinner last night. I had bought some pre-made turkey sugar cookies, so we all had a family craft project for our dessert.

Some ate them,

and a few of us decorated but didn't eat them,

and most were eaten today. Cheesy, but fun. Afterwards we had a game night.

While we are more mindful of what we have to be thankful of on Thanksgiving, I am thankful every day for what I have. I am thankful that I was surrounded by family today, that we had a wonderful meal that we could share together, and that everyone made it here and home safely. I am thankful for two wonderful children and their partners, my loving husband, my dogs, my extended family and my friends. I am truly blessed to have so much to be grateful for.

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!

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