When I lived in China in 2009 I missed a Thanksgiving with my family. Chris missed two when he was on his mission, but this was our first year missing Thanksgiving since we’ve been married.

I knew I’d miss everyone, but I didn’t think it would really bother me being away. The whole week before Thanksgiving I was getting irritable and more emotional. I think it was harder being away than I thought and I definitely was sad not to be with everyone. That being said we did have a great Thanksgiving!

A few weeks ago we decided to tear out our kitchen. We basically had an idea of what we were going to go do and we even went to the cabinet store had them design our kitchen for us. We had two options for our kitchen so we needed to go home to decide which one to do before we ordered them, but we were basically ready to order our cabinets. When we got home we started thinking about a few other options that we could do in our kitchen that might look good. We didn’t consider them before because they would be a lot of work. But the more we talked about the other options the less we liked the options we had printed off. The other big problem with the harder options is they will affect how we remodel the rest of our house. With our first two, basic options we could just do the kitchen and be done with it and finish off the rest of the house whenever we chose. With the bigger more difficult options we would have to move windows, close off doors, add new doors, which in turn affects the bedrooms downstairs, which affects the rooms upstairs…a huge jumbled mess!

Once we saw all that we could have, we of course wanted it all. The more we do the more it costs, and more complicated the remodel will be, so we’ve been going over plans to figure out if we wanted and were able to do everything we wanted. Its been a huge process and we are finally just coming to a decision on what to do with the house…which means we didn’t do the two easy options on the kitchen (we still could….) which means we have no kitchen!

We have set up my pantry shelves, that Chris gave me for my birthday one year, in our dining room. It has all my kitchen stuff on it or under it. In our kitchen we have our stove hooked up, and Chris left me about a foot total of counter top space around the sink. Our fridge is also hooked up. We have our dishwasher unhooked in the kitchen that I am using as counter tops to hold stuff. We also have our old oven unhooked as counter tops as well. Then we have a folding table set up in our kitchen. Its uneven, due to the floor being uneven because the cabinets were there and now are not. Our microwave is sitting on that table plugged in.

On top of having no kitchen I haven’t ever made ALL of Thanksgiving by myself. I have done A LOT of Thanksgiving. I LOVE cooking Thanksgiving with my mom. It is one of my favorite things to do, but I’ve never done everything. I’ve also never done a turkey before. My dad is the meat guy at home, so he always does the turkey, or some other family does it. (Other family meaning one of my aunts or uncles.) I was excited, but nervous. The thing I was most nervous about was making sure everything came out on time and warm at the end. In my home growing up we had double ovens which is great for the holidays. At my house I have a single oven. At my house growing up there are other families that come and bring things, and one family isn’t cooking everything. At my house now we were the only family, so I was the only one cooking things.

Since I had no kitchen and I haven’t ever made all of Thanksgiving before, and since there is only four of us we thought about going out. But I did want to try and make it. And I love being in on Thanksgiving and being all cozy with my family inside my house so we decided to go for it!

I started prepping as early as Tuesday and made up a bunch of things before hand. I made up my sweet potatoes (minus cooking and toppings), I made up the green beans (minus the onion thingys and cooking.). I also made up stuffing (minus cooking). Wednesday I made up pies, Jello, and banana pudding. I also started brining my turkey on Wednesday.

Thursday I finished my turkey, mashed my potatoes, had my rolls rising, and cooked everything in the oven. Surprisingly everything turned out great and pretty much right on time!

Our menu:

-Stuffing (just a Pepridge farms one with added onions and celery.)

-Rolls (Frozen Rhodes Rolls)

-Aunt Linda’s Sweet Potatoes

1 big jar sweet potatoes

3/4 stick melted butter
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
2 eggs
Blend potatoes then add the rest of the ingredients. Put in a 9×13 casserole dish. Bake at 350 covered for 20 minutes, uncover and bake until firm.
1 cup corn flakes
3/4 cup nuts
3/4 cups brown sugar
1 stick melted butter
Add topping to firmed casserole then bake an additional 10 minutes.

-Green Bean Casserole (recipe just off the french’s onion thingys.)

-Lisa’s Jello

3 boxes rasberry jello (1 1/2 cups)
3 cups boiling water
2 cups sour cream
1 can cranberry (the jellied stuff you eat at thanksgiving)
1 container cool whip

Mix the jello with boiling water. Let set a little. Pour in a blender and blend with sour cream and cranberries. Pour in a pan and refrigerate until set. Top with cool whip and eat.

Gravy  from Our Best Bites

-Mashed Potatoes (just how my momma taught me.)

Turkey from Our Best Bites, super easy!

Pecan Pie from Pioneer Woman

German Chocolate Pie from Favorite Family Recipes

Banana Pudding from Favorite Family Recipes

Pie crust I did frozen. I have a pie crust recipe that I LOVE that I normally use, same with a roll recipe. But since I was doing everything and having no kitchen I took a few shortcuts. 🙂

The rest of the day we just hung out at home and enjoyed the day as a family! Friday we went and saw Moana. We loved it! Saturday I think we went roller skating. All in all it was an awesome Thanksgiving! We missed everyone, but I LOVE my little family and I LOVE spending time with them! The kids loved having Chris home from work for so long, and I enjoyed it it too!

The kids could care less about the food I made, minus the rolls, but we had a great day as a family! The kids may not remember this Thanksgiving, but I know I will! I know this past 10 months we have really been extra grateful for our families. Its been hard being so far away from everyone! We have been very grateful that we have been able to go and see family, and have family come up and see us. We are also grateful for being able to live in Washington for awhile. Its been a lot of fun for us as a family. We have grown a lot and grown closer together!

We hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!




My lovely kitchen.









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