Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

1 Dec

I didn’t get many pictures this year, but our Thanksgiving week was fantastic! On Thursday night, we celebrated with friends. I think there were about 50 of us and every dish was a-mazing! I couldn’t get enough! It’s always a good sign to be frustrated with how full one feels.

On Friday, Josh and I went up to school for the Thanksgiving feast and presentation put on by the 1st and 2nd grade. Deacon was a Pilgrim this year. Here was his blurb about what he is thankful for.


The sweet boy said he was thankful for “…my aunt who is now in heaven.” (sniff)

After the presentation, we all dined together at school with a thanksgiving feast of chicken, rice, green beans, and corn cake.

On Sunday, we celebrated for the third time with our mission! Once again, we had a wonderful turkey dinner with all of the best sides. Honestly, I think I would be smitten with just a plate full of stuffing and gravy!

The kids had a craft! They made turkeys out of peanut butter cups, whoppers, candy corn, and frosting.

They were super cute and the kids ate them immediately, which filled up their tummies, leaving more stuffing for the rest of us!

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When our seams were about to bust open, our mission president shared some thankful thought with us and we sang a few songs. Simeon just couldn’t stop himself from busting a move to Holy, Holy, Holy.


What a blessing it is to be overwhelmed with the number of things to be thankful for. The Lord has provided EVERYTHING that we need, and didn’t stop there! He has also given us so many things that we want. Even in times that I think are tough, I have so much for which to be thankful. It all starts with salvation and snowballs from there.

(I would be super thankful if I had a snowball right now. Either the snack or the frozen water.)


Araw ng Pagpapasalamat

2 Dec


Since Thanksgiving is strictly an American holiday, we don’t get the day off of school. Boo. But it doesn’t stop us from celebrating! Bella and her class were on the Indian side of the feast this year.

Last year she was Pilgrim.


After a Thanksgiving story read by their principal, we went and did a craft together.



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Then we had a family feast of chicken, mashed potatoes, veggies, apples and pumpkin cake. It’s always fun to go eat with the kids. Next year, we’ll start back over with Deacon being a (1st grade) Pilgrim!

I sported Bella’s Indian feathers during the feast, not unlike I did with Bella’s Pilgrim bonnet last year. Whoops, you can see that baby weight hanging onto my chin! This feasting isn’t helping either!

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That night, we had our own little family feast. We kept deliberating whether we should buy a turkey or not. It’s quite expensive to buy a turkey here, but it’s Thanksgiving! In the end, we decided to make all the side dishes, but let KFC deliver the bird. The sides are the best anyway! We had stuffing, sweet potatoes, and green beans, fried chicken and gravy. For dessert, I tried a Pintrest recipe for Pumpkin Pie Crumble Bars and they were fantastic!


On Sunday, we had our mission Thanksgiving feast. I made rolls, French Silk Pie, and then ended up having to cook a turkey provided by our mission president! So we got some turkey after all (including the leftovers!) It was a great evening started off by some pictures…

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The leftovers, as expected, have been terrific! Monday was a local holiday, so they kids didn’t have school. We took down all of the fall decor, and hauled out the Christmas decor. The kids were so excited! Ok, I was too! While we were hanging ornaments all in the just-so place, Sim needed to eat, so I left the room, knowing that the kids were embracing their newfound creative control! Each year, it gets a little easier to relinquish that freedom.

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Deacon wanted me to take a pic with his Spiderman ornament.


I’ve been staying away from snacks and desserts in an effort to melt that baby weight, but if I start Christmas baking….all bets are off!

Happy Thanksgiving!

29 Nov

It always calls for a little adjustment and flexibility when one tries to celebrate a holiday in the country with no ties to said holiday. Over the years, we’ve tried this and that, and most of the time, it is successful! Sometimes, without warning, one of us will get that deep inner longing for the US and the entire Thanksgiving culture.

One constant since we’ve been here has been the First Love Int’l Thanksgiving dinner. We’re all in the same boat, celebrating Thanksgiving without loved ones, so we become each others loved ones. It’s always a terrific time of food, fellowship, and fun. This year was no different.

I was about to post my own pics, but then I remembered that we have a terrific photographer right in our mission and she always takes great pics!


We got there early to help set up. The kids were a great help setting out leaves and other decor. (This is one of my iphone photos, if it isn’t painfully obvious!)


There was a little craft planned for the kids and they loved it! They got to decorate their own teepees.

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Some teepees didn’t make it until dessert time! I love Seth’s little mischievous smile (34 years old and I STILL have to say “i before e, except after c!”)


I love this picture because I remember exactly what I talking about that brought such a light to my expressions. My friend asked, “So….how was the marathon?” This photo was snapped sometime in the next 10 minutes of my non-stop soliloquy about the marathon!


Caleb and I were sharing a moment during the prayer.


There was also a centerpiece for us to write what we are thankful for on leaves. Then we stuck them on branches for one big gratefulness tree!


The kids had lots of room to run around, do gymnastics, and play together. I love Caleb’s mid-somersault on the left side of the picture.


“I’ll show you my belly button if you show me yours!”


The food was terrific! I used to be a side-dish girl only, but the turkey had me at hello and I even had seconds, and maybe thirds.


There were all kinds of fun desserts, but NO PUMPKIN PIE!!! I think everyone just assumed that someone else would bring it, or at least that’s what I thought.

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So that was actually Wednesday night. On Thursday morning, we spent the first part of the day celebrating with Bella’s class. The 1st graders were dressed up as pilgrims and the 2nd graders were the Native Americans. They each had little programs and told us what they were thankful for.

This is the written form of what Bella said in the video. I love having decorations that the kids have made to bring out each year!


Then there was a craft for parents to do with their kids.



After the program, we had a Thanksgiving meal with the kids. It was fun eating with my little pilgrim!

I stole her cap.


By that afternoon, we had already had 2 Thanksgiving dinners, so rather than cram some more calories down the hatch, we decided to take the kids to see Frozen. It was a fun, different Thanksgiving night!

Josh and the kids had schawarma. If only the pilgrims had headed across the Mediterranean!


This year, I saw more signs of Thanksgiving around the Philippines! There were “Thanksgiving day sales,” and signs everywhere. I’m not sure they know the background of the holiday though.


It never hurts to push thankfulness though!

Frozen was so cute and we all loved it. I found Filipino Raisinets, so I was thrilled!


And since there was no pumpkin pie at our mission thanksgiving meal, I made sure there was one for us to dig in to when we got home! We even sprung for the whipped cream in a can.


Loving our trip!

1 Nov


We’ve been in the US 4 days already!!! It’s been 4 days of beautiful fall weather, fun with family, and fab food, although I’m not indulging too much just yet. After Sunday, all bets are off. I don’t care how much my feet hurt on Monday, I’m wearing heels and I’m eating all kinds of everything!

Anyway, our trip to the US was fantastic! No hassles with check-in, immigration, or flights. I just love Korean Air! The service is great, the planes are nice, and my favorite feature is that they let you watch movies and TV as soon as you sit down, until you get up to leave the plane. None of this take-off and landing nonsense.

When I left my family, sweet little Bella was sobbing!!! I felt like she thought I was leaving for a year! There was no consoling her, even with promises of presents. The precious girl taped this to my suitcase. It says “I love you so much” and she even threw in P5.50 in coins!


We left the condos with plenty of time to accommodate for traffic. However, there was NO traffic and we got to the airport with loads of time to spare. All the pre-flight stuff took about an hour, so we still had 2 hours to kill. Fortunately, there is a lounge accessible to anyone for a reasonable price, so we chilled up there. It was excellent, quiet, cool, wi-fi, and had terrific food! I hit the nacho bar more than a few times…


Our flight left at 11:45pm, so I started a TV show, but I guess I fell asleep pretty soon, because all of a sudden, we were beginning our descent into Seoul! I never sleep well on planes, so I was jazzed.


We arrived in Seoul at 4am. Everything was closed, so we set up camp on a cushioned bench for the next 6 hours! We slept for about 3 and by the time we woke up, the airport was hopping, so we went and got coffee and walked around some.

Finally, we got to board our beautiful A380. Being the newest model airplane out there, everything was brand, spanking new! We could tell, because everything was clean, in good shape, and didn’t rattle. We got three seats to ourselves, so we were thrilled with the extra room! In addition to the usual blanket, pillow, and headphones, they gave each seat a bottle of water.


Another Korean Air you-had-me-at-hello is the leg room! It is so much better than other airlines that I’ve done the trans-world thing on. Nice, right? As are the free slippers they let you have. But wait, that’s not all! They also give us a tooth brush and toothpaste for your mid-flight hygiene!


I slept maybe 40 minutes in the entire 13 hour flight! Michele was out like a light almost the entire time, so it was just me and my screen the entire time. I watched a lot of movies and TV, and even played some Tetris. I was pretty comfortable the entire time. I was still getting over a cold, so I drank a ton of water, meaning I had to climb over hybernating Michele about 6 times.



I don’t know how many people appreciate this feature, but my dad thinks it’s the bees knees. The A380’s have cameras on the nose of the plane, the tail, and the bottom, so at any given time, you can see what’s around you. I think it’s pretty cool, especially when you can see the curvature of the earth. It makes me feel like an astronaut.





We landed on time at JFK and sailed right through all the post-flight stuff to meet up with my parents. They greeted us with orange juice and cold weather! Michele and I were freezing, even though it was in the high 50’s.


The trip home included the Verrazano-Narrows bridge, which is where the marathon starts in 2 days!!!! Eek! My heart was racing as we drove over it.

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Since we arrived in the late morning, we had the entire day to kill, so our first stop was lunch at FIve Guys. Michele hadn’t ever been, so it was fun to enjoy that heavenly burger with her. When we got to CMML, we immediately hit the clothing center for some warm clothes! We also hit the boardwalk that evening to get some exercise and to help us stay awake. People were staring at me as I ran past them dressed like an eskimo!

We stayed up until about 7 or 8 that night and then slept hard until 4am, when it was time to head back to the airport to drop Michele off. She’s going to visit her family for a few days. When we returned from the drop-off, I went back to sleep for another 2 hours. I needed it!

That afternoon, I was all snuggled under a blanket and a hoodie, looking at the changing leaves out the window. It was perfect nap weather! But I knew that if I fell asleep, jet lag would take over, and an hour nap would turn into a 5 hour nap. So I dragged myself out for a 4-miler, my last 4-miler!




My sister and her family arrived that afternoon and I’ve been having so much fun with them, especially my nieces!!! I brought the twins these “One-in-a-minion” shirts. So cute!




Girlfriend loves the camera!!!

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The next day, mom, Heather, and I took the train into the city to pick up my race packet at the Expo.

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We arrived in the city just in time to meet my brother for lunch. We hit a soup and sandwich place in Union Square called Cafe Medina. He took us there a few years ago, and we loved it, so it hit it up again. The Pumpkin Corn Bisque is to die for. Heather is under strict instructions to replicate it!

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On our walk to lunch, we saw one of the marathon mile markers!!!!



When in New York, one must have cupcakes! Crumbs was right around the corner, so we indulged. HELLO, I didn’t order one! But I did have a bite or two of others. I can tell that I haven’t had desserts in a long time. It was all VERY sweet and I don’t know that I could’ve had too much. I know, I’m as surprised as you are.


After lunch, David went back to work, and the rest of us went to the Expo. My feelings were SO DIFFERENT than when we went to the Expo last year, when the the marathon was cancelled. I’m so excited and anxious this time around! Last year, it was so disappointing and bittersweet.  I liked it better this year…



Countdown to the cannon!



The highlight of the Expo was meeting Ryan Hall, the US’s fastest marathoner! He signed a poster for us and mom captured our entire exchange on video. We’ve been teasing her about it since, because she was supposed to snap a photo or two, but her iphone was stuck on video and she didn’t know how to change it. She does now, but the teasing won’t cease for a while.

After all that walking around the city, I’m taking it easy today and staying off my feet. We hit Walmart for some Halloween sales, and now we’re getting ready for a Thanksgiving feast! Gotta carbo-load!







25 Nov

It’s almost official….I spent the morning transferring my blog(actually, the transfer itself took mere minutes…the research and the courage-building took a little longer!) I’m still figuring it all out, but I’m 95% sure that I’ll stick with wordpress.

Anyway, I only took a couple of pics on Thanksgiving day because I knew I wouldn’t be able to post them. Silly, I know.

This is a turkey craft that Kenzie’s class did and she wanted to show us at home. So cute huh? It screams “Pinterest!” Image

Nothing portrays the holiday spirit like a “Happy Thanksgiving! Do Not Touch!” sign.Image

I loved the look of Katie (and Leah) peeling potatoes.Image

We had a de-lish spread of the classics. We had limited oven space so I found a recipe for crock pot sausage and apple stuffing. It was really yummy, but tasted enough like the regular stuffing that I figured that it used unecessary calorie space. We also had turkey, one from the oven and one from the Green Egg – both yum-o. Sweet potato casserole, green beans, mashed potatoes, cranberry chutney, cauliflower and cheese, pumpkin pie, cherry pie, pecan pie and apple pie completed the feast. And feast we did!

Mackenzie loved getting to snuggle with baby Sarah. It was so special to have so much family around for this special day!


That night started the crazy spending frenzy that is Black Friday. I’m not a fan of it starting on Thanksgiving night, but I definitely liked going out at night rather than at 5 am. Josh and I rolled into Walmart at 10pm, only to be welcomed by a host of other deal-seekers.

We went in looking for specific things, but of course, those things were long gone! We did, however, find some Christmas presents on sale, so that’s always fun! The shopping part was fun, the waiting for 45 minutes in the checkout line…not so fun.Image

I did catch up on People’s “Totally Twilight” special edition, so I feel like a better person for that. My best deal was from Kohls.com and I got new bedding for our bed here and for our bed in the Philippines with all kinds of percentages off!

What is your favorite Thanksgiving dish???