Category Archives: Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

Best wishes to you and all your loved ones for a wonderful Thanksgiving!

I am so grateful today for my blessings, my healthy son, my semi-organized apartment, and my little red car, still going strong after 15 years! I also feel so fortunate to live in Virginia, a beautiful state.

I am also saying a prayer for those who have lost loved ones recently and hope that they soon find comfort and peace.

It’s a day off and if you want to just relax at home, there’s nothing wrong about that! Staying off the roads is safe, too, because a lot of people drink at Thanksgiving.

Here is a gratitude meditation for today.

If you start getting cabin fever, know…

  • The weather will be nice for a walk.
  • Lots of good new movies in the theaters, including Steven Spielberg’s semi-autobioraphical film, The Fabelmans.
  • The light displays at Meadowlark Gardens in Vienna, Cameron Run in Alexandria and Bull Run in Manassas will be open tonight.
  • The National Gallery of Art is open
  • The Smithsonian Museums are open
  • The U.S. Botanic Garden is open
  • The Zoo (in DC) is open but you need to get a free pass online on its website
  • Some stores are open, including most drug stores.

Some last-minute dining options include…

  • Cracker Barrel (locations in Sterling and Manassas); veggie options, too.
  • Bob Evans (there is a location in Chantilly).
  • Giant Food is also selling a hot roasted turkey breast (while supplies last) for about $10.

RomCom of the Week: A Family Thanksgiving

This holiday season, I’m featuring a seasonal romantic comedy every week. I selected movies I haven’t seen before; maybe you haven’t, either! This one is free to view on YouTube.

Today’s seasonal selection is the Thanksgiving movie, A Family Thanksgiving. It features Daphne Zuniga, who some of you may remember her from Melrose Place and One Tree Hill. And there’s a cameo with Faye Dunaway. It’s not easy to find a good Thanksgiving movie. I haven’t seen this one, so I hope it’s a winner.

Thankful for the Turkey Lunch Special!

If you have ever been to Cracker Barrel on Thanksgiving Day, you know it is crowded! Well, I have some good news. You can eat like it’s Thanksgiving on Thursday, November 10 or November 17. On those Thursdays, and Thursdays only, Cracker Barrel runs a Thanksgiving-like lunch and dinner special. You might be grateful to celebrate Thanksgiving a little early this year! Lunch is served beginning at 11 am. This is what’s on the menu…

Thursday Lunch Special. Turkey n’ Dressing with turkey gravy served with Sweet Potato Casserole and Buttermilk Biscuits or Corn Muffins. $8.49. About 820 calories. That’s a pretty good price.

or

Thursday Special. You get the same thing as above but an extra side (like green beans). $11.99 and also about 820 calories.

Add a slice of pumpkin, apple or pecan pie for an additional $4.49.

I will definitely be taking advantage of this lunch special! Now I have a question for you. Are you Team Biscuit? Or Team Corn Muffin? Or do you get one of both?

 

When you want Thanksgiving Dinner…RIGHT NOW

Do you ever get a craving for Thanksgiving dinner when it’s not Thanksgiving? I know I do! As soon as November rolls around, I am dreaming of stuffing and turkey. Not to worry. I have a Thanksgiving meal you can whip up in 15 minutes.

Pros

  • It looks and smells just like Thanksgiving.
  • It tastes pretty good. It’s better than a frozen entree.
  • It is lightining fast.
  • It is inexpensive
  • Everything is made on the stove top. The kitchen won’t be hot.

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Thanksgiving, by the numbers

Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

Did you ever wonder if it would be cheaper just to eat out for Thanksgiving?

Well, before you make reservations, check out this finding from Statista. According to their research, a traditional Thanksgiving feast for ten, including pie and coffee, cost an average of $47 to prepare in 2018.

Turkey is the most expensive part of the meal. A 16 pound bird tends to set you back more than $21.

Unquestionably, turkey is the main event. 81% of people said they are eating turkey for Thanksgiving and 65% said mashed potatoes will also be on the menu. But only 23% plan to serve sweet potato pie for dessert. The most popular parts of the meal, according to a 2020 survey, are turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing. And less than 5% of people said they would not be eating pie, while nearly 3/4 of respondents said they would be making their own pie from scratch (not me, I am happy with a store-bought pie)!

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Thanksgiving Planner

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Ready for another (and hopefully, last) pandemic Thanksgiving? It doesn’t have to be a bummer. Even if you are remaining safer at home, you can craft a day to elevate your spirit and connect you to a grateful heart.

Make a plan for how you will spend the late afternoon and evening. Some people mindlessly shop, eat, drink, watch sports or bicker on Thanksgiving. That’s understandable. A day off is a break in the routine that can put people at a loss on how to allocate their time, especially if they are spending this time with children or with family they don’t see often.

Monday, November 15

  1. Clean your refrigerator on “Clean Your Refrigerator Day.”
  2. If you are going out to eat, make reservations.

Tuesday, November 16

  1. Mail Thanksgiving greeting cards.
  2. Donate food to your local food drive.
  3. Watch A Garfield Thanksgiving (free on YouTube).

Wednesday, November 17

  1. Finalize your menu.
  2. Check the cupboard and fridge to see what you need.
  3. Complete most of your grocery shoppping. Buy some cloves, cinnamon sticks and allspice (Badia) to make mulled cider.

Thursday, November 18

Look through Pinterest for abundance affirmations, gratitude quotations or funny Thanksgiving memes to print. Post next to your bathroom mirror or on your refrigerator.

Friday, November 19

  1. Purchase or take out of storage any Thanksgiving decorations and candles.
  2. Purchase Thanksgving craft materials for kids (or adults).
  3. If you are visiting during Thanksgiving, purchase a gift for the hosts.

Sunday, November 21

  1. Watch A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving on PBS at 7:30 p.m.
  2. Plan what you will wear on Thanksgiving.
  3. Start defrosting a whole frozen bird in the refrigerator, if you are cooking one.

Monday, November 22

  1. Fill the car with gas if you are traveling. Pack your bags.
  2. Otherwise, do laundry and clean, vacuum and dust house.
  3. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer airs tonight at 8 pm on CBS.

Tuesday, November 23

  1. Make your shopping list if you are shopping on Black Friday.
  2. Decorate.
  3. Set aside time for self-care activities and extra rest. Maybe you would enjoy listening to a guided meditation on grattutde.

Wednesday Morning (the day before)

  1. Have the kids do Thanksgiving crafts.
  2. Last minute grocery run (go before dark). Maybe you need cranberry sauce, rolls, milk, whipped cream or a pie?
  3. Chop onions and celery and pre-make what you can.
  4. Watch Party: 1994 remake of Miracle on 34th Street.
  5. Enjoy a cup of herbal tea and put your feet up. Turn in early.

Thanksgiving Morning

  1. Take a morning walk and be grateful for the beauty of nature.
  2. The Washington National Cathedral airs a Thanksgiving service online from 10 am – 11 am.
  3. The Macy’s Day Parade is on at 9 a.m. on NBC. Or listen to a playlist of grateful tunes.
  4. Call famliy members you won’t be seeing today and wish them a Happy Thanksgiving before noon.
  5. Make Thanksgiving dinner (or go out).

Thanksgiving meal

Mindfully enjoy the meal you have prepared (or that has been prepapred for you) after giving thanks.

After the meal

Keep children/adults occupied with crafts, board games, card games, puzzles, word searches, yoga, etc. Teachers Pay Teachers has printables for kids. Keep in mind that most children under 12 read independently for a half hour each day in school and also write for nearly that long. You can assign your children daily reading and writing time while carving out periods of distraction-free peace for yourself.

If you are not occupied wth friends and family, check out the self-care challenge for November. There are gratitude lists, meditations, workouts and coloring pages.

Some people love to watch football after the meal.

It’s a good time to discuss holiday plans.

Movie theaters, Mount Vernon and Great Falls park are notoriously crowded on Thanksgiving Day. That’s frustrating for parking and unsafe in a pandemic. Pick a near-to-home walking trail instead, play football outside, rake leaves, or visit departed loved ones at the cemetery.

How do you plan to spend Thanksgiving Day?

Tips for Clean Your Refrigerator Day

Today is Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day. That’s a good idea as you get ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas cookiing, right? Home Depot explains how to do it.

While you’re hauiling everything out, you might as well get organized, too! Did you know?

The coolest spot in the fridge is the middle shelf? That’s a good place for your eggs and milk. Snacks you reach for frequently go on the top shelf. Vinegar-based condiments and dressings, olives and pickles go on th door shelves.

Cool Organizers

Have you tried using organizers in your refrigerator and freezer? Think baskets, bins and trays. Ever since I bought these “Fridge and Freezer Binz,” I am saving money because I can easily see what’s in my fridge and I know where everything is. Milk, for example, always goes in it’s designated bin, as does cheese and lunch meats.

Very helpful when putting away groceries! I purchased Binz at the Container Store but I’ve seen less expensive versions at stores like Home Goods. Binz are durable and easy to clean. 

Be sure you don’t pack your refrigerator too full, because air needs to circulate. That’s another bonus of cleaning the fridge; you free up space by tossing expired food or food you don’t really eat.

Speaking of freezers, did you know you can damage your freezer by packing it TOO full? That happened to my mom. Lesson learned: don’t block the blowers! A filled freezer works better but if there isn’t enough air circulation, that’s  not good. If you freezer is less than 2/3 full (about the optimum), put in more ice trays or freeze water to take up some space. I’m using Dollar Tree shelf organizers and plastic baskets in my freezer to maximize space.

Making space in the refrigerator

That turkey takes up a lot of room, doesn’t it? If you need more room in your refrigerator, you can store non-perishables you want to keep cold, like soda and water, on your patio, deck, porch or balcony as long as temperatures don’t dip below freezing.

Some foods don’t need to go in the refrigerator, like hot sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, ketchup and citrus fruit. And some things should not be stored in the refrigerator. These include

  • Raw potatoes
  • Fresh tomatoes
  • Fresh peaches
  • Raisins and other dried fruit
  • Fresh herbs 
  • Honey and syrup
  • Nuts
  • Chocolate
  • Champagne (chill before serving but store on its side at room temperature)

How about a chest freezer?

If you can afford it, a chest freezer is also a good investment, even for apartment dwellers. No only are they great for managing Thanksgiving leftovers, they can can help you save money year-round on items you buy on sale (like meat and frozen foods) produce in season (that you blanch and freeze) and leftovers (such as extra baked cookies or muffins or casseroles).

There are now energy efficient models that are not that expensive to run. You can get a new, small one for $149 – $169 at stores like Home Depot, Target and Best Buy, or save money and buy a used one on Facebook Marketplace. Another advantage of having a deep freeze unit is that you can make fewer trips to the grocery store, which is a good idea during the pandemic.

Thanksgiving To Go

If a happy Thanksgiving for you means NOT cooking, you’ll be pleased to know there are an array of to-go dinners (order in advance) for just about every budget that you can enjoy while remaining safer at home.

Then, you can spend the day being grateful and watching Friends Thanksgiving episodes.

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Toon Tuesday: Garfield’s Thanksgiving

Garfield’s creators have given us an early Thanksgiving treat — here is the full episode of the holiday special. Would you rather have Thanksgiving turkey or lasagna? I think Garfield, would answer: “Yes!”

Enjoy!

Watch A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving tonight on PBS

Here’s something to be thankful for…after mean old Apple TV grabbed a monopoly on Peanuts holiday programming, PBS came to the rescue! Tonight, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving will air at 7:30 p.m. on PBS and PBS Kids.

But that’s it 😦 So if you are busy or working and can’t schedule this programming but still want to watch the entire Peanuts special, you can see it here.

As mentioned in a previous post, viewing unauthorized content on YouTube is not something I typically endorse. BUT this year, the powers that be pullled this video from Amazon Video and YouTube Movies. AND it’s really hard to find the DVD. And that’s not right. It meant that most people couldn’t watch these specials unless they bought the DVD before this year. Charlie Brown belongs to all of us.

Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!

P.S.

Apple TV, I’m giving you fair warning: if you try to come for Rudolph, The Red Nosed Reindeer, it’s war!