Welcome to our Large Family Homeschool Life! This week was Thanksgiving prep and Christmas decorating! A fun and busy week!
Read all of the Large Family Homeschool Life posts HERE.
This morning, we watched church via the livestream because Ty and the boys are headed back “home” to check on his mom and hunt pheasant and quail. The sermon was VERY good – all about the realms of authority between government, church, and the family. A lot of food for thought going into Thanksgiving week.
Ty and the boys stayed at our lake cabin. There is no running water this time of year, but there is a composting toilet and they had bottled water to drink. It’s a rustic little cabin, but it’s been in my family since I was young, so we have a sentimental attachment to this mud-puddle of a lake.
After the boys left, I walked the cul-de-sacs (2 miles if I walk all of them twice). Then my 16 year old and I sat down to make a mop head gnome we saw on Pinterest. We had to improvise a bit because I got the mop heads from the estate sale I mentioned last week. We cut the pretty threads off and hot glued them to a floral cone.
Then, we added a wooden bead nose and one of Ty’s old socks for a hat. He’s so cute! We named him Norm the Gnome and he’s sitting on our fireplace.
Speaking of the estate sale…
That afternoon, my older girls headed over to the house where the estate sale was held to “dumpster dive” (more like curb dive because our city allows you to put all your trash – even refrigerators and the like – at the curb for trash pickup!) They found a few “treasures” – some of which I definitely do not consider treasures and hope they land in our trash eventually. *wink*
We had cobb salad for dinner and I gave the little girls a bath before bed. It’s incredibly quiet without half my family here!
I got up in the morning and made oatmeal for me and the little girls. My mom called to discuss Christmas plans. Then Ty called to discuss his agenda for the day. I don’t usually spend the mornings on the phone, so I felt a little discombobulated and got a late start to my day.
Because it is the Monday before Thanksgiving, the afternoon was spent putting together 3 casseroles that will be baked on Wednesday:
and Green Bean Casserole.
Watch my Thanksgiving Prep Week videos!
Ty is bringing home an antique buffet his dad restored many years ago, so the girls and I rearranged the dining room – turning the table and leaving a nice wall space for the buffet. Perfect timing for our Thanksgiving feast!
I also went through all the homeschool materials and gave one of our uglier storage shelves to my 16 year old for her room. That way I can put some of the homeschool supplies in the buffet and only have the cubby storage in the dining room. It looks so much neater! I also had enough space on top of the cubby storage to bring the printer back down to the main level so we aren’t running all over the house when I print something off for school!
I made bacon and eggs and cut up orange slices for supper, and the girls spent the evening watch baking demonstrations and miniature dollhouse how-to’s on YouTube.
The best part of my day was opening packages that came from The Hairbow Company (boutique girls clothes) and Quiver of Rubies (jewelry). I bought earrings, a birthstone keychain, and this keychain diffuser. I decided to put a blend of bergamot, spruce (Christmas Tree from Plant Therapy) and cinnamon. PERFECT!
Before school, I had everyone pitch in to fill the new-to-us buffet with school supplies. We also took the time to sort the pens, pencils, colored pencils, and crayons to lessen the load.
We had another day of Thanksgiving school with a Colonist chalk art lesson from You ARE an Artist. (I am so looking forward to the art lessons they are sharing in December!) We practiced our memory verse (1 Chron 16:8) and read in Squanto.
We had leftovers for lunch since we are trying to get the refrigerator cleaned out for Thanksgiving.
That afternoon, My 16 year old rolled out 2 pie crusts from the original version of this Flaky Pie Crust recipe. We’ll be making a Dutch Apple Pie (from the pie filling I canned a couple of months ago) and a Pecan Pie. I also made Chocolate Revel Bars (recipe to come…eventually).
I made chili for supper – something simple. It was the 10 year old’s Special Night. After he went to bed, I wrapped Thanksgiving presents.
Learn more about our Thanksgiving presents HERE >>
Most everyone is getting pajamas again this year. But, I did buy Blake and his girlfriend matching mugs, and my 14 year old son also got a mug.
This morning was our last day of Thanksgiving school! All we did was finish up Squanto and then I sent them off to do their individual school work because I have a FULL DAY of cooking and baking!
First, I got the bread rising. I started with a single batch of Amish white bread from Lovina Eicher’s cookbook, but quickly realized 20 rolls for 19 people wasn’t going to be nearly enough. So, after I got one batch of rolls rising, I made up another batch.
My 16 year old and I worked all afternoon and into the evening baking casserole, desserts, and bread. I put hamburger patties in the crock pot so we’d have an easy dinner meal for when my husband’s brother and dad showed up.
Later that evening, my oldest son, Blake, FaceTimed me to show me his Christmas decorations and share about the Hot Chocolate Party he hosted for his friends. His girlfriend is flying back home after Thanksgiving, so she’s going to miss Christmas with him. That’s why he decorated and had a party early in the season. He did a great job with it all! Super proud of him!
I got up and started the oven at 7am for 500°. (We are not eating until 2:30 pm because Megan ended up taking a shift at the coffee shop.) This turkey is HUGE – 27#! I bought it at the commissary for $.47/lb! BUT…
It didn’t fit in my roasting pan very well.
And I didn’t get a great seal on the aluminum foil (because the lid wouldn’t fit).
the entire 2.5 hours it was in the oven.
We literally watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade through smoke.
Just keepin’ it real, folks.
I ended up opening windows and turning on the attic fan – totally froze people out – but it did help dissipate the smoke, and by the time our company began arriving, you couldn’t even tell.
(This is the recipe I use for turkey – it makes it nice and moist and low-maintenance.)
We had a lovely family gathering that lasted well into the evening with games, movies and Thanksgiving presents. What a blessing!
Our company left in the morning – AFTER a locksmith got Ty’s dad’s keys out of his truck for him. (wouldn’t be a family gathering without some sort of mishap!)
After everyone left, we cleaned up the house and put away the Fall decor, and the kids hauled in the Christmas boxes from the garage.
We decorated the entire house except for the tree. Megan was working and we wanted to wait until she was home to decorate the tree. I also preferred to make all the Decorating Day food in the evening.
Learn more about our Christmas Decorating Day >>
My 16 year old always sets up the lighted village – this year it went atop out new buffet. My 16 year old also got lighted deer for the yard several years back, so she and I and my 14 year old son worked on the outside decor.
I also hung all the stockings in the most ideal place…the stairs! It fit everyone!
That evening, we made spinach queso, little smokies, hot punch, and ate leftovers for our Decorating Party.
We had one little mishap with the tree lights (had to run to Walmart to buy more because ours weren’t working!), but the tree turned out beautifully!
It’s not a fancy, professional-looking tree, but it most definitely reflects who we are as a family!
Everyone has their own ornaments that mean something to them – Baby’s First Christmas, favorite vacations, hobbies, etc. Plus, we hang Emily’s ornaments from when she was a baby. We also hang her stocking – which ironically, has an angel on it. It’s a special time for us to remember the many special blessings God has brought into our lives.
The younger kids slept under the tree as has been their tradition for years and years.
Today was a slower day – thankfully! I drank coffee and admired the Christmas tree (and my sleeping babies). I also wrapped Christmas presents so it wouldn’t look so bare. I buy presents throughout the year and keep them in my closet (don’t tell my kids!). Once the tree goes up, I start wrapping!
The kids also drew their Secret Santas. They like to go to the Dollar Tree and buy presents for all of their siblings, but they also like to have one big present for the name they draw.
Today was a nice, relaxing day – perfect for getting my new week started!