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Thanksgiving, Take Two

In keeping with the theme of the last 5 months, which deserves a depressing blog post of its own, I expected this Thanksgiving would be a disaster. A depressed person does not make a great party host.

Still, we borrowed tables and chairs and made plans for a large family gathering. Menus were printed.

Macys plates and Cost Plus World Market pumpkins
I bought these plates on clearance at Macy's last year. Aren't they delightful?

Fun table setting
The little pumpkins are from Cost Plus World Market.

Printable menu
This year, the menu doubled as a place card.

(Side note: I put extras aside for next year...and just now realized they say 2019. Whoops!)

Introducing dogs at party
Keeping an eye on the news, it seemed many people across the country were having their holiday plans affected by storms. We were no exception. Half of our overnight guests arrived. SN's parents were able to make it through the wintry weather but his brother and our sister-in-law had to cancel. The drive from Nebraska was too treacherous.

 As far as an excessively wiggly Olive was concerned, the most important guest had made it. She was thrilled! Jazzy was not.

New puppy
SN consoled our little puppy (who, for some reason, has her butt on the table here) after the other dog refused to play with her. Other dogs never want to play with Olive.

We went to bed on Wednesday, eager for the Thanksgiving feast that awaited us the next day.

We woke up inside a winter wonderland.

snow on Thanksgiving
Behold, the New Mexico mountains dusted with snow. Beautiful, right?

Snow in NM
See our pigs in a (snow) blanket in the front yard? See our submerged shark in the back yard? We worried this might be more snow than our Thanksgiving guests would be willing to adventure through.

Also, those are the only metal animals we have. Really.

It continued to snow. Thanksgiving was cancelled.

On the bright side, not hosting meant I could finally enjoy the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade for the first time in years. I had to sign up for the CBS app, but it would surely be worth it, right?

(Side note: How dare CBS charge people to watch the same programming WITH ADS that they have always shown for free? Crumbbums.)

After the millionth commercial for Rakuten (which is a much worse name than eBates, BTW), I left the room to call my parents and let them know no one was coming for Thanksgiving. When I returned, I asked if I'd missed any of the Broadway performances. They're my favorite.

"The parade is over," SN told me. This Eastern time zone thing for the parade is ridiculous.

My parents declined to join us if no one else was coming, so that evening we had our own mini Thanksgiving dinner for just SN, his parents, and myself.

Mini Thanksgiving meal
The sweet potatoes and the creamed corn couldn't have been easier (or tastier) and are both from my 36 Best Instant Pot Thanksgiving Recipes post.

I don't think this photo properly conveys the enormity that is the Country Crock. I never buy it, but figured I should have it for company and the bulk one just made good financial sense. It expires in February, so eat up!

Woolly fox family
Woolly fox family makes 6. Oh, 7 if you include our piggy in the background.

Hey, I said earlier we didn't have any more metal animals. 

Mexican hot chocolate
After dinner, SN suggested I make a batch of Mexican hot chocolate. Topped with whipped cream and a toasted marshmallow, they're pretty fancy. The trick is to microwave the marshmallows so they're extra gooey before taking a kitchen torch to them.

With the weather a little nicer the next day, we attempted Thanksgiving, Take Two!

Kitchen with white kitchen and wood ceiling
We removed extra chairs and tables and set up for a cozy party of 7.

Who should tend the bar at Thanksgiving?
My dapper squirrel played bartender, serving mugs of hot apple cider.

Grandmas and granddoggy
Olive enjoyed her first Thanksgiving and being doted over by both of her grandmas at once. Don't tell her that the holiday is not usually a two-day affair.

Biscuit showed Olive the true meaning of the holiday - begging for scraps.

She's 15. You try turning her down.

New Mexico casa
I set out some healthy grapes and clementines, but they're a hard sell when there's green bean casserole coming.

Thanksgiving dinner
We eat well at Thanksgiving, courtesy of a potluck. Even though the majority of our guests were unable or unwilling to make it, we still had turkey, ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, two kinds of stuffing, two kinds of rolls, and SN's aunt's famous spinach salad. It kind of makes me wonder if our other guests are not really pulling their weight with the food they bring. (Wink, wink.)

Funny side story #1: SN's mom told me she was bringing dressing and I thought she meant something like ranch or Thousand Island. I always forget that dressing = stuffing.

Funny side story #2: As everyone was lining up to fill their plate, my mom mentioned that there was no cranberry sauce. I panicked momentarily, then remembered that it's perfectly acceptable to plop cranberry sauce into a dish and serve it cold, still resembling the can.

Funny side story #3: I set out many options for breakfast that morning. I told SN's mom that I thought Trader Joe's Everything Bagel seasoning would be amazing on a biscuit. When we sat down to eat, I discovered she had taken my advice, but had chosen vanilla bean Greek yogurt to top her biscuit instead of butter...along with a hearty sprinkle of garlicky, oniony Everything Bagel seasoning. She ate it and claimed it was good, but I'm sure it must have been gross.

All these Thanksgiving favorites were scrumptious, but if you know me at all, you know which part of the meal I was most looking forward to.

Dessert buffet
The dessert table!

Thanksgiving desserts
We feasted on pumpkin pie, cherry pie, cream puffs, and cookies. There were even two kinds of cocoa beans, just for fun. One variety tasted like chocolate and the other like cigars.

Holiday cookies for the dessert table
     Put Reddi Wip on your cookies, for all I care. That's what makes it special!

Thanksgiving table ideas
The downside of dining at the home of a blogger is that you must always, always wait for them to take photos before you're allowed to eat. Everyone smile!  

Playing Mexican Train Dominoes
After dinner, we enjoyed a game of Mexican Train Dominoes. This is the best-ever party game because it's easy enough that everyone can play while also allowing you opportunities to sneakily screw over sabotage your friends and family, especially after a few drinks. 

Family gathered around the table
Happy Holidays!

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