Tag Archive for family

Changing up Our Thanksgiving Routine

Travel Man and I enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving Day with 17 or so of our family around the table for dinner.  It’s so much fun when we get to have all of our kids with us at home for a big sit-down dinner. It’s quite a feat getting everyone to the table on time, but we did it and had so much fun.  I’ve been known to get all mushy with my toasts of thankfulness. My grandson Evan always likes to pipe in and tell a joke to the entire table. It’s priceless and always makes us laugh.
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Our old dining room table, with a total of 8 leaves, comes in handy for this time of year. I’ve written about our dining room table before it’s got quite a bit of history to it.   This year my wonderful husband put together a table extension that will now allow us to seat 20 people at the table for any particular festivity.

This is my professional table-setter,my grandson Evan.  He’s taken on the roll of helping me get the table ready for the past few years.  He was upgraded to “professional” status this year!

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Normally our entire Thanksgiving weekend would be spent around the house with our kids and grand-kids.  This year we decided to switch it up and go camping for the rest of the holiday time after the “big dinner”.  We took off for our destination in the early afternoon on Friday, and we headed back home Monday afternoon.  We’re so lucky that Travel Man had some vacation time to use and that his job allows him to have the flexibility to plan for this type of trip. We’ve had such an enjoyable time relaxing, resting, reading, watching movies and playing Monopoly! And of course I brought some of the Thanksgiving dinner leftovers.  We had to get our fill of turkey sandwiches.

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A few of the sights from our holiday weekend.

Now we’re thinking that maybe next year we’ll host Thanksgiving dinner right from our trailer (I meant to say our “glamping” residence).  We’ll see about that in a few months. I’m such a traditionalist at holiday time I’m not sure if I could do that.  Thoughts to ponder.

I’m hoping everyone had an enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday. I know I’m looking forward to the upcoming holidays and spending more time with family.  Cheers!

It’s Someone Special’s Birthday Today…

Today is our granddaughter’s 3rd birthday.  Miss Madison is becoming quite the young lady/tomboy.  She loves to paint her nails with her Auntie Hilly, and she also loves to play with matchbox cars.  It’s quite a combination.  I remember so distinctly the day Madison was born.  Our entire family, including my parents were at our house for dinner waiting for “the call”.  Once we got the call that Madison had arrived we celebrated with whoops, and hollers and hugs.  A fun celebration, and a great memory.

Madison has been working on her photography skills this year.  She loves to take her “selfies”, with some little kissy lips mixed in. So being the wonderful Grandma that I am I couldn’t help but share some of her selfies mixed in with some of my favorite pictures of my favorite (and only) granddaughter from this year.

Happy, Happy Birthday Madison.  May all of your dreams come true.

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It Was Time to Retire the Firestick

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When I was growing up my parents took us on so many very, cool vacations.  We got to see quite a few of our national parks and wonderful sights.  Our mode of travel was normally some sort of camping.  We had a station wagon and a pop-up tent trailer for a long time, and then when my parents retired they ventured into the RV world and bought a beautiful Rexhall motor home.  You can read all about their adventures on my Mom’s blog, Joan on the Road.

One of the highlights of our camping experience was always having a camp fire.  Building a fire, keeping it going, and eventually roasting the marshmallows for a great s’mores treat.  I think one of my Dad’s favorite parts of camping was building the bonfire, I mean campfire, for the evening.  He would build pretty big fires, and he was the one who kept it going.  I know for myself I couldn’t wait until there were some lovely coals to roast my marshmallows next to.  I prefer them lightly roasted, thank you.  When we were on vacation we always had our guitars with us, and would play and sing around the fire.  We loved to sing John Denver tunes.  Oh those were the days.

Fast forward to my Mom and Dad’s RV-ing days, and they kept the campfire tradition going. Most times when we would visit them we’d have a fire, and maybe roast those marshmallows or a hot dog.  One thing that was always with my Dad for his campfires was some sort of strong stick that he could use to stoke the fire with.  It was a coveted stick, and as we all got older sometimes we would take turns stoking the fire too.  What a treat.

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When my Dad passed away and we were helping my Mom go through her RV and decide what she was keeping or not, she gave me my Dad’s last campfire stick he used for stoking the fires.  It’s really a personal memento for me.  It helps me to hold on to the good memories of our family times together around the campfire.

These days Travel Man and I have a trailer of our own that we like to take out for the weekends.  We always have the coveted “Fire Stick” with us to stoke our campfires.  But on our last camping trip we noticed the Fire Stick was starting to get a little short.  I kept catching the end of the stick on fire, and it seemed like it was getting shorter and shorter and fading away.  I suppose in the back of my mind I was worried that if the stick got shorter and went away the memories of camping with my Dad would fade a little bit too. So we made the painful (well for me anyway) decision to retire the Fire Stick.  We will be keeping it in the trailer with us when we go out on our camping adventures.  And eventually I think I will figure out a way to hang it on the wall.

It’s a wonder to me that a stick could hold memories that are so dear to my heart.  The memories of your loved ones that are no longer with you are the ones that you hold onto the tightest.  You never want to let them go.

Merry Christmas to You and Yours…



A very Merry Christmas wish is going out to all of you from all of us here at The Party House in Southern California.  We hope your day is filled with laughter and lots of love.

Here’s a little Christmas memory from 2008.  Just a little family silliness, and a great picture with my Dad who is always missed just a little bit more at this time of year.

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Travel Man and I are sending out Christmas love to all of our family and friends, near and far.  May each of you have a blessed Christmas, and the best New Year possible.

Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone. – Charles M. Schulz

A Week Away

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Can you believe it’s only 7 days until Thanksgiving Day is here?  Where does the time go.  Weren’t we just passing out Halloween candy.  There’s a lot to get done before next Thursday, if you are in charge of the  meal planning for your family.  Have you already started your planning and preparing?

Guest listing – Are all your invites out there?

Menu planning – Are everyone’s favorites included?

Grocery listing – Did you check your spice cupboard?

Grocery shopping – Will you get the turkey you wanted?

Pumpkin pie baking??  – My oldest son has taken over this task.  I love it.

Turkey Thawing – What day does your turkey need to be in the fridge to be ready for baking?

Side Dishes – Have you delegated your side dishes out to family and friends?

Drinks – Did you give someone the task of bringing the wine?

This is probably one of my favorite holidays of the year to be with my family, and just eat, visit, and enjoy each other’s company.  No other commemorations or gifts are attached to this day, just counting your blessings and being thankful for the wonderful family members that gather around your table for an amazing meal.

I am in the midst of the planning for our meal for about 10 people this year.  I will be looking forward to letting you all know how our dinner turns out.  Let me know how the planning is going in your neck of the woods.

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