6 min read

Thanksgiving weekend & Christmas preparations

Hello! It's been awhile!

We're doing great, life has just been full and the times I felt like writing didn't necessarily align with available writing time, so here we are. Tuesdays are great for a number of reasons, one being the super yummy latte on the table next to me at Houndstooth, and another being that they usually allow for some time to write.

I worked on Thanksgiving, but since we discharged a fair number of patients, I was able to go home shortly after lunch! Leaving work early always feels like bonus time, and I tried to make the most of it. We had already celebrated an early Thanksgiving with my family up in MN, but I planned to make a nice meal for just me and Nicholas the day after Thanksgiving. I got to start that early! I came home and showered, and then took a two-hour(!) nap, and then got to work on our dinner.

Our Thanksgiving meal consisted of:

  • a baked ham (glazed in the last 15 minutes with honey only)
  • brussels sprouts with bacon (preheat oven to 450, quarter sprouts into bite-sized pieces, toss in avocado oil, s+p, & garlic powder and roast on a baking sheet for 25-35 minutes, depending on how crispy you like them) and add chopped, cooked bacon to the last 10 minutes of roasting to crisp it up again
  • Ina Garten's mashed potatoes (by far our new favorite mashed potatoes!)
  • cornbread/sausage/leek/pear stuffing. I make one batch of Summer Harms' cornbread with gf flour for the base for the stuffing
  • thefauxmartha's pumpkin pie filling (sweetened only with maple syrup), housed in this flakey(!) gluten-free crust, and baked according to The Faux Martha's baking instructions. I'm not a perfectionist in the kitchen, so the pie wasn't pristine, but it is so tasty.

I made the ham, potatoes, sprouts, and cornbread on Thursday after work, and then the stuffing and pie the following day. On Friday, we deep cleaned our home, from wiping down all the kitchen cabinets, to vacuuming and mopping, to scrubbing the oven (my most dreaded cleaning task). But we have a tradition of making sure the apartment is really clean before hauling out Christmas decorations. It feels like a really nice way to start the season, with giant cleaning tasks completed and set aside for some time.

On Saturday, we put up our tree. I'm the designated "tree fluffer," which I take great pride in, as you do with special celebratory annual tasks that have been assigned to you for years. And then I added bits and pieces of Christmas decorations here and there, on the TV stand, in our bedroom, snowflakes and cozy little things. And for us, cleaning and organizing usually breeds more cleaning and organizing. So once we started cleaning, then we dove into the black hole that is our closet.

We've always rented since we were first married (and before that, as students) so we're used to getting creative with small spaces. We live in a one-bedroom apartment, and the layout is great; it makes great use of our square footage. However, we have one small coat closet, and one large closet for clothing, but also all of our other belongings. I have fabric, craft supplies, we have his tool box, a sewing machine and a serger, a large Christmas tree, off-season rugs and duvets, extra throw pillows not in use, and a few table lamps, plus a million other things. There is technically room for all of that and our clothing, but we have to be diligent about what we keep/purge/how we organize.

Ultimately, we bought a new adjustable shelf for the living room, and moved a shorter shelf that was next to the kitchen table into the closet. Nicholas spent several hours on Sunday rearranging and doing more vacuuming while I was at work. And now! Our home feels more cozy than ever, and we love the less-cluttered look in the kitchen.

Okay, so now that you've read a boring novel about our home organizing, here is what else I've been up to:

  • finishing the last of the Christmas knitting (finally). The last project took me two months which might be a new record for a hat
  • eating leftovers (again and again)
  • pumpkin pie for breakfast
  • decaf coffee and a walk outside with my friend, Jessica and her little boy
  • slowly adding puzzle pieces to the 1500-piece world map puzzle on the kitchen table
  • organizing all the Christmas gifts we bought/sorting out what needs to be mailed, wrapped, etc.
  • getting rid of things in the closet that we don't need/won't use
  • bringing dinner (sloppy joe's and wavy chips and carrots and dip!) to our friends who just had a baby
  • realizing that 90%+ of veggie dips at the grocery store have MSG in them (what??) and buying a greek-yogurt one that's a bit cleaner
  • wearing slippers and hand-knit socks
  • getting my knitting mojo back
  • watching this knitting video podcast about knitting and mental health (and how certain projects helped her with depression and anxiety after a miscarriage/other hard things in her life. Those pieces are testaments to her healing). I could write multiple blog posts about this, but making isn't just a hobby for me, it truly enriches my life.
  • watching this series about knitting and Hyyge with a Norweigian knitter, since November is such a dark and dreary month for Scandinavia with ever-shorter days
  • knitting the heel flap on my "hayride socks"
  • feeling excited to sort through my making plans again, now that gift knitting is complete
  • making plans for fun Christmas breakfasts with gift exchanges
  • snacking on apple slices, bananas, multigrain cheerios, and grapes and cheese (preferably cheese and fruit together)
  • talking with Nicholas about our next date night. Burgers are my vote, Thai or asian food of some sort is his. The jury's still out.
  • reading A New Song by Jan Karon, and loving the character sketches, the humor, and the way I have to stop in my tracks and let some truth-in-the-story settle into my heart
  • hanging up my All Good Things Collective advent calendar to prepare for December first
  • enjoying crisp, sunny, cool, breezy weather (and fall color!) in Austin. So nice.
  • diffusing cedarwood and orange essential oils

And today has already been a full and fun day. I meal planned over breakfast, and then ran to the grocery store before we left to go downtown for his meeting. I ran a few errands and then found a comfy spot at Houndstooth to drink my latte and start this post while Nicholas finished up his meeting. Today, I'm going to do laundry and sock knitting and a bit of reading. All in the setting of a cozy Christmas tree, wearing me-mades, in the form of a  and my arctic cardigan, along with my two-toned Tread hat, which I wear all the time. And if I'm in the mood, I just might start a little Christmas wrapping, so that December's to-do list is a bit shorter. It's such a special time of anticipation, I love finishing as much as I can before December first so I can be more present all month long. But even if I don't get to the wrapping, this day is already a special, ordinary, joyful, regular day, for which there is so much to be thankful.


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