A White Thanksgiving

Since we officially celebrated Thanksgiving last week, we spent Thanksgiving Day differently this year. I started off by sleeping in until 7:30! Daniel got up with Kya and let me sleep. She is an early riser (usually between 5:00-5:30, sometimes 6:00) so 7:30 feels great. We then got ready and headed to the center of downtown SLC to fill our bellies with brunch at the Oasis Cafe. I highly recommend it! It’s a pleasant environment with great food and large portions!

Then we headed to Park City. The historic downtown area is about 40 minutes from SLC. Not much was open, but we had fun driving through the snow and looking at the beautiful mountains. We stopped along the side of the road to take a photo for our Christmas cards. I brought my tripod for this purpose but realized once we were getting set up that I was missing the little piece that attaches the camera to the tripod. We improvised and I carefully placed my camera on a wide, metal pole on a sidewalk while we took a few steps into a flat area surrounded by snow-laden trees.  Kya wasn’t very happy with the snow or the cold. We didn’t realize how chilly it would be in the middle of the day. It was 25 degrees in the early afternoon! We froze our tails off snagging a few photos then loaded back into the car to see if we could find an open coffee shop for a warm beverage. Thankfully, Park City’s Starbucks was open and bustling with people who needed relief from the cold. We ordered a venti Chai Tea Latte to share and got Kya her first cake pop. She was a huge fan! Who wouldn’t be?! We warmed up then headed back home.

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After arriving home, I decided to get Kya suited up in her puffy snow gear and boots. We went outside for a few minutes to see how she would react to the snow. She was not too excited about playing, but she did eat some snow. We ate leftovers for dinner, put Kya to bed, and watched a cheesy Hallmark Christmas movie. Our Thanksgiving was so different, but very fun and relaxing!

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Our Thanksgiving Menu

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We celebrated Thanksgiving one week early this year. My parents were in town from the east coast so we thought we would do our full Thanksgiving meal while they were here! We are not exactly sure what we’ll do on Thanksgiving Day but we’re looking into a day trip of some sort. As much fun and as delicious as Thanksgiving dinner was, I don’t want to prepare it twice in one week’s time. 🙂 We’re changing things up this year!

Having our meal prepared early allows me to share the recipes I used with you all before it’s time for you to finalize those Thanksgiving grocery lists!

THANKSGIVING MENU


Sage + Butter Roasted Turkey w/Gravy

I shared this turkey recipe previously on my blog, so you might recognize it. My brother taught me this method over FaceTime a couple years ago. I wrote everything down right away and recorded it on my blog so I would never forget the details! Several friends have since followed this method and love it as much as we do! It takes a little planning (because a brine is involved) but it’s not difficult! You won’t be disappointed!

Sweet Potato Casserole

I used Joanna Gaines’ sweet potato casserole recipe from issue 1 of The Magnolia Journal. If you don’t own a copy, go find one! They are available at a variety of retailers. I wanted a copy the week it came out and had to visit four stores to find one because they were flying off the shelves so fast! I’m sure by now newsstands are well stocked. I know for a fact that Barnes and Noble and Walmart sell the magazine. It’s a gorgeous publication and totally worth the $8.00. My mom purchased a 2017 subscription for me and I can’t wait for the next issue!

Ok, back to the casserole. The most genius part of this take on sweet potato casserole is the cinnamon graham cracker/marshmallow topping. Oh man. So good! The only changes I would make to the recipe are these: Instead of using a potato masher, use a hand mixer. It makes the potatoes more creamy. Also, I like my sweet potato casseroles really sweet. This recipe didn’t call for brown sugar. I would stir some in along with the other mix-ins and maybe even sprinkle a bit on top before baking. Mmmm.

Green Bean Casserole 

I also followed Joanna Gaines’ green bean casserole recipe from Magnolia Journal. I have previously used a Cook’s Illustrated recipe that I love, but thought I’d try something new. This one is more involved than a standard throw-together green bean casserole, but not too hard if you’re comfortable in the kitchen. It’s a from-scratch recipe meaning you will use fresh beans, make your own mushroom cream sauce, and even fry up your own crunchy onion topping! It’s so worth the extra effort!

Macaroni + Cheese 

This recipe came from my cousin. My mom got the recipe from her at Thanksgiving dinner one year and then shared it with me. I absolutely love it and it’s incredibly easy! I’ve tweaked the recipe a little bit to make it my own. I make it all year around!

2 cups cavatappi noodles (you can also use traditional macaroni noodles but I’m a huge fan of cavatappi!)

4 eggs, beaten

3 1/2 cups milk

1 tsp. salt

black pepper, to taste

4 cups freshly grated cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook noodles in salted water for 10 minutes. Drain cooked noodles. Beat together eggs, milk, salt, and pepper. Pour half of the noodles into a greased 9 x 13 dish and add half of the cheese. Repeat layers. Pour milk/egg mixture over the layers. Bake for approximately 40 minutes or until the eggs are fully set.

Dinner Rolls

I didn’t go fancy this time. Daniel picked up rolls from the store on the way home from work. 🙂 But I do love a good homemade roll. I would love to know your favorite bread machine roll recipe!

Cranberry Sauce

Again, not complicated. I reached for the Ocean Spray whole cranberry version. 🙂

Pie (OF COURSE!)

Everyone has his or her favorite Thanksgiving pie recipes that shouldn’t be messed with! This year, my mom made a homemade pumpkin pie. It was delicious! But one of my all-time favorite pie recipes is my mom’s Sour Cream Apple Pie. It’s so easy. You can even cheat and use a frozen pie crust if you want to (shhh, I won’t tell)!


Maybe one of more of these recipe ideas will help as you plan your Thanksgiving meal! They’re all great, but if I could recommend just one it would be the turkey! BEST. TURKEY. EVER.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Kya – Eighteen Months

I think the 18-month mark is a good time for another update on Kya – how she is growing, learning, and changing. Kya is just getting over some sickness. I hope she’ll stay healthy for at least a little while. She had the stomach bug last week and hand, foot, and mouth this week along with 48 hours of a high fever. She was absolutely miserable in between doses of Motrin. But today she woke up cool as a cucumber and much happier! It’s a blessing to see her playing and eating like her normal self.

Kya continues to amaze us with her verbal skills. She is an excellent communicator for her age and is quite advanced in her vocabulary. She talks up a storm and is using two and three-word sentences. She copies everything we say. A little parrot! I’m constantly floored by how fast she learns new words and concepts. She can recite nearly the entire alphabet on her own and knows numbers 1-10. She loves to read and will finish sentences of familiar books. She loves to watch a few cartoons – Curious George, Caillou, and Daniel Tiger. George is definitely her favorite. This past week, she woke up for the day and instead of crying, “mommy” like normal she said “oooh oooh, aaah aaah” like George. Hilarious! We have started working on a few Bible verses. She can copy what we say but doesn’t say them on her own. We’ve been learning “children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right.” She says “Ephesians” almost perfectly. Such a funny little voice!

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Kya sleeps 10-11 hours a night and takes one (1.5-hour) nap. She goes to bed at 7:00 and wakes sometime between 5:00-6:00. Yes, so early! The daylight savings time change may have something to do with it, but she frequently woke that early before so who knows. I’m hoping she’ll transition to a later waking time again. For now, I’m trying to make the most of it. It does help us get up and get going. I go to bed at 9:30 so even when she wakes super early, I’m still getting decent sleep.

Kya has never been a huge eater and that’s still true to this day. She eats small portions but wants to eat many times throughout the day. We do small meals and lots of snacks. Her favorite foods are yogurt, any fruit (including smoothies), cheese, olives, spaghetti (she calls it “masketi”), deli meat, and goldfish. Typical toddler. She’s not a big veggie lover but we still manage to sneak them in here and there. She typically eats what we eat with the exception of spicy foods.

Kya is very particular with certain things (she comes by it honestly). She can’t stand a messy face or messy hands. She finds little pieces of dirt or trash on the floor (or wherever we are) and brings them to me and tells me “trash”. It gets gross if we’re in public! She is starting to be helpful around the house to a small extent. She loves to put her clothes in the hamper, throw away her diapers, and “helps” me clean and cook. She notices when things are out of place and will ask me to put them back. Like mother like daughter. 🙂 She is also starting to have occasional opinions about what she wears. Every day she requests jeans, fuzzy boots, a fuzzy jacket, and a black bow. The way she says “fuzzy” cracks me up! Of course, mommy usually still gets the final say in her outfit choice, but sometimes I let her choose.

It’s fun to watch Kya pretend play more. I’ll often find her toys set up in some semi-organized way and she’ll be talking to her dolls or stuffed animals, telling them what to do. I can’t always make out what she’s saying but just the fact that she’s pretending gets me chuckling. By now, Kya is very used to the camera (since I’m always taking her photo) and she has started to pose for me. It’s ADORABLE. She loves picture time and knows exactly what to do. Little diva!

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Kya is a very well-mannered little girl for the most part. She definitely has tantrums but they are not too frequent at this point. I know I’m in for it as she gets closer to two though! She says “thank you” and “I love you” on her own now without prompting and it melts my heart every time. She seems to have a sensitive spirit which it has been such a joy and blessing to us. She definitely gets that from Daniel, not me! 🙂 She is extremely affectionate, especially toward daddy. She realizes that he is gone a lot and gets frantically excited when he comes home each day and then seems pleasantly surprised to see him home when she wakes on Saturday and Sunday. On weekdays, he leaves before she wakes, so weekend mornings are extra special for us!

These last six months have definitely stretched me as a mom and wife, getting used to a new schedule and an entirely new life. I am learning how to deal with toddler-ness and big messes and sickness and whining and last-minute change of plans. It’s all so good for me and has loosened me up a bit. I’m thankful to see the grace of Jesus at work in me, changing me one step at a time. The work of motherhood is an incredibly sanctifying process and I want to better learn how to welcome the challenges as well as the blessings.

Podcast Favorites

Over the last several months, I have become a huge fan of podcasts. Of course, they’re nothing new and I’ve listened to various shows over the years but I’m becoming a religious listener to several specific ones. My infatuation began when we were packing to move from Oregon to Utah. I started packing up our home in early August, right after we put our home on the market. I did what I could at that early stage, packing away things I knew we wouldn’t need. Packing and organizing is something I enjoy anyways, but the further and further I got into it, the less and less fun it became. I needed something to draw me to packing – to help me look forward to the process each day. That’s where podcasts came in. They helped pass the time by engaging my mind as I worked. I also love a good podcast recommendation so I wanted to return the favor and share what I’m currently listening to!

Risen Motherhood

If you follow me on Instagram, you already know that I’m a huge fan of Risen Motherhood. They have a website and a podcast that focuses on how the gospel influences motherhood. They have a very helpful resource list that you’ll want to check out!

Coffee + Crumbs

This was probably the very first podcast that I consistently followed. They talk about a variety of topics related to motherhood. They also frequently post beautiful written pieces on their website. Check out both!

Gospel Grace Church

This is our church’s sermon podcast. I started listening to this podcast prior to moving to Utah. Now I’m personally present for most sermons, but if I miss one I can access it on iTunes. Our pastors are currently teaching through the book of James. Can’t recommend this one enough!

The Girl Next Door Podcast

This podcast is hosted by two fun-loving moms. They discuss a wide smattering of topics – all over the map, really. But that’s what makes it fun! I find myself listening to them a lot while doing dishes or driving around on errands.

Chris Loves Julia

If you’re into home design, this podcast is for you! Chris and Julia Marcum, along with their good friend, host a podcast about home design. This might be the most entertaining podcast I listen to. They are absolutely hilarious! They also run a gorgeous website. We will definitely be consulting their site when it comes time for us to fix up a house!

Young House Love Has a Podcast

I’ve followed John and Sherry Petersik off and on for years. They recently started a podcast and it is awesome! They’re super fun and spunky and they give a lot of very practical advice about home design. They have a beautiful website, a few books (which are on my Christmas wish list), and a line of gorgeous products, including some pretty stellar light fixtures!


So while you’re busy doing what you do, have a listen!

I would love to hear what you’re listening to!