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We Are Hosting A Simple Thanksgiving Dinner. Probably.

by Alex Iwashyna

in Food (Looks Bad Tastes Good), Holidays

As I’ve mentioned as many times as possible in as many places as possible, we are hosting Thanksgiving for 10-15 people this year. YES WE ARE.

We are doing an open house, laid-back style Thanksgiving dinner at lunchtime so no one we know would be alone on Thanksgiving and our kids (and us) would be at our happiest instead of our most tired.

I’m planning a basic menu heavy on butter, turkey and potatoes and light on seating assignments, garnish and cleaning the upstairs. I also asked anyone who offered to bring dessert since my history with baked goods is mostly lumpy and gray.

I only made one request of my husband beyond moving a few things out of the hallway.


These are more Halloween mattresses.

Me requesting to Scott: Whittle me a butter turkey.

Scott: What?

Me: Make the butter look like a turkey.

butter looks like a turkey

There’s a non-whittling how-to to go with the photo by Foodista. I am not impressed.

Scott: NO. What happened to our simple Thanksgiving, Alex?

This Thanksgiving IS simple. Last time I hosted my son was 3 months old, and I baked bread in our dining room buffet and made butter like some sort of ritual blood-letting to prove my worth as a stay-at-home mom.

The man whittles wood for fun. He built me a porch swing as a birthday gift because I offhandedly mentioned I liked them. Granted, it tried to kill me right before a microbiology exam by flipping me over and into a rock, and I nearly failed the course. However, I’m sure a butter turkey would be less dangerous unless he used the same tools without washing them…

Of course, Scott and his brother are planning to deep fry the turkey, and the only craft my kids have shown any interest in is my digital Turkey hand so I’m pretty sure our Thanksgiving is going to be more ER than Martha Stewart anyway, and I mean ER literally.

Digital Turkey Hand

I don’t think I’m asking too much here when I request a little butter turkey to make me smile. But then it snowballs. The butter turkey google search leads to vegetable tray turkeys. A freader suggests my digital turkey hand would be a cute seating assignment, and I start to doubt my lack of seating assignments. Suddenly, I wonder if having the football game on will be such a good idea. I worry about not having the kids handprints as a darling centerpiece and I realize that we never ordered the cheese tray because I am too overwhelmed by the fancy french names to design my own. WHAT IS A THANKSGIVING DINNER WITHOUT A CHEESE TRAY?

I should’ve never flipped through that Better Homes and Garden because I just assumed my garden would be dead by now. Instead there’s an entire winter planter scene I’m supposed to be embracing. And Real Simple Magazine is only simple if you real lot of time on your hands. All I have a real lot of potatoes on my hands. CRAP.

So this might be my only post between now and Thanksgiving since I’m going to be very busy ignoring magazines and other blogs whiles cooking food and hiding clutter. (Seriously, I’m walking around with a laundry basket on Wednesday to fill with downstairs clutter and hiding it upstairs until everyone leaves.)

Plus, I’ve got butter to carve.

Happy Thanksgiving freaders! I’ll let you know how it goes.

This is how it all turned out: Thanksgiving Dinner: Even The Turkey Survived. Kinda.

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Chara November 19, 2012 1

Oooooh, I need a good chuckle this evening. So glad I turned to you. Hah! What are you thinking?! This was NOT the plan! :o) Can’t wait to hear how it went! Pray for my Lulu as Robby and I are sunning our turkeys in the Bahamas to cheer on VCU. Gobble! Gobble! (I am going to miss her. And I’m worried she will cry for me. Is it too late to back out?!)


Leigh Ann November 20, 2012 2

One thing you should know: everyone knows the laundry basket trick but it is still awesome. Although some houses I’ve been to must have really good hiding places for those baskets.

Two: stick with simple. You know that hoity toity stuff never goes the way it’s supposed to. In fact, I don’t think any thanksgivings do. Possibly related: steer clear if me after thanksgiving unless you want an earful.


@bluenotebacker November 20, 2012 3

Good luck and Happy Thanksgiving! Best laid plans, etc. etc. Simple is rarely easy when it comes to the holidays, as far as I’m concerned
@bluenotebacker recently posted..Slow News Day


Kimberly November 20, 2012 4

The garden is surely dead by now. I have proof. Actually mine died in August. Meh. They’re such wimps…not thriving without watering.
I give you giant kudos. I totally couldn’t do it. And my do it I mean dealing with family. Not the bird butter. Butter bird. Is that politically correct?
Kimberly recently posted..The Core


Jenni Chiu November 20, 2012 5

Just like that – BAM, your simple Thanksgiving turns into FULL ON Thanksgiving. I’m not gonna lie – I will be kind of disappointed if you tell us there was no butter turkey.
Jenni Chiu recently posted..It’s Possible That Breastfeeding Is Like Gay People Kissing On Days Of Our Lives.


Melonie November 20, 2012 6

Thanksgiving dinner without a cheese tray is…Thanksgiving dinner. Seriously. Who has a cheese tray with their Thanksgiving dinner? If you fill up with cheese and crackers, then you don’t have any room for the actual turkey and stuffing and taters and gravy. And green bean casserole. If it’s a choice between fancy cheese and green bean casserole, give me my soupy fried onion topped beans.
Melonie recently posted..How To Make Someone Eat Chicken Poop


Nicole November 20, 2012 7

Good luck, Alex! All I have to do is drop off my turkey tomorrow at the nearby elementary school and pick it up on Thursday morning. They do a fundraiser every year and cook the turkeys in a traditional imu, or underground oven. Sometimes living in Hawai’i is so freakin’ cool.

Then, we just head over to our friends’ house for the day. Did I mention they live right on the ocean? Total win for my Thanksgiving day.


Anne@AlwaysHalfFull November 20, 2012 8

Deep breaths. In, out, in, out. Laid back will serve you well. I’ve never been to a holiday meal with a seating chart – I might leave if I ever do.

However, I am with you on the turkey butter – because oh my gosh how perfectly Thanksgiving. Maybe make a deal, you will drop all the other ideas you suddenly came up with if he carves one for you. Scott, get on that. And do 2 for my Thanksgiving I’m hosting on Saturday – that gives you two extra days for two extra turkeys. I expect perfection!


k November 24, 2012 9

I recommend proof reading before you post and I am really thankful that you make money with such sloppy paragraphs and I don’t!


Alex Iwashyna November 24, 2012 10

I wrote this post very quickly so I’m sure it’s sloppier than my usual writing as I imagine my most recent post is as well. It’s not my norm if that makes you feel any better although there are bloggers who make way more money than me and are consistently terrible and bloggers who make no money who are stellar writers. Good luck.


Lily from It's A Dome Life December 1, 2012 11

Proof reading is not as important as connecting which Alex obviously does very well. We all make mistakes and have typos sometimes because we are not “just” writers. We are also parents, spouses, employees, home remodelers, fort builders, chauffeurs, care takers, chefs, volunteers, life coaches and friends. We have a lot on our plate. We have lives. We are busy. We are human.

I don’t make money on my blog, but I am thankful Alex does. First of all, it gives me hope that if I keep working hard I might make money too eventually. Second of all, she works really hard, she writes really well and she is an amazing person. She helps people ALL THE TIME. Scroll through her posts and see for yourself. I mean, she has gotten diapers and food to people in need.

I don’t think it is fair to put her down for being successful. It’s not her fault you aren’t making money on your blog. Your success or failure depends on you, not on anybody else.


Lily from It's A Dome Life December 1, 2012 12

Hilarious! I feel the same way about every holiday and those magazines are such a trap to lure you away from sanity. That comment about Real Simple cracked me up because I feel the same way. Also, Martha Stewarts Magazine is written for people who are geniuses in party planning. I just stare at the pictures and embrace my inadequacy. Hope you got your butter turkey in the end!


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