Monday, December 1, 2008

So, What Did YOU Do for the Holiday?

(Editor's Note: Please note the new header for December. Please also note that it no longer hangs out to the side of the box on the right. It only took me three months to figure this out, but by golly, I've got it now! Thank you. Now on with today's post, and Happy December!)

We had a fairly traditional holiday with S's family. We went over to his parent's house for the Thanksgiving meal.

There was turkey. This year - smoked.

And green bean casserole.

When I was in grad school, one year, one of my study group members, Henry from Shanghai, came with us to S's parents for Thanksgiving dinner. His favorite traditional American food at that gathering was, well, the green bean casserole. He wanted the recipe. And, then wanted to know if you could make it in the microwave. Henry, I SO hope that you're making green bean casserole in Shanghai. Go cross-cultural eating!

There was sweet potato souffle.

And my absolute favorite thing - DRESSING.

Gravy was on hand, for those of you who are into that sort of thing.
I'm not a gravy girl.

And, there was cranberry dressing.

Or, as they are called in this family, BEETS. Once, when S was in grade school, his mom forgot the can of cranberries. So, his dad and he were sent to the store to pick up a can. His dad sent him inside the store with the money to grab the needed item. Well, instead of cranberries, he bought a can of beets. The labels do look similar, especially to a grade-school aged boy who eats neither. So, to this day, every year, S is reminded of this bit of family holiday lore. We pass the beets.

Of course there was also butter.
I know how you like to view the butter.

And I made a dessert - pumpkin.

It's yummy if I do say so myself. There was also a tasty macadamia nut pie. Think pecan pie, substitute the nut.

Alexandra, jazzed up to sit down and eat.

OK, not really. She's too young to be too into Thanksgiving yet. But one day, little girl, you're going to look forward to this feast just like the rest of us.

This photo is also a good reminder that AMATEUR is an important word in this here blog title, not that you don't get reminders of this every day. I had been out shooting photos the night before at dusk. (I'll post them later this week.) While doing so, I fussed with the settings on my camera, trying this and that in the low light. A professional would remember to restore settings before shooting a new subject. I did not, however, so the first few shots I took at this gathering were dark and grainy. In perfect light. Because I had my settings all wonky. Oh well. It's touch and go here at ATE UP AMATEUR, and here's one reason why. I'm sure you can readily tick off several others. So, I'll let you do that on your own in your own pretty little head. Back to the festivities.

Here is my plate of food. Notice the double helping of dressing.

Cheryl opening birthday cards.

It was also, as I mentioned last week, Cheryl's birthday on Thanksgiving. So, she opened cards and presents after dinner. Then, as is the custom at the in-laws, she passed the cards around so everyone could laugh. Funny cards are a regular thing at birthdays around these parts. My family, on the other hand, since we're the sentimental type, try to make each other cry. Yep - we try to find the tear jerker card at the store and hope for the water works. No need to write in and tell me my family needs therapy for trying to make each other cry. It's just how we hang. It's OK - we're down with it.

S enjoying the birthday card.

And Michael and Brooke...

...and Sam.

After dinner, at the in-laws, it was time to take in some football. A very important tradition. In Dallas, people have dinner either before or after the Cowboys play. The Cowboys play every year on Thanksgiving. This year, they won. I might have to take back what I said about the season being over - they're showing signs of life the past few weeks...but I won't hold my breath.

S played with Alexandra...

...and ate his weight in cereal mix.

Sam watched the game very carefully from behind his eyelids.
That darned tryptophan!

And, at some point, we all went outside for some family photos. This is also a family tradition.

Brooke and Michael

Kim and Alexandra, before the family shot.

Kim, Alexandra and Mark

The whole family.

We rigged my camera on a ladder and used the timer for this one. Aren't we clever? And, S had a hard time being seen over all of my hair. I guess Texas is rubbing off on my after all these years.

After these photos were taken, we did very little for the rest of the weekend that bears mentioning. After weeks and weeks of chock-full weekends, this was a welcome change, arriving just before the onslaught of holiday madness that is December. Ours was a nice holiday, and for that, I am very thankful.

What did you do for the holiday? I hope, whatever it was, it was happy.

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