Oh ... Really?

What a difference a year makes

I come from a rather small family. Growing up, it was my parents, my brother and me. Both of my parents were only-children, and their cousins, while numerous, were hundreds of miles away. The biggest gathering we had was with both sets of grandparents, for a grand total of 8 people for the holiday. Even after I had three children, my side of the family was still small and close-knit. Last year, it was two of my three kids, my parents and me ... 5 people, at Thanksgiving and Christmas, as it has been for years. This year, it is different. A LOT different.

I have joined up with a very large family. A HUGE family. So big, we are having two Thanksgiving dinners. Rich has 6 kids, plus a new daughter-in-law, plus my 3 makes 10. His sister and her husband have 5. His brother, the slacker, only has 1, but his Ex is still part of the family and has another son. Some of the kids have significant others, plus two babies. Then there's a couple of friends that are like family ... and I lost count of kids around 20. Then the 8 in our generation - Rich and me, his sister and her husband, his brother and his girlfriend, and two Ex wives. Rounding out this crowd are Rich's mother and my parents. Hmm ... 30-something-ish is the total crowd count. And I will be cooking for nearly all of them. With some help, of course. Being the geek that I am, I made a planner in an Excel spreadsheet, complete with a menu, recipes, shopping lists, Gannt timelines and then I shared it online with the family to coordinate this feast.

The feast itself will consist of two turkeys - one roasted and one fried, and a ham. Plus at least 6 veggie casseroles - broccoli, green bean, sweet potato; potatoes done two or three ways; two kinds of stuffing; gravy by the gallon; bread and rolls; overnight fruit salad; cranberry-pear relish; deviled eggs; caramel apple, pumpkin and pecan pies, raw apple cake, pumpkin gooey cake, and homemade ice cream.

Are ya hungry yet?

Being a foodie thoroughly addicted to the Food Network, I got most of my recipes from there, and quite accidentally, came up with an apple themed menu - at least for the parts that I am making - Brined Roast Turkey, Apple Sourdough Bread Stuffing, Apple Cider Gravy with Giblets, and Raw Apple Cake. Yum. Mee!

I can hardly wait. I love to cook, and I love having a big family to cook for. I could possibly achieve nirvana if the kids would clean up after me. Heh ...

Then comes the rest of the holiday season, and this year I am STOKED and ready for the Christmas spirit. We have already been up to The Christmas Place in Pigeon Forge to look at decorations, then wandered around Gatlinburg one chilly evening. We even found our first Christmas gift. Can't say what it is or who it is for, because they read this site! (Neener!) Later we are going to try to catch A Smoky Mountain Christmas at Dollywood and the annual Christmas Craft Show in Gatlinburg, and the Fantasy of Trees in Knoxville. I am hoping we can get to the Clayton Holiday Concert at the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, but that's the same weekend as the Tran-Siberian Orchestra concert, and we already have tickets for that. Somewhere in there, we are going to decorate the house with TWO trees and most of our combined accumulation of Christmas decorations, and plan our Christmas feast.

Whew! I'm getting tired just thinking about all that.

I really want this Christmas to be extra special because this is our first as a combined family, but I am well-aware that the harder one tries to have a good Christmas, the more screwed up it all gets. So, I am going to take it as it comes, and mostly, focus on the Reason for the Season.

But oh, I have a sudden craving for peppermint ice cream!

Posted by LissaKay on 11/17/08 at 11:26 PM in Holidays
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