Thanksgiving Home Tour: Prepping for the Feast

Happy November! I’m eagerly anticipating the arrival of my kids for Thanksgiving, so I’m beginning now:  planning what I can prepare ahead of time. As much as I love my kitchen, my goal is always to avoid being imprisoned in it when my kids are here.

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The hub of activity when everyone arrives. I’m so grateful we remodeled this space and enlarged it for our growing, now 22, crew of grand kids.

So far I have made and frozen a double batch of spice cookies from Betty Crocker’s 1939 cookbook, three batches of my grandmother’s cornbread dressing and the gravy that goes with it, a double recipe of our not-to-be-missed cheese grits, and a double batch of meatballs and gravy to be served over rice on Saturday night when all the leftovers are gone. I still have more kitchen duty for pies, breakfast casseroles, and a few other make-ahead items.

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My father was half Norwegian and half Swedish. Dried fruit dishes were a staple in those long northern winters, including raisin pie. Years ago I began making this pie for my dad every Thanksgiving even though only three of us liked it. He’s in heaven now, but I’ll still make his favorite in his memory and honor. And maybe I can teach one of the grands to like it and carry on the Scandinavian tradition!

I took a break from the kitchen to wash all the sheets to get the bedrooms (and bathrooms) ready. I’m assigning the boys to the bunk beds, two kids per bed. The girls and babies will be elsewhere with parents and in pack ‘n plays.

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With a sleeping bag on the floor and the pack ‘n play in the corner, this tiny bedroom of ours will be crowded with one of our kids’ family. They will need every inch of space for luggage and diapers, so I’ve tied the chalkboard on the bed for another little welcome hug after they trudge up the stairs with all their gear.

It also seemed time to add leaves to the table, the tablecloth, and candles. Of course we won’t all fit here, but it’s fun to get it prepped to signify the specialness of the season.

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My friend Carrie gets the credit for this tablescape. She created something similar for our first photo shoot three years ago, and I recreated it for this year’s Thanksgiving. Lots of white pumpkins in varying sizes hold this together. The other things I pulled from rooms around my house.

Knowing the arrival of my family will mean much trekking between cars and house with all the necessary gear for the kids, I raked mountains of leaves from the driveway and sidewalks to get the entryway ready.

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Found this metal lamp stand and discovered it makes a great holder for our In This Home chalkboard to spruce up my hodge podge front porch.

If it’s raining or wet, my hope is no one will slip on my sloping driveway and crash, and that a minimum number of leaves will cross the threshold and into the house. It’s worth trying, I guess.

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Because I tend to be cheap I have bought twos of several kinds of artificial pumpkins over the years. Not enough of any one color to make a statement, so I tried using them all here and I think it works. Our delicate maple leaf paper wreath, Leave Him Thanks, hangs on my mirror. With the Christmas names of Jesus tucked into its leaves it has remained a beautiful statement of His Reigning presence in our home all year long.

Thanksgiving week will soon arrive. Quite honestly, as in years past, I expect my emotions will be all over the map this month. I am thrilled that they are all coming and honored that they want to come home. I’m excited about the scavenger hunt we’ve planned for the kids. But I’ve also felt moments of anxiety knowing that the high point of our annual celebration—the sharing of what we are thankful for—will be mildly-controlled chaos with many  young children and 10 adults.

As I genuinely look forward to the soon-coming arrivals, I have determined to open my hands to my Father and give all my plans and preparations to Him. Yes, I want my children to enjoy every minute of our time together, but more than that I want my Father to be pleased with me, His child in His presence. And I will chose to give thanks each day for what He brings whether it is according to my plans and hopes or something unexpected. He is sufficient and if I let Him He will strengthen me for the challenges. Thanksgiving is about giving thanks, and I choose to be found a grateful woman. As I open my arms to receive the first of my returning children, I will also welcome what they bring to the dynamics of our ever-changing family.

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Even though I can’t sing, I love hymns and songs of praise. I’ve collected about two dozen old hymn books at flea markets, which line a shelf in my living room. A few of the smaller ones missing pages or covers can be folded inside out (with a favorite hymn in view), tied with a string or ribbon and adorned with one of Jesus names is a beautiful statement of faith in any location in my home or yours.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this sneak peek into my home. If you like what you’ve seen here, I would love for you to check out eth.wpengine.com and prepare your home to bring Him thanks and praise this holiday season. {Pictured above: Adorenaments, In This Home ChalkboardLeave Him Thanks Wreath, Untie Your Story. More here: eth.wpengine.com/thanksgiving.}

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9 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Home Tour: Prepping for the Feast”

  1. Barbara,
    I love your decorating style. I have enjoyed Ever Thine Home since the very beginning… and have filled our home with as much of the beautiful items that I could. They have helped me to beautifully demonstrate the things that are really important in life… God, Faith, Family… THANK YOU !
    Now this is a specific question about the beautiful, mostly white/ivory backdrop of many of the pictured walls of your home : Do you happen to know the color/manufacturer of the paint? I know whites can be tricky (!)

  2. I love it! I want to be grafted into your family.? & spend Thanksgiving with ya’ll. You’re children are so blessed to have you. (that’s it, we are driving over from Florida).

  3. Luzviminda Cerezo

    Thank you so much for sharing and giving us great ideas on how to decorate and what to consider when entertaining guests. I pray for God’s continued blessing on your ministry!

  4. Thank you so much for sharing. It warmed my heart to see your ideas and encourages me to get ready for this time of year. It’s a beautiful family feel:)

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