Our First Ever Hosted Thanksgiving!

Hi, Everyone!!! Happy Sunday to youu! Currently it’s Saturday night, we’ve got some Elton John playing, and DJ is working on a graphic for work! It’s a goooood night. Time to recap Thanksgiving week!

Monday the 19th I ran on the tready while doing a bunch of reading for school. Then I headed over to Peet’s, chatted with my favorite barista, Connie, and then get started on listening to lectures.

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After studying up, I did the big ole’ trip to Safeway for alllllz the Thanksgiving goodies. I haven’t shopped at Safeway in forever since discovering TJ’s, but there were a few items I wasn’t sure TJ’s would have, so I just did my whole trip there using my Safeway account. I hardcore lallygag when I grocery shop. I love grocery shopping. I look forward to it during my week, and truly get lost in the aisles while listening to my podcast. Anyone else see grocery shopping as the equivalent of going to the park?

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I went to Peet’s again on Tuesday the 20th, and witnessed the most horrendous parking job of all time. It’s super hard to find a good parking spot in this lot- so I was a bit miffed. I truly don’t know why I’m sharing this- but it’s cathartic- so here we are.

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I whipped out my major assignment for the week and wrapped up my discussion boards, so I could focus on Thanksgiving activities the rest of the week!

For starters, Wednesday November 21st I designated as a full on prep/clean/cook day. I relish in days like this. They make me so happy. Also, for the first time in a long time it was raining!! You can hear my reaction in a tragic run-on sentence. tehehe.

This was much needed after the fires and totally purified the air. I will never take for granted fresh luxurious air again! My runs outside since have been filled with the smell of pine and a crispness. Anyways- first, I picked up few last minute items I forgot in my first trip (did you actually host a thanksgiving without multiple trips last minute to the store?). Once home, I grabbed some tea to warm me from the chill outside (I already had hit my coffee limit for the day), listened to Up and Vanished and cooked my heart out! (Also DJ had the day off, which added an element of warmth to the apartment just having him there).

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Now, I am a bit mischievous, I must say. I secretly made a couple vegan dishes- and only waited till after they were confirmed delicious before divulging that they were in fact vegan 😉

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First up- vegan cauli. mashed taters!!! I also made regular mashed potatoes the day of, but I didn’t get pictures. So for these ones, ya just boil your cauli, put in a food processor with butter, salt, and pepper, and then you are good to go! I loveee them, especially with a little gravy on top!

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Next up- my vegan stuffed acorn squash! This was my “main course” for the big day. I was going to use the chicken I discovered at TJ’s, but was craving these even bit more.

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Next- pumpkin hummus ! Mmmm mmm so good! I served it with the pumpkin cranberry crisps from TJ’s. Golden combo (and of course I had to taste test the day before 😉 ).

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Nowwww- some vegan sweet potato casserole!!!

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I waited until actual Thanksgiving day to top with mallows to make sure the mallows wouldn’t get stale overnight or overcook.

Oh, and is it actually thanksgiving without green bean casserole?! This has traditionally been one of my favorite dishes (although this year I think I even liked the sweet potato casserole more!). I used this vegan recipe from Delish. I will say it does need a dash of salt at the end to top it off- but besides that it was scrumptious!

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And totalllly not vegan, but totally necessary- mac and cheeeeeeseeee!

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DJ rated this a “10” and said it was the best mac and cheese he has ever had. (He doesn’t blow smoke either- always gives it to me straight!). He even said it was better than Homeroom’s *gasp*. I mean it was great, but I don’t know if I’d go that far….

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And the last thing I made that day was DJ’s requested dirt. I love/hate when he requests it because the stuff is so darn addictive!

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I don’t have a rolling pin to crush the Oreos, so I use a wine bottle lol. Works like a champ.

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I also de-grouted my kitchen floors. They needed it badly!

Before

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After- Not perfect- but much better!

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Ready to go 🙂

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I topped off the evening with my usual nightly ice cream cone (I just rotate through flavors year round- currently we are on a chocolate brownie kick, and always have to add the cashews).

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Thanksgiving morning I had a stellar 15-mile run in the clear air under beautiful blue skies.

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I returned home around 11 am and then got started on the Turkey. My mom was a lifesaver answering my questions over the phone about the giblets and whatever-the-heck else I didn’t understand for my first turkey roast haha.

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And now for the final spread left to right: roasted multicolor honey herbed carrots/corn muffins/green bean casserole/croissants/regular hummus, grape, and pecan pumpkin butter, pumpkin hummus/turkey with stuffing/stuffed acorn squash/mac and cheese/mashed potatoes (vegan & regular)/sweet potato casserole/apple pie (Amy’s homemade!)/pumpkin pie/deviled eggs!

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Amy and her boyfriend joined us for the feast!! (Yes, that was only for only four people, haha). If you want leftovers please stop by because we have sooo much.

Unfortunately, I did make one boo boo. I forgot to take the chilled cranberry sauce out of the fridge. How do you forget the cranberry sauce??!!?!

After stuffing ourselves to the brim, we played the first season of Hunt a Killer. It’s a detective subscription box where you try to solve a murder (Amy and I are total true crime junkies). We actually solved it fairly quickly with four minds working together.

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After, we played Office trivia while eating Amy’s amazing apple pie and then they headed back to the city.

Ah, so much to be thankful for. God is so darn good. I think where I was mentally & emotionally this time last year, and it’s amazing to see all the goooood that has happened since. Even though we missed a big part of our family this year, I was reminded just how grateful I am for them and the small blessings of each day. Love to you all.

Questions for you: 

  • I gotta know- favorite Thanksgiving dish?

xo <3

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92 thoughts on “Our First Ever Hosted Thanksgiving!

  1. Congrats on cooking your first Thanksgiving meal – it looks wonderful! I don’t know what you are going to school for but if it’s not culinary arts you may have missed your calling. 🙂

    1. Oh my goodness, Ruth!!! Thank you so much- this is the sweetest comment <3 I always tell people that telling me my cooking is good is the greatest compliment you can give! Thanks for making my day :) PS. I am going to school to be a Family Nurse Practitioner, but you bet I'll always be keeping up a culinary hobby on the side :)

    1. Awww that makes me feel better that I wasn’t alone 🙂 Thanks, Kathy & thanks for stopping by! I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving yourself! <3

    1. Aw, thanks, Kristin!! No, no we live in the same apartment- sometimes I use “house or home” without realizing it, so sorry if that was confusing haha. Probably won’t try to buy a home until we are out of CA.. it’s just way too pricy here! Thanks for the sweet words- hope you had a nice holiday- do you still celebrate Thanksgiving in BA?

      1. Oh I thought I saw a new neighborhood and dining room but who knows hahaha! I didn’t celebrate because I was here. But I was admiring everyone’s goodies (including yours) from afar!

    1. Thank you, Sapphire!! <3

      Yess! Some good mashed potatoes are hard to beat. Do you like gravy on them or not? My husband and I were having this debate a couple days ago hahha.

      1. Haha- you are with my husband! I love gravy on all things, BUT I do understand liking them on their own- just enjoying the buttery/salty goodness!!

  2. Your dinner looks very impressive, Mack! What does the dirt have in it aside from Oreo’s? Is it pudding? I would like to try making this. OMG, the cranberry sauce! Lol. Did you make it too or was it the canned one? I like the one in a can. Lol. Ugh, I have so many Thanksgiving favorites! I love turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, desserts. Lol. Me and my boyfriend made apple pies. It was my mom’s birthday on Thanksgiving so I made her a tres leches (three milks) cake. It came out pretty good.

    1. Thanks, Lisa! 🙂

      So dirt is made of chocolate pudding, butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and cool whip!! It is soooo good. The link wasn’t working for the recipe, but maybe in my next post I can share the screen shots of the directions. It’s super easy!

      The cranberry sauce was canned!! Thankfully haha- I agree- there is just something about the good ole’ canned cranberry sauce!

      I’m with you- I don’t think I’ve met a thanksgiving dish I don’t like. It’s all so scrumptious and goes together so well!

      Oooo yum!!!! Nothin’ quite like homemade apple pie! The tres leches cake sounds divine too. Glad you had a nice thanksgiving 🙂 Happy Birthday to your mom!!

    1. Thank you so much, Nancy 🙂 Hehe- any chance to support our home teams, especially on National Football Day (aka Thanksgiving) 😉 I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving too!

  3. Your Thanksgiving dinner looked so delicious and we got to see the videos on the prep, the finished result and all that was missing was the great smell – work on that for next year okay? 🙂

  4. You had quite the spread!! I used to enjoy grocery shopping in college since I could go at random times and it wouldn’t be crowded. Since I have a real job now I have to go on weekends and try to get in and out as fast as possible haha. What do you think of season 2 of Up & Vanished?! I can’t tell which season I like better but I kind of feel like season 2 will end and nothing will really change with the case.

    I’ve heard of Hunt A Killer many times but never knew anyone who got it. What did you think??

    Also I think pumpkin pie is my favorite Thanksgiving dessert. This year my Dad made a new cranberry sauce recipe that was to die for so it might creep up.

    1. Hi, Maureen! Oohh girl, I feel you! You know how people (including myself) get road rage? Well I also get grocery store rage – like too many carts, too many people- ahhh makes me wanna pull my hair out!

      So Hunt a Killer- it’s really REALLY hard. Some things are almost too convoluted. And then you can’t solve one box at a time, it’s an ongoing story- so you basically have to get a few for it to be worth it (which is weird for a subscription box, right?!). I don’t think I’d recommend it. It was fun for sure, but just so confusing.

      Yesss- you cannot go wrong with pumpkin pie. I think I’d have to agree! Ooo I don’t know that I’ve ever had homemade cranberry sauce, but that sounds terrific!

      1. Yep I’m a frequent road ragers and grocery store rager haha. I think it’s because I’m not a fan of people that don’t use common sense. The worst thing is a grocery store is when there’s a clear flow of carts and someone tries to go the wrong way. So frustrating!

        Good to know! I was considering getting it for my sister as a gift since she loves Criminal Minds. From the ads I’ve heard, I think the point of the box is to make you feel like you’re a detective solving the case so like in a real investigation you don’t get everything at once. It would be nice if they sold some one time boxes though so you could get them randomly.

        It was so good! Apparently it was really easy too. My Dad said it was cranberries, sugar and bourbon. He did say “I went light on the sugar and heavy on the bourbon” but you couldn’t taste the bourbon which was amazing. Mix the ingredients, put in the oven for an hour and stir a few times. I’m already considering making it for Thanksgiving next year with Alex’s family.

      2. Hah, so glad I’m not alone in that!!! And I agree — the lack of common sense in public places like the grocery store is truly astounding. And the lack of self awareness!

        Yesss I agree- it can be pricy added up over time and you want the fulfillment of actually completing the puzzle ya know? they should have an option or something to do a one time mystery you can solve to try it out!

        Ohh yum! that recipe sounds amazing!! Thank you so much for sharing!! Have a great rest of the week, Maureen 🙂

  5. A) you look WAY cuter than me when you’re getting ready to tackle a massive from scratch meal! B) I want allllll of your food! It looks and sounds so so delicious! It looks like your first time hosting Thanksgiving was spectacular! So sorry about the cranberry sauce tho! This year I bought TJs jarred cranberry sauce, and it was delicious! Not many people in my husband’s family eats it so I have a ton left for myself, and I’m not complaining one bit.

    Oh man I’m not sure of a favorite! I love casseroles cause they are always bursting with flavor and since it seems they are reserved for only holidays/special occasions, I never get sick of them. I love green bean and broccoli casserole and my mom used to make an amazing asparagus casserole. Mmmm mmm mm

    1. Daw you are too sweet!! I always tell people that saying my cooking looks good is the HIGHEST compliment. <3

      I almost bought TJ's because it looked delicious- but just to be safe I got the regular canned. SO good to know it's tasty though! Next year 😉

      Okay this is too crazy!! I was just wondering if "asparagus casserole" was a thing- I have all the ingredients to make green bean casserole, but no green beans- just asparagus. Too funny you mentioned this! Thanks for sharing, Kaci 🙂 Hope you are having a great week!

      1. I accidentally roasted it all before remembering to make it into a casserole- but next time I buy some I will have to !!! I’ll letchya know 🙂

  6. Wow everything looks so good! Green bean casserole was my favorite before I stopped having dairy…will have to try that vegan one with the addition of salt. Glad your air has been better too…what a relief! I made a vegan sweet potato casserole this year using coconut cream which turned out really good!

    1. Hi, Heather!! Thanks so much 🙂

      Oooo I need to try a recipe with coconut cream! That sounds spectacular!! Do you have a link for it?

  7. What a feast! Congratulations on your 1st Hosting! I have never done it by myself, so I take my hat off to you! It looks like you had an awesome spread!

    We are celebrating late this year (next week) with my Aunt & Uncle in London, and I think we are going to do a little bit of Asian fusion thrown in there!

    My favourite Thanksgiving food: Pumpkin Pie, of course!

    1. Aw thank you, Ju Lyn! 🙂 This is too kind of you to say!

      Ooo an Asian Fusion Thanksgiving sounds wonderful- enjoy 🙂 & Safe travels too!

      Oh yes- I think I have to agree!

  8. I love that you tagged this post “best mac and cheese of all time” haha.

    I also love that you bought both Cool Whip AND Redi Whip, so that everyone would be happy. 🙂

    1. haha if you go to the link the title is “Literally the Best Mac and Cheese I’ve Ever Had”…and it doesn’t lie!

      Ohhhh yes- I sometimes don’t even know what I’ll be in the mood for. Gotta have alll the bases covered! Hope you had a great Turkey day, Ralph!

  9. So much good stuff here Mackenzie!! I love that the rain washed all the smoke away. I love the smell of fresh air and am sure it was an even more welcome scent after all the smoke-filled days.
    Your Thanksgiving dinner looks like an amazing success! Beautiful and tasty. What more could you possibly want! I do love some green bean casserole. When we are in Florida, my sister-in-law’s version has cheese…and I can never say no to cheese. My mother-in-law makes it here in Virginia and it’s so good too.
    Your mac n cheese definitely has me craving some of that!
    I’m glad you had a wonderful Thanksgiving day!! xx

    1. Exactly- I have truly never appreciated fresh air so much in my life! It smelled just luxurious!!!

      Thank you so so much! Oooo green bean casserole with cheese sounds delicious! I have only had broccoli casserole with cheese- but it’s actually one of my earliest memories of remembering eating something I just loved!!! Hope you got your cheese fix 😉 (& had a great thanksgiving too, Amy!) Thanks for stopping by!!

  10. Wow, your spread! Great job! I know you are pescatarian, but I have to ask if you tasted your first-ever turkey?

    My fave Thanksgiving side dish is the sweet potato casserole, yum! I eat it cold the next day.

    1. Thank you sooo much, Susie!!! I didn’t actually- but I actually really don’t care for the taste of turkey to begin with. I did try the turkey based stuffing though- and thought it was delicious!!

      Ahhh I do the same thing!! I actually put whip cream on it too- it reminds me of pie. hahah

  11. Oh my goodness. You NAILED it plus the 15 mile run too! WOW! Vegan thanksgiving goals right there!!! Way to go you hostest with the mostest! I bet you’ll be hosting next year too!

    1. Ah thank you so much, Shan!!! This is so sweet of you <3 <3 It was such a blast- I hope I get the opportunity to host again for sure :) Hope you had a great thanksgiving too!!

  12. There’s a subscription box for solving murders??? That is the most amazing thing I’ve ever heard of! Also, that’s awesome that you got a 15mile run in AND cooked that amazing looking dinner. Your first ever hosted Thanksgiving sounds magnificent!

    1. Hehe, yep!! It’s really hard to solve too! If you do get it let me recommend planning on getting a few boxes- you can’t solve it in just one. And thanks, girl! xoxo

  13. Everything looks yummy. I like seeing what other people eat on Thanksgiving because it seems to vary based on region. 🙂 For example, here in Maryland, a lot of people eat sauerkraut on Thanksgiving. For me, it wouldn’t feel like Thanksgiving without it. I’ve never had green bean casserole, but it always looks so good. I asked my mom if she would make it for Christmas, so we’re going to try it then. 😀

    1. Thanks so much, girlie!! I totally agree- super regional for sure. And I would loveeee saurkraut on Thanksgiving!!! YUM! growing up we had kielbasa and sauerkraut for holidays sometimes too! Ahhh yayyyy! It’s so good- make sure to have the crispy fried onions! They are a must. Cannot wait to hear how you like it!! <3

  14. The food looks delicious! One year I made Thanksgiving dinner since my dad had a 24 hour shift at the fire department, but he made the turkey the day before so I wouldn’t have to worry about it. I admire you for cooking the turkey yourself! It’s also awesome you made a lot of vegan dishes! 😊
    My favorite Thanksgiving dish is yams haha. I love sweet potatoes & the casserole you made looks delicious too! 😄

    1. Thanks, girl!!! Awww that was so sweet of you to make the full meal too- I bet it was the best thing when your Dad came home to that after a long day!

      Ahhh thanks, Karalee! I was so relieved no one got sick hahah.

      Yesss sweet potatoes/yams are such a must on the holidays. SO yummy!! xo

  15. I love telling people something is vegetarian/vegan after they’ve already said how good it is – people are so resistant to trying vegan food!! Your Thanksgiving looked soooo yummy.

    1. YESSS!!! If I tell them before they go in already convincing themselves it won’t be good- so I’ve learned to wait until after they proclaim they love it 😉 hahah. Thanks so much, Rosie!!!! <3 <3

  16. Lol I love that you know the barista’s name at Peet’s. 😂 & don’t all of you from Cali park like that?! That’s how all the parking lots look in your state & they even park like that when they vist here! I asked someone “why do you all park like that?” He said “it’s easy & everyone else does it” lol.

    I’ve never tried stuffed acorn squash before but my oh my, do I want to now! That looks fantastic, Mackenzie! Green bean casserole has always been my fave, too. I’m STILL upset about not having any…. that looks SO darn good. I might have to ask boyfriend to make that recipe!! Thank you for sharing it!! ♡ I can’t believe you cooked this all deliciousness up by yourself, you are such a super woman! & your dining area is beautiful!! If I lived nearby, I’d be on my way to eat up all the leftovers right now. 😄

    Your kitchen floors look so good, too! We need to do that to ours asap. What did you use to clean/degrout them?!

    Hope you’re having a wonderful week, babe!!! ♡♡♡

    1. Hehe- me and Connie go wayyy back to my NCLEX study days in 2016. We hold up the line a bunch when we chit chat- whooooops 😉

      okay I just laughed out loud so hard- that is sooo funny. Girl, you aren’t wrong… people are the WORST WORST WORST drivers here.

      It is sooo yummy- I crave that darn stuffed squash. Sometimes in the morning I eat it with syrup on top. Mmmm . I am almost out, but I am gonna have to make it again. mmm mmm! You are too sweeeet!! I seriously wish you did live close- I need help with these leftovers & I think you’d enjoy them! (especially because it’s mostly all dairy free!!).

      Ahh thank you ! Okay so the thing I have found that works best & easiest is actually Clorox wipes. it takes forever to get in between each little crack, but it works so well.

      You too, girl!! XOXOX

      1. Hahaha that’s too cute that you and the barista are ao close! 😂 I just can’t freakin’ believe the way Californians park & drive. Sooooo reckless, man lol. I wish I was a chef like you, Mackenzie. I’m imagining the taste of that stuffed acorn squash and drooling! I would be over there in a heart beat if I could!! You wouldn’t have any more leftovers, I promise. 😉

        Boyfriend loves Clorox wipes for cleaning the kitchen too! He says they work the best but, we’ve never tried it on the floors! What a great idea! It does sound like a ton of work though! Lol.

      2. It really is soo reckless- I still am baffled at times. It rained for the first time in a while and the way people drive in the rain is next level 🤦🏼‍♀️

        It is definitely a ton of work- BUT it will leave the cracks white and bright ! I just count it as my workout for the day 😂

      3. LOL!! They can’t drive in the rain over here either. I think that’s a West Coast thing?? & ohhhh I can’t even get a workout in everyday but, I hate cleaning even more! 🙁

      4. Probably a west coast thing. Haha! Eh, no one notices the dirty grout besides the owners so no big deal- haha you crack me up! (that may have been an unintentional pun.. whooopsies!! )

  17. Giiiiirrrl, this spread looks phenomenal!!!! Your turkey looks like one that would be in a magazine, I love the stuffed squash, give me all the dips and hummus, and heck yes to all of the sides and dessert! Fantastic job! You are the hostest with the mostest.

    1. Oh my gosh, Thank you tons, Kori 🤗❤️ I think you’d love the squash- so much flavor and texture! Next year I am making that goat cheese dip you had 🤤🤤

  18. What a gorgeous Thanksgiving spread!! You did so amazingly, especially for it being your first time hosting!! That mac & cheese looks especially divine. I’m definitely craving some now, haha. I’m so impressed by all of your vegan dishes too! Your creativity never ceases to amaze me. 😉

    1. Ahhh thank you so much, Courtney!!! ❤️ I actually just made the Mac and cheese again tonight 😂 can’t get enough!! 🧀

      Aw thanks again, girl! That’s so kind of you to say 😊

      1. hahah- it’s seriously addictive!!! If you are ever in town I’ll make ya some 😉 Have a great Sunday, Courtney !

  19. Yay! You ROCKED Thanksgiving! Seriously, yum! That mac and cheese is giving me heart eyes!

    I am with you on taking it slow at the grocery store. It’s seriously one of my favorite pastimes, LOL.

  20. Everything looks absolutely wonderful! Gosh! My daughter and son-in-law (vegans) would love Thanksgiving at your house! As for what my favorite is: everything on the table! lol You kicked butt on the Thanksgiving thing, Kenzie!

  21. What a wonderful Thanksgiving it looks like you had!! And everything looks so delicious!! My favorite’s are always sweet potato casserole and pumpkin pie <3

    Girl, grocery shopping is my jam and I could walk around for hours just looking at everything!

    Also, I am dying to know!!! Have you always been a runner? You make 15 miles seem so casual!! Tell me your wayyyssss!! hahaha

    1. Aww thank you, Anastasia! Ohhh I am so with you. Sometimes I eat my sweet potato casserole cold with whip cream on top like it is pumpkin pie haha.

      yessss- twins. I swear it is like therapy for me!

      Aww I have been running since I was probably nine or ten- my sister got all the athleticism in the family, so I decided to just run hahah. I am also training for a marathon right now, so it was one of the long training runs 🙂

      Thanks so much for stopping by !! xo

      1. Aw thanks, girl! You totalllly can do one. I always tell people it’s all about the training and mileage! Have a great week, love. xoxo

    1. Aw thank you so much, Emma!!! How do you make your turkey? And yessss rolls or some type of croissant is a MUST. So excited you stopped by <3 Have a great Sunday!

  22. OOh that Peet’s beverage looks so good, I love their seasonal cups! I do like grocery shopping but sometimes I put the wrong stuff in the cart! And if there are kids along forget about it! Oh my that parking attempt did not go good! have parked badly before but when I get out I check and then readjust. Aww I love your reaction to the rain ! I can tell how pumped you are ! You have a future in podcasting ! Did I host thanksgiving without multiple trips to the store? I would love to say I got everything in one trip but you know the answer! I will have to check out up and vanished. Its good DJ liked your vegan dishes. You did a great job on all the potato and Cauliflowers! The sweet potato casserole looks yummy. How nice of DJ to say you made the best mac and cheese ever, a nice compliment! Oh I like your rolling pin for the dirt! Did you have a glass of it after? You a re such a busy bee regrouting the floors too! Your table setting is so cute with the tree in the background. Such a trooper, a 15 mile run on thanksgiving morning! You did great with the turkey! The whole food spread is awesome, take a bow Madam! i’ll be right over for leftovers! We forget something sometimes, don’t worry about the cranberry sauce Dear! What a fun game you played I need to look it up! You should be proud of your achievements hosting your first thanksgiving, You have come a long way in a year , and its so good you are happier. God is good. I love creamy mashed potatoes as a favorite side dish (I am Irish after all!) Thanks for the post Mackenzie , sending hugs your way, Terri xo.

    1. Hi Terri! I really like Peet’s holiday cups too . 🙂 heheh- oh I bet the little ones want all the goodies too!

      I did make multiple strips to different stores, but I didn’t forget anything (Besides taking the cran sauce out the day of) surprisingly!

      Hehe – I actually had that wine the day of Thanksgiving and it was SO good!!! Yes yes please come help with leftovers- we actually have an endless amount of turkey in the freezer right now so we’ll have to get creative with how to eat all that in the coming months!

      Awww thank you SO much <3

      hehe, you cannot go wrong with creamy mashed potatoes- definitely a staple!!! That and mac n' cheese were DJ's two requests for the day. Sending a hug right back to you too! Have a great week 🙂 xo

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