Scenes from Thanksgiving

by tinareale on November 23, 2012

Happy Friday to everyone! And happy day after Thanksgiving to those who celebrated yesterday. I pray you had a blessed day full of love and gratitude….and good food too, of course. Those things summed up our Thanksgiving day pretty much and knowing the joy it brought me, I certainly wish the same for each of you.

Thanksgiving kicked off nice and early in the morning for myself. I woke up around 6 am to head down into our basement gym for a workout. It took all the will power in me to not just turn over and lounge around before getting I start on the day. The fact that my training plan only called for cross training and not a run made it that much harder to motivate myself. I knew I would feel better and have more energy by fitting in a workout, though, so I did. Peter and I got ourselves up and moving. I completed a 45 minute Turbo Jam DVD and some core work while he jogged/walked on the treadmill. After about 5 minutes, I knew I made the right decision to start my day off on such a positive note.

Once we finished, the kids started waking up, as well as my parents who arrived the night before. Immediately, my mom and I got into the kitchen to begin preparing Thanksgiving lunch. My mom worked on the turkey while I prepared the dessert dish in my post-workout dishevelment.


Don’t worry. I washed my hands thoroughly.

For dessert, I made some pumpkin pie bars that my friend Laura brought to our women’s group last week. They were delicious when she made them and I had to recreate them yesterday. I don’t feel quite talented enough to tackle a pie from scratch yet…so pumpkin pie bars for the win!

Then, some additional prep work happened – peeling sweet potatoes, chopping squash and onions, getting the ham ready to cook, cleaning as we went along. Thanksgiving meal prep is a never ending job it seems! Good thing the fine company of my family helps the time to pass painlessly.


After about an hour of some prep work, I excused myself to finally go shower and eat breakfast – pumpkin oats to hold me over until the main event. I always choose to eat a normal breakfast so I’m not completely famished come lunch time. Although I don’t know how much that concept helps since the spread always looks so delicious!

We had turkey, ham, stuffing, and a variety of casseroles – green bean, squash, and sweet potato.

I filled my plate up with my absolute favorites and didn’t bother with the few other items.


I chose a few small pieces of ham and then a generous scoop of each of the casseroles. The casseroles are where it’s at! Sweet pecan toppings and cheesy,creamy fillings will always reign superior for me in Thanksgiving dining. I savored every bite. The kiddos did too.



We lingered over our meal while sharing the many things we feel thankful for at this time of our lives – like welcoming my sister’s fiancé, Tim, into our family soon.


Although, there was a bit of a hole there as I missed Roxy not being around with us all. I also missed my brother dearly. I sincerely hope when he moves back to the east coast from California that he and his boyfriend will be able to visit more frequently. It’s just not the same without my brother around for it all.

Once we all finished lunch, we sadly had to get things cleaned and packed up rather quickly. My parents had to do some traveling that afternoon and my sister and Tim and my uncle needed to head out too. Normally, my family is in a rush out as well to head to Peter’s family’s celebration. This year, however, they weren’t having their usual get together due to lots of people traveling elsewhere. That left us with the entire afternoon and evening as just the four of us. We put it to good use and kept the party going.

First, we put on some Christmas music and brought out the Christmas tree.


Hands down, this is one of my all time favorite traditions each year. The beginning of Christmas music and setting up decorations as a family never fails to put me in the holiday spirit.




I love it more and more as my children get older. The memories become that much more special when your children share in them and even remember some of their own. I loved every second of bonding as we hung ornament after ornament, each with a special meaning or memory attached – Baby’s First Christmas ornaments for each of the kids (and we even have old ones for Peter and myself as well!), ornaments from our alma maters, ornaments to reflect the kids’ interests each year, ornaments to reflect the meaning of the season, and so much more.

Once all the inside decorations were put up, we couldn’t stay inside when such beautiful, mild weather awaited us outdoors. We tossed on our shoes for a leisurely neighborhood walk.


This hit pretty hard though. It was our first walk without Roxy. Peter and I talked about that together and chose to be thankful for the memories we had with her. We will always miss you, Roxy.


When things started to chill off not too much later, we headed back indoors for dinner and a relaxing evening on the couch with one of my favorite movies to kick off the holiday season – ELF!


It may not be as classic as It’s A Wonderful Life or A Christmas Story…but it sure does make me smile. What a perfect way to end an already perfect day – snuggled with my love on the couch with some hot cider for me and hot chocolate for him.

I truly did feel so blessed every moment of the day. Thank you, my dear loving God, for all you have done in our lives. You deserve all the praise and glory.

Your Turn: Did you celebrate Thanksgiving? Favorite thing to eat? And what is your favorite way to kick off the holiday season (no matter what you celebrate this time of year)?


1 Angela @ happy fit mama November 23, 2012 at 7:00 am

Sounds like you had a great day! Our t-day was very low key, just the 4 of us since our family is all over the country. Kind of nice but miss seeing everyone.

I agree, The sides are definitely the best part of the meal!

2 Lee November 23, 2012 at 7:02 am

Happy Thanksgiving Tina!

3 [email protected] November 23, 2012 at 7:17 am

I love a nice quiet Thanksgiving. Unlike you, however, I *did* roll over and lounge instead of hitting the gym. It was a much needed rest day! But hitting it hard today :)

4 Geraldine @Go Ger Go! November 23, 2012 at 7:30 am

I love Elf, especially when she sings Baby It’s Cold Outside and he joins in! Looks like you had a lovely day with your family. Happy Thanksgiving!

5 tinareale November 23, 2012 at 3:29 pm

That’s my favorite part too!

6 Lindsay's List November 23, 2012 at 7:32 am

sounds like a fabulous day!! love you, friend!

7 [email protected] Palate November 23, 2012 at 7:56 am

Gorgeous pic of you and Peter at the end! Sounds like you had the perfect day, we don’t do thanksgiving in Ireland but I’m now super excited for Christmas! Your tree is so pretty!

8 Becky Przy November 23, 2012 at 7:58 am

Looks like a fabulous day Tina! My favorite is the turkey (boring I know) but we rarely buy Turkey during the year. I love to kick of the holiday’s by decorating, baking Christmas cookies and watching Christmas movies.

9 Lauren November 23, 2012 at 8:04 am

What a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving you had!!! Ah, it’s so heart warming to see such incredible family time spent around the holidays. So glad you had a wonderful time yesterday Tina. :) PS- I completely agree, the casseroles are definitely where it’s at!

10 [email protected] knackfornutrition November 23, 2012 at 9:15 am

Sounds like y’all has a great day! :)
And good for you for sneaking in a workout!

11 Lindsay @ The Lean Green Bean November 23, 2012 at 9:29 am

you look so happy in all your pics! i love it!

12 purelymichelle November 23, 2012 at 9:52 am

love all these pics! Happy Thanksgiving!

13 Jill @ Fitness Health and Happiness November 23, 2012 at 9:58 am

Wonderful post Tina! I secretly started listening to Christmas music in my car a few weeks ago (I drive my family crazy with the Christmas music) but this weekend is the official Conyers’ Christmas kickoff. Let the decorating begin and no more sneaking Christmas music :)

14 tinareale November 23, 2012 at 3:31 pm

I’m one that usually likes to wait until after Thanksgiving but it started playing on the radio on Monday this week and I didn’t try to avoid it. Christmas music is the best!

15 Kierston November 23, 2012 at 10:10 am

Looks like you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

I’m looking forward to putting up our Christmas tree (which we don’t typically do until the middle of December….but you’ve inspired me to do it sooner than later!) Seeing it up makes me so happy :) I just hope my Teddy Bear won’t eat it. lol

Elf…what an awesome movie!

16 Julia H. @ Live Young & Prosper November 23, 2012 at 11:01 am

Cooking in sweaty workout clothes: yup, nothing I haven’t done before :)
Happy Thanksgiving! Love that you guys whip out the tree so earlier. The earlier the better!

17 Leonor @FoodFaithFitness November 23, 2012 at 1:09 pm

Looks like a perfect day! I love not haveing to rush around to see everyone. My family does Thanksgiving early, to eliminate that. It makes me look foward to the holiday and not dread it.

18 Molly @ Just Your Average Athlete November 23, 2012 at 2:35 pm

It looks like you had a great Thanksgiving with your family :) I agree with you – Elf is my favorite holiday movie, too. I much prefer that over the “classics.”

19 Bethany @ Accidental Intentions November 23, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Looks like you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We don’t put our tree up until the first or second weekend in December (we buy a real tree, so buying it later means that it won’t be dropping too many needles by Christmas), but I love going through ornaments and remembering all the things that they mean–things I made in elementary school, ones from various trips I’ve been on, etc. Neat and tidy catalog trees with all their matchy-matchy ornaments are beautiful, but I think a tree with memories all over its branches is even better :)

20 Stefanie @ Thin Vegetarian November 23, 2012 at 3:19 pm

My Thanksgiving was very unusual this year. We just ate some homemade Mexican food and went shopping (first time doing this). Hoping to put up the Christmas tree today as well…I just love seeing the house all decorated and lit up!

21 tinareale November 23, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Hey – all that matters is enjoying the day with those you care about, so I say it sounds all good. :)

22 Pavement Runner November 23, 2012 at 4:38 pm

Everyone looks so happy!

Love the movie ELF

and your rocking those boots with some hotness. LOL. oops.

23 chelsey @ clean eating chelsey November 23, 2012 at 5:04 pm

That sounds like the best day ever! I usually decorate the day after Thanksgiving, but didn’t get around to it yet today. Looks like I’ll be doing that tomorrow! :) PS – I miss you!

24 jobo November 23, 2012 at 6:17 pm

I saw some of your pics from yesterday and wondered how on earth you got your christmas decorations up, and now it all makes sense! An afternoon/evening alone, with an earlier day Thanksgiving feast? Sounds like perfection, even if it was abbreviated with family, and those traveling. It must have felt awesome to just slow down and enjoy. And I agree, I LOVE a good casserole ;-)

25 Bek @ Crave November 23, 2012 at 11:27 pm

Thanks for sharing your Thanksgiving with us!

26 Coco November 24, 2012 at 10:10 am

Cute boots! We don’t put up Christmas stuff for a few more weeks, but yours looks so pretty!

27 Heather @ Better With Veggies November 27, 2012 at 1:07 pm

Decorating for Christmas is always my favorite activity too – we’re only halfway there so far this year, but the house feels so cozy and happy this time of year! I wish we could keep up the decorations through January! :)

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