Farm, Family, & Food.

Happy Thanksgiving!  Get ready for a holiday photo bomb!

We lucked out with the most incredible weather here in Connecticut.  Since both babies are currently on a similar afternoon nap schedule, we all got up early to make the most of our morning.  My sister needed to check in at work in the morning, so we all went with her. 

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She works on a school that is centered around a farm – very cool!  She actually had a gorgeous farm wedding right here on the school grounds a few years ago!

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I have been to the farm many times, but it still feels fun and exciting every time.  I love getting up close and personal with the animals.

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And we had fun showing them to Cullen and Jonah.  What a lucky guy to get to grow up with his own private petting zoo!

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We stopped to feed the turkeys, and reminded them how lucky they were to be in their cozy coop on Thanksgiving (we are all vegetarians). 

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And tried for the obligatory cousins photo, where naturally they both refused to look at the camera or smile.  (Adorable matching jackets courtesy of Grandma.)

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We toured the farm and the grounds for a bit while Rebecca finished up her work (feeding animals – never a day off!).

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And then we headed up into the woods for fresh air and a family hike.

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Cullen passed out the minute he went into the Ergo.  Just when I think he’s a giant toddler, he acts like a little baby.

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The weather was absolutely gorgeous – couldn’t have asked for anything better.  And Connecticut still has beautiful red, orange, and yellow leaves all around.  I am so used to the Seattle landscape (which is quite different), and I forget how beautiful some of the other parts of the country are too.

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After a leisurely climb UP, we eventually landed at top of West Rock Park.  There was a wide open lookout area, and we had the place all to ourselves.  The views of New Haven and the Long Island Sound in the distance were absolutely gorgeous.

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I haven’t been out to Connecticut in almost two years, and I am so, so happy we were able to make this trip work.  Having a week together to celebrate my mom’s birthday as well as Thanksgiving has felt so special.  So many thanks to Rebecca, Sam, and Jonah (who gave up his nursery to Cullen!) for the wonderful hospitality. 

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Our whole crew at the top of West Rock Park.  Perfect weather, perfect day, perfect way to gear up for a big day of eating!

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I love these two way too much.  I am working hard to mobilize my family to all start heading WEST!

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Cullen snoozed through the entire thing – I was just glad he got in a good nap.  Casey was burning up with the sleeping puffy-coat monster strapped to his chest.  I am always thankful that holidays mean more time with these two!

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After taking in the scenery from the top for a bit, we headed back down so we could start cooking and getting ready for our feast.  I love that my family loves being active and spending time outdoors as much as I do!

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We got back to the house around noon – just in time for babies to take afternoon naps so that we could get to cooking.  Except someone decided to nap during the hike instead…

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So we hung out in the playroom for a bit until others were available for babysitting.  So fun to be back with this girl!  We miss having her in Seattle with us. 

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Eventually, Casey and I made our way into the kitchen to begin our Thanksgiving prep.  I think I underestimated how many dishes and how much food we had to cook – it took us five hours from start to finish!

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We worked nonstop – cutting, chopping, roasting, talking, and hanging out in a kitchen full of family.  It was everything that I love about Thanksgiving.  Couldn’t have done it without my favorite cooking partner. 

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At 7pm on the nose, the food hit the table!  Our spread included: Cranberry orange Brussels sprouts with walnuts

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Homemade cranberry sauce…

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Green beans with sliced almonds (thanks to my mom for making this one!)…

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Quinoa lentil loaf – I had forgotten how good this is – favorite dish of the night!  Looks weird, tastes delicious.

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Mashed skin-on red potatoes, along with white vegan gravy

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Roasted carrots with brown sugar (Casey made this one up!)…

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Sourdough stuffing with fennel and capers (sooooo freaking good).

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It was a monstrosity of food.  If you think vegetarians can’t enjoy Thanksgiving, you are mistaken.

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I ate and ate, and ate some more.  I love mixing a tiny bit of cranberry sauce into every bite.  Great food, great conversation, and great company to share it all with!

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After a bit of a break, and some kitchen cleanup, we were all ready for pumpkin pie in front of the fireplace.  Casey and I made two of our vegan pumpkin pies, along with homemade whipped cream. 

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We made a second pie so we’d have leftovers, but I didn’t end up getting a second piece since we left to head home early this afternoon.  I can’t stop thinking about wanting more pie.  Perhaps I will make another one for us when we get back to Seattle!

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We all agreed that this was one of the best holidays we can remember.  The food was great, the weather was outstanding, but of course the best part was spending four days with the people I love most.  I have so much to be thankful for this year, and this week was such a good reminder of that.

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Flying across the country as we speak – a smooth flight, no travel hiccups, and a snoozing baby on my husband’s chest.  Thankful, indeed.  I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!