Thursday, November 24, 2011

Week of Thankfulness - Day Four

Happy Thanksgiving! I know that a lot of blogs will take the day off, but since I pretty much put these posts together days ago, I see no point. :)

I hope that everyone has a wonderful day with their families. My husband and I will be headed over to my parent's house around noon to (hopefully) watch the Lions win and (definitely) eat some delicious food.

But first, a few people that I'm so very thankful for...

My favorite Thanksgiving tradition started as a joke (I think).  I love country/Americana decor in my home.  My children, as you will see, are not always fans of my purchases, esp those that border on primitive.  About 5 years ago, after enjoying our meal (Ron and I, Jennifer and 'boyfriend' Luke and Scott and 'girlfriend' Heather present, Jeff was in Iraq), my youngest son Scott, announced that he had a new game to play.  In about 15 seconds, he gave instructions, "Everyone has about 5 minutes to go through the house and find the ugliest thing that Nancy has bought over the last year.  The person who finds the ugliest thing wins...GO!!"  Everyone jumped up from the table and scattered throughout my house, except Luke.  He looked a little nervous and I knew that it was because he didn't want to hurt my feelings.  Bless him.  I told him it was ok to go find his item.  To my surprise, when everyone returned to the table, Luke brought TWO!!  This "tradition" has continued each year since.  And each year, as I sit at the table alone wondering what things my family will bring back to the table, I thank God for my family who likes to have fun and that when we're all together, laughter fills my home!

1.  I am thankful that I still have both of my parents, Dot and Richard.  They are both active and in good health.  My mom is 76 and my dad is 78.  They have always been loving, supportive, and encouraging.  They continued this as I grew up, got married and had kids.  For 32 years, my parents have treated my husband like a king as well as a son!  The only thing they love more than their family, are my kids!  Jennifer, Jeff, and Scott are their only grandchildren and needless to say, they are perfect in their grandparent's eyes.  Even though we've never lived in the same state, my parents have always been involved in the day to day life of my family and came to MI more times than I can count to visit and/or attend special events.  I could not be more thankful for them!  They are the best parents and grandparents anyone could ask for!

2.  I am thankful for the special relationships I enjoy with each of my children.  I am thankful that even though they are all married, they still call or come over regularly to catch up and see what's going on with me.  And they still come to me when they need to talk or need encouragement or just to hang out.  My favorite thing EVER is being a Mom!

3.  I am thankful for the three new additions to my the last three years.  Jennifer married Luke in 2009, Scott married Heather in 2010 and this past May, Jeff married Ashley.  To sum them up collectively, they are kind, fun, smart, creative, talented, hardworking, good looking (of course) and perfect for our family.  I love each of them and am thankful beyond words that they are a part of my family!

Sausage Casserole:  A Ruark Family Favorite!
(not necessarily Thanksgiving, but we have it every Thanksgiving morning!) 

Side note from Jenny: This is the best sausage casserole you will ever have. 

1 pound bulk sausage
2 cans crescent rolls
fresh garlic
1/4 tsp pepper
2 eggs
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup melted butter 
1. Ground sausage in garlic (to your taste, I used a lot!) and drain.
2. Mix sausage with pepper and eggs, then mix in cheese.  Set aside.
3. Press one can of crescent roll dough into 9x13 pan.
4. Spread sausage mixture on top.
5. Top with other can of crescent rolls, closing seams all around edges.  (I spread the crescent roll dough out on my counter and press it out to 9x13 size.  I fold each end to the center and then put it on top of the casserole and then press to the edges)
6. Top with melted butter and bake at 375 for 20 minutes.  Top should be a light, golden brown.  Do not overcook.

In general, I just love the tradition of Thanksgiving dinner.  It’s so fun and meaningful to me to gather together with family and friends to enjoy fine food, fun conversation, maybe a game or two, and reflect on all the reasons we each have for giving thanks.

Three of the top things (there are really too many to narrow it down to a “top” three, but these are definitely things I’m thankful for…besides the obvious: knowing a loving God, being married to Jason – the sweetest bip of all, and my family and friends)

1. The new little tot that will be born into our family this coming March!   

2. The ability to have global communication with speed and ease these days!  Being far from my family, that’s one of the things I tend to take for granted.  

3. Things that make life cozy, like wood stoves, sweaters, scarves, soft blankets, and warm drinks.

One of the things I love to eat is pumpkin pie!  Kind of a traditional/boring answer, but I can’t help it, it’s delicious!  The one I make is just the recipe on the back of the Libby’s Pumpkin can – with a little whipping cream (and Starbucks Thanksgiving blend coffee!)….so good!!!

You can find the recipe here (or on the back of the Libby's Pumpkin can :)).

A few years ago my family started making gingerbread houses together - usually the day after Thanksgiving. While there is stiff competition on the best house, we have a great time sitting around the table laughing and telling stories.

1. My husband graduates with his Master of Divinity on December 7th. He has worked so hard and I am very proud of him.

2. I am able to stay home and take care of our incredible baby girl, Elizabeth. I love being with her and seeing the small changes day by day.

3. My flag football team finally won the championship. Go Norfleete!

Corn Casserole is a favorite. It is so easy and oh so delicious!

You can find the recipe here

Some of my favorite traditions are the Thanksgiving parade, spending the whole day together on Thanksgiving,  including waffle extravaganza and singing Thanksgiving songs.   

For a perfect pumpkin pie recipe, go here

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