Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Thanksgiving Series | Table Setting

Welcome to part two of my Thanksgiving Series. Yesterday, I shared our Thanksgiving menu for our first Thanksgiving Dinner that we will be hosting.

Today's topic, Table Setting.

What I appreciate about Thanksgiving dinners is that, typically, they are done in an intimate setting at home with immediate family. I realize that for some, especially those with huge families, it is a bigger event and prefer to go out to a restaurant versus slaving in the kitchen. I guess one of the few goods things with my family is that we are pretty small since other family members live in other states or countries.

Around this time of year, I tend to decorate our home for the season versus Halloween and Thanksgiving. Over the years, I have collected pumpkin themed decor to sprinkle around my house but honestly, I would like to have more. The color scheme in the interior of my house, however is navy blues and greys. I try to get fall decor that goes with those colors, not the typical fall colors. It can be a little challenging but I have found some goodies at Homegoods/TJ Maxx/Marshalls and Target.

This weekend I was on a mission to get things to create a pretty table setting. I have a centerpiece that I purchased at the beginning of the season from Kirkland's but still wanted to get some additional pieces like chargers and napkins. As always, I perused Pinterest for inspiration and found this setting that goes well with what I have so far.

I found similar placemats at Target for $5.99 which I was excited about. I originally stopped by Pier One and their placemats were averaging around $25 each! No, thank you.

As for our serving platters, you can see that I have some that I purchased a couple years ago from JCPenney's after Thanksgiving. They were all on red tag aka CHEAP. Aren't they gorgeous? I am excited to finally use them for the first time!

I went a lil' cray cray this weekend buying more casserole dishes. We have some but not enough for all our sides. I scored some on clearance at Marshalls and found the rest of these white ones are from Tuesday Morning. Coordination heaven.

Excuse the poor lighting. I took this picture at night.

Well, there you have my inspiration for our table setting. I will share with you all later this week how everything turns out including some of the other decor we have throughout the house. At the end of this week, we will start the full transition to Christmas (already have my Christmas tree up) and I can't wait!


Monday, November 20, 2017

Thanksgiving Series | Menu Planning

Happy Monday friends! In honor of it being Thanksgiving week and it also being the first year that we host at our house, I thought I would share how we am preparing for the festivities from menu and decor to even how we get our pups ready for the next few posts.

Let's start off with the main event, Thanksgiving dinner.

Thanksgiving dinner is my absolute favorite. When I say I wait all year long for this meal, I do not exaggerate one bit. I love to have all the traditional foods turkey (of course), mashed potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole, mac and cheese, and stuffing. I. Want. It. All.

Since we are first timers at creating these types of dishes, my mom will be taking care of the turkey cause we ain't ready to play with the pros in that space. We are taking care of sides. She is also making the rice and beans cause while I am latina, I do not know how to cook. In a latino family, there must always be rice and beans for every meal.

Due to dietary restrictions in my family (myself included), we need to have a menu that is gluten free and low carb (where possible). In my menu planning, I tried to stick to items that can be enjoyed by everyone. For the most part, I got everything I want in the menu with the exception of mac and cheese. Pasta has a LOT of carbs in a spoonful, so I try to avoid it. However, I still wanted a "cheesy" type dish, so I found a cheesy cauliflower bake that I am excited to try!

Here is what our Thanksgiving menu will be including links to the recipes:

Given that the majority of these recipes will be the first time that we make them, I am crossing my fingers that they all turn out good!

My sister is one of a couple bakers in our family. She will be whipping up some desserts for us and I can't wait to have those with a little cafe con leche!

Tomorrow I will be sharing how I plan to decorate for the occasion. 


Saturday, November 4, 2017

Respect the River

So I mentioned in my recent travel post that this post would be following. If you haven't read, make sure to read it!

On the day of the wedding, it poured rain pretty much all morning. The rain broke about 15 minutes prior to the wedding and it was beautiful the remainder of the evening. We were at the wedding from 3:30 to about 9ish, we said our goodbye's and made our way to our cabin. The drive from the downtown area, where the ceremony was held, to our cabin is about 15 minutes. NBD. However, by this time it was pitch black outside because, again, we were in the mountains and there is pretty much no street lighting. We were reliant on our headlights to get through the drive meaning I could clearly see ahead of me but nothing on the side or rear of my car.

As we were driving back to the cabin, in the un-paved piece of the road, we began to see puddles of water. Again, it rained earlier in the day, so this is kind of expected. The Mr. told me to drive a little slower just in case. Well, about a minute after saying that, we came to a complete halt because the river flooded over the street. I am not talking about a just a big puddle in the road... I'm talking a good current flooding into the road, including branches and whatever else the river carried, making it impassable. We needed to go back but that was no easy feat because the road we were on was so narrow, one side was mountain and the other side was river. In order for me to turn around, I basically needed to make a 20 point turn with the assistance of the Mr. outside the car. As I was turning my car around is when my headlights were facing the river and guys, the current was crazy! Needless to say, I began to panic. I've had my own personal worst nightmare with a river as a child (in Honduras, almost drowned) so I don't handle rivers well. We got ourselves turned around and I quickly started making my way back out to get onto higher grounds.

Once we got out of that immediate danger, the next concern we had was our dogs who were in the cabin and had been crated since we left for the wedding. In the email that the rental owner provided to us, they did include an alternate route to get to the cabin. It involved going through Tennessee and added an extra 45 minutes to get to the cabin. We didn't have any other options so we tried the alternate route. Now, I should also add that while in this area I have NO cell phone reception and the Mr. had limited reception meaning we were solely reliant on the instructions that the owner provided us as the reception was limited and we didn't have any maps.

The directions were working perfectly until a point in the path where we came across a fork in the road with three options. We knew for certain that one option wasn't the path, but weren't certain about the other two. After some deliberation and attempt to see beyond the 25 ft in front of us, we chose a path and embarked on a trail that would take us 45 minutes of twisting and turning in the woods of the mountains. It was very clear that we were lost.

It was the worst feeling.

By some miracle and by the grace of God, we managed to ourselves back onto a main road, the Mr. got reception and we made our way back to the downtown area. Once we arrived to that area, we called the rental owner to try to get help. She made all efforts to contact people including the fire chief, but by this time it was 11:30pm and no one could be reached (the fire chief was a volunteer). She basically told us we needed to find another place to stay for the evening and try again the next day when there was light. At that time, it would just be to unsafe to make any attempts and that folks in the area knew to respect the river. Fortunately, my father was in town and staying in a rental with other family members. We were able to crash with them but we were so worried about the dogs. Needless to say, we did not sleep well that evening.

As soon as light broke through the windows, we got up and made our way to the cabin. The rental owner advised us that the main path to the cabin looked to still be flooded and that we would need to take the alternate route. We took that route, saw where we made the wrong turn, and finally made it to the cabin. Y'all, the pups were perfectly okay. They did not even make a mess in their crates, which we expected. They were extremely quiet, which is not like them, so I am assuming they were probably freaked out themselves. But we were so relieved to see that they were okay.

The rest of that day, we stayed in the cabin and I took a nap cause I so exhausted. We made several attempts to book another place to stay for the remainder of our vacation but couldn't find another place in such short notice. We knew that there was a 100% chance of rain in the forecast for Saturday which is when we were originally supposed to leave the cabin. We decided to leave a day early to avoid the rain.

Below are a couple pictures that I took of the river just so you can see the size of this river. These pictures were taken a few days after the torrential downpour so the current did calm down a lot but you can still see some that it was bumpy in comparison to the picture at the beginning of the post. Also, you can see that there isn't much land separating the river and my car!

Guys. Probably one of the worst trips for us. I was so happy to be back in my house which is usually not the case. I dread coming back after vacations mainly because I don't want to be in Florida and don't want to leave the mountains. I was just so over this cabin, between the river and the bugs, I couldn't take it anymore. Future trips, we will most certainly sticking to an area closer to civilization and leave the mountains for day trip activities.