Thanksgiving is a weekend I look forward to all year! My whole family treks up north to Cadillac, MI to my parent’s hunting cabin. We have been making memories at the cabin for over 25 years. It is one of my favorite places. Part of it’s charm is that we all stay together in one house for the weekend which really doesn’t happen any other time of the year. In fact, I shared a bedroom with my husband, my brother Nick, and my cousin Rick. My other brother, Paul, and his girlfriend, Amber, slept in the bedroom right across the hall from us. There was a lot of laughing shared between the two rooms.
We wake up in the morning and sit around the kitchen table drinking coffee and talking for a few hours. All sorts of breakfast yummies were whipped up this year, including Uncle Rick’s crumb cake and Aunt Sue’s egg casserole. Usually, the topic of conversation ranges from how many deer are out in the field to what we are going to cook that night for dinner. Life is rough when what you are having for dinner is the biggest decision of the day!
Being that my family hunts, we have eaten venison for years. I actually prefer it in dishes like chili and meatloaf. I recently made a Venison Chili, a recipe passed down from my mom. This weekend, my brother Paul grilled chunks of venison wrapped in bacon seasoned with soy sauce and Canadian Steak seasoning and they were the bomb–possibly one of the best bacon wrapped chunks of meat I have ever had!
The boys usually spend a lot of time hunting, chopping wood, or doing some other sort of “outdoorsy” thing. The women typically spend a lot of time preparing meals, reading books, and just relaxing. When we all come together, it is usually in the “barn”, a pole barn my dad built on the property 5 to 10 years ago. Inside the barn there is a wood-burning stove, a TV, a pool table, and banquet-sized tables with enough chairs to accommodate anyone who stops by.
Thanksgiving dinner is definitely not fancy! We eat our meal on Chinet, the fanciest version of paper plates (hello redneck yacht club) and everything is set up buffet style. We cook one turkey in a deep fryer and one in an infrared cooker. My mom makes mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, stuffing and rolls. Cody started a family tradition a few years back of bringing pies from Essenhaus in Middlebury, IN for dessert. Everyone has their favorite pie and we would hate to leave anyone out so we ended up bringing five pies this year! The lineup included pumpkin, apple, pecan, raspberry cream and chocolate-peanut butter banana. It is hard to pick one so most of us do halvsies and take half pieces of a few different kinds. I had raspberry creme and chocolate-peanut butter banana–yum!
This year, a new tradition of boxed wine, champagne, and the game, Heads Up, was started! Have you had Bota Box wine yet? It is pretty legit and there are 4 bottles in one box! Amber introduced my family to Ellen’s Heads Up game. Basically, it is like Charades except it is played from an app on your phone. It was so fun and created a little bit of slight awkwardness that had us laughing so hard we couldn’t breathe!
This year, the girls did a little Black Friday shopping–our favorite deal was $25 800-thread count sheets from WalMart–just throwing it out there that there is slim shopping pickins in Cadillac, MI! We had to work with what we had! It was a fun way to spend time together.
I am bummed the weekend is already over–it is such a fun little pocket of joy I look forward to every year. There isn’t much time in the year for lounging around in sweatpants, wearing no-makeup and sleeping in. Not to mention spending quality time with family.
What is your favorite family Thanksgiving tradition? Leave a comment below!