Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving Week

We spent Thanksgiving week with Bo's family this year, at their home in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. They have a gorgeous cabin with plenty of space for all of us to stay in one place. We had the usual crew - his parents, his older sister Dudley, and his oldest sister Charlotte, her husband Doug, and their two cute little boys, Baker and Stuart. This year we also had Bo's Uncle Bruce (his dad's brother) stay with us - we hadn't seen him in years so it was great to spend a lot of time with him last week.

After Round 1 of Thanksgiving dinner with our friends, Bo fried another turkey for all of us. While he manned the fryer and his parents setup the house, the rest of us went on a hike to Beacon Heights. Talk about working up an appetite - good thing we had plenty of yummy food to eat for the rest of the day!

on our way up to the trail

me and my girl :)

Charlotte and her boys

Charlotte's dog, Chloe - Molly's new BFF

Dudley and her dog, Madison, and her mom's dog, Eloise

tired puppy

After a shower and a nap we spent the rest of the day cooking and eating, of which I sadly do not have any pictures. Bo's mom's cousin John, his wife Ashley, and their two sons Avery and Jack were also in town so they joined us for dinner - so great to see them for the first time since the summer before our wedding!

My favorite thing that I made for Thanksgiving dinner is this pumpkin pie.YUM! Charlotte found the recipe a few years ago, and it is the pie that converted Bo from a pumpkin hater to a pumpkin lover, so it is now a Thanksgiving staple for us. I also made it the previous week for a work potluck dinner and it's been a hit with everyone so far. The only bad thing about it is that there are never any leftovers.

The boys brought turkey hats...aren't they just the cutest nephews ever?!



We also managed to get a few family pictures on the deck before the sun went down. Christmas card sneak peak :)

sunset view from the back deck

We didn't do much on Friday other than eating a lot of leftovers and taking naps. It was a good break for us. We attempted to go into town but there were so many people and the lines were too long to get in any stores or restaurants. So we took a walk around this little pond on the way back to the house and hung out here for a while enjoying the surprisingly warm weather.

We had a nice dinner that night to celebrate Bo's parent's 30th wedding anniversary. John and his family came over again for dinner and to hang out before their long drive back home to Florida the next day.

Saturday was Bo's 27th Birthday! I got him a new iPod, and for the first time ever I let him open it a few days early so that he could set it all up before we left on our trip. We do NOT like surprises at all, which works out because the unofficial rule in my family is that you have to tell people what you want or else your chances of getting anything at all (much less something you like) are pretty slim-to-none. It's pretty awesome and it works for us, since it makes shopping super easy and you already know the person is going to love what they get! Needless to say, Bo was very happy with his new iPod :)

The morning of his real birthday, we went on a hike with Charlotte, the boys, and the dogs on the Glen Burney trail, part of which goes right behind their cabin. It was a beautiful hike, and we got a great workout since it was pretty steep for most of the trail.

Uncle Bo and his mini-me, Stuart. Scary how much these two are alike

Afterward we had lunch at Bistro Roca, and then went to see the new Muppet Movie which we all thought was great. Bo has always loved the Muppets so it was perfect timing that the movie came out a few days before his birthday. We came back home from the movie to some fun surprise decorations for Bo's Bahamian Birthday Bash! Some of our favorite memories with his family are from their annual trips to the Bahamas when we were in high school / college, so his sisters decided to have a Bahamian themed night since we haven't actually been to the islands together in years. (Note to self: get back to the Bahamas!)  Stuart brought his Bahamian flag and hung it up for the party.

We had Kalik (unfortunately could not find Kalik Gold - the best) and Planter's Punch, and Dudley crafted Goombay Punch for the boys by printing out labels and gluing to pineapple soda bottles - she was going to order some from the Bahamas but it was ungodly expensive. I thought it was cute :)

We found conch at the Dekalb Farmer's Market in Atlanta (that place is amazing!!) and brought it up with us to make cracked conch, conch fritters, and conch chowder. Served with peas and dirty rice - yum!

crackin' that conch!

I made Bo a cookie cake (recipe here - soooo good! and ridiculously easy to make) but ran out of time to decorate it since frying the conch took us forever. It was delicious all the same.

We watched part of the UF/FSU game, which usually involves a lot of banter between Bo and Dudley since she went to FSU...but it was such a terrible game for both teams that we eventually just turned it off. Next year HAS to be better...right??!

Before heading back home on Sunday, we went to a Christmas tree farm to get our tree this year. Charlotte's family goes there every year and I finally convinced Bo to go. I am slowly building him to my level of excitement for Christmas. In my family, Christmas is a BIG deal. The day after Thanksgiving, I'd go with my dad to pick out the largest tree that could possibly fit into our house, and somehow every single year we needed about 20 more strands of lights for the tree and for decorating the house and yard. When I was younger, I was always bummed that I had to decorate on my day off school instead of playing with my friends, but now I absolutely love it. And now, Bo is the one asking me every year why I need a bigger tree and more lights, etc etc.... looks like I am carrying on my dad's tradition!  Anyway, back to the tree farm. It was incredible! There were so many trees to choose from, and it's so much better to see how it looks when it's still planted in the ground instead of trying to pick one from a pile of tied up, halfway dead trees (which is how they usually were in Florida and they aren't much better in Atlanta).

For anyone else like me who has never been to one before, this is how it works: they give you a pole to measure the trees, you walk around and find the tree you want, put a tag on it, yell out "chainsaw!!", they come cut it down and bring it to your car, and tie it up for you really good so it doesn't fall apart on the drive home.

our tree!

This one's for you, Dad - it was over 20 feet tall!

They even give you free hot chocolate while you wait!

all tied up and ready to go home

I was in heaven. We definitely plan on making this a tradition from now on :) After a great Thanksgiving week in Blowing Rock, the Christmas season has officially started in the Commander household!!


  1. Dad would absolutely LOVE to have that tree. Great pictures! I can see why you guys love going there.

  2. Sounds like you had a great time- that place is gorgeous! I will definitely have to try that pumpkin pie recipe. I love pumpkin pie but this recipe could get me addicted to it :)
    Also, I've tried making cookie cakes for my husband before but for some reason they never turn out that good- another recipe I'll have to try out!
    And Go Gators! Next year has to be better than this one- I hope!

  3. Molly is SOOOO BIG!!!! I want to see her!!



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