Faux Thanksgiving 2013

This weekend (and beyond, for I am on vacation and it all seems like one big weekend), the girls and I had our Faux Thanksgiving. I offered to switch weekends with the Ex so he and Angelia could take the girls to Houston to visit her family. The girls love playing with the cousins and since I didn’t have any big plans, and since it is his year for Thanksgiving, I went ahead and switched. It wasn’t a big deal, really, except it meant that the girls and I had to have our Faux Thanksgiving this past weekend.

And we didn’t just cook a feast – I made my first attempt at teaching the girls to bake pies. I KNOW. This is a very big deal for me! I only stopped crying over the pie crusts a few years ago. Last year I finally got rid of any vestiges of fear. And this year, since the girls would be here and all, I decided the best way to ensure that they grown up without the MORTAL FEAR OF PIE CRUST was to start teaching them early. I mean, the biggest contributor to my pie crust stumbling block was because my mom assigned me the task of watching baby Rhianyn when we were growing up. Kim got to help, and she is much better at pie crusts. So! The girls got in on some pie action.

We started with the rules. They had to put on their magic shirt. Mine is a ratty old tshirt I’ve had since high school – and boy does it look it. It’s from the place where my mom worked, a family-owned sporting goods store, and since my tshirt has worn thin in so many places, even developed a hole or two, I only wear it during times of desperation. Like baking pies. The girls came out in these:
One Boston Red Sox World Series shirt and one Tom Brady shirt. God, I love my girls. I didn’t even care if they got messy – they are magical shirts, and that’s what I asked for!

Then we called my mom to get the blessing of the pies. It’s a thing she does, that stemmed from the years when she’d talk me off the ledge, and convince me that yes, I could do this. It wasn’t always true, but it’s become part of the thing. So the girls called, we talked for awhile, and then we got down to serious business. Pie-baking. Except first I had to put on the Christmas music. Pies baked without Christmas music do NOT come out right. Pie dough won’t roll out, you can’t lift pie covers without it splitting and needed patches, and then they burn and volcano lemon pudding all over your stove. Facts.

Gracie, by the way, was freaking out because Steps 1-3 (magic shirts, Grandma’s blessing, and the Christmas music) were not on the recipe card, and that was pure madness. Seriously, her world was falling apart because if they were Pie Rules, they should be written out. In permanent marker. Or tattoos.

I assured her all was well, and then we started mixing ingredients. Piece of cake – my girls are excellent bakers. But then I taught the girls how to cut in the shortening and flour with two butter knives and Bee was all, “What the what? This is hard! I never had to use two knives before like scissors!”


And then we got the quote of the week from my Auntie Cheryl (who is home from the rehab center and recovering from her lung transplant surgery! YAAAAY!), when she commented that I should buy the girls a pastry cutter because it’s so much more fun than two knives. Probably true, but it made me imagine Auntie Cheryl and Bee dancing around the kitchen wielding two knives as pie assassins. Priceless!

After we got the apple pie crust rolled out [gah! of course I didn’t get pics of that – I was too nervous], I admitted to myself that I could have done a better job of just letting the girls roll it out more on their own, instead of guiding them with my hands over theirs and then stepping in all together. But Bee did a great job for her first try – she just needs to work on getting a circle instead of a long rectangle. She did great at using the right pressure and the crust never stuck to the rolling pin, though!

Then Gracie and I peeled and cut apples. Again, I could have done a better job teaching. It’s so much easier to just do it myself – I remember my mom doing the same thing to me until I got the hang of it. I showed Gracie over and over how I was doing it because I remember I learned by watching my mom and mimicking her movements. But maybe I could have held Gracie’s hands and shown her? It’s so hard to know how she’ll learn best. I just let her work on her own apples. She got a lot better at peeling them, but she couldn’t get the slicing part down – so I did that for her. Maybe at Christmas we’ll try some new techniques.

Then it was time for mixing the spices, which Gracie took care of all on her own while Bee and I worked on rolling out the lemon bottom crust. We paused there so the girls could assemble the apple – Gracie fell in love with painting, can ya tell?



And then it was Gracie’s turn to roll out the roof to our lemon pie – no meringues for this family! Gracie wasn’t as good as her sister at the rolling part; she had a bit of a light touch, like she was afraid she would break it. The magic pie cloth kept flying every where, and Gracie got discouraged. (Or maybe she just wanted to go lick some of the leftover lemon filling…) Pretty soon, though, we had the pies all put together, baked, and out of the oven. Ta da!


Dinner was easy to assemble – we had cranberry sauce (the “good” kind, canned, all plopped out in one piece so you can slice on the can marks), corn, mashed potatoes, gravy (Gracie’s the only one who eats it, but it’s Thanksgiving – everyone gets what they want), a baked potato for me since I was craving one (and like I said – Thanksgiving is the time to fulfill dinner cravings), homemade biscuits and… turkey. Except…oh, you’re going to laugh. It was faux turkey to go with our faux Thanksgiving. I told you you would laugh! But hear me out – the girls were going to their dad’s the next day, and there was no way I could eat all those turkey leftovers by myself before they went – even if I froze some in turkey stock! And everyone would be having turkey on real Thanksgiving, satisfying my turkey needs. (I like it, but it’s not my favorite.) So I made some chicken breasts and sliced them like it was turkey. I told the girls it was turkey, but they figured me out. So I told them it was fake turkey – it was really chicken. But we shouldn’t call it that. We should call it turkey. And what does Bee do? She told Auntie Rhi AND Auntie Kim on the phone. They must have asked if we had chicken because all I heard was, “It was fake turkey. We had chicken. But shhhhhh! Mama doesn’t like when we say that.” I about died from holding in all the laughter.

A faux Thanksgiving, indeed!

But definitely one for the books. We don’t do memories half-hearted at Casa de Katie. No way. That’s one thing that we never fake. Family stories are done right. I’m pretty sure we made some good ones this year!




One Response to “Faux Thanksgiving 2013”

  1. Kathy Says:

    Sounds like an awesome time. So hard to know how much to do & how much to let them do when you are teaching. It is always easier to do it yourself. 🙂

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