Sunday, November 29, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving!  I love this holiday.  I love remembering the pilgrims and the journey that they made to America so that they could worship how they saw fit.  I am amazed at the trials that they faced their first year, and I can only imagine the gratitude that they had as they celebrated after a bounteous harvest.  And so we enjoy our feast and we are grateful for our many blessings.

Monday night we spent the night again at the Packs.  I made Alfredo red pepper shrimp pasta and Jonathon and Caroline loved it.  

Tuesday, after Elder Larsen made another run to customs to pick up packages, we headed to Costco to buy pumpkin pies, rolls, and salad makings.  Then we picked up the six turkeys that we would be cooking for the Zone Conference the next day.  We spent a little while at the office, before we headed to the temple.  Fransisca Pizarro, one of our young adults from Tenerife, flew in from the islands. We were able to be at the temple with her on Tuesday evening.  It was a privilege to be her escort.  There were also three other missionaries in the session with us, and Elder Larsen was the escort for the elder.  Fransisca will be serving in the Malaga Mission, and the other missionaries will be serving in the Barcelona Mission.  

We got home from the temple late, and Elder Larsen started preparing our two turkeys.  We cooked one that night.  Elder Larsen stayed up for the late shift to take the turkey out of the oven, and I got up for the early shift to put the second turkey in the oven.  When it was ready, we headed over to the Packs where she was cooking her two turkeys.  We were fixing dinner for 120 people.  Hermana Vierbuchen was our angel because she offered to help us by cooking 2 turkeys at her house. Hermana Pack and I peeled 75 lbs. of potatoes and Hermana Vierbuchen and her daughter, Teresa, cooked and mashed all the potatoes for us.  She is the sweetest woman and a wonderful cook.  Her turkeys were beautiful and her potatoes were just delicious, with just a hint of nutmeg.  Yummy!  We also prepared green bean casseroles.  It was quite the procedure to keep the food warm.  Between the three of us, we had 6 crockpots, so we put the potatoes in them.  We carved the turkeys and rotated the meat from the oven to the insulated bags. I used the juice from the six turkeys for the gravy.  I had a large stock pot of gravy.  Then we had to load up all the food to take it over to Pavones.  Other than leaving a box of serving utensils and pitchers at the Packs, everything went pretty smoothly.  It was a simple Thanksgiving meal, but it was appreciated by everyone.  We even had cranberry sauce.  It was 3 euros a can at the American store, so we had to give out very small servings, but they still loved it.

We might have been crazy to do this, but to see the smiles on these missionaries faces, it was worth all of the effort, planning, worrying, and cooking.  Happy Thanksgiving from us to the missionaries of the Spain Madrid Mission! 

Thursday morning, we were back in the kitchen again, cooking our Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings.  We had the missionaries from our ward, Hanna Evans, who is working as a nanny, Hermana Koivisto and Hermana Stephenson, and the Vierbuchens.  We were a small group of only about 20 people.  We cooked two more turkeys, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potato casserole, ranch potatoes, cheesy potatoes, cornbread dressing, green bean casserole, the cutest vegetable tray ever, rolls, lemon pie, pecan pie, lemon bars, cupcakes, and cookies.  Let's just say there was plenty of food! 

It was so nice to have Elder Barlow and Elder Regehr playing the piano while we were finishing up the dinner.  It reminded me of being at home and having our kids at the piano.  They even started singing Christmas songs.

A wonderful Thanksgiving to remember!

We worked at the office all day on Friday.  We had our office meeting, and I was trying to catch up after two days of being out of the office.  That night we were invited to the Vierbuchens for dinner. They invited all the couples who had attended our Sunday School class.  We had a lovely evening.  

I'm just sad that I didn't think to take a picture of the delicious and beautiful dinner that Hermana Vierbechen prepared.  She is such a wonderful cook!  We also played Pictionary afterwards.  We had such a nice evening with these good people.  

Saturday morning, Elder Larsen and I were at the office.  I was able to get several projects completed before Elder Larsen took me to the Packs.  Then it was sewing time.  We worked until 8:30 p.m. and we were very productive.  We finished cutting all the squares, we marked them, and pinned them together.  We sewed X's on every square and Caroline got the squares laid out so she could stack them in the order that they need to be sewn.  Then I showed her how to sew a row of squares together.  We definitely made progress.   

Sunday morning, I practiced "Silent Night" with Caroline and Paula, we taught our Sunday School class, and then we had Aubrey and Jordan Greene over for dinner.  We know Aubrey from Katy, Texas.  Jordan has been doing an internship at the American Embassy.  We have been trying to get together for quite awhile, and we finally made it happen.  It was nice to visit with them and hear a few of the challenges that they have faced while living here.  We enjoyed chicken cacciatorre, salad, garlic bread, and pecan pie.  

I forgot to take a picture of this cute couple, but this is them on one of their sightseeing adventures.

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