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An Extra Thankful List from a Kansas City Mom

Happy Thanksgiving, Kansas City! There’s so much to be grateful for, and our Mom Squad Ambassador, Erin has a great list of things she’s particularly thankful for this year. We here at iFamilyKC hope you all are spending these few days off relaxing surrounded by love and family.

An Extra Thankful List from a Kansas City Mom

An Extra Thankful List from a Kansas City Mom


Looking back this year, I have so much to be thankful for as a momma! Here are a few moments I thought I’d share with you all:


I am thankful for my 22 month old son who pries my eyes open at 6:30am every.single.morning. and whispers “Mommy” 549 times until I wake up.


I am thankful for my 7 year old daughter, who I sit with every night to get her to go to sleep because she’s still somehow afraid of monsters in the dark. She kicks her brother out of her room, for the love of sleep, why not me?!


I am thankful for Saturdays so I can sleep in. Wait. Children have no idea what day it is. 6:30am it is! Well, I’m thankful for Saturdays when my bed transforms in to the ultimate bouncy house and my adorable 2 year old starts chanting “toons, toons, TOONS!”


I am thankful that my husband is able to sleep through the mass chaos that happens every morning in our bedroom. He works hard to provide for this family, yes. Am I a tad bit jealous that I cannot just shut my eyes and ignore the wild beasts gnawing at our feet? Yes.


I am thankful my son can feed himself at the table, like the rest of us. When he decides he is done, he spits food out and then proceeds to throw his food away, including the plate, silverware and sippy cup. Oh how I love to rummage through the half eaten mac and cheese searching for buried treasures!


I am thankful for the wakeup call I get to find a long lost binky at 2am that the bed has somehow devoured while we slept. Oh well, I needed to use the bathroom anyway.


I am thankful for our family photos. They offered cookies and punch to the kids and then proceeded to tell us exactly 2 minutes later that they were ready for us. Ok, who wants the job of prying a cookie out of my son’s tight little fist? Nope. Cookie looks good in the pics. It adds character!


I am thankful for my sweet little daughter, who loves all things Christmas, and knows very well that I am not a fan of Christmas music until after Thanksgiving. She kept the Holiday Hits channel on my tv, so that when I turned it on, Bing Crosby came blaring through the speakers. Love her and her love of Christmas.


Hey moms! I’d love to hear what you and your little turkeys are thankful for this year! Drop me a line in the comments!


From iFamily to Yours,



The Life That This Kansas City Mom is Thankful For

We here at iFamilyKC are continually blessed by and thankful for our Mom Squad Ambassadors. Brigette is one of our newer members and I think we can all agree, she’s fit right in. Today, she shares with us a heartfelt and honest look into being thankful for the very air we breathe. She overcame an extremely difficult time, and talks about finding gratitude through it all. Take a look…

Check Out What This Kansas City Mom is Thankful For


For many, this time of year seems to bring out our love for one another, our compassion for the less fortunate and our thankfulness to the ones we love. And that is great! We should all make sure that we spend time thinking about others and the things that they go through or how we can help.

When asked to write about something I was thankful for, so many reasons flooded my head. I have my husband that is my rock, my kids who are my “why” and of course my family for all they have done. It was obvious! But there is something else that I am just as thankful for, and to be honest… probably more thankful for. My life.


Just hear me out.


A few months ago, I was in my very first severe car accident. Sure I had been in a few fender benders (1 was my fault) but never anything serious. As my husband and I were moving our things back to Kansas City after living in Dallas for years, we got caught in some pretty icky weather. There were no flash floods, no lightening or severe weather warnings, just enough rain to slick the roads and make you want to curl up and watch movies. Long story short, as my husband and I were headed back into town, we hit a slick spot and it caused our car to hydroplane. Everything happened so quickly and all I could do was scream out for my husband as we spun out of control down the highway. Thankfully, no one else was close enough to be effected by the mishap and we only walked away with a few sore spots and headaches.


After going through something so terrifying, I couldn’t help but think. What if that was it for me? What if my time on this earth had come to an end? How would my husband get a long? Or, how will my kids be able to comprehend that mommy wasn’t there? My family means the world to me and if something were too ever happen to them, well… I can’t even imagine what that would be like.


Sure I always wake up thankful for another day, thankful for those around me, but knowing that my life could have ended that day has made me even more thankful for my life. Thankful that I have another opportunity to strive to be the best wife I can be for my husband. Thankful that I have the opportunity to be the best mom for my kids and Thankful that I have another opportunity be someone that family, friends and even strangers can trust, to help when I am able, pick them up when they are down and to be encouraging when things get tough.


Yes, I will always be thankful for those around me, but I am even more thankful that I still have the opportunity to be a part of their life and the chance to do my part by filling their life with even more love.


From iFamily to Yours,



Holiday Reflection: Thanksgiving with Grandma

The holidays are such a great time for reflection — whether it’s on remembering what you’re grateful, reflecting on memories, or thinking about loved ones that are no longer with us, it’s a moment to pause and invest in this beautiful life. Our Mom Squad Ambassador has a beautiful piece reflecting on Thanksgiving with her grandmother and what still sticks with her. Take a look…

Holiday Reflection: Thanksgiving with Grandma

Holiday Reflection: Thanksgiving with Grandma


Growing up, Thanksgiving was always very special. My late grandmother who was like my best friend would always let me help in the kitchen. She would teach me her secrets to pie pinching, making her delicious sweet potatoes and even let me help “clean the turkey”.


One of my most fond memories for this time of year were us baking together. We would make pies, cookies, rollie polies, and other baked goods. I loved making the pies and rollie polies with her. I would roll the dough out as even as I could, place it gently in the pan and try very, very hard to fix all the cracks I had made lol. When our pies were all done and in the oven, we would move on to the next best thing! Making rollie pollies! Ahhh one of my favorites! My dear grandmother would let me roll the remaining dough out once more, and then the fun would really begin! I remember taking a stick of butter and covering the entire area of dough with it! I would always try to touch it because it looked so slippery and gooey! Once we finished with the butter we would sprinkle what is in my opinion one of THEE best smells ever, cinnamon and sugar. We would cover the dough with handfuls of the sweet mixture and then roll it up! I remember after we had rolled the dough into one long log, she would hold my hand and guide me to cut even pieces. I was so excited to make all of it… every year! Also, she would always let me “taste” our baking creations!


Once we were all done baking and the food was finishing its last 45 minutes of cook time, I would the “grown up table”. I LOVED setting the table, my grandparents had this beautiful gold set of cutlery. Every time she would open it (it was in a special trunk) I would feel like I was setting the table for royalty! She would get out the nice glasses and table cloths too. I remember her showing me how to place the lace covering on the table just perfectly. My cousins and I would always do our very best to make it as neat and clean as possible!


Once the food was cooked, we would all set the dishes and bowls on the table, take our seat and enjoy the fruits of our labor. Even though I didn’t get to sit at the “grown up table” I would always look over to see everyone’s reaction to all the food we had made.


Even though this year won’t be the same since she passed last December, I try to think of the positives. All the things she taught me, all the traditions we had, I can now do with my daughters this Thanksgiving. I can teach them how to set the special table, how to bake our family favorites and so on. And even though these are just memories, they all make Thanksgiving even more special.


From iFamily to Yours,









This Weekend at the Box Office: Moana

Thanksgiving is a great time to catch a flick, and Disney holiday fashion, they’ve released their new animated movie, Moana. So, after eating all that turkey, and catching a few Zzzz’s, why not head to the theater and enjoy this family movie. Check out Holli’s review and insider look of the new film below. Happy Thanksgiving!

This Weekend at the Box Office: Moana



This Weekend at the Box Office: Moana


Release Date: November 23, 2016
Run Time: 103 min
Rating: PG
Director: Ron Clements, Don Hall, John Musker, Chris Williams
Cast: Auli’i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson



Thanksgiving is, for me, a time not only to appreciate life’s incredible blessings but also a time for reflection. One of my favorite childhood memories, and a tradition that I carry on with my own daughter, is experiencing the new Disney movie that comes out around Thanksgiving each year (like “The Santa Claus” in 1994 and “101 Dalmations” in 1996). This year, Charlotte and I had the chances to celebrate early at the advanced screening of Disney’s latest movie “Moana” and we were not disappointed.

“Moana” follows the story of a special little girl who feels called to the sea. As she grows and learns about her community, she feels compelled to do something different from what is expected of her from everyone she knows. Her father, the Chief, has long rooted beliefs that the sea is not a safe or friendly place for their people and that fear drives him to forbid Moana (and her tribe) from passing the reef located just off of their island.

Even when their food supply begins to diminish, his overwhelming fear of the unknown keeps him from venturing away from home. Moana, however, was chosen by the sea for an unforgettable journey that will restore her island and her people’s long rooted history with the ocean. Along the way, she encounters struggles and situations that force her out of her comfort zone and into the woman she was meant to be.

What I loved most about this movie is the message that it sends to little girls across the world – To be who you are and to not be afraid of the challenges that you might face along your journey. Disney has done it again and moviegoers can expect to fall in love with the stunning animation, fun characters, and incredible sound track throughout the feature film.

Pro Tip: Be sure to check out the digital short before the movie – It’s a good one!

From iFamily to Yours,



Quick & Simple Tips to Surviving Black Friday Shopping

The hour is upon us. Thanksgiving week is here. How insane is it that 2016 is almost over? It is still boggling my mind. We all have a million things on our to-do list for this upcoming week, and a lot of us probably have some shopping to get done as well. Luckily, our Mom Squad Ambassador, Sarah, has some a great tips of how to survive (and thrive) during your Black Friday shopping trip!

Quick & Simple Tips to Surviving Black Friday Shopping



Quick & Simple Tips to Surviving Black Friday Shopping


Black Friday…so ominous right?! I will throw a little history lesson at you; give you something to talk about around the Thanksgiving table. “Black Friday” was coined in the early 1960s to mark the kickoff to the holiday shopping season. Referring to the time when retailers would go from the red to the black when entering in accounting numbers (red for a loss, black for a profit). For a little extra credit; “Black Friday” also refers to a financial crisis in 1869. Regardless of the definition it is practically a holiday in and of itself, making for long lines, excitement, some disappointment, and has been fulfilling wish lists for a long time. But how do you survive this one day? I will give you some tips that are sure to make your day (or night) of shopping easy and successful!


Stay Home

Let’s get the elephant out of the room first. If you really want a successful shopping experience stay home; set the alarm for 2AM and hop on the internet. It may take some time for the site to refresh and it will most certainly be slow, but you will have a fairly good chance of being successful and you won’t have to venture out in the cold. But where is the sport in that?! My husband goes out in the below freezing weather to walk through a field looking for that one perfect deer, then drags it back to the truck where unimaginable carnage takes place to put deer meat in our freezer. This is the same thing people! I am going out in the freezing cold to stand in line for four hours to “hunt” that one toy that is on my daughters’ list only to drag it home wrap it and place it under a hacked up pine tree!

Start Early

We will start around November 1st. Why you may ask? Because that is truly when Black Friday ads begin to make it on the internet and we can see them. Take a look at TheBlackFriday.com, there are plenty of others but this one always seems to get all of the ones that I want. These aren’t leaked either, some sites may say they are but retailers want you to look at their ads, they want you getting excited as early as possible. Another option is waiting until Wednesday or Thanksgiving Day to go and get a paper with ads. If you do this, make sure to go early—like before putting the turkey in the oven! They will sell out quick. And now comes the fun part!

Make a Wish List

Once you have claimed the entire dining room table or living room floor, whichever you prefer, make sure that the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is on for the kids and get focused! Get a pen and paper, if you have wish lists or lists of those that you need to buy gifts for, get those out too. I like to remove all the ads that I know I will shop at and then go from there to stores that maybe I won’t go to but they may have that off the wall gift for husband or father-in-law. Now, check times on all your favorites and put them in order from earliest to latest. A couple years ago some stores started to open on Thanksgiving Day—I really hated that! Oh no, not because they were opening on turkey day, if someone wants to skip dinner to go stand in line all the power to them, it just messed up my timing! Now we start to scan, looking at each page and thinking about the people on your gift list, write down (DO NOT CIRCLE or DOGEAR) on your paper the name, gift, price, store, and open time. You will probably find this same item at several stores so make sure to leave room for that, it will come in later. If you really want to get type A you can take this list at the end of your scanning and make it into an Excel file! (Insert: Type A control freak aka Sarah)

Map It Out

Now that we have gone through each ad and we have written down every gift, we are officially ready for Black Friday (or Thursday) ad reading. Now you have to have your plan of attack. Go through your list and look at each store you have to go to. Let’s say its Target, Wal-Mart, Old Navy and Toys R Us, for example, then you know from your list (or excel sheet) that Target opens at 6PM on Thursday, Wal-Mart at 6PM on Thursday, Toys R Us at 5PM on Thursday and Old Navy at midnight. You see what I am saying about moving everything to Black Thursday? Messes with your method! You plan to head to Toys R Us first since it opens at 5 then weigh what you want to buy at Target and Wal-Mart and whichever one has the most important “get” on the list then go there first, then Old Navy at midnight. If you haven’t ever done Black Friday shopping then you know from news reports that this isn’t something you just walk into, there are lines—lines city blocks long in some cases just to get in. Take a look at your list and really ask yourself what the most important thing on the list is—focus there. Because unless Target and Wal-Mart are right next to each other (which I am going to guarantee you they aren’t) then you will have to pick your battles, theoretically speaking of course.

Day Of Morning

The day has come! Or it is several hours later because you just looked at ads this morning! Imagine you are going on a four hour hike, then pack and dress for that. I would recommend leaving the kids at home, for obvious reasons if you are buying gifts for them but for the pure agony they will feel about 10 minutes in. Take a big purse, no we aren’t stealing anything or planning on hitting anyone on the head! This is for putting in gloves, hats, anything that won’t fit in pockets. Don’t wear a coat, a vest would be better, less bulk and little easier to manage once you are inside. Take some coffee and granola bars for energy and caffeine and store in the big purse. And finally, wear tennis shoes for goodness sake, I have to say this because I have seen women in heels and two hours into waiting in line they are complaining about their feet hurting! If you can it is always a good idea to bring someone along with you. Its makes the time move quicker but also comes in handy, more on that in a minute! Don’t worry you will know when the doors have opened, usually screams of joy erupt and the line starts to move quickly. I have never been in a line with pushing but I have heard it happens (insert sarcasm!) This is the point where I don’t care how cold it is, take off the hat, gloves and put up the coffee!

Day Of Action

When you get in, have your plan of attack on where to go. Sometimes those pesky stores mix it up and put the TVs in the clothes section so keep a keen eye! SKIP THE CARTS! Everyone always goes for them and it takes up time. Unless you are getting a big item, you can come back or you may have to awkwardly carry smaller items through the store. Back to that person who came with you, have them stand in a different line now, head to the registers and when the line starts to get long have them save a place. I know this is the worst and I am not a fan when people do it but let’s face it—brilliant idea! Please, don’t push and shove for your item, no one likes that, but you should be aggressive and forceful but polite—it is the holidays anyway! And no pressure, but the “Hallmark moment” you imagine when your daughter opens up that one desperately wanted toy of the season depends on your ability to be a little aggressive.

So you have scored your item! Head to the registers and check out, looking at other things as you go along, or sending said “line holder person” back for more things! If you did not score the item—do not fret! Pull the store website up on your phone find the item and place in your shopping cart, and then head to an open spot and purchase. You may be asking—why didn’t we just do that in the first place from our nice warm house? Sport my friend; it’s called the sport of it! Happy hunting!



From iFamily to Yours,








10 Simple Things to do on Thanksgiving Day!

Good Morning, Kansas City!! The rumor’s are true, Thanksgiving is ONE week away. As you set out to buy your dinner ingredients, and tie up any last minute plans, you may be thinking of what you can actually do on the actual day of Thanksgiving. Well, our Mom Squad Ambassador, Erin, has 10 super easy things you can do on Thanksgiving Day. Check it out!

10 Simple Things to do on Thanksgiving Day!


10 Simple Things to do on Thanksgiving Day!


Now that we have Halloween behind us, who’s ready for the big turkey day? Believe it or not, Thanksgiving Day is only 2 weeks away! And the weather is finally feeling a bit more like November. Are you looking for ideas for you and your family to do on Thanksgiving? Here’s a list of 10 things you can do to kickoff the holiday season!



10 Simple Things to do on Thanksgiving Day!


…the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Thanksgiving morning usually begins in my house with the parade playing in the background while we prepare our dishes, the kids run around like crazies and while we get ourselves all fancied up for dinner.



10 Simple Things to do on Thanksgiving Day!


…football outside with family or turn on a football game on TV. I have great memories of past Thanksgivings where all the men in my family would gather around the TV, nearly in that “turkey coma”, to watch the game.



10 Simple Things to do on Thanksgiving Day!


It wouldn’t be the start of the holiday season unless we all sat around stuffing ourselves after we stuffed the turkey. Don’t feel like cooking? Dine at one of the many fabulous restaurants in KC!



10 Simple Things to do on Thanksgiving Day!


Thanksgiving crafts with your little turkeys! There are tons of ideas via Pinterest or Facebook. One easy, fun idea that younger kids love is the turkey handprint.  Get creative with construction paper, newspaper, leaves, googly eyes, stickers, feathers, paint, glitter, markers and popsicle sticks.




10 Simple Things to do on Thanksgiving Day!


…to your family. We love to sit around and discuss all kinds of things at our table. It’s a great time to catch up with family you haven’t seen in awhile! If you are missing some people at your table this holiday, you could set up a video chat with them!




10 Simple Things to do on Thanksgiving Day!


…at the advertisements for Black Friday! My mother and sister-in-laws love to get the newspaper out after dinner and peruse the ads! I have always been super pumped about finding great deals on Christmas gifts, especially if I find something already on my list!




10 Simple Things to do on Thanksgiving Day!


…on the best moments of the year.       Last Thanksgiving, after we said the blessing, we all went around and said something we were personally thankful for. My husband has a gigantic family, so it was really neat to hear all the wonderful things everyone was thankful for!




10 Simple Things to do on Thanksgiving Day!


…your time to a local charity or soup kitchen. A few years ago, I volunteered on my birthday at Harvesters and it was an incredibly rewarding experience!




10 Simple Things to do on Thanksgiving Day!


…your leftover food to a local charity in need. It seems like we always have SO MUCH FOOD during the holidays. Don’t let that food go to waste! Check out these websites for ways to donate your leftovers. http://www.feedingamerica.org/







10 Simple Things to do on Thanksgiving Day!


…your holiday season with a trip to the Country Club Plaza to see them flip the switch on 280,000 lights! This tradition is extremely special to myself and my family! I can only hope my children will continue the tradition with their own children and have such special memories as I do!


What does your family do on Thanksgiving Day? Let us know and if there are any special events around KC you’d like to mention, be sure to drop us a line in the comments!


From iFamily to Yours,



A Hands-on Thanksgiving Craft for the Entire Family

Hellooooo, Kansas City! Thanksgiving is a little over a week away, and it’s a great time to sit down with our kiddos and invest some creative time with them. Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Becky, has an adorable (and EASY) Thanksgiving craft that’s perfect for all ages. Check it out!

A Hands-on Thanksgiving Craft for the Entire Family

A Hands-on Thanksgiving Craft for the Entire Family


I really love fall but I really do not like the end of daylight savings time. Getting home from work and school when it’s already dark is depressing and really limits our evening activities since we’re stuck indoors. This week we played a board game, brought up a box of band instruments (I’ve had smarter ideas) and did a cute little family craft to add to our Thanksgiving decorations. These handprint turkeys are a quick and easy and reminder that “family” is high on the thankful list.


Here’s what you’ll need:


A Hands-on Thanksgiving Craft for the Entire Family


Construction paper in fall colors (one sheet for each member of your family)




Googly eyes (optional)


Here’s what you do:

10 Simple Things to do on Thanksgiving Day!



  1. Have everyone in your family select their favorite color paper
  2. Help everyone trace one hand.
  3. Help everyone cut out their traced hand.
  4. Have the kids order the hands largest to smallest.
  5. Glue each hand on top of each other, the largest hand should be on the bottom and the smallest hand should be on the top
  6. Add a gobble chin thing (what are those called) on your turkey and an eye.
  7. Just so there’s no guessing down the road, be sure to write the year on the back.



Becky Ervin is a creative director, mother of three and blogs at PartyBoxKC.com.


From iFamily to Yours,iFamMomSqdBeckyV2


Countdown to Thanksgiving: Create a Blessings Box

Happy Monday, Kansas City! I’m about to boggle your minds — Thanksgiving is NEXT week! Can you even believe it? 2016 is flying by and there has been so much to be thankful for. Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Leah, has a few ideas of how to store those “blessings,” including an awesome Blessings Box she made with her own family. Check it out…

Countdown to Thanksgiving: Create a Blessings Box

Countdown to Thanksgiving: Create a Blessings Box


Several years ago I received an amazing gift from a dear friend of mine. She made me a beautiful “Blessings Box” for me to store my blessings in.

The idea was for me to write down my blessings every night and store them in the box.

Countdown to Thanksgiving: Create a Blessings Box

Then whenever I felt down I could pull them out and read them out loud. This was to serve as a reminder of my blessings. It was such a thoughtful gift. I still use this box four years later.

One day as I was writing down several of my blessings my son asked what I was doing.

Next thing I knew he joined in. We had so much fun writing down things we were blessed/ thankful for. My son then turned into a weekly event. Once a week we would write down things we loved about eachother. We also included things we were grateful for about one another. We did not show one another what we wrote. We stuck them in an envelope then placed them into our “Blessings Box”. Then on Sunday evening we would read them to each other. This was such a beautiful refresher for the both of us. There are many times in life where we forget to tell each other what we love the most about them. It was such a beautiful blessing to have them in writing as well.

I highly encourage you this November to sit down as a family and create a “Blessings box” or a “Blessings jar”. Who doesn’t love hearing what people love about them?

Countdown to Thanksgiving: Create a Blessings Box


Family Blessing Jar


No special paper needed. Any scrap will do! We then go around the table and one by one open the slips of paper, seeing the blessings of our lives laid before us. As we read from the past year we are always reminded of the ways God has taken the good and bad times and turned them into family memories, a tangible picture of God’s love for us.

I cannot begin to tell you how we look forward to this time. As our family ages and changes we welcome new members and treasure those to come in future years. Our culture of family traditions didn’t start overnight but are the culmination of years living life together.

Where do you start? Take one day at a time and try these tips for instilling gratitude in your children.

  1. Start young. Even small children can be taught to say thank you to God through their prayers, songs and words.
  2. Point out to your children the many ways you are thankful to God for His provision, His love and your family.
  3. Model a thankful heart. Tell your children and spouse thank you for the gift of their lives each day.
  4. Encourage your children to say thank you and “catch” each other doing acts of service.
  5. As the children get older, have them look up scriptures on thanksgiving and write the verses out. Use them in art projects or special presents for friends and family members.


Today I am Thankful Jar


I decided to make inspire my whole family to participate in this challenge to look for the good things and finding things to be grateful for every day. I had a nice glass jar already on hand and simply wrote on it with a black Sharpie Marker. In case we decide to use the jar for something else, the Sharpie will easily come off with some rubbing alcohol. But, I did not trust my handwriting. Instead of trying to write with freehand on the jar, I printed off what I wanted to write on the jar with a couple different handwriting fonts, put it inside the jar and simply traced it. I put the jar on the kitchen counter with a stack of pre-cut paper strips and a marker to make it easy.

It is wonderful to watch the little pile of notes slowly grow inside. I noticed I often pause during the day when I feel grateful for something – a kind word from brother to brother- and write it down. It has made sometimes stressful episodes more bearable throughout the day. I reflect more on what I am thankful for instead of what annoys me.  I also asked my family to write down at least 1 thing they are grateful for every day. We intend to read the notes on Thanksgiving Day.


If you would like to read more blogs or posts from Leah please follow me at http://www.facebook.com/solaceforthesoul


From iFamily to Yours,









5 Crowd Pleasing Main Course Recipes for Thanksgiving

It’s time to start prepping those grocery lists for a good ol’ fashioned Thanksgiving dinner. If you’re in the market to try something new or want to expand your already fantastic meal, check out these sure to please main course recipes from our Mom Squad Ambassador, Brigette.

5 Crowd Pleasing Main Course Recipes for Thanksgiving



5 Crowd Pleasing Main Course Recipes for Thanksgiving


OMG can you believe it is already November and Thanksgiving is a few weeks away?! Where has the time gone? Seriously! And you know what Thanksgiving means.. Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, no school, family and FOOD! If your family is like the millions of other families in the US, then you may need an arsenal of recipes up your sleeve to not only feed the masses but also satisfy the family’s cravings. Plus awesome leftovers are like mana from heaven for us busy moms and dads! I know I don’t want to cook the day after Thanksgiving ;)!

There are so many dishes that can be served for your family’s Thanksgiving dinner. Whether you are a red meat kinda family, kosher or vegan, there is plenty of options for you and your family.

So to kind of get the Thanksgiving meal wheel kind of rolling, I wanted to share with you 5 easy, delicious and oh so crowd pleasing recipes for your main course.


Good old fashioned turkey!

We totally love turkey in our home for Thanksgiving! One simple recipe that I follow for our turkey has kind of been a combination of my grandmother’s tradition and Rachael Ray lol. First, I coat the bird with Extra Virgin Olive Oil making sure that it is completely coated. Second I season with my family favorites.. salt, pepper, garlic, thyme, tarragon and a little paprika.

Once it is fully coated I place it in a Turkey roasting bag which you can get at any mass retailer. ** (Tip the bag gives the outside that crispy skin but juicy inside)** On the back of the box of roasting bags there is a cooking time chart, just follow that and you will have the perfect bird!

Classic Pot Roast

We love the occasional pot roast in our family. Especially if they are on sale! You can make it into so many things, another perfect reason to have roast as a main course! Like most of these recipes you can let them cook all day or all night. For our roast, I season and brown all the sides on the stove in a little oil. Once it is nice and browned, I place it in our slow cooker, add between a cup and a cup and a half of water and let that baby go! It fills the house with warmth and deliciousness!


Chef Michael Symon’s Pan roasted chicken

I’m not sure if you have ever seen the Chew or any of his other cooking shows… but Chef Michael Symon is KNOWN for being a meat connoisseur. When I learned how to make his Pan roasted chicken, I seriously made it EVERYDAY for a week! I could not cannot get over how great and easy it is! If my kids didn’t tell me they were tired of chicken, I would have still made it. Not only is this recipe a crowd pleaser but it will make your Thanksgiving table look so beautiful! How can chicken make my table beautiful you ask? Slice it horizontally and thank me later lol! Check out the Chefs recipe here! http://abc.go.com/shows/the-chew/recipes/pan-roasted-chicken-michael-symon


Mustard and Brown sugar ham

So I never was a ham person and my husband wasn’t either, he would only eat it on occasion (Thanksgiving lol) but our whole marriage he would talk about his grandmother’s ham! He would go on and on about this brown sugar and mustard ham and I have never tasted it! Finally after 10 years I was able to taste this brown sugar and mustard concoction and it was divine! Even though we still do not eat pork in my family, I can honestly say that this mixture is perfect for not only ham but chicken and turkey as well. It is definitely the easiest mixture I have ever made as too. Simply start with a little brown sugar and add mustard until it turns into a smooth barbeque like consistency. As you add the mustard to the brown sugar, taste to make sure that there is a balance between the mustard and brown sugar. Once balanced you will get a sweet golden brown paste. Simply coat your ham and cook as you normally would!



So as I’m writing this piece it hit me, not everyone eats meat! Veggies and Vegans observe Thanksgiving too! So I felt it was only right to include an option for our veggie and vegan readers! Now I will be honest, my family tries to eat as healthy as possible but we do have our short comings (we could up the veggie intake). So as I was going through my recipe rolodex in my brain, I could not come up with very many recipes except one. Pasta! Who doesn’t love pasta? There are many vegan and veggie options when it comes to pasta noodles and sauce. Simply pick your noodles and sauce and add in some fresh onions, peppers and spinach! Or if you have the time, grab a spaghetti squash instead!


There are so many options when it comes to food and who said that you have to have one or the other for Thanksgiving? At the end of the day, all that matters is that you are with the ones you love with good food and great memories!


Brigette blogs at bybrigettedanielle.com 


From iFamily to Yours,






Check Out These 5 Perfect Thanksgiving Sides

Happy Wednesday, Kansas City! It really is so hard to fathom that the holidays are around the corner. As you start to piece together your Thanksgiving menu, you might want to mix things up. If that’s the case, our Mom Squad Ambassador, Brigette has a roundup of some great sides to add to the mix. Check it out!

Check Out These 5 Perfect Thanksgiving Sides

Check Out These 5 Perfect Thanksgiving Sides



If you ask me, Thanksgiving is more than a Holiday. It’s kind of a day where you can show your loved ones how much you love them by showering them with your best comfort food! We all know that food is a common denominator in every culture, not just for survival, but for celebrating, comforting and just showing love. Thanksgiving just so happens to be one of the best Holidays to do so! I mean the main focus is eating lol.

As a kid, my family and I would often stay the night at my grandparents’ house the night before a big holiday to get a head start on many of the family favorites. I would love waking up to the smell of my grandma’s roasted turkey and scratch made stuffing! Ahhh the glory days lol! The house would fill with the smell of pumpkin pie, apple pie, cinnamon and turkey. It was the smell of Thanksgiving!

As the older I got, I would lend even more of a helping hand in the kitchen and I would come to learn some of my grandmothers most coveted family recipes! And through many trial and errors, I was able to maintain a few of our family’s traditional recipes. But every now and then, it feels great to shake things up, try new recipes, new food and even new combinations! So if you are feeling stuck this Thanksgiving or want to shake it up a tad, try these awesome recipes! You never know, these could be your NEW family tradition!


Baked Apple Cranberry Stuffing

  • 1 [12oz] package of Pepperidge Farm Herb Cubed Stuffing
  • 2 1/4 cups of Swanson Chicken Broth [veggie works too!]
  • 4 stalks of celery, chopped [about 2 cups]
  • 1 large onion, chopped [about 1 cup or so]
  • 1 medium granny smith apple, chopped [skin on for extra nutrients!]
  • 1 cup of dried cranberries
  • 3 tablespoons of butter a pinch of cinnamon [optional extra!]
  • You’ll also need non-stick aluminum foil [like Renolyds Wrap] and a 3-quart shallow baking pan.
  • recipe yields 11 servings at 3/4 cup each


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a baking pan with foil, dull side down.
  3. Heat your butter in a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat.
  4. Add your chopped onion and celery and sauté until tender and translucent.
  5. Next stir in the broth, apple, and cranberries.
  6. For a sweeter stuffing, you can sprinkle a little bit of ground cinnamon into the mix or choose a more savory addition like allspice and garlic powder. Totally optional but both add a fabulous flavor boost!
  7. Remove the saucepan from heat and add in your stuffing.
  8. Mix to moisten and then spoon into foil-lined baking pan.
  9. Optional: Top with another sheet of foil to make a makeshift lid/tent for the stuffing to help lock in moisture. Overcooking may result in dry stuffing.
  10. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until your stuffing is hot and fluffy!

Recipe originally from http://peasandcrayons.com/2013/01/baked-apple-cranberry-stuffing.html#


Broccoli and rice casserole

  •  1 (2 lb.) package frozen broccoli
  • 2 cans condensed cream of mushroom soup – (don’t add milk)
  • 1 cup uncooked Minute Rice
  • 1 small (8 oz.) jar of Cheez Whiz


  1. Combine all ingredients in crockpot.
  2. Cook on high for about 4 hours.

Cranberry Salad with toasted pecans and smoked Gouda

  • dried cranberries
  • smoked Gouda cheese
  • pecans or walnuts
  • baby spinach/ dark mixed greens
  • red apples
  • fruit vinaigrette dressing


  1. Combine all ingredients into a bowl
  2. Drizzle fruit based vinaigrette lightly and toss.

Twice Baked Potatoes

  • 20 pound bag of Idaho russet baking potatoes
  • 1 stick Land O Lakes butter
  • 1 c. of milk, I use skim, but whole milk or cream is good too
  • 1/2 c. sour cream
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 bag grated cheddar cheese
  • 6 strips of bacon (optional)
  • green onions for garnish (optional)


  1. Bake the potatoes in the oven at 350* until tender, approximately 1 hour then pull them out of the oven and let them cool enough to handle.
  1. Get out your handy KitchenAid mixer and cut the top off each spud and scoop the inside of the potatoes into the mixer. Place the remaining potato boats into an ovenproof dish, like this oval Mauviel Copper casserole.
  2. Prepare your butter, milk and sour cream by melting the butter and mixing them in a measuring cup, ready to pour into the mixing bowl with the scooped spuds.
  3. Grind your salt and pepper into the mixer, take a taste, and adjust the seasonings
  4. Next fill the potato boats to overflowing with the hot white fluff of buttery goodness, and cover the potatoes with grated cheese, sprinkle with green onions and the crispy bacon. Put them back into the oven so they can all melt together. Reheat them in the oven for 15 – 30 minutes at 350. Recipe originally from http://livedan330.com/2014/01/29/twice-baked-potatoes/


Crockpot Mac and Cheese


  • 16 oz. elbow macaroni
  • 3 cups milk
  • 8 oz. Velveeta, cut into chunks
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, cut into chunks
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese



  1. Cook pasta in boiling water 3 minutes short of being al dente.
  2. Place the cooked macaroni, milk, Velveeta, butter and cheddar cheese into a crockpot. Stir and top with Parmesan cheese. Set heat to Low and cook for 2 to 3 hours. Stir occasionally and check for doneness starting at the 2-hour mark.


Read more at http://www.pipandebby.com/pip-ebby/2014/8/12/crockpot-mac-and-cheese.html#gjTAwzkMdZzbXQmE.99


As always, you can adjust recipes to your own dietary needs, amount and taste! I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as we do!


From iFamily to Yours,