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Every year when I was little, we would go to my grandparents house for Thanksgiving.
 Yes, over the river and through the woods to grandmothers house we would go.  

Even when I was little, I memorized how to get there.
Each town we went through. 
That big 'castle' we would drive past along the way.  
Each curve along the mountain that the road would take. 
The smell of the crisp mountain air and damp leaves and pine needles covering the ground
 and the sound of our feet as they went running across the deck to the front door.

  Going to Grammy's for Thanksgiving was one of those things 
that I always looked forward to growing up.

She would make everything
and when I say everything, I mean everything.
 From the stuffing with olives, deviled eggs, mashed potatoes with garlic, the green beans
 and she would even bake pies - pumpkin, apple and my favorite- pecan- all
using a a crust recipe that was handed down from her mother.
She also had these paper honeycomb turkeys that she would set down the center
of the table and place little small ones that were  name holders on each plate.
We would use Nanas heirloom china and the 'fancy' stemware that was different colors
 and Christmas music would play in the background.

 Thanksgiving was truly Grammys holiday and she loved everything that went along with hosting 
and having a house full of family all at her home for the day.

 I have such great memories about those times growing up
and when I was older, my family and I moved to the area and
I loved that my kids had to opportunity to enjoy spending Thanksgiving 
with my grandparents the way that I did growing up
and create their own memories with them.

When we found out that Grammy had dementia and wasn't able to host any longer,
 my mom decided to start hosting Thanksgiving celebration at her house a few hours away.
Each of us made all of Grammys dishes for her
 The potatoes, cranberries, the green beans and even each one of the pies.
We would bring my grandparents down for the day when they were able to travel
and we would celebrate there.
When they weren't able to travel any longer-
we stayed home and shared the Holidays with them here.
There was even a year that we brought Thanksgiving dinner to the care home
where she lived.
I think it was then that I really thought about what traditions meant to our family.

I have written this post about 3 different ways.
With 3 different thoughts and directions. 
Several of which could get a little too emotional right now.
I don't wear my heart on my sleeve on my blog very often
but sometimes, I find a little piece of it moving in that direction on here.

So instead of sharing a beautifully set table, or elegant Thanksgiving decor for this post, 
a few simple photos and some Thankful thoughts from a book that one of my sons made in school.
As I looked through it, it seemed perfect to simply reflect on some of the memories
and traditions at Thanksgiving today.

 Thanksgiving isn't about the Turkey, 
mashed potato casserole, the green beans or 3 kinds of pies
or even the paper honeycomb turkeys strutting on the table 

It's not about the perfectly set table or the perfect home for hosting.
It is about that special time with family and friends.
 It is about reflecting on how very much we have to be thankful for.

So though it sounds strange, one of the things that I am thankful for
at Thanksgiving are traditions.

Like the paper turkeys on the table
 and Nanas pie crust recipe that you share with others
and a favorite food that says 'Thanksgiving'
 from the first bite when it brings a flood of memories
back from when you were little.

So each year for Thanksgiving,
even on the years we don't all get to spend the day together,
everyone in our family makes a batch (or 2) of Grammy's special potato casserole recipe.
And in some ways, with that seemingly simple tradition,
 it is like we are all celebrating together.

You can read more about how my Heart is at Home
in my post from the Spring tour HERE

I am excited to be a part of a wonderful tour
this Fall that is all about how bloggers are sharing their traditions, recipes, crafts and
Thankful at Home thoughts this holiday season.

Hope you will stop by and visit each of them over the next couple of days!

Monday, Nov. 3

  Tuesday, Nov. 4 

  Wednesday, Nov. 5 

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  1. Such a sweet post, Courtney. It is good to have these memories and to start some new traditions.

  2. Loved your post Courtney! Isn't it wonderful to have such great memories of going to your Grammy's house and her great food? I have similar memories and I think it's why I enjoy baking and cooking so makes me feel close to my grandma -- especially when I use her recipes! Thanks so much for sharing. So happy to be touring with you!

  3. Loved reading this story of your family traditions It is so hard to come to terms with our grandparents and parents aging...the missing seats at the table of the ones who have passed on.....loved the "thankful drawings" !!...

  4. Oh such precious memories and stories to pass down for generations. Gathering with family is always the best.

  5. We have several recipes that are tradition in our family. I'll be pulling one out this weekend for a pre-Thanksgiving feast. Thanks for sharing.

  6. what sweet memories to have and cherish ...forever. thanks for sharing your heart.

  7. What wonderful family memories! Enjoy your Thanksgiving preparations... I know you will be thinking about your Grandmother as you work. Take care and thank you for sharing your memories.

  8. Your story is so sweet and simple...we share that common thread. Thanks for your generosity in sharing. Cheryl Ann

  9. Such treasured memories Courtney and it's so obvious that you are carrying on the traditions and values your grandmother created and capturing those moments beautifully!

  10. Hi, how good it is to be reminded to cherish Thanksgiving. I am such a Christmas lover, I usually see it as the holiday that gets in the way of decorating for my favorite one! This year, however, I am hosting and it is the first one without my father in law, who loved Thanksgiving. It needs to be special. Thanks for making me stop to think about what extra things I will do this year. xx

  11. Lovely post and tribute to your grandparents. Some of my fondest memories is traveling a few hours to my husbands late grandmothers home in Stuart, VA where she hosted Thanksgiving dinner for many years. Her birthday was Nov. 27th so we would celebrate that as well and sometimes it even fell on Thanksgiving day like it does this year. After she went to an assisted living home, we would travel there and share Thanksgiving and her birthday.

  12. While I read your post, the memory of my own Grandma's house came to mind. I can smell her homemade peppermint cookies and hear her wringer washing machine whirling in the background. Sweet memories...

    And now I want to rewrite my own post... for the 3rd time! :)

    For your post, I expected stunning imagery of your home done in your style... but what I got was so much more. Thank YOU.

  13. I almost didn't follow along with this tour. I imagined fancy houses with fancy dishes. I must admit your post brought tears to my eyes and made me miss my Grandma Carrie. She lived next door to us. Her dinners were so nice. She was the cook at our school as well. Then it felt that Thanksgiving was it's own celebration not just the day before Christmas holiday began. Love the pictures. Those bring back memories too.

  14. So special, Courtney! Family is such a gift, isn't it? :)

  15. Well this post of family traditions for Thanksgiving hit me hard. Tears, reading this beautiful, loving tribute to your Grandma. My sister is making the traditional dinner at our moms home, with our brother, his b'day is that day too. I won't be there, but in spirit. Mom is slowing down, and my wonderful sister cooks just like her. A beautiful written post Courtney, Kathleen in Az

  16. Very meaningful post Courtney, really enjoyed it and thank you for sharing it with us.

  17. So beautiful. But you really do set a gorgeous table. God bless.

  18. This post was truly written from the heart. Nicely done! What a great way to appreciate the real meaning behind Thanksgiving and get us all in the spirit of that holiday. Thank you for sharing this with us. ☺️

  19. Oh Courtney....this post...this special post....spoke so deeply to my heart. I could feel the emotions rising in your soul and trickling over into your words. This will be the first Thanksgiving that I won't have my parents here to share the joy of the holidays. It will be difficult for me, I know....but it makes the memories even more special. So, treasure those special days. Hold your family as close as you can. Tuck those memories away and never let them go. May God bless you and your family richly this season...

    xoxo laurie

  20. Beautiful post Courtney. It was nice to see your heart on your sleeve. Many blessings to you and your family.

  21. Thanksgiving is the time to wear your heart on your sleeve. Your thoughts and memories were very moving and brought back many memories of loved ones and the homes we visited each Thanksgiving. Thank you for sharing your memories and thoughts. Blessings to you and yours.

  22. I could be reading our story here. For years we would travel to my mom and dad's house for Thanksgiving -- Christmas was too iffy since they live pretty far away. Finally we moved them closer to us and we started hosting Thanksgiving. The tradition has always been left to us. We love to cook for family. This year will be different. My son is on call and he can't make it -- we live several hours away. Our daughter offered to host Thanksgiving because she lives in the same town with our two boys. We are making the meal and taking it. What is important is family -- that is what Thanksgiving is all about. Memories of family giving thanks -- yep that's what its all about.

  23. Courtney! What a beautiful post. I loved it yesterday & again today when I read it a second time. It was hard to read the first time as I was welling up looking at your son's drawings. That happened again today, as I enjoyed every word & picture. I have books like those too - from my girls. Treasures. Thanks you for sharing your heart with us...

  24. Courtney, this is such a beautiful post. I adore the little picture that says, "I am thankful for... "avry thig"" Priceless and out of the mouths of babes!
    I am big on traditions too. They are like glue, holding families and beliefs and love together! Thanks for sharing your heart in this precious post!

  25. Hi Courtney. Thanks so much for sharing your precious children's pictures. It inspired me to go and dig out my own children's baby books and find a drawing from each of them to share at Thanksgiving. They are now ages 38 to 49 so this should be a surprise!

  26. What a spécial Thankful memory book, my daughter made one of these in 1st grade and one of her pages said she was thankful that my hair smelled beautiful....out of the mouths of babes :)

    Blessings to you and yours this Thankful Giving (ThanksGiving)
    Beautiful post, tugged at my heart.
    Have an inspiring November, I cannot wait to see all you inspire.


  27. What a beautiful post and thank you so much for sharing.

  28. Thank you for sharing a piece of your sounds like you know which traditions to keep yet still be able to change with your family. Wishing you a beautiful Thanksgiving!

  29. Sorry if this double posts... #notreally
    Love this post, it is so lovely just like you!

  30. Well you have me all teared up captured and expressed the real meaning beautifully.