The BEST & Easiest Turkey Recipes {Thanksgiving Menu Link-Up}

Thanksgiving is only in three days! (If you are reading this on Tuesday morning.)

I’m thankful for many things this Thanksgiving, especially since I do not have to do all the cooking. We get together with my husband’s family and everyone brings something to share, it’s like a real authentic Thanksgiving! Since I didn’t grow up with this tradition – Mexico and England don’t celebrate Thanksgiving – I enjoy being able to enjoy a traditional American Thanksgiving.

However, if I did have to get a Turkey ready, I have a couple of really great recipes I’d use.

This first one comes from a very special guy, a cute  (yet more than slightly ornery) five-year-old preschooler:

Simple! I don’t know why everyone makes such a big deal about cooking the Turkey. They must not having this recipe.

The next recipe comes from a very sweet little preschool girl whose mommy gave me permission to snap this picture and share it since it’s so fabulous! 

This one is slightly more complicated but how could you go wrong with sugar, “4 inches of milk”, and colored sprinkles to top it off! I think I need to go to this girl’s house for Thanksgiving.

If only it were that easy!

Now, if you are looking for a hearty side to go along with those amazing turkey recipes, here’s a real one for you to make up for the above non-recipes –

Bacon & Potatoes {Man-Approved}

I’m hoping to make this Panera Bread Turkey Chili Copycat Recipe for a post-Thanksgiving lunch with my family on Friday along with my favorite Focaccia Bread.

And here are a few other ideas I put together last year on my Thanksgiving Menu Pinterest Board

Follow Simplemama’s board Thanksgiving Menu Ideas on Pinterest.

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Yes in Marriage, Evolution, Aging, Failure, Minimalism {A Food for Thought Round-Up}

Simplemama's Food for Thought Round-Up

Happy Saturday! Grab a cup of warm coffee or tea, wrap yourself up in a cozy sweatshirt, and enjoy some good reads on this foggy November morning. (It’s been foggy here for a whole day!)

Here are some food for thought reads I’ve been rounding up for a few weeks. Feel free to share anything good you’ve read while wandering around the internet.

5 Ways to Say “Yes” More Often in Marriage

But what if I said “yes” more often to stopping everything else I am doing, focusing, stilling myself and really listening to my husband? Not because he asked me to. Not because it is a conversation about some big important thing. But simply because I wanted to offer my full attention to him for that moment?

This Is How I Feel About 40 – This makes me feel better about aging…a little anyway.

The Kiss

We are a people of preparation.  Our liturgical year requires it.  Even our temporal needs require it.  What is a family meal, a summer vacation, or a romantic evening at home without the Purgatory of preparation?  This preparation is work; it is stressful; it requires thought and attention to detail.  But amidst the challenges, the frustrations, and the worry are bursts of joyful anticipation of what is yet to come–hints of the future that give us hope and feed our perseverance.

When It Feels Like You’re Failing at Building Your Cathedral

Sometimes I forget what I am about. I know that my vocation as a mother has value. That this living Church-building of motherhood matters in a way I can barely wrap my mind around. But it’s so hard for me to live the little moments of my day as if that is true.

Grief, Loss, and Change through the Holidays – Making New Memories and Traditions - a simple and practical guide for those who’ve lost loved ones and will be feeling it even more during the holidays.

21 Benefits of Owning Less – I’m forever trying to simplify my life, there are some good ideas here to reach that goal of simplicity.

Pope Says Evolution, Big Bang Theories Are Compatible With Catholic Faith – I spent a good portion of my life unsure of what the Church taught about all this. In the recent years, I’ve enjoyed learning about how much the Church loves science and has even been an active participant in many of the major scientific and astronomical discoveries – such as the Big Bang theory. Most people don’t know this so it caused quite a stir when the Pope “annonced” something that we’ve already said for a while.

When we read in Genesis the account of Creation, we risk imagining God as a magus, with a magic wand able to make everything. But it is not so. He created beings and allowed them to develop according to the internal laws that He gave to each one, so that they were able to develop and to arrive and their fullness of being. He gave autonomy to the beings of the Universe at the same time at which he assured them of his continuous presence, giving being to every reality. And so creation continued for centuries and centuries, millennia and millennia, until it became which we know today, precisely because God is not a demiurge or a conjurer, but the Creator who gives being to all things. The beginning of the world is not the work of chaos that owes its origin to another, but derives directly from a supreme Origin that creates out of love. The Big Bang, which nowadays is posited as the origin of the world, does not contradict the divine act of creating, but rather requires it. The evolution of nature does not contrast with the notion of Creation, as evolution presupposes the creation of beings that evolve.

Lastly, a quick reminder that the Give Away for LisaHendey’s  The Grace of Yes: Eight Virtues for Generous Living is still going on through Tuesday so be sure to stop by over there after here. En-JOY your weekend!



{Affiliate Links included in this post -Amazon sends our family a little gift card from any purchases you make on Amazon via the links provided. Thank you for supporting us!}

Running laps in the basement, podcasts, books and more 7 Quick Takes

1. Exercise

I exercise really well…in spurts. I’ll do great for a while, and then, for no justifiable reason, I’ll suddenly stop. Days turns into weeks and weeks turns into months and suddenly, I can’t remember the last time I put forth any effort to keep my body strengthened and conditioned. Of course I come up with all sorts of reasons – kids are usually the main one. And then there’s time.

It’s hard to find the “perfect” time to exercise. I was getting up early (like 5 and 5:30 a.m.) before everyone else got up and going for the day. The problem is that I go to bed too late to get up that early. I can hardly get out of bed at that time, how in the world could I do any exercise at a time that any sane person should be sleeping still? Plus, if I got up that early to exercise, I could hardly function past 9 a.m. before starting to drool and jerking and twitching. What was the point of exercising if I was going to spend the rest of the day exhausted? I thought regular exercise was supposed to give me more energy and make me feel zippy?

Then, for a while, I went walking on the school/church walking track after 8 a.m. Mass. This worked well for a while but then, once the five-year-0ld started preschool three days a week, it cut into that time. I tried going before Mass, after school drop-off but this required us to leave the house about 10 – 15 minutes earlier than usual and getting 4 children and myself up, cleaned and dressed, fed and out the door in time to get them to school with enough time for me to walk before Mass was like trying to squeeze an inflated balloon into a keyhole. POP! [that was the sound of my head exploding.]

This also posed a quandary about when to shower. It seemed pointless to get all showered and dolled up just to get all sweaty again, but since I’d go on to Mass and other places where other people would see me – and maybe even get close enough to smell me – I couldn’t not shower either. This is also my reasoning for not exercising in the middle of the day.

It seemed the only remaining option was to exercise in the evening but I dismissed this since, most days, by the time the evening comes and the kids are in bed, all I want to do is sit and stare at the wall…or at a glowing screen with stories of other people’s great dramas and achievements in life…and succulent-looking desserts on Pinterest…

All that rambling to say that, after trying all the other options and seeing the red line on the scale going in the wrong direction, I reluctantly accepted that if I was ever going to exercise again it would have to be in the evenings for now. I started a few days ago and you know what – it’s been wonderful!  It’s hard getting going, but once I do it’s a huge release. All those pent-up frustrations and emotions and pressure from the day purge out and I feel energized again. It gives me time to gather my thoughts and have some good thinking/prayer time and reflect on the day. And the best part is that I’ll get to go to bed soon after instead of having to trudge through the rest of the day. I’ve been able to get up a little later and thus, feel more energized and sometimes even excited to get up and start another day. Granted, it’s only been a few days so far and I don’t presume I’ll be able to do this every evening. But for now, I’m glad it’s working.

When is your favorite time to exercise?

2. Need new YouTube Channels and Videos to watch while Exercising

So what/where do I exercise? In our luxurious private gym…otherwise known as the carpeted basement. Which also happens to be where all the toys are usually scattered all over the floor. I think there is a wormhole in our basement that opens up a window into another universe where toys randomly fall through and land in our basement. I don’t know where else they all come from?

I’ll scoot the couches back and run back and forth from one wall of the bigger rec room to the other, it’s about 5 – 6 jogging strides each way. I wish the room was one of those holographic rooms like from the old Star Trek TV show and I could pretend like I was going for a nice evening jog through a peaceful forest or along the sunset beach. But it’s not, so I usually listen to some music or the Daily Mass Readings and reflections on the Laudate app.

Recently, we got a new TV – a Smart TV. So we can now connect to YouTube on the TV. Now I can watch my exercise videos and pretend like I’m in a class with other people. I like Leslie Sanson’s walking ones, sometimes I jog instead of walk. I also really enjoy these Zumba videos. It’s a great way to let loose after a long day…just as long as no one else sees me moving my oscillating my hips and cha-cha-cha-ing my flab away.

I also like to watch other YouTube videos like anything from Fr. Robert Barron or the funny Kid Snippets – though it’s a a little hard to laugh and run at the same time.

I haven’t been much of a YouTuber but now that I’m doing this exercise stuff in the basement I’d really like to find more channels and videos to either entertain me while I run or give me something to think about. Any suggestions?

3. Podcasts

On that same stream, I’d also like to listen to more Podcasts throughout the day. I listened to Jen’s podcat of her  radio show with Jeannie Gaffigan and loved it. It was so great to hear adult voices talking while I sorted laundry or drove around doing errands. I especially liked that I didn’t have to listen to a bunch of ads or hear anyone screaming about all the corruption in the world from the radio.

Here’s the podcast if you didn’t get to listen:

So what are your favorite podcast sources?

4. The Wal-Mart Effect

Speaking of listening to adult voices throughout the day, I’m currently listening to an audio book in the car! I haven’t done that for a long time. Usually the only thing I get to hear in the car are kids screams or preschool songs played over and over and over. I can only listen in small flashes of time between kids screaming at each other in the car or during those rare but oh so glorious moments of alone time in the car. The five-year-old has actually been surprisingly cooperative about it and been quiet while I listen, for the most part. I don’t think that will last long.

A good friend of mine suggested The Wal-Mart Effect: How the World’s Most Powerful Company Really Works–and How It’s Transforming the American Economy to me years ago and I’ve been saying I’d get to it. I already don’t like shopping at Walmart so wasn’t sure I wanted to read about it but so far it’s very interesting. I knew Walmart was a BIG company but really didn’t know just how influential it’s been. We’ll see how I feel about it after I finish reading/listening.

5. The Grace of Yes Book Give Away Reminder

While we’re on the subject of books, in case you missed all the excitement of The Grace of Yes Day on Tuesday, I’m hosting a special give away for Lisa’s The Grace of Yes: Eight Virtues for Generous LivingIf you haven’t yet, be sure to click over to the Give Away and enter for chance to win a copy!

6. Books I’m reading/read

I promised to continue with my book reading update but I got stuck on another enthralling novel and let the blog – and everything else – to to the wayside. These are the books I’ve read that I hope to do more in-depth reviews for soon:

Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting (still reading),

Just finished – A Subtle Grace,

and I don’t think I ever did write about A House in the Sky. We also watched a couple movies - Interstellar and Little Red Wagon – and I have a few thoughts about that I’d like to come back and share about.


My husband is an RCIA sponsor in our parish this year! RCIA stands for Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults – which is the fancy way of saying – Catholic conversion prep. Everyone in the parish is welcome to come to the weekly instructional meetings so I’ve been tagging along with him to see what they are learning. I’ve always been curious about what it would be like to go from not Catholic to Catholic and it’s been fun getting to know his catechumen (person becoming Catholic) and a couple other friends we’ve met there. Sitting in the sessions has shown me just how little I really know about the Faith and how much I’ve forgotten from my Catholic education. The sweet IHM sisters would be so disappointed I’m ashamed to admit.

I’m greatly enjoying the information and am excited with this renewal of my own Faith as well as watching others discover the great beauty and mystery of Christ’s Church. I hope to try and write more regularly about reflections from these sessions. The Church is really so amazing, it saddens me that so many do not know who She really is – they really do not know what they are missing.


Well there’s my 7 Random and mostly quick Takes for this Friday. Check out Jen’s Kelly’s and others at the  7 Quick Takes Friday Link-Up!


{Affiliate Links included in this post -Amazon sends our family a little gift card from any purchases you make on Amazon via the links provided. Thank you for supporting us!}

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