Twice Blessed

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday.  It has already begun around our house, with relatives flying in and out of town.  I set writing projects on the back burner to enjoy a houseful of family and friends.  After two weeks of intense studying, Eli just took his GRE, and is free to play.  Bea just arrived home from Stanford with exciting stories, and a long list of fun things to do in her short week home.

My sister Constance stopped in Seattle on her way home after three months in Norway as an artist-in-residence.   We put her on a plane to Alaska yesterday, but first we celebrated an early Thanksgiving and Christmas with Uncle Lew.  We set up his tree, played music, and ate Lew’s famous green bean casserole by candlelight.


Auntie Lee flies in from Michigan tomorrow, and her lovely daughter Adrienne will arrive from Yakima the next day.  We will meet Adrienne’s fiance for the first time.  Constance made me promise not to take out the tape measure.  (I only did it once before, with her last boyfriend, and it was just a joke!)  I hear this one is a keeper.

The kitchen table has always been a happening place.  So many hours of my kids’ childhood were spent there, talking, listening to music, creating art.  The kids’ favorite projects always seemed to combine art and sugar.  Sugar cube igloos, taffy pulls, gingerbread houses, painting cookies.  Eli recalled the penguin mints we used to make, and adapted it.

First came the prototype…

Then came the production line, with Bea and Eli making turkeys.  Auntie and I were inspired, and soon we were mass producing meringue mushrooms.

Everything we do takes a long time because we tend to be easily sidetracked…

Eli created a flock of turkeys for Thanksgiving dinner.  It makes me smile whenever I open the refrigerator door.

I love Thanksgiving because, unlike Halloween or Christmas or Valentine’s Day, it hasn’t been turned into a shopping occasion.  There is hardly a way to commercialize it.  I don’t waste too much time cleaning because, well, who cares?  I don’t spend too much time cooking, because our dinner is always potluck, and guests bring dishes to share.

Thanksgiving is mostly a bookmark, a reminder that every day can be a day of thanksgiving.  When the kids were little, before dinner we would often go around the table and share with each other the things we were thankful for.  It was our practice at bedtime to look back at the day, and recall the good things that happened, and look ahead to the good things the next day would bring.  People who live their lives with gratitude and appreciation are twice blessed.  Once because they are.  Twice because they know it.

Dear friends, I wish you all a happy Thanksgiving, next Thursday, and everyday!

All words and images copyright 2012 Naomi Baltuck



  1. Jueseppi B. says:

    Absolutely beautiful post.

    1. Dear Jueseppi,
      Thank you so much. I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving. We have so much to be thankful for, especially this year!

  2. footsy2 says:

    Happy thanks giving to you. The American dream. I can only envy.

  3. Thank you, Footsy. Do they make twinkle lights where you are? I keep them up year round–even when I am alone (and the prospect of an empty nest is looming), my cheerful little twinkle lights lend warmth and an air of festivity. Wishing you all the best.

  4. Happy Thanksgiving! Haven’t you all got the same smile and as my Grandma would say “I can tell who you belong to”.

    1. That is so cute! A happy Thanksgiving to you too!

  5. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours — thanks for sharing!

    1. Hey, Mary, have a happy Thanksgiving. It is always nice to hear from you!

  6. Beautiful memory making going on there! Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving!!!

    1. Dear Len,
      Thank you so much. I appreciate your visit, and your lovely comment. Best wishes!

  7. Annie Chace says:

    Wonderful post, as usual, Naomi. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

    1. Happy Thanksgiving to you too, Annie! Thank you for your generous comments, as always.

  8. Lisaman says:

    What wonderful memories and such a warm family spirit!!

    1. Dear Lisa,
      Thank you so much for your kind comments. I appreciate your visit.

  9. Mary Brugh says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! Your home has always been a place of wonderful memories for me!

    1. Hi Mary,

      You have been an important part of so many celebrations in this house, and we miss you. Happy Thanksgiving to you too, from all of us!

  10. Pat Bailey says:

    And I send the wish back to you, Naomi. We will be spending Thanksgiving with our daughter and her family, and our son will be there. Our other daughter just started a job in Texas so she won’t be able to fly home – we’ll see her and her friend, Joe, at Christmas.

    1. Dear Pat,

      It sounds like a great holiday season coming up, with lots of family fun. That is what this season is all about for me. I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving and a Merry Christmas (if it’s not too early to say so!)

  11. restlessjo says:

    Happy Thanksgiving, Naomi. Have a lovely family time together.

    1. Dear Jo,
      Happy Thanksgiving to you too. I so appreciate your visit, and your kindness.

  12. scillagrace says:

    Gorgeous photos…a happy, creative, and musical family is like winning the triple crown! I AM cleaning today because the home book business takes over the entire house and the only way to clean once a year is to invite Steve’s 4 relatives over for Thanksgiving dinner. Stacking and re-stacking books is our specialty!

    1. Hi Scilla,
      I have to confess that I did clean before my sister’s visit, so I don’t have to clean again. I have an office downstairs that is a magnet for all the spillover of stuff I don’t quite know what to do with. But that’s a job for the New Year….

      Happy Thanksgiving to you and your whole family!

  13. nutsfortreasure says:

    Nice Post from a Nice Lady. Enjoy all the food and laughter . There is always a day to clean later I agree totally!

    1. Dear Eunice,
      It will be a lovely low key celebration here. We usually have homemade music, and play games. Plenty of time to clean later! Happy Thanksgiving.

      1. nutsfortreasure says:

        Happy Thanksgiving Naomi
        I will load a new SD card into the camera and take photos of the ride to and from VT.
        I will do so of our meal maybe lol not sure friends will want to be rock stars on my blog 🙂
        They live in a log home on a moutain top so this year I am THANKFUL FOR WARM WEATHER lol our friend said he hoped they got 3′ of snow so we would be snowed in up there with them as they miss us but our dog is so allergic to fleas and they use nothing on their animals I just have to pray 4 or 5 hours together her meds will keep her safe. She was born up there and the male dog her Daddy is still there so she will have fun and I will use a flea comb before placing her in the truck for ride home. It is what you do when you are a Mommy 🙂
        I may actually brush the male out and comb him and make him more comfortable as well 🙂 he was the first Border Collie I ever came in contact with so he will always be special 🙂
        Homemade music sounds awesome and I will play cribbage with the teens while we wait for meal to be ready.

      2. Dear Eunice,

        This sounds awesome (except for the flea part). We play Hand and Foot and Things, and there is always a bunch of people who like Charades. Hoopla and Ticket to Ride are favorites too. Take LOTS of photos, and tell us all about it! Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

      3. nutsfortreasure says:

        Will do right back at you your places sounds like a BLAST

  14. A heartwarming sharing of your family with us, Naomi. I smiled all the way through. I am particularly proud of Eli and Bea. Their generation is our best hope! I love hearing about their adventures with you! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

    1. Dear George,
      You are so dear! It always lifts me heart to hear from you. Thank you for your kind words about Eli and Bea. I feel the same way about The Boy, who I have enjoyed watching grow up in your posts. Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

  15. sue says:

    We are thrice blessed because we get to share the day with you! 🙂

  16. I love your flock! Both of them! Wonderful pics and good times. Enjoy every moment! Blessings to you & yours ♥ paula

    1. Hey, Paula! Thank you so much. We did love every minute of it. I hope you and your wonderful flock had a Happy Thanksgiving!

  17. adinparadise says:

    Thanks for sharing your happy memories. Your pics are very precious. Have a wonderful time with your family over this Thanksgiving period.

    1. Thank you so much, ad. It was a great visit, and I am only just now catching up. Put my big sis and my daughter Bea on the plane yesterday. It’s a good thing I have so much work to catch up on, or I would be very sad. But Bea is home in three weeks, and then we will have her for an even longer visit.

      1. adinparadise says:

        That’s really something to look forward to, Naomi. 🙂

  18. char says:

    What fun! I love those turkeys…and hope they stay away from the dinosaurs. I love Thanksgiving too, for the same reason as you. It hasn’t been commercialized and is centered on family. Wonderful! Enjoy the rest of the holiday.

    1. Hi Char,
      Thanks for your visit. I can only imagine the ruckus in the fridge when the door is closed and the lights go out! I hope your holiday was a good one!

  19. Kourtney Heintz says:

    Happy Thanksgiving! Aw what a wonderful holiday with your kids home and extended family too! I love those turkeys they are so adorable.

    1. Hi Kourtney,
      Thank you! I hope your holiday was a good one. I can hardly believe it’s over now, and we are on the holiday roller coaster clear to the end of the year!

  20. Madhu says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones Naomi! Thank you for sharing the joy of the holidays with us. Love that flock of turkeys 🙂

    1. Dear Madhu,
      Thank you so much for your visit, and your good wishes. It was a sweet holiday. I put everyone on a plane yesterday, and the house is very quiet! I will have just enough time to finish up a couple of writing projects and gear up for the winter holidays and more out-of-town guests. Best wishes, as always!

  21. Kate says:

    Those turkeys are amazing. I have no thanksgiving and do feel like I am missing out, but my sister came home last weekend from uni and I got to spend time with her.

    Brilliant post as always.

    1. In our house, a sister coming home from uni is all it takes to make our own holiday. It sounds like you and your sis might be good at that! Best wishes.

  22. Happy T’giving!! I love the turkey flock.

    Thanksgiving is a great lead-in to Christmas, isn’t it?

    1. Yes, it is. I always leave my orange lights up, and all the pumpkins and harvest colors. I never display a sign of Christmas in our house until after Thanksgiving, because I love that holiday so much. But my brother always puts his tree up that weekend, and since the kids could hold an ornament in their little hands, we used to go and help him put it up. I love so much about this season!

      1. What fun 8)!! You can have it both ways!

  23. I vote for Thanksgiving in the UK 🙂

    1. Yessss! You can start your own family tradition, Sarah!

      1. That should be interesting, as certain people in my family refuse to talk to each other. Personally, I believe in love, peace, and harmony between humans, but others don’t see it that way. Can’t even get everybody together for Christmas, let alone trying to start up a Thanksgiving tradition involving them. We’ll see. I still believe in miracles 🙂

      2. Maybe you could have two smaller Thanksgiving dinners, one for each grouping. Or throw out the invitation and see who shows up. Tell them there will be lots of chocolate and wine!

  24. carolisle says:

    Happy thanksgiving. Thanks for sharing your family with all of us 🙂

    1. Dear Carol,
      Thank YOU for coming along for the ride. It is always a pleasure to hear from you.

  25. viveka says:

    A wonderful told post … we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving over here – but I wish you a pleasant day with your family.

    1. Thank you for your kind message, and for taking the time to leave a comment. The holiday is over, and we put the last guests on a plane yesterday. Now we get a quick breather before the winter holidays. No wonder this time of year always seems to fly! Warm wishes!

      1. viveka says:

        Somebody .. that visitors is like fresh fish .. starts to stink after 3 days *smile. You need a good breather after all that – and then the holiday, I guess isn’t going to me any lighter. Thanks for coming back to me. *smile
        Warm wishes .. goes well with our rain today, the whole day.

  26. i mayfly says:

    Trice, maybe?.
    Once because you are. Twice because you know it. Trice because you share the knowledge – setting that circle of love spinning round the world.

    1. Dear Nikki,
      You are sweet! I am blessed with blogging buddies like you, who bring humor and thoughtfulness into my life from all corners of the world. I hope your holiday was a good one. I just put Sister Lee and Bea on the airplane yesterday and am putting the nose to the grindstone, so I don’t miss them too much. Only three weeks till winter break! Best wishes to you and yourn. I hope you had a blessed Thanksgiving. Knowing you, I am sure of that.

  27. Carol says:

    You have such a wonderful family – how special that you can share these times with one another and with the greater family. This year we are having a neighborhood potluck, to make it a bit easier for all of us. My pies are in the oven, the other dishes poised to be started.

    1. Dear Carol,
      I think I caught the fragrance of those pumpkin pies all the way in Seattle. I love the idea of a neighborhood potluck, with everyone pulling together a communal feast! Thank you so much for your lovely message, Carol. I hope it was a Happy Thanksgiving. Here’s wishing you the best as we move into our winter holidays!

  28. souldipper says:

    I feel like a table center – sitting in the middle of your post, wallowing in the noise of family happiness while wearing the wafts of your welcome portrayal of Puget Sound. I’m just a bit north – in the Gulf Islands so enjoyed your descriptions. Enjoy the blessings – at least twice, Naomi.

  29. kathy says:

    What fun projects! They look yummy, too 🙂
    I hope you & your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

    1. Dear Kathy,
      Thank you for your good wishes. We had lots of fun, and a lovely holiday. I am sure you are exhausted after hosting such a huge party! I hope it went well. I still have one sink full of dishes to wash, two guest beds to change, and then I am all caught up.

      We put Bea on the plane yesterday. Instead of tidying her room with tears in my eyes, which is what usually happens when a kid goes off to college, I am catching up on my blogging in between editing chapters. Twenty pages of revision to go, and then I get to send it off! I have sworn to do so tonight, before my head hits the pillow.

      I hope you plan to come to the Evergreen holiday party! It’s a blast, and I’d love to see you.

  30. niasunset says:

    Beautiful writing and photographs, especially the last one fascinated me. Thanks dear, Happy Thanksgiving! Love, nia

    1. Dear Nia,
      That last photo is my daughter Bea, taken at a Thanksgiving feast fifteen or sixteen years ago! The kids all dressed up like little pilgrims, and I still smile every time I look at it.

      Thank you so much for your visit, your kind wishes, and for taking the time to comment. It is always so good to hear from you.
      With love,

  31. I want to come to your house for Thanksgiving. It looks like fun. Have a wonderful day.

    1. Hi Sabrina,
      Thanks so much for your visit. I hope your holiday was a happy one. Just put Bea on the plane, and now it’s time to put the nose to the grindstone. But it was a wonderful break. Warm wishes to you and your family.

  32. nutsfortreasure says:

    I have nominated you for The Blogger of The Year 2012 Award when you have time come over and accept 🙂

    1. Dear Eunice,
      Congratulations to you, upon receiving this award. And I thank you so much for passing this honor along to me. I will be delighted to accept, and look forward to visiting the other blogs you have recommended. It might be a day or two, as I am racing to get a project done, but I am looking forward to it. Again, thank you!

      1. nutsfortreasure says:

        You are very welcome and thanks
        No rush when you have time 🙂

  33. Tahira says:

    Hope you had a marvelous Thanksgiving, Naomi. Beautiful post and beautiful family. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Dear Tahira,
      Thank you! It was a lovely Thanksgiving. I appreciate your stopping in to share it with me! It is always good to hear from you.Best wishes!

  34. Jueseppi B. says:

    You’ve been given the blog of the year award. Hope you like and accept awards, if not, nevermind this comment.

    Blog Of The Year Award Winners: Some Blogs You Should Follow.

    1. Hi Jueseppi,

      That is so kind of you! I am honored, and will accept this award gratefully, and pass it on! I have been busy, and have a backlog of awards, but this one goes right to the top of my list! Warm wishes, Naomi

      1. Jueseppi B. says:

        I am glad you accept. Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  35. This post made me homesick… No Thanksgiving in Norway. I’ve tried to celebrate here, but with the kids in school, my husband at work, no parade and no one else celebrating… its just not the same 😦

    1. That would be a hard one, Maggie. There are many trade-offs when you make a home in a new land, but a great view and true love are huge compensations!

      1. You’re right about that!

  36. Touch2Touch says:

    So true, so true.
    Twice blessed, to be blessed and to know that you are.
    Beautiful post, Naomi.

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by, and sharing such generous thoughts!

  37. nymuse88 says:

    Love the pics once again! I hope I can one day enjoy this holiday with a family as lovely as yours.

    1. I am sure you will! And thank you for stopping by to share the holiday with us in the blogosphere.

  38. Just wonderful spending the week on the wall at the Baltuck house … like peering through warm lighted windows on a cold and rainy night to see families gathered around the fire … I’m sure you had a wonderful time, but belated Thanksgiving greetings 🙂

    1. Oh this really makes me smile! Thank you for your wonderful comment. Warm wishes for you too!

  39. tchistorygal says:

    Hi Naomi, What a fun Thanksgiving you had, and what a crafty family (in a good way!) Your family looks totally adorable. My Washington visit was great, though I experienced the deluge of the century driving on the freeway, but got back safely to have Thanksgiving with family. When I get it posted there will be another gold star for your 2012 Blog of the Year Award. (probably tomorrow) Have a wonderful time preparing for the next holiday. 🙂

    1. Dear Marsha,
      I am so sorry to have missed you, but I hope you will be up this way again. Oh, my gosh, but what a time for you to come. We are still swamped! My husband is out sloshing around on a soccer field, but some of the games had to be cancelled because the fields were underwater! thank you for your generosity, Marsha!

      1. tchistorygal says:

        I can believe it! My car was sloshing down the freeway!

  40. adinparadise says:

    There’s a very well-deserved award for you on my blog. Congratulation. 🙂

    1. That is so kind of you! Thank you for this honor.

  41. elisaruland says:

    I felt all warm and cozy after viewing your Thanksgiving post, the family love was shining right through the photographs. I’m thankful that you shared your holiday with us.


  42. What a delightful post! Is that fondant you’re using for the turkeys, dinos, etc.?

    1. It was a dough of confectioners sugar, butter, and corn syrup. If you Google ‘Snow Mints’, you will find it. Just add food coloring and you can shape it into anything you like. Very tasty! Kids love it too. We took leftover turkey around to all the kids inthe neighborhood.

      Thanks so much for the visit. It was nice to meet you!

      1. Cool — and sounds easy to make. Nice to meet you too!

  43. dogear6 says:

    You looked like ya’ll had a great time. It’s great fun to have house full of company isn’t it? Although it’s also a big sigh of relief when they leave too.


    1. I do love a good party, but I also love pushing back the furniture, taking the extra leaves out of the table, and having some quiet time to process all the news and stories. I also love having a relatively tidy house afterwards, except for the last load of dishes.

  44. Debra Kristi says:

    Your traditions are simply beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing them with us. I just adore all the little things you guys made too.

    1. Thank you, Debra. I can’t tell you how many hours we sat around that table beading, making Sculpey figures, greeting cards, pretzel sculptures, and all kinds of interesting edible art. That is one part about the kids’ growing up that I kind of miss. They are both writers and artists, and we all work companionably on our own projects, but sometimes in the kitchen, and often for a party, we find ourselves up to our elbows in some kind of edible dough. For New Year’s Eve, we are going to recreate the Prancing Pony, and are inviting all our hobbit, elf, and wizard friends to break bread, roll the dice, and lift a tankard to greet the New Year.

  45. pattisj says:

    What fun, Naomi! Thanks for sharing your special activities with us.

    1. Thank you for joining us!

  46. eof737 says:

    What a joyful thanksgiving; plus you all worked hard on those sugar turkeys… very impressive. 🙂

    1. Thank you, Elizabeth! Just having a little fun.

  47. Grace says:

    Love those sugar turkeys!

  48. My Tropical Home says:

    Amen. 🙂

  49. tita buds says:

    I’m visiting the US this fall/winter and experienced my first Thanksgiving here last month. So much food! Haha. But it truly is meant to be a day for family and friends.
    I love, love, LOVE what you wrote about why people who live with appreciation and gratitude are twice (thrice, actually, as Nikki put it) blessed. 🙂

  50. Jamie Dedes says:

    We had a wonderful Thanksgiving too …

    Be well, Naomi.

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