Yesterday was Thanksgiving. My parents, an aunt and uncle, and 75% of the kids were there, along with me and my husband and an assortment of dogs.

We had a good time, with plenty of interesting conversation and good food.

After the others left, the kids and I had Family Game Night. We played Encore, Apples to Apples, Cranium, and Scrabble.

We’ve gotten down to such reduced numbers of permanent residents at our house that we can only have Family Game Night by bringing extra people in — in this case, #2 daughter.

So we take the opportunity when it arises. We played uproarious games and ate leftovers all evening.

Mostly we had simple meats and vegetables for Thanksgiving. However, we did also have lots of fancy sweets. You can see in this picture our dog Toby assuring the aunt and uncle that he loves them with an undying devotion.

You can also see chocolate-dipped pretzels, nuts, fruit, #2 daughter’s amazing pumpkin dip with marshmallows and pecans, and cookies, both mocha and butterscotch.

Here’s the recipe for the butterscotch cookies for The Poster Queen, who asked:

Butterscotch Cut-Outs

1 c butterscotch flavored chips
3 c all purpose flour
1/2 c ea white and brown sugars
1/2 c butter
1 egg
2 T cream
2 t vanilla

Melt the chips, add all remaining ingredients, beat, chill for an hour, roll out, cut, and bake at 375 for 5-8 minutes.

This makes a nice, crisp cookie.

We did make the Caramel Bourbon Cake again, and it still doesn’t look like the picture at all. It was tasty, though. And then there was a Chocolate Macaroon Tart, a French Apple Pie, and a Cranberry Apple Pie.

If you live in my neighborhood, you should come over and eat some of this stuff, let me tell you.

We never did get over to the mill, and we might go today instead. It is Black Friday, and some loony people are even now lurking in parking lots in hopes of buying things at prices that will make them feel as though they are mighty hunters who have brought down a really impressive beast with their slingshots or something. In fact, you might have misread the first sentence here as “We never did get over to the mall” but it is the local water-powered mill we intended to visit. We buy grains there, and walk over the bridge, and bucolic stuff like that. It’s fun.

 It is also International Buy Nothing Day, a day to renounce all consumer activities in a protest of our hyper-consumerist society and the problems that causes the environment, other people, and ourselves.

Take your pick.

I think it’s also the day for me to begin my fourth annual Musical Advent Calendar.

Four years ago, in response to all the posts I was reading and all the talk I was hearing about how much people hate Christmas music, I started sharing Advent and Christmas music here every day from about Thanksgiving to Epiphany. My thinking here is that people who hate Christmas music do so because they are just hearing “Little Drummer Boy” over and over and over till they can’t stand it any more. I figure, if you get to come here and find a great new seasonal song every day, you’ll come to appreciate the stuff.

I don’t know whether this works or not, but I’d like to begin with two songs today, in honor of the dual nature of the day. First, Santa Baby, a really stomach-turningly materialistic song. Watch Eartha Kitt on YouTube, or sing it yourself as you fight your way through crowds at the mall. Actually, I like the song a lot, however reprehensible it might be if it were considered as a real statement about Christmas.

Alternatively, stay home or go for a hike or come over and eat leftover pie, and sing “Comfort, Comfort Ye, My People.” This is an altogether more uplifting song, but of course it depends what kind of mood you’re in. I like it with bold percussion, and maybe dancing.

Comfort, comfort ye my people,
speak ye peace, thus saith our God;
comfort those who sit in darkness,
mourning ‘neath their sorrow’s load;
speak ye to Jerusalem
of the peace that waits for them;
tell her that her sins I cover,
and her warfare now is over.

For the herald’s voice is crying
in the desert far and near,
bidding all men to repentance,
since the kingdom now is here.
O that warning cry obey!
Now prepare for God a way!
Let the valleys rise to meet him,
and the hills bow down to greet him.

Make ye straight what long was crooked,
make the rougher places plain:
let your hearts be true and humble,
as befits his holy reign,
For the glory of the Lord
now o’er the earth is shed abroad,
and all flesh shall see the token
that his word is never broken.

In addition to singing one or both of these songs, I have to grade papers (to give my students feedback on their rough drafts, since the final version is due on Tuesday), fix #1 son’s shirt (I’ll tell you the heartbreaking story another day), wash a whole lot of dishes, and continue having fun with my family.