I am currently sitting in a Starbucks waiting for my tires to be rotated. I planned ahead. I have my coffee, my Southern Living and my iPad. I’m ready to tackle Thanksgiving. I know. It’s a hard life.

Sitting here texting a friend, I’ve decided I need to forget Southern Living and Coastal Living. I need my own magazine… Military/Redneck Living. I promise I can whip up a meal that will make you want to go back for seconds and dare I say, thirds. My pie will not look like this.

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My friend who happens to be in charge of pies says no Yankee can make that. Apparently rednecks can’t either.

I won’t be keeping a side dish playbook but I can explain at length how to group text a bunch of military spouses to find out what their Thanksgiving strength is and show you how to put together a meal fit for royalty.

What the heck is this squash casserole that kids will want to eat.

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While I might be tempted to try it, that would not fool my kids. In spite of my best efforts yellow squash is in Bria’s words, “squishy” and the best I can hope for is that they choke it down. I love squash. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong but an artful display of goldfish would not a delicious side make in my children’s eyes.

That 1-800 number at the top… Yeah I could’ve used that 18 years ago. It was the first time I made Thanksgiving dinner and it was a hot mess! Just ask my mother. I stayed up all night making a homemade bread cornucopia filled with ham biscuits and struggled with a turkey. I made the worst stuffing that has ever been made. I was up at 4 a.m. and therefore evil. Seriously. I was the devil. Bless my parents and Ray. They choked it all down and then we went to a movie. I think I was in bed by 8 and happy as a clam on Black Friday.

Anyway, that 1-800 number is for amateurs. It’s for your first few Thanksgivings navigating rough waters. The number to call for a seasoned Thanksgiving cook is 1-800 CPT MRGN. You might have heard of the 1-800 MOR WINE number but it always causes headaches.

Navy families have an average of 4-6 kids. That means Thanksgiving is a Lord Of The Flies scenario. You must be prepared for children and single sailors. I got this.

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Roasted garlic cauliflower soup with tureens and bowls aren’t happening. Pimento cheese on celery stalks is a much for feasible appetizer. You can pop it in your mouth and catch a football.

So I’m off to plan our last Hawaiian Thanksgiving. Sigh. It will be child and single sailor friendly. There will lots of pop up tables and pie. Football is a must. It will be perfect for us. I’ve learned in my old age that when it comes to holiday gatherings it’s best to set a bar, but not to high. A low bar means our little navy ohana can soar over it. Wish me luck!