Confession: I’m 37 & I’ve Never Made a Turkey

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So here’s the thing. I’m 37 years old. I run a food blog of sorts. I’m a self-professed foodie. One of my few hobbies is reading cooking magazines and books. The only TV you’ll ever catch me watching during the day would be a Food Network show.

And I’ve never made a turkey. In 37 years. (Sigh.)

Back story:

My sassy friend Keith–who also happens to be my boss and pastor–texts me, Polly, and two other church staff wives a few days ago…

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(Yes, he just addressed the text “women”. Typical.)

Then, somewhere along the way, two of my younger friends, Emily and Rachel, chime in with all kinds of helpful information about where to buy the turkey and what recipe they’ve used…for four years now!

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Some quick math tells me that they’ve been making turkeys since their twenties. What was I doing in my 20s?

Thankful Turkeys: A Meaningful (& Easy) Thanksgiving Craft

Thankful Turkeys: An easy and meaningful Thanksgiving craft to do with kids. Inside the DIY turkey, your kids will document things they are thankful for that year. It'd be fun to do one each year!

I love crafting with a purpose.

These “Thankful Turkeys” as I’ve named them not only got my kids cutting, gluing and using their creative skills but they also gave us an excuse to articulate some things we are thankful for. Doing this craft together stirred up conversation about why we celebrate Thanksgiving and helped all of us to practice being grateful.

Not sure if I’ll be able to pull this off but I’d love to do one of these each year. It’d be so fun to keep a record of what my kids are thankful for each year. I imagine they would provide a lot of laughs and memories if kept over the decades.

Ready to make your own?

“Real Food Meets Reality” Menu Plan: November 23-29

For Nov 23-29: A healthy, easy meal plan that the whole family will love every Friday at Thriving Home (

Sponsored by Hy-Vee (Columbia)

Getting ready for Thanksgiving week? There are so many great deals at Hy-Vee this week! Stock up and freeze all those leftovers. As for me, this will be my first attempt at preparing the entire Thanksgiving meal at home. Pray for me! 😉

Weekly Menu Plan

(FF) = Indicates a freezer-friendly recipe. Save time and money by doubling and freezing this recipe for another dinner later. Read Freezer Cooking 101 to learn more about this helpful strategy.

(*) = Indicates recipe ingredients that are on sale this week at the Hy-Vees of Columbia to help save our local readers money.

How to Make Your Own Vanilla Extract at Home

How to make vanilla extract at home. This homemade vanilla recipe is great not only for cooking with but also a great gift idea! | Thriving HomeWhen you go to the store to buy vanilla you are faced with a dilemma: do you buy the smaller, more expensive bottle of REAL vanilla or the larger, cheaper bottle of imitation vanilla?

It’s a battle of values, right? Save money or eat real foods (and pay a bit more for it).

Even though it is more expensive, I most often (painfully) opt for the real vanilla. I won’t pretend to be an expert on how imitation vanilla is made but from what I’m gathering, it’s for sure not natural. I am also convinced that real vanilla just tastes better (six baking experts agree with me too).

Because I get mad at the price of vanilla every time I buy it, I began a little pet project of making my own vanilla. I have since been reaping the benefits of my project and LOVE it. I also now have a great gift to give away at Christmas time!

Making your own vanilla really is SUPER easy. Seriously. It takes three ingredients:

  1. Vanilla Beans
  2. Vodka
  3. Patience


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