Thankful

by Jenn (eating bender) on December 4, 2013

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Thanksgiving week in Arizona was wonderful this year. The weather was gorgeous every day, with cool mornings and warm, sunny afternoons. The food was spectacular thanks to Mama and Papa Bender, who cooked up an amazing spread not only on the holiday itself, but for a full day’s worth of meals after that. On top of all that, the company was great!

Like last year, we celebrated Thanksgiving with Bobby’s parents, Aunt Lisa and Uncle Bob. Jim and Cara also came to town with our twin nieces pieces, but this time around, they stayed with us!

Translation: even more fun, adventure and cuteness was to be had. :)

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Uncle Eric stopped by on Wednesday night to say hello and give Caroline and Kelly a welcome present of holiday coloring books and crayons. He also read them a book before bedtime – one of our favorites, called Little Hoot.

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The next morning was Thanksgiving! We spent the early hours playing at the park.

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The girls showed off their new boots. Kelly even wore them to walk to the pool (yes, we really lucked out with the weather). I’ll give you one guess as to what her favorite color is right now. :)

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After we got back from the pool, we cleaned up and said goodbye to Jim, Cara and the nieces as they headed to see other family for the afternoon. The rest of us made our way to the Benders!

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Unfortunately my outfit choice did not help the Packers beat the Lions, but what can you do?

Papa Bender did a fabulous job with the turkey – his best ever, which is really saying something.

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While he was carving, I got to work on my (far less impressive) addition to the feast: the same jalapeño-cheddar cornbread I made last year, but this time with whole wheat flour. The result was much more dense than typical cornbread, but I think people enjoyed it.

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Papa Bender made his usual apple-sausage stuffing, along with a new variety this year featuring chorizo (instead of pork sausage), dried cranberries, apples, onions and celery. Yum.

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Mama Bender added red peppers to her green beans almondine this year.

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She also made creamy mashed potatoes…

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…and one of my all-time favorites regardless of holiday: spinach and gruyère gratin.

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She also picked out another beautiful centerpiece from Costco.

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It was truly a magnificent feast. We have a lot to be thankful for.

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The rest of the night included games, marshmallow roasting, and delicious pumpkin and pecan pies made by Aunt Lisa. They were so good that we had already dug in before I took the photos. 😉

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The next day, we headed back to the Benders – this time with our nieces! They enjoyed putting…

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…and shooting some hoops at the park.

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I love the fearlessness of this age – provided the jumps aren’t too high up, of course!

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Before we left, we got a picture of the Krenn side of the family…

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…and watched a positively gorgeous Arizona sunset.

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Saturday was our last full day with the entire family in town, and boy did we make the most of it. Jim, Cara, Caroline and Kelly visited Cara’s family in the morning, so Bobby, his parents and I went to Pinnacle Peak for a nice 4-mile hike.

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When everyone got back to our house, we had a quick lunch before heading to check out Butterfly Wonderland, which I’d been hearing great things about since it opened earlier this year.

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The adventure started with a 3D movie about the monarch butterfly and its epic journey.

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From there, we went into The Conservatory, a big, humid atrium that is home to literally thousands of butterflies who flutter around people’s heads and, in many cases, land on them to say hello. Caroline held her hands out immediately.

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Kelly soon joined in, and was an especially big fan of the blue ones.

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Grandma Barb got one to land on her hand!

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The girls also hung out in this awesome butterfly chair.

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Later on that evening, we attended ZooLights at the Phoenix Zoo. It was so much fun to walk around with the girls and point out the various animals. They also enjoyed the water light show – Caroline in particular was really jamming to the music!

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I’m so glad all of the activities worked out! It was a great weekend and another year of wonderful holiday memories. And now…I can’t believe there are just 21 days until Christmas!

Abrazos,

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1 Cara (Twinthusiast) December 4, 2013 at 2:24 pm

These pictures are so, so amazing! Thank you again for all you did to plan fun activities for the girls and host such a lovely weekend. We had a wonderful time. It’s weird that when I look at these photos my own girls look so big to me!

Such a memorable weekend :) xo
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2 Megan (Braise The Roof) December 4, 2013 at 2:43 pm

Wow, you guys packed a ton in! I’m still a little jealous of your weather out there…you probably don’t need me to tell you that the weather here wasn’t quite as nice. :) Your nieces are getting so big!
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3 Erica December 4, 2013 at 8:44 pm

What an amazing thanksgiving! That turkey seriously looks AWESOME! And your nieces…I can’t get enough. They seem so darn sweet. And you two look so natural with kids=just awesome. <3

4 Melissa @Tryingtoheal December 5, 2013 at 10:11 am

Such a great Thanksgiving with the family!!! Sounds like you guys did a lot of stuff, and I love the conservatory you went to! How neat!
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5 Monica December 7, 2013 at 11:33 pm

Just the name Butterfly Wonderland sounds amazing. And who doesn’t go swimming over Thanksgiving? haha. One of the perks of living in AZ :)

Also, impressive carving job on that turkey :) Kudos to your dad!
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6 Susan December 10, 2013 at 2:34 pm

Yum… all the food looks like it could be on the Food Network. :) I’m definitely jealous of the warm weather activities! Ah well, the baby goats will be out and about before I know it! hah.

7 Leucadia Chiropractor December 26, 2013 at 9:28 pm

Its so cool to spend a day with your family. I want to witness the Zoo lights in actual too. What time does the Zoo light start?

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