Archive for the Category »me, me, me «

A change in perspective

I used to spend so much time here, putting my thoughts to “paper” and publishing for anyone to see. My kids are only 6 and 3, and there are so many stories to capture about them.

Maybe things like Facebook have ruined that for me, where I can dash off a thought whenever, instead of composing something more … interesting … than I do now?

But I don’t even know where to (re)start. My oldest is in kindergarten and I don’t know for sure what’s okay and what’s not anymore. Will he enjoy my stories about him? Be mad that I put them online, opening both of us to criticism? (I got a lot of flack from attachment parents for that one.)

I used to feel compelled to write. Like something wasn’t quite right in my life unless I was putting pen to paper. Now, after I’ve hit 40, I’m just not sure I need to chronicle everything. Who will care in the end? My grandkids? My great-grandkids? (I would have *loved* to discover an old journal from a relative – but who knows if there will be anyone in the family like that down the road?)

It has to be for me, or not at all. So I’ll write when I feel like it, try to put down some fun thoughts that I think my boys will enjoy later, and try not to pressure myself too much. I have enough of that in other areas of my life.

Looking back on 2013

It’s time for my yearly retrospective. I’ve been doing this for about 5 years now. For previous years see these: 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009. Just copying my entry from last year. This retrospective was originally inspired by Linda at Sundry Mourning.

1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before? So much went on this year! Bought a new van. Hired a nanny. Got some new clients. Went to Austin. Went to NYC. Went to Belgium. Finally closed on our house. Crazy, crazy year.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? Nope.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Nah. Not anyone super close.

4. Did anyone close to you die? It was quiet this past year, thankfully.

5. What countries did you visit? Belgium! I got to go to Europe and it was so cool. Wish I’d had time to do more exploring around Europe, but it was still a memorable trip.

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013? A bit more work-life balance.

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? My son’s first day of kindergarten. My time in NYC, Austin, and Belgium. I feel so fortunate for the travel I did this year. It was amazing.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Pitching and getting some of my own clients. Taking a chance even when I was nervous and a bit unsure.

9. What was your biggest failure? A campaign didn’t turn out as well as it could have. Disappointing, but lesson learned.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? I found out that I have diabetes.

11. What was the best thing you bought? The new van. And also my new coffee maker, which I absolutely love.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? My husband has been simply amazing in helping, especially with all of the travel I’ve done this year. I couldn’t have done all this without him, nor would I be at this point in my career without him.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Pretty much everything that hits the news. Ugh.

14. Where did most of your money go? Bills. Trying to get out of debt.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Closing on our house after way too many months in escrow. And my trip to Belgium.

16. What song will always remind you of 2013? I can’t really think of anything that jumps out as a theme song for the year. Hopefully it won’t be Wrecking Ball or that Robin Thicke song.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

– happier or sadder? happier.

– thinner or fatter? thinner – lost 40 pounds.

– richer or poorer? a tiny bit richer. for now.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Spending fun time w/kids.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Working too much instead of spending time w/kids & hubs.

20. How did you spend Christmas? Got to go see my parents again. So very happy to get to do that.

21. Did you fall in love in 2013? Yes, more & more with my family. (same as last year)

22. What was your favorite TV program? I think it’s still Castle. And Game of Thrones.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? No, still hating on the same person for, oh, about 10 years now. Some things don’t change.

24. What was the best book you read? I didn’t get to read a whole lot, as usual. I might have to come back to this one.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery? I don’t have one.

26. What did you want and get by year’s end? To go see family during the holidays. I really missed them last year.

27. What did you want and not get by year’s end? Enough time off. A vacation.

28. What was your favorite film of this year? The only film I can think of is Catching Fire. Saw it with hubs.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I took a 3-day weekend at the spa. It was AWESOME. I turned 40.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Doing better at getting out of debt.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013? Making changes. Trying to step up my game a little more, thanks to shopping at WH|BM.

32. What kept you sane? Hubby giving me time to get out of the house & do things by myself. Like go have a leisurely cup of coffee. Or browse the bookstore. Or go do some writing.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Nathan Fillion from Castle. Love the show & his character. (no change)

34. What political issue stirred you the most? I can’t stand politics. Truly. (no change)

35. Who did you miss? My mom – I wish we lived closer. And several out of state friends.

36. Who was the best new person you met? Too hard to choose!

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013. Work hard while the getting’s good, but don’t sacrifice TOO much time w/your family. It won’t be worth it in the long run.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

I can’t think of any right now. Will come back if something occurs to me.

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The problem with blogging

Social media killed my blog. It’s true. Facebook and Twitter are so quick. I can fire off a quick thought, a funny observation, or as many non sequiturs as I’d like. Them BAM I can get right back to work without missing a beat.

But blogging’s not like that. It takes time to think about things. Develop the story you want to tell. Add photos to make it interesting. It takes work.

And I am inherently lazy. Yes, lazy. I’ll take the easy way out just about every time.

Take a whole hour to sit and think about what I want to say? Organize my thoughts? Make sense to people? What’s that? I’m all about the brain dump, baby. Vomit it all out there and move on.

But that’s not what people are looking for. They want you to DO something. Make them laugh. Think. Cry. Give them something useful to act on. I have a lot of cool stuff in my head (I think), but getting it out through my fingers has become almost impossible for me.

Then again, I can’t remember the last time I picked up my paper journal and got everything out either. I’m stuck. There’s so much jammed into my brain that I just don’t know where to start. So it stays in there until it disappears into the fog of my memory. Lost forever.

There are moments I don’t want to forget. And then there are others I wish I could.

I miss writing. I’m not really sure what I want this place to be. But it’s my space and I’ve poured out a lot of my soul over the last 10 years. And I’m stubborn. I just can’t quite quit yet.

So the problem with blogging is this: it’s me. That’s my blogging problem. Just me.

A blank screen and some free time

I keep wanting to write. I have occasional thoughts of “Oh, I should write about that!” only to get busy, or forget about it, or waste the thought on FB instead. My writing has fallen very low on the priority list. I remember when I just HAD to write or I would go crazy. And now? Time flees my grasp, my kids are growing, and I’m not capturing life as I would like to.

It all goes by so fast and my memory is so horrible that if I don’t write it down, I eventually won’t remember it. And I so want to remember this time in my kids’ lives. In our lives. Even as it’s hard and crazy and messy and loud, it’s ours. And I have such a tenuous grasp on it all anyway. It floats through my fingers only to dissipate with barely a sound, a soft whisper of “You’re going to miss this when it’s gone,” before it really IS gone.

I’ve always been an observer. A recorder. Whether it was on paper or via camera, I had a compulsion to document things. If I don’t, then I’m afraid it didn’t happen. Why am I so desperate to leave a record, an “I was here!” for future generations to see? I guess maybe I always wished that I had found an old diary of a distant relative from years past where I could have a glimpse into what her life was like. Her hopes, dreams, loves.

I guess I want my kids to know that there was so much more to their mom than changing diapers, driving them to school, kissing scraped knees, or being their jungle gym. Don’t get me wrong – I love being that to them. But I am SO much more than that. I’m not quite sure what that is, because it’s tough to define yourself as more when you’re down in the trenches of mothering.

It starts by doing a better job of taking time for myself. I’ve been working a lot of hours recently and I haven’t taken enough time to care for myself, my relationship with my husband, or my friendships. I’m working on changing that. And it actually starts this weekend, by going out with a girlfriend yesterday and spending some time writing today.

I still have a lot of work to catch up on. That hasn’t changed. But I just have to know my limits. Wearing myself out isn’t going to help me work better, nor is it going to help the quality of my work. And with recent health developments, it has become even more important that I take care of myself. So it starts now. Wish me luck.

On hiatus

I just can’t seem to gather the motivation to blog. I am really busy right now with freelance clients and that doesn’t leave a lot of time for my own projects. It is what it is.

I’m not ready to kill this blog. I’ve had a blog since 2002, and this domain name since 2003. But I’m fooling myself into thinking I have time to blog. I don’t. So maybe if I take the pressure off I’ll feel like coming back. Especially since I have a trip next month and I might want to blog about it & load up some pictures while I’m there. We’ll see.

Anyway, I’ve had a pretty good run. Time to move on to other things for now. See you on the flip side!

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Looking back on 2012

I thought maybe I forgot this last year, but turned out I did do my 2011 retrospective. Figured I might try it again for 2012. Just copying my entry from last year. This retrospective was originally inspired by Linda at Sundry Mourning.

1. What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before? I continued with community management, but officially added social media manager to the list as well. We lived in Point Loma all year long, which is a big change for us, having lived near La Jolla for about 13 years. And you know what? I really love this neighborhood. It’s fabulous. We tried to become homeowners in 2012, but didn’t quite make it. We should pull the trigger sometime this month, we think. And we got a dog.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? Nope.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? My niece had her first baby, but haven’t gotten to him quite yet. Hoping in the spring.

4. Did anyone close to you die? Oh, man. This was a really rough year. We lost THREE friends and all of them we met via fishing. Pam, Stan, Steve — we miss you all so very much.

5. What countries did you visit? Absolutely none, except in my mind. (same as last year!)

6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012? A house. (That hasn’t changed.) BUT, we are under contract for our place, so that should happen in January. We hope!

7. What dates from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? My oldest son’s first day of school. The day we lost Steve. The day we decided to shoot the moon and try to buy our place. TEDxSanDiego 2012.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Keeping my sanity pending a possible unemployment and building up my freelance work to compensate. And taking over social media for TEDxSanDiego.

9. What was your biggest failure? Still didn’t build up our reserves like we should, but am taking another crack at it this year. Determined to do it this time.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Nothing too major, except my eyesight is getting worse with this dry eye condition.

11. What was the best thing you bought? A new stove & fridge. LOVE them.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Hmmm. My youngest is learning to talk and doing so well at it. And the oldest has really worked hard in school. His speech is really good now & he continues to work on it. So proud of him.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Just about everyone during the elections.

14. Where did most of your money go? Scraping together enough for our down payment.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Finally owning our own place after all this time.

16. What song will always remind you of 2012? Hmmm. That’s a tough one. Maybe “I Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz. Played that a lot.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

– happier or sadder? happier, mostly.

– thinner or fatter? slightly fatter.

– richer or poorer? a lot poorer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Spending fun time w/kids.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Not saving.

20. How did you spend Christmas? We stayed home this year. With job uncertainty & trying to buy the house, we just couldn’t swing it. It was nice to be home, but I really missed being with my parents & extended family.

21. Did you fall in love in 2012? Yes, more & more with my family. (same as last year)

22. What was your favorite TV program? I think it’s still Castle. And Game of Thrones.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? No, still hating on the same person for, oh, about 9 years now. Some things don’t change.

24. What was the best book you read? I didn’t get to read a whole lot, as usual. I might have to come back to this one.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery? I don’t have one.

26. What did you want and get by year’s end? Work. Got an extension on my current contract and have other things in the works, so it’s all good for now.

27. What did you want and not get by year’s end? Our house. Just a tiny delay.

28. What was your favorite film of this year? I think I saw one film: Hunger Games. Wanted to see the Hobbit, but we haven’t gone to it yet.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I went to dinner with my dear friend and tried a restaurant that I’ve been dying to try: BoBeau. And it was fabulous. I’m 39.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Doing better at getting out of debt.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012? Non-existent.

32. What kept you sane? Hubby giving me time to get out of the house & do things by myself. Like go have a leisurely cup of coffee. Or browse the bookstore. Or go do some writing.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Nathan Fillion from Castle. Love the show & his character. (no change)

34. What political issue stirred you the most? I can’t stand politics. Truly. (no change)

35. Who did you miss? My mom – I wish we lived closer. And several out of state friends. And those we lost way too early.

36. Who was the best new person you met? Not one, but many: The people I worked with for TEDxSanDiego. What a fantastic bunch. I <3 them.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012. Put money away while you have it. Because you never know when you won’t. A layoff isn’t the end of the world, even though it sure seems like it at first (during panic mode). And never underestimate the power of networking. Or kindness from the most unlikely of places. (no change)

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

Settle down, it’ll all be clear
Don’t pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear
The trouble it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found

Just know you’re not alone
Cause I’m going to make this place your home

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Am I still a mom blogger if I don’t talk a lot about my kids?

So I have these two beautiful boys and they just light me up. And usually, I can’t stop talking about something that I think is wonderful.

Except my boys.

Why is that?

I’m not sure I want what I have to say about them to follow them around later. They are fantastic. They are wonderful. They are frustrating and annoying and I just want to run away sometimes. But that’s just the way things are when you’re a mom. The good and the bad, all rolled up into one.

I’ve talked a few times about my oldest and speech problems. We have struggled with it a lot, and I think we’re finally coming out the other side. But how much of that do I put out there? Is it okay for me to do that?

Sometimes I just don’t know. I really want to write this stuff down so I have their stories for later. So I can share them with them. Not for embarrassment or heartache. But to leave a record of how wonderful they are and how much their mom (& dad) love them and think they are the most amazing thing ever – the best little people to share our lives with. We wouldn’t trade them for anything, even as we want to shut them in their room for just five minutes of peace.

Memory and time are so fleeting. I don’t want to forget anything since it all goes away so fast anyway.

So there it is.  Maybe I’ll share a few funny stories now & again. Maybe not. I just don’t know right now how much of their lives/ our lives I want to put out there. (Even as I post a kajillion times on Facebook. Yes, I know, it doesn’t make sense to me either. But it is what it is.)

Do you ever struggle with what the line is on what to write about your family? Do you have agreed-upon boundaries or is it fluid? Case by case? Tell me I’m not the only one going through this right now. I really feel like pulling back big time. Even as I love to write and share. What about you?

Looking back on 2011

Here I am again — I finally remembered to do my review post for 2011. Once again I’m just copying my questions from last year. This retrospective was originally inspired by Linda at Sundry Mourning.

1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before? I got paid to be a community manager. I’ve done online community management for, oh, well over 10 years. All that experience got me a job doing it for a paycheck. W00t! And I went to NYC for business (and had to leave the baby for more than 24 hours for the first time). And we took the family along on a biz trip to San Francisco where we made a mini vacation out of it.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? Nope.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? My friend Mandy. But I didn’t get to see the baby yet. Soon!

4. Did anyone close to you die? No, fortunately.

5. What countries did you visit? Absolutely none, except in my mind. (same as last year!)

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011? A house. (That hasn’t changed.)

7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? My kids’ birthdays are the only thing I can think of. And maybe the day I got laid off.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Surviving unemployment and using my network to find another job, I guess. That and keeping my sanity. Mostly. And managing to move our household while my husband was ill and mostly unable to help.

9. What was your biggest failure? Not having a backup plan in place and getting bills paid off as quickly as possible in case something like a layoff happened – which struck just a month after we moved and more than doubled our rent. Hope to do better this year.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Just my back went out after lugging all of those boxes down 2 flights of stairs. And then back up some stairs into our new place.

11. What was the best thing you bought? I got a laptop really cheap for work stuff and it has worked quite well. Oh, and I got an iPad2 while I was still employed. And an iPhone. But the jury’s still out on whether I like my iPhone better than my old Droid.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? My oldest son. He has worked SO HARD on his speech and has made tremendous progress the last several months.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Celebrities. Politicians. The usual.

14. Where did most of your money go? Paying off debt… and too slowly at that.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Moving out of the old place. I hated that apartment. The parking was horrendous and we got harassed all the time. Our new place isn’t perfect, but we have a garage (to ourselves), dishwasher, and laundry. SO MUCH BETTER.

16. What song will always remind you of 2011? The Dog Days are Over by Florence & the Machine. Because it was everywhere.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

– happier or sadder? happier, mostly.

– thinner or fatter? slightly thinner.

– richer or poorer? maybe a tiny bit richer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Taken time to go do fun things with my son during the day.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Working my tail off for little return.

20. How did you spend Christmas? We were with family, as always. We weren’t sure we were going to get to go because of the layoff. But things came through at the last minute to make it possible.

21. Did you fall in love in 2011? Yes, more & more with my family.

22. What was your favorite TV program? I think it’s still Castle. But Grimm is giving it a run for the money.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? No, still hating on the same person for, oh, about 8 years now. Some things don’t change.

24. What was the best book you read? I didn’t get to read a whole lot, as usual. I think it was this year, though, that I finally read the Hunger Games trilogy. I enjoyed it.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery? Adele, I guess. And Florence & the Machine. (Yeah, so I’m a little late to things. I don’t get out much.)

26. What did you want and get by year’s end? I got some time off. Like a month and a half. Not exactly what I wanted, but I was very fortunate to get another job with an awesome company.

27. What did you want and not get by year’s end? Out of debt.

28. What was your favorite film of this year? I think I saw one film: The last Harry Potter.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I went to dinner by myself (yes, on purpose). 38.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Being able to buy a house. (Do I sound like a broken record yet?)

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011? Comfy & lazy.

32. What kept you sane? Hubby giving me time to get out of the house & do things by myself. Like go have a leisurely cup of coffee. Or browse the bookstore. Or go do some of my art journaling.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Nathan Fillion from Castle. Love the show & his character.

34. What political issue stirred you the most? I can’t stand politics. Truly.

35. Who did you miss? My mom – I wish we lived closer. And several out of state friends.

36. Who was the best new person you met? I met a lot of cool people through the local moms on FB and Twitter. They are pretty awesome.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011. Put money away while you have it. Because you never know when you won’t. A layoff isn’t the end of the world, even though it sure seems like it at first (during panic mode). And never underestimate the power of networking. Or kindness from the most unlikely of places.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. …I can’t think of anything right now. Didn’t listen to a whole lot of new music, either. The radio station I listen to plays older stuff.

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Finding my voice

It seems sometimes like I’ve lost my voice. Not my physical, yell at my children voice, but my writing voice. My personal writing voice. I think of little things here and there to blog about, but by the time I’m done with work, I really just want to get off of the computer and spend time with hubby and the boys. Or it’s something that seems stupid. Or silly. Or not worthy of my time — or yours.

I want to chronicle this time with my boys. I’m not even doing that. I have way too much to do and I haven’t been very good at managing my time on & off the computer.

On top of that, I wonder if anyone even cares any more. Do I? I’ve been writing online since 2002. I remember that date because I was writing about a fishing trip I took that summer. But I’ve since lost those archives. What’s my point? I don’t know. I’ve been writing a long time. Do I have anything worth saying anymore?

I’m not really sure. But I still need a place to write, to get things out of my brain. Does anyone else do that? Write because you need to clear your head? I’ll go crazy if I don’t.

So it may be disjointed. It may be boring. But I need to get it all out once in a while.

A stress-free Thanksgiving

Maybe Thanksgiving can’t be totally stress-free if you’re cooking for a large group, or even just your family. But you can take steps to reduce your stress. Choose simple side dishes that are flavorful, but not time-intensive. Use a crockpot. Or two. Or even have your guests bring several sides while you concentrate on the turkey and gravy.

Last year, I made dinner for us, the daughter and her boyfriend, and the bro- and sis-in-law. That’s not a large group for most people, but it’s about the max we can fit in our small place. And with a small kitchen, large meals aren’t easy. But it can be done.

The rolls I love to make (Pioneer Woman’s No Knead Dinner Rolls) can be started a day or two ahead of time and stored in the fridge. My candied sweet potatoes can be partially done the day before and refrigerated until you’re ready to pop them in the oven. And you can cook your dressing and green bean casserole in crock pots. Just get things ready early, pop them in the crockpot, and you’ve got two side dishes with minimal fuss.

Speaking of dressing, my mom usually makes hers from scratch using stale bread and homemade cornbread. It’s really good. And I need to learn how to make it. But to shorten things, I use a box of stuffing. Yes, I do. But to make it more my own, I sauté an onion and some celery and add it to the mix. I also add dried sage (I really like a lot of sage in my dressing). Add those things, and use chicken broth for your liquid and it’ll taste just as good as homemade!

Here are a couple of recipes for some tasty side dishes that aren’t too hard to make. I really like the carrots, while the entire family just LOVES the sweet potatoes. I believe I originally found these recipes in my Better Homes and Gardens CookBook. I have a newer edition (the pink plaid one), but I actually prefer the recipes in the much older edition my mom gave me. I need to put it in another binder, though, as it’s falling apart. There are some seriously good recipes in there (the cinnamon rolls are amazing) and it’s a great reference. I’m constantly looking up cook times for meat and veggies – it has several references based on the type of cooking you’ll be doing.

On to the recipes!

Candied Sweet Potatoes

4 med sweet potatoes (~2 lbs)
1/4 c. packed brown sugar
3 Tbsp butter, melted
1/2 c tiny marshmallows
(you could also use chopped nuts, but we all prefer the marshmallows – it really makes the dish, trust me)

1. Peel your sweet potatoes and then cut into 1 1/2″ chunks. Cook them in just enough boiling water to cover until tender – about 10-12 mins or so. Drain. (You just barely want them tender, or they’ll overcook later.)

2. Transfer to 2-qt baking dish. Add melted butter & brown sugar, stir to combine.

** Now, you can stop here if you’re doing prep the day before. Just cover and chill up to 24 hours. When you’re ready to start again, uncover and bake as directed in step 3. Don’t forget to let it come to room temp before putting it in the oven. Cold dish + hot oven = broken dish & a big mess. **

3. Bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 mins or until potatoes are glazed, stirring gently twice during baking. Then sprinkle on the marshmallows and bake an additional 5 mins more.

Brown Sugar-Glazed Carrots

1 lb. med carrots peeled (baby carrots will also work just fine)
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp brown sugar
Salt & Pepper to taste

1. Cut carrots in half, cross- and length-wise.

2. In med. saucepan, cook carrots covered in a small amount of boiling salted water for approx. 8-10 mins or until crisp-tender. Drain and remove from pan. (You definitely want the carrots on the crisp side so they don’t get mushy.)

3. In same pan, combine butter, brown sugar, and salt (a dash). Cook and stir over medium heat until combined, then add carrots. Cook uncovered, about 2 mins, until glazed. Stir frequently. Then season to taste w/black pepper.

There you go – a couple of my Thanksgiving standbys. If you want the green bean casserole recipe, it’s always on the side of the french-fried onions can. And yes, I do make it every year. Total comfort food for us.

What’s YOUR favorite side dish for Thanksgiving?