Cathy ZielskeCZ Life38 Comments


One of my favorite holidays has come and gone. Thanksgiving, you're totally awesome.

This year it was our turn in the family rotation to host. We would officially be 13 people for dinner, but around 24 coming and going for snacks, drinks and drop ins. (Dan has four brothers and sisters and some were dining with their other families this year.)

I did much of my cooking the day before, including the most delicious cranberry chutney ever, courtesy of my neighbor, Sarah.


While a Lady Gaga at Madison Square Garden concert on HBO blasted on the background, I prepared my stuffing the night before (adding a pound of cooked sage sausage to it, no less!) and cooked my acorn squash. The less to do in the morning, I figured, the better.


I cleared off the scrapook supplies to set a very acceptable table, and with my helpful cooking side kick, I was ready to tackle the bird.


I've only made the full turkey dinner four times in my life, and each time, I've trusted Martha Stewart's approach to cooking a turkey and gravy each time. I have to say, she's never let me down yet. The gravy alone is so rich and flavorful. I'd be happy with just a bowl of that and some mashed potatoes. This round of my holiday cooking efforts was my strongest yet. My nephew's new wife, Melissa, even commented, "You look like you know what you're doing." You know, I guess I really do. Go adulthood!



I will admit, I woke up with a bit of stress, but that all dissolved after tapping the first bottle of Cotes de Rhone just after the noon hour. Oh sure, I was probably a bit too exuberant greeting our guests as they arrived, but who doesn't love a bold welcome?

While final preparations were taking place, cousins played basketball in the alley.


And Aidan served as the official family portrait taker for the afternoon. (Pictured here? Dan's sister Joy and her family.)


Unfortunately, I didn't manage to get my family all together on the steps for an official holiday shot, but heck, we've got time, right?

One thing I should mention, we had a near record breaking temperature for the day: 59 degrees. I cannot recall the last Thanksgiving where the front door was open, not in the 22 years I've lived in this town.


People dutifully filled out their Thankful cards. My neice Erin, pictured in the family shot above, warmed my heart with her card, especially the first entry.


The meal was delicious and the good news? We made enough for leftovers to enjoy all weekend long. Another plus of hosting the day.


In the end, we were full, peaceful and happy.


It really does remind me of how much I am thankful for in my life. How I need to not let that fall by the wayside in daily life.

I hope you all had wonderful celebrations of your own. 

Happy kick off to the holiday season.

Cathy ZielskeThankful

38 Comments on “Thankful”

  1. #2

    Looks wonderful! And that picture of you and your husband is great!

    I’m kind of jealous of the American Thanksgiving holiday. We could do with something like that over here!

  2. #4

    I love love these photos. The house/the table set/you and Dan look great in the photo. What warm memories you will have from this day.

    We had a warm 60 degree day as well and took advantage of it by going to the zoo. We found out the day before that it’s FREE on Thanksgiving. The weather was perfect and even with hundreds of others there we felt like it was just us. Thinking this might be a new tradition.

    Love having the leftovers also.

  3. #5

    awesome photogs of the day… and i LOVE Erin’s thankful card. so authentic and genuine.

    i’m impressed – haven’t had to host the day yet, but I know it’s coming. you made it look easy…

    isn’t Thanksgiving the greatest way to kick off the holidays? now it i could only get in the christmas spirit. i think we need snow here in chi-town!

  4. #8

    ok. I’m stumped. iPad, Kindle, what…is the orange cooking helper! I must be outa the loop because I’ve never seen an orange tablet.

  5. #9

    You always crack me up Cathy. Thanks for sharing the fun bits of your life so freely. Here’s to an inspired holiday season!

  6. #12
    Petra from NL

    Sounds and look like a lovely day. And like so many others I think that last shot of the 2 of you is adorable.

  7. #14

    I don’t comment very often, but wanted to say that I’m thankful for your blog. I love reading it – you are very inspiring and very funny!

  8. #15

    At 34 years old, I have NEVER attempted to make a bird; they scare me, but are OH, SO DELICIOUS to eat! (I’m thankful that I have never HAD to make one… yet! Someday, I’m sure my turn will come… I’ll have to keep good-old-Martha in mind! Thanks for the tip!)

    Lovely pics, by the way! Love your blog!

  9. #18

    I used you Thankful cards and stuck everything into an album on Saturday. It’s not gorgeous. It won’t be seen in magazines. But it is done and I LOVE that.

  10. #19
    glee stormont

    How can you not just LOVE a thankful card that puts “GLITTER” first!? too dang cute.

  11. #20
    Jill S.

    Aidan is a great photographer! Love that photo of you and Dan. One of the things I’m thankful for is your fantastic blog and how you are so real with us.

  12. #25
    Bea Medwecky

    I thought I would write and say thank you for your wonderful blog. I read it every day and it is always a source of inspiration (or at the very least, a chortle). I am remiss in not letting you know often enough. Thanks for making my days.

    BTW, your food looked delicious!

  13. #26
    Toni Brockliss

    I love your family.
    I wish I lived next door so I could tap on your door and borrow a cup of sugar…or peer through your windows whilst hiding in some bushes.

  14. #31
    Damon Crawley

    I’m thankful for your humor (I so wish we lived near each other). I am also thankful that I didn’t have to cook or clean a dish or the house since we decided to have Thanksgiving be just the 4 of us at Disney World to see the place all decked out for Christmas. Gotta love 75 degrees in November. And no, I did not lose my camera on the way.

  15. #32

    Damon, I have so enjoyed seeing your Facebook pics! I hope you had the best time EVER. I love Disney World so much. One of the best vacations my family ever too, even WITH losing the camera! : )

  16. #35

    I just stumbled upon your blog and this entry makes me smile. I think once I do have a family, having dinner at the table will be a must. I don’t feel like it’s thanksgiving at all when people are all off in their own corners eating their meal and watching football.

    Also, I AGREE ABOUT THE WEATHER! I live in Eagan, not all that far from St. Paul (on the border, actually) and my fiance and I were marveling at the fact that it was 56-59 degrees out on that day. Insane.

    Lovely blog, Cathy!

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