My youngest brother went off to college out of state this fall, but he’s in town for the Thanksgiving holiday. He and our son are close buddies and they were so, so happy to see each other this past week. My brother and I are twelve years apart, and the two of them are fifteen years apart, so the age gap isn’t all that different from what I grew up experiencing with him. We have a really good relationship (we’ve vacationed together and run races together in the past) and my hope is for the two of them to have a similarly good relationship. So far, I’d say that is the case.

My brother was hanging around the house most of Wednesday while the kiddo was with my mother for the day as usual, and the two of them were more or less inseparable for most of the day. They’ve really missed each other in the intervening months, and the kiddo’s one question about where we were eating Thanksgiving dinner was to make sure that his uncle was going to be there. The holidays with our family makes my heart so happy, and I’m so glad the relationships are all generally good ones.

Setting up the nutcrackers at Nana’s with his uncle

Friday’s Frugal Five

1. Not exactly Thanksgiving related, but season and someone holiday related, I picked up a bunch of new clothes and shoes from Goodwill for the kiddo. He’s starting to outgrow much of his clothing, especially his pajamas, long sleeve shirts, and socks (those brand new though), and I was able to find quite a few new good options, including a penguin sweatshirt and Paw Patrol and Star Wars pajamas.

While we were there, I also found two pairs of snow suits to go along with the snow shoes and snow boots we got him last week – the regular overalls type for $3 (half off sticker!) and $12 for the kind that has a full jacket attached to the snow pants. Of course, they look practically brand new because things like snow suits, especially in the Pacific Northwest where it only snows nominally a couple of times a year, get only a handful of wears before the kid outgrows the suit and it gets sent along to Goodwill. Hence why I will continue I buy our son’s clothing secondhand; much cheaper, almost brand new, and much better environmentally than actually buying new.

To round out the haul, I picked up a big wheel trike for my parents’ house for him for $7.99, two pairs of tennis shoes, a jacket, a few “fancier” shirts and a pair of pants for the holidays, and a stack of tiny sized books for our trip to Hawaii later this winter. All told, we spent $102, which could have likely just covered the two snow suits had we bought them brand new.

Not pictured: trike, stack of books, and three pack of Star Wars socks going in his Christmas stocking

2. Each November, a church down the street from us has an event where a local 4-H club puts on an evening all about trains. We’ve never been available to check it out in previous years, but we finally got a chance to go this year and it was totally worth it. The church clears out all of the pews to make space for all of these different model train set ups as well as a bunch of different building toys and then just let all the kids come in to play.

A free event, walking distance from our house, and all about trains? Now that we’ve gone, I can’t believe we’ve missed it in previous years, but the kiddo got more out of it now I’m sure since he is a bit older. The next day he asked to go back again and was more than a little bit disappointed that it was a one night event.

3. We watched our neighbor’s cat this week while they were out of town. Again, we live in a neighborhood where we all share the care of each other’s children and pets from time to time, so it wasn’t a big deal for us to walk down the street to go feed the cat for a few days. Plus, although we have a cat of our own, but the kiddo really enjoys going and feeding someone else’s pet, even if she tends to hide when we show up.

4. My brother in law had a pair of tickets to the dress rehearsal of the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Nutcracker for the night before Thanksgiving and offered them to us (thank you!!). On a whim, I decided to take the kiddo and have a mama son date and take him to the show even though he isn’t quite four years old yet. I figured the dress rehearsal would probably be a little more relaxed, plus we could always leave if he got antsy since they were free tickets.

On the way there, we took the bus to the monorail (which he loved: “mama we’re up above the treetops!”) and then got a quick dinner at Mod Pizza before the show started. Total cost of the evening: $16.

First Nutcracker Ballet!

He does like music and dancing, so I thought he would enjoy it somewhat, and he did say he wanted to go after we watched a clip of it online, but I wasn’t expecting just how much he enjoyed it. I gave him the option to leave at intermission, but he was completely enthralled with the whole event. His one comment after the final curtain was “I’m just sad that the show is over.” First live ballet/theatre event was a total success, and now he’s talking about the next one.

I felt the odds were chancy that he would love the whole evening, but I’m so glad I made the attempt because he loved it. And I love all kinds of live theater, so I’m excited to be able to bring him in the future instead of just getting to go myself on the very rare occasion. His favorite parts? Clara and the dancing candy canes. Not such a fan of the Mouse King.

5. The kiddo was insistent that we buy buttermilk at the grocery store last week, so I attempted to make buttermilk biscuits for the first time. I think I kneaded them a bit too much, though, because they weren’t quite the right texture on the outside. Still good, but not quite as good as I had hoped, though we still did bring them to Thanksgiving brunch.

My husband also picked up a big box of Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuit Nix from Costco, and we made those as well after the buttermilk biscuits and they turned out WAY better. I think this was more because I learned how little you want to mix biscuits than the fact that it was a preset box. Either way, they were darn delicious and brought to Thanksgiving dinner along with the green bean casserole I make every year.

Red Lobster biscuits. Yum.

In a previous year, I made the casserole with fancy local ingredients and fully from scratch, including the French fried onions, but it just wasn’t the same. Turns out, I really like the standard Campbell’s and French’s canned and boxed stuff to make green bean casserole. I usually prefer food from scratch, but this is one of those dishes where that just isn’t the case. And so I’m back to the standard stuff, with plenty of leftovers for me for the next week.

Running Update

Monday I decided to mix it up a bit and I “ran” on the elliptical. I pushed myself to keep it at the clip I remember being required to in college, and it wasn’t as easy of a workout as the elliptical sometimes can be. I definitely felt it the next couple of days; not so much sore, but the point where the subsequent runs were a little harder than otherwise.

Tuesday I went for a short run and lifting session and then a longer run and walk on Wednesday. No workout on Thursday for Thanksgiving, but I certainly miss the pre-kid days of a good long workout before the big dinner. A decent number of steps for the day, but I didn’t work up a sweat. I did consider a run during nap time between gatherings, but it was cold and pouring rain and the gym closed early for the holiday, so I just stayed inside and paced while finishing up this post instead. We really need to get my treadmill working again.

How was your Thanksgiving, so you have any big plans for Black Friday? We generally get outside and stay out of stores, and I expect we will do the same today. Plus we have to get back out to the Peninsula for our Christmas tree soon.

40 thoughts on “Friday’s Frugal Five (2018 Thanksgiving Edition)

  1. A friend was having a Thanksgiving dinner at her house, so the meal was had there. Afterwards, a bunch of people hung around and more came over, so we all just chatted and enjoyed one another’s company. It was a good night overall.

    I’ll be hitting the thrift store either tomorrow (to see if it’s half price Saturday at Goodwill) or Monday (half price at Saver’s aka Value Village) to get some sweaters. The trivia group is going up to Sedona, and it’s decently chilly there — especially now that I’m a Phoenix wimp when it comes to “cold” temperatures of 50s to low 60s. Sigh.

    1. That sounds like a lovely Thanksgiving 🙂 I got up to Sedona once a looooong time ago, but I remember it being an absolutely breathtaking spot.

    1. I’m so excited! We’re already talking about going to more shows together and maybe even bringing daddy along with us 🙂

    1. The upside of not being able to handle caffeine is you learn to get yourself moving without it 😉

    1. It was so much fun 🙂 My steps are definitely down in general since the weather turned.

  2. You had an awesome haul for your son, even at that price point!

    I grew up with a close knit family on both sides. Nothing’s perfect but I can’t imagine not being surrounded by positive family relationships. Any favourite buttermilk biscuit recipe?

    1. I’ll get back to you on that recipe. The flavor was good, but the consistency was off due to over mixing, so I’ll have to try again and see.

  3. That’s so great the kiddo had a good time! At that age, so much is new and an adventure, so like you said it’s probably tough to tell whether he will like things or not. I love that you are giving him these experiences and letting him decide!

    1. “Giving him these experiences and letting him decide.” That is absolutely the goal!

  4. we were on the road for black friday but traffic was oddly light, for which i am thankful. maybe we’ll go buy a tree today as we didn’t get one last year. those are some sweet cabinets in that photo. we sold our copper pots so you missed out!

    1. No tree last year??

      And those cabinets are at my parents house – ours are still the old ones that were installed back in the 60s. Someday!

  5. My wife finished her second business trip in a month the Wednesday before TG this year. The first one was 1 week in Brazil, then home for a week, then 2 weeks in India. It’s always a crazy time of year, and for some reason my son always “decides” to get sick when mom is away. Fortunately this year was only a ear infection easily treated.

    I am part Italian, and my family always has Italian food at any holiday gathering. When I was a young LT, a few of us got together to make a TG dinner as the needs of the service prevented most of us from going home that year. Fortunately, though we were all stateside. I brought lasagna, my mother’s recipe that I learned to mimic fairly well as a teenager. They were all shocked that I brought it, as I was that they were not expecting it. Later on, when I met my wife, a similar thing happened. Her family is mostly Irish; her father an immigrant from Ireland. When asked to make something for the first TG I was invited to, the same thing happened. Mom’s recipe was well received again, but it still was a bit jarring for most of them. Now, 10 years later, I always bring it or at least a proper Ziti. This year, with my wife landing the day before TG, and still taking care of my son, I only made the simpler, but essentially the same dish ziti.

    Keep up the good work running. I am up to a mile at a time as my foot grows stronger 9 months now from the break and tendon tear. I am considering getting up at like 5am to run, but it’s so cold in my area, on TG the high was 25F, so it’s tough to run outside, let alone get motivated for the gym that early.

    1. Flying home from a work trip the day before thanksgiving?? Seems like some bad timing for needing to be in an airport, but I’m glad she was home for the holiday!

      I hear you on getting up and running in the winter months; it’s not so cold here, but it sure is DARK. Glad to hear your foot is getting stronger and you can get back at it now!

      1. Yeah, my wife was not happy about landing in NYC on that day. This is part of her job exactly why we are focused on FI. Luckily for her, she breezed through security and was home before the highways out of the City filled up.

  6. I just saw a box of the Red Lobster biscuits at the store the other day and thought about picking it up! I make homemade bread a lot (the Artisan Bread in 5 was a total game changer for me) but I haven’t tried biscuits from scratch in ages..
    I haven’t taken my kiddo (7, so a little older than yours) to the theater yet, but I always think the Nutcracker would be a great first show. My uncle is a stage manager in NYC and always gets tickets to great shows; taking each of his nieces and nephews to their first Broadway show was always a really big deal for him/us, and I could still tell you what exactly I was wearing and the details of the whole day when he first took me (we saw Once on This Island, great show!).
    And my son would swoon over the Paw Patrol jammies – we have one Paw Patrol shirt that I picked up on clearance at Target a few weeks ago (it’s a Halloween one!) and I’m having trouble convincing him he can’t wear it every. single. day.

    1. I hear you on the every. single. day. bit – that is exactly where we are at with those pjs right now. The price per wear is already down in the pennies at least 😂

  7. Sounds like a great bunch of activities you guys were up to. I love Red Lobster biscuits, in fact it’s really the only thing I eat from them haha, would love to try their biscuit mix at some point.

  8. Why does where you live seem so magical? 4H events? Watching each other’s pets and kids?

    Also, nice score with the Paw Patrol PJs! My niece is obsessed with that show.

    And I’m glad you were able to bring your son to the show–that must have felt so special 🙂

    1. Our neighborhood is pretty darn magical. Probably part of why it’s gotten so freaking expensive in the last few years though 🙁

      Funny enough, our kid isn’t super obsessed with the show, but he loves all the toys and clothes associated with it.

  9. Ohhh..we just finished a box of those Red Lobster biscuit mix last week, so freakin good!! We might buy another box from Costco this week, lol!!
    I went to my old gym(Planet Fitness) since I had some free guest passes and went on the elliptical for around thirty minutes. It was great to use it again but got sore the next day. I didn’t mind it because I knew I got a workout in. Next week I’ll be back on my Sunday morning 5 mile run!! Yippee!!!

  10. Smart thinking on using the second hand clothes from the thrift store. I hope we try to do the same for our kids in the future, especially the winter clothes. I don’t imagine buying anything lasting for more than a single winter given how kids grow quickly.

    It’s nice to hear your brother and son can get along, let alone have a great relationship. It’s nice to see them taking to each other.

    And buttermilk biscuits sounds so wonderful. My wife made some puff pastries last night after we binge watched the British Baking Challenge on Netflix. I’d pass her on to the next round!

    1. Yeah, especially with young kids, it makes so much sense to get their clothes from the thrift store / hand me downs from friends because they’re rarely worn out by the time the first (or even second) kid has outgrown them.

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