Thanksgiving in the time of COIVD was definitely a different one. We spent the day with just the four of us in our household as positive cases skyrocket; we couldn’t gather in good conscience right now.
It wasn’t our first Thanksgiving away from family thanks to the time my husband spent enlisted in the Marine Corps, so perhaps that helped give us perspective this year. I know my mother in law mentioned those years, so it was on her mind as well. In comparison, the sacrifice of staying home eating a meal cooked together really wasn’t so great.
Friday’s Frugal Five
1. Because we had nowhere to go for Thanksgiving and just ourselves to cook for, we spent a lot of time outside. First thing in the morning, I started bread rising and the husband got the turkey in the brine, and then the three of us went for a long walk in the woods. Later on, my husband went out for a solo run, and then the kiddo and I went for a run together. The dogs kept looking sad when we left the house, so we then took them on their own walk.
A lot of Thanksgiving meal prep is waiting time, so we made sure to use that time well by getting outside. It wasn’t a particularly nice day – drizzling off and on – but not terrible, and we always feel better after getting out even when the weather isn’t great.
2. While we were waiting for the turkey (and pie, and Brussels sprouts) to be done cooking, we hopped on a Zoom call with our old neighbors (and one of our current ones). While not as good as all being together in person like we were last year, getting time together via video chat felt really good.
I also chatted with my family off and on all day via a group chat with my mother, grandmother, aunt and cousin, and another one with more family. We called and talked to my in laws, and generally spent the day in contact with many of the people we love. Perhaps we didn’t get to spend time together in person, but it was definitely a day of focusing on the good in our lives.
3. The meal we cooked was very local, and I felt really good about that. The best part was, we didn’t specifically attempt it that way, but our grocery buying this year has transformed to the point where that is mostly just normal for us now.
I baked the bread that went into the stuffing days before to let it dry out, made from local flour (as was the loaf baked for the dinner). The onions, cranberries, and fennel in the stuffing came from local farms, the garlic and parsley from our yard, and the apples from my mother in law’s apple trees. The Brussels sprouts were bought at the farmers market last weekend, and the beets and hazelnuts added came from the yard. The potatoes also came from the 21 Acres Farm Store in Woodinville.
The roommate wanted pumpkin pie, but the rest of us aren’t huge fans, so I did a split pumpkin/squash pie (and made my first ever pie crust from local flour), paired with local ice cream. The sugar pie pumpkin and delicata squash both came from our garden. The kiddo was particularly pleased to be cooking with the pumpkin he grew, and so was I.
4. I baked an extra loaf of bread Thanksgiving day, and I met up with my sister to swap food with her. I took home the cranberry sauce she makes every year – the only cranberry sauce I’ve ever liked. We may not have eaten together, but sharing food made us feel a bit closer anyway.
While on the Zoom chat with our neighbors, the one who still lives on our street mentions that she makes her gravy with Arrowroot powder instead of flour (she’s gluten free) but that she likes it better than regular flour anyway. I decided I wanted to give it a try, so she sent one of her kids up with a jar. Again, we may not have been together in person, but that small gesture of a small jar of powder to add to our dinner made it feel like we were even closer for the meal.
5. Earlier in the week, I was inspired to give away a $50 gift card to a local restaurant in the Eastside Restaurant Support group I run on Facebook, knowing that not everyone can afford to eat out often but still would love to support our local restaurants. To my surprise, others in the group chimed in and said that they would match the $50 so that I could select more winners.
I closed the giveaway the next evening, and by then, we had enough people sending money to be able to cover every single family that entered to win a gift card. As a group, we are giving away $4,000 of local restaurant gift cards to 80 local families (and the local news has already picked it up – hopefully it will inspire others!). Talk about a win-win situation. My heart is so full, and I am so, so grateful to live in such a wonderful community.
PS – now that Thanksgiving is past, I’m looking forward to the December holidays, and I wrote a new post on Ecofrugals about how our 2020 Christmas is going to look for us.
Friday at the end of the work day I went for a long walk by myself down at the park by the bay right at sunset and got to take some absolutely glorious photos (which I totally forgot to share on Instagram, oops). Saturday I went for a timed 5k run, and while it wasn’t nearly as fast as I used to run, it felt good to be able to run for that distance and not mess up my heel.
Sunday was a hike in the woods and otherwise a rest day after the timed run the day before. Monday was another hike through the woods; our saving grace through 2020 has definitely been our local forest trails. Tuesday was a ten minute run with the kiddo, and then I went back out by myself for another timed 5k run, where I shaved off a little bit of time (11:03 mile versus 11:11 mile the previous run). Again, not where I used to be, but very happy with the improvement.
Wednesday we took a forty minute walk to a local restaurant for lunch, where we planned on getting take out and sit on the front sidewalk. Instead, they pulled out and set up a table for us out front, and we were able to sit and have our meal in the sunshine. For late November, it was a glorious day.
Thursday (Thanksgiving) we started the day with the aforementioned hike and ended with the dog walk. Instead of a longer run, I enticed the kiddo to do a timed run to see how fast he could run a mile (10:31!) and then I did the same for myself (8:36). The kiddo was a great cheerleader for me, and it was fun to push ourselves together (and I am definitely sore today).
How was your Thanksgiving? Time to hunker down now for the next while.
7 thoughts on “Friday’s Frugal Five (COVID Thanksgiving Edition)”
So happy to hear that your restaurant gift card giveaway really took off—I am always amazed how generous folks can be!
It’s spread to the Seattle group now and they’re doing it in a big way too! It’s the best.
that sad dog face has kept me from being in slightly better shape. banjo! perks up every time i lace up the running shoes so the runs are a little shorter in summer with lots of sniffing, peeing, and pooping. the dog tolerates me stopping for those activities, but really it’s worth it as i’m not trying to win a trophy at this point in life.
i baked bread just for stuffing too with all the stuffing herbs right inside. our zoom call with family was nice too.
Our dogs are too old for the runs these days, which means we go for a run and then come back and get them for a walk 🙂
Canadian here, but we also ended up having Thanksgiving apart from family this year — sort of. The area where my in-laws live went into the orange phase (which essentially means only essential travel in and out), which meant we couldn’t visit. Instead, we made food at home and everyone connected via Facebook messenger. Not what we planned, but it was still good! We were all hoping things would look a little better for Christmas, but both our regions just went into the orange phase so…who knows. But…it is what it is, right?
That’s so cool about the local restaurant gift card thing! What a win for everyone involved.
You’re in a way better spot than we are, for sure. But better still isn’t good enough for in person visiting 🙁
That’s how we feel about it, too. It’s not fun, but it’s the safe/smart thing to do right now, as much as it sucks.