I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving, surrounded by loved ones and lots of fabulous food.

Now that I have finally digested all of the good eats, its time to re-cap!

First of all, I am so overjoyed that my parents spent Thanksgiving at the Bertelsen’s house (the in-laws) in Boise! It makes me so happy that our families get along so well that they are willing to spend a major holiday together!

My immediate family celebrated Thanksgiving in Boise a week early (while we were in Turkey…the irony is not lost on me) before my sisters went to their respective in-laws’ houses and also so they could also celebrate my biggest sister’s birthday as well! I am sad to have missed my first major holiday at home, but we managed to make the best of it here!

On Thursday, actual Thanksgiving, Jimmy and I had made plans to attend a Burlesque show at the reputable Savoy Theater. A few of Jimmy’s coworkers ended up purchasing tickets, and soon there was a whole group ready to see some swinging tassels!
We met up directly after the boys got off of work at a fun and funky basement restaurant called Shanghai Cowboy. It is a Mexican-Asian fusion place with unique cocktails, an open kitchen, and eccentric decor. We sat on low stools and plywood benches and ordered their signature cocktails, pulled duck tacos and toasted our first major holiday with our new Finland family.

I finally got to wear my great-grandmother’s fur for a night out! Thanks Grandma!

Afterwards we went to the show, where we laughed heartily at the outrageous Assuie host, Ruben Kaye, as he delivered a saucy rendition of Men at Work’s Land Down Under (his national anthem, apparently) and proved quick witted and sharp tongued with comedic timing and on-the-nose cultural references, all in fabulous sequined tails and feathered caps. The dances were lively, saucy, and all around impressive- one even including a male stripping to his Union Jack undies and sock garters while riding a unicycle. We left gabbing about the different acts, both male and female, and ended the night with a cocktail at a nearby establishment.

 The next day began far earlier than the previous night should have allowed, but there was cooking to be done! Some of the other ladies and I had coordinated our belated-Thanksgiving dinner so that very little cooking had to be done at the cabin. I woke up, pulled the 30+ cinnamon rolls out of the fridge to thaw and rise, baked a lingonberry and apple pie, 30 dinner rolls, and made the stuffing. Eventually, Jimmy rose, went to the store for more dried sage, weekend wine provisions, and Chinese take out before we headed out to the cabin in the afternoon.

Skillful latice work- my favorite excuse for making a pie

The cabin we rented was a short 40 minute drive out of the city, but felt worlds away. In fact, it felt amazingly like Idaho. Green woods, busy chickadees, and a glassy, misty lake. The cabin was quirky and eclectic and reminded me in many ways of my grandmother’s cabin in Idaho. It was the perfect place to spend a short weekend away.

The night we arrived, was fairly low key. Dinner, Cards Against Humanity, and a long long sauna.

Jimmy had the pleasure of manning the traditional smoke sauna for the 2 days. It was in a separate house that comfortably sat 8 people. But heating a large room for 8 with a wood fire takes a lot of tending and log splitting. It works by building a large, hot, smokey fire underneath a bed of rocks, and letting it burn for a few hours, constantly adding more wood. Eventually, the fire dies, the smoke clears out, and the stones stay hot for hours of sweaty enjoyment.

The Sauna house and, left, separate breakfast room

Fortunately (I think) there was also an ice cold lake just down some stairs. I cannot believe that it wasn’t frozen, and I am sure it will be in the next few weeks. It was so SO icy. I only dunked in once, and after that opted to let off some steam on the cooling porch outside. Leaving the sauna, you will find that you are covered in a fine black soot. On your back where you were leaning, on your bottom and legs where you were sitting, on your feet, and your hands and wherever your hands touched, such as your entire face. Good luck scrubbing it off.

The next day began with mimosas, bacon, eggs, and cinnamon rolls and was quickly followed by buttering and stuffing a Turkey. The rest of the day followed with turkey poking, casserole preparations, and watching the Lions Football game (downloaded and brought to the cabin to make it feel as American as possible).
The weekend went so smoothly because everyone was helpful. Boys and girls in the kitchen making dishes, boys setting up the tv, manning the turkey breasts on the smoker, refilling mimosas, stoking the indoor and outdoor fires, cleaning, etc.

By 6pm, we were seated around a table with plenty of food, wine, and amiable company. Oh, and celebratory sparklers! We managed to get every classic Thanksgiving dish on the table, thanks to the hard work and determination of all people scouring stores and being creative with ingredients. The spread included a green bean casserole, a sweet potato bourbon casserole with bacon and pecans, sage dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry salsa, rolls, smoked turkey breast, a 12 lb turkey, a pumpkin pie and a lingonberry pie. All 9 of us ate til we could fit no more, with enough left overs to go around.

 After dinner and clean up, we played 3 hilarious rounds of Kings Cup. I had never previously enjoyed this game, but when you end up with rules like “No laughing with your teeth” “Pass your shirt 2 to the left and your pants 3 to the right” it ends up being completely outrageous.

No one is in their original shirt/sweater

And of course, the night ended with another long sauna. The next day, we cleaned, packed, and headed back to the city, where Jimmy and I sat on our couch and watched Modern Family, played silly arcade games on his xbox, and skyped with our families.

I hope your holiday kick-off was just as fabulous! Let the festivities begin! We have a loaded winter schedule, so stay tuned for some more fun happenings from the far north!

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