The past couple of days have been absolutely perfect. For the first time since graduating college I am back at my parents’ house in Illinois for Thanksgiving and it feels amazing to be here for more than just a couple of nights.

We’ve spent most of our time relaxing on the couch — with a few shopping trips peppered in here and there. It’s exactly what James and I needed after a hectic month of work.

I worked in commercial television news for the first three years of my career, which meant many holidays were spent at work. I know there are many others don’t have the luxury of getting the day off to spend with their loved ones; I’m so grateful we were able to do so. The best part of the holidays is coming together with family and friends to celebrate.

My older sister and I were responsible for most of our Thanksgiving meal, which was a blast. My parents cooked two turkey breasts and Brooke and I took care of the rest. We spent Wednesday night preparing what we could and it all came together beautifully Thursday.

Brooke and I both love experimenting in the kitchen, so we decided to make a combination of traditional and new-to-us dishes. Here’s what we had on the menu:

Of all the dishes, my grandma’s green bean casserole remained my favorite. While it includes many of the components of the standard recipe, the addition of cheese makes it so much better. It isn’t healthy at all, but holidays call for a little indulging. I’ll share the recipe with you soon!

I also really liked the brie bites, salad and stuffing. I plan on making all of those dishes again sometime during the holidays.

It’s hard to believe we are already moving on to the Christmas season. It’s my favorite time of the year because of all the fun traditions. We host a cookie and craft beer exchange every Christmas, so I’m starting to brainstorm everything I want to bake for that party over the next couple of weeks. This list from Jessica of How Sweet It Is is blowing my mind.

I also can’t wait to put up all our decorations when we get back to Indiana tomorrow. My mom and I are crazy and made a quick run to Target last night. OH MY GOSH. Why is it impossible to walk out of that place only with what you intended on buying? I snagged this candle, which they burn at my workout studio and instantly puts me in a better mood. I also couldn’t resist this adorable holiday tray and it took all of my willpower not to also purchase the matching plates.

I want to know what your favorite holiday traditions are. What are you baking? What are you wearing? Where are you going?

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