The leaves are changing, the air is getting colder. All signs point to winter. And with that comes, among other things besides snow, holidays. Holidays to me mean FOOD!

When I think of food during this time I think of thanksgiving. The meal that for over the last 15 years I get the honor of preparing alongside my mom. It is a tradition that I hope to carry on to my children when they get old enough. My mom and I have shopping lists, recipes, notes and menus that we have saved over all the years. Each year we look back on them as a guide.

Each year many things have changed. Most notably the size of the turkey and even the number of turkeys. We found out the hard way how big of a turkey can fit into a roaster pan. We have tried many techniques for cooking the turkey and even the sides we do.

What hasn’t changed is the togetherness and love I feel being able to cook alongside my mother. Being able to talk, laugh and learn side by side with her is something I cherish.

Life can be short so our traditions and the love we give to each other is what will live on forever.

Yes, we do get some added help from my sisters and even from the kids. The shopping is done with the help of dad. Even with all the added help I’m still in charge of the turkey and with my mom’s help, the gravy, which seems to change each year. I can’t seem to make it exactly like she does. Even with her help!

What takes us days of planning and prep then gets displayed and eaten in a matter of about 30 minutes. Our whole family gets to enjoy all the hard work and love that we put into the meal. This is what makes it all worth it. Well that and that I get out of the cleanup! Plus, there is that perk of an after-meal nap which helps me get ready for some Black Friday shopping with my sisters! This is another tradition that we have been doing for years and years as well.

I hope everyone takes the time to enjoy the traditions and memories with their family and friends during the holidays and each and every day — over a meal, a phone call or over coffee. Life can be short so our traditions and the love we give to each other is what will live on forever.

Nicole Lange
aka MacGyver, is a wife and mother of two girls, two dogs, 17 chickens, three fish and one hamster. She enjoys spending time with family, friends and time alone. She also enjoys hands-on projects, painting, building, and fixing things. She's always willing to try something new.