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A hostess with the mostess…STRESS!

Thanksgiving, in the past six years, for my family has become a holiday without any set traditions. In fact, perhaps not having a steadfast tradition IS the tradition. We used to go to my aunt & uncles, but then when all of us cousins started our own lives, a few away from the familial hub, those left in Nebraska switched it up each year. This year, Neil and I dutifully took a rite of passage and hosted it at our house. There were 10 of us all together. Oh, and my niece. 😉

Because I was so immersed in the responsibility of bringing everything together, as the hostess, I rarely picked up my camera. However, I was able to snap a few of the “set-up” and then a few more of the fruits (and vegetables and meats and grains) of our labor. A huge thank you goes out to all cooks who were in the kitchen. And especially to my mom and my brother’s mother-in-law for giggling while I came mildly unraveled.

First up are the placard holders Neil and I made one night. I found the craft recipe in PARENTS magazine, and let me just say, I don’t know how kids would ever make this. It was so darn messy with the feathers and the glue (tape didn’t work as the recipe said it would)… we used corks rather than wooden spools for the bodies, because I took the craft one step further and wanted to cut a slit in the bodies to hold the name cards.


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I chose a purple and orange color motif.




Just some lil’ funny side story….Cailin has an obsession with boots. And she wanted to wear mine. So we humored her.  But then she tried to walk and let’s just say that it’s impossible.


My dad and Neil making stuffing!

Onto the turkey…
I combined two different recipes, one from Alton Brown and one from Rachel Ray
I can’t even tell you exactly what we did in the end, but we took Alton Brown’s advice with how to cook it (30 minutes at 500 degrees, then at 350 degrees till it reaches 161 degrees). We didn’t brine it…and we used the foil turkey tent, which we all learned was KEY to getting the white meat and dark meet roasted without drying out the white meat. Everyone agreed that the turkey was the most moist they’d ever had. SCORE!
 The one on the left is after the first 30 minutes and then finished one on the right.

We put onions, dried plums, apples, rosemary and sage in it.

My plate! YUM! I miss leftovers!

And that is all I captured! Sad, I know. But…. last weekend, we made our holiday cookies and we added a new recipe to the mix. Thanks to a high school friend, Lisa, we made this recipe. The one thing we did differently…we couldn’t find normal toffee bits, so I used chocolate toffee bits (HEATH BAR type, actually). They are pretty DARN GOOD!


And now, the next holiday is nearly upon us… we’re not hosting, hooray! But I really did enjoy have so many of my loved ones under our roof.

Wishing you all a joyous next few weeks… xoxo

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