Cracking on to Thanksgiving and Black Friday.
This was the first Thanksgiving that I have ever spent away from family, so it was the first year we’ve ever had to put together our own Thanksgiving meal. Staying in someone else’s home, in addition to preparing a meal for only two, led us to the decision to make a quick and easy meal we would be able to reheat for lunches. So, we fired up the InstaPot, and made a quick and simple beef stew with veggies.
While I prepped the stew and made some homemade mashed potatoes, Ian went off into the hills with his camera gear, and got some great shots of the sunset (the header image). Unfortunately, when he parked, he chose a spot that was a veritable quagmire. When he packed everything up and hopped back into the car, he found the tires had sunk into the mud, and that he was stuck. Fortunately, several years ago my mom gave us a set of traction recovery, off-road tracks, and he was able to get himself out after only a couple tries. When he walked through the door, he turned to me and said, “I’ll never give you crap about those things again.” High praise, indeed.
As he cleaned up for dinner, the InstaPot finished cooking, and dinner was served. Even though it was just the two of us, we had put together a legitimate feast. Along with the stew and mashed potatoes, we also had fruit, rolls, a cracker and cheese plate, and sparkling apple cider. For putting together a Thanksgiving meal for the first time, I think everything turned out quite well. The InstaPot made the stew in just about an hour, and it was perfectly cooked and juicy. Once we have a home to call our own, we will definitely be picking up an InstaPot right away.
For dessert, we had picked up a pumpkin pie from Kneaders (yes there was one in Boise too, YAY) and stocked up on some delicious holiday after dinner drink supplies at the store. While Ian loves his Eggnog with some RumChata, I prefer Chai; and, although it’s great with Bailey’s, the Chai paired great with the cinnamon spice of the RumChata as well.
Stuffed full of meat and carbs, we waddled downstairs to the living area, and took the time to binge some of our shows. Both the day before and the day off Thanksgiving, we binged Future Man, Josh Hutcherson’s new show on Hulu. Though I wish we had taken the time to watch through the show a bit more slowly, it was impossible to resist hitting the “Watch Next Episode” button. Josh Hutcherson, along with the dynamic duo, Tiger and Wolf (played by Eliza Coupe and Derek Wilson), was all just too funny to stop watching. If you’re looking for something outrageously funny (and wildly inappropriate) to watch, Future Man is just what you’re looking for.
With Ian working most mornings, it was amazing having several days to just hang on the couch, staying up late, and not have to worry about Ian staying up past his “bedtime” so that he could get up for work the next morning. We ended up finishing Future Man after midnight, and got to sleep in the next day until almost 10am (something that almost NEVER happens).
Though we were not interested in running out into the battlegrounds of Black Friday, I really did need to get a new pair of hiking boots (the ones I wore while we were in Colorado National Monument and out taking pictures were a size or two too small), and I knew that Cabela’s was having a huge sale on their hiking boots. So, we braved the crowds, and set out to hunt down a new pair of shoes. Stepping outside, I got my first look at the aftermath of Ian getting stuck in the mud.
The drive down into the Meridian shopping district was a madhouse, and it felt like the traffic was moving even slower as we were closing in on Cabela’s, but we finally made it. Once inside the store, everything actually went much smoother than expected. After trying on two or three types of boots, I picked a pair of waterproof hiking boots, and we swung through the sweet shop. Every time we stop by Cabela’s, we each pick up a bag of candied nuts, some jerky, and a slice of their delicious homemade fudge (with choices like Rollo and Huckleberry Cheesecake, it’s hard not to). Checking out at the register, I was pleasantly surprised when the boots I picked out were 50% off the listed price, and not so pleasantly surprised to see that we spent almost twice the amount we paid for the boots on food items. C’est la vie, am I right?
Before turning around and returning to the house and Tami, I managed to talk Ian into stopping by a couple of game stores, to check out what kinds of deals they had. Boy are we glad we checked. First, stopping by ABU Games again, we hit the jackpot. For only around $100, we picked up Fate of the Elder Gods, Beasts From Beyond: A Fate of the Elder Gods Expansion, Kingdomino, and the Geiger Expansion for Compounded (one of my favorite games to play). Plus, the store was running a special, and because we spent more than $100, we were given a copy of Pandemic Iberia for free!
Curious of other stores that might have deals for geeks like us, we checked out one other game store in the area, All About Games. Another bustling board game store, with an area of tables dedicated to free play and tournaments, All About Games was stocked with a plethora of games, both familiar and new to us. One such game caught my attention strait away, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it (and geeking out about it) until we snagged the only copy they had in stock: Last Friday. As a diehard Jason Voorhees (and Freddy Krueger, and Michael Myers, and Chucky, etcetera, etcetera) movie fan, Last Friday was a game I simply HAD to add to our collection. Although the machete wielding psycho killer is not explicitly named thusly, the gameplay and plot are easy enough to imagine as a new Friday the 13th flick; and just the thought of hunting down inept, oversexed camp counselors in a Camp Crystal Lake-like setting has me smiling like an idiot.
With a successful day of Black Friday shopping under our belts, we returned to our ward, Tami, and took her out for a well needed run at the local school. There was nothing more entertaining during our time in Boise, than watching that crazy dog run to her heart’s content. Set loose from her leash, she would be across the open field in seconds, and run circles around us until her tongue was slapping against the side of her face and she was panting in exhaustion. Even then, she was always reluctant to return to the car. In fact, when we would pull up to the house, she would refuse to come inside, and instead wait by her lead, staked in the front yard, asking to be kept out in the fresh air. Once she came inside however, she was met with her nemesis: The Squirrel. While she was lounging away in the front yard, a squirrel in the backyard took advantage of her absence. The ensuing stare-down lasted several minutes, and the squirrel cockily sat, happily out of reach, taunting Tami.
Later that night, we cracked open our first Black Friday treasure, Kingdomino, to play. Easy to learn and quick to play, Kingdomino was actually a suggestion we were given by the sales clerk, in order to get our total up over the $100 limit, so that we could grab a free copy of Pandemic Iberia. At only about $13, Kingdomino was actually really fun to play, with infinite re-playability. We played through several rounds in only an hour’s time, and have posted a formal review of it here.
Winding down the evening, we rounded out our pleasant Black Friday with hot cocoa, and Cabela’s fudge and nuts, while watching a few episodes of The Orville on Hulu and Star Trek: Discovery on the CBS app. Ian, a self-professed Trekkie, has actually said that he likes The Orville better, because it feels more like the old episodes of Star Trek. With recent renditions of Star Trek, both movies and the show, being more action sequence focused, The Orville returns to the idea that the mission of the ship and its crew is primarily exploratory. Finding new worlds and species, The Orville harkens back to a time when television space vessels went out to discover new things, rather than waging war against one particular species, as Star Trek: Discovery does the entire first half of season one. That being said, I enjoyed watching both Star Trek: Discovery and The Orville, but The Orville has a much better sense of humor, and is more fun, than the overly serious Star Trek: Discovery.
After Thanksgiving, all of Meridian and Boise began their respective holiday celebrations, including Christmas tree lightings, parades, and a special event at the zoo, and we partook in several of them over the next week. Because we took part in so many of these holiday traditions, I am dedicating an entire post to them. Stay tuned to read about all of the fun holiday activities Boise had to offer.