Monthly Archives: November 2013

Carpe Turkey! Don’t Forget Thanksgiving…

Christmas and Shopping: Two of the things I love most in the world.  However, there is one day I refuse to do either one: Thanksgiving.  I’ll admit, even though I do love dressing and other Thanksgiving foods, it has never been my most favorite holiday.  However, it serves an important purpose and still deserves its rightful place on the calendar.  We have so much for which to be thankful.  And besides, Thanksgiving provides a day full of delicious anticipation before the Christmas season begins!  So that’s why in our house, Christmas can’t start until Thanksgiving is over.

Every year on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I load up the iPod with Christmas music and install it in the car… where it remains silent.  I’m always tempted to play a Christmas tune or two but I always stop myself.  NOT YET!  Then, on Thanksgiving Day we head over the river and through the woods to our various Thanksgiving meals.  Finally, at the end of the long day, we waddle to the car, stuffed with turkey, dressing, and Thanksgiving treats.  We snuggle into the car, start up the iPod, and head home with the magical first notes of Christmas music ringing in our ears.  Only then, after the last crumb of pumpkin pie has been eaten, can the Christmas season begin.  I think it makes finally getting to hear those Christmas tunes even more special.

Then on Black Friday, we don’t rush out to the malls like everyone else.  Instead, we stay in our cozy house all day getting out boxes and boxes… (and boxes) of Christmas decorations.  It’s exhausting hard work, but it’s the perfect way to work off all the Thanksgiving food!  By the end of the holiday weekend, the house has been transformed from fall to a Christmas wonderland!

So this year, consider giving Thanksgiving a try.  Save the carols, save the trees, save the lights for just one more day.  (Even if it is just to make the start of Christmas that much more special.)  Giving thanks deserves its own day and makes the perfect gateway to the Christmas season!

Fall Ribbon Topiaries

Thanksgiving is getting closer by the minute.  If you need a pretty centerpiece for your feast table (or any table, for that matter!), I’ve got it here: Fall Ribbon Topiaries.  I found this idea on Pinterest a few years ago.  The Pin I had found used the topiaries for a baby shower, but I decided it would work for fall since I LOVE fall colors so much.

Fall Ribbon Topiary

Fall Ribbon Topiary

These ribbon topiaries are very easy and fun to make.  Get a jar or vase of some sort, a thin dowel rod, a styrofoam ball, lots of pins, several different ribbons, and some vase filler.  Start by wrapping the dowel rod with a fairly plain ribbon.  Secure it with glue or double sided tape.  Then stick the dowel rod into the styrofoam ball.  You may need to glue it to make sure it stays put.  Cut the ribbons into 2 or 3 inch pieces depending on how big and full you want your topiary to be.  Loop the ribbon pieces over, and use pins to secure the loops onto the styrofoam ball.

Ribbon Loops

Ribbon Loops

Continue doing this, alternating patterns and colors of ribbon and overlapping the loops until the whole ball is covered.  Fill your vase or jar with vase filler like little pumpkins, acorns, or stones and stick the topiary in it.

You could use one as a centerpiece or make several of these topiaries in different sizes and line them up and down a table runner to make a pretty Thanksgiving table.

Thanks Vases

I have boxes and boxes of decorations for every holiday.  With one exception – Thanksgiving.  Being placed between Halloween and Christmas, Thanksgiving tends to get lost in the shuffle a bit.  So recently I have tried to spruce up our Thanksgiving decorations.  I got this cute idea of THANKS vases from Pinterest last year.

Thanks Boxes

Thanks Boxes

It was so simple to make and turned out very nice.  First, choose a word depending on the amount of space you have.  I went with THANKS but there are several possibilities that would work well: THANKFUL, THANKSGIVING, HARVEST, GOBBLE, FEAST, etc.  Collect as many small vases or votive holders as there are letters in your chosen word.  Get some stick-on letters.  (I actually cut my letters out of stick-on vinyl I already had on hand with my Cricut machine, but stickers would work too.)  Also, get a variety of fall-ish looking vase filler – leaves, berries, pumpkins, or acorns.  Stick the letters to the vases, fill them up, and there you have it!

Thanks Table

Thanks Table

A lovely Thanksgiving decoration to make November just a little more special.

November Author of the Month: Lois Ehlert

It’s November already – time for a new Author of the Month!  My choice for November is Lois Ehlert.  She is an author and illustrator.  Her illustrations are collages, and they are beautiful and creative.

Lois Ehlert Books

Lois Ehlert Books

Her books cover so many topics that they would work well at any time of the year.  However, her fall themed books are my favorites, so I save her for November.

Fall Lois Ehlert Books

Fall Lois Ehlert Books

Here are some activities I like to use with these fall books in particular:

Boo to You! – This book is good to use at the end of October actually since it is about Halloween.  Use it to accompany any fun Halloween activity!

Nuts to You! – This is a darling book about a squirrel who visits a kid’s house.  Make squirrels from rolled construction paper and have kids write their own stories about their own squirrels.

Paper Squirrel

Paper Squirrel

Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf – This is a book about the life of a maple tree.  Make bird feeders from bread, peanut butter or Crisco, and birdseed.  There is a recipe in the back of the book.  Works great except for the time one of my students ate his bird feeder on the bus on the way home from school.  Oops!  A not so gentle reminder that some kids may not have enough to eat at home and may need extra food from school.

Leaf Man – The illustrations in the book are some of my favorites – all kinds of animals made from fall leaves.  Go on a leaf hunt.  Collect leaves, acorns, etc. and have kids make their own leaf creatures.

Snowballs – So it may be a little early for snow in November, but it will be coming soon enough!  This is a cute book about a bunch of different snow people.  Clean out extra miscellaneous art supplies by giving kids a random assortment of “stuff” and see what snow people they can create themselves!