Tag Archives: Thanksgiving


Happy November!  I don’t know about you, but our November is off to a perfect, November-y start.  While I always prefer sunny weather, there’s something wonderful about a gloomy, rainy November day.  That’s just what we’ve had today – a lovely cozy Sunday cooped up indoors away from the soggy weather outside.  It’s been wonderful and relaxing, and now I feel totally ready for Thanksgiving!  I’ve been learning to love Thanksgiving more and more over the past few years, and I feel kind of bad for it as the overlooked holiday of the year.  It’s always a bit frustrating to me that it’s very hard to find clothes and decorations for Thanksgiving, so I decided to make some of my own.  I had so much fun making my Trick or Treat merchandise on Zazzle, so I made some Thanksgiving items as well.  These designs all feature my drawing of the word “Gobble,” complete with a turkey for the o.

Gobble Pillow

There are shirts, mugs, paper plates, pillows… Go check them out at our online store!  I (along with the neglected holiday of Thanksgiving) appreciate it!

Leaf Turkeys

I always like to have our daughter make one special project to hang on the fridge each month.  While the handprint turkey is a perennial favorite for November, I saw the idea for leaf turkeys on Pinterest and decided that we had to make our own this year.   Our daughter loved making them and was quick to point out that they reminded her of a stuffed turkey decoration we have had for years because they both have leaves in place of feathers.  I thought she made a pretty good connection!

Leaf Turkeys

Leaf Turkeys

I cut out large circles out of light brown construction paper and smaller circles out of dark brown construction paper.  I cut out yellow beaks and red wattles.  I also happened to have some artificial leaves on hand that worked perfectly, although I think it would be really fun to go on a fall nature walk looking for leaves and then have kids use the leaves they found to make the turkeys.  I also had googly eyes ready for the turkeys’ faces.  Start by gluing the leaves on the tops of the bigger circles.  It takes a fair amount of glue to get them to stick.  We used Elmer’s School Glue, but I think Tacky Glue might be a better choice.  Once the leaves are in place, just leave them alone to dry.  They won’t stick well if you keep lifting them up to check if they are stuck yet (soooo hard for kids to understand)!  Then glue the smaller circles below the leaves.  Glue on the eyes, beaks, and wattles.  You will end up with super cute turkeys!

Grapevine Pumpkins

If you need a last minute Thanksgiving centerpiece or decoration, these grapevine pumpkins are the perfect thing.  I found a similar idea on Pinterest last summer.  I made these earlier in the fall, and I’ve enjoyed having them out all season.

They are incredibly easy to make.  Just get some grapevine balls (often found in vase fillers) and some artificial leaves.  Use wire to secure the leaves to the balls.  I was really lucky to find these leaves with wire already attached at Michaels which made the project even easier.  Put them in a cute bowl or basket or just scatter them on the table and that’s it!  Happy Thanksgiving!

November Poem of the Month: Recipe for a Happy Thanksgiving

As promised, it’s time for November’s poem of the month.  It is a recipe poem, specifically a “Recipe for a Happy Thanksgiving.”  I adapted this from a recipe style poem I found in a teacher book a million years ago.  The format is very simple to follow:

Line 1: Noun and noun.

Line 2: Noun and noun.

Line 3: Noun so adjective.

Line 4: A complete sentence with some sort of action.

Line 5: Gerund and gerund.

Line 6: Getting more noun.

Line 7: Exclamation!

Line 8: This makes Thanksgiving.

Here is a completed version from one of my former third graders who is all grown up now:

Family and food.

Potatoes and turkey.

Vegetables so good.

The family is coming.

Giving and eating.

Getting more thanks.

Happy Thanksgiving!

This makes Thanksgiving.

For fun you can have kids write their poems on recipe cards.

Recipe for a Happy Thanksgiving Poem

Recipe for a Happy Thanksgiving Poem

After all, what says Thanksgiving more than a recipe poem?

Thanksgiving – 3 Year Old Style

I was going to write about a poem of the month for November this week.  It’s a really cute poem called “Recipe for a Happy Thanksgiving.”  And I still will share it next week, for sure!  However, our 3 year old reminded me of the true meaning of Thanksgiving today, and it seemed only right that I share that experience instead.

I had a loooooong to do list today (not exactly the lazy Sunday I wrote about a few weeks back, but -oh well- you can’t win them all I guess).  The agenda for today included, church, choir practice, delivering a treat to some new neighbors, laundry, putting away Halloween decorations and toys, getting out Thanksgiving decorations and toys, preparing the outside of the house for winter, making a turkey for the fridge with our daughter, and writing my November poem of the month blog post.  Phew!  With so much to do, I decided multitasking was a must.  So while my husband was out winterizing the house, I was busy doing a load of laundry and making the annual hand print turkey for the fridge with our daughter.  I will admit she was less than interested in the task, so I sweetened the deal with glue, sequins, and feathers… many, many feathers.  She was suddenly more enthusiastic and ended up making a handprint turkey that looks like a performer in a Las Vegas show.  Not exactly what I had planned, but it made me feel happy and thankful for her creative little self.

Las Vegas Turkey

Las Vegas Turkey

Then came time to put away the Halloween stuff.  Our daughter began to cry as I boxed up a stuffed Halloween toy she had not even touched once during the entire month of October.  I tried to cheer her up by showing her the new Thanksgiving toys for her to play with and telling her a very simplified (and not entirely historically accurate) story of the first Thanksgiving.  (In a nutshell, I told her that the King of England said the Pilgrims had to go to his church and that made them sad, so they decided to leave England and sailed far across the ocean on the Mayflower.  When they arrived at Plymouth Rock they had no food, but some kind Native Americans helped them learn how to grow food.  After learning to live in their new home they had a feast to celebrate having food to eat and to thank God for everything they had.)  Our daughter then began playing herself and retold the story in her own way, and even invited a few new guests to the feast: Doc McStuffins and Mario.  Why not?  Here is her version of the first Thanksgiving:

The Pigrims left England because they had no feet.  Then they lived in a manger with the Mannequins.  Then they prayed to be together forever and there would be cheers.  Then they all curved a pumpkin together.

Thanksgiving According to a 3 Year Old

Thanksgiving According to a 3 Year Old

After hearing her tell this story, I was thrilled because I knew she had been paying attention both to me just then and also to her choir teacher earlier in the day who had talked about Jesus in the manger as we practiced our songs for the upcoming Christmas performance.  I also was happy that she had clearly enjoyed “curving” her own pumpkin the night before Halloween.  But most of all, I felt like for the first time in my life I really, really understood the true meaning of Thanksgiving.  Taking the extra time to play with her during my crazy busy day made me short on time to prepare my blog post about a “Recipe for a Happy Thanksgiving,” but it reminded me that the true recipe for a happy Thanksgiving is spending time with my precious family and enjoying special little moments like these.  And that while unorthodox or unexpected, the 3 year old version of things is by far the best – especially if it includes a showgirl turkey and Doc McStuffins at the first Thanksgiving feast.  When I break the wishbone on Thanksgiving day, my wish will be that I can remember this all year long.

Thanksgiving Night is Going to the Dogs – and the Legos

We have a rather unique tradition on Thanksgiving night.  It involves Legos and dogs rather than football and leftovers.  Several years ago, Lego put out a Christmas village set.  We love Legos, so we were thrilled to get it.  The only question was when to assemble out new Christmas Lego creation.  We needed it done in time for Black Friday when we stay home to decorate for Christmas instead of heading out to the malls, but we were too busy leading up to Thanksgiving to find a free evening for building…  The answer?  Thanksgiving night!  It was a perfect way to cozy up and put a nice cap on a busy day of feasting.

While we were building that first year, we turned on our TV and happened upon the National Dog Show while channel surfing.  We don’t have dogs ourselves, but we got a huge kick out of watching it.  And a new tradition was born.

So this Thanksgiving night we will once again be curled up in front of the TV watching dogs run around in circles while putting our latest piece of the Lego Christmas village together, just as I’m sure the Pilgrims intended back in 1621 when they had the first Thanksgiving celebration.

Family Hand Turkey

According to my husband, the hand turkey is a staple of any good Thanksgiving.  This year I was excited to find a new idea on Pinterest that made our daughter’s annual hand turkey extra special: the family hand turkey!

Start by tracing your child’s or children’s hands.  Then trace the parents’ hands.  Cut each person’s traced hand out of a different color of construction paper.  Arrange the hand shapes in order from smallest to largest and glue them on top of one another so that each layer peeks out from behind the one in front.  Add a turkey body and face.  The end result is the the sweetest hand turkey ever.  I love it so much because it highlights the most important part of Thanksgiving for me – being together and giving thanks for my precious family.

Grateful Books

It’s November!  Thanksgiving month!  Over the last few years there has been a trend to post things for which you are grateful on Facebook during November.  It’s always fun to see what people list.  However, I would like to take it a bit farther – through the month of November and beyond!

Several years ago I started keeping a “grateful book.”  It’s a little book (any cute little book will work) that I keep in my bedside table drawer, and each night before I go to bed I jot down at least 5 things for which I am grateful that day.  Some of the things are big – like my husband and daughter.  Some of the things are small – like pretty weather or having ice cream for a treat that day.  Some days I’m so sleepy when I write in my grateful book that I can’t read what I wrote the next day.  Some days are so miserable, unfortunately, I can only think of a couple things to write.  (Luckily those days are few and far between!)  On the other hand, some days are so fabulous that I could fill up a whole page!  The important thing is that knowing i need to find things to write in my grateful book at night helps me remember to look for things to enjoy during the day, and that makes each day happier!

Being grateful in November is wonderful, but I’m so glad I get to do it all year long.

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.