In the rush to Christmas, sometimes the Thanksgiving holiday gets overlooked. I love Thanksgiving, and think it is about so much more than stuffing our bellies and shopping for Black Friday deals. Teaching kids about gratitude, and practicing an attitude of thankfulness ourselves is key to living a life of peace and contentment. The more thankful I am for my life, the better I am at living it. For the second year in a row we’ve created a very simple Thankful Tree for the month of November to help us focus on gratitude. Read on to find out how we make it as well as to find ideas for Thankful Traditions from the other Festive Family bloggers. Don’t forget to enter the big holiday gift guide giveaway at the end of this post.
We spent Thanksgiving at our sister-in-law’s family’s ranch near Huntsville, Texas. It was cold but sunny and we had a great time. The MJD Ranch and the Goertz family is always so welcoming to us and we love being there and with them. Most of Jed’s family joined us there and we had a huge dinner complete with lots of football watching and outdoor playing. The Bear had the time of his life. Barns, cows, horses, and tractors are his favorites. The Pearl girl decided she did not approve of pack-n-play sleeping and let everyone know it throughout the night. This left us a little sleep deprived, but we still had fun. Sweet Bear slept through the uproar, but I when I asked if he’d heard her the next day he said, “Baby Ellie was crying all night.” Sorry buddy. It was bizarre, because she was waking up so angry and nothing appeased her. I tried every trick in the mama book. It stopped as soon as we got home. Babies be crazy.
Oh hay little Bear.
This precious boy is definitely on my Thankful list for 2013.
Here’s the rest. I’m 34, so I listed 34 things. There are many more, but I like the tradition of doing one for every year of life, taught to me by my sweet friend Betsy. I had all my YoungLives girls start this tradition at campaigners, and it was amazing to hear their lists. What are you thankful for this year?
1. Jed 2. Fisher 3. Eleanor 4. My parents 5. my siblings 6. YoungLives 7. being debt free 8. our house 9. staying home with my kids 10. this blog & the opportunities it provides 11. Grace 12. fall leaves 13. My grandmother moving to Dallas 14. blue mason jars 15. cupcakes 16. our new church 17. my salvation 18. Being a team with my husband 19. beach vacation 20. Jackson, my wonder wiener dog 21. fresh gulf shrimp 22. 3 playgrounds near our house 23. our neighborhood pools 24. MOPS 25. BSF 26. my new part time job with YoungLives Camp starting in January 27. new tires on our cars 28. a successful VBAC 29. the health of our family 30. the ability to breastfeed Ellie 31. cloth diapers 32. our budget 33. our emergency fund 34. God’s provision for our family.
Christmas card pic, obviously.
What’s weird about all the attempts at Christmas card pics is that the Pearl girl looks super mad. She is the happiest baby in the world 99% of the time. That 1% was during the night of our Thanksgiving trip and any family photo shoots. Ergh…
I’ve come to love a Texas sunset.
We tried to get a photo with all of the Eby cousins and their Paw Paw, but made the mistake of facing the sun. The sun is like kryptonite for my blue eyed people. This is the only one with most of the eyes open. The Bear loves his big cousins. We are so thankful for our family.
Will you have a bunch of wee ones underfoot longing to “help” as you prep for Thanksgiving? Check out these quick and easy kid friendly Thanksgiving and fall crafts to keep the kids’ table entertained while you prep and catch up with your Turkey day guests. I’ve selected crafts that can be made with things you most likely already have on hand. I’ve also added a few of my own free printables from Thanksgivings past and a bonus cookie recipe for the overachievers in the group. Feel free to pin the round up as a whole from this page, but as always with round up posts head over to the original blogs to pin individual projects.
1. Fall Pumpkin Craft for Toddlers and Preschoolers
2. Thanksgiving Hand Print Craft for the Whole Family from Pounds 4 Pennies (We made this one today!)
3. Thankful Toilet Paper Roll Turkey from Staci at 7 on a Shoestring
4. Pumpkin Pie Play Dough from Giggles Galore
5. Thanksgiving Do-a-Dot Free Printables from Crystal and Co.
How do you keep little hands entertained during the holidays?
Crafting with toddlers and preschoolers can be a bit of an adventure, but it is great for their fine motor development and can kill major chunks of time with no tv involved. This one is crazy easy, turns out really cute and festive, and will give you about 20 minutes of peaceful fine motor practice. Go for it. Everybody needs a festive pumpkin to hang on the fridge, and your little one will be so proud of their handiwork.
construction paper or cards tock
one sheet of orange tissue paper
glue stick or spray adhesive
1) Trace a basic pumpkin shape on to your card stock or construction paper and cut it, or just cut it out freehand with scissors. It doesn’t need to be perfect. An oval with a stem will do.
2) Let your toddler tear the tissue paper up in to tiny pieces. Really let them get in to it. To contain this part of the process I put Bear in his art box and let him go to town. He LOVED it.
3) Spray your pumpkin shape with a light coat of spray adhesive or cover with your glue stick. I recommend the spray because it won’t get your little one sticky and holds the tissue very effectively.
4) Show your wee one how to stick the pieces of tissue on to the pumpkin. Encourage them to cover the whole thing. Back away slowly and watch them work.
5) Take a photo of your babe with the finished product and then pat yourself on the back. Craft accomplished. Mischief managed.
What’s your favorite fall craft for little ones?
Jed was so excited to take the Bear on his first four wheeler ride when we visited the ranch over Thanksgiving. Don’t worry, he was just planning on circling the driveway. The Bear was not equally excited, and you can see below how things played out. He started out a little nervous.
Then he progressed to uncomfortable and tried to escape. Then the whole situation escalated into a full scale meltdown. Needless to say, the Bear’s first four wheeler ride will come sometime in the future.
The Bear’s obsession of the moment is all things farm. When we were invited to the Goertz’s ranch for Thanksgiving, he was in heaven. Not only were there big tractors, cows, horses, and 4-wheelers, there was also a pint sized tractor perfect for him. He spent hours on this thing.
He also loved watching his big cousins, Preston, Parker, and Noah, do fun big kid stuff. You know, like drive full sized gators around.
Look at the pure concentration on Preston’s face. This kid is going to be an awesome driver by the time he turns 16.
Now I just need to find one of these mini tractors for our backyard. Craigslist is calling…
Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!
Click here to find the free printables
page and print one out for your loved ones.
I hope your day is full of family, food, fun, and lots of love.
I found this quote and really loved the simplicity of the message. I’m printing it out for my Thanksgiving mantle in orange to go with the pumpkins and gourds. I’ve uploaded it to a file sharing site so you can print it for free if you like it. Here’s the link to my free printables page
. Just click on the color you want, download, and print.
What are you thankful for today?
In my family, our favorite holiday recipe is my great grandmother’s cornbread dressing. It is complicated and delicious and the best thing ever. We usually have it at both Thanksgiving and Christmas, and have to make 2 skillets full to keep us happy. Try it with turkey and gravy or all by itself. It only tastes right if cooked in an iron skillet.
Here’s what it looks like before it goes in the oven.
6 cups (1 pan) cornbread crumbled
2 cups bread crumbs (2 pieces of wheat bread)
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup finely chopped onions
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp sage
course ground pepper to taste
1 stick butter (Paula Deen would be happy.)
4 cups rich chicken or turkey broth
4 eggs, beaten
Preheat your oven to 375. We do all the chopping and crumbling in a food processor. Saute the onions and celery in the stick of butter in the iron skillet for about 2 minutes. Mix all the dry ingredients, then add the broth. At this point, check for proper seasoning and adjust as needed. Add the eggs and veggies and mix well. Bake in your oiled heavy iron skillet for 30-45 minutes. This recipe should serve 12.
This stuff is seriously amazing. You will love it and become as addicted as we are. Consider yourself warned.
What is your favorite family recipe for the holidays?