Recently, I was asked to give a few Thanksgiving ideas for a news wire article, and I wanted to share some of them with you.   I did these quickly and took photos with a camera that is taped together with Scotch tape, and so I have debated even sharing them…but who knows what type of ideas they may spark and you may find something you can use to help you celebrate your Thanksgiving Day!  Let me get out my favorite Thanksgiving dishes…always a great conversation starter about being thankful!

Question:  How can you make table settings inviting for children?

The Party Wagon (TPW)- I love having each child’s name at his/her seat.  Putting something special at their places is always exciting.  My choice for this year is a Harvest Turkey.  I love the idea of having a “harvest” that the children can take home.  They can take care of it like the Pilgrims and Indians had to do and can eat it.  Plant a tiny “green” in a terra cotta pot for the feathers.  I chose flat parsley because my kids actually love it.  Add a turkey face and a name on a skewer…

Question:  What kind of activities are good for the children on Thanksgiving?

TPW-  I always make sure to include having children think of all that they are thankful for in their lives, but I also like to keep them busy with activities that have them moving.  Having a place for crayons, markers, etc. for the children to use while others are still enjoying their meal is always helpful for everyone!  There are so many fun ways to put together a little art set.  Here, I simply used paper cups that are wrapped with ribbon and twine.  I included a name on each so that there aren’t any doubts about ownership…

I also love the idea of using a Hornbook for them to write and draw in when they are finished with their meal.  Hornbooks were used by colonial children and so it gives them a little bit of history, too!  There is something about those little books that they love!  Put sheets of paper together and brown paper on front and back.  Punch holes in the top and tie together with twine.  Attach a wooden craft stick or paint stick to back with tape or hot glue.  They love a book on a stick!  Hang on back of each chair.

I also love watching children play the old-fashioned clothes pin game.  Make it perfect for Thanksgiving by wrapping the cans or buckets with black paper to resemble a pilgrim hat.  Add a buckle and white strip.  To play, children hold the clothespin at nose-level and try to drop in to pilgrim hat.  Make a variety of sizes for different levels of challenge.  Even the adults will want to see if they can ring it!

Question:  What is a meaningful family activity to do with the children?

TPW- I love the idea of tracing each child’s hand and cutting out the shape using fabric.  Sew the fabric turkey hands along the edges of a ready-made tablecloth and make a family keepsake.  Add the hands each year to see how the turkeys grow!   This is a shirt I had made for my son several years ago using the same idea…it has always been one of my favorites because I love seeing his cute little hands made into turkeys!

And, lastly, a simple idea to add a little decoration around the house- fill glass bottles with shelled corn and place ornamental wheat in the corn.  That is such an easy, quick arrangement!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

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What began as a simple gesture to introduce my daughter to a wonderful book series has become a special evening ritual for us- reading Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books!  I must admit, I didn’t realize quite how interesting these books would be to her, but she cannot wait to read all nine in the series.  It was only fitting that her birthday party focus around Little House on the Prairie!  Together, we had a ball planning all of the details of her party that related to the books in some way.  At Camille’s request, we focused on some of her favorite parts of the stories… prairie flowers, covered wagons, tee pees, the colors in the drawings of the books,  and “pretty”…because “Ma” liked things to be pretty!


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