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Archive for the ‘thanksgiving’ tag

November 22nd, 2012 at 5:00 am

Happy Thanksgiving


Happy Thanksgiving!  Today, most of us will be surrounded by the three F’s of Thanksgiving: food, family and football.  Perhaps you will spend the morning watching the famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with your children, which always ends with the unofficial start to the Christmas season – an appearance by Santa Claus!  Most of us are cooking or traveling to a relative’s house to eat turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and, of course, stuffing until our stomachs are filled to capacity.  And it somehow just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving if the TV wasn’t blasting with the sounds of a crowd cheering at their favorite team’s touchdown all afternoon and evening.  With all of this activity happening in one day, it’s no wonder we need another three days to recover from it!

With all the commotion of the day, it can be easy to forget what Thanksgiving is all about – giving thanks.  Take some time today to realize all that you have.  Life is not always easy, but if you are reading this right now, you know that it could always be a lot worse.  If you are surrounded by the three F’s today, you are richer than most.  If nothing else, be grateful for these things.

Have a safe and wonderful day.

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November 19th, 2012 at 5:00 am

Kids Table at Thanksgiving

Do you have two separate tables on Thanksgiving, one for the kids and one for the adults? I wanted to share few ideas to make the Thanksgiving kid’stable the most coveted seat in the house.

It’s hard to be patient and to wait for all the yummy food to come to the Thanksgiving table. Use this paper bag turkey to decorate the center of the table, plus let the kids rip into it to eat the popcorn as a snack. Another great decoration would be this Teepee. How much fun to sit at the kid’s table with great things like this!

Occupy the kids time with a placemat to color, a pilgrim hat to hold crayons, or have the kids cover all the different decorations. Older kids have different options that can include a Turkey Color-by-Letter sheet, an activity sheet, something to write what they are thankful for or a Thanksgiving Crossword.  Use this free Fall Kit Printable to decorate the whole Thanksgiving table and room You can also include fun snacks like Pumpkin Spice Puppy Chow, Scarecrow Crunch, or a fun M&M Cornucopia. These fun treats would make a great gift to bring to the hostess of your Thanksgiving meal, or if you are the hostess then send it home with each of your guest.

One of our favorite activites is to go around the Thanksgiving table and each person says what they are thankful for. If you want to do something different then use these great conversation starter printables here or here.

From my family to yours I hope you have an extraordinary Thanksgiving, filled with bountiful blessings!

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

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November 16th, 2012 at 9:46 am

Making Thanksgiving Decorations

Turkey Day, Turkey Day, Gobble, Gobble, Gobble, Gobble, Turkey Day!!!

I wanted to share with you some fun activities that we did to make Thanksgiving a little more fun. Our first activity is a pumpkin that we made into a turkey. Using skewers, we threaded marshmallows, small peanut butter cups, and cheerios. We then poked them into the back of the pumpkin to make “feathers”. We just used what we already had in the house, but you could also use colored candies or even fresh fruit. We used an apple for the head and made a face out of candies we had leftover from Halloween. I’ve seen this more traditionally made using toothpicks and an apple for the body, but we had a pumpkin we needed to use up.

It was a fun activity that the boys had a blast making. This would make a great centerpiece for the kids’ table on Thanksgiving day!

The other craft we made involved a turkey body and hand feathers. You can either cut a turkey body out of brown construction paper or use one from a printout. Then trace your child’s hand on two pieces of colored paper and cut out. Attach in the back and write things they are thankful for. Easy and fun – What Grandma or Grandpa wouldn’t love to receive one of these in the mail?

Make Turkey Day more fun by completing a fun craft!

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

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November 13th, 2012 at 5:01 am

4 Thanksgiving Books for Bilingual Children

Although Thanksgiving is not a holiday celebrated in Latin America, it’s definitely one of the traditions most representative of American culture. And since it encompasses all of the things near and dear to Latinos — mainly sharing good food with those we love — it’s an easy tradition for most immigrants to embrace.

If you know somebody that hasn’t been in the U.S. for a long time and may be celebrating her first Thanksgiving with her children, maybe the following list of books might help her. If you don’t, but you’re raising bilingual kids, these books are a great way to introduce your kids to Thanksgiving vocabulary in Spanish. Enjoy!

1) Gracias – El pavo de Thanksgiving — The story of a Latino boy who helps save the life of his pet turkey in New York City.

2) Clifford y el Día de Acción de Gracias — Follow the Big Red Dog as he journeys into the city to visit his mom during Thanksgiving.

3) Gracias * Thanks — Written by beloved children’s author Pat Mora, this bilingual book is perfect to teach kids about the true meaning of the holiday. Mora tells the story of a little boy who lists all the things for which he is thankful. Great way to get kids thinking about their own lists.

4) Celebra el Día de Acción de Gracias con Beto y Gaby — Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy, another two well-know bilingual children books’ authors, tell the story of what happens when a group of elderly friends of Beto and Gaby’s grandmother are stranded during Thanksgiving with nowhere to go because of a snowstorm.

Roxana A. Soto is the co-founder of SpanglishBaby, the go-to site for parents raising bilingual and bicultural children. She’s the co-author of her first book, based on her blog. Roxana is also a staff writer for MamásLatinas.


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November 23rd, 2011 at 5:00 am

Turkey and Gratitude

No matter how you slice, turkey and Thanksgiving are practically synonymous. Americans owe a lot to this noble bird and though the first Thanksgiving may or may not have included turkey as part of the feast, wild turkeys were an important food source for the early settlers. Giving thanks for the Thanksgiving turkey is a big part of most family traditions.

In this season of Thanksgiving, I think it’s important to take moment to remember all the animals in our lives. We love them, we invite them into our homes, we ride them, eat them, put them to work, count on them and even call them our best friends, but do we ever really thank them?

Here are a few little reminders of why we owe such a debt of gratitude to the animals of this world.

  • Pet ownership is healthy. According to the Centers for Disease Control, pets can help lower blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels and feelings of loneliness.
  • Service animals save and enhance the lives of hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities and medical conditions.
  • Therapy animals have been used to help in physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. They have even been trained to help children learn to read.
  • The Army Quartermaster Corp has trained and used dogs in military service since WWII.
  • The Mounted Police ride horses to patrol areas that are not easily accessed by cars or motorcycles, including national parks, big cities and in border patrols.
  • Police dogs have been trained to sniff out drugs, bombs and bodies. They do work humans cannot do alone.
  • More often than we realize, devoted animals have saved the lives of their humans.

These examples are just a drop in the bucket. Animals are essential to health and well being of our planet and to every other animal on it, especially human animals. Let’s not take them for granted.

For the last several years, we have used “gratitude turkeys” to help us count our blessings. Everyone at the table is invited to draw and decorate a turkey, and include an offering of gratitude. Last year, one of our more enterprising youngsters “sold” the forms for a buck a piece to raise money for a favorite charity. I’ve included two sample ideas here for you to try.

Best wishes for a warm and wonderful holiday. Here’s my official thank you to Hazel (our dog) and Pekoe and Tea (our kittens), as well as to all the animals at my husband’s pet store, who, after all, help pay our mortgage.

Related Picture Books

One is a Feast for a Mouse: A Thanksgiving Tale by Judy Cox, illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbler

T is for Turkey, A True Thanksgiving Story by Tanya Lee Stone, illustrated by Gerald Kelley

Susan Bearman also writes at Two Kinds of PeopleMike&Ollie: 24-weekers Who Beat the Odds and The Animal Store Blogas well as being a regular contributor to The Chicago Moms and Technorati.

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November 22nd, 2011 at 5:00 am

Thanksgiving Dinner – Is There An App For That?

Here we are, two days before Thanksgiving. If you’re not ready for the holiday season, you better buckle your seat belt because it’s here.

As we prepare for family, friends, food and giving thanks, we could all use some help making it a little bit more organized. While there isn’t yet an app that will do your shopping or better yet, cook your Thanksgiving feast for you, there are a few useful ones that might just help make it a little less stressful.

One of my all time favorite apps, especially for the holidays, is Peapod. I love that I can shop and plan my grocery delivery from the comfort of my keyboard. I just finished my menu planning and will give thanks when I hear the beeping of the delivery truck as it backs down my driveway with my holiday ingredients. Thank you Peapod.

And as I was perusing the web for anything new and exciting that can help with the rest of the process, I came across two iphone apps that got my attention. One of them is Thanksgiving Menu Maker. This free app helps you plan your holiday menu by providing a list of starters, main dish, sides and dessert items that you select to construct a menu. Each item comes with a recipe and the app will create your shopping list from the items you choose and even creates a schedule to help you organize the timing of the preparation activities. The app also has a tips section which brings you to the Fine Cooking website for articles and videos on things like turkey prep tips as well as leftover ideas and recipes.

Another similar app is Chow Thanksgiving Dinner Coach. It’s not fancy, it contains the 9 basic menu items for a traditional turkey dinner. Choose the ones you want, and the Go Shopping step will list everything you need to make the items. Tap the ones you have and the list is reorganized. It also gives you a prep and cooking schedule.

After dinner, many of you will be moving on to the next holiday tradition, Black Friday shopping! Check out the deals at and see what all of your favorite stores are offering. You can download the Black Friday app to your iphone or Android so you don’t miss anything. And when you head out, you might want to check out my posts on  the Cardstar app and Coupon Sherpa!

I wish you a happy and peaceful Thanksgiving. May you revel in the blessings of home and family. And may gratitude and love fill your hearts.

You can also find Paula on LinkedInFacebook and Twitter @techsmart319. Feel free to reach out if you have questions.

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November 21st, 2011 at 5:05 am

Reflecting on a Year of Thanks

Every year, we start to reflect on what we are truly thankful for. I shared how my kids were going to record their thanks earlier this month.  I also made it a mission to post what I was thankful for on my personal Facebook page. I wanted to share some of these things that I forget day to day to be thankful for.

Today I am thankful for…..

  • being a Stay/Work at Home Mom. I am thankful for my great husband Gary for supporting our family which makes me able to stay at home. I am also thankful for my Work at Home gigs that help me to add a little support to our life.
  • My huge heating bill because it means I am warm.
  • The piles of laundry because it means my loved ones are nearby.
  • All the questions my kids ask because that means they are striving to learn more.
  • My friends that help to talk me off the ledge when I feel like the world is caving in.
  • The excitement of simple things.
  • Today I am thankful that my kids are relatively healthy. As one sits home with the stomach flu and the other is here with a bad cold; I think of my friends and others that have children with much worse..
  • For sleeping children.
  • For TWO bathrooms and ONE working toilet.
  • Excellent reports cards.
  • My children who love to snuggle and hug.
  • Food for our family. Our school canned drive collection helped spur some great discussion about the needy.
  • Extended family nearby who are there to help. Their love and support means the world to us.
  • Facebook and Pinterest who help me to take a little “vacation.”
  • Peppermint Hot Chocolate.
  • My craftiness and all the creations that I have been able to make. Not only does it keep me sane sometimes, but also makes me some cash on the side.
  • All the complaining I hear about our government because it means we have freedom of speech.
  • Snow in Early November. Even though it is a little early, it does add a certain “magic” to the air.
  • The wonder of little ones.
  • The people that read the things I write on my blog and here at Garanimals. I have met so many wonderful people and it brings a smile to my face when people tell me how I helped them through something they read.
  • A husband who not only watches the kids all day while I go shopping, but has them clean the playroom, finishes the laundry, and starts removing wallpaper from the bathroom walls.
This exercise did so much for me. It reminded me that even in the worst of days ~ sick kids, keys locked in the house, broken toilets….. that there is always something to be thankful for.
Warm wises for a Happy Thanksgiving to you and your Family!

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

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November 7th, 2011 at 5:00 am

Teaching your Children to be Thankful

Earlier this week my oldest, Ian, and I had a discussion about what comes after Halloween. I asked him which holiday comes next and he responded, “That one where we eat chicken at the big table at Grandma’s?”

Cute, yes, but I reminded him that it was called Thanksgiving and told him that it was about thinking what things we are glad for in our lives. I really think Thanksgiving gets smushed out between Christmas and Halloween. This week we are already attending our towns Holiday Parade which makes the Holiday season all too soon!

I decided that we needed to focus a little more on what we are thankful for. Personally, I have posted a statement of my thankfulness every day on Facebook. We really needed a project for the kids to share their Thankfulness. Which gave way to the Ross Turkey – Joe. Like the name? Ian thought that was the most appropriate.

Everyday we write and attach a new feather and plan on doing this until Thanksgiving. It’s become a fun morning activity and a discussion piece for us all.

I wanted to share some other ways that you can use to teach your children to be thankful courtesy of Pinterest. I started a Sharing Thanks board with different ideas to record what you are thankful for.

I’ve also come across some other ideas that my family may use to highlight our blessings throughout the year.

Giving Thanks Placemats – Create a collage filled with drawings and pictures of all the things you are thankful for. Laminate and use all year long!

Thankful Paper Chain – Write what you are thankful for on strips of paper and make a chain that you can string across a room, hang from the ceiling or even decorate a tree with.

Thankful Book - Create a scrapbook with pictures and notes containing things you are thankful for all year long. Add stories, favorite items, and anything else that makes you happy. When you or your kids are having a bad day, what a great treasure this would be to look through. It’s a great reminder of all the blessings in your life and what you truly can be thankful for!

What are you thankful for?

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

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