Fun and Educational Thanksgiving Books Plus Bonus Printables, Videos and Other Activities

 

I found these neat Thanksgiving printables at The Crafty Classroom.

I printed them out and can’t wait to use them this Thursday for our Thanksgiving table. It would be good to laminate them, but my laminator is still in a box. I’m going to tape the place mats to our old place mats that are shaped like turkeys.

The place cards have a conversation starting question or task for them to do, such as “Tell a silly story about yourself.” or “What are you thankful for?”.

We are getting pretty excited about Thanksgiving around here.

We have read “‘Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving”.

‘Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving

It was really funny. We all enjoyed it.

We also read “Thanksgiving at the Tappletons”.

Thanksgiving at the Tappletons

It was also really funny.

Some other good books to read in the days leading up to Thanksgiving:

Thanksgiving Day at Our House Kelsey’s favorite. She reads this to the younger kids every Thanksgiving.

Thelonius Turkey Lives Kelsey likes this story and the recipe at the end for Sweet Potato Casserole. There’s another recipe in it, too, for Thelonius’ Feather Cookies.

The Thanksgiving Story by Alice Dalgliesh – enough information to be interesting, story about the Hopkins family, but easy enough for younger readers to read. This is a chapter book and covers the main topics of the Pilgrims, Indians and the First Thanksgiving.

Pete the Cat and the First Thanksgiving This is a lift-the-flap book. I haven’t actually read it yet, but I like Pete the Cat’s other books, so I assume I will like this one, too.

The Story of the Pilgrims Introduction to the story for younger children.

If You Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620 Informative, makes kids think about what it must have been like to be a Pilgrim.

Thanksgiving is for Giving Thanks Helps younger children understand why celebrate Thanksgiving – so we can give thanks! To God, for those of us who believe in Him. And to have a thankful attitude, in general.

The Pilgrims’ First Thanksgiving Good for ages 4-8, tells what it was like for Pilgrims in terms children can relate to, but describes hardships in a way they can handle.

Squanto’s Journey – lots of information about the details of Squanto’s life.

Sarah Morton’s Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Girl – uses actual photographs of a 10 year old girl in period dress who reenacts Pilgrim life at reconstructed Plimoth Plantation.

Samuel Eaton’s Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Boy Same format as Sarah Morton’s Day, but for boys!

Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving by Eric Metaxas – well-researched, historically accurate.

Another fun book to read is A Cranberry Thanksgiving by Wende and Harry Devlin. The price for this at Amazon is ridiculous. I would get it at the library if it’s available. There are no copies available in our library system here. It is a very popular book. Here’s a summary of the story:

“Every year Grandmother invited a guest for Thanksgiving dinner and allowed Maggie to do the same. “Ask someone poor or lonely,” she always said. Thanksgiving was Grandmother’s favorite day of the year. The cooking was done and her famous cranberry bread was cooling on a wooden board. But she wasn’t happy to find out Maggie had invited the unsavory Mr. Whiskers to dinner. Would her secret cranberry bread recipe be safe with him in the house? After a long absence this delightful 1971 classic is back. So is Grandmother’s secret recipe!” The recipe is included at the end of the book.

Here is a fun way to learn more about Thanksgiving. A project pack from Hands of a Child for only $3.00. I recommend the lapbook ebook download or the Note Pack, which is like a lapbook but made to just put in a notebook instead of cutting little booklets. Students write information which is provided in the research guide.

Thanksgiving Curriculum from Hands of a Child

And no Thanksgiving celebration would be complete without A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving!

http://youtu.be/VayAyAr-xqI

This cupcake idea would be fun to do to go along with the movie. This idea is on my Pinterest page and comes from here.

And here’s the story of the First Thanksgiving told by the Peanuts gang. Click on the YouTube button so it will go automatically from one clip to the next.

http://youtu.be/8xlY4B0y_Pg?list=PLbmsjgfVXtPQRB8kgTkQeMUV3c8BXfiqS

Celebrating Freedom Days in Lots of Ways

Freedom is a good thing. We Douglases really value freedom. We are very independent and are glad to live in a country that allows more freedoms than so many other countries do.

We celebrate Freedom on more occasions than just the 4th of July. We have a day we call Freedom Day, which happens to fall on or near Halloween. We have chosen to celebrate Freedom on that day instead of the traditional things that are celebrated on that day. We celebrate Freedom instead of Halloween.

The one thing our celebration has in common with the traditional celebration is — CANDY!!!

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On or near October 31st, I buy lots of candy, and I make up lists of questions for each child, based on what they’ve been learning in homeschool.

Then I ask each one a question, and when they get the right answer they get to choose 2 pieces of candy.

Sometimes it moves kind of slowly, but they entertain each other between their questions, so they all really like it. They know the pay-off for their patience is going to be very sweet, so it helps them to wait their turn.

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In this way, we can review what we have been learning and do some narration and earn candy all at the same time. Works for me! The kids look forward to this every year. When they hear others start talking about Halloween, they start asking me when Freedom Day is.

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We went to Blessington Farms that same day, and Garrett tied into our theme of Freedom by doing the Statue of Liberty pose in one of our pictures.

On Freedom Day we celebrate Freedom of Religion, Freedom to homeschool, Freedom of Speech, and Freedom in Christ.

Which leads me to the second part of this post…

Did you know this was going to be a two-part post?

I’m throwing in this second part for free. dom. 🙂

Have you ever thought about what Freedom in Christ is?

What are we free from when we are in Christ?

Well, one thing we are free from is sin. When we make Jesus Lord of our lives, we are no longer slaves to sin.

We may still sin, but it is really our choice. We have power over sin if we ask the Lord to help us not to sin anymore, and we access the power of the Holy Spirit to help us.

Another thing we are free from is satan’s dominion over us. He cannot make us do anything.

But –

If we don’t enforce our freedom, the devil knows ways to keep us in bondage.

He uses things like generational curses, generational sins, things that our ancestors participated in and pronounced on their descendants to cause problems in our lives just because they have never been specifically broken over us. These things are some of the demonic strongholds spoken of in II Corinthians 10:4 –

“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,”

When Gary and I went away for our anniversary last weekend, I knew that I was supposed to help him get freedom from some things that the enemy was still using to keep him in bondage. There were some things he was doing, things he was thinking, mindsets, and attitudes that I knew were not really the way Gary was supposed to be.

These things were damaging his relationships with members of our family.

I knew that he couldn’t see them himself.

So I prayed about our anniversary trip the whole week before we went. I found a Bed and Breakfast not far from home. It was in a peaceful, country setting. The room I chose had a living room portion, too, with a nice couch, chair, recliner and coffee table. So we were able to sit and relax and talk about what was going on.

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I brought some things to his attention. When I mentioned specific things he said or did, he told me he didn’t remember them. As we kept talking and praying about these things, I realized that there was demonic interference that was causing him to do and say things. He said that a shroud came down over his head sometimes and he would puzzle about something, he was kept preoccupied with trying to figure something out and it would last a while, and then when he came back to attention everybody would be acting strange, like something bad had just happened, and he didn’t know what it was.

Here’s how he described it:

“Like a shroud – a panicked feeling to resolve what was before me or else – not just one thing but several, and it created an unreal amount of pressure, feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and just impending doom and condemnation. I got used to it – just figured it was just me trying to solve the world’s problems.”

I would later tell him he did this or that, but he didn’t remember those things. When he described it that way, I realized that I had been talking to and dealing with a demon at times, thinking it was Gary, and I was getting really mad at Gary when I should have been mad at the devil.

After we realized who the enemy was and what he had been doing, we prayed about how he got in and what right he had to stay in Gary’s life and control him like that. We knew that it had to do with a familiar spirit passed down through his family line. We believe it was from a great uncle that was a shaman of the Cherokee.

Gary wrote down the list of behaviors, mindsets and attitudes and repented of them, came out of agreement with them, and commanded spirits associated with them to leave. Then he told the familiar spirit to leave, all of this in Jesus’ name.

After a while, he started laughing. He felt a change. He felt lighter. He felt free.

He started treating me different after that. I haven’t felt so loved and cherished in a long time!

Yes, indeed, Freedom is a good thing.

I Want Easter to Be Even Better Than Christmas!

A few years ago I caught the vision of making Easter even more special than Christmas. After all, Jesus’ death and resurrection is the highlight and culmination of everything that Christianity is about. Why should we get all excited about Jesus’ birth and entrance into this world as a little baby and then yawn about the fulfillment of His life’s mission and purpose, not to mention what that sacrifice and offering accomplished for us?

Since that time, I have attempted to make Easter extra special for my family. I bought new Bibles for each child the first year. I got versions for them that would make it easier for each of them to read the Bible themselves. Since then, I have alternated between getting new Bibles, getting Veggie Tales dvd’s, other Christian dvd’s, anything that comes to my attention (by the Spirit’s leading) that seems like it would go along with the message of the life of Christ and His death and resurrection. I put candy in their Easter baskets, too. They get very excited about Easter now.

We make resurrection rolls. We color Easter eggs for fun and have an egg hunt for the little ones. We don’t study the meaning of the word “Easter”. We don’t worship a goddess of fertility. We don’t really even talk much about eggs symbolizing new life. We just have fun and mention many times during the day how thankful we are for Jesus and what He did for us on the cross. The older kids watch “The Passion”. Last year, I had them watch “The Nativity Story” for Easter! Anything about His life story is important when we are celebrating Jesus. And that is what Easter means to us. We celebrate Jesus!

I wrote a very candid post about last Easter if you’re interested in some of the activities we usually do to try to make Easter memorable and Christ-focused. Sometimes I try a little too hard. Or have higher expectations than I should. Or try to do things in my own strength and understanding. You’ll see all of those things in that post. But when I’m weak He is strong.

I hope that this encourages you to focus on Jesus during this spring and Easter season.

We are lightly observing the season of Lent this year. We are not Catholic, but we do believe in fasting and self-examination and preparing our hearts for celebrating Jesus’ life and death.

So I’m incorporating some things that have struck my fancy this year as a way to prepare the hearts of my younger children and get their focus off of the candy and onto the real meaning of Easter – the death and resurrection of Jesus. I wrote about them in this post.

I found out how the early church intended Lent to be observed and why here at this site.

One thing that I really liked was the list of questions we should ask ourselves during this period of self-examination leading up to Easter.

Here it is:

Am I sharing gladly what I have with others, especially the stranger and the poor?
Do I have a gracious and patient attitude with others, especially those who irritate me?
Is it time for a change or a growth in my Bible study and the way I view my faith?
What are the lurking problems, which still plague me?
Am I as thoughtful and forgiving of family as others, or do I take my frustrations out on them?
Do I speak up for the maligned and oppressed, or do I remain silent in order to remain popular?

I thought these were very pertinent questions that would help us to get back on track if we’ve veered off and become self-focused or world-focused instead of Christ-focused. Our relationships are so important. And meditating on these thoughts and keeping them in mind should help us to improve and strengthen our relationships with God and with others.

Preparing Preschoolers’ Hearts for Resurrection Sunday

Here’s a fun idea for Lent.

Jesus Storybook

If you have preschoolers (or kids a little older) and you want to help them prepare their hearts for Easter, you can read The Jesus Storybook Bible to them for the 40 days before Easter (Lent) and end up at the Easter Story at just the right time. You can read one story each day and end up on Day 40 at the story of The Resurrection on the day before Easter. Then there are 4 more stories in the book for follow-up.

The Jesus Storybook Bible is a wonderful retelling of the whole Bible that whispers the name of Jesus in every story. It portrays Him as the One who rescues us from sin, which is really what He did!

So, if you want to give your kids an overview of the Bible in 44 days, you can do it during this Lenten season. Or whenever you choose to read through this charming story Bible.

I have seen people recommend this book even for adults to get a good overview of the Bible, because it is so well-written!

And to make it even more wonderful, they now offer a deluxe edition which includes a CD with narration by David Suchet. I already owned 2 copies of The Jesus Storybook Bible, but upon the recommendation of a friend, I bought the deluxe edition, too, so that I would have the CD. I am so glad I did! Listening to David Suchet read it is like watching a movie. He is an excellent narrator. I enjoy reading aloud to my children, but this CD makes this Bible even better.

Now Garrett and Fiona can follow along in their Bibles, and I can follow along in mine while we listen to it. And when Emma gets a little older, she will already have a copy of this Bible.

I realize that Lent has already been going on for a couple of weeks, but if you want to catch up to Day 12 (we skip Sundays in the counting of Lent), you can read one story in the morning and one in the evening until you catch up. Or just read it at your own pace. Just realize that you can read an overview of the whole Bible in 44 days if you read one story a day, and do what’s right for your family.

I got this idea from In Lieu of Preschool. She has lots of great ideas for keeping your preschooler active and learning. Here is the post where she shares the Reading Plan for reading the Jesus Storybook Bible in 44 days, covering up to the Resurrection by the 40th day. She also links to a post about another activity to do with children to mark off the the days up to Easter using this Lenten calendar.

From the Catholic Icing blog here

What a Thanksgiving!

I baked all day Wednesday and accomplished everything on my list, except for the most important thing. The day started with a jolt when I realized that our beverage supply was depleted and we needed bread and milk, and I needed apples to make apple pie (Emma and Abby love those green apples), so Anna, Abby and I went to the store. Then we ate at Subway, using our coupons. Then we went home and Anna and I got busy with our pies. She made two pumpkin pies, and I made an apple pie. Fiona and Emma made the Chocolate Crinkle cookies. Garrett baked brownies. Katie and Kelsey made turkey cookies with the little ones. We even went to the YMCA that evening.

Then we set out to accomplish our most important goal of the day – picking up Daddy at the airport. Shawn went with me as usual, and this time we picked up another passenger. Emma wanted to go pick up Daddy. After all, she had drawn a map to help him find his way home.

So we headed south for Baltimore. Suddenly, as we crossed into Maryland, I had to go to the bathroom really bad. We were running a little late, so I thought I would have to wait until we got to the airport. We were humming along, making pretty good time when the phone rang, and Gary, with much furiosity and contempt for Continental Airlines told Shawn that his connecting flight took off without him. He was stuck in the airport in New Jersey with no way of getting to Baltimore that night. He told us to turn around and go back. I needed to find a place with a bathroom, so I kept driving until I found an exit with a McDonald’s. It was after 11:00 PM. We finally found one, and I was never so thankful for a McDonald’s in my life!

Gary called again and said that he was going to fly into Harrisburg the next day by 1:30 PM. I would have to drive north tomorrow in the middle of Thanksgiving Day and pick him up at the other airport. But I was fine with that. At least he would be home for Thanksgiving.

He had to sleep in the airport. Continental did not provide anything for him. They said it wasn’t their fault. Gary won’t be flying with them again.

So my plans got rearranged a little bit. I put the turkey in the oven when I got up like I had planned. I started making the dough for the dinner rolls. I made the Peanut Blossom cookies, peanut butter cookies with Hershey’s Kisses in the middle. I put Kelsey to work on the sweet potato casserole. We got the recipe from a picture book called Thelonius Turkey Lives.

I told her to start on the green beans after that. Katie was taking a shower, so I didn’t get a chance to tell her what to do. But I left my list on the counter.

Shawn and Anna and I went to pick Gary up, and I left the other kids watching a free NEST showing of William Bradford on my new laptop.

Kelsey was in charge until Katie got out of the shower.

We picked Gary up without a hitch – PTL. He had settled down and wasn’t so angry any more, but he still has no love for Continental.

We got home and Katie was busy with thawing the frozen Hawaiian Rolls. She started on the corn. Anna worked on the dishes. Katie made the Stove Top stuffing. I cut up potatoes for mashed potatoes. Kelsey formed the homemade rolls. I made my kind of stuffing. Anna cooked the asparagus. I cooked cream corn. Anna made gravy. I mashed the potatoes. I put the rolls in the oven. We were like a well-oiled machine, kind of. Katie kept finding bowls for everything and setting them on the table.

I went over to the table and saw that we didn’t have any room for plates, so we could sit there and eat! We took all of our centerpieces off the table and started setting out plates and silverware. Morgan had been guarding the food from the little ones, so he helped me set the table. Fiona helped set out the silverware.

We were just about ready when I heard Gary say something to one of the kids about going to start playing a game. I told him we were ready!

I put food on plates for Emma and Abby before the rest of us sat down to keep them occupied.

I had everyone say what they were thankful for. Some were silly, some were serious; nobody was very eloquent, everybody was hungry! Then Gary gave thanks for all that God has done for us. His prayer wasn’t very long, either. He was starving! Then he carved the turkey, and we all dug in.

We had our usual Peanuts music playing in the background.

Everybody ate until they were stuffed. Very few of us had room for dessert.

After dinner we watched The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. We had put it in for Emma and Abby to keep them occupied while the rest of us ate. We watched and reminisced about how we watched those with Shawn when he was little. He’s about to turn 21 in a little more than a month.

The boys put the leftovers away and cleaned the dishes.

I had the kids watch The Charlie Brown special about the Mayflower Voyage. We told Gary some of the new stuff we had learned about Squanto. Then the older kids played some X-Box with Gary. They refrained from playing it all day until then.

Then the day was over. A peaceful, relaxed holiday spent with the people we love most, rejoicing in spite of adversity and hardships (like spending the night on the cold floor of the airport – poor Gary), and remembering the goodness of the Lord.

Thanks for the memories! At this point, I’m thankful to have a memory!