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

Thanksgiving Seven Years Ago: A Season of Miracles

The previous post reminded me of so many miracles that God did for us just while we were in Colorado Springs in November of 2005 that I knew I needed to record them here.

We left Arizona because the Lord let us know that Arizona was not really the land of our dreams after all. We had been staying at a ritzy hotel for $50 a night, but we could feel that our time there was coming to a close. Fiona became so sick that she couldn’t breathe through her nose, so she couldn’t nurse. She was coughing. She was feverish. I didn’t know where to take her or what to do for her. I just knew we had to leave Arizona. So we called Pastor Bill Wisener and told him we were leaving Arizona and heading back to Colorado. He said that he already knew that. He told us to go to Colorado Springs and he would make some phone calls to try to get us hooked up with a ministry there. As soon as we started driving out of Arizona, Fiona started feeling better and was able to nurse, and all of the symptoms disappeared!

We picked up a guy in New Mexico whose truck was sitting by the side of the highway and took him to a gas station. We were stuffed to the gills in that van, but our attitude was “God helps us whenever we are in need, so if we see someone in need, we will do whatever we can to help them”.

His name was John, and he was quite a character. He was trying to get to New Orleans to help with the clean-up efforts after Hurricane Katrina. He didn’t have much money, or anything else, but he was always willing to go help others. He cussed like a sailor and drank, but he had a heart of gold.

We took him back to his truck, and he was so grateful for what we did for him. He kept thanking us and shaking his head about how full our van was, but we still stopped to pick him up.

Then we drove on to Colorado Springs. We stopped at a hotel when we got there, and went in to check in. Something didn’t feel right there, so we left and Shawn found a Days Inn in our coupon book that he said God was telling us to go to. The price was good, so we went there instead. Gary went in to check us in, and who do you think he found there at the desk. John! The guy we had picked up in New Mexico. He was checking in to the same hotel!

We were shocked and amazed! He came out and greeted the rest of us like we were old friends. He would have helped us pay for a hotel room, but we didn’t want anything from him.

We stayed in that hotel for a couple of weeks. We got to know the head clerk really well. She would talk with us each time we came down to get more towels or when we left to go somewhere or when we came down to eat our continental breakfast. Her name was Sharon Followill. She knew our story and why we were there.

She was amazed that we were friends with John. He was such a salty character, and she knew that we were very clean and trying to live a godly, pure life. She also knew that we were running out of money. We paid our bill, but our account was almost dry and we had no way of getting any more money. She asked us every day if we had found a place to stay or a job or if anything miraculous had happened yet. It hadn’t.

One day, we went to visit Focus on the Family. The kids loved it there. They sang and danced on the stage. They went down the big slide. They went through all of the exhibit rooms. I had always listened to Focus on the Family, and we all listened to Adventures in Odyssey, so it was a really neat place for us to visit. We went to Whit’s End and got the cheapest things on the menu just so we could say we ate there.

The kids were having fun, but Gary and I were feeling pretty down. We knew that we were not going to be able to pay for another week in the Days Inn. We didn’t know what we were supposed to do next. We had tried to ask the Red Cross and United Way and other government agencies to help us find a place to stay, but they wouldn’t help us. Somehow we didn’t qualify for their assistance. One of them had a waiting list and didn’t think they would have anything ready for another month or two. John was trying to help. He tried to go fight in a “Tough Man contest” to make some money for us, but he couldn’t find the place where it was happening.

So I was feeling down and sitting in a chair just watching the kids sing and dance on the stage in the Adventures in Odyssey play area when a young lady started talking with me. She had her little boys there, too. She lived there in Colorado Springs. Her name was Pennie, too! Spelled differently, of course. I told her a little bit of our story, and she got all excited. She called her two friends over to listen to what I was saying. They were so impressed by our faith in God and the way our children were learning how real God is because they saw God provide our every need every day. They wanted the same thing for their children. They gave me their names and phone numbers. I gave them Gary’s cell phone number. They told me to call them if we needed anything and said they wanted to help us.

Well, the day came that we had to check out of the hotel. Our money had run out. Sharon Followill was so worried about us.

She asked what we were going to do – where we were going to go. We had no idea. We got into the van and headed for a park to pray.

As we were approaching the park, about to turn in, Gary’s phone rang. A man told Gary that Shampa (a woman we met at Dutch Sheets’ church) had told him about us and he wanted to meet us. So we turned around and went to the address he told us to meet him at. It was a bank. He met us in the parking lot and talked with Gary for a while. His name was Burt. He had his wife with him. I was sitting in the back of the van, so I couldn’t hear much of what was going on.

(I rode in the back of the van with Morgan the whole trip to Arizona and back to Kansas City to keep Morgan out of everybody’s hair and to keep them all from killing him. I literally saved his life. He was only 4 years old, and he was very obnoxious.)

Burt and his wife told Gary that they knew what it was like to lose a house. They had lost two houses in the past. They knew that God sometimes lets things like that happen to people because He has some things to teach them. They didn’t judge us or deem us unworthy of their help because we were poor and seemed to be under God’s judgment or a curse or had been foolish or something, like other Christians along the way had. Burt gave Gary a check for $500 and went into the bank with us to make sure that they would cash it for us. It was his bank, so we didn’t have any trouble. Now we had money again! We went back and checked in to the same Days Inn. Sharon Followill was so happy to see us. She was amazed at how God had provided for us.

Burt had told us to go to his ministry headquarters to get some coats and stuff since the weather was getting colder. It was November by this time.

We had left Ohio on September 4, 2005. We arrived in Kansas City about 3 days later. We stayed in a house that was pretty well empty for a month. But it was for free, and we were very thankful to Connie for letting us stay there. We left there during the first week of October. We drove to Colorado, on our way to Arizona. We had met Risa Lind at IHOP in Kansas City. Before we left, she gave me the phone number of a pastor in Limon, Colorado. As we approached Colorado, I called Pastor Bill Wisener and left him a message. I asked him if we could stay in his church for the night. A little later he called me back and he said he had everything ready for us. He told us where to go. We did, and it was a hotel in town, and he had already paid for two rooms for us.

He also invited us to his church the next morning. We went there, and he had the whole church pray over our family. He talked with us and prophesied to us. He seemed to know us before we ever opened our mouths. He greatly encouraged Shawn. He told Gary that God was leading us, and we were in His will. He told me something that I just could not tell Gary. He said that Arizona was not really the land of our dreams like we were expecting. I just stared at him. I said, “I’m not telling Gary that.” He said, “You don’t need to. Just go on to Arizona and see what happens. God will take care of you. But that’s not where Gary will find what he’s looking for.” So I kept these things in my heart and pondered them.

We went on to Arizona. We were there through the month of October into November. Then the thing happened with Fiona getting sick, and we knew by this time that Arizona was not the place for us after all.

Now we’re back to the time that I started this post with – the month of November 2005.

So we had met Burt and he gave us $500 and some coats for the kids and me.

We were able to stay at the Days Inn for another week.

But then we ran out of money again.

Gary went to check out of the hotel for the last time, and Sharon was really worried now. She kept asking him what we were going to do. We didn’t know this time any more than we did the first time. We told her not to worry, that God would take care of us, and we left the hotel. As we were driving Gary saw that he had a voice mail on his phone. It was from one of the young women we had met at Focus on the Family. She wanted us to come and stay with her family at their apartment! She had 3 young boys and a husband in a 2-bedroom apartment and was inviting us to stay with them! We didn’t have any choice, so we drove to her apartment. She was so gracious to us. They made us very comfortable and treated us like honored guests. She told us that one of the other young ladies we had met at Focus on the Family wanted us to come over for a Thanksgiving dinner. So we went to Gina’s apartment the next day and ate a delicious meal of turkey with all the trimmings! We were overwhelmed with the way God was taking care of us through these people we had just met. That afternoon, Gary found another voice mail on his cell phone. Sharon Followill had been praying for us to find a place to stay, and every time she prayed, she kept seeing her own house. So she asked us to come and stay at her house! So we drove to her address, and her family welcomed us like long-lost friends and treated us like family and let us stay at their house for two weeks. It was a 4-bedroom house, and we had the house to ourselves most of the time because Sharon and her husband worked during the day and their sons went to school. Somebody gave them money to use for us, so she bought a bunch of food at the store so that we ate well the whole time we were there, and I made a big Thanksgiving dinner for all of us. But the time was closing on this leg of our journey. They had to leave to go to Texas to visit family for Thanksgiving, and we couldn’t keep staying in their house because they were renting the house. Otherwise, I think they would have let us keep staying there. But we knew it was time for us to leave. There was only one problem. Well, two actually. The van was almost out of gas, and we had no money. We prayed. The day before they were planning to leave, we got a card from Risa Lind with $25 in it. Gary called Pastor Bill in Limon, Colorado and told him we were coming. Pastor Bill said he knew we were and had already made arrangements at the same hotel we stayed in before. That night, my friend Shari called us and told us she wanted to send us money and asked for an address to send it to. I gave her Connie’s address since we knew we were headed back to Kansas City. We left the Followill’s the next morning with our van packed even fuller than before. Someone who stayed at the Days Inn had given us all kinds of brand new clothes and toys and stuff. Katie laid on top of a big pile in the very back and the rest of us scrunched into the rest of the van.

We stayed in Limon, Colorado that night, and Pastor Bill met us at the hotel (which he had paid for our rooms in again) and prophesied to us and prayed over us again and gave us all the money he could scrape up. It was enough to pay for gas and food to get us back to Kansas City.

This is just a brief summary of the many miracles God did for us just during one month of our Journey of Fire. The month of November 2005 in Colorado Springs, Colorado – exactly seven years ago.

God provided exactly what we needed at exactly the time we needed it moment by moment! At the time, it was very scary and hard to enjoy. But now I look back in amazement and gratefulness for the way He took care of us and passed us along from one of His children to another to make sure that our needs were met.

He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He never changes. He is still taking good care of us.

He has good plans for us.

He has good plans for you, too. Put Him first in your life. Put His word and His will above everything else. Only do what He tells you to do. Obey the Law of Love. And then, whether by miracles or by natural means, He will take care of you and your family.

There’s no need to worry or fret. God will take care of you. I guarantee it.

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!

This is America, Charlie Brown: The Mayflower Voyagers

Thanksgiving tradition for the Douglas family.

Very informative and entertaining. The Peanuts gang play the parts of the Pilgrims. My kids love this. We found it a couple of years ago and have watched it every year since. Kelsey found it yesterday on Netflix, so they all watched it.

On Netflix now, This is America, Charlie Brown: The Mayflower Voyagers.

Updated 11/25/13

Thanksgiving is About More Than Just Eating

My girls helped a lot with the cooking and preparing. Fiona helped cook because she wants to be a chef some day.

Anna stirs the gravy.

Abby got to eat first. Call it a peace offering.

Emma is a two-fisted eater.

Fiona’s happiest when she’s eating. Maybe that’s why she wants to be a chef!

Anna and Morgan dig in.

Kelsey’s plate is loaded!

The twins and Emma had their own little table.

Lots of compliments and sighs of contentment were heard at the table. The twins helped make the place cards so that we would all know where to sit this year. That actually did help!

Patrick and Morgan were happy to be seated close to the turkey.

I do love my own cooking. Every Thanksgiving I find out what a good cook I am! Shawn likes my cooking, too. He told me numerous times during our feast! What a great son!

Great shot of Patrick

The clean-up crew

Emma and Fiona make “turkey cookies”

We used holiday Fudge Stripe cookies this year, so our turkeys had red and brown tail feathers!

Kelsey and Fiona love making turkey cookies! They’re finger-lickin’ good!

The turkeys get more creative every year!

Fiona put a hat on one of her turkeys and called it a gardener.

I had to get in on the turkey act.

We watched “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” – family tradition, you know. There are important lessons taught in this movie. That’s where I got the title for this post!

Then I let it keep running and a movie I’ve never seen before came on. It was called “It’s America, Charlie Brown – The Voyage of the Mayflower”. We were watching it on Hulu, and that was what came on right after the traditional Peanuts special. It was wonderful. It gave a lot of history of the hardships the Pilgrims faced on the Mayflower and in America after they arrived. It was a great review for my kids, and it really held their attention. I can’t believe I never knew about this show!

Of course, we had to have popcorn while we watched movies. The littlest one requested it. And it made our Thanksgiving celebration more authentic!

The Peanuts gang played the Pilgrim children. I was amazed at how much information they gave in an enjoyable way.

Here’s the video of “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” and “It’s America, Charlie Brown – The Voyage of the Mayflower” for your viewing pleasure!

I thought the day was about over, and all the educational value had been squeezed out of our activities. But, lo and behold, Fiona came to me and handed me two papers for me and Daddy. One was about the Pilgrims and the other about the Indians. She drew adorable pictures of the Pilgrims on the Mayflower and the Indians with a turtle that put a leaf on its head so that it looked like it was wearing a feather. Even the sun had a feather headband. I was really pleased with her creativity and initiative.

She folded her paper up like an envelope and drew pictures on the outside. This is how the Indian picture looked when she brought it to me. She took these pictures herself with my camera.

These are the two envelopes with the Pilgrim and Indian pictures drawn inside of them. I think these were brilliant. And she’s not afraid to try new things. She learned a little about using my camera, too.

Today was a great culmination of our unit study about Thanksgiving and the Pilgrims. I didn’t really plan any school type stuff today. It just happened!

I have so much to be thankful for. Thank You, Lord, for a wonderful family and a wonderful day with them today.