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In Everything, Give Thanks

In Everything, Give Thanks

The month of gratitude is upon us. Treat each day as a gift and give thanks to God accordingly. Practice an attitude of thanksgiving every day throughout the month of November with the family. Give thanks for little blessings, huge miracles, and everything in-between. Encourage a grateful heart for the next thirty days, until it becomes such a habit that you can’t help but express thanksgiving on a daily basis. Make every day a holiday and enjoy November with all five senses – from tasty turkey, to wafts of pumpkin pie, to the sounds of Macy’s parade announcers, to autumn leaf sightings, to cold fingertips and noses in the wee early morning hours.

Try these silly, but real, calendar celebrations to make incredible memories with the loves of your life and add some unique family ones to your festivities, too.

National Authors Day – Pick out a new chapter book written by a family favorite author and plan to read some each day this month until the book is completed. Read in bed, on the couch, in a fort made of bed sheets, on the front porch, on a blanket in the front yard, and at a local park. Go online to find favorite authors’ contact info on their professional social media pages or their personal website and write a letter of appreciation for that favored book. Pick an afternoon this month to purchase new books to donate to a local women’s shelter, a foster organization, or a church library.

Squash Month – Gather the kids in the kitchen to make this yummy, autumn casserole. Let each person participate, age-appropriately, to make the dish together. Wash one pound of yellow squash. Cut into large chunks and combine with one-half cup of chopped onion pieces. Let an adult pour the squash and onion mixture into a pot of boiling water; boil until the squash is tender. Drain the cooked squash and onion mixture and pour into a mixing bowl. Use a stand or hand mixer to blend the squash mixture with the following ingredients: one-half cup melted butter, a dash of salt and a dash of pepper, one tablespoon of sugar, one slightly-beaten egg, one-half cup of grated sharp cheddar cheese, and one-half cup mayonnaise. Pour the creamed mixture into a baking dish. Top with crushed Cheez-It crackers. Drizzle two tablespoons of melted butter onto the top of the crumbs. Bake at 350 degrees, uncovered, for thirty minutes. Enjoy!

National Gratitude Month – “In everything give thanks ….” Celebrate with a turkey craft adorned with handprint feathers that are embellished with gratitude words. First, let each person trace around a shoe to make a turkey body on a sheet of brown construction paper. The heel of the shoe becomes the turkey’s head, and the toe area of the shoe serves as the turkey’s body. Glue the cut-out shoeprints onto dessert-sized, colored disposable plates. Embellish to add facial features, using wiggly-eyes, construction paper cut outs, and markers. Have each person trace around his or her hand to make turkey feather prints. Trace the prints onto various colors of construction paper and cut out each one to have a hefty supply handy for the month. On different days throughout the month, talk about gratitude and blessings and let each person write notes of thanksgiving on each hand print and add layers of feathers onto the back of the turkey daily until the turkey craft is filled with thanksgiving feathers by Thanksgiving Day.

Go for a Ride Day – How many ways can you find to go for a ride this month? Take a ride in the car this month, traveling to a new location in your hometown or take a different route to get to an old, familiar location. Talk about favorite places to visit in your town while traveling. On another day, go for a ride on a bike trail and sing songs as you go. See how many different autumn shades you can spot on trees that stand as sentry guards along the path. Then on another day, ride skateboards or scooters or roller skates around the neighborhood and stop to pray for each family along the way. Find another afternoon to travel in a golf cart or little red wagon and look for butterflies or winged creatures in the sky. Make the most of every ride this month with memories revisited, songs sung, and blessings recounted.

Maize Day – Purchase a dozen or so ears of corn from a grocery store to celebrate maize day with some fun games. (Be sure to leave the husks on the corn to play the games; then later remove the husks and wash the corn thoroughly before boiling it for dinner.) For the first game, place twelve sheets of newspaper in the grass. Take turns tossing the ears of corn onto the papers. The person who lands the most ears of corn onto separate sheets of newspaper is the winner of that round.

For the next game, pile the ears of corn in a basket and place a pot large enough to hold the dozen ears about fifteen feet across the yard. Give the first player a pair of kitchen tongs. On ‘go,’ the first player uses the tongs to pick up one ear of corn and races to put the ear of corn in the pot. The player runs back and forth until all of the corn cobs are relocated to the pot. Time each player’s race and compare scores at the end of the game. And for one more a-maizing game, try this one: turn a plastic bowl upside down on the ground. Lean a long-handled kitchen spoon against the bowl with the spoon touching the ground. Place one ear of corn in the spoon section. Let the first person step quickly onto the handle of the spoon to catapult the corn cob into the air. Leave each cob where it lands, and give each person a turn. Decide whose corn cob traveled the farthest when catapulted, and that person is the winner of the game.

Treasure each day as a gift from God and give thanks for His cornucopia of blessings. Be grateful for all things this November and collect a wealth of family memories throughout the month. Celebrate autumn’s beauty this month and make every day a holiday with the loves of your life.

By: Julie Lavender

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