Family Time Ideas for Thanksgiving

This is the time of year we get to be surrounded by family and loved ones, so take the opportunity to get to know each other better, and really show how thankful you are to have one another. Below are ways to share time with your family and friends this holiday season.

Make time for your family traditions and add more to the list this year!

If you’re anxious about visiting with family, these tips will help you enjoy your time with family.

Make some fun crafts with the kids, and display them around the house for holiday guests to enjoy.

There’s nothing like a good board game to get everyone laughing and in a fun-loving mood!

We hope you have a great Thanksgiving!

Hilarious Tales of Thanksgiving Disasters

Have you ever encountered a few snags in your holiday celebrations? If so, you’re not alone! Mistakes are bound to happen during the holiday chaos. Relax this year and laugh at yourself if you hit a few bumps in the road.

From sick kids who ruin appetites to meeting “his” mother for the first time, this article from Ladies Home Journal has a variety of funny Thanksgiving disasters!

Have you ever dropped the turkey on the floor, washed and then served it? Shhh, it’s OK, we won’t tell!

HuffPost gathered some of the best Thanksgiving fails from their readers!

Watch these videos and try not to laugh too hard at those running from harmless turkeys!

Tell us one of your “disaster stories” in the comments below!

Thanksgiving DIY Turkey

November is here and that means big meals, family gatherings and the kids are home from school. Here is a simple Thanksgiving DIY Turkey that they can do while you have your hands full with making sure everything else is ready for the holiday.

The great part is, many of this you might have laying around the house, left over from your Labor Day cookout.  Just follow the steps below to start creating your Thanksgiving Turkey.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 Apple
  • 5 tooth picks
  • A handful of small marshmallows (about 14)
  • 1 magic marker
  • Construction paper (a sheet of red, white, yellow and orange is best)
  • Tape and glue
  • Scissors

Family Fun_All_Thanksgiving DIY Turkey_Craft Supplies

Step 1 – Making the Body

Place your apple flat on the table and have them pick the side they like the most. Set aside the 5 toothpicks and lay them out on the table.

Family Fun_All_Thanksgiving DIY Turkey_Turkey Body

Step 2 – Creating the tail fan

Use your handful of mini-marshmallows and add 4 marshmallows to the toothpick in the middle, this will make up the center feather. Then add 3 marshmallows to each toothpick surrounding the toothpick in the middle. Next, add 2 marshmallows to each toothpick on the end. The attach them to the back in a fan like fashion.

Family Fun_All_Thanksgiving DIY Turkey_Marshmallow Toothpicks 2 Family Fun_All_Thanksgiving DIY Turkey_Marshmallow Turkey Fan

Step 3 –  Drawing the Head and Face

For the head and neck, trace your thumb. Make an upside down heart for the wattle (or the gobble gobble as some kids refer to it), and draw the beak however you see fit. Don’t forget the eye’s, which can be as simple as two circles with dots in the middle.

Family Fun_All_Thanksgiving DIY Turkey_Turkey Paper Face

Carefully cut out the shapes and glue the eyes, beak and wattle to the head and neck.

Family Fun_All_Thanksgiving DIY Turkey_Paper Turkey Face Cut Out

Step 4 – Attaching the Face

After you are finished assembling the face, flip the head shape over and place a toothpick in the center of the paper. Make sure you allow at least a 1/4 of the tooth pick to hang out of the bottom. Then secure the toothpick to the back – either glue or tape will do the trick! If using glue, wait to dry before attaching to the body.

Family Fun_All_Thanksgiving DIY Turkey_Turkey Head Toothhpick

Once the glue has dried, insert the toothpick into the top of the apple in front of the marshmallow tail fan.

Family Fun_All_Thanksgiving DIY Turkey_Marshmallow Turkey Fan

Step 5 – The Finishing Touch

To add a little something extra to the craft, take your leftover construction paper and cut out a rectangle to make a holiday sign. Insert two toothpicks through it and then stick the toothpicks into the front of the apple, under your turkey’s head.

Family Fun_All_Thanksgiving DIY Turkey_Happy Thanksgiving Sign

And Voila! You’ve turned an apple and a few marshmallows into an awesome Thanksgiving Turkey!

Family Fun_All_Thanksgiving DIY Turkey

Mom’s Holiday Survival Guide

While I was taking a stroll through Costco the other day, I realized that “that time of year” is coming. Yes, the time of year when we start to think about decorations, gifts, family and food … the holiday season. I know in our home it can be a wonderful time of year (just like the song), but for some, including myself, it can also be stressful and a taxing time of year.

 

Hopefully, my “Mom’s Holiday Survival Guide” will make the holiday season a bit less stressful this year.

 

  • Get a large calendar and place it in a common area in your home where everyone can see it. We all know that with the holidays come gatherings, parties and holiday activities. Mark your activities on this calendar as a reminder and to stay organized. If you are the lucky individual who has to plan the events, write them down and book your events well in advance. This way, booking for the events or facilities will not be forgotten.
  • Make a meal plan for all your events and shop accordingly. If/when you have company over, know that food will be consumed. Whether it’s an evening with appetizers or a full turkey dinner with ALL the fixings, you need to know what you are making. Knowing what you are serving and making a shopping list to accommodate will help you avoid unexpected surprises.  Also, remember this is not a time to try new fancy dishes because you have no idea how they will turn out. Go with what you know to avoid a possible dinner catastrophe.
  • One trick is to spread your spending throughout the year. With so many traditions there are many gifts to give, and gift giving can sometimes be expensive. There is nothing wrong with starting your shopping in the spring. If you see a sale, keep the holiday season in mind.
  • Mix it up and start some new traditions. Sometimes there is lots of stress in trying to keep up with traditions and doing what you have always done. Do something different by doing some charity work, trying new foods (with your immediate family) for supper or playing a fun new game.
  • You have to take care of yourself so you can help others. As with any other time of year you need to remember to take care of yourself. Take time out for yourself and do something you like to do. After all, you will be catering to everyone else for the next couple of weeks.
  • Get the whole family involved. Decorating can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. Take the time to make this fun. Make it a fun family activity, put some festive music on, get some hot apple cider simmering and have a blast decorating and reminiscing about past holidays. 
  • Label everything properly. Keep this tip in mind when the holiday season is over and the decorations need to be housed until next seasonYou will thank me for this next year.
  • There is a greater reason for the season. Lastly, remember the reason you are doing everything. Whether you are celebrating Christmas as our family does or just enjoying the holidays with family and friends, keep the greater reason in mind when you are toiling and working for your Christmas season.

 

With this survival guide, I hope the holiday season is a little less stressful this year for all the moms out there! What are your tips for other moms trying to make the holiday season less stressful?

What To Do With All That Halloween Candy

If your kids are into trick-or-treating as mine are, we are in for an overwhelming influx of candy. It has been my tradition to pause candy-eating regulations for the night of Halloween, but strict enforcement returns in the morning. In years past, I have found myself throwing out Halloween candy to make room for Valentine’s Day candy, and then the Valentine’s Day candy gets pushed out by Easter candy.

 

There is simply a lot of it, so let’s put it to good use!

 

Local Food Pantry — Your local food pantry accepts fully wrapped candy. Grab your kids, search your pantry for a few nonperishable items to add and take a field trip to the food pantry. Depending on your child’s age, you might be able to volunteer for a few hours or take a tour.

Bake — Many of my favorite baked goods are made even better with the substitution of candy for ingredients. Using hard-coated chocolate candy in lieu of chocolate chips or adding crushed candy bars to brownies can’t be beat. Don’t feel as if you have to eat them all yourself; take a plate to a neighbor!

Vocabulary Games — When I taught science, I used Skittles every Thursday for our vocabulary bingo. I would call out the definitions, and the kids would use the candy as a marker on their bingo card over the correct vocabulary word. It is a simple game to create, and Thursdays became their favorite day.

Math Games — Using pieces of candy as math manipulatives can be a lot of fun. Being able to hold number concepts in your hand {and then eat them later} can make a complex concept easier. Over at Kids Activities blog we have also created other Halloween math games for kids, like Candy Memory.

Repurpose for Gifts — Withholidays on the horizon that include giving all sorts of gifts, sort out the non-Halloween candy and get creative! A cute holiday container filled with candy and a small gift card makes a great teacher’s gift; a baking-themed basket that includes a few candy ingredients is perfect for a friend.

 

If you get your kids involved, it will be less traumaticfor them to lose all that loot. And it is perfectly acceptable to create a favorites pile for them to grab a piece or two at an approved candy moment!

 

What do you plan to do with all the Halloween candy your kids collect?