More and Less for Thanksgiving

We did things a little different this year.

Besides a passing lecture/discourse/discussion on the pilgrims, the Mayflower, the Wampanoag, and the first feast dedicated to giving thanks to God for His mercy, blessings, and the Native American teachers and friends He had sent them, we didn’t really do anything that had to do with pilgrims.

We didn’t even do any turkey crafts.

Not a single one.

(That is the “less” part of this post)

Instead, we wrote thank you notes. (This is the “more” part.) I bought each child a set of 6 to 8 Thank You cards from the dollar store and told them they had until Thanksgiving to fill out every single one of those cards.

We didn’t get them all done, but we did most of them. I suggested they write notes to their music teachers, their 4h teachers, their church teachers, their scout leaders, etc. I wanted all those people to know how grateful the kids were for their time, energy, and love in helping make my kids’ lives just that much better and more enriched.

Really, I am the one who should be writing those notes, and I think I still will.

And yes, secretly I was hoping to get a thoughtful and expressive hand written masterpiece, showering me with admiration and gratitude for all the hard work, the sacrifices, the sleepless nights, the stressful days, the money, time, blood, sweat, and tears I’ve put in to raising these guys. I wanted them to recognize and know how awesome I am!!!

It kind of worked. I got 3 notes (and then a bonus) from one of the children.


“Thank you for taking me to Chuck-a-Rama!!!!”

“Thank you for all the good food you buy.”

“Thank you for making the pies.”

(Uh, this kid sounds like of hungry.)


“Thank you for putting up the Christmas tree!”

Good enough. I’ll take it.

Speaking of Chuck-a-Rama, yes, we did go out to a homestyle buffet restaurant on Thanksgiving. (This is that “less” part again.) My sister was coming into town and she didn’t want to spend her entire vacation cooking and cleaning, so she suggested we just go out to eat. Less work, less mess, less disappointment with all the picky eaters who are really only planning to eat a roll for dinner anyway.DSC08771

The “kid table.” Mac n Cheese, Jell-O, peas, and french fries for Thanksgiving? You know, everyone was happy. And my kids thought they were in heaven! An all you can eat buffet? Yes, we should probably put that one up on the “more” list, too.

My favorite thing at the restaurant, besides the stuffing, was witnessing some ragged, dirty, tired, and worn out looking homeless people being escorted to a table. What a way to show thanks to God! By serving and loving those of His children most in need. It did make me feel a twinge of guilt for not thinking to do something like that as well (ok, technically I organized and ran a neighborhood food drive with the 8 and 9 year old girls at church a week or two ago and we collected SO MUCH FOOD!!) but it more so inspired me to do better and be better. I am grateful for the love and kindness the people around me share with one another.

Another treat at the restaurant, besides the stuffing, was we were in line (for an hour) right in front of a local celebrity! I had to make sure my kids didn’t point and whisper too loudly, but it was Jeremy! I reminded everyone that Jeremy wasn’t actually real, but that just made them laugh even louder. At least I’m pretty sure he knows we weren’t laughing at him and we didn’t ruin his out-to-eat Thanksgiving experience.

After dinner we walked off about 1/500th of the calories we had consumed on a local river trail. It was surprisingly warm and beautiful. And as cliche as it sounds, it made me grateful for where I live, who I live with, and how blessed I am with what and how I get to live. “Because I have been given much, I too must give.” It was just another reminder that I have been very blessed, and that I have a very serious responsibility to bless the lives of others, as well.


Thanksgiving isn’t Thanksgiving without the family favorites. Who cares that dinner was made by someone else? I need my family favorites! In trying to recreate my late grandmother’s pie masterpieces, I baked up 5 pies (one not shown because we had already given it away, another we gave away later.) Now, I am not a very good cook. In fact, there are two things in life I have given up on: I will never be a good cook, and I will never be a good house cleaner. BUT, I can make a pretty good pie! And my lemon meringue is almost Grandma Lillian worthy! Ok, not really. But it’s getting pretty darn good.DSC08766

And if that didn’t make your mouth water, how about some good ol’ shrimp dip!!

DSC08790Ha! You know, every family has to have one really weird yet beloved tradition that makes every other family either roll their eyes, question their sanity, or barf in a nearby garbage can. I think ours may be the shrimp dip. However, if you were brave enough to make and try this fantastically delicious appetizer , you would be sold and end up making it every Thanksgiving thereafter.

I wanna know how many people just gagged after they saw that picture! I’ll admit, it’s not a very appetizing looking appetizer. Ha! It just means more for me! And because I know you are curious and want to try it, I’ll add the recipe at the bottom of this post.

Now, what I meant to do for Thanksgiving but didn’t get around to it?

I wanted to show the children this but it never happened.

I meant to read this,, but ran out of time.

I meant to prepare a colonial board game available here, , but I didn’t get a round to it. (And sorry, I don’t know if that freebie link is still good anymore, but it’s worth a shot.)

We didn’t even make a list of the things we were grateful for.

So although it was a good Thanksgiving, I wouldn’t say it was a very educational Thanksgiving.

And that’s probably just fine. In fact, maybe this year it was better that way. I needed “less” this time around. I know I’m not really that old, but I can’t run around and get as much done in a day as I used to. And that is probably just fine, too. It just means adjusting and adapting… which as a homeschooling family, is one thing we get a lot of practice in!

I hope you had a fabulous Thanksgiving, regardless of the presence or absence of pilgrims or turkeys.

And don’t forget the shrimp dip next year!

Shrimp Mold

2 packages Knox unflavored gelatin

1 can condensed mushroom soup

3/4 cup mayonaise

1 8-oz package cream cheese

1 bunch green onions, finely chopped

2 6-oz cans chopped shrimp

1/2 cup chopped celery

1 T. lemon juice

Heat soup on low. Add gelatin and cream cheese. When melted, remove from heat. Stir in other ingredients. Put in mold. Chill overnight. Serve with an assortment of crackers.