Thanksgiving Best Practices

by admin

in Parenting,Parenting Tips,Personal Wellness

Traveling with kids:

Car Trip – Save time and money by having breakfast in the car.  We love Costco muffins, drink yogurts, grapes, bananas, etc.  All of these options are portable, easy to eat, and healthy.

If the drive is longer, we drive through the night.  Consider having a quick dinner on the road and then settle your crew in for the night.  When your kids wake up in the morning you’ll be eight hours closer to your destination and ready for breakfast in the car (see breakfast ideas above).

Packing Your Car (Mom and Dad):

  1. Books on tape/CD
  2. Hook up a DVD player, or lap top computer –Red box DVD allows you to return wherever you end up. Just find a redbox.
  3. Car snacks:
    • Bagels,
    • Granola Bars,
    • grapes, Clementines
  4. Bring: trash bags and napkins
    • Water only; I’m not a fan of juice! Ideally, not much water. We pack a jug and cups so water can be monitored and keeps bathroom breaks to a minimum.
    • Extra empty sippy cups for the young ones
    • Extra diapers, wipes for cleaning up, and changing
    • Make sure you have a change of clothes for little ones handy in the car, or in your baby bag. All it takes is one spilled drink to spoil a car ride.
  5. The Buddy System: Assign an older child to a younger for packing and entertainment while on the trip. Our mantra has always been “Big Takes Care of Little!”
    • Write out a list of contents of their backpack and suitcase. Let the buddy help your younger child pack both.
    • Review the pile of clothes before they go into the suitcase.
    • Review the backpack to ensure nothing is left out.
    • Have the kids put their backpacks by the front door when they are completed and you then work your magic and sneak in your “surprises” (we’ll talk about this later).

Ideas for backpack include:

  1. Security blanket or toys
  2. Sweatshirt or sweater
  3. Pillows for each child and a light blanket
  4. Games, cards
  5. MadLibs
  6. Legos’
  7. Polly Pockets
  8. Building sets
  9. Metal cookie sheet as desk, have magnetic puzzles, tanograms, etc.
  10. Paper/crayons, markers
  11. Books for reading
  12. Electronic devices: don’t forget extra batteries and a DC converter-plug in any electronics or cell phone on the go
    • Gameboy
    • Walkman
    • IPod
    • PSP
  13. Packing surprises for the road or plane trip (Mom or Dad)
    • Wrap trinkets/special treats in aluminum foil, which makes wrapping a piece of cake.
    • Play a game that on every hour or half hour (depending on the length of your trip) the kids will get to open one gift. Number the gifts so everyone opens the right gift at the right time. Make it fun!
    • Buy gifts at the Dollar Store, or any sale bins- the fun is opening the gift, don’t go overboard.
    • Kids are responsible for their own backpacks.  If they can walk, they can wear them and pack them accordingly.  They can do it!
  14. Before you leave, anticipate what kind of entertainment or equipment you will need if Grandma or Auntie isn’t set up for a family
    • Soccer ball
    • Football
    • Games
    • Sleeping bags
    • Stroller
    • Car Seat

Thanksgiving at home:

  1. Start a tradition of giving your kids a book on the morning of every holiday (I buy one not seven!). Write the date on the inside the cover and write about what you are thankful for, this will become a keepsake for years to come. (Check out our Thanksgiving favorites here!)
  2. Celebrate your children’s artwork by decorating your house with their creations.
  3. Laminate and hang them with sticky tack. This is not only inexpensive but quick and easy to do. We love Mardel’s for laminating (.25 per foot!) if you don’t have one in your area try to find a homeschool or teacher supply store.
    • Store the artwork in a homemade portfolio (2 large pieces of posterboard stapled on 3 sides) in an easy to access location.
    • Label each portfolio with the holiday name to make it easy to find.
    • Consider framing  some of the more special artwork during half off sales at Hobby Lobby. My most favorite wall in our house is covered in framed “Kid Art”.

Preparing for Thanksgiving Day:

  1. Make this time a special one by engaging your kids. These memories will overshadow your feast and last a lifetime. Don’t let the demands overwhelm you!
  2. Include every child by assigning a task for the Thanksgiving preparation:
    • Cleaning – Pick up, dust, vacuum, organize games, etc.
    • Cooking – Assign age-appropriate cooking tasks like peeling potatoes, measure for baking, stirring, opening packages, grating cheese, etc.
    • Setting the table – Kids love to decorate the table. Let them set out the place cards, fill the pilgrim hats, and put ice in the water cups. They can do it. You’ll burst with pride at much they will help you!
    • Engage your kids with fun and easy to make table decorations, remember assign an older child or relative to oversee the little ones (“Big Takes Care of Little”):

Pilgrim Hats Compressed

Pilgrim Hats – Easy to make snack and treat holders. Cut the bottom out of a Styrofoam cup, wrap in yarn and glue on a brim, belt, and buckle. Fill the hat with special treats for each guest at your Thanksgiving table. Materials Needed: Styrofoam cup, yarn, glue, and black and yellow construction paper (for the brim, belt, and buckle).

Thanksgiving Table Place Cards- Cut a square from a piece of Fall colored construction paper. Glue on a Bugle corn chip to be the cornucopia. Buy a bag of “15 Bean Soup” with various dried beans or use cereal like Kix and glue on to make it look like it is overflowing. Write the guest’s name on the place card and place on your table. Materials Needed: Fall colored construction paper, Bugles, Dried Beans or Cereal, Markers.

Turkeys and Hats

No-Bake Thanksgiving Cookies – This is an easy way to make yummy turkeys and pilgrim hats without turning on the oven! Melt chocolate in the microwave and dip large marshmallows in the chocolate. Once the marshmallows are completely covered, place on top (the all chocolate side) of a fudge strip cookie and refrigerate. Use yellow frosting to draw on a buckle. The turkeys are easy too! Take a chocolate dipped marshmallow and sit atop a fudge striped cookie (stripe side up) and spoon a bit of chocolate frosting on another cookie to “glue” on the “tail” of the turkey. “Glue” an upside down candy corn to make the head of the turkey. These are so easy, and fun to make! My 14 year old and 4 year old sons made these together. Materials Needed: Chocolate, Yellow Frosting, Fudge Strip Cookies, Marshmallows, Candy Corn

Make it a festive and inspiring Thanksgiving!


Amy Bio Picture Compressed

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