A Week, Briefly (Thanksgiving Holiday)

We took the week off school to prepare for Thanksgiving.  Each day we still had morning devotional, personal scripture study, and evening family scriptures and prayers.  On Sunday through Wednesday and then again on Saturday we had family evening read-aloud time.  Other than that we cooked.  I'd thought we'd so some crafting, too, but we didn't. 

We planned, shopped, and made strawberry freezer jam and cranberry sauce.

Mashing strawberries

Stirring cranberry sauce.  She said, "This is easy, but it's taking forever!"

I3 helps stir the berries, pectin, and sugar together.

Bottling up the final product
We made pie crusts, gingersnaps, a cheesecake, and cranberry bread.

The four oldest get their first pastry-making lesson.

Learning that pastry takes a "light touch"

Completed pie dough disks--ready to refrigerate until tomorrow

Cranberries are wiggly things--prone to escape the knife blade!

Zesting an orange for the cranberry bread--we always put in extra orange peel.

Cranberry bread is almost ready for the oven.

Stirring up the gingersnap dough

Preparing the graham cracker crust for the cheesecake

These gingersnaps have 5 inch diameters!

The cheesecake came out perfect!

 It was this day that I realized that my youngest 3 had no idea about any of the history behind the first Thanksgiving.

E14 was shocked, "You mean you haven't read A Lion to Guard Us, or Squanto, Friend of the Pilgrims, or The Thanksgiving Story . . .?" and she ticked off a list of read aloud books that were part of her learning.

"I guess I forgot that they were either too little to remember or not even born back when we read all of those!  I'll be pulling them out and rotating them into our reading schedule right away,"  I answered.  In the mean time I found a cute little fill-in-the-blank printable book about the first Thanksgiving that I printed out for A7, H5, and I3

We turned the pie crusts into pies and prepared a green bean casserole and a sweet potato souffle.

We made fruit salad, cooked carrots, stuffing, ham, and steamed asparagus.  We helped the littles fill in their booklets about the first Thanksgiving, then read the story aloud together.  Dad had worked all night Wednesday night, so after he had a bit of a nap, we packed up the van and headed north to my sister's house to join her family for Thanksgiving dinner.

Oh!  We also made deviled eggs.

I3 models the costume he found in cousin K4's room.  Surprise!  He and Auntie R gave it to I3 as a belated birthday gift.

Cousin K4 eats part of his Thanksgiving dinner in a special nook.

I3 loves, loves, loves his cousins' train set.

All 12 kids are gathered around Uncle M to watch funny Studio C videos.

Most of the dessert bar.

Hi Grandma and Grandpa!!!

The little boys read a Thomas the Train book together.

It was a good day.

We ate leftover dessert for breakfast, cleaned house, took H5 to the eye doctor to have her eyes checked (she's terribly disappointed to find out that she does not need glasses!), had friends over for the afternoon (6 of mine plus 4 friends, kids ages 5-15, stayed as a pack the whole time {I3 stayed inside with Dad and me}.  No one was left out, everyone had fun.  They used some scrap lumber and had a chair-building contest!), ate leftovers for dinner and sent Dad and the oldest 3 off to the church to join the rest of the church youth to clean the church and play games in the gym.  J10 and I played games--just the two of us--on my bed once the 3 littles were tucked in.

This picture is my favorite because the biggest kids are consulting with one of the littlest kids about what they should do next.

As temperatures rose to the 60's, Dad took the kids to the park, while I took care of some Christmas planning and errand running.  The leftovers finally ran out, and that's a blessing, because the plethora of sugary, rich foods has taken it's toll on our good manners and general well-being.  Treats are fun, and all of that baking was a great learning experience, but simple foods are best.

Dad caught A7 mid-jump!

We've counted our blessings this week, and we've had a week of very joyful family experiences.  It's going to be terribly hard to get back into the academic swing of things on Monday morning.  Actually, we probably won't truly do a full academic schedule for a while.  We'll assess our progress on Monday and set some reasonable goals, but we'll really turn our attention to Christmas preparations.

My first priority in our Christmas planning is to continue to help the whole family count our blessings.


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