Thanksgiving has come and gone. This year I’ve been very intentional through the whole month of November about integrating Thanksgiving into everything. Winter months can be on the lean side for us because we do most of our work in the not raining months.
In order to foster a sense of gratitude and try not to focus on what we don’t have, I started a thankful tree. We have a skinny hallway with a big blank wall. I used brown paper bags to form the tree trunk and we cut out oak leaves from colored construction paper. Each day we write down something we’re thankful for and tape it to the wall. Little Man has come to enjoy the ritual. He’s very persistent when Hubby is trying to get out the door in the morning without putting his leaf up.
We do a lot of reading as well. My top three picture books for kids are: Thank You Sarah by Laurie Halse Anderson a great story about how persistent Sarah Hale was in getting Thanksgiving declared a national holiday. This First Thanksgiving Day: A Counting Story by Laura Krauss Melmed, a wonderfully illustrated picture book for young children with hidden pictures and Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving by Eric Metaxas a biography of Squanto and the events that led up to him meeting and helping the Pilgrims.
A fun tradition from my childhood is a set of paper dolls that depict the first Thanksgiving. I can remember playing with it for hours on end on the hearth in our living room. Little Man is still a little young for playing with it unsupervised. However, I clear off my hutch and he gets to set all the little people and tables up at the beginning of the month.
One of the special things we got to see this fall when we were working at Gold Beach was the Bandon cranberry bogs. (If you haven’t seen the Ocean Spray cranberry guy commercials yet, you really should check them out. They are laugh out loud funny.) We saw the berries being harvested and hauled down the road as we were coming and going.
I love cranberries but used to have a hard time figuring out what to do with them. I’ve done the old standby pumpkin bread with cranberries, but over the years I’ve expanded my repertoire. I’ve dried cranberries and made cranberry leather (which didn’t really work out so well for me). I put cranberries in my apple sauce and canned it. (Best tip here is to remove most of the skins prior to adding it to the apple sauce.) But today I came up with my best idea ever. Yummy cranberry bars.
I put Little Man to work making popcorn and cranberry strings to feed to the birds. Meanwhile I boiled a pot of water and sugar (two cups each) added four cups of cranberries and listened to them pop. I let the mixture simmer for about 15 minutes while I made a crust of one cup butter, one cup flour, ½ cup powdered sugar and baked it for 20 minutes in a 9x13 pan at 350 degrees. I put the cranberry sauce through the food mill to get rid of the skins, added three eggs and 4 Tbsp of flour and whisked. Once the crust was done I poured the cranberry mixture on top and baked for another 20 minutes. I mixed 4 oz of cream cheese, 2 cups of powdered sugar and 1 Tbsp of milk. Once the cranberry bars were out of the oven I drizzled (glopped) the cream cheese mix over the top.
The picture isn’t like one in the magazines but it looks and tastes yummy in real life. Hope you all had a blessed Thanksgiving.