Thanksgiving Box

Thanksgiving is an amazing holiday. For starters, I love to eat. The thought of an entire holiday devoted to eating as much turkey and mashed potatoes you can, is amazing. But of course thats not all it’s about. When I think back on all of most memorable Thanksgivings, I don’t remember all the food. I know I ate it obviously, but it’s not what I remember. I remember being surrounded by my family. I remember laughing at the kids table with my cousins. I remember listening to Grandma and Dad playing the piano. And now that my lifestyle keeps me from being able to go home for Thanksgiving, I truly understand how thankful I am for those memories. I wish I completely grasped that when I was growing up, but I never thought those times would end. As a kid, it isn’t always as easy to see.

So this year, I decided to do an activity with the children I watch. The idea of this activity is to get the kids to think about what they are thankful for each day in November.

We started by making a Thanksgiving Box. 

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To make your own Thanksgiving Box you will need:

  • A Small Card Board Box
  • Card Stock or Construction Paper
  • Markers
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Letter Stickers (optional)

Start by covering the outside of your box with card stock or construction paper. I let Anna Kate pick out the paper (color or pattern) and I cut it to size and glued it to the box. Next, she took markers and colored in all the placed we couldn’t glue paper. Then we put together a little turkey. She helped draw the eyes and picked out the “perfect feathers” for our little thanksgiving friend. Once that was all secure, we used foam-letter stickers and spelled out “I Am Thankful For…” It was a great chance for her to practice her letter recognition and spelling. Once the outside was finished, she set out to decorate the inside. She spelled out “Happy Thanksgiving” with more stickers and drew things that reminded her of Thanksgiving. For her, that was a cooked turkey, a bowl of peas, a scarecrow, a pumpkins, and a batch of straw.

Next we started on what would go inside the box. We have been calling them the “Thankful Turkeys”. 

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To make these “Thankful Turkeys” you will need:

  • A Variety of Card Stock or Construction Paper
  • Markers
  • Scissors

As you can see, you don’t need much because you will be making these everyday. The actual turkeys are not what makes this project special, but instead what they write on them. Everyday, have the children trace one of their hands and decorate it to make a hand turkey. I gave the children as little direction on that as possible. I don’t like to give them examples so they don’t just copy my ideas. I like to leave the creative liberties in their hands.

Once they have completed their hand turkey for the day, have them write one thing they are thankful for and the date in the center of the turkey. Each day, have them complete one turkey and place it into the box. Since I don’t watch the kids over the weekend, and there are some days when they have extracurriculars, some days they have to make more than one. Brooks doesn’t enjoy making them as much, but the things he chooses to write are very entertaining. What he writes usually makes up for the rushed, “chubby fingered” turkeys he makes.

Not only do the children have to think about things they are thankful for each day, but by Thanksgiving Day they will have a box full of things they are thankful for. Anna Kate is so excited to be able to share these things with her parents, that she actually hides the box each day when I leave.

I have been amazed at some of the things the kids have told me they are thankful for. The first few were fairly obvious. They both chose family, friend, and God in no order for the first three days.  After that it got pretty unpredictable. They have said everything from “cheese” to “Auburn”. They have also taught me a lot about thankfulness. Again, I tried not to offer up too many examples so they would tell me what THEY were thankful for. After they finished naming off family and friends, they started to name off things that I take for granted in day to day life, like water and shelter. I found it amazing that at their age, they thought about being thankful for things like that. Things that I don’t even think to be thankful for now that I am paying for them.

Since we still have a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving, we still have quite a few more turkeys to make. But I have enjoyed this project so far. There are a lot of ways to personalize this project to fit you and the little ones in your life. You could also do this project as a family or as an adult. Instead of drawing on turkeys, you could simply write what you are thankful for on a sheet of paper, everyday for the month. It would be a great thing to look back at on Thanksgiving day with the ones you love. I can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with! Happy Thanksgiving, All!

alyssa

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Mountains Care Packages

While my husband has been in Ranger School, I have had the amazing opportunity to meet so many strong women. We have bonded over so much these past few weeks, and I am so thankful to have these ladies by my side through all of this.

I have gotten a lot of praise and attention for the things I have been doing for my husband. But the thing is, I do almost everything either with, or in coordination with, these ladies. We all help each other come up with ideas and create things together. I don’t deserve all of this attention. These amazing girls do. It is true that I LOVE being creative and making things, and Zac being in Ranger School is a great excuse for me to do all of these things. But I would not have been able to do all I have done without the help and support of these awesome women.

And even more than that, these ladies have made the BEST care packages ever!

But don’t take my word for it, check them out!

Roxanne made a Parks and Recreation themed care package for her husband. Watching the show is something that helped get her and her husband through the long distance part of their relationship and they both love it a lot. I spent the entire time she was making her box, cracking up at her clever execution of hilarious moments from the show. I loved it so much, I actually went home and started watching Parks, just so I could laugh about it some more. She also did something I would have never thought to do. Instead of gluing paper to her box, she used printed contact paper. Because it is basically a large sticker, she could cut it to the exact size and stick it on. Such a good idea. Props girl!wpid-wp-1437440249105.jpeg

Karen did a love letter themed care package. Her and I actually made ours together a couple weeks ago, and she went through a few awesome ideas before landing on this super cute one. I love how she made an entire flap into an envelope. She also included a few “Happy Birthday” touches so she could wish her man well on his big day, even though she couldn’t be there. Her package is so romantic and personal to her and her “honey bunny”. She was very proud of herself, as she should be. It turned out amazing! wpid-wp-1437440362855.jpeg

Kelly used what she called a “Freedom Theme”. She used very patriotic prints of paper to decorate her box. It looked great before she even started putting personal touches onto it. But her idea to personalize it is what truly made it awesome. She printed pictures of places her and her husband want to travel to when he completes Ranger School and a few pictures of the two of them on previous vacations. Such a sweet idea that will surely give her husband an added boost of motivation! wpid-wp-1437440264498.jpegSara made an adorable, personal box for her super lucky boyfriend. She included a small calendar with a heart on the date of his graduation (fingers crossed). This is such a cute way to help him keep his eyes on the prize. She also included a To-Do List for after he graduates. I adore the idea of giving the guys something to look forward to. And of course he covered her box in adorable pictures of the two of them, (and one of her with her new car!) He is definitely going to love opening this care package!wpid-wp-1437440334372.jpegBecause she is so amazing and thoughtful, Joy made not one, but two care packages! The first package is for her husband. For this package she went with a simple but very elegant theme. She used adorable scrapbook paper coupled with pictures and memories that her and her husband hold dear, to make her care package extra special. And as an added touch, she included homemade cookies. It doesn’t get any better than that!wpid-wp-1437504114088.jpeg

She made a second box for a close friend of her and her husband, who is also in Ranger School. I find it so amazing that she took the time to make him a care package as well. As Karen always says, the army is a family and they’re all “ours”! She used military themed paper and motivational sayings to decorate this package. Although it is simple, it will mean the world to a guy who probably isn’t expecting one!wpid-wp-1437440355063.jpeg

I am so glad I got to witness all of the love that went into these boxes. So much time and effort was spent on boxes that will be ripped open and thrown away in only 15 minutes. The support these women have for their Rangers is simply beautiful and I consider myself lucky to get to see it first hand almost everyday.

So thank you for all of the compliments and praise for the things I do for Zac. It really does mean a lot to me that people notice all that I do. But keep in mind that there are so many amazing wives and girlfriends who do above and beyond for their men each and everyday. I have learned so much from their shared experiences and stories. I would be completely lost without them. These ladies have become my family and deserve all the praise and attention in the world because they have changed my life for the better. And they have done it with strength and grace. I am so thankful for each and every one of them!

lyssa

**All the pictures in this post were taken by maker of each box.