Crafty Thanks and Giving

The season is upon us, like a speeding bullet, how is it that November is half over? Summer ended so abruptly, I guess that starting kindergarten tossed us into the routine of the school year. Time goes quickly when it is divided into semesters. I love Thanksgiving, it is my favorite holiday to plan and cook. I love it partly because I get to stuff myself with the comfort foods of childhood and partly because cooking this meal, smells up the house with the roasty delicious scents of times gone by.

The best part of Thanksgiving to me is the warmth (being from the East we really needed it) of friends and family being together centered around the table.
Thanksgiving is also a great excuse for our family to get to be crafty. We love to use natural items that we gather from our yard or on a walk. A few years ago we started giving tokens to our guests. We wanted them to feel welcome and go home with some of our decorations.
At our craft store we bought inexpensive brown paper mache frames. We color copied photos of all our kid guests and glued them to the frames.
When the children arrived we gave them leaves and glitter and they decorated their photos. We hung them around the room, and when they left they got to take the one with their photo on it.

We also collected a bunch of bright yellow Ginkgo leaves and sandwiched them between contact paper to use as a table cloth for the kids table. (not pictured) This craft was a great way to get my daughter involved and a good way to keep our table clean.
Get the kids involved with setting the table too, even though I have to give up control on how my kids table should look, the kids are happy and excited to eat when it is time.
What I have learned over the years is that it is not how the table looks or how much food is cooked but how we remember the day and look back on it with nostalgia. I know everyone experiences the holidays differently, some turbulent some lonely, some loud but we have to make sure we find the little kernel of joy in it for ourselves and hold on to it. So make it a calm and enjoyable day and maybe lower your expectations a bit.
This year even though we are going to a friends house and I am sure whatever we eat and however the table is decorated it will smell good, be warm, fun and satisfying.

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EXTRA EXTRA! “Fairy Dust Found on Bed Post!”

I knew this day would come, the one where my daughter says, “look mom, my tooth is hanging out.” First off…ewe! The whole tooth falling out thing really freaks me out.
I have never had a good relationship with my teeth or the dentist for that matter.
The next day she came home with an over sized plastic tooth around her neck and inside was her real tooth. It is a little thing, like some old shell you might find in the sand on a beach.
My first thought was, yikes, she is not a baby anymore.
The second was, what the hell is the tooth fairy supposed leave her?
And the third was a memory of a friend telling me that one time she forgot to leave something from the tooth fairy for her child, she felt terrible of course.
My goal was not to forget to leave something.

The day was fading; my husband and I had not rehearsed this event yet so we were mouthing ideas back and forth during dinner. He had a great idea for a charm bracelet. With each tooth she would get a charm to attach to the bracelet, but it was 7pm and there was nowhere to get that, although it was a good idea. We had to think of something special, we ended up giving her 2 bucks and a pin (more of a broach) of mine of van Gogh’s Starry Starry Night. We wanted to put it in a little satin bag but we thought she may recognize it and then figure out that it was us all along. After much debate we decided on a baggie. It was like a silly sitcom, us runing around trying to decide on what to do, it was pretty funny. We slipped the tooth out and placed the new goodies under her pillow.
The best part is that I sprinkled “fairy dust” all over the bedpost so when she woke up she saw it.
In the morning she was delighted to see the gifts under her pillow. I told her the fairy must have landed there to rest and the dust came off her wings. The fairy dust was the icing on the cake, but really it was just edible cake glitter!
My husband thinks she knows it is us leaving the gifts, but is just going along with the whole song and dance because we are having such a good time with it!

Here is my recipe for 

Fairy Dust Snack Mix

Edible glitter- fine (get at baking supply or craft store)

Use up all your leftover:
Dried fruit (we love coconut)
and whatever else you need to use up

Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl, sprinkle in glitter and toss until you get the desired effect. 

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Yes, Beans for Thanksgiving!

About 6 months ago I was asked by The Vegetable with More to create some recipes for Thanksgiving and give people new ideas on how to work with beans. They wanted a stuffing recipe that would be somewhat traditional but also include beans. Here is what I came up with, Cranberry Rice and Bean Stuffing.

The second recipe was to include something green to replace that old standard, green bean casserole. I also thought why not change up the mashed potatoes for gnocchi?
Here is what I came up with,
Gnocchi with White Beans and Pesto

It is said that the Pilgrims didn't have most of the foods we now eat on Thanksgiving such as, sugary pies and an abundance of fruit and vegetables, so why not add beans to your table?

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