Thanksgiving Fun at the Kids’ Table

Thanksgiving Fun at the Kids' Table

Most of us have memories at the kids’ table during Thanksgiving and holidays. It can seem like an exclusion from all the adult festivities, but with these fun and creative ideas, the kids’ table doesn’t have to be a banishment. Incorporate some of these concepts into your Thanksgiving table for little ones, and even your adult guests will want to join in the fun.

Elbows Off the Table, Crayons On

If the best part of eating at Macaroni Grill was getting to color on the table, then this idea is for you. A large roll of white paper (or orange to keep it festive) is all you need to add creativity to Thanksgiving. Cover your own kids’ table in paper, provide plenty of crayons, and let the kids’ imaginations go wild. Show them how to turn their handprint into Thanksgiving turkeys for extra fun.

Corn Husk Friends

If you’re a Little House on the Prairie fan, you might remember this concept. Use corn cobs or corn husks to create pilgrim dolls, and watch your Thanksgiving table decorations double as interactive play for all the kiddos. Martha Stewart outlines how here.

Corn Husk Dolls
MarthaStewart.com

Timeless Pilgrim Decorations

Martha also gets credit for this simple yet oh-so-appealing table decoration. You don’t even need to be a master crafter to pull off this look. It’s a simple “less is more” design that still incorporates a nice history lesson into your Thanksgiving meal. Throw in some Thanksgiving trivia questions to get the conversation flowing. Use this link for directions and free printables.

Pilgrim Centerpiece
MarthaStewart.com

Activity Book

Double the use of your tablecloth crayons by giving each child a Thanksgiving coloring and activity book. The book is free to download and print and can keep kids of all ages occupied for hours … or at least until the pie is served.

Thanksgiving coloring pages
HappinessIsHomemade.com

Centerpiece with a Surprise

We can’t get enough of this paper bag turkey centerpiece. But the best part is the surprise snack inside. You can show off your creativity and impeccable taste in snacking, but the best part is how easy this craft is to pull off.

Paper Bag Turkey
OneCharmingParty.com

A Healthy Dessert

We know, we know, it’s not quite pie (We really encourage you to serve that, too.) but you just can’t go wrong with these cute and healthy fruit cornucopias. Plus, we all know the easiest way to get kids to eat healthy is to make it eye appealing. This healthy after-dinner snack only comes with one catch—make enough for the adults, too, because these are just too difficult to pass up.

fruit cornucopias
ForkAndBeans.com

Planning a successful Black Friday

Black Friday PlanningAfter the Thanksgiving feasting, napping, and football watching, there’s only one thing left to do: gear up for Black Friday shopping. Whether your style is shopping online in your comfiest sweatpants or standing in line for hours with your biggest mug of coffee, here are the deals you won’t want to miss.

First things first, before you race out the door, strategically plan your shopping mission with this guide outlining what time each store is opening, both on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday. Pick the stores with the deals you want the most as a starting point.

Juice Stop

With five Lincoln locations Juice Stop is an easy stop to make no matter where you are. But on Black Friday, there’s even more reason to grab yourself a cup of smoothie deliciousness. Juice Stop is offering a gift card special for deal seekers: you can purchase a $30 gift card for $25, or a $65 gift card for just 50 bucks. Whether you keep it as a treat for yourself or gift it to your favorite smoothie loving friend is up to you.

Gateway Mall

This mall is spicing up the holidays with a fun Thanksgiving Day shopping challenge. A scale will weigh each shopper’s haul every hour from 6pm-10pm, with the heaviest haul winning a $100 gift card to a store of their choice. If there are some heavy items on your shopping list it might be worth the effort to shake off your post-feast food coma and head on out.

GameStop

Located in SouthPointe Pavilions, GameStop will be opening the earliest of all the SouthPointe stores at 5am. If there are kids or gamers of any age on your shopping list, you can keep an eye out for their sales here and even sign up for alerts once they end the suspense and announce what those early morning deals will be.

Online Specials

If there isn’t quite enough coffee to get you out into the world before the sun comes up, you can settle into your couch with as much caffeine as you like and simply shop online. From Amazon to Target, here is a collaborative list of the best Black Friday deals that only require a Wi-Fi connection.

But if you do choose the strategy of long lines and early mornings, we’ve got you covered while you wait. Don’t forget to browse the hottest houses on the market while you pass the time. The new Woods Bros website lets you search properties, find a Realtor, and even get an estimated value on your own home, right from your smart phone.

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Focus on Thankfulness with these 5 Tips

5 Tips to Focus on ThankfulnessThanksgiving is upon us! The season of food, family, and football is fast approaching, and our to-do lists are growing to prove it. While we don’t recommend that you ignore that to-do list completely, there is a healthy balance of planning for the holidays and enjoying them at the say time. So instead of rushing through Thanksgiving and feeling accomplished when every chore on your list is checked off, take a moment to slow down and really consider how to be grateful this Thanksgiving.

1. Volunteer.

We don’t all have the extra cash to donate to our favorite causes, especially around the holidays. But your time is just valuable as your wallet. There are no shortages of programs to which to give a few hours of your time, and you might find that once you start volunteering, it becomes a welcomed habit in your life. Animal shelters, retirement homes, hospitals, food banks—they all rely on the helping hands of volunteers. But if you do find yourself with some extra funds, use them! Keep money handy in your wallet for every time you pass a bell ringer. Hand out gift cards to the homeless. Or when a checkout clerk asks the standard, “Would you like to donate a dollar to…” proudly say, “Yes!” Whatever it is you have to give, a little goes a long way when we all give together.

2. Be Mindful of Being Thankful.

When the Thanksgiving meal is over and the turkey coma is just starting to set in, don’t rush from the table to the couch just yet. Give everyone a chance to first say something they are thankful for. Acknowledging what makes us grateful is the perfect way to make sure we don’t forget it. You can also use the coming year to prepare for your next Thanksgiving by keeping track of the thankfulness you feel every day. Keep a jar of colorful notes for yourself, reminding you and the whole family what you’re thankful for. Next Thanksgiving, open the jar and relive each special moment by reading it out loud.

3. Plan Ahead.

Whether you’re an organized go-getter or a procrastinator who needs a little nudge, this journal is for you. It’s a planner that’s geared towards you reaching success and helps breakdown those giant goals into feasible pieces that you can conquer at your own pace. Start one now, and you’ll be surprised how good you feel at the start of 2017 when you can measure your progress instead of lamenting over which New Year’s resolutions are right for you.

4. Put Yourself First.

We know, it doesn’t seem like the usual order of operations. But to truly be thankful, mindful, and give back to others, you must take care of yourself first. It doesn’t have to be expensive either, unless you’ve saved a little extra cash and can’t get that thought of a spa day out of your mind. An exercise class, book club, evening walk, or just taking time to enjoy a quiet cup of coffee each day all fall into the category of self-care. If you can’t decide, our favorite starting point is a little extra sleep. Nothing says you value yourself like granting your body some extra shut eye.

5. Love the Ones You’re With.

One of the best parts of the holidays? Being with friends and family, of course. Often the holiday season is one of the only times all year we can get the whole family together. So, enjoy it! According to The Huffington Post, surrounding ourselves with the ones we love is one of the 7 Habits of Grateful People. Use this time to make sure friends and family know just how much they mean to you because:

 “Thankful people know they didn’t get to where they are by themselves — and they make it a habit to spend time with those people who matter most.” And it might just be a habit you want to continue all year long.

Make-ahead recipes for your Thanksgiving feast

According to History.com, in 2011 the United States was expected to produce nearly 750 million pounds of cranberries. Which, seems like a lot, unless you’re the first person to say “please pass the cranberry sauce” at Thanksgiving dinner. Couple that with the 235 million turkeys we eat annually (a fifth of which are consumed on Thanksgiving), and you’ve almost got a Thanksgiving feast.

But if your palate is craving a little bit more, browse through these ideas. The best part is that all of these recipes can be prepared ahead of time, leaving you more family and football time.

Cranberries

Speaking of all of those cranberries, maybe you’d like something a little more appealing than the gelatin out of a can. Real Simple shares this recipe that can be made up to four days in advance. Get ready for real texture and real flavor (and plenty of real, delicious cranberries) that almost look too pretty to eat.

cranberries
RealSimple.com

Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes almost always seem to find their way to our Thanksgiving table. But why not make this healthy and tasty spud into finger food? The sweet potatoes can be cut and prepped in advance, leaving you with one job: toss them in the oven. Eat them plain or with your favorite dipping sauce, and you’ve just invited a traditional side dish into 2016.

sweet potato wedges
RealSimple.com

Mashed potatoes

If you’ve ever tried to make mashed potatoes ahead of time, you were probably more than a little disappointed. Luckily, The Kitchn offers some helpful tips and a recipe for potatoes that actually tastes better when it is made in advance and stored in the fridge. For starters, they urge the right type of potato (russet) and equipment (don’t use anything you have to plug in). Finish off the perfection by using whole milk, and slowly warm it up on Thanksgiving Day.

mashed potatoes
TheKitchn.com

Apple pie

If there’s anything as American as Thanksgiving, it’s apple pie. But a homemade apple pie is both tedious and time consuming. The Food Network encourages preparing this deep dish apple pie recipe in advance. Not only does this classic dessert look mouthwatering, The Food Network advises storing it in the fridge (preferably the night before the big feast) until you’re ready to bake.

apple pie
FoodNetwork.com

Turkey

Lastly, the centerpiece of every Thanksgiving meal is, of course, the turkey. But there’s even a way to save you holiday stress and prepare this staple early. Two words: smoked turkey. This requires a couple of days of prep. First, you’ll want to dry brine the turkey two days before your feast, but don’t worry, the recipe explains how. Then, the day before, let the turkey enjoy the warmth of a smoker. Store the smoked meat in the refrigerator until you’re ready to heat and serve.

smoked turkey
SouthernLiving.com

We can’t promise that preparing your Thanksgiving meal in advance will save you from all of the holiday stress, but it does give you plenty of extra time to enjoy every minute of the day and be thankful.

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