living on pb & j

Ordinary moms living on Prayer, the Bible, and Jesus!


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Thankgiving

I asked a panel of amazing moms to answer the following questions about their observance of Thanksgiving.  I hope this is a blessing to you and gives you some ideas and encouragement.

Favorite Thanksgiving Memory.

  • My favorite Thanksgiving memory is waking up to the smell of my mom’s pumpkin bread. When I bake pumpkin bread, and the smell carries through the house, I am instantly back at home with my parents and sisters!
  • Big group get-togethers with my aunts, uncles, parents and grandparents.
  • My favorite memory was our dinner time growing up. Due to our large family, we would have a long table full of food and family. It was a always a fun family day with great food and board games. I loved it

Who do you spend Thanksgiving with?

  • It depends on where we are living. If we are home for the holidays, we alternate between my family and his. If we are on the road, we invite friends/neighbors who are not going home for the holidays to share in our Thanksgiving meal.
  • We spend it with my husband’s side of the family.
  • We have an open-house policy, so any of our friends, family and church family that do not have a place to go, come to our house. Everyone brings a dish so that makes it easy.

What do you normally cook/eat?

  • We normally eat turkey and ham or cornish hens, cornbread dressing, sweet potato casserole (with marshmallows), green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy, Mac and cheese, corn (corn casserole, hot corn, corn salad, or just corn), rolls, pumpkin bread, fruit salad, pies (pumpkin, chocolate, pecan), and homemade candy!
  • We go to DoubleTree Suites for their Thanksgiving buffet J When I was pregnant with baby #3 I just couldn’t handle home-school, kids and hosting it at our house. This has become our new tradition.

  • We normally have ham and turkey with a variety of different sides like green bean casserole, corn, rolls and so on.

Do you have any favorite recipes that you can share?

  • This is a new recipe…that will become tradition in our home this year. It is a spin off from our pumpkin bread. My 10 year old created it…and named it pumpkin spice cake!

How is your family intentional about making the holiday about Thanksgiving to God?

  • Daily reminders, Bible verses related to praising God and giving thanks, or devotionals related to thankfulness. We also pray around the table prior to our thanksgiving meal. We take turns expressing our thankfulness to God for his many blessings! One year we created a turkey, and on the back of each feather was a bible verse about thankfulness. It was a fun way to count down to Thanksgiving, while discussing the Word of God with our children.
  • One thing I do is read a book I have on Kindle every year in November called 365 DAYS OF THANKING GOD Each day’s passage is very, very short, so I can do so easily.
  • We made a tree this year and the kids put up a new leaf every day with something they were thankful for.
  • We read several Christian books to the kids about Thanksgiving during the month of November. SQUANTO AND THE MIRACLE OF THANSKGIVING, PILGRIM BOY (A Beka Press), BEARENSTAIN BEARS GIVE THANKS, and THANKSGIVING: A TIME TO REMEMBER, by Barbara Rainey.

Do you have any traditions that you do?

  • We create our Thanksgiving meal together! It is fun to have the entire family involved in preparing the meal. We also watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade. The month of November, my children also create a “thankful tree”.
  • During the 2nd winter that the Pilgrims were in the new world, legend has it that food was so scarce that everyone was forced to eat a ration of 5 kernels of corn a day. The day before Thanksgiving, during my kids’ snack time, that is all they get for their snack. We talk about how that is all the pilgrims got to eat for a WHOLE day. Yet, no one died of starvation. God sustained them. I also have the kids listen to an episode of ADVENTURES IN ODYSSEY that we have on a CD called “Stepping Stones” and it’s all about the pilgrims and how they came to the New World for freedom to worship God.

  • We watch the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special on DVD which also includes a show called the Mayflower Voyagers and talks about how the pilgrims were come to the new world for religious freedom.

If you could give advice to other moms/wives about Thanksgiving, what would it be?

  • Don’t stress over clean homes and a dinner to impress! Enjoy the day!
  • For many years I felt like I had to be the perfect hostess and cook a bunch of food for Thanksgiving. I felt exhausted and almost dreaded it. Now that we eat at a lovely buffet, I really enjoy it and look forward to the day. I watch the Macy’s parade on TV with the kids, we sleep in a little, and we just spend the morning as a family. It also frees me up to put the focus back on thankfulness to God because I’m not spending the week killing myself with cooking and cleaning.

  • Enjoy the day and let other’s help you. You don’t have to do it all yourself. Also enjoy your family. We have so much for which to be thankful, enjoy that instead of stressing.

How do you balance Thanksgiving and Black Friday?

  • Thanksgiving is for time with family and friends. Friday is for shopping. If we miss the deals, it’s not the end of the world!
  • The evening of Thanksgiving we go out as a family and do the evening Black Thursday sales and we get some great deals. Then on Friday we just stay home and do family stuff together.

  • I think it’s all about your attitude. If you are going from thankfulness to greed in a matter of a few hours, there is a heart issue. Enjoy your family and enjoy the sales, but don’t allow the Black Friday sales to interfere with your time with your family.

Rejoicing,

Joy

 

 

 

 


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Enjoying the Little Blessings

Thanksgiving is coming up for those of you in America and I know, I’m getting a jump start on the”blessings” and “give thanks” posts that will undoubtedly be inundating your reader feeds and email inboxes. But as I’m sure at least one post will tell you, you can’t just be thankful one day a year. It’s an every day thing.

What I wanted to tell you is just a simple little reminder though. Don’t just count the big blessings. Count the little ones too. You know, the big blessing of a healthy family, a loving spouse, a Bible in your language, a wonderful church, your salvation, etc. Those are the ones everyone counts right off the top. And that’s great. But what about the little ones? Like, indoor plumbing. (Or is that a big one??) Or a day of homeschooling where no one cries? A front or near-to-the-front parking spot at Walmart? I tell you, if you only focus on the big blessings, you will be missing out on the little ones. I think it’s through the little blessings that we are reminded the most that God does love us and cares about everything in our lives. Even the little things.

I had a small blessing while out shopping with my Mom this week. Do you ever just feel like you’re life is in a rut? You do the same things every day. You wear a lot of the same things (admit it, most of us have that one comfy
outfit that is our go-to outfit for days we aren’t expecting to see another living soul with a judgmental eye). Things are just monotonous. That’s every day life. Sometimes though, you just need something to break the monotony don’t you. That was me. So as my Mom and I were walking through Kohl’s one day this week with a 20% off coupon burning a hole in our pocket, we hit every department’s clearance corner. Now I hardly ever find anything in the home goods department but I look anyway. Never know right?? And I saw this:

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I added the floating bear and smiley face on the sun. I wish it had that smiley face because that would be totally awesome! So I’m standing in Kohl’s looking at this end-cap of miscellaneous mugs, I spot this little guy. I think yellow just screams happy. I don’t know if you can see it, but it says “Beautiful Day” on it. It has birds and some fluffy clouds and rolling green meadows. The whole inside and handle are yellow! I picked that little guy up and flipped it upside down to see the cost and to my surprise it was on CLEARANCE! Yes! *Christian happy dance* It was only $1.99 and we had that extra 20% off! Now, I know all you practical ladies are out there shaking your heads and saying to yourselves, “Yeah but did she really NEED that mug?” Of course I didn’t! We are probably all guilty of having a bazillion mugs in our cupboards. But to be honest, it seemed just perfect for breaking up my daily routine and monotony.

I didn’t walk into the store looking for anything special. I didn’t expect God to really care that I felt things had gotten a little dry in my life. I FULLY believe He sat that little mug there just for me. He knows I love yellow. He knows I like happy looking things. And He knows I’m a near-broke mother of six, homeschooling mom who refuses to pay full price for most anything. Haha! Can I get a witness on that!?

To me, that mug was a little blessing. I don’t drink coffee but I do drink milk, tea, and hot chocolate, and this has become my go-to drink container. In fact, I just took a drink out of it after that last sentence! 🙂 It makes me smile. My husband just shakes his head at me, but I’m okay with that! I can take the judgmental head shaking!

So look around you today. Don’t wait till Thanksgiving comes. Start TODAY looking for those little things. Maybe it will be the stain treatment working on your favorite shirt, or your kids actually liking something you make for dinner. The Bible says that “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights” – James 1:17a So everything GOOD. Did you see that? Good AND Perfect. So not every gift will be perfect. But it will at least be good. 🙂 And that’s all the little things too! So tell me what some of your little blessings are. I guarantee you will find some if you just take the time to pay attention! Remember to say “Thanks!” to your heavenly Father Who loves you enough to even orchestrate the seemingly little things in your life! And now I’m off to refill my happy mug! Woo!

I’d like to share this story and  video of my little ones with the hope that it will help many of you with your holiday travels.  If your children are anything like mine, they love to ask questions similar to these:  “Mom, when are we going to be there?”  “Mom, are we there yet?”  “Mom, how much longer until we get there?”

While these questions are innocent enough, they can get a little tiring on a 20-minute ride to the grocery store.  And they get downright exhausting when you’re going over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house!

One day, while my six-year-old daughter and I were driving to a destination about five minutes away, I was feeling a little annoyed after the fourth time she asked me, “Mom, when are we going to be there?”  In desperation, I began singing the little song you will hear on the video.

When I finished, she said, “Did you write that song?”

“Yes, I did,” I replied.

“I hate it!” she said.  “It’s VERY annoying.”

“I know,” I said with a smile.  “So is that question.  From now on, when you ask me that question, I’m going to sing you that song.”

It has become quite the family joke.  It has also drastically cut down on the number of times I hear that question in the car!

From a songwriter’s point of view, I freely admit that this is without a doubt the worst song I have ever written.  But from a mom’s point of view, it is music to my ears, and hopefully, it will be to yours too!  Feel free to use it to help your own children curb their questions, but be warned, it won’t get you any rave reviews.

Happy traveling!

~Niki