Thanksgiving Tradition

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Each year on the night before Thanksgiving our family takes our annual trip to the Bass Pro Shop to visit Santa. I have always thought of Thanksgiving as the kick off to the holiday season so while some talk of skipping over Thanksgiving I think it all just goes together. Plus, we discovered years ago if you get your visit with the “Big Guy” in pre-Thanksgiving the lines are nearly non-existent. It really is a little parenting genius¬†mixed with family fun.

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And Bass Pro is a great place to go because they charge you nothing and are happy to let you take your own pics. (Even if for some reason this year the lighting seemed weird. The warm in the front and cold in the back.) Plus they have other games and toys out for the kids to play with as much as they want. This is totally my plug for Bass Pro at Christmas time.

My favorite thing this year is when Ethan asked Santa for a dog for Christmas Santa wisely said, “I think you had better think of something else just in case.” Thanks Santa. ūüėČ

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A Little Gratitude

Last night 6 young women at church, 1 other young women leader and I had a discussion about gratitude and journaling. We discussed the story in Luke about the 10 Lepers and the one who returned to thank Christ. We discussed what it meant to have a grateful¬†heart and how it wasn’t that Christ wanted the praise of the other 9 but rather he wanted other 9 to experience a grateful heart. That saying “thank you” maybe of benefit more to our own heart than to the person that we are saying it too. It really can change our lives if we live with a grateful heart. Then we discussed how journaling plays into that. How by journaling we take the time to think and evaluate ourselves and our lives that we may not otherwise do if we weren’t journaling. We discussed how it makes us more self-aware and helps us become better people because we’re more likely to be¬†thinking about our actions and the effects of them. It was a great little discussion. I left with much to think about, and hopefully maybe they did too.

So today I thought I’d work off last night’s theme and share a few things I am grateful for this week along with sharing the rest of what we did last night. So first, two pictures of what we did last night.

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We first made these gratitude journals so they could spend some time in the next few weeks thinking about what they’re grateful for and recording it. They’re made out of 3 paper bags laced together with twine. You don’t have to cut the bags or anything and then you use the openings of the bags like pockets. This could work for things like camp or a trip too b/c you could use those pockets for tickets or handouts, etc. We slid pieces of paper in them with ribbons attached like a tab so they could list out the things they are grateful for. Then on the paper bag parts they can draw and print quotes or scriptures about gratitude on them. It was fun and everyone went home with a really cute journal. (Here is the link to the instructions I used in making the journals:HERE¬†)

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Then just for fun we put together these cute turkey cookies. They’re super easy and so cute. The girls loved them.

Lastly here is a list of the 5 things I am grateful for this week:

1. The Beehive Class. These girls are so much fun. I spend a lot of time planning and preparing to be with them and they make all that time so worth it and so rewarding. I love them. They teach me, make me laugh and love me back. Its a great blessing for me to be able to serve them and to learn the gospel of Jesus Christ with them.

2. My mom. I put my mom on a plane Tuesday. She’d been here for just less than a week. We got to go away together and experience sunsets like this:

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It was fun to be in a beautiful place, but really more fun just to hang out with her. I only see her 1-2 times a year. This year it will actually be 3 and I am grateful for that. Plus, she helped me prepare everything for the young women activity and more. Its fun to create with her. I’m not a crafty person on my own but with her I am and its fun.

3. My husband. When mom came I left for 3 days. Not only did he handle everything at home but I came home to a spotless house, happy children and a husband who missed me. I think it is nice to be missed.

4. Florida. I love this place. I can’t say enough good about it. Sure there are some crazy things too but this place has my heart. I’m so glad life led me here.

5. My children. Each are different which keeps things lively in our house. They make me laugh (and cry), smile and keep me from ever being bored. They are the reasons I do most of anything I do. They are both my motivation and my inspiration.

6. Okay…its a bonus one. My friends. ¬†And I don’t want to be mushy or drawn out but lets just say I see my friends as a true blessing from God. Every one of you.

So now I need to go fill my gratitude journal so I can show it to the Beehive Class at church on Sunday.

What are you grateful for?