Saturday, November 16, 2013

A Time to Give Thanks

  We have all collaborated again to share our best ideas for a fantastic Thanksgiving Day.  We hope you will enjoy all of the ideas!

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pumpkin pie is kind of a staple for Thanksgiving, right?  I LOVE pumpkin pie but I also like variations of this great pumpkin treat.  One that I found this year is a pumpkin cheesecake and it is so incredibly delicious.

2 (8 ounce) packages Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cup White Sugar
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 Eggs
1 (9 inch) pie crust- Graham cracker or regular pie crust
1/2 Cup Pumpkin Puree
1/2 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Ground Cloves
1/2 tsp Ground Nutmeg
1/2 Cup Frozen Whipped Topping


1.  Preheat oven to 325° F.
2.  In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla.  Beat until smooth.  Blend in eggs one at a time.
3.  Remove 1 cup of batter and spread into the bottom of the pie crust.
4.  Add pumpkin, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg to the remaining batter and stir until blended well.  Spread this mixture over the batter in the pie crust.
5.  Bake in the oven for 45 to 60 minutes or until the center is almost set.  Allow the cheesecake to cool, then place in fridge for at least 3 hours.  (The original recipe called for 35-40 minutes, but I have made it 3 times now, and it was always closer to an hour cooking before it was completely done).
6.  Spread the cool whip over the top before serving.

Crafts for Kids

    For the past couple of years, the kids have made placemats or some cute Thanksgiving craft at school and they turned out so cute we want to share some of them!  

    This first one is a Turkey made from Pine cones, Acorns, Feathers, Googly Eyes, and Craft Foam pieces.  All you do for these is select an acorn for each pine cone.  The acorns will serve as the head, so pick the size accordingly.

   1.  You can have the turkey standing or laying down.  If it is standing, hot glue the acorn at the top, but facing forward.  If laying down, glue it at the top facing up.  
2.  Glue the googly eyes to the acorn for the face.
3.  Next, cut out a small triangle from the orange foam.  Glue it under the eyes, kind of curving it to form the beak.  You can also cut out feet with the orange foam if you want to add those.  
4.  Add feathers to the back or bottom (depending on how you have it positioned) to make the tail.  

**My son glued these to a paper plate for the display, but you can just have the turkey itself to display!

Another cute Turkey idea is with a toilet paper roll and construction paper.  

1.  First you need to make the feet so they can act as a base for the turkey.  Make it just about a 1/2" around bigger than the toilet paper roll.
2.  Make 4-6 large feathers to put around the back side of the toilet paper rolls for its tail.  Have the kids write something they are thankful for on each feather.
3.  Design a hat and beak from the construction paper and attach accordingly.
4.  You can draw on eyes or use the googly eyes for the bird.

Pilgrims and Indians
This one is another idea to be made out of toilet paper rolls and construction paper.
You will basically follow the instructions for the turkey, just adjust it to the Indian with feathers and the pilgrims in their hats.  So Cute!!!

 We have several ideas for placemats, so take your pick, or do them all!

1.  The first option was one done at school.  They used long (11X14") construction paper, preferably 2 different colors.  You could use 8X10" sheets if you don't mind a smaller mat.

       a.  Choose your main color and cut length wise, strips about 1 inch apart all the way from one edge to  
           the other, width wise.  Leave about 2 inches at the end of the paper length wise.  (I hope all of this 
           makes sense.  Hopefully the picture will help with the visual of which directions the strips are cut and 
       b.  Take the second color of construction paper and cut it into 1 inch strips width wise.
       c.  Next, you will take one strip and start weaving over and under the long sheet, starting as close to the 
           2 inch margin as you can.  Continue weaving each strip until you get to the second margin.  
                ***If you get to the end and there is not enough space, just cut the margin a little wider on each 
                      side until the final strip fits. If the last strip has just a little extra room and you don't want to try 
                      to fit another strip in, simply spread the strips apart from each other a little bit.
       d.  Finally, decorate it with the child's name, pictures or drawings.  My son's teacher used some paint on 
            their hands and made a turkey out of it!  It turned out really cute.  (Laminate if you can for future

2.  The second idea was something Stacy did last year in Alabama.  Since there was no family there, we just had Thanksgiving with several of our friends and their families.  About a week before, we got all of the kids together with a bunch of old magazines.  We used 8X10" construction paper for this project.  We also had stickers and stencils, markers and crayons, and other little shapes they could add to their mat.  The kids went through and found pictures representing things they were thankful for.  
      a.  We had all of the kids glue their pictures and accessories to their paper however they wanted. 
      c.  Have them add their name somewhere on their design.  
      d.  Finally, my friend had a laminator, and if this is available, I would highly recommend it.  You can just 
           make this a one time thing though and skip the laminating!  
               ***If you want it laminated and don't have access to a laminator, one cheater way to accomplish  
                this is to use clear packing tape.  Just tape it across the paper length wise from top to bottom.  Do 
               the same thing on the back side to seal it.  USe your finger or scissors to go around all of the 
               edges one more time then cut the excess off.

Table Runner
I think a fun tradition to start would be this table runner. You buy a table runner and then have everyone in your family put their handprint in paint in a different color, add the year and voila! Something fun for the kids to pull out every year and see how much they've grown over the years. I think this is so cute!

Beadboard Turkeys
I came across these beadboard turkeys on pinterest and thought they are such a cute decoration for Thanksgiving! Here is the tutorial to make them.

We hope these fun ideas might help make a great Thanksgiving!
Love, The Sissies


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