Monday, November 28, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

November 1 marked two years of living in Boroughbridge for us.  That is very hard to believe!  When it comes to celebrating important holidays away from home and family, we are continually grateful for the surprising ways God shows grace and kindness to us.  This year's Thanksgiving gift came in the form of three special visitors from home.

How have they not been a blessing to us?  It would be hard to think of one way.  They have loved and played with my kids, bringing joy to their little hearts.  They have supported all my Thanksgiving meal plans chopping, washing, cleaning, and decorating.  As a small token of our appreciation we plan to treat them to some of the best scenery Yorkshire has to offer today by driving into the Dales. Each time we go on an outing of some kind in the Yorkshire Dales we look at each other and say: Why don't we come here more often?  Things like work and school and daily responsibilities seem so small compared to enjoying such beauty.

This year I thought about how the first Thanksgiving marked the celebration of God's grace and provision in the lives of English pilgrims and Native Americans and then smiled because we native Americans also have much to be thankful for in the English friends we have made who have welcomed us and helped us adjust to life in this new world in which we live.

Katie helped the kids with some traditional Thanksgiving crafts, and I read them the story of Squanto. They're working hard here on the infamous hand turkey.

There are more pictures, of course, but we are out the door for an adventure today.  KJ has taken the day off work, and it is a field trip day for the kids, so we must seize the sunlight while we can!

Friday, November 18, 2016

An August Day and Night

At the top of my thankful list this year is that we were able to spend time with all of our grandparents this summer.  We made the most of every moment we could with people dear to our hearts.

This was a late summer afternoon in my grandmother's front yard where there was always a Thanksgiving day game of football on the perfectly flat lawn when I was growing up.  Rumbling thunder in the distance made us stop and listen because it's a rare thing to have thunder in England, especially the continuous kind common to an Alabama summer.

We're still trying to wrap our minds around the fact that KJ broke his ankle while we were home.  It seems like a crazy dream.  We visited my grandmother about a month before her 93rd birthday.  That number of years feels like a badge of honor, especially when you still look so beautiful.  

We ended this day by driving to my brother and sister-in-law's house for the perfect end to a hot summer day with grilled hamburgers and hot dogs and a campfire.  But first, coffee.  Coffee in the only kind of mug I'd expect to drink out of at my brother's house.  I love the Murphy homestead.

I feel like the boy needs a dog, but I'm not sure I'm ready for the responsibility.

Ella and Aunt Sandy made cookies and collected an egg from one of the girls while James helped Uncle Jesse gather sticks.


The s'mores were perfection.

We had a late-night viewing of Savage Sam, the sequel to Old Yeller, which I highly recommend.  It was one of our favorite movies when we were kids.  It's so much fun, and spoiler, the dog doesn't die in this one, so it's a win!  Old Yeller is just painful.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

November, the month of Thankfulness

The following post was originally written three years ago this week.  I'm pulling it back up and sharing again in case you're like me and found yourself wanting a leaf stencil for another fall related project with your kids.  2013 was the year we began our first Thankful banner, and as I was asking Ella to create some colorful leaves out of construction paper for us I suddenly remembered I'd saved these stencils from three years ago.  They're nothing fancy, but they do the job.

Going around the table every night in November sharing at least one thing we're thankful for is one of my favorite things we do.  I can't do without this transitional month of Thanksgiving before the harried pace of December comes.  What's on your thankful list as we near the year's end?  I'm predicting Pokemon makes the leaf banner at our house at least once this year.

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Are there any other mothers out there who have sometimes felt like they weren't good mothers because they didn't do "crafts" with their kids?  For some reason, to sit down and color or organize opportunities to paint, create, or otherwise make something "crafty" epitomized being a good mom to me.  Maybe it's because I don't consider myself a natural crafter?  It's all kind of ridiculous, and I think I'm growing out of feeling like that, though it didn't stop me from feeling kind of proud of myself for doing a craft with Ella Saturday morning. ;)

I saw this glittery leaf project on Pinterest one night and thought it was pretty, and it made me excited to use glitter.  I also thought the kids would enjoy a glitter experience.  Who doesn't love glitter???  I was strangely looking forward to a big glittery mess.

The original crafters said they used a bag of artificial leaves from the Dollar Tree, which I was unable to find, so I ended up using Photoshop to create a template that I printed out on cardstock and used as a stencil.  You're welcome to download it and use it if you have any leaf projects up your sleeve this fall.

Ella and I traced and cut until we felt like we had enough, and then came the fun part:  glue and glitter.

We experimented with different ways of decorating the leaves.  Ella had the good idea of coloring them first so there was still some color showing through the glitter.  Some leaves got more glitter than others, but I don't think you can really mess it up.  Ella was hesitant at first about completely covering her leaves with glitter, but it grew on her.

 Pretty, Pretty

Part way through the project I decided not to worry about making a perfect banner for decor and to instead merge it with the desire to keep a record of the things we're thankful for this month.  I really liked the results:  a little bit of shiny and a whole lot of thankfulness in the heart listening to my kids give thanksgivings.  Maybe a little laughter listening to their thanksgivings, too.

I failed to take a picture of James' first thanksgiving with my good camera.  Here it is on Instagram.  I love that boy.