Thanksgiving Stories with Children

Dad reading to children

If you are gathering with family this weekend to celebrate Thanksgiving, giving thanks for the year’s harvest, we wish you the best.

In those quiet moments, you might want to share stories of thanksgiving with your children. I find that my children become more aware of themselves and their surroundings when faced with a cultural or historical contrasts. Both of these stories will help bring up such contrasts.

A Pioneer Thanksgiving

Barabara Greenwood, A Pioneer Thanksgiving: A Story of Harvest Celebrations in 1841 (Kids Can Press: 1999).

This story of a Canadian pioneer family, the Robertsons, combines their preparations for their harvest festival with activities and historical information for children.

Goodreads gives you many sources for A Pioneer ThanksgivingYou can also get a better look on Google Books

Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address

Thanksgiving Address: Greetings to the Natural World (Six Nations Museum: 1993).

This traditional address of thanksgiving for Haudensosaunee (Iroquois) acknowledges the ever-widening circles of concern, beginning with the People then the Earth and so on. Each section of the address is punctuated with a version of “Now our minds are one.”

This version of the address in English is available through the Smithsonian Institution Museum of the American Indian. This is a contemporary address still given among Haudeosaunee (Six Nations).

How can we teach our children to be thankful? I share how I have tried to model thanks with my family in “Raising Thankful Children.”

Image © Wavebreakmedia Ltd | Dreamstime.com

Start Your Year Clean

Woman cleaning a mirror

Hogmanay in Scotland is more than just singing a Robert Burns song, taking a shot of whiskey, and dancing around. It can be that as well, but in Scotland New Year involves clearing out the old year and welcoming the new, which means house cleaning.

When I lived in Scotland, I found that this obsession with New Year cleaning extended to having not even a teaspoon in the sink at the stroke of midnight. The New Year offers you the possibility of a clean slate.

The focus on cleaning is less about fetishizing cleanliness and more about removing obstacles to real action. As long as you have that nagging sink full of dishes, you have an excuse not to focus on what you really want. So, let’s focus on clearing out the baggage, then we can turn our minds to what the new year might bring.


CHAOS

Is the house out of control? It’s easy for everything to slip into chaos when you have little kids. One of the most effective systems I’ve seen for gaining control is the Fly Lady. Years ago, when the Fly Lady was just a Yahoo group, I followed this system daily to dig out from under physical and other garbage holding me back. Fly Lady calls this CHAOS, Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome.

First step? Reclaim one small space every day. Shine your sink. It’s not about your sink; it’s about a guaranteed success, an area of calm within the chaos.

If the state of your house is holding you back, I recommend Fly Lady in any format as the cheerleader who can help you take back control.


What Are You Tolerating?

What holds you back from doing everything you want to do with your family, your children, and just for yourself? Maybe your house is sparkly and you still feel like something is holding you back. You have a few days to figure it out and clear it out so you can face the new year ready to roar.

What are you tolerating around you? Make a list. I love this exercise to bring all of those tiny issues into consciousness. Get a big piece of paper and start listing all of the little things you are putting up with. The tap leaks, the dog’s hair is too long, my son’s shoes are too small, not enough hangers, too-small kids cloths are piling up, and so on. You know how it goes. Start with the obvious that you see around you then move on to the less obvious. Haven’t gone out with my husband for weeks, tired of the foods we eat regularly, haven’t taken my new yarn out of the bag. Keep digging. When I go through this process with friends, I tell them to number every item and don’t stop until at least 50. If you create enough calm around you to think clearly, you can probably get to 100 without much problem.

Then, look at the list for three things you can knock off immediately. Then, three more. Don’t let these ridiculously tiny things hold you back from big dreams.

Time to clean up!

Image © Iakov Filimonov | Dreamstime.com

Last-Minute Gift for Yourself?

Natural buckwheat body pillow

Christmas, birthdays, and other big, gift-giving holidays are a perfect time to ask for those very nice gifts you wouldn’t necessarily buy for yourself every day.

Do you end up buying your own gifts? I do. I ordered mine yesterday, and I don’t mind. I don’t really need much, and I don’t assume my husband can read my mind about what I want. I would be terribly disappointed with jewelry, flowers, chocolates, or any of the gifts I see marketed to men for women. My son wanted to buy the gift himself, but he finally asked me yesterday to help him. He and my husband are both very happy that I’m happy with what I get. Plus, buying for myself makes getting that very nice gift even easier.

So, here is my suggestion for you if you have family members who are still looking around at the last-minute for the right gift for you: a Buckwheat Body Pillow.

Natural buckwheat pregnancy pillow


Buckwheat Body Pillow

If you bought separate pillows for pregnancy comfort, for nursing, and for sleep comfort, you probably wish you could use the same pillow for all three purposes. With the buckwheat body pillow, you can. This pillow is versatile. Lay it out the long way to support your belly during pregnancy; tie the ends together to make the perfect size for nursing; and continue to sleep with the pillow in a variety of shapes long after pregnancy and nursing are over.

This pillow can be used in many ways, and you can keep it clean by removing the buckwheat to wash the cotton cover and even replacing the buckwheat after years of use.

And, this pillow is beautiful! You won’t want to hide these bright cotton prints.

Comes in a child size as well.

Buckwheat pillows made in Canada


A Pillow You Can Feel Good About

There are more reasons to feel good about this pillow.

Your Health. Filled with dust-free, roasted buckwheat hulls which are hypoallergenic & naturally dust mite resistant.

Environmentally Responsible. All the raw materials use in our buckwheat pillows are local, long-lasting, compostable, and renewable.

Made in Canada. Natural buckwheat filling supplied by a Quebecois organic farm.

Socially Responsible. Each buckwheat pillow is handmade by a Montreal-based reintegration company that fights against exclusion and poverty.

Ask for the perfect last-minute gift, or buy it for yourself today. Our store is closed for the holidays, but we are still shipping.

Every Kid Needs Puzzles & Games

Mosaic wooden puzzle gift for child

Puzzles and games are essential for every kid as holiday gifts. Where to find a game that doesn’t encourage competition and bad feelings, though?

Growing up in my family, every person had to receive at least one puzzle for the holidays. As I grew older and more smart alecky, I gave my mother puzzles with thousands of pieces, or glowing pieces, or same on both sides, or some other nearly impossible puzzle. She still worked her way through every one. Now that my mother is gone, I still need to give my mother-in-law and my children puzzles. They drive me crazy, but everyone else loves them. I realize more over time that putting together a puzzle is a meditative activity, and it has always been one of those essential holiday activities in my family.

If you find that your children need that quiet time during a busy holiday season, consider encouraging down time with a puzzle. Also, if they see you doing a more difficult puzzle, they will get more and more curious until they take over. That’s my experience, anyway!

Another of those essentials for my family both growing up and now with my children is board games or card games. My children love playing my old games, and we still add several new games a year to our game closet. Over the holidays, we give small gifts over several days, and one day is always a game for the whole family. Since there are no other gifts to distract us, we have a family game day.

There are a lot of classic games available, but I find that my children become more competitive when they see the opportunity to win. That isn’t really the feel I’m going for with family game day, so we favor the cooperative games. At bynature.ca, we carry a lot of cooperative games and puzzles to fit your family’s interests.


Puzzles for Children


Port Side Pirates Puzzle

Port Side Pirate Puzzle for Children

Looking for an interlocking puzzle? Set sail with these two puzzles based on the Port Side Pirates sing-along book. The 12-piece puzzle shows the pirate crew discovering a treasure chest ashore the tropical island. The 24-piece puzzle shows the pirate crew sailing the high seas aboard their ship. The two puzzles allow for a range of difficulty included all in one box.
Age: 3+


Wooden Mosaic Puzzle

Rainbow mosaic wooden puzzle

If you are looking for a puzzle that will last longer than an interlocking puzzle that is used a few times, try our high quality wooden mosaics. Our large puzzle has 192 colorful triangle an trapezoid-shaped pieces. Arrange them in the bamboo tray or go rogue and put the rainbow of colors together any way that suits you. Includes a travel and storage bag.
Age: 3+


Cooperative Family Games


Elves and Ogres

Ogres and Elves cooperative game for kids

The Royal Elf Family is coming to visit their Mountain Kingdom. They want the Elves (players) to fill their treasure chests with the different gems they mine. Ogres, however, have heard about the visit and plan to grab all the valuables for themselves. Work together to get Royals & Ogres alike to share the goodies. The game requires lots of tricky teamwork, increasing in difficulty with rules for 3 games based on age (ages 5-7, ages 7-12 & ages 12+).
Ages: 5+


Snowstorm

Snowstorm cooperative game for kids

When a winter storm hits the city, the players help out residents by completing their tasks. The weather is constantly changing so players must keep on top of errands by paying attention to weather reports and moving through snow and ice with cars and service trucks. The game is different every time you play.
Ages: 5+