The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock, and exalted be my God, the rock of my salvation
2Samuel 22:47

24 November 2010

Thankful tree & traditions

The leaves have been pouring into our mailbox. Thanks to all who returned leaves for our family thankful tree - a tradition we began many, many years ago and are so excited to build each year.

This project helps us to focus on true Thanksgiving - the Thanksgiving where we not just give thanks for what we have but we give thanks to the One who has given.

It also helps us to stay involved in the lives of friends and family separated by mountains and miles. We put these precious blessings into our scrapbook and look back over the years at His faithfulness.

Traditions flow through the life blood of our family. We really believe that traditions give our children roots from which to draw from - it helps to establish an identity within family and will be their stories to blend and carry on someday when they are united into their very own family units. God's word is steeped with tradition - it is such a blessing to be able to follow the Bible's guidelines.

This is our traditional cranberry dish we serve each Thanksgiving and Christmas. Our family adores this recipe - it really wouldn't be our holidays without them on our table.
Triple Cranberry Sauce
1 cup frozen cranberry juice concentrate, 1/3 cup sugar, 12-oz pkg. fresh cranberries rinsed and drained, 1/2 cup dried cranberries, 3 T. orange marmalade, 2 T. fresh orange juice, 2 t. minced orange peel, 1/4 tsp. allspice, ground.
Combine cranberry juice concentrate, sugar and cranberries in heavy medium saucepan. Bring to boil over high heat, stirring often until berries begin to soften and fresh berries begin to pop, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in orange marmalade, orange juice, orange peel and allspice. Cool completely. Cover and chill until cold, about 2 hours. Keep refrigerated.
And while I am busy in the kitchen. . .

The boys have been assigned the task of building The Great Wall of China using K'nex.
I'm so glad I asked them to build it upstairs so I can listen to all their planning. This has been quite the engineering feat. It is The Great Wall, after all.

Emperor Qin would be proud {I think}. Graph paper, pencils, measuring tape and more have been involved in trying to get The Wall to be to scale, as much as one can using K'nex.

This has been a beneficial exercise in teamwork, too. It is harder to work with others when creativity rules. It's much easier to work with others when the job requirements and instructions are given to you. No matter what The Wall turns out to be, I am thankful for the opportunity to work on communication skills and trying to mesh different ideas into one.

Ryland volunteered to be in charge of the Mongol army. Shocking, I know.

Think of all the baking I could get done if this Great Wall took a few centuries for final completion. . .


  1. I just put the first batch of our family's traditional Cranberry Bread in the oven. It isn't the holidays without it. :)

    And I hope you post a picture of the boy's finished Great Wall! It sounds like they are having FUN with it! Here's a little something they may find fun to know - the stairs on the Great Wall are about 4 ft. tall in some places. Which makes climbing them a bit tough! But a lot of fun. :D

  2. Phew! Sounds like you're busy! Have a terrific Thanksgiving!

  3. Your kitchen looks neat even when you're in the middle of cooking a zillion things!! :) (don't look at my kitchen right now, it kind of looks like someone is planning to move out in 3 days...)

    Love your thankful tree idea!! We've done just within our immediate family, but that's a great idea to send leaves to extended family. Note to self: remember to ask Hollie next year what her good T'giving idea was....

  4. You are just like an Energizer Battery!! You just keep going and going and going~~~~~~I also want to see the finished project. Where is Langston? I think he should stand guard while Ryland is busy with the army.Before I forget, Gwen you made me LOL!!when I read about your kitchen-Ive seen a few like that my self. XOXO Gramma

  5. Love!! Thank you so much friend for including us. Such an amazing reminder of the many blessings we have. Love to you!