Cranberry Thanksgiving



“Maggie’s grandmother learns not to judge a person solely by the smell of seaweed or lavender.”  -FIAR Manual

We rowed this story during the week of Thanksgiving, so it was a quick unit study, but it has been one of my favorites so far.  Thanksgiving, in general, is my favorite holiday of the year.  Lots of food and lots of family, but without all of the commercialism that seems to take over every other holiday.

The message in this story is great.  Never judge a book by it’s cover…or in this case, don’t assume that because a person looks good and speaks well that he is any more trustworthy than a loud and stinky neighborhood acquaintance.  I also loved the way the story weaves in the concept of inviting others into our home on Thanksgiving who may not have their own families to celebrate with.

Social Studies:

Geography- New England.  We’ve now had a few FIAR stories set in New England, so I reviewed the New England states with the boys (Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut) and we placed our story disk over the New England area on our United States map.

Thanksgiving!  We read several stories to go-along with our study of Cranberry Thanksgiving.


Each of these stories incorporated different aspects of Thanksgiving, from the history of it to the modern traditions, and they were all very fun to read!


Seasons- Fall.  We also discussed the four seasons again, with a focus on Fall.  Where we live there isn’t really a genuine fall season with all of the brilliant colors and slowly changing weather, so it’s hard for my boys to see and understand the beauty of it, but we talked about it nonetheless.

Cranberries.  We watched a few YouTube videos about cranberry bogs and learned more than we ever imagined about the industry!


I found a template on-line and we made our first ever family gratefulness turkey (a new tradition in the making).


I cut out and assembled the turkey.  Then we each got to pick a feather and write on it the things we were thankful for.



Conner and Logan first picked things like presents and food, and then with my promptings they started thinking about things like their family members and our house, etc.


(Conner showing Logan how to spell a word)

For Barrett’s feather, the boys and I guessed what things Barrett would be thankful for.  He did shout out “food” at one point, so we were sure to add that one on there!

And of course, my darling husband wrote two things…”food” and “family” and announced that that pretty much summed it all up.  😉


Our finished product!  Since the boys wrote their words in a collage-type format and their feathers quickly became hard to decipher, I wrote their answers on the back-side of their feathers for future reference.  I’m going to keep this rather large turkey somewhere and I hope that we can do a new one each year.

Food and Fun:

And last, but certainly never least around here…the food!  We made cranberry bread, using grandmother’s recipe in the back of the book.


The only change I made was to substitute chocolate chips for the raisins.  That was a good call because the sweet chocolate chips were a nice compliment to the tart cranberries.  The bread was delicious!  A new family favorite.


Since the other boys were not awake yet, Barrett was my little kitchen helper.  I was hoping to make the bread with the older boys so that they could help me measure and work on some math skills, but they have been sleeping so much later these days (awesome dark and cold mornings!) and I was too hungry to wait any longer!


We ate our cranberry bread for breakfast with some fresh fruit and yogurt…yummy!


I got the idea to make a fall-scented potpourri from the Delightful Learning blog, and when I was done making the cranberry bread and saw all those unused orange peels and cranberries, I decided that was the perfect opportunity to make some potpourri!


I warmed up orange peels, cranberries, cinnamon sticks and a little big of clove over the stove and it smelled so wonderful!  Every morning and every evening I turned the burner on low for about an hour and the smell would permeate the house for hours!  It lasted about 3 days before we went out of town and I threw it all out.

We spent Thanksgiving up at my mom’s cabin a few hours away and had a nice time celebrating with family.  🙂

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