Thanksgiving Crafts for Kids...And a few Side Dishes

I like to have a little craft for the kids to do...alone...on Thanksgiving morning (while I am cooking). Here is one we made back in 2008...
Cute Turkey Napkin Rings/Place Cards
You need:
*toilet paper rolls, cut into 3 sections
*brown construction paper
*assorted colored construction paper
*black marker
1. cut a strip of paper slightly wider than cut toilet paper roll, and long enough to wrap around + a little extra.
2. Cover roll, if you like notch the excess and each side of roll, wrap inside of the roll and glue down.
3. Decorate...no template needed...let the kids make their own designs, the turkey body/head is a peanut shape (bottom part glued inside of roll), and have them make feathers however they like...if you scroll down, my youngest son's feathers are crazy big...but he was 3, and that is what it was what he was able to cut out...he was happy with it, so I was too :) .
4. Write names on the side, roll up a napkin and stuff inside, place on (or near) each family members' plate.

Another thing the kids really enjoyed was our
"I am Thankful" Table Runner
All you need is freezer paper...cut to whatever length you like and markers. I wrote "I am thankful for..." on each side and drew a border. They had fun before dinner filling it in with what the were thankful for...anything from home, family, friends, and church...to balloons and play dough. It was a really good way to have the kids really think about what they were thankful for...there was a lot of space to fill up :)
This year I am not cooking Thanksgiving dinner (which makes me a little sad...we usually have our own little family thanksgiving the Monday before- if we are going to the grandparents' house...I like to cook, and we love the leftovers, but not this year)...we are heading back up north to see family and all is required of me is a side dish. I haven't really decided what I will make yet, so here are some of my favorite things to make...

First of all Artichoke Dip...which I already posted here...
Praline Sweet Potatoes
8 medium sweet potatoes, about 5 lbs, peeled and cut into thirds
1/4 c. sugar
1 c. pecans
5 T. butter
1/2 c. milk or orange juice
1 1/4 tsp. salt
brown sugar to taste about 1/4 cup(optional)
cinnamon to taste...1 to 2 tsp. (optional)

In a large sauce pan heat sweet potatoes in enough water to cover, to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to med. low; cover and simmer 20-25 minutes until fork tender. Remove from heat, drain; return to sauce pan.
Meanwhile, grease a cookie sheet. In a 1-quart saucepan, heat sugar and 1/4 cup water, stirring gently, over low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium and boil rapidly, without stirring, about 7 minutes, until syrup turns a light golden brown. Working quickly, stir in pecans and 2 T. butter until combined. Spread pecan mixture in a thin layer on the cookie sheet, cool. To sauce pan with sweet potatoes, add milk (or orange juice...which I prefer), salt, 3 T butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Mash sweet potatoes until almost smooth. Heat mixture over low heat until warmed throughout.
To serve spoon potatoes into a large serving bowl. Break pecan mixture into small pieces; sprinkle on top of sweet potatoes. Serves 10.

Cranberry Pecan Tassies
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 c. all purpose flour
1 egg
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
dash salt
1/3 cup finely chopped cranberries
3 T. chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 325. In a bowl combine cream cheese and butter. Stir in flour, mix well. Shape dough into 24 balls; press one into each cup of a mini muffin tin.
For filling, beat together egg, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt until smooth. Stir in cranberries and pecans. Spoon filing into pastry lined cups. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until pastry is golden brown. Cool in pan. Makes 24.
Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!

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