Saturday, November 17, 2007

Thanksgiving Plans

We have had many memorable Thanksgiving celebrations while living in Turkey. A few years ago our friends came over during a blizzard and decided to spend the night because electricity was out all over the town and therefore, they had no heat source. We had our trusty coal stove and so had a happy time roasting chestnuts by candlelight. One year in particular stands out in my mind. We had just sat down to enjoy a huge feast when all of a sudden we heard a huge crash just across our hallway. Upon opening the door of our tiny bathroom, we were greeted with the stench and sight of our upstairs neighbors' raw sewage dripping all over the walls and floor. Their toilet pipe had given away and well... it was a long day.

Turkey, ironically, is hard to find in the land of Turkey. We scour shops ahead of time high and low in hopes of finding this evasive bird. Each year, we never know what the outcome will be. One Thanksgiving, we had given up hope of finding one, but some visiting friends proudly presented us a newly killed turkey, hastily plucked with feet still intact. I wasn't sure if I was glad to see it or not. Most years, we have to buy the bird piecemeal--a couple of turkey breasts at one particular market and then hope to find the legs at another shop. Once or twice, horror of all horrors, we could not find the coveted body parts and had to eat roast chickens, instead.

For decorations this year, we plan to make and hang this sign over the fireplace mantel. I also like this napkin idea. Our centerpiece will be a white pumpkin (they don't have orange pumpkins here) with the top cut off and stuffed with dried leaves, berries and teasel- something like this. I love simple ideas that are pretty. All these fit the bill.

Of course we won't forget to watch "The Sound of Music", a family tradition saved only for Thanksgiving.. I will pull out my special recipes and prepare dishes that are reserved for this day only. I am adamant about these little details because I learned from my own parents that if we show restraint throughout the year, not allowing ourselves to indulge in certain pleasures, when the time comes to indulge, we enjoy them so much more.

Every Thanksgiving the children give a 'recital' for the adults. After a busy day of cooking, it's so refreshing to sit down and let the kids treat the adults to some pleasant entertainment. My children have been busily preparing for this year's recital. They all know their lines now so this week they have been working on presentation. I'm trying to teach them to speak with emotion an clarity. No one enjoys a monotone. (for more on recitation go here)

Tomorrow we will make programs for the guests. There will be 14 people. Some are visiting from another city. Three other children will join my four in the recital. They each chose some of their memory work and musical selections from the school term to share with the group:

14 yr old StrongJoy plans to recite
Matthew 7:1-12
Shakespeare's 29th Sonnet
and a passage from The Faerie Queen
She will play Swan Lake on the piano.

12 yr old Raora wants to treat us to
Psalm 29
90 lines from Rebsamen's translation of Beowulf (she plans to dim the lights and quote by candlelight to create the right ambiance.)
She will play Sonatina Opera 36 by Clementi and Going Home by Dvorak on the piano.

9 yr old Pippi is nervously preparing to quote
James 3:1-7
Alfred Lord Tennyson's Crossing of the Bar
and The Eagle
She will play When the Saints Go Marching In and On the Banks of the Ohio on the piano.

Newly turned 5 yr old Westley will recite 11 Bible verses.
I'll hold up a letter from the alphabet and he will say a verse that begins with that letter. His poem is rather ridiculous. I prefer something more noble such as "For want of a nail, a shoe was lost..." But he begged for this little ditty and I laughed so hard I gave in.

Tomorrow is the fair
And I shall be there
Stuffing my guts
With gingerbread nuts

Isn't this going to be fun? Please do not think I am posting these details so that I can brag on my children. My purpose is to inspire you. Learning should be, MUST be joyful or we have not done what is required of us as teachers. That is not to say that hard work is not involved. On the contrary, it is a necessary ingredient for joy-filled learning. But let us surround the work with many moments of laughter. Laughter that is derived FROM the work, not apart from it.

Blessings to each and every one of you from my heart and may you have a Happy Thanksgiving!

one step at a time...


  1. Dee (

    I just recently found your wonderful blog! I love it! I'm curious why you are in Turkey, are you missionaries? I look forward to reading more about your home and school.

  2. My friend make wonderful turkey stock out of the feet--something to keep in mind should you ever get another freshly killed turkey...

  3. Sounds delightful, Linda. I would love to be at your gathering. Wish I could mail you a turkey. Although, I like eating chicken just as much. We usually bake a chicken when it is just our family of four. I love the Sound of Music, too. :) What a great idea for the children to do an "open house" performance! We usually have done talent shows, culture fairs and KONOS plays... but not a show just for family and friends. We are having our family over for Christmas this year, so maybe I can get something together for next month. :) I think that would be so much fun. Maybe I'll invite my cousins to let their children join in the fun (even though they aren't homeschooled). The more, the merrier. We usually sing carols when we get together as a family at Christmas, too.

  4. Linda, Please don't ever hestitate to write because you feel you might be bragging. It IS inspiring to read about what your family is doing. We've done Thanksgiving programs before that revolved around that same theme but I also like how you are doing it with their normal schoolwork.

    I loved all your ideas and I'm so glad you shared! Have a wonderful week. My sister and her family arrives tonight from Pennsylvania and the next day my other sister and her family along my parents are arriving. I'm so excited. There will be 25 of us all at my house for a week. Whew!

  5. Dee, missionaries are not allowed here, but that doesn't prevent us from being salt and light :)

    Kris, Sally Fallon of nourishing traditions recommends cooking the feet too. It is really healthy. I'm not sure I'm brave enough to do it though.

    Sprittibee, I'd love for you to be here too. We feel a wee bit lonely being the only ones around for miles and miles who celebrate Thanksgiving.

    Timbuck2mom, Your comment blessed me! I feel better now. I almost didn't even post this one. I certainly don't believe that my methods and ideas are the only way to go but what I know is the only thing I have to work with :) I just feel that I should pass on what other wise and generous people have shared with me.

  6. Linda it sounds like you are going to have a wonderful day, and it sounds completely restful! So many times Thanksgiving is rush, rush, rush, eat...then it's over. Thanks for sharing that, I don't ever get the bragging vibe from you so don't feel the need to "hold back" sharing. I feel blessed for getting to read your blog and glean from your experiences! Happy Thanksgiving!!

  7. Anonymous18.11.07

    I especially appreciated your comment about showing restraint throughout the year so you enjoy those special activities/foods/etc even more...I struggle with that and the thought of "denying joy" but I am inspired more now to start creating those traditions that will last!

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!


  8. Cassandra20.11.07

    Your thoughts are an inspiration Lindafay. Please keep sharing. I'm sure there are many of us who feel the same! I don't comment often, but visit here a lot. I'm grateful for the internet that introduces us to people we wouldn't readily meet on our street.

  9. This is so beautiful...
    the tradition and effort that you take to make it a memorable day.
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

  10. Your blog is always inspiring. May you have a wonderful Thanksgiving - no matter what you eat :-)

  11. Aw, I wish I could send you a turkey! I really do...

    Your day sounds like it going to be lovely and I hope it it! StrongJoy and Raora will enterian you all day! lol
    And the Sound of Music is one of the best!

    I just wanted to stop by and say hello! I haven't been here in a while...

    Have a Happy Thanksgiving!


  12. I, for one, am looking forward to hearing all about your program. I hope you had a really wonderful evening and a blessed Thanksgiving :)