On the day before Thanksgiving, my husband's family celebrates Thanksgiving Eve - a time when they go back to the earlier years and experience life without so many conveniences. We joined in the tradition for the first time this year and had a lot of fun learning to be thankful for more things that we usually take for granted. Here's our list of thankfuls...
- Store bought OJ - we had to squeeze our own orange juice. Everyone savored their little portion!
- OJ that is sweetened...yet we all made crazy faces when we tasted the unsweetened tartness of the fresh OJ
- running water - we had to haul it from the "well" (otherwise known as the hose in the back yard)
- warm water - the "well water" was freezing!! If we wanted our water warm for washing dishes, it had to be heated on the stove!
- dish washers - every dish and utensil used had to be hand washed...and dried...and put away. Lots of work!
- Grocery stores - we had to dig up veggies out of the garden (so nicely placed the day before)
- The boys had to "hunt" a "wild" turkey (so nicely cleaned and placed in a tree ready for target practice)
- Fast food - we realized that meals could take all day to cook. Right after we finished cleaning up breakfast, we worked on lunch, then cleaned up, then started dinner!! Quite a process!
- Equal opportunities for girls and boys - the girls wanted to go hunt the turkey, but they had to stay in the kitchen and get the rest of the meal together...and then do laundry!
- lighters to start fires - the boys had to start the fire to cook the meat...it took a while even with matches! We were all thankful to have the heat from the fire.
I truly think my kids thoroughly enjoyed this adventure. I don't think they will loathe it when they remember this day. In addition to learning thankfulness for the basics we so easily take for granted, I think we all learned some valuable lessons:
- Many hands make light work - this was the largest group of people celebrating Thanksgiving Eve in a long time, and things go faster with a good team!
- It's all in the attitude - butter making is a big part of Thanksgiving Eve. The kids are given mason jars with heavy whipping cream and they have to shake it until it makes butter. It's a tough job. They took their task to the trampoline and had great fun producing the largest amount of butter in Thanksgiving Eve history.
- Waste not, want not - Grandma was great at reminding the kids that everything had more than one purpose. After lunch, whatever we didn't eat was made into soup for dinner. After washing the dishes, the water was used to water the garden. In a world full of disposable things, this lesson was priceless.
I'm so thankful that I was able to experience Thanksgiving Eve, although I think I hit it on a mild year. The weather was beautiful and there were so many helpers that to me it felt more like a glorious camping trip than an experience of true roughing it. I am thankful for in-laws that provide such fun educational experiences for my kids. Most of all I am thankful for my sweet family that participated with cheerful and willing hearts. I am so blessed by them every day!
Betsy Strauss is an unexpected homeschooler, mother of three, who is in a relationship with a sweet man for life. She loves reading books, drinking coffee, and learning anything with her kids.