Some people use the word family and it means something warm and inviting, like a big bathtub full of warm water and bubbles. For me the word family was a jagged pill under the best of circumstances but as the holidays approach each year, it becomes even harder. My mother was an abusive bi-polar manic-depressive so it made sense that I married a manic-depressive with sociopathic tendencies. To say that family was complicated is an understatement. Of course my husband didn’t get along with my mother, and if I wanted to spend time with her I had to carefully plan and plead for the opportunity or, better yet, I had to see her behind his back. This particular year was my oldest daughter’s first Thanksgiving and I had hoped to be able to spend some part of it with both my family and my in-laws. True to form, my husband had decided that we would stay home, eschewing any familial activities.
I didn’t mind the cooking, or having Thanksgiving at our home, I just minded the fact that my family was never considered an option. Ultimately, it worked out that my husband traveled out of town for a week a short time before the holiday. I invited my mother and grandmother over for a nice dinner so they could have some time with my daughter. At 6 months of age she didn’t do much but enjoyed eating my grandma’s spaghetti with us. My mom was on her best behavior and all around it was just a lovely evening. As they were leaving I quickly looked around to make sure nothing was left behind, any evidence would alert my husband to the fact they had visited. Later that evening I realized that as my daughter got older such evenings wouldn’t be possible; she would be able to talk and any meetings with her Nana would be something she would want to talk about, she would never understand why it would need to be a secret. This warm and pleasant evening, sharing my beautiful new baby with my mother and grandmother, would never be allowed by my husband. He would tell me it was for my own good, he would point out the many flaws in my mother and then express the concern that having her around our child was dangerous. He would buy me something nice as a gift (bribe) for going along with his wishes. I had managed to steal this tiny moment, but who knew when I might have the opportunity again? As I went to sleep that night I realized how isolated I was from my family. I had never felt so alone.
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Your kids or grandkids will love making these little guys and they will make your table sparkle… My kids made these for me almost ten years ago and I have used them every year since! Use 5, 7 or 9 (I think odd numbers look best) of these on your holiday table with a votive candle… battery operated votives are safest! I store them in individual zip lock bags to make sure that they do not stick together. They are one of my favorite decorations and every year I am reminded of when we made them.
Materials: (all materials available at any craft store)
1-1¼” wooden balls (for the turkey head)
Small glass votive holder
Tissue paper (Red, Yellow, Orange)
Small black glass beads (for the eyes)
Attach wooden heads with a small amount of hot glue to the glass votive holder. Allow a few minutes for it to dry.
Brush Mod Podge over the head and body. Cover them with overlapping tissue paper scraps. Apply another layer of Mod Podge and let dry for about an hour.
To make the tail feathers, cut 9- by 2-inch strips of tissue paper. You will need 4 strips per turkey votive. Mix the colors. Bend each in half WITHOUT creasing it, twist the ends together and attach each feather to the body.
Cut a beak from a double layer of yellow tissue and attach with tacky glue, Add two beads for the eyes using a small amount of tacky glue. Cut a long oval of red tissue paper and twist one end, attaching it as a waddle. Allow the turkey’s to dry completely!
Note: Before starting, write each child’s name and the date on the bottom with a paint pen to memorialize these little treasures!
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On Halloween Night, after trick or treating, my kids loved to look through their bags to see how many different kinds of candy they’d gotten. They would trade with each other or their friends and put my favorite candies, licorice and Butterfingers, aside for me. They were then allowed to eat as much as they wanted, after I had thoroughly checked it. They would over do it, but it was only one night… By the next day, they were over it, their bags would sit on the counter, and after a day or so, I would put the candy in the pantry and it was forgotten, that is until I would run across it the next Halloween! I really do miss those nights!
Being a huge fan of supporting the troops, I was so grateful to learn about a woman who was collecting and sending left over Halloween Candy to the them! I wanted to help and actually started collecting candy at my kids’ schools and from friends...we would box it up, include notes of gratitude and drop it off. My kids loved the idea of giving their candy to the troops, knowing that they would love it! It made everyone feel good!
Since then, an organization was started that nationalized the collection. I was so happy to find “Operation Gratitude”, https://www.operationgratitude.com/express-your-thanks/halloween-candy/, if you go to the website, you can find drop-off locations near you. I highly recommend this as a fun activity with kids or grand-kids. Mine loved it! It’s always great to find new ways to support our troops!
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