Friday, November 25, 2011

Gobble Til You Wobble: Kid-friendly Thanksgiving

It was a thrill to work along-side Jen of Banner Events on another Anders Ruff photo shoot.  Using AR's Happy Gobble-Day Thanksgiving Printables, we had a fun time coming up with a kid-friendly Thanksgiving.  A lot of times when you think of Thanksgiving, we think of formal table setting and filling our tummies with a hearty feast.  The children seem to get lost in this season of gratitude and so it was a breath of fresh air to know this year my three kids would be able to help prepare, plan and create a festive Thanksgiving for all ages.

To come up with ideas for our kid-centered Thanksgiving, we decided to go back in history to where it all begin - the first Thanksgiving feast, The Mayflower, and the Pilgrim & Indians. 

(AR post write- up credited to Jen Carver of Banner Events)
The Table:

Our Thanksgiving table was designed for kid-friendly fun. While we are frantically trying to put last minute touches on the meal, the last thing we need is a bunch of turkeys running wild. AR created the most adorable coloring/activity placemats and “I am Thankful” cards in their Gobble Day Collection which are perfect to use as mini activities to keep the kids entertained. With these activities in mind, we created a place setting for each child which included a turkey feathered vessel (mini trifle bowl)containing a crayon bundle tied with raffia, a few mini chocolate bars decorated with trimmed down party flags (to keep them from putting their hands in the food you are preparing), and a couple of pieces of ‘Gobble Gold” for the trading post. Adorable beverage labels dressed up clear glass mugs. We crafted mini Mayflower ships from felt and attached party circles to the sails to tie our Gobble Day theme together. An enlarged Mayflower was also hand sewn and provided a focal point for our table, with pilgrims and indians standing close by. We tied the colors from the printable package into our table decor with washable hand-sewn napkins, a handmade table runner and colorful plates and chargers.


Children LOVE dressing up {Hello…Halloween?} Using Anders Ruff’s printable feather indian headbands and pilgrim hats to jumpstart the costume idea, we added indian costumes we purchased at after-Halloween sales for $2 each, and I used my love of sewing to create peter pan-collared dresses in coordinating fabrics and feminine bonnets for the girls. The children had so much fun being in character and playing with rustic fans, flutes and toys.

Indian Trading Post:

In addition to designing a fun kid-centered tablescape together, we came up with the idea of an Indian Trading Post (in lieu of the traditional dessert table) where pilgrims and indians could trade ‘Gobble Day’ gold for edible after-dinner treasures.

Our hope was that the trading post would look rustic and authentic. We collected old chests, a wooden canoe top, crates, baskets, a fruit-filled cornucopia and wooden boxes, over-filling them with pumpkins, gourds and indian corn. A few pieces of modern Thanksgiving decor were added for festiveness. 

Creating the trading post was so much fun! We hung a neutral colored, herringbone fabric to create a backdrop and added different levels of artificial plants and trees to create the illusion of being outdoors. The ‘Happy Gobble Day’ banner from AR’s collection was attached to dark brown burlap and fastened between two trees with natural clothes pins and twine.

The focal point of our trading post was a life-sized teepee designed, that I was able to construct and sew using Smile & Waves tutorial.  I spray painted PVC pipe brown to look like wooden sticks.  I then used the pipe to hoist up the teepee exterior which was made by sewing together canvas paint drop cloths according to a specified pattern.

We used the varying baskets and crates to serve as our display for our trading post treats.

Here are some picture highlights of the Trading Post Treats:

Pumpkin Parfaits:

Delicious layers of pumpkin mousse, whipping cream and crushed Gingersnaps filled small canning jars. Keeping with the rustic look, canning jar lids were tied with raffia and adorned with brown cardstock and scalloped punched Gobble Day party circles. Crème filled Pirouette cookies accessorized with ‘Happy Gobble Day’ party flags topped off each pumpkin parfait.

Maize Favors:

Faux indian corn favors were fashioned from dried corn husks (purchased in the Hispanic food aisle of most grocery stores) tied around small bags of Reeses Pieces candy with tiny pieces of raffia. Each ear of corn was decorated on the top with a party flag and layered in a harvest basket.

Gobble Goodies:

One of my family traditions involves making ‘Gobble Goodies’ with her children. Our trading post would not have been complete without a half-dozen of these adorable turkeys displayed on a hand-painted canoe top, lined with green houndstooth printable paper. They are simple enough, kids can make these with very little assistance. Rice Krispy treats are rolled into small balls and attached to one half of an Oreo for the body, using frosting. Candy corn is ‘feathered’ around the base of another Oreo half and attached. Add edible candy eyes and a candy corn beak and voilà–Gobble Goodies galore!

Pumpkin Muffins:

Jen's children are obsessed with pumpkin bread. Instead of making it in loafs, we made it in muffin form and clothed them in colorful striped cupcake liners. How cute are those little turkey toppers from the Gobble Day collection? We simply cut them out, attached them to toothpicks and made a cute muffin topper out of them.

Teepee Cupcakes:

We couldn’t resist making these adorable teepee treats. Did you know you can bake a cupcake right inside a sugar cone? Neither did we (until we saw the idea on Pinterest)! After baking, simply cut off a small portion off the top of the sugar cone to allow for inserting 2-3 broken pretzel rods to look like sticks. Adhere them in your teepee with a little dab of chocolate frosting. Dip the bottom of your teepee in chocolate and roll in colorful sprinkles or candies. Insert a little coordinating party flag and you’ve got terribly cute teepee treats!

Turkey and Cornucopia Cake Pops:

Johanna Dellino of Pop.O.Licious Cake Pops graciously donated her original turkey and cornucopia cake pops for our shoot. Aren’t they so cute?! And trust me when I say, these little bites of goodness were gobbled up…and fast! Notice how perfectly they coordinate with the colors in AR’s printables? She customized them for us! (If you aren’t already a fan on Facebook, go here to become one!

Mini Apple Pies:

Aren’t things in miniature even cuter? I love these delicious (yes, I sampled a few of them!) mini apple pies that I made using premade pie dough.  I cut rounds out of the dough, placed them in muffin tins to bake, filled them with apple pie filling and topped them with an adorable little pumpkin shaped top crust and party flag. Coordinating pattern paper was used to make sweet little individual pie boxes with peek-a-boo acetate windows. Each box was dressed up with raffia and a circle tag.

Blessing Mix:

It is always nice to tie in a little bit of teaching into each holiday. We put together these easy Thanksgiving “Blessing Mix” favor bags to help teach our children about some of the symbolism of the holiday. Cellophane bags were filled with a mix of bugles, peanuts, candy corn, pretzels and candy orange slices. A fold over topper was affixed to the top of each bag and an ingredients list and poem was added to the front.

We hope you love these Happy Gobble Day ideas! Our children can hardly wait to celebrate Thanksgiving—kid style!

A special thanks to Andrea Pasion of Andrea Pasion Photography.  Thank you for your friendship & always there to photograph our shoots.

A big thanks for Anders Ruff for their adorable kid-friendly "Happy Gobble Day" printables and being able to make our Thanksgiving a fun and memorable for our kids.

And of 'course I can't thank Jen enough for her brilliant write-up on Anders Ruff to share our ideas with the thousands of AR followers.

Thank you to Hostess with the MostessPizzazzerie, and Coupon Loving Chicks for sharing our Thanksgiving ideas to your many fans!

Vendor Credit:
Styling, decor & Desserts: Jennifer Carver (Banner Events) and Vivian Kerr (Kerr Kreations).
Graphic Designs:  Anders Ruff
Cake Pops:  Pop.O.Licious
Photography: Andrea Pasion Photography

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