Across the country, Jewish families will be eating turkey with a side of latkes this year, as Thanksgiving and the first day of Hanukkah both fall on November 28th. This holiday mashup — cleverly nicknamed “Thanksgivukkah” — is truly a once-in-a-lifetime event. It hasn’t happened since 1888, and it won’t occur again for 70,000-80,000 years.
Although JB and I have always celebrated Thanksgiving with family, I don’t think we’ve ever had the chance to light the menorah with them. It’s always been impractical to buy plane tickets and take time off from work for holidays typically two or three weeks apart.
This year, however, we’ll be giving thanks and playing dreidel with my side of the family. I’m imagining a menu loaded with dishes combining the best of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah. How delicious do Pecan-Cranberry Noodle Kugel, Pumpkin Challah, and Pumpkin Rugelach sound?
But how does one decorate for Thanksgivukkah? Combining Hanukkah’s cool shades of blue and silver with Thanksgiving’s rustic red, green, orange, and yellow could potentially be an eyesore. Plus, loading the table with menorahs and dreidels and Stars of David and pumpkins and leaves and turkeys and feathers and acorns would definitely be overkill.
It turns out that blue and orange are complementary colors, meaning they look great together. So I decided to stick to a mostly blue, orange, and metallic silver color palette accented with a dash of gold. And since Hanukkah actually begins at sundown the night before Thanksgiving and lasts for eight days, I put the emphasis on Hanukkah decorations.
Adorned with blue ombre candles, I placed our silver menorah on a teal ceramic platter to catch any wax drippings. The colors mimic the various shades of blue in the Happy Hanukkah banner. I sprinkled gold foil-wrapped gelt and yellow and orange plastic leaves around the base of the menorah. (The packet of decorative Thanksgiving leaves also included red, green, and brown leaves, but I chose not to use them.) Instead of the leaves, you could easily swap acorns.
To bring Thanksgiving into the mix, I arranged pumpkins and pinecones atop a silver cake stand. Yes, the pinecones are brown, but I thought they grounded the look and paired nicely with the gold in the star garland and the tablecloth. If you don’t have pumpkins leftover from Halloween, you could also use craft pumpkins, faux pumpkins, paper pumpkins — you get the idea. Instead of pinecones (from your yard or the store), you could try a handful of leaves or, again, acorns.
So what do you think? Festive but totally doable, right (even for us non-DIY types)? Here’s how to get the look in your home:
Happy Hanukkah banner (similar) from Land of Nod // Starry garland and Embroidered Silver Metallic garland c/o Land of Nod // Kids First Menorah Soft Toy from One Step Ahead // Molten menorah (similar) from Nordstrom // Hand Dipped candles (similar) from Fab // Decorative Plastic Leaves from Michaels // Hanukkah gelt (similar) from Cost Plus World Market // Threshold Oval Textured platter and Threshold Beaded Aluminum cake stand from Target // Armor tablecloth (similar) from John Robshaw
Is it possible that mercury is still retrograde…but only for me? Because this weekend felt like a series of unfortunate events:
* Running late and then hitting traffic en route to a young family retreat with our synagogue at the Lied Lodge in Nebraska City.
* Sharing a hotel room with a toddler who wouldn’t nap Saturday afternoon (which meant I wasn’t able to get any work done).
* Waking up in the middle of the night Saturday and Sunday with worsening cold symptoms for which I couldn’t take any medication. (The joys of pregnancy, right?)
* Solo parenting Levi from 3:45-8 am yesterday (while nursing aforementioned cold) because he couldn’t sleep and JB couldn’t stay awake. (Turns out he felt sick from possible food poisoning.)
And the icing on the cake? I stepped on and broke JB’s laptop (which for some reason was open and on the floor between the two hotel beds) while attending to Levi in the darkness. JB handled it well, but I still feel incredibly guilty.
Sadly, the weekend retreat (the first we’ve ever participated in) was also somewhat disappointing. We mistakenly thought the activities would be geared towards preschoolers, but the majority of attendees were families with elementary- and middle school-aged kids. The silver lining, I suppose, is that we were able to bond with two other families with toddlers over shared frustrations.
And so begins a new work week with my ever-growing to-do list and a two year old with a cough (again!) and possible ear infection. We’ll be heading back to the pediatrician today, and I’ll hopefully find some quiet time later to tackle my inbox and do some blog planning. I need to start feeling productive…
Feel the need to get anything off your chest? Let’s have a vent session!
(Instagram photo by Jenifer Altman // I have no idea if those three tarot cards mean a series of unfortunate events. Perhaps they mean that good news is on the horizon!)
Every November, Refe Tuma and his wife try to convince their children that their toys come to life while they’re sleeping by creating elaborate scenarios featuring plastic dinosaurs figures. They call it Dinovember, and they do it to encourage their kids’ sense of wonder and imagination.
The dinosaurs typically make a mess of thing during their month-long escapades. Some of my favorite hijinks include the dinos making a midnight snack, listening to music, bathing in the sink, and spray painting the walls. (Did Refe and his wife really cover their wall with dinosaur graffiti? Talk about being committed!)
I sometimes worry that I’m a lazy parent. It’s not that I don’t engage my child; Levi and I read together, sing together, and play together. But I wonder if I should be coming up with more creative arts-and-crafts projects and games for him to enjoy.
I’ve started a Pinterest board of toddler activities, but I’d love to know what you and your preschoolers love to do together. Please leave a comment or share a link to your creative projects below!
And here are a few more links that caught my eye this week:
* How do you feel about grown women wearing pigtail braids?
* Famous photos reimagined as selfies. I think the one of Jackie Kennedy might be my favorite.
* Did you favorite sandwich make the cut?
* Congratulations to Erin from House of Earnest on the launch of her new product line and shop, Grandiflora. I’m continually amazed (and a tiny bit jealous) of the incredible talent out there in the blogosphere.
* MJ of Pars Caeli put together a fantastic little list of creative bloggers to follow that happens to include some of my favorites, too.
* Did you ever wonder where the word “dude” came from?
* Check out my picks for the techies in your life in this gift guide I curated for Better Homes and Gardens.
* We just made a loaf of pumpkin bread using Trader Joe’s mix, but this recipe looks almost as easy to make.
Have a wonderful weekend!
The radio was already tuned to a local pop station yesterday when I turned on the car to take Levi to school. As I backed out of the driveway, I caught the final two verses of “Chasing Cars” and smiled. The Snow Patrol love ballad was the song JB and I chose for the first dance at our wedding.
I didn’t always have such a blissful reaction to hearing “Chasing Cars” on the radio. When JB deployed for three months right after we got married, the song that he and I loved, the one that reminded me of him, made me weep every time it played in the car. The lyrics would make me miss him so terribly that I’d have to change the station.
What did you pick for your first dance song at your wedding? Did you have an easy or hard time choosing one?
(Photo of our first dance by Heather Waraksa)
In the past couple of months, Levi has shown a greater interest in playing games on the iPhone and iPad now that his ability to concentrate and his dexterity with the touch screen have both improved. That’s not to say he has free reign of our devices! We try to limit his smartphone screen time at home and in the car, but he sometimes manages to squeeze a few extra minutes out of us if he’s being especially needy in the backseat.
I recently had the opportunity to review BakingFun, a new educational app about how bread is made, from planting the seeds to putting the dough in the oven. Now, teaching Levi the traditional way of making bread in the countryside was not necessarily on my to-do list at his age (or ever), but since he loves helping in the kitchen and playing with his own pretend kitchen, I thought he also might enjoy a kitchen-based app.
BakingFun features five mini-games, each focusing on a different step in the bread-making process: seeding, harvesting, milling, mixing, and baking. Levi doesn’t necessarily play them in chronological order; his favorites are planting and growing the crops, mixing the ingredients, and baking the bread in the oven.
For the most part, BakingFun — or “the baking game,” as Levi calls it — is intuitive enough for a two year old to figure out. There have been just a couple of instances when Levi looked at me for help, unsure as to what he was supposed to do. For example, it wasn’t obvious to him how to make the tractor move or that he needed to spin the windmill to turn the grain into flour.
Spinning the wooden spoon around in the mixing bowl has also been challenging for his little hands, but he loves dumping the ingredients and forming the bread. And it’s pretty adorable when he ticks and tocks along with the timer during the baking scene.
(I should probably also mention that the truck has an absurdly realistic car horn that annoys JB every time it honks.)
If you’re looking to add a new educational game to your children’s apps folder, I’d recommend BakingFun. The cartoons are bright and cheery, the sounds are engaging, and — who knows — your preschooler may come to understand the life cycle of bread.
(Disclosure: I was compensated for my review, but all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who support Bunny & Dolly.)