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Thanksgiving History 

We’re barely into October. However, fall is here and believe it or not, Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Big meals, family gatherings, leftovers for days, memories and major clean ups. Thanksgiving is a time to remind ourselves of all the reasons to be thankful. Before I continue, let’s discuss some fun facts about the pilgrims. 

Our family visiting the “Santa Maria” in 2010 after one of Daddy’s deployments.

Fun Facts About Pilgrims


  1. America wasn’t the first place the Pilgrims relocated.

The Pilgrims didn’t immediately flee to America to escape the religious persecution they were facing. Instead, they headed to Holland and lived there for years before changing course for the New World. They eventually grew unhappy with their livelihood in Holland and decided to seek a better alternative.

  1. The name of their ship to the New World was the Mayflower.

The Mayflower was a sturdy, wooden ship that was probably about 100 feet long. It had three masts and the Pilgrims spent a significant portion of their journey across the Atlantic below deck. It was typically used to carry cargo, but in September 1620 it carried 102 Pilgrims from Plymouth, England to the New World. The Speedwell, a smaller ship, also left Plymouth with Pilgrims aboard, but it started to leak and had to return to port.

  1. Without the Wampanoag Indians, the Pilgrims would not have survived.

The land and terrain in Plymouth Colony was much different from Holland or England and the Pilgrims experienced difficulties adapting their farming techniques and growing crops. The Wampanoag Indian tribe was invaluable in teaching them how to plant and grow crops in order to survive. Without their assistance, the Pilgrims would have starved.

  1. Within a year, half of the Pilgrims had perished.

The first year in the New World was not an easy one for the Pilgrims. In less than 12 months, over half of the Pilgrims who had made the journey on the Mayflower had passed away due to illness, poor nutrition, lack of adequate housing and injury.

  1.  The Pilgrims signed The Mayflower Compact while still on board.

The Mayflower Compact was the backbone of the new government in the colony and established the rules that they would all live by. That document, which was originally signed by over 40 men, became the foundation for the United States’ current government. In fact, every man had to sign The Mayflower Compact before he was allowed to get off the ship!

For most families around the world, Thanksgiving is having a meal with seasonal dishes like turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie, and more. This holiday celebration honors the feast that dates all the way back to 1621 when the Pilgrims arrived and the Wampanoag Indians gathered to share a harvest meal that is now considered the “first Thanksgiving.” 

Below you can see how different the first Thanksgiving was compared to what we do now. Although much has changed since 1621, but maybe this year it could be fun to incorporate some of their dishes and how they celebrated. Maybe incorporate a seafood dish and discuss how fish was served at the first Thanksgiving. 

Get into the Thanksgiving Spirit! 

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Read: Must Have Thanksgiving Books! 

First Thanksgiving Feast 

There is no true record of what was served at their feast, but it wasn’t the foods we eat on Thanksgiving today. The Pilgrims’ chronicler Edward Winslow wrote in his journal that some men went out to prepare for the feast and brought back five deer. It also suggests most meals were prepared using traditional Native American spices and cooking methods. The Pilgrims didn’t have an oven to prepare meals, so they didn’t have pies, cakes, and desserts like the ones that cover the dinner table. Below are what some historians believe was served. 

Seafood| Culinary historians believe most of the Thanksgiving meal was seafood. Mussels were very abundant in New England and could be harvested easily. Lobster, bass, clams and other shellfish and seafood served as well. 

Vegetables| Onions, spinach, carrots, beans, corn and cabbage were probably served along with the main course. They didn’t have side dishes like stuffing or bacon wrapped dishes. All the side dishes they had were very basic. 

Fruits| Native Americans used the fruits as a natural dye back then. They probably had gooseberries, raspberries, cranberries, and other fruits available. 


Popcorn Myth 

The “Popcorn Myth” has us believe that popcorn was introduced at Thanksgiving. The corn grown in Northern Flint didn’t pop well which is why it is believed to be a myth. The Indians would take the corn, grind it up and then mix with strawberries for a cake-like dessert. 

Thanksgiving Planner

I hope maybe you have learned something new and fun to teach your children this holiday. Also make sure to check out this Thanksgiving planner to help you stay on track for your meal plan, guest lists, things to be thankful for and more. This is a wonderful printable for you and your family. 

Unit Study

I have a brand new amazing resource just for you! My 2017 Pilgrims & Thanksgiving Unit Study! This unit study will hopefully be a blessing to your family as you learn all about the First Thanksgiving during your Turkey Day studies! Now the best news? This unit study can be yours for free for the next 7 days by using the code PILGRIMS2017 

Go ===>>>HERE to get the study or click the picture of it below 🙂 

We aren’t done yet, though. Continue scrolling for more awesome goodies! 

Join: AweFilledHomeschool Connect on Facebook! 

Thanksgiving Snacks Craft & Tutorial! 

One thing I like to do during the holidays is take some time out and be a little silly and have fun with my kids. Family is so important and kids grow up so fast! That’s why I came up with this super fun, super cute activity! Come join me as we have some fun and get those kids in the kitchen– somewhat! 


  • Packaged cheese and cracker sticks
  • Packaged blue Jello
  • Packaged peach or orange slices
  • Bananas
  • Googly eyes
  • Candy sticks, skewers or toothpicks
  • Scissors
  • Sharpie
  • Low temperature hot glue gun
  • White, black, yellow, green, orange and red craft foam sheets


    Turkey Cheese and Crackers


  1. Cut two small diamond shapes for the turkey’s beak out of the orange craft foam, a “s” shape out of the red craft foam for the turkey’s wattle, and two small orange feet shapes out of the orange craft foam.                                                            
  2. Using the hot glue gun, attach two googly eyes to the back of the cheese compartment of the snack.                                                                                                   
  3. Below the eyes, glue first the wattle shape and then the beak shape on top of it on the back of the cheese section of the snack. Bend the diamond shape of the beak in half so the it remains semi-closed when glued.                                                 
  4. Last, glue the feet on the bottom of the cracker part of the snack.                                 


Blue Jello Mayflower


  1. Start by cutting a large white triangle with a flattened top out of the white craft foam.                                                                                                                                        
  2. Cut the flat-topped triangle into three pieces. The pieces need to be thick enough to be threaded onto a candy stick or skewer.                                                                        
  3. Using scissors, make two holes in the center of each of the three pieces of white craft foam, one at the top and one at the bottom.                                                          
  4. Thread the candy stick through the bottom hole of each piece and then the top. Start with the widest piece of craft foam, and top the stick with the smallest piece. This forms the sails of your ship.                                                                               
  5. Poke a hole into the top of the blue Jello container and insert your candy stick sail.


Pumpkin Peaches or Oranges

  1. Begin by cutting a small rectangle shape and leaf shape with a long stem from the green craft foam.                                                                                                             
  2. Turn your orange or peach slice container upside down and use the hot glue gun to attach the stem of your leaf shape to the top center of the container.
  3. Once the leaf is secure, fold the rectangle shape you cut out in half forming a looped stem for your pumpkin, and glue that to the top center of the container over the leaf stem.                                                                                                                


Pilgrim Bananas

  1. Cut out the shapes needed for the pilgrim hat from the black, yellow and white craft foam. The photo below can be referenced for the various shapes needed.      
  2. Use a hot glue gun to first glue the brim on your Pilgrim hat. Then, glue on the white hat band as well as the yellow buckle. Again, the photos can be used for reference.                                                                                                                                              
  3. Once the hat is completed, use the hot glue gun to affix the Pilgrim hat over the stem of the banana.           
  4. Use a Sharpie to draw eyes, a nose and a mouth on your banana Pilgrim.                  


In Awe,


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