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I found this quote today, and loved it!
Too often this time of year can be a busy flurry of decor & planning & food preparation,
which is all fine and good and even necessary;
but if not accompanied by a HEART that is grateful and at rest,
what true good is all that preparation?


true thanksgiving


The truest Thanksgiving is not just those words we speak,
but the life we live.
And not just in November,
but the other 335 days of the year.

If there’s one character trait I want to be strong in my children,
I want it to be gratefulness.

I want them to live with an awareness of what God, and other people, have given them.
I do not want them to live with a sense of entitlement, that people owe them something,
but rather, a continual focus on the blessings, rather than the distresses, of life.

How much of this is a training process of parent to child,
and how much of it is a prayer from parent to God,
I’m not certain.
Because I’m in the training right with them!

But, with all my heart, I do want to live a life of gratitude.




On Sunday I stayed home from church with the oldest (due to her tonsillectomy) and the youngest (due to a flu bug). Gone are the days when staying home is a relaxing experience! Two children [one permanently attached to my hip] made for a lot of together time for all of us, and not any quiet time for me. [i.e. Still learning flexibility: the key to Parenting 101!! :) ]

So we decided to throw a little thanksgiving party for the other two when they returned for lunch. We decorated the table, we cooked good food, and it was a great diversion had by all.

With big extended family activities on all holidays, we don’t normally have our own little holiday, so that’s kind of what we did here. A relaxed feel, & just being together was the desire, and it was accomplished.

We set the table in white, brown, & gold…

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We made name tags on gold leaves….

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We  used kraft paper [found in the packaging section at Walmart],
and copied last year’s Thanksgiving idea… but instead of individual placemats,
we made long runners that reached the whole lenth of the table,
and wrote, “I am thankful for…” at each place setting.

This would also be SO pretty in white or gold lettering.
I was sad I didn’t have that idea until it was all over. :)

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To make it kid-friendly, we put colored pencils in jelly jars, for a bit of fun at the table.

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We tried three slightly different centerpieces…

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An Italian meal was served instead of the traditional Thanksgiving turkey….

Grilled Caesar Salad…

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Ravioli with Grilled Chicken & Cream Sauce…


It was a fun little time, and two little girls particularly enjoyed it!
One poor little boy, however, particularly did not.
Lest the pictures look all glamorous & perfect,
here’s a little touch of reality. :)

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strong constraints of gratitude

If you are hosting or helping to host a Thanksgiving celebration,
THIS post by my friend Elizabeth Marie has excellent organization tips & ideas!
I call her my “hero mom.” :) xo Liz!

Happy Thanks-LIVING!


22 thoughts on “A Little Thanks~living…

  1. Rach

    Oh your table looks like SO much fun to decorate!! I saw the placemat idea on Pinterest & really hope I have the chance to do it this Thanksgiving!! I love all your decorating ideas- keep them coming as well as your inspiring thoughts & quotes! (I will be writing that first quote on one of my chalkboards….)
    Take care..

  2. Karyn

    Lovely thoughts on thanksgiving! I just had to tell you I LOVE that fork in the corner of the dining room and showed it to my husband, asking if he could make me one, please! He says he can…hurray! Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. The Cottage at 341 South Post author

      Isn’t that fork the cutest?! I found it at a yard sale several years ago, and fell in love immediately! And how great that your husband can make you one!! I’d love to see a picture when you’re finished. :)

  3. Shelly

    I just LOVE the Charles Spurgeon quote . . . Your heart for creating this dreamy meal and tablescape for your family . . . The brown paper placemats and gold leaves . . . And the grumpy little man. :) I’m still very often amazed at God’s goodness in allowing us to share a kindred-spirit friendship . . . And I send you very happy, week-before-your-birthday, wishes. :) I open it’s a suuuuper good one!!

  4. Elizabeth

    I wasn’t able to leave a comment earlier..not sure why!
    Thank you for your sweet comment and link to my blog. Clarita…you are the most adorable mom!!!
    I love your table setting. It is absolutely gorgeous! I am really liking all the white and gold this season..if we had leaves around here to gather, I would copy your gold leaves! How beautiful! All of our leaves are blown away and gone.

    I like your idea of making a special meal. We are always busy with family on the holidays too and never do our own little thing. I think I am going to try doing something special. Great idea!

    Your husband is blessed to have such a creative and industrious wife.
    Your children are blessed to have a mom to teach them so many things…most importantly how to love the Lord with all their hearts.

    Love ya!

    1. The Cottage at 341 South Post author

      And I think you are just so lucky to get together with your family on all the holidays. :) There are good things in both our scenarios, for sure.
      And thanks for the great post that I was able to link to, and have so many other people enjoy! I was so happy to introduce you. :)
      Wordpress is giving me comment trouble – so sorry! :(

    1. The Cottage at 341 South Post author

      My mind whirls at it as well… Here, it is a constant reminder and training of gratitude – not just with the children, but with the parents first of all! I don’t think there is an easy way to learn it, because gratitude goes so much against the flesh. Gratitude is so Unselfish, and that is a hard one to learn!

  5. jennie z

    I tried to comment last night… and where did it go…I do not know! :)
    Clarita, it is ALL SO BEAUTIFUL! Like Liz, I was thinking your husband (and kids) are so VERY blessed to have you in their lives.

  6. Breana

    I’m Thankful For: ….your blog! Love the gold leaf place markers……and the pouty baby boy is adorable!
    Thank you for the inspiration!

  7. Melanie

    “I do not want them to live with a sense of entitlement, that people owe them something,
    but rather, a continual focus on the blessings, rather than the distresses, of life.”
    How I am still learning this lesson! I am sure it will be a lifelong one, as He sanctifies my heart more and more, that I might learn to give thanks without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
    And that last quote from Spurgeon? Thank you for sharing. Truly.

    1. The Cottage at 341 South Post author

      I am still learning those lessons too, Melanie! I do think it will be lifelong, but hopefully His purification upon my soul will result in 1 Thessalonians 5:18! :) And yes, I love Spurgeon quotes! Happy Christmas!

  8. Gail McNeeley

    THIS is wonderful fabulous! Thanks to you and Liz and Amber (Hutchins). I’m totally in to creating a beautiful DOable setting for my Thanksliving family.I pray you have a precious time, even if anybody happens to be/get grumpy! ( 8

  9. Ervina

    This is wonderful, every single little last gold and white bit of it. I hope to make life as special and happy and grateful for my little family as you do for yours. xoxo

  10. amber@grace.to.be

    i just love {LOVE} your heart for your family~ these kind of things are so noticed by our kids… especially our girls i think who are more into the details. it’s easy and without even really intending to do it to save the “special dinners” for guests. but i know my girls eyes light up like christmas trees when they see the table all set pretty and something out of the norm. i’m sure my son’s eyes are lit up too…. inside! ;))) he’s just more about the food than any of the little pretties! haha.

    have a wonderful weekend, friend. xo

    1. The Cottage at 341 South Post author

      I know, it’s SO fun when you have little girls who just get so excited about little things like pretty tables and china. :) It definitely makes the inspiration feels like a worth-while attempt! And hopefully, they’ll be able to join me and even create for me one day. :) xoxo

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