Cranberry Thanksgiving


Cranberry Thanksgiving by Wende and Harry Devlin is our Thanksgiving-themed featured book.

Heritage 2 Legacy

This month we are inviting you to use Devlins’ book as a prompt to share a story about a Thanksgiving day from your past.   Do you remember a Thanksgiving where a special guest was invited?  Is there someone whose presence at the table meant Thanksgiving to you?  Is there a specific tradition or food item that you remember that you could share?   Remember, you are using this book, or another book you have chosen, as a prompt to share a personal story.  Don’t make your story too broad.  Leave another Thanksgiving memory-moment for next year’s storytelling gift.

Don’t miss Mary Byrne Kline’s upcoming “Love, Button” post and another podcast from Gil Moegerle, where they share two examples of family storytelling based on Cranberry Thanksgiving by the Devlins. Review

Today was Thanksgiving, Grandmother’s favorite day of the year. The cooking was done and her famous cranberry bread was cooling on the wooden board. Every year Grandmother invited a guest for dinner and allowed Maggie to do the same. “Ask someone poor or lonely,” she always said.

She wasn’t happy upon learning that Maggie had invited the unsavory Mr. Whiskers to dinner. Would her secret cranberry bread recipe be safe with him in the house?

After a long absence this delightful 1971 classic is back and so is the secret recipe for Grandmother’s Famous Cranberry Bread!


From the book, Cranberry Thanksgiving:

Maggie darted about like a black-stockinged bird, in search of wood for the fireplace. She and her grandmother lived at the edge of a lonely cranberry bog in New England, and the winds were cold at the edge of the sea. Today, Mr. Whiskers was helping Maggie with her chores and they soon had armfuls of firewood.

“Happy Thanksgiving Day, Mr. Whiskers.” Maggie smiled at her friend.

That wasn’t his real name of course. It was Uriah Peabody, but Maggie had called him Mr. Whiskers ever since she could remember. Maggie was very fond of Mr. Whispers. Her grandmother was not. “Too many whiskers and not enough soap,” she often said to Maggie.

Another illustration to enjoy.



Consider making cranberry bread after reading Cranberry Thanksgiving and sharing your own story.  Some readers used their own recipes as they found the one in the book more cake-like than a moist bread.   I’m trying it for the first time in two weeks… I’ll let you know!   If you have a best-ever cranberry bread recipe, please share it with us so we can spread the word.   Thanks!


Deni Corbett

CLICK HERE for a delightful Chalk Art Tutorial from You ARE and Artist.
Learn how to create Mr. Whiskers himself (in 5 minutes)!
Many thanks to Tricia Hodges for giving us permission to post her tutorial here.


Read, Repeat, and Recite


‘Five Silly Turkeys’

Read, Repeat, and Recite this Fall Finger Play

Once Upon A Story there was a Thanksgiving fingerplay-book called, “Five Silly Turkeys.” A finger play is a short song that often rhymes, and is paired with finger motions. (example – 5 Little Pumpkins and The Eensy-Weensy Spider) I love any finger play that has the ‘5 little’ theme and I especially love them when they have a matching book! “Five Silly Turkeys” is about 5 turkeys that have fun together, but one keeps leaving for a silly reason. At the end, all 5 turkeys end up eating a Thanksgiving feast together!

img_3866Singing, “Five Silly Turkeys,” is fun, but reading it is even better! Use this Thanksgiving finger play-book to help your little learner develop recalling skills, hear rhyme, and strengthen their ability to memorize through repetition. Nemours, “Reading BrightStart” states that, “Repetition helps to improve speed, increases confidence, and strengthens the connections in the brain that help children learn.”* “Five Silly Turkeys,” is perfect for giving your little learner a repetitive and interactive reading experience this fall season!

WANT MORE? When I use this finger play book to teach, I also discuss the following:

= rhyming words

= subtraction

= cause and effect: why does each turkey leave?

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Thanksgiving is such a sweet time! I hope you have fun reciting this silly turkey finger play with your little learner! Click HERE to visit my TeachersPayTeachers store to download and print my ‘5 Silly Turkeys’ recalling stick puppets! FREE for the next 3 days :) Use these stick puppets while you read, repeat, and recite this adorable Thanksgiving finger play. Children learn best through multi-sensory learning, and using my turkey recalling puppets will give your little learner just that!

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Happy Repeating and Happy Thanksgiving!

Gobble Gobble!

~i’d love for you to visit my website and check out my newly, published early sight word readers!~

Blessings~ Joanna <3



T is for Thanksgiving

Welcome to Fireflies Presents…

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It is my hope that the ideas we share will be the spark that motivates you to intentionally celebrate your family; your children.  These memories are designed to be created in your family room, around a puppet theater, with the smell of fresh popcorn wafting from the kitchen.  Mary’s first show was outside in a local park.   She strung the Fireflies’ puppet theatre between two trees and Fireflies Presents became a Kline Thanksgiving tradition.

The Kline Thanksgiving Show

The Kline Family Thanksgiving Show

We have selected the content for Fireflies Presents to work with one or more children between the ages of 3 – 6.   However, you can easily use the script with children of  all ages.  Simply have an older child or an adult, stand beside the puppet theatre and read the script.   There is a lot of parent involvement and very little preparation or practice needed on the part of the child(ren).   We kept it simple…promise!  Our goal is to inspire you to establish a new family tradition – a legacy moment.

What is a Fireflies Presents Family Night?

Fireflies Presents celebrates the imagination and creativity of what it means to be a child and it begins with a theme and a ticket.
This month the theme is thankfulness:  “T is for Thanksgiving”.
1.     Select an evening for family and friends to gather and pass out the provided tickets as a reminder.  Perhaps this is the entertainment before or after your family Thanksgiving dinner.   Create your program (also provided) if you want to pass out a personalized program at the door.  (May I be so bold as to say, you DO want them – they will be a forever reminder of the evening complete with autographs!)   Simply download the template and fill in your actors’ names and the specifics of your Fireflies Presents evening.  Next, make your popcorn cones, practice once or twice and you are ready for your show.
Making our popcorn cones.

Making our popcorn cones.

photo (53) Puppets?  Check!  Let the show begin…

On the evening of Fireflies Presents…

2.     Children collect the tickets at the front door. Watch your child’s face light up as they realize they are a part of something very special; something that requires a real ticket!


3.     Every person attending is then given a program & popcorn cone filled with hot salted popcorn.   You may want to keep a large refill bowl nearby so that guests can refill as needed.

Even the actors get free popcorn BEFORE the show! Is this a great country or what?

Even the actors get free popcorn BEFORE the show! Is this a great country or what?

4.     Guests take their seats in chairs that are lined up in front of a doorway that holds the Fireflies Presents puppet theater.  (or in front of a box with a tablecloth draped over it…)

Some of the guests can barely contain their excitement!

Some of the guests can barely contain their excitement!

5.     SHOWTIME!
Fireflies Presents…  “T is for Thanksgiving” We have created a simple script for you to follow – nothing to memorize unless you have older children who are able and willing.  Mainly an adult or older child reads the script while the child manipulates the puppets.  Or perhaps there are puppets to go along with a family sing-a-long!   Please feel free to pick and choose – make it uniquely yours based on the make-up of your family.

"Welcome to the show. We hope you like it and come back soon."

“Welcome to the show. We hope you like it and come back soon.”

We’ve provided family sing-a-long sheets.  Print out one for each guest and hand them  out (before or after you pass out the popcorn…)   Remember, the popcorn is essential to a successful evening according to my 3 – 9 year old littles.   It doesn’t really matter what else happens, as long as there is popcorn.




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Storytime as part of the show? Why not?  Especially if the storyteller is Daddy!

6.     Applause and Autographs!  Even if your child can only make a mark for their signature, ask for their autograph.  Imagine how special that “mark” will be in 20 years.

Your autograph, please!

Your autograph, please!

7.     Reception
Serve refreshments that correspond with the theme of the evening.  Yep, we’ve even supplied the recipes.  If you are following our posts, you will find them there [Apron Adventures].  Below is a picture of the boys making acorns – Rachel’s clever Thanksgiving treat.


Making our “Apron Adventures” acorns before the show.


Or maybe just the beginning of a tradition of
family Fireflies’ Presents evenings at your home.

We encourage you to create a legacy moments with your children this Thanksgiving!
Here is all you need!

Adorable Thanksgiving Recipes

Thanksgiving Puppets

T is for Thanksgiving SCRIPT

Our sincere desire is to create moments where your family connects and creates a moment; a legacy moment – one that you will remember for years to come.   In 20 years(?) when you see your children replicating these experiences with their children, you will realize that you did indeed create significant legacy moments as a family.

Deni Corbett

Check out our TPT store for more scripts & puppets – more opportunities for legacy moments in your home!

Click HERE

Through the Woods…

November Reflections
Over the River and Through the Woods…

Load the picnic basket, lawn chairs, old blankets, and be careful to keep the crockpot level!  Are all the pies in? Okay it’s “over the river and through the woods” we go…

For many years our family (now 15 of us), along with uncles, aunts, cousins, and grandparents have celebrated Thanksgiving out in the woods by gathering at a state park.  Living in Florida provides us the opportunity to enjoy being outdoors late in November.  Tables are lined with crockpots of potatoes and stuffing, trays are laden with roasted and fried turkey, an array of pies look tempting, and a multitude of festive dishes add to the excitement.  Coffee and hot cider bubble on cook stoves.  Lawn chairs, blankets, even playpens are spread around; adults are visiting and kids are throwing Frisbees and acorns at each other.

Just before eating, everyone gathers, encircling the tables, and hands are joined.  Attempts to “shush” the youngest ones are often futile, but no one seems to mind.  Every year we would bow our heads as Great Grandpa, or “Big PopPop” as the children called him, would pray.  His aged, raspy voice always began, “Dear Heavenly Father” and as he continued, with the campfire crackling in the background, I smiled at this precious moment with wiggling babies, gangly teens, aging parents, young families, all gathered together in God’s beautiful outdoors.  Soon the moment passed and chaos reigned as manners were replaced by hunger!

After everyone has eaten, it is time for the unwritten tradition of “the hike into the woods”.  This involves a couple of the daddies and all of the children.  (Mommies love this tradition!)  It also provided Great Grandpa the opportunity for a quick nap.  Before long the hikers have returned with treasures of an abandoned nest, some “priceless” rocks, part of a snake skin, some forlorn looking weeds, and a weird bug or two in a zip-lock bag.  The second round of nibbling at the food and diving into the pies begins, and the cameras start to make an appearance.  Each year we always question as to why this is thought of now that the children are tired and dirty from hiking!  Soon the afternoon sun begins to fade and with regret we know it’s time to pack up for another year.

This year as “We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing,” we’ll be missing that sweet, raspy voice saying, “Dear Heavenly Father.”  I know I will always hear it in my heart, and that our dear Great Grandpa will be saying it in person to his Heavenly Father this Thanksgiving.  And for that I am truly thankful.

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Kline Family Thanksgiving 2013


Mary Byrne Kline