Not to get all churchy on people, or anything — this is a completely nonreligious, ecumenical blog — but yesterday the visiting pastor at our church had some words of wisdom during the Children’s Moment that I think are worth passing on, as we enter the month in which we talk about thankfulness (as if it should be disregarded the rest of the time!).  She said to the kids, “It’s called a treat because you haven’t done anything to earn it and you don’t have to have it.  And when you get a treat in your life, remember, the person who gave it to you didn’t have to give you anything.  Nobody has to open their doors on Halloween night and give you candy — they could shut off their lights and hide in the cellar!  So when they do open the door, and they do give you a treat, that’s a moment for you to stop and be really thankful.  Be thankful that they gave you something you didn’t earn.  Be thankful they chose to share what they have with you.  And then go home and think about all the other things you have that people gave to you not because they had to, but because they wanted to.  And be thankful for those things.”

She went on and made some religious connections, but the message was clear, and it stuck not just with me but with L.  He drew a picture in Sunday School and told the teacher that it was his family — “because they’re a treat and I am thankful for them.”  (Ready?  All together now: Awwwww.)  I mention all of this not only because it’s adorable and thought-provoking and worth sharing, but because in this month of November, I know we’ll all be focusing on gratitude with our kids and, hopefully, within ourselves. I’d like to challenge us all to think each day of three “treats” in our lives for which we are thankful, and to think of one “treat” we can share with others.  If you’re up for it, feel free to post your thoughts in the comments section throughout the month or on my Twitter feed.

And now, something for which I hope we’re all thankful: The November Meal Plan!

Monday, 11/1: Spitfire shrimp (with a less-spicy batch for the kids) and veggie quesadillas
Tuesday, 11/2: Slow cooker — Mom’s spaghetti bolognese, salad, veggie rolls
Wednesday, 11/3: Chicken pot pie with pumpkin crust (made with leftovers of our Sunday roast chicken), fruit platter
Thursday, 11/4: Mom and Dad in town — Meatloaf with tomato-bacon relish, cheesy noodles, roast veggies
Friday, 11/5: Fend night
Saturday, 11/6: Pork chops, sweet potatoes, salad, sugar snaps
Sunday, 11/7: Mom and Dad’s choice
Monday, 11/8: No-fuss chicken, yellow rice, veggies
Tuesday, 11/9: Slow cooker — chicken sausage and pepper sandwiches, fruit platter
Wednesday, 11/10: Homemade pizzas, salad
Thursday, 11/11: J.’s request: Simple salt-and-pepper salmon, potatoes, veggies
Friday, 11/12: Fend night
Saturday, 11/13: Pork tenderloin with sundried tomato stuffing, couscous, salad and veg.
Sunday, 11/14: Butternut squash lasagna, salad, homemade bread
Monday, 11/15: Turkey tamale pie, avocado salad, fruit platter
Tuesday, 11/16: Slow cooker — honey-mustard chicken sandwiches, veggie platter, crispy potato rounds
Wednesday, 11/17: Breakfast for dinner (may do baked eggs and fruit cobbler)
Thursday, 11/18: Ravioli with marinara, salad, homemade bread
Friday, 11/19: Fend night
Saturday, 11/20: Steak and mushroom pie, green salad, roast veggies
Sunday, 11/21: Cioppino, garlic bread, vegetable antipasto platter
Monday, 11/22: Pistachio-crusted chicken with DIY salad platter
Tuesday, 11/23: Slow cooker — Chicken soft tacos with guacamole and rice
Wednesday, 11/24: Tuna artichoke panini, fruit platter, veggie chips
Thursday, 11/25: Happy Thanksgiving!
Friday, 11/26: Fend night
Saturday, 11/27: Cheeseburgers, sweet potato fries, fruit
Sunday, 11/28: Salmon and rice strudel, salad, roasted veggies
Monday, 11/29: Sweet potato bisque and sandwiches
Tuesday, 11/30: Slow cooker — pork and black bean chili, baked multigrain chips, avocado salad

Happy November!  Leave recipe requests, questions, etc. in the comments!