DIY Seasonal Tablescapes


DIY Tablescapes

Table settings are the centerpiece of every holiday dinner. For thanksgiving many people want to see fall assortments with turkeys and cornucopias. For Christmas it is usually Santa and reindeers, maybe even bells. But those are all traditional designs and not very original. So this year why not try one of these original designs that you can DIY with a few simple supplies and a little bit of imagination.

Thanksgiving

Not everyone experiences Thanksgiving in the traditional sense. Sometimes you live far away from family, or you don’t experience the changes of the seasons due to different climate settings in your city or continent. With these factors in mind, adding a bit of family or seasonal décor can really help you get into the holiday spirit.

Seasonal décor can be done with a few simple supplies and a creative imagination. One of the most popular items that have graced tables for centuries is the pine cone. By simply picking up some pinecones from the front yard spray painting them with a little bit of white snow paint or silver paint for color, you can add just a touch of some of that holiday spirit to your table. But don’t stop there. Maybe get a few thick sticks about two inches long and carve a slit into them for holding place cards on the table. This adds a bit of rustic to your table and brings the seasonal concept indoors.  Some other awesome ideas are to use fresh herbs from your garden as twine for wrapping your silverware with.

Napkins are a great way to add a bit of color to your table settings. Napkins do not have to be store bought. You can make your own napkins for your table with some simple equipment and a bit of time. Sewing napkins together is a pretty simple task and allows you to choose the fabric you would like to use. In case you don’t have a sewing machine or know how to sew, you can always use burlap as a napkin, silverware holder.

Burlap is a very affordable option when it comes to decorating. There are many things that can be done with burlap to add character to your table. Burlap is very durable and can hold paint very well. If you are into stamps or scrapbooking, then you will know that with an ink pad and some seasonal stamps you can add an elegant runner to your dinner table for Thanksgiving or any holiday for that matter.

 

Christmas

Christmas is the time when there is snow on the ground, stars are shining bright, and Santa is on every child’s mind. Many people decorate their home with lights and a Christmas tree with gifts wrapped in pretty paper, but occasionally they forget to decorate their table setting.  One interesting thing you can do with your Christmas table setting is to get chalkboard paper or  craft paper and chalkboard paint and make a table runner that you guests can leave a message to you and your family on. This will be something that can be admired for years. Other options for table setting décor is to use red and white ribbons to wrap around the stems of your wine glasses for a decorative bow, or red and white pipe cleaners twisted together to form your last initial for the table.

Spruce leaves are a great way to add the Christmas tree smell to your home for the holidays. Making a candle holder out of a hollowed out piece of wood and adding spruce leaves around the outside can add that rustic outdoorsy feel along with the Christmas tree smell.

Christmas is another time when Burlap would come in handy. Making a burlap placemat with holly leaves stamped on the corners could add a little Christmas spirit to any table. Along with the placemats a few sections of linen cloth in a 12×12 section surged on the edges can add a light weight table napkin that can be rolled up and tide off nicely with a holly wreath or set of jingle bells.

All of these ideas are a great way to add character to your dinner table for the holidays. So this holiday season use your imagination and decorate with what is naturally available in your yard or home. And most importantly have FUN

 

Last Minute Thanksgiving Dessert Ideas


dessert round-up

I have been collecting these for weeks!  If you’re looking to wow your guests this Thanksgiving; I suggest you try some of these fabulous desserts♥ 

Oatmeal Cake with Nutella Frosting Recipe ( hey, there’s oatmeal it’s healthy)

Butter Crunch

Sour Cream Cheesecake Recipe (you had me at sour cream)

Fresh Figs Drizzled with Honey and Almonds

Aunt Bonnie’s Pecan Pie Recipe (everybody needs an Aunt Bonnie)

Magic bars VS Hello Dollies

Chocolate Pecan Pie

Chocolate Cola Cake Recipe(this is so wrong it’s right)

Jewish Apple Cake Recipe

Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie

Frozen Pumpkin Pie Yogurt

Apple Cranberry Crisp

Southern Brown Sugar Pecan Pie

I hope you enjoy this list of incredible desserts; I know I did!

Happy Thanksgiving:)

Ultimate Gift Guide for Disney Lovers


best-gifts-for-disney-lovers

 

If you’re looking to find a gift for your Disney Loving friends then stop on by April’s site for an amazing list of gifts that would make even the pickiest Disney Fan excited.. click Entry-Form to enter her April’s Gift Card Giveaway!

 

 

The Appalachian Trail: A Unit Study..The Old Schoolhouse Review


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Homeschooling is a series of choices, and one of the most important ones is curriculum.  This year our homeschool has embraced the idea of researching topics through Unit Studies. So, when the Review Crew Blog at The Old Schoolhouse asked us to share our impression of Donna Rees, Appalachian Trail Unit Study with our readers we jumped at the chance . We were so impressed with how well-appointed  this unit study was for both student and teacher. I was pleased at how adaptable it was too; I could utilize it for both our  4th & 7th grader.  With such easy to follow instructions and activities our 7th grader was able to do  a lot of the work independently. This allowed me to spend more time exploring with our 4th grader; who requires some additional assistance.  Donna also leaves  no stone unturned covering  every subject from Science, Math, Reading  & Spelling to Art and even Physical Education. In addition to her very well laid out syllabus there are a plethora of resources so student & teacher are able to take the subject as far as they desire.

 

 

 

If you’re looking for a fun and exciting new way to bring materials to your children allow me to suggest Unit Studies.  Make sure to start your adventure into this amazing style of learning with Donna Rees, Appalachian Trail Unit Study you will enjoy every minute hiking through this academic trail.

To find out more information about The Old Schoolhouse or Donna Rees click here

Got Melk? A Fun New Way to Celebrate Advent


 

 

 

This Advent bench the Elf on the Shelf and fall in love with Melk the Christmas Monkey.  There are so many fun ways to celebrate the Advent season but so much of what the season is about gets lost.  Melk is a gift given to our children by the very talented author Katie Hornor who blogs at Paradise Praises.  Katie along with her husband and five children share their love for God as missionaries in Mexico.  I was so honored that she asked us to share her marvelous new book. Melk the Christmas Monkey  The purpose behind this new holiday favorite is to teach God’s Character through Bible Lessons and Activities that the whole family can enjoy during the Christmas season!

 

More about this cute fuzzy guy and the lessons he shares.  There are few ways this sweet little rascal can show up at your home by December 1st.

 

1st Option:

E-book only format: The book contains 30 fun Bible lessons and activities that the entire family can enjoy during the Christmas Advent/season. The activities could also be easily adapted for a Sunday school class or Children’s Bible club. I have passed this on to Sophia’s Girl Scout and Girls in Action Leaders too. There are 90 pages including access to customizable letters to your children from their Christmas friend and  lots of other free downloads. Ebook delivered immediately to your email!

 

 

2nd Option:

Melk, the Christmas Monkey (ebook+monthly letters) I just love added touch with the monthly letter from Melk..

With this option you will receive Ebook and monthly mail from Melk, himself.  Each month a new Bible lesson and activity will be delivered to your email (12 months)!

 

Lastly, there are Melk’s color pages 4 in all. I have to admit we all enjoyed coloring in these precious pages.

 

Melk the Monkey is a wonderful new friend to add to your holiday traditions. For more information about Melk or to purchase the this delightful E-Book click here.

 

Enjoy a Free Chapter below:

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. See our Affiliate disclosure statement  here

 

 

 

Another Great Giveaway


Enter to Win a Premier Jewelry Mother of Pearl Bubble Necklace
It’s the perfect shade of winter white for all of your holiday parties!!
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Esther over at My Balanced Plate is offering a beautiful piece for your holiday jewelry collection,
                                                                                                                                                       Entry-Form

Adventure Virtual Story Book Club: Pilgrims & Indians


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I have to be honest I wasn’t sure how we were going to approach this months topic Pilgrims & Indians. Our kids are older and construction paper head dresses and hand traced turkeys were no longer an acceptable craft idea.. Picture books have been shelved for some time too.  So, we decided to take a more academic path and delve into the historical events that took place nearly four hundred years ago.

 

The book we chose was The Mayflower and the Pilgrims’ New World written by Nathaniel Philbrick.  This book tells the story of the heroic journey the pilgrims made to find a home where they could worship freely and make a better life for themselves.  The book is for those who want to know the background of the Plymouth settlement and what came to pass after the “First Thanksgiving.” Philbrick tells the story of the Pilgrims journey to America and the difficulties they faced. He shares that the Pilgrims went to great lengths to preserve their relationship with the Native American people.  He also divulges the events that would eventually destroy their once peaceful union.  I recommend this book for 6th grade and Up.

 

Here are some more books that we recommend for readers interested in finding out more historical facts on the Pilgrims & Indians:

Squanto, Friend Of The Pilgrims (Scholastic Biography)

Sarah Morton’s Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Girl (Scholastic Bookshelf)  (Sophia really enjoyed this one)

Samuel Eaton’s Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Boy

Tapenum’s Day: A Wampanoag Indian Boy In Pilgrim Times

 

OK I had to share these super cute Pilgrim & Indian craft ideas from some very creative bloggers I know:)

Pilgrim Color Pages

Thanksgiving Day Coloring Book

Turkey Hand Print Craft

25 Super Cute Turkey Crafts

adventure book club

 

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For more Pilgrim & Indian ideas check out my co-hosts:

Kersandra from Our Adventure Story

Christa from Little Log Cottage School

Christina from Classroom to Homeroom

Jennifer from Faith & Good Works

Organically Healthy Holidays


Staying healthy during the holidays can be a very challenging endeavor. Most people don’t realize how many calories they are taking in when they eat that delicious ham, or those butter loaded mashed potatoes. Although the holidays are meant for food and fun with family and friends, it can be done with a healthy, organic menu that will please even your most finicky eaters  .

 

turkey organic

Healthy Meat options

Many people celebrate Thanksgiving with a huge Turkey slathered in butter and rarely consider the health effects of over using the butter and salt. But there are delicious alternatives to that Turkey that has been prepared with unhealthy ingredients. One way is to prepare a Turkey that it is healthier for you and your guests is to eliminate the butter and salt all together.  Instead of using butter use lemon juice from fresh lemon trees and a sea salt and pepper rub. Be light on the salt and pepper but generous enough that the flavor is added. Another way to ensure you’re getting a freshest turkey is to purchase one a from a local turkey farmer.  If this is not an option, free range/hormone free turkeys can easily be found local fresh market.

If you want to eliminate the meat from your meal all together then try a Tofu alternative or a vegan loaf. Tofurky is an alternative to a real meat turkey, however, not everyone is impressed with the Tofurky taste and texture. A veggie vegan loaf is a more thought out alternative to a traditional turkey dinner. With a Vegan loaf you simply pick your veggies, your wheat’s, your fillers such as seeds and grains and your favorite liquids and binders and make a meat loaf style loaf without the meat. This can provide not only an alternative to a turkey dinner, but added nutrients and vegetables to your dinner arrangement.

Side dishes

Side dishes can be a fun way to play around with organic vegetables and fruits. Many people use the traditional potatoes in a mashed potatoes or baked potatoes version, why not change that and use sweet potatoes with natural cinnamon and honey to add an organic natural taste to your menu. You can also mash-up the sweet potatoes and make a mashed potatoes out of them without having to use all the butter and cream to make it fluffy and rich.  Other side dish alternatives would include sliced carrots from your garden, when you combine carrots sliced like chips and a touch of natural vanilla flavoring and honey, these our kids are an all time favorite.

A casserole with squash, zucchini, tomatoes, onions, and potatoes added onto your menu is another great way to get those vegetables into your meal and benefits from the added vitamins and minerals associated with fresh vegetables. By slicing each vegetable into chips sized slices and layering them in a backing dish with a little extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, pepper, garlic, and fresh parmesan sprinkled on top and baking it in the oven, you can create a delicious side dish that everyone will love.

Now that you have a better idea of how to prepare a healthy organic Thanksgiving Dinner for your friends and family, it’s time to go grocery shopping.

PS Fresh Markets staff members are extremely knowledgeable about these things; if you’re not sure ask and they will be happy to provide you with healthy Thanksgiving dinner options.

 

Healthy Thanksgiving Cookbooks

Vegan Thanksgiving Feast: Delicious Vegan Recipes to Celebrate the Holidays

Paleo Pumpkin Recipes: The Top 25 Easy Paleo Pumpkin Recipes for Gluten-Free Holiday’s Treats: Healthy Lifestyle and Traditions (Top 25 Easy Recipes Book 1)

Delicious Holiday Treats: A Collection of Healthy Holiday Recipes ( The Ultimate Book For Christmas Recipes, Thanksgiving, Holiday Recipes, Seasonal Recipes And Dessert Recipes)

 

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Surviving Holiday Travel with Kids


 

 

traveling with kids

 

The Holiday season has arrived – and with it chaotic schedules and those terrifying car rides to visit family.   Below you will find some fun activities and a few simple tips to help you arrive alive:) 

 

1. Unplug! Yes, I said it dump the hand-held games and movies. Both are known to stimulate children. And do you really want an over stimulated child sitting in your backseat for 10 hours?

2. Bring healthy snacks like nuts, bananas, humus,veggies and water.(not too much water you do not want to have to stop 22x for potty breaks)

3. Allow each person to bring their favorite CD and have a sing off. No, I am not a huge fan of Taylor Swift but if Sophia wants to belt out “Shake It Off” and it stops her from belting her brother then I am all for a sing off.

4. Encourage your kids to bring one of their favorite books or surprise them with a special book for the car ride. We bought Logan Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul & Sophia The Magician’s Elephant she is a huge Kate DiCamillo fan.

5. Another family favorite is Super Silly Mad Libs Junior or Christmas Fun Mad Libs.

Now, I asked some of my blogging friends to share some other fun coloring pages, puzzles and more to help keep your kids engaged. You might even be able to sneak in a few chapters of your favorite book. I will be bringing What’s So Amazing About Grace? ( a little light reading:)

Check these fun activities out:

Thanksgiving Coloring Pages Printable from More than a Mom of Three

Thanksgiving Day Coloring Book from Mom’s Madhouse

Thanksgiving Printable Pack Pre K-2 from Embark on the Journey

Bring some Thanksgiving Picture Books from Embark on the Journey

Sophia loves to cut things out, so I decided to get her started on these cute Thanksgiving Place Cards from Typically Simple.

Your holiday travel does NOT have to be a nightmare. As it is true with most things in life, our attitude and preparation will determine the environment around us. So, relax, pack early and have fun!  You may even be lucky enough to drive past me as I am screeching out Sam Smith’s “Stay with Me.”

 

Last Weeks Favorites:

Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims

Holiday Toy Guide for Science Lovers

Geeky Educational Link Up Week 29

geek link post

 

 

 

 

 

My esteemed co-hosts

Meagan from More Than A Coupon Queen

Jess from Benoit Academy

Jodi from NY Homeschool

Adelien from Blessed Learners

Marie-Claire from Quick Start Homeschool

 

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