Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Something to Celebrate: Entering In

So, I had another post written for today. A fun post about gifts, and my favorite places to get the best goodies...but all that can wait. Because, I can't let this month slip by, without somehow reminding us about what we entering into with the coming of December.

This past Sunday was the first Sunday in advent. My husband and I had taught Sunday School at the first service, and so after getting all the kids squared away, we were a little late getting into the second service for worship. As we rushed in, I saw that it had already happened. The first advent candle had already been lit. All year, we wait for it, and I had missed it. I knew that it was the prophecy candle, but still, I hadn't really been a part of the tradition. It had already happened, and I wasn't there, and advent had already begun, and I missed out.

But that's such a lie.

The real meaning is so much greater than that. Greater than making Christmas lists, and doing early morning shopping. Greater than how we wrap our cute presents, and how we set our table. The real celebration is found somewhere far more simple, rustic, amazing, and mysterious.

Two of my best friends happen to be amazing writers, and I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to bless you with the gift of their writing. As I read their words, the truth of what we are entering into became fresh and new once again.

As we enter into the season of Advent, I'd encourage you to make room in your heart and mind to celebrate the truth of what Christ did for us. He came for you. He came for me. As we enter into this great celebration, turn your heart to Him. He will always be waiting for us, with eager anticipation to show us what He has done for us. To remind us how He loves us.

Tomorrow is Dec. 1st. We'll start our Jesse Tree tradition with our kids, and if I can find it in all the boxes, maybe hang up our Advent Calendar. If you've never done a Jesse Tree before, it's a great way to make the real meaning of Christmas come alive to your children. Here's a link to download a free Jesse Tree Devotional Book. What a gift to us!

If there's something that you're celebrating, a picture, or a few words, I'd love to know! Link up in the comment section and we'll have ourselves a good ol' time.

Well, that concludes our November series, but check back tomorrow for a great idea on how to get your Christmas cards free this year! Also, I'd love to hear from you...what has been your favorite post/subject this month? I want to make sure you're loving what you're reading. Tell me your favorites from the Something to Celebrate series, so that I can be sure to keep 'em coming!

Monday, November 29, 2010

StC: Monday Give Away!

You know what they say about pictures. Well, I'll be short on words and simply show you how great our final Something to Celebrate give away is.

Meredith Rowe from Visive Photography has graciously offered to give away a free mini session! And talk about dreamy...from the time you click on her site, you're swept away. Not to mention that this giveaway is just in time for the holidays! Go check out her fabulous site, and then leave a comment saying what type of session you would use it for, and you'll be entered!

However, if you are not local, I want you to be able to get in on the fun for today's give away as well. Here's what you could win if you are not somewhere close to Piedmont Triad of North Carolina or Jacksonville, FL. Just comment and let me know which one you're entering for.
Also, because I want to go out with a bang, if you have a story or picture of celebration to share, link up in the comment section tomorrow.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

StC: Leaves for Me!

There are just some things that are too good to resist. Like taking a pinch from the cookie dough before it's made into cookies. Or unwrapping a gift as soon as you get it. I have to say, jumping into a huge pile of leaves is one of those things for my kids and I.

The other day we were taking a walk, and my son saw a huge pile of leaves by the side of the road. It was all I could do to keep him from jumping right in, but I knew whoever had spent the time gathering the leaves would probably not appreciate them being scattered everywhere. However, I knew once we got home, we could make our own huge pile and enjoy pouncing right in.

I know it's not a huge thing to say yes to, but saying yes to things like this, is like gold to your little ones. I've found that the more little things I can say yes to, the more they respect me on the things I say no to. Sometimes, the "Don't do that!" or "No!" comes out a little too easily, and I have to remind myself to let go of the bothersome pet peeve to not get leaves scattered throughout my house. Or to not mind if I have to do a little extra laundry, or give the kids an extra bath. In the grand scheme of things, it's really not a big deal. I'd much rather have my kids know what it feels like to jump into a huge pile of leaves, than for them to always want to, and never have the privilege.

As I was with my little boy the other day, he started throwing leaves up over his head, and all around him. I heard him chanting something as he did it, but I couldn't really make it out. As I leaned in, I heard him saying, "Celebration! It's a celebration!"

Let's take a lesson from our little ones and join in the celebration.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

StC: Give Up on Gift Wrap...A Tutorial

Now that we're onto thinking and preparing for Christmas, I figured I would let you in on another one of my secrets for saving. Remember how I told you that I don't iron.... well, here's another surprise...I don't buy wrapping paper. Now, I do wrap gifts. Just not with wrapping paper. And, hopefully the receiver of the gift feels tremendously celebrated and surprised just to see the gift. As a lover of gifts, I've come to believe that the presentation is half the fun of opening the gift. Wanna know how?

Usually, I start with wrapping the box in simple craft paper. (Make sure you buy your brown paper in the hardware or shipping section of the store, and not in the wrapping or craft section...it costs a lot less and you get a ton more!)

Then, I get out my leftover fabric scraps, ribbons and raffia. I just save them from past gifts, or will stock up on ribbon, when I find it on really good deals.

Pick your ribbons, according to size and type of gift.

Begin by using the longest ribbon to tie up the gift.
(Look at my spiritual gift. haha)

Layer ribbons one on top of the next.
Throw in some contrasting colors to give your presents more pop.

Embellish till your hearts content.

For girls, I love giving a fun hair thing for a gift topper.

For boys, sometimes I'll tie on a car or a little gadget of some kind.

Sometimes, if I'm in a hurry, I tie up gift boxes without wrapping them.
It still looks fun with all the colorful ribbon.
Or, I'll use a craft bag, stuff some tissue paper in, and tie up the handles with tulle.

If you're fed up on spending extra money from your Christmas budget on gift wrap, go for the more economical (and whimsical!) version of wrapping gifts.

Friday, November 26, 2010

StC: A Little Black Friday Sale For You

The only year that I remember getting up at 4 am to go shopping on Black Friday, was the year that I had just had my son. He was only 3 weeks old, and I'd do anything to get out for a little shopping, no matter the time of night. Because of having been so pregnant up until November, I had done little Christmas shopping, and that mixed with knowing that I had just fed him and had at least 2 hours before I'd have to be back to feed him again, made me jump at the chance to go shopping. I still remember where he was sleeping when I left, right beside my husband. I remember admiring them for just a second, and thinking how similar their profiles were. Then, I was off!

Most Black Fridays, though, I am not so brave. Nor do I have the tenacity of some of my friends to arise when it's pitch black, and fight the crowds for the best deals of the season.

However, I do love a good sale. And, thankfully, I'm having one. All my market totes are 20% off now until Monday at 8 am. In my opinion, these are one of my favorite Christmas gifts to give. Ever. But, I am kind of biased. I have given them as teacher gifts and you wouldn't believe all the squeals I get. I give them as a family gift, and fill them with yummy goodies. I give them to college students in their school colors. I can never have enough of these things, so in my mind, other people feel the same way! All this to say, they're hardly ever on sale, so if you're thinking of getting one, now is the time!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

StC: For Everything Thy Goodness Sends


adjective | thank-fel |
pleased and relieved; expressing gratitude and relief:
an earnest and thankful prayer

When I think about putting into words what Thanksgiving is all about, I can't help but hear Marcie's voice inside my head...

"You heard what Linus was saying out there. Those early Pilgrims were thankful for what had happened to them, and we should be thankful, too. We should just be thankful for being together. I think that's what they mean by 'Thanksgiving,' Charlie Brown."

Even though it may surprise you, I will say, that it's not always easy to celebrate and give thanks. Sometimes people that we want to be with, cannot be there. And sometimes the ones we're with, don't always make it easy to be with. Sometimes things happen that we are not thankful for, and feelings of thankfulness seems far off and unreachable.

Last night, just before I was getting ready to go ice skating with my daughter, I realized that my mom's ring, that I wear constantly, was gone. I had lost my mother's diamond ring. The ring that she designed the same year I was born, that I used to spend hours counting all the tiny diamonds in it, just to make sure that all of them were there...is gone. I've gone and looked at every possible spot it might be, and its. just. not. there. Even though it's just an object, it's so much more to me than that. It feels like I've lost another piece of her. A piece of her heart, and who she was.

My sweet, optimistic little girl said on the way home, "We can spend all day tomorrow looking for it." I sighed and said, "No, we can't. Tomorrow's Thanksgiving." And nothing in me felt like being thankful for what today is.

But then, I look around. I see the faces around me that are only there because a good God decided to give me the most tremendous people to have in my life. My amazing, God-loving husband, my beautiful and precious two children, my parents and my husband's parents, our sisters and brothers, our nephews and nieces, our cousins, our grandparents, our aunts, our uncles, our friends. Their faces flood my mind, and I realize how truly grateful I am. I realize that's what Thanksgiving is all about.

I hope that your day today is full of rest and peace. Take the time to enjoy celebrating with your sweet families, and don't forget to give thanks...even if it doesn't come easy.

"For each new morning with its light,

For rest and shelter of the night,

For health and food,

For love and friends,

For everything Thy goodness sends."

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

StC: Traditions Shared

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!

So, I've been thinking and wondering, what do other people do on Thanksgiving? I've wondered if having football games and the Macy's day parade on in the background is a thing of the past, or if it's still as popular as ever. Do you eat the same exact menu every year, or is it always a new and exciting selection? Is it filled with lots of baking and eating or do you head out to eat? Do you dress up and take your annual Christmas card picture, or do you hang out in comfy clothes all day? Do you sit around and talk about all you're thankful for, or do you pop in a favorite movie?

There is such a richness of life that dwells in each person and it makes each of our own families and traditions exactly who we are. From the way we were raised, to how we decorate our homes, to what we make for dinner, and how we raise our children. We each have our own lives, and it's so fun to get to share those things with others. So, do tell! What are your favorite things to do on Thanksgiving?

And, just in case you wanted some more fun embellishment for your celebrating tomorrow, here's an awesome blog with free printables! LOVE them for letting us get in on the goodies.

Linking up with Imperfect Prose.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

StC: Celebrating, Step by Step

Happy Tuesday before Thanksgiving! So glad you're here for our last week of Something to Celebrate. Normally, I would be thinking about my grocery list for this week, but instead, this is my checklist for this week:

pack dishes
pack toys
pack clothes
clean closets
throw away junk
get more boxes
pack some more...

If you haven't guessed...we're moving! As in like, next Saturday!!! Not cities, only houses, but we're very excited. We're going to have much more room and storage, and a huge yard for the kids! We didn't expect to move out of our little house for another couple of years. It was a total surprise, and is absolutely a God thing. However, all this has happened literally over the last 2 weeks, so yes, we're a little crazy around here. (Thankfully, I won't be hosting Thanksgiving at my house this year...that almost sounds like an oxymoron coming from me!!)

When you move, you enter into a new time in your life, a new chapter. A new way to celebrate life together. I've been thinking back about all that we've experienced in our little bungalow. How our family has started our traditions here. So much has changed since we first moved in. There is much to celebrate, however, with all of the transitioning, it feels even more difficult to hold to those traditions. I'm just not sure how things will be different, or if nothing will really change at all. It's a new and exciting time, but one filled with changes that we haven't faced before. Part of me feels sad to leave all this behind, but at the same time, I'm ecstatic at what's about to take place. Yet, it still takes faith to step to that next step.

Over the past few years, we've taken a lot of pictures of the kids on these steps.

Today, I took them out to the front porch for one more picture on the steps.

This move is definitely been something to celebrate. It feels like quite a big step for our family to be taking. I've been excited to share the news with you, and I'd love to have your prayers as we transition.

Celebrating with others today over at Chatting at the Sky today. You'll love going by and visiting...it's always such a fun treat on Tuesdays. Also, if there's any moving advice any of you would like give me, I'd welcome it right about now!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

StC: An Artsy Giveaway!

Today's give away and post are brought to us by the fabulous Katie Wall Podracky, of Katie Wall Art. Katie is a local artist, and is so talented with what she does. She enjoys bringing color to life, and teaching others to do the same. My kids love taking lessons with her, and I'm always amazed at what they bring home! And, not only that...but she is a super fun person to know! She's definitely a fan of celebrating, which is why I'm so glad that she offered to partner up with me for this month's Something to Celebrate series. I've loved each day of celebrating this month, and this week is going to be another great one. So, with no further ado, here's Katie!


November—what does the word mean to you? Each time I flip my calendar pages from October to November, I think of crunchy piles of fall leaves, steaming cups of hot chocolate and the smells of roasting turkey and baked apple pie that you only find at this time of year. Of course it also brings to mind a palette of red, orange, yellow and ochre, as fall is my favorite time to paint and my favorite time of year to share!

Here are a few images of my favorite fall tree paintings.

As an artist and an art teacher, I’m offering two holiday art classes this December for the price of one. Have your little ones create beautiful centerpieces for your Christmas table while you get a few hours of time for yourself to run errands. If you purchase a class for Tuesday, December 7th, you’ll get a free class on Tuesday, December 14th too! We’ll be sculpting special angels and painting Christmas scenes. Each class is $25.00 per student, ages 5-9, Tuesdays from 4:30-5:45 p.m. at my studio. All supplies are included and I’ll email directions and details to any newbies who are interested.

Tell us about your favorite painting and be entered to win a pack of Katie Wall Art notecards just in time for holiday thank you notes!

Enjoy this fantastic drawing by Ava, and if you get a hankering for some holiday cooking of your own, check out my blog for apple pie that is out of this world!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

StC: The Clean Sweep

I don't know about you, but this is totally what I look like when I clean my house...NOT!!! When you are short on time, and people are on their way over, you just can't do a deep clean. However, you can take about 15 min. to spruce up your house, without feeling like your guests are walking into a pig sty. Here are four simple steps to what we call at my house...
"The Clean Sweep".

1. Enlist Troops.

My kids are awesome at our clean sweep. They get really into it, and help put away quite a few things. When they know that they are your "helpers" and maybe that they'll even get a "treat" at the end, they are absolutely on board with the idea!

2. Set a Timer.

When you know that you only have a certain amount of time to complete a task, there's something about it that presents a fun challenge. It also limits you to spending hours on something that you know you don't have. For me, it allows me to get the task done, without feeling overwhelmed by it. It also helps the kids feel like it's more of a game. Depending on the chores, we usually make it a tangible goal of 5 or 10 min. Sometimes, we'll add 5 min. and make it feel part of the game. I'll announce, "We've just been given an additional 5 minutes! Hurry, there's not much time left!!"

3. Focus on the Eyesores.

Clearing tables, making beds, and putting away toys are all basic things that don't take a ton of time, but really add to the cleanliness factor. By having less clutter, and more things put away, there is a more spacious feel to your home. People might not see the dust bunnies hiding under the bed, but they'll notice how nice the bed looks made up. Same in the kitchen...it won't matter if the dishes in the dishwasher are dirty, if the table is cleared off. Stack the dirty dishes that won't fit in the dishwasher in the sink, and rinse them. That way at least the table is wiped down and looks presentable.

4. Clear the Clutter

Go through your house with a large basket. Put everything that needs to be put away in the basket, and then put the basket somewhere out of sight. That way, you can go through later, and put it all where it goes, but for now, you've straightened the area where your guests will be.

What are your cleaning secrets? I can always use the help!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

StC: House Warming

One element of design that can instantly add warmth to your home is candle light. Whether you group candles together on a simple tray, or have them placed intentionally around your home, they give such warmth and elegance to your home.

Whenever I want my house to feel more like a home, I go light my candles. Or if it's a nasty day, full of cold rain, and blustery wind, I light my candles. If my kids are around (which is always) they always ask if they can blow them out. I have to keep them from making wishes to be able to keep my candlelight!

*Make sure if you use them at your dinner table you use unscented!

Friday, November 19, 2010

StC: Give Away Winner...

The Homeward Bound giveaway goes to...


You will have so much fun with Laura Redd. She will reinspire your home in amazing ways! Thanks so much for celebrating with me this week, y'all. Can't believe that we only have a few more days until Thanksgiving!

StC: A Few of My Favorites

There are so many things that come to mind when I think about what "home" really means. But more than anything else, it is the shared experiences that we celebrate there. And being together, is always accompanied by eating good food. We like planning menus, fixing it, baking together...we'll even be at one meal, and before you know it we're planning the next! And, when it comes to Thanksgiving, I don't really feel right without having at least 3 pies as dessert options. I'm so embarrassed, but that really is the truth. Usually, I make a pumpkin and a chocolate pie, and my sister makes her pecan pie...so so good. Here are our beloved recipes! (You still have time to add at least one of them to your Thanksgiving day line up...maybe all three!)

Chocolate Pie

(recipe makes 2 pies)

2 deep dish pie shells

3 c. sugar

1/2 c. cocoa

1 stick butter

3 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

1 lg. can evaporated milk

Mix sugar, cocoa, butter and eggs together. Beat lightly. Then add vanilla and evaporated milk. Beat together. Pour into 2 unbaked pie shells. Bake at 350 for an hour.

Traditional Pumpkin Pie
(recipe makes 2 pies)
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. cloves
(hint: you could always use 2.5 tsp. of pumpkin pie spice to simplify the spices)
4 large eggs
1 (29 oz.) can pumpkin
2 cans evaporated milk
2 unbaked deep dish pie shells

Mix sugar, salt, and spices in a small bowl. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk. Pour into pie shells. Bake in preheated 425 oven for 15 min. Reduce temperature to 350 and bake for an additional 40-50 min. or until a knife inserted comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hrs. Serve immediately or refrigerate.

Pecan Pie


1 c. white corn syrup

1 c. dark brown sugar

1/3 tsp. salt

1/3 c. melted butter

1 tsp. vanilla

3 eggs

1 c. heaping whole pecans


Combine syrup, sugar, salt, butter & vanilla. Mix well.

Add beaten eggs.

Pour into 9” unbaked pie shell.

Sprinkle pecans over all.

Bake at 350˚ for 45 mins.

Cool and top with whipped cream or ice cream.

And since the first two recipes make two pies, you can always use one to bless your neighbors! They'll appreciate it...I promise. :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

StC: A Sale I Have To Tell You About...

Ok, I'm really trying to not break my rule of waiting to celebrate Christmas stuff. But I had to tell you about this...because the sale ends this Sunday!!! I have several things that are 30% off right now at our online boutique. Go shop and let me know what you need! And, personally, gifts truly do make my home more cheerful, so technically, it's still "something to celebrate". (i know, it's a stretch. lol)

Here's a sneak peek of what's under $15 with this sale...

mini market tote

long hammered necklace set & earrings
faux pearl bracelet
camo carry all
black & white dot carry all

And, let me just say, that everything you see is even cuter in person! If you haven't registered under my sign in code, make sure you do that first! Then, proceed to shop...even in your pjs and slippers! I love online shopping.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

StC: A Simple Shoebox

There are lots of ways that as a family, we can become more thoughtful, and more thankful at this time of year. However, one tradition, that we try to do every year is a Shoebox Gift. We head to Dollar Tree, and each of our kids, gets to pick out a few things to put in "their child's" box. They even have the shoebox size tubs that you can purchase there. (That's always helpful, because my kids always want to get a ton of things, and I say, "we can only get what will fit in your box.")

My daughter usually does a box for a girl in her age group, and my son does the same. We talk about how this child on the other side of the world is just as special as they are. Just as loved. Just as precious to the Lord. And what a gift that we can bless them with a fun present filled with goodies and treats. That this might be the only gift they get for Christmas. And, they begin to see how much they truly have. They piece together in their little minds what is taking place with a simple shoebox.

I don't know if you've seen this yet, but Southern Gal had this video up on her blog yesterday. I almost skipped watching it, being in my usual hurried state of life. But, miraculously enough I stopped, and took a few minutes to watch it. I'd encourage you to do the same...

I think what hits me the most, is that if all my kids got for Christmas was a pair of shoes, they'd be so disappointed and almost insulted. Not because they're just ungrateful kids, but because their Christmas list is comprised of things like An American Girl Doll, and new lego sets. We have so much. So much, that even as I type I think about how much I complain on a daily basis about what I don't have, and how dare for one second should I ever doubt His love for me. But, because of our culture, and because of our life style, a simple pair of shoes, almost seems like nothing.

But, this simple pair of shoes, brought one little girl to know the power and love of God. And that is something absolutely amazing. That He brought her exactly what she needed, in the exact moment she needed it.

Just think if we each did one shoebox. If we each took a few minutes out of our busy lives, and took the time to think about that child on the other side of the world, who might only get that one gift for their entire year. Just think.

Check to see where a drop off location is close to you. If you're local, and interested in putting one together, I'll even volunteer to take your box with me this Sunday. Just email me, and I'll get it from you, and take it with mine. This is the last week to collect them.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

StC: Simple Centerpieces

One thing that I enjoy creating are focal points in a room. And, to do that, centerpieces come into play. Whether it's for an event, or just your family, there are plenty of places to have centerpieces in your home. Definitely on your dining room table, but also, on your front porch, or possibly in your foyer, on your mantel...wherever you feel there needs to be a splash of color and life. These DIY projects are eco friendly, inexpensive, and YES, BEAUTIFUL!

Two words when thinking about simple centerpieces: fruit (and) foliage.

Instead of hiding all your produce away, find ways to use it as decor! You can get clear vases or bowls for only a couple bucks and fill them with an arrangement of seasonal fruit and veggies. Even if you put them in a dish or bowl you already have, it's still a great way to bring color into your home.

A lot of times when I don't have the money or time to go buy fresh flowers, I'll grab an array of branches from the yard, choosing a variety of textures and colors.

Of course, I'm spoiled, because our local Farmers Market is only about a mile away from my house, and I can go grab beautiful bouquet like this one for $5 on any Saturday of the year.


I love mixing fruit and foliage together. It looks so lush! Here are a couple examples of using the two together. And it's actually really not hard! Just layer, switching from branches, to fruit mixed in here and there.

These look so extravagant, and look at those colors!!!

Here's a fun link for 20 5 min. centerpieces! Go be creative, and see what you come up with! What are some of your favorite centerpieces? It's definitely a way my house feels a little more like a gift to me.

Linking up to Tuesdays Unwrapped. Go visit to see other great celebrations!

Monday, November 15, 2010

StC: Homeward Bound

To complete our week of Thanksgiving: 101, I decided to leave you with a little gift to help you stay on track. Delish has this great 2 Week Countdown to Thanksgiving, complete with videos and printable checklists.

With feeling a bit more prepared for Thanksgiving, this week, we'll be focusing our attention towards home. And, to start our week off on the right foot, the amazingly talented Laura Redd from Laura Redd Interiors has offered one free hour of design to the winner of today's give away!

Have you ever looked at a room, and wondered how it could look? Have you ever thought to yourself, I wish I could redo this space, without breaking the bank? Now's your chance. Laura has been doing interior design for over 12 years, and loves to help clients bring a fresh and new feel to their homes. Her tagline is "reinspiring your home"...I told you it was fitting for this week.

I can't wait to celebrate this week with you. To enter the giveaway, comment below, with the room that you would choose to focus on first and why. As always, winners will be chosen on Friday!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

StC: Thanksgiving:101: Thankful Tree

I love being able to make concepts come more alive for my children. I've learned how allowing them to create something, truly helps make it stick in their minds more. For instance, we talk a lot in November about being thankful. But, this year, we're going to help them to see how much we really have. This is a simple object lesson that also doubles as a fun and interactive centerpiece.

Step 6: Be Intentional About Being Thankful

1. Find a small branch in your yard, and trim it down enough to place in a vase (I like how river rocks look at the bottom of my vase, and they also stabilizes the branch from shifting - you can find bags of them at the Dollar Tree). It can still have several small branches coming off of it, as it will only add to the display you're creating.

2. Have the kids help you cut out lots of "leaves" from colored paper. If you want to get exact leaf shapes, here's a free maple leaf template, or an oak leaf template. I like the more whimsical look, so we just kind of cut out what we felt looked like a leaf. You can use construction paper, or scrapbook paper...whatever you have &/or like. We punched a hole in the end of the leaf, to be able to use ribbons to hang them on the tree. However, you can also just punch an ornament hanger through the paper, and hang that way.

3. Place the leaves, crayons/markers, and ornament hooks nearby the tree.

4. Each morning or evening, take the time to ask each family member one thing they're thankful for. After they say (or write) what they are thankful for, hang that leaf on the tree.

5. Watch as your tree grows to be full of blessings.

6. Then, on Thanksgiving, take each leaf off your tree, announcing what the blessing was. This is especially sweet to all the extended family, that will get to hear what little ones have been thankful for.

I think this will be a fun tradition for years to come. It will be precious to save the leaves and be able to read them years from now. There is such a sweet faith in little ones, and many times it is only vulnerable and transparent for a short time. I'm soaking those moments up while I can!!

Speaking of awesome ideas, I found this blog, and she had so so many fun links to great Thanksgiving projects, I had to wrap up our Thanksgiving: 101 by sharing the goodness! This week has been so much fun. I hope you're feeling more excited about Thanksgiving than ever...without all the stress taking over.

I can't wait to see you tomorrow for our next giveaway!!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

StC: Thanksgiving 101: Don't Forget About the Kids!

One step of your Thanksgiving preparation that should NOT go unplanned, is how to keep your kids occupied while you're fixing, baking, decorating, and cleaning. Have on a hand a few fun activities for them to do, that will also help them learn what Thanksgiving is all about. These activities just might help make your Thanksgiving a little more fun for you both!

Step 5. Kid's Activities

1. Charlie Brown is Always a Must

I love holiday specials. I remember making sure we were home by 8pm on whatever night they would be coming on. It's not like we could Tivo it. If you missed it, you had to wait a year! And who wants to wait to see A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving!

...except it wasn't available on "Blu-ray".

It's been fun to share the Charlie Brown movies with my kids for the last couple of years. I'm always surprised by how talented Snoopy is, how enlightened Linus is, and how bossy Lucy is. Ahhh, memories. These fun characters bring to life the meaning of the holidays in a way that even a three year old can understand. We've found these movies at our public library, or on Netflix, or go purchase them, and add them to your own collection. You won't be disappointed!

2. Add a Little Color!

Why not surprise your kiddos this week with a new coloring book?! But, why go out and spend money, when you can download and print off lots of free coloring pages? My kids LOVE to color, and so any reason to have a new coloring book is big fun.

Free Thanksgiving Coloring Pages

Print off your pages, staple them together, and even tie them up with ribbon as a Thanksgiving week surprise. With time off from school, they'll need a few extra activities to do!

If you have family coming in, this coloring book could also double as a welcome gift for any kids coming to visit. But watch out, they'll want to come back every year!

3. Scavenger Hunts:

Remind them that the Pilgrims and Native Americans had to "hunt" for their food. Send them on a search to find Autumn "harvest". Acorns, leaves, pecans, seeds, pine cones could all be easily found. Make it a little more fun by placing some different fall fruits and vegetables in different "hiding" spots. Pumpkins, pears, gourds, potatoes, could all be likely finds!

4. Story Time

Go to your public library, and see what books they have on Thanksgiving. I guarantee you you'll find some wonderful books for your little ones! Have an assortment of books placed around during the week of Thanksgiving, so that your children will be able to more fully understand what this holiday is about.

Only one day left in our Thanksgiving: 101! Be sure to check out tomorrow's post for some more great ideas on how to celebrate this wonderful time of year.