Thanksgiving Dishes To Try

My grandmother is hosting Thanksgiving in Kansas City this year, she and my mom have been hosting it every year for as long as I can remember. They make a ton of delicious food that no one has room for more than a few bites, but we stuff ourselves silly anyway because it’s just so dang good!

They have gotten the Thanksgiving menu down to a science. Everyone’s favorites are always there and if something is missing, we notice. My favorite is my grandma’s praline sweet potato casserole….I could bathe in the stuff. (Is that weird?…That’s weird.) We all pretty much know exactly what will be on the table before we even get there. As much as I love the routine and comfort, I also feel like throwing something new in there from time to time. Now that I’m older and I’m having kids of my own, I kind of feel like I should be contributing too. I mean one of these days, I may be hosting Thanksgiving and I’ve never even cooked a turkey!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m in no hurry to host just yet. My mom and grandma love doing it and they are really good at it….like really, really good. No pressure. But I am on the look out for a good signature side dish, or appetizer, that could be my “thing”. I don’t want to replace anyone’s favorite dish and be shunned from the table, so I’d like to find something that we don’t currently have. I’ve gathered some options that are making me wish Thanksgiving was tomorrow….

Thanksgiving dishesClockwise: Whipped Goat Cheese, Curried Sweet Potato Rounds w/ Honeyed Walnuts, Cranberries and Blue Cheese, Spicy Fontina Spinach, Artichoke and Chorizo Stuffed Mushrooms, 5-Ingredient Cranberry + Brie Cinnamon Sugar Pastry Swirls

I’m leaning towards those stuffed mushrooms, but I just can’t decide. Who knows, maybe I’ll just make all four! Any good apps or side dishes you can’t live without on the big day?

 

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DIY Kids Gifts

I know, I know, it’s a little early for some to be seriously talking about Christmas presents. But I’m talking DIY gifts, and they can take a little time to knock out. I love DIY gifts, I don’t do them as often as I would like to for adults, but I love, LOVE doing them for the littles.

Toys are freaking expensive and most get played with for such a short amount of time. If I can make something for a fraction of the price and customize it to my kid, then I’m all about it! Last year Hollis got a few DIY gifts and she plays with them constantly.

IMG_1815 She got this sweet, pint-sized picnic table that my dad made for her. She eats lunch/snacks here, paints, colors, and does about a hundred other things here every day. Plus I love that she has something that she knows her Papa made for her.

IMG_1296This baby cradle wasn’t DIY’d so much as it was upcycled. It belonged to me when I was her age and I pulled it out of my parents attic and gave it a fresh paint job and new fabric. Now it’s brand new to her and she loves it as much as I did.

IMG_2305She also got this ‘dollhouse’ that was a shadowbox made by my grandpa. I just gave it paint and wallpaper to jazz it up. Again, it’s brand new to her, but has great memories for me of her great-grandpa.

There are so many great finds at thrift stores and flea markets that could be made to feel brand new with a little TLC and elbow grease without breaking the bank. And a lot of things that could be made from scratch if you have the time and patience. Here are few of my fave finds from Pinterest.

blocks

DIY Blocks; Source

These colored blocks would be a great gift for any toddler and they would be so simple to make with some scrap wood and a table saw.

crayon holder

DIY Crayon Holder; Source

This crayon holder is so cute! You could even put the child’s name on it instead, or make one for markers or colored pencils. It also looks incredibly simple.

Kids-Bean-Bag-Chair-3

DIY Beanbag Chair; Source

How cute is this bean bag chair?! It’s cuter than most of the store bought ones I’ve seen. You could use any fabric you like to customize it. It does however, require some sewing skills. My sewing skills aren’t the best, but I may have to try this one of these days.

kids-workbench-inspired-by-pb-kids

DIY Tool Bench; Source

I have to make this for Hollis and her brother-to-be. The kid is obsessed with tools and hopefully baby boy will be too! I have seen many plans on Pinterest to build your own tool bench from scratch. This one re-purposes an old end table, which I love because it would save a lot of work and make this a pretty simple project.

LEGO Table-1

DIY Lego Table; Source

I’ve been seeing this pin for years. I love this idea. I was at the Re-Store the other day and saw at least 20 nightstands without a mate that would be so perfect for this project. I definitely plan to make one of these when Hollis is done with Duplos and ready for Legos. I think her dad will be excited to play with it too….

Portable-LEGO-Kit-Mama.Papa_.Bubba_.

DIY Portable Lego Kit; Source

More Lego fun! I really like this portable Lego project too. Talk about simple. It would be so great to take on trips to play in the car or hotel room, or to take to grandparents house.

kitchenette

DIY Play Kitchen; Source

Spoiler alert: Hollis is getting a new play kitchen for Christmas from my parents. Specifically, she is getting the Ikea play kitchen and we have plans to customize it for her and her playroom. I thought it would be fun to make or re-purpose something into a fridge or pantry to go along with her new kitchen. She really needs something to hold all of her play food, plates, cups, etc. I found a cabinet at the Re-Store that I think will be perfect. I will let you know how it turns out!

Are any of you planning on doing in DIY gifts for kids or adults this year?

Colorful Thanksgiving Tablescapes

My favorite holiday is this month. My birthday!…..Just kidding. Thanksgiving! I love a holiday centered around food and family/friends. No gifts to worry about, just getting together with people you love and stuffing yourself with delicious food.

Fall tablescapes have been popping up all over my Pinterest and Instagram timelines and some have me seriously swooning. I usually am really into a simple, neutral or monochromatic table setting, but this season, I’m really loving a colorful tablescape. There are so many awesome colors that work for a Fall table setting, like purples, navy, green, orange, maroon, copper, and of course gold.

Here are a few tables that I’ve found really inspiring and make me long for a formal dining room…

I love that this table has so much going on with the flowers and greenery, that you don’t even need a tablecloth, runner, or placemats.

 

I don’t know why I haven’t thought to use two table runners instead of individual placemats. This whole setting could be used for many occasions by just switching out the centerpiece.

Obviously this is set for a wedding, but could easily be scaled down for a holiday table. You could really get away with super simple tableware because these gorgeous flowers steal the show.

I think I could set this table up right now without even going to the store. It’s really elegant yet simple. I love all the mix-matchy colored glass goodness!

Navy just makes everything look better. All of these fall colors just pop so nicely against it. I also really like the idea of using produce as a centerpiece…you can eat everything when you’re done using it.

Simple tableware. Simple table runner. Stunning flowers that really pop against all that white.

Shared Toddler Room and Nursery

Well I guess you could say I’ve entered nesting mode, although I could easily argue that I’m ALWAYS in nesting mode. Like, every day of my life. This week I’ve been digging out all of our baby things to get an idea of what we need and now our poor guest room looks like Babies ‘R Us exploded in it. Luckily all of our pricier baby gear is gender neutral and in good shape so we really don’t need much.

One thing we DO need is a name for this little dude. I know we still have a few months to figure it out, but I’m starting to lose hope. I am having the hardest time finding a name that I really like. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I had the complete opposite problem. I liked too many names and had a hard time picking just one. I want a name that’s different enough that you don’t hear it all the time, but not so different that the kid gets made fun of at school.

I have gotten the nursery/Hollis’ room ready for the most part. (For those who don’t know, Hollis and her baby brother will be sharing a room for a while.) I finished painting a while ago, but I’ve been taking my time adding things back into the room. Hollis is still currently sleeping in her toddler bed in our room, so I haven’t felt too rushed to get things put together. I am really happy with the decision to get rid of the pink and paint the walls a neutral color. After getting things put back into the room, I realized that the room is really not lacking in color. Here is what things are looking like now.

IMG_2701 IMG_2678 IMG_2681I added some little shelves, something that I meant to do in Hollis’ room earlier but never got around to doing. I really like the way they add some interest to the walls and color to the room. IMG_2703 IMG_2730I’m still on the hunt for some new bedding for Hollis’ bed. The pink comforter will work for now, but I’d like to find something to add a little more pattern and texture. I also want to make or find her a headboard since I think we will be keeping this queen size bed for a while. I’ve been waiting to see if we were having a boy or girl, if we were having a girl, I think we would’ve ended up getting two twin sized beds for the space instead. IMG_2692IMG_2708We are using the same dresser as a changing table that we used for Hollis. It’s such a nice height and holds all the baby essentials nicely. That changing pad cover was also Hollis’ and it’s a little girly, so I may end up changing it out if I find something I like….Or I may just leave it, because honestly, baby boy will never remember. I also re-purposed Hollis’ headband holder into a little rack to hold her princess dresses. She loves being able to reach them and get them out when she wants and her hair accessories have moved into her closet.

So that’s it for now. I’m sure I will tweak it a little more before baby gets here. And hopefully this little guy will get a name in the next few months!

Halloween 2015

I wasn’t expecting Halloween this year to be much different than last year. I really didn’t think Hollis would be that interested or pay much attention to it. But thanks to all the Disney Halloween specials we watched, she sort of became obsessed with it. I think all of the decorations were her favorite part. She would excitedly point out any witch, pumpkin or ghost she saw. She would also not so excitedly point out all the scary decorations too. She is not a fan of zombies and vampires just yet, she refers to them as “no-no guys”. Next year I’m really going to have to step up my Halloween decorations!

Hollis1I picked out her costume this year (she’s a butterfly), but I think next year I will let her have a lot more say in what costume she wants to wear. We took her trick or treating in a neighboring town where we go to church and know quite a few people. We mostly just went to houses we knew and some neighbors of theirs. Hollis started out a little shy, but once she realized she got “treats”, she was motivated to step out of that shyness a little bit. I was very proud of her and all of her “please” and “thank yous”.

I should have known she’d do fine after all of the practicing she did!