Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving Joy

Did you have a wonderful Thanksgiving?
From start to finish, our holiday was absolute perfection!

It started off with the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
while I was getting started in the kitchen.

Delicious pies, cranberry orange relish, roasted stuffed turkey,
freshly steamed green beans and brocolli,
roasted vegetables, homemade dinner rolls,
turkey gravy, and so much more!

The trick was keeping my 5-yr. old occupied while waiting for dinner.

In his turkey chairbacker, he found a handmadeThanksgiving activity book along with a new box of crayons.  He didn't waste any time getting right to work on the various coloring pages and activities inside.

Using various scrapbooking supplies that I had on hand,
I whipped together this homemade activity book.

It was so simple!
I went online and printed off an assortment of coloring pages
and activities for him to make and do.


We made teepees the night before out of paper plates and sticks.
And in his activity book were Pilgrim and Indian finger puppets to color and cut out.

And we used the Pottery Barn Kids Mayflower treat holder for the Pilgrim finger puppets.

Coloring and making things was a great way to keep him occupied.

It was a tradition in my house that every Thanksgiving
my brothers and I received an early Christmas present.

So in keeping with tradition,
Andrew received a little gift bag at dinner,
containing two diecast cars
and a Jingle All the Way book and dog from Hallmark.

Because he knows how much his mama loves to make things cute,
just as dinner was about to be served,
Andrew ran to get the crafts he'd made at school...

I just loved his placemat!

And his rustic napkin ring was perfect!

At dinner, as we talked about what we're thankful for,
Andrew said this was the best Thanksgiving ever.

I couldn't agree more :)
Hope it was yours, too!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Gobble Gobble Turkey Cookies

Take time to savor the moments this Thanksgiving.

Laugh often and out loud.
Smile widely.
Listen to the whispers of children and the wisdom of the old.
Give everyone big, warm arm-stretched hugs.
Relish your favorite foods with delight.
Count your blessings ~ you'll likely be surprised at how blessed you are!
Enjoy the lovely sites, delicious smells and familiar sounds that surround you.
Savor this holiday and those that are celebrating with you.

For this Thanksgiving will never come again.

Cherish every blessed moment of it.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thanksgiving {Natural Elegance} Tablescape and Birch

As I spend this weekend baking and relaxing,
I thought you might enjoy seeing our tablescape this year.

Let me preface this by saying that I marvel at you tablescape mavens that pull a look together so effortlessly!  I don't seem to possess the gift, although I ultra love seeing a beautiful seasonal table!

This time of year, we all long for peace and reflection.  With the year winding down and nature going into slumber, Thanksgiving seems the perfect time to repose and relax.  I wanted to bring that natural elegance to our tablescape this year.  Warm, rich chocolate brown, heavenly creamy whites, rustic wood and burlap, oak leaves, pinecones and acorns ~  texture, warmth and natural elements abound.

I love the rough, texture of the burlap and woven fabric of the placemats.  With my wheat bundles flanking the table, and hurricanes filled with real, preserved oak leaves, pinecones and acorns, the table pulls in so many of the woodland elements that one would find on a November nature hike.

I can't tell you how much I love my table runner! 
I bought this from a talented etsy seller,
and I just adore the screenprinted Thanksgiving message.

We've been enjoying this on our table throughout November.

Everything has to have a touch of whimsy in our house with a 5-year old.  So rather than set a seperate kid's table for just one child, I adorn his placesetting with whimsical (but also coordinating) decor.

This little treat bag from Pottery Barn Kids will hold healthy pre-dinner snacks.

The turkey chairbacker will hold homemade goodies
and Thanksgiving books.

Having a special place to sit,
makes an intimidating adult table seem more welcoming to a little one.

But other decor
like these Byers' Choice Thanksgiving figures
on the table also makes for an unexpected surprise and fun conversation piece
even for adults.

Who says kids get all the fun stuff?!  ;)

Pie, anyone?

More turkey?

I am in love with my ruffle bowl. 
This makes such a dramatic statement on a table!

A little touch of feminity offsets the rough textures of burlap, wood and tweed,
and turns up the sophistication!

Natural elegance.
Rustic sophistication.
Thanksgiving perfection :)

And speaking of rustic elegance,
A great big thank you to my darling husband for taking a pile of old birch branches
and turning them into these
chic, charming
Birch Bark Candleholders
for little ole me :)

In my hurry to display them,
I couldn't find my white tealights,
but I did happen upon some pumpkin spice ones that fit
just perfectly!

Pure bliss.

Happy Turkey Day tablescaping!

This post is linked to Tutorial Tuesdays with Hope Studios.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Pilgrims on display

We're spending this weekend relaxing before the holiday.
The turkey has been bought.
Table linens are ready to go.
We're just about ready.

Little guy and me are doing some pre-Thanksgiving baking...
just for the fun of it :)

I don't do much by way of decorating for Thanksgiving.
My fall decor is still up (for now), but Christmas stuff beckons!

I do have a few Thanksgiving pieces,
like this Byers' Choice Pilgrim and his turkey in our foyer.

He's a fun little conversation piece to welcome holiday guests.

I love my wreath {below}!
It's a little different than the traditional orange and yellow autumn wreaths.

With a welcoming candle to lightly fragrance the entryway,
this little display just makes people smile.

Off to work on a couple of fun projects ;)

Hope you're taking a break this weekend before the big day!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Count Your Blessings

Counting our blessings is the focus of being what it means to be thankful.  These colorful Pottery Barn Kids Thankful Tree Countdown Calendars are not only adorable, but they're so helpful in getting little ones more involved in the Thanksgiving celebration. 

Thanksgiving should be more to our children than just a turkey dinner and a day off of school.  I want my son to always have a grateful heart for all the many blessings in our lives.

The calendar came with insert cards for each day of November.  We filled each day of ours with a note of something that we're grateful for...followed by a corresponding activity for our son to act upon.

For example: 
I'm grateful for my puppy, Autumn.
Take Autumn for a walk.

The turkey in the photo was one of his school crafts!  I love, love, love all of the beautiful treasures he brings home.  I've mentioned in previous posts that I use them in my seasonal and holiday decor year after year.  It never ceases to bring a smile to everyone that sees them.

I hope as you're finalizing your Thanksgiving plans that you can find time to include some valuable lessons on gratitude with the little ones in your life.  Children learn by what they see us adults doing and saying.  It's easy when we're rushed to be harsh.  Lovies, it's not the succulent turkey or the creative tablescape that our familes will remember. What truly matters is letting those we love know how thankful we are for them in our lives.

Seasonal books are a focal point in our home.
This weekend as I get things ready, I'll be sure to take a few extra moments with my baby.  I promised him that we'd make cookies and do Thanksgiving crafts together.  Pure bliss!!

A headband we made last year with hand tracing feathers
I'm so very blessed to have my handsome, precocious, sweet boy and my loving husband, and I intend on counting every one of my blessings ~ not just on Thanksgiving, but always :)

Looking for an easy and cute Thanksgiving cookie idea?

Try making my Pilgrim Hats
they look darling on the kids table ;)

For more Thanksgiving posts, click here.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Preparing for the feast

My most favorite holiday is approaching - Thanksgiving! 

As a child, I didn't care much for it.  Stuck between Halloween and Christmas, Thanksgiving seemed a total bore!  I'd spend the morning reading through the comic section of the newspaper while my parents pored over Black Friday ads, and I'd leaf through the Sears  catalog while watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. 

As an adult, Thanksgiving seems perfect to me!  A day for counting one's blessings, eating delicious food (if one is so fortunate) and being with loved ones.  Compared to the hustle and bustle of Christmas, Thanksgiving's pace is relaxed and tranquil.  No gifts to buy (well maybe just a few for my son *wink*), not much by way of decorating (although I do have a few things to show you), and not much prep other than a fantastic home-cooked feast!

Are you busy prepping at your house?  Are you doing the cooking this year or going over to a family member's house?  What do you do to celebrate and prepare?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Remembering, Lest We Forget

In this month of Thanksgiving,

let us not forget to take a moment

on 11/11/11

to give special thanks
to the brave men and women,

our fellow citizens and our loyal allies,

that have sacrified all
for our freedoms.

Veteran's Day and Remembrance Day

Taken at the War Museum in Ottawa, Ontario Canada

If you have kids like me and want to impress upon them the importance of marking Veteran's/Rememberance Day (so that they realize there's more to it than just having a day off of school!), there are wonderful books that you can read together. 

Two of our favorites that are simple enough for a young child to understand without graphic detail:

We visited the Canadian War Museum this past summer in Ottawa.  All of us were very quiet as we toured the exhibits, taking time to explain to our son the devastation of war and the heroism of those that stand up to evil. 

It was a very sombre experience. 

My husband Tom reading through one of the exhibits

I encourage all of you to talk to your children so that they appreciate the bravery and sacrifice of not only our own heroic veterans, but those of our allies that have fought loyally by our countrymen's side during wartime. 

Model of the War Memorial in Ottawa, Ontario Canada
Take in a Veteran's Day/Rememberance Day parade or ceremony if they have one in your area.  If you have loved ones that have served in the military, take a moment to talk to them. 

The War Memorial
And please remember to give your heartfelt appreciation to the men and women that have served. 
Home of the Free
Because of the Brave.

We will never forget.