If you’ve shopped for gifts more than a Christmas or two, and I know you have, then you know how hard it can be to come up with the perfect gift. We’ve had plenty of years when we wanted to give gifts to dozens of people, but lacked the budget to support said gift-giving. Making gifts is always fun, though finding the time isn’t always the easiest thing. Then there’s the issue of coming up with a gift that isn’t completely tacky when you only have a couple dollars to spend on each one. There have been a few years when our family made almost 100 such gifts to give to our church family, neighbors and others. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing a little series here and there with some quick inexpensive gift ideas. And today, I give you the first in our series – Gifts for Giving| DIY Christmas Canvas Prints.
Welcome back to our second week of Advent Devotions. If you missed the original post in this series, you can find it here. Along with the The Candle of Hope Devotion and Wise Men Ornament to add to your set. I pray that you can carve out sometime in your week to celebrate with your family. This week we have the Advent love devotion and free nativity set, which happens to be a collection of rather adorable animals.
We would love to hear how you have used these resources. Feel free to use them with Read More
Every now and again the making of a memory looks more like the fashioning of a treasure. It may be the gathering of an entire extended family for a few snapshots, which is largely akin to herding cats. Or the decking of halls and singing along with Christmas classics at Grandma and Grandpa’s home. And sometimes in the making of a memory, a tree crate becomes the reminder for years to come of a chilly afternoon spent creating together in the barn.
The making of a memory | a tree crate
There are only a few things you’ll need …
An old barn, that doubles as Read More
The Christmas season is one rich with traditions and significance. It can also quickly become so chockful of good things that we miss the best things. Many of us can look back to years when we did okay in quieting the chaos and focusing on Christ and other years not so much. One of the things our family has always enjoyed is some sort of Advent observance. There are as many ways to celebrate advent as there are those celebrating. We want to share a simple Advent hope devotion and free nativity set for you to use with you children, grandchildren, nieces & nephews, church kids or whomever you choose.
Advent begins the first Sunday after Thanksgiving, which this year is Read More
Choosing Gratitude | the giving of thanks …
… His mercies are new every morning
… “morning” can be at any new moment of the day
… even in the knock the wind out of you moments of the day
… all the time
… the fact that I truly to get to choose gratitude
… whether I can change the trouble this day may hold or not
… I will sing a new song to the Lord
… because He has called me to
… because He knows it changes me
… because it can be the flicker of hope that grows to a flame
… because the flame can shed enough light for the next step
… because taking the next step can bring life
So I choose gratitude.
How about you? For what are you grateful?
If you’re not living in a flame of gratitude season, then my prayer for you is that today you find your flicker. And that day by day your flicker grows to a flame. And that your flame will bring light to all around you.
Happy Thanksgiving friends! I’m so grateful for each of you. For your company and your encouragement. I pray you’ll know the flicker you’ve been in my journey.
You are part of my thankful list this day.
And I am grateful!
When it comes to desserts, I’m pretty much a cookie girl. I get it from my Grandma, aka. Granny Mawmaw. Don’t judge our silly name, it fit her perfectly! In planning for their 50th wedding celebration, she requested two ginormous platters piled with cookies instead of the traditional cake. We already knew she was the best Granny Mawmaw in the history of ever, but this decision on her part sealed that title in our minds. And yet, as much as I love cookies, on Thanksgiving it has to be pie. It just does. At our house, it has to be two specific pies, Butternut Squash Pie and Light Pecan Pie. So for this week, move over cookies, it’s time to bring on the pies!
Butternut Squash Pie
Yes, I thought the idea of Butternut Squash Pie sounded pretty disgusting the first time I heard it, but I also quickly found myself pleasantly surprised in a number of ways. It’s akin to Pumpkin Pie, but with a lighter texture. And who can’t use a little lighter anything by the end of the Thanksgiving feast? It’s also a bit milder than pumpkin pie. It’s just a nice change of pace in my book. And you can whip up the whole thing in the blender or ninja. Seriously y’all, what’s not to love about that?
Here’s my sister-in-laws recipe that we’ve used for years …
Butternut Squash Pie
Quarter and bake a large butternut squash, flesh side down in a shallow pan @ 350° for 1 hour
Liquefy in blender –
- baked squash
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 Tbsp flour
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 Tbsp butter
Bake @ 450° for 15 minutes. Leave the oven door closed and lower the heat to 350°. Continue cooking for 50-60 minutes.
Light Pecan Pie
Don’t let the name fool you with this one. Yes, it uses light corn syrup, but it’s still loaded with sugar and pecan goodness. When the holidays roll around, we splurge. It’s how we roll! But the word light kind of makes us feel better about it too. Sort of …
And the recipe, from the same sister-in-law …
Light Pecan Pie
Blend in blender –
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 eggs, well beaten
- 1/3 cup butter, melted
- 2 tsp vanilla
Blend all ingredients in a blender. Stir in 1 1/2 cups pecans. Pour into pie crust and bake for 1 hour.
So move over cookies, bring on the pies!
And there you have it. Two new options for this Thanksgiving if you like the traditional menu with a few new twists. Two pies requiring little more than dumping everything together, blending, pouring and baking.
Next week there will be cookies. Loads and loads of festive cookies and it will be glorious! But for this week? Move over cookies, we’re about to bring on the pies!
And the yoga pants…
for days …
Can I get an amen?
Happy Friday before Thanksgiving! If you’re a Black Friday shopper, then enjoy the quiet of this day, because next week will be c-r-a-z-y! Or maybe you’re more of the Cyber Monday type, scooping up gifts sitting by a fire, sporting your cozy jammies and sipping hot chocolate. I have another idea for you to consider. Why not use the coupon code from Glamour Farms at the end of this post to pick up some new clothes and accessories to wrap up and slip under the tree? Just a little time-saving, stress-reducing tip that doesn’t involve waiting in a long line with the entire city and surrounding county. Today I have all the details you’ll need on the Fashion Friday Monterray Denim Top/Tunic and the $10 off coupon code from our friends at Glamour Farms.
You may even decide to go ahead and pick one of these up for yourself. I mean, seriously, what’s not to love about denim? It’s so versatile, comfy and classic. Here are Read More
Why so early with an Advent devotion round up for all ages?
In just one week we’ll find our thoughts quickly shifting from turkey and stuffing to twinkle lights and wrapped gifts. Many of us feel a deep growing need to quiet some of the chaos and noise of Christmas in an effort to focus on the birth of Christ. We have used a variety of books and devotions over the years to celebrate Advent and today I want to share some of our favorites. And we have a sneak peek at a fun ornament set for the kids to make starting next week. So why share an advent round up for all ages today you ask? Why to give you time to order a copy for yourself and begin planning for your own family advent, of course.
Family devotions and activities with younger children
When our four were clustered more around the preschool years, one of our favorite books was Read More
It’s the most wonderful time of the year
With Thanksgiving less than two weeks away, many of us have started planning the menu, writing out the grocery list and even detailing preparations for the big day. The menus may vary from home to home, but each family seems to have some sort of tradition as to how the day unfolds and what will be served. In the end, the feast is typically bountiful, gratitudes are expressed and memories are made. Every year, we seem to pick up another way to streamline the “work” that goes into the day so that we can focus on the “together” that happens.
Now they choose which dish they want to make and we coordinate it all so everything is ready on time. A few years ago I wrote it all out on my iPad, including my shopping list and the schedule for when to prep and put each dish in the oven. The next year it dawned on me that I could just use the previous year’s list and tweak it as needed based on how many we were hosting and menu changes. Apparently, I was too tired to realize that the first year.
10 Tips for a more relaxing Thanksgiving Day
1. Smoking your turkey saves room in the oven, and they taste amazing too.
2. Mixing and freezing dishes ahead leaves more time and energy to enjoy the company. Some of our favorites to prep are dressing, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole and butternut squash pie ingredients.
3. Using a crock pot and roaster oven frees up space in the oven.
4. Accepting the offer of local guests to bring their favorite Thanksgiving dish ensures that even if it isn’t their usual menu, they have at least one familiar dish to enjoy.
5. Making a list of which days to complete specific tasks, like cooking potatoes or chopping onions and celery, reduces exhaustion when the big day arrives.
6. Picking up some festive paper goods is actually okay for some occasions. If you’re hosting a large gathering, consider this to be one of them.
7. Searching the Internet provides great inspiration for recipes and decorations, but don’t make it the standard for measuring a successful Thanksgiving. It’s an idea list, not a task master.
… and a few bonus ideas…
8. Allotting a specific amount of time, maybe 1 hour or 9 pm or whatever works for you, to work through the to-do list and then calling it done can be very freeing. It helps us prioritize, de-stress and have energy left to enjoy the true purpose of the day.
9. Spending 30 minutes to an hour de-stressing – reading, soaking in the tub – after #8 is a great way to slow down and savor the moments ahead.
10. Breathe. Be present. Savor every moment in your mind and enjoy!
So what tips and secrets do you have for de-stressing these days of celebration?
Remember all those gorgeous Thanksgiving tablescapes I shared a few weeks ago? The #farmhouseholidayseries on Instagram with weekly inspiration from a group of incredibly talented decorators and bloggers? Part of their beauty is the treat of fresh baked bread or a package tied up with a bow at each place setting. Which made me wonder what would it look like when a Thanksgiving napkin ring becomes a Christmas ornament?
When a Thanksgiving Napkin Ring becomes a Christmas Ornament
This idea of a small gift for guests feels like such a welcoming gesture. It’s really quite simple for a napkin ring, or even place card, to double as a Christmas ornament. And they can range from elegantly formal to farmhouse rustic.
To get your creativity flowing, here are a few ways you could use wood slices to create a set of napkin rings for your guests to take home and hang on their Christmas tree. You can purchase small wood slices pre-drilled or plain and drill your own small holes to add twine or ribbon.
Wood slice napkin ring ornaments
Write the name of each guest on a wood slice using a permanent marker. I used a .05 micron pen in black for these slices.
Use stamps and ink to add a word, phrase or image.
Use a toothpick, acrylic paints and glitter.
Add some paint almost to the edge for a pop of color.
Add chalkboard paint almost to the edge of the wood slice for endless possibilities.
Creating memories together
Just think about how much fun this would be at a kid’s table! Set out wood slices, markers, paints, glitter, and maybe a few helpers, and everyone will have custom ornaments in no time. And some pretty excited kids when they get to hang their artwork on their tree. Then each year when the ornaments are pulled out to hang you’ll find yourself smiling silly at their artwork from years gone by.
What other ways would you decorate wood slices? Or if that’s totally not your style, what type of napkin ring turned Christmas ornament would fit in with your Thanksgiving tablescape?