From Thanksgiving

Thoughts on Year Six and Tiny Turkey Art

I miss blogging.  More than that, I miss the “back in the old days” blogging when the email notifications about new comments on my latest post energized me and I could count on two hands the number of blogs I followed—and commented on—religiously.  Now that email notification in my inbox is most likely a spam comment and the number of blogs I can follow is endless.  Pair that with two kids under age four and a busier-than-ever job and, well, I’ve simply lost touch with current-day blogging.

I’ve been blogging since 2009—before business pages for Facebook, before smartphones, before Pinterest. (Gosh, I suddenly feel old.) So much has changed in blogging and I haven’t quite kept pace, which, for a competitive person like me, is hard to swallow. I’ve yet to reconcile the two bloggers in me.  On one hand, I want to blog like it’s 2009 with little regard for stats, pins or likes.  On the other hand, I want to be in the blogging game.  

While I’m still trying to figure out how blogging fits into my life today, I’ve decided the sixth annual Dare to DIY Challenge (sixth!) is the perfect reason to come out of hiding.  After all, it was Kim at NewlyWoodwards’s original Dare to DIY party in 2009 that drew me into the blogging community and created lasting friendships.  I’ve managed to participate in each of the first five years and I’m looking forward to more of the same this year.

And that, my friends, would explain why I was making tiny paper turkeys this weekend.

How about that segue?

Chris wanted to know why I was “making Origami.”  I told him that small paper fans didn’t exactly qualify as Origami, but I was folding paper so he kind of wins.

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Thanksgiving Table: Feather place card

This is an official truth in blogging post.

Truth #1: I purchased pheasant feathers at a craft store to make place cards for my Thanksgiving table.

Truth #2: I did this, in large part, so that I could participate in week two of the Dare to DIY Challenge: Dare to Entertain.

Truth #3: I didn’t actually use the place cards and only made one to share in this post because my dear, sweet husband told me that feathers are disgusting.

But, if for some reason you don’t think feathers are disgusting, you could totally make a fun, cheap and easy place card holder for your next dinner party.  I paired mine with some pussy willow branches and a gourd for a simple fall feel.

To make the place card I used a single feather and attached a hand-cut leaf shape with my name.  I cut the leaf out of a brown paper lunch bag using pinking shears.

Pinking shears are the best.  You’re really not supposed to cut paper with them, but when you’re just making one disgusting feather place card, it should be okay.

Okay, so now that you know I essentially faked this whole blog post, you can head on over to Maybe Matilda to check out all the real Dare to Entertain posts!

Hope you had a lovely, feather-free Thanksgiving!

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Day 5: Set your Thanksgiving table

I am taking a quick break from my Thanksgiving prep for some last minute tips on setting your Thanksgiving table (my last segment of my five-day Thanksgiving series).  The big day is nearly here and the finish line is in sight!

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I’ll be honest, setting a proper table isn’t a high priority in our house.  We barely set the table each weeknight—usually it’s grabbing plates and silverware as we walk to the table.  But, I do take the opportunity each Thanksgiving to dress up our little dining space.

Some years I’ve been able to set the table the day in advance (which is fun and festive, and saves time on Turkey Day).  But, since we don’t have a separate dining room and we’ll be having five guests in our house for the long weekend, we’ll need to use that table for other meals.  But, there are still a few things you can do to prep even if you aren’t setting your table until Thursday.

  • Practice your centerpiece and table setting.  This might sound silly, but it will help you remember to dust off your candles holders, wipe the spots from your wine glasses and iron your napkins.
  • Make place cards if you’re using them.
  • Roll or fold your napkins so they’re in a place you can easily grab them.

    napkins ready

  • Set out all the silverware you’ll need in a place that is handy.  We use our nice silver the day of Thanksgiving, so I cleaned it and put it in a convenient place.

silverware ready

If you’re like me, you might need a quick reminder on which way the knife faces.  I always refer to a post that I wrote four years ago with a handy table setting diagram.

And now you should be all set for Thanksgiving!  Enjoy!

Psst, if you’re just catching up, check out the first four posts for menu planning, ingredient inventorying, grocery list making, and timeline planning.

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Day 4: Thanksgiving game plan

People!  Thanksgiving is just two days away.  As in the day after tomorrow.  Do you have your game plan ready?

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I do, but just barely.  Thank goodness I’m doing this little Thanksgiving series—it is really helping to keep me on track as I plan our feast for five adults, two toddlers and two infants.  (Yeah, we don’t plan on sleeping.)

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it may sound like prepping for Thanksgiving is a lot of work and is stressful, but I find that dividing the tasks into reasonable chunks to be completed over the course of a few days is the key to a relaxing and stress-free Thanksgiving Day.

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It’s not too late for you to get your game plan in order.  All you need to do is think about the end result.  Picture your perfect Thanksgiving dinner—picture all the food you want and the table you’ll set.  Then outline the steps you need to take to make that dinner happen and spread the steps over a couple of days.  Here is an example of the general timeline I’m using to prepare our Thanksgiving menu.

Tuesday: Make pie crusts and refrigerate them.  Wash the sheets for the guest beds

Wednesday Day: Send the kids to daycare and clean the house!  Decide which serving dishes will be used for which dinner items and make sure they’re clean.  Iron table cloths/napkins if needed.

  • Bake: pies, breads, spinach artichoke dip
  • Make: cranberry sauce
  • Prep: butternut squash (peel and cut) and Brussels sprouts (wash and halve)

Wednesday Night: Help my sister make the birthday cake, prep stuffing ingredients, set the crock pot for overnight oatmeal so that we have breakfast.

Thursday:

  • 9:00 a.m. – Prep and stuff the turkey
  • 10:00 a.m. – Turkey goes in the oven!
  • 11:00 a.m. – Put out snacks and heat up spinach artichoke dip
  • 1:00 p.m. – Set the table
  • 2:00 p.m. – Make mashed potatoes and butternut squash on the stove top
  • 3:00 p.m. – Prep the Brussels sprouts
  • 3:30 p.m. – Turkey out, Brussels sprouts in!  Make the gravy and carve the turkey.
  • 4:00 p.m. – Dinner time!

I kind of can’t wait to get started.  How about you?

Be sure to tune back in tomorrow for the last installment of this mini series: setting the Thanksgiving table!

And, if you’re just catching up, check out the first three posts for menu planning, ingredient inventorying and grocery list making.

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Thanksgiving Pennant Banner

I don’t know about you, but I’m a big believer in holding off on Christmas until Thanksgiving is over, so while many bloggers are trimming their trees, I’m savoring fall for one more week.  Okay, six days, but who’s counting?

Thanksgiving isn’t one of those holidays that lends itself to decorating, but each year for the past four years I’ve been inspired to do a little something special thanks to the Dare to DIY blog party series started by Kim at NewlyWoodwards and now co-hosted by Michelle, Cassie and Rachel.  And since I had so much fun with my Halloween garland that I decided to do something similar on our hallway shelves for Thanksgiving by making a pennant banner out of burlap.

If you’ve been around this blog for a while, you’ll know that I use our hallway shelves as a mantle, changing up the styling for each season.  The pennant banner adds a little something, don’t you think?

The colors happen to coordinate with the turkey wall hanging I made last year which is just around the corner from these shelves on the pantry door (or the “dog food door” as Ike calls it.)

This was, perhaps, the easiest project I’ve done in a long time, taking a total of 30 minutes.

First I created a triangle pattern and cut out 12 burlap pieces (I had the burlap on hand from our fall porch decorating).  Then I trimmed the pattern and cut four pieces out of three coordinating fabrics.  I used pinking shears to give the fabric a finished look without any effort.

I didn’t bother attaching the fabric to the burlap, I simply used a zig-zag stitch on my sewing machine to connect the burlap, fabric and yarn.

Easy peasy Thanksgiving banner.

If you need some ideas for last minute Thanksgiving decorating, be sure to check out my projects from previous years like my give thanks jars, thanks wreath or turkey wall hanging.  Or, just head over to Primitive and Proper to see the other projects linked up to the Dare to DIY party this week!

And if you want to join in on the fun for the next few weeks, here is the Dare to DIY schedule.

Here’s to a crafty holiday season!

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Day 3: Thanksgiving Shopping Lists

It’s the Friday before Thanksgiving!  Are you shopping for your feast this weekend?  If so, you’ve come to the right spot at the right time.  This is the third post in my five-day series about prepping for your Thanksgiving meal.  So far we’ve covered menu planning and inventorying ingredients, so now we’re on to the shopping trip.  Bring your coupons!

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Once you’ve had a chance to list all of the ingredients for your Thanksgiving meal and check that list against your pantry inventory, it’s time to make your shopping list.  As I inventory my ingredients, I cross off items I don’t need to buy or make notes about quantities needed.  Then I turn that mess of scribbles and marks into an organized shopping list.  I secretly love to see the lists come together.

If you’re like me, you’ll visit two or three different stores to collect all of your ingredients, and perhaps split the shopping into two sessions.  I like to buy all of the non-perishables at least a week in advance so that my last minute shopping trip is only for fresh produce.

Now, this may sound crazy, but I recommend spitting your lists the following way:

1. Items to buy ahead
a. by store
i. by section (produce, baking items, etc.)

2. Items to buy last minute
a. by store
i. by section (produce, baking items, etc.)

I don’t mind doing this the old fashioned way with pen and paper, but I’ve really taken to using the Ziplist app on my iPhone.  I can make multiple lists (by store, by date, etc.) and check them off as I move through the store.  The app automatically organizes items by section of the store, so it does half the work for you.  And, if you’re splitting the shopping you can sync your list to another device (very handy to add items to the shopping list while your husband is shopping!).

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My last bit of advice about shopping is to go early in the day or late at night.  I did my first big round of Thanksgiving shopping on Wednesday night at about 7:30 p.m. and I was in, out and home with no problem.  Who wants to fight the crowds, anyway!?

If this all sounds a bit overwhelming, I get it.  But I have found this whole list-making process only takes about and hour and gives me the confidence to know I have everything I need when the store close the night before Thanksgiving.  And that, my friend, makes for a more restful and relaxing Turkey Day.  Ready to shop?!

And once you have your ingredients, be sure to check out the fourth step in my five-day planning series: Planning your cooking and baking timeline.

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