The holiday countdown has begun, we’re all very busy getting ready. We’re shopping, baking, wrapping, decorating, entertaining, and crafting! I know many of us are trying to get as much done before school lets out for the winter break.
Here are some crafty ideas to keep the kids busy when they’re home and gets them involved in this year’s holiday preparations.
If you’re playing the neighborhood holiday game “You’ve Been Jingled” let the kids join the fun!
They’ll love the idea! They can help make up the gift baskets and older kids can even drop them off!
They’ll love the idea of ringing a neighbor’s door way and disappearing without being seen!
For FREE game printable click here!
Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone we turn our attention to the winter holidays. That means lots of cooking, baking, cleaning, decorating, and shopping going on. Whether you are celebrating Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukka, or other winter holiday you’re probably wondering how you’re going to fit in all the seasonal activities.
One way to reduce your seasonal cookie baking is to host a cookie exchange and swap baked goods with friends and relatives. It may take a bit of planning, but at least you’ll only have to bake one type of cookie and still have a variety to enjoy or gift over the holidays. It’s also a good excuse for a girls day or night out!
Hosting a cookie exchange doesn’t have to be a big fancy affair nor does it have to cost a fortune.
You can easily host one with just your close friends and family on a tight budget.
Here’s a few tips to help you plan your cookie exchange!
1. Decide who you want to invite.
You may want to keep the party small and intimate to keep it manageable. It’s probably not the right time to throw a party with 50 of your friends and their families.
2. Set your date and time.
Send out invitations. Ideally cookie swap invitations should be sent out a month before, but if you haven’t already done so, you should schedule it as soon as possible so guests can plan to attend. Everyone is busy during the holidays, if your guests are able to attend weekday events it may be easier to have your cookie exchange during the week, otherwise you can schedule a weekend day at least a week before the holiday.
I like to send written invitations, but if you’re pressed for time invitations sent via email or text will do. How ever you decide to send invitations always request guest to RSVP and if possible let you know what type of cookie they will be bringing. This will help avoid duplicates and you can gently suggest an alternative before the cookie exchange.
Tell guests they must bring a dozen cookies per guest plus an extra dozen for tasting. Suggest that the cookies they bring should be easy to pack and store. You can also ask them to write down the cookie recipe on a recipe card if they want to share it. Recipe cards can double as table cards and guests can help themselves to a card as well as the cookies.
3. Bake your cookies.
You can make them well in advance and store baked cookies in the freezer. Cookie bars freeze and pack well as do chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal, sugar, and snickerdoodles. For a list of cookies that freeze well check out this article from aboutfood.com.
To learn how to freeze cookies click here!
4. Purchase packing supplies.
You can use boxes, tins, or even ziplock bags. You may want to provide ribbons, tissue paper, tags, and other supplies so guests can pack up cookies for gift giving.
You may also want to have small party favors for each guests. Nicely wrapped oven mitts, kitchen towels, cookie cutters, and wooden spoons are all inexpensive and useful items that would make cute favors.
5. Decorate your house, cookie and packing table.
Set out platters and stands for the cookies. To make your own tiered stands click here!
You may want to set up a table or counter to pack cookies aside from the table or tables for the cookies.
Table cards with cookie type is a nice touch, or if guests are bringing recipe cards to share they can double as table cards. Here’s a cute and festive way to set up table cards, otherwise tent style folding cards work just as well.
Glue 3 candy canes together to form a tripod. Place table card on the hook part.
6. Offer guests coffee, tea, hot cocoa, or even wine.
You should also set out a few savory tidbits for guests to snack on. Finger sandwiches, dips, and other bite sized savories are ideal and will ward off the sugar rush from sampling all those cookies.
7. The star of the show are the cookies and the main event is the exchange.
Decide how you’re going to work the exchange to allow guests to choose the cookies they want. You can have a couple of guests at a time choose all their cookies or you can have rounds with each guest choosing a dozen cookies at a time. Guests can choose the same amount of cookies as they brought.
Thanksgiving is in a couple of weeks, that means the kids will be out of school for the very long weekend. Keep them busy making fun inexpensive Thanksgiving crafts while you’re busy in the the kitchen preparing that delicious Thanksgiving Day meal. You can also set a kids’ Thanksgiving table for your little guests and keep them entertained making their own craft projects to take home.
Many of these kid’s crafts are made using things you have at home or inexpensive supplies you can pick up at any discount or dollar store. Recycle toilet paper and paper towel rolls, paper plates, baby food jars, and bottle caps for these crafts.
Paper Roll Turkey from Arstsy-Farsty Mama is a great way to recycle toilet paper and paper towel rolls.
This Pilgrim Hat crayon holder by The Moody Fashionista would look great on the Kids’ Thanksgiving table. Make one for each place setting and add a blank rectangular piece of brown Kraft paper. Kids can make their own placemat!
Instructions here![spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]
Take a tip from Martha Stewart. Kraft paper placemats on the children’s Thanksgiving table will keep your little guests entertained. Add the Pilgrim Hat crayon holder and you’ve got a cute and practical table setting. Kids can take home their crayons and palcemats as party favors!
I love this idea from Alittletipsy.com! Handprint trees! My grandson made me one for mother’s day using different colors. My daughter added a poem and had it framed. It proudly hangs in my family room!
The Thanksgiving table can get very crowded. What with the turkey, side dishes, gravy, and sauces, there’s no place for anyone to actually sit down and eat! I solved this problem long ago by setting up a Thanksgiving Buffet Table for all the food and having an adult table as well as a kids’ table.
Depending on the space you have and the number of guests you are expecting this could take some doing. You might consider setting up different stations or bars; appetizer, sides, desserts, and drinks; or any combination there of. If you’re limited on space your stations may have to do double duty after dinner; appetizer station can be converted to dessert bar.
You may have to think out of the box and re-purpose furniture pieces to hold food and tableware. You will more than likely have to rearrange furniture to accomplish your goal. However you decide to set up the meal it will require advance planning, so much easier to move furniture without a ton of guests milling around.
Here are a few tips to help you set up a Thanksgiving Buffet Table.
1. Plan your serveware. Know ahead of time what dishes you will be using. I usually do this as soon as I’ve planned my menu, making a note beside each dish what I will be serving it in. Be creative, make your buffet interesting by adding height, this also creates space.
I love tiered stands and racks, but you don’t have to spend a fortune buying them. Stands can easily be made from dollar store items with very little time and effort. Check out Savvy Nana’s DIY Hurricane Vases & Lamps to learn how to make your own tiered stands.
You can also stack platters on upside down stemware or bowls to create height. Or use books or boxes wrapped in pretty paper. If you don’t have time to wrap books or boxes, just place them where you want them on the table and cover everything with a large tablecloth. You can even set Plates on pumpkins to create varying heights
For some great ideas on how to set a buffet table watch Kid’s Smart Living‘s video tutorial
A table in the middle of the room allows several guest access to the table at the same time, in this case taller dishes should be placed in the middle of the table. If the table needs to be set up against the wall meaning it will be front serving then taller dishes should be in the back.
2. Once you know which serving pieces you will be using you need to decide what you’re going to put them on. Breakfast tables, sideboards, baking racks, kitchen islands and counters work well as long as at least 2 people can serve themselves at the same time without blocking the way for everyone else. You may have to move furniture to accommodate the this traffic and arrange your serving ware accordingly.
Consider setting out trays of appetizers on coffee tables and end tables in the living or family rooms. This frees up space on the buffet table for the main event.
If you don’t have enough room on the table for plates and eating utensils consider setting up another table, shelf or rack to place them on.
Dinner plates stacked neatly on a chair will work![spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]
Make use of all the flat surfaces in your house. Setting up a bar on the mantle works well![spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]
3. Keep eating utensils neat and within reach by placing them in mason or apothecary jars, or on trays.
4. Decorate your buffet or bar with centerpieces and even a backdrop. You don’t need table cards but they’re a nice touch as is a framed photo or sign. You can hand write your own on card stock or use one of these printable.
Quilting and sewing are skills that you can use to come up with amazing fabric designs. For instance, you can apply these skills to create a self-healing fabric. This is a fabric that is quite useful in architecture, among other fields. However, for you to make such amazing stuff, you need to gain the right fabric cutting skills. To help you out, here are the 4 easy tips for cutting fabric for quilting or sewing.
1. Get the right tools
For you to cut quilting or sewing fabric, you need to invest in the right tools. Otherwise, you will cut fabric in a way that doesn’t meet your requirements, for the end product you wish to make. One of the best ways to get the right tools is to make use of reviews. Reviews give you an idea of what others are saying about a specific product. They also help out with price comparisons to help you buy the best fabric-cutting tools. For instance, a review like www.quiltersreview.com is quite detailed and has variety in the tools reviewed, including mats. Checking it out can save you lots of money and time.
2. Start with the largest fabric
To have an easy time cutting fabric, start with the largest one. This will give you a perspective on things like colors, size, and shape of the end product. Once you have cut the largest fabric, which is also the outer layer, it becomes much easier to make patterns with the smaller pieces of fabric that are overlaid on it. To avoid costly mistakes, ensure that you get all the measurements right, before you embark on cutting it.
3. Get rid of the selvage
Selvages have no use in the sewing or quilting process. They are simply a part of the fabric as produced by the manufacturer. In fact, they tend to be tighter than the rest of the fabric, which makes them impractical to work with. For a perfect end product, get rid of them before you start quilting or sewing whatever product you wish to make. However, get the right skills first before you cut it off. You can get such information online, and avoid making a mistake that could ruin the entire fabric.
4. Fold the fabric right before cutting
Once you have the right fabric, and have removed the selvage, it is time to cut the fabric. To get it right, fold the fabric once. Do not overdo the folds as this could lead to errors when cutting. For a perfect cut, hold the fabric as close to you as possible. This will help you get the right angle, and most importantly, have the cut run straight. Holding the fabric away from you means you will not have a good view of the ruler line, which is an essential guide to properly cutting the fabric.
If you follow these tips, you should be in a position to make amazing products from any type of fabric. It will be fun, especially after you build up experience in cutting fabric.
Halloween is fast approaching, decking out your home in ghostly glory is half the fun. Who says you have to break your budget to have an awesome Halloween display. With a little creativity, items you probably already have at home, and a quick trip to the dollar store you too can have some ghoulish fun to fit any budget. Here are some awesome Halloween Decor made from dollar store finds!
Take a trip to the Dollar Store for some witches hats and other gruesome stuff for this Halloween Decor.
Floating witch’s hats, like these from brooklynlimestone.com , creepy crawly spiders, spooky skeletons, and bloody hands are no problem. With a bit of fishing line, some tape, black paper, twigs, paint, and some imagination your “haunted” house is sure to get raves from friends and family.
Here’s another cheap Halloween Decor idea using dollar store spiders!
Have plastic spiders crawl on doors and walls. To see more creepy ideas check out my blog about decorating with glow sticks.