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!
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.
The average annual cost of household expenses in America adds up to $60,006, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and finding ways to hack household spending will make it easier to spend less and save more. Since most USA residents end up spending a whopping 82 percent of their annual income on household expenses, this is an area where trimming costs really pays off. Follow these tips to hack your household spending, and then use the money you save to make your dreams come true in the future.
Switch to a cheaper home energy plan
No matter which state you live in, you’ve probably got a lot of options when it comes to home energy providers. You may not know that it’s possible to switch energy providers without experiencing service interruptions or cutting through red tape. It’s actually very simple to make a switch, and you may save big bucks by comparing energy plans from different companies and then choosing the one that is most affordable. Quake asserts that homeowners and renters can switch energy providers without hassles and headaches, and then enjoy saving money on electric or natural gas bills.
Shop with cash instead of plastic
If you want to spend less on household items, bring cash along on your shopping trips and use it to pay for smaller purchases, such as cleaning supplies and groceries. Save the plastic for big buys like electronics or large appliances. When you skip the plastic and use cash, you won’t need to pay interest on the cost of your purchases. Some people pay off their credit cards each month so they don’t get hit with much (or any) interest charges, but most people find that interest charges creep up over time and cost them money.
Plant a garden in your backyard
When you plant and maintain a garden in your own backyard, if that garden measures 600 feet square, you can anticipate saving 600 bucks per year on the cost of food. The cost of maintaining the garden should be only 70 dollars annually. A garden of this size should yield hundreds of pounds of healthy produce every year. If you don’t have a green thumb, don’t worry. Anyone can learn how to take care of a garden, and you may find that the time you spend working in it really zaps stress.
When you spend less on household expenses, you’ll free up cash, enabling you to build security for your family. Down the line, this saved cash may give you the means to plan a special family vacation or select investments that become valuable nest eggs. So, why not start trimming household expenses today?
This month we hosted an 80th. Birthday Party for my Mom in her Texas home. Guest seating was outdoors and mosquitoes were a concern. To keep these nasty bugs away my mother had her yard man spray mosquito repellent and we incorporated these Citronella Jars in our centerpieces, it worked out well, no one got any mosquito bites that night.
These jars are so simple and inexpensive to make and will fit any party theme or decor. I’ve used them for outdoor barbecues, birthday parties, and pretty much any outdoor event. I find them much prettier than store bought citronella candles and torches, cheaper too! You can use ribbons to match your color scheme or for a more rustic look use burlap ribbon or twine.
I fill the jars with fresh herbs that are have natural mosquito repellent and citronella essential oil. I try to use herbs from my garden when possible making these jars even more economical. Mosquito repelling herbs include Lavender, Mint, Lemon Balm, Basil, Catnip, Rosemary, Lemon Thyme, and Lemon Verbena. There are other plants and herbs that have natural mosquito repellent qualities, but I like to use the ones I listed as I have them in my garden. I like to use 2-3 different herbs and choose herbs with leaves that look good together. I add lemon and lime slices for color and a floating candle at the top to keep the herbs from floating over the jar rim.
If you use homegrown herbs each jar cost about $2 or less to make. I got the Citronella Essential Oil from HEB for just a bit over $5. I made a dozen jars and still have more than half the bottle of essential oil leftover. I got the Mason Jars (about $1 each) and floating candles (6 for $4) from Walmart. If you need to buy fresh herbs you can buy small amounts for about $2 – 3 a package in the produce section of most grocery stores, but if you need to make a lot of jars you will probably get a better deal at your local farmer’s market. If you can’t find a farmer’s market nearby consider buying pots of herbs from the garden department of Walmart, Lowes, Home Depot, or your local garden shop; it’s less expensive than buying sprigs from the grocery store and you can plant leftover herbs to use next time.
Here are directions for making your own Citronella Jars, the best part it you can reuse the jars for other events, just change the ribbon to fit your decor!
Quart Sized Mason Jar
Sprigs of Fresh Herbs – Lavender, Rosemary, Mint, or any other mosquito repelling herbs
5 drops Citronella Essential Oil
1 Lemon – sliced in circles (optional)
1 Lime – sliced in circles (optional)
Ribbon or Twine
1 Floating Candle
1. Snip sprigs of herbs to size you want; rinse off any soil.
2. Place herbs in mason jar and fill jar half way with water (herbs will float).
3. Add Citronella Essential Oil to water and shake gently to evenly distribute the oil.
4. Add more water to fill the jar.
5. Add lemon and lime slices.
6. Gently push herbs and fruit slices into the water and place floating candle on top.
7. Tie ribbon or twine on the jar.
8. Light candle when needed.
When it’s very hot outside store jars indoors or in a cool area to keep the candle from melting.
Herbs will last in the jar for several days depending on the temperature. When the herbs wilt just toss them out, wash the jar in warm soapy water to remove oil residue, and make another batch when you need them.
Make these jars in a well ventilated area and avoid inhaling the Citronella Essential Oil, it’s unsafe and has been reported to cause lung problems.
Wear gloves when handling this oil as it can cause allergies in some people.
Keep the jars and citronella oil away from children and pets. It is safe to use around children and pets but ingesting large amounts of the oil is very harmful.