Don’t forget: last minute Thanksgiving details

October15

If you’re living in the U.S., this week is a big week for many of us! Thanksgiving is only a couple days away, and because it is a time when many families and friends gather together to celebrate the things we’re grateful for,  we want things to be just right!  Hopefully  you’ve already got your turkey and the rest of your meal planned, but in case you’re still putting some of your Thanksgiving details together…

If you still need a great recipe for rolls, here is my family’s time- tested recipe for Crescent Rolls.

Thanksgiving Crescent Rolls

This veggie platter turkey is a pretty awesome way to keep grabby hands and growling tummies away from the rolls while finishing up dinner preparations!

Veggie Platter Turkey {Home Sweet Homebodies}

If you want to dress up your table a little more (but need something relatively simply), Here is a nifty napkin folding tutorial if you’re so inclined.

Napkin Folding- 2 ways {Home Sweet Homebodies}

Or, if you’re ready to take your tablescaping to a new level, get some inspiration from this simple, yet highly elegant layout.

Thanksgiving Tablescape {Home Sweet Homebodies}

Or this festive fall tablescape:

Festive Fall Tablescape

Here is a delicious wassail recipe that would be another great way to enjoy the flavors of fall.

The Best Homemade Wassail Recipe {Home Sweet Homebodies}

If your refrigerator is overflowing with leftover turkey on Friday, you might want to consider using it in this fabulous Turkey and Wild Rice Soup recipe.

Turkey & Wild Rice Soup

Or this to-die-for Turkey Avocado Citrus Salad!

Turkey Avocado Citrus Salad Recipe on Home Sweet Homebodies

If your pumpkin craving isn’t satisfied this weekend, I’m sure it will be if you whip up this classic, easy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hope you can get those last- minute Thanksgiving details worked out!  Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Rochelle signature

PS: We’ll probably take a break for the next week or so, but feel free to follow along on Instagram as we post tablescapes and other Thanksgiving loveliness. Also, instead of posting our 4th giveaway in our month of giveaways series tomorrow, we’re going to spend the week with our families and hope you will too. The 4th giveaway will instead be live on Monday, November 30th. We will still be announcing this week’s giveaway on Tuesday afternoon- check our Facebook page to see who the winner is!

DIY Lego Birthday Party

Both of my sons have been very enthusiastic about Legos this year, so I wasn’t surprised when my oldest decided on a Lego theme for his birthday party.  And, being the crazy summer that it is, I gave myself only 6 days to plan and prepare everything from start to finish. I  wondered how it would all turn out, but everything was, in fact, awesome. Cue music….

It turns out that there are tons of free printable resources online that made my job pretty easy! We used a free, customizable Lego movie invitation, these minifig straw decorations that we used as cupcake toppers, a minifig coloring page, and free printable Lego cupcake wrappers.

The Prep

I tried to involve my son as much as possible in the party prep, and it was a fun bonding experience, plus he was actually pretty helpful.  We handed out invitations that we printed 4-on-a-page and mounted on bright cardstock paper that we already had.

Hale Grafx free printable

We printed the minifig coloring pages, and also the straw toppers and cupcake wrappers, and cut those out. The boys used double stick tape to attach the straw toppers to craft sticks for the cupcake toppers.

I collected and separated Lego pieces into individual bags for our Lego car- building activity (check garage sales and local classified ads, or use your own stash and don’t send them home as favors).

I did purchase a few things for the party. I bought these Lego favor bags pictured below, some lego brick candies which I added to the favor bags and also decorated the cupcakes with (see below), a silicone Lego candy mold (we made chocolates, but you could do ice cubes, other candies, crayons, etc.), and minifig crayon sets which we could have made on our own if we’d had time.

 

 

I had some Wilton Candy Melts on hand that I used to make the Lego candies by melting the chips in the microwave, pouring in the molds, and refrigerating for a few minutes. They set up pretty fast, allowing me to use just one mold to make many candies very quickly. I packaged them up in small bags that I also had on hand already that I had found at the grocery store.

I also bought a long green plastic table cloth, red square plates, yellow cups and silverware, and blue napkins from the dollar store ($5 total).  I drew the minifig faces on the cups with a permanent marker.  I didn’t want to worry about feeding the kids lunch, but I got a veggie tray and a fruit tray, and that went over pretty well with the kids.

The  Party

We invited 10 7- year- olds, and I was a little worried about chaos, so I planned enough activities to keep them busy for 2 hours and made an itinerary.  My sister Cara was gracious enough to come help the activities move along and stay organized. Here is what my itinerary looked like:

10am  Gathering activity- Minifig coloring/decorating (10 min)

10:10  Lego relay race (10 min)
10:20  Lego straw game (5 min)
10:25  Snacks (veggie and fruit trays) (10 min)
10:35  Build and race cars (25 min)
11:00  Lego bracelets (25 min)
11:25  Presents (15 min)
11:40  Cake (20 min)

 

We did the coloring as a gathering activity while we were waiting for all the kids to arrive, and in addition to crayons, I provided googly eyes, pom-poms, glue, etc. to decorate them with.

Next we did a relay race, Egg-on-a-spoon style, with a tub of legos, a spoon for each team, and a bucket for them to dump their Legos into. I set a timer for 4 minutes (you could adjust according to the age of the kids playing) and they got as many Legos as they could without dropping them.

After the timer went off, I had the kids count how many Legos were in the buckets, and the winners got a prize (I reassured the kids that every kid would get to win a prize by the end of the party).

We also played the M&M game with straws and Lego pieces instead of M&Ms. (The idea is to use the straw to create suction and pick up Lego bricks for a minute or two. The winner is the one with the most pieces when the timer goes off. Make sure the pieces are large enough to be picked up this way and won’t be a choking hazard!)

I combined the snack time with the Lego car activity. The kids spent more time doing these things than I expected, and really seemed to enjoy building their cars.  They all got relatively similar pieces, but the cars were very distinct and unique from each other.  I loved watching their creativity.  After they finished building, we went outside to the ramp my husband put together with some wood and sheets of plastic propped up on a sawhorse. Each child raced their car against another, and everyone got prizes.

I thought Lego friendship bracelets would be a fun craft that boys and girls would each enjoy, and although the kids needed a lot of help, they all seemed to think it was a pretty cool activity.  They even realized they could carry around their Lego cars stuck to the bracelets. :)  We followed this tutorial from The Centsible Life for Lego friendship bracelets. My husband went through our Lego stash and pulled a few pieces out, and drilled the holes pretty quickly.

I like to do cake and ice cream as the very last thing at birthday parties, so we sang “Happy Birthday and passed out the cupcakes after the presents were open. (I will share the delicious dairy- free recipes I used in a later post!)

My son was thrilled with how his party turned out, and all the kids stayed busy enough that there were no squabbles, and no chaos, so I was happy too!

Celebrating the Ultimate Pi Day

Pi…aka the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter… aka 3.14159265359 and so on… Celebrating Pi Day (March 14th) is a beloved tradition for math enthusiasts and pie enthusiasts alike. We have enjoyed celebrating this “holiday” for several years (not that we need an excuse to eat pie, but can you think of a better reason to do so?!)

A few years ago we enjoyed this apple pie on Pi Day.

This year Pi Day is kind of a big deal, because March 14, 2015 is 3.1415. Some people are even taking it to the next level, marking 9:26 on the clock. We decided that we for sure needed to celebrate this once-in-a-century event, so we planned a Pi Day brunch celebration with a few friends.  On the menu: Quiche, Pineapple, and of course assorted pies.

I had fun designing an invitation (I used Inkscape and Silhouette Studio) with a math pun or two in it.

We’ll be keeping the kiddos happy doing Pi art and activities, like this Pi in the skyline by What Do We Do All Day?, this Easy as Pi artwork by Pink Stripey Socks, this Circle Art by Momgineer, or this Pi bracelet.

My husband wants me to make Pi Day Tshirts; we’ll see how it goes and I’ll post pictures if I get that far.

Update 3/18/15:
Here are pictures of some of the things I made:

I used my silhouette machine to cut this design out of heat transfer material, then just ironed it on the shirts.

 

I did this onesie the same way as the shirts above.

 

Our welcome sign, right next to the Pi wreath on the front door. :)

I designed the shirts using Inkscape and Silhouette Studio. I’ll share how I use those programs together in another post. Peace!

Do you have any fun plans/ traditions for Pi Day? Do share!

DIY Ring Pillow

Here is a quick photo tutorial of the ring pillow I made for my sister Cara’s DIY wedding.  Cara’s colors were light pink, eggplant, and champagne/gold. I had one afternoon to make a pair of these pillows, since we were driving to the wedding the next day. Luckily, I am a fabric hoarder and I didn’t have to waste any time running to buy fabric since I had a variety of fabrics in exactly the colors I needed. :)

This pillow ended up being about 8 inches square.

I used two 9″ squares of cream colored sateen fabric, one 9″ square of cream colored lace, a 9×4″ strip of eggplant colored linen, and a 5×20″ strip of light pink chiffon. Obviously, use any variety of fabrics and colors that you like- this would look great in all white or cream too.

1) I basted along each long edge of the chiffon and 2) gathered it on both sides.

3) The lace is layered over one of the plain cream pieces. 4) The gathered chiffon goes across the bottom and is pinned in place. 5) The chiffon is basted in place. 6) The long raw edges of the eggplant accent strip are folded towards the middle and ironed.

7) The accent strip is pinned on top of the gathered chiffon, covering up the raw edge on the top. 8) It is then sewn in place with a straight stitch.

9) Right sides of the cream pillow fabric are pinned together and 10) sewn, leaving a small opening to turn the pillow right side out. Clipping the corners will give a nice pointy finished corner.

11) The pillow is turned right side out, stuffed, and the opening sewed shut.

12) It is a good idea to add a ribbon (which can be sewed on by hand) to secure the rings during the ceremony

Then just get yourself some adorable ring bearers and you’re good to go!

Cara’s DIY Wedding

I was looking through my pictures and realized that I totally forgot to post about my sister Cara’s outdoor/ indoor wedding that happened in October.  Which is sad, because it was a completely beautiful, totally DIY wedding.  So I’m going to remedy the situation, and post some of the awesomeness now.

First, my husband BJ and I took engagement photos:

My sisters Marissa and Anna and I threw Cara’s bridal shower, and a friend was kind enough to host it for us.

Here’s the shower invite that I designed using Inkscape (a free Illustrator-like program).

Here’s a somewhat better view of the refreshment table.  We had a tea and hot chocolate bar as well.

Here are the favors for the guests- a packet with an herbal tea bag and a honey stick.  The tags were designed by me- again in Inkscape.

Cara and I spent hours making bridesmaid jewelry using beads and findings she bought online and at Hobby Lobby. Each piece was totally unique, but had a unifying theme. There was a necklace, bracelet, and earring set for each of the 11 bridesmaids.

The house and yard was transformed for the wedding and reception by the tireless help of many friends and family members.  Tables and chairs were covered with fabric from the stashes of my mom’s friends and sisters.

My cute and talented mother did all of the flowers- bouquets, boutonnieres, table arrangements, indoor/ outdoor, etc.

This photo doesn’t do them justice, these are just the only flower photos I could find.

Here’s one of the bridal bouquet.

Photo credit to Giffy Pix.

My mom also made the cake pedestals by gluing together glass plates and vases, filling the vases with dried flowers, and tying ribbon around them.

My aunt, sister Marissa and I did Cara’s makeup, hair, and nails respectively.

My mom made this lovely wedding gift with words of advice, featuring a hand- crocheted doily (My grandmother made one for each grandchild before she passed away, and my mom saved them to give at each wedding).

My mom and my aunts took a basically strapless wedding gown bought for under $200 and using their brilliant sewing wizardry, transformed it into Cara’s dream wedding dress- a much more modest, and classy looking frock.  I wish I had a more close-up detailed photo of the dress, but you can get an idea by the picture below.

My dad is a bishop- a lay clergyman in our church, so he was able to be the one to marry Cara and Jeff.  My sons were ring bearers.

These 2 photos courtesy of Giffy Pix

I made the ring pillows my sons are holding in the above pictures (tutorial to come).

Marissa was the fantastic artist behind this lovely cake and multitude of cupcakes. (Check out her baking accessories shop on Etsy!)

I also made marriage advice cards for guests at the reception to fill out and compiled them into a book for the newlyweds to enjoy down the road.

It was a bit crazy to arrive just a day or two before the wedding and everybody work like mad to throw it together (after a several months of distance planning), but I think it turned out fabulously!  And the newlyweds are still doing great!

Learn How to Gift Wrap Like a Pro in 3 Simple Steps! (Guest Post)

I am so excited for this guest post today, by my amazingly talented mother-in-law!  She has been known for her love of wrapping gorgeous gifts, and she has it down to a science.  Back in April, Rochelle and I asked her if she would be kind enough to write a blog post about how she wraps her gifts, and she happily agreed to do so.  Thanks Mom! 

Who doesn’t delight in a
beautifully wrapped gift?  Beautiful
package trimmings enhance the enjoyment of the gift and communicate to the
recipients that they are important to you!
But how do you turn out those
beautiful packages that are only seen on TV? 
With a few tips and pointers, you too can wrap your gifts beautifully.
Apply this one basic wardrobe principle to your gift
wrapping:  Start with the basics, then
accessorize
.  Any women’s wardrobe advisor will tell you
that you need a few basics, which always include these essential items:  black pants, black skirt, white button down
shirt, black pumps, a good pair of dark jeans. 
With these basics, you can accessorize with scarves, jewelry, sweaters, shoes,
handbags, hair accessories, etc. in prints, colors and metallics to jazz up
your basics, add variety, and make your wardrobe seem much more extensive than
it actually is! 
This principle, applied to
gift wrap, will turn you into a pro! 
Step 1:  Choose a color
scheme; then pick a basic wrap color.  My
favorite is the kraft brown.

 Step 2:  Accessorize
with other rolls in complementary colors, in prints, stripes and geometrics.  Designs should vary in size – small, medium
and large.

Step 3:  Choose
coordinating ribbons and package decorations.
Kraft brown is my favorite
because it is so versatile!  I’ve used it
for Christmas (with red and white; with red, gold and leopard; with green and
gold; with blue and gold; with gold and red), 



birthdays (with any color for
children; with red, yellow and green for adult women; with black and
gold/leopard for men; with pink for girls), 

anniversaries (with gold), 
baby
gifts
(with pink or pink and green, or pink, gold and leopard for little girls;
with brown and blue for boys, and even with red, yellow and blue for a shower
gift for a baby whose gender I didn’t know).

Other Occasions (Like Weddings and Graduations): 

I love these 3 simple rules to make your gift wrapping beautiful and coordinated!  I applied these rules to my wrapping this year, and love how my color-coordinated gifts look under my tree! Super simple, with an awesome impact! 
And, just for fun, here’s my tree with my presents (please excuse the poor photo quality, and…all the pine needles):


And some close-ups of my favorite presents: 



DIY Shabby Chic Angel Ornaments

I was looking through some of my photos from last Christmas, and I can’t believe I forgot to post this tutorial for DIY shabby chic angel ornaments! I made these as gifts for my siblings, neighbors, and co-workers last Christmas (with little wire stethoscopes for my co-workers who are nurses!) I was happy with how these turned out, and the ease at putting them together. No painting! (My nemesis.)  No sewing! (Too time consuming.) No cutting or drilling wood! (I like my fingers a little too much.) Seriously, just hot glue.  You’re welcome!

Obviously, there are a million ways this sweet little angel could be styled, but here’s the how- to on the basic design.

1. Gather your materials: One large unfinished wooden bead (~2cm) for the head, two smaller beads (~1cm each) for the feet, one unfinished wood spool (about 3cm tall) for the body, 1.5″ thick sheer ribbon for the wings (9-10″ long), thin sheer ribbon to tie the wings with (3-4″ long), lace (I used gathered lace) to cover the spool body (~4″), a long piece of thin ribbon for the legs and loop at the top (at least 15″ long, but you’ll want to experiment), and a piece of wire or a button for the halo. Oh, and a hot glue gun!

2. Make the wings by folding the thick sheer ribbon into a 3″ roll or so.  I used a cream colored sheer ribbon.

3. Use the small piece of thin ribbon (I used a white sheer ribbon) to tie the wings in the middle.

4. Fluff out the wing layers and hot glue them in the position of your choice.

5. Hot glue the lace “dress” around the spool body.

6. Put a dot of hot glue on top of the end of the lace.

7. Glue the wings there, with the knot on the wings facing the spool.

8.  Thread your long, thin ribbon through the head bead and the spool.  Make sure there is a double layer of ribbon the whole length, with the ends of the ribbon coming out the spool, and a loop on the side with the head.  Tie a knot about 3″ down the loop, and put a dab of hot glue on the knot before you slide the head bead up so that it mostly covers the knot.  You can put a dab of hot glue under the head too so the spool sticks to the head. Then, tie a knot with the “leg ribbons” and put some hot glue on it for added strength so that the spool doesn’t slide down.

9. Thread the small beads on to the ends of the thin ribbon. A needle might make this easier.

10. Tie knots where you want the feet to hang, and put a dab of glue on to hold them in place if you want.

11. Experiment with different things to use for a halo- a twisted piece of wire, a cute button, etc. would all work. Then customize to your heart’s content and enjoy your own DIY shabby chic angel ornament!

Happy Anniversary Bunting – FREE Silhouette Pattern

This past week, my husband and I celebrated our 5th anniversary.  It’s hard to believe that much time has gone by! I wanted to make a special anniversary decoration to hang up, and I love how bunting looks, so I decided to make anniversary-themed bunting.

I designed and cut everything out using my silhouette cameo (LOVE having that machine!), and then sewed all the pennants together with my sewing machine.  I love how it turned out! (Scroll to the bottom of this post to get the free downloadable file).

Would you like to make this? Download the .studio file here!