DIY Thanksgiving Wreath

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #HappyThanksGathering #CollectiveBias

THANKSGIVINGPREP

I love Thanksgiving. The food, the traditions, the nostalgia – all of it. It’s the perfect kick-off to the busy holiday season and something that I look forward to every year.

Since getting married four years ago, I have been telling my husband that I can’t wait to host Thanksgiving dinner. Unfortunately, between not having a big enough space and our traveling to see other family, I haven’t had my chance yet.

This year, I will be much too pregnant to travel off-island and we have a home large enough to host family and friends so it looks like I’m finally getting my chance!

To say that I am excited is an understatement but I’m trying hard not to go overboard with the planning and preparation.

My main goal when doing any kind of hosting is comfort. No matter how great your kitchen and decorating skills are, your guests will eventually forget what you served them to eat, but they will always remember how you made them feel. That’s why creating an authentically warm, relaxing, and comfortable environment is key.

I feel most at peace in my own home when things are tidied up. I know that my guests will feed off of my energy, so I will be spending some time sprucing up the main living areas of our home before the big day to make sure that I am able to relax.  The last time I was at Walmart, I picked up a few of my clean-house essentials: Scrubbing Bubbles® Toilet Cleaning Gel, Scrubbing Bubbles® Disinfectant Bathroom Cleaner and Windex® Original Glass Wipes. (Bonus: there is an awesome rebate going on right now which saves you $5 on your holiday photos)

PRODUCTS

Clorox-in-store

Cleaning up the house, especially when you have a meal to plan/cook is a big job but with the right cleaning products and some holiday tunes turned up nice and loud it’s a big, fun job.

brother-cleaning

^My brother kindly demonstrating how easy and fun cleaning the bathroom with the Windex® Original Glass Wipes is. Isn’t he the best?

After the house is clean, and before I get to cooking, I’ll make sure that our house is decorated festively for the occasion with some traditional items and a special Thanksgiving wreath.

FULL

We all know to expect the “what are you thankful for” activity at the Thanksgiving dinner table but none of us likes to be put on the spot, right? I know I don’t. I think this is especially true when sitting around the table with strangers or a new group of people. (think your first Thanksgiving with your significant other’s family or maybe a group of your parent’s colleagues) but also applies to those dining with family and loved ones that they see all of the time.

Even though I have SO much to be thankful for, and love spending time reflecting on them, my naturally introverted self sometimes cringes at situations like these. To combat that awkwardness, and to make sure that all of my guests feel comfortable this Thanksgiving, I created this wreath that we will incorporate during dinner time.

close-up-wreath

The wreath is already hanging above our piano. Underneath, I have a box with pre-cut “thanks” circles and some pieces of leather cord. The idea is that from now until Thanksgiving, anyone who comes into my house can write down what they are thankful for and tie it onto the wreath. Guests who are here only for the day will have their opportunity to write down what they are thankful for while they are mingling and waiting for our meal.

THANKSGIVING-WREATH

During dinner, I will remove all of the circles from the wreath, divide them equally amongst our guests and we will take turns reading off what we are all thankful for. Of course, anybody can share more if they are so inclined but I believe that by having this anonymous way of sharing what we are thankful for will ensure that all of my guests feel comfortable, welcomed and pressure-free.

Sounds great, right? If you want to make a Thanksgiving wreath of your own, please feel free to download this free printable which gives you twelve “thanks” circles per page. Once you have the circles printed and cut out, punch a single hole into the top of the circle, cut some string and lay those items out with some pens.

I have so much to be thankful for this year – our wreath is going to be pretty full by the time Thanksgiving rolls around. I’m looking forward to it! That and, of course, the food. You can find more #HappyThanksgathering inspiration here. 

 

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valentines day dinner at home

valentine's day dinner at home

Dinner parties are my jam. And with Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I had the perfect excuse to throw a little something together to celebrate with family.

Money is a little tight right now so I had to be really budget conscious when planning. But that was no problem because I was able to put this party together for four dollars. Yes, you read that right. FOUR. (besides the cost of food, which doesn’t count because we were going to eat dinner anyways)

So if you are looking for a way to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your family this weekend without breaking the bank, here are four tips to help you plan a special Valentine’s Day dinner at home:

valentine's day dinner at home

valentine's day dinner at home

valentine's day dinner at home

1. Change your scenery || Eating dinner in a new spot will make it feel extra special. We had our dinner on top of an old door at the end of the driveway – super random, but so fun! I realize that in many parts of the country, eating outside in the middle of February isn’t ideal but you can get the same effect inside. Usually eat in the kitchen? Transform your living room into a pop-up restaurant for the evening. 

valentine's day dinner at home

valentine's day dinner at home

2. Be resourceful || You know those Rifle Paper Co. botanical notebooks that you see all over the internet? I used the covers for my garland. I had originally used the journals for my daily devotions but since they were full I figured it was time to repurpose them. I archived my favorites in a larger binder and saved the rest of the pages for a fun journal project that my cousin Lily put together (more on this later). 

valentine's day dinner at home

3. Dress the part || Everyone loves an excuse to dress up, right? Even though you aren’t going out, dress up like you are! It will make you feel more festive and everyone will look great in photos. 

valentine's day dinner at home

valentine's day dinner at home

4. Keep it simple || Don’t spend any money on dishes, just use what you have in your cupboard. To make it a little more festive, dress up your table with some simple potted flowers. I picked mine up from the grocery store at $2 a pop. 

valentine's day dinner at home

What are your plans for Valentine’s Day?

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we like to party

Here in Hawaii Alex and I are lucky to have a nice core group. We are a mix of family, neighbors, and friends met while surfing the same spot every morning. We call ourselves Team Sharkbait.

And we like to party.

At the beginning of the summer I proposed an idea that we have monthly dinner parties. The idea is that we would rotate host families each time. The host would pick the theme and be responsible for the food and the guests just had to play along. Everyone was on board (how could you not be right?!) and the parties began in May.

First up, we had “mafia night” at the Taniguchi’s. The food was AMAZING and it was so fun to get all dressed up.

Mafia dinner party

Mafia Couple

Next month, we had a fourth of july party at Sash & CB’s new house in Kailua. Food and company was great, we had a patriotic photobooth, and there was a great firework show to end the night.

Fourth of July Table

Patriotic Photobooth

Photoboth couple

In August, it was our turn to host. We decided on a circus theme. When our guest’s arrived they picked up a bag that had their “roles” for the evening complete with props. We even learned of Charron’s special talent for balancing chairs on her chin (?!)

circus dinner party

Just last night we had our September installment at Charron and Jasen’s house. The theme was “trash to treasure” and we all came in our Goodwill best. The menu was full of comfort food taken to the next level and it was SO good. I’m still dreaming about the grilled cheese and tomato soup combo.

grilled cheese

We are going to be taking a hiatus from these themed parties during the holidays but I look forward to starting them back up again at the beginning of the year! If you were hosting next, what theme would you choose?

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