DIY Thanksgiving Wreath

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

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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

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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.

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^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.

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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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DIY Corn Husk Dolls

DIY-CORN-HUSK-DOLL

I didn’t play with a ton of dolls when I was younger but I do have a pretty vivid memory of playing with a corn husk doll that I made at school. I wasn’t very attached to it, and I’m sure she found a place in the trash can not longer after I brought her home, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the simplicity of a good corn husk doll today. 

Call me old fashioned, but the idea of Lyla playing with simple, handmade toys like these makes me all kinds of giddy. I love being able to create things for her that bring her joy which is why I added it to our fall bucket list

There just happened to be 8 ears of corn in the produce box that we picked up at the Farmer’s Market last week so I set them aside while I cooked dinner and quickly got to doll making! 

To make a corn husk doll you need: green corn husks, string and a pair of scissors. That’s it!

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[1] Start with 4-5 fresh corn husks. Lay them flat on top of each other and tie together with small piece of string. 

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[2] Flip upside down and pull each husk down. 

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[3] Using another piece of string, tie a piece around the top of the husks to form the head. 

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[4] Grab another husk, lay flat and roll tightly to form the arms. Secure each end with string. 
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[5] Place the arms between the long “body” husks, just below the neck. Secure with piece of string to form the waist. 

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[6] Take another husk and cut in half. Drape pieces over the body in a criss-cross pattern to form the shoulders and secure with string. 

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[7] Take a few more long husks and gather around body to form the skirt. I tied this part with baker’s twine to add a little color ’cause my doll is fancy 😉

You could easily turn these into “boy” dolls by gathering half of the long skirt husks and tying them together at the end to form feet. I left my doll out to dry for a few days before giving it to Lyla to play with and ended up having to tighten up some of the string since the husks shrink when drying. 

Now that we have started crossing things off of our list, I am in full on fall mode. This week I’ve teamed up with Jenna from A Savory Feast as well as some other awesome bloggers to share our favorite posts about fall and to give you a chance to win some cool prizes. The giveaway ends tomorrow so make sure to get your entries in today! 

Happy crafting 🙂

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We are so excited about the arrival of Fall, so we are celebrating with a giveaway! Enter to win this fun prize pack filled with all sorts of Fall-themed goodies and a Starbucks gift card. Bring on the Pumpkin Spice Lattes!

Fall Welcome Week Hosts
To Travel and Beyond // The Beauty Section // Back to Carolina //

Yellow Dog Pink Pig // Natasha Byrd // Glitz & Gritz // Set Free // Mandy Living Life

Wetherills Say I Do // Life w/ Mrs. G. and the Artist // The Gift of Gab

Sustaining the Powers // Bright Green Door // A Savory Feast // No Small Life

Giveaway is open to US residents 18 years of age and older. Entries will be accepted via the Rafflecopter below from 9/23/2015 to 9/30/2015 at 11:59 PM EST. Winner will be randomly selected and will be verified. Winner will be emailed and must respond with a mailing address within 48 hours to claim their prize.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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colorful christmas crib garland

felt christmas tree garland for baby

As I was pulling out more of our Christmas decorations this morning Lyla gave me a look that said “Mommy, which of these awesome things get to go in my room?”

I looked at what I had, and realized that our stash didn’t really have anything that was baby friendly so I broke the news to Lyla and immediately her tears started flowing. Ok, maybe she was crying because her bottom teeth are still trying to come through, but still.

From start to finish this project took me about 45 minutes, so for all you mamas out there, this is the perfect nap time craft.

I know, I know nap time is your time to brush your teeth, pay the bills, fold a basket of laundry, prep for dinner, make the bed, and finally get to drink that cup of coffee that you have reheated seventeen times this morning. Nap time is precious – but so is this garland.

crib garland materials

Materials

felt (assorted colors)

bakers twine

scissors

hot glue gun

glue stick

crib garland stencil

Step one: To ensure all of your trees are (relatively) the same size, make yourself a stencil. I freehanded my tree but if you aren’t confident in your tree-drawing abilities then I would suggest using a cookie cutter or printing a silhouette to use as your guide.

felt christmas trees

Step two: Place your stencil on a piece of colored felt and simply cut around. Repeat this step for each color of felt you are using. (At this point I turned on my hot glue gun so that it would be ready when I was)

felt christmas trees for garland

Step three: Arrange your trees in the order that you wish to hang them. Aren’t they cute?

christmas tree garland

Step four: Using your hot glue gun, place a pearl of glue onto the back of each tree. Push bakers twine into glue and allow to dry.

felt christmas tree garland on crib

Step five: hang garland on baby’s crib, step back and enjoy. And go finish that cup of coffee before baby wakes up 😉

** Please don’t leave your baby unattended with this hanging on their crib as shown. After taking these photos, we did move the garland below the mattress level so that Lyla will not be able to grab it and put the string/trees in her mouth **

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dear santa…

Dear Santa,

Hope you are getting the rest you need to prepare for your big trip! Going around the world in one night sounds pretty exhausting. As a new mommy, I can definitely relate. Hawaii should be one of your last stops so if you think you will be burnt out on cookies and milk and want a different kind of pick-me-up, you let me know.

It seems a little early to be making our Christmas lists but since you need time to prepare your list and check it twice, I figured I better get going on them. Don’t want you to have to wait for the last minute!

Lyla and I have been really good this year, but you already know that. The whole seeing us when we are sleeping and knowing when we are awake thing is borderline creepy, but since you are such a jolly fella I’m going to look past it.

Keeping with the newly established Byrd family tradition of “want, need, wear, read”, I’ve organized our lists as such. You’re welcome.

I went all out on the “want” section – in case you have elves looking for overtime. Also, I had a really hard time with the “need” section. We are very blessed to have all of our needs met – shelter, food and love are in abundance for my little Byrd bunch and we are so grateful for that. So just for list-making and theming purposes, I included toilet paper.

I hope you are a fast reader cause this letter was pretty long and you haven’t even gotten to the good stuff yet! So without further adieu, our lists:

Mama’s Christmas List

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WANT || a mom car – a Ford Explorer or minivan would be nice | iMac for blogging/photo editing/video making reasons | a delicate stacking ring to represent my not so delicate little lady

NEED || toilet paper

WEAR || this ezra + eli shirt | a new hat for morning when mama doesn’t get a shower

READ || a good cookbook | a daily devotional

 

Lyla’s Christmas List

LYLA

WANT || these awesome wooden alphabet blocks | B. Zany Zoo Wooden Activity Cube 

NEED || diapers, I like Huggies and I wear size 3

WEAR || any of the adorable Tuck and Elle leggings | the ‘love one another’ t-shirt from Mama Said Tees | this sweet pineapple headband

READ || one of mama’s favorites, Madeline | The Complete Tales of Beatrix Potter

We will see you real soon, Santa!

Love,

The Byrd ladies

**Disclaimer: I am very thankful for all the blessings I have in my life. I do not need, nor do I think I need, these things to be happy. They are just things. Writing a letter to Santa is just a fun little tradition. So there.

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bucket list: fall 2013

The leaves might not be changing, but the weather here in Ewa Beach is cooler today (funny how 79 and cloudy can feel so much cooler than 85 and sunny) so it is officially feeling like fall!

I am a total list maker. It’s almost embarrassing how many lists you can find if you look in my purse/planner/notebook/etc. We even have a giant bucket list on our dining room wall of places we want to eat/things we want to do. So of course, I have a fall bucket list.

bucket list

Can’t wait to get started on this! What’s on your fall list?

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