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Menu Items for an All Day Thanksgiving

All day Thanksgiving menus probably sound crazy… If you’ve never had to work on Thanksgiving. Guys, if you and your family all have the whole day off and you’re free to eat whenever you want, you might not need any of this. But if you’re like my family, where one or more of you are shift workers at places that don’t close down for the holidays, eating at a regular time might not be an option. This year we’re basically eating Thanksgiving lunch, but imagine if you had to eat earlier than that. Yes, you can always eat your Thanksgiving dinner on a different day, and you still should if you want a whole turkey. But why not celebrate at least a little on the day of with a few of these all day Thanksgiving ideas?

All Day Thanksgiving Menu Suggestions

Breakfast/Brunch

All day Thanksgiving items #Thanksgiving #thanksgivingmenuideas #holidayfood #holidays #thanksgivingsnacks #thanksgivingbrunch #menuideas

Most people probably don’t think about breakfast on Thanksgiving because they’re saving up for the big meal or don’t want to cook more than they have to. At least, that’s how I am. But if you have to head into work by 11:00 AM, why not have a big breakfast or brunch to hold you over until whatever day you celebrate? Or, if you’re eating really late, how about a little holiday food to kick off the day and make the wait easier? Here’s a couple of ideas:

Pumpkin Butter (for toast/French toast/cinnamon rolls)
Maple Bacon Sweet Potato Hash
Thanksgiving Stuffing Cakes
Cranberry Pecan Cinnamon Rolls

Snacks

All day Thanksgiving items #Thanksgiving #thanksgivingmenuideas #holidayfood #holidays #thanksgivingsnacks #thanksgivingbrunch #menuideas

I know you need snacks whether you’re dealing with all day Thanksgiving or not, but hear me out. If you’re eating at 4:00 PM, you know what to eat for snacks. Cheese, crackers, vegetables. Easy stuff. But, if you have to change your Thanksgiving dinner to a different day, or if you’re eating really late, perhaps you’d like a little hint of Thanksgiving.

Sausage Stuffing Balls
Cranberry Barbecue Meatballs
Sweet Potato Tots
Crispy Green Bean Fries

Desserts to Go

All day Thanksgiving items #Thanksgiving #thanksgivingmenuideas #holidayfood #holidays #thanksgivingsnacks #thanksgivingbrunch #menuideas

This is the one I personally have to use on my all day Thanksgiving. We’re eating early so my dad can go to work on time, but he might not be hungry enough for dessert before he goes. Pies are a staple for a Thanksgiving meal, but they’re not the easiest to take on the go, especially if you want all the good stuff that goes with it, like ice cream or whipped cream. You can still have your pie, but if you’ve got night shift workers in the house, perhaps you can send them off with a couple of these treats.

Apple Pie Bites
Mini Pecan Pies
Pumpkin Cheesecake Balls
White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

Well, I hope some of these all day Thanksgiving ideas will help you out.  I obviously don’t expect you to cook meals all day long, or even eat them. It’s just some menu items that might help those of us celebrating at weird times. Oh, and whether you’re eating at 4:00 AM or 4:00 PM, don’t forget to have a fun tablescape. Here’s my historical ideas to get you started. So, anyone out there also celebrating at a weird time or a different day? What kinds of things do you eat while you wait?

All day Thanksgiving items #Thanksgiving #thanksgivingmenuideas #holidayfood #holidays #thanksgivingsnacks #thanksgivingbrunch #menuideas

All day Thanksgiving items #Thanksgiving #thanksgivingmenuideas #holidayfood #holidays #thanksgivingsnacks #thanksgivingbrunch #menuideas

All day Thanksgiving items #Thanksgiving #thanksgivingmenuideas #holidayfood #holidays #thanksgivingsnacks #thanksgivingbrunch #menuideas

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Ideas for a First Thanksgiving Inspired Tablescape

Welcome! This first Thanksgiving inspired tablescape is part of the Thanksgiving Blessings Blog Tour. I’m super excited about that because there are some awesome bloggers on the list. In fact, there’s chance you already know that because Tori at Toriorioria sent you over here, but if not, after you check out this post, be sure to click on the links at the bottom of the page and circle all the way back around. You’ll get a ton of fun ideas!

Onto the post. If you didn’t figure it out, my first Thanksgiving inspired tablescape is all about history. Yes, that’s right, I’m going to force you to learn while you decorate your house. Wait, come back! You won’t have to learn that much, I swear. In fact, you can just look at the pictures if that suits you better. Okay, let’s get on with it. The first Thanksgiving happened a super long time ago and doesn’t have a lot to do with what we celebrate today, but sometimes it’s fun to go back to our origins. Now, I’m not trying to make your table look like it belongs in the 1600s. I’m just trying to to take a few pieces of history and throw them into the mix. I have a big table and a small table, so I’ll show you how it looks on both.

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First Thanksgiving Inspired Tablescape Ideas

1. A Natural Look

First Thanksgiving Inspired Tablescape #thanksgiving #thanksgivingdecor #thanksgivingtable #thanksgivingtablescape #tablescape #tabledecor #tabledecorations

To be honest, I have no idea what kind of table coverings they used back then, if any, but if you read me regularly you know I think you need something nice for a modern Thanksgiving. In this case, natural seemed to be the way to go. So, of course, I went with burlap. Runners are pretty cheap, but you can’t wash them, so if you want to reuse it be careful with that red wine.  For my small table I borrowed a fall table runner from my mom. it’s a little old so I can’t tell you where to find it, but there are plenty of similar ones out there. I like that the runner still has a natural color scheme, but also adds details for a smaller table because I don’t want to overload it with objects.

2. A Hint of Pilgrim

Ha, the term “a hint of pilgrim” is really amusing me right now. Hopefully it amuses you too. Anyway, I’ve seen plenty of pilgrim hat decor before, but come on. I don’t want a giant hat on my table. So instead, to keep this first Thanksgiving inspired tablescape going, I’ve made candles in the vein of their buckled hats without being a hat. All you need are some black candles, white ribbon, and gold buckles (you can pick the last two up at a crafting store). Cut a ribbon to go around the bottom of the candle, put two buckles on it (so both sides of the table see a buckle) and then tape or glue the ribbon. Super easy crafting.

First Thanksgiving Inspired Tablescape #thanksgiving #thanksgivingdecor #thanksgivingtable #thanksgivingtablescape #tablescape #tabledecor #tabledecorations

First Thanksgiving Inspired Tablescape #thanksgiving #thanksgivingdecor #thanksgivingtable #thanksgivingtablescape #tablescape #tabledecor #tabledecorations

First Thanksgiving Inspired Tablescape #thanksgiving #thanksgivingdecor #thanksgivingtable #thanksgivingtablescape #tablescape #tabledecor #tabledecorations

 

3. Cranberries for the Wampanoag

If you don’t already know this, the Wampanoag are the American Indian tribe that joined the pilgrims for the first Thanksgiving. Now, we live in divisive times, and some American Indians actually call Thanksgiving their “Day of Mourning.” Because of that I don’t want to try anything that’s stereotypical American Indian, but I know the Wampanoag celebrate cranberries, so I figured it would be a good idea to have them represented that way. These cranberry decorations are super simple. Cranberries float, so just throw them in something cute with water. Add a tealight. Done.

First Thanksgiving Inspired Tablescape #thanksgiving #thanksgivingdecor #thanksgivingtable #thanksgivingtablescape #tablescape #tabledecor #tabledecorations

4. First Foods

Unsurprisingly, we don’t eat the same way people ate back at the first Thanksgiving. So, instead of forcing your guests to eat those foods and really sticking to your theme, just add a few odds and ends to your table decor. Walnuts and chestnuts are great and easy. Corn is good too, and wheat adds for a fun centerpiece. I got the fake items from Hobby Lobby and walnuts from the grocery store. I chose not to use any of this on the small table because there just isn’t room. To make a smaller table pop, see the next idea.

 

5. Non-Historical Color

First Thanksgiving Inspired Tablescape #thanksgiving #thanksgivingdecor #thanksgivingtable #thanksgivingtablescape #tablescape #tabledecor #tabledecorations

Okay, so your table is probably looking like it knows a lot about history now. But it’s probably also missing color. Time to add some place mats, charger plates, napkins, silverware, cups, whatever. I’ve got two different color schemes going on each table, so there’s definitely room to play with your own. The dishes on the big table are my actual good dishes, so I happened to luck into that particular color scheme. You’ll notice a big of alternating colors as well, in these placemats from Target and ribbon napkin rings on the big table, and the napkins on the small. And yes, those are my interchangeable holiday plates on the small table. See? Versatile.

As a time saving tip, I do want to tell you one thing. Once you pick your color scheme, commit. It shouldn’t take that long to set a table, but it can take forever if you second guess yourself. Really, whatever you choose is going to look awesome, because you have  so many options to make a first Thanksgiving inspired tablescape. Take ideas from the big table, small table, or both and see what you can come up with.

Next on the Hop

That’s all I’ve got for you, but there’s so much more to see! The next stop on the blog tour is Marlize Van Rooyen’s South African style Thanksgiving and you have to see that, plus steal a couple of her recipes if you have time to browse. Look at you, learning about history and other cultures all in one day. Or, if you have a more organized mind and need to start back at the beginning go see Kristy Mastradanos at Steeplechase Manor. Either way, you’ll have a ton of great ideas for a happy Thanksgiving!

First Thanksgiving Inspired Tablescape #thanksgiving #thanksgivingdecor #thanksgivingtable #thanksgivingtablescape #tablescape #tabledecor #tabledecorations

First Thanksgiving Inspired Tablescape #thanksgiving #thanksgivingdecor #thanksgivingtable #thanksgivingtablescape #tablescape #tabledecor #tabledecorations First Thanksgiving Inspired Tablescape #thanksgiving #thanksgivingdecor #thanksgivingtable #thanksgivingtablescape #tablescape #tabledecor #tabledecorations

 

how to

Easy Small Octopus Pull Apart Cake

This is honestly an easy small octopus pull apart cake. I wouldn’t lie to you, friends! I will let you know a little secret though. My mom frosted it. I could have done it in my regular haphazard way, but she made all our cakes growing up and knows how to make stars. Amazing! This idea came to me because of my sister’s baby shower. We had a really small group of people. Well, relatively. Eight people is a lot for a dinner party. It’s not very many for a baby shower. Anyway, there are all these octopus cakes online that look great, but they’re so huge! I definitely didn’t need two box cakes for eight of us. So, I had to resize it. Here’s what we came up with.

Instructions for an Easy Small Octopus Pull Apart Cake

How to make an easy small octopus pull apart cake. #cake #octopuscake #birthdaycake #babyshower #underseathemeparty #babyshowercake #pullapartcake

How to make an easy small octopus pull apart cake. #cake #octopuscake #birthdaycake #babyshower #underseathemeparty #babyshowercake #pullapartcake

Ingredients

1 box of your favorite cake mix
Buttercream frosting
Marshmallows
Piping Icing
Food Coloring

Directions

  1. Bake your cake. You need 12 cupcakes and one round pan. Split the batter as equally as you can, and keep cupcakes as even as you can.
  2. Make your frosting. I use this recipe, but I recommend not adding milk and making sure it’s non-salted real butter so it doesn’t break down. Also, you’ll have to at least double it.
  3. Set up the octopus the way you want it on a covered space. I use a flat pan with aluminum foil. You will have four legs of three cupcakes each (yes, I’m aware an octopus actually has eight legs, calm down). I liked the legs slightly separated, but maybe your covered space will look better a different way.
  4. Frost the whole thing. It doesn’t have to be colored frosting yet, but make sure  you are getting the frosting to look continuous on each leg up to the head.
  5. Put the cake in a fridge for at least half and hour.
  6. Separate your frosting into one main color and one minor color. Mine are pink and purple for reference on how much you need.
  7. Frost the whole thing again with your main color frosting. This time you will need to smooth it out after you’ve got enough on there to make it look like you only baked one weird shaped cake.
  8. Use a cake bag and pipe some stars in your second color along each leg to act as suction cups.
  9. Put two marshmallows on the circle cake to be eyes. Use your piping icing to add pupils.

That’s it! Your easy small octopus pull apart cake is completed! Seriously, it’s super easy, but if you’re like me and don’t know how to decorate a cake, either use candies for the suctions or don’t use suctions at all. Who cares? It’s your cake. Besides, it’s an octopus that only has four legs, how serious can the situation be?

How to make an easy small octopus pull apart cake. #cake #octopuscake #birthdaycake #babyshower #underseathemeparty #babyshowercake #pullapartcake
how to make a

How to Make a Marine Life Diaper Cake

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Do you need some instructions for a marine life diaper cake? Have you just wandered over from the post on my sister’s baby shower? Either way, I had a fun time making this diaper cake so I’m glad you dropped by. There are plenty of other diaper cake tutorials out there, and obviously I used those ideas. I did run into a little trouble though, in the form of a two-year old, so I had to add a couple layers of protection. Before you roll your eyes and call me an idiot, no, I cannot do things like this while he’s sleeping. I have to do my actual job then. Isn’t working from home grand?

Instructions for a Marine Life Diaper Cake

What you Need

Directions for a cute marine life diaper cake. #babyshower #diapercake #underseathemeparty #underseababyshower #marinelifeparty

70-80 diapers, size is up to you
70-80 small rubber bands
3 large rubber bands
twine or string
Bottle of Champagne (use baby bottles if your recipient doesn’t drink)
ribbons
seashells
baby items

If you plan to move your diaper cake, you also need something to set it up on. I used heavy posterboard.

Steps

1. Prepare the Diapers

Roll up the diapers and put rubber bands around them. You want them to be relatively even, so make sure you start with the opening and roll towards the crease.

2. Build the Cake

Directions for a cute marine life diaper cake. #babyshower #diapercake #underseathemeparty #underseababyshower #marinelifeparty

If you are like me, you didn’t waste time making your diapers perfectly even, so they’re probably not going to stand up perfectly. If you have a toddler wandering around, they will probably also be trying to sabotage you. So, this is where the big rubber bands come in. Set up your first layer on the bottom. They should stay up since this is the sturdiest layer. Secure a big rubber band around it.

Directions for a cute marine life diaper cake. #babyshower #diapercake #underseathemeparty #underseababyshower #marinelifeparty

Then do another layer around your newly secured first layer. You won’t have a rubber band big enough for this one, so tie some yarn around it. Then do a third layer, add yarn. For the middle tier of the cake, you can put a band over the champagne bottle first and then put diapers into it. This level only needs one yarn layer.

Directions for a cute marine life diaper cake. #babyshower #diapercake #underseathemeparty #underseababyshower #marinelifeparty

The top tier only needs one rubber band layer and then you have your whole cake built. Beware of roaming toddlers. They may discover it’s the perfect time to learn about rubber bands and strew them all over your living room.

3. Decorate

Okay, so here is where things are going to differ. If possible, you should be using items on the guest of honor’s registry. If they have receiving blankets or burp cloths (my sister wanted these), wrap those around the cake. I just taped it on there. Who cares if there’s a gap at the back? You’re giving them a whole diaper cake, it’s fine. Then I put dollar store ribbons over that. Since my sister is having a girl, I used headbands as bows, but you can do actual bows or no bows for boys. I threw a couple pacifiers on there, and then dollar store seashells and fishbowl beads to keep it fun. I also added fishing bath toys. Finally, my topper was this cute dolphin toy. Here’s a blue boyish version if you need one.

Directions for a cute marine life diaper cake. #babyshower #diapercake #underseathemeparty #underseababyshower #marinelifeparty
Taping burp cloths so they’re the right size for the diapers.
Directions for a cute marine life diaper cake. #babyshower #diapercake #underseathemeparty #underseababyshower #marinelifeparty
If you can’t cover the whole thing, put the ugly diaper side towards the back.
Directions for a cute marine life diaper cake. #babyshower #diapercake #underseathemeparty #underseababyshower #marinelifeparty
Add some ribbon, bows, headbands, whatever.

 

Directions for a cute marine life diaper cake. #babyshower #diapercake #underseathemeparty #underseababyshower #marinelifeparty
Keep decorating until you run out of space and/or energy.

That’s really it. Just have fun with it! Throw things on there that your baby mama needs, or things you think are cute. I know my sister really wanted diapers, so I felt pretty good about that. But, once she started going through it and realizing almost all the decor was also gifts, it got even better. The real kicker, of course, was pink Prosecco on the inside. Now that’s a marine life diaper cake a mom can enjoy!

How to make a marine life diaper cake for a baby shower. #marinelifeparty #underseapartytheme #marinelifebabyshower #babyshower #diapercake #underseadiapercake
A girly marine life

A Girly Marine Life Baby Shower

This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase through them I will receive compensation at no additional cost to you.

This past weekend I threw my sister a girly marine life baby shower. I wanted it to be classy and pink. She bought Baby Girl marine life bedding, so I also wanted it to go with that. Too many themes? Never! I also had to plan something for a very small crowd. She had a separate baby shower at work and most of our family lives far away, so the guest list was minimal. When you’re having a small shower, you don’t want to go overboard, but then again, babies are fun and you kind of always want to go overboard for them. I have to confess something about this though… This was not my normal frenzied party. I had  a LOT of help.

You see, my grandma and my aunt drove over to Tennessee to attend, and my aunt brought my twelve-year old cousin with her. He entertained my son. My grandma and aunt took turns helping me and watching my daughter. And my mom came by to help with everything else. So, really, this girly marine life baby shower was created in the exact opposite manner of anything else I do. That doesn’t mean it looks perfect – even if I have help, I still don’t care that much about decorations. You’ll see what I mean. I do think this is doable for busy people though, if you start early enough. I actually began decorating a week in advance, little by little, and that definitely helped.

Ideas for a Girly Marine Life Baby Shower

1. Decorations

This is the girly marine life baby shower I threw for my sister. Lots of undersea fun! #babyshower #marinelifebabyshower #underseababyshower #marinelifeparty #underseapartyideas #girlbabyshower

My main goal here was jellyfish. You’ve seen those hanging jellyfish decorations before, right? Well, if not you’re welcome to steal ours, but we got our inspiration from Nathalie at Press Print Party. Mostly it involves hot gluing things to paper lanterns, but you’ll have to ask my mom or Nathalie for specific instructions because I surely didn’t touch those. I can tell you we used this package of lanterns if you like a variety of sizes. They had different colors too. So once I got those made, I wanted a blue background. I picked up a tablecloth roll at Party City to make the background. As you can see, I was too lazy to get a ladder and too short to reach the ceiling, but whatever.

This is the girly marine life baby shower I threw for my sister. Lots of undersea fun! #babyshower #marinelifebabyshower #underseababyshower #marinelifeparty #underseapartyideas #girlbabyshower

My other decor includes some seaweed made out of grapes, an idea I stole from Indulgy. Then I tacked some clear balloons to look like water bubbles on my blue background. The cool opalescent pink tablecloth and table skirt also come from Party City. That’s about it. Not much too it, really, even though it looks like a ton of decorations to me.

2. Food

This is the girly marine life baby shower I threw for my sister. Lots of undersea fun! #babyshower #marinelifebabyshower #underseababyshower #marinelifeparty #underseapartyideas #girlbabyshower

In my mind, I was serving an elegant spread of seafood. I’ll let you be the judge of how it turned out. First I went with actual seafood. Shrimp is easy and relatively inexpensive (for seafood) so I tried this cajun guacamole recipe. I do make my own guac. It’s basically this recipe, but with half a can diced tomatoes instead of roma. I put the extra guacamole out too, because who doesn’t want chips and guac? I also made this crab dip, which I’d never done before but was delicious.

This is the girly marine life baby shower I threw for my sister. Lots of undersea fun! #babyshower #marinelifebabyshower #underseababyshower #marinelifeparty #underseapartyideas #girlbabyshower

For my other food, I wanted to make some non-seafood items that still fit in, so I did cucumber sandwiches and cut a few of them in the shape of starfish with this cookie cutter.  If you use soft bread, it will go through just fine, but I suggest separating it before you lift the cutter. Then I made some chicken club bacon sushi rolls. I got the idea from Delish, but that’s not the recipe I followed. I swear I’ll get around to posting my version one day. The punch was this super easy pink recipe, but I made seashell ice cubes. Then my mom and I made these cute “pearl in oyster” cookies. So, not all exactly seafood, but it all fit together in the end.

3. Cake

This is the girly marine life baby shower I threw for my sister. Lots of undersea fun! #babyshower #marinelifebabyshower #underseababyshower #marinelifeparty #underseapartyideas #girlbabyshower

If you are a regular reader, you may remember I learned about pull-apart cakes from my friend who created this potty training cake. I decided to implement my own version for this girly marine life baby shower. There are other versions of octopus cakes out there, but my problem with them is that they’re all gigantic. I had eight people at this shower, myself included. I didn’t need the twenty-four cupcakes that come in a box, let alone a whole other set. So I made a smaller version. I do have specific directions for that, but I don’t want this post taking eight years to read, so head over here to check that out.

4. Diaper Cake

This is the girly marine life baby shower I threw for my sister. Lots of undersea fun! #babyshower #marinelifebabyshower #underseababyshower #marinelifeparty #underseapartyideas #girlbabyshower

This was my first time making a diaper cake, and I like having visuals. The tutorials I looked at didn’t really have a lot, so again I have a separate post if you want step-by-step instructions. But, I’m glad I made it because the height certainly added something to the visuals of the party backdrop. Plus it was fun to have a little surprise in the middle. 🙂

5. Games & Party Favors

This is the girly marine life baby shower I threw for my sister. Lots of undersea fun! #babyshower #marinelifebabyshower #underseababyshower #marinelifeparty #underseapartyideas #girlbabyshower

I’m actually not a fan of baby shower games, so I didn’t put much effort into these. We played the regular can’t say “baby” game, Baby Price is Right, and guess the number of candies. That’s it. We’re lame. On a side note, I noticed I have a lot of UK readers, so if you’re looking for your own version of baby games to buy Party Ease can help you out. For party favors, I chose to make chocolates. I’d never done that before, but it was pretty easy. I bought this mold for the ice cubes and I figured I might as well use it! We put the chocolates in some pink candles and everything looked lovely.

Well friends, what do you think? Would you consider this a girly marine life baby shower a success?

This is the girly marine life baby shower I threw for my sister. Lots of undersea fun! #babyshower #marinelifebabyshower #underseababyshower #marinelifeparty #underseapartyideas #girlbabyshower

 

Tips for Buying a Family Vehicle

Tips for Buying a Family Vehicle

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Anyone buying a family vehicle any time soon? Are you like me, toting around two little ones and two dogs and occasionally a grandma or two? Then you have to know how difficult it can be to find the right car! I’m a researchaholic when it comes to car shopping, because I hate test driving. I don’t know why, exactly. I got a 100% on my driving test and have no incidents on my driving record so I know I’m a good driver. Yet I still feel like a test drive is all about the salesman judging my driving and not about me judging the car. Crazy, right? Anyway, since buying a family vehicle can be super stressful and time consuming, I wanted to share a couple of tips with you.

1. Research

Bet you’ve never heard this before. You’re rolling your eyes, right? But listen, buying a family vehicle isn’t like when you went out to buy your first little beat up car. You have to think about safety. You have to think about gas efficiency. And, perhaps most importantly, you have to think about how you’re going to cram all those little ones in the backseat when they now have to be in a car seat until they’re old enough to drink. Even if you don’t hate test driving, you should start with online shopping. Bust out your Excel sheet and make a list of all the cars you like, their prices, safety ratings, gas mileage, and anything else important to you. Next sort the sheet by price and then by one other item of your choosing. Now look at your top options. Those should be the ones you test drive.

2. Think long term.

If you’re buying a family vehicle, perhaps you are having your first child, or you just completed your family of four. You could choose something that fits the four of you and you’ll be fine, right? Wrong! Your kids are going to have friends. One day, you might get them a pet. Eventually Grandma’s going to come visit and she’ll need to be carted around too. A good family car has an extra spot or two for temporary passengers. I personally only considered cars with no less than seven seats, and the back row had to fold down. That ensured my two kids could fit in the middle row, and then I could either carry my parents in the back seat or put it down and bring my dogs. It was a wise decision.

3. Most Importantly – Remember Car Seats!

Check your car seat when buying a family vehicle

I can’t stress this enough you guys. If you’re buying your first family vehicle, I’m guessing you still have babies. Car seat safety is so so so important. I said earlier they stay in them until they can legally drink. Obviously that’s an exaggeration, but kids do stay in car seats a lot longer than they used to. To start, go to Cars.com for their safety check.  You’ll probably be there anyway since it’s a great place to do your car research. They have a really helpful breakdown of what fits in family cars, and trust me, you will want that. Car seats are bulky, so they don’t fit just anywhere. I settled on a Traverse, and we can’t get to our backseat right now. That works for us since we put the dogs back there anyway, but it does go to show you, check it out!

Well, those are my tips for buying a family vehicle. Research and narrow it down to your favorites before you test drive. Make sure you have a little room to grow, and, of course, make sure you find something spacious and safe for car seats!

thanksgiving hostess

5 Items Every Thanksgiving Hostess Needs

These five items every Thanksgiving hostess needs aren’t for the casual Thanksgiving hostess. If you know you’re only hosting one year and then it’s back to your mom’s, there’s really no point in storing this stuff. But, if you have the “good kitchen,” you probably want to make things easier on yourself. Instead of rushing out to buy the same things every year, just keep them on hand. Trust me. I’ve been hosting either Thanksgiving and/or Christmas dinners since 2008, and I cannot tell you how many times I realized I had nothing to cook a turkey in the day of the holiday. On the plus side of that, I did learn to use a dutch oven in my oven. Anyway, here we go.

Items Every Thanksgiving Hostess Needs

1. Good Dishes

Items every Thanksgiving hostess needs #thanksgiving #entertaining #thanksgivingdinner #dinner #thanksgivingideas #hostingideas
We’ve moved twice since we got these yet we still have the original packing material.

You don’t have to go out and buy the fanciest dishes around. You don’t even need to buy Thanksgiving themed dishes, although I did find these turkey ones at Pottery Barn if you’re interested in going that route. My good dishes were picked to go with some Peruvian pottery my husband and I bought on our honeymoon. Yes, of course a honeymoon in Peru is romantic. But it does mean my dishes are hardly Thanksgiving-y. It’s still better than serving on mismatched plates or terrible-for-the-environment paper plates. Don’t care about the environment, only cost? If you host twenty Thanksgiving dinners, you’ll wind up spending just as much replacing your paper items. Think about that.

2. A Roasting Pan

Items every Thanksgiving hostess needs #thanksgiving #entertaining #thanksgivingdinner #dinner #thanksgivingideas #hostingideas
Yum, turkey is my favorite.

I already mentioned I somehow always forget a pan big enough to roast a turkey. That won’t happen anymore! I’m taking my own advice and using a real roasting pan. You can pick up those aluminum ones at your local grocery store, but again, what’s the point of doing that every single year? I know it’s a little extra storage, but trust me, a roasting pan is one of the items every Thanksgiving hostess needs. Plus you can do lasagnas in them, and those aren’t just for special occasions. Oh wait! Are you a turkey fryer, not a turkey roaster? Then completely ignore this item, and try not to burn your house down. 🙂

3. A Real Tablecloth/Runner/Place Settings

Items every Thanksgiving hostess needs #thanksgiving #entertaining #thanksgivingdinner #dinner #thanksgivingideas #hostingideas
This is not my table. Mine is currently covered in a plastic tablecloth for a baby shower. Irony?

Please don’t put out a plastic tablecloth if you host Thanksgiving every year. I know I use them a lot in my blog – in fact I have a whole post dedicated to them – but that’s because I don’t want five hundred real tablecloths sitting around my house. I do, however, have permanent place settings for Thanksgiving and a real tablecloth for Christmas. You don’t need to have a big table. You don’t have to have fall-themed placemats, although they are amazing.  But you should have your table looking nice.

4. A Pie Server/Cutter

Items every Thanksgiving hostess needs #thanksgiving #entertaining #thanksgivingdinner #dinner #thanksgivingideas #hostingideas
I have a more pie shaped one somewhere, but I can’t find it. Seriously you guys, don’t move once a year.

You don’t need a pie pan, or a recipe for pie, or even to be in charge of dessert yourself. But everyone eats pie on Thanksgiving, and if you ask someone else to bring the dessert, there’s a good chance that’s what they’re bringing. Make things easy on everyone and have a pie cutter ready to go. I have a traditional one and it’s served me fine, but there are some really crazy contraptions out there if you want to have perfectly even pieces.

5. A Tradition All Your Own

Items every Thanksgiving hostess needs #thanksgiving #entertaining #thanksgivingdinner #dinner #thanksgivingideas #hostingideas
My tradition is making someone else clean the “good kitchen.”

Okay, okay. Technically this isn’t an “item,” but I’m putting it on my list of items every Thanksgiving hostess needs anyway. Do you want to say what you’re thankful for? Have your kids make turkey hands? I think if you’re going to be the one doing the bulk of the work every single year, you get to create your own traditions and everyone else has to go along! If you don’t already have one and need some ideas, check out this list of traditions. Now you’re set to host a great Thanksgiving every year!

Items every Thanksgiving hostess needs #thanksgiving #entertaining #thanksgivingdinner #dinner #thanksgivingideas #hostingideas

Items every Thanksgiving hostess needs #thanksgiving #entertaining #thanksgivingdinner #dinner #thanksgivingideas #hostingideas
halloween costumes for babies

Easy Peasy Halloween Costumes for Babies

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Need some easy peasy Halloween costumes for babies? Sure you do, if you’re like me and you think you’re not going to dress them up then do it anyway. My son was six weeks old on his first Halloween. I had no intentions of buying a costume for someone that little. Nor did I want to make one when he could wiggle out of it. Then I thought of all the pictures I’d be missing out on. So, that Halloween morning I went through my house and figured out a plan. I did the same thing last year, only slightly more in advance. I’ve determined there’s no point in paying for costumes you’re never going to use again and they only wear for five minutes, so I decided to share my ideas with you.

Easy Peasy Halloween Costumes for Babies

1. Toga Baby!

I decided my son would be Julius Caesar when I realized I could make a toga out of a napkin and it would fit him. I also happened to have the headpiece lying around from an actual toga party many moons prior.  If you are a crafty person, you’ll probably already have this stuff stashed away as well, but if not you can get these items at most dollar stores or superstores. All you need for this is a napkin or pillowcase, a decorative rope or sash, a stem of a fake plant, and a safety pin or two to hold it together. This will work best for babies who can’t walk yet, but it’s great for pictures and it can be used for boys and girls.

2. The Hulk

I like this because it’s all clothes the baby can wear over and over. My son had green sweatpants and a matching green bug shirt. Since the Hulk doesn’t have bugs crawling all over him (or if he does they’re invisible), I turned the shirt inside out and drew on a six pack. So easy! I did have to cut up a pair of purple leggings (they’re a bigger size than the sweats so they fit), but I can straighten them back out into shorts for my daughter next summer. This is Cat and Jack from Target, but it’s last year’s, so I found another you might try here. It’s important that the pants and shirt match colors since it’s supposed to be skin.

Easy Peasy Halloween Costumes for Babies

3. Snow White

I’m pretty sure you could do any Disney princess with clothes you already have for your baby girl, but mine happens to look like Snow White. If you need inspiration for a different princess, I suggest perusing Polyvore’s Disney ideas. They’re for adults, but you’ll get the idea. For this one you will need a blue onesie, yellow leggings or skirt, a white jacket (mine comes off her holiday dress), and a red hairbow. If your blue onesie says something, turn it inside out. That’s it. You’re done. Granted, my skirt is actually a homemade circle skirt (I use this tutorial; you only need fat quarters and elastic). But, I put her in those anyway so she can be more girly in her brother’s hand-me-downs.

Easy Peasy Halloween Costumes for Babies

easy peasy Halloween costume ideas for babies.

As you can see, these really are easy peasy Halloween costumes for babies. For the most part it’s just a matter of collecting the appropriate color clothing and turning them inside out. Don’t have kids but somehow King Google sent you here anyway? Check out last week’s Halloween dinner party post – maybe that will be more your speed!

Three easy peasy Halloween costume ideas for babies. #Halloween #HalloweenCostumes #babycostumes #babyhalloweencostumes #DIYcostumes #cheapcostumes #cheapHalloweencostumes
Three easy peasy Halloween costume ideas for babies. #Halloween #HalloweenCostumes #babycostumes #babyhalloweencostumes #DIYcostumes #cheapcostumes #cheapHalloweencostumes
host a halloween dinner party

Ideas for a Dark Halloween Dinner Party

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Hosting a dark Halloween dinner party is a fun way for adults to celebrate this holiday without having to dress up as either a slutty or terrifying  anything, and won’t we all be much happier that way? Okay, okay, I’m going to a crazy Halloween party, and I do plan to enjoy it, but I’m not throwing one this year and I’m not going to fake one just for the blog. But I really do think a dark Halloween dinner party will be a lot of fun, mostly because I’m pretty sure the internet exists only to horrify us and give us recipes, sometimes simultaneously. In this case, we’ll be going with both.

I’ve hosted plenty of fancy dinner parties in my day, but they are a lot of work, and Halloween is all about fun. Instead of trying to impress everyone with your kitchen skills, I think it’s a good idea to focus on easy recipes but make them look kind of creepy. It’s not as hard as it sounds. Ever seen a rambutan? Food is plenty scary enough on it’s own. Of course, I don’t know where to find a rambutan, so we’ll be sticking with things you can actually do at home. And for once we won’t be skipping decorations!

Dark Halloween Dinner Party Decor

Last week I told you all I think the only Halloween decoration you need is cobwebs, and that’s still true, but for this I’m going to add three more, yes, that’s right, THREE MORE decorations. Is my sarcasm coming through? I hope so. I really don’t find a total of four Halloween decorations all that impressive, but then again, I don’t need a pumpkin patch on my table either. The only part of the house I’m going to decorate is the table, since that’s where everyone will post up. I realize people have different sized tables, but I have a big one and a small one, so you’ll get to see examples of both.

1. The Cobwebs

Host a dark Halloween dinner party!

Well, you knew they were going to be included, so here we go. For a big table, I like cobwebs coming down from the chandelier. For a little one, I like little jackets on the chairs. If you have a chandelier to decorate at your dark Halloween dinner party, you can stick to the chandelier itself, or do a little extra work and pull it down to the table. If you do this, you will want to stretch the cobwebs really thin so people can still see each other from any part of the table. For the chair jackets, there’s really no need to stretch anything, but you should only do the back side. You don’t want your guests going home covered in cotton.

Host a dark Halloween dinner party!

2. Dead Flowers

Host a dark Halloween dinner party!

No, not fake flowers. Straight up dead ones. I want the atmosphere of my dark Halloween dinner party to be like someone set the table a long time ago, and for whatever reason, they were never able to return. For this, I suggest you buy your flowers a couple of weeks in advance, leave them in the sun, and don’t water them. There are ways to speed up up the process if you need to, but what could be easier than forgetting to take care of something? My flowers actually wound up with more color than I wanted for these pictures, but they’ll be super dead by the time Halloween dinner gets here.

3. Gourds

 

Gourds are so weird! I love them. Pick up a couple and throw them on the table somewhere. Pumpkins are fine as well. That was my original plan, but I found an awesome decorative gourd set at Walmart and decided to use that instead. They had some that were legit moldy and gross, though, so if you’re getting them early you might want to pick up fake ones. Here’s a set that looks like it would fit in. If you want to keep with the theme, I’d stay away from pumpkins with faces, but that’s about it.

4. A Messed Up Tablecloth

I wanted a really holey one, like mice had eaten it or something, so that’s what I picked up. But, it wasn’t long enough for either table, so it became a table runner. The tablecloth I used underneath on the big table was purple, because I like purple better than orange, but you could do any color that floats your boat. In fact, you don’t have to have one at all if you don’t want. I can’t even find one to fit on my smaller table. It’s too big of a square. I did see this tablecloth after I already took all my pictures, so that is what I’m using when I actually throw the party.

How to Make Black Food for your Dark Halloween Dinner Party

Okay guys, this is too easy. All you have to do is color one of your dishes black to keep the vibe going. You can be fancy and use squid ink, or you can use black food coloring. You want to be gentle with food coloring. A little black goes a long way. Obviously you can’t dye just anything, but the choices are surprisingly bountiful. What you need is something kind of mushy. I had some shrimp and grits and mashed potatoes to practice on. You can see how they turned out. The taste wasn’t altered at all, but don’t they look disgusting? I do have a complete menu you get when subscribing to my newsletter, and there is a recipe with squid ink included if you’re curious about that. You can subscribe below. Now go have fun hosting a dark Halloween dinner party!

Hosting a dark Halloween dinner party is super easy and fun! #halloween
Hosting a dark Halloween dinner party is super easy and fun! #Halloween
Hosting a dark Halloween dinner party is super easy and fun! #Halloween

 

the only

The Only Halloween Decoration You Need

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The only Halloween decoration you need is fake cobwebs. There. I said it. You don’t have to read the rest of this, all your decorating problems should be solved. Still here? Great! Let me explain. In general, I’m not big on decorations. I don’t even get carried away for my kids’ birthdaysBut, when it comes to Halloween or Christmas, I love the nonsense. That doesn’t, however, mean I suddenly get tons of extra hours to spend on decorating. My husband will help with Christmas, but he’s not a Halloween fan, so anything I do I do on my own. That’s where cobwebs come in.

To be clear, while I think cobwebs are the only Halloween decoration you need, I’m not against other decorations supplementing it. But if you only have the time or budget for one thing, go with them. For one thing, they’re super cheap. You can get 200 sq ft on Amazon for $5, and I’m sure they’re at the dollar store if you (unlike myself) can find the time to get over there. For another, they’re good for any type of Halloween party. Halloween dinner party? Check. Little kid party/decorations for trick-or-treaters? Check. Spooky party for adults? Yup. College party? Also yes. So, you see what I mean. You can buy a big bag and throw eight different parties without redecorating. But, they can get time consuming if you let them, so I have a few helpful hints for you.

Tips for the Only Halloween Decoration You Need

1. Cut them up first.

This is simple enough. Instead of trying to figure how much you need for each spot, or spending too much time trying to figure out how to rip them apart, just cut your big block of webs into pieces. Then you know right away how much you’re working with for each spot and when you run out you shrug and move on. The only exception here is outdoors – if you’re doing your porch/bushes/whatever, it’s fine to go crazy and use the whole thing. They’ll stretch from place to place. Before you cut, stretch the webs out and see which way they’re running and cut with them, not against them.

Cutting vertical gives plenty of room to cut; cutting horizontal not so much.

2. Use the spiders.

I know the spiders are stupid. But if you find yourself with a big chunk of spiderweb you don’t like, throw a spider on it and stop worrying about perfection. Done. In the following pictures you will see that I draped a cut up chunk of web over my chair. I didn’t stretch it out at all other than to pull it from one side to the other. Then I put a spider on the thickest part, and it looks fine. That’s going to clean up real nice too – I’ll just lift it off and throw it away.

3. Start at the top.

Say you’re doing a dinner party. Do you have chandelier above your table? Start there. If not, try the backs of chairs. Having a party in your living room? If you can reach the fan, go for it. If not, how about a fireplace mantle or the tops of windows? Drag a chair or a step stool over and go crazy. It can be really tempting to do cobwebs everywhere, but people tend to notice things up high before they look down, so why waste time on the coffee table? Starting up also means that when you get to the bottom you don’t have to tape or pin any parts of the spiderwebs.

Draping over the top of the stairs, no tape required to start.
When you’re done you can let the spiderwebs hang at the bottom. Still no tape, no hassle, no one cares.

That’s pretty much it. Seriously, you guys, the only Halloween decoration you need is fake cobwebs. Yes, you’ll have to throw them out when you’re done, but then you don’t even have to worry about storage. How nice! Next week or the week after (I have some costume ideas to share too; we’ll see which one seems more urgent soon). I’ll show you what I did with the spiderwebs for a dark dinner party.  I will be adding a little more to the decor, but the cobwebs are the star of the show.

The only Halloween decoration you need is cobwebs! #Halloween