Gather & Being Grateful + DIY Thanksgiving Place Card

bell place card for thanksgiving This time of year, the word gather and thankful are top of mind for us. They are simple words with great importance in our lives.

We have so much to be grateful for. We’ve been blessed with lots of love, good people, beautiful children, family, faith, health and ample opportunities to name a few. Even on the bad days, we remind ourselves to try to find small moments or people to be thankful for. It’s in those moments we can find a bit of peace, and/or perspective. On Thanksgiving, a tradition Jessica loves most (she learned it from her in-laws) is listening to people around the table say what they are most grateful for. It brings out all the emotions, but it really makes everyone think about what they are most grateful for that year. Plus, it keeps that gratitude at the forefront of the day, which is what it’s all about.

And, gather. We gather together with friends and family to eat, drink, be merry (or be dramatic if your family is so inclined :) ), laugh, talk, cry and share moments together. Even if you are a homebody like us, it feels good to gather with the ones we love most to get recharged, and feel connected. Our large Italian family always seems to gather around the kitchen, where we bake, cook, chop and stir while we catch up. Then, once the food is prepared, we feast! We found a way to incorporate the word gather in the table setting with these charming and vintage-looking bells. I think I’m in a bell phase because this year, I want them everywhere. It’s Vail’s new tradition, and it seems it’s contagious. We made a DIY bell garland, too. If bells don’t intrigue you, wood wreaths might. It’s simple, and a touch of handmade which people love. If you don’t want to use the word gather, you can use grateful, guest names or even something funny.

bell with gather tag for thanksgiving table setting

We used our custom Silhouette Mint stamp maker for this project, and if you don’t have one, you should invest. The starter kit is just $40. It makes a great gift! We use ours all the time, and since we don’t know calligraphy (or need something stamped over and over again), this has been our go-to machine. We used it to create a gather stamp, and stamped it on tiny tags from the office section at Walmart. You can use these or these, too. We cut off the sides of the rectangle to make a skinnier rectangle, and swapped the white string with black and white twine.

diy mini wreath with gather tag

The wreaths are from Oriental Trading or you get them on Amazon. The bells are from Amazon. Hurry before I buy ALL THE BELLS.

gather wreaths and bells for holiday decor

antique bell with gather tag for holiday decor

We hope you take time to gather with the loved ones in your life this holiday season. And, we hope you find something to be grateful for each and every day. Today, for me (Jessica) it was a snuggle with my son before the chaos of the morning. I was tired, and didn’t necessarily want to be up so early, but it was a priceless moment, and I don’t know how many of those are mornings are left as they grow older everyday.

 

 

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Make This DIY Gingerbread House Advent Calendar With Brown Paper Bags

DIY Advent Calendar with paper gingerbread houses

* this post contains affiliate links. 

Brown paper packages tied up with string…these are a few of my favorite things! This mini brown paper bag wrapped up with string is our version of a sweet gingerbread house, without all the sugar. That’s right, we didn’t use a pinch of sugar with this project. Just paper bags and a white paint pen! We haven’t mastered the gingerbread baking thing (it’s on our list). But, we love the ambiance and festive feels of gingerbread houses during the holidays, so it was the next best thing, and a wonderful DIY advent calendar for our families this year. It’s easy to do (no artistic abilities required; in fact, get the kids involved to draw their own houses), and it’s very economical. Sometimes the costs of Advent calendars adds up, and it feels outrageously expensive to countdown to Christmas (where we spend even more money).

Let’s make our cute DIY Gingerbread Advent Calendars before December 1 (we are known to be a little late, and that’s ok). You’re in luck, you can draw these houses and build your tiny village of brown paper bag houses in a couple of hours.

Materials:

  • Brown paper bags, small craft size, not the lunch size
  • Marker pen, white
  • Hole punch
  • Twine
  • Goodies to fill the bags
  • Optional: number stickers

Directions:

Step 1: Fold over the tops of the paper bag. It should look like a the top of a triangle, or “roof” on one side, and the other should have flaps.

diy brown paper bag gingerbread houses

Step 2: Decorate the bags with a white paint pen. You can look online for inspiration, but swirls, circles, squares, hearts, and lines are the source of all the fun decorations. Get creative, and remember that gingerbread houses are unique, whimsical and not perfect. Add a small number sticker on the front of the bag, 1-25.

diy brown paper bag gingerbread houses

 

Step 3: Using a small hole punch, punch a hole on the top of the roof, one on each side. You want to keep it folded as you hole punch through the bag. After you fill it with goodies, toys or ideas for random acts of kindness, insert twine through the holes from the back of the bag, and tie a ribbon.

diy brown paper bag gingerbread houses

diy brown paper bag gingerbread houses

Open one each day as you count down to Christmas! After your done with the bags, don’t throw them away. Save them for gift cards to give friends and family. They are so adorable, and great gift bags. Simple remove the number, and re-use it.

diy brown paper bag gingerbread houses

diy brown paper bag gingerbread houses

 

DIY Embroidery Sweatshirt: For The Homebody

diy embroidered sweatshirt-homebody-cozy-clothes

I saw this photo on instagram, and fell in love with the words, Homebody. The welcome mat is adorable, too! Anyone else a self-proclaimed homebody, like me? I love a great party and good people, and am definitely energized by them; however, 90% of the time, I am happiest at home with my family. I am a homebody at heart. Comfy clothes, a good movie, yummy pizza, snuggles with my husband and kids is the perfect night for me. I’ve been looking for ways to get in on the DIY embroidery trend, so this was the perfect opportunity to give my cozy sweatshirt a makeover.

Ladies, no sewing machine required. Let’s get this embroidery party started…

DIY Embroidery Sweatshirt

Materials:

Directions:

Step 1: Print out a copy of your favorite word the size of your sweatshirt tie on the Sticky Fabric paper. BTW, the wider the tie’s on the hoodie, the better. Cut out the word, remove the backing from the sticky paper, and stick it on the hoodie tie.

diy embroidered sweatshirt-homebody

Step 2: Thread the embroidery needle with black embroidery floss, and begin to embroider. To this this, you will tie a knot at the end of the string, and insert the needle through the back of the tie on the top point of the first letter. For me, it was the top of the H (the photo below shows how I did the letter Y for a visual). When you pull it all the way through, begin to insert it along the line of the letter a couple millimeters down, and back through the tie. Now, instead of coming back up through it like before directly next to the first stitch, you’re going to move it a couple millimeters down the letter, pull it through, and then go down in the middle of the first stitch.

diy embroidered sweatshirt-homebody

 

diy embroidered sweatshirt-homebody

diy embroidered sweatshirt-homebody

diy embroidered sweatshirt-homebody

Step 3: Continue this split stitch process until the word is done. When the word is complete, tie a knot with the embroidery string on the back of the tie. If you have to cut any of the embroidery string through the word (either you run out of string, or your word is not attached with script and you have to do each letter separately), be sure to start each strand the same way with a small knot at the end of the string.

diy embroidered sweatshirt-homebody

Step 4: Wash the sticky soluble fabric with water. It comes right off! Let it dry, and you have a cute custom embroidered hoodie sweatshirt to stay cozy in all year long! This would be a fun gift for friends – find their perfect word, and embroider a custom sweatshirt for them this holiday season.

diy embroidered sweatshirt-homebody

 

Gaga Over These DIY Diaper Babies

DIY diaper babies for baby shower idea

It’s been awhile since I have purchased, or changed a diaper. I don’t miss changing dirty diapers at all, but I do miss the days when my kids were tiny. The days of those precious newborn smells, first giggles, first steps and holding those tiny hands passed by in the blink of eye. Working with diapers again had me reminiscing on all those wonderful times.

Whether the days of diapers are in your past, present or future, these DIY diaper babies are worth making. They make the perfect gift for new moms, or a fun baby shower activity.

I shared all the details with Momtastic, so check it out here.

Last-Minute Halloween Printable + Cheesy Halloween Jokes

halloween jokes for kids-school halloween snacks-free printable

So, Jessica is last-minute with most everything she does. Jenna would have had this planned months ago, and she would have designed. But, with life being busy right now, and this being an extremely last-minute idea, Jessica created with Canva.

If you don’t know what to bring to the classroom Halloween party this year, grab bags of snacks or chips at the store, and we’ve got you covered with a free printable (see at the bottom of this post). You don’t need to bake anything, or come up with another cute Halloween party snack. Just print on Astrobrights sticker paper (or regular paper), and add it to a bag of chips (or oreos, or goldfish, etc). It has less sugar than the usual candy, and kids will love the cheesy laughs. A little effort goes a long way with this one!

Happy Halloween!

halloween jokes for kids-school halloween snacks-free printable

halloween jokes for kids-school halloween snacks-free printable

halloween jokes for kids-school halloween snacks-free printable

CLICK HERE FOR THE FREE PRINTABLE. Thanks, Canva.