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This week kicks off the Dare to DIY series, hosted by Kim of Newly Woodwards! The first week of the challenge, Dare to Be Thankful, was all about creating a Thanksgiving project of some sort. I wanted to do something that was fun for all three of us to do and reflected some of the many things we have to be thankful for.

Thankfully, I found a great toddler craft via Pinterest.

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The craft idea was great, but I made a few adjustments to make this work for a toddler who can’t be trusted with glue and make this something fun for the whole family. So, I grabbed an old baby food jar* and created the turkey face myself, while Hubby and Colton ran around outside. I also did all the feather cutting, and set everything up on our dining room table.

Over dinner, we took turns talking about what we were thankful for, putting them on the feathers. Colton had waffles on the brain, so we had to prompt him and ask about specific things we knew he liked, but it worked very well. We had fun thinking of all the great things we have, and ended up with a cute little turkey for our table.

I filled mine with Gerber Melts, Colton’s favorite snack, and let him eat a few after dinner. I think these would be super cute for a kids’ table at Thanksgiving. You could put a special treat inside for each child and either let them fill out what they’re thankful for, or you could fill them out with thing you love about that child. Or, if you have older children, you could have them make their own as a little “goodie bag.” I’m definitely keeping this idea in mind when I finally have to host Thanksgiving in about 40 years.

* If you have a baby food jar that still smells funny, even after going through the dishwasher, fill it up with hot water and a little dish soap, let it sit, and you’ll have no more smell. Even works for jars that held meat!

I don’t normally decorate for Thanksgiving or fall, so this week was extra challenging for me!

First up, I decided I would make some wall art. I have some three-panel frames I’m not using, so I knew I would use one of those for the projects. I knew I wanted it to say “give thanks,” so I just used Word to type up the words,print them onto some cream resume paper I had, and attached them to the first and last panel.

I also knew I wanted to use some brown wrapping paper I had, and thought I would make a turkey with Colton’s hand for the middle panel. I didn’t like the way that turned out, so it was on to Plan B. One of our backyard trees has some beautiful red leaves, so I placed one in the middle panel, popped the glass on the frame, and was done!

I’m not sure how well the leaf will hold it’s color over time, but it’s something that will be pretty easy to change out. Really, the whole idea can be modified for different seasons (I’m thinking “Here Comes Santa Clause” for Christmas), or simply be used for family pictures.

I also made some Autumn Luminaries, an idea I stole from Martha Stewart. Now, Martha’s directions said to use a specific kind of bag, acrylic paint, and a special paint sprayer. I had none of those things, and didn’t want to buy any, so I used plain brown paper bags and some red spray paint I already had on hand.

These took literally five minutes to make. I grabbed three leaves, four bags, laid the leaves on the bag, and sprayed. By the time I finished the last one, the first one had dried! I also think they look pretty cute during the day, but when I lit them at night, the effect wasn’t really what I thought it would be, and it was hard to see the leaf shape. Maybe if I lit them at dusk? I’m not sure if this would be a problem with the acrylic paint or not, but the moral of the story is that maybe you should listen to Martha. There’s probably a reason she has a show and I don’t.

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Don’t forget to check out the DIY Challenge at Newly Woodwards for more fun projects!

Cousins.

Cousins with their grandma (my grandma is her identical twin).

With two of my cousins.

With Dad.

Day  After Thanksgiving Shoot-Out

Hubs.

We do some “not so traditional” Thanksgiving things in my family, and I love them all. I mean, how many people do you know:

1. Eat Thanksgiving lunch outside?

2. Eat cold turkey and ham unless someone killed a pig hunting earlier in the day and you have a pig pickin’?

3. Eat their Thanksgiving meal off of a styrofoam plate while sitting on the ground?

4. Spend Thanksgiving with dozens of other families, some who they know and some they don’t?

5. Eat their meal in a location affectionately known as “The Swamp?”

6. Go watch deer being butchered after they finish eating?

7. Have three aisles, made up of 4 folding tables each of food to choose from, plus two additional tables of desserts?

8. Have only one bathroom to share between well over 150 people?

9. Pose for the annual Thanksgiving photo on a log. Or, better yet, a tractor?

10. Have to plan their wardrobe around the possibility of mud on their shoes and sandspurs?

We may have an unconveintional Thanksgiving, but I love everything about it, and wouldn’t want it any other way.

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If you love lists, check out Oh!Amanda! for more, or to get in on the fun!

Just a 20-something girl living on the East Coast, trying to figure out life. I'm a wife and mom to two. I'm trying to rediscover my love for long walks, yoga and pilates. But not hiking. I still don't like hills. I was raised at the beach, but I don't like the beach. I like to look at it, but I don't like to swim in it, I'd prefer a pool, thanks. I'm just trying to become the best person I can be -- the woman God wants me to be. That's easier said than done!

E-mail Me!

Contact me at longbrakeliving@gmail.com - I'd love to hear from you!

Hubby is my all-time favorite guy. A perfect mix of serious, sarcastic, laid-back, handy and nerdy, he is the perfect complement to me. I love his strong work-ethic and the way he always loves and supports me through everything. Some of Hubby's favorite things include: hiking, Virginia Tech football, woodworking, and his family. When I married him in July 2007, I had no idea what an amazing journey we were headed on, and how I could come to love him so much more each day.

Our oldest, Colton, is three years old. He is equal parts sassy and hysterical. He loves all things train, car, bus, truck, and machine related. He has a penchant for made-up words and loves to be the clown of his pre-school class. Our younger son, Nathan, was born this May. He is pure joy and full of smiles! He is such a blessing and a perfect fit for our family.