Monday, November 24, 2014

DIY Thanksgiving Crafts

Thanksgiving can be a bit of a tough holiday to decorate for if you aren’t a big fan of turkeys.  But here with some amazingly simple and super yummy Thanksgiving craft ideas is Jennifer Durbin, author of the Tips for the Clueless Chick books:

A Surprisingly Economical Centerpiece
o   Festive Fall Centerpiece.  Many of us avoid centerpieces because they are either too labor intensive or expensive when in reality, it couldn’t be easier to throw together a simple Fall centerpiece perfect for your Thanksgiving table for under $5.  Yes, $5! First, grab a medium sized pumpkin from your Halloween stash.  Second, scour the pile of damaged merchandise at the craft store - I found a broken fall leaf spray for $1!  You can also find plate chargers at your local craft store for $1-2 which make the perfect base for your centerpiece.  Once you’ve arranged your broken leaves around your pumpkin, you can simply place your centerpiece on your table or add a small vase, mason jar or hurricane for a bit of height.

Sweet Ways to Give Thanks
o   Spread the Cookie Love.  Although Thanksgiving is not traditionally thought of as a gift-giving holiday, it is the perfect time to let those close to you know that you are thankful that they are in your life.  The perfect way to spread a little Thanksgiving cheer is of course with a bag of cookies.  A simply bag of homemade or store bought cookies will brighten anyone’s day and may even save the a little time in the kitchen come Thanksgiving.

o   The Perfect Turkey Leg.  When you set the table for Thanksgiving, don’t forget to put a turkey leg at each place.  A candy turkey leg that is!  Simply cut a brown paper lunch bag in half, fill the bottom half with candy (leftovers from Halloween is perfect), twist the top of the bag closed and add paper turkey feet (white paper folded in half, cut half way down in ¼ inch sections).  At dinner time let everyone rip right into their turkey leg.

o   Indian Corn.  This is quite possibly my new favorite craft because it is simple, amazingly festive and filled with the world’s perfect food – Reese’s!  All you need to make these yummy cobs of indian corn are Reese’s Pieces, cellophane pretzel bags, twist ties and a brown paper bag (I used the top pieces of the paper bags from my candy turkey legs!).  Fill your bags with Reese’s Pieces and secure with a twist tie. Take a small section of your paper bag (~6x3 inches) fold it in half and cut ¼ inch strips, leaving ~½ inch of uncut paper at the fold.  Then wrap your paper husk around the top of the bag and secure with tape.  You now have the perfect decoration for the table, place card, or gift for your co-workers.

For all of my tips pick up your own copy of my Tips for the Clueless Chick books and follow the Clueless Chick on Facebook and Twitter.

Until next time,
aka Chick #1

Holiday Travel Survival Tips

Traveling over the holidays is taxing, especially with kids in tow.  On Good Day Carolinas I showed Page Crawford a few simple ways to make your holiday trip easier on everyone:

Comfort Items
o   Lovies and Pillow Cases.  The most important part of packing for a trip is remembering your little one’s Lovies because goodness knows no one will survive the trip without them.  You can also ensure a smoother trip and easier bedtime by bringing along their favorite blanket from home, and a pillowcase for your older kids.  The familiar smell of their own pillowcase will help your little one sleep better at night.  Don’t worry, you don’t have to travel with the whole pillow, you can simply slip your pillowcase over the pillow at grandma’s or the hotel.

Safety Tips
o   Babyproofing on the go.  It is easier than you might think to babyproof on the go.  You can make your own on the go babyproofing kit with a few outlet covers, a night light and painters tape.  A night light is a must so that you can dimly illuminate the little one’s corner of the room and painters tape will help keep cabinet doors closed without causing any damage.

A Wallet Full of Free Fun
o   Unexpected Fun.  Surprise your toddler with some unexpected and FREE fun to keep them entertained on the road.  Fill an old wallet with pictures, business cards, membership cards, etc. for your little one to play with.  Your toddler will be entertained for what will feel like forever pulling out cards, putting them back in, examining pictures and counting their money.

Travel Friendly Gear
o   Compact and Multi-purpose Gear.  When you are packing for your trip, think strategically and pick items that are super compact or will do double duty.  For instance, it is easiest to travel with a silimap which easily folds up and can be drawn on for hours of mealtime entertainment.  You should also look for multi purpose items that can do double duty, like a Hooter Hider which can also be used to cover baby on a plane for nap time or as a receiving blanket in a pinch.

Traveling can be tough on the whole family, especially over the already stressful holidays when everyone and their mother is also traveling.  So do yourself a favor and try to relax – which is of course easier said than done.  Safe travels!

For all of my tips pick up your own copy of my Tips for the Clueless Chick books and follow the Clueless Chick on Facebook and Twitter. 

Until next time,
aka Chick #1

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Starting a Fun New Holiday Tradition

I’m sure you have already noticed all of the holiday decorations that have taken over the stores now that Halloween is behind us and you know that means - it is time to start planning for the holidays.  Today I made another guest appearance on WNCN Today with Page Crawford to share some great tips for incorporating a few fun, and of course simple, new traditions into your holidays.

     A Thanksgiving Tradition to Build on Through the Years.
o   Personalized Thanksgiving Tablecloths and Placemats.  Before Thanksgiving, pick up a new tablecloth or placemats and a few permanent fabric pens.  Just before Thanksgiving dinner, have everyone write what they are thankful for this year or have the little ones decorate their placemat or a corner of your tablecloth.  Then tuck the tablecloth or placemats away for safekeeping and bring it out next year to add another special note.  Everyone will love looking back on their notes through the years.

     Connecting with Family Across the Miles.  
o   Family Fun Cookie Basket.  If your family is scattered across the country and you won’t be able to make it home for the holidays send them your love in a homemade DIY cookie basket.  Is there anything more fun that baking as a family?  You can get as elaborate as you like, or just keep it simple. Either way, this is an easy way to send your love and a fun activity to those you can’t be with.  Tip:  these also make the perfect hostess gift for holiday parties.

o   Year in Review Advent Calendar.  For grandparents or close friends who live far away, send them a smile everyday with this adorable advent calendar filled with pictures from the past year.  Martha Stewart has given us easy to follow instructions and printable numbers.  You can even make your own version by stringing together 12x12 scrapbook pages or photo album inserts.  Once you’ve made your calendar you can even re-fill it each year with new pictures.

As always, don’t forget to scour the ½ Halloween sales for goodies and decorations you can use throughout the holidays or save for next year.  Who doesn’t love a good sale?!?

A huge thank you to everyone at WNCN for having me on again!

Until next time,
aka Chick #1