In Summer!!!

Olaf isn’t the only one excited about summer quickly approaching. School will dismiss for summer break in less than 6 weeks and I’m doing my best now to prepare these kids for what’s going to be a long and hot one.

My kids have recently fell in love with bowling and I was thrilled to find this amazing deal offered by our local bowling alley in Moncks Corner: any children under the age of 15 can bowl free over the summer beginning April 27th and ending September 14th.  And for a one time fee of $28, you can purchase a pass for yourself and four others. Umm…yes, please. A total no-brainer. Now Tim, the grandparents and I get to bowl along with the kids all summer long for under 28 bucks!
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The bowling alley is a great place for indoor fun, but when we want to soak up the sun, we head to our local water park(s). Every year we purchase the Super Splash Pass that allows us access to all three Charleston County water parks. We always have a blast and it’s a great way to burn off all their extra built-up energy. There’s an added bonus too: you get to work on your tan!

Super Splash Pass: $89.99

Super Splash Pass + 1 Guest: $179.98

Super Splash Pass + 2 Guests: $269.97

Hope to see lots of friends there! I’ll be the large Beluga whale beached in Otter Bay.

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This has been my last year having Evan home with me before he starts kindergarten in the fall. I just want all of us to have the most possible fun and make this a summer Evan will never forget. Honestly, it’s for me, not him. Come August, I’m not going to know what to do without him!

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This weekend my Reese Eleanor turns THREE! Can you guess what type of party she picked? Here’s a sneak peek of her birthday outfit my aunt and I made.

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Minnie Mouse! The party planner/decorator in me is just thrilled. This is a huge relief from last year when she chose Diego; a total decorating challenge. Only my daughter would choose Diego for her 2nd birthday. But what my baby wants, my baby gets!

I have to peace-out now; I still have lots of work to do to get ready for this party.

Oh Baby!

Hope everyone had a fantastic Easter!

Here are our Easter cuties.

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And even a picture with the cutie that is still in utero. IMG_3553

This past week was spring break and it was so nice having Tim home to enjoy it with us. Working for the school district rocks! We were able to get so much accomplished, with the biggest task being our vegetable garden.

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And this is when you know you official wore your husband out. You did good, Babe!IMG_3518

We are putting some of our Pinterest pins to the test and trying out pallet gardening. We planted our cucumbers, watermelon and cantaloupe in them. Basically, the plants that grow every which way. The pallets we received for free and the dirt we bought by the truckload for $22 a load (it only took half the truckload to fill the pallets).  Whether or not it works, it’s been extremely cheap to test out. I still have my fingers crossed that Pinterest won’t fail me. I’ll be sure to keep you updated!

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Last week we also found out if Baby #3 is a boy or girl!!!

As soon as I saw this profile picture of our baby, I knew right away what we were having.

Two reasons how: the face and the baby’s behavior.

Whether you want to call it a mother’s intuition or what, I knew instantly that the little face on the screen was the face of my baby boy! The second big giveaway was his behavior. There he is sleeping and racked back! His arms are stretched out above his head and he’s resting his legs on my uterine walls. Life is good. I’m surprised he doesn’t have a “DO NOT DISTURB” sign hanging in there.

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The confirmationIMG_3525

For the most part, all my pregnancy symptoms have matched up with my symptoms I had with Evan; a big appetite followed by rapid weight gain. So yeah, I might have gained 6 pounds this past month. I guess that should have been clue #1.

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❤ ❤ ❤ I’ll leave you with these two pictures ❤ ❤ ❤

My oldest giving me the stink eye because I interrupted his fishing…

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And my baby girl who picks me a bouquet of flowers everyday.IMG_5219

Doing Cartwheels in Target

Target is killing it right now on all their spring dresses for girls. I am very impressed! It’s almost too good to be true, which is why I have to share. If you’re a mom to boys, no worries! Cartwheel has a deal for you too: 25% off polos and 20% off of button shirts.

All girl’s dresses are currently 25% off until March 21st using the Cartwheel app. We picked up some of these and paid $11.25 or less for each. And don’t forget, if you have a RED debit/credit card, you save an additional 5% off. 
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I really wanted this white eyelet dress for Reese, but of course they didn’t have a 4T in stock. I see this dress working so well in a photo shoot. Gorgeous!!!

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And we can’t forget about the shoes that are also on sale. Score!!! No Cartwheel app needed for these deals.

$13.60

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This is our second year purchasing these silver, sparkly, beauties.  They match perfectly with so many of Reese’s outfits. I jumped for joy when I saw they improved the design this year and incorporated velcro on the straps. Man, that is a huge plus in my book. Those velcro straps now allow Reese to slip on her own shoes with no help from me. A steal at $13.59.
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The deals keep getting better. I couldn’t resist a little something for myself when I saw this coupon. IMG_2466-1

I knew I needed to do some shopping since I’ve already gained 8 lbs.  My non maternity clothes are getting a little snug, but at the same time, my belly isn’t quite big enough for all maternity clothes. I thought this maxi dress was cute and would do the trick for the “in between” time. Good news if you’re a stripe lover, this maxi comes in six different colors.

16597537I’m sure my everyday wear will be long skirts and maxis, because unfortunately, my legs are already starting to look like this again 😦IMG_3525

And here’s the last thing you need to be Spring ready. Cartwheel has a 10% off deal on all Essie nail polish. Ooh la la!!!
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***This post is not endorsed by Target. I’m just a simple girl who loves saving money and getting the best deals possible. When I find great deals, I believe in sharing. Every mom and her family should be able to dress stylish at an affordable price. True story***

Catch Up

Our life took a whirlwind of a ride in these past 45 days, all in a good way {you’ll see}. But first, I still want to share with y’all what Evan and Reese passed out on Valentine’s Day.

Man oh man, this picture of Evan has his daddy’s face all over it. I’m pretty sure it’s the “no teeth smile”.

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 And here’s our free spirit. The little girl who marches to the beat of her own drum.

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My friend Sarah, over at Sully + Willis Photography, photographed and designed the cards for me. I then headed over to Staples and printed them off on heavy card stock (which was super cheap, like $1.25 per page). Since each page held nine photo cards, I was able to walk out of there paying $5.00 + tax for everything.

Next, I let the kids pick out their own candy to attach to the photo cards. I simply used a hole puncher and ribbon for assembly.  Evan chose Blow Pops and Reese chose Smarties.

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These were so manageable and completely effortless. The biggest highlight being that I didn’t have to sit with Evan and help him address all of these to each of his individual classmates {the store bought types have a “To” and “From” section on each card}. Definitely doing these again next year when Evan is in kindergarten and will have 25+ students in his class.

Since we still had a whole bag of Smarties left over, I found this sweet and simple idea on Pinterest to make as gifts for Evan’s teachers.

IMG_3352Well, since Valentine’s Day was over a month ago, hopefully this gives you plenty of enough time to plan for next year 🙂

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Now, my whirlwind. I have to preface this by letting you know I embarked on a journey in the beginning of January. It wasn’t like the journey Cheryl Strayed took in her book/movie “Wild“. I didn’t need to “find myself”, because I already knew Jesus found me a long time ago. However, it was a journey of fasting, one in which to grow my spiritual relationship with my Savior {and because I needed a whole lot of prayers answered from Him}. Plus, it was a new year for my family and I wanted it to be better than it was the year before.  I also knew lots of big decisions were going to have to be made this year {i.e., selling our home} and I wanted to know 100% that it was God’s will and not our own desires. After a prayer here and there, the Lord quickly told me to fast my biggest fleshly addiction: sugar. I have the biggest sweet tooth imaginable, so big and tasty that it got me a fast pass to the dentist chair last year for a root canal. I guess it was a pretty easy decision for Him to choose sugar. 

I began my fast and at the same time, we also went forth with listing our home on the real estate market with a realtor. The fast came with many temptations, which were all defeated with continuous prayers. It took my eyes off the many things of this world, and inevitably, my focus turned to Him. Many times I needed Him hourly, praying for strength, because the simple sound of a Coca-Cola popping open and seeing the fizz bubble up would instantly make my knees buckle and quickly give in.

To make this long story short and sweet, my fast lasted 25 days and it was an unbelievable experience. I’m beyond thankful I kept on trekking through and I now have a renewed reliance upon God.  In less than 30 days we received a full price offer on our home {with a quick closing date}.  The buyers never came back for a second showing and wrote us an offer only an hour after their first showing time. To God be the glory!

Many other prayers were also answered, and along the way, He poured a blessing on us.

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The blessing is the baby, not Dana Perino, only because we don’t get to keep her.  Dana Perino was the 27th White House Press Secretary and served under President George W. Bush’s administration from 2007-2009. She is currently a political commentator for Fox News and also serves as co-host for the network’s show “The Five”.  She is an extraordinary woman with a list of outstanding achievements. She was a complete sweetheart for doing this with us! Be sure to watch her on Fox News, and at only 5 feet tall she packs a powerful punch. I just love her. Oh, and she just bought a home right here in Charleston!

Last, but not least, our newest addition.

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Please continue to keep baby and I in your prayers. Early on in my pregnancy, I developed a subchorionic hematoma.  Because of my large clot and excessive bleeding, I was instantly put on bed rest. Moving became a struggle for me, mostly because I was useless. The combination of morning sickness + first trimester fatigue + bed rest = one worthless Jennifer. I couldn’t stand it, but it made me completely humbled and thankful for my family who came over and helped Tim. I truly do have the best family!

Valentine / Part 1

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching. Eeekkk!!!  To help get the party started, I wanted to share this fun and simple crochet pattern with y’all! 

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Needle: 2.55mm

Abbreviations:

SC = single crochet

DC= double crochet

HDC = half double crochet

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Chain 4, slip stitch to form a ring.IMG_3226

Chain 2, 9 DC in ring.
IMG_3228Skip 1 stitch and then 5DC in the next stitch.

 1DC, 1HDC

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1HDC, 1DC

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 This is half of your heart. Continue around with:

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1HDC, 1DC

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Slip stitch in the middle ring and fasten off.

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Hot glue it to an alligator clip and then you will have the perfect bow for your little girl to wear on Valentine’s Day!

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 Hope you enjoyed this sugar free treat.  Stay tuned for Valentine / Part 2 where a whole bunch of sweetness will be involved!

2015 Goals

New Year’s Resolutions = Love/Hate Relationship

Oh, how I need you, but don’t want to proclaim it,

My saggy bottom says: gym, but slothfulness sneaks in and says: in a little bit.

Reading my Bible more is always a must,

But my OCD for a clean house reminds me that I still see more dust.

Evan and Reese love going on adventures to learn,

But silly me is always taking a wrong turn.

I need to start an herb garden filled with basil, parsley and a sprinkle of chives,

But Candy Crush tells me: you now have more lives.

On February 14, Christian Gray will be in my sight,

But Timothy reminds me he is my knight.

 

That pretty much sums it up for me.

My top two New Year’s goals always include devoting more time with my Savior, and making sure I’m always adequately giving Tim, Evan and Reese my best. The best, the whole best and nothing but the best. I learned five years ago that gym membership ain’t gonna happen! Maybe in another ten years I can re-evaluate.

Here is a great article I found on The Happy Wives Club that helps explain my outlook on New Year’s resolutions.  The article makes a great point on how individuals will make personal goals, fitness goals and organizational goals, but fail to make goals involving the most important person in one’s life: their spouse. It’s such a simple concept, but yet so profound. I pray everyone this year will make a resolution to better their marriage. The following was lifted from the aforementioned article:

10 Resolutions for Your Marriage:

1. Forgive and Forget. 
This year, strive to forgive your spouse as soon as they apologize or ask for forgiveness. It’s easy to hold a grudge or to bring up past grievances, but letting these things go and forgiving your spouse can lead to a happier self and a happier marriage!

2. Spend More Time Together.
So many people are so busy, too busy. Life gets in the way and the important things in life tend to fall to the wayside. In 2015, resolute to spend more time with your spouse! Whether it be more date nights or more time at home together, I’m sure your spouse will appreciate having more of you in their life!

3. Put Your Spouse First.
In a day and age when there are so many things that scream for our attention, it’s important that our spouses feels like they are important in our lives. This year, determine to put your spouse above all the noise trying to attract your attention. Determine to put them first.

4. Seek God Together.
It’s sometimes easy to judge our spouse for the things they do, but learning to seek God together can help your relationship become stronger and help us learn to focus more on the things we need to fix in our own lives. Resolute in 2015 to seek God together and watch your relationship grow stronger together and in God!

5. Cultivate Common Interests.
It’s easy to do things that interest you personally, but why not learn some new hobbies with your spouse? This year, find some common interests that both you and your spouse would enjoy, and do them often! What better way to have fun with your spouse and learn more about them?

6. Work Toward Conflict Resolution.
No marriage is perfect, but a peaceful marriage is one to strive for! Let 2015 be the year you work toward healthy conflict resolution. Learn better strategies for your marriage and learn how to discuss things peacefully with your spouse. Strive toward healthy communication!

7.  Keep the Passion Alive.
Maybe your marriage has gotten a little boring, you do the same things every day and nothing seems fun or out of the ordinary. Let 2015 be the year you change all that! Determine to keep the passion alive and help things get steamy instead of boring. You will both be thankful you did!

8. Flirt more!
Who doesn’t like to flirt a little with their spouse? It’s fun and brings back the spice you might remember from your dating years! This year, resolute to flirt more with your spouse. There are so many fun ways to flirt, and your spouse just might be surprised and happy that you started it!

9. Say, “I love you” every day.
A lot times it’s easy to assume that our spouse  knows we love them. But there are so many different ways to say and show that you love them. This year, don’t let a day go by without saying it. Resolute to say, “I love you” in a special way every day.

10. Communicate Appreciation.
So many people feel under appreciated because their spouse doesn’t take the time to communicate appreciation for them and what they do. Don’t let another year go by without telling your spouse how much you appreciate them. Resolute to communicate appreciation as much as possible!

Hello 2015

We hope and pray everyone had a very merry Christmas because we surely did! We love this time of year because not only do we get to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Saviour, we also get to enjoy time with family and devour all the delicious food together. This Christmas was one of the best for our family. The kids are at a great age for this holiday and it was a true joy watching them open all their presents. Not only was Santa good to Evan and Reese, he was also good to Tim and I.

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Evan’s favorite gift was his punching bag and gloves set while Reese’s was her princess bicycle.

My parents bought Tim and I a new Dyson to add to our collection. It’s the cordless DC44 animal. It’s amazing how free you feel when there is no electrical cord. You become unstoppable!!!

IMG_3015We just love our new cleaning toy and it helped make Christmas cleanup effortless and painless. Tim has always been our designated “vacuumer” in our home. He’s got some smooth moves and I just can’t compete with them. I always make sure to tell him how sexy he is when cleaning. I’m sure every wife can testify to the instant transformation that happens when their husbands start cleaning. It can’t be fully explained, but it’s a fact!

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After Christmas festivities, New Year’s Eve celebration was next on tap. We celebrated in southern style and ate Frogmore Stew, a.k.a. Lowcountry Boil.  If you’re not a Southerner or never heard of it before, it’s a mixture of corn on the cob, sausage, potatoes, onions, and shrimp.  Our shrimp (hard to see, but it’s all underneath the potatoes and corn) was fresh off the boat. Literally. My parents drove to McClellanville and bought them as soon as the shrimp boat docked.

It was absolutely delicious, but my hands still smell shrimpy.

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Tim and I are extremely excited about 2015. Lots of new things are happening already for us and I can’t wait to see it all unfold. It also makes me very nervous at times, because we will have a kindergartener in our home come August 😦

Wishing everyone a very happy 2015!

Star Gazing

I just wanted to stop in real quick and share this crochet pattern with y’all. I’ve been using it to make my star ornaments and my star garland.

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Pattern

Hook size: F

Yarn weight: 4

dc = double crochet

hdc = half double crochet

tr = sometimes called treble crochet or triple crochet

Chain 5

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 Slip stitch in the beginning of chain 1 to form a ring.

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Chain 3. 14 dc into ring. Slip stitch in top of chain 3 to form a circle.
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*Chain 5. 1 sc in second chain from hook, 1 hdc in next chain, 1 dc in next chain, 1 tr in next chain. Skip 2dc and slip stitch in next dc.*

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Repeat from * to * (asterisk to asterisk) four more times. End with a slip stitch at the base of the first point.

Fasten off if you want to make a single star. For the garland, you will need to chain 30 (or any amount to obtain desired length) and repeat from step 1.

The single stars are great for making ornaments. I attached mine to some Christmas ribbon and then looped them around a gift bag.

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I think they add some festive pizazz to the presents. They also make great gifts for teachers, coworkers, secretaries, etc.

I better peace out, I’ve already gone star crazy. My tree has been decorated with star garland and now every present under my tree has a star attached.

Birthday Boy

My big boy Evan officially turned the Big 5 today. Man, did those five years fly by.

He went from a brown-haired baby…
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quickly to a curly blonde…{age 1}

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then to a toddler with a full head of thick, coarse blonde hair.

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By his third birthday his hair started darkening up…

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and it got even darker by his fourth birthday (which also clearly indicates how I forgot to give him a haircut). Whoopsy!

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 Now, here he is with dirty blonde hair and a fresh trim.

View More: http://sullyandwillisphotography.pass.us/knight-cottonTim and I love this boy dearly and he is truly a special gift from God.

We spent this past Friday and Saturday celebrating his birthday with a campout in our backyard.

{keep reading to see my chalkboard secret}

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The menu consisted of “campfire flames” (cheese puffs), trail mix, a cheese platter, and some grub (Chick-Fil-A) nuggets and pigs-in-a-blanket). For dessert we had “bear poo” (homemade chocolate donut balls) and cupcakes.
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My birthday boy was having so much fun that I hardly got any pictures of him {read: it’s hard playing party host and photographer}. After he opened his presents, I was able to quickly snatch him up for a quick picture.
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Frosty, our piñata choice, didn’t stand a chance. He was instantly decapitated.  I kept waiting for “A Funniest Home Video” moment with the bat, but sadly, it didn’t happen. IMG_2772

The party was an absolute blast! Evan, and his friends actually slept in the tent (Tim too) while Reese and I settled for the king size bed.

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Here’s my chalkboard secret I want to leave y’all with. I’m no calligraphist or artist so here’s the secret to drawing perfect letters on a chalkboard.

Using a computer, go to a Word document and choose your font preference for the wording you wish to create.  Once you’ve created it, print it.

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Flip it over and rub the backside with chalk.

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Next, using tape, hang your print out on a chalkboard.

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Using a pencil, firmly trace your letters. Once you’re done tracing, remove the paper.

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Lastly, using a chalk pen, go back and outline the letters.

IMG_2728There you go. It’s that easy! This little trick takes your chalkboard drawings to whole new level. There are so many different possibilities you can create; I’m thinking a Bible verse or an inspirational quote in a fancy font would make great Christmas gifts.

No Tanks

Howdy friends! My favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, is quickly approaching us…T-minus 6 days. I love this holiday because there is no giving of material gifts, only humbled hearts coming together over a full table spread of deliciousness to give thanks for our many blessings. Beginning with thanks to our merciful Savior. Glory, hallelujah. It can’t get much better than that!

The bummer about this holiday is that it gets overshadowed by Christmas, which makes it very difficult to decorate for. The department stores go straight from Halloween to Christmas decor.

The Thanksgiving pickings are definitely slim. My BFF bought this banner from Target and this is what she got. Her family is giving “tanks” this year. Ha!

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Since proper Thanksgiving decor is at a minimal for purchase, I found this very simplistic setup over at The TomKat Studio. I’m in love with it, minus the brown satin ribbon.

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 She has all the print-outs available here.  Literally, everything you will need to have the perfect Thanksgiving setup. She even has labels for your guests’ leftovers. She’s definitely my kind of girl!

Instead of two acorns, I picked up two burlap squirrels from Kohl’s. All the glass and windows in my house wouldn’t stand a chance with those nuts.

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They make me happy. Plus, my nickname for Evan is “Squirrel”. I couldn’t resist.

Another simple, but festive idea, is using gold spray paint. Man oh man, do I love paint! I’m actually kind of dangerous with it; I’ve been told my spraying goes overboard.

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Here’s a cute idea. Cut the bottom off of pine cones and use them as name cards.

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I saw this exact table runner at TJMAXX. Beautiful!
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The decorating is all fun and glamorous, but being the true nerd I am, I can’t help but take you back to the first Thanksgiving held in November 1621.

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It all started in September 1620 when a small vessel, named The Mayflower, left Plymouth, England, carrying 102 passengers. Their journey lasted over 60 days searching for the New World in hopes to begin a new life of religious freedom and desires to become land owners. After a treacherous crossing, they finally landed at the tip of Cape Cod, far north of their intended destination at the mouth of the Hudson River. One month later, the Mayflower crossed Massachusetts Bay, where they began establishing a village at Plymouth.

The first winter was excruciating on the Pilgrims, nearly half of them died from malnutrition, scurvy, and other illnesses. In March 1621, the Pilgrims were visited from an Abenaki Indian who greeted them in English. Several days later, he returned with another Native American, Squanto. Squanto taught the Pilgrims how to grow corn, extract sap from maple trees, fish, and avoid poisonous plants. He also helped the settlers form an alliance with the Wampanoag, a local tribe.

In November 1621, after the Pilgrims’ first successful corn harvest, Governor William Bradford organized a celebratory feast and invited the Native Americans. This celebration lasted three days and is now remembered as America’s “first Thanksgiving”.

Happy Thanksgiving planning!

 

Your friend,

The Decorating Historian