Category Archives: Holidays

Thanksgiving Tradition Ideas Your Family Will Love

Thanksgiving. What comes to mind when you think of the holiday? For me I think of family, food, being grateful, travel, cool weather, beautiful leaves, cranberry salad. What Thanksgiving tradition ideas do you have?
dinner plate setting and the ultimate list of Thanksgiving tradition ideas

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If I’m honest, I am a bit torn when it comes to traditions. On one side, you know what to expect, the kids love it and look forward to them, it’s easy to plan. On the other side I don’t like always having to do the same thing.

I guess my balance is traditions that are held lightly. Traditions that we can take a year off of or tweak if needed.

Traditions that work for our family.

If you are looking to tweak your Thanksgiving traditions or add some new ones, I have a great list of Thanksgiving tradition ideas for your inspiration!

pile of pumpkins and the best Thanksgiving tradition ideas

Thanksgiving Tradition Ideas

Writable Tablecloth

Whether you get a cloth table cloth you reuse each year or simply cover your tables with butcher paper, have sharpies, pencils, or crayons available for everyone to write down one thing they were thankful for the past year. If you use the cloth cloth, have everyone initial and put the year next to their item.

Thanksgiving Tree

Gather some sticks and arrange them in a vase to make your Th. Set out a basket with leaves cut out of paper and some yarn. Again have everyone record what they were thankful for the last 12 months and hang on the tree. At some point during the evening someone can read them aloud.

Write Cards

Take a moment on Thanksgiving to have everyone write a card (or draw a picture) to let someone know how much you appreciate them.

Say What You are Thankful For

Go around the dinner table and have each person say 1-3 things they are grateful for from the last year.

Activity Sheets for the Kids

Set out different activity sheets for your kids to work on through out the day. It will help the times of waiting go a little more smoothly. Perfect quiet, not messy activity for when the kids are getting a little rambunctious. Here are some ideas.

Games for the Kids

Take sometime for fun and giggles. Plan a few special games for the kids (and adults even) to enjoy. You can find lots of ideas online!

New Dish Every Year

This would be so much fun! Something new and probably nontraditional making an appearance each November. If your Thanksgiving involves multiple families, I think it would be fun to rotate who brings the “surprise” dish each year.


Spend a part of your day volunteering. Look around your town for organization that serve Thanksgiving meals and see if they need help. Growing up we volunteered at a local church that served a meal in their facility and delivered meals to people that were working or home bound. We loved it!

Take a Walk

Spend 30 minutes or even an hour an a stroll around your neighborhood sometime after your meal is eaten and the kitchen is cleaned. As simple as it is, I can remember this happening in my home growing up.

Movie Theater

Going to the movies was a rare occurrence in my family. We did this once when I was still home and I’m pretty sure they have done it since I’ve been married. It was special enough that I even what movie we watched! (Treasure Planet, in case you are remembering.)


Okay, it doesn’t have to be pizza but there’s nothing wrong with not having a turkey dinner. Mix it up an do the traditional feast one year and something completely different the next. Pizza and ice cream always seems like a good option though. ūüôā One year it was just my husband and 2 kids for Thanksgiving and we had fajitas.

Visit the Nursing Home

There are people in the nursing home with no family coming to see them for the holiday. Spend a little bit of time wishing the residents of your local nursing home happy thanksgiving. Have the kids draw pictures to give away.

Watch a Thanksgiving Movie

Instead of going to the theater put a BluRay in at home and let the kids relax for a while. There’s always A Charlie Brown Christmas¬†or Miracle on 34th Street. ūüėČ

Read Thanksgiving Books

Books are the best. Read aloud a few picture books – even over breakfast in the morning. I’m a fan of Read Aloud Revival, so be sure to check out this post for some great ideas!


Have a little fun with a trivia game (and probably learn something while you are at it)! While you are preparing the questions for one year I’d go ahead and make them for the next few years. It won’t take much longer and your can separate out the questions into a list for each year.¬†Check out these lists for¬†some¬†ideas.

Turkey Trot

I’ve only actually done this once, but it was¬†so much fun! Cold and exciting. It was nice to start a day that involves so much food and sitting with some physical exertion. If you live (or travel to) an area with a Thanksgiving morning race, I highly recommend you give it a try.

There are just 16 Thanksgiving tradition ideas out of countless options. You can get as creative as you want.

I’m curious, what fun Thanksgiving traditions do you have in your family? Are you going to try any of these Thanksgiving tradition ideas this year?

fall tree and the ultimate list of Thanksgiving tradition ideas! pile of pumpkins and the best Thanksgiving tradition ideas

The Best Fall Activities for Kids

It’s my favorite time of year! I love all things autumn, including thinking about an exhaustive list of fun (and easy) fall activities for kids – AKA a¬†fall bucket list!

picture of pumpkin patch on list of fun fall activities for kids and 3 free printables

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Fall to me means cool evenings and mornings along with the perfect daytime temperatures. It’s when I can make soups frequently and baking calls my name. The trees paint beautiful pictures. All things pumpkin are celebrated.

It just makes me excited.

Autumn is also the perfect time of year to purposefully have a little fun and make memories with your children using a fall bucket list.

road with fall leaves on list of fall activities to do with kids

Isn’t it easy to get caught up in to-do lists and the chaos of life? Having a list and plan can help me slow down and enjoy life and my kids more.

They don’t even have to be big, expensive things on your list. Take the time to appreciate and get in the moment of even the little things. Your kids will love you for it.

If you are overwhelmed at the thought of just one more thing, pick just 4 and do one a week. See if you can turn something you have to do anyway (being in the kitchen) into a fall theme.

I’m all about simple, but there is nothing wrong with being elaborate and doing it all. We each need to do what works for our families.

Pumpkin patch on list of fun fall activities for kids and 3 free printables

Fall Activities for Kids

Have a taste testing of several apple varieties

Make apple crisp, bread, muffins, pie, bars, or cobbler

Make apple cider

Make applesauce

Make dried apples

Go to an apple orchard

Make pumpkin puree from scratch

Roast the seeds from the pumpkin

Make pumpkin bread, muffins, cookies, or pie

Deliver a fall baked good to a neighbor or shut in

Carve a pumpkin

Visit a pumpkin patch

Go on a hayrack ride

Corn maze

Make chili

Have a soup potluck at your house

Take a hike in a nature park

Drive to see the colorful leaves

Make hot chocolate and star gaze

Have smores

Leaf prints. Try one  of these

Jump in a leaf pile

Rake leaves for someone who can’t

Practice drawing autumn trees and leaves

Do a fall science experiment

Stovetop popcorn

Fall movie (Charlie Brown Thanksgiving or Great Pumpkin or maybe a football movie like Rudy)

Fall themed book. Here’s a great list of picture books. For a chapter book try this one¬†or Read Aloud Revival recommends this one.

Go on a picnic

Feed the ducks

Fly a kite

Attend a football game

Start a Thankful tree

Pumpkin Spice playdough

Camp out in the backyard

Switch over the clothes

Mail an “I’m thankful for you card”

Pumpkin on list of fun fall activities to do with kids!

Isn’t the idea of a Fall Bucket List fun?!

What have I missed? Do you have any favorite fun (maybe even easy and frugal) fall activities for kids I should add to the list? Have you done a fall bucket list before?

There’s no way we will get all of these done, but I’m confident that numerous ones will happen. ūüôā

Pictures of 3 free printables on list of fun fall bucket list for kids

I’ve made a few printables for a fall bucket list in my resource library. One has every one of these ideas on it and another is blank so you can include exactly what you want – after all, you want to enjoy fall not be stressed out! You can get access to them for¬†free¬†when you sign up for my newsletter!

Pumpkin patch on list of fun fall activities for kids and 3 free printables

Love Tree

Love Tree - Perfect idea to use in February up to Easter. Easy, memorable and affordable!

In an effort to avoid having to store (or rebuild every year) my Thanksgiving Tree, I am trying to find ways to re-theme it throughout the year.

In November you could find this on our table: Valentine's Tree @ From this Kitchen Table Then at Christmas it looked like this:

Love Tree - Perfect idea to use in February up to Easter

The past month it’s been on our table bare and I decided it was time to revitalize the tree.

Now, it’s become a love tree. The perfect theme for February and leading up to Easter.

If you already have a tree, putting this together will be simple – skip ahead to step 2.

I’m not a crafty person. My crafts have to be affordable and fairly easy otherwise they won’t happen. This one meets both of those requirements.

Love Tree

1. Find sticks of varying sizes and arrange them into a vase. Use small rocks or glass pebbles to weight down the vase or else it will topple over on you.

2. Cut hearts of varying sizes out of different color construction paper or card stock. I used pinks and red, but blues, greens, and grays would work too.

I have a pdf of 3 different size hearts you can use if you’d like.

Love Tree - Perfect idea to use in February up to Easter. Easy, memorable and affordable!Love Tree - Perfect idea to use in February up to Easter. Easy, memorable and affordable!

To access the pdf, click here!

3. Hang the hearts. I used a needle and white thread. On the large hearts, it would look pretty to use a hole punch and hang it up with ribbon.

4. Between now and when you use your tree for Easter, take time each day to write something/one you love, someone that loves you, a way you showed love or were shown love, or a scripture verse about love on the hearts. Toddlers could color on the hearts or dictate to you.

What a great time and memorable way to focus on God’s love for us and the way that He and others show love for us.

Linking up to some of these parties ¬†Growing Homemakers,¬†Tending the Home,¬†WFMW,¬†Lovely Ladies Linky,¬†Wise Woman Link-Up,¬†Welcome Home Wednesday,¬†Homemaking Link Up,¬†Thriving Thursday,¬†¬†Pin It Thursday,¬†Fabulously Frugal Thursday,¬†Mommy Brain Mixer,¬†All Things Thursday,¬†From House to Home,¬†Proverbs 31 Thursdays,¬†Let’s Get Real,¬†Thrifty Thursday,¬†Family Fun Friday,¬†Hearts for Home,¬†The Weekend ReTreat,¬†Fellowship Fridays, Essential Fridays,¬†Faith Filled Friday,¬†Frugal Homeschool Friday,¬†Link Party Palooza,¬†Weekend Wind Down Party,¬†Follow Our Thrift,¬†Strut Your Stuff


3 Ideas for Celebrating Valentine’s Day with Your Family

This is the second post on celebrating Valentine’s Day. Today I have some ideas on how to celebrate the day in your family. One of these I looked forward to every year and am excited to do with my daughter this year. 3 Fun ideas for celebrating Valentine's Day as a family. Affordable and fun ideas the kids will love!

Secret Pals

Valentine’s morning, draw names in your family to be a secret pal. You then get to (sneakily):

  • Do acts of service for them: – Make their bed – Do their chore – Clean their car – etc
  • Give little gifts: – Draw a picture – Write a note – Leave a favorite candy bar on their chair

That evening before bed, everyone can reveal their secret pal. Even assuming that¬†everyone has already figured it out, it’s still a good time to¬†reminisce and share stories and thanks.

Treasure Hunt

This is one of my favorite Valentine‚Äôs memories growing up. Each year my mom would come up with a series of clues. She handed us the first clue and off we went. Each clue would lead to a piece of candy with another clue taped onto it. We went to six different places to find our treasures. ¬†We didn’t want it to end.

  • Pre-Reading/Toddler:¬†This is actually¬†easier with younger kids. All you have to do is draw a picture to send them on their way. For instance, draw a picture of their toy box. They walk to their toy box and find a piece of candy with a picture of their pillow pet on it. The next piece will be on the pillow pet. You get the idea!
  • Reading Kids: Write a riddle. Here’s where you have to get a little more creative. Adjust the difficulty of the clues based on age. For a little older pre-reading kids you can read the clues aloud.
    To begin, go to where
    of a visitor you are made aware.


    In the bedroom, you will see
    Under your pillow, something from me!


    Next to your chair, you will find
    Another treat of a different kind!


    You got to that one very fast,
    Run to the bookshelf to get the last!

Valentine’s Food

Be creative. I’m sure you can come up with so many options. 3 Fun ideas for celebrating Valentine's Day as a family. Affordable and fun ideas the kids will love!

  • Form food into a heart – last year we did this with homemade pizza – heart shaped sugar cookies – heart shaped pancakes – cut brownies with a heart cookie cutter
  • Make dishes with lots of red – spaghetti – lasagna – soup
  • Eat by candlelight and turn your normal fare into something special or make a fancy dinner even more over the top.

How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day in your house? Do you have any of the same traditions you did as a kid?

Linking up with¬†Proverbs 31 Thursday, Pin It Thursday, Thrifty Thursday, The Weekend ReTreat, Hearts for Home, Family Fun Friday, Let’s Get Real, Frugal Homeschool Friday, Follow Our Thrift, Essential Fridays, Fellowship Fridays, Strut Your Stuff, Link Party Palooza, Weekend Wind Down,¬†Show Stopper Link Party, Happiness is Homemade, Mindful Mommy Monday, Motivation Monday, Living Proverbs 31, Modest Monday, Monday’s Musings, TGIM, Mama Moments Monday, Pin It Monday, Good Tips Tuesday, Titus 2 Tuesday, Babies and Beyond, Share Your Stuff Tuesdays, Growing Homemakers, Tending the Home, Titus 2sday, Do Tell Tuesday, WFMW, Lovely Ladies Linky, Wise Woman Link-Up, Welcome Home Wednesday, Homemaking Link Up, Thriving Thursday, Fabulously Frugal Thursday, Mommy Brain Mixer, All Things Thursday, From House to Home


Celebrating a Meaningful Valentine’s Day with Children

3 Days to Celebrating a meaningful Valentine's Day with your Children. Focus on Hands of Love, Voice of Love, and Deed of Love. Great ideas!

Valentine’s Day. How do we turn this holiday into one of meaning for our children? Today I’m going to share with you ideas to use on the three days leading up to Valentine’s Day. Ideas that your kids will enjoy and that will also make lasting impressions on them.

Gather your kids together and tell them that Valentine’s Day is coming up and the next few days you are going to be doing things to help prepare. You can do as many or as few of the ideas as you’d like and can easily adapt for age.

Day 1: Hand of Love

These ideas focus on writing and drawing.

Draw a picture

It could be as simple as drawing hearts or as elaborate as coloring pictures of ways people show love or minister to others.

Make Up A Poem

Get the creativity flowing. It could be about images that come to mind on Valentine’s Day or ways love has been shown to you. Maybe a way a parent or grandparent has shown love.

Write a Story

How much fun could this be? Older kids could write it out and younger ones can dictate their plot to you. Fiction or non-fiction, this would be something you’d want to keep for when the kids are older.

Write a Song

If you are super creative, you could even write it for a melody that your kids know well. (Twinkle Twinke Little Star is a favorite of my daughter.)

Make a Heart Mobile

Cut hearts of various sizes out of red, pink, white and whatever other color construction paper or card stock you’d like. On each heart, write names of people you love and those who love you.
‚ÄúMommy loves little brother‚ÄĚ ‚ÄúDaddy loves mommy‚ÄĚ ‚ÄúSister loves Grandma‚ÄĚ
Hang the hearts to the light fixture above your dining room table with string or twine.

Create Invitations for a Tea Party

More on this fun idea coming up!

Day 2: Voice of Love

Here we focus on our voice and verbally communicating love to others.

Phone Call

Make that phone call to the friend, relative, or individual that your child has been influenced by or who has done kind things for them. The call doesn’t have to be fancy. Keep it simple and if your child feels uncomfortable help them come up with a simple script before hand. They can even rehearse it with you.

‚ÄúHi, Mrs. Sue! I want to say thank you for being my Sunday School teacher. I always want to come to class and I love the Bible stories and crafts you do with us.‚ÄĚ

Or perhaps they can call someone that’s sick and just let them know they are thinking of them and give their love.

Call Daddy

Have your child surprise Daddy with a call at work just to say, ‚ÄúI love you.‚ÄĚ


Maybe there’s a shut it you know or an individual that’s going through a rough time that would appreciate a short visit and maybe a picture drawn or poem written yesterday.


Some people we care about live too far away to visit and it can be costly to call. Skype is a great alternative. Set up a date for your child to call the missionary friend that moved to the other side of the equator and let them know they are being thought of.

Day 3: Deed of Love

Finally, we are going to do an act of love.

Tea Party for Widows

This one would take a little bit of advance planning, but would be memorable.

  • If your children are young and your space is limited just have over 1 or 2 widows (this is often a lonely day for them).
  • Simple invitations would have to be mailed or phone calls made before the afternoon of the¬†¬†¬† event
  • Plan a basic menu. Cookies and tea or juice that your child helps make would be sufficient.
  • Your child could even draw a picture for each guest.
  • Help your child come up with conversation starters.

Make Cookies or Treats

Make up little goody plates (similar to what we did here). Attach a valentine your child made and and deliver to widows, widowers, friends, and others that could use the encouragement. Your child can carry the plate, ring the door bell, say Happy Valentine’s Day, and give a hug. Depending on age, you can watch from the car.

Financial Donation

Your child can do some extra chores and collect their change. You can make a donation online or in person to an organization that helps care for and love others.

Toy Donations

Have your child pick out a toy and donate it to a pregnancy center, shelter, or any where else that could use it.

How do you make Valentine’s Day meaningful for your children?

Come back Thursday for ideas on how to celebrate the actual Valentine’s Day in your home with your children!

Linking up to¬†Tending the Home Tuesday,¬†Teach Me Tuesday, A Wise Woman, WFMW, Welcome Home Wednesday, Homemaking Link-Up, Lovely Ladies, Wednesday Link Party, Show and Share Wednesday,¬†¬†Fabulously Frugal Thursday,¬†Proverbs 31 Thursday,¬†Thriving Thursday,¬†House to Home,¬†Pin It Thursday,¬†Thrifty Thursday,¬†The Weekend ReTreat,¬†Hearts for Home,¬†Family Fun Friday,¬†Let’s Get Real,¬†¬†Frugal Homeschool Friday,¬†Follow Our Thrift,¬†Essential Fridays,¬†Fellowship Fridays,¬†Strut Your Stuff,¬†Link Party Palooza,¬†Weekend Wind Down,¬†Show Stopper Link Party,¬†Happiness is Homemade,¬†Mindful Mommy Monday,¬†Motivation Monday,¬†Living Proverbs 31,¬†Modest Monday,¬†Monday’s Musings,¬†TGIM,¬†Mama Moments Monday,¬†¬†Pin It Monday,¬†Good Tips Tuesday,¬†Titus 2 Tuesday,¬†Babies and Beyond,¬†Share Your Stuff Tuesdays,¬†Titus 2sday,¬†Do Tell Tuesday


Love Songs for Valentine’s Day

Playlist of love songs perfect for your Valentine's Day at home date night!

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Now is the time to start coming up with ideas and making plans otherwise we’ll find it sneaking up on us.¬†

Some of us might spend a night on the town with our love and others might have a quiet evening at home.¬†Maybe it’s because money is tight and there isn’t anything extra in the budget for a meal out or baby-sitter for the kids. Maybe it’s just simpler and more enjoyable to stay home.

That doesn’t mean it can’t be fun! Whatever the reason, I have the perfect thing to making your evening at home a little more special.

I have a valentine’s playlist for you (and an idea for how to turn it into a gift). Perfect background music for eating your late supper after the little kids are put to bed, to visit and play games by over dessert, or to snuggle up on the couch in front of the fire place and chat by.

To be honest, I know little about music. The radio is on when we are driving in the car and that’s about it. Don’t worry, I didn’t come up with this list. My husband did and he is a music person. Maybe a little more than just a music person. He might verge on being a music hoarder. With probably over 1500 CDs in his collection (and he’s recently gotten rid of several) and having worked in radio for years, he knows what he’s talking about.

You could actually turn this (or a playlist of your favorite love songs) into a personalized gift. While we were dating, my husband compiled a CD of love songs and had a letter to go with it saying what each song was and how it reminded him of me and our relationship. It was pretty sweet and we still have it after being married 7 1/2 years.

If you have a Spotify account, we have a playlist all set up for you to stream! (If you don’t have one, it’s free and easy)

  1. I Could Not Ask for More – Edwin McCain
  2. Groovy Kind Of Love – Phil Collins
  3. You’re the Inspiration – Chicago
  4. Hands To Heavens – Breathe
  5. I’ll Be Over You – Toto
  6. Open Arms – Journey
  7. Love of My Life – Jim Brickman
  8. Kiss Me – Sixpence None The Richer
  9. At My Most Beautiful – R.E.M.
  10. I Love You Always Forever – Donna Lewis
  11. Meet Me Half Way – Kenny Loggins
  12. Godsend – DC Talk
  13. Will You Still Love Me? – Chicago
  14. That’s What Love Is For – Amy Grant
  15. More Than Words Can Say – Alias
  16. I Will Be Here For You – Michael W. Smith
  17. Only You – Yaz
  18. Faithfully – Journey
  19. Glory of Love – Peter Cetera
  20. Friday I’m In Love – The Cure

What’s your favorite love song?

Playlist of love songs perfect for your Valentine's Day at home date night!

Linking up to¬†Thrifty Thursday,¬†Mommy Brain Mixer,¬†Fellowship Fridays,¬†The Weekend reTreat,¬†Let’s Get Real,¬†Family Fun Friday, Faith Filled Friday, Essential Fridays,¬†Follow Our Thrift,¬†Frugal Homeschool Friday,¬†Strut Your STuff,¬†Link Party Palooza,¬†Weekend Wind Down Party, Show Stopper Saturday,¬†Mindful Mommy Monday,¬†Pin It Monday,¬†Happiness is Homemade,¬†Good Tips Tuesday,¬†TGIM,¬†Living Proverbs 31,¬†Mama Moments Monday,¬†Babies and Beyond,¬†Tending the Home Tuesday,¬†Share Your Stuff Tuesday,¬†Titus 2 Tuesday,¬†Do Tell Tuesday,¬†Teach Me Tuesday, A Wise Woman, WFMW, Welcome Home Wednesday, Homemaking Link-Up, Lovely Ladies, Wednesday Link Party, Show and Share Wednesday, Fabulously Frugal Thursday, Proverbs 31 Thursday,¬†Thriving Thursday,¬†House to Home