Winter Bucket List {plus a FREE printable}

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Beating Wintertime Boredom--fun list of things to do as a family in the winter plus a FREE printable bucket list!
I'll be honest: I don't like winter.  I don't like being cold.  In my ideal world, it would only snow on Christmas Day and then melt the next day.  Oh, and it would be 85 degrees outside at the same time.  I'm just a warm weather girl.  BUT don't think that means that I don't try my best to embrace the season and everything that comes with it.  I have a lot of wonderful memories surrounding winter: My husband and I met in the fall and dated during the winter.  Our first date was ice skating and hot chocolate.  We got engaged on New Years Eve.  So while I don't like the cold, I do my best to bundle up in cute clothes and think about the things that make winter fun and magical.  Now that I have kids, I see how excited they get when they see the snow falling, put on their snow clothes and run and jump and play and lay down in it.  After all, I grew up in Utah and I still live here and there are some things that I actually love doing during the winter.
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Happy {Day After} Thanksgiving

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I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving holiday!  I know we sure did.  I loved starting new traditions this year and we will definitely be continuing them for years to come.  One thing I especially love about these new traditions is that they can be used in any situation or circumstance and they can be adapted to your own family and resources.  You don't need money or time to share what you're thankful for.
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What I'm Thankful For

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Today, I am thankful.

I am so incredibly grateful for all that I have and I have been given so much that I want to share with you the things that I am most thankful for...

--I am thankful for my Heavenly Father and Savior, Jesus Christ.

--I am thankful for my family, both immediate and extended.  They are a great support system in good and bad times. Due to my parent's divorce, I don't have just two sides, but three, which gives me more people to love and who love me.

What I'm Thankful For

What I'm Thankful For

What I'm Thankful For

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23 Free Thanksgiving Coloring Pages and Activities Round-Up

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23 Free Thanksgiving Coloring Pages and Activities--a great round up of coloring pages and activities to keep the kids (and adults) busy until dinner
One of the hardest things about Thanksgiving is the waiting.  Waiting for everyone to arrive.  Waiting for the food to cook.  Waiting for everyone to gather and get settled at the table.  And as hard as it is to wait as an adult, it's even harder for kids!  So to help keep everyone happy, I've done a round-up of free Thanksgiving coloring and activity pages for all ages so you don't have to do anything except print them out.  Just remember to bring the crayons.
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DIY Dollar Store Hurricane Vases

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DIY Dollar Store Hurricane Vases--Use dollar store glass vases and candlesticks to make these inexpensive hurricane vases!
When it comes to home decor, I have a hard time committing.  I can find colors that I like, but figuring out the details can be challenging.  Or I find a knick-knack that I love but I'm not sure it's the right fit for my house.  (This is probably partially due to the fact that I am still trying to nail down my own personal style.)  However, I do have a few items that I consider classic pieces.  One of these is hurricane vases.  I love them because I can easily change out what I put inside to match whatever decor I have up, whether seasonal or part of my everyday home decor.  There are various sizes, shapes and even colors to fit any style.
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Pumpkin Gingersnap Cookies

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Pumpkin Gingersnaps--the perfect combination of pumpkin and spices.  I make these every year and everyone loves them!
My mom loves gingersnap cookies so I grew up eating them.  There is something about the ginger and the molasses together rolled in sugar that just makes me happy.  My mom also loves pumpkin pie and has been known to make it any time of the year so I grew up eating pumpkin pie year round.  I love the way that pumpkin and spices smell and taste together and it always reminds me of fall.  So when I stumbled upon this recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod for pumpkin gingersnaps about four years ago, I knew I had to try them.  And let me tell you, I was not disappointed!  I've brought these cookies to many a holiday party and everyone loves them.  Even people who don't like pumpkin or gingersnaps, like my brother-in-law, have requested them multiple times.  They are perfect for cookie exchanges, holiday treats or just something yummy to munch on at home.  I love that they are not your typical pumpkin cookie, but they still bring the warmth of pumpkin and spices into your holiday baking (and kitchen).
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Finding the Balance Between a Clean House, Happy Kids and Your Sanity

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Finding the Balance Between a Clean House, Happy Kids and Your Sanity--great tips on how to find balance at home in these areas.
Today, like most days, I was straightening up the house—putting away toys, starting the laundry, cleaning off the counter—with my kids trailing behind me.  From the 3 (almost 4) year old: “Mom, what are we going to do today?  Where are we going to go?   Can I watch a show?  Can we do a project?”  The questions keep coming, like they do from curious preschool-aged kids.  And then there’s me, trying to answer the questions as they’re asked, still while trying to clean up: “I don’t know what we’re doing today.  We’re not going anywhere until the house is clean.   No, you can’t watch a show right now, I need you to help me clean up.  We'll do a project when your brother's asleep.”  Meanwhile, the 19 month old is pulling out all the toys I just put away and dumping blocks all over the floor.   Does this sound familiar to anyone else?
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Book of Thanks Tutorial

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Book of Thanks--quick and simple tutorial on how to make a Book of Thanks for commemorating Thanksgiving each year!
Last week I posted about new traditions I'm going to be starting this Thanksgiving.  One of the traditions is a Book of Thanks, which is basically a journal or binder that you can bring with you each Thanksgiving, wherever you are, and have everyone write what they are thankful for (or draw a picture) in it.  (You can read more about it here in the original post.)  Today I am sharing a tutorial on how I created my Book of Thanks.  Hopefully it will give you some ideas about creating your own.
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Glow in the Dark Bath Paint

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Glow in the Dark Bath Paint--a great indoor activity and so much fun for the kids!
You know those glow in the dark stars that every kid growing up in the 80's and 90's had?  I remember wanting them so much that I asked for them for my birthday and was so excited to get them!  I put them up all over my walls and ceiling and would rearrange them into different shapes or the initials of my latest crush.  Now that I have kids of my own, they are just as fascinated by things that glow in the dark.  So when I found a "recipe" for glow in the dark bath paint, I was excited to try it out with them.
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Junk Drawer Organization

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Junk Drawer Organization--Easily organize the junk drawer with a few simple tips.
Ah, the junk drawer.  Everyone has one somewhere in their house.  Maybe two or three.  It's that convenient place where you throw anything and everything, thinking that you'll "put it where it really goes later".  But later never comes and pretty soon you can't open/close the drawer without having a little fight with the inanimate object.  It's ok.  I've been there too.
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Traditions I'm Starting This Thanksgiving

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Traditions I'm Starting This Thanksgiving--New traditions to start this year that remind us to be thankful.
Family.  Food.  Football.  The three F's of Thanksgiving.  In three weeks, families all over the U.S. will be indulging in these activities in abundance.  Homes will become full of the smells of turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, warm rolls and three different kinds of jello salad.  Growing up, I attended Thanksgiving dinners with family and friends in their homes, apartments and camping trailers, with no two years being the same.  Each year holds special memories of talking and laughing over food, napping in the afternoon and, of course, football, both on the TV and out in the yard.  And with Halloween past and Christmas coming up, there's Thanksgiving--tucked right in between the two.  I wouldn't go so far as to call it a forgotten holiday.  I think that pretty much everyone celebrates it in some form or another.  But I do think that it gets overshadowed by Christmas and that has always bothered me.
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Kid Science: Color Explosions

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Color Explosions--Watch your kids faces when they do this fun and simple experiment using household ingredients!
As an adult, I forget sometimes how neat the simplest science experiments can be for kids.  So many of these experiments can be done at home with items you already own or are inexpensive to buy.  One such activity is combining baking soda and vinegar and watching the bubbles form.  Add some food coloring and dish soap and you've got an even better homemade explosion that will impress your little ones for sure!
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Chicken Noodle Soup with Homemade Egg Noodles

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Chicken Noodle Soup with Homemade Egg Noodles--Use a rotisserie chicken to simplify the meal!
Growing up, my mom would regularly make meals that were so yummy we'd all ask her to make it again.  She'd then shrug her shoulders and tell us that she just made it up and didn't write down the recipe, so the odds of duplicating it exactly as we'd had it that night were slim.  It became a running joke in the family to ask her if she'd remembered to write down the recipe, or at least all the ingredients, when we'd sit down to a dish we'd never had before.  One of the meals we had many times growing up, and that my mom did have a recipe for, was chicken noodle soup with homemade egg noodles.  We knew if we saw a whole chicken going into the pot that chicken noodle soup was on the menu.  My family loved (and still loves) it, especially in the fall and winter or when we were sick.  There is just something about the homemade stuff that can't be poured out of a can.
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