Thanksgiving Box

Thanksgiving is an amazing holiday. For starters, I love to eat. The thought of an entire holiday devoted to eating as much turkey and mashed potatoes you can, is amazing. But of course thats not all it’s about. When I think back on all of most memorable Thanksgivings, I don’t remember all the food. I know I ate it obviously, but it’s not what I remember. I remember being surrounded by my family. I remember laughing at the kids table with my cousins. I remember listening to Grandma and Dad playing the piano. And now that my lifestyle keeps me from being able to go home for Thanksgiving, I truly understand how thankful I am for those memories. I wish I completely grasped that when I was growing up, but I never thought those times would end. As a kid, it isn’t always as easy to see.

So this year, I decided to do an activity with the children I watch. The idea of this activity is to get the kids to think about what they are thankful for each day in November.

We started by making a Thanksgiving Box. 


To make your own Thanksgiving Box you will need:

  • A Small Card Board Box
  • Card Stock or Construction Paper
  • Markers
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Letter Stickers (optional)

Start by covering the outside of your box with card stock or construction paper. I let Anna Kate pick out the paper (color or pattern) and I cut it to size and glued it to the box. Next, she took markers and colored in all the placed we couldn’t glue paper. Then we put together a little turkey. She helped draw the eyes and picked out the “perfect feathers” for our little thanksgiving friend. Once that was all secure, we used foam-letter stickers and spelled out “I Am Thankful For…” It was a great chance for her to practice her letter recognition and spelling. Once the outside was finished, she set out to decorate the inside. She spelled out “Happy Thanksgiving” with more stickers and drew things that reminded her of Thanksgiving. For her, that was a cooked turkey, a bowl of peas, a scarecrow, a pumpkins, and a batch of straw.

Next we started on what would go inside the box. We have been calling them the “Thankful Turkeys”. 


To make these “Thankful Turkeys” you will need:

  • A Variety of Card Stock or Construction Paper
  • Markers
  • Scissors

As you can see, you don’t need much because you will be making these everyday. The actual turkeys are not what makes this project special, but instead what they write on them. Everyday, have the children trace one of their hands and decorate it to make a hand turkey. I gave the children as little direction on that as possible. I don’t like to give them examples so they don’t just copy my ideas. I like to leave the creative liberties in their hands.

Once they have completed their hand turkey for the day, have them write one thing they are thankful for and the date in the center of the turkey. Each day, have them complete one turkey and place it into the box. Since I don’t watch the kids over the weekend, and there are some days when they have extracurriculars, some days they have to make more than one. Brooks doesn’t enjoy making them as much, but the things he chooses to write are very entertaining. What he writes usually makes up for the rushed, “chubby fingered” turkeys he makes.

Not only do the children have to think about things they are thankful for each day, but by Thanksgiving Day they will have a box full of things they are thankful for. Anna Kate is so excited to be able to share these things with her parents, that she actually hides the box each day when I leave.

I have been amazed at some of the things the kids have told me they are thankful for. The first few were fairly obvious. They both chose family, friend, and God in no order for the first three days.  After that it got pretty unpredictable. They have said everything from “cheese” to “Auburn”. They have also taught me a lot about thankfulness. Again, I tried not to offer up too many examples so they would tell me what THEY were thankful for. After they finished naming off family and friends, they started to name off things that I take for granted in day to day life, like water and shelter. I found it amazing that at their age, they thought about being thankful for things like that. Things that I don’t even think to be thankful for now that I am paying for them.

Since we still have a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving, we still have quite a few more turkeys to make. But I have enjoyed this project so far. There are a lot of ways to personalize this project to fit you and the little ones in your life. You could also do this project as a family or as an adult. Instead of drawing on turkeys, you could simply write what you are thankful for on a sheet of paper, everyday for the month. It would be a great thing to look back at on Thanksgiving day with the ones you love. I can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with! Happy Thanksgiving, All!



Up Themed Anniversary Gift

IMG_0718I hold a special place in my heart for Disney movies, but the love story in the movie Up is especially beautiful to me. I am a sucker for a childhood sweetheart story. My husband and I met when we were kids. We went to the same day camp, almost every summer, for our whole childhood.

So on our first anniversary of dating, I decided to make his gift completely Up themed. I didn’t have this blog back then, so I don’t have pictures of the whole basket, or how I made things step-by-step. But I will do my best to explain what I did.

The first thing I made for his basket was Our Adventure Book:

In the movie, the character Ellie, writes the “Stuff she’s going to do” in her adventure book. She tapes in pictures and draws things in her book. So I tried to do something similar.


     For the Outside:

  • a small, brown scrapbook
  • red paint
  • a picture of “Our Adventure Book”
  • Mod Podge
  • Xacto Knife
  • painters tape

      For the Inside:

  • notebook paper
  • masking tape
  • a pen
  • printed pictures of places you want to travel to


    For the Outside:

  1. Tape a straight line down the left side of your scrapbook, front and back. Use a picture of Our Adventure Book as a reference. (I also painted the inside flaps of the books)
  2. Paint the left side red. It may take a couple of layers.
  3. Once the paint is dry, remove painters tape.
  4. Cut out the letters, globe, and rope accent from the picture of Our Adventure Book that you printed off.
  5. Place the rope accessory in the center of the red area you painted on the front of your book. Mod Podge it in place.
  6. Arrange letters and globe and Mod Podge them in place.
  7. Once dry, Mod Podge then entire book, front and back.

   For the Inside:

  1. I started by writing the story of how he asked me to be his girlfriend on the notebook paper. I ended the story by saying: “I have loved every second of this beautiful year and I can not even wait for all of the future adventures we will have together.” I wrote in a “childlike” style, to keep with the theme.
  2. I ripped the notebook paper edges roughly and used masking tape to hold it in place.
  3. Next I took the pictures of places Zac and I wanted to go together all over the world. I ripped the edges of them to make it look like I ” ripped them right out of the book!” just like Ellie did in the movie. Then I taped them in with masking tape and wrote the name of the place.
  4. I filled the book with all the places we want to go together.
  5. Then I went back and filled the extra space with doodles.

Back then, these adventures were very out of reach for us. But today, they are actually possible. So I have decided I am going to add more pages so I can tape in pictures of us visiting these places as well! We have visited Disney World and we are moving to Hawaii. So we are checking them off, one page at a time!

The second thing I added to his basket was Our Adventure Fund:

In the movie, they have a jar labeled “Paradise Falls” that they keep their change in. Something I have always done, is save my change. So this seemed like a logical thing to do with Zac.



  • Change Jar
  • Notebook Paper
  • Masking Tape
  • Change

**I bought my change jar from Bed Bath and Beyond. It counts the change as you drop it in. You don’t have to buy this change jar.


  1. Write “Adventure Fund” on the notebook paper, or anything else personal to you.
  2. Rip it out so it matches the Adventure Book.
  3. Tape it to the jar.

Through out the years, Zac and I have collected over $500 in change. This gift ended up being very practical for us. Since we haven’t sat down to roll the change, we are still collecting it. By the time one of us works up the patience to sit down and roll it all, we will have enough money for a really nice vacation.

Lastly, I put together his Up Themed Basket:


  • Basket
  • Adventure Book
  • Adventure Fund
  • Up on Dvd or BluRay
  • Candy
  • Photo in Frame
  • Balloons

Arrange all of the above together in a cute way. Give as a gift! Knock his socks off!


Zac loved the adventure book, and we ate a lot of chocolate while we watched Up together.

I keep Our Adventure book in front of our DIY Travel Globe, on our dresser and they look GREAT together! Have fun with your Up themed gift, or use these Up themed Ideas for your wedding, party, or anything you could possibly think of!

**Note that all of these pictures were taken over two years and two moves after I made them. They are a little beat up, but they are still hanging in there!


Darby Pass – Ranger School

This week has been one of the most mind blowing adventures of my life. I have stepped out of my comfort zone so many times, and every time I have been pleasantly surprised. Three days ago, I woke up with someone I had only just met, sleeping on my couch, and plans to go to breakfast with a group of girls I had only known for a couple weeks. But every single one of us had something in common that day.

We were waiting.

Waiting to hear the already decided fate of our soldiers. Waiting to find out if our men had passed through the first phase of Ranger School, or if they had recycled. Waiting to find out if we would see them the next day.

Just. Waiting.

Zac had told me in his last letter that he would know Wednesday night or early Thursday morning, which meant while we were all waiting on the edge of our seats, they already knew. That was the hardest part for me. Knowing that Zac was either extremely happy, or extremely upset and there was nothing I could do, was really hard.

Throughout that day, we all kept extremely busy. Making posters, preparing food, eating snow cones, some of us even went to put together goodie bags for the Ranger students. But for pretty much the entire day, we were all refreshing our phones waiting to see our man’s roster number on the Go list.

wpid-wp-1436719935958.jpegI will never forget the moment that list was posted. I was driving myself and a friend, Jaiden, home from packing up goodie bags. The two of us were extremely nervous. Our stomachs were betraying us and honestly, they had been all day. There was a rumor going around that the guys in a certain company weren’t doing well at all, and both of our guys were in that company. So waiting for the list was one of the most nerve wrecking things I have ever experienced. We were on the highway when she saw it go up and she screamed for 30 seconds before she even thought to look for their numbers. When she finally saw them both we were both so hyped up and excited, we couldn’t stop screaming. Zac’s cousin was following in the car behind us, and my phone was dead, so we were throwing our arms and thumbs up out of my sunroof to signal to her that he made it.

After a small victory dance in the parking lot of my apartment complex, the three of us went out for dinner and celebratory drinks and picked up more food to take to our men the next day. We had a couple of girls over to finish up posters for the next day and packed up our cars. When it was all said and done, we got to bed around 1:45 AM. Which wouldn’t be a big deal, if we didn’t have to wake up at 5:30 AM. But we were so excited, it didn’t take us long to get going that morning.

IMG_0682In my panicked, nervous state, I managed to jump the gun and take a wrong left turn driving to a place I had been several times before. But we still got there on time. At 7:15 in the morning there was already a decent amount of people there waiting. Since the guys wouldn’t be released until 9:30 at the earliest, people continued to show up as time went on. The energy in that parking lot was amazing. Everyone was so excited. Every time we saw movement on the other side of the gate, we all watched intently, just in case. A lot of the girls in our little group made signs. We proudly showed them off to the world and took lots of pictures with them.

I had been hanging out with a lot of the girls I was waiting with, for the better part of the last three weeks, but it wasn’t until we all went through that experience together that we all clicked as a “family”. I got to watch almost everyone in our group reunite with their man before Zac came out. I saw so many beautiful moments that morning, I can’t even begin to express how amazing that felt. Every time one of my friends hugged her man, I felt it. I felt the weight we had all been carrying lifting, just one reunion at a time, and it was one of the most inspiring ten minutes of my life.

IMG_0702And then Zac came out.  Time stood still for a minute. We hugged and kissed and I jumped like a school girl. It felt so amazing. Almost like falling in love with him all over again. And the rest of the day flew by in a blur. He told me stories and he ate. We watched Boondock Saints and Wayne’s World. He snuggled Koda and Smittens. He fell asleep while Katie and I did his laundry. He played a little Clash of Clans. We packed up his stuff. And as quickly as he came out of that gate, he went right back in.

I didn’t expect to cry. But I did. We talked about how the next time we saw each other I would be putting his tab on his arm and he would be coming home. He gave me about six billion hugs, and every time he started to walk towards the gate he would turn back around and say, “Just one more.” I made sure he had his Open When letters and he assured me he’d never lose them. Watching him walk back through that gate was one of the most difficult things I’ve had to do in a while. Such a bitter sweet feeling that you just have to experience to understand.

wpid-wp-1436747797451.jpegAfter he was out of sight, I searched the parking lot for my friends. It didn’t take long before we all found each other. We shared stories, moments, some laughs and a few tears. None of us wanted to be alone so we all stayed together for dinner. We bonded so much through that shared experience. I am so excited to have such a solid support group through this whole adventure. We have grown closer to each other so much in such a short time. And I am so thankful for that.

Darby Pass lived up to the hype. It truly was worth all of the work that I put into it. It is crazy to think that I walked into this journey with free time and an open mind and walked out with a hilarious group of friends. These next five weeks will seem a little less lonely now, and my Ranger will be home before you know it.


My Pinterest

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DIY Unity Canvas

My husband and I got married in August of 2014. We wanted a mix between a traditional wedding, and something as unique and different as we are. So when we reached the point of planning the unity portion of our ceremony, we spent days researching different ideas. Pinterest offered a lot of great inspiration, but we couldn’t find anything we liked. We knew we wanted something that we could keep for ever and display in our home. After days brain storming and walking through Hobby Lobby, I finally came up with a rough idea.

IMG_8117We bought three canvas letters to make our monogram. Our wedding colors were pink and navy blue, so Zac painted his “Z” navy and I painted my “A” pink. Then we took the large “C” and painted the left side blue and the right side pink. It took us a while to get them to blend in a way that we liked, but we eventually got them perfect. Then we bought two rectangular canvases. We wanted our parents and grandparents to be involved in the unity ceremony, so we decided to make a shape for all of them. Zac’s family shapes went on one canvas, and my shapes went on the other. We drew them in lightly with pencil. Then we picked a palette of four colors: pink, navy blue, purple and light blue. We figured out the best lay out of colors and assigned each family member a shape and a color. By figuring that out yourself before hand, you take away the guess work of what colors will be next to each other.

IMG (173)We told our family members not to worry about painting in the lines or being neat. How ever it ended up would show every person’s character in their shape. As each grandparent and parent made their entrance , they painted their shape and then sat down. Their were two shapes painted prior to the day of our wedding. Zac’s grandma passed earlier in the year so we had his grandpa paint her shape. And my grandpa was unable to leave the nursing home to be there with us, so we visited him prior to the big day and he painted his shape beautifully. Each painted canvas represented the people who made us who we are today.

IMG_1146When it came time for the unity part of our ceremony, Zac and I very carefully brought the two canvases together. This represented our two families becoming one. Then we took the canvas letter “C” we painted and placed it over top. (There was no way to hang the small letters, so we didn’t bother with them that day.) This was to symbolize us building our lives on the foundation our families had made for us. There were a few things we didn’t account for, like the navy blue and the purple looking almost the same next to each other. There was also the small issue with the “C”. We had put a nail in the board that the canvases were hung on where we wanted to hang the “C”, but we didn’t account for the space the canvases would take up. So when we tried to hang it, there wasn’t enough nail sticking out, so we had to sit it on top. It still looked beautiful.

10420400_10152422220542617_2100332800030430599_nAfter we got settled into our new apartment, I hot glued the two canvases together and then hot glued the canvas letters on top. They sort of blended in to the canvases in some spots so I painted a white boarder around each letter. Now our unity painting hangs in our living room, above our TV. It is a wonderful reminder of our commitment to each other and the best day of our lives and we get to look at it every day.
I am so glad we didn’t give up on coming up with a unique and new idea because this was one of the most talked about parts of our wedding. It is one of our most cherish possessions and it makes our living room look great!

Hopefully our Unity Canvas has inspired you to come up with a great unity idea, or to give our idea a try! Either way, good luck!

IMG_9927**Update: We finally put decided to put the money towards two canvases to compliment our Unity Canvas. We purchased canvas prints of us with each of our families to hang next to the Unity Canvas. We now have two photos of all the people who helped paint our beautiful master piece. I find it even more meaningful now, and it looks amazing.


Quote Of The Day

QuoteOfTheDay3In Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Disney’s first princess sings a cheerful song to the woodland creatures as she befriends them. Snow White’s song, With a Smile and a Song, reflects her optimistic outlook on life. Snow White set the standard for what it meant to be a Disney Princess. She always managed to smile and be kind, something we should all try to do more of.

“Remember you’re the one who can fill the world with sunshine!”