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Quick and Easy Thanksgiving Projects

Although I’m itching to get to December and celebrate all things Christmas, I still love the  warmth and comfort Thanksgiving brings. We usually dive head first into Christmas crafts, but I decided to pull in a few more fall themed projects this year.

The first project my kids and I tackled are these fun DIY napkins. I love how wild the little turkeys turned out!

Materials –

  • cloth napkins (we used cheap ones from WalMart; they were $1.97 for a pack of 2)
  • fabric paint
  • scrap paper or small pieces of cardboard (to put underneath the part you are painting)
  • paper plates or palettes
  • fine paintbrush(es)

I folded the napkins for both kids to give them a better sense of where to put the feathers. I made sure to put a piece of scrap paper in between the layer they were painting and the rest of the napkin to prevent bleeding through.

To make the turkey feathers, my son dipped his whole finger in paint, but I painted my daughter’s hands with a brush.

We found that the feathers came out best if we did one feather at a time.

For the bodies and heads, I painted the pinky side of their fist brown.

Once the feathers and bodies were completely dry, the kids hand painted the details on. Well, E and I painted them. Bee is not a detail kind of gal yet!

I considered adding a vinyl “grateful” to the top, but I found some flocked leaves that I wanted to set out with the place settings, so I left the text off. It was fun letting the kids create something that we’ll use when our company comes next week!

The second “project” was a fun little word search from! The former teacher in me loves to find little opportunities here and there to get a little bit of “school” in during our down time, so these word searches were perfect for my son. is offering the word search to my readers (and me) for free; when you get a chance, hop on over to their website to see what other fun, themed resources are available!

The holiday season is here! Get your family into the holiday spirit with this fun pumpkin pie word search! There’s more themed reading fun and resources at!

You can download the free word search here, and the answer key here. Enjoy!

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“Come on, sidekick!”

After sharing E’s Halloween costumes from the last few years, it seemed natural to share the kids’ costumes for this year. I finished them about 3 minutes before they needed to wear them to a costume birthday party.

Hands down, these were the easiest costumes I’ve made. Not the cheapest, but most of the pieces I bought will be worn beyond Halloween.

Several items were things we already had at the house:

  • Solid long sleeve shirt for E – this one was from Old Navy several seasons ago;I’ll buy anything for $1.47!
  • Felt scraps – black, green, yellow
  • Knit fabric – I happened to have about a yard of yellow knit fabric, so I used a small piece of that for Bee’s cape
  • Batman mask – no idea where it came from or how long we’ve had it
  • Elastic for Bee’s mask

A few other pieces came from Amazon:

E’s pants were a pair of sweatpants from the Cat & Jack line at Target. He was originally going to be all black, but then he wanted to be blue and gray, and then settled on gray and black. So many decisions.

And finally, I did have to grab a few things from Hobby Lobby:

  • Green fabric for Bee’s arm bands and mask – 1/4 yd
  • Black fabric for E’s cape – 1 yd
  • Velcro

This is Chris’ favorite part of my costume adventures, where I basically start with a pile of random scraps of nothing. Just kidding. He hates this part. I free-hand cut a Bat symbol and oval out of felt, but you could also print and trace, or use other materials. I vetoed heat transfer vinyl, because a) I already had the right color felt and b) felt is significantly cheaper, but it would have worked just as well.

After I cut out the pieces for E’s shirt, I pinned them and started stitching. You could also use fabric glue, or heat n bond.

I set E’s shirt to the side, and cut out the pieces for Bee’s romper. Again, I cut the logo and the yellow rectangles (I don’t even know what those are – are they supposed to be buttons?!) free-hand out of felt.

I figured Bee wouldn’t keep a cape on, so I stitched a piece of yellow knit fabric to the back of her romper. Since I used knit, I didn’t both to finish any edges.

I set both shirts to the side, and started working on “accessories”.

I was doing a pretty good job taking pictures along the way, until we got to Saturday afternoon, and I had to finish all the remaining pieces before the costume party. Oops!

Anyway, E’s utility belt was a simple strip of black felt with a couple black “pockets” that I made out of felt as well. I stitched on a small loop on the back of each pocket, and then slid them on to the belt. I didn’t use any specific pattern for his cape, but there’s a great tutorial here if you need one!

The last thing I made for Batman was the felt cuffs. I made them the width of his shirt sleeves so that he could wear them over his shirt without me having to attach them. Because felt is fairly stiff, they stayed up just fine the whole time he was Batmanning at the costume party.

Bee’s mask and arm bands were the last things to be finished. Her mask is felt on one side, and the awful-to-sew green sequin fabric on the other. I stitched around the outside of the mask, and the edges of the eyeholes, but I didn’t worry about finishing any edges (I’m glad, since she wouldn’t even keep the mask on anyway!). There are tons of templates for face masks available online, but I recommend checking the eyeholes against the actual child’s eyes before you cut anything!

Finally, I cut two rectangles, long enough to go around her wrists, out of the sequin fabric. I lined them with felt, and then stitched Velcro to each end.

E was so excited to spend all day fighting crime with his tiny sidekick! And by fighting crime, I mean terrorizing the dogs and watching YouTube videos about magic eggs.

Happy Halloween!

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“Are you seriously making that costume out of cardboard?” 

Halloween costumes have become a pretty big deal around here. E has always loved dressing up, and I’d be lying if I said I had nothing to do with that. For example, for his first Halloween, I dressed him up as a pirate during his nap. 

I don’t know what happened to my mom-motivation the following Halloween, but I do know I bought his costume for 40% off, mere hours before trick or treating began. He was just over a year, so he really didn’t mind. He actually probably preferred that to being dressed up as a pirate in his sleep, but anyway. 

Right after E turned 2, he became obsessed with Disney’s Cars characters. I told Chris I was going to make him a Mater (the tow truck) costume. He responded, “are you seriously making that costume out of cardboard?” He was horrified. At that point, he severely underestimated my cardboard transformation abilities. I finished E’s costume the night before Halloween, because there’s nothing quite like last minute! 

Needless to say, Chris went back in to work the next day and retracted any and all statements about how trashy I was for making a Halloween costume out of cardboard for our son. 

In 2014, E decided he wanted us to dress up as the characters from Monsters, Inc. He suggested that the two of us go as Mike and Sully, and that Chris go as Mr. Waternoose. Sadly, Chris missed out because he was stuck at work. It was a blessing really, because I had no interest in making a Mr. Waternoose costume. 

For E’s Mike costume, I used a pair of lime green girl’s leggings, a random blue hat that I loosely stitched the Monsters University logo and felt horns onto, and a pair of 99 cent fuzzy gloves. For his shirt, I stitched together a long sleeve and a short sleeve shirt at the waist and arm/neck holes, and filled the space between the two shirts with stuffing to give him a rounder look. I cut the face pieces out of felt and stitched them on before layering the two shirts. My costume was a little easier –  I painted purple spots on the crazy blue furry fabric I found at Hancock Fabrics before our local one closed up shop. I never did get a good picture, but I stitched a tail and several felt “spikes” to the back of the costume. I attached felt horns to a headband, whipped up a simple pair of furry mittens, and then layered the costume over pieces I already had in my closet. 

Last Halloween, E decided he would be a transforming Bumblebee. Oh! Isn’t that nice! I scoured the internet for tips, ideas, ANYTHING. I sent Chris a picture of a pile of cardboard and told him I was at it again. This time he was not shocked, or appalled. I ordered the base costume and mask on Amazon, mostly in case I totally dropped the ball on the cardboard version. I also finished this costume the day of Halloween. His favorite part was the “headlights” because they really lit up, and the fact that it really could transform. 

After Halloween ended last year, E told me he’d like to go as a ghost the next time. I breathed a sigh of relief, until he changed his mind and made the announcement that he and his sister would go as Batman and Robin. He gave me the option of Poison Ivy or Penguin. Naturally, their costumes are not quite finished yet!