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Category Archives: Gratitude

Thanksgiving Hacks to Keep You Grateful. And Sane.

Just like these funky pumpkins I found in Santa Cruz, I’ve got some funky goodies for ya. No boring twine and brine ideas here. I dug deeper, scoured the sites and compiled a list to make your turkey day a tad easier. Some of these items I own, some I’m buying, and some I’m loving from a distance, but they are definitely mother-in-law approved.

Most of us are about to host or join a gathering that begs for planning, cooking and manners, but fear not. You still have time to order these helpful goodies from Amazon and get them way before Aunt Norma pushes your buttons doorbell.

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For the Kitchen & the Table

Slow Cooker Liners: Open bag, line pot, insert food. They can easily handle four hours of high cooking or six hours of low, and the cleanup makes my heart sing. Even when I’ve accidentally punctured the bag with violent stirring, washing out a tiny bit of liquid beats scrubbing burned-on crustiness any day. With BPA-and-PMS-free plastic, these will most likely change your life.

Tiered Oven Rack: My fancy friends have two ovens, but the rest of us get by with one. This rad rack will make you feel like you have two.


Women’s Fitness Pumpkin Pie Shirt: Once you’re done cooking, don this goodness and scoop/spray the whip.

Men’s Pumpkin Pie Thanksgiving Shirt: I have a hunch Pac-Man and the ’80s will both live forever.

Thanksgiving Straws: No plastic here! Trendy paper cuteness for ages 3 to 103.

And for those celebrating with amigos: Friendsgiving Straws

Thanksgiving Hanging Swirls: Want to decorate without breaking the bank? If the thought of paper decor in your family room makes you cringe, let the kiddos decorate their rooms (or the garage?) with these. It’ll keep them busy for minutes! Hours!

Need some cute table decor or a hostess gift? Turkey Tea Light Holders to the rescue. I love mine! Give a few, keep a few, and watch your table light up with gobble. (That’s a thing, right?) They can even hold place cards in their feathers!

For the Pooch

In Mexico, about 99% of dogs are for guarding and nothing more. Our friends down there would probably have a cow if they knew about our dogs and what kind of toys and treats Americans buy. Whatever.

Chew King Rubber Belly Turkey: Feel free to write “Bite Me” across his rubber belly so your dog knows what to do.

Blueberry Pet Collar Thanksgiving Moonlit Turkey: Duke and Roxy will be the hits of the party.

Party Ideas

Tired of watching the kids go straight from the table to tech? Break out these entertainers and watch the fun begin! Bonus points if you can jostle Uncle Larry out of his food coma to be in the photo booth.

Thanksgiving Bingo: T-R-K-E-Y, and Bingo was his name-o. (Works better in Spanish.)

LEGO Pilgrim Set: At 5 1/2 inches tall, this ain’t no mini-figure.

“I’m Thankful For” Photo Booth Props Kit: The perfect way to document your gratitude!

…after you put these on your face, of course. Thanksgiving Party Photo Booth Props for the win.

Veering away from Amazon, have you seen the Trader Joe’s Gingerbread Turkey Kits? For those who can’t wait for the gingerbread houses, this super cute activity is only $7.99! I bought one last week so I can keep my people busy while I focus on my four timers. These kits are popular, so hustle your tail feathers down there and get one before they’re gone.

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Thanksgiving Books

For the gift-givers and lap-readers, these books will teach the littles all about gratitude:

Bonus Tip!

Grab some lint rollers for last-minute dusting: couches, chairs, your pool table, curtains/drapes, inside your car, broken glass shards, lamp shades, drawers, the cat, the dog, blankets, your pants, your friend’s sweater….

What did I miss? Do you have any helpful Thanksgiving hacks? Share with us in the comments!

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“Let all things now living, a song of thanksgiving,

To God the Creator, triumphantly raise.”

~ Let All Things Now Living Hymn

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Trading Sorry for Thank You

“Sorry I’m late.”“Sorry I didn’t call.”“Sorry about the mess.”“Oh, sorry!”“Oops–sorry.” Enough already. Of course, sometimes a genuine sorry is exactly what’s needed. But I’m referring to all the times when sorry becomes excessive… unwarranted… over the top.  What in the world would a public bus be sorry for? That it’s winter? That’s you have to… Continue Reading

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A Loss, a Baby & Secondary Infertility

  After five years of marriage, my husband and I decided we wanted a baby.  Sad to say, I don’t recall checking with God much about this, but He didn’t send a concerned email so I laid my clothes on the bed next to Doug’s and bam—prego. Phone calls, nursery plans and a roomy pair… Continue Reading

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Family Dinner Questions w/a Side of Candlelight

  “So…? How was your day?” “Good.” “Anything fun or different?” “Nope.” If this riveting dialogue plagues your family too, take heart and read on.  Spreading a sheet or blanket in the family room and turning dinner into a picnic sounds so quaint, doesn’t it?  Photo by not brittany shh pls on Unsplash   Mostly,… Continue Reading

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When You Don’t Wanna Bloom Where You’re Planted

  When the Mary Englebreit craze invaded 1996, I joined millions of other fans and hung her calendar on my wall. I liked her one-two faith punch: “Everything is a risk. What if it doesn’t work out?”  “Oh—but what if it does?” Over the years my floral style changed, but I now see that she produces… Continue Reading

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The Day I Deleted Her

  Just because two sets of parents are good friends doesn’t mean their offspring will follow suit. So was the case with Chelsea and me. We saw each other every summer at Mount Hermon and ran through camp together while our parents hung out and caught up. It took 358 days to bring us together… Continue Reading

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The Secret Society of Christmas Anxiety

  No pressure, but have you poured your own candles with beeswax from your backyard colony yet? …gotten your hollyhock dipped and your mattress flipped? …added plumbing to your gingerbread house? …drained your hot tub and refilled it with mulled cider, orange slices and cinnamon sticks? Is there a wreath on your grill and a… Continue Reading

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How To Hack the Heck Out of Your Turkey Day

  Photo by Gemma Evans on Unsplash   No boring twine and brine reminders here. I dug deeper, scoured the sites and compiled a list to make your turkey day a tad easier. Some of these items I own, some I’m buying, and some I’m loving from a distance, but they are definitely mother-in-law approved. Most… Continue Reading

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Post-Vacation Blues, and How to Deal

  Though I’ve always thought Post-Vacation Depression was a real thing, most psychologists now agree that “Vacation Hangover” is a more accurate term. Cue the lime and celery. “Post-travel depression is not a legitimate mental health issue,” said Jeroen Nawijn of the Centre for Sustainable Tourism and Transport. “In my own study that dealt with… Continue Reading

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Not Your Grandma’s Kind of Ghost

  We stood in the aisles of the gigantic dining room, huddled in a loose swarm, chatting and anticipating the afternoon. Ropes course? Zip lines? Creek walk? Yes. Two groups of friends from the Temecula Valley were all at Mount Hermon’s family camp together but had never met, so a common friend did the introductions.… Continue Reading

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