DIY Motherhood Parenting Recipes

Thanksgiving Ideas

Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that is easily overlooked when it comes to decorating and making a big fuss. You probably still have some Halloween candy lingering in the pantry and a decoration or two out that you’ve been too lazy to put away and are just calling it a “fall pumpkin”now instead of a Jack-o-lantern. Now is the time we start to rack our brains for Christmas gift ideas and Thanksgiving is just an event that falls in the middle of all this chaos.

My husband and I live on the opposite side of the country from our families so we won’t be able to celebrate and give thanks with them this year. I was almost going to ignore that Thanksgiving was even happening, but some of our dear friends, who we share this military life with, have invited us to spend the day with them and their family. It feels nice to have a place to go and share the day with friends and for that I am truly thankful.

So now I’m ready to get in the Thanksgiving mood. I pulled out all my fall napkins and tablecloth, but the house still doesn’t have that fall feel that I was hoping for…maybe it’s all the 90 degree days we have been having. I love FamilyFun‘s craft projects because they are usually pretty easy and I seem to always have the supplies lying around the house. For instance, I have 4 larges vases of pine cones sitting on my mantle from last Christmas. I’ve been trying to justify that it is an “all-year” decoration, but you and I both know I’m just lazy. FamilyFun Magazine gave me the idea to put those pine cones to good use by making a Fall Garland (see instructions below).

Yes, there is also a picture of my husband and I in our Christmas jammies on the mantle! Don’t judge!

Mod Garlands

String these cheerful strands from cabinets, the buffet, the walls, or even down the table. 


What you’ll need:

  • Leaf templates (find them at )
  • Kraft paper or paper shopping bags
  • Craft paint
  • Wooden beads (we used 20mm ones)
  • Pine cones (about 20 per garland)
  • Brightly colored twine
  • Clear tape

What to do:

  1. Print leaf templates; cut out. Trace onto folded kraft paper as indicated and cut out, then open. You’ll need about 12 leaves.
  2. Paint stripes onto the leaves and wooden beads, allowing some of the natural wood and paper to show. Paint the scales of the pine cones (rolling them works too). Let dry.
  3. Cut an 8-foot length of twine. Tie on your first pine cone, looping the twine around the top few scales. String on one or two beads, then tie on your next pine cone. Continue this way, spacing the pine cones 3 to 5 inches apart.
  4. To add the leaves: Fold the leaf stem down over the string in between the pine cones and beads, and secure in the back with tape.


Tip: Paint a few extra pine cones and beads to scatter along your runner for easy table decorations.


Now that my decorations are taken care of I need to think of a dish to take with us to our friend’s family for Thanksgiving. DH suggested corn pudding, but I think that is a little plain (or at least the way he likes it). These Cranberry-Cheese Pinwheels look tasty and like a lot of fun to make with kids. I think I’ll give them a try and will be sure to let you know how they turn out. What are your favorite Thanksgiving recipes?


Cranberry-Cheese Pinwheels

Hey, kids! Get ready to fill ’n’ roll with this crowd-pleasing puff-pastry appetizer.





  • 1 large egg
  • 1 Tbs. water
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 3 oz. crumbled goat cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup finely chopped sweetened dried cranberries
  • 1 ½ tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary Kosher salt and ground pepper


  1. Whisk together egg and water until well blended. Unfold pastry on a lightly floured surface. Brush with egg wash.
  2. Sprinkle and spread cheese over dough. Add cranberries and rosemary. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Starting at one side, tightly roll it up.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze 45 minutes or until very firm. (To make ahead, freeze up to 2 weeks. Let stand 25 minutes before moving to next step.)
  5. Heat oven to 400°F.
  6. Slice roll into about 24 (¼ inch) slices. Arrange on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets. Brush with egg wash.
  7. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack.


(4g SAT. FAT); 10g CARBS; 1g FIBER; 2g SUGAR;

146mg SODIUM



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