Elegant Thanksgiving place cards

Do you have your Thanksgiving menu planned yet? Are you ready to get started on the food prep and cooking? I know I am! I just love Thanksgiving and everything that goes with it. The planning, the buying (but not the crowded stores!), the endless chopping at the kitchen counter... it's all fun.

This year, we're having Thanksgiving a day early with friends. For years our holidays haven't been on the actual calendar holidays. It's something we're used to and this year we're continuing with what has become tradition for us. Doug is on a more regular, Monday-Friday schedule these days, which is something we're quite grateful for. But not all of our friends have that same schedule and here, with no blood family nearby, these friends are our family.

I like to get the china out for Thanksgiving and this year will be no exception. Phee's old enough to handle it and we'll have a table of almost all adults. With any luck, I will be able to handle it, too, and I won't drop anything on the floor!

My meemaw's place cards from Thanksgivings past ~ Life in Random Bits

When I was a kid we spent a few years alternating holidays between Ohio and Virginia so we could see both sides of the family. The first year we had Thanksgiving in Virginia, I remember Meemaw getting out a bunch of cute place cards that she had made for past Thanksgivings. As a finishing touch for our table this year, I created these elegant little place cards. They aren't quite like the beautiful ones Meemaw made, but I can't wait to print them out and put them on our dark green tablecloth. They'll look fantastic!

Thanksgiving place cards (with printable) ~ Life in Random Bits #printable #thanksgiving

Grab the file here and print them out on heavy card stock. You can cut them in quarters to have a larger place card with a white border. Or, you can cut them closer to the red border and have a smaller card. Use a fancy pen, or a thin felt tip marker to add names and add that last elegant touch to your Thanksgiving table.

What's your plan for your Thanksgiving table this year: china or everyday dishes? This is about the only time I use my china, though every year I vow to get it out more often!

Thanksgiving place cards (with printable) ~ Life in Random Bits #printable #thanksgiving


Thanksgiving crafts for kids (with printable)

There are lots of great projects out there to get the kids involved in Thanksgiving preparation. Try one of these projects with your kids and then stand back and enjoy the pride on their faces as they see their handiwork laid out on the Thanksgiving table.

Thanksgiving crafts for kids: get the kids involved in decorating your Thanksgiving table ~ Life in Random Bits #thanksgiving #kids #crafts

Use cardboard cut to the size you want, card stock, or construction paper. Draw a Thanksgiving picture, use Thanksgiving stickers or stamps, or make a Thanksgiving collage from magazine cutouts. After the placemats are finished, you can laminate them or use clear contact paper to preserve them for future holidays.

Place Cards
Have kids draw turkeys, pilgrim hats, cornucopias, corn, pies or whatever autumn and Thanksgiving pieces they love. Print out the name of each person coming to dinner. Cut out those names and affix them to the drawings. Cut the drawings out and glue to small blocks of wood. Or, even easier, just tape the place cards to the kids’ building blocks. Each person can take their place card home as a memento of the holiday and the blocks go back in the toy box!

Napkin Rings
Download this file or grab the photo below and print it on white or ivory card stock and let your kids color their hearts out. It's a little more work on your end to cut each napkin ring out, but they really are pretty darn cute. And the kids will love showing off their work to everyone at the table!

Turkey napkin ring: let the kids color in this turkey to spruce up your Thanksgiving table! ~ Life in Random Bits #coloring #kids #thanksgiving

There are so many options for centerpieces. Using candles? Let your kids use fall colored ribbons to wrap the bottom halves. Using gourds? Let the kids arrange them in a basket or bowl with some pretty fall leaves and pine cones. Or, get a pretty basket, cut out leaf shapes from construction paper and let the kids decorate them with things they’re thankful for.

How do you get your kids involved in Thanksgiving preparation? I love to hear about the ways people get their kids involved in holidays and create new traditions.

Linked up at Memories by the Mile, Home of Malones, Juggling Act Mama.


Get more!

Get more out of life with Coffee (Mozart's Austin) ~ Life in Random Bits #coffee #austin

Saw this over the weekend while we were out writing and working on projects at Mozart's.


White bean & spinach soup

I love a good, hearty soup in the winter. Really, we eat soup year-round because Doug and I both really like it and find it very convenient to take for lunches. But in the winter, it's especially perfect for cozy dinners on blustery days.

This soup is filling, but it's great for any time of year. In the summer, we like it with salad or sandwiches. In the winter it's great with fresh bread, or hot cornbread. Really, you can't go wrong with any bread on the side of soup, can you? Bring on the carbs!

With two of my favorites, white beans and spinach, this dish is going to end up in our regular rotation. I get fresh sausage links at the co-op where we do our grocery shopping and the local, organic ingredients really kick up the flavor of this soup.

White bean & spinach soup ~ Life in Random Bits #crockpot #soup #weightwatchers

White bean & spinach soup (Weight Watchers = 4 PP per serving)
makes 10 servings

  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 links Italian sausage
  • 2 cans Great Northern beans, drained
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 can petite diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 T Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 t black pepper
  • 4 c fresh spinach
  • grated Parmesan
  1. Cook the sausage. Then cut it lengthwise into quarters and dice.
  2. Add all ingredients except spinach and Parmesan to the crock pot.
  3. Cook on low 6-8 hours, or on high for 3-4 hours.
  4. 30 minutes before serving, add spinach to the soup, stir, and cover.
  5. Add some freshly grated Parmesan before serving.

White bean & spinach soup ~ Life in Random Bits #crockpot #soup #weightwatchers

Linked up at Nancherrow.


DIY Fall leaf votive holders

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I love fall. I miss the changing leaves of Ohio and New England, but this year and last year we've been pleasantly surprised with a bit of an actual fall here in Austin. The polar vortex this week is certainly reminding us of the weather we left behind when we moved!

One of my favorite things about fall is gearing up for the holidays. I love the planning for Thanksgiving dinner. The anticipation of Christmas music and movies and TV specials. With Phee's birthday at the beginning of December, the six weeks from Thanksgiving through the new year feels like one big holiday.

Decorating for all these holidays is one the most fun things to do. Phee loves to help which makes it all the more fun and exciting. She's so enthusiastic and eager about everything and that attitude is infectious. It's such a joy to work on a project with her.

DIY fall leaf votive holders ~ Life in Random Bits #diy #thanksgiving #candles

This week, we had some extra time together due to a bit of a cold that knocked Phee out for a couple days. One afternoon, we worked together to make leaf votive holders for our Thanksgiving table. Right now, they're adorning our faux mantle with our other little decorations. We use little LED tea lights for all our decorations and the light they shine through these votives is warm and welcoming. I can't wait to arrange them on the table when our friends join us for Thanksgiving dinner.

DIY fall leaf votive holders ~ Life in Random Bits #diy #thanksgiving #candles

DIY leaf votive holders
  • Brush a generous layer of Mod Podge onto a clear plastic cup.
  • Add a leaf to the cup and hold it at the top while you add another layer of Mod Podge to the bottom half of the leaf. It's tricky and messy and the leaves wiggle around.
  • Continue to add leaves, one a time, giving each one a healthy dose of Mod Podge.
  • Set the finished votives aside and let them dry for a couple hours.
  • Add LED tea lights and let your candle holders glow!

So, Mod Podging the leaves to the cup is messy. The leaves wiggle a lot and slide around. But the Mod Podge holds the leave well once everything is dry. We only glued the bottom half of our leaves down so that the top half was loose and could fan around the outside of the plastic cup.

Have you worked on any Thanksgiving projects so far this month? Next week, I'll have some great projects to get kids involved with planning for Thanksgiving dinner. Come back and join in the fun!

DIY fall leaf votive holders ~ Life in Random Bits #diy #thanksgiving #candles

Linked up at Busy Being Jennifer, Jenny Marie, Texas Women Bloggers, SITS Girls, Home of Malones, Juggling Act Mama, Nancherrow.
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