DIY Rustic Woodsy Advent Calendar

Monday, November 30, 2015

Tomorrow is December 1st - time to crank it into full gear!  Now that Aggie can really enjoy it, I decided to finally erect an advent calendar this year.  I'll be honest - I was of two minds about the concept.  On the one hand, I love going a little bit overboard and adding those little moments of joy to the season wherever I can.  On the other hand, was I creating present monster that only is happy when receiving?  But you can tell which side won out.  I'm sure I'll have plenty of opportunities to make her a more well rounded selfless person but I can worry about that another day.

So once I decided to do it, I knew I wanted something that would add to the decor as well as be easily stored. I took my inspiration from vintage hotel key racks and went to work.  I have a thing with antlers and mountain lodges this year so the antlers were the perfect way to top it all off. This project was a little bit of a chore as pre drilling and then screwing in so many tiny pieces of hardware took quite a while but now it's done, I'm so pleased with it.  I think it would make a pretty cool party favor or seating card display rack too so hopefully I can get some other uses out of it as well.

While it was time consuming, it's fairly easy to recreate.  I used 1/4 sheet of plywood, wood stain, a set of antlers purchased on ebay, card catalog hardware, Loctite crazy glue, kraft boxes, small cup hooks and bakers twine.

What is your take on the advent calendar craze?  Worth the effort or am I getting myself into trouble?

It's Almost Time...

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Even though we hold off on the Christmas decor until after Thanksgiving, I'm totally buzzing with excitement.

While we had our fun last year, this year feels like a totally different ball of wax as Aggie is really much more hip to what is going on.  She knows the elf is coming (yes, we are doing it and I will not apologize no matter how uncool it is) and she will get to meet Santa later. While she doesn't understand the spirit of Christmas, I'm excited to see the season through her eyes. I know she will love the lights and the parties and all the rest.

The only bit of decor that is up right now is this Christmas checklist tree I drew on my office wall.  As you can see, I left a little bit of room at the bottom - what am I forgetting? I'd love to hear suggestions on fun things you do with your littles during the holidays.

The Great Cranberry Conundrum: Whole Berry or Jellied?

Friday, November 20, 2015

There are few debates that rage harder at my holiday table than the ultimate Thanksgiving divider. Alliances run deep on both sides.  You might fall firmly into one camp or you might straddle the fence and see the valid points on both sides.  Either way, someone is bound to get their feelings hurt. Of course I'm talking about never ending conflict: cranberry sauce preference. Jellied or Whole Berry?  What team do you play for?

I enjoyed a bit of both at the most glamorous lunch I've ever attended, while wearing waders. Yes, waders! Ocean Spray invited a group of bloggers to don waterproof gear and enjoy lunch in the middle of Rockefeller Center ® in a recreated cranberry bog as part of Bogs Across America! Lucky for me, I as one of them. Gorgeous does not even describe it - before we even sat down, I was so inspired!

Celebrity chef Curtis Stone (yes, he is as friendly and handsome as he appears on TV) hosted and took us through a two part meal showcasing a "then and now" Thanksgiving feast.  Of course cranberry sauce of both kinds were featured but they also took cranberries to a whole new level incorporating them subtly into other elements of the Thanksgiving meal.  The meal showcased the evolution of Thanksgiving and how cranberries have evolved along the way but ultimately both menus were pretty delicious.  My favorite were the Caramelized Brussel Sprouts, Bread Crumb and Cranberry side that will absolutely be making it to our table asap. The white chocolate cheesecake was pretty amazing as well.

While  I was there I got to meet some of the growers that cooperatively own the company and learn more about the amazing cranberry and it's endless possibilities. The people at Ocean Spray are passionate about their work and it shows in everything they do.

I already loved cranberries but attending this event really got me anticipating Thanksgiving and using this beautiful fruit more in everyday cooking.

Now who is ready to get your Thanksgiving cranberry battle on? For more great info, follow Ocean Spray on Facebook, Pinterest + Insta!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Oceanspray but all opinions expressed are my own.