Free Thanksgiving card

I sell cards over at my Etsy shop but this little number is an exclusive FREE ECARD for all my blog readers, Facebook followers, and Twitter followers. Feel free to share it on your own pages. If you want to email it to your grandma just right click on the picture below, select “copy image”, then paste it into the body of your email message. Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!free Thanksgiving eCard from laughingabi.com

Last minute Thanksgiving decoarations

I don’t know if you’re aware but Thanksgiving is only EIGHT DAYS AWAY. This time next week people will be arriving at your house. Putting their feet on your furniture. Their heads on your pillows. Their bums on your toilets. It’s crunch time and while I’m no meal-planning or entertaining expert, I can offer some simple, last minute decorating ideas.

last minute Thanksgiving decorations

1. Dry erase markers on dishes: I can’t take credit for this idea but I also can’t remember where I saw it. It was an easy update to my Halloween plate wall but if you don’t want to hang plates on your wall you could have all your guests sign or write what they’re thankful for on a large serving platter. Snap a picture of the finished platter at the end of the night for a lasting holiday memory. (NOTE: I tested my dry erase marker on the back of the plate first just to be sure it would erase.)

last minute Thanksgiving decorations

last minute Thanksgiving decorations

2. Seasonal fabric stretched in a large quilters hoop: I bought this hoop and fabric at JoAnn’s. There are no rules. Just find something you like, stretch it in the hoop, and pop it on the wall for a splash of seasonal color and pattern.

last minute Thanksgiving decorations

3. Photographs: Scroll through your family photos and pick four or five faves that scream “FALL”. I’ve used several shots of my kids in the leaf pile, and this one of my baby girl holding an acorn sits on the mantle. Even photos that have an orange or yellow color theme would work. If you have digital images upload them to a one-hour processing center (I use Walgreens.com) and all you have to do is go pick them up.

last minute Thanksgiving decorations

last minute Thanksgiving decorations

4. Candles: Candles are one of the quickest ways to set a mood. Mine are actually the fake, battery operated kind. I added a strip of golden scrapbooking paper along with some alphabet stickers to make them Thanksgivingy. You could use the same idea with different sized candles and place them down the center of the dining table. Just remember if you’re planning to light them, wrap the paper around a clear glass holder instead of directly around the candle so you don’t burn the house down – not a fun holiday idea.

last minute Thanksgiving decorations

last minute Thanksgiving decorations

Do you have a favorite Thanksgiving “quicky”?

Fall comfort food: Creamy chicken and wild rice soup

When it comes to cooking I don’t usually toot my own horn. But this soup is TOOT the best TOOT soup I have ever TOOT made or TOOT tasted. Really. My friends, who are always leery when I offer to feed them, ask me for this recipe. My 8-year-old, who won’t eat anything that doesn’t bear a golden M, eats this soup. You should make it. Seriously. Do it.

creamy chicken and wild rice soup

INGREDIENTS
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
2 cooked, boneless skinless chicken breast halves, shredded (grab a cooked rotisserie chicken at the store if you’re looking for a short cut)
1 4.5 oz package quick cooking long grain & wild rice with seasoning packet (like Uncle Ben’s)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
2 cups heavy cream (I use half & half because it makes me feel less guilty)

HOW TO
1. In a large pot over medium heat, combine broth, water, and chicken. Heat just to boiling then stir in rice, reserving seasoning packet. Cover and remove from heat.

2. In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper, and flour. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in seasoning packet until mixture is bubbly.

creamy chicken and wild rice soup

Reduce heat to low then stir in flour mixture by tablespoons, to form a roux.

creamy chicken and wild rice soup

Whisk in cream a little at a time until fully incorporated and smooth. Stir and cook until thickened, 5 minutes. Yes, I did slop cream all over the edge of the pan.

creamy chicken and wild rice soup

3. Stir cream mixture into broth and rice. Cook over medium heat until heated through and thickened, 10-15 minutes. Now serve it up and start tooting. Your horn. Start tooting your horn.

creamy chicken and wild rice soup

Easy fall decorations

Fall is my favorite time of year. I love the smells, the cool air, and of course, the decorations. I like to keep it simple and incorporate little bits of family. This bookshelf features a photo of my girls in this year’s leaf pile and one of the leaves, too.

easy fall decorations

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Fall comfort food: Healthy chicken pot pie

fall comfort food

This pot pie is healthy, super easy, cheap, and of course, yummy. Because the pie crust topping cooks on a baking sheet and is then placed over the filling, you can make individual servings without using ovenproof bowls. Continue reading

Outdoor Halloween decorations – Part 2

I thought I was done. After this post I really thought there was nothing else I could “Halloweenify” in my yard. I was wrong. While the hubs and I were outside last weekend he casually moved a bench from the patio to the yard to rake some leaves. I looked up, saw the old, leaning thing (the bench, not the hubs) surrounded by fall color and knew what I had to do.

We have a big circle of trees in our front yard that’s been screaming for a sculpture or some sort of center focal point for years. What’s more perfect than an old, wooden bench sitting under the trees on a blanket of fallen leaves? Here’s how it came out. Totally my favorite decoration of the entire season.

outdoor Halloween decorations

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Fall goody bags

fall goody bags

I’ve always made goody bags for my daughters’ classroom parties. Not because I’m one of “those” moms, but because we love to make things together and it’s become a mother-daughter tradition over the years. Halloween is a challenge because our school district doesn’t allow “Halloween” parties. (We wouldn’t want to offend anyone, would we? Insert sarcasm here.) Instead we have fall “Harvest” parties. That means the obvious goody bag ideas are not allowed. No witches, spiders, monsters, skeletons . . . you get the idea. My solution? Owls. Here’s a peek at the fall goody bags we made this year inspired by this post from Tales of a Trophy Wife.

fall goody bags

fall goody bags

And here are the lovely little hooters we made last year.

fall goody bags

fall goody bags

I love their crossed eyes. Makes me smile. Do you have any creative fall or Halloween traditions?