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  • Easy DIY Halloween Bunting

    I wanted to create a simple DIY Halloween bunting banner that could be used for different Halloween décor not only for this year but for years to come as well. I kept it simple with a classic black-and-white color combination. I found black pre-cut burlap bunting at my local craft store and I used white craft paint to freehand paint my letters on the bunting. I added simple ghosts for a little spooky touch. It looks great with my DIY cheesecloth ghosts. Easy DIY Halloween Bunting SUPPLIES Black burlap (or sturdy black fabric cut to shape, felt might work too) White craft paint and paintbrush Twine Large needle White scrap fabric Cotton balls Black marker White thread DIRECTIONS: Step 1: Cut your fabric to the shape and size you want. Mine are about 5 x 7 inches, and then I cut it angled in at the bottom to make the bunting shape I wanted. Step 2: Using white craft paint, paint “Happy Halloween”, one letter at a time, on each of the bunting pieces. This took a long time but was worth it in the end. You may have to do 2 or 3 coats to get the white just right. Step 2: To make the ghosts I just used 4 jumbo cotton balls wrapped in a piece of white fabric and tied with white thread. I drew on black eyes with the marker. Step 3: Using a large needle and some black and white twine I threaded on each letter to make my banner. I made 2 separate buntings, one for the word “Happy” and another for “Halloween”. Step 4: String the ghosts through the head on each end of the word “happy” to complete your banner. Hang and enjoy for many Halloweens to come! I made mini versions of these buntings when I made my DIY cheesecloth ghosts. Head over to that post to make this craft. Looking for more Halloween? Check out these posts: 13 Spellbinding Witchy Books to Read this Fall Pumpkin Cream Cold Foam Starbucks Copycat Recipe

  • 13 Witchy Books for Fall

    We're in the mood for all things Halloween and that includes our TBR pile! Our witchy booklist is full of magic, mystery, romance, found family, revenge, and more! Check out these 13 witchy books to read this fall! The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna - An orphan witch is taught to hide her magic away until one day she gets a message to come to a house where they teach young witches how to control their magic. She becomes part of this secret society. When danger comes knocking, the real fun begins. In Charm's Way by Lana Harper - Explore the effects of trauma and rage with a witch who has memory loss and performs a powerful spell to gain back her lost memories. It works, but she becomes a beacon for all things supernatural. This book is part of the Witches of Thistle Grove series but can also be read as a stand-alone novel. The Magician's Daughter by H.G. Parry - The story of a young woman named Biddy who washed up on an island as a baby and is taken care of by the magician. She learns to love and protect magic as if it was her own even though she can't do magic of her own. When the magic begins to dry up, the magician leaves to make sure the magic is evenly distributed. But, he's been keeping secrets and Biddy starts to question everything, Big Little Spells by Hazel Beck - The second book in the Witchlore series. When Rebekkah was 18 she was stripped of her powers and banished from her town. Now, 10 years later, she's back with the coven that presides over the magical world, but her return becomes sinister when they think she's a threat to witchkind. A witchy journey of self-discovery and healing Now she is Witch by Kirsty Logan - A lyrically written book about witchcraft, wise women, and folklore. Else discovers rumors of witches in the north are running rampant, her mother was accused of witchcraft, and now a stranger appears with a wolf in tow. Not tied to a specific time or place, it feels very much like a story told over time and has the feeling of being historical and modern at the same time. Weyward by Emilia Hart - Three separate stories that span generations of a family and we follow three women who are connected in many ways. Each woman has to deal with the expectations that society places on women in their own times and men who try to control them. We follow the women as they find their own strength and power with a hint of magic weaved in. Ink Blood Sister Scribe by Emma Torzs - When two estranged sisters are given the task of guarding the family's library of magical books, they work together and unravel a deadly secret at the heart of their family. Loyalty, betrayal, and the pursuit of magical power. The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman - Their family has been cursed since the 1600s when an ancestor was charged with witchery. Now, generations later, three unique children have rules like no walking in the moonlight, no cats, no candles and most importantly never fall in love. As the uncover their family history, they discover who they are, and are determined to escape the family curse. Two of the children in the family grow up to be the beautiful aunts in Practical Magic. The Only Purple House in Town by Ann Aguirre - Iris, who is terrible with money and who everyone calls the "chaos bunny" suddenly inherits a house from her great aunt. She turns the house into a B&B and it ends up attracting all kinds of misfit boarders who are of the paranormal type. This is part of the Fix-it Witch series but can also be read as a stand-alone book. The Witch of Tin Mountain by Paulette Kennedy - Gracelynn lives with her grandmother on Tin Mountain in the Ozarks helping her with herbal remedies. We get steeped in old folk magic following two viewpoints as a man moves to town and something seems off with him. Danger is closer than it seems. Pre-order these witchy reads that are coming out this month! Witch of Wild Things by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland (Available September 12th) - Each witchy sister in this family has her own magical gifts. Sage's gift is that of botany and that causes her to have to work closely with someone in her past who broke her heart. It's a book of complex sisterly bonds, second-chance romance, a little bit of plants, and a lot of magic! What Became of Magic by Paige Crutcher (Available September 26th) - Aline is a witch who can talk to ghosts. She uses her powers in secret to help lost souls find their way home. Along the way, she sets off on a quest to find a town that doesn't exist, or does it? Full of magic and Alice in Wonderland vibes. Witches of Bone Hill by Ava Morgyn (available September 26th) - When two sisters inherit a house they begin to have haunting experiences. They discover their families is that of witches and someone doesn't want them to have the house. They come face to face with an enemy that has been stalking their shadows for years and they discover the awful truth about what happened to their mother. Do they have the power within them to survive Bone Hill?

  • DIY Cheesecloth Ghosts

    I remember a family friend making cheesecloth ghosts when I was a child. Although I loved them at the time, I never made them myself until I was a mom with kids and wanted more "homemade" Halloween decor. These ghosts are simple but make a big impact and are seriously so cute! The ones I remember from childhood were simple, but I added matching buntings to my ghosts to match my DIY Happy Halloween Bunting. Supplies: Cheesecloth Liquid starch Balloons or Christmas ornaments Jars, glasses, or vases Pipe cleaners,any colors Pans (to set ghosts in while they dry) Bowl (to soak cheesecloth) DIY Cheesecloth Ghost Directions Step 1: Create the shape for your ghosts by setting a blown-up balloon in a vase or jar. I used a pipe cleaner under the balloon to create arm shapes. Play around with different sizes of ghosts to see what you like best. I used pieces of tape to secure my balloons to the jars before I began adding my cheesecloth. This will give your ghost a head and arm shape. *Note: Be sure to put your ghost shapes on a clean tray to keep the mess contained once you add the liquid starch. Step 2: Measure and precut your cheesecloth to fit your ghosts. I discovered I liked 3-4 layers of cheesecloth to achieve the transparency I desired. Make sure to leave enough cheesecloth at the bottom of each ghost to puddle and create a base for the ghosts to stand up. Step 3: Pour some liquid starch into a bowl and wet your cheesecloth. Be careful your layers don’t get too bunched up. When your cheesecloth is completely wet, sloth off some of the excess and arrange it on your ghost mold, draping from front to back. You have time to arrange it how you like making sure you leave a puddle of cheesecloth around the front and back for your ghost base. Once you are satisfied with your ghosts, let them dry overnight. Step 4: While you wait for your ghosts to dry you can create their banners. I wanted my ghosts to be holding bunting that matched my DIY Happy Halloween Bunting. I used a few extra pieces of the black burlap bunting and cut mini buntings to match for my ghosts. Step 5: Cut rectangles the size you need and then snip out a triangle shape from the bottom going from each corner at an angle to the middle of your rectangle to creating a bunting shape. Using white paint, create your letters. I made my buntings say “boo” for the big ghost and “trick” “or” “treat” buntings for the 3 smaller ghosts. Step 6: Gently remove the ghosts from their mold. I popped my balloons and just loosed the ghosts from the ornament molds. They look awesome don’t they! Step 7: Now you can attach your buntings. Thread your bunting letters onto twine and attach them through each of the ghost’s hands. Tie a knot on the underside of the ghost hand to keep the bunting attached. These DIY Cheesecloth Ghosts make a great centerpiece for a Halloween party or just use them to decorate around your house. Make large ghosts and place battery-operated tea lights under them to line your steps or walkway outside! They just make me so happy! Shop this project: More Halloween Fun: 13 Witchy Books for Fall Pumpkin Chocolate Cookies

  • Zombie Brain Sushi Recipe

    This zombie brain sushi is a fun food for Halloween. It's creepy looking, but really it's just sushi jazzed up to look like a brain and my kids eat it up (literally)! Zombie Brain Sushi *This recipe makes 4 brains, using 1/2 of an avocado for each brain. Ingredients: avocados x 2 cooked sushi rice cream cheese, about 4 tablespoons smoked salmon, about 9 oz red food coloring, a few drops Directions: Prep: Cook your sushi rice as directed on the package. I cooked 1 cup of dry sushi rice. Cut your avocado in half and take out the pit. Scoop the flesh out of the skin leaving the whole avocado in that half shape. Fill the hole in your avocado with some softened cream cheese. 3. Place the avocado, cream cheese side down, onto your plate. 4. Cover the avocado with the cooked sushi rice (save some sushi rice in a small bowl for the last step. Have a bowl of water nearby to wet your hands so that the rice doesn't stick to your hands. 5. Take pieces of the smoked salmon, fold them to create the brain-like folds, and place them on top of the rice, folding them to create that brain look. 6. Cover your brain with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge. This helps mold that salmon into the brain shape. 7. Add a few drops of the red food coloring to the sushi rice that you saved earlier. Stir it around to coat. 8. Take out your sushi brains and add the red rice in a line down the center of your brain. 9. Cover with plastic wrap again and store in the fridge until you're ready to eat it. These are great to make ahead for Halloween night and eat them before or after trick or treating. For more Halloween fun check out these posts: 13 Witchy Books for Fall DIY Cheesecloth Ghosts Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • Plan a Trip to visit Halloweentown

    Did you know you can really visit the town where the Halloweentown the Disney movie was filmed? Take a trip to the Pacific Northwest this Fall and plan a trip to visit "Halloweentown" in St. Helen's Oregon, a quaint little riverside town. We went last year and it was so much fun. This blog guide will help you plan your trip to Halloweentown. Put on a spooky outfit and channel your best witchy vibes. Plan a Trip to Halloweentown While we spent the day in St. Helen's, Oregon, we really planned the trip to visit Portland, Oregon, and the Oregon coast so I'll touch on some of that in a later post if you're interested in our entire trip. But let's dive right into some Halloweentown tips and tricks to plan your trip. How Far is St. Helen's from Portland? St. Helen's is only a 40-45 minute drive from Portland so it makes a great day trip. Because it was so close we knew it would be a town to visit to kick off the Halloween season and put us in the Halloween mood. When to visit Halloweentown? St. Helen's is a regular town so you can visit any time of the year, but they really put on a show for Spirit of Halloweentown from mid-September all the way until Halloween (Sep 16-Oct 31, 2023). Because of our trip itinerary, we visited on a weekday which was much more chill, but if you visit on the weekends, they open their main attractions and it's much more fun! What to do in Halloweentown? The main attraction in my opinion is the plaza in front of the courthouse with the large Halloweentown pumpkin! This is open on the weekends (weekdays for free) for photo ops and walking through. You can also see Benny the cab driver and pose with him for a picture. On October 7th, they have a big Halloweentown parade that ends with a pumpkin lighting so that's fun! On weekends you can purchase tickets to other attractions as well such as the haunted house, Big Halloween Exhibit, boat ride to Sand Island to hunt for Big Foot, a decorated houses tour, alien museum, movie theater showings, celebrity photo-ops and more! They host a costume contest every Saturday and Sunday with cash prizes up for grabs so go all out! Weekend attractions are usually open from 10 am to 5 pm unless otherwise noted. Halloweentown Photo Op Places? Giant Pumpkin - Halloweentown Plaza City Hall/Courthouse Plaza - Halloweentown Plaza at 275 Strand Street Benny’s Cab - Parked along Halloweentown Plaza (it's not exactly the cab from the movie, but Benny will be there in the driver’s seat and it's a fun photo to snag!) Bus stop - Halloweentown Plaza Old Theater: 212 S 1st Street (You can actually watch movies here including Halloweentown!) If you're looking for Aggie Cromwell’s house, it's located at 3814 SE Martins Street, Portland, Oregon so that's a bummer. Special events in Halloweentown? On October 21st- 22nd it's the 25th anniversary of the original movie and they will have special guests including "Sophie, Dylan, Luke, and Marnie" there, where you can get paid autographs and/or pictures with the cast. There is even a pizza party with Sophie, Dylan, and Luke you can attend. You can go inside the courthouse and see part of the movie set as well as scripts and other props and view the Halloweentown movie in their theater to celebrate! Other weekends are a host to special events such as Twilight weekend (September), Hocus Pocus weekend (September), Haunted Hotrods (October) and Witches Beer Fest and Witches Celebration (October). If you're a Twilight fan, the Bella Swan Twilight house is also in St. Helen's. You can stop by to see it and take your picture out front as well. Where to park for Halloweentown? During the weekdays you can park in the city on 231 S First Street and it's free. On the weekends, because it's a small town that pulls a big crowd, they offer parking passes for 1810 Old Portland Road and will shuttle you into the town. Parking on weekends costs $15 a day online and $20 in person so plan ahead. To get more information and purchase your tickets for attractions, celebrity photos, parking, and more, visit their Halloweentown website. Visiting Halloweentown is such a fun trip and such a unique place! If you are planning a trip to Portland or the Oregon coast, come back soon for my 4-day trip itinerary and guide! Looking for more Halloween fun? Check out our DIY Cheesecloth Ghosts, 13 Witchy Reads for Fall, and Copycat Starbucks Pumpkin Cream Cold Foam Recipe.

  • 7 Fun and Easy Halloween Foods

    I'm a sucker for holiday-themed and cute food. To celebrate Halloween, here are 7 fun Halloween foods I enjoy serving my kids during the Halloween season. These ideas are sure to make this last week festive and fun! 7 Fun and Easy Halloween Foods Yes, I have served all of these fun foods to my kids either this Halloween or last Halloween. They love themed food and I’m totally that mom who loves making it! I might as well enjoy it while they’re young and still think my quirkiness is cool. Check out some of my favorite Halloween foods for kids. 1. Green Eyeball Pasta I love making this for Harry Potter movie night as well as Halloween. We call it Mad Eye Moody Meatballs if we are serving it for Harry Potter. You can also dye spaghetti green for a brighter pasta which I have done here to make it more spooky. Full recipe here. 2. Pumpkin Face Pancakes and Boo-nanas Create pumpkin pancakes and then cut them out with pumpkin-shaped cookie cutters. Give the kids candy corn and chocolate sauce to make faces (or make it for them). Add chocolate sauce to half a banana for boo-annas! 3. Mummy Pizza and Spider Eggs On half of an English Muffin make a cheese mummy pizza using strips of mozzarella cheese and olives for eyes. Serve grapes (spider eggs) on the side with a plastic spider ring on top for them to wear during their meal! 4. Mac and Cheese Jack-o-lanterns Jazz up some basic stovetop Mac and cheese for Halloween. I added about 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree, extra cheddar, and served them in orange bell peppers that I carved to look like mini jack-o-lanterns. 5. Candy Corn Waffles I made a batch of Pumpkin Spice waffles. Before cooking them in my waffle maker, I separated the batter into 2 bowls and added orange and yellow food coloring. Pour the orange batter in the middle and some yellow around the outside. Once they are cooked, separate the triangles and dip them in a simple milk, vanilla and powdered sugar glaze to create the white tip. Yum! 6. Zombie Brains These sushi zombie brains are super creepy but fun for sushi-loving kiddos. I didn’t want to make a whole batch of sticky rice, so I used Annie Chun’s white sticky rice and it worked perfectly! Check out the video on our TikTok to see how easily these come together. Full recipe here. 7. Jack-o-lantern Quesadillas We made jack-o-lantern quesadillas to eat for our pumpkin carving night. I just cut pumpkin shapes (or have older kids make their own pumpkin faces) out of one tortilla and then line up two tortillas to cut the pumpkin stem at the top. Fill with cheese, spray the outside with cooking spray, and bake in a 400-degree oven for 8-10 minutes until melted. Make these Halloween treats even more festive by serving them on Halloween plates! Which one looks the most fun to make? Let me know in the comments. Shop Halloween Deals

  • Harry Potter Dinner - Mad-Eye Moody Meatballs and Gillyweed Pasta

    I recently shared our recipe for a Butterbeer Milkshake! Today, I'm going to share another fun Harry Potter dinner idea that pairs perfectly with the fourth Harry Potter book or movie, Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire. If you've read the book or watched the movie, you know that the Goblet of Fire is the one with the Triwizard Tournament and features a new character - Alaster Moody. He is also known as Mad-Eye Moody because he has a magical eye that can rotate 360 degrees and see through anything, including invisibility cloaks! Gillyweed is a magical plant that when eaten gives you gills and allows you to breathe underwater. It also creates webbing between your fingers and toes which comes in handy for swimming. In case you haven't read the book yet, I don't want to give any spoilers, but Gillyweed makes its debut in this book. So, for this themed movie night dinner, I served Mad-Eye Moody Meatballs and Gillyweed Pasta! Of course, there was also a butterbeer milkshake on the side and a chocolate frog for dessert. Harry Potter Dinner Mad-Eye Moody Meatballs Ingredients: Frozen meatballs mozzarella cheese, sliced, cut into circles canned olives, sliced small round cookie cutter or shot glass for cutting the cheese circles Directions: Bake your meatballs as directed on the package in the oven or pan. While your meatballs are baking, lay out your sliced cheese on a cutting board, and use a small round cookie cutter or shot glass to press into the cheese, creating small circle shapes. Once your meatballs are cooked, place the small circle of cheese on top of each meatball and finish it off with a slice of olive to create an eyeball look. I placed my meatballs back in the oven on broil for a minute (while watching it), to make sure my cheese melted a little bit and adhered to the meatball, but kept its shape and didn't melt off. Now you have Mad-Eye Moody Meatballs! Set your meatballs aside while you finish your Gillyweed Pasta and then you can plate it together. Gillyweed Pasta Ingredients: pesto, jarred or homemade angel hair pasta, or spaghetti noodles looks best and can be called mermaid hair pasta for fun Directions: Cook your pasta as directed on the package and drain well Add the pasta back into the pot and top with pesto sauce, stir to combine, and warm through Now, you can serve your Harry Potter-inspired meal! Dip up some Gillyweed Pasta and top it with a few Mad-Eye Moody Meatballs and enjoy! Do you throw themed movie nights at your house? If so, what other movies should I create themed dinners for?

  • Greek Tortellini Salad

    In the heat of the summer, I do not feel like cooking anything. I need something that I can put together and then have in my fridge for a few days. I want to pull it out and dip up a bowl and that's it. This Greek Tortellini Salad is perfect for that kind of meal. It's filling with the cheese tortellini but has so many amazing fresh flavors with the fresh vegetables that we added. Greek Tortellini Salad 18 oz cheese tortellini, cooked as directed 1 English cucumber, sliced and halved 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved 1 cup roasted red bell pepper, diced 1 cup marinated artichoke hearts, chopped 1/2 cup kalamata olives, halved 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled Dressing: 1/4 cup olive oil 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar 1 Tbsp lemon juice 1 tsp dried oregano 1/2 Tbsp dijon mustard 1/4 tsp garlic powder salt and pepper Mix together all the ingredients for the dressing and set it aside while you're cooking your pasta and chopping your vegetables. After you cook your tortellini, rinse it under cold water. Once you've chopped up all your vegetables, add them, the tortellini, and the dressing to a large bowl. Stir well. Cover and refrigerate overnight for the best flavors. Serve chilled. Everyone in my family loves this Greek Tortellini Salad. It makes a great lunch or dinner and it's great for any summer get-togethers you are having. You may also like our Easy Seafood Pasta Salad this summer!

  • Southern Banana Pudding

    When it comes to summer in the South, everyone has their favorite Banana Pudding recipe. You're pretty much guaranteed to find a banana pudding at every potluck or family function. This is my family's favorite banana pudding recipe. I am from Savannah, Georgia, and I don't know about you, but I've seen so many videos lately of the Savannah Banana's baseball team antics on my social media accounts. Their videos always catch my eye and it made me think of this recipe, so I decided to share it. I make this Southern Banana Pudding recipe every year when the weather warms up and like to make it for friends for special occasions like having a baby! Southern Banana Pudding Ingredients: 1 large box of instant vanilla pudding 8 oz sour cream 12 oz Cool Whip (thawed in fridge) 6 large bananas, chopped 1 box Vanilla Wafers milk, see directions on the pudding package *** Directions: 1. Mix the pudding and milk as directed on the package. 2. Add in the sour cream and mix well with a whisk. 3. Fold in Cool Whip. 4. Layer Vanilla Wafers, chopped bananas, and pudding mixture. 5. Refrigerate overnight before serving. Fun Banana Finds For more family favorites, try our Chicken Tinga Tacos!

  • Cheshire Cat Tails

    We whipped up some whimsical Cheshire Cat Tails! This playful recipe is from The Unofficial Disney Parks Cookbook and is so much fun to create and eat! These pink and purple twisted pastries would be great for a tea party, an Alice in Wonderland party, or a Disney movie night. They make sure a colorful presentation and taste just like the ones you can find at the Disney Parks! Cheshire Cat Tails Ingredients for pastries: 1 (17.3 oz) box frozen puff pastry sheets 1 (3.4 oz) package instant vanilla pudding 1 3/4 cup whole milk 1 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips 1 large egg 1 tablespoon room temperature water Directions for Pastries: Remove puff pastry from the freezer and allow it to thaw at room temperature for 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line an ungreased baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together instant vanilla pudding and milk. Cover and chill, for at least 10 minutes or until ready to use. Unfold both sheets of puff pastry and use a rolling pin to just barely soften each surface. Don't work the dough too much or it won't puff up in the oven. Spread a very thin layer of vanilla pudding onto each sheet of pastry and sprinkle one sheet with mini chocolate chips. Carefully lay the other sheet pudding-side down onto the mini chocolate chips. Carefully cut the stacked pastry into six long strips. Holding a strip in your hand, twist one end. Lay on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining strips. In a small bowl, beat egg and water together. Brush the mixture over the tops of the pastry. Bake until golden brown and puffing up, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely, about 30 minutes on the baking sheet. Ingredients for icing: 1 cup confectioners' sugar 1/4 cup heavy cream 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 drops each Gel food coloring (purple and pink) Directions for icing: In a medium bowl or stand mixer, mix together the confectioners' sugar, cream, and vanilla. Divide evenly between two small bowls and add one shade of food coloring to each bowl, stirring to combine well. Using a spoon or piping bag, drizzle both colors of icing over each twist. Enjoy! To make more fun recipes like this, get your hands on The Unofficial Disney Parks Cookbook . Shop This Recipe Post: For more movie-inspired food, check out our Gillyweed Pasta, Mad-Eye Moody Meatballs, and Butterbeer Milkshakes recipes!

  • Tips for Moving

    We moved over the summer and I thought it would be a good time to share our top tips for moving and packing that we find make our moves go smoother. Declutter as you Go We started weeks before we moved and decluttered small spaces when we had time. We would start with one closet or kitchen cabinet at a time. Things like our linen closet ended up being a storage space for things we weren't ready to get rid of at the time, but after having it in the closet for a while, we were able to part with things we didn't have a sentimental attachment to. This is a great time to sell things on local resell pages and make donations to thrift stores. Save Money by Packing Yourself If you can, pack as much as you can in the weeks before your moving day. We spent many nights and weekends packing up things we had in our house that we didn't "use" every day. Books, decor, linen closet, 80% of the kid's toys, unique kitchen items, seasonal decor, we packed it all. All the movers we called charge by the hour and that can add up quickly when they are packing everything. Also, you can take the time to purge anything you don't want and trash doesn't get packed with your belongings. I'm not even kidding, we've had trash get packed with our bathroom items in a previous move. It's not fun. Get Boxes from Your Local Community. If you really want to buy boxes, I suggest getting the same size boxes to make packing easier. Medium boxes with handles were what we used the most because we could move them easily after they were packed. But, we saved a lot of money by posting in local Facebook groups asking if anyone had boxes we could use. After our move, we posted "free moving boxes" in our neighborhood group and they were gone within an hour. Pack a First-night Box This is going to be the box you unpack first, but one that you pack last. Pack this box with things you will need to spend the first night in your new home. Pack things like bedding, pillows, air mattresses (if you won't have furniture right away), toiletries, basic tools (hammer, screwdrivers, scissors, or box cutter), first aid kit, flashlight, phone chargers, and important medication. Don't forget things like comfort items for kids. We let our kids pick two snuggle toys each a book and a nightlight to have that first night so that transition goes a little bit easier. Label Everything In the moment, it's easy to think you'll remember what you packed where, but honestly, once you get a stack of boxes, you start wondering, which box that item was packed in. Labeling helps so much when you go to unpack. And don't just put "kitchen", take it another step and put "plates and mugs" etc. so you will know what you are unpacking on the other end. When we moved we didn't have the same storage space in our kitchen and had to figure out what we wanted unpacked first and what could stay packed up a little longer until we could figure out what the new spot was going to be. Make a Master List Write down anything and everything you think of as you prepare to move. This could include things like calling the movers to confirm a moving date, setting up new internet, finding a cleaner, and starting water service. This list can be used by the entire family so everyone knows what has already been done and what can be done by them. Take it from us, call to set up as much as you can. We filled out an online water start service but when we signed the papers for our house, the next day the water was shut off and wasn't switched to our name like it was supposed to be. I had to call the company and found out their online forms were backed up. However, since I called she was able to schedule service to be turned back on that Monday. Luckily, we were still staying in our old house for a few days, but it was still a hassle. Schedule a Cleaner Whether it's cleaning the old house or cleaning the new house, moving is a lot of work and while we only booked a cleaner for our old house and cleaned the new house ourselves, it saved us a lot of time. We did general cleaning, but let our cleaning service do all the nitty gritty work and we had a receipt for our landlords as well. Take Photographs Not only because it may be your kids' "first room" or maybe it's your first home together. But, also take pictures of random things like how that gallery wall is organized or how you organized the shelves in the garage to hold all our holiday decorations. Create an Important Folder. Keep receipts related to the move in the folder and any personal and financial paperwork you want to keep safe. We got a zippable folder and kept pest control, lawn care, and our cleaner receipts, and copies of our recent bills so we had account numbers easily accessible, passports, birth certificates, things like that. This stayed with us and made it easy to know where important things were at any given time. Plan Meals to Use up Food Take the time to go through and see what things you can use up from your freezer, fridge, and pantry before you move. While you're at it, go through those spices and get rid of the outdated ones. We don't need to move things unless we have to. Make Time for Self-care Moving is hard and stressful and takes so much time. Make sure you make time to do something for yourself too. Go see a movie, have a dinner date, go for a hike, schedule a massage, plan an outing with friends. Whatever it is that feeds your soul and creates joy for you, make sure you schedule some time to do that. Yes, schedule it. Even if it's planning a day to put on pajamas early and watch a movie with snacks, make yourself a priority too. Best Moving Supplies: Medium Boxes with Handles Safe Box Cutter Packing tape Space saver bags Moving labels Foam Sheets 39 piece General Tool Set Tips for moving with pets and kids Moving with Kids Make sure you honor their feelings. Kids can get pretty attached to their rooms, neighborhood parks, friends, school, etc. If you're making a big move, it can be especially overwhelming for them. Allow them to express those big feelings and understand that they might be sad and excited at the same time, and that's okay. - Offer times to talk about those big feelings. - Get them excited to decorate their new room. New paint, new wall decor, new bedding, whatever it is, sometimes shopping and buying something new for their room can help get them to feel excited about their new space. - Let them help pack. This applies mostly to older kids, but let them get involved. They can pack their own toys in boxes and choose what they want to go in their first night box. - Do something fun once you move. We hit up our neighborhood pool pretty quickly after we moved. It was a good chance for all of us to destress and do something fun together. Moving with Pets First and foremost, know your pets. If your pet is laid back, it might be less stressful for them, but some pets don't like moving and learning a new place at all. - Make them a safe space whether it's a kennel or a room, with hiding space, while there are so many moving people and so much noise in their space. - Book them into a doggy daycare or kennel if you feel you need to. Maybe it's overwhelming to think about managing them while you pack and move. - Make sure you have enough food and pack their beds and bowls in the first night box. - If you're moving to a new town, make sure to find a new vet and get records sent over, especially if they are on medication or a special diet. - For our cats, we set them up immediately in the office room with a litter box and water. They had a desk they could hide under and on top of while they got used to the new smells and sounds of the new house. Moving is a lot, but you can do it, and it's always fun to decorate a new home!

  • DIY Dog Snuffle Mat

    In honor of it being my dog Ollie's birthday month, I wanted to share a fun dog DIY snuffle mat that we made! This DIY Snuffle Mat is a great way to add some enrichment into treat time. Sniffing is hugely beneficial for dogs. I read somewhere that just 20 minutes of sniffing is like an hour of walking time. It's good for their brains and is very stimulating for them. Then and now! Look at this baby when I first made him a snuffle mat! Supplies: Plastic Sink Mat Fleece fabric (I used about 2 yards total) Rotary cutter Self-healing mat Acrylic ruler I used two different colors of green fleece but you could totally do one solid color throughout, colors that match your decor, or a rainbow of colors! Directions: Using your rotary cutter, self-healing mat, and ruler, cut your fleece into strips that are about 7- 8 inches long and 1 inch wide. This is the type of DIY that can also be done with scissors if you don't own or don't want to purchase a rotary cutter. I just find the rotary cutter to be a much faster and cleaner way to make your cuts. However, this project doesn't have to be perfect and scissors will work just fine. 2. Take a strip of your fleece and tie it to your sink mat. I double-tied mine to just make sure they were secure since my dog was going to be digging around in the finished product. 3. Repeat these steps, tying fleece in the areas between each hole. If you're making a colorful or two-toned mat, make sure you swap the colors up to create a pattern. 4. Once you've tied all your strips, and covered all the spaces between the holes, your mat will look something like this. To use the snuffle mat, tuck small treats into and around in the flaps of fleece and let your dog have fun using his nose to search out the goodies! Ollie's favorite treats are these Zuke's Turkey and Cranberry Holiday Trees but your dog's favorite small treats or pieces of treat will be great! We like to use our snuffle mat when we're home but can't be very engaging. It's good for when I'm having to do work. This also makes a fun gift for dog lovers in your life!

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