Category Archives: Thanksgiving

Giblets Impossible: A Cloak & Dagger Mission

Giblets Impossible: A Cloak & Dagger Mission

It was a dark and stormy night. Well, not particularly stormy…but it was dark…minus the streetlights…and the cars…it was night. It was the type of night that screamed…turkey swap. The street was quiet and empty. The houses dark as everyone had retired to bed, comfortably ignorant of the intrigue and action that was set to take place.

The swap had been set in advance, the parties had agreed on the amounts. Two shady miscreants were set to meet and exchange their clandestine goods. One was comfortable in knowing that she would double her investment, the other willing to trade two for one to have a more convenient package.

One whistled the all clear, the other gave a nod to confirm. Large birds in hand, they walked as softly as possible across leaf covered yards, glancing ever so slightly in a constant motion until they met quickly in the street.

They walked away, both smiling at a deed well done. One grinned with the knowledge that she had proved false the old adage of “bigger is better”. The other chuckled to herself knowing that yes…”A bird in hand is worth two in the bush”.

-A special thank you to my fellow Secret Agent


Originally posted 2013-11-27 18:49:39.

7 Tips To Make Thanksgiving Easier

  1. thanksDo everything you can in advance!
  2. Many recipes can be made ahead and frozen (like cheeseballs, cookies, cakes)
  3. Slice and chop vegetables you’ll need for recipes up to 3 days before you need them, just seal them in an air tight container
  4. Pies can be prepared ahead of time then frozen until a couple of days before you want to bake them.
  5. Use your crockpot!  Find a side dish that can be cooked in your crockpot and you’ll have one less thing taking up your oven and stove.  Plus, most crockpot recipes can be prepared the night before then you just have to start it when you are ready!
  6. If something messes up, don’t worry!  It’s not that big of a deal, it won’t be remembered, and that one thing isn’t the reason you are celebrating anyway!  Take a deep breathe and remember that!
  7. Remind yourself that your guests didn’t come because your house was somehow rumored to be perfect, they came because they love you!  So if you forgot to deep clean something, or clean it at all, don’t feel bad or even apologize for missing it!  They don’t care, and that’s one other thing no one will remember!

 Do you have any tips or shortcuts?

We’re all ears!



Originally posted 2013-11-18 00:35:37.

Holiday Bathroom Vanity

So I thought I would leave you with my last minute bathroom décor! My beautiful Mom-In-Law is on her way from Louisiana and we have friends and family over tomorrow for our little gathering! The stuff on the mirror was done with my Gypsy Wanderings, cut at 4 inches I think… Aside from that, the sticks came from my yard (hehe) and the other stuff was left over from my other project! I was trying desperately to figure out what to do with the little decorations, I think this worked out perfectly!

Hope you all have a blessed Thanksgiving! Enjoy your blessings and remember how fragile those blessings truly are!!!
Don’t forget to check out my giveaway of Rebel Girl products and the pair of Kindle Nook and others!!!
Love and Prayers,
The Zoo Keeper

Originally posted 2011-11-23 20:41:00.

DIY Thanksgiving Centerpiece

I decided to take a shot at making a centerpiece.  I had never made one before, but given that my Granny has a flower shop, located in Russellville, AR,  (quick plug and shout out to all the wonderful ladies and gentleman who do such great work at Cathy’s Flowers and Gifts) that I have worked at and played in a million times, I figured I could handle it!
True to form, I did it with stuff I could find around the house and yard.  I try not to go buy anything when at all possible!  For those of you who’ve missed it, we have established that I am FRUGAL, not CHEAP!  LOL.  Anyway, I didn’t have to buy anything, the floral stuff, straw, and old candy corn were going to be thrown away from church, so no cost there either!  😀
I wanted it to be a little taller than just the table, so I made a stand out of cans, then put a towel over them and a tray on top.  The towel keeps it from scratching the tray.  😀


I took an old scrub top I had that was solid brown and covered the tray with it.  I just folded it in so that no one could tell it was a shirt.


DIY Thanksgiving Centerpiece
I took a Mason jar and filled it partially with dried beans, then stuck the sticks in the way I wanted and filled the rest of the jar.  In the middle are pistachio shells that Chief Zoo Keeper so kindly put in a jar instead of throwing away.  When I saw the jar, I was pleased for once that he doesn’t clean up after himself!  Small blessings!  On one side I put a leaf toward the bottom of the sticks to make it look like it was falling.  😀
I spread the straw stuff around the outside of the jar, then arranged flowers and leaves.  I stuck in my Give Thanks piece, which worked out perfectly since I had no idea what I was going to do with it!


Here is my finished product!  I used varying sizes of sticks found around the yard and stuck the leaves in the grooves of the sticks so there is no gluing!  Next year, I can find new sticks and do it again without throwing away anything!  Yay!
Hope you enjoy it and are inspired to make the perfect centerpiece for your family!  We are so blessed and I love the little reminders to give thanks all around the house!  Stick around and check out the Zoo!!!  There are kinds of things you might just like for your Zoo!

Originally posted 2011-11-03 21:27:00.

Give Thanks

Welcome November!!!  I’m so excited, apparently I really love November!  LOL.  I’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting and FINALLY IT’S HERE!!!  I love the fall colors and seeing all the things people come up with to decorate!  We began a new tradition of having Thanksgiving at our house, because most of our family is so far away and we know so many people who don’t have somewhere to go.  Last year we had 31 people in our 900 sq ft townhouse!!!  It was PACKED!!!

But, regardless we had a great time and enjoyed the wonderful company!  So today I am posting my first of what I hope to be many pieces of Thanksgiving crafts!

I made it simple.  The simple blessings are the easiest to overlook, so I made it as simple as possible!  The letters are cut from the Millionare Cricut Cart at 3 inches (I didn’t cut the background shape) and the banner are from Everyday Paper Dolls, the chearleader pendant.  I hung them with paperclips on the stick and laminated them with liquid laminate.  There are more detailed instruction on the Harvest Blessings post.

Originally posted 2011-11-01 22:50:00.

Autumn Blessings

Hello World!!!  I figured I needed an extra reminder to count my blessings, so I decided to make a little fall decor!  I call them banners, I think I’ve heard it called bunting?  I don’t know, by all means let me in on the secrets if you know them!  LOL.

I started by stopping on the side of the road and snagging some old branches that fell down.  My Monkey thought I was crazy, but had fun helping me snag them before other traffic came!  Then, when I got home Chief REALLY thought I was a nut!  So, he just rolled his eyes and said “it’s for your craft stuff, huh?”  I just smiled and told him to help us get it out of our van!  Love that my hubby knows when to shut up!  No complaints necessary!  They sat in my garage for a bit before I decided to do this:

If you don’t have a Cricut, no worries!  I have directions for you too!  Before I finally got mine, I hated that all these projects assumed everyone had them!  Grr!!!  SO, I’ve got your back!!!

I cut the leaves from old paint samples.  They had to be cut using the blade on 6 and the hardest pressure, but it worked just fine.  I cut them at real dial size 3 inches because that is what would fit on the sample!
When I was little, my Granny and Grandpa led caravans.  Fall Foliage was the title I remember!  So, me and Granny would sit at the table and cut out paper leaves and put a number on each of them for all the caravans to put in their window.  That being said, if you don’t have a Cricut, you can find a leaf online then trace it on the back of the sample or paper and cut it out.  You can add fine lines if you like, I will admit the lines don’t show up unless you are close up anyway!  No one will notice except you!  😀   Also, you aren’t limited if you trace it, you can do different shapes and sizes of leaves!  Hold it up to a window or on a lighted table to help make it easier!  I still do that!  😀  My favorite trick!

I cut the banner from Everyday Paper Dolls chearleader at real dial size 4 inches, the letters were cut at 3 inches from the Millionaire Lite cartridge.  Don’t forget to adjust your settings on your blade, otherwise you’ll scratch the heck out of your mat!  Of course, I would NEVER make this mistake!!!  *ZooKeeper says, turning to run!*  I hung it with the decor that was tied around some mums that was given to my Mum.  LOL.  I know, corny, but by now you should have expected corny!
Missing the Cricut, simply cut out your own!  2 1/2-3 inches on the top then 4 inches down each side!  Simple!  As for the letters, I’m betting you’ve got that figured out!  Trace, print, use pre-cut, skies the limit!

I posted two pictures of the backing so that you can get a clear shot.  To hang them, I taped paper clips on the back after bending the top part out.  After I was finished, I used liquid laminate to go over the whole thing so that I can put them all up for next year.  I didn’t do the stick, I figure there will be more next year!  Surely I can find a couple of sticks I like!!!  LOL

You could laminate it before you tape the paperclip on, I did some both ways.  It really doesn’t matter except that you end up sealing the paperclips on when you laminate after.  I don’t really see a problem with that, but that’s just me!

Blessings Jar
Re-doing a Gift Bag

As a side note, this would make a great gift for a hostess, friend, or whomever!  We all need to be reminded of blessings!!!

Originally posted 2011-10-21 18:07:00.

Blessings Can

Lately, life has been throwing all kinds of curveballs at me.  I can’t begin to explain how insanely stressed out I’ve been, plus I would rather not focus on those things anyway.  I’m praying and trying to keep my focus on God.  I don’t know what else to do.  I don’t think there is anything else I can do.  
In light of that, I decided to post this blessings can.  I made it as a door prize for a Walking Green Women’s Ministry event we had not too long ago.  I wish now I had made one for myself too!  However, since I didn’t, I figure the reminder would be the same if I posted it for you.  Perhaps it will be a blessing to you and yours.  
The concept is that you write down your blessings on slips of paper then put them in the can.  When things get going rough, you can open the can up and have reminders of your blessings.  God is an amazing God, and He will bring us victoriously through our trials.  (Check out the book of James!)  Without further ado, here goes:
I looked up scripture and quotes about being blessed and wrote them on slips of paper, putting them in the can before I sealed it.  I figure they would be a pleasant addition and reminder.

I decorated the can with scrap paper and printed instructions and a poem entitled ‘I Asked God’ then adhered them to each side of the can.  
I couldn’t find the correct lid, so I used one that was the same size and glued it with rubber cement.  It was really messy, but it worked well!

I used Chief Zoo Keeper’s dremmel to put a hole in the top of the can, then used the postcard from the event to cover it.  I pushed the paper into the hole to help keep it from having sharp edges.

Here is the table that held my projects.  It was all ways to re-purpose, re-use jars, cans and such.  In case you are wondering, the jar in the center is Ted’s home.  He is our frog.

Other Posts that Re-use and Re-purpose stuff:

Originally posted 2011-10-15 18:43:00.

Friendship Lesson for the Kiddos! #HalloweenTract

If you’ve never enjoyed the challenge of teaching children week after week, you may not quite get how big of a challenge it is.  However, if you have children you definitely get it.  Whether you are looking for non-scary ways to celebrate Halloween with your children or simply want an alternative to the traditional, I’ve found a great Halloween Tract to ‘hand out’ or just to get to teach your own children.  Let the Little Children Come has some awesome products, I especially love these little pumpkins they have!

This little craft product has so many great lessons!  Is there anything better than candy?  With the inside of each panel of the pumpkin comes a message that s essential for our children and ourselves!  It can be a challenge to come up with new and interesting projects.  This one is perfect for Halloween, Thanksgiving, or anytime for the Fall!  Perfect time to get yours ordered so that you are ready when September gets here!Friendship Lesson for the Kiddos!

Good friends listen to each other!

Have the children take turns with a ‘friendship item’ telling one thing they like about themselves.  This has two purposes; it builds the child up while teaching the children to find good things about others.

Next, ask the children to say something they like about another child.  In order to avoid everyone picking the same person, I suggest having the sit across from one another; definitely consider splitting up the children from their ‘normal’ group of friends, and having them pick something about the child across from them.

Making this quick and fun will help ensure that the kids maintain attention.  As you begin a craft or some other fun project, challenge the kids to try extra hard to listen to what people say when they speak.  You have no planted the best seed to help the children get on track to listen to others!

This little game goes perfect with the adorable little pumpkins featured and they are the perfect Segway into the lesson taught inside each side of the craft.  There are so many wonderful ways this fun little game can teach valuable lessons!

Looking for more great lessons for the little ones?  Or for the little one in you?  Check out what optical illusions can teach you!  If all this fun doesn’t lower your stress, this will so have some fun and enjoy life!