Holiday Planning Guide with Free Printables

Happy December!  We are bustling around trying to finish the decorations and start planning for the holidays.  So far, I’m ahead of the game….my to-do list today includes sending out Christmas Cards!! {Yes! This year you’ll get them before Christmas!}  family-with-frameSo once again, I want to share with you the Holiday Planner that I created a couple of years ago.I’ve used it two years in a row so far and it has been a life saver.  I basically make the same food every year, but I always struggle to remember what I make, and fumble to find the recipes.  And when it came to Christmas cards, I needed a place to record who I’ve sent to in the past, and who I received from.  And, {don’t tell my family!} I also keep track of presents as I buy throughout the year too!Holiday Planning Guide with Free Printables to Keep Your Holiday Organized! Palmettos and Pigtails

****Disclaimer****

Because I’m making this for my own personal use, I’m gonna give you access to the files.  However, you won’t be able to edit them.  But feel free to print them out and use them for yourself!  I got all the little buttons as free downloads from the digital scrapbooking site, Shabby Princess.  And I got the fonts (Pea Carol) from Kevin & Amanda…also free.  So technically, you can make your own version of these as well!  And if you decide to pin any of these images, please remember link them back to this page!! Thanks!

I’m telling you, there are a lot of printables in this file, but it’s really everything you need for planning your whole Christmas week.  Here’s a sneak peek of the Table of Contents.  See below for the links to each document.Holiday Planning Guide from Palmettos and Pigtails: Free printables to keep you organized!Click on each link to get to the Google Drive Document.  You’ll be able to download, but not edit.  You’ll see some items have two pages…they are the same document, but with different graphics in case you want to print two different sets!

Holiday Planning Guide Cover Page

Holiday Planning Guide Cover Page AND Table of Contents

December Calendar

Gift Planner

Christmas Card List

Party Planner 1

Party Planner 2

Holiday Baking Recipes, Page 1

Holiday Baking Recipes, Page 2

Event Planner

Christmas Eve Meal Planning

Christmas Day Meal Planning

Christmas Eve Shopping List

Christmas Day Shopping List

Meal Recipe Cards, Page 1

Meal Recipe Cards, Page 2

Thank You Note List

I’d love your feedback on this guide…did I miss anything?  What was the most helpful page for you?  Happy Planning!

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DIY Coasters

When my sister, Loo, got married, my entire extended family rented out an estate with a couple of houses and a pool for us all to stay in.  Then my mom and I set to the task of making it homey and festive…especially since we ended up hosting a couple of BBQ’s and pool parties for the rest of the wedding guests.

So we decorated with burlap bunting, paper lanterns, candles and flowers.  I decided to make some DIY coasters out of cork, using my Silhouette to have around the house.  I figured it would be functional decor that couple double as a wedding favor for the guests of the house.DIY Coasters made with Silhouette and paint #weddingfavors #DIY #coasters #DIYDecorSo I bought a couple of packs of cork coasters, some white acrylic paint, a stippler {sponge on a stick} and some vinyl for my silhouette.  I also like to use transfer paper when I use my Silhouette, to make placement of the vinyl a little easier.  {At the end of this post, I’ll have a list of the exact products that I used or recommend}  Then, I found some pretty designs by searching pinterest for “circular cut files.”  I decided not to do a monogram or anything, but there were so many options, that it would be so easy to customize.DIY Coasters made with Silhouette and paint #weddingfavors #DIY #coasters #DIYDecorJust about any image you find, you can convert to a cut file.  Save whatever file you want as a .jpeg.  Then open the file and under “File,” click on “Export” and save as a .PNG from the drop down list.  Then you are ready to open the file in Silhouette.DIY Coasters made with Silhouette and paint #weddingfavors #DIY #coasters #DIYDecorOnce you have your file open in Silhouette, use the corner arrows to adjust the size to what you are looking for.  From the menu along the top, find the image on the right hand side that looks like toast and click on it.  Then, in the right hand box, select “Select Trace Area” and draw a box around your image to highlight.DIY Coasters made with Silhouette and paint #weddingfavors #DIY #coasters #DIYDecorOnce you have your image highlighted in the box, go back to the right hand column and click on “Trace the Entire Image.”  Uncheck the High and Low Pass Filters, and your image should be completely solid yellow when you hit that trace button.DIY Coasters made with Silhouette and paint #weddingfavors #DIY #coasters #DIYDecorOnce you trace the image, you should be able to click on it and drag the image to separate it from the {red outlined} cut image.  At this point, either right click to delete your original image, or drag it out of the way, so you can focus on your red outlined cut image.DIY Coasters made with Silhouette and paint #weddingfavors #DIY #coasters #DIYDecorThen, zoom in on your image, and then select the second arrow button on the left {looks like an arrow connecting the dots}.  Click on one of the red lines in your image, and you will see a bazillion dots show up.  In the right hand box, click on “Simplify” to cut down on the dots a little.  You can also click and drag the dots to alter lines, and highlight sections to delete.  Don’t feel like you have to though!  Just remember that every time there is a dot, there will be a cut…so you may want to zoom way in to make sure there are no imperfections in your image that you can’t see when you are zoomed out.  Delete what is not necessary.DIY Coasters made with Silhouette and paint #weddingfavors #DIY #coasters #DIYDecorAt this point, your image is done!  Go ahead and duplicate it if needed, or add additional images.  And then you are ready to cut.  Make sure you chose the correct medium that you are cutting {in this case, vinyl} and make sure you cut all red lines, not just the outer edge.DIY Coasters made with Silhouette and paint #weddingfavors #DIY #coasters #DIYDecorOnce your image is cut out, use your Silhouette tools or even Scotch tape to weed out all of the little pieces.  Some of my designs were actually able to be used twice….once with the inner image on the coaster, and once with the outer image on the coaster.DIY Coasters made with Silhouette and paint #weddingfavors #DIY #coasters #DIYDecorCut out a piece of transfer paper that is slightly bigger than your vinyl cut-out, and apply.  Center it over your coaster and slowly position the transfer paper, using a debit card or scraper to make the image stick without bubbles.DIY Coasters made with Silhouette and paint #weddingfavors #DIY #coasters #DIYDecorAs you peel back the transfer paper, use the scraper to smooth out your design and be sure that the vinyl is sticking.  I’ll be honest, my original plan for this project was just to stick the vinyl on the coaster and be done with it.  But then I realized that the vinyl doesn’t stick well to the cork, and may have gotten worse when a wet drink was placed on it.  So I decided to stick the vinyl on as best as I could, and use it as a sticker stencil instead.DIY Coasters made with Silhouette and paint #weddingfavors #DIY #coasters #DIYDecorWhen using it as a stencil, put just a little bit of acrylic paint on the end of your stippler, and dab it on a plate a bit to distribute the paint.  Then dab it over the negative areas of your coaster, being sure to use a straight up and down motion.  DIY Coasters made with Silhouette and paint #weddingfavors #DIY #coasters #DIYDecorDIY Coasters made with Silhouette and paint #weddingfavors #DIY #coasters #DIYDecorLet it partially dry for a minute or so, and then peel the vinyl off to let the coaster dry completely.  Tweezers help with this process, as well as placement of small vinyl pieces.DIY Coasters made with Silhouette and paint #weddingfavors #DIY #coasters #DIYDecor

I love how these DIY Coasters turned out.  They were a beautiful, small addition to our wedding weekend, and I used a permanent marker to write the bride and groom’s name and wedding date on the back.  A simple project for a memorable weekend!

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*Palmettos and Pigtails is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

As always, all opinions in the post are 100% my own.*

Halloween Wreath made out of Yarn

A couple of years back I made an adorable red and white yarn ball wreath for the winter months.  It’s extremely versatile….with a green bow, it’s very Christmas-y.   With a red bow, it’s great through Valentine’s Day.  So when I saw a similar wreath in the Better Homes and Garden’s Halloween Magazine, I decided to make another one….this time, a spooky Halloween wreath made out of yarn!Adorable step-by-step Halloween Wreath tutorial.....#spiderweb #wreath #Halloween #yarnballs #DIY #tutorialAnd since I already had a bunch of Halloween-colored yarn from the Halloween Pumpkin Garland I made last week, it was a great project to use up some of those materials as well.Adorable step-by-step Halloween Wreath tutorial.....#spiderweb #wreath #Halloween #yarnballs #DIY #tutorialMaterials:

wreath form {the lighter, the better}…I liked this one since it had holes in it already!
newspaper {you’ll need about 20 pages or so}
sturdy ribbon
four colors of yarn
hot glue and glue gun
scissors
little bit of white yarn {not a whole skein}
spider or other embellishments
Adorable step-by-step Halloween Wreath tutorial.....#spiderweb #wreath #Halloween #yarnballs #DIY #tutorialThis first step is easy, but takes awhile.  Perfect for an evening of binging on Halloween TV!  I love the “Ghost Hunters” and “Most Haunted” type shows…entertaining enough, but you don’t have to really focus on it.  You’ll cut each page of the news paper in half {for bigger balls}, or quarters {for the smaller balls}, and crumple it up into a ball.  Choose one color of yarn for your first ball.  With your finger, hold the end of the yarn against the wadded up ball, and start wrapping the yarn around the ball in opposite directions, securing the strands as you wrap.Adorable step-by-step Halloween Wreath tutorial.....#spiderweb #wreath #Halloween #yarnballs #DIY #tutorialKeep wrapping until the paper is completely covered up, and the ball is the size that you desire.  Cut the yarn, and tuck the end under a strand to secure it.  And if you drop the yarn ball about 15 times, and have it unravel each time….well, then you are doing about as well as me!  {laugh it off…it’s just a wreath!}Adorable step-by-step Halloween Wreath tutorial.....#spiderweb #wreath #Halloween #yarnballs #DIY #tutorialI tried to alternate the colors I made, so I ended up with about the same amount of each.  I think I made about 55 balls.  Although the picture above has a white one, I ended up just doing black, orange, purple and green.  I only used the white to make my spider web, although you could also use black for that.Adorable step-by-step Halloween Wreath tutorial.....#spiderweb #wreath #Halloween #yarnballs #DIY #tutorialNext, secure your sturdy ribbon to the top of your wreath.  I wrapped it around a couple of times, then tied a knot.  Then I made a loop and doubled knotted it, so it could hang easily.  On top of the double knot, I made a bow for decoration.  Then I got ready to make my spider web.  I taped the end of my white yarn, to make it easier to weave through the holes in the wreath form, as well as small spaces in the web.Adorable step-by-step Halloween Wreath tutorial.....#spiderweb #wreath #Halloween #yarnballs #DIY #tutorial

Starting at the top hole in the wreath form, tie it around the outside of the form in a double knot to secure.  Then weave it through the hole and across the middle of the wreath form, to the opposite hole.  Weave it through, then loop it to the hole to the right.  Weave it through that hole and then across the middle of the form to the hole directly across.  Keep going until you have a “wagon wheel” with eight sections.  Tie it to the rim of the wreath form with another double knot, but do not cut the yarn!Adorable step-by-step Halloween Wreath tutorial.....#spiderweb #wreath #Halloween #yarnballs #DIY #tutorialFrom the double knot, wrap the yarn around the “spoke” and then pull it toward the next “spoke” to the right.  Wrap it around the yarn once, and then move it to the next “spoke.”  Continuing around the circle, wrapping the end of the yarn around each stationary “spoke” before moving on.  By only wrapping around once each time, the yarn will pretty much stay put, but you’ll be able to slide the parts of the web up and down on the “spokes” to adjust.  It will end up going in a spiral, looking more and more like a web as you go!  Adorable step-by-step Halloween Wreath tutorial.....#spiderweb #wreath #Halloween #yarnballs #DIY #tutorialI ended up weaving the end of my yarn through the loop for a little extra security, whenever I got all the way around back to that first “spoke”.  Poke it through the little twist and then move on the next layer of the web.  When you get to the middle, wrap the yarn around the crossed pieces of yarn and tie a knot.  Make sure the knot ends up being on the backside of the wreath form.Adorable step-by-step Halloween Wreath tutorial.....#spiderweb #wreath #Halloween #yarnballs #DIY #tutorialBecause my spider was a little heavy, I ended up glueing him on after I finished with my yarn balls.  You can glue the yarn balls on anyway you like….I ended up kind of making a loose pattern of one larger one, followed by two smaller ones of opposing colors.  I placed three or four where I wanted them, then I hot-glued them down.  You also may want to save a couple of pieces of newspaper until the end…in case you need a specific color yarn ball toward the end, when it’s harder to rearrange.Adorable step-by-step Halloween Wreath tutorial.....#spiderweb #wreath #Halloween #yarnballs #DIY #tutorialI also tended to glue the balls to the wreath form, as well as to each other, for extra stability.  It’s amazing how heavy the Halloween wreath can get once it’s finished!Adorable step-by-step Halloween Wreath tutorial.....#spiderweb #wreath #Halloween #yarnballs #DIY #tutorialI’m so glad I ended up using the white yarn for the web, as the big ‘ole hairy spider stands out much better against the white web!Adorable step-by-step Halloween Wreath tutorial.....#spiderweb #wreath #Halloween #yarnballs #DIY #tutorialI’m so pleased with how it turned out.  It’s spooky, but still bright and colorful!Adorable step-by-step Halloween Wreath tutorial.....#spiderweb #wreath #Halloween #yarnballs #DIY #tutorialDo you see my mums?  Aren’t they gorgeous?  I actually have two of them, the other is in a bucket in the front yard.  They are HUGE, and from a local farmer who sets up his market at the front of our neighborhood.  He always has delicious fruits and veggies, but I have never seen flowers like these.  Hopefully they will last all season!Adorable step-by-step Halloween Wreath tutorial.....#spiderweb #wreath #Halloween #yarnballs #DIY #tutorial

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A Seaworld Birthday

I love throwing parties, but I’m an “all-in” type of party-thrower.  If I’m gonna do it, I’m gonna do it right, and you bet it’s gonna be themed.  I had a blast planning all three of my kids’ first birthday bashes.  Even though they will never remember, I had a great time planning them, and I think the neighbors enjoyed themselves too.  But, after three kids who have birthdays spread throughout the year, I just can’t do big parties every year.  So we decided to only do big stuff on big birthdays.  You know, the milestones.How we celebrated our five year old's birthday at @Seaworld #aquarium #seaworld #birthdayHow we celebrated our five year old's birthday at @Seaworld #aquarium #seaworld #birthdayExcept, we broke the rule immediately when Jayna’s birthday request was to get her ears pierced and get “anything American Girl” as a gift.  For her 7th birthday.  Not a milestone.  But we splurged anyway, and I whisked her to see my sister in Atlanta for the weekend; where we went to the zoo, had lunch at the American Girl Store and got her {and her doll’s} ears pierced.  A big birthday, as far as I was concerned.Seaworld has many indoor exhibits {including a shark tunnel!}, so it is a great activity for a cloudy day in OrlandoSo naturally, when Millie’s 5th birthday {a milestone!} rolled around in August, we felt like she needed something special as well.  Millie’s birthday always kind of sneaks up on me, as it’s usually the first week or so of school, so we are settling into new schedules and routines.  But this year, I had a wedding on my side!  My sister, Loo, had her wedding date set for Labor Day weekend in Florida, and we were already going to have to pull the kids from school for that.  So Dave and I decided to drop Jayna and Lincoln off at my parents’ house, and head to Orlando with Millie to celebrate her birthday at Seaworld.How we celebrated our five year old's birthday at @Seaworld #aquarium #seaworld #birthdayHow we celebrated our five year old's birthday at @Seaworld #aquarium #seaworld #birthdayMillie, being the typical middle child, never gets alone time with us.  She always has a sibling hanging around, and kind of gets lost in the shuffle.  So spending the entire day at Seaworld being the focus of attention from both parents was a perfect birthday celebration for her!How we celebrated our five year old's birthday at @Seaworld #aquarium #seaworld #birthdayAnd Seaworld was the perfect park to take her to.  Unlike Disney, there aren’t a ton of rides at Seaworld.  They have three big coasters there, which cater to the mopey teenager who is getting dragged along on the family vacation….I don’t think I even reached their height requirements!  And since Millie isn’t big on the rides anyway, she adored the shows and animals.Seaworld has many indoor exhibits, so is a great activity for a cloudy day in OrlandoThe animals and silly shows at Seaworld make it the perfect park to take a 2-5 year old who may be too small for rides at other Orlando theme parks.We added on the dining plan for the day, which ended up being a good value for us.  We were there from park opening til closing, so we got all three meals included, as well as as many snacks as we wanted.  And since it was a special day, I didn’t even flinch when Millie ordered Fanta and a bowl of cookies for her snack.  Rest assured, she also made some healthy choices, a bowl of watermelon and a cup of strawberries throughout the day too!We splurged on the Seaworld DIning plan and found that it was a great deal for our trip. Read more tips and about our experience at Seaworld.For $10, we also got the “Animal Dining Plan.”  This consisted of tickets to exchange for food to give to the sting rays, the sea lions and the sharks.  Our favorite was the rays….we are a little partial to them, I suppose.  Millie loved their silky feel as they glided by.  Throwing sardines to the sea lions, was a noisy affair, but they were fun to watch as they barked and argued over the fish flying at them…even though half of the fish were swooped up by birds who were watching our every move.  Millie loved petting the sharks, but feeding them was totally anti-climatic.  I think they were already well feed…they didn’t seem to care about our offering!For $10, Seaworld gives you food to feed sharks, stingrays and sea lions....great interactive activity for cheap!For $10, Seaworld gives you food to feed sharks, stingrays and sea lions....great interactive activity for cheap!And I know it is a controversial program, but we really enjoyed the Shamu show.  I was eager to take at least one kid to Seaworld while they are still there, since they are discontinuing the Orca program.  And being able to see them up close really heightened our appreciation of them.  They are so, so big…and beautiful!  It was really magical getting to see them swimming and jumping.Since the Shamu show and Orca program is being discontinued, it was our last chance to see these majestic creatures up close at Seaworld.Another stroke of luck was the weather.  Since we didn’t have any flexibility regarding the date we went to Seaworld {since we were on our way to a wedding!}, we ended up going on the day that Tropical Storm Hermine was hitting the lower Southeast.  As we stayed in touch with our rained-in neighbors back in South Carolina to check on the house and dog, we were enjoying a cloudy Thursday at Seaworld…in an almost empty park.  We didn’t have to wait for anything, and the rain held out all day!Seaworld has many indoor exhibits, so is a great activity for a cloudy day in OrlandoAnd since there were hardly any other people there, we had most indoor places just about to ourselves.  We especially liked the sea turtle and manatee aquarium…we not only got a guided tour, but also a private showing of the 4D movie from the perspective of a baby sea turtle.Seaworld has many indoor exhibits, so is a great activity for a cloudy day in OrlandoThe arctic exhibit and the penguin house were also great exhibits to spend time in, although visiting the freezing, open air penguin exhibit might not have been the best place to visit right after riding the one “Splash Mountain” type ride.  Millie was soaked, and therefore immediately freezing!  But she was super cute in the gift shop afterwards, picking out baby belugas and macaroni penguins to bring home to her siblings.Seaworld has many indoor exhibits, so is a great activity for a cloudy day in OrlandoI was initially kind of disappointed to find out that the park closed at 6pm, but it turns out that we had plenty of time to do everything we wanted to do, and not be completely exhausted.  We headed back to the hotel, and while Dave did some work stuff, Millie and I enjoyed the pool and the lobby.  Turns out we are completely entertained by free coffee, aquariums and Seaworld/Disney brochures.How we celebrated our five year old's birthday at @Seaworld #aquarium #seaworld #birthday

We had a fantastic 24 hours with our Middle Little to celebrate her 5th birthday at Seaworld!  Happy Birthday Millie!

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Over that Hill

Success!  I managed to surprise Dave for the big 4-0.  Which is no small feat, considering his birthday is today, the day after Christmas.  It’s hard enough remembering separating his birthday from the other holiday festivities on any given year, but I wanted to make sure we weren’t just celebrating this year….we were blowing it out of the water {or blowing it over the hill??!?!}

Anyway,  I rented out a local boat club {think redneck boat club….} and had a few of our closest friends and family gather there one rainy evening a few weeks ago.  I send Dave golfing with a buddy, recruited some friends to make and heat up BBQ, mac and cheese and baked beans, and picked up a couple of cakes from Costco.  We smooshed into the tiny building right as Dave walked up, thinking he was a little late to our Bible Study’s little Christmas Party, and

“Surprise!”

Needless to say, I was too busy coordinating and enjoying the party to take any good pics, but here are the cakes!  {You know, the really important stuff….}

But the best part of the night was the look on Dave’s face when he realized that all those people were there to celebrate him!

Happy birthday Dave, we love you!!!

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A Friendsgiving Celebration

We are transplants.  Dave and I both grew up elsewhere and moved to the LowCountry as adults, so we are considered transplants…and most of our friends and neighbors are as well.  So with most of our family living far away, we rely heavily on the support and love of our local friends…our little “village.”  So important and so appreciated!

So, we were thrilled when a small group of our friends decided to have a little “Friendsgiving” Celebration right before the Thanksgiving Holidays.  We ended up traveling to Florida this year, but were happy to help throw a small potluck together at our neighborhood’s Farmhouse, and just love on our Framily a little….ok enough of the portmanteaus and mashups….on to the pictures!

Potluck Friendsgiving Dinner

Our decor was simple…a few of us brought some of our Fall-themed decorations {pumpkins and bunting and such}, for a little effect….but we wanted the emphasis to be on each other, not a Pinterest-worthy party.  For a table-cloth, we used a roll of brown butcher paper.  We set out Sharpies for the adults and crayons for the kiddos to decorate.

A couple of turkeys at our Friendsgiving Dinner

All of our kiddos were 6 and under {Jayna was thrilled to be the oldest…which obviously made her the bossy babysitter by default!}, and were so, so easy to entertain while the adults socialized.  I brought some toddler toys {Duplos, trucks and balls} for the littles, and glowsticks for the “bigs” who just wanted to RUN outside!

A bunch of turkeys at our Friendsgiving Dinner

I also found these cute coloring pages that turned into funny turkey glasses.  I think everyone {including many of the adults!} made and wore them!

Dave smoked 3 turkeys for the crowd, and everyone else brought side dishes and dessert to share.  I made Mulled Apple Cider in the crockpot and couldn’t pour it fast enough after dinner…so I packaged up the spices and sent some home with everyone.

A little jar of Mulling Spices for Hot Apple Cider was the perfect party favor for Friendsgiving Dinner

 It was a hot mess of hot cider, ladies’ laughing, pecan pie, kiddos running around and the men huddled around the fire pit.  It was perfect!

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Holiday Planning Guide with Free Printables

Hard to believe it’s time to plan for the holidays already!  With Thanksgiving just about here and only a few weeks left until Christmas, I decided to share my Holiday Planning Guide with free Printables with you early this year.  Not to stress you out about the impending holiday season, but to help you get organized early!!

Entertaining is so, so stressful.  But you know, in a good way.  As in, I-wouldn’t-have-it-any-other-way.  I LOVE entertaining.  I love that we made the executive decision that {since we made the grandkids} everyone can come to us for the holidays.  Not to mention our Christmas Eve Brunch that we do for the neighbors each year.  But, the joy of entertaining also means the stress of cleaning, cooking and planning.

Holiday tradition of footy pajamas on Christmas Eve! Palmettos and Pigtails

Last year, I finally got smart and wrote everything down.  I basically make the same food every year, but I always struggle to remember what I make, and fumble to find the recipes.  So last year I got organized.  And I made a bunch of documents that will go straight into our House Manager Binder.  Although, with the amount of entertaining we do, it may need it’s own binder soon!

Holiday Planning Guide with Free Printables to Keep Your Holiday Organized! Palmettos and Pigtails

****Disclaimer****

Because I’m making this for my own personal use, I’m gonna give you access to the files.  However, you won’t be able to edit them.  But feel free to print them out and use them for yourself!  I got all the little buttons as free downloads from the digital scrapbooking site, Shabby Princess.  And I got the fonts (Pea Carol) from Kevin & Amanda…also free.  So technically, you can make your own version of these as well!  And if you decide to pin any of these images, please remember link them back to this page!! Thanks!

I’m telling you, there are a lot of printables in this file, but it’s really everything you need for planning your whole Christmas week.  Here’s a sneak peek of the Table of Contents.  See below for the links to each document.

Holiday Planning Guide from Palmettos and Pigtails: Free printables to keep you organized!

Click on each link to get to the Google Drive Document.  You’ll be able to download, but not edit.  You’ll see some items have two pages…they are the same document, but with different graphics in case you want to print two different sets!

Holiday Planning Guide Cover Page

Holiday Planning Guide Cover Page AND Table of Contents

December Calendar

Gift Planner

Christmas Card List

Party Planner 1

Party Planner 2

Holiday Baking Recipes, Page 1

Holiday Baking Recipes, Page 2

Event Planner

Christmas Eve Meal Planning

Christmas Day Meal Planning

Christmas Eve Shopping List

Christmas Day Shopping List

Meal Recipe Cards, Page 1

Meal Recipe Cards, Page 2

Thank You Note List

I’d love your feedback on this guide…did I miss anything?  What was the most helpful page for you?  Happy Planning!

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{From the Archives} Eric Carle Birthday Party

Happy Birthday to Eric Carle!  One of my favorite authors of all time turns 86 years young today.  Check out his website {www.ericcarle.com} for a ton of activities and facts.  And to celebrate his birthday, Zulily has The World of Eric Carle featured on their site for up to 70% off.  Go over and stock up on birthday presents!

 And for today….a little Throwback Thursday to Amelia’s first birthday party.   Although I had sworn I was not going to do a big to-do for Amelia….you know me!  I just couldn’t resist throwing a party!  Especially a Very Hungry Caterpillar themed First Birthday!

 I got the idea and the template from good ‘ole Pottery Barn!

I also ordered some Eric Carle print fabric from Amazon in order to create Amelia’s sweet dress, and some of the decorations at The Farmhouse.

And I downloaded the graphics from here (also had some great inspiration!).   I cut the labels out, glued them to popsicle sticks and stuck them to clay.  I also used them to create stickers for the favor tins (full of M & M’s!).

 

Coloring Page from here 

My oh-so-artistic sister was able to use watercolors to dublicate some of the food from the book.  Originally, we were going to use it to decorate the cornhole boards, but finally decided just to use it as decorations.  {They were waaaay too pretty to throw bean bags at!}

 

In addition to the cornhole bags that I made (using 6″ circles and ironed on transfers!), we also had hula hoops, chalk, bubbles and water painting outside on the lawn.

 

We only had one tragedy for the day…the smash cake.  It started out very cute and almost “fuzzy” looking, but when I took it out of the fridge, I noticed that one eye had fallen off!!!  So I had to smooth over all of the icing and scoop the eye back up.

And then wouldn’t you know it?  The OTHER eye fell too!

Not nearly as cute, but it turns out that Birthday Girls don’t care!!!

And because she doesn’t have enough cake….

Thank you Mommy!

And for everyone else, there were cupcakes and cake pops!

 

 And you know all of those pesky monthly photos I’ve been taking of Amelia and Jayna? Well, I compiled them into frames and put them on the mantle so guests could see the progression of Millie.

 I almost forgot to show you my pride and joy!!! Isn’t he adorable?!?!

And finally, the opening of the gifts!  Baby dolls, picnic baskets and books, etc.

And we couldn’t have asked for better weather!  What a wonderful day for a birthday party!  We are so grateful for such wonderful friends!

 Happy Birthday Amelia!

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As always, all opinions in the post are 100% my own.*

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{Cowboy Up} The Littlest Cowboy

I really hope you aren’t over the cowboy theme yet…I have just one last post for you today!  And honestly {and totally unbiasedly}, it’s my favorite!  Our family photographer, Rachel Weber Photography, is just a genius when it comes to capturing our family candidly.  She manages to get the most precious moments on camera.

Cowboy Themed Birthday Party

And as much as I love seeing my kiddos smiling…sometimes the non-smiling pictures tell more of a story.

Cowboy Themed Birthday PartyYou can’t help but feel for him, right?  He just wanted some cake, and I kept making him “pose.” Haha!

Lincoln isn’t quite walking yet, but loves to “finger walk” with anyone who is willing.  I’m just waiting for the day when he lets go….

Cowboy Themed Birthday Party

But for now, he is perfectly happy crawling!  And boy, is he fast!

Cowboy Themed Birthday Party

I could not believe how tolerant he was of his cowboy hat!  He loves to wear hats {especially baseball caps}, but I wasn’t sure about the stiff cowboy hat and the long string.  But for the most part, he left it alone…which made for just precious pictures!  I found the boots at Hobby Lobby, and I made the cowboy vest myself!

Cowboy Themed Birthday Party

Cowboy Themed Birthday Party

Cowboy Themed Birthday Party

Since Rachel has been photographing my kids since they were very young…they are super comfortable with her.  Some of my favorite sessions were our family pictures, and Lincoln’s newborn pictures.

Cowboy Themed Birthday Party

Cowboy Themed Birthday Party

Cowboy Themed Birthday Party

Now that Lincoln is one, let me tell you a little bit about his little personality.

Cowboy Themed Birthday Party

He simply adores his big sisters!  He doesn’t really have any clear words yet, but says “dayday” for JJ sometimes when Jayna is around.  He is cautious of Maggie {the dog}, and isn’t really sure what to think of her…but then again, neither does she!!  He barks {“arf arf”} when she is around.  Lincoln is really athletic for 12 months old…he throws mini footballs, can kick balls while finger walking, and is entertained for long stretches of time chasing balls while crawling.  He is a good eater, but doesn’t care for fruit…he’d rather eat Kale Chips {I swear!} than a strawberry!  But my favorite thing about him is his sweet, calm demeanor.  He is a happy baby who loves to snuggle and is very ticklish!

Cowboy Themed Birthday Party

I hope you’ve enjoyed experiencing Lincoln’s Cowboy First Birthday Party over the past couple of weeks!

Click here to see more posts about Lincoln’s cowboy party.

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Just an FYI, I’m selling most of the decor and party supplies that you’ve seen in the posts…it was really fun making them, but it’s time for someone else to enjoy!  Email me or leave a comment if interested!

{Cowboy Up} A Cowboy Party that Takes the Cake

Y’all, I don’t have a ton to say today.  We’ve had an exhausting week of Vacation Bible School, playdates, and Dave traveling.  So I’m gonna share this post with you and then enjoy the weekend with my family!  Today’s Cowboy Party topic? Cake!

We got Lincoln’s adorable western themed cake from Sweet Velvet Cakes.  It had a cowboy hat, a lasso and a bandana on it…super cute!  And let me tell you, that boy enjoyed that cake for about 40 minutes!

He took a few minutes to really get to the good stuff, but once he figured it out, it was a free for all!

So we positioned him at the edge of the pavilion, so he could watch all the kids play games and run through the western town…and he was perfectly content to nibble and observe!

He finally let me have a bite! Yum Yum!

Thanks to Rachel Weber Photography {and my mom!} for the awesome pics during his cake binge!

Have a terrific weekend!

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To see all the other Cowboy Party posts, click here!