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Week of November 20-26: This week we celebrated Thanksgiving with our families, plus a variety of cheap ideas for your Christmas decorating. Plus, a way to make your holiday more meaningful.

Have we told you lately how grateful we are for you?

Because we are!

You are always on our minds and in our thoughts because we couldn’t do what we love without your support.

On this first Sunday of Advent, we’re sharing our secret for finding joy this holiday season.

It’s so easy to get caught up in our neverending “to-do” lists, especially during the holidays.

First, we’re giving you permission to say “no” to those tasks, requests, and invitations that really aren’t necessary.

Next, we’re asking you to consider delegating tasks to other people in your home or family. Remember: even if you still need to do part of the task, it’s easier to do just part of it instead of all of it!

And finally, we’re encouraging you to find more joy in this season by doing some small random acts of kindness. Learn more about that at the end of this post.

bloggers standing outside on deck with trees behind them

We celebrated Thanksgiving together again this year and actually remembered to take a picture!

Traveling to see our parents and extended families just isn’t possible at this stage in our lives.

We’re at the point where our homes need to be home base for our kids. They’re juggling work, limited vacation days, school, and commitments to see their significant other’s families.

Two families with older kids around the table for Thanksgiving dinner.

Our dinner was a little different for both of us this year.

Both of our oldest sons weren’t able to join us.

While we felt their absence. we were so grateful for the time we got to share with our other kids and their significant others.

We’re learning the importance of being flexible as we begin this next stage of being moms.

AnnMarie’s Week

My nest was full for a few days this week when Gavin and Emma were home for Thanksgiving break and I was one happy mom!

It’s always so much fun to be able to spend time together as a family.

We went out to dinner and to a local brewery to listen to some great music on Wednesday night.

Then Thursday morning we had brunch together and watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade on TV before everyone headed off to their significant other’s for lunch.

Later we had dinner with Anne’s family and took on her family in a competitive game of Thanksgiving charades.

Friday night everyone was home again so we decorated our new Christmas tree.

Everyone was so impressed by how strong the branches were to hang all the ornaments on.

After only ever decorating real Christmas trees, a faux tree was a nice change for all those heavy ornaments.

Once the tree was decorated we piled in the car and grabbed peppermint milkshakes from Chick-fil-a. Then we drove around looking for homes decked out in Christmas lights.

When we got home, we watched our favorite holiday movie together…Elf!

I love that we were still able to squeeze in this family tradition this year during a busy weekend.

four people standing together at night outside of football stadium

Gavin and Emma both headed back to Boone on Saturday for the Appalachian State football game while Chris and I went to the South Carolina game with Jake and his girlfriend Brianna.

Jake went to South Carolina and has been wanting to go to a game all year.

Brianna surprised him with tickets to the Carolina vs. Clemson game and asked us to join them.

It was freezing and we didn’t have the outcome we’d hoped for but it was an awesome time!

Anne’s Week

Family of five plus two significant others standing together in a restaurant.

We started the week by celebrating my son’s 24th birthday at one of our favorite Italian restaurants, Novanta 90.

It was so nice to have everyone together and enjoy a delicious meal!

We were pretty full afterward, so instead of ordering cake we shared something new to all of us: affogato. Affogato is gelato topped with espresso, and if you love coffee, it’s as delicious as it sounds!

This was my first year to not have all three kids with us for Thanksgiving.

While I missed having my son with us, it’s hard to not feel so grateful for my family, our health, and all our blessings!

I remembered to get a picture with my girls and my hubby, but completely forgot to have AnnMarie snap one of the four of us. One of these days I’ll get my act together with the pictures! LOL

Our meal was delicious, and as soon as I got home I started making homemade turkey broth from the carcass.

Large stainless steel stockpot of homemade turkey noodle soup.

Making a pot of soup with the leftover turkey is one of my family’s favorite traditions!

In fact, I actually prefer the turkey soup to the full Thanksgiving dinner…

I made enough delicious broth for this pot of soup, plus an additional 16 cups waiting in the freezer.

My daughters and I enjoyed wedding dress shopping at two different boutiques and my daughter has definitely decided on the style she likes, but we’ve got an appointment at one more in December before she’s ready to say “yes” to the dress.

Last night we also went to see the newest Hunger Games movie: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes. It was as good as I’d anticipated! If you enjoy the franchise, be sure to go see it.

My daughter went back to school this afternoon so the nest is empty again for the next few weeks.

Fortunately, I have a ton to do to keep me busy so I won’t notice the quiet quite so much.

This Week on Simply2Moms

We spent this week getting ready for Thanksgiving and enjoying time with our kids who were home from college.

While our business is important to us, we’ve always said that the reason we do this job is the flexibility it provides.

After all, no matter what, we will always be moms first!

We continued creating new content for social media and curated some shopping guides for Black Friday and gift ideas for holiday shopping. Stay tuned for those new holiday ideas next week!

hand holding faux leaf with spool of floral wire on wood table

Holiday decorations aren’t cheap, and over time they can start to look a little tired and worn out.

Kinda like us, right?! LOL!

AnnMarie shares tips for how to give older decorations a little refresh for cheap so you can get more life out of them.

galvanized metal farmhouse Christmas tree collar

Speaking of older Christmas decorations, sometimes our decorating styles change, and things we used to love just don’t look right in our homes anymore.

Before you get rid of them, think about how you could update them to make them coordinate with your new style.

Anne is sharing how she turned a modern farmhouse tree collar into something that coordinates with her country cottage style.

Armed with these ideas, you can even pick up things on clearance knowing you can confidently transform them!

Cheap Christmas garland and lights wrapped around a post

Speaking of saving money, wait until you check out this hack for making dollar store garland look like something you spent a lot of money on!

The best part? This trick won’t cost you another dime.

Sheets of black and white number stickers

Want to count down to Christmas in a whole new way this year?

While we loved making advent calendars like these when the kids were home all December, they’re just not something we do anymore.

If you want to truly find the joy in this holiday season, why not spread some cheer with these Random Acts of Christmas Kindness?

We’ve got ideas you can do on your own, as a family, or for your teens to do with their friends.

Whether you choose a few to do over the next month or are inspired to do one each day, we have a feeling it will help make this Christmas season more special for you and your family.

More Ideas and Inspiration From Our Friends

We love finding ideas from our friends and sharing them with you!

Here are some of our favorites we saw this week.

Tips for choosing a Christmas decorating theme.

These fun advent calendar ideas.

This adorable DIY wreath.

This stylish wood tree.

Some simple and cheap Christmas crafts.

A few of our favorite things combined in one place.

If you have any questions or suggestions, contact us or leave a comment below.

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