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Make Meaningful Memories at An Old Kentucky Christmas 2016 Burlington, KY Free!

Is it just me, or has November completely just flown by? We were off part of the week last week, but I don't feel like we slowed down at all. Here at the VI house we truly enjoy making memories, and giving far more that any gift we could ever receive. Family time is super important to us, as well as creating traditions that have a meaningful and lasting impression on our children.  

If you are local to the Northern Kentucky, Greater Cincinnati area, you should check out Old Kentucky Christmas at First Church of Christ in Burlington, KY and make some memories of your own.

 old Kentucky Christmas

Old Kentucky Christmas at First Church of Christ!!  There’s so much to do and it’s all free!! Hay rides, photo ops, cookie decorating, candle light service, ornament making, carriage rides…and on and on and on! If you have never been…here’s a list of my top 5 things to know! Come Early, Stay Late! There is so much to do! From the hay rides, to candle making, to dipping pretzels in chocolate and sprinkles, to the candle light services! Make a day of it, so you can check out everything! And maybe hit a couple spots twice!

carriage rides

Say Cheese! Get your festive family picture snapped for FREE in our fantastic photo booth! Plus check out all our photo ops with our beautiful Christmas tree, in front of handmade quilts, or in our multiple cut out frames where you can be the farmer or the donkey, pioneers, and more!

Old Kentucky Christmas

Lots of ways for fun photos with friends and family throughout the village.  Wear Your Baby, not only is baby wearing adorable, but with the village ground covered in sawdust, it’s not the most stroller friendly – so do yourself a favor and wear your baby. Plus, that helps free up your hands for hot chocolate and cookies! Have dinner before and dessert is on us! 


 Need grandparents gifts? We’ve got those too! At OKC the kids will be decorating ornaments at the Woodworkers Shop, making candy canes, and “cheesing” it up throughout the village creating the perfect moments to frame and put on display! The grandparents will melt like chocolate!

Wood Working at Old Kentucky Christmas

Here is a list of the dates/times for 2016

December 8: 5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

December 9: 5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

December 10: 2:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

December 11: 2:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.



Candle light service at Old Kentucky Christmas

First Church really loves their community and they obviously love Christmas, so you can count on An Old Kentucky Christmas to provide memories that will last a lifetime. You will want to come back year after year! We will be here and look forward to seeing you again and again. So – MARK YOUR CALENDAR and join us in making An Old Kentucky Christmas a family tradition!

Show & Tell Christmas Trees - Show us your tree!

Good morning to you! I hope you're feeling rested after the Thanksgiving break. I know many of you have traditions of putting your tree up the day after Thanksgiving. We are headed out sometime soon to pick a perfect tree. 

The Countdown to Christmas Day is coming up, and we're kicking it off with a show & tell kind of week. Today, I would like to invite our readers to show off their Christmas Trees, indoor, outdoor or wherever you put your tree. Either way, we would love to see it!

All you need to do is send me an email stating your first name last initial and your State/City. That's it! I'll be sharing them throughout the day/week. 


This isn't my tree, but a vintage Christmas Tree Photo by JessaMaePhoto. It reminds me of the little ceramic tree my mamaw had on her credenza growing up.  


If you'd like a headstart on tomorrow's show & tell, we'll be showing off some of our favorite vintage ornaments. Feel free to start emailing those to me as well.


Merry Christmas to you!

xoxo Gabreial  

Christmas Around Town: Things to Do Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky

We like to do what I call Christmas School around here. That is try to fit in as many Christmas memories as we can as a family. Even if you don't home educate, you can start some family traditions by visiting any of these wonderful events (some ongoing) around the Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky Area. 


The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati Presents Elf The Musical JR. This December at the Taft Theatre! (Giveaway)

Winter Wonderland with Scuba Santa Newport, KY

Gingerbread House Display at the Warren County History Center Lebanon, OH

Family Games Deals & Specials Below

Everything posted below is Family Games or Educational Games. They were on sale at the time of posting, be sure to check to make sure as everything changes so fast on Amazon. (affiliate links included)


45% off 



This is one of our family's favorite games, and many of the different sets are on sale! 20% off or more. 


29% off! Another great game for 10 & up!


58% off! 

35% off (we love this one too, play with younger kids and don't worry about spelling so much. They'll love this game too.


38% off


60% off



41% off


45% off (we have two decks and sometimes play with a large group)


Another family favorite 56% off

28% off

The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati Presents Elf The Musical JR. This December at the Taft Theatre! (Giveaway)

Ask anyone in my family what my favorite Christmas movie is, and you will be sure to hear them say Elf! What's not to love about a hilariously elf-dressed grown man, who loves to put syrup on everything? The Children's Theatre of Cincinnati is doing Elf their style presenting Elf The Musical Jr. If you're looking for a family fun time, be sure to purchase your tickets soon, as this is sure to be a sold out show. 

Buddy the Elf (1)

"Buddy, a young orphan mistakenly crawls into Santa's bag of gifts and is transported to the North Pole. The would-be elf is raised unaware that he is actually a human, until his enormous size and poor toy-making abilities cause him to face the truth. With Santa's permission, Buddy embarks on a journey to New York City to find his birth father and discover his true identity. Faced with the harsh reality that his father is on the naughty list, and his stepbrother doesn't even believe in Santa, Buddy is determined to win over his new family and help New York remember the true meaning of Christmas."



Public Performances at the Taft Theatre December 10-11, 16-18, 2016


Saturday, December 10 at 2 PM*
Saturday, December 10 at 5 PM
Sunday, December 11 at 2 PM
Sunday, December 11 at 5 PM
Friday, December 16 at 7:30 PM
Saturday, December 17 at 2 PM
Saturday, December 17 at 5 PM
Sunday, December 18 at 2 PM


I'm so happy to be able to give away 4 tickets to your choice of Sunday, Dec. 11 at 5pm or Friday, Dec. 16 at 7:30 pm shows! Thank you The Children's Theatre of Cincinnati! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

How to make Vintage Style White Bottle Brush Trees

Last year when the bottle brush trees were bursting the internet, I had trouble finding them! Get a head start this year with bottle brush tree projects with our lovely Contributing Editor Elizabeth Holcombe.

Bleached trees

You see them in craft stores, those pretty deep green bottle brush trees. Nice color but you may want to change them up to suit your winter holiday décor. It’s super simple. Here’s how:




You’ll need water, bleach, and a large (gallon or larger) container.




Mix one cup of bleach to one gallon of water. Stir.




Wet the bottle brush trees first. Carefully place the wet bottle brush trees into the beach water solution. Depending on the shade of green or white you desire, leave the trees in the solution until they turn the color you like best. After you remove the trees, rinse in clear water and set aside to dry. Experiment with different shades which look very nice in a group like a miniature forest!




If you desire trees in other colors, bleach them first, then use Rit dye (follow instructions on package) to dye your trees to your favorite colors!


Elizabeth Holcombe Fedorko, aka Bethsbagz, began her checkered crafting career when at four she realized using paste on paper was better than eating it. Inspired by vintage dime store treasures, vintage fabric, and a no-fear attitude toward color, Beth crafts totes, pin cushions, wreaths, and corsages into her Dime Store Chic creations. Beth would love you to take a peek into her whimsical world at her blog.


Experience the Symphony Orchestra with your Children at the Cincinnati Pops Lollipops Family Concerts

I can't speak for all home school families, but I know for us, the arts are something to be appreciated and to be involved in from an early age. Cincinnati Pops Lollipops Family Concert series, makes this educational goal, a reality. Exposing children to the symphony early on is a wonderful thing. Even if you aren't a home educating family, and a visit to the historical Taft Theater is an added artistic bonus. 


PeterandtheWolfCincinnati Pops

This coming Saturday November 19, 2016 kicks off the series with Peter and the Wolf. With a Pre-concert event starting at 9:30 where the whole family can get hands on with instruments and activities.


John Morris Russell conducts Prokofiev’s children’s classic Peter and the Wolf

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During the performance experience art by notable Cincinnati illustrator C.F. Payne: An American Illustrator. Who's goal is for you to "experience the Prokofiev's music in a grander way.”

You may have seen some of of C.F. Payne, Illustrations at the Cincinnati Art Museum, The Norman Rockwell Museum, numerous college and university galleries, as week as Time Magazine, Readers Digest, Sports Illustrated, The New York Times Book Review, Sunday magazine and more. He has also been commissioned to paint politicians, authors and entertainers. He's illustrated ten children's picture books, including The Remarkable Farkle McBride and Micawaber, written by John Lithgow.


Tickets are available to purchase now, for Peter and The Wolf and for the following performances. Green Eggs and Ham, Superheros Up Up, and Away, and Disney in Concert. 



Truth in Review Disclosure: Cincinnati Lollipops provided me with complimentary tickets for our write up. I was not paid for the piece or required any certain context within my article. All reviews posted by me are truthful in content and not bought. Gabreial Wyatt, Editor Visit our Disclaimer/Disclosure  for more info.


Tart Mold Wreath Project

Make a Fun Kitschy Wreath with Tart Molds!


Vintage or new tart molds evoke the shape and shine of vintage aluminum light bulb reflectors! Add small vintage ornaments and a length on tinsel and you’ve got a wreath with a delightful vintage spirit and a whole lot of sparkle! 

Gather your supplies:

1. Metal tart molds. These can be in any shape and size you wish.

2. Foam wreath form. Get a size that will accommodate your tart molds.

3. Different sizes of smaller vintage ornaments and glass beads (removed from string).

4. Enough tinsel to wrap and cover your wreath form.

5. Quick dry white glue.

6. Florist wire, 26 gage.

7. Awl or pointy stick for putting holes into your wreath form.

Tart Mold Wreath Craft

1. Wrap your wreath form in the tinsel keeping it tight together until you don’t see the foam.

2. Drill a hole into the center of your tart mold.

3. Thread three ornaments or beads on three pieces of wire and wrap the three sets of wire together and bend end up.

 Wreath part

4. Thread the wire loop through the hole in your tart mold. Make a hole in the wreath form with the awl. Make the hole deep enough, without going all the way through, to accommodate the wire loop.

5. Fill hole with glue.

6. Insert wire into hole. Press gently until all the way in. Press tart mold onto wreath form, making sure the bottom of the mold is touching the wreath and the glue.

7. Repeat the above step until all tart molds with ornament bundles ring the entire wreath.

8. If you choose to add more ornaments and beads to make the wreath lush and shiny, glue more into the tart molds on and around the wired ornaments. It should look like this:

Vintage Style Wreath Craft

And from the side...

Vintage Style Wreath Craft

Allow the glue to dry completely, preferably overnight.


Make a hanger for the wreath with colorful layers of ribbon and rickrack and pin each end to the back of the wreath. You may also choose to add a fun vintage ornament pinned to the underside of the inside of the wreath for extra merriment! Your finished wreath may look something like this...

Vintage Style Wreath DIY Project

Make this wreath to suit your colors and tastes. You may want to have one large ornament in the center of each mold for a simpler design. You may choose a more monochromatic color scheme. There are MANY possibilities! Have fun!

Featurebutton_05Elizabeth Holcombe Fedorko, aka Bethsbagz, began her checkered crafting career when at four she realized using paste on paper was better than eating it. Inspired by vintage dime store treasures, vintage fabric, and a no-fear attitude toward color, Beth crafts totes, pin cushions, wreaths, and corsages into her Dime Store Chic creations. Beth would love you to take a peek into her whimsical world at her blog.

Off the Shelf: Cranberry Thanksgiving Unit Study Roundup

If you're looking for a great book to study for Thanksgiving, Cranberry Thanksgiving by Wende and Harry Devlin is such a heart warming study to be enjoyed by children of all ages. 

I've rounded up some fantastic resources for you to get started. Please note affiliate links are included for your convenience. 


The Grace Filled Home 

Montessori Style Practical Life Trays 

Cranberry Thanksgiving Chalk Art from one of my favorite blogs, Hodgepodge

Cranberry Science from Our Journey Westward 

Cranberry Fine Motor Skills Games 

Cranberry Thanksgiving Unit Study from School Time Snippets 

Cranberry Thanksgiving Unit Study for lower elementary by Delightful Learning

Cranberry Thanksgiving Literature Unit Study with a free printable guide 

Free Cranberry Thanksgiving Lapbook 



How Does it Grow? Cranberries


Fuzzy Vintage Inspired Candy Cane Craft

Fuzzy Candy Cane Project
This is a holiday craft I came up with recently to add some vintage whimsy to my Christmas .  You can use these fuzzy vintage inspired candy canes to decorate your tree or to embellish your holiday gifts. This is also an easy project to do with kids. Enjoy!

  • Gather your pipe cleaners in red and white. (I made 2 batches. One using skinny pipecleaners and one using bigger fuzzier ones.)
3062054478_f4813a9e3f copy  
  • Next, soak your pipe-cleaners in a hot tea bath for a vintage look. (I used several family size tea bags in a big stew pot of boiling water. To keep my pipe-cleaners from rising to the top I placed a regular dinner plate in the pot to hold them down.)
Vintage Inspired Candy Cane Craft
  • Leave for 1-2 hours.
  • Next, drain all the tea off your pipe cleaners, then gently squeeze out some of the excess liquid off of them - but not too much.
  • Place pipe cleaners in clothes dryer and dry for 10-15 minutes on high heat. Make sure to include a fabric softener sheet. This will seal in the tea stain and fluff your pipe cleaners back up.

Vintage Inspired Candy Cane Craft Vintage Inspired Candy Cane Craft
Vintage Inspired Candy Cane Craft 3062045964_275b2621ae copy

  • Next, twist pipe cleaners together and bend into a candy-cane shape. (If you want to make smaller candy-canes like these shown cut each pipe cleaner in half before twisting.)
Vintage Inspired Candy Cane Craft
  • Using a small paint brush, brush your candy-cane  lightly with glue then dust with glitter (I used silver.)


  • Shake off excess glitter and re-fluff your candy-cane by running it between  your fingers, allowing some of the glitter to fall off - you don't want there to be huge clumps of glitter, just a light dusting.
  • Let dry.
Vintage Inspired Candy Cane Craft
  • Now you can use these cute little accent pieces as embellishments for gift wrapping, or as ornaments on your tree!


A special thanks to our Jerusalem Greer for this project. I can't wait to add these to my packages this year.


Einkorn Pumpkin Bread Recipe

My hubby #thebeardedhunk made the most delicious pizza crust the other day from Einkorn and Spelt flour, so I though I'd give a pumpkin bread a try, and use up some Einkorn. I'm so glad I did. This bread is moist, cakey, but not too cakey, and very slice-able. This would be perfect to bake the night before Thanksgiving for an easy breakfast for the cook, or for Christmas morning. 

Below are affiliate links for your convenience.

I decided to use all Einkorn in this bread because I wanted a filling rich and filling loaf. Something that can hold onto butter without guilt. I've not tried it with whole wheat or other flours, but give it a try and let me know what you think. 


Einkorn Pumpkin Bread


This Recipe Makes 2 loaves

  • 1/2 Cup of Honey (we use local honey, supporting local farmers when we can, but you can find raw honey here)
  • 1/2 Cup cup maple syrup (you can find maple syrup here)
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil melted ( we like this coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce (we use this kind, but sometimes also get some at Costco)
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups of Einkorn flour 
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree (NOT the pie filling, we like this one)
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice (like this one, or Trader Joe's has a lovely one)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda 


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. And lightly grease two loaf pans. I used one Pampered Chef stoneware loaf pan, and one metal loaf pan) The stoneware one baked the loaf very dark, and so close to being almost two dark. 

Einkorn Pumpkin Bread Recipe

2. In a large bowl oven safe bowl, mix the syrup, coconut oil, honey, and apple sauce until coconut oil is melted. If yours is melted, feel free to skip this step. 

3. Slowly add your eggs to the melted mixture along with your pumpkin puree. Blend with a hand mixer or a spoon until combined. 

4. In a separate bowl mix your dry ingredients, and use a whisk to evenly mix everything. 

5. Next, add your wet ingredients to the dry, and mix well, but avoid over mixing. 

Einkorn Pumpkin Bread Recipe

6. Divide the batter between your two loaf pans, and bake 50-60 minutes until your toothpick comes out clean. 

7. Cool on wire racks. 

8. Use a serrated knife to make generous slices, and serve warm or room temperature. 


Einkorn Pumpkin Bread

 Yum, not too sweet and just the perfect amount of pumpkin spice. I served this up on my gorgeous cutting board from Going Home Furniture


Discover Dinosaur World Cave City, KY

100_4052 Driving along I-65 S through Kentucky, it’s hard to miss the giant fiberglass dinosaur sitting atop a small hill at Exit 53.  He invites the adventurous driver and family to exit at Cave City, KY and visit Dinosaur World.  Reminiscent of the almost bygone roadside attractions, this is a delight to find along the modern interstate.


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 Opened in June 2003, this location is one of three in the United States.  Glen Rose, TX and Plant City, FL boast the other two, all owned by the same individual, Swedish businessman Christer Svensson.  The main attraction here is the Dinosaur Walk where one will find over 150 life size dinosaurs nestled among trees and other natural vegetation. 
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(pictured right, Mr. Young)
Signs are posted with dinosaur descriptions and facts.  Be sure to walk up the hill beyond the Mammoth Display to have your picture taken with Photosaurus.  Other onsite attractions include a fossil dig, boneyard, indoor museum, movie cave, picnic area, playground and gift shop.  The gift shop offers everything from a 50 cent plastic dinosaur to an authentic dinosaur egg nest for $3600.  Yes, they have sold several, mainly to companies seeking to decorate their offices with that most unusual item. 

Continue reading "Discover Dinosaur World Cave City, KY " »

" Thanksgiving in a Squash" Stuffed Acorn Squash


If you are looking for something delicious to serve for dinner, why not try this yummy Stuffed Acorn Squash recipe my husband has named "Thanksgiving in a Squash". 

Acorn Squash


4 Small- Med Acorn Squash (this also gave us a whole one for leftovers) Cut in half and the seeds removed. 

1lb organic free range ground turkey 

1 package of portabello mushrooms

1 Leek, slicked thin  

Salt & Pepper

Fresh or Dried Sage 1 T, 2 if you like a lot of sage. 

Coconut Oil or oil of choice for sauteing

2T dried cranberries (optional)

1 Cup of Sharp Cheddar Cheese (leave out if dairy free)


Directions for the squash: 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

Place a Tablespoon of melted coconut oil onto a baking sheet. 

Season each acorn squash half with salt and pepper

Place the squash cut side down onto your baking sheet and bake for 45-50 minutes until fork tender. 


Stuffed Acorn Squash
Meanwhile you're going to prepare the filling. 

Heat a large skillet to medium heat. Add 2 Tablespoons of coconut oil. Turkey is a little on the dryer side, so we're going to build flavor. You're also going to want to cook it a little slower to help keep the turkey moist.  Cook your ground turkey fully, until crumbled. 

Add the diced mushrooms and leaks, and saute until tender and slightly browning. 

Add salt and pepper to taste, fresh sage and your minced garlic. Continue to cook until the garlic has softened.  Add cranberries at this time if you choose to add them. 


Bringing the squash and filling together:

Flip each squash over so that the cavity is ready to be filled. Fill each squash with the turkey mixture (top with a sprinkle of cheese at this time if you wish). Bake an additional 5 minutes until the cheese is gooey and melted. 


Stuffed Acorn Squash Recipe
This isn't the greatest photo as this was one of the halves on the second day (I love this for lunch). I completely forgot about getting a picture of all of them filled and ooey gooey. Everyone here couldn't wait to eat them.