Mom, you kinda look like a homeless person

 

 

“Mom, you kinda look like a homeless person”. “Thanks son, that’s the look I was going for, sounds like I nailed it!” I exclaimed as we made a mad dash to the car. This is not the morning I had anticipated! It all started with my phone alarm not going off. Well, technically it did I just didn’t have the volume high enough, or on, clearly a manufacturer’s flaw!! So we overslept.

I rushed downstairs to scramble eggs. Why eggs? Why not a simple breakfast of cereal & milk? Because I hate myself! No, really, it was my genius idea to have healthier breakfasts so I only bought oatmeal & eggs. There is literally no cereal in our house, no bars, nothing remotely convenient!! Oh how I strongly dislike myself sometimes!!!! (I am also trying to not use the word hate, because it is just a horrible word…but honestly if it was possible to kicked my own butt this morning I would have!!) While the children grumbled about the eggs I ran upstairs and grabbed clothes off my floor to wear. Yes, sometimes I am worse than the children! Then the scavenger hunt began! What, you don’t havethose at your house in the morning!? We were all frantically searching for a jeans pass because my 3rd grader wasn’t going to wear her school dress code pants & she just received a pass in her student of the month packet….our little responsible student of the month! See the irony in that? But I was interrupted and had to forfeit my place in the scavenger hunt to help the 4 yr. old that just spilt water all over the pants she was going to wear to school!! So I hit up the dirty clothes pile in search of the least dirty pants. And I found a winner!!  We rushed downstairs where we hurried along the finishing touches.

I did the girls hair. I put adorable pigtail braids in one and bun in the other; I must admit I was quite pleased and astonished at my mad hair skills this morning. And then I turned my head for a moment and the adorable pigtail braids were out!! Grrrr!!! Mind you I hadn’t even run a brush through my own hair and now I had to do my 4 yr. olds hair a second time!! And with a mere five minutes till we had to be in the car. Infuriating!! I had to fix it. She looked like a wild child, like her hair had literally been through a hurricane; she looked like, like me!!

So I stood there with my own hair all disheveled. 3rd grader was telling me the latest happenings on animal planet…she is like a walking animal encyclopedia that doesn’t have a mute button. I love her to pieces but this morning I didn’t need to hear all about the paragon falcon for the 8th time!! Meanwhile the 1st grader, the inventor, was completing the charging station he created with Legos and was in desperate need of help getting 2 tiny Legos separating!! It took everything in me not to chuck those little Legos across the room. I managed to separate them, break a nail in the process but it was a small price to pay and there wasn’t much blood. But we were getting down to the wire. I rushed to put 4 yr. olds hair in a ponytail. I stood there brushing her hair when all of a sudden this warm, wet sensation hit my pant leg and filled my shoe. It was pee!! The puppy peed on me! He literality peed on me! And with no time to spare we made a mad dash out the door.  And that is when my sweet son looked up at my disheveled hair, stained shirt, peed on pants, and shoe filled with urine that he so kindly exclaimed, “Mom, you kinda look like a homeless person”.

This experience really got me thinking about how blessed I am. I was able to come home, brush my hair, shower, change my clothes, etc. but there are so many who are homeless who do not have that luxury. Who do not have clean clothes!! But what if there was a way that you could help clothe the homeless? And what if there might also be something in it for you? Do I have your attention now? Clothe Ohio does just that!!

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Born out of a desire to help the less fortunate in our great state, Clothe Ohio is a company that gives when you get. Combined with our love for producing comfy, artsy, yet fashionable Ohio apparel, donating clothing was an undeniable solution to fulfilling our passion to give back.

 

 With each order placed, we will give a new t-shirt or sweatshirt to an Ohioan in need. Teaming up with different non-profits and charitable organizations throughout the state, we are able to give directly to the people who need it most.

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 Join the movement now to help Clothe Ohio!!!

If I may add, they have some real jazzy inventory! And they have swag for various cities too! Do you have friends who were an Ohioan but now resides out of state? This makes a fabulous gift…add a few local goodies and they will be praising your name! It is always fun to receive goodies from home & support such an amazing cause!! Or if you just want to tick off some Michigan fans, lol!! And fyi- you might want to buy a few shirts, just incase that one on the bedroom floor is actually dirty, or in case your child spills water on it, or your puppy pees on it, you will always have a spare!!

Disclosure: I received Clothe Ohio shirts for review, no other compensation was received, all thoughts & opinions are my own.

Sometimes God opens a window and door!

Last week our house was filled with excitement to see the Eric Carle’s Treasured Stories by the Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia on Thursday.  Our eldest was going on a field trip with her class to see the presentation while our son and daughter would be going with me to see the performance thanks to tickets given to them by their loving Nana for Christmas (experiences truly make the best gifts).

So to prepare for the performance the kiddos got out all their Eric Carle books and stuffed animals affiliated with those books and read books in the morning, afternoon, and evening.

They also made their very own Little Hungry Caterpillars’ out of an egg container, pipe cleaners, and paint. Our daughter was so excited that she took her’s to school to show her teacher and friends. We also enjoyed edible Hungry Caterpillars.

 

So the day finally arrives and I had everything ready to go. We dropped off our eldest at school with her booster seat (parents drove but not me since I had the younger two, I was disappointed that I couldn’t chaperon but I understood the logic).  After dropping her off at school we headed to the performance.

It was originally supposed to be at Lourdes College but the venue changed to the Valentine Theatre which is gorgeous.  So we arrive at the parking lot across the street with plenty of time to spare (45 minutes to be exact).  The funny thing is at this moment, when I am pulling into the parking lot I am worried about how I am going to kill time until the performance, boy, if I only knew.

So, I roll down my window to retrieve the parking ticket from the attendant and then drive to a parking spot. Once in my spot I go to close the window and to my surprise it will not close.  So, like any other women would do I sit there and press the button a few times (because maybe by the tenth time it will just start working?), still nothing.  Then I look to see if there is an object stuck in the window jam. I see a small gum wrapper but I am not sure if it would be causing such an issue and besides, I couldn’t reach it.  So I called my hubby for help and moral support because by now my preschooler is getting impatient and my toddler was impatient before we left the house (HELLO, did I mention she is a toddler?).  But he didn’t answer his phone so; again like many women do I figured I would try to call him again, mind you I literally just hung up the phone on his voice mail.  After calling him three times in two minutes I came to the conclusion that he was not available. What to do? Call Dad. And I did. He answered! My hero! But he was not near by (he works near the theatre so I thought he could make everything better somehow?).  He did suggest putting something in the window but I had nothing.  I did not want to leave my window wide open in a parking lot in the middle of Downtown Toledo unattended (I am not saying that crime is really bad but when you leave a window wide open in the middle of January aren’t you just asking for trouble?). Not to mention, it was raining. So I told my kiddos the unfortunate news.  And my preschooler began to cry and I was a second away from crying myself, oh, and the Toddler had already been crying for a good ten minutes (I think she just became background noise after five minutes, don’t judge, I was a little preoccupied with trying to save the day). in-between sobs my preschool said “mommy, can we pray for the window to close, please?”  My heart melted. Sure, I told him and we did but nothing, the window still did not budge.

So I pulled up to the same attendant who greeted us a half hour ago and handed her our ticket and explained the situation.  Then she said something that totally caught me off guard, she said that she would simply move her car and I could park where her car was and she would watch my vehicle during the performance.  WOW! I thought in my head what an amazing woman, how kind of her.  I thanked her, pulled into her spot and got the kiddos out (as well as my registration info and any other info with my personal id numbers. Hey, I am trusting but I am not a fool).

We get inside with ten minutes to spare. As we were walking in we ran into a mom and her boys who attend the same preschool as our son, crazy, right? It wasn’t planned at all and we were both running a little behind so we quickly went to be seated and asked to sit together if possible.  Well, they did not have enough seats all together on the main level so they said they would escort us up to the box seats.  Once upstairs the view was breathtaking. The Valentine is gorgeous, there is a huge chandelier in the center of the ceiling, velvet and gold as far as the eye can see and exudes pure elegance. So there we sat, quickly scanning the room to locate my eldest and her class. We spotted her way up in the center balcony seating.  Part of me wanted to go get her and have her see the performance from our awesome view but I resisted.

 

Even the stairs are gorgeous, every view is amazing.

 

The performance was amazing. They did three of Eric Carle’s stories, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Brown Bear Brown Bear What do you See?, and Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me. The Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia present the stories as puppets with the creative use of black light it really captivates the audience (and by audience I mean 3-6 year olds and chaperons) attention.

After the performance we headed to our vehicle.  I bucked the kiddos in, looked around and found that everything was exactly where I had left it, the stroller, car seats, booster seat, etc. and then opened the driver’s side and made myself nice and cozy in the puddle that had accumulated on seat.  A wet, cold butt was a small price to pay for the joy I had just experienced with my children.

Though, it was rather amusing trying to get out of the parking lot.  Every car I passed thought I wanted to say something. I mean, after all why else would my driver’s side window be down in the rain?  So I had a brief conversation with my daughter’s teacher and then kept the conversations with stranger short and simple by exclaiming “Great performance, huh?”. 

Thankfully I only had to drive around with my window down in the middle of January for one day.  The fresh air and rain was a great pick me up, I didn’t even require my usual afternoon caffeine thanks to the cold, wet rain against my face during afternoon pickup and dance drop off. My hubby had it fixed the next day. 

Granted there was nothing better than dropping the kiddos of the following day and being able to open and close my window, it felt like $350 (yes that is how much it cost to be able to open and close a window).  There is a price for everything these days but true happiness, now that is priceless.

The saying is, When God closes a door, he somewhere opens a window. Well, in this case God opened the door to opportunity and fun and left the window open too!

Special thanks to Nana for getting us the tickets to the performance, also to the kind parking attendant who watched our vehicle, and my hubby for getting the window to operate again.

The Culmination of 30 Days of Gratitude

Thank You Notes

As our 30 days of gratitude culminates we are gathered in the kitchen to help our daughter complete her thank you notes for family and friends.  What a beautiful way to complete our 30 days, together helping a family member complete her notes of gratitude towards family and friends.

Our family has truly enjoyed the past 30 days and we hope your family has as well.  We have received so much more in return for our small acts of kindness, it seems like the outlook in our home has become more positive and encouraging.

Our son asked, “Do we have to stop our gratitude attitude now that November is over?”  To which I replied, “How would that make you feel if we stopped doing nice things for others?”  As he looked at me with pure disgust he exclaimed “That would make me feel not happy, I like to help, and I am a good helper”.    I gave him a big hug and stated that I agreed.  So, it has been decided, in our home an attitude of gratitude is not something we merely express during the month of Thanksgiving but year round.

An attitude of Gratitude has become a way of life for our family and we hope this is true in your family as well.  Remember that gratitude, no matter how small or large the act is gratitude no less.

We have collated some of our acts of kindness from the past 30 days to share.

Hannah’s Socks, a non-profit organization founded by a young Toledo girl to help homeless, victims of domestic violence, and underprivileged children. http://www.hannahssocks.org.

http://www.hannahssocks.org

Good Egg awards- I like expressing my gratitude to my children this way. It is important that as parents we address and reward the good behavior, not just address the bad.
Image of Crunch Krispies on a stick, for the bake sale to raise funds for Special Olympics
Preparing a meal to take to a friend
A surprise visit to a family member’s home (Tip- if you are visiting an elderly person, or someone without children, bring something for your children to do, it is your responsibility as the parent to occupy your children’s time).
Kiddos helped make muffins for a friend.
Toby our Gratitude Turkey, it was fun listening to the things each child was grateful for and helping them sound out and spell the words. We are going to miss that turkey; he is packed away for next year.
Thanksgiving package for friends that live out-of-town, kiddos had fun picking out the card and stickers
Dropped off donations at the Animal Shelter
Bubbba was adorable, an 8 year-old Labrador. I wanted to take him home but my house is very small as it is with only one Labrador. We did pray that Bubba found a safe and happy home with a family to play with him.
Sassy was also cute. Again, it was so tough walking away from those cages. If you are a family looking to expand your family by four-legs, do consider stopping by your local shelter first. There are some amazing animals there, some have even been trained but the owners lost their homes or moved.
Kiddos donated their candy to Make-a-Wish

And many more….

Though I enjoyed all the larger acts of kindness we shared as a family what truly moved me was watching my children illustrate small acts of kindness towards each other. I enjoyed watching my four-year-old Power Ranger rushing over to help his one-year-old baby sister get back up and placed her crown back on her head after she slipped on her princess dress.  I enjoyed listening to a conversation between our six-year-old and four-year-old where one gave their favorite toy to the other to borrow (there were some stipulations of course).  But the fact that they are learning to illustrate kindness towards their siblings makes this mom so grateful. I leave you with the following quote and hope you will share some of your family’s acts of kindness and reflect on how the exercise affected your daily activities and life in general.

 There is not a more pleasing exercise of the mind than gratitude. It is accompanied with such an inward satisfaction that the duty is sufficiently rewarded by the performance. ~Joseph Addison

Our First Thanksgiving…..Gobble Gobble, Gube, and Gratitude

T’was the day before Thanksgiving and all through our house the children could be heard, it was as if we told them we were off to see the infamous mouse!  Truth be told, mom and dad were pretty excited as well and slightly nervous, we were going to be cooking our first gobble gobble, I mean turkey.

My little helper busy tearing bread for the stuffing/dressing

As tradition would have the family started off in the kitchen.  I prepared the stuffing with my little helper while my hubby peeled the potatoes.  Then they were off to pick up our daughter from school and purchase a Roaster, light bulbs, and cream for the coffee (those random but necessary last-minute purchases).  While he was gone I continued with preparing the stuffing, mashed potatoes, carrot and parsnip ginger puree, and slicing the sweet potatoes into sticks (the kiddos love sweet potato stick and they are a healthier option than the casserole).

Once home the kiddos helped my hubby clean out the fireplace, bring in some wood, and make a fire. Then the kiddo’s made name placing for our guests, tidied their rooms, and then the excitement slowly turned into annoying each other.  It was time to introduce technology to our thanksgiving preparations. They each took turns playing on sproutonline.com and using the iPhone app, Gube.

Gube is an iPhone app that provides parents with a catalog of pre-screened, moderated, and safe yet fun YouTube videos for toddlers through grade-school age. Kids can search for and add videos to their favorites list, or browse the wide selection and find new favorites. For the younger tots, videos can be set to repeat, or a list of videos can be looped.

The app is really handy when your child needs some discreet entertainment while you finish a task, like a thanksgiving feast, or simply run an errand. Also perfect for car rides and finishing a meal out. Many of the videos are educational songs, and some of them are just fun and even enjoyable for parents too! Parents- It’s on sale for just $0.99 through Tuesday, November 29th. Find Gube in the app store, or like them on Facebook to keep up on the latest deals and even post your favorite videos you’d like to see in Gube.

app store: www.gubeapp.com

facebook: www.facebook.com/gubeforkids

Thank-gube-ness for technology! I was able to finish setting the table while they played games, sang songs, and watched videos.  Then it was off to bed, and while visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads mine was a whirlwind of Thanksgiving turkey cooking conundrums.

Thanksgiving Day

I awoke to my daughter repeating, “mom, mom, mom, I’m hungry….mom, mom, mom I am hungry”.  While the cat lay on my head poking my cheek with her paw and the dog continually nudged my arm.  Who needs an alarm clock; obviously, it was six o’clock, on the nose.  When the baby adds her cry to the mix it is 6:30am and when my son does his moaning walking to the bathroom it is 6:45am.

So I rolled out of bed, made coffee, fed all the living things in my home, changed the baby, and procrastinated.  I was still a little nervous about the turkey. Why? I had no idea.  I finally Momuped! I got the turkey out and stared at it for a few minutes actually thinking about the life it lead, all-be-it-short, but a life no less.  I quietly thanked it for giving its life, not exactly its choice, but still I appreciated the sacrifice and I said a quick prayer.  Then it was on with the show!

Our turkey….I think my hands were shaking while I took the picture in anticipation.

After consulting many of my mommy friends and my own mom we collated all the suggestions and advice and decided to prepare our turkey by infusing  thyme into butter and rubbing it under the skin directly onto the meat, we place thyme and orange slices into the turkey and cooked it in a Roasting pan upside-down. We were going for taste, not presentation.  I am happy to announce that everyone’s advice, recommendations, and prayers paid off, the turkey tasted amazing and we received so many compliments.  Thank you to all who contributed to our turkey preparations.

The yellow tablecloth is from Ireland; my family went this past summer and purchased it at a flea market, I like to think it has its own history to add to our table.

Our First Thanksgiving in our home, and possibly our last, was beautiful.  Our house is on the market so it seemed rather appropriate that after living here for nearly 8 years that we host Thanksgiving at least once in our first house together.  Thanksgiving was so wonderful that it almost had contemplating not moving.  Granted we never registered for fine China so our table was not perfectly set but it was genuine, it contained a few family heirlooms, and dishes passed down to my hubby and I when we were first married (you know the ones you hope to misplace but I am glad we did not).  The table told a story of us, of each of our family’s history, our first thanksgiving together as husband and wife, and our present family of five with Sippy cups, cutouts of little hands shaped like turkeys, and two adorable kiddos with headdresses.  Yes, it was genuine.

This was a wedding gift.
The kiddos picked out the Turkey placemat last year.
The Hurricanes on the table were my husband’s grandmothers thus, the kiddo’s great-grandmothers.

The atmosphere was a symphony for the senses.  A Steve Tyrell’s CD played in the background, we had a warm and beautiful fire in the fireplace, the aromas coming from the kitchen were mouth-watering, and the food was a rainbow of colors that delighted the palette.

One of my favorite dishes and it is so simple, Brussels sprouts and grapes tossed in olive oil and roasted, yum!

Our first Thanksgiving has come and gone and I realize we can never have another “first” again but I am grateful for the memories.  There was never a mommy meltdown, I relinquished the control (it was difficult but I did it) I think I came to realized the true value of the day, while the food is important, it is not the main reason for the gathering, it truly is about the people. If the turkey had not turned out or the dog had gotten to the stuffing first it would not have mattered, we would have made do. We can substitute a main dish or a side dish but we can not substitute the people.

Dessert
My mom’s yummy cupcakes!

I am Thankful for the people in my life.  I am thankful for…..my family, my children, my sister, brother, mother, father, hubby, in-laws, and their health, my health, for the fact that my hubby has his job and that we our fortunate enough to live in the same city as our parents so that our children can have a relationship with their grandparents.  I am thankful for….my grandfather, my many uncles (my mother has six brothers) and aunts and pray that their health continues.  I am thankful for…my cousins and the fact that technology (facebook) allows us to stay in touch.  I am thankful for…the wonderful friends God has put in my life, and the support system they provide.  I am thankful for….you.  Thank you for taking a moment out of your hectic schedule to see what is going on in this mommy’s on the go life here in Holy Toledo and thank you for contributing your thoughts, suggestions, and advice, it means a lot to me.

I hope you had a safe and Happy Thanksgiving with Family and Friends.

God bless,

Kat

Thankful Thursday…..Rice Krispies treats, the treats that keep on giving

Thankful Thursday…..

I initially introduced the 30 days of gratitude to my family in hopes of teaching my children the importance of appreciation through simple acts of kindness each day. However, what was meant to be something minute has evolved into so much more.  The acts of kindness have fostered quality time with loved ones, comforting conversations with friends and acquaintances, and magnificent memories.

Rice Krispies Treats, the treats that keep on giving….

Monday afternoon I found myself pressed for time, as usual.  So I threw the kiddos pajamas, diapers, cups, box of Rice Krispies, bag of marshmallows, stick of butter, wooden sticks, bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips, sprinkles, wax paper, and my book for book club into a laundry basket. I  put this kiddos in the car, picked up my daughter from school and headed to my mother’s.  We have dinner at my mom’s on Mondays; it has slowly become a tradition in our family, which works out great to because I have book club every other Monday.  So, we got to my moms and I started making Rice Krispies for my preschoolers snack box and the bake sale the next day to raise money for Special Olympics.  I formed them into balls and placed them on wooden sticks, way easy.  Then my mom got home from work and she started helping me melt the chocolate while we enjoyed conversation about our day.  We had the perfect consistency and started dipping the treats in the chocolate at which point the kiddos wanted to get involved too, so each took turns sprinkling the sprinkles on the freshly dipped Rice Krispies treat. Half way through we realized we were not going to have enough chocolate for all the treats.  Just then, as if on queue, my father came home from work and made a b-line for their leftover Halloween candy.  BINGO! My father and mother began unwrapping Nestle crunch bars like it was their job while I stirred the chocolate and the kiddos stood by with sprinkles in hand.  It had become a family affair, no longer was it just a task to check off, it had transformed into a family memory.

After book club my father helped me wrap the dozens of Rice Krispies Treats and we placed the necessary amount in my preschooler’s snack box and the rest were ready for the bake sale the next day.

The next day we dropped off the snack box, along with my preschool, at school.  When we picked him up the teacher said the Rice Krispies Treats on a stick were a hit. Thanks goodness, I was a little concerned since we invented the last batch via Halloween Candy.  I was also a little concerned that the teacher might be upset with our choice of snack given that it was picture day (looking back, it was a bad choice on my part but he was so excited to take in somthing on a stick).

Rice Krispies treats on a stick dipped in Nestle Crunch Bars, delicious!!

After I picked him up from school we were off to vote.  He had some leftover Rice Krispies Treats on a stick and asked if he could give them to people inside.  I thought it was such a kind gesture.  So we headed inside to vote and he passed out Rice Krispies Treats on a stick to the individuals volunteering.  Our neighbor happened to be volunteering at the time and my son made certain he received two.

After we voted it was time to drop off the initial Rice Krispies Treats on a stick for the bake sale to support the Special Olympics. We dropped off our Treats, the kiddos each picked out another baked-good, and we donated to the cause.  I am not sure who purchased the Rice Krispies Treats that we had made the Monday night at my moms but I do know that those Treats brought about much happiness and illustrated our gratitude towards our family, friends, and neighbors.

Recipe for Nestle Crunch Rice Krispies treats on a stick

  • 3 tablespoons butter melted
  • 1 bag of large marshmallows
  • 4 cups Love
  • 6 Cups Rice Krispies Cereal
  • ½ cup gratitude
  • Package of wooden sticks
  • 1 tablespoon of panic (when you realize you are running out of chocolate chips)
  • 1 cup relief (when you realize there is Halloween candy, Nestle crunch to the rescue!)
  • 1 bag of fun sized Nestle crunch bars

Directions:

In a large sauce pan melt butter and add marshmallows. Stir constantly till both have melted, remove from heat, and add Rice Krispies.  Spray measuring cup and/or spoon with cooking spray and divide into portion sizes.  Spray hands with cooking spray and form the portions into balls.  Place wooden stick into the ball and let cool for 15 minutes. While the Krispies treats are cooling you can begin to melt the Crunch bars.   You will want to use a double boiler so that the chocolate doesn’t burn.  Once the bars are melted grab a treat, holding it by the stick, and quickly dip it in the chocolate and then sit it on wax paper or foil to cool.
Please note: if you leave the treat in the chocolate to long it will melt the marshmallows again.  To expedite the process you can place them in the refrigerator for a little while till the chocolate cools.

Thankful Thursday….30 days of Gratitude Update

Blogging from Bed today, it feels like my tonsil has taken over half of my head, crazy swollen gland.  But I am still living a Thankful Thursday and in honor of Thankful Thursday I will update you on our families 30 days of gratitude. Granted, it is only day 3 of the month so I do not have much to update you on but we have illustrated acts of kindness through the following activities;

The children each donated half of their Halloween candy to Make a Wish foundation.  There is a teacher at my daughter’s school who collected the candy for Make a Wish Foundation.

The kiddos made thank you cards for their grandparents, thanking them for the fun Halloween treats.  While the kiddos made their thank you cards I made good egg awards for them.  Our house is on the market and we recently had a showing for our house and the kiddos were amazing.  They helped by cleaning their rooms, watching their little sister, and being all around great listeners.  So, in their good egg awards I have included a coupon for each of them.

One of the coupons is for a video of your choice, or in this house, a Netflix movie of your choice (this is kind of a big deal come family movie night). The other coupon, for my eldest, is good for staying up an extra hour past her bedtime (which I might be looking more forward to then she is, it will be nice to have time with her while the others are in bed, like old times).

Love Coupons for Kids

Coupons for Kids

 

 

 

 

 

I have a booklet of coupons in mommy’s secret hiding place (top shelf of the pantry) and I like to hand out a coupon at least twice a
month to the children.  It is important that we reward our children and acknowledge good behavior.  It seems like far too often parents focus on the bad behavior and spurt out unnecessary names such as “Brat”.  It is just as important to focus on the good.

This evening we plan on calling family that lives long distance but given the current state of my throat I have a feeling I will not
be doing much talking.  God is helping me become a better listener (life, forever a learning experience).

30 Days of Gratitude….a way for family to stay grounded

I was disappointed this morning. I was watching the news and noticed that there was a commercial for Christmas, Christmas! It is only one day after Halloween and already the attention has turned to Christmas. What Happened to Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving seems to be one of those Holidays where retailers can’t make much of a profit so why not skip it all together? I did hear that Nordstrom has taken a stand and they will not be putting up their Christmas decorations or marketing Christmas until
after Thanksgiving, way to take an initiative Nordstrom’s (we don’t have one around here but this might call for a special trip, that is an initiative I can support!).

So, thanks to Nordstrom’s inspiration and my own passion for thanksgiving our family will be living 30 days of gratitude and we invite your family to do the same.  I realize as mothers we already give so much of ourselves to our family which is why this
needs to be a practical endeavor.  30 days of gratitude is not meant to be overwhelming or add stress to your life, in fact it should hopefully have quite the opposite effect on you and your family. Living gratitude can be quite fulfilling.

Gratitude is more than an attitude. Recent studies show that grateful people are happier, more resilient, and less depressed. They also have higher self-esteem and better relationships. These results prove that gratitude is more than polite manners and positive thinking. It is a way of life, and a wonderful legacy to leave our children. http://www.more4kids.info/184/teaching-gratitude/

So, when thinking about different ways to express gratitude think of simple acts of kindness, and make sure you get your children involved.  Sure mommy can grab the Halloween candy, throw it in a box, and mail it but without expressing the purpose behind the act the act goes unnoticed by your little ones.  So remember to share these acts and when possible contribute and express gratitude as a family.

To get your family started I am providing a few ideas for ways in which your family can demonstrate gratitude.

Turkey of Gratitude

The first week of November or, two weeks prior to Thanksgiving have your children begin writing down something they are grateful for each day. Then have them stick the feather in the Turkey. On Thanksgiving Day your family will have a lovely center piece of thanks.

How to make it: Cut a 1-inch sliver off the bottom of a 9-inch polystyrene ball. Wrap sphere neatly in thick dark-brown yarn, covering surface completely; knot on bottom. Make a 4-inch ball from light-brown yarn and attach to body with a wooden craft stick. Create simple facial features using felt: white circles (approximately the size of a quarter, with 1/8-inch pom-poms for pupils) for eyes, yellow triangles for the beak, and long red felt teardrops as the wattle. Cut feather shapes from colored craft paper and bend in half lengthwise to create seam. Glue wooden craft stick to the bottom third of the feather and insert in a fan shape on turkey body. (Parents Magazine)

Donate Halloween Candy

If you don’t know what to do with all that left over Halloween Candy, send it to Operation Shoebox and they will get it over to our troops! Every year they go through tons of candy that they send to our troops and would be happy to have your leftovers!

Our mailing address is:

Operation Shoebox

8360 Highway 25

Belleview, FL 34420

Help a neighbor, family member, or elderly rake leaves.

Donate Food to a Food Bank

Donate Food- What they Can Use

  • Peanut Butter
  • Canned Goods: Meats,
    Stews, Tuna Fish,
  • Pork & Beans, Navy
    Beans, Spam, Soup
  • Apple Sauce, Peaches,
    Pears, Fruit Cocktail
  • Green Beans, Corn, Peas and other vegetables
  • Dry Pasta and Ramen
    noodles
  • Dried Beans
  • Powdered Milk
  • Spaghetti Sauce,
    Tomato Sauce, Ravioli, Beefaroni
  • Macaroni & Cheese
    and other packaged dinners
  • Cereal
  • 100% Juice
  • Saltine Crackers
  • Toiletries: Toilet Paper, Soap, Shampoo, Deodorant, Feminine Napkins

The Food Bank accepts contributions of both food and non-food items. They accept donations from individuals and companies. To get more information on making a product donation please call 419-242-5000 or email the Outreach Coordinator, Jennifer Mirelez: jmirelez@toledofoodbank.org

Donate Toys to Charity-Nationwide Donation Pick Up

Donating toys to charity has never been easier thanks to the free toy donation pick up service offered by charities nationwide. Schedule a toy donation pick up today and donate toys to the local charity you choose. While the holiday season is a favorite time to donate toys to charity, toy donations are needed year-round. Budget-strapped families often don’t have enough money left at the end of the month for these extras that can brighten the day of a little one in need. Schedule a pick up today… http://www.donationtown.org/donation-pick-up.html

Love Letters: Random Cards of Kindness Inc.

Mission Statement:

Our goal is to create positive and inspirational homemade
cards for children with life-threatening illnesses. We also want our “Love
Letters Pen Pals” to inspire others in their community to commit to making
a difference through our organization.

Be sure to checkout the guidelines and suggestions for holiday & birthday cards, and share the idea with others. http://loveletterscares.org/

Please Send Your Cards To:

Kaitlyn Chana

Love Letters: Random Cards of Kindness, Inc.

P.O. Box 161058

Altamonte Springs, FL 32716-1058

While you are filling your freezer make an additional meal for a neighbor or loved one

Drive-thru random act of Kindness

The next time you go through a drive-thru pay for the person’s order behind you, or a fraction of the person’s order behind you.  They will be delightfully surprised to hear that the complete stranger in front of them just paid for their drink and/or meal.

Volunteer at the Local Ronald McDonald House

Volunteer at the Local Ronald McDonald House

You could……

  • Bring homemade cookies or cupcakes for families. Or help children bake and decorate them.
  • Organize a craft project for children
  • Host a pizza party, ice cream social, or popcorn & movie night
  • Make welcome goodie bags and care packages for families
  • Make quilts, afghans or knitted hats and mittens for families

Give thanks for each other around the dinner table (we do this on
Sundays)

Each family member takes a turn and express why they are thankful for each of the other family members, specifically something they did that day.

Send a Letter to a Soldier

http://www.letterstosoldiers.org/write-letter

Call a friend who doesn’t live in town and ask them how their day is going.

Mobile Meals of Toledo

Home Delivered Meal Programs: Volunteer 1 -1/2 hours a day, two days per month or offer to substitute on an on-call basis.

Have kiddos send a Thank you for being a great friend Card.

http://www.kidprintables.com/thankyounotes/

I will be sharing updates on my families 30 days of gratitude every Thankful Thursday. There are so many ways to express gratitude everyday. Maybe your family has a special Thanksgiving ritual that illustrates gratitude, if so, please share.