Acts of Kindness Countdown to Thanksgiving

In the past we have participated in the 30 Days of Gratitude for November (Where you make a Turkey out of two foam balls wrapped in yard, then each day you add a feather made from construction paper attached to a popsicle stick- write what you are thankful for on the feather, & then press it into the Turkey….thus having a full turkey at the end. This activity is perfect for toddlers and preschoolers!), and have done the Acts of Kindness Countdown to Thanksgiving and the children seem to favor the latter.

The idea is kind of similar to an Advent calendar. However instead of a piece of candy each day there is an act of kindness for the children to complete. Here is a pic of ours, it is very plain, very simple….we purchased the countdown drawers from Hobby Lobby (they were 40% off, Score!!), kiddos added the leaves, & done!

actsofkindness

Our lives are very busy and seem to only be getting busier by the day as the Holidays approach. So the key is to not overcomplicate the acts of kindness. There is not a one size fits all type of list, customize to your family’s needs. You know how much time you can allot each day and your budget. Here is our list, please feel free to use the exact same list, substitute, alter, etc. I will tell you, whenever possible add any funds that might be required ahead of time to the drawer & have items needed for the weeks acts of kindness on hand, it makes the process much smoother and less stressful for mom, or dad, but mostly mom.

 

actsofkindness2

Acts of Kindness List:

  1. Pick up trash at the neighborhood park (There might be a lot after trick-or-treating)
  2. Clean out the car
  3. Leave quarters at the Laundry Mat (Include bag of quarters in drawer)
  4. Donate Socks to Hannah’s Socks http://www.hannahssocks.org/sock-drop-off-locations/
  5. Make Thank You notes for the Crossing Guard
  6. Pay for the persons order behind you in a drive-thru (Kids get a kick out of this one!)
  7. Help rake leaves
  8. Organize & serve dinner at The Beach House Family Shelter
  9. Mail an “I am thinking of you” card to a relative to lift their spirits
  10. Pack a shoebox for Samaritans Purse’s Operation Christmas Child (Add money for each child & then take them to the dollar store to fill their shoe box) https://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/
  11. Help a sibling with one of their chores today
  12. Donate coloring books and crayons to the Ronald McDonald House
  13. Give Muffins to the Mailman with a thank you note (Or a gift card to Tim Horton’s so they can pick out their own treat)
  14. Drop off Hersey’s Hugs for Hospice
  15. Make an effort to smile today, they are contagious!!
  16. Take a treat to the First Responders
  17. Write uplifting messages with chalk on the sidewalk for all the passers-by
  18. Spend quality time with a loved one
  19. Go through books and donate some to the Library
  20. Donate a Toy to Toys-for-Tots (Via eBay, http://toysfortots.org/donate/?gclid=CPrRmLvc-M8CFUtahgod26AOaw )
  21. Write a thank you note to your teacher
  22. Help tidy house
  23. Let your sibling borrow your favorite toy/device
  24. THANKSGIVING DAY!!! – A special thank you from Mom & Dad! I am sending the kids on a small treasure hunt around the house/yard to retrieve 3 clues. The last clue will lead them to their Thanksgiving Bags; each bag will be filled with fun activities (coloring sheets, crafts, fun turkey glasses, etc.) to occupy them during Thanksgiving meal, dessert, etc.

 

We like to reveal ours the night before, that way the kids can sleep on it. Thus we will begin ours Halloween night. And then each night following the children will take turns uncovering the Act of Kindness for the next day. If time permits we will take a moment and discuss the act of kindness to make certain it is comprehended accurately and to listen to children’s suggestions. Then the next day while running kids around we will discuss how they accomplished the act of kindness….ask them how it made them feel, how they think it made the other person feel, and any addition questions associated with the act….in an effort to make it more of an experience, not a chore.

Does your family have a similar tradition around this time of year? Do you have any suggestions for additional acts of Kindness? Was there an act of kindness you did or received from someone who had a strong impact on your life? Please share…

 

 

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).