Here are just a few of the many awesome local small businesses located in Toledo & the surrounding area. Please be sure to show them your love and “like”, and/or, “follow” them on social media, and be sure to stop in to the brick and mortar shops, introduce yourself, & inquire about deals, yes, small businesses also have some great bargains!
All ornaments are handmade and hand painted….custom orders welcomed, such as names, birthdays, current year, player number for sport related ornaments, and colored glitter. Ornaments cost $10 & $2 to personalize.
Clothing for all ages and sizes! Visit the facebook shopping group to enjoy weekly specials throughout the holiday season! Also contact Em to set up an appointment to shop the Toledo Boutique to take advantage of in person specials!
Find that hidden gem or a favorite popular fiction or nonfiction book for a great price!! They carry books for the entire family…kids, teens, tweens, young adult, adult. They also take clean, good condition books on trade for in-store credit which buys you 25% off purchases!!
In the past wehave 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!
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.
Acts of Kindness List:
Pick up trash at the neighborhood park (There might be a lot after trick-or-treating)
Clean out the car
Leave quarters at the Laundry Mat (Include bag of quarters in drawer)
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…
This pastweekend, thanks to Netflix, the History Channel, and 3 loads of laundry I had the opportunity to watch an episode of, America the Story of Us. The first episode discusses the establishments of the American colonies. I have to admit, it was nice for my mommy brain to have a refresher course on the establishments of Jamestown and Plymouth Colonies, especially before Thanksgiving. I have a feeling the kiddos will have a lot of exceptional questions for me, it’s wise that I start reviewing now.
As I sat there folding laundry I found myself being drawn to one particular character, Susanne Winslow. The episode addressed all the hardships the Pilgrims faced, the famine, disease, and the brutal winter when more than half the passenger that made the pilgrimage died in an epidemic referred to as “The First Sickness”. Susanna Winslow’s husband, William White, was one of the passengers who died the first winter; she remarried to Edward Winslow, whose wife Elizabeth had also died the first winter. Susanne and Edward’s was the first wedding in the new colony. They had 5 children, although only 2 lived to adulthood. It is said that roughly 10% of the US population can trace their lineage back to Susanne & Edward Winslow. I found this to be quite interesting and it got me thinking, what if Susanne Winslow could see us now? What would she think of our modern ways, of our modern women in comparison to the colonial women?
If Susanne Winslow could see us now…..
I think she would be absolutely blown away by the inventions of electricity, heat, indoor plumbing, cars, and all the awesome modern day appliances. I have a feeling she would be particularly fond of the idea of not having to empty chamber pots! I am certain she would be mesmerized by the conveniences we have like ovens, range, refrigerator, washer, & dryer. Considering the fact that most colonial women spent practically their entire days’ worth of time preparing fires, cooking, making candles, washing clothes, etc. one would think that us modern day women would really appreciate these conveniences but sadly we still complain about the amount of laundry, having to cook, and having to go shopping. Speaking of shopping, I do believe Mrs. Winslow would pass out when she saw ALL the options we have in terms of grocery stores and the abundance of food available. Food that we didn’t have to raise, tend, kill, and clean!
Famine is definitely not a problem like it was that first winter in Plymouth. Though Mrs. Winslow might be surprised to find out that with all this food we are a nation that suffers from malnourishment. That we have too many processed foods in our diets, that we have genetically modified our food, that we are consuming so many calories yet they are lacking in the nutrients, vitamins and minerals our bodies need. Our relationship with food has dramatically changed since the first colonist. We have become so obsessed with it; we no longer eat to live but rather live to eat. We are destroying our organs with these convenience foods. We are making ourselves sick.
Speaking of sick, sadly only 2 of the 5 children Mrs. Winslow had survived to adulthood. She might be overjoyed to find out that we now have immunizations against various diseases that would have wiped out generations in the past. Though, she might also be surprised to find that some Americans choose not to vaccinate their children from these diseases. She might also be staggered to find that American woman now have the option to homebirth or birth at a hospital. And yet we forget what a blessing a hospital can be if mother or baby is in distress. We have also forgotten that there are some mothers who cannot breastfeed and how fortunate we are to live during a time when fortified formula is available.
I do believe Mrs. Winslow would think that thanks to all these modern day conveniences like appliances, grocery stores, electricity, plumbing, etc. that we would have so much wonderful free time to spend with our families, playing music together, telling stories, playing games, etc. She would be extremely disappointed to find that this is not true. That we have instead overscheduled our children’s free time with organized sports and activities, that screens have become our focus, television screens, gaming systems, phones etc. that families may physically be in the same room but they are far too often not spending the time together. The quality family time that one would assume all these modern day conveniences would offer us is not so, we have lost our focus somewhere along the way.
Channeling the life of Susanne Winslow, one of the first Pilgrims has really opened my eyes to how far we have come and yet how much we have lost along our journey. We have come so far and have been blessed with so much and yet we still complain, find the negative, argue, etc.
It is fascinating how quickly our modern day lives can be put into perspective when comparing them to the hardships of colonial women. From now on I am making a valiant effort to be grateful for all my modern day conveniences and will be using my time more wisely, I kinda feel like I owe it to those strong, hardworking, persevering, determined, and amazing colonial women.
Have you ever been sitting in your car at a red light and suddenly you find yourself thinking about a certain friend, relative, or neighbor? Thinking about the relationship and how much it means to you. And how you should really give them a call, invite them over for dinner, or perhaps visit them at their retirement home? Then what happens? The light turns green and the thought is left behind.
Or perhaps maybe you have considered giving your time at a local food shelter or even making it a family affair but quickly excuse the idea. You are way too busy with work, household responsibilities, running kids around, etc. You’ll reconsider when the children’s schedules aren’t so hectic and work let’s up a little, maybe next year?
Maybe your spouse has been bugging you to go on a date. But you keep putting it off until you have enough money budgeted for a fancy meal and night out on the town. You’ll go in a couple months once a few things are paid off.
What if there were no more tomorrows? Those friends, relatives, and neighbors would never know how much they meant to you. And the people’s lives you could have touched and whose lives could have touched yours through volunteering will never happen. Why do you keep putting off gratitude until tomorrow? Why do you keep putting off acts of kindness until you have more time, more money?
I hadn’t really considered how often I put off small acts of kindness and gratitude until I received an email from a gentleman about his wife who is a cancer survivor. As I read the email and watched the video it touched my heart deeply.
Heather is an 8-year survivor of mesothelioma, a rare cancer caused by asbestos exposure. When she was diagnosed, she had just given birth to our little girl, Lily. Heather was told she only had 15 months left to live. I was quickly thrown into the role of caregiver and together we decided we would do whatever it took to beat the cancer. Nearly 8 years later, Heather is cancer free and doing what she loves most; raising Lily. Because she beat the odds and is one of few long-term survivors of mesothelioma, it is our mission to spread awareness of mesothelioma by sharing our personal story.
If her cancer has taught us anything, it’s the value of life and the value of gratitude. Her diagnosis was in the Holiday season, and every year around this time she gets what we call the “Holiday Blues” Therefore, she created “30 Days of Thankfulness” where she acknowledges something in her life that she is thankful for every day throughout the month. (Taken from email that was received)
I think sometimes we forget just how important small acts of kindness can be. We almost fool ourselves into thinking that sending that text, card, calling, paying for a perfect stranger’s coffee, etc. isn’t significant enough. Will it really affect them that much? Will it really have any impact on them? Why should I even bother?
After watching and reading Heather’s story it really got me thinking about others who might be experiencing the holiday blues so I did a little research. Depression and suicides rates are at the highest during the holidays. So yes, it turns out that an act of kindness could have a significant impact on a person’s day, holiday season, even their life! Often time’s people keep their emotions and struggles bottled up. Who’s not to say that receiving that card via snail mail, an invitation to dinner, or having a perfect stranger pay for their coffee might be just what they needed to prevent themselves from taking catastrophic steps.
So the challenge is this…
Don’t put off small acts of kindness. We are not promised tomorrow. Start today. Start small. Stay small. Remember it isn’t the grandeur of the gesture but rather the love behind it. Starting this week put some action behind those kind thoughts. Do at least one small act of kindness each week. It can be well thought out like a special card or package in the mail for a friend or a random pay for a strangers coffee/food. There are only 52 weeks in a year. We should be able to come up with 52 acts of kindness. That’s right; this challenge is running ALL YEAR! Are you up for it? I think you are! I think you will be pleasantly surprised at the results and consequences that your acts of kindness will have on your own life.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Call a friend or family member you haven’t spoken with in a long time
Send an “I am thinking of you” card to family/friend
Send a car package to family/friend
Put together a kit for homeless (Ziploc with small toiletries)
Make a meal for homeless shelter
Offer to babysit for another family (and don’t expect anything in return)
Help someone for FREE (clean house, yard pick-up/maintenance, help with taxes, etc.)
Pay for the person’s order behind you in the drive-thru
Leave waitress a nice tip
Feed the meter for someone
Leave coins in vending machine
Offer to go shopping for elderly neighbor
Shovel neighbors drive
Mail money to a perfect stranger with a small encouraging note
So what do you say? Are you up for the challenge? Have a past experience or act of kindness to share? Have any ideas to add to the list?
Last November our family lived 30 days of Gratitude which was extremely fulfilling. This November we are doing something similar but this time there will be more order to the activity and the children are involved in preparing the activity…Acts of Kindness Countdown to Thanksgiving!
The idea is kind of similar to an Advent calendar. However in addition to a piece of candy each day there is also an act of kindness for the children to engage. First things first…assembling an Acts of Kindness Countdown to Thanksgiving….
What you will need:
1 mini 24 count muffin tin/pan
4 sheets of construction paper (let kiddos select colors, need two colors)
1 bag candy corn or equivalent sized candy pieces
22 Adhesive dots (Scotch has great ones)
Thanksgiving themed stickers
22 Acts of Kindness (See our list below…feel free to add, or alter the list so that it is age appropriate for your children. Ours is geared more towards our 5 and 6 year olds.)
Acts of Kindness List:
Make an afterschool snack for your sibling.
Put together a fun package for friends who live out-of-town. Make a card; include stickers, and other fun activities.
Help clean out the pantry. Put all canned goods in a pile to be donated to the shelter.
Give someone a compliment.
Organize your clothes and place the ones that no longer fit in a pile and you and mommy can donate them to a clothing drive or shelter.
Hold the door for someone; allow them to enter the building first.
Go through your toys and books and those that you no longer use will be donated to children in need.
Help around the house without being asked to do so, such as cleaning your room, the family room, or arts & craft drawers.
Help your sister or brother with something in a kind manner.
Teach your sibling how to do something, to put their shoes on, a crafts, trick, etc.
Visit or call a relative or family friend that you do not see often.
Get out your crayons and color one of the coloring pages found on Color A Smile and then send it to Color a Smile where it will be distributed to the elderly in a Nursing Homes or through Meals on Wheels Programs. http://www.colorasmile.org/coloring.html
Help organize books in the book shelf.
Read an extra story with mommy. (Or read to mommy, if old enough).
Praise your siblings or a classmate when they do something kind.
Kids Choice (allow your child to come up with their own Act of Kindness)
Purchase mittens and hats to donate to the homeless shelter.
Help mommy collect and drop off donations to the animal shelter.
Please encourage your kiddos to participate in the assembling of the Acts of Kindness Countdown to Thanksgiving. By doing so they have the opportunity to practice and sharpen up on their fine motor skills, patterns, sequencing, addition, subtraction, etc. (steps towards writing, reading comprehension, and practicing math skills).
Print off the Acts of Kindness list and cut each into one strip.
Have children trace circles on the construction paper (we used the bottom of a cup as our template).
Cut circles out.
Have children place stickers on the circles.
Have children place circles on the table in patterns. Have some fun with this, take your time and see how many different types of patterns they can create.
Have children wash their hands and then open candy corn or equivalent sized pieces of candy, package. Then take a few minutes and have some fun with math! Do some simple addition… place 5 pieces of candy on the table and then add 3 more, ask your child how many there are? Then subtract two from the table and ask your child how many are left. If you have older kiddos have some fun with multiplication! Add five pieces to each cubby in the first row; have them multiply 4 x 5 and then check their work by actually counting out each piece of candy.
Once you are finished having some fun with math have children count out however many you wish to include in each cubby (we included 3 pieces in each because all three of them will be participating in the countdown, so each will receive one piece of candy each day)
Then have them roll up each Act of Kindness and place one in each cubby. (Well, 22 of the cubbies since Thanksgiving in on the 22nd, or adjust to your liking…24 days).
Then place one Scotch adhesive dot at the top of each circle. And place circles over the cubbies thus hiding the candy and Act of Kindness.
Then each day have the children take turns uncovering the Act of Kindness for the day. Take a moment and discuss the act of kindness with your child/children to make certain it is comprehended accurately and then later in the day (we like to do this over the dinner table) 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.
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…
The day started off like any ordinary day with breakfast, feeding the cat and dog, doing laundry, tidying, the kiddos played a game of basketball, made a fort, watched a movie (did you know there is a Leave it to Beaver movie?) etc.
Then the kiddos inquired, “What else can we do today”? I stood there for a few minutes thinking to myself……Crap!! What can they do? What do we have left to do? We have done it all!! I am burned out!! I wish the children came with pause buttons. Maybe I could somehow convince them that staring at the wall quietly for an hour was a game? My brain has no more ideas, I am out! Please, can I tag someone else in, please? Please God, please help!
Alison: Go look outside your door.
Alison: We dropped something off to get you guys through these last few days.
Me: No!! You are so kind. Thank you!!
So I opened the door and this is what I was greeted with……
She had left me a huge iced coffee and magazine, the kiddos a fun game, our toddler an Elmo book, our first grader a book she has read five times over because she likes it so much, and a Spiderman activity set for our little man. She left us a bucket full of what I call “sanity”. I don’t think there are enough words in the English language for me to express my gratitude. And the timing, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. I felt like I was mere seconds from officially losing my mind.
But that’s not all….for dinner, I was off the hook. I didn’t cook because my parents had arrived back in town and showed up with this…..
That’s right!! Bob Evans down on the farm. It was like a mini Thanksgiving feast, precisely what we needed, what we craved, comfort foods! It was so nice to have a hot delicious meal that I did not have to cook. And for dessert…that’s right, they brought dessert too! Baskin Robbins!! I almost cried, tears of joy of course…the love was so intense.
But wait there is more….
While eating our neighbor stopped by to kindly inform me that our tire was low on our SUV parked out front and he was concerned about me driving the children around town with a low tire. He also brought over treats for our dog that was in need of a little TLC. His bad leg and healing process kind of got pushed to the back burner when the kiddos came down with HFMD. Don’t get me wrong, I still gave him his meds but we were not as attentive after the kiddos got ill.
In the evening we put our toddler down to sleep and let the older two kiddos stay up and play Fruit Ninja, the game that was in the “sanity bucket” that Alison had dropped off. It was so much fun, just the four of us playing a game together; we had never done that before. It is amazing how an act of kindness can evolve into a memory to cherish.
Then, once the children where in bed I checked my email, blog replies, and facebook while cleaning up the day’s mess. The first comment I read was this one in response to the Day 4 post, from a good friend Tammy…..
You had no idea your kids were sick, please don’t be too hard on yourself! I’m sure the other family understands that if you knew you wouldn’t have been there. You have done a great job entertaining the kids this past week and keeping as much sanity as humanly possible. After the kids go to bed, pour a glass of wine, take a warm bath, play some relaxing music…you deserve it! Nothing needs cleaned or washed that is more important than taking time for yourself.
Precisely what I needed to hear, today my prayers were answered. I needed someone else to tag in and boy did God listen!! He tagged in my amazing parents who are also amazing grandparents; they have given me the skills, faith, and fortitude necessary for life and that is a gift that is truly priceless. God tagged in and has blessed me with an amazing group of friends who have been so supportive throughout this entire ordeal. Friends who have their own lives, issues, family, children, wedding to plan, family trips/vacations, etc. but yet have taken a moment to think about my family…thank you Alison, Lilly, Tammy, Allie, Jill, Cheryl, Mary, and ALL my dear friends for your replies, texts, emails, and words of encouragement and support.
I think I know precisely what we can do for the family I spoke of yesterday. The family who contracted HFMD from us, I would like to pay it forward and drop off a “sanity bucket “and dinner for them on day 5, when it is needed most.
As I lay in bed last night I thought about how I almost lost my cool today. How I had prayed to God to please help me get through the day and boy was my prayer answered. I also thought about all those moms out there who have children with compromised immune systems. Moms like Piper and the Kids, and a dear friend Allysa whose daughter is undergoing surgery today, who have to endure weeks, even months of staying indoors so that their children’s lives will not be compromised. I don’t know how they do it! I pray for all those moms today who are quarantined to a home, hospital room, etc. with a child. I pray that they have a strong support system of friends and family.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.