Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Family games that encourage gratitude

If you're looking to help your kids feel more thankful, look no further!  You can encourage gratitude by playing these simple, yet fun games!

Thankful BINGO
List several things or people your family is grateful for, each on a small strip of paper.  Have each person fill out the blank BINGO card below with the above items/people in whatever order they want.  Draw the names out of a basket and see who gets a BINGO first!  

Thankful Charades
Have each person write what they are grateful for on a piece of paper.  Put them all into a bowl, then each person draws one and acts it out.  

Thankful Dice Game
just print out the printable below, then fold, glue and play!  Each child takes a turn rolling it, then they have to answer the question that lands face up.  

Grateful Photo Scavenger Hunt
Give everyone a digital camera/phone.  Give them 5 minutes to take pictures of as many things as they can that they are grateful for.  Gather back together, then print them all off.  Guess who took what pictures.  Then make a simple scrapbook out of the pictures.  

Thankful Cootie Catcher
I loved cootie catchers/fortune tellers as a kid!  With this simple game, you can get your kids talking about things they are grateful for!  Simply print the image below, trim it to a square, then follow this tutorial for how to fold and play it!  

I hope you have fun together as a family while playing these games this Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

7 ways to remember the GIVING part of Thanksgiving

I love that we are extra thankful around this time of year, but sometimes we forget the "giving" part of Thanksgiving! Here are some ways we can give back to those who we are grateful for:

Neighborhood Thanksgiving Turkey
Did you get "boo-ed" around Halloween?  This is the same idea, only for Thanksgiving!  You can read all about it here at Over the Big Moon.

Adopt a Neighbor
As a family, pick a neighbor who you are especially grateful for this year. Secretly make it your family project for the month to do nice things for this neighbor. You can visit them, you can leave small goodies or gifts on their porch, write notes to them about how you are grateful for them, or you can bring in their garbage cans that week. Just try not to get caught!

100 Thank You's Challenge
I love this idea that Devany from Still Playing School posted on Tips from a Typical Mom!  It's so simple, it could work as a family or as individual kids.  Basically you just have your child set a goal for how many times they want to say thank you this month, then you keep track of it.  It's fun because your child can set a high number and still do it... and yet, they will still be impressed that they did it so much!

Grateful Paper Chain
Make a paper chain. Put a name of someone you are grateful for on each paper. Then each day, pick a name off of that chain. Do something nice for that person that day. It can be something as simple as calling them to say you appreciate them, putting a card in the mail for them or even baking a treat for them.

Host a Fall Harvest Potluck
My cute friend Wendy from Bed Head Mom did this and I love it!  Just host a potluck and invite all of the people in your life that you are extra thankful for that year.  It's an easy and fun way to say thank you!

Kindness Thankful Tree
We have all probably seen the thankful trees all over Pinterest. They are awesome! But if you want to take it to the next level and do an act of kindness with it. You can put one on every bedroom door in your home. Throughout the month, anyone can add a grateful leaf to that door, to show why they are thankful for that person.

You can also do this for a neighbor, only as a one time thing, instead of something throughout the month.  Just put a tree (or a turkey) on their door, with reasons why you are grateful for them on the leaves (or feathers).

Thank You Cards
If you know me, you know I am a sucker for thank you cards!  They are so easy but yet make such an impact on someone's day.  Make it a goal to send out 5 thank you cards this month with your kids.  It will be fun to see who they want to thank and how they decide to decorate the cards.

Whatever you do, be sure to reinforce your kid's act of kindness. One awesome way my friend Kim is doing that with her son is by putting up a hand print for each person he helps that month. This way he can see better what an impact he has on the community!

For more ideas on how to serve with your kids, sign up for the Mommy & Me Monthly Service Challenge below!  

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

3 fun ways to use your pumpkins to show your gratitude

Do you still have pumpkins from Halloween?  If so, don't throw them away!!

I love that November gives us some extra motivation to be more grateful!   It's extra fun to display our gratitude around our home!

Here are three fun ways to display your gratitude with your leftover pumpkins!
(Picture to come!  My cute daughter destroyed that pumpkin, so I am in the process of getting a new one!)

Have your children draw pictures of what they are grateful for.  If you're like me, then you can't get enough of young children's drawings!  I just adore them, so why not add them to your "grateful decor" for the month of November?

Just simply add a leaf tag to the stem of the pumpkin.  You can write one or five things you are grateful for.  Leave it out so you can see it often!

As a family, write what you are thankful for around the pumpkin.  It's especially fun to do once a week or every night.  You might just be impressed with what your children say they are thankful for!

All of these would work well on your porch, in your home or even on your Thanksgiving tablescape!

PS: Sharpies work okay for these projects, but if you want it to look darker and last longer, use a paint marker!

If you liked this, you might like Simple (& Creative) Ways to Help Your Child Say Thank You

Christmas for a Deserving Utah Family

For the past two years, I have worked with some wonderful people, including local bloggers to help 3 local, deserving families get a beautiful Christmas!  It has been a really neat experience and I am excited to do it again this year!

This year I am teaming up with *5 other local bloggers, but we need your help!

First of all, we are in need of nominations of a deserving family!  We are looking for a family with children who lives within 25 miles of Salt Lake City, who could use some help this holiday season.

We are accepting nominations for a family that fits this criteria until Sunday, November 15th.  

All the information given will be kept confidential and will only be used if the family is chosen, so we can contact them to get the necessary information.

You can nominate a family here or at the bottom of this post.

If you want updates on what our 'deserving Utah family' will need via Email once the family is decided, email me at [email protected] with the subject "Christmas Updates" so I don't overlook you!  OR you can join this Facebook page to stay updated, too!  

Lastly, you can donate physical items, gift cards or money via PayPal.  Just email me for the details.

*Special thanks to all of the bloggers teaming up with me!  
Jessie @ Utah Mom Connection
Kim @ Utah Valley Moms
Jennifer @ My Daylights
Wendy @ bedheadmom
Joanie @ Coupons 4 Utah

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Serve others in memory of 9/11

For those of us who remember 9/11, it will forever be engraved in our minds.  We saw images that we will never forget.  Out hearts were more than touched, they were changed.  We saw our whole country come together to make something tragic turn into something special.  People were kind and compassionate.
Lighting a memorial candle honors the memory of a loved one. The ritual not only honors the person's memory, but also reminds others that his or her life lives on. Lighting a candle at a memorial service is a simple yet touching gesture, and it helps keep the loved one's memory alive. If you can't use a candle when there's a toddler around, you can just use designated light.
I love that hard trials can be turned into something beautiful, if we let it.

Our children probably don't really understand what happened on that day, and that's okay.  But it's still a great opportunity to teach them that it's a special day and that we can help others who helped us on that day in 2001.

Here are some simple ideas to get you started!

Mail a postcard
Postcards are such an easy way to spread kindness!  You can even make your own by simply cutting some card stock 4" x 6", let your child color a picture, then write a simple note on the other side.  You can send a postcard to those who are deployed, the families of a military member, veterans, etc.  Here is a website with information about sending letters to military personnel.

Say Thank You
Saying thank you is something so simple, but can make a big impact on someone's life.  Besides the typical people we think of helping on 9/11 (firefighters, police, etc.), don't forget to thank EMTs, doctors, nurses, flight attendants, etc.  There were so many people who contributed to helping on that day and on the days and months that followed.

Bake a treat
Take cookies to your local police department or fire department, no doubt they will be grateful!

Donate Money is asking for people to donate $9.11 to support education programs and charitable services in honor of those lost.

There were countless volunteers who helped that day.  Some who helped pick up the debris and some who went unnoticed.  You can volunteer (even a short amount of time), to help with any cause or organization you are passionate about!  Even something as simple as offering to volunteer in your child's classroom would count!

Send a package
Military personnel are often deployed with very little contact with their family members.  That would be really hard!  By sending a simple package, it will make any military member's day!
Here's a website with more information about what and where to send packages.

Donate blood
There were many people who were hospitalized because of the attacks on 9/11.  I'm sure some of them needed blood.  In memory of that day, you can donate blood to the Red Cross.

There are also several events around the country that you can participate in!

Family Day of Service  
If you live in Utah, there is a fun event that will have several tables set up, each with their own act of kindness.  It will be a fun and easy way to get your kids involved in service!

See the flier below (click to enlarge) or this facebook event page for more details.

Operation Shower
Operation Shower is an awesome non-profit organization that throws baby showers for those who are expecting and have a loved one deployed.  Such an awesome idea!
In Utah, there is a local Operation Baby Shower event where you can come and donate a gift that will be sent to those military spouses who are expecting.
Or, you can throw your own Operation Baby Shower!  Throw a baby shower just as if the mom-to-be is there, then donate the gifts to Operation Shower.

Family Day at Captain Hope's Kids
If you live near Dallas, TX, you have to check out this event!

Captain Hope's Kids and Pennies of Time have teamed up to bring you a fun Family Day!  For the full details, click here.

Dine Out for 9/11 Tribute 
If you live in NYC, check out these awesome restaurants who are teaming up to raise awareness and funds for 9/11 educational programs.

Compassion Games
No matter where you are, you should check out the Compassion Games!  It's a fun way to get your family motivated on this day, the National Day of Service and Remembrance!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Uplift Families Parenting Conference - A Utah Event

I've asked before on my Facebook page if being a spouse is harder or if being a parent was harder.  95% of the answers said being a parent was harder.  I completely agree!

Being a Parent today is filled with challenges! If you’re looking for common sense solutions, come to the 2015 Uplift Families Parenting Conference, hosted by First Lady of Utah, Jeanette Herbert, held Saturday, September 19th at 5:30 pm at the Thanksgiving Point Show Barn.

This year’s presenters include: Matt Townsend, Brad Barton, Carmen Rasmusen Herbert, Clay Olsen and Lucy Delgadillo. We’ll also have a special performance by Joshua Creek!

You’ll be inspired, educated and entertained by well-known speakers and experts on the family. Enjoy dinner, dessert, music, exhibits and prizes! Make it a date night or come with friends!

I am so excited to be partnering with Uplift Families!  Uplift Families is a non-profit organization started by Utah's First Lady, Jeanette Herbert.  I believe that the old fashioned family values are so important, but that it is continually getting harder and harder to have those values in our home.  That was one of the main reasons why I started this blog.  I wanted to help others instill those values in homes by sharing fun and easy ways to serve together as a family.

Uplift Families is a great website with hundreds (if not thousands) of resources for parents to help with anything from Autism to Suicide to Education.  I highly recommend it to any parent, and no doubt the conference will be amazing, too!  

Tickets are $25.00 per couple or $15.00 for an individual. Seating is limited.

To receive $5 off your order, use promo code Trust2015!

To buy tickets or get additional information, go to

Sunday, August 16, 2015

8 ways to serve with your kids, inspired by children's books

If you're visiting from The Place, WELCOME!  Check out this local event on September 11th!

Children's books can be a powerful force for teaching children.  I love sharing my favorite books on kindness with my kids, and they really seem to respond positively to them, too.

I always love the ideas of doing an activity inspired by a book, so today I want to share 4 books on kindness, each with 2 act of kindness ideas to go along with them.

I recently asked on my Facebook page, what moms would want to hear about.  It was almost unanimous that everyone wanted to hear how kids could serve other kids.  So, I tried to incorporate that in these ideas!

(this post may contain affiliate links)

Kiki's Hats
by Warren Hanson

-Learn how to knit with your kids and donate hats to the homeless shelter or kids going through chemo.  You can also knit small hearts to donate to The Peyton Heart Project.
-Share your talents for free!  Take pictures of someone for free, bake a treat for someone, draw them a picture, etc.

(Enter to win this book this month in our Virtual Kindness Summer Camp!)

Because Amelia Smiled
by David Ezra Stein

-Pass out smiley face stickers to kids at the store
-Leave these printable smiles for people to find, or you can mail them.
(here are some printable ones you can use!)

Those Shoes
by Meribeth Boelts

-donate outgrown shoes to the homeless shelter
-Host a SOLE HOPE shoe cutting party for kids in Africa

The Impossible Patriotism Project
by Linda Skeers

-Send a thank you card to a military family
-Serve in memory of those who served at 9/11 events like the Family Day of Service, or plan a small event of your own!

OR, better yet... read any kindness book with your children and ask them what they want to do because of the book!  I bet they will impress you with their answers!

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