Tag Archives: kids

Embracing a simple summer…..

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“Mom….just ten more minutes to ride my bike”…

“Maybe later”.

“How about you play barbies with me in the basement?

“Maybe later”.

Maybe later….maybe later (sigh)……I can’t tell you how often I’ve used this phrase with my two youngest. I’ll tell you….the “mom guilt” is strong. Strong because, as parents, we constantly are reevaluating our decisions and the life that we are providing our children.

As hard as my children work during the school year, I need to work just as hard to make sure that we “live it up” in the summer. I have spent the past three weeks thinking about this….and all these questions come to mind:

Are my little girls getting the same childhood as their older siblings?

What happened to the simple joys of childhood?……and can I get that back?

If I am going to demand hard work during the school year, I will have to let my kids just “hang out” for the summer…..

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I often think back to the days of creek jumping, and endless picnics. When my oldest wasn’t yet schooling, we filled our days with endless fun. She was too young for school and still too young for structured activities, so our day included afternoon walks with leaf collecting and puddle jumping. I sat in attendance for many a puppet show, or “culinary experience” from our play kitchen. Life wasn’t too “busy” to just have fun and “play” with my children.

And yet…..my little girls fall second to the three older children and their academic success in homeschooling. I know I need to find the balance for this coming fall, but for now…I can plunge right into summer with this simplistic mentality.

So…I made a few phone calls. No piano lessons for the summer. No dance class. Nothing that would require the kids and I to have a schedule.  Two vacation bible schools and one overnight camp…but that’s it. The rest of the summer is totally up to us!

It means late night and late mornings.

It means extra snuggles at bedtime and cuddles in the morning.

It means staying late at the pool and grabbing takeout for dinner.

It means last minute playdates with friends, and endless nights on the porch.

So….how exactly will we spend our summer? I’ve got a few ideas……

So I have decided to include a printable of some simple summer suggestions here:

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It’s my first free printable!  Trust me as I learn how to perfect these…they will get better. haha

Take a few minutes to print off that printable and let your mind start sailing off…..

So that you can enjoy having beach days and surfing parties:

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Or maybe your kids can ride in a space ship…made of table chairs…

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or stay in your pajamas and play….

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Life’s too short to spend your summer driving kids around to activities. Spend your days cuddling in the sun, and picking yummy fruit.

Spend your summer days reminding your kids how make fun YOU ARE!!!

Allow yourself to “slow down” and soak in the laughter of your children.

God bless,

Tammi

 

 

 

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Who says birthdays have to be “self”-ish….let’s chat about A “Community Service” birthday party….

While planning the “Murder Mystery party” for Sweet Pea this past weekend (more on that subject later), I was reminded that I never blogged on Sweet Pea’s party last year. I have to say that it was the party that SHE and I were the most “proud” of.

The idea for the “selfless” party started when we were listening to Klove radio one morning. Sweet Pea, in her typical spirit of introspection, was listening to Matthew West’s “Do Something”. Here it is if you haven’t heard it before:

The song is really a “call to action” for us Christians. It’s a reminder that we need to “do something” about the poverty, injustice, and hurt in our world today. That God calls us to be that “someone” and to do what we can to help others.

As Sweet Pea listened to that song, and sung her heart out, she finished with, “Mom, I need to do more. Maybe this year, instead of my birthday, I will just donate my  birthday money to the poor.” To say that I’m proud of her selfless heart is an understatement. This child was also the one who tightly hugged my mom’s neck when she learned that one of her Christmas presents, two years ago, was a goat donated to a poor family in Haiti. I wish you could have seen her enthusiasm at knowing that that little goat was providing that family with milk for the year.

With this new found enthusiasm to help others, we worked together to devise a plan for her eleventh birthday party. After thinking of countless ways we could help others, we decided to combine several ideas and create a “Community Service birthday party”. A day in which we came together to thank God for the gift of her life and yet offer multiple opportunities to put others first. This party was about asking her friends to help her “do something” for those less fortunate around her. After discussing her party ideas with several people, Her friends were equally as excited about this gathering.

So here was the party:

Decorations: none. This had to be one of the simplest parties. No decorations. For the invitations, I sent free birthday evites.

Activities:

The girls started by making large casseroles for our parish church. The church has freezers where they store large casserole donations for a local men’s homeless shelter. Sweet Pea had taken two large casserole dishes from the church to fill up for the party. The girls were eager to help !

 

Next, the girls worked in a different room to create happy “birth” day cards to all the new babies on the labor/delivery wing of our local hospital. I called the hospital and spoke with guest services and they were thrilled to help us in getting these passed out to all the new moms.

 

We had another group of girls working on making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the local soup kitchen. We were able to make about four loaves of bread to donate and the call to the supervisor was met with such enthusiasm.

Food: A chickfilia tray was a “must” for a party like this…super simple and a great organization to be supporting. Cheese/crackers, fruit, pretzels and other chips rounded out the night. Everything was disposable and super simple to clean up since we were concentrating on making food for others rather than eating ourselves.

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Gifts: Sweet Pea had asked all her friends, instead of presents, to bring diapers, wipes, and baby items to be donated to the local pregnancy center or canned goods to be delivered to a local food pantry. I watched, with pride, as she delivered them to the pregnancy center….a huge smile on her face…and then to see the director offer her a huge hug for thinking of them. We even had the priviledge of delivering two check donations from the parents of two of her friends. What a sweet birthday present for Sweet Pea!

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This was such a great way to honor what’s important to Sweet Pea, helping others. As a homeschooling mom, I am so happy to see the beautiful girls that Sweet Pea has in her life……little ladies that are learning how important it is to reach out and be “a light” in this world that needs more love and joy.

In the words of Matthew West, “It’s not enough for us to do nothing, it’s time for us to do something!”

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Let’s do some “appreciating”!!

When I used to teach, I loved to see all the different gift ideas that would flood my desk at the end of the year. Let’s be honest…if you have NEVER been one to “do”teacher gifts…this is your year!! Teachers truly care. We truly pour our heart and soul into teaching your children…with little financial gain. We spend countless hours after school and on the weekends working on the latest and greatest way to help our students learn. If there is anyone who desires your “appreciating”, it is your child’s teacher. However, this doesn’t have to be a huge expense. As a teacher at our local co-op and a parent, I get to receive cute gifts and give them.

When I taught in the school system,  the “crafty” moms would get something cute and trendy, and the “last minute” moms (don’t be offended…this would be me..haha) were always good for a gift card.  My desk was often filled with yummy baked goods, and candy filled mugs.

So….what did I love???!!

Here you go…….5 great gift ideas for your teacher:

  1. A group gift: One year my “class moms” collected money from any family willing to give, and gave me a Visa gift card and a card from the children. It was a hefty sum of money and was such a thoughtful way of acknowledging me. If you think giving a Visa gift card is weird, it’s not. Any teacher would love to have extra money for a dinner out or a new outfit.
  2. A gift card: I love gift cards to places that I frequent anyway. In the past, I have given and received gift cards to Wawa/convenient store, Target/Walmart, local ice cream places, Panera, and Starbucks. I love that I can also go on Pinterest and find a cute tag  to attach to my gift card. One year our family used downloads similar to these along with our Starbucks card. I would not suggest getting teachers a gift card to a teacher supply store. Enough of our money is going there anyway…haha.

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You can find these free printables here.

3.) Homemade Food gifts: In dealing with several teachers for my children’s homeschooling co-op, I found that making something “yummy” was a great and inexpensive way to acknowledge the 15 teachers that teach all 5 of them. So this year, we used these awesome tags found here.

I didn’t feel that it was necessary to bake a whole dozen or even a half dozen. Three or four nicely baked fresh cookies would be sufficient. I have also received some delicious homemade applesauce, apple butter, and taco seasoning. All great gifts that were surely enjoyed. I was so bummed when I finished off the remainder of the homemade taco seasoning.

This is also a super cute idea. You get the “feel” of a homemade gift for half the work. haha. You can find the link for this here.

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4.) Homemade gifts: If you are the “crafty” type, you can really find some wonderful ideas on Pinterest. Here are some of my favorites…..

How cute are these hand scrub jars? You can check these out here.

diy lemon hand scrub in mini mason jar with custom gift tag sticker:

I received a tumbler like this one year and I loved it. The student had filled it with a couple of different “packets” of instant lemonade, and iced tea. Perfect for those poolside days!

You can print the tags for that here.

What a cute and easy idea for teacher appreciation! Cute cup with a free printable tag:

5.) Wine, wine and wine: It wouldn’t be right if I didn’t acknowledge the beauty of a nice bottle of wine..and what teacher wouldn’t love a bottle of wine with this cute tag attached. You can find it here.

Give a teacher a bottle of wine with this free printable gift tag.  Teachers love grapes.. not apples.

Most importantly, write a small handwritten note thanking the teacher and acknowledging the work that they have done in your child. Be as specific as possible. Few things make a teacher happier than knowing that he/she is making a difference.

Here’s to another great school year coming to a close!

God bless,

Tammi

Working Backwards……to get it done!

Have you ever found a system that works for you…and when you share it with someone else they LOVE it!!!

Ok…well…hold your hats!

First of all, I love my new Erin Condren planner that my sister in law purchased for me. I’m not a super “decorative sticker/tape” person but I definitely have decided that pen and paper is best for me, so I decided to give up my phone calendar and stick with this one.

If you decide to look into this planner, please use my referral link so I can score more credit to purchase cool new “things”…(wink.wink). I’ve got my eye on a few things…

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Here is my link…

I mean…how cute is this personalized cover of my crew….

However, as much as I love my planner, this post is more about the process than the planner. If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that I am not a super organized person. I leave the beauty of organization to those skilled at it like Iheart organizing and Abby over at Just A girl and her blog.

However, I do have a process that I have found keeps my world from crashing in around me.

And…it involves working backwards.

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Depicted in the photo above, on Sundays evenings, I usually sit with 5 post it notes for the week out in front of me. If my week/weekend is super busy, I will put all 7 days of the week in front of me. Simply put, I work backwards.

I think of everything that needs to be done for an event or for the week, and then space it out throughout my week so I don’t feel overwhelmed. 

For instance, on Friday, of this week, I have my weekly co-op in which I teach 2 classes. So, on Monday I will make a note that I need to send an email to the parents of my students reminding them about any work/reminders for Friday. I had my son draw me up a quick picture today (Monday) of his cake that he will need to make for his 50 states project on Friday.  I will also try and figure out the kids’ lunch menu so I can grab stuff either Monday night or Wednesday morning when grocery shopping. Wednesday, I also will note that I need to have my daughter and son work on their rough drafts due for their IEW writing class. Thursday night, I will have all the children pack their bags for the co-op and they get placed at the front door to head out in the morning. Thursday night, I also write up a quick “thing to do” and place on my kitchen counter so I know what I need to grab in the morning. I place all lunch boxes on the kitchen counter and non-perishable lunch items in their lunch boxes. This also allows me time to “think ahead”. I often ask myself “Do I have something that I need to give someone I will see at the co-op?” If so, I will add these items to my trunk on Wednesday or Thursday night.

Sounds simple, right??!! But…it’s a gamechanger!! 

If you are used to leaving everything for the last minute, you really don’t allow yourself any time to be of service to others. When I was writing my list a few weeks ago, I remembered that my sister in law (who had just had a new baby) might need a ride for her two older children to the co-op. A simple text to her earlier in the week allowed me to tweak my morning schedule on Friday to pick up her children, without any burden on myself or my family. In addition, you always want to be prepared for the occasional stomach flu or flat tire that can set you back a day or two.

This process also works through the regular week as well.

I have my schedule “set” so that I maximize my time to be the most efficient. As a parent, I understand the need to juggle multiple schedules, and yet still get everything done. A couple of months ago, I made a list of all the chores/responsibilities that need to be completed in a week. Then I sat down with my postit notes and tried to figure out the best possible scenarios in which I could “commit” to those things.

I promise, it works!

It’s just like a great puzzle…you need to make sure that everything has a time and place when it is completed. Otherwise, you will begin to realize that your bathroom shower never gets cleaned or your front foyer never gets steam mopped. (I’m certainly not speaking from experience here…haha)

An additional piece of advice to my homeschooling mom friends, this year was the first year that I had two “set” days that I was “running around” and two days that I was pretty home bound. On Mondays and Wednesdays, I am home. I have set up my children’s school schedules so that I can do the most instruction on those days. They are also the two days that I “power through” my laundry, and kitchen duties. We have family meals that require a little more prep and time on those days as well. In contrast, on Tuesdays, my day starts at 9:00 with piano lessons, then adoration, off to chorus, and then dance class. I pull into my house around 6:15 thoroughly exhausted. However, on Tuesdays, because of all the children’s activities, I easily spend hours waiting for them. My “thing to do” list on Tuesday includes multiple errands in the van, office calls, quick emails, and reading. While the children load up multiple bags of dance attire, piano books, and chorus music, I heave my large 31 bag full of stuff to do as well. For me, this is a great time to reference my Master List of things to do; “pin” a few new recipes on Pinterest; or clean out my email inbox. I usually enjoy grabbing the children a quick lunch and hitting a park for some quick outside fun!

My advice would be to plan your errands around where you are headed or have to be. Every Tuesday, I drop off my husband’s dry cleaning and/or pick up his dry cleaning after adoration. It’s literally right down the street. He appreciates the errand, and it requires little work for me. The post office is on the same street as the parish church, where the girls take piano lessons, so I add any packages or mailings to the list for that time. Additionally, I keep a bin in my trunk with any store returns that I have to make. I tuck the receipt in the bag, so that I’m ready to return it.

If you’ve had a system that you’ve tried, and it isn’t working for you….give this a try! This system of working backwards has only proven time and time again to keep me from being overwhelmed, and to feel at peace.

I hope your organizational efforts are fruitful!

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Holy Thursday 2016: Lenten Tea

When I first started blogging, I was eager to share my ideas with other moms. I was eager to inspire other moms to get more involved and celebrate the liturgies of the Church in our homes. I love to celebrate holidays and liturgical events. With this in mind, I quickly found plenty of other blogger moms who had plenty of ideas to share with me as well. I have referenced Catholic All Year, Sole Searching Mama, and Sometimes Martha Always Mary, as three of these such bloggers.

Let me begin by saying that I love Holy Week. I try to set up my week by having Wednesday and Thursday be my cleaning and purging days. I wrap up all my schoolwork with the children on Wednesday. The children and I spend Holy Thursday cleaning our house and preparing for Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday! I usually run the remainder of my errands, and compile my lists of things to do for each day. I like the concept of having one or two “big” events for each day as a way to extend Holy Week.

Holy Thursday= Lenten Tea and the Washing of the Feet

A few years ago I was introduced to the concept of a Lenten Tea by the blog, Shower of Roses. You can read about that here.

A Lenten Tea sounded like the perfect way to teach the little children the story of Holy Thursday by partaking in food that would remind us of the Last Supper. This has become a beloved tradition in our home and every year we change it up a little.

Here are our pictures from this year:

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  • A small “tip” for moms of toddlers or wild boys…haha. I purchased a nice china tea pot that had about four pretty tea cups that I used when I had friends over for tea. As you can tell in the picture above, I would also grab tea cups from Goodwill and Thrift shops when I found them for my little kids to use. There is nothing worst than trying to enjoy a tea while you are worried about them breaking your “good china”.
  • This tea was primarily set up by Sweet Pea and the Fashionista. I would highly recommend having your children as involved in the planning and implementation of parties/events as possible. I have definitely dropped the need to have things “picture perfect” so I can allow my children to help more.

 

I use this book that tells the story of the Last Supper through the Resurrection. We read only the pages through Holy Thursday during the tea. I also photocopied Chapters 14 and 15 of the Gospel of Mark so I could quote scripture about each food item.

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For instance, when we read about the people waving the Palm Branches and hailing Jesus the “King”, with the screams of “Hosanna”, we wave our Romaine Lettuce “palms”. I made sure that the leaves were wet, and it was fun to “bless each other” as we yelled “Hosanna”. In years past, we have also used Spinach leaves.

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Our Rotisserre chicken pieces reminded us of the cock that crowed when Peter denied Jesus. In the past, we have also made chicken salad, and chicken wings.

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Our cheese “circles” and crackers remind us of the thirty pieces of silver that Judas betrayed Jesus for. (obviously, the kids helped themselves before this photo) My sister in law, was using Peppermint patties for these thirty pieces of silver. You could also use gold coins…however, I was interested in having less treats and more food to fill their bellies.

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FYI…..I just used pre-cut cheese slices and found a handy “cap” for our iced tea container to make the circular shapes.

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Pictured below:

  • our Fig Newtons to remind us of the story of the fig tree in the Garden of Gethsemane
  • our flatbread for the unleavened bread that Jesus broke and shared. Pita bread would be great here too. 
  • our hershey kisses to remind us how Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss
  • the tic tacs to symbolize the bitter tears that Peter wept realizing that he denied the Lord, as Jesus had foretold
  • some Cool Whip to remind us of the “clouds of heaven” that Jesus told Caiaphas that he would be returning on.
  • “sleepytime” vanilla tea to remind us of how the apostles fell asleep while Jesus was praying in the garden.

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Not pictured was our olive oil “dip” for the Mount of Olives.

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This was a great afternoon tea for us this year. I would recommend having the kids wrap their chicken pieces in their romaine lettuce…add a little olive oil dip and you’ve got a great wrap.

Lacy, over at Catholic Icing, also has an awesome Passion Lunch depicted below. You can read more about that here.

easter story lunch for Good Friday

Our second event is typically attending the Holy Thursday service at our Church and then my husband washes the children’s feet. This year, the husband was released from the hospital, on Monday, having been treated for pneumonia for 5 days. He has been trying to take it easy so we omitted these events this past year. However, I still wanted to mention them as they are important to our typical celebration.

My husband thinks its so important for the children to understand how much he loves them and how important it is to lead a life in service of others.

Stay tuned for the post tomorrow about our Good Friday details!

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St. Patrick’s Day!!!

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You know what time it is??!!! It’s the celebration for all of us Irishmen! We definitely love our Irish heritage and sport our green for Ireland on March 17! Thanks to Walmart and the local Dollar Tree, I was able to score some awesome “loot” to help the kiddos celebrate! Missing from this picture is my son’s green leprechaun hat, four more pairs of shamrock socks, Sweet Pea’s larger shamrock drop earrings, and two more scarves. My kiddos always get super excited and then race away with their loot. I’ve been know to hang on to stuff so that they actually know “where it is” come Thursday….hahaha.

I try and integrate the holidays into every aspect of our lives.  With St. Patrick’s Day, this is no acception, Pinterest always has a ton of ideas.  If you want to see some of the things we have done in years past, you can check out another blog I did on St. Patrick’s Day here.

Let me take a second to be “real” about holidays. Holidays can be so fun to celebrate and some years we just do as much as we can. However, other years…I am glad to just watch the day pass without doing anything. Then, some years I just do something simple that the kids will enjoy. So…when you are reading a blog for holiday ideas, pick and choose what you want. Don’t feel the need to do everything. It’s suppose to be helpful not burdensome.

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(Back when they were little….)

School work/Activities: 

*I recently registered as an Amazon affiliate, which means I make a small percentage back when someone purchases from one of my links. Please know that this blog, has always and will always be my thoughts and will not be biased by any promotion or product. In looking at this program, I decided that I LOVE the ease of amazon prime myself and often “link” their products for the ease of my readers. It seemed to be a great way to make a little money to lighten my own Amazon cart…haha. ***

I wish I had remembered that these great books were in my amazon “cart” on Monday when I sent my mom her birthday present. When I opened my St. Patrick’s Day tote from the basement, I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t invested in any good books for the kiddos. After the large number of books I have for St. Valentine, I’m definitely lacking with St. Patrick. Well, with these two purchases, we will be well on our way in getting our library for this holiday established.

 

I love all the Tomie De Paola books and am super excited to add this one to our collection.

This book looks like a great way to introduce St. Patrick to young children.

I have also found that super teacher worksheets is invaluable for me as a homeschooling mom when I am looking to cover holidays or different concepts with my kiddos. At $19.99 for the year, I feel like it’s a great deal. I can easily gather worksheets using Math, Readiing Comprehension or puzzle-making skills to celebrate any holiday. The great thing about this site is that you can save the worksheets onto your computer for the next year!

Here are some of the ones we used this year:

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Really beautiful St. Patrick coloring page. Free to print!:

Catholic Heritage Curricula has this awesome coloring page available here.

I also did a quick activity teaching the little girls about the Trinity here.

 

The children typically wake up to their place set along with Lucky Charms and some green blueberry muffins. Let me go on the record as saying that I hate Lucky Charms….but my kids have developed their father’s love for sugar cereal and since this is a once-a -year treat…they indulge!

Lucky Cereal Graphing freebie:

This year we are going to be using our knowledge of tallying and graphing along with our Lucky Charms. This is a link to the graphing page. It will redirect you to the teachers pay teachers website. Now….I totally understand if you find this frustrating…because I do too. I just want to be able to push a link and print out a cute worksheet. However, I have found many benefits to using this website. First, it’s free to sign up and if you “save” your login information on your computer, no worries of forgetting. Plus, many of the Pinterest worksheets are now found on this system. In addition, every few weeks they send me a link of several “free” downloads for the week. They are usually time-related and I typically download most of them.

  • Here are some updated pictures that I took after we completed the activity:

Let’s chat food:

This year it’s Guinness Shepherd’s Pie for dinner:

Guinness Shepherd's Pie:

Amazingly Easy Irish Soda Bread Allrecipes.com:

I’m going to give this project to Sweet Pea. She will love to try her hand at some Irish Soda bread, and the little munchkins will gobble it up while they complain about the shepherd’s pie and beg for dessert….haha.

This year we are going to try our hand at these Irish potatoes for dessert.

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I will probably make sure to have a little bit of mint chocolate chip ice cream in our fridge as well….because ice cream is my weakness!

If a tea party is more your speed, Lacy over at Catholic Icing has a great blog about that here. 

Irish Blessing Subway Art-blog size

You can get this awesome printable here, which I used in our living room with some more Irish decorations.

UPDATE:****Here are some of our pictures from St. Patrick’s Day!*****

Wishing you a great St. Patricks’ day! May we be bold like St. Patrick in proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

God bless,

Tammi

“Wait…this is the holiday where we just eat that big bird?”

“Wait…this is the holiday where we JUST eat that big bird?”

Wow….that statement by Miss Missy really had me thinking. The hubs and I have dedicated so much time into making traditions in our family for each holiday. The children look forward to our Lenten Tea during Holy Week, our annual “Running of the Alleluia banner” on Easter Sunday, our “Kids in Charge” Day over the summer, and our vast Advent/Christmas traditions. 

How did we miss having traditions for this holiday? I don’t think we have. I just think we’ve tried different things each year and haven’t “secured” the traditions yet. I  guess for us…it’s about sitting around the table with family and just being “thankful”. However, for my children, they need something more “concrete” to connect to this holiday so….here are some of the things we have done in the past/ or have decided to add to our festivities to really stress the importance of this season of “thanksgiving”.

 

1.) Make sure the word “thankful” or “thanks” is clearly present in your home. The children should come to expect to see the word “thanks” around this time of year. These little signs and reminders can be great sources of inspiration to little minds.IMG_7927

2.) Create places in your home that are reminders of the holiday. Our house, typically, has several areas that we adorn for the holidays. If I am slacking one year, one of the older children will often venture downstairs and grab the corresponding tote for that holiday, just to nudge me into decorating. I love that they love decorating as much as I do. The children helped me pick out these little adorable gourds one year when we were picking pumpkins at a patch. I thought these would look adorable as a centerpiece during the week of Thanksgiving. (You also can’t beat the dollar tree fake leaves.)

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We also love to have holiday books in a basket by our fireplace. These are some of our favorites that we have been using every year.

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3.) Get the kids involved in everything!!!  I love beautiful decor. I really do…but I don’t think beautiful has to mean not “kid-friendly”. I choose to decorate our humble abode with decorations that our children can help with. If you cringe every time your child touches a decoration, you don’t need that in your house. (that’s my opinion).

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One year, we made these adorable placemats for our children’s table. Now, we have only had a “children’s table”when we are hosting more people than can fit around our table. We laminated these and the kids loved them. You can find the link for these here.

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We also made these adorable “cups” for our table one year. You can see the link here.

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This past Thanksgiving, I also let my two older girls design our centerpiece using stuff that I had in our Thanksgiving bin. I find it adorable that they included little pumpkin name cards on each person’s plate.

4.) Start a “thanksgiving” tree. (thankful treeThe kids and I did this a few years ago and loved it. We kept it up through the first week of Advent and it’s a great reminder of all those people whom we are praying for. We add our leaves right to the tree, and then i leave extra “leaves” on the base for visitors to add theirs, or if the children want to add others.

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5.) Write letters of “thanksgiving” to family and friends. We are spending some time today, the day before Thanksgiving, writing letters to godparents, cousins, grandparents, or anyone else the children want to write. You can read about a letter I wrote Sweet Pea last year…here.

6.) Make a special recipe that honors someone who is important to you. We are making my grandmother’s famous stuffing. It’s the hubs favorite thanksgiving dish and a huge “crowd pleaser”. We will take some time to talk about my thanksgiving dinners as a child and how my grandmother and mom would make this recipe.

7.) Spend some time together doing “Christ-like” acts for those in your community. Print out some of our “Touched By His Light” cards and hand them to people while you helping them load their groceries in their van. Or maybe consider buying someone a coffee behind you in line. Send the mail man off with a card and some baked goods. Don’t forget to share some love with the parish priest…baked goods are always a hit!

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8.) Spend some time before dinner praying and giving thanks for all your blessings. Encourage your visitors to do the same. We usually go around and say reasons that we are thankful for each person. We allow this opportunity to really reflect on where we were last year at Thanksgiving. For me, it’s about this man. I’m a daddy girl…which is why I’m sure I’ve raised a few. haha. Last thanksgiving, he could barely walk. He was recovering from multiple organ failure and almost died. It was such a tough time for our family. Today we are so thankful for the blessing of another year with him.

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9.) Spend time with family. Last night, the two little girls and I picked up my parents to spend thanksgiving with. Today we will be prepping food, baking, and playing endless games with grandmom and grandpop. The hubs will take the big kids tomorrow to weather the cold for the annual family Turkey Bowl game. A few years ago, the hubs lost his wedding band when he placed it in his shoe during the game. I’m praying this year that he returns with all the kids…hahaha. I will be nice and cozy sipping on a mimosa and watching the Macy’s Thankgiving parade….silently praying that my husband does not injure himself. (please, Lord)

I snapped these shots this afternoon as the children shared old photo albums with grandpop.

10.) Photocopy fun Thanksgiving activities for the children to work on while you prepare dinner. 

My crew loves to have seasonal stuff to work on while I’m cooking. These thanksgiving bingo cards have already been laminated and are ready to go. Thanksgiving mad lids are loved by all!!!!

Most of all, this holiday is about us being thankful for all the blessings of family and friends. I know that I am tremendously blessed with our little family. I thank the Lord, daily, for the blessing of a hard-working, and dedicated husband who is also my best friend.

I pray that we all can remember the precious things in our lives and be thankful for them.

Happy Thanksgiving!

God bless, Tammi