Don’t Worry Be Happy

OSOV_KidsFuture

In recognition of all the nervous kids starting school soon, I wanted to send a well wish of HAPPINESS.

Last night I got together with my brothers and sisters and their kids. We talked about things the kids were nervous about with school starting soon. Many kids jumped in, “I hate school” “Lockers” “Bullies” “Mean teachers” & then the adults shared a few stories from their youth. It was fun to hear from the many generations talk about what made them worry, how they made friends from strangers, nervousness about locker combinations, bullies, if they were going to have nice teachers, why they didn’t like school & why they did…it was fun!!

We then had each family take a helium filled balloon outside & had each member from their family write down any worries or concerns about starting school. Each family then watched as each balloon began to drift away…We were literally watching our worries float away. It was beautiful.

We then had then all watch and dance to the following song—it was a perfect fit!! Enjoy!!

And remember this—feelings are real, so take the time to talk to your kids, see how they are feeling, what they are worried about and do all you can to help take away their worries.  -Peace and Love to you today.

What are you going to do for Father’s Day?

In honor of the great men in our lives…great youtube

Ideas for a successful Father’s Day:

PicMonkey Collage8

pic from http://www.ourboathouse.com/blog/10-ways-to-have-a-fun-backyard-campout/

Campout in your backyard! My Dad just wanted to do some dutch oven cooking, have a fire & make smokes, so we have decided to invite the whole family to bring over their tents & have a campout in honor of our Dad.

running-pic

Let them do something that is all their own!! Father’s Day weekend my husband is racing in a Ragnar race (Two vans, 10+ people) traveling & running overnight. This may not sound like an ideal activity for many, but for my man, he was all in! Give your husband a day to do something that he wants to do…let him have a day fishing, golfing, favorite breakfast, lunch & dinner, let them go geo caching, a bike ride, watch a game, anything that their heart desires. Let them have some time to do something they enjoy.

Sifting-Gold1Go do something of interest: My husband has wanted to go Gold panning, so one of his gifts is a gold pan & a trip up a local canyon. Is there a lake your family has wanted to hike to or a museum you have wanted to visit. Maybe try paint balling, go bowling, go carting, visit a amusement park,Take the family and do something you have all wanted to see or do.

Mini-Fruit-Pizzas-with-Marshmallow-Creme-Frosting-03_miniMake something together: Last night my daughter and her Dad made cookies together. It was so fun to hear them talking ingredients, cookie paddles, teaching, learning, bonding. Make a fun family craft (handprint tie, slime, play dough, fridge magnets, cards, etc) Make something yummy like fruit pizza’s, homemade pizza’s, personal omelets, favorite meal, etc.

1114-588x352Share stories: Personal stories (Talk about when your kids were born. How you felt as parents, as a father for the first time) Make up stories (begin a story and have each family member add-on to the story or find funny pictures in magazines or coloring books & make up stories about the images)

WomanHoldingCD

Make a soundtrack of your life: Think of your Dad/Father & the songs they always sing, love to listen to, remind you of things about them and make a special soundtrack & listen to it all day long. OR gift it to them, so they can enjoy it on their own.

final-brighter-feet-copyMake a special memory book with Personal cards/letters: I had all my siblings hand write a letter to my Dad & send me a pic of the letters. I then compiled them with pics in a Walmart Photo book & we are going to gift it to him. It turned out darling because the grand kids also drew pictures & wrote letters. It is priceless.

happy-springPlain old Quality Time: Take the day & do nothing but be together! Go on a walk, take a nap, make yummy food, play cards, watch a favorite television show, read stories, do anything…TOGETHER!

Whatever you do for your Father or Dad…enjoy it! Make it memorable & enjoy every moment of the day! It is that one special day that is all about those great men in your life. Cherish and be grateful you have them.

-Peace to you.  -H

Happy Mother’s Day Week

Tammy-Swales-Rochester-NY-Photographer-Portraits-mother-daughter-laughing-studioHappy Mother’s Day Week

I wanted to share with you the following beautiful you tubes..share it with your sons & daughters. [I am putting two separate versions–son & daughter]

As a mother we have a responsibility to lift our children higher, to see them as the beautiful gifts that have been given to us. We get to love them every single day and cherish the moments and memories that we experience. I hope this Mother’s Day week you will take a moment & share with your children why you LOVE being their mother. Those moments are priceless. Make this week memorable: Write your children a love note, sit and watch a fun movie together, go on a Mommy/Missy or Mommy/Me date, Make friendship bracelets and wear them all week, give them a special charm that means something between the two of you. Sure it is your Mother’s Day Week, but make it special with those that made you a Mother.

Enjoy the movies.

black-and-white-daughter-family-love-mother-favim-com-110567FOR DAUGHTERS

Slide4FOR SONS

Some other fun pics & quotes to make you smile about Mother’s Day

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Show THANKS in GIVING

The beautiful week that is often over shadowed by Black Friday and Cyber Monday ads is upon us and my gift I hope to bestow upon you is this…to do one simple thing to show your thanks. How? Here you go…

thanksgiving-gratitude

For your FAMILY:  A simple gesture of LOVE. Write a note, a line, a blurb of something you LOVE about them. This morning I have been creating two flip books for two of my siblings. I have two siblings that were born between this giving holiday, so we decided to create a bday book to celebrate them. It was humbling to see my parents notes and my other five siblings write memories, send pictures, send funny thoughts, feelings, etc. about two great people. I think you always appreciate family, but you definitely take them for granted. It was beautiful to read the memories and see these people through other lenses. What a gift. I don’t think we can open our hearts enough, even though sometimes it is harder than you think. So go beyond yourself this week, share a thought, a love note, a fun pic, something that connects you to those closest in your giving circle.

 

For your CHILDREN: Help them get in the habit of finding things to be grateful for. Each night we either write in a journal or share them out loud, at least three things we are grateful for from the day. Children are never too young to learn gratitude.

Toddlers are by definition completely egocentric. Still, children as young as 15 to 18 months can begin to grasp concepts that lead to gratitude, says Lewis. “They start to understand that they are dependent; that Mom and Dad do things for them,” she says. In other words, toddlers comprehend that they are separate human beings from their parents, and that Mom and Dad often perform actions to make them happy (from playing peekaboo to handing out cookies) — even if kids that age can’t articulate their appreciation. By age 2 or 3, children can talk about being thankful for specific objects, pets, and people, says Ryan. By age 4, children can understand being thankful not only for material things like toys but for acts of kindness, love, and caring.

How to Teach it? Work gratitude into your daily conversation. Lately, we’ve been trying to weave appreciation for mundane things into our everyday talk — When you reinforce an idea frequently, it’s more likely to stick. One way to turn up the gratitude in your house is to pick a “thanking” part of the day. Two old-fashioned, tried-and-true ideas: Make saying what good things happened today part of the dinnertime conversation or make bedtime prayers part of your nightly routine.

By learning gratitude, they become sensitive to the feelings of others, developing empathy and other life skills along the way, says Barbara Lewis, author of What Do You Stand For? For Kids ”On the flip side, kids who aren’t taught to be grateful end up feeling entitled and perpetually disappointed,” says Lewis.     -Parents.com article

Jeffrey Froh, PsyD research shows there are plenty of good reasons to try to teach gratitude  He recently asked one group of middle school students to list up to five things they were grateful for every day for two weeks, while a second group recorded daily hassles and a third only completed a survey. “The gratitude group experienced a jump in optimism and overall well-being,” reports Froh. “Furthermore, they were more satisfied with school even three weeks later.” Likewise, a Harris Interactive survey of more than 1,200 kids between the ages of 8 and 18 found that those who were grateful for what they had were also more generous, even if they were fairly materialistic.  -Familycircle article

Be a Role Model of Gratitude: As parents we need to understand that we can’t expect our children to be grateful, if we are not examples of this ourselves. Find gratitude in the little things and you will also find it in the bigger things.

Say Thank you: Just the simple act of helping your children learn to say thank you will make a big difference in the energy they carry and the people they touch with their smile.

Explain to children why gratitude is important: The strategy: Explain why it’s important to be grateful when someone helps you out. “Kids sometimes have the belief that people ‘should’ do things for them,” says Froh, “so it’s helpful to point out that people’s kind deeds are often done out of the goodness of their hearts.” -Familycircle

Gratitude tree: I have seen this done with a simple tree made to hang on the fridge & paper leaves were then attached, an entire wall created into a tree in your home, something to add to the dinner table, etc. You could buy silk leaves, use paper tags, stickers…the ideas are endless. Just google, “gratitude tree” and look at the many images and ideas you could create. Have fun with this. When family comes to visit, have them write something for the tree. Have your children create a special leaf each day

Write Thank you notes: The strategy: Write appreciative letters to the important people in our lives. “Acknowledging your feelings on paper makes them more conscious and concrete,” says Robert Emmons, PhD, author of Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier (Houghton Mifflin)   -Familycircle

Find a goodwill project: Whether it is volunteering at a local charity, collecting old toys for a toy drive, sending post cards to soldiers or making blankets for someone in need–find something that your whole family can get excited about.

Here is another idea I found: “We put our change in a ‘Pennies from Heaven’ jar,” says Barbara Owens, mother of four, ages 10, 12, 16, and 20, in Manalapan, New Jersey. “Every time something devastating happens in the world, we sit down and talk about how blessed we are, then send a contribution.”

 

Hope this helps you find one simple thing you can ‘GIVE’ to those you LOVE.

-Peace & blessings to you this holiday.  -H

 

 

Parenting with Spirit part 1

I just finished reading Jane Bartlett’s good book, “Parenting with Spirit.” I am always in search of more ideas to enrich the lives of those I love, so this was a good read. I am going to share with you some of the ideas and tidbits that I personally highlighted and the many take aways that you can use with your family. [note: these ideas jump all over from highlighted lines I was drawn to, the book carries many ideas and shares action ideas and many good things for your families, so this is just a glimpse—go buy the book! smile. smile.]

Image“the greatest enemy of the spiritual life is the human tendency to sleepwalk through life. Prayer calls us to wakefulness.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

Pray with your children: I wrote about the details of praying with your family in another blog post “are you sleepwalking through life”  God is not only to be found when we are on our knees with our hands together. I often find myself saying a prayer while driving my daughter to school, praying for her day, that she will be safe, that she will be a light to others…I will also find myself praying when I am alone, praying for my family, having those moments praying for my child, my husband, our life together, and it may be on a drive, parked at a park, sitting on my back deck, just looking at the sky, not necessarily on my knees.

Here was a creative idea that Jane shares from her book: Create a cairn–a pile of stones used as a marker to show walkers the way. This works best when there are a number of you gathered for a communal  [family] prayer. In turn, place your pebbles into a pile in the center and as you do so speak aloud your prayers.    This is an engaging way of helping children take stock of their day or week. Collect three stones: one smooth pebble, one a jagged piece, and the third a sparkling gem. Offer the children each of the three stones. As they hold the pebble encourage them to recollect an ordinary moment of the day for which they are grateful. With the jagged, they recollect a moment that was difficult for them. And with the gemstone they recollect a moment that was sparkly and happy.

Parental blessings: Giving your child a blessing is a powerful experience for both you and the recipient. You don’t have to be a priest or designated holy person to give a blessing, you just need to have a genuine desire to extend your love and care to someone else. Growing up in my home we had a designated chair that even had a gold plaque that read, “blessing chair” and the prayers in my home were very formal with oils and rules. I have come to a deep understanding that the above statement is so very true. It is a matter of the heart, it is not only men who can gift their child a prayer of wellness or a priest or bishop who is the only one with ‘special keys’, God wants us to care for one another & if our hearts are in the right place, thinking of someone else and there well-being, then so it shall be good enough for Him to help a need, calm a troubled heart, prayer for the gift of a child, heal a sick child, comfort a child on their first day of school, bless them to find a friend, etc.…a blessing is a gift from the heart.

Scientific Studies of Prayer: There is a small amount of scientific research that seems to indicate that prayer might work. One study published in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine followed nearly 200 women in South Korea on an IVF program. Unbeknown to them, half of the women were being prayed for by Christians in North America and Australia, who had their photographs. The results were surprising, particularly for the researchers who had intended to prove that prayer doesn’t work. The women being pray for had a 50 percent success rate, compared with a 26 percent success rate for those not prayed for.     Another study, published in the American Heart Journal, covered 150 cardiac patients. They had been divided into five groups: one group received just standard care and the others additionally received guided imagery, stress relaxation, healing touch or intercessory prayer (by seven different religious groups from around the world). It was discovered that, after allowing for all manner of variables, those who received the additional “therapies” showed a 25 to 30 percent better recovery rate, and the group being prayed for fared the best with a 50-100 percent better recovery rate.

 

ImageSacred Ritual: Sacred ritual, however, has been disappearing from modern Western culture. As traditional religion declines, so too do the opportunities to experience collectively our connection to God.      Light two candles on the mantle every evening after dinner, one to pray for themselves [your children] and the concerns of their own lives, and the second to pray for people in the wider world.   [She has lots of ideas for family rituals and traditions–check out her book]  I have another blog post all about rituals and traditions—great ideas for your family.

Family Meal: a quarter of families only get to sit down and eat together once a month, and only 15 percent manage it every day.  Mealtimes are very important and enjoyable way to gather as a family and share news about the day: in many ways they represent the heart of family life. Taking a moment to say grace adds a deeper level of meaning to the occasion because it makes us aware that the food in front of us is a gift. There is bounty in the world, and here on the table lies the proof. Briefly, we might contemplate the sun and rain that gave the food life, the human hands that brought it to harvest and stacked it on the supermarket shelves, and finally the person who cooked it. In its fullest sense to the forces of nature and each other. There’s something sacramental about sharing food together, and it feels utterly right to have a prayer at that time. I honestly believe that food tastes better when we have had a moment of contemplation.

 

ImageStory time: Leaving your child to listen to a story on an audiotape may be enjoyable for a child and easy for a parent, but it can in no way capture this magic, because children’s bedtime stories are as much about the intimacy between the teller and the listener as about the tale itself. If you have had a stressful day, this is an opportunity for healing, because on your lap or tucked beneath your arms, your children feel safe and loved. Together you share a story that is like warm milk, feeding your child’s imagination and understanding of the world. Here is a book list she suggested: Chronicles of Narnia, The Secret Garden, Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce, Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter, and the Wizard of Ozby L. Frank Baum. You can also look for book awards like the Carnegie Medal, The Whitbread, The Smarties Book Prize and the Guardian Award.  Favorite picture books include: The Big Big Sea by Martin Waddell, Guess How Much I Love YOu by Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram, The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister and the Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams.   One of my other personal favorite authors—Nancy Tillman, On The Night You Were Born and ANY of her other magical books. Love them!

I LOVED this idea: I have started up a new ritual in our household on Friday evenings. It is called hot chocolate night. Instead of story time taking place in separate bedrooms with individual children, we all gather together, around the fire in the winter, for hot chocolate and a story.    You could also do cookies and milk during the warmer months OR ‘Watermelon and Wonder’

THOUGHTFUL Holiday Seasons

I don’t know about you, but sometimes getting around family brings out the need to find things to talk about with family you haven’t seen in awhile. I thought today I would put together some fun ideas to do with family during the holidays, turkey talk conversation starters, etc. Here you go!!

ImageGET THE CONVERSATION ROLLING:  I have a hard time listening to my father-in-law bark out orders to his wife, it can get a little awkward, so I decided to order the Thanksgiving and Christmas version of Melissa and Doug’s conversation cards. I think this will be a good way to get people talking and not barking!! They are around $9.99, but I can’t give you any great details because I haven’t received them yet.  They have good reviews on Amazon, so they should be worth the bucks. Here is a link to a bunch of different ones they have. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_23?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=melissa+and+doug+conversation+starters&sprefix=melissa+and+doug+conver%2Caps%2C257

Here is another link to 101 conversation starters http://www.conversationstarters.com/101.htm

ImagePLAY: Many families take on the traditional turkey bowl for Thanksgiving, but you could also pull out board games, play tag with the kids or how about Charades. Everyone loves a good game of charades for any holiday. Here are a couple of links I came across with some charade word list ideas—http://www.greatgroupgames.com/thanksgiving-charades.htm   OR  http://www.purpletrail.com/partytrail/holiday_parties/thanksgiving/printable-game-thanksgiving-themed-pictionary   Other family play ideas could include a fun family game of just dance or karaoke, name that tune, relay races, pictionary, video games, etc.

ImageSHARE: Most families go around the table and share something they are grateful for, but you can even take it one step further and have people share highlights from the year—The Best thing that happened to them this year, a favorite trip memory, the funniest moments from the year, best moments of giving to someone else (Random acts of kindness), etc.  Then have the kids share one thing they love about their family or something they are grateful for. Don’t forget to get the kids involved in this!! Kids truly can say the greatest things.

ImageTALENT SHOW: Our family for the holidays does a funny talent show–We have had my sister strap on the electric guitar, a funny wig & jammed to her favorite 80’s band, one family dressed up like a crazy music video and danced the crazy moves like in the video, kids have made up dances, performed their latest recital piece…etc. have the kids share a talent or make a funny family skit. The holidays are about family, so join in the festivities & share your crazy!! —Dan in Real Life (the movie–above pic) has a cute family talent show scene.

ImageFUN FAMILY PHOTOS: We have all heard the photo booth image ideas, so that is always a possibility, but you could also put a fun family spin—whenever I have cousins over for a fun, themed party I always have them throw on a silly hat, a wig, hold a heart, pose with a pink flamingo, etc. So for the holidays you could put your own spin on the idea—have everyone where a feather headband and take individual shots or family shots, what about crazy aprons, chef hats, silly sweaters, Crazy hats, Santa hats, etc.—for Christmas my Mom always had everyone get “mug Shots” where we hold up a sign that says “Christmas year” and we pose like we are getting a mug shot.

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FAMILY GRATITUDE: JOURNAL: Begin a yearly Thanksgiving gratitude journal. When everyone gets together have them write down some things they were grateful for this past year. Don’t forget to date it! GRATITUDE JAR: Have all the family members write down 5 things they are grateful for from the year & put them into a big jar. Each year add to the jar. TREE: Have a small (or large–some people already put up their tree) and have guests to your home write down something they are grateful for on a slip of paper & then make them into a chain OR you could have pre-cut paper ornaments they can write on & you then add them to your tree.

ImagePHOTO BOOK: You could make a fun, family photo book from the previous year & gift it to your parents, so everyone at the festivities can enjoy all the fun moments. You could also make one tailored to your family & write a note about all the fun memories and moments together. I do this for my daughter Kate every year & gift it to her on Thanksgiving day & we express our gratitude for her in our life. Photos always make everything better.

ImageAdditional FUN IDEAS: DUCKIES–Over a fall weekend my family went to a cabin that had a hot tub. I purchased some plastic duckies & put a little symbol (heart, square, diamond–whtever you want) on a few of the ducks. We had all the kids in the hot tub & threw the ducks into the middle & the kids grabbed them. Those with the ducks that had a symbol got a prize. It was so fun!! & then for added entertainment the kids suctioned them all over their bodies—it was quite the picture event!! Imagine 8 little kiddos in the hot tub with little ducks stuck on their face, arms, chest—all posing crazy!! Priceless memories.  Here is a link to some Thanksgiving duckies http://www.amazon.com/Dozen-Rubber-Duckie-THANKSGIVING-favors/dp/B000V65CUQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1384874892&sr=8-1&keywords=Thanksgiving+duckies  OR Christmas duckies  http://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Holiday-Rubber-Ducky-Count/dp/B000E8S9WO/ref=pd_bxgy_t_text_y  OR LEAVES–If there are still leaves to rake, have all the kids pile them up & make a big bird nest & take fun family photos in the middle of it, or a leaf fight.

Whatever you do—make it memorable. Happy Holidays!!

Ways to get a Little more GRATITUDE, with a little less GIMME

Next week is the beginning of the beautiful holiday seasons, a time when families gather, friends enjoy one another and there is a special feeling in the air. The holidays are always a very special, magical time in our home and I am always looking for ways to bring in a little more peace, a little more giving, a little more gratitude to avoid the “gimme” attitude.

I wanted to share some thoughts and ideas to get you thinking of some things you can do to bring your family a little closer this holiday season.

To find a little more Gratitude and Thanks this Thanksgiving:

ImageLegacy Letters: Have each member of your family write a nice letter to one another & gift it to them for Thanksgiving or keep it until Christmas. My parents usually have each child create a scrapbook page of history from the year full of images and highlights from a few of their favorite memories throughout the year as a gift to them.

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Family time capsule: My sister-in-law just did a time capsule for her one-year-old, so this idea could be used on a variety of occasions. You could have everyone bring something that was impressionable from the past year–news this year, a picture of their family, a piece of jewelry that holds charms symbolic of each member, favorite stuffed animal or toy, letters, a magazine, something that would tie this year together & mean something to each individual. You could do this as individual families or with extended family. Make sure to include a list of questions like “What was your favorite thing that happened this year?” “What wishes do you have for next year”  “What is a meaningful memory you have from this past year”…

ImageFun Random Acts of Kindness Kit: this looks like a lot of fun. I found it on uncommon goods.com but you can buy it on amazon or other retailers.

ImageGIve said the little stream: I don’t know why I always think of this childhood song when I think about giving. Just last year I came across the actual book that shares this beautiful song.

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I was then looking for a inspiring video of this song and came across a beautifully done version in Korea. I wanted to add it here because it was done during a time of turmoil and war–to me it has a loving, peaceful message. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMNSChEydSo  Help us pray for peace always. Help us give peace and love freely.

GIVE: GIve to feel peaceful. Give to get healthy. Give to spread love. Give because it helps you feel GOoD (helps you feel GOD).  Here are some ideas to get your giving: Donate clothes. This is a great time to go through the closets and get rid of summer clothing, old shoes and coats that don’t fit any longer. Give warmth! Help someone. Do you have elderly neighbors that need leaves raked or may need a warm blanket with a side of hot cocoa mix. Make a snuggle care package for someone in need. Put together a pair of warm socks, gloves, water bottle, granola bar & a message of hope. You could also buy a few sleepingbags and donate them to a local organization or someone on the street. Help out a single mom. My sister is in the middle of a divorce & she is always in need of a break. Reach out to someone near you that is a single parent and offer them a break. Bake something for your local awesomeness. We love firefighters and police men who take care of our neighborhoods, so we enjoy baking up something and taking it into the dept. for everyone to enjoy. Make someone smile. You could just smile–that is always a good thing. But you could also have your kids draw a smiley face on a piece of paper and leave them on random cars. Create a crunch pack for college kids. My two nieces just moved to the area and are starving students, so they loved and appreciated the small snack pack I gave them. Find out from the dorm office or school if there are some kids in need & leave them a bag of snacks to help them get by. Get Artistic. Have your kids create works of art to donate to the elderly homes. Think of how much they will love the decorative trees and christmas scenes your kids will create.

Here is a good link to some additional ideas that are GREAT to get your family serving for specific organizations. Great info. http://www.newdream.org/blog/fun-holiday-service-projects-for-you-and-your-family

ImageGratitude rolls: I do love this idea. I am doing it this year!! We can never be too thankful for food and sweet wishes of thanks. Here are a few links for different directions and recipes: Enjoy  Dinner Rolls  http://www.howdoesshe.com/delicious-dinner-rolls/       Sweet Potato Rolls http://www.lifewiththecrustcutoff.com/sweet-potato-gratitude-rolls/

ImageFood: Food is always something that brings family together, so pull out some yummy recipes and get your family cooking together. Find recipes online and begin to dabble with your own culinary artist within!! Try new things and make it an occasion. It can be a Monday night “Mom & kids stir up something good night” or a  Tuesday “Try something new night”…it doesnt have to be JUST Thanksgiving. Make any meal an occasion just being together. I have been working harder on this area—because I am NOT a cook, but I am trying to make it a cooking adventure!! and I have been including my little girl in on the fun. Whether it is one night a week or seven–make it special!! It has been proven that sitting down for a family meal helps families, and especially helps our children.  Here are ten benefits from webmd of having family dinners: Everyone eats healthier meals, Kids are less likely to become overweight, Kids are more likely to stay away from cigarettes, drink alcohol, use drugs or try marijuana, School grades will be better, You & your kids will talk more, You will be more likely to hear about any serious problems, Kids will feel like you are proud of them and there will be less stress and tension at home.      *picture is Banana Bread pudding—just sounds yummy!! here is the linkhttp://3boysandadog.com/2012/11/banana-bread-pudding-thanksgiving-recipe/

Well, that is all for today. I will keep posting some more ideas to help us with gratitude and not gimme attitudes.

Happiness to you today.  -Heather

Creating the comforts of Home

il_570xN.310423992With fall in the air there seems to be this need to bundle up, to light candles, to create a place of warmth and comfort. This week I literally stacked up on candles and bought a cozy blanket…why?? the comforts of home. That wonderful place that calls you to stay, that space that brings family together, a place that nurtures our necessities.

So what do we truly need from our home?? Ask yourself, ‘What do I want from my home?’

Did you think…quiet, calm, order, warmth, love, family, fresh bread baking in the oven, the smell of lavender, soft sheets, warm blankets, a clean dog, vacuumed rugs, steam cleaned floors, a space for my children’s art, pictures of my family, everything dusted, pretty music playing, candles flickering, a vase of fresh flowers, color, patterns, textures that make me want to melt, time to read with my children, bubble baths, plants, family dinner around a set table, art that inspires, space to be quiet, a place to create, a space to do yoga, a room with a fluffy rug, a room with a view I enjoy, bowls that all match in my cupboards, silverware that I enjoy eating with, a pillow that puts me to sleep, clean windows, organized drawers…the ideas are endless. What do you want from your home? a sanctuary, a safe place, a place that inspires, a place that creates memories?

You may want to write down every idea that came to you, so you will have something to move toward. Even if you took one little idea at a time & began to create what you want within the walls of your home. It is your direction, your families safe space, the walls that will nurture your tiny children, the place that will surround your family with love and kindness…but you have to first decide what you and your family need and desire & then you will be successful at creating the comforts you desire within your home. Talk to your family & ask them what they love about being home—do they feel comfortable & what is it that they as individuals love and appreciate. Do they sleep well in their room? if not, what do they need—a better bed, a soft light, a little music, lavender sprayed on their pillow, etc. Do they find comfort in milk and cookies after school? Do they enjoy having dinner by candlelight? Do the colors of the walls or the furniture seem warm? Do you have mostly hard surfaces & need to add some comfy rugs to warm up a space? Do you have enough family time & where do you spend that quality time–is it at the kitchen table or in the family room. Is there enough room for everyone? Is your family even home enough or are your schedules to cluttered with lessons & carpool that you aren’t even home. Maybe you need to evaluate your schedule to make time to be home as a family. HAPPINESS truly is HOMEMADE.

The other day I was having a bit of a battle with my daughter & I gave her the responsibility of cleaning the kitchen & getting ready for dinner. She was not happy, so much so that I literally had to remove myself from our home & go on a drive. When I came back she had gone over and beyond—she set the dinner table, lit candles, had place mats, had cleaned the kitchen & had a change of attitude. I happily cheered her on in her change & expressed my gratitude for all she had done and then I simply asked her, “why were you struggling, what can I do to help?”    You know what she said, “I want to help out with dinner every night.” I smiled & said, “done.”

Even children can give you ideas and bring their own piece to creating the comforts needed within your home. Just ask them what they would like to do to make your home a little better. I bet you would be surprised at what they come up with. Include the whole family in creating a comfortable home, everyone lives within the four walls, so everyone should have an opportunity to do their part. Home truly is where the heart is.

Think about it…What do I want from my home?

Here are some fun images to inspire you…cfadb43ac6856fb80318ebd8953fca58Boy, girl and dog sleeping covered with a blanket.45-Cozy-Rustic-Bedroom-Design-Ideas-with-white-bed-pillow-blanket-rattan-basket-window-lamp-nightstand-carpet-and-hardwood-floor-flowerfamily-wall-sayings-11-Picnic-Table-Settings-e1346284821766California ClosetsA-Picnic-in-the-Park-2012-IKEA-Summer-Inspiration-Decorating-and-Relaxing.jpeg-570x4279912221-young-woman-lying-in-hammock-in-a-garden-and-reading-a-book-shallow-dof-focus-on-a-left-shoulderimages-3article-new-ehow-images-a07-np-50-guitar-lessons-beginners-800x800SimpleWomanonRugPurple heart in the hands

Creating & Enjoying a FALL Fest with your FAMILY

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Fall break is upon us here and many parents are scrambling to find fun things to do with their kids, so I thought I would put together some ideas and share some things we are doing.

Here are a few of my favorites from Real Simple: Get lost in a corn maze, Take a hot-air balloon ride, Collect colorful fall leaves, Plant bulbs in your garden for next spring, Take a fall drive, Make a pinecone bird feeder, Make rice krispie treats, Make a giant pile of leaves and jump in them, Bake a apple or pumpkin pie, Make candy apples, Enjoy a cup of hot spiced cider, Carve pumpkins, Make or create your own Halloween costumes, go to a haunted house, Build a bonfire, visit a antique shop, Collect pinecones as a family & have a special bowl to display them,

Some of the fun things we do during the FALL FEST!!

Chili contest: Every Halloween we have had family over and had a chili cook off!! October is a great month to have a chili contest with friends or family any time!! Have everyone bring a sampling to share with every one and make it an event!!

Bird nest of Leaves: For years we have had big trees that have many leaves, so we began the tradition of making a giant bird nest and taking a picture of our family inside. It is fun to pile them up & jump in!! Makes a great memory.

Bird Feeder out of pinecone: We have done this a few times at our house. Get pinecone, smother peanut butter and roll in bird seed. Everyone is happy!Image

Spooktacular movies: We are not particularly in love with horror—leaves my daughter with nightmares, so we have a few family favorites—Bewitched, The Adams Family, Casper, The Good Witch, Sabrina the teenage witch.

Acorn everything: I love and adore the very sign of acorns. I grab my camera and snap, snap–the shape, the whimsy, the magic. I found a darling idea to make acorn fairies and darling acorn donuts. ImageImage

Foliage Friends: I came across the next couple of cute ideas at Spoonful.com Have your family find leaves and then glue them on a page, add bodies, faces…FUN! Creative!!Image

Fall Trail Hunt: Give your kids a egg carton with each slot colored a specific color of something they need to find in the forest. It is a fun, fall scavenger hunt!! Happy hunting.

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I also love Luminaries: Nothing like a little light in any kind of darkness. Whether you make necklaces out of glow sticks or lanterns out of paper or canning jars—halloween needs some light!! Here are some fun ideas I came across.ImageImageImageImage

Make up your own Halloween song: I have done this a couple of times with my little girl & her cousins. It is fun because each year we pull out our own Halloween song & everyone sings along.

Enjoy a “Windy Walk”: When there is a good wind blowing, bundle up and walk through the whirling, fall leaves.

I am going to call these “Warm words” rolled into a yummy roll—good for any time of the year!! I just found this idea & thought it would be great for a fall fest with family or thanksgiving—both!! Here is the link. http://www.the-girl-who-ate-everything.com/2011/11/thankful-rolls.html

Some additional ideas: Fall family bike ride,  Bundle up and attend a local football game, buy your pumpkins at a patch, Make your own garland out of pinecones, Read spooky stories, Have a Halloween Spooktacular Scone night, Roast pumpkin seeds, Make carmel corn, Make smores over an open fire, make pumpkin pancakes, make homemade soup, make anything pumpkin!!

It’s FALL…have FUN!!Image

Day of AWESOMENESS!!

ImageYesterday I had all my nieces and nephews over for a fun summer activity I called “A Day of AWESOMENESS!!”  We made an eruption out of a 2 liter of Diet Coke with half a package of mentos, then we created little tornadoes out of water bottles filled with dish soap (2 drops) and glitter, did activity books, learned lots of weird but true facts & had lots of FUN!!

I truly enjoyed watching their faces Ooh and Ah at the wonder and delight of seeing their own little tornadoes take shape. Children have this amazing sense of wonder and imagination and I thoroughly love being around the creativity they hold—making up games, coloring so vibrantly with such passion, learning and seeing things at a new level–their level.

SO, what is something that would make YOUR DAY OF AWESOMENESS?? What peaks your interest? What lights you up? What do you want to learn about?   Is their a science experiment you want to try? Do you want to go volunteer at a shelter or humane society for a day. Maybe sit with a child and think of all the super powers you would like to have. Maybe take a friend and go visit a museum you have never been to. What about flying kites (homemade ones if you want to be truly creative & scientific). Take your camera outside & shoot pictures close-up of everything—see the details. Get online and find some AWESOME experiments you can try. Have a night of Constellations under the starry night sky. Blow up Ivory soap in the microwave and make Soap Clouds…there are soooo many things to learn, try, experience…there is an abundance of AWESOMENESS!! Have fun, get creative…do, try, PLAY!!

I am going to attach a fun packet of weird but true facts I put together for the kids—feel free to print them off and share them with people in your life. You can never learn too much!!Awesomepacket

Here are a few pics from our day of AWESOMENESS!  Cheers to YOU & having an AWESOME DAY!!ImageImage