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.


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.


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


Image40 wishes…done one at a time…HAPPY 40


I am turning 40 this year & wanted to do something that would be memorable. I didn’t want a bunch of fan fare, gifts galore, black balloons or a big party….I thought and thought…and I thought I would like to do 40 random acts of kindness!! Then I thought it would be more fun to have those I love and care about join in and help me do 40 things for other people. So for my birthday this year (August 10th) or between now & then–I would love everyone– young and old –to pledge one (or more if you would like) RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS . And if you want (you dont have to) I would LOVE to hear about them!! Send me an email about how your experience went or take a pic, send a post comment, etc–that would be an AWESOME GIFT!


Here are some ideas to get you thinking…Ideas to Inspire you…and those you love… Write a love note to someone you love . Put change in a vending machine. Listen to someone who needs to talk—just listen . Do something nice for someone who is ill or needs a helpful hand (wash their dishes,cook a meal, do their laundry, take them some soup) . Buy a meal for a homeless person . When shopping let someone go ahead of you in the checkout line . Compliment a stranger . Give a book you have already read to someone who may enjoy it (leave a note inside) . Read to a child. Smile . Pick up litter at a local park or pond. Hand bottles of water out to people on a bike path . Offer a couple of hours of free babysitting to someone who needs a break . Make and give carepacks to the homeless . Give the gifts of your talent to a senior center (play the piano, sing a song, do a magic trick) . Help someone whose car has broken down (give them a ride, fix their tire) . Help someone with yard work . Make blankets for the homeless . Mentor a child . Pay the tab for someone in the restaurant you are at . Return a shopping cart . Thank your local police or fire dept. with goodies . Write a letter to someone who made a difference in your life . Visit a local animal shelter . Pick up groceries for a neighbor . Leave a nice tip . Return grocery carts . Take doughnuts to the police department . Say hello or good morning to everyone you see . Send someone a ecard . Transport someone who can’t drive .Take coworkers a special treat & share something you appreciate about them . Send or give flowers . Thank your mail carrier, stylist, teacher, principal, parent, bus driver, janitor, etc . Praise someone who needs it . donate a bag of clothes to a shelter . Take a bag of dog food to an animal shelter . Leave happy notes “to have a HAPPY day” on car windshields . Leave quarters at a laundromat . Bring in your neighbor’s garbage can…

Get out and hug, love, share, give any random act of KINDNESS and LOVE.

Cheers!! Spread the LOVE.