Archive for the Kids Category

Mar 9 2015

Mommy Monday: St. Patrick’s Day Fun For Kids

Today I want to share some easy projects you can do with your kiddos for a little St. Patrick’s Day Fun:

1.  Leprechaun Scavenger Hunt– When I taught third grade I would do this every year and the kids loved it.  I left a little note sitting out that was “from the leprechauns.”  Each clue led us to a new hiding spot with another clue and then finally to the treasure which can be anything from a special treat, a book, play gold coins, etc.

2.  Rainbow Counting Book– I recently shared this fun project and thought you could tweak it to be more for St. Patrick’s Day by doing rainbows, leprechauns, pots of gold or shamrocks as the counting objects.

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3. Make Chocolate Mint Trifles Together–  Alisa shared this recipe a while back and I think it would be great to make with your kiddos.  Brownies, pudding, whipped cream, and cookies…what’s not to love!!

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4.  Learn about St. Patrick– We went to our local library and checked out a couple books with the St. Patrick’s Day theme and read them together.  You could also google videos about St. Patrick for kids.  (Make sure to preview them first 😉 )


5. Do-A-Dot Rainbow– To make this rainbow we used the Do-A-Dots that can be found here.  We counted the dots as we made them.  Then we glued cotton balls for clouds at the ends of the rainbow.

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6.  Go on a Green Hunt –  Go around your house looking for things that are green.  Collect them in a basket or spot in the house and then count them, categorize them, and talk about what letter/sound they start with.

7.  Have a St. Patrick’s Day inspired snack/lunch– some suggestions would be to have green food such as kiwi, green jello, green grapes, zucchini, green apples.  You could get a shamrock cookie cutter and make shamrock shaped sandwiches for lunch!  Involve your little one in thinking of things to eat that would go with your theme.

*affiliate links used

Hope you have a wonderful week!

Signature - Marissa

Mar 2 2015

Mommy Monday: DIY Rainbow Counting Book

I have been in clean out mode lately!  Trying to get rid of stuff and organize!  Anyone else with me?  While I was cleaning I came across some assignments that were art projects I did while taking a class in college on how to teach art to elementary students.  I found this Rainbow Counting Book and thought it would be fun to share with you in case you wanted to make this with your kiddos.  I really love the concept of making a counting book out of your kids art!

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First, you would have your kiddos finger paint on paper.  You could also do different kinds of paintings for each page like mine.  The paintings became the flowers on each page.

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When it’s dry, decide what shapes you want to make in your counting book.  I did tulips for mine, but you could choose anything.  You could even do something different on each page.  You could trace an object with a pencil or simply just cut out your shape from the finger painting.

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Then, to make the book part, cut construction paper (pink, red, orange, yellow, green, blue) different lengths to get the staggered look.

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Help your child glue on the objects you cut out onto each page.  Next, write the title and numbers on each page.  Then staple it together to make a book.  You could also laminate each page before putting it together.

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Enjoy helping your child practice counting and learning their numbers!

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Hope you all have a great day!

Signature - Marissa

Feb 23 2015

Mommy Monday: Beauty From Ashes

So, you know when you are young and your parents constantly say, “Be careful,”  “Call me when you get there,” “drive safe” or check on you when you are out or wait up for you to get home at night?  Well, my parents did that a lot, even into adulthood, and it kind of drove me a little crazy until I was older and realized it just showed how much they love me.  It felt good to have someone watching out for me.  It’s one of the things I miss most about my dad.  I miss a lot of things about him.  I miss his calls checking up on me or him having me stay on the phone with him until I got home or insisting I text him that I was safely inside the house even though we were 100 miles apart.

The other night I had the sweetest conversation with my two year old as I was headed out the door to go to a Bible study.  He is a mama’s boy and was concerned when he saw I was leaving.  I told him that he was going to have special “daddy & Luke” time, which helped him keep the tears from flowing that were welling up in his eyes.  He said an enthusiastic “ok” and then lovingly asked, “Mama, you coming back?”  “Of course I am buddy.  I always come back.”  To which he responded, “Ok…be careful mama, text me too!”  Melted my heart.  I instantly thought of my dad.


Since I lost my dad, one of the things that has been hard for me is feeling like there is one less person who truly loves me for me and cares for me.  But what I realized in that conversation with my son is that the Lord brought gave me a beautiful gift and reminder of my dad in my son.  He has many of the traits I loved most about my dad in him: his vibrant personality, his love of people and food and his deep love and care for the ones he loves.  A month after my dad’s passing the Lord brought a tiny baby into my life who would love me as much as my dad and add immense joy into my life even in the midst of grieving.  I don’t know the “whys” of pain and loss, but I do know that the Lord is there, loving us, carrying us through it, and He can bring beauty from ashes.  I am so thankful for my little “Jeffrey” who fills my life with love and joy and is a sweet reminder of my dad every time I look at him.



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I am so thankful for how the Lord gives me little reminders of my dad in the most unexpected ways.

Signature - Marissa

Feb 20 2015

The Rancho Bernardo Inn

I have been wanting to stay at the Rancho Bernardo Inn ever since I laid eyes on it, so I was so honored to be chosen as the December 2014 #INNfluencer for the RB Inn.  It is a hidden gem in the heart of North County San Diego.  Set nestled back in a residential area of Rancho Bernardo the Inn is a quiet retreat filled with luxuries to enjoy.  The grounds are gorgeous and include a golf course, ballrooms, restaurants, pools, and spa facilities.

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We were so excited to participate in their “December Nights,” which was a fun family event that included pictures with Santa, gingerbread cookie decorating, story time, music, snacks, and lots of beautiful Christmas decor and lights.

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As you can see we got our token picture with Santa 😉


My son really enjoyed decorating his gingerbread cookie.

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He enjoyed eating it too!

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Our room was beautiful, overlooking the golf course.

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My son loved the tent for him to sleep in provided by the hotel.  They even left him a new stuffed animal friend (now affectionately called Rainy in our family).  The RB Inn thought of so many great ways to make it special for families that came to enjoy the night.

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My sweet mother-in-law offered to take my son so that my husband and I could have the night to ourselves.  We enjoyed a delicious dinner just the two of us.  I didn’t have to cut anyone’s food, rush through dinner, or keep a little one entertained…it was wonderful!  We enjoyed every bite and sat for a long time talking and enjoying the atmosphere at the Veranda Fireside Lounge and Restaurant.  Their chips and guacamole was yummy and the salmon was amazing!  It was one of the best meals I have ever had!!  This was one of my favorite parts of our stay.






We ended the night cuddled up enjoying the fire….perfection!

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Mornings are beautiful and quiet at the Inn.  We enjoyed the Veranda’s breakfast buffet and once again took our time and enjoyed the views.

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It was fun to walk around the Inn and take in all the beauty it has to offer.

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Every once and a while my husband and I like to getaway just the two of us and the Rancho Bernardo Inn was the perfect spot!  We loved every minute!!

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If you are looking for a place to getaway and relax I highly recommend the Rancho Bernardo Inn.  You won’t be sorry!!!

*This was in collaboration with the Rancho Bernardo Inn.  As always all opinions are mine.

Signature - Marissa

Feb 16 2015

Mommy Monday: My Son’s Nursery Tour + An Announcement!

I can’t believe we are in the process of creating a big boy room for my son!  He was just a baby yesterday and now all of a sudden he is a big boy!  Time goes by so fast.  Some days I just stare at him memorizing his sweet little face with those big cheeks.  I want to just soak up this adorable 2 year old phase we are in.  Before I changed the room I wanted to document it in photos to remember all the sweet touches throughout the room.

For his nursery we went with a nautical theme.  I didn’t want it to be overpowering, just touches of it throughout the room.  I really like how it turned out!  So much love went into making this room for our sweet boy.  Welcome to Luke’s nursery!

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I love every little detail in his room.  I love the beautiful crib bedding my mom made to make the room one of a kind.  So much time and love went into it.

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I love that my dad came up to spend the day with me and put together the crib with his own hands.  That day is one of my favorite memories with him.  I love that we have a picture that documents it hanging in my little one’s room. I may never be able to take that crib apart.

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I love that I rock him to sleep each night in the rocking chair that my dad was rocked in when he was a baby.  I love that my mother-in-law made that possible by recovering the chair for us because she knew how much that would mean to me.

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I love the framed invitation from my son’s baby shower that my sister lovingly created with her two hands and creative mind.  I love the precious newborn photos we were so blessed to have been gifted.

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So many memories in this sweet room.  I loved dreaming and creating and making things for it as I waited to meet our little guy.  The prints below I made with scrapbook paper and stamps.

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And although I will miss this room, I am so excited for the next phase!!  Especially making this room super girly for our baby girl due in July!!!!




I’ve got pink and mint on the mind for her nursery.  Here’s a little bit of my inspiration for the room.

girl nursery colors

As for my big boy, he’ll be getting an “explorer” room.  Can’t wait to show you all when it’s done!  Here’s a little sneak peak:

big boy room

You can also check out a room tour of our playroom if you are interested.

Thanks for stopping by!  I hope you have a great week!

Signature - Marissa

Feb 9 2015

Mommy Monday: Simple Valentine Activities for Prescholers

Happy Monday All!

I hope that you all had a great weekend!

Today I wanted to share some simple Valentine activities that you can do with your preschoolers.  I have lots of ideas about all the fun themed crafts and activities I want to do with my little guy as I comb Pinterest, but to tell you the truth sometimes all those amazing pins just overwhelm me.  They involve too much or they aren’t “two year old friendly.”  So today I wanted to share some activities that I did with my little guy that were not too involved and were at his ability level.

1.  Valentine Cards

I took some cardstock paper folded it in half and let my son draw on it with red and pink crayons.  Then I helped him glue some construction paper hearts and doiley hearts on.  We also added glitter because what else is better than glitter to a two year old!

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My son’s sweet little friend was over (she’s 3) and she had a blast making cards for her mommy and daddy too.  She dictated what she wanted written on her card to me and I wrote it on and she decorated the rest.

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2. Toilet Paper Roll Heart Painting

I had seen this idea on Pinterest and knew it was the perfect way to use up some of the toilet paper rolls I had been saving for crafts.  You simply push on the toilet paper roll in one spot so it caves in and makes a heart.  I put some non-toxic finger paints on a paper plate and let the kids dip their toilet paper rolls in it and stamp it on their paper.

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And of course we added glitter to ours!  This went really well and the kids loved it.

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3.  Heart Hunt

I took some heart cutouts and hid them around the room (I just taped them on furniture).  Then my son went around and found the hearts and put them in a basket.  We then counted the hearts and sorted them into colors.

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heart hunt sorting

Do you have any favorite Valentine activities that you do with young kiddos?  I’d love to hear them!

Check out other Mommy Monday posts below:

DIY Child’s Prayer Book / It’s The Little Things In Motherhood-Kermi / Kid’s Train Birthday Party / Busy Bag Swap  

Sorting Colors Activitites / Beginning Preschool Activities / Lessons From My Little One / It Takes A Village / Themed Play Date Ideas 

 DIY Paint Chip Color Book / 5 Fun Toddler Activities / 5 Fun Toddler Activities / 5 Fun and Free Toddler Activities

Hope you all have a great day!

Signature - Marissa


Jan 26 2015

Mommy Monday: DIY Child’s Prayer Book

Happy Monday everyone!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!  We had some beautiful weather here in Southern California.  Monday came too quick!!

Today I want to share a quick project that you can make for your kiddos.  Several years ago I made a prayer book for my nephew that turned out really cute so I decided to make one for my son as well.

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It is so simple and easy.  The idea is to flip through the book and pray for the loved one’s in the pictures.  It’s also great for learning family and friends’ names when your child is very young.

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Here’s what I used to make the prayer book:


-photo book (I bought mine at Michaels…with a coupon of course!)

-photos of family and friends printed out 4×6

-scrapbook paper

-photo corners

-chalkboard paper (I got this at Micahels as well in a roll)

-White paint pen

-glue or tape


1.  Cut the scrapbook paper to size so it fits in the sleeves of your photo book.

2.  Glue or tape one photo onto each piece of scrapbook paper.  You can add photo corners like I did.  I still glued down my picture because I wasn’t sure if they would stay put with just the photo corners.

3.  Cut the chalkboard paper or paper or your choosing and glue underneath the photo.  Write the names of the people in the photo on the chalkboard paper using the paint pen.

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4.  I made a quick cover using some of the chalkboard paper.

My son loves flipping through his prayer book and looking at all the people he loves!

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This was great for us because we have some family that lives far away.  My son learned their names quickly with this book.  Now that he is a bit older we will start using the book to pray for the family and friends inside!

I hope you have a great day!

Signature - Marissa

Jan 19 2015

Mommy Monday: It’s The Little Things in Motherhood-Kermi

This little guy gave us a scare about a week ago.


If you know my son or follow me on Instagram you have probably picked up on that Kermi is an important member of our family.  I even started a hashtag #ohtheplaceskermigoes.  In fact, we don’t go ANYWHERE without him, which is what got us into trouble in the first place last week.  We have been very lucky to have taken him on numerous shopping trips, vacations, stayed with him in several hotels, visited the zoo, the Wild Animal Park, and gone on bike rides around the neighborhood, all ending with him returning safely home.  He’s been dropped and dragged more than I can count and has lived to tell about it.

A while back on Instagram I posted this picture of Kermi with a caption that said “Someday Kermi won’t be such a big part of our family.  I want to remember these sweet times and capture the little details of our life at each stage.”


Well….that day that he wouldn’t be apart of our family anymore…I figured it would be in the very far future when my son was a teenager. 😉 I didn’t think about the fact that we could lose him and that would be it.  Last Sunday, we went to church, with Kermi of course, like always.  After church I looked for Kermi, like I always do, to make sure he was with us…and he wasn’t there!  My husband ran back in to find him, but with no luck.  I had to check for myself!  But I came back empty handed too :( .  The dreaded day had come!  Luckily my mom had bought a back up Kermi (genius, right?!).  I gave him to my son and held my breath…He looked at the impostor and looked at me and said “new Kermi mama?” and then went back to what he was doing.  Relief came over me, but then so did sadness.  was sad!  I wanted the old Kermi back!


I don’t really remember my son without Kermi.  Kermi was a Christmas gift from grandma (my mom) to my sweet little boy when he was only about 2 months old.  From the very beginning, he loved his Kermi.  It brought him comfort and joy.  Sure he had grown shaggy, his arms were atrophying, the thread on his eyes coming undone, been washed a million times in his short life, but all that just showed how much he was loved.  I prayed that Kermi would come back to us. (Yes, I prayed for a stuffed animal :) ).  We had shared so many sweet memories with that shaggy little green frog and I wanted to make more with him as my little boy grew.







It got me thinking about all the little and wonderful ways my life has changed since becoming a mom.  Sure I have less sleep and more laundry, but I also have more laughs, more smiles, and more joy.  I find myself excited to see a bus or cement mixer coming down the road so I can point them out to my little man and watch him squeal with delight.  I know all of the characters to Thomas The Tank Engine, I find cute little tiny socks on my living room floor, I am constantly humming “Jesus Loves Me” all day, and I pray for stuffed animals.  And I wouldn’t change that for the world!

Embrace The Camera: Day 5

Luckily this story has a happy ending!  When we showed up to MOPS this week at our church Miss Susan said she had something for Luke!  It was Kermi!!!  My little guy was a little confused to hold two Kermies in his hand, but mama was so excited to have our Kermi back!  It’s the little things in motherhood, isn’t it!  Haha!  Welcome home Kermi and thanks for reminding us to enjoy the little things!


If you missed some of my other Mommy Monday posts with thoughts on motherhood you can check them out below.

It Takes a Village /  Lessons from My Little One  /  Fire Trucks, Airplanes, and The Garbage Man

Have a great day, everyone!

Signature - Marissa

Jan 5 2015

Mommy Monday: Kid’s Train Birthday Party + party planning tips

Hi Friends!!

It’s been a LONG time!  We took a bit of a break but we are back!!  We missed you all!  Today I wanted to share with you my son’s train birthday party (yep, it was in October and I’m just now getting around to posting about it…better late than never, right?).  I also wanted to share some tips that have helped me when party planning to simplify and get the most out of the money you spend.  My little guy loves trains so we went with that theme this year.  I started the party planning and prep a little later than I normally do which caused me to simplify a bit.  Plus I had A LOT of help from my mom and sister!

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My husband helped me make the railroad crossing signs.  Super easy and cheap.  A couple cuts, nails, paint, and letters modge podged on and done!

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The birthday boy loved the train theme and eagerly awaited his guests!

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I kept the decor pretty simple and used tissue pom poms, crepe paper and circle garland to add some color.


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I didn’t plan any games because the kiddos are still pretty small.  I had some train coloring sheets for them to do, but mostly they ran around outside.

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We ate outside on long tables family style.  I kept it pretty simple with white table cloths, burlap runners, sunflowers, lanterns and some toy trains that my Great uncle Roger made…I loved incorporating those into the party!


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For food we had pulled pork sandwiches (super easy in the crock pot!) and sides to go with it.  Thanks to my mom who did all the cooking!  We had a “fueling station” for guests to snack on.  That was a big hit with the kiddos!


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My mom made this adorable train cake that the birthday boy went nuts over!

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The kids had a blast together!  So grateful for wonderful friends and family who made the day extra special!

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For party favors, we gave away little bubbles with an adorable tag that my sister made!

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It was such a great day.  The birthday boy had so much fun!  I still can’t believe he is two!

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Tried and True Tips:

-Find a theme that your child likes.  It will make him/her excited and the ideas will come more naturally to you since it’s an interest of your child’s.  I was also able to use a lot of things we already had around the house like my son’s train for the wreath and other trains for table decor.

-Pinterest is your best friend when you are party planning!  Create a board for the party and pin away.  Come back to it for tutorials and source lists.

-Keep the guest list small.  Invite just a few families of kiddos the same age.  It cuts down on the amount of food and supplies you need and I found that it gave me more quality time enjoying my guests.  If the guest list is too large I end up feeling like all I did was run around hosting and I didn’t get to connect with everyone.

-Keep the menu simple.  We chose pulled pork sandwiches because we could buy the meat in bulk and then put it in the crock pot…super easy!  It was filling and yummy!  Add a few sides and you are set!

-Use things around the house for decor.  You probably already have things you can use that will go with your theme.

-To save on money borrow things from friends and offer them to do the same.  I had been looking for red lanterns to buy, but borrowed them from my friend, Jennie, and saved myself some money!

-Use paper and fabric for lots of decor ideas.  It’s a great way to get a lot of bang for your buck!  It’s amazing what you can do with a yard of fabric.  I love making the pennant banners.  They add great color and are so festive.  With a coupon you can get some fabric for $3/yard or maybe even cheaper!  Scrapbook paper can also go a long way.  I use it for banners, circle garland as well as extra color on tables for runners and/or place mats.  Crepe paper is inexpensive (try the 99 cent store) and can add a lot to your decor.

-After the party if you don’t know what to do with the party decor and don’t think you will resuse it, try selling it to your friends on Facebook or other places.  You can create more space in your garage and get back some of the money you spent on the party.  Someone else will appreciate not having to do all the work too!  It’s a win win!

Are you planning any parties coming up?  I hope some of these tips will help make it less stressful and easier on your wallet so that you can enjoy the company of your guests!

For more ideas on parties you can click around below:

I’m linking up with Bloom Designs Online.  Have a great week!

Signature - Marissa

Nov 24 2014

Mommy Monday: Guest Post-Home Educator’s Gratitude Journal for Kids

I am so excited to have Jess from Home Educator here today guest posting.  I have followed her on Instagram for awhile now and she is so thoughtful, inspiring and encouraging.  I also love how authentic she is in sharing her struggles as she home schools her kiddos.  I asked Jess to share with you about the gratitude journals she does with her kids.  It would be a great thing to start this week as we move towards Thanksgiving, but I also think it’s a great thing to continue throughout the year.  Can’t wait to start one with my little guy! 


My husband and I have one really big goal for raising our children- it is to raise them to be “we” centered instead of “me” centered. Many times, especially at the start of the holiday season, when toy catalog’s fill the mailbox- our goal becomes that much more difficult. Yes, they get a BAD case of the “gimmies.” Totally normal but something we wanted to shift in their world view. And, at that point we knew something needed to change. So, last November I introduced gratitude journals into our homeschool day. A simple way to focus on the blessings they have been given. My goal was that each homeschool day, we would start the morning focusing on what we were thankful for. I created a small notebook which I had spiral bound at Kinko’s and on November 1st, I gifted the children their journals. Each morning, we headed into the school room and pulled out the gratitude journals. Some days they racked their brains thinking of just one little thing they were thankful for. And some days they could’ve written page after page. Some days it was as simple as legos to play with and other days were much deeper-like clean water to drink unlike many other children in this world.


As our month long goal came to an end, the children were sad to see our new tradition go. They began to truly LOVE starting their days centered on gratitude and they wanted to keep focusing on that new perspective. So, our month long goal became a way to start EVERY homeschool day. “Today, I am thankful for…” Those are the first words they read in the morning-on the good days and the bad, the sick days and the well days, we began looking for the little things we are grateful for. A slow process, but a welcomed one, nonetheless. This will be our second year working on this goal, I can see that the children have truly become less centered on what they can get next, their “gimmies” have lessened and their focus remains on what they have been given.

If you are looking to start this new tradition with your children, I would encourage you to just begin talking about gratitude. Introduce the subject while you’re sitting down to play with them, “how blessed are we that we have these toys to play with?” or maybe even start by going around the dinner table and saying one thing you are each thankful for. Once you’ve opened up the topic, start an individual or family gratitude journal. One place to keep all those praises. A place to look back when days are rough. Gratitude journals make amazing mementos too. I love seeing how my children’s books have changed over the months-how the concepts become deeper, the drawings more advanced. This is a great week to start this new family tradition!


Isn’t that a great idea?! Thanks for sharing, Jess!  You can purchase one of Jess’ gratitude journals here.  I hope that you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.  We are so thankful for all of our readers and supporters!

Signature - Marissa