Meaningful Gifts from the Days of Yore

This time of the year I look forward to slowing things down and putting energy into the fun things that connect me with the holidays and the season. Back “in the old days” folks didn’t have to remind themselves to do these things because it was just the usual way of life.

Here are some of the “gifts of time” for people that I remind myself to do…

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Send a handwritten holiday card

Your friends and family love the pictures that you send of your kids and they will truly enjoy it even more if you add a hand written note. Just a couple of sentences about your weather, what’s going on in your neck of the woods or even sharing a memory shows that you were thinking of them specifically instead of just plopping down in front of the TV to mindlessly stuff envelopes. It takes a little more time and effort on your part, but it will mean a lot to someone. Have the kiddos sign the card and you just sent a bushel of love!

Make a phone call

In our techno world it is easy to forget that a text or an email is just not the same as picking up the phone to call someone and chat. Hearing your voice may be the best part of their day!

Stop in for a visit

And bring a treat! Grab a couple of drive-thru coffees and a baked good or bring something that you whipped up and stop to chat for a moment. Taking a moment to catch up with someone can be a better gift than anything from a store. It may even rejuvenate your spirit to continue ticking the errands off your to-do list!

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Holiday Goodness

The holiday season is here and it is a great moment to help those who need you. Through schools, churches, local flyers and local organizations you can find a way to help that fits what you are able to give. Gift cards, groceries, toys and presents, your time, your crafts and skills – you name it – are all ways to give back.

However you celebrate from Thanksgiving to the December holidays, or just the approaching of the winter season, there are moments to pause and give back. It can be one of the most enjoyable parts of the season!

“Spread the love” as well and pay for someone’s coffee, tip extra, grab a meal at the diner for someone, or even better, see if they want company too!

Host a Sprinkle Party!

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To switch things up a bit, host a “Sprinkle Party” this year instead of a Cookie Exchange. It’s fun to have a variety of sprinkles but unless you do a lot of baking that involves sprinkles, no one needs 100 bottles hanging around. If everyone brings enough of one type of sprinkle, you as the host can supply some small bottles, mini-mason jars or even baggies to divvy up the sprinkles so everyone can take a variety home with them for the season’s baking moments. (But, if you are crazy you can just exchange whole bottles and then figure out where you’re going to keep them all!)

Provide gift bags so that each guest can put all of their goodies in one bag and you can add a new bottle of sprinkles as a take home gift too. Why not throw in a cookie cutter or two to make it a fabulous take-home gift!

Your event could be as simple as having some appetizers out while you chit chat and share sprinkles or you could even add cookies to the mix and decorate them…to eat them all up or take them home!

Recipe for a “Happy Mother’s Day” with Play-Doh

Here is a Mother’s Day gift for those with younger muffins…feel free to use it ANY day!

Recipe:
– a box of Play-Doh
– a vinyl tablecloth
– plastic cups, bowls, silverware, cookie cutters
– McDonald’s large Hazelnut Iced Coffee with only 3 creams (…or whatever she likes to drink. That was just a suggestion.)

(lip smack noises)

uhhhhh…where was I…oh yes, the recipe.

This is how you put it all together.

Wait until the toddler takes a nap. They are too young.

Spread out the vinyl tablecloth on the floor, fuzzy side up, to trap get-a-way Play-Doh pieces.

Top tablecloth with a small kid size table and chairs, or whatever you have.

Pop open cans of Play-Doh. Go ahead, breathe in the scent…the Play-Doh smell you still love.

Sprinkle the table with cups, bowls, and any other kind of Play-Doh type toys you can find.

Slowly sip the Iced Hazelnut Coffee, or other beverage of choice, and breathe out…”MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM and ahhhhhhhhhhh”.

Savor the moment.

Ok. Turn on your mental timer for how much time you think you just bought yourself.

Plop on the couch, sit outside, leaf through a magazine or turn on a cooking show.

Or, if your kids will find you like mine do, crouch down in the kitchen next to a cabinet with your coffee so you are not visible…

…just do something that brings you peace and enjoyment for as long as it can last!

Enjoy this recipe for a Happy Mother’s Day!

Mother’s Day Flower Craft

There are two sides to me when I do crafts with my kids. One side lets them do the craft however they want to since it IS a craft for kids. The other side SAYS it is a craft for kids but there really are rules to follow and a “right” way to do it.

I think my kids lucked out getting me as an older mother because I have mellowed in my need to “do things a certain way”.

Unless of course, there happen to be rules to follow and a “right” way to do something…

I thought it would be fun for my kids and I to make flowers in vases for Mother’s Day so I have been collecting the materials, namely empty toilet paper rolls and cut up blocks of paper out of the millions of pieces of paper that get cut up in my home daily.

Today we worked on our Mother’s Day gift together. I drew the flower borders and they decorated them. I cut the stems and they taped them on. They taped their “pretty” blocks of paper scraps to the paper rolls and then placed their flowers in the vases.

My muffins had a great time and it was a very easy craft. We could have put more into it by using paints and a variety of scrap papers or stickers but we were working under the time constraints of my toddler’s nap so we stuck to some basics.

They would make a lovely gift for a mom, mom figure or a grandma.

Flower Vases

Except that my two kids were fascinated with the May Day Baskets that I threw together late at night and secretly left outside hanging from our doorknob yesterday morning, so we had to give these as May Day presents to our neighbor that afternoon. I kindly mentioned that I had planned these to be for Mother’s Day.

They disagreed.

I pretended to “forget” that we needed to deliver them.

They repeatedly brought it up.

So, I forfeited my Mother’s Day flower vases for May Day and we secretly left them hanging on our neighbor’s door knob yesterday afternoon. I am happy that they enjoyed May Day and that they were excited to do something special for our neighbor.

Changing my plan was not that painful after all.

And it WAS a craft for kids any ways…

Spring Cleaning on My Blog

One character flaw of mine is that I need to reorganize frequently and keep things fresh. That can be tiring.

I no longer do as much through the whole house because I cannot commit to it at this point in my world. But the Toy Department gets reorganized regularly. Pretty much every two weeks finds me bored with cleaning up the same toys and with my toddler clinging to my leg because he is bored with the same toys. I have stashes of toys stored in Olive Garden take-home shopping bags (they are a great size!) in the basement. When I do my “reorg” I bring out a bag or two.

The two bigger kids are thrilled because they have been wondering where “that” toy was and the toddler may or may not have seen this particular collection so it is an adventure for him. Then I use the newly emptied bags to secretly deposit a new stash of toys to be stored in the basement for a future adventure.

I also move toys from one floor to another or from one room to another. It breathes new life into those toys.

I have been blogging for about a month and felt the need to do some reorganizing, some “tweaking” if you will.

They are minor changes but I am not the same blogger I was a month ago.

Oh, how I have grown.

And have discovered how to finally “add that”.

And discovered that my template will not allow me to do everything I wanted to do.

And discovered how to get around some of those limitations.

So…….hop aboard for the “Tour of the Tweaking”…

1. I condensed the ABOUT ME and WELCOME! tabs into one MEET & GREET! tab.

2. I needed that tab space to add a CONTACT ME tab to offer you an option for privacy of your contact information etc. because there isn’t any privacy in the “Comments” section.

3. I moved the material from the THANK YOU’S tab to the MEET & GREET! section so I could create the tab MORE GIFTS I ADORE because I had more ideas for you.

Enjoy the “tweaks” and hang onto the edge of your seat for the next ones…

Buy Yourself Some Time…Make Bubbles!

Bubbles!

Bubbles!

One of my favorite things to do when I need my kids to be content for at least 15 minutes is to fill the kitchen sink with water and dish soap (I usually have dishes to do any ways). The bubbles pile up and then I scoop out the bubbles and fill some plastic containers with them. I hand out the bubbles and kids scoot off happily to play with their bubbles. My youngest is 19 months now and is able to “scoot off” but when he couldn’t, I plopped him in his high chair or on the floor with bubbles and spoons and bowls.

Works every time and I have a few moments to get something accomplished…like washing dishes…

Picnic Surprise

That first post sent out on “picnic lunch” was just a teaser to get you excited…

Ok, really I was rushing with a toddler hanging off my leg and hit the wrong button, but maybe it had the same effect.

You just might find that the best gift you can give is your time so why not plan a picnic and bring their favorite foods. It could be any time of the day and any place that works…outside at a park, during a lunch break, on the living room floor, breakfast in bed…get creative and have fun with it!

Just leave the ants behind!

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