Monday, December 8, 2014

Your Signature to Stop the Extinction of Elephants

Welcome to Monday Matters! Spread awareness to help important causes and start your week off right by making a difference each Monday, even if that is just to pin, tweet, or share to pass this information on.

Elephants have an estimated 5 years left before they're completely extinct.

Your Signature to Stop the Extinction of Elephants #marchforelephants #savetheelephants #elephants #wildlife #causes

An elephant is killed every minute. 

The past few years the demand for ivory has gone up. As prices sky rocket, poaching increases.

We can stop this if we act now.

 Sign the petitions listed here and continue to educate and spread awareness.

I shared this on my pet blog, but it's so important and so urgent I am sharing the same here. 

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Monday, December 1, 2014

Better than a Princess Doll? Inspirational Dolls that Give Back

Welcome to Monday Matters! Spread awareness to help important causes and start your week off right by making a difference each Monday, even if that is just to pin, tweet, or share to pass this information on.

Want a doll that sets a good example for girls and is even inspirational? 

Looking for a unique and meaningful holiday gift for a child?

These dolls are better than Barbie dolls or Disney Princess dolls. The new Frontline Hero dolls of the World Wildlife Fund are inspired by true heroes who work hard to care for our world and the animals in it. They encourage our girls to become heroes themselves and open their eyes to career options they may not have heard of or ever considered. Jobs that make a difference. 

Choose from the Marine Biologist, Polar Researcher, and Wildlife Ranger. 

#Gifts that inspire girls and #giveback #giftsforgirls #toptoys2014 #shopforacause

Best of all your purchase is a donation to support the WWF's global conservation efforts. 

Shop for a cause and purchase gifts that give back. The WWF works to save endangered and threatened animals and their habitats. You can help with a donation and receive this great holiday gift for yourself or give a meaningful gift to a child.

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Saturday, November 29, 2014

How to have #FinancialPeace Save and Get Out of Debt on a Small Budget

Tired of living paycheck to paycheck? 

I am! I don't splurge much, but it is so hard to save. When I have a little extra I feel my family deserves a treat, such as dinner out or buying items we definitely need, but could live a little longer without. With my small paycheck, I didn't think I could afford to put anything in savings while trying to pay down my debt, which never seemed to be shrinking. However things continually come up that needed some savings to cover, such as car trouble, so my debt just kept getting deeper.

Something needed to change, so I finally got organized and decided to start on the road to financial freedom, however long it might take.

How can I make my savings grow while getting out of debt on a small budget?

How to have #FinancialPeace Save and Get Out of Debt on a Small Budget @CapitalOne360
Sample budget

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Top Four Tips to Raise Grateful Kids

In our world of instant gratification and distraction, it can be hard for kids to take the time to realize how good they have it, how much they have, and to be grateful for it. As well as hard for you as a parent to be an example of gratitude.

For Thanksgiving this year I wanted to share tips that I have learned along the way in parenthood. No, my kids didn't come with an instruction manual either. These are some ways that are working in our family and that I've seen work in others that will help you be an example to your kids and teach your children to be grateful, respectful, and have the desire to help others in their own family as well as in their community and eventually around the world.

Four Ways to Raising Grateful Children

Top Four Tips to Raise Grateful Kids #gratefulness #thankful #thanksgiving #education #buildingcharacter #kids #parentingtips

1. Let Them Give

If it's not a routine yet, make it a regular part of your year to collect unused toys, household goods, outgrown clothes, etc around your home to donate. If you know of a family in need, deliver a box or a few items yourself and bring the kids along. There's nothing like seeing who your donations are actually helping and they really truly are helping someone.

If you don't know of anyone personally, there are plenty of programs accepting donations that can use the items or sell them to help others. Explain to your child how their items will help someone and let them come with you to the drop off center or watch the truck pick up the items.

Some kids love to clear out their space and will want to give up everything!

If they want to give, let them! If it's something you really think they should keep, tell them why you'd like them to keep it (it had better be an heirloom or an expensive item you could never replace) and ask them to think on it for a day. If it's possible for you to part with it, do it. If not explain your reasons, but remove it from your child's room if they still want to give it up and store it the attic or someplace else. Don't discourage giving and de-cluttering!

Top Four Tips to Raise Grateful Kids #gratefulness #thankful #thanksgiving #education #buildingcharacter #kids #parentingtips
Direction to this simple Thankfulness Pumpkin Pie craft here

2. Enlist Their to Help

Volunteer together or with a group. Any type of volunteering can cultivate the giving spirit by experiencing the joy of helping an individual or the community, actively making a difference they can see. Some ways to help, clean up a state park or beach, serve at a community kitchen, food drive, or food pantry. visit a nursing home, work on a community project such as beautifying a school or community center. There are so many ways for kids and families to be involved in doing good; a simple search on the internet can give you a ton more ideas.

If you're kids want to clean up trash, let them! I am prepared with bags, gloves, and hand sanitizer when we go out because my kids have done park clean up with the Jr. Rangers program and Save Our Shores beach clean up. We all teach our kids to care for the Earth, yet I hear so many parents telling their kids not to touch that trash. Let encourage clean up, even if it isn't theirs.

3. Clean Together

Speaking of encouraging clean up, cleaning together as a family fosters a sense of community, and an attitude of caring for not only your child's own things, but everyone's. Pick up toys, put away clothes, make beds, etc, all together as a family. This is great time to spend together bonding, connecting, and learning that everyone helps each other in a family. This extends to helping others outside the home as your child grows. Being respectful of each others things and space, and helping one another grows generosity and gratitude in your children for their own family, and what they have.

If you're telling your kids to go put their toys away because it's their mess, think about the message that sends; that you don't clean up after others or help them. Instead lets be an example of a helping, community serving attitude. Yes, my kids need to clean up after themselves, but I'll say "I'll help you clean up your toys if you get started." If my child gets distracted and stops, I'll remind him gently, "I said I would help you, not do it all by myself. Lets get this cleaned up so we can do ___. If you don't want to help me, than you'll get to do it by yourself."

The kids will sometimes whine, "why do I have to clean this mess up? I didn't do it!" ask them (respectfully) "Do I only make dinner for me? Do I only do my own laundry? No, we help each other in this family."

Four Tips to Grateful Kids and Thankfulness Pie Craft #thanksgiving #education #buildingcharacter #kids #parentingtips
Best Pumpkin Pie Recipe Ever Here

I suggest cleaning up each others rooms together each night before getting ready for bed. Just make sure you leave enough time for talking, a little time for examining finds (a toy your child hasn't seen in a while), and enjoying each others company. Think fun bonding time, rather than rushed and stressed, but you can also set a timer or incentive, for example, "if we get this done by 7:30, we'll still have time to read before bed."

Of course, the younger you start, the easier this will be. It may take some getting used to with an older child. But, I've started this with a teen and continued for the three years she lived with me. At first she acted like I was invading her space, and then as if she was indifferent, but she finally admitted that she enjoyed the one on one time we had to chat, the cleanliness of her otherwise uncontrollable, overwhelming room that she said she didn't know where to even start, and was grateful that less of her things got stepped on and broken.

4. Count Your Blessings

Once tucked in bed each night I ask my kids what they are grateful for, this is part of our bedtime prayers, but even if you don't pray, it's a great practice to get into the habit of. Not just for the kids either. List what you are grateful for right along with your child. 

Four Tips to Grateful Kids and Thankfulness Pie Craft #thanksgiving #education #buildingcharacter #kids #parentingtips
I'm thankful for my stuffed animal!

We constantly have so many things going through our minds, to do lists, worries, deadlines to meet, and distractions such as t.v. and internet, we don't take a lot of time to reflect on what is going right. But, it does wonders to relieve stress and change your outlook and attitude to a positive light to list even just a few good things in your lives that you are truly grateful for. 

No matter what state your life is in there are good things. Take a few moments each day to remember what is truly important in life and that you have much to be happy and thankful for, even little things you take for granted such as breathing in and out or having clean socks. It's a lifelong skill I highly recommend you teach yourself and your kids.

Four Tips to Grateful Kids and Thankfulness Pie Craft #thanksgiving #education #buildingcharacter #kids #parentingtips
Easy Beautiful Thanksgiving Turkey Fruit Platter Here

I hope you'll apply some if not all of these tips and come back and share how they've affected your family. 

Follow my Monday Matters series where I share about causes and simple ways to give back each Monday. 

Do you have any other tips that your family does to cultivate gratitude?

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Easy Thankfulness Pie and Turkey Craft

Easy #Thankfulness #PumpkinPie and #Turkey #Craft #kids #holidays

Simple Pumpkin Pie Thankfulness Craft just in time for Thanksgiving. 

Celebrating holidays with kids is always fun. They can get creative and make decorations, learn about the history and meaning of the Thanksgiving holiday and reflect on what they are grateful for. These are simple thanksgiving crafts you can do last minute that don't require a lot of supplies. You probably have everything you need for these already in your house.

Paper plate
Brad fastener
Orange paper

Easy #Thankfulness #PumpkinPie and #Turkey #Craft #kids #holidays

Color outside edge of plate tan or brown (not shown in the photo) to look like pie crust.

Cut orange paper in a circle to fit in middle of plate with one "slice" cut out, about 1/4 of circle, but not at right angles. Leave enough paper whole in the middle for brad to attach. (notice cut out portion does not reach middle so a hole can be poked through for the brad) as in photo.

Write with "I'm Thankful For..." with marker on orange paper. (optional: print it on a sticker label)

On paper plate, in each 1/4 write one thing you are thankful for. Have child draw a picture.

Optional: for younger kids you can have pre-drawn pictures on a white paper circle they can paste onto plate. This is what I did as I had a large group of kids who were too young to write.

Poke hole with pen and/or hole punch (I used a hole punch on the orange paper, but used a pen on the plate as my hole punch couldn't reach the middle.

Insert brad from front through orange paper then plate. Orange paper should turn so you can read each thing child is thankful for.

Easy #Thankfulness #PumpkinPie and #Turkey #Craft #kids #holidays

Turkey Hand Print Craft

Easy #Thankfulness Pie and #Turkey #Craft #kids #holidays

Washable tempura paint (5 colors)
thick brushes
Red and orange markers

Paint child's hand with paint. Brown for palm and thumb. Paint the other fingers any color of your choice.

Let dry.

Draw beak and feet with orange marker. Draw waddle with red marker.

Optional: Write one thing child is grateful for on each "tail feather" in black marker.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving this week. Coming this Thursday, Thanksgiving Day:

 Top Four Tips to Raise Grateful Kids

For now check out: 

Easy last minute Thanksgiving side dish: Turkey Fruit Platter


Mini Pumpkin Pies with the Best Pumpkin Pie Recipe Ever and Best Pie Crust Recipe

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Give a Meaningful Gift this Holiday

Welcome to Monday Matters! Spread awareness to help important causes and start your week off right by making a difference each Monday, even if that is just to pin, tweet, or share to pass this information on.

Are you planning your holiday gift giving already? 

Gearing up for Black Friday Deals or Cyber Monday?

If you're like me, your household probably doesn't need a lot more stuff. What if you looked at holiday giving differently this year. Talk about it with your family and then decide.

What if everyone could give a meaningful gift that could truly change a life? 

Give a Meaningful Gift this Holiday #holidaygifts #giving #causes #UNICEF

UNICEF Inspired Gifts 

Give to people in need around the world- things like water, emergency supplies, vaccines, mosquito nets. There are gifts starting under $20. Even the gift of milk and cookies to kids who may never otherwise have had such a treat!

Give a Meaningful Gift this Holiday #holidaygifts #giving #causes #UNICEF

What fun to pick and choose what is important to you and your kids and give to someone who needs it most. Have fun giving this holiday season. 

Join us December 2nd for #GivingTuesday

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