Blogmas, Christmas, Holidays, parenting, Uncategorized

Teaching kids to Enjoy Giving, Not Just Recieving

Welcome to Blogmas 2017! Today Katelynne is guest blogging for us from The Disguised Supermom! Visit her at her website and say, “Hi!”

Anyone else find that their kids get an extra case of the “gimmies” this time of year? The list of things they need seems to be endless and it’s no surprise since they are constantly bombarded with images and ideas of things they have to have. It drives me crazy, but it’s not actually their fault. Instead, it’s the culture they’re surrounded by and more importantly, the example we set for them. If we want to raise kids who are just as excited to give than to receive, we need to teach them its importance.

As parents, we are trying to fight against this trend of “me-first” and raise our children to think of others before themselves, to do good in the world and always be on the look-out for ways to help somebody. There are great books to read, movies to watch and conversations to be had around these ideas but the truth is, our children will mirror what they see. Or more accurately, who they see – us, their parents.

I see two ways we can be more intentional about teaching our kids the joy that can come from giving to others, both which fit perfectly with this holiday season.

First, involve them in gift giving within the family. Let them help come up with the list of people that you need to purchase or make gifts for. For us, this includes grandparents, aunts and uncles. The kids also love adding each other and mom and dad to the list. Once you have your list of people, ask them to help you brainstorm ideas. Even if you already know what you’re getting them, give them a chance. I’m always impressed by the thought my kids put into it – even if the actual gift idea seems crazy to me!

If you’re purchasing gifts, consider bringing them with you when you do the shopping. Yes, it will probably take a little longer and may be more stressful but it will be worth it. My kids get so excited to help pick out gifts for others! Make no mistake though, they still need a gentle reminder from time to time to think about who the gift is for instead of themselves – especially if we’re at a toy store!

If you usually make your gifts (or even if you are purchasing gifts yourself), let the kids make their own gifts to give. The gifts can be as simple or elaborate as you want to make them – the age and personalities of your kids will probably determine this. Kids love giving people homemade creations and most people I know also love receiving them.

Kids can also make or decorate the cards, gift bags or wrapping paper.   Last year, I purchase 2 rolls of plain brown packaging paper to wrap our gifts in. Once they were wrapped, the kids got to decorate them with markers, crayons and stickers. You can be sure they were more excited to hand those out than the ones in store bought paper!

The second way to teach your children to think of giving over receiving is through acts of kindness. Last year, we started the tradition of doing as many acts of kindness throughout the month of December as we could. Before the month started, I had a general list of ideas I planned to incorporate but the kids quickly started coming up with their own ideas too. Again, how you implement this depends on the ages of your kids, but it can be done with any ages!

Some of our favorite ideas include:

  • Bring coffee or hot chocolate to the Salvation Army workers outside the supermarket
  • Visit an elderly neighbor who lives alone
  • Donate food to the food pantry
  • Make Christmas cards for a nursing home
  • Leave a treat for the mailman
  • Make thank you cards for the librarians
  • Take supplies to an animal shelter
  • Donate a pair of pajamas to a child in foster care


There are countless other acts of kindness that can be done with very little prep and minimal money. My kids are young (5, 3 and 1) so I try to keep our list do-able for them. I want these activities to be things they can do themselves. For example, when we donated food to the food pantry, we went to the grocery store just for this and the kids each got to pick 5 items to purchase. Last year, I brought them to the aisles with the staples – pastas, canned goods, cleaning supplies – but my oldest insisted on going to the baby aisle. When I asked why, she responded “I want my 5 things to be baby food, babies need to eat too.”

If we give our kids the chance, they will rise to the occasion.

Things are simpler for them –

Someone is hungry, of course we feed them.

Someone is cold, of course we get them a coat.

Some kids won’t get presents this year, of course we should get one for them.

Somewhere along the lines as we grow up, things become more complicated but kids are naturally giving people. It’s our job as parents to nurture that instinct by giving them a strong example to follow.



Katelynne is married to her high school sweetheart and is a stay at home mom raising three little ones (ages 5, 3 and 1) in Connecticut. You can find her running around with the kids, homeschooling, chasing chickens in the backyard or curled up with a good book and strong cup of coffee. She blogs at about how mamas can simplify life at home and how to incorporate literature into your everyday living and learning.

Christmas, Decorating, Holidays, Uncategorized

Turn This… into That.. In Just 5 Minutes

Christmas is just around the corner, where did the time go???! Colby and I went to get some decorations the other day and I was appalled at the cost of garland, so we decided to make our own! We took our ordinary mantle into this in 5 minutes! Wanna know how? Well, great news I made this totally informal video to show you just how easy it is!

Let me know how your garland looks! 🙂 (By the way, why do videos pick the most awesome pose to freeze on?)

Turn this into that... In Just 5 Minutes-2




Hey All! I just wanted to check in with you and let you know we are alive! I know I usually post on Mondays and didn’t… It seems as though little TJ is growing and needs to eat 24/7 making it hard to do things like blog! I truly feel like a milking cow these days, but everyone keeps reminding me that I will miss this stage! But just so you know we will be back in full swing tomorrow bringing you Wandering Wednesday! So stop by and add your post! See you then!


There is Sunshine in My Soul #4

There is sunshine in my soul

Octobers are so busy for us here and they always seem to fly by. This October is no different! With Colby’s 13th birthday yesterday and Chase turning 11 next week it is crazy here! Throw in football games and baseball and I am running around with my head cut off.. It makes me think of Trace Adkins song, “You’re Gonna Miss This”

Continue reading “There is Sunshine in My Soul #4”

Marriage, married life, My Life, relationship skills, Uncategorized

Heaven help Me! Not Another Home Improvement Project!

heaven help me

Two months before my husband and I got married we bought a fixer upper in the perfect neighborhood in the city we were living in. We knew he had two months to fix it up and get it to our standard of liveable before we combined households and moved in.

This house was disgusting when we bought it; it needed a whole new paint job because of booger stained walls, it needed new carpet because of fecal matter from pets, it smelt like a zoo had been living their for years, the tile floors needed to be stripped down because the previous owners tried a DIY project that obviously went bad, the cabinets were caked with 3 inches of grease, the countertops had lost its grout because of poor maintenance, and the backyard was unfinished. Sadly, this house was only 5 years old and had sustained this much damage and abuse. They always say buy the worst house in the best neighborhood, well we did!

We were so ill prepared for what we were going to take on as a “happily engaged” couple. We had set a budget and had an idea of what we needed to do, but that was about it. We had never worked on a project together before, never really talked about decorating, or desires so you could say that we were going in blindly to the project.

I recall our first “discussion” about the house when I realized that renovating a house with anyone, especially my fiance might have been the worst thing I ever decided to do!  One night, we were talking about paint colors and painting when I suggested that we paint the house a few different colors (not all in the same room) to give the house some character. I also suggested we paint the house a nice warm color that was not tan, because at that time everyone’s house was tan. The look that was shot across the room for suggesting something other than tan was priceless! He then followed it up  with, “What do you mean a different color, we are painting it tan.”

Continue reading “Heaven help Me! Not Another Home Improvement Project!”


Humbled Once Again

I was so humbled last week when I found out that I was nominated for the Blogger Recognition Award! Over the past three weeks I have dedicated every ounce of free time to developing my blog and making it just right for you, my amazing readers! Getting this award makes all those nights when I averaged 5 hours of broken up sleep worth it knowing that people are enjoying what they are seeing! I promise to try and continue to dedicate my time to bringing you what you want!

First of all, I want to thank Amanda at Legally Mommy for nominating me. I was so honored that such a great blog thought mine was worthy of this award. I hope that my blog can one day be like hers!

Click here to see her acceptance of the award and to visit her blog!

What is the Blogger Recognition Award?

The Blogger Recognition Award is an opportunity for bloggers to connect and recognize one another for their contributions. As part of the nomination, each nominee has to nominate an additional 15 bloggers for the award as well.

Why I started blogging

Continue reading “Humbled Once Again”


Oh My Goodness! The Liebster Award!

Last week I was happily surprised when I was nominated for the LIEBSTER AWARD by Anna Krawczyk at The Runaway Blog! This award is given by bloggers to other bloggers. Its purpose to recognize new blogs and give them a chance to grow their audience. It also allows us to share some personal information with our readers so they can get to know us a little better!

Here is the list of the official rules for 2017.

I want to thank Anna Krawczyk at The Runaway Blog for choosing me as one of her nominations! I really appreciate her choosing me for this award! Starting a blog a couple months after having baby #5 has been a challenge and at times I have wondered if you wonderful readers like what you are reading and this award is great motivation to keep going and writing for you all! Continue reading “Oh My Goodness! The Liebster Award!”


11 steps to a getting more done by 8am

I recall the days I used to dread waking up in the morning feeling as though I was behind before I even got started, but then I decided to make my mornings more productive and by doing this all of a sudden my whole day became more productive and I no longer dreaded getting out of bed. Today I am sharing my 11 tips on what you can do before 8am to be well on your way to a more productive day!

This is the order that I do it in because it works for me, but you can do any order that works for you!

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Staying Involved When You’re 1800 Miles Away

Staying Involved When You're 1800 Miles AwayEver since my ex husband and I had gotten divorced we always lived less than a mile apart. It was such a blessing for the kids. After school if they felt like coming over to get help from me with homework they would just ride their bike or walk. If they felt like seeing if their dad was home to play baseball with them they would do the same. It allowed us to be at all their school events, sports, and equally involved in their school life. When a family vacation came up, we would both make arrangements to the schedule so they could always attend and bond with their family. This all changed 2 ½ years ago when my husband got transferred 1800 miles away.
After much discussion we decided that the boys would move with me to Texas and visit their Dad on all their breaks from school. With this being said it was a huge change for the kids, but we have discovered great ways to still be involved in the boy’s lives when they are away from us!

Continue reading “Staying Involved When You’re 1800 Miles Away”