Category Archives: Inspiration

Fall Decoration: Bringing Nature Indoors

From the fiery kaleidoscope of the leaves to the plumpness of pumpkins and ruby red of apples, fall’s natural beauty pervades the whole outdoors. Why not invite it indoors with you? There are many ways to include nature in your autumn decorations. Here are a few fall decoration ideas that are fun to make and will bring a warm feeling to the chill fall evenings.

Fall Decoration:

  • Corn husk candles. Wrap a large candle in corn husks and tie with strips of husk or colorful ribbon. Enjoy the glow of the fall harvest in your living room.
  • Hanging gourd vase. Dry a swan gourd and cut a large hole in the upper portion of the bulb. Use as a vase for dried or freshly cut flowers, or even as a planter for live ones.
  • Foliage arrangement. Use dry, colored leaves, fall flowers and the fluff of seeding plants to create a beautiful bouquet. Place anywhere–on the table, in the bathroom, or on the bookshelf are good options.
  • Pumpkins. Beautiful on their own, pumpkins can also be carved with beautiful patterns. To make longer lasting decorations, don’t cut the whole way through–just etch a design on the surface.
  • Pomanders. Oranges can studded with cloves to make beautiful decorative designs. They smell amazing and can be eaten or made into juice afterwords.
  • Crafty leaves. Glue leaves to craft paper and attach colorful string or fishing line to make a mobile. You can also use the cards to decorate window sills, or use double sided tape to decorate the walls.
  • Harvest corn basket. Peel back he dried husks of colorful corn and arrange into a colorful basket. Mix with other fall bounty to add color and diversity.
  • Wreath. a gorgeous addition to an entry way or door, a wreath is surprisingly easy to make. Use all sorts of natural fall materials to create the perfect one for you.

Making these crafts is especially fun to do with the family. Try involving the kids–go on a nature hike and pick out the most beautiful of nature’s creations to use in your art, and each create your own decorations. Happy crafting!

Fall

Rainy Day Activities… Hmmmm?

Rainy Day Activities.

Where to start

As a father of two girls, ages 2 & 5, I almost enjoy the rainy days more than sunny.  More often than not sunny days mean playing outside.  Outside is great, I mean I would never complain about my kids jumping on the trampoline, playing in the sprinkler, or riding their bikes; but inside means imagination.

I won’t lie and say the tv never turns on.  I dare you to find a household that doesn’t own one, but we really try to limit our children’s digital intake.  Occassionally, on a really dreary day we will break out the hot cocoa and Despicable Me or Finding Nemo and just snuggle up together.

Most rainy days are more fun than that though.  Like I said the imagination really kicks up a notch on those rainy days when we don’t just kick the kids out the door in their rain coats to play in puddles.  I don’t know that I could even count the number of rainy days that find their start with a cardboard box.

A box to you childless masses is a magical devise that has the ability to transform into whatever plaything the depths of the mind can dredge up.  The best boxes are large appliance boxes: refrigerator, stove, hotwater heater.  Pair this box with a knife, generally of utility form and in the hands of a trained adult, and you have yourself a house, a pirate ship, a race car, or even the basis for a brand new sport.  Some of the greatest rainy days ideas begin with a simple cardboard box.

Add a rare treat

Another favorite of my girls is to break out ice cream and the fixings, crank the iPod, and have an ice cream social.  You wouldn’t believe how long a kids danceparty can last.  Dance with them.  I know it will be hard to think about, but it doesn’t do any good for your last dance at your daughter’s wedding to be the first time.  Even if you suck at dancing like I do, they don’t know the difference.  My advice is be careful what music you choose, your kids will start singing it back to you at the most inopportune moment.

Make a night of it

My last idea is just as simple as the first; well almost.  Find some string, blankets, sleeping bags, flashlights, and popcorn.  I would recommend some strong twine.  Take that twine and string it up in the living room.  I tend to run it between the curtain holder things; they tend to be fairly strong.  Throw some blankets over the strings to make tents.  Crawl inside with your sleeping bags, flashlights, and popcorn.  My girls love it when we take turns making up stories as we camp out in the living room.  The bonus is Mom might say it’s ok to leave it up for the night and then you can really have a living room campout.

Overall, Rainy Day Activities can be as fun, if not more so, than sunny days.  As I said previously, imagination runs rampant on days when you can’t get out.  Let that imagination go and see where it takes you.

Camping Invitation

Home-school Groups and Private Schools Use Personalized T-shirts for Kids

Home school communities and private school groups often do not have access to personalized t-shirts for kids that will offer fun, creative options that will fit a small-group budget. Smaller group sizes typically means smaller orders, and many printers will either charge a large set up fee or simply will not work them at all. Does this sound all too familiar? Would you like to be treated with the same level of customer service as the large group orders? Then work with a business that specializes in t-shirts and themed items better suited to your groups’ needs!

What to look for in a business that will work well with your home school community or private school:

  1. Small orders accepted- Be careful of companies who set order minimums! Instead, look for a company that will create personalized t-shirts for kids without charging a set-up fee (this adds to the overall cost) or establishing a minimum order.
  2. Personalization allowed- Many large companies will require that the entire order be one style of shirt, or may establish a minimum order per style. Look instead for one that will print your personalized t-shirts for kids in the quantity and style you want, rather than conforming to what they want.
  3. Packaged themes- Seek out a company that can create an entire theme of accessories to coordinate with your event. Having a farm day ? Or a luau? Working with a company that can carry the theme with personalized t-shirts for kids, stickers, invitations, and other items that will bring it all together for a professional look within your budget!

The goal is to get a great product at a fair price and know that you have options that will work for your group. Need more ideas? Check out the fun, affordable items at Amy Adele!

TV is Going Family-Friendly this Summer

Bolstering excitement about the summer TV schedule, major networks recently released previews for their planned lineups.& Nearly every major broadcast network has brought a new family-friendly show to the air, a welcome break from sashaying celebrities and bloody, sex-filled teen dramas. Though in the case of any TV programming disagreements, multiple shows can be recorded at once with the Genie, according to install-direct-tv.com. Below are five new shows (all listed at Eastern Standard Time) you can enjoy with the kids in the same room.

1. ‘Whose Line is it Anyway?’ on The CW Tuesdays at 8 p.m.

This improv show, once hosted by Drew Carey, has been off the air for more than five years, but the CW revival premieres Tuesday, July 16. Though comedic actress Aisha Tyler has taken over behind the desk, it features many of the same cast members, who create off-the-cuff songs, mini-plays and sound effects based on audience cues. The games are family-friendly and sure to get a laugh from anyone in your brood.

2. ‘Dads’ on Fox Tuesdays at 8 p.m.

A unique turn on the family sitcom staple of parents struggling with raising kids, the new Fox comedy “Dads” portrays two single adults dealing with their own fathers coming into their lives. Seth MacFarlane is producing, and it appears “Dads” will take a turn from his pseudo-adult brand of humor to instead focus on relationships and the hilarity therein.

3. ‘The Michael J. Fox Show’ on NBC Thursdays at 9:30 p.m.

Some parents will remember Michael J. Fox from “Back to the Future,” while others saw him in his first family sitcom, “Family Ties.” He returns to the air on NBC this fall in a semiautobiographical show about a TV personality who balances Parkinson’s disease with a career and family. The show will fill the coveted Thursday night slot, home to classics such as “Friends” and “The Office.” The honest but light-hearted portrayal of Fox’s real-life struggles is a television first, and kids will get a kick out of the young kids and teens on the show, who are quickly becoming a rarity on network sitcoms.

4. ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ on ABC Tuesdays at 8 p.m.

ABC is capitalizing on the success of “The Avengers” and comic-based films in general, with a Tuesday night spinoff about the team chosen to deal with the messy world of superheroes and supervillains. “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” may be more appropriate for teens because of its dramatic nature and fight scenes. Director Joss Whedon, who has a flair for cult favorites with a dark side, brings back popular character Agent Coulson for the show, something he’s had a lot of experience with between two Buffy deaths and the return of Sigourney Weaver in the aptly named “Alien: Resurrection.” Whedon refers to his long-term experience and assures the audience he knows the right way to handle this tricky plot device, according to an interview with Noelene Clark of the Los Angeles Times.

5. ‘The Crazy Ones,’ on CBS Thursdays at 9 p.m.

“The Crazy Ones” premiere will mark Robin William’s first starring television gig since “Mork and Mindy.” The show is set in the world of high-powered advertising executives, and a preview features Williams’ trademark maniacal laugh and a literal knockout punch from co-star Sarah Michelle Gellar. This is an unexpected comedic combination of two veteran actors.

What show are you most looking forward to watching with your kids? Tell us in the comments.

How to Encourage Thankfulness by Creating Positive Messages in a Bottle

Imagine receiving a jar chocked full of little notes sharing and emphasizing your strengths. Envision opening a note a day; the notes instantly promote a feeling of gratitude. If you have been wondering how to encourage thankfulness in your children and family creating a message in a bottle is a perfect way to teach them gratitude. They will be excited to open the tiny scraps of paper. Reading your notes will leave them feeling positive and special. It will give them permission to focus on their strengths, and to realize that they are special. Filling them with positivity, and prompting them to be kind to someone else. Why not create a positive message in a bottle for your beloved family members.

In day-to-day life we sometimes forget to point out the good things. We walk around the house picking up laundry, doing chores and we find ourselves yelling across the house at our children. “Susie. You left your clothes in the bathroom again,” or “Garrett. You spilled juice on the floor!”  If it was your husband who left the mess, you may groan internally and let your frustrations slip out inappropriately later.

Think over your conversations the past few days. How many of them were similar to the ones mentioned above? Did you know that there is a magic ratio? It is suggested that each time we offer a negative criticism it should be coupled with 5 positive interactions.

Let’s make a change, and put some sweet little notes in a jar. The concept is simple. To get started call a family meeting. Before the meeting, purchase stationary that folds and fits into the jar easily. To give your family inspiration and to get the activity started write a short note for each person in your family. After reading your note, your family members may be instantly inspired to write kind notes of their own.

Place your jar in a place within everyone’s reach. If you are not keen on using an expensive jar you have at home, inexpensive decorative containers can be purchased at a dollar store. For a greater impact purchase a jar for each family member.

Creating this keepsake will inspire your family to be more thankful for what they possess; however, you may further your children’s lesson in gratitude by purchasing our thank you noted for children.

Using Local Civic Organizations to Encourage Grateful Giving

We have all seen the heartwarming stories of random acts of kindness bestowed on unsuspecting recipients…but many service organizations are actively involved in providing much-needed services to your local community EVERY DAY! Do you want to find projects that show you how to encourage thankfulness in your child? Parents who are involved with their children in project participation model behavior that ultimately creates a lasting impression of compassion and dedication for a cause, and as an added benefit the organization gains a valuable resource in your volunteer time.

 

Need ideas to get started? Consider these organizations as a jumping point:

 

Local Active Military support groups, Veteran’s groups- Together, you can write individual letters of gratitude and support to those actively serving. Consider having your child’s teacher join the effort by hosting a letter- writing day! Teachers can incorporate writing and grammar skills, history, and social studies as part of the project. Mother’s of Military organizations often host Veteran’s luncheons or mail care packages to active duty Military members. Work with your child to gather supplies for the care packages, or volunteer your time to serve meals or assist with decorating…the group leaders will not hesitate to keep you busy!

 

Service Organizations- Groups such as Rotary, Kiwanas, United Way, Habitat for Humanity, and other local groups are always in need of volunteers. Involve your child in the search for a cause that interests you both- then put your skills to work! Kids benefit from the process of following a project from start to finish and seeing the impact their time has on the benefactor of their efforts. Encourage your child to invite friends to join in the project…volunteerism is contagious, and more hands means greater results!

 

Elder Care or Assisted Living Facilities- Often a forgotten segment of society, these organizations have experienced cutbacks in funding that often result in fewer opportunities for community involvement. Encourage your child to ‘adopt a grandparent’ or to mentor a person with intellectual or physical limitations. The interaction will foster empathy and understanding in your child and also bridges a gap in a segmented population of your community.

 

Still need ideas? Search the Internet for community organizations, check board postings at your local library, or make inquiries with your Chamber of Commerce. Above all, remember that the best example your child has for reaching out to others is YOU!

How to Encourage Thankfulness In our Children

Our culture has quickly become a thankless culture.  We have so much, yet we have so little that we can find to be thankful for.  Perhaps this is due to a very limited world view.

For the most part, American children have everything they need and a lot of what they want.  They give us lists at Christmas and on their birthdays and generally get some or all of what they asked for.   They observe parents and grandparents running here and there to make sure that they are happy.  This makes it very easy for them to grow comfortable with and even expect the many blessings that we have in this nation.  They may even come to think of those blessings as entitlements.  This can lend itself to ungratefulness and thanklessness.   They want, want, want and expect that it will be given without much effort or input from them.  In poorer societies, much of what we take for granted is cause for celebration and thankfulness, so in our culture we must find ways to instruct our children on being thankful.  Thankful people are much happier and well adjusted.  In thinking about how to encourage thankfulness in children, intentionality is a must.

One way is by demonstrating to them that nothing in their world is free.  Although it might not have been them, someone had to work to provide all that they have come to expect and enjoy.  When they realize that what they have did not just appear on the table or under the Christmas tree but it cost someone time and effort, they will also realize that they should be thankful for that person and what they provided.

One way is to make them aware of how much things cost.  If they receive a toy, have them figure out on their own or tell them how many hours someone worked to provide it for them.  If they are of the age that they can do one task for an hour, have them do a mundane task for half an hour or an hour to help them realize that someone else sacrificed in order to give it to them.  When they are old enough, give them an hourly rate and have them figure out how long someone worked to pay for their playstation and games, a days worth of meals, or those brand name shoes that they just couldn’t live without.  Have teens investigate cell phone plans and car insurance prices and figure out how many hours they will have to work after school to pay for them.

Another option is to have them sacrifice their time to give others the opportunity to express thankfulness to them.  Some examples might be taking flowers to a home for the aged, or supplies to a local homeless shelter, doing a lawn cleanup for a shut in, delivering a meal to a neighbor who is sick or had a new baby, taking baked goods to the local fire or ambulance station-anything that causes them to have to invest some of their time purely in service to others.  The reward will completely outweigh the time and effort they put in when they are the object of another’s gratefulness.

Expose them to the plight of many in the world that have very little and ask them what they could do to help.  Then enable them to do something to contribute to the well being of another.  There are many reputable agencies that supply funds for schooling and feeding programs in foreign countries that have financial adoption programs with amounts manageable for children of almost any age.  If you fear that they may become overburdened, help them to participate in seasonal types of charity filling boxes of gifts for the poor and underprivileged or by providing a gift for a friend at school who may be going through a hard time.

By helping them appreciate the efforts of others on their behalf and by providing opportunites to be the object of thankfulness, children will soon realize what a difference thankfulness can make in their lives.

How to Help Children Write Thank You Notes – Model It!

The best way to teach anything to a child is to model it.

In the poem, Children Learn What They Live by Dorothy Law Nolte c1972, Nolte describes perfectly the idea that we can facilitate correct attitudes in our children by  modeling behaviors that cause them to form positive thought processes and behaviors.  This applies when thinking of producing thankfulness.  If our children are raised in an environment of gratitude, it will make them thankful.  As parents take time to express gratitude and model thankfulness, children will begin to observe and model what they see.

Modeling this is not hard, in fact it can be fun.  Here is an activity to cultivate thankfulness in children that will illustrate how to help children write thank you notes, a valuable skill they will use for the rest of their lives.

Once a week, have everyone in the family write one thing they are thankful for and slip it in a jar.  At the end of the month, have each one, Mom and Dad included, look at the slips and pick one that they like the most.  Then, as a family, sit down together and write a thank you note to express gratitude to the person responsible for the item written on the paper.  As parents write their thank you notes, they can encourage and help the children to express thankfulness in their notes by giving them ideas, showing them what they have written, and giving them positive feedback on their creativity.  It’s a great way to assure that you participate in a family activity at least once a month and truly spend quality time together.  Times like these are meaningful and remain as a fond memory in the minds of children for years to come.  They are the kinds of events that form family traditions that can be passed on to future generations and are something you will be thankful for in the years to come.

A Homemade Mailbox Promotes Letter Writing

Looking to give your child more experience writing letters and cards?  Create a letter writing area at home, complete with a homemade mailbox. With just a few simple supplies from around the house, you and your child can start mailing notes back and forth, creating a fun, learning activity.

Material needed: empty shoe box, scissors, tape, construction paper, markers or crayons, variety of cards, envelopes and a small basket or box.

Directions for making a mailbox:

  1. Cover the bottom section of the shoe box with construction paper.
  2. Write names and an address on the side of the mailbox.
  3. Cut a hole in the top section of the box. The hole should be big enough for envelopes to fit through. Place the top of the box onto the bottom section. Now you have a mailbox.
  4. Designate a mailbox location. Make sure it’s within reach of your child.
  5. Collect note cards, paper, envelopes and markers. Put them in a small basket near the mailbox.
  6. Write a letter to your child and put it in the mailbox. She’ll be excited to open her letter from you. Encourage her to write back. For young children, scribbles, jumbled letters and pictures are all part of learning to write. No need to stress perfection. This is a time for your child to practice and have fun.

Need ideas for what to write? How about sending your child a thank you card for picking up toys? Or encourage your child to send an invitation to her teddy bears for a picnic.  Check out our selection of children’s stationery for even more ideas at amyadele.com. And enjoy sharing this family writing time together.

Gifts for Teachers

What kind of gifts work for teachers?  What is the most meaningful for them?  Personalization is the key for teacher gifts.  A teacher can only eat so many apples.  The first step in thinking of a gift for your child’s teacher is to talk to your child through out the year.  Anytime your child mentions something about the teacher, keep a record of it.  Perhaps they went on a vacation over a holiday break, where did they go? What did they do? Who did they go with?  Teachers usually mention things like this to their students.

We have put a couple of ideas below that may help to spark your creative flair in saying thank you to the teachers of our future.

1. Volunteer! Volunteer! Volunteer!  Your time means more than you can imagine!

2.  Take pictures of your child during your visit to the classroom, on class outings or field trips.  Compile these in a small picture book and label each picture with the name of the child.  These can be saved for years.  With the labels, it makes it nice to reminisce when you can remember names.

3.  Personalized book markers.  Put a quote on one side and your child’s picture on the other.  Have your child hold a sign that says, “Mrs……. rocks!” for the picture.  You have a message within a message.

4. If you bake them food, keep in mind that they will politely accept it, but may not eat it as they may have dietary restrictions or allergies. If you do bake for them, keep it simple and present it in a container that they can keep and reuse; decorated mason jars are great!

5.    Get a metal pail/basket/box, fill it full of boxed candy, a few packages of microwave popcorn, a two-liter of soda pop, and an inspirational teacher movie.  Use a great thank-you card with a special inspirational memory your child had of them written on the inside.

6.  Many teachers spend money from their own pockets for supplies.  To that end, a gift card inserted in a personalized thank-you card would be most welcome!

7. Be bold!  Ask to access their wish lists from Amazon.  You may find a whole host of items there that they really want!

8. Put together a fun “Hello Summer!” package.  Wrap a beach towel, best seller novel, and a pair of flip-flops in a ribbon.  Give right before the break for summer time.

Regardless of what fun, unique and personal gift you decide on, a teacher needs to know that they are appreciated.  They work hard to ensure our future as a nation and your child’s success in all they do.

 

For more fun ideas and products, visit our website here.