Category Archives: Thankfulness

Kids Thanksgiving Crafts

Brown paper bags are all you need to get started on great children’s crafts for Thanksgiving celebrating Native American culture. These are some ideas to get you started.

Materials:

Collect big brown paper bags while you’re doing your shopping at grocery and liquor stores or buy them online. Put together a variety of objects for decorations like buttons, beads, feathers, yarn and leather shoelaces. Then all you need is scissors, glue, magic markers and crayons.

Making and Enjoying Crafts:

You can make paper bags look like leather by soaking them in the sink or a large bowl of warm water for about ten minutes. Adding a cup of brown tempera paint will make the bag look more like cloth. Simple crafts include shields, vests, scrolls and blankets. For a shield, separate two bags along the seams and glue them together and cut out a circle shape. Vests can be fashioned by cutting a neck hole in the bottom of one bag with arm holes on the sides. For scrolls, cut out a rectangle and roll the edges around a stick on each side and glue them in place. A big bag or a roll of brown paper makes an easy blanket style tablecloth. Decorate your crafts with animal shapes or geometric designs. Cut the edges to make fringe. You can use the crafts for a separate party or let kids show them off at their own table on Thanksgiving Day.

Dining:

With so many different Native American tribes, there is no single authentic cuisine. Most kids will love a menu that draws on the Mesoamerican traditions behind today’s Mexican food. They’ll gain a new appreciation for the tortillas they already love, and they’ll be more likely to eat  their vegetables.

The kids table will look like the best seats in the house when you help the little ones design it themselves. Enter into the true spirit of Thanksgiving by remembering Native American culture and sharing activities with your loved ones.

Invite all your family and friends over for Thanksgiving Day with this great invitation. With all the details displayed wonderfully on this Thanksgiving inspired invitation, everyone will be on time! Visit http://www.amyadele.com/  to personalize yours today!

Invite your friends to a party full of crafts!

Recipes for Thanksgiving: Tempting and Traditional

Autumn is upon us bringing cooler days, colorful foliage and one of our favorite holidays; Thanksgiving. Giving thanks for our family and friends, as well as for our bountiful blessings, is what the celebration is all about. But face it, Thanksgiving without a table overflowing with  delicious recipes wouldn’t be the same. If you are new to preparing this special meal, or would like to change things up a bit with new recipes, try one ore more of these especially tempting Thanksgiving Recipes.

Roasted Autumn Veggies –

Serves 6

1 butternut squash

2 large white onions

2 sweet potatoes or yams

3 TBSP olive oil

1 TBSP chopped fresh rosemary

½ tsp coarse ground salt

½ tsp coarse ground pepper

1 tsp brown sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 400˚ F and cover a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
  2. Peel, seed and chop the butternut squash, onions and sweet potatoes into 1 inch chunks and place them in a large bowl.
  3. Combine rosemary, salt, pepper and sugar in a small bowl.
  4. Coat vegetables with the olive oil and then sprinkle with rosemary seasoning mixture. Toss to fully cover vegetables.
  5. Spread the seasoned veggies in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until fork tender.

Southern Cornbread Stuffing –

Serves 6

1 – 8X10 pan of cornbread, cooked according to directions on corn meal package

1 bag unseasoned bread cubes

1 stick butter, melted

2 or 3 stalks celery, chopped

½ onion, chopped

1 TBSP rubbed sage (to taste; should be a little bit strong before cooking)

2 – 14.5 oz cans chicken broth

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F.
  2. Crumble cooked cornbread in extra-large mixing bowl.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  4. Place stuffing inside and around turkey in roasting bag and cook as per directions for turkey.
  5. For stuffing cooked outside of turkey, place in large casserole, cover with foil and cook at 350˚ for 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 15 minutes.

Pumpkin Pie Recipes with a Twist –

makes 3 pumpkin pies

2 TBSP Whiskey

1 ½ cans pumpkin

1 1/3 cups sugar

2 TBSP butter, melted

2 eggs, separated

½ tsp. nutmeg

½ cup milk

  1. Preheat oven to 425˚F.
  2. Prepare 3 of your favorite bottom crust only pie crusts or purchase 3 – pre-made pie crusts.
  3. Mix whiskey, pumpkin, sugar, nutmeg, egg yolks, butter and milk.
  4. Beat egg whites until stiff. Fold into pumpkin mixture.
  5. Pour into uncooked pie shells and bake at 425˚ F for 15 minutes. Reduce to 350˚F and bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until knife blade comes out clean.

Rachael Ray’s Spiced Squash with Brown Butter Glaze –

Serves 6

6 TBSP butter

2 ½ TBSP brown sugar

½ tsp Chinese five-spice powder

¼ tsp coarse salt

2 large acorn squash, seeded and sliced

    1. Place oven rack in top 1/3 of the oven and preheat to 500˚ F.
    2. Cook butter on low in a medium skillet until it turns golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the brown sugar, five-spice, salt and ¼ cup of water. Cook over medium-low heat until the ingredients are melted and combined; about 3 minutes.
    3. Using a fork, poke the squash and then dip each slice into the brown sugar glaze until coated. Place glazed squash, cut side down, on a parchment covered baking sheet and roast for 12 minutes.
    4. Remove squash from the oven, turn each slice over and bake until golden; about 7 to 10 minutes.

Drizzle with remaining glaze and serve.

These recipes are sure to shock and awe your family and friends! Preparing and partaking a recipe in a mouthwatering meal is paramount on Thanksgiving, but remember to give thanks, and take the time to enjoy the special day with those you hold most dear and your favorite recipes.

To help keep track of all of your new favorite Thanksgiving recipes, use one of Amy Adele’s recipe cards! With a variety of designs, you’ll be happy to write down your favorite recipes and give it to a friend or a gift to your self for all of your hard work!

Recipes Card

Fall is Here, So Here We Go

When we as parents wonder how to encourage thankfulness in our children one of the easiest ways is simply to be involved with their lives and demonstrate our thankfulness for their joy.  Now that fall is here and the leaves are starting to change there are a multitude of activities for families to jump into that will bring everyone together.  Some of these activities are for the outdoors and for the days when the weather just doesn’t want to agree there are few indoor activities to go along with it.

Fall Is Here

A couple of my favorite family fall activities are outdoors.  Hiking and apple picking.  For some reason people seem to forget that most areas of the country are lined with back woods trails.  Just Google hiking trails in your area and you should be pleasantly surprised at the variety you have to choose from.  Fall is the perfect time for a hike; cool weather and turning leaves make for a most enjoyable family time.  Just make sure you choose an appropriate trail for your family or you might end up carrying the little ones most of the way.

Apple Picking

You know fall is here when it’s time to go apple picking.  While this may not be available everywhere, there are many areas of the country that do have apple trees.  Get the family together and go grab some apples.  This is similar to a hike in that the fall is the best time to go.  Otherwise your selection of apples is basically limited to looking at the trees.  Pick one of those weekend days when the weather is perfect and make sure you pick up some cider on your way out.  Not much can top fresh apple cider; warm or cold.

Baking

The next step would be for one of those drizzly fall days.  Take some of those apple you guys picked and turn them into a delicious apple pie or two.  This can be fun to do while Mom is out for a little while so you can surprise her when she gets home.  My only piece of sage wisdom on this matter is make sure you have some good vanilla ice cream to go along with the pie. That smell of apple pie will tell the whole house “fall is here”!

Costumes

A couple more creative ideas for fall revolve around Halloween.  I know kids want to go buy the costume for their favorite cartoon character or dress up like a fairy princess, but homemade costumes can be much more creative and tons more fun.  Looking around I’ve found ideas for dressing your kids up like shadows, smartphones, and even sushi rolls.  Searching for costumes is a sure sign that fall is here. The options are endless and even if you’re like me and not the most creative person in the world there are tons of ideas online.

Carving Pumpkins

On this note pumpkin carving has always been a family tradition.  We generally let the kids each draw a face and carve it out together.  Last year we bought some .99 cent stencils at the dollar store and used them to create some pretty impressive pumpkins.  This year I think we are going to try out the pumpkin drilling technique. Fall is great.  The weather can be amazing for outdoor fall activities and force the family to try out some indoor activities all in the same week. Fall is here,  use the time to try out some new things that bring the family together and realize the little things that we all have to be thankful for. Fall

How To Encourage Thankfulness By Being Thankful

Parents spend a lot of time encouraging their children to exhibit good manners.  One of these is thankfulness.  Most parents can’t even begin to count the number of times they have given their children the prompt “what do you say?” or “say thank you.”   We buy box games, we make up games and provide all kinds of incentives to try to help our children to learn and remember when a thank you is an appropriate response. Of course, as parents and teachers of our children we also model thankfulness around other people so that our children can learn from our example. While all of these are good things to do, the one area where we often fall short is when dealing one on one with our own kids.

Recognizing Our Children

Often we forget to say thank you to our children for the things that we should acknowledge.  For instance, when our children do their chores exceptionally well or do them without being reminded, do we tell them “thank you” or do we neglect to because it’s something that they are expected to do anyway?  All adults like to be recognized for a job well done at their place of their employment.  It gives a sense of satisfaction and appreciation that we just couldn’t get any other way.  The same holds true for our kids.  They like to be recognized and thanked and when they begin to realize how good it feels to be given a sincere “thank you”, they will also begin to understand how it makes others feel when they say “thank you” to them.   This gives them a practical understanding of the importance and enjoyment of saying thank you.  This will not only help them to remember to say thank you without a prompt, but will actually give them great enjoyment in saying it because they understand that it is something that causes other to appreciate them.  It moves thankfulness from the realm of a “it’s just something we do to be polite” to “it’s something that blesses others and ultimately blesses me as well.”

Opportunities to Affirm Your Children

So when is it appropriate to say “thank you” to our kids?

  • As mentioned before, doing chores well or without being reminded
  • Spontaneous hugs or other shows of affection
  • When a child helps carry in groceries, put away toys or puts away laundry, whether they were asked or not
  • When a child is quiet while you are on the phone or engaged in a conversation with someone else
  • When the child does an errand for you inside or out of the house
  • When they demonstrate other good character traits such as honesty, compassion, generosity, or forgiveness, especially when they are interacting with siblings

There is not one child who would rather hear “thank you”  more from anyone than from their parents.  The sense of satisfaction they gain will make a lasting impression on them of what it feels like to others when they express thankfulness and soon there will be no need for prompts or incentives because your children will just become thankful.  There are many tools we can use to show how to encourage thankfulness in our kids, but their greatest lesson will come from their parents.

In his book, Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Faith in Community, Dietrich Bonhoeffer said,  “We pray for the big things and forget to give thanks for the ordinary, small (and yet really not small) gifts.”   Our children are one of those “small (but yet really not small) gifts, so when we are thankful for the blessing that they are to us, our children are not the only ones who benefit.  We do too!

How to Encourage Thankfulness at Christmas and Birthdays

Holidays can provide us many opportunities to show our children how much we love them.  In some cultures so much emphasis is put on celebrating that children can become greedy.  Of all the holidays that we celebrate, Christmas and birthdays are often the times of year that our children are very self centered.  As much as we love to give them their heart’s desire on these special days, it is also important to communicate to them that these are days that we should be especially thankful.  But how can we prevent materialism and advertising from affecting our children, especially on those days when they receive the most gifts and toys?

One idea takes a little planning and time but is well worth the effort. Through the year pick a day each month or every 3-6 months to have your children go through their clothes and toys and get rid of anything that they don’t play with or wear anymore.  Put it in a box or bag.  The week of Christmas or their birthday, take the toys and clothes to a second hand store or a charitable organization so that other children can benefit from them on special days as well.  Talk to your children about how fortunate they were to have all these things given to them and remind them that not all children have had that opportunity.

Another idea would be to pick a number (perhaps the number of gifts they are going to receive on any given holiday) and have them find that number of toys to give away.  Not only will they learn to appreciate what they have but it will also help with clutter in the toy box.  And of course, in both of these instances they will also be taught generosity.

With some thought if is not difficult  to encourage thankfulness in our children.  Thankfulness is not an activity, it’s a state of mind that needs to be fed, trained and nurtured.  Eventually it becomes habit and a part of their personality.

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.

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.