Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Crock Pot Chronicles {Nutella Hot Chocolate}

If you were my facebook friend then you would see my frequent posts involving the word Nutella. I have somewhat of an obsession with the treat and I am finding excuses to put it in just about everything.

If you haven't had Nutella, then I advise that you step away from your computer immediately and make it a top priority to acquire a jar. Then pay that information forward. We have a responsibility to share the good things in life and Nutella is definitely one of them.

So I've combined three of my very favorite things to create something I'm dreaming about when I'm not drinking it.

Crock pot + Hot Chocolate + Nutella = Christmas, Your Birthday, and unexpectedly finding a twenty in your pants pocket all rolled into one. 

Being able to throw all the ingredients into the crock pot before heading out to play in the snow with my boys, and then coming in to warm cocoa is nothing short of amazing in my book.

Now where is that snow?? Not that I ever need an excuse to drink hot chocolate.

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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Grateful Hearts {Teaching Gratitude to our Children}

pic via

November and December are months where most of us stop and consciously pause to reflect on the things we are thankful for. Most notably at Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner, over hoards of turkey or ham, dressing, and sides. This time of year is a great time to openly celebrate with our family how fortunate we really are. I love this time of year for that very reason.

As parents though, my husband and I are largely concerned about instilling real gratitude into are children all year around.We are personally grateful for so much; a healthy family, a warm bed, food in our fridge, clean water, and the list goes on. The basic necessities that can often be taken for granted. We see ourselves as lottery winners of sorts, to be born in a country such as ours with the freedom, opportunities, amenities, and overall abundance living in America provides.

I've been told that raising children with a grateful heart starts with self-awareness. In a culture where the Hiltons, Kardashians, and Jersey Shore cast are among the role models exposed to our children, this can be hard. Extravagance, materialism and self-entitlement is the constant theme being sold in main stream media. Having excessive value on wealth, power and popularity does not only promote an inferior view children have of themselves, but also a loss of real genuine perspective.

Perspective can always adopt gratitude. Gratitude always parents joy.

Having nice things is of course nice, but truly finding meaning and fulfillment in the most simplistic of things fosters real joy.

Expecting and encouraging gratitude with our children is really two different things. Instilling gratitude in our children is an on-going work in progress. Intentionally practicing gratitude, modeling gratitude, and spreading love and generosity as a family can really make a difference. Here are a just a few things that I've found that can be done through the year to do just that.

1. Every birthday and each Christmas have children choose one of their older toys to donate to charity for each new toy they receive. Then let them be apart of the actual delivering to the family or charity.

2. Participate as a family in a giving/angel tree program where you pick a child or family to buy gifts for. Make sure your child learns about the child they are buying for and then allow them to do the shopping. If possible be apart of the delivering so they can further feel the joy that comes from the giving. (a place that does this is my church,

3. Sign up as a family to feed a family for Thanksgiving either by putting a box together or serving in a place like Gospel City Gospel Mission downtown. (Crossroads also does this)

4. Make cookies or crafts together and then take them to a nursing home. Your kids will be a welcome sight there.

5. Have your children write thank-you notes often to people in their life like their teacher, the mailman, their grandparents, even the Easter Bunny after he delivers the loot. 

6. Most importantly model gratitude. Tell your kids you love them, tell them why and tell them often. Let them see you writing thank-you notes, spreading love, and being generous. 

See you later in the week for a fun Thanksgiving grateful craft!

Recommended Reading:  (amazing site!)

Have the Guts to Do it Right: Raising Grateful and Responsible Children in an Era of Indulgence by Sherri Moskowitz Noga

Growing Grateful Kids: Teaching Them to Appreciate God in Ordinary Places by Susie Larsonpost signature

Monday, November 14, 2011

Grateful Gobbler

Long time-no see! Here we are propelled into the holiday season already! Got all your Christmas shopping done? Yeah, me too. 

New happenings around my neck of the woods include my new gig as a contributing blogger for Cincinnati Parent Magazine! I've named it The Minivan Momologues. Catchy, huh? I'll be posting some crafty fun, thrifty tips and random mommy musings a few times a week there. I think that will force me to organize and structure myself to be more consistent in blog posting here and there. 

This last week was all about Gratitude and I found an inspiring craft to give-a-go myself and I just love how it turned out. I shared it over at MM and am jazzed to share it here to. 

This is a great craft to do with your kids in the month of November. Each day leading up to Thanksgiving have the members of your family write or draw on a feather what they are thankful for, and then add it to the turkey's bum. On Thanksgiving use the completed turkey as a visual aide to spark wonderful conversation at dinner as you celebrate the holiday. Saving the feathers from year to year will be a fun way of collecting memories and to catalogue your family's feelings of gratitude. 

{Grateful Gobbler}


2 styrofoam circles (1 larger than the other) 
4-5 sheets of brown felt 
googly eyes 
yellow and red felt for the beak and gobbler 
paper tape 
hot glue gun 


Turkey Body 
 Cut one sheet of brown felt into 1.5 inch strips for the smallest circle and another in 2 inch strips for the largest one. Glue strips around the sides of your circles. Trim as necessary. Lay styrofoam circles down on your brown felt sheets and trace. You'll need two for each circle size. Cut out and hot glue to each side. Trim again as necessary. Now glue the smallest circle onto the lower bottom of the largest circle to create your turkey body. 

Turkey Face 
Cut a small triangle out of yellow felt for the beak and a elongated heart shape out of red felt for the gobbler. Glue googly eyes, beak and gobbler to the smallest circle to create a cute little turkey face. 

 Cut feather shapes out of construction paper. I used orange, red and green. Tape toothpicks to the lower back of the feathers. 

I suggest sticking a couple toothpicks on the bottom of your Grateful Gobbler so he stays put and doesn't try to roll.

Enjoy the memory making!

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Monday, October 31, 2011

{Happy Halloween}

Happy Halloween Friends! I hope you have made the most out of the spooky season. My family and I sure have. By now we've all dressed up a few times for different events and parties. Here's a glimpse of some of the costume fun we've been having. 

First let's start with last year's Mad hatter and Queen of Hearts. Mostly because it's my favorite costumes to date. So I will be overly gratuitous with the pictures.

It took some thrifty finds, sewing & hot gluing, and  good 'ole fashion elbow grease to bring them both together. 

We even won best costume on a friend's party last year. 

This year we stuck with Tim Burton with Beetlejuice and Lydia. It made our 80's/90's hearts very happy.

This year I also went with a friend to a party and dressed as a Doll. She dressed as Cindi Lauper.

The make up was fun and only slightly laborious. 

My boys also dressed as Woody and a Ninja for HallZOOween this year. 

They have different costumes for trick or treating tonight that I can't wait to share. 

Truth is, I'd like lots more opportunities to create costumes and wear them. I guess I never really grew out of my dress-up phase as a little girl. 

So have a wonderful night of spooky treats, cute costumes and sugar induced comas!

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