Meet the Sullivans: November 2014

November 27, 2014

My Favorite Black Friday Deals!

Whew! Are you guys as stuffed as we are? Today was a serious eat-a-thon for us, and so much fun!

Everyone in our house is tuckered out and snug in their beds, but I'm still up, and have already taken advantage of some the great Black Friday deals out there. I've scooped up a few things for us like this shirt for Keith, these PJs for me and this for sweater for Owen. I've got some of the best Black Friday deals I've seen around to share with you all today!

AMAZON - From Friday, Nov. 21, to Saturday, Nov. 29, receive 50 percent off Amazon-exclusive Lincoln Logs Redwood Junction and Crayola Imagination Art Case, 40 percent off select Lionel Train sets, and at least 40 percent off most books. The site will also offer a buy one, get one free deal on Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Toys.

TARGET - Target's Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals include price cuts on various gaming systems, children's tablets, and DVDs. Customers can also buy one toy and get 50 percent off one of the same brand.

STRIDE RITE - From Friday, Nov. 21, to Wednesday, Nov. 26, the Beckett Boot and Arabella Boot will be on sale for $20 while supplies last.
 v-neck  |   cords

BANANA REPUBLIC - 50% off 1 full-priced item CODE: BRFIFTY 

GAP - 50% off sitewide CODE: BLKFRIDAY

NORDSTROM - up to 40% off select products

OLD NAVY - 50% off the entire store


KENDRA SCOTT - 15% off sitewide + free shipping CODE: BFCM2014

ANN TAYLOR LOFT - 50% off on your entire purchase CODE: TREAT

ANTHROPOLOGIE - 25% off everything with CODE: HOLIDAY25

TOMS - 25% off everything (excludes core classics and sale items) CODE: CHEER

 

SOLE SOCIETY - 30% off select shoes


WORLD MARKET - save 50% on tons and tons of products

SPORTS AUTHORITY - from 6 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 27, through Saturday, Nov. 29, shoppers can receive 25% off Nike fleece apparel and buy one get one 50 percent off kids' footwear.


BAUBLE BAR - 15% off 2 items CODE: FRIDAY15 or EARLYBIRD35

KATE SPADE NEW YORK - 25% off with CODE: HOLLYJOLLY

ZARA - take 30% off the entire site

Happy Shopping! We'll be up bright and early Friday morning to head out to cut down our Christmas trees!

Happy Thanksgiving!



Just popping in to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours! We hope your day is filled with delicious food and the people you love!

xoxo, The Sullivans

November 26, 2014

Traditions


I'm guest blogging today over on Sunflower State of Mind! I'm sharing one of our favorite family traditions for the holidays!

November 25, 2014

Gift Giving with TreBella Jewels

Is anyone else starting to feel the holiday gift buying anxiety yet? I sure am! I'm determined to have all our gift buying done by the time we leave for Disneyland in a couple weeks. I've been busying myself with lots of online browsing and shopping and I have something especially lovely to share with you today!


I'm not sure if you agree, but I think women are the easiest people to shop for. I love shopping for my mom, sister, girlfriends and female family members, because I feel like I can always find something they'll adore. Maybe it's because there are so many beautiful options out there, like all of the gorgeous jewelry available from TreBella Jewels.


I was recently asked to review this  Sparkling Black Spinel Diamond Tassel Necklace from TreBella Jewels and though it was perfect timing to share something like this with the holidays literally upon us. I love that the tassel necklace can easily be paired with a cocktail dress for a holiday party or date night, or even with a simple sweater and jeans for dinner with friends -- and there are so many colorful options available. They are all handmade, using natural stones.

There are plenty of pieces available in the under $300 range too, and you can give request a custom piece as well! Just tell them your price range and your vision and they'll work with you to create a lovely piece of jewelry to gift or keep.

And I'm so exited to tell you that TreBella Jewels has offered to give Meet the Sullivans readers 15% off when you use the code COLLEEN2014 at checkout!

Be sure to sign up for join the TreBella Jewels newsletter too -- they'll send you their 'product of the week', which includes special discount codes as well as reminders about our sales, and be sure to give them your birth date (don't worry they don't ask for the year)!  So they can send you a birthday offer on your special month!

You can also follow them on their social media channels on Facebook or Instagram to keep up to date on their sales.


Happy shopping and gifting! 

*A special thanks to my sister for being my model! You can check out her blog @ The Pretend Cookie.

November 24, 2014

Holiday Gift Guide: for the Family

Hey there! Happy Monday before Thanksgiving! Keith was at a class all weekend, but luckily he's off most of the week, so we can get lots of the work for Thanksgiving checked off our list. I don't know about you, but I've barely started my Christmas shopping this year. We've bought O a couple things and I've bought one thing for Keith, but I still have so many people to shop for.

Christmas shopping is so much fun, but it can also be incredibly daunting, especially if you don't know what to give! Keith comes from a large family -- 5 siblings total, + a spouse and at least two children per family, which puts us at 21 on his side of the family -- so each year we do a Family Gift Exchange, where we draw family names and each family gives the family they draw a gift instead of buying individual gifts for each person.

We love this idea, because it is so fun trying to find something that everyone will like and have fun with. We usually go with a theme to help center the gift. In recent years we've done movie tickets, and ice cream makers. Here are some other great ideas for families of all ages!



MOVIE NIGHT - What family doesn't love cuddling up on the couch to watch a movie together? Some of our personal favorites to give are: the Toy Story trilogy, Home Alone 1 & 2, Elf and now Frozen. Include candy, popcorn, popcorn bowls and a cozy blanket along with the movies.

OUTDOOR FUN - Coped up all winter long, we all dream of warmer days when we can play outside to our heart's content. Games and activities for the outdoors are usually something every member of a family can participate in, like ladder ball, bean bag toss or bowling

COLD TREATS - Make dessert a family activity with a Zoku Slush & Shake maker, ice cream maker or popsicle mold. You can include an ice cream mix, sprinkles or even some cute bowls to complete the gift.

KINECT - We have had the Kinect for about four years and it is a great activity to play with a group that gets everyone moving, involved and having fun! There are some great games that even younger children can enjoy, like Kinect Party and Kinect Sports.

AN EXPERIENCE - This is our favorite kind of gift to give and receive! A membership to a museum or theme park or one-day admission for the whole family! We've also give tickets to a movie paired with each persons favorite snack or candy, etc.

Tip: If you're local check our Favorite Toddler Outings for ideas for place to go and see.

GAME NIGHT - Many fun games for families to play together. Here are some of my personal favorite that even younger children can participate in: Apples to Apples Jr., Headbanz, Dropping Ball, Story Cubes.

Tip: right now lots of the board games at Target are buy 1 get one for 50% off.

WAFFLE IRONS - Sunday breakfast is something we all look forward to. We use this Mickey Mouse waffle iron at our house, but there are other fun ones that families are sure to enjoy, like hearts and zoo animals. Include some syrup, coffee, your favorite waffle mix and the gift is ready for giving! 

MONTHLY SUBSCRIPTION - There are so many monthly subscription boxes (a service that sends interesting, new goods to your door each month) out there these days that you could easily find one to fit the liking of the family you're shopping for. We've loved Citrus Lane and Kiwi Crate, but Koala Crate and Tinker Crate sound like a great option for kids too.

Tip: Use PREVIEW60 to save 60% off your first month of any Kiwi Crate! This works on the Koala Crate, Tinker Crate and Doodle Crate too.

Put the gifts in a basket they can use for something else (toys, throw blankets, etc. ) HomeGoods and Ikea are great places to shop for these, or order a personalized tote with the family name on it.  

What are your favorite group or family gift ideas?

November 21, 2014

Five on Friday

Good morning and happy Friday! We've had a really nice week with some great rainy days and lots of fun, so we're ready for the weekend. Let's get on with it!

Still trying to decide what to make for dessert for Thanksgiving this year? Consider these 4-Ingredient Mini Pumpkin Pies! I promise they're really easy to make, and everyone loves miniature food!

It was pouring rain yesterday on our way home from school, so I promised O that after nap time we'd put on our boots and coats and stop in the puddles. By the time he was up the rain had almost stopped and the puddles were drying up, which of course kick started a round of O's favorite new questions, "Why?". Everything is "Why?" lately...

O: Why is the wind blowing the clouds?
Me: Because the wind is blowing.
O: Why is the wind blowing?
Me: Because the weather is changing.
O: Why is the weather changing?
Me: Because we're getting closer to Winter.

.... you get the idea! It's really sweet, and I know he is asking because he is interested in the world around him, so I don't mind answering "Why?" questions all day long, but I am running out of answers a 2 year-old can understand!

The time change is still having an affect on us. I had hoped it might work in our favor, the sun going down earlier = an earlier bedtime, etc. Unfortunately though, we're still not making it to "lights out" any earlier than 7:45pm and we've stuck to rising earlier, still up at what would have been 6 or 6:30am before the time change, which is actually 5 or 5:30. The upside to all of this? Getting to see a beautiful sunrise! That was the sky last Sunday morning. 

If you need me, I will be in the kitchen. The Whole 30 has me chopping, scrambling, baking and sautéing like a madwoman. Pretty much all I have done this week is shop for, cook and plan our meals -- which is quite possibly the most challenging part of this challenge. Today is day 5 and the thing I miss the most is chewing gum, which we weird because I would have thought I'd miss toast, cheese or coffee creamer. I'll give a more detailed rundown next week.

I saw this article from the  NY Times this week about what children around the world eat for breakfast and it actually made me feel pretty good about O's eating habits. We always try our best to give him a well rounded breakfast (and lunch, snacks, dinner) but sometimes it seems really oddly matched, i.e., cheese stick / bacon / apple and peanut butter. Well, according to this list, having a variety of flavors is pretty normal for childrens' breakfasts around the world.

And I'm linking up with a whole lot of people today! 
Oh Hey Friday with September Farm and The Farmer's Wife!
Momfessionals
Friday Favorites with A Little Bit of EverythingMomfessionals, and Grace and Love.

November 19, 2014

Fall with eShakti

The weather is finally cold here in California (by a Californian's standard), which really makes me want to spend all day, everyday in warm comfortable clothes! I'd love to be able to live in sweats and tee shirts, but alas, we must leave this house once a day, so I have to find a great balance between comfortable and presentable.

I was recently asked by eShakti to review one of their pieces, and as soon as I saw this jacket I knew it would be perfect for me -- just long enough to wear with leggings! Have you shopped on eShakti's site? They are the only online women's fashion apparel company offering sizes 0-36W & custom clothing. Yes, you read that right custom clothing -- it isn't just for celebrities, real people can have it too, and not for an outrageous price either.  They offer a wide variety of dresses (holiday, wedding, special events and even casual), jackets, tops, sweaters and skirts that are fully customizable to your liking.


On the site you'll find a basic design for all items, which you can then alter by changing the length, sleeve length, collar, neckline, etc. You can also leave it as is and just have the piece made to fit your specific measurements.


Like I said, when I saw this jacket I loved it, so I decided to keep the shape as it was shown, and just customized it to match my measurements. Ordering was really easy -- they walk you through the proper steps to get your correct measurements, and I was actually able to do it all myself, although they recommend having someone help you. 

My item arrived about 10 days later and it fit me just as I'd hoped! I love wearing it with leggings and boots or booties, but it would also be pretty cute with jeans or the right dress (with boots)! Overall, I had a fantastic experience with eShakti and would absolutely recommend to you for the next time you need to buy a dress or sweater. 


Have you ever ordered a piece of clothing from eShakti or had something custom made? Learn more about eShakti's custom products at Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter.

November 18, 2014

4-Ingredient Mini Pumpkin Pies

This is my go to Fall dessert when we're entertaining. These are small enough to satisfy the craving for something sweet and easy to just grab -- no serving knife or cutting required. What I really love about them though is that with only 4 ingredients they are so easy to throw together.

I made them this week, even though we are currently in our first week of Whole 30, because Keith's co-workers are having an office Thanksgiving potluck lunch. It wasn't so hard to making them knowing we couldn't have any, but having them sit there in the kitchen all evening after I made them was torture. Looking forward to Thanksgiving so I can have some!


Ingredients
Makes two dozen.

1 can pumpkin pie filling
1 5oz can evaporated milk
2 eggs
2 packages prepared pie crust (the kind in the rolls, not the shells)

Instructions
Preheat your oven according to package directions. Lightly flour a cutting board and unroll one pie crust and start cutting out your mini pie crusts. I used a regular drinking glass that's radius was slightly larger that the size of the muffin tin holes. I was able to get 6 pie crusts out of each roll of pie dough -- save the scraps if you'd like to create a cute design for the top. I used the scraps and a set of holiday pie crust cutters I bought on Zulily, similar to these from Williams-Sonoma, to create the design on top.   

Press each mini pie crust into the cups of a standard muffin tin. (Do not grease the muffin tin)

Mix together the eggs, pie filling and evaporated milk. For easy pouring put your batter in a large measuring cup and pour about 1/4 cup filling into each prepared crust. Bake according to package directions or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the middle pies comes out clean.

Let cool on a cooling rack for 10 minutes or more before removing them from the muffin tin. They should come out easily, but you can use a butter knife to loosen them if they get a little stuck. Serve with whipped cream!



What are you serving for Thanksgiving this year?

November 14, 2014

Five on Friday

Hey there! Late five happening today. The morning got away from me somehow and I was determined to get us out of the house this morning since it wasn't too wet or cold. We spent over an hour playing at our favorite play place, which was a blast, but ended on a sad note when O slipped on the floor in one of the rooms and busted him lip. Poor boy kept asking me "how you make ouchies go away?" the whole way home. He's fine and is napping now, so it's all good.

On to my five...

one. Yesterday was school picture day at O's school and I'm so happy to report that it went well! I love looking at this picture of O next to that picture of Keith as a little boy. It is still so funny to me that when I was pregnant with O I though he would look just like Keith did when he was little, but surprisingly he actually looks a lot more like me.

And I still cannot believe our baby has already had his first school picture day. Thursday is my off day from helping in the classroom, so I didn't think I'd get to be there when his photo was being taken, but luckily he was in the first group to have their pictures taken, so I got to sneak a peek. The photographer was fantastic and really got O giggling, which made for some cute pictures. I can't wait to see the final product.

two. We're heading to Disneyland in 22 days and we're so excited! Keith and I have been during Christmas a few times pre-O and it is so magical, and we can't wait to see it through O's eyes. I think he's going to have 20x more fun on this trip than he did on his first trip to Disneyland, which was really fun, so that's a lot of FUN!

Whole 30 approved monkey salad
three. I'm considering giving the Whole 30 a try. You're probably rolling your eyes right now because you know me and you know I totally failed at completing that juice cleanse that one time, and because you probably/maybe follow me on IG and I obviously love cookies, french fries and Mexican food...so we'll see! Right now is the worst time to start with Thanksgiving in two weeks and our trip to Disneyland in 22 days, but I think it is worth it to give it a shot, while making exceptions on those days. Right?

four. Currently on my wish list? This cute crossbody bag, and it's under $100! The mushroom color is the most practical, but the fuchsia is so fun. What do you think?

five.  I'm in the process of creating a job chart for O-- I really like this one on Etsy, but I'm going to make my own to meet our needs specifically. He always likes to be a "helper", so I think it would be a smart parenting strategy to capitalize on that and work it to our advantage when I need to get him to do things like get dressed, brush his teeth and clean-up his toys. And as always, I'll let you know how it turns out.

Have a great weekend!

And I'm linking up with a whole lot of people today! 
Oh Hey Friday with September Farm and The Farmer's Wife!
Momfessionals
Friday Favorites with A Little Bit of EverythingMomfessionals, and Grace and Love.



November 13, 2014

Favorite Toddler Outings in the Bay Area



In the San Francisco Bay Area there is a never ending list of fun activities to do each weekend. There are tons of museums, festivals, in door play areas, zoos, aquariums and amusement parks geared toward children, and in the past 2 1/2 years we've had a lot of fun checking them off our list. We've taken Owen to many of these places -- Keith and I like to joke that he's probably been to more fun spots in our area than either of us visited in the first 18 years of our lives.

Here are links to past reviews (click on the title to see a full review), and recaps of some of our favorite places to visit in our area, as well as a list of places we want to try!

Petting Zoo at Happy Hollow Park & Zoo

Zoos & Amusement Parks

CuriOdyssey, San Mateo We love this place and because we have a membership, we go 2-3 times a month. There are tons of neat hands-on exhibits as well as lots of cool animals (snakes, bobcats, a fox, turtles, river otters, etc.) to check out. If you live in the area, I highly recommend buying the $90 family membership to get the most for your money. 

San Francisco Zoo, San Francisco Be prepared for lots of walking, as the exhibits have ample space between them, and don't forget to bring your layers!

Children's Fairyland, Oakland Although it's a little dated (opened in 1948, before there was a Disneyland) this storybook themed park is tons of fun for kids. There is a pirate ship and lots of fun walk-up attractions for little ones to explore. A few fun facts about the park: Walt Disney visited and incorporated ideas from Fairyland in his “magic kingdom,” which opened in Anaheim in 1955 and he also hired Fairyland’s first executive director, Dorothy Manes, and one of their puppeteers, Bob Mills. There is also a "hidden mickey" inside the Alice in Wonderland attraction that was painted by Walt Disney himself on one of his visits to the park back in the 50's.

Happy Hallow Park & Zoo, San Jose A small zoo, petting zoo, giant wooden multi-level play structure and a variety of rides (including a children's roller coaster) make this an all day outing guaranteed to provide tons of fun and entertainment, and earn you a great nap from your kids. There is a cafe, but I recommend bringing your own lunch to enjoy at one of the many picnic tables.

AT&T Park, San Francisco The best ballpark in all of America (okay, we're a bit bias)! Not only is this park home to the 2010, 2012, 2014 World Series Champs, but it is also in a beautiful location. From any seat in the park you can see the gorgeous bay. The food is great too -- don't miss the garlic fries. For the little ones there is a cool Coca-Cola bottle slide and a pint-sized baseball field where they can practice their batting skills. 

The penguins and tide pool at the Monterrey Bay Aquarium

Science

California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco There are so many fun animals and creatures to see here! O's favorites are the anaconda, albino crocodile and the lush, four-story rainforest that is home to all sorts of butterflies -- one may even land on your head! There is a great cafe with multicultural cuisine.

Monterrey Bay Aquarium, Monterrey A bit of a drive from our home, but worth every minute. The sights and animals are so much fun. We all love watching the sea otters play and are always mesmerized by the jelly fish.

Lawrence Hall of Science, Berkley We visited for the bug exhibit this year, but next time we'll make sure to allot extra time for the Touch, Climb and Crawl zone that is perfect for the young and lively!  

Children's Discovery Museum
Museums

Bay Area Discovery Museum This museum is all about kids, and it is located just across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, so it's easy to get to. 50% or more of the fun at this museum is outdoors (although there are a lot of cool thing inside too), so go on a dry day. Bring a change of clothes too because there is some water / sand / paint play.

Children's Discovery Museum Part 1 & Part 2  Another great children's museum with a ton of exhibits to explore. This place is meant for toddler to elementary school aged children.

Hiller Aviation Museum, Redwood City A great space to check out airplanes and watch them take off! There is a life-size plane behind the museum where you can explore the cabin and cockpit of the plane.


Phipps Country Farm
The Great Outdoors, Sights & Attractions

Laurelwood Park, San Mateo This is one of our favorite parks to play at when we want to get out for some quick fun and fresh air. We love that the park is mostly enclosed (beware: there is an opening in the gazeebo that leads up to a steep hill) and that there is a huge grass area as well as some fun paths and a creak to explore. It is also semi-hidden, with no main streets neighboring it.

Hallmark Park, Belmont This is actually where some of the local high school cross country runners practice and have meets, but it is a great outdoor space for exploring and looking for some wildlife. we generally only visit here when it's not too hot or not too wet outside. There is also a small toddler park with swings and a small structure for extra playtime.

Phipps Country Farm, Pescadero A great place to visit some animals and pick berries. Don't forget to stop by Arcangeli Grocery Co. for some Artichoke Garlic Herb bread. 

Redondo Beach, Half Moon Bay There are a handful of great beaches in Half Moon Bay, but some of them have a steep cliff leading down to them, which makes things difficult for parents of young children. Last Spring Redondo beach was pretty easy to get to and the views were gorgeous!

Pier 39, San Francisco There are so many sights to see at Pier 39, but when you're with kids don't miss the carousel and the sea lions (located at Doc K).

Crissy Field & The Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco These two spots are great space to just get out, enjoy the beautiful sights of San Francisco and play. Crissy Field is a gigantic field that was formerly used as a runway and landing space for aircraft coming and going to The Presidio. It's not a great spot for a picnic, playing chase and checking out the Golden Gate Bridge. It's close to a great walking path the will lead you all the way up to the bridge. There aren't many places to eat within walking distance, so bring your own lunch and/or snacks.

Ball pit at UME
Indoor Play Spaces

UME, Menlo Park Great indoor space with lots of room to run and jump! They also host a variety of  fun and educational classes for parents and children. There is a cafe too that overlooks the large play area where you can have lunch together or, if you have older/independent children, watch your kids play.

La Petite Playhouse, Redwood City By far our favorite place to play on a rainy day! This indoor play space just opened at the beginning of 2014 and is HUGE! There are child size soccer and basketball courts, a two-story / multi-level play structure with slides and all sorts of fun. Don't forget to bring your socks! There is a toddling area for smaller toddlers too.

Safari Run, San Mateo Another fantastic indoor play area! It's on a smaller scale, so it is easier to watch more children at once.

Picnic in the Presidio
Local Festivals and Faires

Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival, Half Moon Bay Held annually every October. We go to this festival each year and always start the morning with the pumpkin pancake breakfast and end the afternoon with a stop at Pastorino's Pumpkin Farm to buy our pumpkins and see all the attractions.

Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival, San Francisco So much fun for the whole family! Next year we'll remember to buy just one tasting ticket between the three of us. 

Picnic in the Presidio, San Francisco A great way to spend a Sunday in San Francisco. Bring a picnic blanket, an outdoor game, friends and some waters (maybe even your own beers or champagne), but skip the snacks, because there are TONS of options for great food. The food trucks are not to be missed!


Places we can't wait to visit...

There are so many more places in our area that we just cannot wait to try!

Tour of AT&T Park I think our whole family would LOVE to see a behind the scenes look at our favorite ballpark.

Roaring Camp Railroad

Exploratorium, San Francisco 

Movie Theater  Follow the link for a list of family-friendly theaters in the Bay Area. 

Muir Woods, Mill Valley

Family-Friendly Beer Gardens 

Junior Museum & Zoo, Palo Alto

Disney Family Museum, San Francisco

Gilroy Gardens, Gilroy

Many of the places on this list from Red Tricycle

What are your favorite local outings to take with your family? If you're local, please share any I've missed in the comments section below!

Also, please check out the other mama's blogs for their ideas And be sure to link up with us below if you also have a post on this topic.
 
The Not Quite Military Wife// Like a Morning Cup of Coffee// Meet the Sullivan's  
From Here to Eternity// Pig and Dac// Everyday Love
A Cowboy's Life// Life of Faith// Foxy's Domestic Side// My Delicious Adventure

November 12, 2014

Fostering Gratitude in Our Children

There is so much to be thankful for in our lives this season. We're blessed with a large, loving family, a nice roof over our heads, a happy marriage, a safe neighborhood, our health, the list goes on and on.

I read awful stories in the news about families faced with the unimaginable, and I look at our sweet boy and I feel so so very thankful that I can shield him from the world for now.  I know it's not luck that brought us to where we are today --- there are people, friends, family, good choices, hard work and great opportunities that have helped create the life we live -- obviously not a lavish one, but definitely one to be thankful for.  I think we're very lucky.

I often wish I could tell O how lucky he is too. I want O to know that without the help and kindness of others, hard work and sacrifice we might not be so "lucky". I want him to show and feel his gratitude for others, and while he is still quite young, and won't understand the depth of what I'm trying to teach him for many years to come, there are a few ways we can start to build the foundation for gratitude now.

The pictures in this post (taken yesterday at CuriOdyssey) have little to do with fostering gratitude, but they show the sweetness in learning and exploring, which I think goes along well with learning more about our world and community, and I feel like every blog post needs pictures.

The article below the pictures is one I wrote for the San Mateo Mother's Club for our November 2014 Mom Matters newsletter on Fostering Gratitude in Young Children, so please check it out. 








Fostering Gratitude in Young Children

This is a great time of year to encourage our children to be thankful. Young children are naturally wired to put themselves first, but there are a few things we can do to foster gratitude and broaden their perspective beyond their own needs and desires.

Share Your Gratitude - Try sharing your appreciation for your family’s blessings and for other’s with your children. “It was so nice of the Smith family to help us rake the yard” or “Thank you for being so kind to your brother”. When they hear you express your thankfulness they’ll want to model you!
 
Create a Family Wall of Thanks -
Divide a post board or bulletin board into equal sections, one for each family member. Add pictures, notes and words for the things you are each thankful for. The visual reminder will help everyone remember their many abundant blessings.

Acknowledge Their Efforts - When you hear them thank someone (or you!), stop what you’re doing, look them in the eye and tell them how pleased you are to hear them share their appreciation. The extra attention given for their good behavior will encourage them to repeat it.

Help Them Give Back - Shop together at the grocery store for non-perishable goods and drop them off at a local food bank. Think beyond canned goods and consider including other necessities like diapers, toiletries or socks. Talk with them about how this small deed can make a big impact in someone else’s life. My son and I collect items for Operation Christmas Child (http://operationchristmaschild.org.au/) each year in November. With their help we are able to send a shoe box filled with goodies to a child who has nothing.

Thankfulness Starts at Home - Encourage your children to write a thank you note for someone in their lives who helps them or has done something nice for them recently. The process of brainstorming who to write the note to, and what to thank them for is a great lesson in reflecting on all they have to be thankful for. It could be as simple as a “thank you”, a picture and their name. This simple activity shows them that it is important to thank the people in your lives for the things we may otherwise take for granted.

How do you show your gratitude? How do you help your children understand how fortunate they are?