Thankful Tree

It's November, the month of Thanksgiving- one of my favorite holidays! I love everything about it- being with family, eating yummy food, and reflecting on what I'm thankful for. But why should we only reserve that for one day a year?

I started a 30 Days of Gratitude tradition a couple years ago. Each day, we talk about what we are thankful for as a family and L writes down something she is thankful for. I think it's important that we always take time to reflect on being grateful, and it's important to me to instill this in L while she is still little.

Our first thankful tree was little, but it had little lights on it, which was a big hit with little4 year-old L. I cut freehand leaf shapes out of cardstock and each night L would write down something she was thankful for. Then we would put it on the tree, and we would light it up.

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Last year, 5 year-old L was in kindergarten and working on her printing, so I decided to swap out the tree for poster board that she could have a lot of space on which to write her list. And, um, embellish. Because, kindergarten!

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This year, I wanted to bring back the tree idea, but knew we would need a bigger tree. I would have loved to have used real tree branches, but  I couldn't find the right ones. As an alternative, I decided to use several decorative branches from the craft store, along with one of my glass vases, and some rice from the pantry to anchor the branches. Instead of cutting out leaf shapes, I opted for very simple strips of cardstock. Every day, L thinks of something she feels thankful for, writes it down, and we attach it to a branch. I'm loving how our makeshift 'tree' looks after just one week!

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This one, the first one she wrote this year, might be my favorite. :)

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I love this tradition and plan to continue it every year, in some shape or another. My own mom was a big believer in gratitude and taught me that even in the worst of times or circumstances, there is always something to be grateful for. Sadly, she is no longer with us, and although L never had the opportunity to know her, I am happy to pass down this lesson on to her, and hope she will carry it with her throughout her life.

I can't wait to see these branches filled with gratitude at the end of the month!

Just treats

We had a blast on Halloween, as usual. For the past five years, we've celebrated with our friends with a potluck dinner and trick-or-treating.  

For our contribution this year, we brought mac and cheese for the kiddos and these fun spider cupcakes. 

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L announced around this time last year what she intended to be for Halloween this year. Inspired by her live of ballet and the production of Swan Lake that we saw last Fall, she wanted to be Princess Odette, also known as the white swan.  

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Interestingly enough, I didn't like Halloween as a kid. I was terribly shy, plus I thought it was weird to knock on people's doors and ask for food. Ha! As adult, however, I couldn't live it more. We always have so much fun, especially since being a mom. Already looking forward to next year! 

Bringing Maker Monday Back

After getting our crafting on throughout the summer, we have been doing noticeably less of it since school started. First grade Common Core math homework, while admittedly a bit tricksy for this old mama, is no excuse for a decline in crafting. After all, crafting doesn't have to be elaborate or time-consuming. With just a little bit of effort, a lot of fun can be had. Time to step up my game and get back into the crafty swing of things!

I got the idea for today's project from a recent post about tissue paper lanterns at The Artful Parent. A beautifully simple idea with a big pay off. This is a really easy project anyone can do, with materials you likely have on hand.

I decided we ought to start small (literally), by opting to cover a tiny glass votive, as opposed to larger jars or vases. We started by cutting a piece of tissue paper (the kind you would use to stuff into gift boxes) large enough to cover the votive. L drew a simple Halloween motif of a jack-o-lantern and bats with sharpies, and then I helped to tape the paper around the outside of the votive and trimmed the excess paper off the top. We admired its cuteness as-is, then waited for it to get dark so that we could see what it looked like when illuminated.

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We love the effect! And I think they would also look great with even more doodles. Thankfully, we have more votives to and no shortage of tissue paper (haha!) for more decorating. L was feeling a little tired this afternoon, so we just made the one, but we plan to make more before the end of the month!

35/100: Family fun on The Fourth

We had the best family fun day today with my sister and her family. It started off with a yummy lunch (the highlights being my first ever batch of mochiko chicken and Uncle Reid's spam musubi) and tidepooling at the beach. The beach, any beach really, is my happy place, and being there today with family reminded me of being at home. It was lovely.

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After the beach, we went back to have dinner with the fam, and then walked to a nearby park in their neighborhood to watch fireworks.

It was a perfect day. I can't wait to do it all again next year!

2/100: So many dads!

I can hardly believe it, but this is Lucy's last week of kindergarten. As a Room Mom, I've been in the classroom a lot this year. A lot. With many other awesome moms and dads. But it's not been the norm to see THIS MANY dads in class- sitting on tiny chairs, no less! Made my heart happy.

They have some fun activities planned for this week, including the special event this morning. Today Lucy's teacher hosted a pre-Father's Day "Donuts for Dads" celebration. The kiddos escorted their dads to their seats, and fetched them donuts and orange juice, and visited with them for a while.

L was beyond excited that B would be going to class with her today. This picture, like their relationship, melts my heart. Looking at it, I can't tell who is happier or more proud.

Remind me to post about our Mother's Day Tea sometime. It was so special, and I was a bawling mess. We were informed that this is the only year when we can expect special celebrations like these in class. Apparently the seriousness gets turned up several notches starting in first grade. Oh man, I'm not ready!