30 Days of Gratitude

We're all about being grateful here. In addition to our thankful tree, I also do my own 30 Days of Gratitude every November. I post a photo about something I'm grateful for each day on Facebook and Instagram. To switch it up this year, instead of posting about whatever comes to my mind in any given day, I decided to participate in the 30-day gratitude photo challenge from Positively Present. I thought it would be fun (and challenging- haha!) to follow specific prompts this year.

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1. Home. 

Home is wherever these two are.

Home is wherever these two are.

2. Inspiration. 

I have always loved making things with my hands. For this reason, I have always been inspired by artistic and crafty people who are able to create using their hands.

I have always loved making things with my hands. For this reason, I have always been inspired by artistic and crafty people who are able to create using their hands.

3. Love.  

These two. My love for them, their love for each other. Photo taken of them all dressed up to attend last year's Father-Daughter dance. Love, love, love.

These two. My love for them, their love for each other. Photo taken of them all dressed up to attend last year's Father-Daughter dance. Love, love, love.

4. Color.  

Art supplies. Always and forever.  

Art supplies. Always and forever.  

5. Happiness.

Moments like this with my girl, and being her mama. Spontaneous "I love you"s and hugs in the kitchen. This is my happiness.

Moments like this with my girl, and being her mama. Spontaneous "I love you"s and hugs in the kitchen. This is my happiness.

6. Words.  

There are so many serious, inspiring, and uplifting quotes I considered using today, but then I decided to go with pure, simple truth.

There are so many serious, inspiring, and uplifting quotes I considered using today, but then I decided to go with pure, simple truth.

7. Keepsake.  

I have a very distinct memory of my grandpa taking me to the bank to open my own savings account when I was around 10 years old. They gave away gifts for doing such things at the time, and I got this watch. It had a black croc-embossed type wristband and I thought it was super fancy. I wore that watch for years. It just occurred to me that I should have it repaired and maybe start wearing it again. I'm grateful for the memory of that day and of my grandpa.

I have a very distinct memory of my grandpa taking me to the bank to open my own savings account when I was around 10 years old. They gave away gifts for doing such things at the time, and I got this watch. It had a black croc-embossed type wristband and I thought it was super fancy. I wore that watch for years. It just occurred to me that I should have it repaired and maybe start wearing it again. I'm grateful for the memory of that day and of my grandpa.

A week of gratitude. 

A week of gratitude. 

So very grateful.  

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!

Writing thank you notes

L was so lucky to receive so many birthday gifts from family and friends. So now it's time to write some thank you notes. Instead of buying thank you cards from the store, or making her write out lengthy notes to each person, I found a printable template on Pinterest for fill-in-the-blank thank you notes. Fun! I printed and cut them out, and L got to work. She insisted on writing out each one by herself. I'm really proud of her!

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The practice of writing thank you notes is important to me for a few reasons: 1) It reminds her to be thankful for the generosity that comes her way; 2) It's important to express that gratitude; and 3) Hopefully since we've been doing this for a couple years now (she went from drawing a picture to writing her name to writing out messages), this will become a habit she carries with her into the future. She is a very lucky girl, on many levels.