Writing About Thankfulness

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In my original post in this series, I mentioned setting up a Thankful Journal for Becca, and I showed how I put it together.  I wanted to show you how my original plan evolved, and what we’re doing.  Becca has decided also that she wants to do her journal every day until the book is full!  So, at least for now, we’re thinking we’ll keep doing this beyond November.

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I had her practice her handwriting to write the title on the cover, and then she has been having great fun looking through magazines to find illustrations for things she is thankful for.  Right now, I’m writing “I am thankful for” and then she finishes the sentence and writes the date.  We practice sounding out the words to figure out how to spell them, and I help her with silent letters or tricky spellings.

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I love her beginning handwriting – her periods are gigantic, and so are her letters. Many of her letters are backwards, and some end up sideways. Early writing is so cute!

Another super fun writing activity that we did, I actually wrote the words, but she came up with them.  We did this Thankful Alphabet activity, which is a free printable found here.

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Then we hung it on the refrigerator with Grayson’s list of friends he is thankful for (See my Toddler Thanksgiving post here).  The kids love having their thankful lists on the fridge!

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Yup. That says “Lepidopterists” on L, and “Unicorns” on U. Because that’s the world we live in – one that is very scientific and based in fact, but dusted with glitter, fairy dust, and lots of make believe. 🙂

Looking for more fun FREE Thanksgiving writing and handwriting printables?  Just click on the pictures below to see what else we’re working on this month!

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Thankfulness and Thanksgiving – for your Toddler

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Continuing my series on Thankfulness and Thanksgiving, I wanted to give you some ideas of things you can do with your little ones – the toddlers in your house who are just beginning to get the concept of saying “thank you” when you give them something.

I started with a very basic activity for Gray – I asked him, “Who are your friends that you thank Jesus for?”  Then, I wrote each of their names on a leaf – from this free printable (shown below) and then we hung it on the refrigerator.  He was so proud of his paper!  “Those Gray friends!  I say thank you Jesus my friends!”  Get your own copy of the printable here (it’s page 4 of the free document).

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I also wanted him to be able to participate in some of the thankfulness art he had seen Sister doing, by letting him make some of his own Homemade Cards for his teacher at Mother’s Day Out, and for his nursery teacher on Sunday mornings.  He also wanted to make pictures for his grandparents.  I started him out by simply painting over leaves, and then once it turned into a full-on sensory activity (I knew it would – the boy loves to paint his hands!) then, I grabbed more sheets of paper and helped him make hand prints, which I turned into turkeys.

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I have a couple of cute poems that I’ve pinned over on my Thanksgiving pin board, and I’ll select one of those to write inside the cards.  Super simple, but he had a blast feeling the paint, being tickled by the paint  brush, and feeling the silk leaves.  It was a great sensory activity that was lots of fun for him!

Note – I love using acrylic paint for kid projects because it easily washes off of skin, and dries quickly on paper.  BUT it stains clothing, so we usually do those projects either with a smock, or with him in his diaper.

Back to the original Thankfulness and Thanksgiving post.

Saying Thank You with A Handmade Card

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There are a million different ways to make cards.  But I wanted to do something unique with Becca.  I had a package of silk leaves from Hobby Lobby, and I was wondering what to do with them.  And then it hit me – leaf cards!

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As you can see, they turned out beautiful.  Here’s what we did, and the thoughts behind them.

  1. Peel the plastic stem backing off of silk leaves (or collect fresh fall leaves if you have them!)
  2. Gather card stock paper that is thick.  Fold each sheet in half.  (However many you decide to make is up to you.)
  3. Mix a little bit of water in a bowl with a lot of glue  – just runny enough to be able to paint with the glue.  Completely cover a sheet of thick card stock with the watery glue, leaves, and more watery glue on top.
  4. Lay them open flat to dry – on a plastic tablecloth or place mat.  NOTE – they will be wet enough that if you have used colored card stock, the wetness of the glue will leave color on whatever you let them dry on… I had to Ajax my white countertop to remove the orange.  Not even Magic Eraser would get it off.  Thankfully Ajax w bleach did the trick.  (So learn from my mistake!)  They will take quite a while to dry if you’ve used enough glue to truly hold the leaves on.
  5. Once they are dry, fold them back closed, and place a heavy pan on top of the stack of cards for a day or so to re-crease them. folded-cards
  6. Have your child dictate (or write) thank you notes to community helpers who make a difference, send to grandparents, or to other special people that your child wants to say thank you to.  (We are sending notes to our pastor, our local sheriff’s office, the guy at our post office who always helps us, and for the volunteers at our local fire department.)  If you’re going to mail, you’ll need to make sure that your paper starts out small enough to fit the leaves and everything inside an envelope.  Since we’re hand-delivering ours, we didn’t worry about the size, and I just used full 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper folded in half.

Looking for more Thankfulness and Thanksgiving ideas to use with your kids?  Check back here on Monday, and all next week!

The original Thankfulness and Thanksgiving post is here.

The (Very Explosive) Truth About Bath Bombs

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UPDATE OF THE UPDATE.  I give up.  Nothing works.  Something is wrong w all recipes linked here.  Read on, but don’t use these recipes!

So the other day I posted these pictures on social media, and my post exploded!  Everybody wanted to know how I did it.  So I shared this link with everyone – the original recipe that I followed.  WARNING – DO NOT USE THAT RECIPE!!!

OMG guys… not everything you find on the Internet is true (or correct)!  Sigh.  I could have sworn that was the recipe Hannah and I used this summer when we made them, but apparently not… if you watch the video on that page, you suddenly realize… they LEFT OUT AN INGREDIENT on their recipe list!  Sigh.

THIS link looks like it would make some amazing bath bombs!  And I plan to try them ASAP… so I’ll update and let you know.

Things to look for when you make your bath bombs – make sure that you have a mold.  If you don’t have a mold, a bowl will NOT work.  You HAVE to have a mold to press it into.  You can find them at Hobby Lobby or Michaels, OR you can use this affiliate link from Amazon and have three different sizes at your home with free prime shipping in two days!  (I learned that this summer when we made them without molds.)  

Note: I found some pumpkin plastic candy holders that would work as molds, and they looked adorable when they were first molded!! 

Keep in mind that anytime you’re making something that is going to fizz, it’s going to outgas as it dries.  Make sure it’s totally dry (open air, as it says on the correct recipe link) before you put it into the airtight container, or it might blow up your ziploc bag… (experience talking – yes, it can make a ziploc bag explode… just trust me).

This is science, folks.  One ingredient missing can make a HUGE difference… and mess up everything.  😦  I’m still going to try the other recipe and attempt to get these correct to give to the teachers we were planning to give to for Halloween.  I’m sad that it didn’t work, but hopefully it’ll help y’all the next time around… and I will definitely post an update and let you know how the new recipe link works!!  (I’m pretty sure it’s what Hannah and I used this summer, and I know that with molds, they’ll turn out amazing.)  Sadly, if Becca’s art teacher hasn’t already used hers, it probably looks something like this inside her bag…

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—–UPDATE!!!—–

Ok, so I tried the recipe, and it was WAY too dry.  It wouldn’t mold at all.  So, I added water 3/4 tsp at a time and stirred until I found that it would mold in my hand.  Now, they appear to be perfect.  We’ll see how long they last!  The texture is definitely very different than what I had before – this seems exactly right.  So here’s the correct recipe.  (Plus more water)

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UPDATE- 5 mins later:


I’m done.  I throw in the towel.  Not everything I try works.  I’m sure it does for some people…

Thankfulness and Thanksgiving

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My favorite holiday as a kid growing up wasn’t Christmas.  Maybe that makes me an odd kid.  But for me, it was always Thanksgiving.  The traditions our family had were precious to me, and that ritual was something I came to love, and to long for.  To this day, I don’t even have to close my eyes to be transported back to Grandma’s kitchen the morning of Thanksgiving.  It was the same every year.  Year after year, after year.

It’s those memories that make me want to establish special traditions with our own kids related to Thanksgiving.  Not just about Thanksgiving itself, but about thankfulness.  Thats why when my friend Ashley wrote this post about creating a super cute little fall prayer journal, I jumped on the idea and decided to make a similar one using Becca’s handwriting journals and turn it into a Thankfulness Journal.  (Step by step directions on how I made mine can be found at the bottom of this post.)

I think something kids today really struggle with is entitlement.  With very little to no effort on their parts, stuff just shows up.  And I started realizing recently that our kids have no idea what they have.  They have no idea what half of this city doesn’t have… and that’s where my idea for the Thankfulness Journal was born.  Each day of November, Becca will sit down and think about one THING (NOT a person!) she is thankful for.  She can draw a picture, and we’ll work together on sounding out the words, and writing what she is thankful for.  This is a great activity for your kids to work on handwriting, spelling, and phonics!  In the back half of the journal, we will talk about our family traditions (not just from Thanksgiving) we are thankful for and write and illustrate those, as well.  And to keep myself on the right mental path, I’ve downloaded Ashley’s grown up version of a Thankfulness Journal, which you can get free here!

Another activity we’ll do before Thanksgiving to talk about thankfulness is thinking about all the foods that we eat – not just at Thanksgiving, but also other times.  I will give her food magazines to cut pictures from (fine motor practice!) and she can glue them onto poster paper and work on writing labels for the foods she finds.  I will also challenge her to pick foods that she doesn’t like, that she knows other family members DO like.  Maybe she’ll find a picture of scrambled eggs.  Or a picture of bacon.  Or a picture of (Heaven forbid!) broccoli.  I want to encourage her to think about others, and what our preferences are.  This is a great way to think outside the box… and stop the spread of selfishness!!  She also needs practice thinking about balanced meals, so she can use the pictures to make posters of balanced meals… and pick a few of the foods she’d like to try someday!  (Hey, this Mommy can dream, right??)

img_3421Fall is a fabulous time to get outside and remember the beauty that God has blessed us with on this Earth.  Maybe it’s something as simple as a seed collecting and sorting activity.  Or maybe it’s getting out and doing a photo challenge in nature to find certain small creatures or plants – then print those pictures and place them into a little journal that your child can look back at to remember to thank God for the little things in nature that He has placed in our lives to remind us of his majesty.  Even if you don’t think there is much to explore in your front yard, you’d be amazed what you can find when you get down on all fours and pretend you are a beetle!

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I would challenge you to have your children write thank you notes to their friends who give them treats for Halloween.  Encourage them to list out not just what the friend gave, but WHY they are thankful that child is their friend.  “I love it that you make me laugh.”  “I like how you help me when I can’t tie my shoe.”  “Thank you for always smiling at me and helping me be happy when I’m sad.”  Even if your kids are used to writing thank you notes, I bet they are probably used to saying “thanks for the _xyz toy_.” And that’s it.  Mix it up this November.  Get them thinking about WHY they are thankful for that friendship they have.  Let them use fun stickers and special pens or markers to make those friends feel really special, and to add some fun to what can seem very serious for your kids.

Now is the perfect time to plan what activities you’re going to do this November – to not let Thanksgiving get lost in the shuffle between Halloween and Christmas.  It’s a great time to think about what new family traditions you want to start, and to really center your own mind on thankfulness.  We often focus so much on the costumes we’ll wear and the gifts that we’ll buy, or even on the turkey we’ll cook… that the actual purpose of giving thanks is lost.  Hopefully these ideas will help everyone in your family remember to be thankful for the objects, foods, nature, and people around them, because Thanksgiving is so much more than just a day we eat a lot of food and hang out with family to watch a parade and some football.  This year, focus on the things and the people they are thankful for, and WHY they are thankful for them.  Let’s raise a generation that isn’t the ME generation, but the YOU generation… the THANK YOU generation.
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Make your own Thankfulness Journal!

Check out how Ashley made hers here.

I don’t have any Modge Podge, and wanted to cover the book entirely… so I took 4 sheets of scrapbook paper and here’s what I came up with!  You can do the same in just about 5 minutes!

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I also cut pieces to cover the insides so that the print on the front cover was not distracting.  You wouldn’t have to do that – in which case, you would only need 2 sheets of 12×12 paper.front-cover-of-journal


There are more posts in this series!  Check them out here:

Saying Thank You with a Handmade Card

Thankfulness and Thanksgiving – For Your Toddler

Writing About Thankfulness