I remember when my granddaughter was little, perhaps 2 years old, she would wake early and dance happily down the hallway. Then she would stop, cover her mouth with her hand, and make a noise that was half a cough and half a clearing-her-throat type of noise.
We were all mystified for a while. Did she have a cold? Was she coming down with something?
Then one morning, my daughter came to the end of the hallway and stopped. She frowned, put her hand over her mouth and made the same sound as Rachael. "Ahh.. this sinus so annoys me," she muttered. And the light dawned.
Rachael didn't have a sore throat. She didn't have a cold. She was copying her mother, who struggles with asthma and sinus. She's had it since she was little herself. Little Rachael just did exactly what her mother did, almost every morning.
Kids copy their parents almost without thinking. And gratitude is no exception. The best way to develop thankfulness in our kids is for us to show gratitude first. But there are other worthwhile strategies to encourage your kids to be more thankful. Check out some of these ideas that follow.
1. Remember that children learn best by example.
Kids learn best through copying actions, behaviours and attitudes. Any behaviour I want my children to exhibit, I must master first. So, it's important for me to live it. That means remembering to say 'please' and 'thank you' not just because it's polite, but to teach thankfulness to my children. I can best teach them to be grateful by expressing my own gratitude.
In practical terms, it means that, no matter how small the deed, it's important to give thanks when someone does something for me. I understand that when others serve me or buy things for me, it is only out of the generosity in their hearts, not out of obligation. I want my kids to understand that, too.
It's important to show my children that I appreciate others, that I'm humble enough to accept that I am not entitled to their kindness.
2. Guard your children from that sense of entitlement so they may be free to be thankful.
It's not easy to do when advertisements and social media constantly bombard us with images of amazing items we'd love to own. And you can be sure that your kids will know which of the amazing toys on offer their friends want or own. But it's important to be selective in the number of material things children receive. Yes, I know how hard that is, and it doesn't get any easier when you're a grandmother. How much is enough?
But I also know it important to inspire them to appreciate the things they already have. Often having too much limits a person’s ability to be grateful. So, I try to model a long-term sense of appreciation and resist the urge to give them too much.
Click on the clip below to hear Elisa Morgan, (Focus on the Family.) She provides parents with tips for cultivating a grateful heart in their children when it comes to the issue of possessions.
It also means thanking anyone who presents me with a gift. Sending out a thank you card is important, too, and something that kids should be encouraged to do themselves. Model Elle Macpherson expects her children to promptly send a thank you card for any gifts. Here's what she expects and the consequences she initiates if thankfulness is overlooked.
Your kids might be more enthusiastic about writing thank you cards with these printable cards they can complete themselves.
When I take care of the things I have, I'm demonstrating thankfulness for my own possessions and encouraging my kids/grandkids to do the same. It's another way to help kids appreciate what they already have.
Some parents find it helpful to regularly ask their kids to sort through their possessions and decide which ones are not used much and could be donated to other children who have little themselves.
3. Learn to think about others.
This might be as simple as encouraging your kids to compliment others who have worked hard to finish a special project. Perhaps they've won an award. Maybe they've achieved an important milestone. Talk about it and expect your kids to be encouraging.
Spend time together to help someone less fortunate. There's nothing quite like seeing how others are struggling to encourage thankfulness in our kids. Sure, it's good to talk about the difficulties others may be facing but it's so much more meaningful when they experience it firsthand. So volunteer together. Take time together to help out in the community. There's no reason why kids can't be more proactive in volunteering and helping others in practical ways..
4. Look for amazing moments that happen throughout the day and share your gratitude.
Turn dinner into an opportunity to share the special moments from the day with the whole family. Encourage your kids to list the things that happened to them, things they saw, that made them feel thankful.
Create a family gratitude list or journal, or a thankfulness tree or a thankfulness jar,
Money-saving Mom has a free printable 31-day Gratitude Journal for Kids that you might like to download and use, too.
5. Link your thankfulness back to God, reminding your children about His love and care for us and remembering to thank Him.
Take gratitude walks together and look for things for which you're thankful- warm sunshine, shady trees, the songs of cheerful birds, funny little caterpillars and more. Encourage your kids to do more than just list things they see but to also determine why they're thankful. For example, I thank God that made each bird with its own song, and that not every bird sounds like a crow. :). The birds sound beautiful and helps me identify a bird before I even see it. But it reminds me, too, that He made me unique and special, too.
Always look for the positive. Not everything is going to go well but look at those difficult times as teachable moments, times when you can show your kids that God's hand is in everything even when we can't see it. Yet we can still thank God. Perhaps it rains when you'd planned a trip to the beach. The rain will benefit the farmers who need rain for the strawberry crop- yum! And it might be a great time, instead, to go to the cinema for that movie you'd all wanted to see. These are wonderful opportunities to practise turning complaints into praise.
Okay.. so what about some other fun, family, ideas to focus on and encourage gratitude? Check out these suggestions:
* Learn how to make Gratitude Stones
* Go on a Scavenger Photo Hunt together.
* Make a Kindness ChatterBox (cootie catcher)
* Play a game of Gratitude Pick-up Sticks
* Create and hang up some Thankfulness Wind Spinners
* Smile it Forward with printable Kindness Activities for kids
* 7-Day Gratitude Challenge for Kids
Today, my choice is to foster a genuine sense of gratitude in the hearts of my children that goes beyond a simple habit of being polite. I'll seek to teach my children to use their manners to give thanks but also have a deep appreciation for others. Check out the questions below for reflection.
1. Do I demonstrate gratitude in the way I care for my possessions?
2. How can I foster a deep sense of gratitude in my children beyond simply giving thanks?
3. Why is it best to limit the amount of things I buy for my children?
It’s easy to give thanks when your day is going well. You’re wearing your favourite t-shirt. You got a great parking spot. Your latte is the perfect temperature with just the right mix of espresso shot and milk foam. You get lots of likes on the selfie you posted to Instagram.
But what about those moments when things aren’t going so well? You spill your coffee on your jeans. You have to wait in a long line of customers at the bank or grocery store. You realise the battery in your smartphone is dead.
Giving thanks is crucial. In moments like these, giving thanks is difficult. But giving thanks is also essential if you want to navigate these experiences with a positive outlook. This doesn’t mean being phony or pasting on a smile no matter what.
Good for your health
Yes, thankfulness isn't always easy but it's a great attitude to develop. It's also been found to be good for you. It boosts your immune system, lowers your blood pressure (understandably), makes you more optimistic and produces more resilience.
Take a breath and shift your focus. It’s about taking a moment to reassess and shift your focus. Instead of grumbling about the long line of customers, thank God for the cashier and pray for her family. When your smartphone needs a charge, thank God for all of the amazing technology you have access to.
Choose to turn the uncomfortable moments in life into thankfulness.
But how? What practical ways will contribute to an attitude of gratitude?
1. First, your health does affect your outlook.
If you're overtired or unwell, you will react quickly and without thinking. So.. get plenty of sleep. Exercise! It's been shown to improve your physical and mental health. Drink plenty of water and.. focus on a healthy diet, not fast food.
2. Begin each day with prayer.
Despite your best intentions, it's so easy to be derailed by difficulties, frustrations and, sometimes, the unpleasantness of others. But nothing surprises God. He knows what you'll have to deal with. And He will help you successfully navigate whatever is ahead of you throughout the day.
God, when I’m tempted to complain and grumble, help to stop and shift my focus. I want to be someone who lives in continual gratitude. Let me never lose sight of the blessings You’ve poured out on me.
3. Start your day by noting at least 3 good things
List the things you appreciate and can be thankful for today. If you include your kids in this daily activity, you'll encourage them to be more thankful, too.
(Look out for the upcoming article about teaching your kids to be thankful.)
4. Say 'thank you' to your partner and kids.
Use any opportunity to tell them how much you appreciate them. While it will encourage you to be more grateful of your family, it will also encourage your family and build them up.
5. Start a gratitude journal
Spending some time writing about your day and including details about those things for which you're grateful will inspire you to further develop a thankful attitude. You can use a hardcopy daily journal or take advantage of technology.
There are plenty of journal apps, as well as gratitude journals. Or, try an app like 365 Gratitude. This app presents you with daily inspirational questions and helps you to stay motivated. It tracks your moods and encourages you to journal about your day.
What about the app, Grateful- a grateful journal... or Uplifter app? Check out the overview below.
6. Send thank you notes.
Thinking of others rather than yourself can trigger a strong sense of gratitude. And think about how encouraging and helpful for others to receive a note of appreciation from you. Become a VIP member (free) and download your free gratitude cards to keep as a daily reminder or give to others.
7. Get a gratitude buddy.
Find someone who can encourage you to be more thankful and hold you accountable. (Don't forget, it goes both ways.)
If you're interested in learning more and growing an ongoing attitude of gratitude, watch for the Gratitude Challenge.. coming soon!
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.”
– 1 Thessalonians 5:18, NIV
Here's how to create a delightful welcome for your guests- a welcome that will help create memories that will always be treasured.
'This post was originally published in August, 2016. It was updated in October 2018 to include updated ideas and resources I've used to create a visit for guests that delights. '
(And yep... affiliate links are included which means, if you buy through me, I get some coffee money ... though not enough for the raisin toast as well. Full disclosure listed below.)
Unexpectedly, my sister phoned to say she was flying in for a conference the following week and, could she stay for a couple of days.
Could she stay? What a question! Of course she could stay!
I hadn't seen her for ages so it was a wonderful opportunity to share some quality time and catch up on family news. (No, news updates via email or FaceBook are not the same!)
How often do you have unexpected guests? How do you prepare?
I like to prepare some simple, yet meaningful, ways to make my guests feel welcome and special.
And... I thought I'd share some of these ideas with you.
1. Freshen up the guest room
First up is, naturally, a brisk but thorough spring clean of the house and, particularly, the guest room. If you have time for a more thorough clean of your guest room, then check out this cleaning list.
Yes, the guest room looked and smelled clean and fresh. But I also found a lovely fragrant candle and lit it just before my sister was due to arrive. Mmmm... lime & coconut, my favourite.
I had previously popped into The Body Shop and found a small pack of shampoo and conditioner. The Body Shop also has some gift packs that would look wonderful as a small visitor gift pack.
Fold the towel like a pro
I slipped both gifts into a soft fluffy towel, carefully folded, and placed it on the end of the bed. It looked a bit like a luxurious motel unit; at least, that's what I hoped. :)
2. Make it look attractive and welcoming
Small details can add lasting impact - I was able to find a couple of items that really made a difference in the guest room: a small glass jar with silk roses, a matching cushion for the small rocking chair and a fluffy white rug. They were only small details but they really made a difference to the room.
3. Make it fun with an unexpected detail
Actually, I added a couple of other details, too. I placed a tall glass of chilled infused water and a glass on a tray along with a glass container I'd filled with dried fruit and nuts. Tied with a satin ribbon and with a tag attached that read, 'Please Eat', it's an unforgettable way to show a guest how special they are.
You can find and download the free tag below . See file.
4. Make it taste good and look amazing
Creating and serving meals for guests can be tricky.
I love serving smoothie bowls for breakfast. They are so easy to make and you can create 'designer' smoothies according to personal tastes and allergy requirements.
Try setting up an area with toppings like fruit, toasted muesli, toasted coconut flakes, seeds and nuts, and even edible flower petals, in attractive containers so that your guests can choose their own. Smoothie bowls are healthy, simple to make and look amazing.
Try and find recipes that will not take too much time to prepare.
You don't want to miss valuable time with your guests while slaving in the kitchen. After all, your guests are more concerned about spending time with you than what you'll be serving.
Again, it's helpful if the food choice is up to your guest so presenting buffet-style meals is a good option. Check out these meals that look great but don't need much preparation time. Click on the image for the link to the online recipe.
Looking for some more menu ideas for your guests?
Just in case you need some simple but delicious recipes for your guests, I've included a link to a new resource- the FREE Mini CookBook. You'll find included: Carrot Cake Smoothie with Whipped Coconut Cream, Hearty Minestrone with fresh Rocket, One Skillet Lemon Rosemary Chicken Thighs with Broccoli, Grilled Angel Food Cake with Maple Whipped Cream and more.
And... you can also get your FREE copy of Simple Smoothie Recipes here...
I really hope that you have a wonderful time with your family and guests. And I'm sure that preparing ahead of time and including just a few little added accents and touches to make your guests feel really welcome will be noticed and appreciated.
Disclosure: At Grandma's Place is committed to high standards of integrity and quality. I do not promote any brand I do not believe meets these standards, and I only promote brands I would purchase myself. If I don't love it, and don't think you'll love it, it won't appear on my blog.
When you have grandkids, you find that you have all sorts of presents to buy throughout the year - birthday presents, Christmas presents, gifts for achievements like finishing school, passing exams, and securing places in the school play.
But as they grow up, the things that you can buy for them tend to gradually change. Little kids are pretty easy to buy for. You can pick up teddy bears, dolls, jigsaw puzzles, train sets, and toy cars.
As they begin to approach adulthood and they are reaching their teenage years, they’re going to consider themselves “too grown up” for “little kids toys”. At this age, many kids want to feel grown up.
So, when you get them presents, you should bear this in mind. Here are a few ideas that can get you started in the right direction!
Aftershave or Perfume
Aftershave and perfume are the holy grail of presents for kids. They’ve seen these item adorning their parents and your shelves and cabinets for years, seeing adults spray it on before a day or night out. So, look at brands aimed at teens. They generally come with a lower price tag and packaging that may be endorsed by their favourite artists, models, and bands.
Toiletries and Toiletry Bags
Many kids go on extended trips with their schools around this age. So, you might want to give them a parting gift for the first time that they are away from home without their parents. Toiletries and toiletry bags are a great idea. They’ll be used to using whatever toiletries are available at home. But for this trip, they can have their own for the first time! Choose popular brands amongst teens and fill up a mens toiletry bag or womens toiletry bag. They’ll feel grown up in next to no time!
Vinyl is coming back into fashion, but you want to start your teen off with a low cost turntable, as they can easily break or damage the arms and needles, so you don’t want an expensive piece of tech ruined as they get used to using a traditional record player. Crosleys are a good starter piece when it comes to turntables. They come in a range of appealing colours, so you’re bound to find one that suits their taste. They also come with a lower price tag than other models on the market.
Teens tend to love adorning their walls with photos of them and their friends. Seeing as they tend to take most of their pictures in digital format, this can involve having to wait for extended periods of time for physical prints to be returned from professional printers. Instead, they could access their pictures instantaneously with an at-home photo printer!
These are just a few ideas that you might want to consider for your teen grandkid! Sure, they may seem difficult to buy for, but you just have to adjust yourself to their changing tastes and interests!
It's been a tough year. Added to the general busyness of life have come health concerns, family needs, hospital visits and financial worries. I feel a little like Todd Stocker who said, "I wanted to figure out why I was so busy, but I couldn't find the time to do it.” Yes, that just about sums it up.
And the result? I feel exhausted.. constantly. I feel as though I have no energy, for anything.
If you're like me, your busy lifestyle can make finding more energy a challenge. However, these invigorating tips will boost your energy and keep you going. They're simple.. and healthy so including them each day is a wise decision. Certainly, that's my plan for boosting my dwindling energy levels.
Try these tips to maintain the energy you need for your hectic life:
1. Create a regular exercise schedule and stick to it.
Exercise is one of the easiest ways to find more energy on a daily basis. Exercise boosts metabolism and helps you avoid feeling sluggish.
A regular exercise schedule is essential for seeing results. However, you can try different workouts and classes to keep things interesting.
Walking, for instance, can be done anywhere and requires no special equipment. It increases cardiovascular fitness, strengthens bones, reduces excess body fat, and boosts muscle power and endurance. Some would say that, instead of looking for a caffeine hit when you need some energy, go for a walk.
2. Balance your breakfast with both carbohydrates and protein.
Eating a bagel with coffee may be easy in the morning, but you’ll have more energy if you add peanut butter or meat to the bagel. Balancing carbs with protein gives you more energy throughout the day.
How you begin your day is important.. Breakfast matters in the hunt for more energy.
A combination of carbohydrates and protein is one of the best ways to start the day.
Do you love yogurt? Do you crave toast in the morning? You can combine yogurt with toast for a more balanced meal. Eggs and toast are another common breakfast staple that works.
Check out these foods & breakfast options:
* Oats +yoghurt + sliced banana + sprinkle of nuts and seeds
* Wholegrain toast + peanut butter or avocado or hummus, tomato and baby spinach leaves
* Fruit or vegetable smoothies + oats, yoghurt and nuts or chia seeds
3. Try to catch the sunlight.
Sunlight can be an invigorating force.
The brain relies on light to determine sleep and wakefulness patterns. By spending more time in the sun, you can find more energy. Of course you'd be wise to avoid the time of day when UV rays are most intense. But at least 30 to 40 minutes of sunlight a day can make a big difference in energy levels.
4. Use essential oils. Essential oils have the power to change moods and affect stress levels.
Essential oils can be smelled or used on the skin. They can provide an instant energy boost.
Citrus is a popular aromatherapy choice because it has an uplifting aspect to it. Basil can also help you because it wakes up the mind.
Eucalyptus, mint, and rosemary are also useful aromatherapy oils for more energy.
5. Add sweet potatoes to your meals.
Sweet potatoes offer potassium and keep energy levels balanced. They’re also a good source of other vitamins and minerals. They’re known for having high levels of vitamin A. You'll find many recipes now that include sweet potatoes in breads, muffins, as fries and pancakes.
6. Drink green tea.
Green tea has an important amino acid that is linked to helping people stay more energised. I really struggle with this one. I'm not a fan of green tea but I can tolerate it with peppermint or another flavour to disguise it. :)
7. Mash chia seeds and add them to smoothies.
Chia seeds are high in protein and minerals. Mashing chia seeds can make them easier to drink in your smoothies. You can also add them to your food. Sprinkle the seeds on top of salads or casseroles.
8. Stay hydrated in unique ways.
Water is crucial for giving you the energy to keep going during the day. But, it can be challenging to drink plain water and get the required amount.
Make your own infused water by adding fruit and spice to your water to make it unique. You can combine pieces of lemon with pineapple, apple, or blackberries for a different taste. See below to download your own Infused Water recipes cheatsheet.
Another option is using sachets like Twinings Cold In'Fuse. As the promotion states, 'With no artificial flavours or colours (just natural fruit flavours, spices & botanicals), there’s now a natural way to add flavour to your water!'
I like the watermelon, strawberry and mint flavour.
Add more watermelon to your diet.
If you’re trying to stay hydrated, watermelon can help you achieve the goal. It has high water content and gives you more energy. This a very tasty snack to include in your day. Cut it up into chunks and pop into small containers for an easy snack option.
9. Snack on nuts throughout the day.
Are you looking for a fast way to get more energy? Nuts have protein and vitamins. They’re a fast and convenient way to get an energy boost at work or at home. The nutrients in nuts can create lasting energy that goes on for hours.
Simple tricks can help you discover more energy in your day.
These tips will help you stay alert and focused... with more energy. They are simple changes that can make a big difference to your energy levels and your busy life.
Retirement can be the best time of your life. After working hard for more than 40 years, juggling a job around raising your family and other commitments, it’s finally your time. Time to take for yourself. To do what you want to, to take your time, to enjoy your family, to travel, to learn, and to do those things that you’ve always dreamed of.
Many people, however, chose to use their precious retirement to try an encore career, to go back to school or even to start their own business. They’ve finally got the time they’ve always wanted, and they chose to use it either working or studying. To some, this might seem ridiculous.
But, there are some awesome reasons to go back to school in later life. Here’s a look at some of them.
To Keep Your Mind Young
Retirement isn’t always what we want it to be. We dream of having lots of free time to relax and enjoy. Then, we find that we’re bored, we lack focus and interest. This can start to affect your health. It’s not uncommon to find that shortly after relaxing into retirement, your memory begins to suffer. You may forget little details, find yourself repeating things, or find that you are starting to forget where you’ve put things or people’s names. To some extent, this is a normal part of aging and something that you simply have to deal with. But, there is a lot that you can do to keep your mind young and alert for as long as possible.
Going back to school, perhaps to study an operations management degree online is just one of these things. It gives your mind focus and exercise. Other things that could help include learning a new language, spending time doing new things and going to new places, reading and doing puzzles, or doing simple tasks with your opposite hand. Think of it as exercise for your mind, just like you exercise your body.
To Keep Your Body Young
Speaking of exercise, going back to school can help your body as much as your mind. Many people find that in retirement they start spending much more time sitting at home. Going back to school gets you out of the house and moving more.
To Make New Friends
One of the most significant disadvantages of getting older is that everyone else is too and that it’s only natural that you might lose some friends as they become ill or pass away. Retirement can be terribly lonely, especially if you are used to working around people, or don’t have family nearby. Going back to school, even to do a short course at your local library or community centre gives you a great way to meet new people and make new friends.
To Learn New Skills
Of course, when you go back to school, you’ll learn about your chosen subject. But, that’s not all you’ll learn. You’ll develop computer skills. You’ll learn more about modern technology. You’ll learn how to organise your time, and you’ll improve your writing and communication. There’s a lot to gain by going back to school.
Life as a grandma.. it's no 'quiet, restful days in the rocking-chair'. It's filled with activity, excitement and lots of family fun. Please share it with me.