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being grateful

Grateful Pumpkin - #funeasyinexpensivekidcraft

Grateful Pumpkin - #funeasyinexpensivekidcraft

Our October was so busy with fun that we never had the chance to carve our pumpkins this year (or I tried to squeeze in last week, but with everything we do in the last week of October it would have been forced and rushed. My daughter was fine with it because she had already decorated two pumpkins for Halloween and as the week quickly went by, I was already starting to think about what else I would do with these pumpkins. The idea of #gratefulpumpkin came to me and I was more excited about these than that's what we did!
What we used to create our #gratefulpumpkin:
1. A pumpkin (any size but bigger let's you write more things you are #grateful for - which is so important to teach your kids being #grateful)
2. Fall color construction paper
3. Glue stick
4. Sharpies
5. Scissors


Cut a pretty design out of your construction paper. If your child can write have them write Our #GratefulPumpkin on paper, if not you can write. Glue to front of pumpkin


Have each person in your family write something you are #grateful for and add one thing everyday. By the end of the month you will have many things that you and your child are #grateful for and can reflect on each day. That's it!


What we learned: How to #reuse items around the house, the use of scissors, practice writing, spelling and being #grateful of course!
What we shared: Creativity, fun, discussing what #gratitude is and why being #grateful for the wonderful people and things in our lives is so important, quality time and memories.
My husband even got in on our #grateful pumpkin which is atypical for him to join in on our moms,kids and friends stuff. #ILoveit....this became a family thing.


#Makethetime and #takethetime today to share time with your family and talk about #gratitude, what your #amazingkids are #grateful for, what you are #grateful for and the importance of #gratitude!
I am excited to hear my daughters responses each day. We have one rule. If it is already on the pumpkin and another family member has written it, we can not repeat what we are #grateful for, but have to come up with something new.
My daughter is so excited about this simple and fun way to express her #gratitude, she said she wants to come up with two things everyday!
You'll be glad you did! 
All of my best. May you have a wonderful start to this November. Dyan

#Thanksgivingcraft to treasure and keep - fun easy and inexpensive #grateful craft for #Thanksgiving

This is a repost from last year...and I still love these so I had to share again.  They were such a hit last year at the dinner table every guest felt special and loved the fact that my daughter created each one especially for them!!  My daughter and I loved these so much that we are using again this year for our guest place mats.  A #Thanksgivingcraft to treasure and keep!!  They are fun, easy and inexpensive to make (my motto)...What better way to show your children's love and #gratitude for their family and friends by creating unique place mats for all of your guests on #Thanksgiving Day!
What you will need to create these special take home treasures:

1. Orange, brown, yellow or white construction paper.
2. Different colored pencils, markers, crayons to create their masterpieces.
3. Scissors if paper needs to be trimmed to fit your laminator.
4. Miscellaneous Thanksgiving stickers (optional).
5. Paper laminator.  Caution:  adult should always supervise this activity as the laminator gets very hot!  If you do not have a laminator, you could use a thicker paper (i.e. poster board or paper cover sheets/pre-laminated sheets purchased at any office supply store.
6. Your child's imagination.

#thanksgivingcraftsCreate each place mat unique for each guest.
Use your child's hand to trace to make the turkey.  Then have them decorate, color or use stickers to make as intricate as they choose. You can label each place mat and then use them as place cards too!

What we learned:  Lots of stuff!  How to use our hands to make turkeys, how to draw leaves, colors of #Thanksgiving and fall, practiced hand writing names, worked on letters and spelling, practiced writing name, creativity, strengthening hands by cutting, using the laminating machine and practiced safety lessons.

I love crafts that reinforce learning!
What we shared:  Lots of fun!  Getting into the holiday spirit, memories, useful craft that we will have many uses (a #Thanksgiving Day card, place mat, place card and take home gift for our guests), creative ideas and a fun afternoon of spending time together.

May your #Thanksgiving holiday be filled with peace, blessings and many things to be #grateful for....may you take the time to enjoy the time with your family, friends and kids.  Grab some paper and create some special memories this #Thanksgiving and make these place cmats.  They are easy, fun and inexpensive to make.  #Thanksgiving blessings to you and yours.   All of my best, Dyan

#Stopthebully - #AntiBullyingWeek -

#AntiBullyingWeek - #Stopthebully
#Beingthankful for being in the right place at the right time.

What I learned:  
Keep your kids close even in perceived safe places, step in if you see a child or anyone in need of help, teach your child to communicate their feelings and wants so they can express themselves in all situations, in a wrong situation...I did the right thing.  Take the time to pay attention to your child - what you do today will make a difference tomorrow.
What we shared:  
Hopefully a better awareness of parent responsibility, if a witness to  #bullying step in and help because both the victim and #bully probably need it and even safe environments can be potentially dangerous.

Be aware.  Teach your children.   
#StoptheBully   - #AntiBullyingWeek
(Please enjoy this repost)

Did you ever have one of those days that your behind?  Well I do and they happen more often then not.  Yesterday was one of those days.  When I get behind I always try and remind myself that it is for a reason and to take a deep breath, relax, keep everything in perspective and I will get to where I am going and all will get done and be fine.  

The unique thing about yesterday was that I kept having a nagging feeling that I was behind for a reason.  I knew I would get to the park with my daughter, eventually, and we would have fun.  But the nagging feeling lingered for the reason why we were 2 hours behind schedule.  

When we got to the park it was busier than usual and then I remembered it was spring break for some schools. It was packed, but we settled in quickly and started enjoying the many activities the park has to offer.  Since I have an only child it sometimes is sad for my daughter, no one to play with but me...she tends to get over it pretty quickly and I am a hands on mom so it is not unusual for me to be climbing on the jungle gyms, swinging or going down the slides.  In all the craziness of the tons of children, I was able to sit back and observe between play areas the many parents that just let there kids run wild.  I thought to myself,  am I too over bearing and controlling of a mom to not let my child out of my sight?  I thought again...NO, especially with the unsafe world around us.  I never let her out of my sight or let her be too far for too long.  But I noticed that many parents don't take the same approach I do and there were kids from toddlers and up that didn't have a parent watching closely.  

As I watched my daughter make sand castles in the sand and observed the miscellaneous children coming up to play for a moment then move on, two kids came by me from around the slide.  A boy of about 6 and a girl of about 5, he had her in a choke hold and was dragging her, pulling her hair, clothes anything he could to get her to move in the direction he wanted her to go.  My first reaction was what is he doing???  Since I am not a quiet, sit back and watch kind of  person, I quickly said, "What are you doing?"  He ignored me and kept on doing it, pulling her hair, shoving her and she was screaming and crying as I told him to stop.  He was in his own world and I frantically looked around for a mother of one of the kids...was this his sister?  A friend?  Were they strangers?  Either way, since I was the only parent watching this obvious display of #bullying in a sea of 50 plus parents, I had to do something, regardless of the relationship.  I knew I could not physically touch the children because of the world we live in, so I walked with them asking the boy to stop and telling him he was hurting the girl, it seemed like 20 minutes had gone by, but in reality it was probably only 3. He lessened his grip, finally, a mother came around the slide and I told her, the little boy is hurting the girl and he needs to stop.  She quickly stepped in as I was so thankful that the parent had finally showed up to take responsibility of her child or (children).  I am still not sure if she was the mother of both, but she did know both children.  I heard her start to discipline the little boy and say something about the fact that when she asks her to get the little girl to leave, that he doesn't have to physically remove her from the play ground, but tell her it is time to go.  I guess, I felt the mother should have been paying closer attention, so this little girls 3 plus minutes of torment would of not happened at all.  Then it finally hit me, the reason for being behind yesterday, so I could be there for her exactly at the right place and right time to stop the #bullying of the little boy, the hair pulling, the tugging, the shoving, choking and pushing.  I was really quite horrified and shaken up and then looked around and realized that no one else had even witnessed this except for me in a crowd of 100 plus people.  Amazing to me, that people, are so much in their own world that they don't notice when their child could be in danger.  

I am #thankful for timing and #thankful for being in the right place at the right time and #thankful for being a parent that stops and takes notice to:  #Stopthebully in their tracks.  

Have a good day and keep your kids close.  You never know what may or may not happen even in a safe environment.  All my best, Dyan
Be aware.  Teach your children.   #StoptheBully

Cutest Ever #Turkeypumpkin #Thanksgivingcenterpiece- Reuse and use items from around your house

Happy #thankfulthursday!  I am #thankful for all the wonderful crafts my daughter and I make together and the quality time we spend together while making them... like this one!  So cute, so easy to make, so much fun!     Items needed for #TurkeyPumpkin:  One Pumpkin,     Glue stick or Hot Glue gun (adult supervision required-the glue can get very hot.  Glue gun might work better for you to adhere the feather hands, eyes, nose and wattles).   More items listed below.
Happy #thankfulthursday! I am #thankful for all the wonderful crafts my daughter and I make together and the quality time we spend together while making them... like this one! So cute, so easy to make, so much fun! Items needed for #TurkeyPumpkin: One Pumpkin, Glue stick or Hot Glue gun (adult supervision required-the glue can get very hot. Glue gun might work better for you to adhere the feather hands, eyes, nose and wattles). More items listed below.
We had most of these items around the house. We reused a pumpkin that we had from Halloween.
Red, orange, yellow and brown construction paper
For fun, easy and inexpensive crafts always have a supply of construction paper in the house of various colors.
Red, orange, yellow and brown construction paper
Pencil to trace your kids hands and your hands
Pencil to trace your kids hands and your hands
Scissors to cut out hand shapes to use as feathers.
Brown paint and paint brushes and large googley eyes.
Paint the pumpkin together to make the pumpkin brown to use as the #turkey body of this craft.
Brown paint and paint brushes and large googley eyes.
After pumpkin is painted and dried.  Adhere the cut-out hand shapes on the back as feathers.  It was fun to use both my hands and my daughters hands as feathers.  The size variety was a nice touch to make the feathers fuller.  We also had fun taking turns tracing each others hands both left and right hands.
After pumpkin is painted and dried. Adhere the cut-out hand shapes on the back as feathers. It was fun to use both my hands and my daughters hands as feathers. The size variety was a nice touch to make the feathers fuller. We also had fun taking turns tracing each others hands both left and right hands.
Glue the eyes on the front. Cut a triangle out of construction paper for the nose, fold in half and glue under the eyes. Cut the wattle from red construction paper and attach under the nose. That's it!
This could very well be the cutest #turkeypumpkin ever!
Love, love, love this craft! So much fun! So easy! And so inexpensive! That's my motto! Hope you have the time to make this one to use as a #thanksgivingcenterpiece for your Thanksgiving table. So much we learned and shared: fun, creativity, I even learned with the red thing under the turkey's nose is called (the wattle). Enjoy your #Thanksgiving with family and friends. Remember to be grateful and live in the moment of the day. Cherish one another and make the time and take the time to enjoy your kids. Happy Thanksgiving! All of my best, Dyan
This could very well be the cutest #turkeypumpkin ever!

#November a time to #bethankful

#November – a time to #bethankful.  As Halloween and October have come to a close, I look forward to the month of #November.  For me, it is a time to #bethankful!  Don’t get me wrong, I am #thankful for each and every day, this time of year though, I think, I am more aware or at least I try to be.  I have asked my daughter each day this month what she is #thankful for today.  So far, she has told me - family, her dogs (all 4 of them) and life!  I loved her third one – life!
I am #thankful for my health, so I can live each day to its fullest, for my family…my daughter whom I love dearly and who inspires me every day, for my husband, whom I love, cherish and am #grateful for his flexibility with me and the perfect fall day yesterday!  My daughter and I spent the afternoon at the park.  It was cool with a gentle wind, but sunny to keep us warm.  We played kickball, basketball (she made her first 3 basketball free throws ever...granny shots on a regulation net-pretty exciting for her) rode bikes and scooters, rolled down hills, did life size shadow puppets and blew bubbles and chased after them.  What an awesome day we had, we had not spent a day like that in a long time and it was wonderful just to relax, hang out and play.  Not to mention playing is great for you whether you’re 6 or any age!   

make the time for your kids play kickball
make the time for quality time with your kidsmake the time with your kids play basketball                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
fun things to do with your kid at the parkFull size shadow puppets with your kids imagination at its best                                                                                                                                                                                    As we proceed into the month of  #November, I will relish each moment of time. Whether it is interacting with my daughter, husband, family, friends or following my dreams.  Take some time today to reflect on your life and everything you are #thankful for in your life.  #bethankful
 Talk with your kids to see what they are #thankful for, teach them the importance of #gratitude.  Remember to make the time and take the time to spend with your kids, loved ones or yourself this #November.  Create new memories, new traditions, follow old traditions and savor each and every one.  I have some wonderful ideas for crafts, recipes and to #bethankful, starting with what to do with those pumpkins that didn't get decorated or carved this check back often.
 All of my best Dyan

Be grateful for #handsondads

Be grateful for #handsondads
What would we do without hands on dads?  Today, I am grateful for those dads who take an active part in their kid’s lives.  Who show up for their kids events or school activities…Who participate in their kids’ lives…Who love their kids unconditionally…Who spend time with their kids (even if they don’t have the time to do so)…Who play with their kids (sports, games, whatever it is, they play)…Who hang out with their kids…Who help out with their kids around the house with homework or whatever…Who are present with their kids…
The traditional role of fatherhood is not what it used to be and many dads are taking an active role in raising their kids.  To each and every one of you, I am grateful.  I am grateful because it builds confidence in our children, it builds character, it builds a bond between father and son or father and daughter that only fathers can build….moms can’t do everything!  I am grateful because hands on dads help raise stronger, loving children and I believe will help their children have less “issues” in the future. 

Father spending quality time with his daughter, it made her day! #handsondadUnfortunately, I don’t meet a lot of hands on dads…but every time I do, I am enthralled and encouraged with their active part in raising their kids.  If each dad does one thing today that they normally don’t do for their kids, wife or partner, I think it would strengthen the family bond…one dad step at a time. Doesn't matter what you do...just do it!  Do it from the heart and with love. Make the time and take the time today to be a #handsondad, you and your family will be glad you did!  All of my best, Dyan 

If you have something that your #handsondad does, please share with a comment or if you are a #handsondad, I would love to hear how you spend time with your kids spending quality time together.  Thanks, Dyan

Turn your kids melt downs into positive experiences

Ok. So, we are now in our second month of school…starting to get in a groove and settled in with the new school, routine, meeting new friends and basically getting acclimated to first grade and our new school.  Everything is going smooth, exactly how I like it, (I can be a bit of a control freak). 

Unfortunately, this week my daughter had a major melt down. I was surprised as she had been telling me every day that she loves school, her new friends, her teachers, etc.

It started with a bad dream.  She woke me up about 1 hour before I had to get up to get her ready for school.  She crawled in bed with my husband and I and we talked briefly about it and back to sleep she went.  All was fine, at least I thought it was.  She then woke up on her own to start getting ready for school and she was sad and started crying and telling me more about her dream.  She didn’t go into too much detail, but I realized that the dream had to do with me picking her up after school and I wasn’t there…she was left all alone waiting for me.  She was sad and scared all at the same time.  We discussed dreams and how it was just a dream and I would be there to pick her up as I had been every day since school had started.   She seemed to be a bit better and time was clicking to get to school so, off to school we went.  Her tears had dried up and she seemed fine, until we walked into school and the tears came, boy did the come.  I hadn’t seen her cry this hard ever at school.  I reassured her as best as possible. I talked briefly with the teacher about the situation.  Her teacher consoled her and she tried to be brave and wiped off the remaining tears and walked into her classroom. I felt sad and quite frankly wanted to just take her out of school for the day.  But we all know that is something we cannot do, otherwise it could become a habit that might be hard to break. 

I started to walk back to my car and ran into a friend of mine who also has a daughter at the school.  I told her what happened.  We walked back to our cars and said goodbye.  An hour later my friend called me and suggested I come in to volunteer for lunch duty, (even though it wasn’t my day to volunteer).  She went on to tell me that it would be a wonderful way for my daughter to know that I am there to support her, be there for her and what a wonderful surprise it would be for her.  I had a million things to do that day and did not really have the time to volunteer, but thought about what she was telling me and realized that it really did make sense, a lot of sense and she was absolutely right!   I made the calls and verified it was ok for me to come in and help out at lunch. 

I arrived on time and waited for her class to come to the lunch room.  As her class filed into the lunch room, she turned and saw me.  Her face lit up, it really lit up!!  For that one moment in time, I could see all the sadness and uncertainty turn into happiness, peace and light.  I was soooooo happy that I had shared my morning with my friend and was soooooo happy that I listened to her advice!  This is one of the reasons why I started this blog, for moms and friends to share with each other ideas that work, REALLY work for their families and kids to make a stronger family bond, community bond and relationships that are filled with love, happiness and commitment. 
Moms and friends getting together and sharing ideas about kids and life!

Even though a simple idea, I am not sure I would have thought of doing it on my own.  I am truly grateful for my friend, because it made such a difference in my child’s day that I wouldn’t have traded anything else in the world to have seen her day brightened right before my very eyes. 

Many wonderful benefits to this one.  I also helped out the school in volunteering.  Today, make a difference in your kids life.  Be aware of their needs, be there to support them in every way you can and hug them/love them as much as possible.  All of my best, Dyan

What I learned:  That it is possible to turn your kids melt downs into a positive experiences, sharing your challenging times with  friends can always give you a new perspective to help strengthen your relationships within your family and how much I value my friends and relationships because they help me be a better mom.

What my child learned:  That she is not alone at school, I am there for her and care about her feelings, I will be there to support her and how much mommy does love her.

Being present with your kids - good old fashioned fun

Let's move on to more positive things shall being present with your kids.  With the first month of school behind us, I am finding that I am finally getting into a routine.  As I look back at this first month, I have been overwhelmed with many responsibilities that I had to take care of and I am actually grateful for the time my daughter has been in school because it has been easier on both of us to juggle my time of getting things done and spending time with her.  While I miss the free days of summer...doing what ever we want whenever we want...I am realizing that the time I do have with her (outside of her activities and school) have become more precious than ever. 
Yesterday we had a good old fashioned play day with lots of activities and fun!  It was the best day I have spent with her in a while and I know the best day she has spent with me!  We started the day with making home made blueberry vegan pancakes, even though loaded with lots of good things like flax, fiber and antioxidants they were delicious, she even agreed!  You learn so many great things when you cook with your child.  How to measure, mix, fold in ingredients, pouring...the teaching opportunity is endless. 
We watched baby of her and my very special things to do.  It was a rainy morning which we don't get very often, so we took advantage by watching a few old videos laughing and enjoying her earlier years...of course I do get melancholy and reminiscent of the days gone by...but I am grateful for everyone of those videos and times I spent with my daughter. 
We went outside and splashed in the puddles and stood in the rain and then looked for rainbows when the sun came out.  Unfortunately, we didn't see one, but the point is we did get a chance to look for one. 
Went swimming, played keep it up, dived for rings and had seahorse races around the pool on our noodles. 
Inside to make a video card to send to her parents for grandparents day, a craft out of my favorite kids magazine,  High Five - (traveling tic tac toe -please see link), mango smoothies, hide-n-seek, finished up the day with a wonderful dinner, game of memory and reading 4 books to complete her reading log for the week.  Sound tiring??  I guess it kind of does, but it wasn't, not at all. 
It was a day that we both needed to reconnect and take advantage of nothing but our time together and a day of good old fashioned fun!  I loved it and so did she!
I was thinking about my day, as I always do before I go to bed, I was grateful for every second we spent together, every moment.  When I went back into her room last night to put her books away (after recording them in her book log for school), she said "Mommy, I love you," in her sweet little voice.  My heart melted as it always does when she says nice things.  I am sure she had been reflecting on the day herself as she was falling asleep and thinking of all the fun she had too! 
Take advantage of your time with your kids, they are getting older every day and it seems like our lives are in super sonic speed these days.  Make each moment of your time with your kid count, do something fun, learn something new, do things that they want to do.  Take the time and make the time to be present with your kid.  The smallest of efforts will grow your family bond and make everyone happy.  Make your next time together a day of good old fashioned family fun, turn off the computer, don't answer any phone calls and make it all about the family. All of my best Dyan
What I learned:  all of us need a day of good old fashioned fun, every moment I have free and my child has free should be used to create family bonds and wonderful memories, how good my daughter is at memory game, how nice it is to take a stress free relaxing day with family - an opportunity that should never be passed up!
What we shared:  fun, fun, fun, cooking-learning new cooking techniques like folding in ingredients, how to read fractions on our measuring cup, good healthy food, fresh air, love and strengthened our bond. 

Clover necklaces, lightening bugs and twirly whirlys - get creative with nature - share memories of your childhood with your kids

I did this summer vacation.  We kind of had a down day on our summer vacation.  We were going to go to the pool, but wouldn't you know it, it started raining out.  What are we going to do now???  Well, the one thing I noticed when we arrived at our hotel, was the clover flowers in the yard, it brought back so many memories of my childhood.  My sisters and I would sit for hours making clover necklaces and bracelets.  I thought to myself,  I want to share this memory with my daughter if we have the chance.  She woke up and saw the rain and was a bit disappointed.  Swimming was out of the mix,  so we went outside on the front wrap around porch of the fabulous bed and breakfast we stayed at and started picking the clovers.  It was only drizzling so it was fun to pick the flowers from the grassy area in front of the B & B.  We picked quite a few and she asked, "What are we going to do with these now?".  I showed her how we make the necklace, weaving each stem with in one another.  We each made our own and then she had the idea of making ankle bracelets too.  Now, we never made these as kids, at least I don't think we did.   I don't remember ankle bracelets being big back then.  It was great because she added something new to the mix.  Later that day, my mother-in-law asked what we did that morning, I shared this with her and she shared that she used to make them too!  My daughter thought that was so neat and somehow she appreciated making the necklaces that much more.  Of course, I sent the pictures to my sisters who texted back quickly that they remembered this fun and creative thing we used to as kids that would entertain us for hours.  Time certainly has changed since the 70s, kids expect much more and many times they want an electronic device to entertain them.  I challenge myself everyday to not let my daughter get caught up in too much TV, computers, video games, iphone games and the like.  I would rather sit and make these clover necklaces with my daughter on a gloomy raining day, then sit inside and let her get lost in the world of electronics.  I challenge you to do the same.  
This trip brought back special memories of the simplicity of my childhood.  We caught lighting bugs, made clover necklaces and spun twirly whirlys that fell from the trees.  These are all things that we can not do in Arizona.  I am grateful for the opportunity to share these wonderfully simple things with my daughter and she thought they were pretty darn neat too!
I think it is so important to share memories of your childhood with your kid.  These simple ideas bring you closer and let's your kids know you were once a kid too.  Make the time to take the time with your kids, you all will be better off and have fun doing it!  Now go out and get creative with nature!  All of my best, Dyan
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Hershey PA worth the trip - My mother taught me to enjoy chocolate

I have always wanted to go to Hershey, PA ever since I was a kid.  My mother and I had plans to go "one day", but unfortunately, we never had the chance.  We talked about it on several occasions as my mother was an avid Hershey fan.  She loved chocolate, all kinds, but Hershey was definitely her favorite.  I have many memories of her buying the extra large bars from Walgreens in the 70s and 80s, sometimes with nuts and sometimes without. 
The trip was absolutely fantastic and Hershey, PA is definitely worth the trip!!
I had no real expectations for the trip, except to have fun and we did.
We stayed at Hershey lodge, which if your budget allows, is a must.  It's everything Hershey, clean, good food and every restaurant gives you kisses, of course, with every check.
Chocolate World is also a place to go.  This is where you can make your own Hershey Chocolate Bar, taste test the many chocolates they make, learn about chocolate, see a 4-D movie, meet the fun Hershey characters and buy your chocolate to take home with you.  Believe it or not, we did get all of our chocolate back to 105 degrees in Arizona without melting, which was a challenge with the East Coast heat, but well worth the efforts, as we are still enjoying our purchases.  They even have their own bakery with homemade goodies.  The best buy would be a toss up between kisses with macadamia nuts or an extra large peanut butter chocolate chip cookie with a large peanut butter cup in the middle...yum, yum...that alone would be well worth the trip back!!
Hershey park was also a hit with the kids.  Ranged 5-8, they all loved it with many rides and a water park area.  We did not go on all of them, but on enough of them that the kids had so much fun and were thrilled to be there.
I recommend at least 3 nights to enjoy the experience.  We spent two nights and 3 days and there was still plenty to do and see. 
As summer winds down, if you still want to make the effort to get away, look into it, I posted a link on my links page. 
I am happy to say, that I finally made the trip, instead of with my mother, with my daughter, who in many ways is just like my mother.  I felt that she somehow was there with me enjoying every minute and every indulgent bite of chocolate. 
My mother taught me to enjoy chocolate and I am glad she did!! 
Make the effort to do something that you have always wanted to do.  All of my
best, Dyan

Bring culture and diversity into your childs life

On our way to see Annie on exciting!  When I was a child my
mother did the best she could to bring culture into our lives. We didn't have
much money, so she would save up for tickets to shows that she wanted us to see.  Growing up in the Chicago land area was easy to bring culture into our lives.  Now, living in Arizona, I find it a bit of a challenge to bring culture in to my daughters life.  Yes, there is culture here, and I am not knocking it, but it is different than a large metropolitan city. 
Chicago has some of the best zoos, museums, art history and the like.  Obviously, it is no New York, but pretty
darn good!  Even though Arizona is growing and one of the larger cities in America and getting is still very reminiscent of a small town. 
I feel very fortunate to be going to New York to see a play.  My first Broadway play as well!!  My daughter and I are sharing this first experience and I am savoring every moment.  We're taking the train, a first for my daughter, right into Grand Central Station.  Walking through the city, stopping in Time Square, dinner and a show, then home. It will be an experience I will cherish forever and I know she will too.
Even though you may not live in a big city or even near one, it is important to bring culture and diversity into your child's life. This will help them learn, grow, experience and accept.  Take advantage of all the things you can to educate your child and have them grow up as a well rounded individual.  Large city or small town there are opportunities for all.  Local plays or Broadway, large zoos and aquariums or small petting zoos and art
fairs. Take advantage.  Make a difference.
I'm grateful for my mother and her saving her money to take us to plays, zoos, museums and the city to experience different cultures.  I now realize how lucky we were, even if we were in the back row of the theater. All my best, Dyan

Teaching your kids the importance of thank you

Teaching your kid(s) about thank you is so important. I realized that as a child
I was not taught this very simple gesture of gratitude.  The way I was raised
was always a survival mode as we had a, let's say, challenging childhood. Yes,
of course I said thank you when some gave me something, or no thank you, when I
didn't want something, but it wasn't instilled in me. Thank you notes, cards or
a simple phone call to say thank you.  There was no texting or email in the 70s. So the best way to say thank you was with a hand written note.  Simple to do, right? One would think. 
Over the years I have realized that I am terrible at writing or saying thank you and it didn't really hit me until I had my daughter and I would receive thank you notes from friends almost immediately after parties and the like.  When she was born she was showered with gift after gift, I couldn't believe how many people gave gifts to her that we didn't even really know that well, friends of friends or family.  I was overwhelmed with the generosity of so many casual acquaintances.  It was such a wonderful and eye opening event for me.  To this day she still is showered with many gifts.  We make an annual trip to visit my sister in Florida where my sister has a get together "girls" only and her friends shower her with gifts and really nice ones too!  The first year I was so blown away again by the generosity of  people in general.  I had never really experienced this before or I had I never realized it?  Either way, it is truly an amazing thing.  It makes me reflect on my own giving and generosity.  I am learning, even though I thought I was generous, maybe I am not so much, but that is a discussion for another day. 
Yes, I can remember about 15 years ago one of my girl friends gave me a gift. She called me about two weeks later reprimanding me for not sending a thank you note. I was a bit upset, but why? Was it because I was embarrassed that I didn't send a note?  I thought I at least called to thank her, didn't I.... but maybe it slipped my mind. Then I thought, aren't givers just supposed to give and expect nothing in return???  I look back and realize that these thoughts were all because of my own ignorance to the world of gift giving.  Of course, you say or send a thank you.  I read somewhere that you have up to one year to send thank yous and believe me most time I take that full year.  I am not sure if that is good etiquette or not, but I am getting better.  The givers really aren't expecting anything but a simple gesture back....a call, an email or how about this, an old fashioned hand written note.  I sometimes get caught up in the process, the card has to be written a certain way or be creative.  But all people are really looking for is a simple thank you.  To let them know your received the gift, to let them know you appreciate them thinking of you or your child.  It really is just a small gesture back for a much larger thought.  
My daughter and I spent yesterday sending thank yous for the gifts she received from our "girls" party.  She was really into them and wanted to add special pictures and even practice her handwriting and spelling.  The good news is, even though I might not be the best, she is getting it and loves to do it and say think you.  So, at the very least, I think I am achieving my goal of teaching her the proper etiquette in a world where thank yous are getting lost.  As a reflect on this post, I am going to make a mid year resolution and that is to write a handwritten note, email, text or call, to say thank you. I will try to do in a timely manner and not use my year window that may or may not be the proper etiquette in todays world.  Let's not let the thank yous get lost in the constant fast paced world we live in today.  People are still generous and thoughtful.  They haven't forgotten that, so let's not forget to say "Thank you back"!  Make it a thankful day!  All of my best, Dyan
What we learned:  Saying thank you is a simple and very important gesture to express your gratitude, people do wonder if you don't say thank you: if you didn't receive the gift, didn't appreciate the gift or they just want to know if you liked the gift.  People feel good by giving, thank them for letting them know how good it makes you feel.  Being generous is a grand thing to do, it really does make you feel good, and don't get caught up in being recognized for your giving, because that is not what giving is all about.
What we shared:  In writing our thanks yous, my daughter expressed her creativity, coloring, practicing, writing, reading and spelling.  It was a great way for us to spend time together creating.  And she is learning the importance of thank you.

Do you ever have one of those days...of course you do

Do you ever have one of those was one of those days??  Of course you do ,everyone does....well today was one of those days.  My daughter woke up during the middle of the night with her barky seal cough.  By now I know and recognize the distinct sound of it.  It does sound exactly like that of a seal bark.  If you haven't experienced it, it makes you feel very bad for your child.  And the inevitable is always a trip to the doctors office and the sooner the better for her dose of the oral steroid that the pediatrician gives her.  Being that today was Good Friday, I was unsure if she would even be open and if she would have an appointment for me.  I called first thing in the morning and sure enough one spot left.  Yea!  I thought, we will get in early and still get home with time for my daughter to relax and feel better and me to be able to get stuff done. As the quick trip to the doctors office turned out to be more like almost 2 hours with drive time, I realized that I would not be able to get done the forever list of "things to do".  I did get an extra trip to the warehouse store in because it was on the way home, stopped and made a business call and the last minute trip to the discount store to get the last minute Easter items from the Easter bunny.  Now, I have gotten pretty good at slipping these items into my basket with out my daughter noticing. but for some reason today, I just couldn't do it.  Maybe my daughter is getting older or maybe because she was sick, either way it couldn't be done. So, now I knew I had to sneak another trip to the store to try and get the remaining items within the next two days, filled with plans and the threat of the supply of items left dwindling away.  I reminded myself that all would be ok and I could make it work some how.  We got home and I realize that the house was left a disaster, we had plans to make a bunny house, laundry needed to be done, my nails, my hair and spend sometime with my daughter who doesn't feel well.  Stress started to set in, but again, I reminded myself that today is what it is and all I can do is what I can do.  As my day is winding down...I didn't do too bad.  My daughter relaxed and enjoyed doing it, I did get the house picked up, I did get some laundry done, my nails didn't get done, but I trimmed them and filed them, my hair didn't get done, but there is always tomorrow...hopefully, the bunny house got done and turned out absolutely adorable, my daughter tried to eat way too much frosting and candy though, the family got feed, the dogs got feed (yes all 5 of them), showers and baths took place and I even had the chance to jot down about my day... Not exactly the day I had planned or the things I had hoped to accomplish got done. However, I am grateful for what I did get done and the fun we had doing the bunny house.  May tomorrow be a more productive day with more time spent doing the things I want to do.  I wish the same for you when you have one of those days.  Dyan 
What I learned:  be tuned in to your child's health - beware of the signs of their illnesses, take that deep breath, be patient, enjoy the moment, prioritize my list and make the time for your children even if it appears that there is none for the fun things too.
What we shared:  time together, a new experience - creating the bunny house, lots of hugs - because she didn't feel good, creativity, a new learning task for her - squeezing frosting out of the tube and even got some extra reading in at the doctors office - as we waited for her doctor - making the most of our time together.

Moms Sisters and Friends - Family Time

I have attached a link to my video blog with my sisters from our road trip last week.  I do have to apologize in advance as the wind over took our voices at a few points but still worth a listen. Great times and memories shared by all.  Remember to make the time to take the time.  Family time to me is so worth every minute...if you have not seen or talked to a family member, make the effort all will benefit.  Family is especially important to us, as we lost my brother at age 35, the youngest in our family and only boy.  My sister-in-law lost her husband and the father to their children.  It brings us tremendous joy to be together to remember him in spirit. each one of us brings something of him to life.   As we shared stories, memories and laughs, many times we would say something just as he would say, uncanny, for sure.  He was there sharing with us in the time, memories, laughs and tears, we knew he was right there with us.  If you have lost a sibling, I encourage you to check out this link from my sister site, an inspirational journey on recovering after loss. 
Thank you and enjoy.  Dyan

Inspiration of the week - a friend

A couple of weeks ago a dear friend of mines mother died.  It was very sad to me as she died unexpectantly and was a surprise to my friend.  It also brought back many memories of when my mom died in 1996.  Even though the time has gone by fast and it has been over 16 years, the sadness swept over me.  My heart ached for my friend, the things that she would miss with her mother and myself.  When you lose someone who is close to your heart, it is very sad, whether it's expected or not expected.  I can remember when my grandmother died, who was in her 80s, my mother told me, that no matter how old you or your mother is, it is still the most heart wrenching experience you will feel.  And I would have to agree.  You don't even realize how the loss will effect you until days, weeks, months or even years go by.  So many things unsaid, time not spent together, ideas shared or experiences shared.  I told my daughter about the loss and she was sad too and she had many questions and said some off the cuff things as well.  One thing was "Mom, will you die when I am 11."  Since she only just turned 5, I was very surprised by the comment, the age she said and the thought she put into that question.  It made me reflect on so many things, my relationship with my mother, my relationship with my daughter, other loved ones and the obvious, that life is way too short to not do the things that you say your going to do, live the life that you want to live, spend the quality time necessary to be the best mom, friend, sister and wife you can be.  After the initial shock of the phone call from my friend and the tears stopped, my daughter and I took a walk.  As the sun was setting, I thought it was the perfect inspiration picture of the setting sun for my friend.  I didn't bring my phone with to take the picture.  So, I was in a dilemma, do we sit and enjoy the beauty for her or do we run as fast as we can back home to grab my phone and run back with hopes that the beauty of the setting sun would still be enough to share...we ran, as fast as we could back home, grabbed the phone and ran back just as fast!  We were able to catch the picture just as the sun was setting and I emailed it to my friend.  She didn't respond to the picture, nor did I expect her to.  I just hoped she felt the beauty and the peace it brought me as I remembered her mother and all the mothers that have passed away.  Death is the one thing in life we will face no matter what, it is inevitable.  Spending the time to make the difference in someones life is not, it is a daily choice and one I try to do everyday of my life.  If you have lost someone dear to you, my heart goes out to you.  May you have peace, love and good memories to hold close and cherish. 
What we learned:  taking the time out to stop and enjoy the world around you can make a difference in your life and someone else's. 
What we shared: the beauty around us, love and hopefully inspiration.
Make today the best you can for yourself, your kids, your family and friends, because after all that is all we can do.  All my best to you, Dyan
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