Gratitude

I hope you all had a great Halloween. I am sure some of you are probably in a sugar coma or hung over this morning. Perhaps, you are even both! I have to be honest here, Halloween is not my favorite time of year. Do you even know the history of the holiday? I will spare you the details but google if you are interested. You could also ask my daughter, who claims to be an expert on the topic. I love that girl, but sometimes the walking encyclopedia needs to go on vacation. Halloween is also tricky for us because I am not a fan of all the sugary, chemical filled candy that my kids come home with. There was even one year that I bribed them to not go trick-or-treating. Yes, I was that mom! I know, I took things to the extreme and came to my senses the next year. My kids did go trick-or-treating and I even let them eat a few pieces of candy last night, although I was cringing at the thought of all of the toxins they were being exposed to. I am sure we will be in for an interesting day today, since their little bodies have no idea what happened to them. We will be donating the rest of the stash as soon as possible.

My original plan today was to share a pretty emotional post that will help all of you understand my journey and why I am so passionate about sharing my story with you. However, it is the day after Halloween and I thought I would spare you from having to think too much. Who am I kidding? The reality is that I was drinking a little too much wine last night and I really did not feel like posting something that was too long and intense today. Yes, even I need a break!

Since today is the first day of November, I thought I would give you the 411 on an activity I have been doing with my family for a couple of years now. We spend the month of November focusing on gratitude and discussing all that we are thankful for. After several failed Pinterest attempts to come up with the perfect activity, I came up with the Thankful Jar.

Processed with Rookie Cam

I wish I would have taken pictures of the failed attempts. You guys would have got a good laugh! I loved the idea of the Thankful Tree and the first year that my daughter was old enough to understand what thankful meant, I was so excited to start this new project. Guys, it was an epic fail! First, I got the branches from the woods in the back of our house. As you know, we live in Florida and there are bugs everywhere. So, guess what also came in the house with the branches? We had several new pets and they were certainly not welcome. Yeah, my husband was really thrilled with that bright idea. Secondly, my tree looked pathetic. No matter how hard I tried, my arrangement did not even look close to any on Pinterest. I ended up throwing everything away and gave up on being thankful that year. The next year, I decided that we would do a wall mural. While I was able to replicate that version much better, my Type A personality was just not having it. Each time someone would try to put a leaf in a spot that just did not look right, I had to leave the room. I knew I had to take matters into my own hands.

I wanted to come up with something simple because it is really more about the lesson learned and not on how it is executed. That is how I came up with the Thankful Jar. As long as your kids are old enough to communicate and ideally write, this is the easiest way to replicate the exercise. I just took one of my Weck jars and put a label on it. If you really want to get fancy, I am sure you can find a printable out there. I used a chalkboard label because I did not feel like spending any more time on Pinterest than I already have. I am obsessed with chalkboard labels. You will be seeing this a lot in the future. I use another small jar to keep slips of paper and a pen. Again, you can get fancy and use some festival card stock, but I just used plain old construction paper and cut it into strips. The idea behind it is for anyone, even visitors, to write something that they are thankful about and place it in the Thankful Jar. It could be something that someone did that day, it could be something about them personal or it could just be a general statement. I did not put any restrictions on the activity and I have loved seeing the creativity, especially as the kids get older. We save all of the notes and read them before our Thanksgiving dinner. This is a great family tradition that I am sure we will continue for years to come. The kids got so excited when I was working on it this past weekend and they already put in a few notes. I love it!

This year I am also going to try something different, in addition to the Thankful Jar. Since both the kids are able to write and frequently journal, we are all going to start our own Gratitude Journals. The idea is to have journaling time each evening to focus on the things that we are grateful for. Just like the jar, I am going to keep the activity pretty open-ended. My daughter loves to write songs and poetry and I can see her going that route. I have read so many articles lately on how successful people practice being mindful and grateful on a daily basis. I have been wanting to get back into journaling more and this will give me the kick in the butt that I need. Stay tuned for more information on this idea!

What are some activities that you practice leading up to Thanksgiving? What are you most grateful for? I would love to hear from all of you.

Until next time, keep being the best version of yourself! I am going to go steal another piece of the kids’ candy before I give it away!

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