Teaching Kids How To Save

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Greenlight, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #GreenPMG  http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

Hello and Happy Friday, friends! We are really looking forward to the weekend and the weather cooling off. Of course only slightly, as Arizona is still pretty warm up until October or November. Either way we are celebrating temps that are below 100* with a trip to the farmer’s market. It’s one of our favorite weekend activities to do in the fall. This trip is a little more exciting for my daughter, as she will be using her very own debit card for the very first time, Greenlight, the smart debit card for kids. Talk about milestone! So today I thought I’d share some tips for Teaching Kids How To Save money.

If you’ve been around here before or follow me on social media, you probably know that we homeschool. We often incorporate learning into all facets of our daily life and often times we incorporate important life skills to make learning more relevant. For example, we are learning about spending and saving money for math. My daughter (age 9) has been learning about money, earning money, saving money, and spending money for the past 4 years. We started out with piggy banks and have advanced to Greenlight debit card to make it more relevant to her growth and development. 

Here are my top 4 tips or teaching young kids how to save money:

1) Talk about money with your children in regular everyday environments.

This tip encompasses a lot. I often talk to my daughter about money when we are in stores grocery shopping, when I am paying our monthly bills, and when I am taking a trip to the bank to deposit money. Because I am a work at home mom and because our family owns and operates a couple of different businesses, my daughter sees us working and earning/saving/spending money. We have open dialogues about all of these things and it gives her the opportunity to have real life experiences as well as ask questions. 

2) Talk about and model the importance of saving money and ways of doing so.

As I stated, we have been teaching this and expanding on the concept of saving money with my daughter for several years. We will continue to do so as she grows up. Greenlight debit card is a great option for kids! It’s not only exciting for kids, but Greenlight provides extra control and convenience for busy parents who don’t want to miss out on teachable moments. Plus, what child doesn’t want a plastic card like their parents?! 

3) Create opportunities for your child to earn, save, and spend their own money.

Once you have talked about and modeled money usage, it’s important to allow your children to participate in it too. Because we are a family of entrepreneurs, my daughter has participated in a couple of handmade craft fairs where she creates and sells her own products. She uses her own money to purchase the materials and then she collects funds and stashes it away for whatever she’s saving for (currently it’s a car…yes, she’s only 9 but we are planners and dreamers, people!). 

Once she has a certain amount of money, she asks me to put it onto her Greenlight card for saving. I love the convenience of Greenlight and the parental controls. I love that I can use their convenient automated allowance feature to “set it and forget it” because we all know busy moms can tend to do that. I also love that I can give my daughter independence to spend her money while I retain control over where her money is spent and how much she can spend in certain stores. For example, she is allowed to use her Greenlight card at the local craft store with a limit of $20 to spend, and I can set all that up through the Greenlight app on my phone. 

4) Teach your kids how to keep track of their money.

I think it’s important for my daughter to really be in tune with her own money… the spending and the saving. If she is hands on with it, I think it will be more meaningful to her. Therefore, I created a printable kids’ bank register where she can keep track of her deposits and withdrawals and I thought I’d share it with y’all!

Simply download the printable, print it out, cut into 3 pieces, cover with cute paper, and staple together. Go through the steps of adding and subtracting monies with your kids and remind them to use it every time they use their Greenlight card. 

I hope you find these tips useful! And I just know you are going to love the convenience and safety that Greenlight card offers to parents and kids. Be sure to download the app to your smart device (available for IOS and Android) and sign up for Greenlight before 10/30 and they will deposit a $20 bonus into your account after the 30-day free trial ends. *Deposit bonus made approximately two weeks after free trial ends.* Sounds like a good deal to me!

How do you help your kids learn about saving and spending money? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this! 

Find Your Tribe + Grasshopper Point

The other day we packed up the car and headed to Sedona, Arizona, for a day trip with our homeschool group. We decided to celebrate NOT Back to School at Grasshopper Point, a shady water hole in the red rocks surrounded by big green trees and a stream. 

When I started this blog, I was a public school teacher. I taught 1st grade and 3rd grade. I LOVED teaching. About 6 years in, I decided to take a leave and stay home with my daughter and pursue some entrepreneurial dreams. When my daughter turned preschool age, I started homeschooling her and started a preschool co-op with other mommy friends. We have some of the best memories from those days. But eventually, all of our sweet friends went off to kindergarten and we needed a new plan. It was important for us to have a community. My daughter is an only child (read more about that here), and she’s extremely social and loves her friends. We tried out lots of different homeschool groups, and although we made lots of new friends, nothing felt like ‘home.’ 

Feeling discouraged and questioning my choice to homeschool, I prayed hard for an answer. Again… it was important for us to have a community… a tribe. And a few days after I broke down crying in prayer, I met my friend Mel. She was a mom of a sweet little girl in the PreK cooking class I was teaching. She mentioned that she had decided to homeschool and wanted to know if I wanted to get together weekly with our kids. Of course I agreed (you can tell a kind soul when you see one, am I right?) and soon thereafter we met a mutual friend of a friend, Nicole, and added to our group.

Now, 5 years later, we are 8 moms strong and 21 kids deep. We are all so alike, yet all so different. And each of our differences adds to our group. We collaborate, plan, laugh, educate, meditate, play, adventure, explore, share, make memories, learn, and love on each other’s kids.

I am so thankful for this tribe. They encourage me and support me. And not only am I am better homeschooler for it, I am a better mom, wife, and friend because of them. And my daughter has built some really awesome friendships and has learned a lot of really awesome things. 

I am so thankful life brought us all together… so we could travel this journey of homeschool and motherhood and celebrate milestones together. Plus, we have A TON of FUN! 

If you’re in Arizona, I highly recommend visiting Sedona. Your kids will LOVE Grasshopper Point. Be sure to bring $8 per car for parking. It’s an easy walk down to the water but there are lots of rocks and boulders so watch your step! Once down at the water, there are lots of places to have picnics, swim, hike, and explore. If you can go during the week, it’s even better because you avoid the crowds. It’s not a pet-friendly trail, so leave your furry friends at home. Be sure to bring sunscreen, towels, water shoes, and lots of H2O. And as always, don’t forget to hike out with your trash. 

Wild and Free with a LOVE for learning. Our party in nature has me pumped for another awesome school year full of new learning experiences and adventures. Luci and I are excited for fourth grade!

Are you a parent of a fourth grader or a fourth grade teacher? If so, you must check out Every Kid in a Park! It’s a program for fourth graders enabling them and encouraging them to visit national parks by making it a free and educational program! We are all signed up and can’t wait to take advantage of it. Let us know if you do too! 

Camping at Lake Pleasant, Arizona

Hello there friends! Now that it’s summertime, I’m sure most of you are ready to get out and explore our lovely state. Typically families plan their trips and vacations in the summer due to kids being out of school. So I thought I would share some of our favorite things to do as a family around our home state. We love being outdoors and near water, so Camping at Lake Pleasant, Arizona, is a must on our summer bucketlist.

Lake Pleasant6a

There are a few options to pick from when planning your camping trips at your local and state lakes. Though many families go for the corporate owned facilities, we LOVE camping at our state and regional parks. And there are plenty of reasons why, which I will get to shortly.

Lake Pleasant7

Lake Pleasant, Arizona, is located only 35 miles from Phoenix and is the biggest lake in the area with over 10,000 acres of water surface. It’s the perfect place for boating, water skiing, kayaking, fishing, hiking, and more. It’s the perfect place for family fun and of course it’s pet friendly as well. Just keep those pets on a leash and be sure to clean up after them. 

Lake Pleasant2

Lake Pleasant has 2 marinas, a restaurant, and a few options for camping. Our personal favorite is Desert Tortoise Campground. This campground is right on the water and has options for RV hook ups as well. The above photo is our view from our favorite spot.

Lake Pleasant1

If you’re lucky enough, you may see a Bald Eagle or two fly overhead or even a pack of wild burros while staying at the lake. The beautiful sunsets are a backdrop to the wildlife and saguaro cacti that surround the lake. It’s really a great place to hang.

Lake Pleasant4

Two of our favorite things to do when camping are to go on nature walks and cook over the campfire, both of which can be done at Lake Pleasant. Sometimes when the sun goes down, it’s even chilly enough for a light jacket.

Lake Pleasant3

The next time you consider camping, check out Lake Pleasant and the state/regional campsites. The campsites and bathrooms are very clean, you are right near the water, and the view is unbeatable. Plus, the price of the site is extremely affordable and the money you spend goes back into keeping our state and regional parks clean and well kept.

 

 

Hiking Fossil Creek, Arizona

Over the last few years, I have really come to appreciate and love where I live. Born and raised in Arizona, I grew up thinking the desert was ugly and dirty and that no beauty could be found here. So happy to say that I was dead wrong. The more I get out in nature and explore the state I live in, the more I come to love it. One of my favorite things to do is explore new places… especially out in nature or near water. So when I heard about Fossil Creek, I knew that I had to check it out and after about three years, I finally made the time to get there. I also did a little bit of research on it, so I figured I’d share the knowledge with all of you, as I highly recommend this place jumping to the top of your bucketlist. Here are some great things to know about hiking Fossil Creek, Arizona, and I even included a few helpful tips.

fossilcreek7-a

Fossil Creek is located near Strawberry and Camp Verde, Arizona. The 14 mile creek’s water is calcium rich, laying down large deposits of travertine and encasing whatever falls into the stream. Hence forming fossil like creations, which is where the name Fossil Creek comes from. Kind of cool, right? Tons of plants and animals depend on this creek, including past Western Apache who still consider Fossil Creek part of their homeland. 

fossilcreek10

Fossil Creek does require a day permit which you can get HERE and you should definitely get it ahead of time (print it out and bring it with you!). There’s also a very bumpy 14ish mile dirt road all the way back to the permitted parking. I highly recommend a truck, SUV, jeep, or something similar for this part. It can be done in a car or van, but know that it will take you a lot longer to get back to the parking. 

Because we were hiking with kids, we decided to try out Waterfall Trail which is a non strenuous hike to the falls. It’s about one mile in and one mile out and absolutely gorgeous the entire way.

fossilcreek12

We hiked through greenery and along the creek, listening to the water and the wildlife sounds. It was absolutely peaceful and beautiful. The kids loved collecting leaves and rocks and walking sticks along the way. There were even a few cool bridges to cross over, which is always a hit with kids.

fossilcreek17

I recommend packing lots of snacks or a lunch in as well as water (we took our Camelbacks). There are plenty of places to have a picnic. You do need to pack all of your trash out, so keep that in mind as there are no trash cans. Let’s be conscience of keeping this beautiful place clean so we can visit it for years to come.

fossilcreek19

After you hike in for about a mile… that’s when you see it. And it is breathtaking, y’all!

fossilcreek7

The falls are surrounded by trees and a swimming hole and caverns to explore. We watched a few people jump from the falls into the swimming hole, which the kids thought was super exciting. The kids also spotted fish in the stream and even some tadpoles… it made for a super fun nature journal entry.

fossilcreek3

Be sure to bring a towel and shoes that you don’t mind getting wet. The kids wore their bathing suits under their clothes and that worked out well. You should also bring a camera or your phone for picture taking… trust me when I say that you will want to take pictures.

fossilcreek16

I would consider a trip to Fossil Creek a day trip, as it takes some time getting there, finding parking, hiking in, eating lunch, playing in the water, exploring, hiking back out, and driving home. I also highly recommend going during the week, as the weekend are CRAZY busy and often times people are turned away due to the parking being too full. I’m hoping that with the permits, less of that will happen.

fossilcreek1

We had the BEST day at Fossil Creek hiking Waterfall Trail. Out of all the places I’ve hiked and explored in Arizona, I would say this is one of my top favorites to date and one that I would recommend to everyone. So, put it on your summer bucketlist and get out there and explore, my friends!

Have you been to Fossil Creek yet? If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment and I will answer as best I can.

Embrace Motherhood In This Season

I remember that from a very young age I wanted to be a mother. At 5, I knew I was going to have lots of children and by 8 I knew that I also wanted to adopt. I had a plan, y’all. And it was to be the very best mother I could possibly be. Now as an adult, I have come to find that your life doesn’t always go according to your plan. In fact, most times it doesn’t go at all the way you had planned. And that’s okay.

luandme3.jpg

Throughout my 8 years of being a mom, I am finally starting to embrace motherhood in this season. I think this means something different for every mother. We are all in different seasons of motherhood, and I am coming to find that they don’t last very long. The seasons of motherhood move rather quickly. Sometimes while we are in the rough, sleepless seasons, we don’t realize how fast they really go until we are looking back on them.

luandme4.jpg

For a long time, if things didn’t go according to my plan, I would be devastated, annoyed, angry, stressed, worrisome… anything but happy. As a little girl making my lifelong plans, I had no idea that having babies would be such a struggle for me. The thought of infertility didn’t even cross my mind.  So going through multiple miscarriages was a shock. And it certainly wasn’t a part of my plan.

luandme7

Over the years, I put a lot of pressure on myself… for multiple things but mostly due to the fact that my womanly parts weren’t working the way I wanted them to. I wanted lots of babies… all close in age. Why couldn’t I have that? Any time I saw pregnancy announcements, I would secretly wish that it were me announcing a new bundle of joy. I’ve cried a lot of tears. I’ve mumbled lots of angry words. I’ve questioned God. I’ve even yelled at Him a few times. “I’m a great mother, God! Why does this keep happening to me?!” And through all of that sadness and anger and confusion, I was missing something super important.

luandme2

Gratefulness. I was missing the whole point. Gratefulness that I AM a mother. That I was able to experience pregnancy and child birth and all the firsts. And that I’m not defined by how many earthy babies I have. And I’m not defined by my fertility journey. And I’m not even defined by my broken plans. I am a mother to a beautiful, smart, healthy, passionate, creative, funny, loving little girl. And I need to embrace that… and be grateful.

luandme5

I need to embrace that I am her momma. Embrace that she is at such a fun and quirky age. Embrace that I know more now than I did as a new mom. Embrace that we get to share in this journey together. So instead of focusing on how my life isn’t going according to my original plan, this life I have is still so good. This life I have is still so sweet and full of blessings. That needs to be my focus. Because if I am busy being upset about what I don’t have, I will miss out on what I do have. And I have a whole lot, y’all. This sweet girl made me a mother. My heart is so full because of her.

luandme6.jpg

Embrace the season you are in, mommas. We are so blessed to play this role. Remember that this time we have with our babies is fleeting. Embrace the moments. Be present. Breathe it all in. And be grateful.

deargod

Photo credit: Hovering Heart Photography

Dresses/Jewelry: Forever 21

 

Three Cheap Ways to Make Birthdays Special

Hi there makers! I cannot believe we are already into April! This year has been flying by so far. We’ve been busy with holidays, church events, traveling, work, and a very important birthday. My daughter turned 8 years old at the end of March and it was such a fun time. I love birthdays and I love making them special, so I thought I would share Three Cheap Ways to Make Birthdays Special for your kids. Don’t get me wrong… I love to go all out for birthday celebrations too. But there are a few things you can do that won’t break your bank and will still make the day super special for your kiddo.

eightisgreat-3

So… what can you do to make the day a little more special than normal, but not spend a ton of money? It’s actually pretty easy!

  1. Surprise bedroom decorating!

This is so fun and I usually do it right after the birthday kiddo falls asleep. I decorate the bedroom door with a handmade sign and blow up a bunch of balloons to put all over the bedroom floor. Sometimes I even hang streamers from the bedroom door. It’s the first thing your birthday babe will wake up to and they will LOVE it! It’s a tradition to do this every year now and it’s something my daughter always looks forward to.

eightisgreat-6             2. Donut Cake!

We are more of a donut family than we are a cake family, so this works perfectly for us! Plus, turning it into a cake and singing ‘Happy Birthday’ in the morning before you start your day is just plain COOL! It’s so easy… just stack up the donuts and stick in some candles!

donutcake-1

donutcake-2

The candle is from Walmart and the cake bunting was on clearance at Target. Donuts are from a local donut shop!

           3. Birthday meal at a restaurant.

Going out to eat together as a family is always a special occasion for us because it’s not something we do super often. Going out to a restaurant for a birthday celebration is always extra special when you go to restaurants or dining places that offer special deals and meals for the birthday person. Some offer free meals, free drinks, and even free dessert! Here’s a LIST of restaurants that offer freebies for birthdays.

eightisgreat-9

We had so much fun with our birthday girl and making her day extra special. After the above festivities, we ventured to the dollar theater to find a good movie  (Star Wars!) and then to the American Girl store so my girl could get her very first AG doll. Later on, her daddy gave her a special birthday photo shoot… perks to being a photographer’s kid! Here are a few pictures from her shoot that I just adore! I’m such a lucky momma.

eightisgreat-4

eightisgreat-2

eightisgreat-5

What special things do you do for your kids on their birthdays? I’d love to hear about your traditions in the comments!

When Your Best Friend Moves Away

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CloudPetsForever #CollectiveBias

 

Often times in motherhood and parenting, we encounter things head on for the very first time. Baby’s first steps and first words, first goal or dance recital on stage, first band concert or first dance, and so on. There’s a lot of firsts, am I right? And if you have more children, you are lucky enough to do those firsts all over again. One of the firsts we have encountered more recently is when your best friend moves away. If you haven’t encountered this one yet, let me tell you it’s hard and emotional. But there’s also ways to make that big change a little less sad. 

cloudpets5

My daughter’s best friend happens to be her cousin. Though there’s an age gap of 9 years, these two are thick as thieves and they love each other something fierce. 

cloudpets3

My niece is a military kid, which means her home has been all over the world… quite literally. We’ve been lucky enough to have this spunky girl living near us for the past 5ish years, which has made these cousins’ relationship that much stronger. When we found out that she and her family would be moving to Italy for the next three years, it was super bittersweet. How exciting and what an experience for them! But boy oh boy, I know a little girl who is really, REALLY going to miss her best friend. 

cloudpets2

Of course we plan to write letters and send postcards and FaceTime as much as possible, but with the time difference, it’s going to be rather difficult to do on a regular basis. When we are awake, more than likely they will be asleep. So when I found CloudPets™ at Walmart, I was SO excited!! This is a new, one of a kind product that keeps loved ones in touch when far away. There are 5 adorable and soft CloudPets™ to pick from and they come with a free app and are equipped with parental controls. CloudPets™ play features include: messaging, toy interactions, games, and stories. My daughter and her cousin are able to send, listen, and record messages to each other. 

cloudpets4

I cannot tell you how excited my daughter gets when her unicorn’s heart lights up, letting her know she has a new message to listen to. She simply presses the unicorn’s paw (hoof?) to hear the message and she presses the other paw to send a message back. This is PERFECT for these two to keep in touch. My niece can leave my daughter a message, even if we are sleeping, and my daughter has something exciting to look forward to in the morning and vice versa. It will make the transition SO much easier when her best friend moves to Italy. I can also see us using our unicorn CloudPets™ when my husband goes out of town for work! You can see more about how they work HERE.

cloudpets1

CloudPets™ are available at select Walmarts but will available nationwide soon. Be sure to grab 3 AA batteries while you are there! 

cloudpets6

So I’m curious. How would you use your CloudPets™?! And which one would you pick… the dog, cat, bunny, bear, or unicorn?

Printable Grocery List for Kids

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #AHugeSale #CollectiveBias #Safeway

With back to school season upon us, we are busy prepping for the year. I’m sure most of you are doing the very same. With organizing the home and doing the school supply shopping also comes grocery shopping. It’s important to stock up on those healthy snacks, foods, and drinks so that you are prepared to start the school year off right. The grocery store can often be a dreaded chore, especially with children in tow. I’ve found that involving them in the grocery store process can not only be fun for them, but can help momma’s sanity while trying to conquer a packed grocery store with ‘bored’ kids.  Enter in… this Printable Grocery List for Kids.

kids grocery list1

I made this simple grocery list right on the computer, printed it out on card stock and laminated it for durability (that baby gets thrown into my purse) and for multiple uses (pair it with a dry erase marker).

kids grocery list2

The list I made is pretty generic, but you could easily make lists for your kids to fit their ages and your needs. I used pictures/clipart of the items to make the cuter, but picture clues are also great for beginning readers. For your older kiddos, you can actually have them write the list at home before heading to the grocery store. For multiple kids, consider giving them different lists so that they each have their own responsibilities, which helps to avoid arguments. 

kids grocery list3

Not only does the list keep the kids busy, but it gets them involved in the process and teaches them an important life skill. And while the kids are busy with their lists, you are able to focus on those awesome deals to save you some money. We were able to shop Safeway’s Huge Anniversary sale and took advantage of the BOGO Steak Sale and stocked up on Life (Buy 4 save $2) and Gatorade ($0.58 when you buy 12)! Love a good deal!

kids grocery list4

And since I had a helper with me rather than a hungry, bored kid, our shopping experience was fun, educational, and went by quickly. You can easily download the grocery list I made so that you can print one off for the kids to use on your next trip to the grocery store. Slips right into your purse or grocery bag!

kids grocery list10

 

kids grocery list9

I shopped Safeway’s HUGE Anniversary sale, but you can be sure to check out what great deals are available at Albertsons, Vons, Osco, or Amigos too! 

kids grocery list5

Safeway is my go to grocery store. Shop the HUGE Anniversary sale and stock up on your favorite brands 7/29-8/11. I’d love to hear how your family stock up for the school year!

 

Matching For Family Photos But Not Twinning

Hi Everyone! It’s Siri of Pumpkin Thieves and Buffalo Wings back to share another fashion post.

A lot of mamas love the idea of matching with their littles and their family for photos.  It’s aesthetically pleasing and sometimes they won’t let you do it when they’re older. So take advantage of it now! But where most mamas go wrong is in thinking that to match, their family has to wear everything exactly the same. Today I’m here to give you some tips on matching for family photos but not twinning (dressing exactly the same). 
 
matching for photos1  
1. Choose at least three colors to be in your outfits. 

Back in the day (meaning the 90s and beyond) people thought that for family pictures, everyone had to wear the same color shirt, or worse, the exact same shirt. 

That’s not how families work. 

Each person is unique in personality and style. So choose several colors as your family’s color scheme and let each family member go from there. Try to NOT all wear the same color shirts. Wearing different colors or shades of colors in shirts helps to distinguish between each person in your photos. 

I personally don’t want to be a big blob, so since Svea’s colors in these photos are lighter and mine are darker, you can better see my waistline and make both of us out clearly.

matching for photos2

2. If you want to match something exactly the same, have it be a small accessory, like bracelets, cufflinks, belts, or necklaces. 

This way, everyone still maintains an individual look, but a sweet, little detail ties you together. Svea and I love our matching bracelets from Just an Armful of Sugar and they give just the right dainty, matching look.

matching for photos4

3. Wearing the same item of clothing is appealing, if you can make it unique in color or pattern. 

For instance, if three brothers all wear blue polos, but one is dark blue, one is light blue striped, and one is grayish blue, they all maintain their own look, but the article of clothing reminds you that they belong together. Svea and I wore cardigans here, but in different colors and I styled mine with a belt. 

matching for photos3

4. Only add one pattern. 

If one person is wearing stripes, someone else may not want to wear plaid or polka dots. If stripes is the pattern of choice, then stick with them and family members can wear different sizes and colors of stripes. In my professional photographer’s opinion, it just looks cleaner and fresher if you aren’t throwing tons of patterns into a photo. One pattern with some solids is best. 

I chose polka dots as the pattern for Svea and my outfits here. I made sure to have them be on a different part of our outfits too, again to match, but not be exactly the same. 

matching for photos6

Momma’s Outfit Details: 

  • Dress- Downeast Basics, Cardigan- Target, Heels & Belt- Ross, 
  • Bracelet- Just an Armful of Sugar
  • Svea’s Outfit Details:
  • Dress- Gap, Cardigan- H&M, Shoes- Freshly Picked, 
  • Bracelet- Just an Armful of Sugar, Hair Bow- Target

matching for photos5

Have fun taking family photos and good luck choosing outfits that will help you match, but still allowing everyone to look unique and distinct! I hope these four tips helped you!

Thanks for reading!

Siri {Of Pumpkin Thieves and Buffalo Wings}

Mommy Tell All Monday: Teaching Your Kids to Give

Christmas is only 10 days away friends! Can you believe it? Sara, our parenting and motherhood contributor, is here today to share her thoughts on Teaching Your Kids to Give. This is something that is near and dear to my heart, and I love that Sara has so many great tips and resources for us in today’s post!

teaching your kids to give1

A few months ago we learned that one of our neighbors was in need of a bed. They have three children, two boys and one girl. The girl being the baby of the family was able to sleep on one bed but the two large boys that are over the age of ten shared the other twin size bed. Here’s the thing, we had a bed that wasn’t being used. It’s the bed that our 14 year old used to sleep on before she moved out. We have sleepovers with her but not often enough where we would need a bed instead of an air mattress.

Before taking the bed to our neighbor’s house we had the conversation with our 16 year old that her sister’s bed was needed elsewhere. This was a hard thing to talk about, fragile that her sister was no longer living with her and also that she hasn’t “owned” much in her life, giving something away was a hard concept. After our discussion, whether she understood why we needed to give a bed to someone who needed it more than us or not, we logically walked it over to our neighbor’s house.

Considering the time she has spent in foster care and various things that she has experienced in life, I did not expect our daughter to grasp the idea that someone might be more in need than she was. But it opened my eyes to the fact that I had to start teaching my children to understand the meaning of giving if I wanted them to become givers. I personally know adults who would give the shirts off their back to people on the street. Even my grandmother once took my dad’s only pair of shoes because a homeless man was barefoot; she knew my dad could afford to buy another pair! I admire the people who have giving hearts, who so naturally consider others’ needs before their own.

I recently found myself walking down the aisles of Target trying to explain to my three and four year old that we are picking out a toy for another child. My son gets whiny and likes to become a noodle that falls to the ground when he’s mad and my daughter just cries out of sadness that the shopping trip isn’t for her. It would be so very easy to just not include them while I’m purchasing a gift for a child in need but I’ve decided it’s a battle I’ll choose. Even at their young and naturally selfish age I want my kids to see what giving looks like. I want them to see that mom can provide for someone else’s tangible needs. I don’t want everything to be about whether you celebrate Christmas or not, blessing someone can happen all year long. Fortunately this time of year provides you with many opportunities to give as organizations are trying to keep people warm and fed. My kids are still very young, especially my one and two year olds, but if our family “adopts” a family each year to bless it will become a tradition to shop for another family. And year after year as my kids practice giving, my prayer is that their desire to give flows over into the rest of the year. Thinking of other’s needs before your own is countercultural, so I know that it’s my responsibility to teach my children to be givers.

Are you thinking about giving something a little extra this season? Maybe you are looking for ways to include your children in a service project? Contact some local homeless shelters or group homes to see how you can serve or what they are in need of this season. Find some churches around you; they are often doing projects that serve people in their community. Talk to the principal of your children’s school to see if there is a family in need that you could be a “Secret Santa” for.

And if you need some other ideas, here are some organizations that do huge Christmas operations:

Food for the hungry

Compassion International

Operation Christmas Child

The Angel Tree for Prison Fellowship

The Salvation Army

teaching your kids to give2

 

{image source}

Do you live in Phoenix?

Phoenix Rescue Mission

Phoenix Dream Center

Andre House of Hospitality

teaching your kids to give3

 

{image source}

If you’re a Momma like I am I’m sure that putting someone else’s needs before your own is what you do all day every day. You’re already modeling that for your kids, but don’t forget to talk about it as well. We are raising up the next generation, which is kind of a big deal right?!? Let’s turn our little humans into loving, responsible and compassionate adults.

Sara (A Mom’s Battle of the Selfie)

 

Bed image source