Homemaking Tip- Menus for the Week

Life is a lot easier if I know what I’m cooking up for dinner! Create a menu for the upcoming week. Take some time to look at what is on sale and build your menu around sale items. This is a great way to save money and spice up the menu. Clip those coupons, go to the grocery store armed with your menu, and get prepared for the week!

Check out my article in Moms of Faith on How to Make Cooking Run Smoother During Your Week!
http://momsoffaith.com/columns/make-cooking-for-the-week-run-smoother/

The Season of Giving

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I love the fact that we’re celebrating simply being grateful. It is a time for friends and families to gather together, have good conversation, eat, and reflect upon why they are grateful. Our reflection on gratefulness shouldn’t occur only once a year we should be thinking about how grateful we are every day. It is important that as parents we try to instill an attitude of gratefulness in our children. In this day and age I’m incredibly surprised at how our society feels so entitled, especially our children. Just go into any toy store and you are sure to hear tantrums going on in the aisles. Now, I know children are children and it’s hard for them to grasp the concept that they can’t have everything they want. Heck, it is hard for some adults to grasp that concept. But, it is our responsibility to teach our children about being grateful and the duty we have to give unto others.

Jesus was the most giving person who ever lived. He gave his life to die for our sins. Of course none of us could ever out give Jesus, but wouldn’t be nice if we can teach our children how to at least try to imitate that loving kindness that Jesus so unselfishly dispersed among his children. This season make the holidays memorable for your children by giving them the opportunity to give of themselves. Here are some projects that are great for all ages.

Offer a Helping Hand
Do you know of an elderly person who needs assistance? A neighbor whose yard needs racking? Have your children offer a helping hand, whether it is for someone outside of the family or for a family member. This goes beyond chores, what you want them to do is to thoughtfully help someone in need. Maybe it is grandma who needs help cleaning out her basement, or dad who needs help with a household project, the idea is for them to give their time.

Volunteer at a Shelter
If your children are of age, sign the whole family up for a day of service at a shelter. This is a wonderful way for your children to understand how grateful they should be. If your kids are too young, then let them help you collect canned goods to a food bank. Make sure they are involved in the whole process, the collection and the delivery.

Donate
Get the whole family involved in cleaning out their closets and gathering all those gently worn clothes they don’t wear anymore, or toys they don’t play with and donate them to a charity, church, or shelter.

Write Grateful Cards
Cards aren’t just for Christmas and birthdays. Have your kids create a list of all the important people in their life (family, friends, teachers, coaches, etc.) then have them write a note to them expressing why they are grateful to have them in their life. I am particularly fond of this activity because writing personal letters have become a lost art. Everyone uses technology, which is fine but how nice is it to receive a handwritten note that you can cherish. Writing notes also gives your children time to really reflect on why this person is important to them and how grateful they are. If you have little ones let them draw a picture that expresses their gratitude it will be priceless to the person on the receiving end.

Participate in Fundraisers
I notice an increase in the number of walking fundraisers during this time of year. Check the Internet for walking fundraisers in your area and sign up the whole family. This provides great bonding time while participating in a worthwhile cause.

The activities are limitless! Also don’t reserve saying what you are grateful for only on Thanksgiving day, why not implement this at the dinner table during the whole month of November. Each family member can say something they are grateful for. This season encourage your family to focus on their blessings and to be a blessing to others.

Fall Decorating

Although I am definitely a gal who enjoys summer fun, I am welcoming fall with open arms. I absolutely love the coziness that the fall season invokes. It makes me want to curl up near a fire with a warm blanket, a good book, and hot cup of cider. There is nothing like feeling a crisp autumn breeze on your face, or jumping into a pile of leaves with your kids. I usually wait until September to begin my fall decorating but, each year I find myself wanting to do it earlier. You can bring the warmness of fall into your own house for the whole family to enjoy by doing some fun fall decorating. Here are a few ideas to make fall fun at your house.

Incorporate Colors of the Season The color pallet of the season is incredible with its rich deep reds, burnt oranges, gold, and yellows which are wonderful colors to incorporate into your home. Depending on the color scheme in your house you may want to swap a few of your pillows for those that have fall colors. Add a soft chenille throw to a couch, chair, or even at the end of your bed to keep you warm on those chilly evenings.

Bring the Outside InsideSome of the best fall decorations are free. That’s right, free and in your own back yard or nearby parks. Look for fallen branches and place them in decorative or clear vases on your mantels or window sills. The leaves this time of year are breathtaking and look great displayed in picture frames. Pick an afternoon, pack a lunch and go leaf picking with your kids. This is a great activity especially, for younger children. Get creative with the camera and take pictures of your kids leaf picking and frame them. Change the tint of the pictures to sepia or black and white to add character.

CenterpiecesMake your dinner table a treat for the eyes by adding a simple centerpiece. Try placing a pretty bowl filled with red, green or yellow apples in the middle of your table. Different color squashes, small pumpkins, acorns, or pinecones in a bowl or tall glass vases are another eye catcher that looks great and is inexpensive. Brighten a room by adding a floral arrangements t such as sunflowers or mums.

Pleasure Your SensesDo you remember how your home smelled when you were a child? What smells make you think of home? I love bringing all those great fall smells into my house. Candles are the most common way to get a house smelling delicious and with all the different scented smelling candles available it is a simple way to get the smell of pumpkins, or apples floating in your home.
If you have a fireplace throw in some logs when the weather gets cooler and enjoy the warmth and smell of a fire burning, while saving some money on your electric bill. Another simple way to have your house smelling great is to place ginger and cinnamon sticks in a pot of boiling water, the aroma is wonderful!

Doors and EntrywaysWelcome your family and guests with a fall wreath on the door. Put a few decorated or undecorated pumpkins outside the door, not only will they add color they scream fall time. If you are feeling extra crafty you may even want to add a scarecrow or two!

Decorating for autumn can be fun and creative. Check your local stores for discounts on fall decorations, do crafts with your kids, and look in your own backyard for free resources. Celebrate fall by having a family game of football, raking leaves on a lazy Sunday, and drink some apple cider by a fire. Get cozy with your family and your home while enjoying the new season. Don’t forget to thank God for the fall season and all the beauty that he has created for us to enjoy!