19 Nov 2014

On Motherhood :: Teaching Toddlers to be Thankful

I've been doing this 31 days of prayer thing for our kids... It hasn't been easy keeping up but i'm so thankful for the reminder of the areas of their lives that are truly important. I know these little years are incredibly influential and the things they learn in our home will form and shape their characters.

Day 30 - Gratitude

"Help my children to live lives that are always overflowing with thankfulness and always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." (Eph. 5:20; Col. 2:7)

I so long for my kids to have thankful hearts. I found this great article on Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World, which really strikes a cord with me since the stores around here already have Christmas stuff and i'm trying to teach our 3 year old that Christmas is about Jesus, not Santa and presents. Thanks commericialism :/ The article is directed more to older kids but I love how she quotes that,
“Marketers want to accomplish two things with our children:

  1. Awaken and amplify their desire to consume
  2. Blur the line between wants and needs.” Source

And this combination is creating a generation of children who aren’t grateful, who expect everything to be handed to them and don’t really know how to work and this breeds the greatest enemy of all: discontentment.
But if “true godliness with contentment is great wealth” (1 Timothy 6:6), then discontentment leaves us spiritually bankrupt and completely empty. See why teaching gratitude from an early age is such an important thing?
Here's a few things we're working on...
1. We teach our kids sign language and one of the first words they learn before they can even speak is THANK YOU. We ask them to sign THANK YOU when they are given a drink, treat or gift by us or anyone. The great thing is that the sign is 2 syllable and when our kids started speaking this was one of their first words!

2. Encouraging them to pray. When we pray we thank God for the things he has given us. We often ask the what they want to thank God for. When our kids are thankful for the things in their world like pet hedgehogs, and visits to the beach, and their brothers it helps us encourage them when they may complain about the things they don't have.

3. Saying NO. This is a hard one, especially for 2 year olds. Right now our middle son REALLY doesn't like to hear the word "no". But it's such an important lesson to learn, that we can't have everything we want. That in fact our endless desire for things leads to materialism, our endless desire for food can lead to gluttony... and ultimately those things don't satisfy our deepest needs. Saying NO to some things helps us to be thankful for the things that we DO have.

How are you helping your little ones to have grateful hearts?

Just so you don't think he's always sad...

17 Nov 2014

PARIS Paper City for Kids

I came across these Paper Cities by Made by Joel last week and adore them! I LOVE his artwork and attention to detail. They are super easy to make, just print on card stock, cut out, and play! The best part of it all is that they are FREE. We printed PARIS this week, since i have fond memories of our recent romantic weekend away (without the kids!) i thought it would be fun for the kids to 'visit Paris' in a virutal type way.  Each of the printouts has a bit of history of the monuments (Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triump, Notre Dame). I think our kids are still a little young, but look forward to printing them again for years to come! They're probably best suited for 4+. But either way a great rainy/cold day activity!

Here's our printed out and in action...

Just like the real thing!

I'm also pretty excited about this Nativity Paper Scene for Christmas this year!

He has some super fun free colouring sheets too.
Aren't these fun?!?

Happy creating with your little ones!

9 Nov 2014

Our Week in Photos

This week we had a lot of fun just in the day to day of normal life. We went for a nature walk, played cars, built towers, made 'muffin cakes', took baths and even went to the water park! Here's a glimpse into our week...

He was so excited to help make 'muffin cakes'!

He was excited to eat them.

He spend a lot of him time eating these days...

After the fact mommy realized that couscous for dinner was a bad idea!

 Love his spirit of adventure!

Why not sit in the firewood bin?

 Building towers is a daily activity around here.

The proud builder. 

 Defending his creations...

 And having grace when little brother invades. He said in a sad voice, "Mommy, Alex break my tower" but didn't fight back or yell. I was proud of him.

 Cleaning up blocks.

 Vroom. vroom. The genetics of being boy. #11months

Stand alone. I can't believe he is already doing this. 

This is how he gets around now...

 Bath buddies.

 Santa Claus is coming to town!


"don't drink the bath water"... famous last word #theyneverlisten

dry & warm in their hooded towels

love the friendship we see growing between these two! 

leap pad learning games

 light sabers!

 ...and when the boys are in bed - apple pie!

Dobranoc/Good Night.

ps. no pictures of the water park --- seriously with these 3 our goal for an outing like that is to survive!

5 Nov 2014

Capturing My Family

Looking through this years photos we have so few photos with all 5 of us from this year! So we had this grand idea of capturing a family photo this fall.  We set out for a quiet field with a forest backdrop near our house. It took us a while to even get out of the house, we had to run back for the blanket, the kids were crying about bikes... Maybe not such a grand idea with 3 kids under 4!

So here we are setting up the tripod and trying to get the kids to cooperate. Our grand plan was to get a family shot, one with us and each of the kids and individual shots of each of the kids. Fail.

The good news is we did get a great family shot!

This alone was enough to make my momma photographer heart smile. I love my family and I know they won't stay this small for long. We also got a few other shots of me with the kids, and each of us with our youngest. The older 2 wanted to run after soccer balls, and tear apart the tripod, and the mosquitos came out to feast on us, so we called it a night.

This is our middle son. After about 5 minutes he was done. This was after he got in trouble for tearing apart the tripod :/

5 Tips for Taking Family Photos 
(with little guys):
  1. Take the most important shot first! (I'm so glad we did the whole family together first)
  2. Take many shots in the same pose, and quickly... if you know how to use photoshop you can actually do some head swapping!
  3. Make sure the kids are napped, fed and happy when you set out. (m&m's work well as bribes!)
  4. Find a location close to your home, moving this crew anywhere takes work but somehow close to home seems like less work!
  5. Set your camera up ahead of time. Find the right place, the right settings before you gather the kids. If you can use a remote shutter release, that way you can take many shots without having to run back and forth (i forgot mine this time :/)