Garanimals Blog

Archive for the ‘family’ Category

November 25th, 2014 at 2:38 pm

Everyday Gratitude

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At the Thanksgiving table we always list all the things we are grateful for. But after, the focus turns to Christmas and we tend to get sucked into the latest and greatest things, and become busy with shopping, parties, etc. It’s important for children to understand how lucky they are to have people who love them, clothes, food, shelter, clean water, etc., that other kids around the world might not have. Try to take some time in everyday life to keep the focus on gratitude.

Why only talk about the things you’re thankful for on Thanksgiving? Why can’t gratitude surround the table every night? Start by having each person in your family list three things they’re grateful for each day. It can be as simple as:

  • The sun is shining and we got to go outside and play.
  • Mom made my favorite brownies.
  • Its Taco Tuesday and that’s my favorite meal.
  • I got to stay in my pajamas a little later than usual.

If your kids are old enough, they can even start a journal. Take a simple notepad and decorate it with stickers, have them draw pictures and use it to write things they are thankful for. It gives them something to look back on and see what things they were most grateful for at certain times in their lives.

 

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November 7th, 2014 at 9:14 am

Favorite Thanksgiving Books

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My boys love to read books about holidays as they are approaching. Thanksgiving is a fun time to learn about tradition and the history of the holiday through sharing books. Here are some of my favorites:

Thanksgiving is for Giving Thanks

The Berenstein Bears Thanksgiving Blessings

The Night Before Thanksgiving

10 Fat Turkeys

Pete the Cat: The First Thanksgiving

Pinkalicious: Thanksgiving Helper

The Story of the Pilgrims

Fancy Nancy: Our Thanksgiving Banquet

Biscuit is Thankful

The Best Thanksgiving Ever

‘Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving

The Story of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Day Thanks

This is the Turkey

Take some time this month to have some family reading time with Thanksgiving books, and discussions about the meaning of Thanksgiving and why it is a part of our history.

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September 5th, 2014 at 4:56 pm

Family Connection

Family Connection

Everyone should put aside some time to reconnect with their family each day. Dinner time is a great time to do this when you are all sitting at the table together. For many families, this is one of the only times during the day that you can actually have a full conversation. However, as kids get more involved in school and activities, and parents have obligations outside of the home, sometimes dinner isn’t always a full family gathering. Here are some tips to make sure you’re connecting as a family:

  • If someone is missing for dinner, you should still gather the rest of the family around the table when they do eat. Serve dessert to everyone else while the late family members are eating dinner, that way you’re still eating together.
  • Evaluate your day to determine the best time family time for your family’s schedule.
  • Build a daily review into your bedtime routine with the kids.
  • Go on a family walk and talk while getting exercise.
  • Gather the whole family for a different meal. If everyone is around during breakfast and it isn’t as hectic as later in the day, that may work better.
  • While driving kids places, talk to them while they are traveling in the car with you.

Some days, the only time my husband and I get to talk with my nine-year-old is while he is showering before bed. He chats from the other side of the shower curtain. Active kids are busy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find time to talk! Find what works for your family and enjoy those conversations!

 

 

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August 4th, 2014 at 10:10 am

Organizing Your Finances

Managing Your Finances

Wouldn’t you like to stop worrying about your finances? Making a plan and getting organized will help you understand your financial situation and lower your stress. I am constantly amazed at how many people find a budget so difficult to manage. Even people with an endless income can use a budget to manage their money and keep track of their spending and saving.

Here are some ways to get organized in the money department:

Create a budget. List all the different categories that you may spend money on. I like to get more specific but others do well with general categories. Take control of your money and assign realistic amounts to each category. Pay attention to categories that you have some control over and can use coupons or specials savings on ~ Eating out, groceries, utilities, and clothing.

Set goals for your finances.  Think about what you want to accomplish over the next year, 5 years, or even more. Set up ways to save for those goals. It is great to get the kids involved in these ideas too.  Also think about retirement and what you want to accomplish savings wise.

Set up a way to keep track of your finances. This may be done online, through spreadsheets or apps, or with pen and paper in a finance journal. Find what way works best for you.

Search online for ways to save and organize. There are tons of coupons and saving strategies available on the Internet. Most companies have some sort of loyalty program, app, or newsletter signup where you can be alerted when there are savings available. When making a big purchase, do research online to find the best price possible. Buying pre-owned or used items such as furniture, cars, etc. can cut prices significantly. Create a “savings strategy” and stick to it. I.e. Every week you clip the newspaper coupons, do an online search and print, and organize your coupons in a booklet or folder so it’s readily available when you shop. Set up an email account just for savings, and have all your newsletters and coupon emails in one place.

Make sure your family is on board. Make sure everyone is part of this process. If you are the only one trying to save money, the other family members will still make trips out to eat, keep the lights on in unused rooms, and plan extravagant vacations.  If you are all on task, more money will appear in your savings and all your financial dreams will come true!

How do you manage your money?

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July 25th, 2014 at 12:42 pm

Labeling Your School Supplies

With 32 days left of summer vacation, my family needs to start thinking about school and getting school supplies. Buying the supplies are the fun part, but the labeling of them can take forever! You can go the simple way of labeling with initials or first name using a pen or marker, but I wanted to share some fun ways to label your supplies without all the hassle.

Print some labels like in the picture above. I love these little labels to print names and attach to items. They can also be found in neon colors. I have found that you sometimes need to cover with tape when labeling crayons and markers and others things that are curved.’

Check out these Property of stickers. These would be great for books, folders, and other large items.

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Your child can really add personality to their labels when you print these personalized labels.

 

Mabel’s Labels offers labels for school supplies, lunch boxes, and even clothing and shoes. These offer a great alternative to the printed labels because they are made with labeling items as a sole purpose.

If you have the ability to cut vinyl lettering you can label things like this. This would take a bit of work but makes a big statement. Check out how they labeled pencils with vinyl.

Once you decide what option you are going to use stick a good movie on the tv and go to town! It’s a tedious task, but once you see all those labeled items you will feel like you really accomplished something!

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July 14th, 2014 at 1:46 pm

Making Summer Memories

 

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Summer is flying by way too fast! We’ve barely crossed some of our favorite things off of our summer bucket list, like going to the pool, visiting the zoo, and taking a vacation! That is what summer is all about to us – making memories.

One of my favorite summer memories is the local kite festival. We would always pack a picnic lunch and our favorite kites. They would have kite demonstrations and everyone, amateurs and professionals alike, would launch their kites at the same time! What a sight…it was just a good family event. The first year we went my youngest was only a couple weeks old so it was fun to see him grow older each year and to watch my oldest learn how to fly his own kite.

Some of my other favorite memories include:

  • Strawberry picking
  • Just watching the boys chat on the patio
  • Family basketball H-O-R-S-E tournaments
  • Sitting by the fire making s’mores

That’s the thing about summer…memories can be made in the simplest of moments.

What memories have you made this summer?

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July 3rd, 2014 at 9:00 am

Why I Love the 4th of July

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The 4th of July has always been my favorite holiday. When I was a kid, I woke up early and sang songs like the Star Spangled Banner and This Land Is Your Land at the top of my lungs.  I would unroll the family flag and my sister and I would have a flag ceremony where we would march from the back door to the front flag stand. We would hang the flag and then say the pledge of allegiance.

Here are some of the reasons I love the 4th of July…..

  • the colors – red, white and blue
  • parades
  • patriotic music played by bands
  • kids waving flags
  • decorated bikes and strollers
  • pinnacle of summer
  • barbecuing
  • s’more brownies
  • fireworks
  • lawn games
  • special outfits  to show patriotism
  • my mom wears her flag pin
  • snow cones
  • family gathered together
  • water games
  • God Bless the USA by Lee Greenwood

What are your favorite things about the 4th of July?

 

 

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June 13th, 2014 at 6:57 am

10 Reasons to Visit a Farmer’s Market

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Farmer’s markets are not only a source of healthy and often organic produce, they’re also a source of learning for kids! Supporting local businesses helps your community as well. Here are 10 reasons you should visit a farmer’s market with your kids.

Talk With Real Farmers – One thing I have found is that the vendors at the farmer’s market love to talk about how they grew their food. Have the kids talk to them and ask questions.

Teach Kids About Farms- In the city, a lot of children don’t know about farms or have never been to one. Take this time to talk about people who farm, what they do, and how the food gets to their plates.

Spend Family Time Together – Set an hour or so aside to walk through the market and talk about the items. Sometimes there is even music and other activities for your children to participate in.

Learn About Your Community- Connect with others and learn all the different things that go on in your town. At our market, one of our favorite restaurants does cooking demonstrations. Our kids have learned that much of the food they eat comes from the market.  Our farmer’s market also takes place on our downtown main street. This gives us an opportunity to explore the stores and restaurants that are in the area as well.

Develop Healthy Eating Habits- Open up a possibility of options for new foods that your kids will eat.

Learn About Nutrition- Talk about the importance of eating a rainbow of colors.

Introduce New Foods- Discuss any new foods you may see. Some even YOU may not know about.

Teach Kids About Money – Give each child some money to spend on things they want to try.

Teach Kids About When Certain Things Grow- Certain fruits and vegetables are available at certain times of year according to weather and growing conditions.

Cook Your Purchases – This is a great way to get your kids involved in the cooking of the items you found. It is known that kids are more likely to try new things if they had a hand in preparing them.

Have fun exploring your local farmer’s market!

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June 9th, 2014 at 9:08 am

Handmade Father’s Day Cards

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Father’s Day is a great day for your kids to show everyone how much they appreciate what their Dad does for them.  A simple but special treat for Dad is a handmade card. Below are some examples of everything from printables to handprints, and even specially cut cards. Your little one will enjoy being creative, and Dad will love a card lovingly created by them.

Fishing Card

Footsteps Card

Daddy’s Little Monster Card

Collared Shirt Card

Dad Jokes Card

Fathers Day Letter

Printable Cards To Color

Fingerprint Monkey Card

Dad Typography Glasses

Grilling Card

Dollar Bill Father’s Day Card

Football Father’s Day Card

Father’s Day Coupon Book 

Another great option is a tie card. Fold a sheet of paper in half cut into the shape of a tie. Decorate that tie and have dad “wear” it for his special day.

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May 23rd, 2014 at 9:26 am

Reflections on 15 Years of Marriage

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Yesterday was my anniversary…my husband and I have been married for 15 years. When I think back to all the things we have done and experienced in that time, I am amazed. We have grown so much since then, had two children, battled cancer, purchased a house, and so much more. We wanted to share some advice with you from things we have learned along the way.

Don’t take life too seriously. Go with the flow.

Talk about everything, and talk often.

Spend time together as a family. Find a hobby that you can do together.

Take time to go on dates.

Do things around the house that may be things your partner typically takes care of. It will make them happy that you crossed some items off their list.

Bad things happen, but you’ll get through them.

Sometimes they don’t want your advice or opinion – they just want you to listen.

A little spontaneity goes a long way.

Make your spouse your best friend – they should be the person you always run to first!

Encourage and celebrate with your spouse. Let their joys be yours.

You will have times in your marriage when you feel alone, and far apart – fight to come together.

No matter how long you’ve been together, you are never to old to flirt.

Always remember the reason you fell in love.

 

What have you learned in your marriage, and what advice would you give others?

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