Monday, December 12, 2011

Random Acts of Kindness

Christmas is definitely my favorite time of year. My confession is that I listen to Christmas music beginning in October :) I know, I know....but I love it. Each year I try to think of a fun way for my family to get in the spirit of giving. This year I decided on doing Random Acts of Kindness each day of December. It has been something my kids look forward to doing each day and if we ever miss a day, they notice. They love doing nice things for others without the person knowing who did it.

I prepared early by printing each day (1-25) on paper bags in my printer. I chose a big red circle with the day in the middle in black. I think they turned out cute.

I then made our Random Acts of Kindness cards that say:

This Christmas Season
we are counting down the
25 Days of Christmas
by performing
Random Acts of Kindness
each day. You are a child of God and 
we pray you find His blessings 
this Christmas season.

Each time we performed a RAK, we left a little card behind. (I got the card saying online..cannot remember where).
I put the cards into each sack along with what we would do that day and hung them on our banister. Some days we were not able to do what we planned so it ended up being Random after all:) It has been exciting so far. This is an activity that can also be used as a 12 Days of Christmas activity.

Here is a list of what we did for our Random Acts of Kindness this month:

1. Take homemade cards to someone.
2. Tape quarters to candy machines for little kids to use.
3. Donate to Toys for Tots.

4. Deliver cookies to a family.
5. Leave candy canes in a cute homemade envelopes taped to ATM machines around town.

 6. Leave a car wash code taped to the car wash machine for the next person to use.
7. Buy a treat for the grocery store clerk.
8. Pay for someone's drink behind you in line or someone's lunch.
9. Buy a hot drink for the Salvation Army Bell Ringer.
10. Leave small gifts in shopping carts for people to find.
11. Make survival bracelets and have the kids leave them on the desks of kids at school who might like them.
12. Leave a jar of money with the "Christmas Jar" book on the doorstep of a family down on their luck.
13. Return garbage cans to homes after garbage collection.
14. Drive around to find the best decorated houses and leave a 2-Liter of pop with the note and a card that says, "Your christmas lights really 'POP'. Thanks".
15. Make homemade Christmas scent jars and hand them out. 
16. Leave your kids teachers a special treat or their favorite drink in the morning before they get to school.
17. Take plants to the nursing home.
18. Leave a special treat in the mailbox for your mailman.
19. Pass out Christmas ornaments to drive-thru workers before you pull away.
20. Wrap Hershey chocolate bars to look like Rudolph and hand them out.
21. Leave a basket of Christmas gifts on the doorstep of a family in need.
22. Leave a free red box code taped to the machine for the next user.
23. Bake fresh bread for neighbors.
24. Leave a small gift for the nurses at a care center.
25. Drop off some orange juice and muffins or a christmas treat to those working in the hospital today.

I will post pictures as soon as a I can.
Merry Christmas and Happy RAKing!!

After completing this activity I decided that next year we will make up a card similar to the one we used this year and everyone will take some with them. The goal will be that everyone do a Random Act of Kindness on their own and then we will have everyone share what they were able to do at dinner each day. I am excited to see what everyone will think of and it will leave room for the randomness aspect.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thanksgiving Traditions

With the holiday season in full swing I am always trying to find meaningful family traditions for my family to participate in. This post is going to be about the many traditions that bring families closer together. Having "fit" family relationships is key to happiness. Spending time together in pursuit of good things will enhance our relationships. With Thanksgiving just around the corner let's focus on meaningful traditions that magnify being thankful.

 I am a bit late on this it is now almost Christmas :) Oops!

1. Gather a bundle of sticks, one for each family member, and tie them together with a beautiful piece of ribbon. Where I live we have beautiful red sticks that work perfectly. Before Thanksgiving dinner bring out the sticks and pass them around the table. Each person tells the group one thing they are thankful for that year. As the family grows through marriages and births a new stick is added for each person. Over the years it is fun to watch your "bundle" grow.

2. As each person arrives ask them to write one thing they are thankful for that they believe is unique to them at this time in their life. At some point during the evening, open the jar and randomly pull answers out. See if you can guess as a group which person wrote which answer.

3. Days of Thankfulness. This is a new idea that we will be trying this year. The days leading up to Thanksgiving my family is taking the challenge to show our appreciation for those things or people we are thankful for. Each person chosen will receive a special homemade thank you card pointing out the wonderful qualities we see in them and are thankful for. We will attach the card to a small gift.

4. Find stories and information about your ancestors and their role in life as you know it. Share one of the stories with your family before dinner. I have ancestors who came across the plains in wagons and experienced all sorts of hardships and others who left family behind to come to America. These are great sacrifices that should be remembered and what better time than Thanksgiving. Maybe one of your relatives worked to receive an education that has blessed your family or found a religious way of life. The examples go on and on. What better way to create a meaningful Thanksgiving.

5. The week before Thanksgiving, choose a different family member to focus on each day. Make it a day for that person to feel an extra boost of love. Do their chores, make their favorite dinner, leave a note expressing your thankfulness for them and their unique qualities, make a favorite dessert, or take them for some special one-on-one time. I find one-on-one time to be the favorite thing to do..they choose the activity and it is just you and them, no complaining or problem solving, just fun...even my husband enjoys this one. If you want to take it further: on Thanksgiving each can share how they felt on their day.

6. This is one of my favorite things from this year. I gave each person a penny to put in their shoe. Each time they noticed the penny during the day I challenged them to think of one thing they are thankful for. This can be done for church groups, families, scout groups, school groups, the list goes on and on. It is a gentle reminder to be thankful for our many blessings.

Have other ideas? Please share!

Teacher Appreciation

So this is a door that I put together last year during teacher appreciation week. My son had a male teacher who is a huge fan of BYU and Jimmer. So I chose an idea around that and left the flower doors for the other room moms to do :)
I put the question...
Y Mr. Sorenson Jimmers
I then cut out a bunch of Y's and had each child in the class write what it was he loved about his teacher and what it was that made mr. s "jimmer" 
The kids loved it and the teacher thought it was great. The poster is one that had Jimmer on it and I replaced Jimmer's head with Mr. Sorenson's head :) 

Halloween Costumes

This year I decided to try something new for costumes. I have 3 boys who have, in succession, been bats, vampires, ghouls, batman, superman, you name it. I actually enjoy dressing my kiddos up for Halloween. This year we decided to go with a version of 2-Face...and of course one still had to be Superman! Here is how they turned out.

The two face costumes were very inexpensive and easy to do...even for me. I am not someone who sews so I was concerned. All I did was:

1. Find a local thrift store and purchase 2 different bottoms and 2 different shirts.
2. Cut each piece of clothing down the middle. The pants were a bit tricky so I cut the entire zipper or button to be on one side of the costume. Make sure the next pair of pants has the zipper on the same side so when I put the 2 pieces together, there was only one zipper.
3. Sew the clothing back together so that one side is the first article of clothing and the other side is the second article of clothing.
4. On the "monster" side use scissors to cut and rip the clothing.
5. Find two different shoes matching each side of the costume.
6. Do make-up. I purchased a $3 kit at Wal-Mart and started by painting a base layer of the main color. (I did not put paint on the areas that needed to be painted a different color). Allow this to dry then start adding the mouth and the accents around the eyes. The arm should be painted to match the monster face.
7. Purchase colored hairspray and after using a sticky gel to keep the hair standing up, spray the color on.
My cost was roughly $20 ($9 of that on make-up and hair) for two costumes. Not bad. And needless to say their friends thought the costumes were great!

Of course I can't leave without saying how sweet I think my youngest looked in his cute Superman costume:)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Holiday Cards

 This cute Thanksgiving card was made by my sister-in-law at one of our card clubs. It is so simple and so cute! She used fingerprints to form the turkey. She used 4 different colors of ink for the body and the feathers. Googly eyes were glued onto the body and feet were drawn with a sharpie. In the right corner of the card she stamped "give thanks". To complete the card she tied a piece of raffia around the top. Voila! Simple, fast and cute!
 I cute out the legs and feet for this card on my silhouette machine ... another invention I am in love with. Everything was glued onto a glittery green card.
I can thank my silhouette again for this lovely treat. A paper casket with a bat. I filled each casket with a couple of tootsie rolls and gave them to the women in my card club.


One way I show my appreciation to others is to make home-made cards. It is a way for me to inexpensively say thank you or get well. Cards come in many shapes and sizes, but each one says "I care" because I took the time to make it just for you! Here are some of the cards I have made.


Earlier I told you about and how much I love love it. Well, I have another love in my life and this one is I enjoy browsing the internet for gift ideas, upcoming holiday decorating ideas and DIY - do it yourself- projects. Over the years I have found lots of ideas and you know.....I can't remember a one. Without anywhere to collect these ideas I lost them. Pinterest is the online revolution to organizing and collecting the ideas you find on-line.

Pinterest allows you to organize into categories and "pin" or save ideas from other blogs or websites. This has revolutionized on-line browsing! I love it. Give it try and see how much you love it. WARNING: Not responsible for those who just can't shut off their computers after finding this website:) Happy hunting!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Moms Who "Do"

When I was pregnant with my first child, a friend told me my life was about to drastically change and that I would not be able to do anything that I was currently doing. Her experience was that once a child came into your life, biking, hiking, running, etc. went right out the back door. It was at that moment that I vowed to never become a mom who "couldn't do it" because I had children.

Equipment, equipment, equipment! This is the secret. Plan now to purchase that bike turn stroller or the baby backpack. My personal favorites have been our Chariot bike trailer (we also purchased the cross-country ski attachment and jogger attachment) and my Kelty kids child carrier with sun shield. We have used these pieces of equipment through 3 children and they are still in great shape. The cost up front is a bit high, but considering how much use we have gotten out of them and how long they have lasted, it was worth every penny! Having the proper gear is the first step to adopting the mindset that family recreation is not only doable, but enjoyable for all.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I Am In Love

Over the years I have tried everything to organize the comings and goings of me and my family. After having children something happened to my memory. I lovingly call it my "mommy mind".  My mind randomly chooses appointments or engagements to forget. I have no control over this phenomena to the disbelief of those who are left waiting for me. Talking with other moms, I have discovered that it is something many of us have in common. In an attempt to keep my appointments I tried wall calendars, pocket calendars, cell phone calendars, desk calendars and color coded calendars. I have to admit that even my, big as they come Chip and Dale calendar, did not give me the motivation to look at it (I know...hard to believe right? :)

I have finally found the answer! I love It is a website that allows families to share a single calendar. We share a family password and each family member can access the information using their own email addresses. The website emails me our weekly calendar of events each Sunday night and allows me to email To Do Lists to my children or hubby. Everyone has their own color so the calendar is easy to read and use.

There is also a grocery tab where you can type grocery lists and you have the option of separating the items by store. I love this since I buy some things from Costco and others from the local supermarket or farmers market.

The journal was a feature I did not expect to use. That is, until my 5 year old says or does something so cute and funny...sometimes even humiliating, that I have to write it down to remember :) For example, I was in the grocery store one day with my 3 and 4 year old little boys. My 3 year old insisted on sticking his arm out as people went by and letting them run into his arm. As much as I talked to him about, he would not stop. I was relieved when we finally made it into the check-out line with little harm done. As we progressed forward, to my absolute horror, I saw my son with both hands reached out in front of him grab the lady's rear end in front of us. I was not fast enough to stop it. The lady, expecting to see a pervert, turned around with flames in her eyes. When she saw who had grabbed her rear she said, "Oh, what a cute boy!" I was so relieved that I was able to will my tears back into my tear ducts and somehow move on. Years later that story makes us laugh and laugh. Everyone can use a good laugh as often as we can get one!

The best part of cozi...I can send myself reminders so I don't forget important events or appointments. The website is free to use and I got the app for my iphone so I can take it all with me. Check it out. Don't miss this gem. You will love it!

Getting fit one blog at a time

Thursday, March 31, 2011

How Much Exercise Do I Need

When I was growing up the answer was simply 30-minutes of exercise 5 days a week. In more recent years obesity is up, general good health is down, childhood obesity is on the rise. With all these factors taken into account the exercise recommendations have also changes.

In order to lose weight the NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association) recommends 60 to 90 minutes of exercise a day. As you read this please do not faint or decide it just can't be done. It can be done. The exercise does not need to be done in one session, although it can be done that way. You can break it up into manageable sessions. For example, 30 minutes morning, at lunch and at night or a morning and evening session of 45 minutes. You can even do numerous 10 minute sessions if your lifestyle calls for it.

Message of the day is to ramp up your exercise time. Get it up to the recommended amount. If you are already at your healthy weight you can get by with 60 minutes of exercise. Remember from the last post that it should be something you enjoy.

Happy exercising!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Getting Active

In my years as a fitness trainer I have been asked over and over "How can I stick to my fitness plan?" The answer sounds so simple. Do what you love to do!

Some of you know exactly what type of exercise you love to participate in and which type of exercise you prefer to skip. Inevitably I get someone who says that they are running as the main part of their aerobic workout even though they dislike it soooo much. It doesn't take long before they quit altogether. Life is short and with so many options out there we do not need to waste time doing something we don't like doing. Short and sweet...if you don't enjoy it, don't do it.

For those of you who aren't sure what you love to do, start experimenting with different types of exercise and see what you enjoy. Figure out what you like and get to it. You are more likely to be successful if you enjoy what you are doing...I find that not only works with fitness, but in many aspects of life from social situations to work.

I participate in many different types of exercise and recreation. For example, last week I did 4 mountain bike rides, went telemark skiing, played volleyball in a women's city league, and went for a run on the treadmill. I loved every minute of it and can't wait to do more!

Here are some activities to consider trying: aerobics, spin class, zumba class, running, eliptical machine, walking, running stairs, mountain biking, hiking, playing a sport, skiing, weight lifting, cycling, snowshoeing, climbing gyms and canyoneering.

Your challenge: Find what it is you love to do for exercise and fitness.