Category: Family Fun

The Hilarious Things My Kids Say

Kids can be the most unintentionally hilarious people. They might make an observation that is 100% true, but no adult would ever say out loud. Or, they mispronounce a word that alters what they’re trying to say. Or, it could just be a word they cannot completely remember how to say, and the version that comes out is off just enough to be adorable.

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One of my older girls is five and doesn’t pronounce the word ‘pattern’ correctly. She pronounces it ‘patter-in.’ She is starting Kindergarten and  I should correct her, but I love that little reminder that she’s still so young and not just my grown up girl going off to school on her own.

Both of my older girls still routinely say ‘lellow’ instead of ‘yellow’ as well. I feel like it doesn’t hurt anything, and most words they’ve learned I make sure they can say correctly, but yellow and pattern I just can’t bring myself to correct. I’m sure in no time they will have grown out of mispronouncing those words and my sweet, little girls will talk to me like older girls; with no reminders of the toddlers they used to be.

My husband was singing ‘Mambo #5’ the other day and the girls wanted to learn it. My oldest was trying to sing back the words and kept saying ‘everyone in the clubhouse go ride’ instead of ‘everybody in the club say come on let’s ride’ because of the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse show. I mean, that’s adorable, and even though we corrected her a few times, I still think it’s hilarious and awesome that she’s putting Mickey’s Clubhouse in the song.

Just like my girls my son has his hilarious moments too. He has the best mispronunciation. He’s turning 3 this summer and has an amazing vocabulary, but struggles with fire truck. In fact, for a few months he couldn’t say ‘truck’ at all without it coming out as ‘f*ck’.

fire truck 1

‘Mommy! Fire F*ck!’

Now, I know it’s a bad word, and I shouldn’t encourage him to say it, but I can’t correct it. It’s hilarious! He’s already started to grow out of it and says fire engine about half the time now.  Usually he says the ‘tr’ in truck, but for those months he mispronounced it I would simply smile when were out.

Sometimes I can get too caught up in being busy and getting things done and I forget my kids are just little. They don’t have the same patience as me, or view of time, or ability to wait when they ask for something. So when my older kids say they ‘have a loose toothes’ or ‘their teeths came out’ it helps remind me that they’re not adults yet, They are still kids and I need to enjoy them now, before they totally grow up on me. I will never get these moments back.

When my son is being crazy and literally bouncing off the walls because he’s a 2 year old boy, and then he says ‘Look! A big f*ck!’ when we drive by a semi-truck, it makes me laugh when I might not have otherwise. Eventually these will just be stories that I tell about my kids when they were little, but for right now they are my everyday life. I’m going to enjoy it and if I happen to take the back road by the fire station instead of the main road to go to the grocery store, that’s just my wanting to share a laugh with my kids.

Comment below to share some of the hilarious things your kids say. 

Jennifer at Sweet DiscordJennifer is a stay at home mom with two sets of twins. She copes with having four kids ages 5 and 3 with wine, desserts and cooking. But at the end of the day she wouldn’t trade her crazy life for anything. You can read more from Jennifer at Sweet Discord.

 

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Friday Favorites – Favorite Activities This Week!

School is officially out for summer and we are just humming away at play time. We are only at day 5 but so far my kids wake up ready to play. Whether it is outside on the swings, or dressing up in our toy room they are eager to get their day started. We are also working on keeping our skills current during the summer months. I don’t want to make anything formal and make it feel like school is still in session, so I have found a few fun activities that we just incorporate into our daily routine.

FREE PRINTABLES

We are absolutely loving this free Goldfish cracker alphabet printable from Totschooling.net! The last few mornings I have left the letters stacked up next to a bowl full of the kids favorite snack crackers just inviting them to play. They get really excited to line up the crackers on the letters and they move the letters around to create words, or practice spelling their names. This is also really great for toddlers just learning letter recognition. Sit them at the table to enjoy while you tidy up, finish a phone call or just relax for a minute.

gold fish crackers

ART SUPPLIES

A few months ago we made our own water color paints in ice cube trays. I forgot all about them until this morning when my kids pulled them out. I wondered why things were suddenly very quiet… too quiet. They made their way into the art bin and pulled out the paints and paper, filled up their little cups with water and started painting. I find that making art supplies accessible for my creative kids makes it easier for them to grab when inspiration hits.

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WATER PLAY

It hasn’t been terribly hot since our vacation started, but my kids don’t really care. The just want to run through the sprinklers or fill up the water table. I recently introduced them to the beauty of water balloons on their last day of school. They were so excited to finally give them a try. I previously banned water balloons from our yard, but now they are old enough to pick up all the pieces.

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BOOKS ON CD

My kids absolutely love music and stories. I purchased a bunch of half priced Barefoot books from a friend going out of business. I put them aside to bring out through the year. Each day my kids grab a new book and pop in a CD. They listen to it as back ground while coloring, or read along with the book. It keeps them busy and gives me a whole lot of quiet.

odysseus

PRACTICING SCISSOR SKILLS

My kids have terrible scissor skills. I don’t want to add more work to our day, but they need to practice a little through the summer. We are making collages by cutting pictures out of magazines and gluing to a page. Sounds super simple, but it really helps work those fine motor skills. We like to warm up by squishing some play dough first. The only down side to this project is we had a Scotch tape shortage by day 3 because we ran out of glue sticks by day 1.

magazines

PRACTICING WRITING SKILLS

My kids also need to practice their hand writing skills. I dread this because I usually get frustrated. My girls have ZERO focus on writing. No matter how little they need to write, or how fun the project is one of us ends up in tears. Thankfully, a fellow mom and occupational therapist gave me some great tips to keep my kids focused. She suggested using a yoga ball so the kids can wiggle while they work and offering crunchy snacks while they work. I’ve also gathered up some local pals to exchange letters with this summer. Hopefully all of that will be motivation enough for them to keep practicing.

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These are our favorite things so far! We plan to enjoy so much more during our summer break. Ten days from now it could all fall apart, but for now I am really enjoying keeping busy with the kids!

What are your summer plans?

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia and The Novice Mommy.

 

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The Benefits of Getting My Kids Out and Moving

The Benefitsof Keeping My Kids Moving

When my kids get exercise they are a lot less whiny and a lot less lazy. When we sign them up for sports, they have a place to focus their energy and make new friends. I have four boys, and all of them but my two-year-old play soccer. That doesn’t stop him from trying to cross the white line and see if he can help his brothers out every Saturday, because he loves to kick the ball around. In the winter they play basketball.

With school getting out soon I need to step up my own game and get them moving each morning. Most days I try to take them for a walk or to the park before the sun makes the slides too hot to play on. Every time I decide to have a lazy day and let my kids watch Netflix, I pay for it. They spend the day arguing over everything and they don’t want to do anything. Sometimes when they get like that I make really dumb decisions and take them to the store just so we can get out of the house. That right there is proof that once you have kids you lose brain cells. Letting them run around outside is more likely to snap them out of their orneriness.

If I can preempt the drama by getting them outside first thing then my kids are more pleasant to be around for the rest of the day. I’ve tested this time and time again—because I like lazy mornings—but the results are always the same.

I read over this study showing how exercise benefits boys academically (in addition to saving me from excessive whining). It concludes:

Higher levels of physical activity at recess were related to better reading skills and participation in organized sports was linked to higher arithmetic test scores in grades 1-3. Particularly boys with higher levels of physical activity, and especially walking and bicycling to and from school, had better reading skills than less active boys.

Interestingly, the academic benefits of exercise was not as significant in girls. The full study can be found here.  But if you just want a run-down of the parts you actually care about, go here!

I don’t need a study to tell me that when my kids have a physical outlet for their energy they are a lot less cuckoo, but it was encouraging to see it actually helps them become better learners.

Other than participating in sports, here are a few activities that will give your kids some exercise: run through the sprinklers, go for a bike ride, play “Just Dance” on the Wii or XBox, jump rope, hula hoop, or play a good old-fashioned game of tag!

How do you keep your kids active?

Amber Amber Christensen is a mom to four boys, a blogger and the author of  Memoirs of Mayhem: The Good, The Bad, and The Hilarious. She is learning to find the humor in her parenting, which she shares on her blog Watch This Mom. You can also find her on InstagramFacebook and Twitter!

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Friday Favorites- The Muddy Puddles Project {Giveaway}

There is a strong magnetic pull between a child and a muddy puddle. Before you can stop them they are already splashing away with a smile from ear to ear. I used to shout at my kids, “No! Don’t!” whenever they approached a muddy puddle. Now, I embrace every second of it. I changed my mind about splashing in puddles when I read a blog post about a boy named Super Ty.

super ty

Ty was just five years old when he passed away from brain cancer. It broke my heart to read his mother’s story how Ty would look out his hospital room window and dream of jumping in muddy puddles (much like his favorite character Peppa Pig). Ty’s dream inspired The Muddy Puddles Project, a completely volunteer driven fundraising platform.Their mission is to raise funds to help scientists discover less toxic, less invasive and more effective treatments for children with cancer. I love everything the Muddy Puddles Project represents: celebrating childhood, finding the fun in messes and not sweating the small stuff. The more I learned about the Muddy Puddles Project and the TLC (Ty Louis Campbell) Foundation, the more passionate I became about supporting childhood cancer awareness.

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It’s no wonder Pie Face is the official game of The Muddy Puddles Project!

My family will again attend the Muddy Puddles Project’s Mess Fest held at Kiwi Country Day Camp in Mahopac, NY. This year the 4th Annual event takes place on Saturday July 30th from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is an all day adventure of messy fun! Your kids will love getting to splatter paint, run the “slopstacle” course, toss a cream pie, enter food fights, toss water balloons, zip line, climb walls, paddle boats, enjoy live entertainment, play games, jump in bounce houses and swim in the pond or pool. There is so much more! Like the crowd favorite GIANT MUD PIT where you can sign up the whole family to take the “dirty dunk.”

mess fest flyer
4th Annual Mess Fest Flyer

The dirty dunk takes place from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. at the main Mess Fest event. Your $100 donation (per participant) will include your ticket to the event, a professional photo capturing your moment and a fun memory to last a lifetime. Raising the $100 donation amount is easier than you’d imagine. My family held a garage sale and lemonade stand and we easily raised more than half of that in just a few hours. Don’t forget it all goes toward helping find a cure for childhood cancer (which is priceless!).

Muddy Puddles Dirty Dunk
Taking the dunk with my son in 2014

Tips Before You Go:

  • Print out your tickets ahead of time to avoid lines.
  • As messy as this event is, there are plenty of chances to clean up before heading home. Stop by the fire truck to hose off, or towel off and change in one of the onsite bathrooms.
  • All parking is off site with continuous shuttles via school bus. (We were able to bring our stroller with us).
  • Bring a change of clothes, a bathing suit, towel and sunscreen.
  • No coolers are allowed on site, but you can bring water bottles and small snacks for the kids. There are multiple food vendors where you can get lunch, treats and extra drinks.
  • Check out the map before you arrive to get an idea of how everything is laid out.
  • Bring a camera! There is a pretty good chance you will run into Peppa Pig this year’s Celebrity Ambassador and charitable partner!
Kiwi Country Day Camp
Map of Kiwi Country Day Camp

Visit the Muddy Puddles website to learn more about how to host a mini-mess fest in your own back yard or local park and other ways to get involved. Getting kids involved with Mess Fest is a great way for them to engage in philanthropy and it encourages them to have fun while doing good!

********EXCLUSIVE GIVEAWAY*******

Just for being a reader of the The Whatever Mom you could win a FAMILY 4 PACK of tickets to the 2016 Mess Fest happening on Saturday July 30th in Mahopac, NY! Winner announced in my next Friday Favorites blog post on June 17th.

Get ready to feel like a kid again! Enter to win below, or click here to purchase your tickets. (FOR A VERY LIMITED TIME you can get early bird pricing of $10 off the regular event admission price!).

“Let your kids jump in muddy puddles whenever they want. Let them get wild with finger paints and glitter. soon they’ll be all grown up and see the dirty clothes and wet shoes as nothing but a nuisance. It’s beautiful that children can find such joy in the simple things that we no longer appreciate as adults.” -TLC Foundation

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Gloria DarmaninGloria Darmanin is a three time boy mom and completely outnumbered. She works hard to spread awareness for childhood cancer, authentic inclusion for persons with disabilities and gender equality. When she isn’t hiding from the kids she is off planning her annual St. Baldrick’s event and dreaming of ways to make money for charity.

 

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Friday Favorites- GoNoodle.com A Website For Kids

Friday Favorites

The Whatever Mom does not receive any financial compensation for this review. All opinions shared are solely that of the Whatever Mom. (It’s just a really cool site).

I hear a lot of parents request suggestions for apps and websites that are appropriate for little kids. Someone suggested GoNoodle Home Edition and despite being a low tech family I thought I’d give this a try. It is such a hit! I use it on my phone or on our computer. The best part is it is FREE!

This website offers different challenges that encourage movement and emotional management tools for young kids. Teachers can use in their classrooms and parents can use at home or on the go! To get started parents sign up and select a password. The site will verify parent information to be sure it is OK for kids to interact with the website.

Then, kids pick a champion, or a character, who will grow bigger and stronger as kids complete videos and games. The more minutes kids spend dancing to videos and moving through the challenges the bigger the champion grows. Once the champion is maxed out kids select a new champion and continue with their favorite games and videos. Sounds pretty easy right? That’s because it is!

Gonoodle.com Champ

Select from video channels which is a grouping of your favorite videos, or a specific category such as calming, stretching or sports, etc.  Creating a favorites list allows you to tailor your kids experience to their needs.

Gonoodle.com

 

Here are some of our favorites:

Gonoodle.com Empower Tools

Empower Tools– offers yoga poses that encourage movements to help kids manage frustration, anxiety and strengthen focus. This has been a great tool for us during those pesky moments when my kids seem emotional but cannot really tell me what is upsetting them. I pull this one out for the after school melt down. My kids are more tired after school and need help focusing on the transition to home.

 

Gonoodle.com awesome sauce

Awesome Sauce– this channel has super silly and fun songs that encourage kids to get up and move. My kids love this any time of day, but we primarily use it for that afternoon slump when a dance party is the only cure.

 

Gonoodle.com think about it

Think About It– these short minute long videos offer affirmations and positive lessons on how to have a great day, practicing patience and forgiveness. I like to use these during those sibling scuffles. It helps all of us to take a short breath and distracts us from the negativity happening. When we are all calm we can talk about solutions for the next time we argue over a toy, or whose turn it is.

 

Gonoodle.com Maximo Monkey

Maximo– this little blue monkey is our absolute favorite. He is entertaining, yet my kids can focus on all the stretching movements under his tutelage. We love to use this any time of day! I especially pull these out on rainy days, or when I’ve noticed we’ve been sitting for too long.

 

Gonoodle.com Recess

Indoor Recess- these adorable and energetic videos are typically 10-15 minutes long and designed to get kids heart rates moving. Coach Terry gets kids up and running in place, performing jumping jacks and more. I have one super energetic kid who wakes up and wants to exercise. I let her complete one or two of these before school to get her morning started. The happy side effect is her sister always joins in too.

You can find all of our favorite videos as well as Zumba Kids, Brain fitness exercises, Kidz Bop videos and more at www.gonoodle.com. Parents have full control over passwords and access to the site. This makes it a really safe experience for kids. You can take it with you when you travel, you can use it before school or even before bedtime. Movement really helps change up my kids’ energy and moods. This has been a great tool for managing the craziness of our day! Be sure to find the GoNoodle 101 in the Explore section. It will help parents and new users learn how to use this awesome site!

What websites do your kids like? Share below and it may be featured in a future Friday Favorites.

 

The Whatever Mom is a full-time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here.

Find more from Roxanne at Hudson Valley Parent and at Masshole Mommy

 

 

 

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On The Twelfth Day of Service Give a Merry Makeover

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It’s the twelfth and final day of my service series! I hope you have enjoyed all the fun ways my kids and I give back during the holidays. Now there is nothing saying you have to do all twelve service projects or any projects at all. You can pick one that is the easiest and most affordable for you! Or, you can schedule it for another part of the year that is more manageable for you.

Being a stay at home mom for five years now means we’ve had to survive on one income. There were a couple of tight years when my husband had to work two jobs.  He delivered newspapers in the early, dark mornings on his way to his regular 9-5 job. He never had a morning off and he worked every holiday. It did not matter that there was a drop of 26 inches of snow overnight people STILL demanded their $1.00 newspaper be delivered directly to their door. I don’t know how my husband kept that job for two years. But, when providing for a family you do whatever it takes.

This gave me a much deeper perspective and appreciation for people in service positions. From the person who delivers the newspaper, the mail carrier to the people who take away your garbage- we NEED them! Their jobs are valuable because they make our lives convenient and comfortable. For this I think they deserve some recognition and some gratitude. So, today we decorated our mail box!

 

Give your mailbox a Merry Makeover

Without fail through sleet, through snow and rain our mail arrives! I would not want to walk miles in the rain to deliver a flyer, or worse bills that brings stress to many families. HOWEVER, they do get to bring me some cheer at Christmas! They fill my box each day in December with cards from family and friends. So to that I say THANK YOU!! During Christmas week we will leave a small gift outside for our mail man- a pair of gloves, a lotto ticket and a gift card for coffee. All fun things he can put in his pocket and take along with him.

Your kids will love decorating the mail box with pretty bows and wrapping paper. Help them make a thank you card, or sign to attach to the box. Have them help you wrap each small gift and let them leave it in the mailbox for your carrier to find! This is a great way to teach kids that no job is insignificant.

Thank you for sharing the last 12 days with me! I appreciate ALL OF YOU reading along and taking the time to share your comments. You have brightened my days and I enjoy sharing the Christmas spirit with you!! I’ll see you all again next week when I return to my regularly scheduled Wednesday post and Friday Favorites!

Related posts:

On The First Day Of Service Host A Food Drive

On The Second Day of Service Host A Coat Drive

On The Third Day of Service Make A Special Delivery

On The Fourth Day of Service Send Some Cheer

On The Fifth Day of Service Give Some Swag

On The Sixth Day of Service Rise Together

On The Seventh Day of Service Make A Furry Friend

On The Eighth Day of Service Express Your Gratitude

On The Ninth Day of Service Share Your Spirit

On The Tenth Day of Service Give the Gift of Your Best Self

On The Eleventh Day of Service Give A Stranger Warmth

 

The Whatever Mom is a full time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here.

Find more from Roxanne at Hudson Valley Parent and at Masshole Mommy

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On The Eighth Day of Service Express Your Gratitude

12 Days of Service

I’ll never forget the Christmas my brother in-law Joe was serving in Iraq. The entire holiday season felt off because we were all so worried about his safety on the other side of the world. We built care packages for him and included items for him to share with the members of his unit. We wanted to be sure if anyone was missing letters and packages from home there was enough for Joe to share. Thankfully, he was only gone for the one Christmas and returned home safely shortly after.

During his time on active duty I helped host a collection drive and assembled shoe boxes of supplies to send to our soldiers. Since then I have remembered to send letters and cards at Christmas. This year, I have found a great organization that makes it really easy for parents and kids to give back to members of the military: Operation Gratitude.

OPGA_poster_army

There are several ways you can share your support through Operation Gratitude. One of the easiest and least expensive ways is to assemble a care kit. This small kit of personal care items is included in care packages shipped to 150,000+ deployed Troops, Recruits, Veterans and Wounded Warriors. These kits are a valued contribution to the packages. Most requested items include: Lip Balm, Toothpaste, Toothbrush, Roll-on Deodorant, Razors, Individual packets of moist towelettes, Hand/Foot Warmers, Foot powder (travel size).

You and your kids can shop for and fill one bag, or invite friends to donate items and have a stuffing party. Fill a gallon sized Zip Lock bag, or a clear toiletry travel kit with your care items. (All of which can be found at your local dollar store). Be sure to include a personal letter, or card for the recipient.

write a letter

If you are unable to assemble kits because of the cost, or maybe you just have really little ones and it’s hard to get everyone out of the house, write a letter! Your words of encouragement and gratitude will go a long way. Yes, even the scribbles and stickers from a small child will help brighten someone’s day!

Sharing in this simple activity is a great reminder for children how important it is to lend our support and say thank you to our military. It helps instill gratitude for those who are serving to keep us safe.

Related posts:

One The First Day of Service Host a Food Drive

On The Second Day of Service Host a Coat Drive

On The Third Day of Service Make a Special Delivery

On The Fourth Day of Service Send Some Cheer

On The Fifth Day of Service Give Some Swag

On The Sixth Day of Service Rise Together

On the Seventh Day of Service Make a Furry Friend

 

The Whatever Mom is a full time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here.

Find more from Roxanne at Hudson Valley Parent and at Masshole Mommy

 

 

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On The Sixth Day of Service Rise Together

12 Days of Service

As we are counting down the days until we wake up on Christmas morning surrounded by our families, there are thousands of children in our foster care system just hoping for a family for Christmas. Currently there are around a half of a million children in foster homes in America; many of them waiting to be adopted by a forever family to call their own.

This statistic is pretty heart breaking. But, to hear that foster kids are handed two trash bags upon entering foster care tugs pretty hard at my heart strings too. They move from home to home with their belongings in plastic bags meant to carry garbage.

Kids in foster care get two trash bags to carry their belongings.
Kids in foster care get two trash bags to carry their belongings.

My friend Rachel adopted her beautiful little girl from foster care. At her celebration party Rachel and her family collected comfort items to donate to our local foster kids. They decorated canvas bags and filled them with teddy bears, toys and hygiene items. They donated the bags to the local foster care division at the Department of Social Services.

How can you help? Contact your local Department of Social Services to ask for a list of needed items and arrange for a drop off date. Ask your friends and family for bags and the needed items. Host a get together to decorate the bags and fill them. Kids of any age can help stuff items into a bag and help bring comfort to these vulnerable kids.

The GIVEBACK BOX can assist 10 children in your local community with Care Packages this holiday season.
The GIVEBACK BOX can assist 10 children in your local community with Care Packages this holiday season.

Not sure you have the time to get out and gather up the items yourself? Together We Rise makes it even easier! Make one online donation of $50 to sponsor a sweet case and you’re done! Sweet cases are duffle bags filled with comfort items and hygiene items and it gives children in foster care a more dignified way to move to a new home. You can sponsor one case, or call upon your friends and family to split the cost of a Give Back Box!

For a $250 donation ($25 per person times 10 contributors) you can purchase a kit filled with all the items you need to stuff 10 sweet cases. Host a get together in your home, or round up co-workers at the office to decorate and stuff the bags. Then, deliver to your local foster care agency. Shipping is FREE on the first 20 bags. LAST SHIPPING DATE IS DECEMBER 14TH via FEDEX.

Whichever way you choose to give back it will have a great impact on a child going through a difficult transition. This is a great way to help instill compassion in your young children, and it gives them greater perspective that some kids just need a family.

Watch this clip to learn more about sweet cases:

 

 

Related posts:

One The First Day of Service Host a Food Drive

On The Second Day of Service Host a Coat Drive

On The Third Day of Service Make a Special Delivery

On The Fourth Day of Service Send Some Cheer

On The Fifth Day of Service Give Some Swag

 

The Whatever Mom is a full time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here.

Find more from Roxanne at Hudson Valley Parent and at Masshole Mommy

 

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On The Fifth Day of Service Give Some Swag

12 Days of Service

My twins birthday is just before Christmas. So, I often like to tie in a holiday give back to their party or on their actual birthday. I found a local agency near me that offers a Birthday Booth. Families who utilize the food pantry began asking for help to provide a birthday cake for their child’s birthday. The director of the agency decided to take it step further and offer a birthday swag bag and one free unwrapped toy along with the cake.

What is a birthday swag bag? It has party supplies (decorative plates, napkins, cups, etc) and a few decorations for a family to enjoy at home. It can also include a gift card from a bakery to purchase a cake. Kids can feel special getting a party of their own and parents can feel relieved being able to recognize their child’s birthday.

Birtday Swag Party

Families who face food insecurity often have difficulty providing a birthday party even for their family at home. Friends of mine who are teachers share that they often host (at school) the only party some of their students will get. But, the birthday booth will help kids get a special party with their family.

How can you help? If there isn’t a specific agency in your area that offers a birthday booth, perhaps you can ask a teacher at your child’s school to start a birthday closet. Teachers often know which families need the help and can hand out swag bags. Ask your friends and family to help you stock the closet by dropping off items at your home. Host a party where the guests can help pack the bags then you can make one easy drop off. For around $10 or less you can fill a small gift bag with coordinated essentials like a table cloth, paper plates, cups, napkins, crepe paper, a package of balloons, a birthday banner and a package of birthday candles. All of these items can be found at the dollar store, or on clearance at other retail stores.

Swag Items

If that sounds like too much for you to coordinate and it’s easier for you to make a donation online here are a few places to donate: The Birthday Project Birthday Wishes The Birthday Box

I am very fortunate that I have some seriously generous friends who donated enough supplies to fill 25 swag bags. After rounding up the donations at my home, the girls and I sorted, packed and delivered the bags on their actual birthday. They got to see the birthday booth in action and I felt like we gave an amazing gift on the day I received my two most precious gifts!

On The First Day Of Service Host A Food Drive

On The Second Day of Service Host A Coat Drive

On The Third Day of Service Make A Special Delivery

On The Fourth Day of Service Send Some Cheer

The Whatever Mom is a full time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here.

Find more from Roxanne at Hudson Valley Parent and at Masshole Mommy

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On The Fourth Day of Service Send Some Cheer

12 Days of Service

I am loving the positive feedback about this series! I am so grateful my experiences with making holiday giving simple and easy is inspiring others to do the same. My kids have honestly enjoyed helping in these projects. I hope yours will too!

Today I am sharing how I started my own small charity. I don’t have a board and I don’t have an operating budget, but that is the beauty of using social media to ask for help. Four years ago, I started a small card writing charity called Operation Christmas Cheer. It began when my friend Gloria asked me to send just one Christmas card to two kids in our town who were battling cancer. I sent my two cards, but it just didn’t feel like enough.

I’ve shared before that my niece Ashley was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) when she was just 3-years old. Watching what she and my family endured month after month of chemotherapy, surgeries and hospital stays had a significant impact on me. Having been in the hospital room with other cancer kids (including tiny babies) I know firsthand the grief and anxiety families feel. What these kids really need is a cure. I don’t know how to make that happen, but I do know how to make a kid smile.

Design credit: Rose Door Designs
Design credit: Rose Door Designs

I made an event page on Facebook and asked my friends and family to make a card to send to each child. Then I found a few more kids who could use some cheer too. I had a total of ten kids on my list and over 65 volunteers, several class rooms and scout troops mailing cards to the kids on my list. I thought that would be the end of it. But, everyone started asking the following Christmas if I was going to do it again. My kids and I have continued this tradition every year since. Now I have several hundred volunteers sending cards.

How can you get involved? This operation is found solely on Facebook. You can like the page and get names of the children who need your cheer. Or, if you know of any children in your own home town that needs love and cheer this Christmas, start your own group on Facebook. Send an invite to all your friends and family to ask them to send out cards. Keep them updated with posts and photos of your kids making cards and encourage them to do the same. You can also contact a local children’s hospital and ask if you can deliver cards to kids staying in the hospital at Christmas.

This has been a great way to get my little kids involved with giving back. It isn’t expensive and I don’t have to leave the house (except once to gather stamps and cards). You can send store bought cards, or make them. No matter which kind of card you choose to send you will help bring some cheer to a family in need!

One The First Day of Service Host a Food Drive

On The Second Day of Service Host a Coat Drive

On The Third Day of Servic Make a Special Delivery

The Whatever Mom is a full time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here.

Find more from Roxanne at Hudson Valley Parent and at Masshole Mommy

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