18 ways to be Thankful and Giving this Thanksgiving Season

Our family loves celebrating Halloween and Christmas, we have a lot of traditions and a lot of fun, but I've noticed my kids don't look forward to Thanksgiving, or really understand it's purpose. I've spent the past few months thinking of ways we can celebrate Thanksgiving and came up with many ideas for the kids and for me too. 
Here is one of my ideas


This is a list of different things to do to be Thankful and Giving this Thanksgiving Season.
I wrote one for every weekday of the month 


or a list version if you prefer to pick one here and there.


I will be posting each weekday of November on my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/sclifeasawife
Feel free to follow us there and share your experience :)

if you are feeling extra blessed and in the giving mood you can purchase both of these designs here on etsy

you can also download them for free here for the calendar and here for the list

Poetry and Soup - a Poetry Reading Party

A friend and I were talking when she confessed to writing Poetry.
I shared my thoughts on Poetry with her.
I told her I think Poetry is such a romantic art form,
and the writing and sharing of Poetry should be a more regular 
occurrence in our social groups.

and this is how this started...


We were afraid we were the only old fashion, romantic minded people
but we found quite a few neighbors who thought Poetry and Soup
was a lovely idea. SCROLL DOWN FOR THE PRINTABLE INVITE

We had a variety of soups; a hearty bean and ham soup, a warm minestrone soup, 
a classic broccoli and cheese soup, and a creamy chicken noodle
We also had an apple crisp and oreo pudding dessert. Nothing sweeter 
than topping off the event with these treats.

The gathering was delightful if I could have changed anything
I would have had everyone bring their recipe cards
to set aside their dishes, since I want to replicate all of them.


I didn't try to pen my own verse for this party,
Partly because I need to grow my confidence in writing Poetry
and Mostly because I had in my possession a Poem my 
Grandpa used to recite to us at family gatherings.
We believe his Grandma was the original writer
and he had such fond memories of her sharing it
that he continued the tradition 
and that is a tradition I want to be apart of as well.

Here is my family poem, it really is to good to keep to oneself

Once I had a handsome Beau,I loved him dear as life
I often thought the time would come when I would be his wife

His pockets how they would jingle, you bet he had the cash
the diamond ring, a watch and chain, and a darling Black mustache
Oh that Black, oh that cute black mustache,
Now you know I've got a Beau with a darling black mustache

He come to see me last Saturday night, stayed to almost three
said he’d never loved a girl as well as me
said we’d live in the greatest style, you bet we’d cut a dash
then he pressed upon my lips that darling black mustache
Oh that Black oh that cute black mustache
Now you know I've got a Beau with a darling black mustache

But o alas things changed for me, a blondie came to town,
my handsome Beau he fell for her and flatly turned me down
I tried so hard to get him back but away from me he’d dash
so now you know I lost my Beau with the darling black mustache

Three of the poems shared were penned by their owners and I think they should publish their poetry for all to enjoy. Other poems shared were these
If by Rudyard Kipling
this poem would make an excellent discussion piece
Rindercella
this poem is quite entertaining and quite a mouthful

I enjoyed myself so much at the party and I do so
look forward to dabbling in Poetry and penning something of my own.
I am quite excited to make this another tradition
that will add simply joy to my life.

I hope it brings joy to you to,  HERE is a blank invite with the images.


A Night with the Patriarch

For this Relief Society Activity we decided to do an activity centered on Patriarchal Blessings.

We started by asking the Patriarch in our ward if they would come talk to us

Then we gave the sisters an invite encouraging them to read their Patriarchal Blessings or if they haven't received their blessing yet to study about Patriarchal Blessings. We invited all sisters to come with questions. 


Also here are some questions that you can give to your patriarch to prepare

-What is a patriarchal blessing
-Why is linage important
-Who may give a patriarchal blessing
-Who may receive a patriarchal blessing
-How old do I have to be for a blessing
-How is the blessing given
-How do I get a patriarchal blessing
-How do I know if I’m ready
-How can I prepare
-When will all the promises in my blessing be fulfilled
-Will all the promises in my blessing be fulfilled
-Should I let others read my blessing

Print off the invite in Black &White  or color, HERE



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Relief Society Activities Committee Planner

This is my most recent calling at church as you can probably tell by my latest posts. I love this calling! I love planning events and this calling fulfills me. On the other hand, my life is also SUPER BUSY. I have 4 kids and they are all still young and have many needs for me to attend to. I also have my relationship with my husband that I need to devote time to. I just find these days my time needs to be used wisely so that its not being taken away from the people I love most.

For this reason, I was hoping our meetings would be efficient and our committee has met those expectations. They are so awesome! For our planning our meetings we meet an hour exactly. We come on time, we end on time, and I just love it :) We have learned to be super productive in our meetings and this agenda will only help maximize our time together.


I was able to whip this up really quick. It has everything we need and nothing more. It is four pages front and back, has a lovely cover and a monthly activity planner page for each month.


It also has a page where you can list Sister needs that the RS Presidency and the Bishop have shared with you, followed by a space to keep a list of activity ideas you have. AND there is a page that has a checklist of things that you can go through for each activity to make sure you've planned all the details, and haven't missed anything.


This design is free, if you do decide to use this awesome design please share this post on your social media so others can use it too. You can get this FREE PRINTABLE by clicking the words Please Share :) Just print the file double sided front and back, and then fold in half. Hope you love it and thanks for dropping by! While you are planning check out two of our ideas!

SERIVE AUCTION - while I have been to many, I enjoyed our version the BEST!


A NIGHT WITH THE PATRIARCH - What a beautiful and spiritual night






Frozen Party - 2 years old


FROZEN BIRTHDAY PARTY

I was recently clearing my computer and I found my daughters 2nd Birthday Party. I thought it was worth the share. Of course it was Frozen theme, she love the movie and the soundtrack was either playing or being enacted in our house constantly :) 2nd birthdays are my favorite because they get so excited about everything! and appreciate all the simple things. I knew this theme would put her over the moon and I was rewarded with so many fun memories from this day

INVITATION

For the invite I found this blank Frozen Ticket that I filled in. I liked all the spaces they had for information. I was easily able to fit everything on. Here is the Link to this adorable invite.

DECORATION

For the Decor we tried to use what we had around the house. I got some Sticks from outside and spray painted them white. Then we used Coffee Filters to make the perfect Snow Flakes. We filled up a few Balloons and hung them with some Tissue Paper Balls I made. I just crumpled up some newspaper wrapped some tape around it so it would keep its shape and hot glued tissue paper to it! SO EASY!!! I used a plastic table cloth as a table runner and set the food out. I also love my Chalkboard, it is fun for all occasions and can be used at any party or event. I was lucky to find that frame at a thrift store. I took the picture out, spray painted the frame Gold, and then spray painted the backing with Chalk Board Spray. It was cheap and well worth it :)




FOOD

We had so much fun with the food, we had TWO requirements...
1) enough to feed us all of Lunch,

2) food my kids like, especially the birthday girl

We found lots of good food ideas online and made up a few have fun scrolling through :)

       

For the cake I went simple I found those figurines, printed off some pictures and slapped on two Candles. She couldn't have been more thrilled with the end product!



and I'll leave these special moments right here, eating cake, opening presents, and 
most important, saying THANK YOU to our guests


Thanks for Stopping by :) come again!

Service Auction - Relief Society Activity

For our Relief Society activity we decided to do a Service Auction, and it was so much fun that I had to share it with everyone!

We had the woman in our group earn points the weeks before our activity. This is the sheet we used

Everyone also donated service. Some people Donated Baked Goods - Rolls, Cookies, Cupcakes, and Cheesecake which took the top bid. Other things donate were....
Cleaning Bathrooms
Babysitting
Girls Night out
Family History Help
Dinner
Photography Session
Chinese Lessons
FHE Message

I have the certificates we used below along with the sheet we used
to sign up for donations AND later we used it to record who took everything


After we recorded who received all the service. We passed the sheet around a few weeks after the activity so that everyone could get in contact with each other. 

Also that night, after we gave the woman who were on time their points, we had them total their points and just subtracted their points when they came up to get their certificate.
THE KEY to a successful night is to find a fun Auctioneer and Vanna White. 
Vanna White should model all the items even if it is just the certificate and help the Auctioneer see people who are less aggressive bidders

The Auctioneer should keep the night lively, fun, and moving.

Our Auctioneer was Witty and fun and made our night a HUGE success!

HERE IS ANOTHER IDEA WE DID A NIGHT WITH THE PATRIARCH


Click for more details

AND ARE YOU IN CHARGE OF PLANNING?



How to host a Ball-Jane Austen Style

Do you love Pride and Prejudice or Downtown Abbey? or have you seen Austenland? Do you, like me, love Mr Darcy and the whole Regency Era, and wish for just one night you could experience the magic of this era?!

Well keep reading, because I am going to tell you how I threw my own Regency Era Ball and pulled off my most successful parties yet....



1) INVITES- I bought special wax and a stamp from Michaels, but I am sure there are other craft stores that supply them and a great selection on the internet. I designed an invite, I will attach the format HERE, and printed it on tan card stock.  As I folded my husband stamped the seals on, he turned to me on the final one and said "This is the main reason I agreed to this party." It was fun watching his enthusiasm in making the perfect wax seal on each envelope. In hopes to have people be serious about this party also included Dress Suggestions at the bottom of the invite.



2) DELIVERING THE INVITES- To show people the seriousness I had for this party, I had the invites delivered on a silver tray by my son. It added to everyones anticipation and started to set the mood for the party

3) SERVERS- I hired some youth to be the "Help" for the evening, after all what type of Regency Era Dinner and Ball would it be without servants? They were amazing! So proper and helpful, defiantly earned their wages.

4) ANNOUNCING GUESTS AS THEY ARRIVE- I tied off all the other entrances to the gym except for one which had a sign on the door that said "to wait for the help to take their coats, fill out an announcing card and the help would walk them in and announce them" I also had an instruction card at the table on that showed them how to fill out the announcement cards




Announcing is my favorite part, I rush over to couple and thank them for coming and shower them with compliments on their ward robe. Then I introduce them in my best British accent to all the other company and take them to an area to have their picture taken.



5) PICTURES - You probably aren't going to get good pictures indoors at night unless you have studio lighting but a "mmmeeehhh" picture is better then no picture. Your guests have worked so hard to get ready for the night you should take a second to take a picture of them even if it is a quick snap with your phone.


6) DANCING- for finding dances to teach I use a combination of this YouTube Channel https://www.youtube.com/user/RegencyDancesOrg and this website http://regencydances.org/dancelist.php I would suggest hiring someone to teach the dances unless you have past dance experience and are comfortable teaching large groups. I also send my guests a link through email or facebook in case my guests want to watch the dances before they attend.
My favorites that I would suggest are first Corn Rig for a very easy and lively Dance
and second Ramsgate Assembly for a little bit harder but more romantic dance.



7) DINNER- I only had a dinner at one of my Balls, because a 5 course meal for a large group is expensive! but it was wonderful having dinner with the group. I set the table with place cards, and a menu. I also placed conversational facts about the Regency Era under their plates. During the dinner guests would take turns reading their facts loudly to the group. The facts really kept the laughter and conversation alive during dinner and helped us interact as a group and not just the people by us.



8) CARD PLAYING - at my second ball we did card game and the "help" served light refreshments, instead of doing a full dinner. We played a modified version of this game http://www.janeausten.co.uk/the-game-of-loo/ if I did this again I would have placed the rules at each table and taught the "help" how to play so that they could answer questions and settle disputes. I think it would also have been fun to do a tournament!

There is always an overwhelming response of how fun these balls are and that we should make it a tradition, which as you can see we have! I highly recommend this party to all my readers. It's a romantic evening to be remembered!

And may I add some of the Men put up quite a fuss but end up having the most fun!

Please comment with any ideas that would add to this party theme, or if you have any questions.
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9 tips on how to Cook Every Day and save $ Money $

Cooking our meals at home has done two things. First saved us a ton of money and Second has kept us eating healthy. BUT it is not easy to make every meal at home, it is easier to pick up a pizza, do take out, or swing by a fast-food joint or a restaurant. It took practice and living on a low income to train myself and this is how I've accomplished it.



Find these RECIPES HERE

Have a Meal Plan-if you don't have a plan, dinner time will sneak up on you and you won't know what to cook and you will most likely go out to eat

Only plan meals that you want to eat- if you are dreading something on your meal plan then you can bet you are going to skip it and go out to eat

Try new things- I noticed I need to have variety in my meal plans so I don't get sick of my own cooking. I watch cooking shows, surf pinterest's food section, and thumb through cook books at the library. Variety gives me something to look forward to.

Have a few easy quick meals on your meal plan- have easy meals for busy days. I have freezer meals I prep days or months ahead, crockpot meals, something for my husband to grill, or something that is just super fast to put together.

Keep your house stocked with food- take your meal plan, write out all the ingredients and have them in the house, if you don't have an ingredient to make your meal, you might be tempted to go out and eat instead of go to the store and cook.

Prep for the next day- for example when I am cooking dinner I pull the meat out of the freezer to defrost for tomorrows meal, and if I am chopping onions and I also need chopped onions for tomorrows meal I will chop them at the same time and reserve the rest for the next day

Give yourself time to cook- Don't wait until everyone is starving to start dinner. Give yourself time enough time to cook.

Have a back up plan- I have a back up plan in place for the times when dinner just didn't get done, or if dinner gets burned (sad, but it does happen) On our back up plan we can have sandwiches or eggs and pancakes, which are things I always have at our house for breakfast and lunch.

Give yourself a day off- Once a week I have a day where I don't have to cook dinner. On that day we either have a church or community event that is offering free food, or I make a bit extra throughout the week and we have leftovers.  It helps me from getting burned out.

Just so you don't think we are crazy, we do go out to eat every now and then! but we don't depend on that for our meals :)

What are your tips for cooking?

and if any of those dishes up top look good, find the recipes here



10 ideas for Better Sleep

My first year out of my house, on my own, in college, was quite an adventure. I found I was unable to manage my stress levels, and started having panic attacks as a result. When the panic attacks started coming twice a day I sought help from a therapist. This is what she asked me in this order What kind of sleep are you getting? Are you eating and what are you eating? What is stressing you out and how can we help you cope with that? I learned so much about being healthy that year physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. I learned how so much about myself as an individual and myself in relationships. I think I will write posts about all of these in the future but today I am going to focus on SLEEP.


Your body, mind, and emotions can fall apart so fast when you are not getting good sleep

1. No Electronics 1 hour before bed - I put this one first because it is something most people do and is  an easy fix. Basically the light from the screens (TV, iPad, Phone, Computer) will make it hard for you to fall asleep

2. Relaxing activities 30 min before bed - relaxing will look different for anyone but here are a few ideas... doing a puzzle (a real one not one on a device), reading a book, taking a bath, folding laundry, journaling, yoga/stretching, watching the sunset... give yourself time to wind down

3. Clear your Mind- if my mind is in a million places at once I grab a piece of paper, (or junk mail no need to be fancy or say you don't have anything to write on) and I write everything I'm thinking, it may be a list of things I need to do, something I don't want to forget, things that are stressing me out, feeling I have and then I let it go. I allow myself to stop thinking, stop feeling, and fall asleep. I can return to these things in the morning when I've had good rest. Sometimes PRAYER also helps me clear my mind, handing my problems over to God and asking for help, and peace.

4. Relax Body- Now that the mind is ready to sleep put the body to sleep, start at you feet and let go of all tension, relax your feet until you can hardly feel them any more, then move up your body, I am always surprised when I get to my face my jaw is usually clenched and releasing that feels so good, I also find I was unaware of my hands being balled into fists, and releasing that tension all the way to my finger tips is so soothing.

5. Go to a Safe Place- Now I usually don't make it to this phase, I usually fall asleep before this point. but if you are still awake go to a safe soothing place in your mind. This may sound a little hippyish, but my therapist sent me to this sleep workshop that was amazing. At the workshop they hooked me up to a machine that could read stress levels in my body, then they had me listen to this tape that had me envision different things, when it was done they showed me the results they showed me all my triggers the one that I found the most fascinating is for me I shouldn't think of people at night or bring them into my "safe place" my safe place is usually riding on a train by myself looking out the window, for others it may be painting a landscape, or decorating a house, or counting sheep jumping over a fence, whatever is relaxing and doesn't require a lot of concentration. It sounds weird but try it.

6. No Food or Water 1 hour before bed- don't go to bed hungry but make sure you have eaten and are well hydrated before bed time rolls around. Give your digestive system a break and let it wind down

7. Bed is only for sleeping- don't spend all day in bed while you are awake, make your brain associate bed with sleep. Take the TV out of your room, not only is it breaking tip number 2 but your bedroom isn't a place to be entertained its a place to sleep. Also tip number 2, I try not to do my relaxing activity in bed, I will read in a comfy chair and then move to my bed to sleep. I am conditioning my brain when I lay in my bed it means time to sleep, this takes time but with consistency and routine, your body will instantly relax, your brain instantly turn off when you start your routine and it sees your bed.

8. Enviornment- LIGHT-make sure you are sleeping in a dark room, I'd even suggest having a clock that doesn't give off light or covering the light when you sleep. NOISE- if there is alot of noise, get a sound machine. COMFORT- make sure you warm/cool enough not hot or cold. make sure your bed and pillow are offering your body enough support, and so on... just make sure your comfortable and if your not think of a solution

9. Work Hard- This has two meanings. First, if you are having trouble sleep think about adding exercise to your daily routine, a tired body sleeps better. Second, make sure you are feeling your days with things that make you feel accomplished, it is always harder to go to bed after a lazy day because our souls crave progression

10. Rise and Fall with the Sun- not a popular idea, but have found truth in this statement I don't know why, maybe it's just how we are made but I know sleep from 9:00PM-5:00AM feels like a lot more sleep then sleep from 12:00MIDNIGHT-8:00AM. Even thought they are both 8 hours of sleep, the one that alines closer to the sun feels more refreshing, again I'm going to invite you to try it.

THIS APPLYS TO KIDS TO!!! Parents out there that need help putting their kids, or teenagers to bed. This applies to them, make sure they have full belly's, that they had opportunities to get their energy out, that they have a solid routine that doesn't include electronics, that they have time to wind down and they are comfortable while sleeping. KIDS AREN'T BORN GOOD SLEEPERS none of us are. I truly believe we have to teach ourselves to sleep and I think one of the best things you can do for your children to help them in the future, cope with stress, live on their own, and be successful, is teach them how to have good sleep.

This advice sounds simple and you might have been looking for something grand, but the answers are usually in the simple things we do. I would encourage you to TRY all of these ideas, if you have tried all of these ideas and have executed them perfectly for weeks, developing a solid routine, and are still struggling, I would suggest getting some help.

How do you get better sleep? Share ideas that could help someone in the comments

*also I wanted to add that I am not perfect in following these rules, but when I am struggling I know exactly how to fix it.