Friday, November 30, 2012

Five Question Friday

1. What do you give teachers for gifts?
   Teacher gifts aren't really apart of my gift list in my current season of life since we don't have children, much less children in school. I can't recall what gifts were given to my teachers when I was a kid. I've seen some fantastic ideas online though. I'm sure teachers really appreciate the little gifts from their students (or parents).

2. Do you text? One finger texter or total pro?

    I utilize text messaging quite a bit. To me, it's so much simpler when I need to communicate with someone but not a full conversation. With that said, I'm stuck on one style of composing a message. My current phone has a slide out full keyboard, and I need both thumbs to complete the message. I haven't quite gotten the hang of using the numerical buttons with alphabet options in texting. The idea of a touch screen keyboard is not even close to consideration. (I like things simple in life, even if that makes me a little behind in technology! haha)

3. Do you give back during the holidays? If so, in what way/which is your favorite charity?

    This year is our first year in which we actually get to enjoy the Christmas season (hooray, day shift scheduling!). So, I wanted to include activities that would highlight the season and not just the day. I also wanted the season to be one focused on giving and reaching out. My heart is for us to not just serve ourselves in attempting to create some kind of happy Christmas time or feeling, but to create that for others. The ideas I currently have include purchasing a gift for a child in need from an Angel Tree, doing some random acts of kindness activities, hosting a small gathering with friends we've met in our new town as well as hopefully our neighbors, and, of course, focusing more on each other than ourselves. 

4. If you would've been the sole winner of the 575+ million dollar Powerball jackpot, what would you have done with all that money?

     Donate it! Of course, there would be some basic needs that I would wish to take care of finally (debt, future modest home, car replacement etc). Beyond those concerns (which probably wouldn't make much of a dent in that kind of money), I'd donate it. I cannot fathom how I would require that kind of money to meet my living needs. My desire is to meet our basic needs in life and then use anything beyond that to blessing someone else. 

5. Will you please take just a moment to spread the word and pray about [this family]? There still is no news, and I can't imagine their pain and worry. Facebook prayer page: Prayers for Trista, Shy and Matt

     Clearly, this last question is more of a request by Five Crooked Halos. So, the links are included if you'd like to read about what has happened and include this family in your prayers.

How would you answer this week's Five Question Friday? Share your responses below! :)


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Veggie Pizza

     We love pizza in our home (who doesn't?!). Pizza, however, isn't the most nutritionally sound meal. Insert- whole wheat crust and vegetable toppings! This pizza recipe has become one of our favorite ways to make pizza. Enjoy! 

Adapted from Taste of Home

     I cut the dough recipe in half. The original amount was for two 12-in. pizzas, and trying to make that fit into one was just too much. Also, I redistributed the whole wheat to all purpose flour ratio to offer a little more of the nutritional value of the whole wheat. This crust will be a thin crust style when finished. If you like thicker crust, then simply double the recipe.

3/4 c. all purpose flour
3/4 c. whole wheat flour
2 1/4 t. yeast
1/2 t. garlic powder (this is the secret to making this crust so delicious!)
1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. warm water (120-130 degrees F)
1 T. olive oil

1. Combine dry ingredients into bowl. Slowly add water and oil, and mix until dough comes together. Continue mixing with dough hook (or knead on flour surface if not using a stand mixer) until dough becomes smooth and elastic. 

2. Grease a second bowl. Place dough in bowl and turn to coat. Allow to rest until double (about 30 mins).

3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 

4. Roll dough onto baking stone (or whatever round bakeware you have). Roll about 3/4-1 in. over the sides, and then tuck the excess under to form the outer edge of the crust. Pierce dough thoroughly with a fork. Bake in oven for 8-10 minutes. 

5. Remove from oven and add sauce, toppings and cheese of choice. 

     I didn't have much luck with the sauce recipe included in the original recipe. Ideally, I'd like to play with creating my own pizza sauce recipe from scratch. However, it is currently not tomato season and attempting such with out of season tomatoes would be equally bad. So, currently the pizza sauce I'm using is from a jar. 

     I like my pizzas to be loaded with toppings, so I didn't cut the toppings portion of the original recipe in half. Actually, I don't care much to measure toppings. I simply put however many I think would suit our taste. We like the suggested zucchini, onions, bell peppers, and mushrooms. We also added olives the last time we made it. The possibilities are limitless, and that's the great thing about making your own pizza! If you'd like the specific measurements, then visit Taste of Home. One important step in preparing the toppings is to cook them a bit before you place them on the pizza. The zucchini, especially, needs to be the first item into the pan to cook down a bit or else you'll have crunchy zucchini pieces on the finished pizza. 

Final Steps
 6. Bake pizza for about 12 minutes or until crust is brown and cheese is melted. 

 Linked up at: 


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Finding One's Identity in the Proper Places



      Finding one's identity is a life-long journey. This endeavor to self-discovery, however, isn't an aimless wandering. Rather, it is a constant and purposeful pursuit. Identity is something that must be discovered, and this definition is one that ought not be held stagnant but permitted to shift and mold according to life's seasons. Throughout life we encounter experiences, people, and objects which will shape our definition of self, regardless of whether those inclusions are negative or positive. These are our conditions, and one of our greatest personal challenges in life is separating our identity from our conditions. Conditions- our friends and family, our home, our occupation, our role with regard to others etc- change. If we define ourselves exclusively by our conditions, then when they do change we will be left at a loss for who we are and where we go from there. All that we thought we knew of ourselves would have been revealed to be a false sense of self. 

      I described in a previous post a time in which my sense of self was heavily defined through the condition of college. I viewed and presented myself with a false sense of confidence and identity based solely on the circumstance that I was a college student, where I attended or what field I was studying. When that condition revealed itself to be hollow, I was left certain that that wasn't my true self but also aware that I didn't know who I was beyond those descriptions. 

      I later entered the realm of homemaking. I've studied this subject matter and have taken great delight in learning and practicing this way of life. Finally, I felt a little closer to knowing and living truer to myself. Yet, when my husband's job shifted us from a nightshift schedule lifestyle to a dayshift, my role as exclusive homemaker had to also be redefined in ways. He began to form good relationships with his coworkers, enjoy his job more, and have more time to do things outside of work. The new hours and increased availability has also allowed him to take responsibility for many areas that were previously completed by me alone. I'm genuinely thrilled for him, but initially I also felt as though I was no longer needed. Once more, an uncertainty of what I should be doing also translated to an uncertainty of who I should be. Who we are and what we do are often so intertwined that they two form such a combination that they are difficult to separate.  Homemaking and the associated tasks were what I did and how I saw myself, so what do I do when the role is no longer the same? Familiar insecurities of needing to feel worthwhile, valuable and needed based on my contributions to another person or area of work crept into my considerations of myself. Then, it occurred to me that this is yet another occasion in which my identity must be not be founded by my conditions but enhanced by them instead.

      A definitive way to determine if our identity is truth or dependent on a condition is to ask what state it would be in if that condition were to change or be lost completely. Jobs change. Friends change. Family situations change. Residences change. Financial situations change. Roles change. Education avenues and opportunities change. There is little in life that will remain perfectly still. If we have attached our identity exclusively to one (or many) of these entities, then when they do change we are lost not only for them but also for what they have falsely represented- ourselves. 

     In some situations, the inability to separate our identity from our conditions in order to allow that definition to experience those seasons of modification may result in the entity being lost entirely instead of just changed. To place the means of definition solely on a role or relationship is to weight it down with far greater responsibility than it was ever intended to hold. Eventually that role or relationship breaks. My husband does not need me to take care of absolutely everything for him in order for me to have a sense of worth. He needs me to recognize and appreciate myself for the qualities that he sees in me. (After all, he was attracted to me enough to marry me long before I performed or became any of the things I do/am now. There must be something to that, right?). My husband is blessed in having a wife who has placed her identity in the proper places. Similarly, though I am not a mother now I dream of that condition in the future.  As much as I desire that state of motherhood, I also know that it is not wise for me to define myself through my children. Again, children were never meant to be the means of defining the parent, though they can certainly enhance that definition. My children need me to be able to guide them through proper pathways of discovering and being secure in their identities, and I cannot do that if I haven't achieved them myself. If not, then my identity would be lost when the children grow into independent adults who no longer need me in the same capacity, and eventually this heavily burdened relationship breaks. If we're not bending our definition of self, then something is consequently breaking. I bless my husband or family when I am secure in my identity.

       Where does this secure identity come from? How is it attained when so many avenues of discovery are revealed to be false? I believe it must come from a source that doesn't change- God. God carefully crafts and creates us (Psalm 139:13-14). He also gave his son to save us (John 3:16). I believe we are created to be who we are to serve and glorify God in our own unique ways. If I’ve based my identity on conditions rather than God, then am I living to the potential that He intended for me? Am I using the conditions He has placed before me as means of enhancement or definition? He is the only solid and secure place to come to know who I am because that knowing is then based on who He is.


Monday, November 26, 2012

Menu Plan: Fall (Nov. 25- Dec. 1)

-Homemade pumpkin bagels
-Eggs, leftover bagels, smoothie cubes (fresh smoothies/juice make in the summer and stored frozen)
-Oatmeal with strawberries (using strawberries put up in the freezer when they were in season. Cooking with water instead of milk.)
-Whole wheat pancakes (I recommend only 1 Tbsp. of batter each) with blueberry syrup (blueberries picked in season and stored in freezer)
-Breakfast quinoa (or oatmeal again)
-Eggs, oranges, yogurt with granola

-Swedish Meatballs over noodles
-Corn Chowder (delicious! I'm replacing canned potatoes with the real thing. I'm also using frozen corn kernels instead of canned creamed corn.)
-Fish dish (hubby is creating this one so I'm not sure on the details. haha)
-Portabella mushroom burgers, sweet potato fries

-Turkey pot pie (using this crust recipe, but will probably tweak it a bit)
-Meatball subs with kale chips (homemade hoagie rolls)
-Breakfast for dinner- Pumpkin French Toast (using the extra pumpkin pie filling), fruit
-Corn Chowder (leftovers)

Linked up at: 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Having a "Good" Christmas

Originally posted 12-26-2011

    We all have personal notions of what constitutes a "good Christmas." On the 26th, greetings will be followed with the inquiry, "Did you have a good Christmas?" Your response will certainly be based on some criteria. What makes a Christmas "good?" Was it the cutting (or unpacking) of a Christmas tree and then adorning the limbs with memorable ornaments?Was it the cookies baked whose aroma delightfully permeates the room? Was it the cards sent and received? Was it the dinner that brought family and friends in unity? Was it the gifts beneath the tree? Was it the warm and welcoming decor? Was it the cheer, joy, goodwill, and generosity of the season? Was it the day or the season?

      What happens when our answer or even an element of our answer is removed? For instance, a "good Christmas" could be defined as time with family. However, circumstances may arise at some point which limits the presence of family member(s) on Christmas Eve/Day. Does Christmas as we have defined it then become "bad?" If our association of Christmas is so tightly wrapped around particular activities or sentiments then we risk arriving at the day and feeling like it was somehow lacking. 

       There are countless sentiments and means of celebration associated with Christmas, many good and honorable notions. What is at the heart of of all of these though? I began to see this year a commonality in that they aren't exclusive to this one time of year. In fact, they are merely a different representation of the same heart. So many of the Christmas activities are ones that are (ought to be) exhibited throughout the year. I'll only take a moment to list a few of my notions of Christmas, but really wish to encourage you to take a moment to sort through your association of Christmas and begin to place them into  the following cluster headings:

Relationship Building
*Cards of greeting, goodwill, encouragement, and perhaps even a letter
*baking/cooking together
*dinner parties with friends
*sipping cocoa during a movie together
*decorating a gingerbread house together
*offering a neighbor, service man/woman, retirement home resident etc a visit and homemade treat
*packing into a vehicle to travel to see homes and gardens' brilliant display of lights
*selecting (unpacking) a Christmas tree and adorning it's limbs with ornaments 
*family gathering/meal on Christmas Eve or Day

*offering a neighbor, service man/woman, retirement home resident etc a visit and homemade treat
*purchasing food for donation at the grocery
*purchasing clothing or toys for children
*donating to a charity/mission/organization
*serving a meal at the local shelter
*giving time to provide company to someone who may be lonely

*greeting and smiling at passersby
*encouraging, cheerful, positive media
*gift giving based on delight of pleasing another

 Warmth and Welcome 
*decorating the home
*hosting or visiting with friends/family

*reading the Bible together
*Advent countdown activities
*church attendance

      Not one of the activities listed above is limited to the holiday season and yet so often is the case. This Christmas I pondered upon the meaning and value of these activities and recognizing that they are good things wondered further why they are so challenging, stressful and exhausting to partake in each Christmas. My inquiry concluded at the discovery of these entities are ones that can (and ought to) be practiced throughout the year and at Christmas time they simply take a different form. Of course I'm overwhelmed with so many additions in the short time of one month when it isn't something I've developed a heart for and practice of during the last eleven months of the year. 

     As I look back upon this year, feeling once again that something was lacking in the celebration of the season, I am encouraged in coming to a greater understanding of the heart of the matter and how that translates into Christmas in our home and family. Perhaps Christmas is never lacking when it involves things we've had all along. Christmas is a special time, but it isn't the only time. 

     And so, as we now approach the coming of the new year I wish to encourage you to also carry some of those admirable and good qualities of Christmas with you. 

Linked up at: Homemaker By Choice, Womanhood With Purpose, Time-Warp Wife, Thankful Homemaker, Growing Home


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving 2012!

      Happy Thanksgiving to everyone here at Reviving Homemaking! 
     I posted at the beginning of the Thanksgiving season some ideas for not just making gratitude statements but also putting it in action. Today we will acknowledge something for which we're thankful, and "family" will likely be on the list. So, as we gather around a delicious meal put a gratitude for family in action by staying long after the meal is finished, talk with those who are present with you and focus on them more than you. Enjoy the time you have together!

     My husband and I had our Thanksgiving celebration early this year. Due to his job schedule and how far we live away from our hometowns, we aren't able to spend the holidays with either family. This year my wonderful in-laws made the lengthy trip to visit and join us for a little Thanksgiving celebration. I'm blown away by the fact that they drove three days (which included a hotel stay along the way) to stay only two days. That's dedication to preserve family connections and closeness! I think we all had a good time together. I'm certainly looking forward to seeing more family when we make the trip to their home in a couple of months. Since we've already had our Thanksgiving meal, hubby and I will simply focus today on having quality time together. We'll make some homemade apple cider, pumpkin pie and then enjoy some Thanksgiving leftovers. The best aspect of the day is just spending some time together and living out our gratitude for our little family of us. 

     I'm also grateful for all of you who have subscribed or simply visit Reviving Homemaking! Having such a tremendous amount of support and encouragement from you for homemaking is such a blessing to me! My continuous prayer is that you are able to be equally blessed by the site. Thank you!


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Home Tour: Entry

     My husband and I are now settling in our third home (and state!) in the last two years. I had previously decorated a bit here and there in our homes, but remained hesitant to really commit or invest too much with knowing that we would potentially move. This time we are here for at least the next several years which means my creative self gets to add all those lovely touches that I've been imagining for my home. I'm still working with white walls and a small budget. Nevertheless, I'm excited to tackle our little townhome one room at a time! These posts may be more for family who live states away and are interested in seeing our home, but perhaps there may be some ideas here and there that could be useful or interesting to others as well. :)

     First room completed is the entry. It's the first impression to our home and so I wanted to start there. The front door actually opens into this hallways and staircase which then brings you to the front door of the main living area. There's nothing too special about it, so I wanted to add some fun and function to this small space. 
Before decorating
Picture on left: Front door looking up towards door that enters main living area. 
Picture on right: Door at main living area looking down towards front door. 

After decorating
Picture on left: Front door looking up towards door that enters main living area. 
Picture on right: Door at main living area looking down towards front door. 

The Details
We added a bar with hooks (Ikea) to serve as our coat rack. The rack is also a handy place to keep our umbrellas. Below that is an idea that I implemented from my Pinterest boards (see links below for the sources of inspiration). The shoe trays were super simple to create. Just pour large rocks (Walmart) into the trays (Ikea)! Snowy or wet shoes can be left here before entering further to keep the floors from getting messy. 

     Along the side of the stairs is a little shelf feature in the wall. This space could be ignored or it could be used for fun seasonal decor. Currently, I'm loving the look of the leaf garlands (Hobby Lobby)! In just a week I'll switch it out for some Christmas garland with scented pine cones and cinnamon sticks. There's also a little hook on the door, which is great for a little door hanger. It's fun having the wreath outside and something a little more whimsical on the inside. I may have too much fun decorating for holidays and seasons in this little spot!

I then decided to add a welcoming quote or saying somewhere in the entryway. I found vinyl letters (Hobby Lobby) that said, "May all who enter as guests, leave as friends." I thought this conveyed the heart I hope my home to represent. It also is the saying that is hanging outside my Grandmom's door, and so seeing the saying also reminds me of her. 

My hubby has been amazing at patiently listening to my ideas through my creative excitement, and then wonderfully helps me put it all together! 

      So, so far that is our little home. I think the entry looks so much more inviting and cheerful now than it did before. Next, I'll focus on sprucing up our dining room! Wee! :)

Sources of Inspiration:
DIY River Rock Boot Trays
Pebble Boot Tray
Creative Solution for Messy Winter Boots 
DIY Rock Boot Tray

Looking for more ideas?
 Follow Me on Pinterest

 Linked up at: 


Monday, November 12, 2012

Menu Plan: Fall (Nov. 11-17)

      It's finally our first full week in our home, and my hubby and I are ready to get back to cooking some real food! This week we chose our main meat to be a pork tenderloin, which we will prepare in a few different ways for three meals (that's only $7 of meat to cover three meals!). We're also trying several new recipes this week that incorporate ingredients I've never worked with before. Wish me luck on getting to that artichoke heart! haha. Once again, I'm drawing from a few of my favorite online recipe resources: Eating Well, Clean Eating, and Whole Foods Market. If you haven't taken a moment to explore these sites, then be sure to do so because they have some excellent ideas*.
      At the bottom of the post you'll find a copy of the menu planning sheet I use each week. I've seen lots of different menu planning pages online, but none that quite fit my needs. So, I created my own. Note- even though I include the days of the week on my sheet I rarely stick to it exactly. I move meals around throughout the week to accommodate the days' schedule. I plan by putting meals in specific places simply for me to make sure I've got all eating occasions covered and won't have to make multiple trips to the grocery. If this also fits you/your family, then there is a link below the image to download a copy. 

-Oat Bran Banana Muffins (Adjusted baking time and temperature to be appropriate for muffins instead of a loaf)
-Eggs, leftover muffins, smoothie cubes (fresh smoothies/juice make in the summer and stored frozen)
-Oatmeal with strawberries (using strawberries put up in the freezer when they were in season)
-Whole wheat pancakes (I recommend only 1 Tbsp. of batter each) with blueberry syrup (blueberries picked in season and stored in freezer)
-Breakfast quinoa (or oatmeal again)
-Eggs, oranges, yogurt with granola
-Sausage and gravy biscuits (whole wheat with flaxseed meal biscuits- yum!), oranges

-Shephard's Pie (using leftover roast meat we had stored in the freezer)
-Canned soup (using up the packaged foods we had to get while traveling so much. Homemade is so much better. hehe)
-Tilapia with avocado citrus salsa (replacing the blood orange for a regular orange)
-Pork fried rice

-Pork loin roast, butternut squash, collard greens
-Artichoke chicken with mushroom [+ grain] (1) we can't get kamut berries, so I'll be substituting another kind of grain 2) since this meal only calls for breast meat, I'll cut the thighs & legs off to be frozen for another meal and use the remaining body to make homemade stock for the freezer)
-Pork tacos with pico de gallo, black beans
-Okra and chickpea tagine (using okra we put up over the summer)
-Tortellini primavera (leftovers)

*Note: Reviving Homemaking is not affiliated with Clean Eating, Whole Foods Market, or Eating Well and was not asked to include or recommend them or their recipes in this post. (I simply like what they have to offer!)


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Meaning of Home

living room at morning

            The boxes and furniture have been delivered to your new home and now set in a chaotic array in each room. In spite of the mess, I see the beauty of potential. My creative mind busily composes images of the arrangements, textiles, and unique pieces that will offer such comfort and attractiveness to these open spaces and blank walls before me. I eagerly wait to add the many touches that will help to transform the generic townhome unit into something much more special- our home.

            Yet, even with all these elements in place a certain depth will remain missing. I could have all the decorative elements and the utmost style in our home, but without the company of friends and family the space will remain empty. The essence of a thriving home is more than the materials that comprise it; it’s the people who join together within that space.

            This notion is not new, and is, in fact, a commonly shared piece of wisdom. However, to some degree “home” remains to have a negative connotation. Home is the place where we can take refuge from the outside world, it’s our coveted storage space for all our dearly held personal belongings, it’s the place we get “stuck” in when we have nowhere else to go or no one with whom to go out. And for some, home is filled with so many unsettling moments or people that associating it as a good in life can be a challenge. With so many poor definitions of “home” existing, creating it into something completely different may seem daunting. It’s not! Each new day is a new opportunity to believe in the potential of home. There is so much depth and meaningfulness that can be instill into our homes!

            My heart for our home is for it to be a place that not only brings comfort to my husband and I, but also to others. Similarly, our space and possessions can serve others just as well as they serve us. In her book Simple Secrets to a Beautiful Home: Creating a Place You and Your Family Will Love Emily Barnes says:

                        Welcome home! That’s what I want my life to say to everyone whose path crosses mine. I want to create an atmosphere of serenity and joy, of blessing and belonging, that embraces people (myself included) and draws them in—an atmosphere that makes them feel loved and special and cared for. (page. 9)

Does this welcome and service require a little more of us? Certainly! Is it worth it? Absolutely! A life and home without welcome and service are regrettably missing something that truly enriches life. It’s not always easy to practice hospitality, especially when it feels like a faded practice among others. Nonetheless, I believe in the beauty of opening the doors of my home to guests and will continue to strive to do so. Think of it this way- could we spare one night each month to invite a family to enjoy dinner, dessert or an activity together? That’s only twelve days out of three hundred sixty five. Sounds a little more possible, right?

            But what if our homes are not decorated exactly like we’d want, or we don’t have the right (or enough) pieces to serve or entertain many guests? Then, take a breath and refocus yourself on the people not the possessions. Your guests are there to spend time with you, not necessarily your things. In fact, when they are there don’t even mention what is not as you’d like or how you’d change it if you could. The true lacking in that case is not of a material matter but a personal one. What is it that makes a less than desirable place one you feel compelled to return to time and again? It’s the content and joyful spirit of the person within the home! Strive to be the kind of person who is so content and so delighted in the company of others that everything else is insignificant.

Finally, what if we viewed our homes belonging more to God than us? Would our possessiveness lessen? Would we be less likely to use it as our hole to hide in? I believe God has a plan for each of us and will provide us with means to achieve that purpose. It’s about Him and His glory! That perspective has really influenced my desires for the meaning of my home and the means by which to achieve it. So as I continue unpack boxes and then decorate our space, I know that even if everything doesn’t come together as I have envisioned God does have it all together still! 


Friday, November 2, 2012

Revisiting "Celebrating the Season with Thankfulness"

Originally posted 11-18-2011. Contains revisions to make it appropriate for this year. 

       November is here and now is the time that everyone seems to be sharing their participation in a "30 Days of Thanksgiving" gratitude activity. Last year, I was all excited to join in as well. I had intentions for each day to list, photograph and share an area of thankfulness to focus on for the day. Well, I believe I made it to day 3. The ideas from various sources for acknowledging gratitude were wonderful. However, they weren't my own and as such didn't strike a personal cord within me. Moreover, I felt like I needed something more than the words "thank you." How do I truly experience gratitude? Act on it.

        After that experience, I decided to compile my own list of activities. I believe it is important to define "Thanksgiving" as a season of celebration and not just a two hour meeting for stuffing belllies and entering food comas. Moreover, I feel as though thanksgiving should be more than a daily statement made one month each year. It's a year-long, life-long attitude that is so deeply seeded in my life that my life reflects gratitude beyond my words. The following is what I came up with for last year. As I look over the list again this year I'm refreshed and encouraged to strive towards making these aspect more apart of life, both now during the Thanksgiving season and through the upcoming new year. There may be areas that need to be altered a bit or changed entirely, but that's okay because the idea is to always be discovering new ways to be thankful and reflect that attitude. 
Give Thanks Thanksgiving Countdown Calendar - PDF Pattern

1) I stumbled across this pattern for a calendar at Everyday Celebrations. I plan to make a few changes though. I would like one which would be year-round so that I can also fill the pockets with ways to appreciate other seasons or holidays. So, the colors will be those in my home's color scheme and the title will be changed to say, "Enjoy the Moments." Having the pattern as a base will make it much simpler to create and personalize!

2) I wanted my list to focus on three areas:
Express Thanks= 10         Express Giving=10          Come Together=10
1. Express thanks for good neighbors. Invite a neighbor to tea/coffee/dinner. If you don’t know your neighbor, then introduce yourself (be sure to include your gratitude for them!)

2. Make Java Chip Pumpkin bread* loaves and share a loaf with someone who is usually under appreciated. 
             *Java Chip Pumpkin Bread= 1 box quick pumpkin bread + chocolate chips + replace 
                  water with coffee.
3. Discuss how you can serve a family or person specifically over the holidays

4. Express thanks for relationships (friends/family) so close that the distance doesn’t even seem present. Call, write, or contact them in any way to express gratitude for them and your relationship. It could be a character quality, something that was done, favorite memory, or the impact they’ve had one you.

5. Create a Blessing Bag to keep in your car and offer to homeless individuals you encounter.

6. Have a family game night. Before each turn name a blessing.

7. Express thanks to a veteran for their courage and sacrifice. Write a letter** to someone currently serving. Greet and talk with someone you see while out today.
           ** Day 7: Letter to Soldiers- multiple sites to allow participation. Letters to Soldiers, &
                Soldiers Angels are two that I found just by doing a quick Google search.

8. Leave a cashier with a bit of a payment towards the next person. (You will need to place a rubberband or clip around it with a note or something designating it as such. Don’t want to get the cashier in trouble for having money lying around out of the drawer!)

9. Enjoy the beautiful fall foliage during a family walk/hike.

10. Express thanks to the Lord for the day. Some days just seem like they shouldn’t have even been attempted. Nonetheless, each and every day is a gift. Write Psalm 118:24 on a notecard and place by your alarm clock for when you rise. Then, stick it in your pocket or somewhere visible to be reminded of it throughout the day.

11. Leave a generous tip. Next time you’re at a restaurant leave a generous tip with a compliment on the receipt. If there is a tip jar, then leave a little more than just your change.

12. Munch on popcorn while enjoy a movie together (Charlie Brown holiday films!)

13.  Express thanks for the quiet times. Rise early and put some coffee or tea to brew. Spend extra moment with the Lord and in thought of ways to live out your gratitude during the day.

14. Offer a listening ear and shoulder to cry on. So often poor attitudes cause poor support systems (ie friendships!). Call or meet up with a friend to simply listen.

15. Use Thanksgiving Box Of Questions during dinnertime. (I haven't personally used these, but I love conversation cards!).

16. Express thanks for the good in life. Critical and negative perspectives are nearly impossible to escape. Have you become a perpetuator? Determine today to examine your words and heart to only allow that which is follows Philippians 4:8 to permeate your environment.

17. Grocery shop specifically with the intention of donating the entire bag. (Many grocery stores offer donation boxes or packages for purchase).

18. Review the story of the first Thanksgiving. Why did they want to observe a time of thanks? What is the significance of the holiday today?

19. Express thanks for your husband. When did we begin to see him with a critical (disrespectful) eye more than a grace giving (loving) eye? Challenge yourself today to not only speak well of him, but to think such as well! Praise him! Believe in him! Respect him!

20. Delight a child by taping change to a vending machine (bouncing balls, gum balls etc)

21. Capture with your camera the various things throughout the day you’re thankful for.

22. Express thanks to God for his provision. Stress can easily mound when it appears that there is more going out financially than coming in. Yet, when all is said and done there was somehow enough. Do we have shelter? Clothing? Food? Support from others? Our notion of provision and the Lord’s may look different, but one thing that is certain is that He is faithful in His promise to provide for us. Trust Him to do so. Thank Him for already doing so.

23. Graciously relieve someone of one of their responsibilities.

24.  Revisit the family photo album and travel back to previous Thanksgiving celebrations. What was your favorite memory of those times?

25. Express thanks for all those that God places in our paths. Some individuals and experiences will build us up, while others will refine us. Remember Romans8:28. Choose to recognize the good that came from our interactions and experiences. Make an effort to be kind today, even when someone we encounter appear to be “tearing us down.”

26. Visit with someone who may be lonely. The best way to combat a feeling of loneliness in ourselves is to remove that feeling from someone else. Nursing homes and hospitals are a great place to start. Don’t stop there though. Think outside the box. Is there anyone that lives alone? Spends evenings alone (spouse works night shift)? New to the area? Etc etc.

27. Everyone share what is their favorite aspect of the holiday season. What activities/traditions added meaning or joy, and which ones detracted from it? What would each person like to include this year?

28. Express thanks for God creating you to We are his workmanship. He carefully crafted us into being. What we perceive as flaws may be a part of God’s special design for us. Remember  that He created us to be as we are in order to fulfill His purposes for our lives, not our own. It’s easy to compare ourselves to others and see shortcomings. Snap a photo of yourself and on the back of the printed picture write ways in which God sees you.    

29. Spending time with family often times requires a road trip. Make the stress of traveling a little lighter by obtaining a gift card for gas. Next time you’re at the pump, tape the card with a little note to it. (I would say hand the card to someone nearby, but I have a hard time imagining people accepting a gift nowadays).

30. Prepare a meal together. It can be the actual Thanksgiving meal, a side, or just a weeknight dinner. “Too many cooks in the kitchen” is a complete falsity. I say the more the merrier! Divide the work and each embrace the opportunity to serve each other in preparing the meal.

Additional Resources:
 Random Acts of Kindness - Page with numerous ideas for simple acts of kindness.
Homeword 30 Days of Thanksgiving - Page with great ideas for areas of thankfulness.
Give Thanks Countdown Cards- Cards to accompany calendar pattern from Everyday Celebrations
Positively Present's 30 Photo Challenge on Gratitude- 30 days of capturing in film areas of gratitude.

      I hope to create a similar list with the same three areas of focus for the Christmas season (and likely subsequent seasons as well). I'll try to get a photo when I can get the calendar and cards completed.

     As for now, I pray that it will encourage you to determine in what ways you would like to focus this holiday season. This list is what is fitting for our family. I encourage you to take some time to think through creating a list to make it yours :)

Linked up at: Don't Waste Your Homemaking, Growing Home, Far Above Rubies, Women Living Well, Raising Homemakers, Raising Mighty Arrows, Our Simple Country Life, Maxabella Loves, The Gypsy MamaTime Warp Wife, Thankful Homemaker, Growing Home, Time-Warp Wife, Women Living Well

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...