Monthly Archives

November 2018

  • Keep Giving: An Open Letter to the Mamas

    Smile. Smile Finley. Finley can you SMILE? I must’ve said it a hundred times.

    He stared at me plainly, then ran away in a defiant move that screamed “I won’t be cooperating for pictures today.” This happens often, and it’s okay. I want him to exercise autonomy and if he’s not feeling a photo sesh, I’m certainly not going to force it. I scrolled through my camera roll and found the one photo of him with a half-smile that portrayed him enjoying himself. I favorited it for later. 

    The rest of the day at the pumpkin patch was no different. He just. wasn’t. feeling it.

    Skipping nap probably had something to do with it. Isn’t it funny that the days we anticipate and build up for them the most are often a fail? I circled back to the photo from earlier and went to post it. I looked at it a little differently. The picture was in no way representative of how the day unfolded. The truth was, I coaxed him into every activity. He melted down over the slightest mishap. At one point, he was so angry he intentionally face planted in the middle of the hay barn (that was almost comical). I felt compelled to tell the whole story. So I’m doing that today. 

    Sometimes the days we plan and plot to be the most fun fall short. Sometimes our littles can’t appreciate the hard work we’ve put in to engage them. Sometimes our efforts to fulfill them feel fruitless and futile. It’s frustrating. It’s discouraging. And its all part of this momlife gig. We give and give and give to our kids and at times it’s as if the investment is yielding no return. 

    But it is. Every attempt we make to spend quality time with our children reinforces our love for them.

    Even when the immediate result is a million tantrums the lifelong affect is far greater than we can recognize in the moment. It hit me that, it was never about posting the perfect social media photo. It was about creating memories. Building self esteem. Encouraging wonderment. And mamas, every time we allow our kids the opportunity to experience something new, we are doing all of these invaluable things. I try to remind myself of that notion when plans don’t pan out the way I’d want them to. 

    It is with these words that I hope to inspire you to keep giving.

    Keep planning. Keep the magic alive. Worry less about the photo and more about the memories and positive takeaways. Our children will be boundlessly better for it. 

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  • Weekly Menu Board – An Easy DIY Project

    Since the school year began, our family has put some extensive structure into our days – something we never had to do before. And to make sure our new routine runs smoothly during the week, I have been working on ways to organize our time and schedule accordingly. One of the newest projects I have implemented is this weekly menu board, which I am sharing below.

    It has only been a few weeks since using this and it has been really helpful. We’ve saved a fair amount of money by planning our dinners in advance and we are never asking ourselves, “What should we have for dinner?” when 5 o’clock rolls around. As a result, creating our grocery list each week has been a breeze.

    I modeled my weekly menu board from this project by The Thinking Closet, but with significant changes. It was super easy to make and one that I am excited to use each week. I hope you enjoy this project and see if it helps you!

    As a result, creating our grocery list has been a breeze and we are never asking ourselves, “What should we have for dinner?”

    Here is what you will need:

    Step 1.

    Gather your supplies.

    Step 2.

    Create a list of all your favorite family meals using this template. I made sure to include “take out”, “leftovers” and “eating out” as options for the times we aren’t cooking at home.

    If you happened to look at the weekly menu board that I referenced, they actually color coordinated the meals by category ( i.e. chicken, seafood, beef, vegetarian, etc). I didn’t feel this was necessary, but it’s a great idea if you want to get more detailed.

    Print this list on regular 8.5 x 11 card stock and cut into strips.

    Step 3.

    Self-laminate the meal strips, cut and punch holes in the top left-hand corner. When finished, hang on binder rings for later.

    Use this template to create bigger meal cut outs and you can print the recipes on the back!

    Step 4.

    Create a file in Silhouette or Cricut with the weekdays, “recipes/meals”, “The ___ Family Menu” and anything else you want to add. From here you will just create, cut, transfer and place on the chalkboard where you see fit (here is a helpful tutorial), but if you are just using a chalk paint pen – this is the step you would write these on the board.

    BONUS: Use this template to create bigger meal cut outs and you can print the recipes on the back! I regret not doing this myself and have since contemplated remaking my cards.

    Step 5.

    Hot glue gun the clothespins to below the days of the week and tape the command hooks to the right, as shown in picture.

    Step 6.

    Now, just put your meals for the week under the weekday and the rest will hang on the binder rings!

    And there it is! Altogether, the project took me about 30 minutes. I hung the weekly menu board on an empty wall in the kitchen that I plan to turn into a command center when all is said and done.

    Each Sunday, we look through our favorite meals from the board, decide what we want throughout the week and write out our grocery list. It makes our lives so much easier!

    Do you create a weekly meal plan? How do you like to keep it organized?

    Cheers mama,

    PS. If you are interested in more home organizational projects, be sure to visit here!

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  • Teaching Gratitude Through a Grateful Tree

    On long, exhausting, frustrating days with my boys (lets be honest we all have them) there is one thing I lean on to pull me through: Gratitude.

    I started practicing intentional gratitude after my first was born in an attempt to ease anxiety. I learned quickly that when I regularly took time to give thanks and share a sense of abundance around me, I attracted a goodness that elevated my mood and carried me through the day. What better time to emphasize gratitude than the month of November, when Thanksgiving is at the forefront of our of planning. I came across the idea for a Grateful Tree while in the seasonal section of Target (where else) and I must say, it will now be a staple of our holiday celebration. The Grateful Tree is a fun and interactive way to engage your kids while instilling the value of gratitude.

    There are many ways to create your own Grateful Tree, but here I’ll give you the tools to build a tree like the one we have on display in our home. You will need:

    • A Glass Cylinder
    • Pine Cones
    • A stick (ideally with numerous branches)
    • Construction Paper (Red, Orange and Yellow)
    • Hole Punch
    • Yarn
    • Permanent Marker

    Fill the cylinder with pine cones. This will hold the stick in place and keep it straight so you can hang your leaves. Position the stick up right so that the leaves will dangle colorfully from each branch. Use the construction paper for the leaf cutouts. You can also purchase them here. Punch a hole in each cutout, and carefully weave the yarn through the hole to create the hanger.

    Practicing gratitude may reduce aggression and alleviate negative emotions such as envy and resentment

    For every night in November we’ve added a leaf to our Grateful Tree. It has become the pre-bedtime ritual. I ask my oldest son to tell me one thing in his life that he is grateful for, and we use the permanent marker to write it down on one of the leaves and hang it on a branch. Just a tip: defining grateful to an almost-three-year-old proved to be tricky. I explained to him that the things in life for which we show gratitude make us happy. Basically he gives me items throughout his day that brought him joy, which, to me is close enough! We can expand on that down the road.

    There are many benefits to exercising gratitude, and introducing this practice early on in a child’s life may increase mental strength, boost empathy and augment overall well-being.

    Studies show that gratitude may also reduce aggression and alleviate negative emotions such as envy and resentment. And seriously, the Grateful Tree is a super cute piece of decor to add to your Thanksgiving collection. I think it will be fun to look back on our grateful leaves next year, and see how he grows in his understanding. Hope you find this project to be as beneficial as we have. Enjoy your Grateful Tree!

    PS. If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out our post on our Table Talk Thanksgiving Conversation Game(hint: it includes a  free printable)!

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  • Free Customizable Thanksgiving Printables – Utensil Holder, Place Card and Food Tent Cards

    Happy November everyone! We are officially gearing up for the next fall holiday and, piggybacking off of last weeks post, I have some more FREE Thanksgiving printables to share with you!

    Free Thanksgiving Printables - Utensil Holder, Place Card and Food Tent Cards | Rock It Mama | Download your fee Thanksgiving hosting decoration

    One of my favorite things about the holidays when hosting is decorating and I truly believe every last detail counts. That is why I created these customizable Thanksgiving printables for the dinner table and I’m happy to share them with you today. The PDFs available contain witty utensil holders, place cards and food tent cards and are a fun extension to add to your Thanksgiving decor.

    Free Thanksgiving Printables - Utensil Holder, Place Card and Food Tent Cards | Rock It Mama | Download your fee Thanksgiving hosting decoration

    Simply enter your information below and the download link for the free Thanksgiving printables will pop up!

    I printed the PDFs on 65lb white cardstock, used my scoring tool to create the folds for the cards and was good to go! Also – be sure to download the following font so you can customize your food tent cards and place cards:

    Thisay font by 7NTypes.otf

    If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out our post on our Table Talk Thanksgiving Conversation Game (hint: it includes another free printable)!

    PPS. Also check out our Pinterest page, full of more Thanksgiving ideas we are smitten with.

    Free Thanksgiving Printables - Utensil Holder, Place Card and Food Tent Cards | Rock It Mama | Download your fee Thanksgiving hosting decoration

    Picture to download your printables



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