All Posts By:

Brittany Doyle

  • Easy DIY Christmas Ornament for 2020

    Shew. 2020.

    What a ride it has been. I believe I can speak for everyone when I say, we will be happy to put this one behind us.

    When coming up with an idea for an easy DIY 2020 Christmas ornament, I wanted to keep it light, while still featuring an image that will remind us of what we’ve endured this year, when we look back in the future.

    What better way to remember the Holiday season of 2020 than with a masked Santa and reindeer, am I right?

    DIY christmas ornament

    This “Christmasked” DIY craft is easy enough for a child to make (as long as a parent does the drilling!). All you need is our FREE masked Santa and reindeer printable available for download (keep scrolling!) modge podge, a slice of wood, twine, and a drill to create the hole.

    Unless, of course, you use the pre-drilled slices which I’ve found on Amazon and other craft suppliers. Both are linked below!

    Perfect for your family tree, or as a gift to others, let’s work through this Easy DIY 2020 Christmas ornament, and relish in the holiday spirit that even this tumultuous year can’t deny us.

    You will need:

    • Downloadable masked Santa and reindeer printable below
    • Wood slices
    • Twine
    • Modge Podge
    • Drill
    DIY christmas ornament

    Start with the wood slice. Drill a hole for the twine at the top. Pre-drilled natural wood slices are available to purchase as well, if you don’t want the hassle of pulling out the drill, or simply don’t have one.

    String the twine through the hole.

    Cut the graphic in a shape similar to the wood slice so it’s evenly spaced. Apply modge podge to the back of the graphic. Place it on the wood, then cover the image again in more modge podge. I assure you, it does not rip the paper!

    Let the modge podge dry completely. And just like that, the ornament is ready to hang!

    If Christmas isn’t your celebration, we’ve included a “Happy Holidays” version of our printable, which is also included upon downloading our graphic through the form below.

    DIY Christmas ornament

    Download your FREE 2020 Christmasked Ornament printable below!

    This Holiday season may we resolve to hold each other a little closer, connect deeper with those we love, and lead with empathy, good faith, and kindness in our interactions with one another.

    We wish you the most peaceful of Holiday celebrations this year, and to all of our loyal readers, may you stay safe, merry and bright!

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    And if you just can’t get enough DIY Christmas tree ornaments this year, check out our Scrabble Tile ornament tutorial here!

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  • 5 Awesome Ideas for Thanksgiving Day

    I seriously feel bad for Thanksgiving.

    I mean, every year we’re driven to leap into Christmas (or whatever your celebration!) and bypass Turkey day. It’s almost as if we will eventually dismiss the Holiday all together.

    In recent years, I’ve tried to give Thanksgiving its due recognition, but I’m ashamed to admit I’m guilty of pulling out the Christmas gear in the second week of November.

    Alfie the Elf on the Shelf has already graced us with his presence. The tree is up, Santa’s face is plastered everywhere, the stockings are hung tenderly with care…you get it.

    Picture of 5 Awesome Ideas for Thanksgiving Day

    Because it’s so easy to get wrapped up in the magic of the holiday season, we’ve listed 5 Awesome Ideas for Thanksgiving Day that’ll allow you to fully acknowledge Turkey day, and perhaps begin a new tradition with the ones you love.

    1. Volunteer

    What could be more appropriate on a day designated for giving than to volunteer and give back to the community.

    I like this idea because you can put in a few hours of the day volunteering for an organization you’re compelled to get involved with and still have time to feast, drink and spend time with family as you desire. If you’re looking for local charities and non-profits this is a great resource. A couple of tips:

    • Choose a cause you’re passionate about
    • Find an opportunity that matches your skills, interest and schedule
    • Get the kids involved
    • Check with organizations about their Covid-19 policies to be sure they’re complying with CDC regulations**

    To make things even simpler, piece a Thanksgiving meal together for a family in need. Each day add a canned good item to a basket or donate a gift card. Reach out to local food banks to see where there is a need for Thanksgiving meal donations.

    thanksgiving

    Volunteering can also be as simple as donating goods to a local food bank.

    Usually in need of assistance, hospitals offer a variety of volunteer opportunities suitable for all ages. I hope to incorporate this idea into our future Thanksgiving plans as Covid-19 restrictions are hopefully lifted. It always feels good to pay your good fortune forward. 

    2. Turkey Trot

    Want to go for seconds and thirds guilt free this Thanksgiving? The average American will consume 3,000 calories on Turkey day (and honestly you should because, duh, it’s Thanksgiving!).

    An awesome way to kick off the day, get the endorphins going, and burn some pre-meal calories is to run a turkey trot! My husband and I did this a few years ago and I have to say, indulging was that much sweeter after a solid 10k. You can find fun races in your area using this convenient tool.

    Turkey trots range in size from a just a few runners to thousands. The organizations hosting the event usually use the entrance fee to fund local charities and in some races the 1st place prize is a frozen turkey! Dust off those running shoes and get trotting!

    With Covid-19 restrictions in place, Turkey trot races are offering virtual options. I’ve also considered mapping out a 3.1 mile race in our neighborhood for our family to run without paying to enter an actual race.

    3. Celebrate Native American Culture

    If you’ve never been, I highly recommend a day trip to the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. I find it immensely important to educate myself and my family on Indigenous People and their many contributions to  modern day society. You can find Native influence in our arts, agriculture, and even modern medicine.

    Make it a quest to discover local tribes or plan a trip to a reservation. Try a Native recipe. Watch a movie starring Native actors. Here is a great list of children’s books to help explain a history that is often depicted inaccurately in school teachings and otherwise.

    The Best Thanksgiving Traditions

    4. Game Time

    Some of my favorite memories from childhood Thanksgivings is playing football with my cousins and family after our feast. It became such a tradition that a trophy was made for the winning team each year. So fun!

    Whatever game you play, because it certainly doesn’t matter, make it light and fun and try and get everyone involved! Play a board game, create a scavenger hunt, or enjoy a round of cards. Pro tip: Put the electronics down and get back to the basics!

    Our Table Talk Printable is an awesome way to dig deep with the people you spend the holiday with. This conversation generator will have everyone at the table involved! Simply print out the questions, cut, and throw them in a container.

    Ideas for thanksgiving day

    Pass the container around to each guest until all of the questions are answered, OR have everyone at the table answer the question pulled. You’d be surprised at the level of intimate conversation these questions inspire!

    Link to download our Table Talk Printable HERE!

    5. Get Away

    And I don’t mean to your Great Aunt Linda’s house to have an uncomfortable political discussion at Thanksgiving dinner that ends in hurt feelings and family in-fighting!

    It is 100% okay to ditch the gatherings and do your own thing. Maybe you need a getaway. You’ve likely been rewarded extended time off for the holiday, so why not use that time to explore?

    Pick a place you’ve never visited. Numerous secluded resorts countrywide offer Thanksgiving deals to travelers who, like you, need an alternative.

    Plenty of awesome destinations and fresh ideas offered up right here. I’d also advise bringing a friend or two to make it a Friendsgiving trip!

    We hope you’ve been inspired by one of our awesome ideas for Thanksgiving Day and decide to include it in your future Turkey day festivities. 

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    If you enjoyed our 5 Awesome Ideas for Thanksgiving Day don’t forget to create The Grateful Tree!

    The Best Thanksgiving Traditions

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  • 40 Fall Activities to Bring Your Family Closer Together

    You could say I’m a Fall enthusiast, but that would probably be the understatement of the year. I’ve had my Fall decorations up since the beginning of September. Pumpkins, leaves and harvest signs are taking up most of the space in our humble abode, and I’m not one bit sorry about it!

    The Fall traditions run thick in this household, and I can’t think of a better time for family activities than during this festive, gratitude-rich season.

    In order to galvanize your family members and get the Fall flare going, we’ve compiled a list of our 40 favorite Fall activities that will bring your family closer together. All of these ideas are family friendly for kids of varying ages, and can easily become traditions for the harvest season. Eventually, they become activities to look forward to year after year!

    So why are family activities and traditions important?

    A review in the December issues of American Psychological Association’s (APA) Journal of Family Psychology states that “family routines and rituals are alive and well and are associated with marital satisfaction, adolescents’ sense of personal identity, children’s health, academic achievement and stronger family relationships.” We couldn’t agree more!

    Additionally, studies show family traditions are the basis in creating family culture. Some of the many benefits include nurtured bonds between siblings and parents, a further developed sense of belonging, and the making of a memorable childhood. Can’t help but love those perks!

    A few of the Fall activities require prior planning and others can be done on a whim. That’s why we love this list and encourage you to add some family fun in your busy Fall schedule.

    One of our Fall must-dos is a family hike during the weeks of foliage. It’s wonderful to behold the colorful leaves and to appreciate nature’s beauty that only comes around once a year together as a family. Again, the activity doesn’t have to be extravagant. Something as simple as backyard football can bring your family closer together.

    To make planning even more simple here are a few quick links to find Fall activities near you!

    • To find Fall festivals (broken down by state) check out Funtober.com
    • To Find an upcoming 5K near you here is Active.com
    • A list of super scary films for movie night ranked by rotten tomatoes
    • Some family Halloween costume ideas
    • To donate blood and give the gift of life as a family, find a blood drive near you

    Enjoy the season and don’t forget to check out our Grateful Tree Activity!

    What are some of your favorite fall activities? Comment below!

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  • Simple Methods for Teaching Kids Kindness and Empathy

    As a child, my parents recited the old adage “treat others the way they want to be treated” often. This message has resonated throughout my life in situations where I feel triggered or compelled to jump to conclusions. It’s important that my children understand the values of empathy and why it should be employed in our social interactions and relationships.

    In fact, years from now when I look back on the job I’ve done as a parent, I will measure my success in the amount of kindness radiating from my kids.

    FREE PRINTABLES BELOW!

    Let’s define empathy as the attempt to understand another person’s thoughts, feelings, and condition from his or her point of view, rather than from one’s own.

    Empathy allows children to assess how others are feeling and respond appropriately. In the age of bullying, it’s vital to the health of our youngest generation to understand and practice empathy and tactful sensitivity. By teaching children to look outward and identify with the experience of others, we can cultivate kindness and foster compassion.

    Below is a printable learning activity, a printable call to action and a list of picture books to help children explore the value of empathy and grow kindness. We hope you make full use of our simple methods for teaching kids kindness and empathy, and in doing so, make the world a better place.

    Wrinkled Heart Learning Activity

    Start with an unwrinkled heart. Have your child cut it out. Explain negative speak and give examples. With each negative phrase, fold the heart until it is completely wrinkled. Discuss how hurtful words can cause another person harm and are not easily forgotten.

    Lastly, explain that once something is communicated, it can not be retracted, in the same way the heart cannot be unwrinkled.

    A few more talking points:

      • Explain why it is important to think before you speak
      • Talk to your children about the struggles that others go through
      • Have a conversation about how the different life experiences of others can explain their actions
      • Teach them that words can hurt and have consequences
      • Discuss how speaking with care and sensitivity could save someone pain and suffering

    Random Acts of Kindness Jar

    Help children learn to derive pleasure from the happiness of others with this simple and impactful activity. Use the label to create a random acts of kindness jar.

    Cut the acts of kindness into small strips and fold them up. Then place them in the jar.

    Every morning (or week, month, whatever works for your family) have your child pull one of the strips from the jar and complete the act of kindness. Watch as they grow in their desire to give and pay it forward.

    Books that Teach & Inspire Empathy

    There is no better method for delivering a message to a child than via picture book. Research indicates that reading improves a child’s emotional intelligence and increases empathy. Be sure to check out the following reads:

    How Full is Your Bucket?

    Each of us has an invisible bucket. When our bucket is full, we feel great. When it’s empty, we feel awful. Yet most children (and many adults) don’t realize the importance of having a full bucket throughout the day. Felix learns how every interaction in a day either fills or empties his bucket. He then realizes that everything he says or does to other people fills or empties their buckets as well. Follow along with Felix as he learns how easy it can be to fill the buckets of his classmates, teachers and family members. Before the day is over, you’ll see how Felix discovers that filling someone else’s bucket also fills his own.

    The Last Stop on Market Street

    Every Sunday after church, CJ and his grandma ride the bus across town. But today, CJ wonders why they don’t own a car like his friend Colby. Why doesn’t he have an iPod like the boys on the bus? How come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town? Each question is met with an encouraging answer from grandma, who helps him see the beauty—and fun—in their routine and the world around them. Help children walk a mile in another’s shoes and gain a different perspective with this award winning read.

    The Invisible Boy

    Meet Brian, the invisible boy. Nobody ever seems to notice him or think to include him in their group, game, or birthday party until a new kid comes to class. When Justin, the new boy, arrives, Brian is the first to make him feel welcome. And when Brian and Justin team up to work on a class project together, Brian finds a way to shine. From esteemed author and speaker Trudy Ludwig this gentle story shows how small acts of kindness can help children feel included and allow them to flourish.

    We hope you’ve enjoyed our Simple Methods for Teaching Kids Kindness and Empathy. Looking for more on early childhood development? Be sure to read our small steps for Raising Confident Kids.

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  • 7 Simple Practices for Boosting Mental Health – FREE Printable Included

    As someone who has experienced generalized anxiety for most of my life, I’ve always understood the importance of a solid mental health routine.

    But since becoming a mother and suffering through a severe bout of postpartum depression, I’ve prioritized self-care in an even larger effort to bolster my mood, remain energized & be the best version of myself for my kids.

    It’s amazing what a few simple practices can do for the mind, especially when organized on a weekly task list designed for the modern woman with a thousand items on the mental plate.

    Let’s dive right in to these 7 Simple Practices for Boosting Mental Health. Don’t forget to download the free printable below!

    Picture of 7 Simple Practices for Boosting Mental Health

    Motivation

    For my Monday focus (because seriously, Mondays are the pits) I like to think motivation, and nothing gets me motivated like setting a goal for myself. Setting goals gives you longterm vision.

    It offers purpose, direction and something to achieve and work towards. I’m a huge believer in striving for more and continuous improvement.

    To put it plainly, achievement equals confidence. The goal doesn’t have to be anything monumental, but it has to be measurable and attainable. Once you set your goal and visualize it in your mind, write it down. Make it real. Begin planning first steps towards achievement, and use your Mondays to apply yourself towards it.

    Self-Care

    To be honest, I could go for self-care any day of the week. If you choose just one of these practices to implement in your weekly routine, let it be self-care.

    Treat yourself to a pedicure, exfoliate, set aside 20 minutes to meditate. Self-care looks different for everyone, so do what works for you. It’s important to maintain a healthy relationship with yourself in order to boost positive feelings and self-esteem.

    Digital Detox

    This one is probably the most straight forward yet hardest to accomplish, but I promise its worth it. Turn off that phone/television/computer for an evening and go screen free. Read a book, play a game, listen to a podcast.

    Picture of Rockitmama Free Mental Health Task List Printable

    See below!

    Organize/Purge

    Free your mind of clutter, quite literally! When the environment around us is chaos, it can be difficult to feel in control.

    Pick one item in your house/office/room that needs a good cleanse. Tackle that overflowing junk drawer or delete excess emails in your inbox.

    This could also apply to a toxic individual in your life that doesn’t contribute to your happiness and should be kindly removed. Release them. Talk about a mental refresh!

    Energize

    Everyone energizes in different ways. Maybe its socializing with friends or grabbing some fresh air. Perhaps it’s binge watching the latest Netflix series after a long week at work or catching up on sleep.

    Find the best way for you to re-energize for the weekend and make that your focus for Friday.

    Health

    Saturdays are focused on physical health which we all know, deeply impacts us mentally. I use Saturdays to get my long runs in for exercise, but again it doesn’t have to be that daunting.

    Make a healthy meal, meal plan for the week or take a yoga class at the gym.

    Focus on yourself physically, and the benefits to the mind will follow.

    Gratitude

    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 my anxiety.

    Quickly I learned 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.

    I encourage journaling these feelings of gratitude to really drill down on the good in your life & to help make it a habit.

    For more on the importance of mental health: Check out these Positive Ways to Support your Child’s Mental health.

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  • Happy Earth Children’s PRINTABLE Earth Day Activity

    As a self-proclaimed tree hugger it’s important to me that my kids understand the importance of Earth Day and why it’s vital to the future of our planet to set aside time to care for it. This activity is a simple and effective way to have that teachable moment on what keeps Earth healthy and thus, happy. On the opposite side, it highlights the actions that impact our environment in a negative way.

    Watch as they sort & learn the small ways we can reduce and reuse to protect our precious planet. We’ve included the FREE Happy Earth Children’s Earth Day Activity printable. It’s available for download at the bottom of this post. Happy Earth Day!

    Picture of Happy Earth Printable activity for Earth Day learning and creating.

    You will need:

    • Scissors
    • Glue
    • Blue or green construction paper
    • The Rock It Mama Earth Day printable (Two-page download at the bottom of post)

    Directions

    Glue the sorting chart page on either the green or blue construction paper for aesthetic purposes. Next, cut the two earths first and have your child distinguish between the happy earth vs. the sad earth. Glue both earths on the top of each side of the T chart.

    As each graphic is cut out, have a conversation about the picture and what is taking place. Explain why each picture either makes the Earth happy or sad based on what is occurring. Lastly, have them glue the graphic on the correct side of the T chart.

    Cutting Happy Earth printable for Earth Day learning activity.

    Just look at that focus! (Insert heart eyes)

    He’s well on his way to becoming a passionate environmentalist. Need more fun ideas for appreciating nature and the world around us? Add these 7 Nature and Exploration Ideas for Kids to your list!



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