All Posts By:

Jenna Mugridge

  • Bedtime Affirmations – for Kids!

    If your household is anything like mine, bedtime is a serious struggle. As much as I try to wear my kids out during the day and keep their night time schedules high and tight, it feels like they avoid sleep like the plague.

    Whether it’s my oldest son sneaking out of his room, or my youngest having a hard time winding down, bedtime can be difficult.

    Some of the ways I attempt to curb the struggle include nightly gratitude practices and bedtime affirmations. These simple phrases help promote a full heart, clear mind, calm nerves and thus, peaceful slumber!

    The affirmations on the list rhyme and are easy to remember, but we’ve done our readers a solid and created a printable that kids can keep bedside. I framed one to have on my son’s night stand so we always have it handy after stories!

    ease bedtime struggles

    For clarity let’s define the practice of reciting affirmations as consciously choosing words that will either help eliminate something from your life or help create something new in your life. Every thought you think and every word you speak is an affirmation.

    So if the goal is to ease bedtime struggles, we can do so by providing kids positive affirmations that expel negative thoughts, and soothe the anxiety that often accompanies bedtime.

    positive affirmations for kids

    Additionally, when practicing intentional gratitude, children build a foundation for positive behaviors that will enhance their lives down the road. Studies show there are many benefits to exercising gratitude.

    Introducing this practice early on in a child’s life may increase mental strength, boost empathy and augment overall well-being.

    It may also reduce aggression and alleviate negative emotions such as envy and resentment. Is there a better way to end the day?

    My son and I enjoy reciting affirmations aloud together, and we’ve quickly made this gratitude practice part of our nightly routine. Typically we choose two or three per night, but vocalizing all seven certainly can’t hurt.

    We hope our bedtime affirmations help foster good sleeping habits!

    Now it’s your turn, mama. Check out these Positive Affirmations for Moms to overhaul those thought patterns that could be holding you back!

    For the simple, printable version, use the form to download below!

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  • Setting New Years Affirmations and Not Resolutions in 2020

    It’s that time of year again!

    The time where we reflect back on all the opportunities, endeavors and experiences we have had in 2019; and a new opportunity to set goals and prioritize what we hope to accomplish next year!

    Enter: New Years Resolutions.

    Now I am all about turning over a new leaf – and my intentions with resolutions in the past have always come with high motivation. However, I have realized that I have consistently set unrealistic goals for myself.

    So this year – I am nixing resolutions altogether and practicing affirmations instead. Why you ask? Let me explain.

    First let’s define New Years Resolutions: Noun – A promise that you make to yourself to start doing something good or stop doing something bad on the first day of the year.

    And now Affirmations: Noun – Consciously choosing words that will either help eliminate something from your life or help create something new in your life. Every thought you think and every word you speak is an affirmation.

    To put it simply – A resolution is basically a make-it-or-break-it promise. For example: You decide in 2020 you will go to the gym 5 days a week. Blessings to you, as that is highly unrealistic for myself, and sets the bar high (:::slow handclap::: if you can do that). BUT, the caveat is, if you don’t go 5 days a week, you have “failed” your resolution and likely will not continue.

    image of daily affirmation cards

    When you change your mindset, you are able to overhaul thought patterns that typically hold you back.

    An affirmation on the other hand is a consciously directed thought for the present moment; one that will manifest or attract something into your life. A comparable affirmation for your resolution would be something like “I feel healthier and stronger when I exercise regularly and take care of myself”. When you change your mindset and make a commitment towards a disciplined thought, you are cultivating your subconscious mind with positivity, happiness and success and are able to overhaul thought patterns that typically hold you back. Those positive thoughts and reminders you give yourself then translate into prolific actions and goals! 

    So every morning starting January 1st, I plan to set aside a few moments and go over the affirmations that resonate with me – and I encourage you to do the same!

    To make it easier, I have created a few of my favorite affirmations for you, for FREE. Find the ones that reflect who you are and your future goals and with consistent use, see the changes you want come to fruition!

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  • New Years Reflection and Goal Setting Worksheets for Kids

    With the turn of a new year tomorrow, its a time of reflection and goal setting for many of us – and not just for adults. Today, we are sharing  New Years Reflection and Goal Setting Worksheets for your kids!

    This is the perfect opportunity to discuss with your children the importance of reflection and setting personal goals for the year. Our worksheets are designed to be thought-provoking, fun and encourage personal growth and development. They include:

    • Year End Reflection Questions – Before your child decides how they want 2020 to look, dig deeper into the past year. Surprisingly, some of the answers can be a catalyst for major goal motivation. This worksheet is also a great conversation starter with family and friends (and you know we love a good conversation game.)
    • S.M.A.R.T. Defining Sheet – S.M.A.R.T. goals is a simple way to assist in goal setting. It is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. Setting S.M.A.R.T. goals helps to clarify ideas and focus efforts that ultimately increase the chances of achieving accomplishments.
    • S.M.A.R.T. Worksheet – Have your child work through the S.M.A.R.T. process questions to plan out their 2020 goals.

    This is the perfect opportunity to discuss with your child the importance of reflection and setting personal goals for the year

    Teaching goal setting can be a challenge, so consider these simple tips:

    • Break big goals into little goals. If your child has a challenging goal they want to achieve, break it down to a step-by-step process. That way, they are continuing to accomplish small wins as they go.
    • Keep them short term. An important thing to keep in mind for younger kids, is to focus on a small goal that is easily achievable within a short amount of time. For example, a goal for a kindergartner may be to learn tying his/her own shoelaces within a week.
    • Celebrate the wins. Hitting goals is exciting. Be sure to acknowledge the great accomplishment that your child has made and let them know how proud you are of them. They will certainly want to achieve more.
    • Share your goals. Use this activity as a way to be candid and give examples of some of the goals you plan to achieve.

    After the activity is done, have your child hang their worksheets on the fridge or in their room; this will serve as a daily reminder and motivation for the goals they plan to achieve!

    If you enjoyed this activity, check out our other kids activities here.


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  • 5 Simple Christmas Eve Traditions your Family will Love

    For me as a child, nothing compared to the magic of Christmas eve.

    The memories of warm fires, family time, good company, and the burning anticipation; it all hits me in a wave of nostalgia this time of year, and inspires me to come up with special traditions for my own family to look back on.

    My hope is that they will carry the same joyful Christmas spirit in their lives that I do, and subsequently, spread the goodness that accompanies the holiday season.

    It warms my heart to think the traditions we begin in our boys’ early lives, will likely be the same ones we practice 10-15 years from now!

    Christmas eve traditions

    But I’m also a firm believer that it is never too late to create a tradition, or to add something new to spice up the holiday as well.

    For example, the pickle ornament idea is something my parents incorporated on our holiday traditions list when we were teenagers. Now it’s a Christmas Eve staple!

    And we certainly can’t dismiss the importance of family traditions in general. Studies show family traditions are the basis in creating family culture. Traditions nurture bonds between siblings and parents, and develop a sense of familial belonging. All good stuff!

    Whether you’re stocking up on ideas for future Christmas Eves or right in the thick of it with your own family, here are 5 Unique Family Traditions for Christmas Eve.

    The Pickle Ornament Hunt

    This is one of my favorite Christmas eve traditions, and a game that I know my boys will delight in for years to come. It’s quite simple, first the pickle ornament is hidden deep in the branches of the tree.

    Then, the hunters search high and low until they discover the bright green pickle and win a prize. We usually make the winnings monetary, but another fun piece to this, would be allowing the winning child to open one gift!

    The winner of the pickle prize is also said to have been gifted a year of good fortune.

    Link to download your own pickle below!

    Make Reindeer Food

    How is it fair that Santa gets to eat all the treats, while the reindeer carry the heavy load? Something must be done to balance this careless injustice!

    Have your kids whip up some snacks for the reindeer with this fun reindeer food recipe:

    Start with any of these base ingredients:

    • Oats
    • Cheerios
    • Chex Mix
    • Bird seed

    Then add the mix-ins:

    • Chocolate chips
    • Marshmallows
    • M&Ms
    • Chopped carrots or celery
    • Nuts
    • Craisins/raisins
    • Sprinkles or edible glitter

    Have kids sprinkle the reindeer food on the deck, patio, ground or wherever they’re assuming the reindeer will land for the evening.

    Winter Hike

    For a holiday that can get choked up on the consumer and commercialism, why not get back to the basics with a winter hike!

    Bundle up and head out on a nature trail.

    Christmas Eve book Exchange

    In the country of Iceland there is a Christmas eve tradition called Jólabókaflóð (I think I spelled that right!) where each family member gifts the other a book to read, and afterwards, the evening is spent cuddled up reading together.

    Iceland has a rich legacy of being extremely well-read. The country has more writers, more books published and more books read, per head, than anywhere else in the world.

    This “Yule Book Flood” inspires a cozy evening with parents snuggled up reading new books to their kids, or quietly by the fire with some hot cocoa after bedtime.

    As a big advocate for literacy and a self proclaimed bookworm looking to pass on a love for reading to my kids, I can’t love this tradition enough!

    Cookie Baking Contest

    Cookies, sweets, treats, whatever your family prefers, make it a baking competition!

    Have each person choose a new recipe (or a new spin on a family favorite) and vote on which one takes the proverbial cake.

    Christmas eve traditions

    Another idea on the topic of sweets is to celebrate with Holiday cheer in the form of Hot Cocoa! Warm up the evening with a Hot Cocoa bar.

    Allow kids to come up with their own creations, from whipped cream toppings to those super fun Hot chocolate bombs that are everywhere on Pinterest right now.

    YUM!

    We hope you’re able to incorporate atleast one of these fantastic traditions into your Christmas eve!

    For more holiday cheer- check out our DIY scrabble tile ornament!

    Christmas Eve
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  • Non-Toy Holiday Gift Ideas for Kids

    Christmas is upon us and the never-ending list to Santa Claus, requests from in laws, and our personal gifting list is underway. But while looking around seeing toys in every nook and cranny, I just want to say, no more toys!

    Now don’t get me wrong – thoughtful, educational and useful gifts are right up my ally, but with an overwhelming amount of toys, many times these items get lost, thrown out or forgotten. So this year I decided to change it up and focus on non-toy holiday gifts for the boys that will be sure to last (with of course some toys…I’m not a Grinch!).

    Whether you are looking for Christmas gifts, birthday gifts or another special occasion, I think this list will help you find something functional that your child will enjoy too!

    This post may contain affiliate links, which means that we may receive a commission if you make a purchase using these links.

    Furniture

    Furniture is extremely practical. Kids and toddlers can get really excited about a new piece they can call their own and incorporate into their space; and as an added benefit – you will get years out of it!

    Teepee/Fort

    What a fun thing to post up and create a space for privacy and adventure! Kids can cozy it up with just a few blankets and pillows.

    Step Stool

    Kids often need a boost the reach the sink, maybe to watch along as you cook or help with tasks. A step stool is great for making this possible and there are a variety of options to choose from. You can even get customized stools from places like Etsy or Amazon.

    Kids Chair

    Gift your child a place to sit back, rest, watch tv and read a book or two with a kids chair. There are traditional kid-sized proportioned chairs or you can go with a bean bag that stores toys (double win)!

    Table and Chair Set

    Gift a table and chair set where your children can eat, craft, work and play.

    Sleeping Gifts

    Blankie Tails

    The kids will love these unique and soft minky material blankets, they can use for sleep or cuddling up on the couch.

    Squishmallows

    These plush buddies are so comfortable and soft and great for couch companions, pillow pals, bedtime buddies and travel teammates. They have an incredible line of stuffed animals, so one is sure to win your childs heart.

    Star Projector

    Light up the bedroom with a starry sky. Children love this fantastic display and can use this as a regular night light or desk lamp.

    Art Supplies

    Investing in art and craft supplies is an easy way for your child to expand their imagination while practicing their gross and fine motor skills.

    Easel/Chalkboard

    These multipurpose easels are sure to be a hit. Use it as a chalkboard, magnet board or a space to draw pictures.

    Craft Pack

    Sometimes all it takes is a fresh pack of markers, pipe cleaners, googly eyes and more to get the creative juices flowing.

    Tech Gifts

    Kids Fitness Watch

    Motivate your child to stay active with a fitness tracking watch. Kids can uncover character adventures and themed mini games by completing daily activities set for them.

    Mini Instant Camera

    What child wouldn’t want their own camera? And better yet, one where they can immediately print and display their photography.

    Books

    Books are always an educational gift worth giving. For the holidays you can even spice things up in December and open Christmas book gifts each night to read together.

    Experiences

    Now you can’t have a list without experiences. Doing something new or learning new things things creates lasting memories that my husband, children and I have enjoyed the most. Here are just a few:

    If you liked this post, you may be interested in our 50 Christmas Gifts under $10 and 75 Stocking Stuffers. Give it a read here!

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  • DIY Fall Themed Story Stones

    While I’m sure you’ve heard of painted rocks, the question stands: Have you heard of story stones?

    I had not, until a few short weeks ago while searching for ways to paint fall themed rocks. My son and I have been planting painted rocks around our neighborhood for people to find, and we stumbled upon the idea for story stones during a quick google search.

    Now, we’re having so much fun telling stories with our stones, that we’ve been creating them nonstop. So naturally, I’m ready to share the untold benefits of playing with story stones, and how EASY they are to make!

    story stones

    For some clarity, Story Stones are pictures painted or glued onto smooth pebbles, used as an aid in storytelling.

    They can either represent a known story to be placed in order, or they can be a themed selection of images that prompt children to create their own stories.

    Storytelling through story stones can be an excellent tool for developing skills such as social communication, creativity, logical thinking and support learning through play objectives.

    Stories are an inclusive way to help children learn no matter what their abilities!

    Fall themed Story Stones Printable

    For our homemade stones, we coat the printable images in modge podge to seal to them to the stone. So far, it’s been working great! And, it’s a craft my 4 year old can do alongside me.

    I decided to create a Fall themed printable to inspire stories about all the exciting pieces that make autumn such a special season. Watch this imagination running wild!

    Simple directions:

    1. Cut the images out
    2. Use Modge Podge to glue the image to the stone (the entire image should be glossed over, front and back)
    3. Let dry for an hour or so
    4. The fun begins!

    The modge podge we use for our stones is linked above!

    There are so many ways to enjoy these creative pebbles and promote imaginative play. Try adding them to a sensory bin, or categorizing with flashcards. We like to create narratives with our stones outside under the sunshine.

    Let us know how you use your story stones in the comments below!

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    For more nature based learning, check out these 7 Nature Activities and Ideas for Outdoor Exploration for kids!

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