Do your kids love writing thank you notes???…..So here’s a solution.


No more tears! A solution for kids' thank you notes

Our family has never been known for our stellar thank-you note etiquette. Instead, thank you notes typically make my boys want to actually return their presents.

“Skylanders, YES!!!!!”

“THANK YOU NOTES??? Oh, um, oh, uh. Moaaaannnnnn….Groannnnn….”

Look, it’s not that they are ungrateful. They SAID thank-you 100 times, jumped up and down, and gave the giver a hug. We are thankful, okay. But sitting down in an actual chair and WRITING out thank you notes??? Apparently some people don’t love that idea.

And many of you know that even after they write them their mother may lose them, forget to mail them, or stick them into a drawer and find and mail them a year later.

Not me, of course. Ahem. Never, no. I’m just so organized and careful. That would never happen to me…. (Ha!!!!! Right.)

But we do want to do the right thing and teach our children to show gratitude to others. We’ve been blessed so much.

The Solution

So Lil’ Miss Gratitude, over at….well… invented something that’s pretty awesome. This is what I used for my son’s birthday this year. He took one look at how it was basically already written and all he has to do is fill in the blanks, and he calmed down.

“Oh. I just fill in these blanks?
“Yep. So easy.”

“OKay. Sure. Do you have more of these? Because I got a LOT of presents.”

“No, but I have some “Hello” cards with blanks too. You could make those work for thank you notes.”
“Let me see. Yeah, okay, I got it. THANKS, MOM! Thank you so much. Phew.”

And look how cute:

I actually colored this one myself. It was fun.

No more tears! A solution for kids' thank you notes

a filled in “thank you” note

He’s too cool to color them, of course, so we sent some out uncolored, and I colored some of the others.

My son also decided that his friends don’t want thank-you notes, so he only delivered them to his grandparents and aunts and uncles. Well, all right, this is me we are talking about. He wrote them 2 weeks ago, and they are sitting right beside me because I can’t remember anyone’s exact address, and I haven’t found the time to look them all up.  Hey, I may be a slacker mail handler, but at least I got him to write the notes! Right?

I love Laura’s slogan for these cards: “We said thank you notes; they heard root canal.”

So if this sounds like a story you can relate to, here’s where you can order your own. I can’t recommend these highly enough:

Go here to order them.



Believe it or not, this is not a sponsored post, but these fabulous products were provided by Lil’ Miss Gratitude.  Check them out! 





Daniel thinks that I am April O’Neil.

I have got to order this mini-chef his own apron!

I have got to order this mini-chef his own apron!

Today Daniel turned four. I asked him what kind of cake he’d like for his birthday. In the very early years of parenting, I always bought the boys grocery store cakes with characters on them. There were a couple of years I even tried to make super pretty cakes–Caleb had a really impressive train cake two years in a row.

But decorating cakes is a giant weakness for me. I’m just not good at it, so I resorted to buying grocery store cakes again and just sticking some toys on top of it.

This past year the boys became disillusioned with the grocery store cakes and started asking me to make their cakes. I make cakes all the time, but they are very simple and undecorated. I make the little round cakes. That’s what we like.

So I was expecting Daniel to ask for that too. Wrong.

“Me make my cake myself!”

“Oh! OKay, sure, Daniel.”

Alan took him to the store to pick the ingredients. St. Patrick’s Day stuff lurked everywhere, so Daniel gleefully chose GREEN cake, white icing. Pretty fun, huh?

He really likes to pour all the ingredients into the bowl and stir, so I let him do all of that. He normally helps crack eggs, but this recipe called for egg whites only, so I had to just let him watch that part.

He seemed very happy with it, so we were too. It actually turned out to be quite delicious!

The birthday boy was so happy tonight that it took him forever to go to sleep. Do you know what Daniel said to me tonight, as I tucked him into bed for the second time?

“Mom, what’s your name?”


“Like on the Ninja Turtles. You’re April. You know the Ninja Turtles,” he giggled, “Donnie. Ralph! You know Ralph, Mom! What’s he say, Mom? All the Ninja Turtles…”

He was so sleepy he was practically delirious, so I only understood every other word or so, but he was quite happy and excited to discover that his mother is none other than the famous April O’Neil.  I just smiled and told him good-night, as he went on and on and on about April and the turtles.

He had a great day. We all did. This morning I woke up to the sorts of sounds that send mothers straight into euphoria:

Caleb asked me, while I was still in bed, “Mom, would you like some coffee?”

“I would.”

Then I heard him asking Alan, down the hall, “Dad, can you show me how to make coffee? Mom wants some.”

I heard Joshua shout out, “I started a load of blacks!” (Laundry. I’ve told him they’re called darks and lights, but for some reason he says blacks. It’s sort of like when I tell him to say his times tables. Instead of saying “4 times 8”, he says “4 ‘x’ 8”. Try explaining it. I’ve given up.)

“Did you use laundry detergent?” Alan shouted back.

“What? Oops! Oh yeah!” he said as he ran back down. Hey, that’s okay. The boy is doing laundry.

It was not so hard to get out of bed this morning, thanks to these wonderful sounds.

Here are a few photos from our day:


Who wouldn't love a giant stuffed sea otter?

Who wouldn’t love a giant stuffed sea otter?

Caleb reading to JD make me so happy I just can't even begin to express it!

Watching Caleb read to JD makes me so happy I just can’t even begin to express it!

more because I'm obsessed

more because I’m obsessed

This is as good as it gets here. Dan was very happy.

This is as good as it gets here. Dan was very happy.

Alan found these number gummies to decorate Dan’s cake. Daniel is obsessed with writing numbers and letters everywhere right now, so he was delighted.

I have got to remember to take a picture of all of his little writings. He does really well with the letters we’ve worked on. A lot of the others look sort of like Hebrew or Arabic. It’s so adorable.

a brotherly birthday party

a brotherly birthday party

Something was exciting. I don’t remember what.

IMG_5155 IMG_5158

I love it when he has this look!

I love it when he has this look!


IMG_5162 IMG_5163 IMG_5164 IMG_5166



I’d better go. Donatello needs me to help him fight the Krang.

Yep. That’s me all right. 😉

One Tough Seven-year-old

This is what every birthday should look like.

This week was my birthday. I did not have a good birthday. I had both a terrible and a wonderful birthday. Don’t you think so many things can be both bad and good at the same time? That was my birthday this year.

It was bad because I was so sleep deprived that I could barely function.

It was also amazing. One boy worked on my birthday present all week. He made me four different Super Mom comic books. Then he set up a scavenger hunt for me to find them all. Wow. The other boys also drew me sweet pictures, and Daniel worked so hard to write his name for me.

Daniel noticed how much praise everyone received for their cards and pictures, so he spent the next hour cranking out about 20 more pictures.

And Alan made me a cake!

This was the first cake that Alan had ever baked. Love it!

This was the first cake that Alan has ever baked. Love it!

Sorry, I forgot to take a picture until after I cut it. Whoops.

2 humorous stories from this week, and then I’d better let JD out of his room and feed him. He’s fine. He woke up from his nap, and now he’s playing just fine in his room.

The bunk bed story:

I told Dan that Nonna and DaddyO are coming to visit, so he will be sleeping in the guest room so they can have the big bed in his room. He was none too excited about this plan.

I suggested that we set up the bunk beds in Daniel’s room and transfer the double bed to the guest room. That way no one will be displaced when we have company.

Daniel got so excited at the mention of bunk beds, that he quickly ran to tell Caleb. Caleb said, “Let’s go build the bunk bed then.”

“Sure, go ahead,” I joked.

Twenty minutes later, I went upstairs. Work was well underway. Caleb had rearranged some of the furniture in his room, pulled the extra twin mattress out from under Joshua’s bed, torn off the clear plastic cover (to protect it during the cross-country move), stood it up on end, and moved it down the hall into Daniel’s room!

When I arrived upstairs, Caleb was under Daniel’s bed, “cleaning it out and figuring out how it works.”

That boy. That is one tough 7-year-old.

I put their work on pause until Dad could get home to help them. Perhaps I shouldn’t have. Maybe I should have seen just how much Caleb could do.

Caleb, the preschool teacher

Caleb, the preschool teacher

Other things Caleb accomplished this week:

1. My home school mom friends mentioned that they let their kids quiz each other on their school work. WHY had this idea never occurred to me? I’ve been doing ALL the quizzing around here. No more. Now I am trying to remember to let them help each other a little more.

2. We learned about Pearl Harbor last week. I got online and found old film footage of the bombing. All you can see is lots of black smoke, really.  Then we saw interviews where this Japanese lady was recalling that day. She had been a school child, and they had announced that Japan declared war on Great Britain and the United States and she talked about how they had all cheered for joy.

Caleb looked very serious, and he said, “They did this on purpose!!?” and he scrunched his eyebrows, narrowed his eyes, and hit his fist into his palm, looking quite ready to join the WWII war efforts.

Perhaps we should go back and make sure that he knows that particular war is over, and the Japanese are our friends now…

Chaotic photos from my birthday week:




What’s more fun than helping Mom in the kitchen?


Every child should like chores as much as this one.

Every child should like chores as much as this one.

I love how straight Caleb can make lines, when drawing, without even using a ruler. I still can't do that.

I love how straight Caleb can make lines, when drawing, without even using a ruler. I still can’t do that.

the day I let him play with a bowl of water in the floor

the day I let him play with a bowl of water in the floor



JD, in his backyard playpen. He likes that big pile of dirt.

JD, in his backyard playpen. He likes that big pile of dirt.

This is JD's school work.

This is JD’s school work. Ha!

"Look!" he says, constantly.

“Look!” he says, constantly.

JD has been working so hard on learning how to talk, that it can give one a headache. He talked my ear off this week, and I understood almost none of it. I did get, “cookie,” “no more milk,” and lots of “Mama,” “Daddy,” “Jawa,” and “Caleb,” oh! and “dog.” He loves dogs. All of the boys loved dogs until Joshua taught them otherwise. Joshua loved them until about age 3.


Daniel was very happy to have Caleb as his teacher.

Caleb just marched into the living room, holding the stack of blend ladders, and said, “I’m going to teach Daniel these.”


"If I mash these buttons enough, this t.v. WILL turn on."

“If I mash these buttons enough, this t.v. WILL turn on.”

I love Paw Patrol.

I love Paw Patrol. This little fellow battled a cold this week.

teaching the patterns in the numbers. Did you ever notice that when you multiply by  4s, then endings go 0,4,8,2,6,0,4,8,2,6?

teaching the patterns in the numbers. Did you ever notice that when you multiply by 4s, the endings go 0,4,8,2,6,0,4,8,2,6?

high fives

high fives

"I love this."

“I love this.”

Daddy did a great job on this cake.

Daddy did a great job on this cake.

our Latin song John 1:1-7

our Latin song John 1:1-7

Thank you, Jess!!!!

Thank you, Jess!!!!

After an exhausting birthday, my friend bringing me this surprise cupcake was such a special gift.

Hope you all have a great week!




1 2 3