Cyber Monday Gratitude GIVEAWAY!!!!!


How’s everyone’s Cyber Monday going? Ours was great. We did no shopping, but I did go to my cardio aqua-therapy class!!  So fun and invigorating!

This giveaway is for two packs of fill-in-the-blank notes from Lil’ Miss Gratitude!!  One of your packs will be thank-yous, and the other pack will either be birthday cards or “Hello” cards.

The front of the cards come blank so your kids color the front, or you can also send them out uncolored! These are appropriate for ALL AGES of kids.

I colored this one!

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

My boys colored this one. Creative.

These are an awesome way to get your kids expressing gratitude, brightening someone else’s day, and all without the whining and fussing.

Here’s a sample of a completed card:

Sample of a “hello” card that we used as a thank you note.

Joshua needed to write about 12 thank you notes after his birthday party, and when he saw these fill-in-the-blank cards, he was so relieved, he ACTUALLY SAID, “Oh, phew. Thank you, Mom. Thank you so much for these. This makes it so much easier.”

Click here to learn more about Lil’ Miss Gratitude!


Giveaway rules! TWO simple ways to enter the giveaway this time.

1.) Subscribe to my newsletter. I have one going out this week! Already subscribed? No problem. That also counts. No need to subscribe again. Just click on the giveaway form below.


2.) Visit Lil’ Miss Gratitude on Facebook, and  give her a “Like.” 

OR You could also do BOTH and get double entries.

I wish you could all win! Merry Christmas!!!!

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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! 





My One of a Kind MawMaw and Her Secret for Happiness


The other day, as I dug through the books on my shelves, I came across a book I have thought of a lot lately, a book like no other.

It’s the little book of Poetry, written by my grandmother, BHK. We’ll call her Beth. Beth died when I was 16, of breast cancer. Her death was one of those that didn’t sit well with anyone. No one said, “Well, it was just her time to go.”

Everyone was more like, “Why did she have to go so soon?”

It was Christmas, and she was only 56. You see, that’s another reason some of us have never been the same on Christmas. There’s more to our Charlie Brown-ness than just commercialism.

To make it worse, Christmas was HER THING. No, really. She owned Christmas, I tell you. She made such a display of decorating her house that she won town awards.

(I’m going to do that this year, too, Grandma! I’m going all out!)


senior portrait

Beauty was her gift. Beautiful Beth. She had a house full of beautiful ceramics, all created by Beth, all perfectly arranged and well kept. Her closet was full of hand-made clothes, mostly dresses. She was prissy, frilly, sarcastic, and fun. Sitting down with a good book, a glass of un-sweet tea, and a cigarette, that’s how we’ll always picture her.

You won’t believe me when I tell you this, but by the time I was born, she wore false eye lashes every single day, and perfume. I used to stand in her bathroom for 30 minutes at a time, just gazing at the fantastic display of Avon perfumes, tiny ceramic pitchers and people, and her unmatched and always tidy collection of make-up.

Grandpa used to jokingly imitate her answering the phone saying, “Hello, this is Beth,” in THE most feminine voice you can imagine.

I loved her so. I often have thought about what it was that made me love her as much as I did, and I think part of it was because she was purposeful in spending time with us. We spent a week at her house each summer, and she would play board games with us kids for hours. She and our grandpa took us to the beach, to Six Flags, to the zoo, to movies, and thrift store shopping. From MawMaw (another name that we called her) I learned the fine art that is bargain hunting.

She used to write me letters, and I would write her back. I kept all of them. I’d love to come across those! She kept my letters too, so I also have those now.

She knew how to get along well with people. She was accepting.

Oh! And did I mention her vast collection of books! Well, obviously, she spoke the language of my heart! There were even times when she owned little book stores, but always there was her downstairs library, wall to wall with books. And scrapbooks! I think we counted about 198 scrapbooks.

At 4 foot 10, or was it 11, I hate how memories fade, she was the first grown-up that any of us kids caught up to.

The year she died was the same year that she announced to us that she had breast cancer, but by then, she’d already had it for two years. She had kept it a secret. I cannot imagine how. I never could, but by the time we found out, it had already moved to her bones. She was eaten up with it. It was only a couple of months after she broke the cancer news to us that she was gone.

We spent that Christmas vacation a couple of hours from home, so Mom could be by her side. We slept at my aunt’s house. I still remember the overwhelming heart break of the visitation service the evening before the funeral.

I sat in a chair near the casket, sixteen years old, losing one of the pillars of my life. I couldn’t take my mind off all the people around me making small talk about the weather. I was suffocating in my thoughts, and I just wanted to make them all be quiet or go away. How could they talk so carelessly? I could barely breathe, and when I couldn’t take it another minute, I ran out to my parents’ minivan, climbed inside, closed the doors, and bawled alone.

I don’t know how any of them figured out that I was there, but one by one, my brother, my mother, and my father all came out and sat in the van with me.

And it turned into one of the sweetest, most comforting moments in my life. There is something about sharing grief with the people who know, who get it, who have lost as much as you have. There is something about it that bonds you like glue and heals hurts deep inside.

I remember saying that I just couldn’t get past the fact that they were going to bury her, my dear little grandma, into the ground. I could not stand the thought of her being put down there and covered with dirt.

“Oh, April. That’s just her body. That’s nothing to her. Her spirit is in Heaven. She is with God, and we will see her again. That’s just her body. Don’t worry about that.”

I don’t remember what else was said, but for some reason, in the midst of my very first great loss, these were the words that I needed to hear. Even more so, I needed the comfort of sitting in the van, just me and the three most important people in my life.

But I’m not going to share this heart-rending story with you, and leave you feeling sad. I would never do that. You know I wouldn’t.

Here is one of my favorite little passages from Beth’s book of poetry. It isn’t a poem. Just wise words from a much loved sinner turned saint.



I have a secret for happiness I’d like to share with you.

When you awake in the morning, think of three things you are looking forward to. Remember life’s simple pleasures are often best. They don’t have to be big occasions.

When you retire at night, reflect on three good things about that day.

You’re sure to smile and be happy.               by BHK


Try her suggestion, I dare you.


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