Remembering Newtown

December 14, 2014 by ldecesare
painting of Newtown, praying for Newtown, growing up in Newtown, blue and gold, Castle Hill Rd Newtown, names of Sandy Hook vicitims

Watercolor Painting of Newtown by Jane Bogdan of Newtown, CT

Today and all the year through, I’m remembering Newtown.

I remember my hometown with love in my heart and prayers of healing and strength.

On this second anniversary of the horror in Sandy Hook, I remember each life lost and the enormous ripples surrounding each loss.

To my friends still in Newtown and nearby, I am holding you in my heart. To my Newtown friends spread across the country, you are close to me, too. To everyone who calls Newtown home, I am praying for you. We are united by our connection to that special place, a place we claim as our own, and we hurt for those who still suffer and grieve, who have the presence of a loss.

Join me in remembering Newtown and praying for the families of:

Charlotte Bacon
Daniel Barden
Rachel Davino
Olivia Engel
Josephine Gay
Ana M. Marquez-Greene
Dylan Hockley
Dawn Hocksprung
Madeleine F. Hsu
Catherine V. Hubbard
Chase Kowalski
Jesse Lewis
James Mattioli
Grace McDonnell
AnneMarie Murphy
Emilie Parker
Jack Pinto
Noah Pozner
Caroline Previdi
Jessica Rekos
Avielle Richman
Lauren Russeau
Mary Sherlach
Victoria Soto
Benjamin Wheeler
Allison N. Wyatt

More Christmas Elf Ideas

December 11, 2014 by ldecesare

Christmas Elf Ideas, Add your Christmas elf ideas, Elf hanging in treeThere are the families who Elf and the families who Don’t. I’m staying out of the strange new fray between the two camps, though we fall into the “those-who-elf” group. Our elves have brought so much magic and joy and a whole new layer of fun to our Christmas celebration and preparation. Click here for my last post on Christmas elves.

So if you’re an elf family, enjoy this round up of Christmas elf ideas. If not, go ahead, click on another post in my side bar – enjoy – it’s okay to not want to get involved in the “Elf thing.” I’ve had to apologize more than once when moms have called me in desperation after one of my kids shared that all you have to do is put out crackers and water and – shazam! – You get an elf! Oops – sorry – and here’s the website. (I think these elves are cuter than the Elf-on-the-Shelf and you can get different genders and hair colors to make them more personal to your family).

We started happily with one elf for our whole family which lasted for years. Then, after my son saw that a friend’s family had an elf for each child, he came home and wrote a secret letter to Santa asking for two more girl elves for his sisters. What a Elves in dishwasher, elf on shelf ideas, creative ideas with elvesgenerous, loving request. He was acting selflessly and thoughtfully at 7 years old.

Since this was two days before Christmas, Santa responded that he was too busy and needed the elves. He told Michael that he would consider his request after Christmas. Just before the new year, Zibby and Jilly showed up to join Crispin and have been a part of our family ever since. Since they’ve arrived, the mischief has escalated!

Though I love our elves, after years of their Decembers with us, I need more ideas!

They’ve made terrible messes of the very things I needed to clean out – the pantry, the spice cabinet, under the sink – so I got a job done as I picked up after them.

They’ve done creative things like a floor-full of snowflakes, “decorating” our bathroom with toilet paper, and carving messages into bananas so that by morning they show up to be read by the kids. And they’ve hid. And hid and hid.

So as one elf family to another, here are some photo Christmas elf ideas and some links to others. Happy Elfing!

Here’s my round up of Christmas elf ideas:

A new idea that I’ve found is kindness elves – I LOVE how the elves deliver suggestions of ways to spread joy and kind acts in your community and beyond. Fantastic way to teach kids about volunteerism and service.

Christmas Elves on Mother’s Circle

From Blogher – 25 New Christmas Elf Ideas

50 Elf on the Shelf Ideas  at i heart naptime

Target has a Pinterest board full of Christmas Elf Ideas – Some I find very hilarious!

More fun Christmas Elf Ideas on Kids’ Activities Blog

And a photo gallery of some elfin adventures chez DeCesare

elves hiding in cereal, creative elf ideas, hiding elf on shelf, funny elf on shelf ideas

 

Elves with Bananas, writing messages in bananas

elves get into the popcorn, Christmas elves baking,

celebrating birthdays with elves, christmas birthdaysChristmas elf ideas, studying for a test, wishing child luck on a test,

Elves in a jar, elves hiding, elf on the shelf ideas

baking elves, elves cooking, elves with flour

© Copyright Leah DeCesare 2014

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#GivingTuesday 2014

December 1, 2014 by ldecesare

#GivingTuesday Roundup |MothersCircle.netTo me, #GivingTuesday is one of the best commercialized ways to spotlight giving and service over self. Isn’t that what Thanksgiving and the Christmas and holiday season are all about?

In our family, kindness is most important. It makes me far prouder to hear that my child invited a left out child to sit with him at lunch than to have him get a perfect spelling test grade. Seriously, what’s really important?

After a big turkey dinner and time with family, after dabbling in Black Friday weekend sales, I love the idea of kicking off the season with #GivingTuesday.

How do you make giving and service a tradition in your family? What ways do you help your kids prioritize serving? What will you give during this season of giving – time, money, blood, food?

Here’s a round up of #GivingTuesday news, posts, and ways to give back.

#GivingTuesday on Mother’s Circle

Nearest to my heart, please check out the Kampala Children’s Centre for Hope and Wellness.

10 Tips to Teach Kids About Volunteerism

Forbes article: Will 2014 Be GivingTuesday’s Breakthrough Year?

Blessing Bags for the homeless

This is the official #GivingTuesday website
Learn about their #Unselfie campaign for #GivingTuesday.

#givingtuesday, #unselfie, teaching kids about giving and service, Cyber Monday,

5 Fun Ideas for Families this Giving Tuesday

Use Charity Navigator to help you decide which charities to support

 

© Copyright Leah DeCesare 2014

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Black Friday Weekend Sale on Naked Parenting

November 28, 2014 by ldecesare

It thrills me to hear when people love Naked Parenting enough to buy it as a gift for other parents, for their children, grandchildren, or friends. For a limited time, get your paperback copy of Naked Parenting for 50% off the regular price.

I love finding the perfect gift for someone and all of the preparations of the Christmas season. Enjoy your time getting ready and whether at home in your PJs or out in the crowds, find ways to feel grateful and keep your focus on what is important to you in life.

Naked Parenting On Sale | MothersCircle.net

© Copyright Leah DeCesare 2014

How to Live in the Gratitude Circle

November 26, 2014 by ldecesare

How to Live in the Gratitude Circle | MotherCircle.net Do you live in the Gratitude Circle?

It can be tough sometimes but it’s so worth it when I get there. I find that the more I give thanks, the more I have to be thankful for. The Gratitude Circle builds gratefulness from gratefulness. The more you count your blessings, the more blessings you have to count.

Looking actively for things to be thankful for multiplies those very things. By seeing them, we automatically increase them. I have a 5-year gratitude journal that I love, it’s a quick way to remind myself every day of all I have in my life and it helps to make gratitude a habit. Create a structure for yourself that builds thankfulness into your day.

In seeking out things to be grateful for, we initiate the Gratitude Circle and discover abundance in our lives. It’s as if there is an exponential growth when we consciously, mindfully choose to be grateful.

The Gratitude Circle also sweeps others into its pull. The smile you share, the kindness you pass along, the handwritten note you mail, all spread the Gratitude Circle in its outward ripples. The more grateful we are, the more we can share it with others just by the way we feel and live.

I strive and work to live gratefully each day and to teach our kids to do the same. I believe that gratitude is so important that it is one of the seven keys in my book Naked Parenting: 7 Keys to Raising Kids With Confidence. I feel that if we can live gratefully, it’s the secret to happiness.

Taking time to pause, smile, breathe, pray, hold hands, and be thankful escalates a positive cycle. Living within the Gratitude Circle reduces our stress and increases our well-being and How to Live in the Gratitude Circle for Thanksgiving and all year round | MotherCircle.nethealth. It leads to better sleep and a better quality of life. Being grateful keeps us focused on the positive and what really matters. Who likes a complainer? Living gratefully also improves relationships, the harmony within your home, and interactions with family and strangers alike. All of which serve to increase our well-being and lower our stress continuing the circle of gratitude.

Studies have shown that humans have a negativity bias, we can counter that by consciously concentrating on the the gifts around us. It’s absolutely not easy, and often downright challenging, to stay in the Gratitude Circle – but it feels peaceful when we can get ourselves there.

So this Thanksgiving, and every day thereafter, strive to step into the circle, be mindfully grateful and grow your own Gratitude Circle for you and your family.

I wish you many blessings and a Happy Thanksgiving!

© Copyright Leah DeCesare 2014

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A Child Who Knows She is Loved

November 20, 2014 by ldecesare

a child who knows she is loved, Naked Parenting quotes, bleeding heart flowers

Thank you for reading and reviewing Naked Parenting.

© Copyright Leah DeCesare 2014

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A child who knows she is loved can step out into the world with confidence.

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