For Monster's birthday, he asked for one thing. He asked that people replace a gift for him with a donation to the Children's Center. Since I know the director of the Center, I had asked her the type of things they could use, need, or want. She gave me a list and I gave it to others. Some people donated items and some money. With the money that was collected, Monster bought items for the kids. Here is what he collected/purchased.
There is still $20 more worth of books to come from Papa's donation. We haven't been able to get to the store yet to purchase them. Monster really wants to get the books because, "I want every child to learn to love to read."
Almost every night at dinner, we go around the table and ask what our favorite part of the day was. Since I'm working on making my kids more accountable for their actions and trying to get them to see how they effect the world around them, we've now added in, "What did you do today that made someone happy? Why did it make them happy?" and "What did you do today that made someone sad? Why did it make them sad? How could you change that?" The happy part is amazingly difficult for my kids. I am really surprised by that. I'm also disappointed in my parenting for that. My kids have no problem identifying something that made someone sad, "I threw a block", "I yell and scream", "I hit my sister/brother." When they do something inappropriate, I make them stop and think about how that makes the other person feel. Doing this at dinner has made me realize that I don't point out the things that they are doing to make other happy enough. The big stuff, yes, but the everyday little things, I don't. Yesterday was a good example. Monster has a very difficult time with handwriting. He struggles so much that he refuses to do it a lot. Apparently at school yesterday, he did an awesome job. I congratulated him, but never said how it made me or his teacher feel. At dinner, he couldn't come up with something he did to make someone happy. I told him he did a great job at writing. He asked how it made people happy. I let him know that when he tries his hardest and actually works on what he's supposed to, it makes his teacher happy because she doesn't have to keep stopping what she's doing to try to get him to write. I let him know it makes her happy to see he can do it. I told him it made me happy because we then didn't have to work on his incomplete writing at home so we could have more time to play together. He honestly just didn't see the connection. My kids do so many wonderful, good things throughout the day. I'm ashamed that I haven't pointed the connections out sooner. I plan on correcting that. Making other people happy isn't just about doing good deeds or some grand gesture. Sometimes, it's as simple as a smile.
Back in December when we were doing our Advent Acts of Kindness, after dropping decorations off to the birth center at the hospital, Monster decided he wanted to do something like that again. We decided that we would make Mother's Day cards for them. This plan has been in the making for almost 6 months now and I kept getting asked when we were going to do it. Finally, with Mother's Day a week away, we made our cards. I got the general idea from this site, but wanted to change it up just a little. Yesterday, we made 20 cards. They turned out super cute. We'll deliver them at the beginning of next week. I mostly love that my kids were so happy to do something like this for other people.
A while back, a friend of mine gave me a good idea with what to do with all the clothes I couldn't donate because they were in bad condition. She had read somewhere to use them, stuff a pillow case and make a dog bed. How hard could that be, right? Well, I found out it's not hard at all! Even I can do it! The pillows will be donated to the local SPCA.
1. Find old pillow case, or buy a new one. Or, if you're really crafty, sew one up. (sorry about how dark this picture is)
2. Shred the clothes...here are jeans and old wash clothes.
3. Stuff pillow case.
4. Sew end shut.
5. Testing it out is optional :)
Most Advent calendars have candy or little trinkets or just little pictures. Ours has acts of kindness. I know it's a bit early to be thinking about this, but being as I'm making the Advent Calendar (or Christmas Countdown as we call it), I need a bit of a head start. Today we started. Monster and I came up with a list of 25 acts of kindness. Even Sunshine came up with one all on her own. I have to say, we've got some good ones. I'm really impressed with Monster's ability to understand kindness and helping others. He was sort of funny because for a couple of the things he asked if we could just put those things at the top because we should do them every day. What an awesome kid!
Here are some examples of our acts (not posting them all because if you're a recipient, what fun would it be to know ahead of time). Also, a picture of the finished product will come...eventually.
Monster is super excited about this and because he is, so is Sunshine. I'm excited for them. What joy they will bring!