Well, my cup runneth over again...this time with blog visitors! First off, I'd like to say a BIG thank you to those of you who are regular visitors. While I was gone my visitor counter moved to over 1060!!! Yes, some blogs get that many visitors in an hour, but to me, that's really something exciting! Apparently, my 12 "followers" must re-read the blog about 5 times a day. Wink. I can’t really explain it any other way, unless of course there are some of you reading that I don’t know about...I’d love to know who you are out there, so if you are feeling spunky enough, leave me a comment and let me know how you found your way to Simple Living With Seven.
Speaking of simple living... It's something we try to embrace here at the Shoe household. Now don't get me wrong, we are blessed beyond belief with "stuff". Sometimes to the point of being overwhelmed. But one of the things my husband and I have really tried to be intentional about with our children is avoiding"THE GIMMIES". You know, like when the onslaught of holiday advertising begins and you hear children saying, "I WANT THAT" about every toy/game/electronic thingamajig on the planet. I thought I’d share a few strategies/activities we’ve used, not only to avoid the Gimmies but also in an effort to cultivate an attitude of gratitude throughout the year.
1. Celebrate Thanksgiving all month long...
On November 1st, we started adding leaves to our thanksgiving tree as a fun way of listing people, places or things for which we are grateful.
We’ve done this several different ways, depending on how creative I was feeling at the time. Another idea, if you are up to the challenge of something a little more artistic, is creating a turkey and adding feathers each day.
**Now, keep in mind that I was a preschool teacher before I became a stay-at-home mom, so I am fully trained in Cut and Paste. But seriously, you don’t have to do a tree or a turkey, just make a list on a big piece of poster board. If you have older children, you could start a Gratitude journal together or have each family member write what they are grateful for on slips of paper, place them in a jar and then share them with each other on Thanksgiving day. The basic idea is making an extra effort each day to “count your blessings”.
This activity helps us focus on the fact that we have more than enough to be grateful for and changes our thought process from "I WANT" to "How can we share our abundant blessings with others?".
2. Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes
This is a relatively “new” tradition in the Shoe household. This will be our 3rd year packing shoeboxes.
I believe that supporting organizations financially is wonderful and can also be a very important part of teaching children about giving and about how to be good stewards with God's money. But young children often need something more concrete when learning about giving to others. They need to be able to see and feel the actual items that the child in a far away country will be receiving, which is why I really like doing the OCC shoeboxes with the Lil Shoes.
My crew is always amazed at the list of suggested items to pack in the boxes. The fact that some children don't have soap or toothbrushes is so foreign to them. Here in the "Land of Plenty", stores sell special soap for kiddos that is colorful and foamy and comes in different fruity smells. We have hand soap at our sinks and different soap for taking baths and even fun "kid" shampoo. There are motorized toothbrushes with characters on the handle or even ones that play music to help them brush longer. Don't get me wrong, we really dig that stuff sometimes. But the OCC shoeboxes are always a great reminder that even the simple things that we take for granted, like soap and toothbrushes, are a blessing to have.
Last year was the first year we were able to track our boxes and find out where they went. The children were really excited/interested about that and we were able to turn that into a mini geography/world culture lesson:)
The Shoes enjoy music AND the VeggieTales AND the Operation Christmas Child Shoebox program, so I absolutely have to share this video with you...(it's not just for kids, it's for you, too, and just to warn you...I got a little teary when I watched it)
Shoebox collection week is coming up soon (November 15-22), so if you are interested in this idea, you'll have get a move on it! If you have never done this, whether or not you have children, I would really encourage you to try it. You can put together a shoebox relatively inexpensively. They suggest that you donate $7 to cover the cost of shipping, but if that's tough for you, no worries. They have people that "sponsor" boxes and donate money to cover the cost, if you aren't in a position to do so yourself.
For more about Operation Christmas Child or to find a drop-off location near you, go to
(Sorry, my link insert isn't working for some reason, so you'll have to copy and paste)
More on how the Shoe Seven tries to avoid "The Gimmes" to come...
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. Psalm 107:1
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