On Meaningful Giving

Have you all heard the recent literature on how gratitude is inextricably linked to positive changes in the brain and body? It makes sense that being thankful can have a direct effect on health.

Some days it feels like the sibling bickering ensues before we are all fully awake, and some days I can’t wait to have a motherhood-redo the next day.  But nearly every day we make time to combat the not so good with a simple gratitude practice.  Talking about what we are grateful for lifts us all up – and we tend to think that giving is a meaningful part of being thankful.

We’ll soon be rolling out our big Holiday gift guides, and I too couldn’t resist getting a great deal online yesterday – but there is something unsettling about the shift from Thanksgiving to consumerism at its best. Even my Kindergartner asked “Mommy, what does Black Friday mean?”

We recently learned about a foster care and family service agency in Queens NYC that is crunched for time to make Holiday wishes for 1,000 foster children come true.  There is something about that number that stuck with me. One thousand kids in foster care pinning for a specific gift this season.  If we all visit this Toys”R”Us wishlist, together we can make holiday dreams come true.

The kids decided to send registry gifts that they would want themselves. And I selected a little V-Tech cruiser that both of my own littles loved in toddlerhood. In addition to gifts, the agency welcomes cards too.

I think that all kids have an innate desire to help other children.

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With spilled paint on the floor and paper scraps beneath furniture, the kids made the best sort of mess that truly feels like gratitude in our home.


On This Thanksgiving Day

hugging+children+with+wings This blurry iPhone photo taken three years ago today reminds me of how incredibly grateful I am for our little lot in life.  This is what Thanksgiving feels like.

Wishing you all a blessed day spent with those you love. 

Love, us.


Being Present in Gratitude

I wrote this post as part of participation in a blog tour for The Motherhood on behalf of the makers of Children’s MOTRIN and received compensation for my time.  As always, all opinions are my own.  Thank you for supporting Marino Bambinos.

At the start of the New Year, I began a simple yet soon to be consistent gratitude practice.  Gleaned from somewhere on Pinterest –  we starting jotting down messages of gratitude and tucking them away into a big mason jar to open up on New Year’s day.

each day brings a new beginning New York sunrise sunset

Ever since the big girl was a solo toddler, we’ve had a little family gratitude practice of sharing what we are grateful for before going to bed at night.  I soon learned that there was something about the act of writing it down that caused a notable shift in my perspective.  We found collective happiness in moments that may have otherwise gone unnoticed.  We had conversations about how we have enough.  We appreciated our home, our health, our families and where we live.  And a steadfast commitment in making time for the things that we love, together as a family, brought us to places like the beach this summer more than ever.


I will always be a work in progress and allow myself to be human.  I still have my fair share of grumbles and talks with best friends to help pull myself out of things that are petty. Our big jar, tucked away with noted accomplishments, memories and messages of thanks have reminded me that being present in gratitude is an integral part of living a positive life. As is surrounding myself with people who aim to lift one another up.

As we’ve entered the final month of the year – I’m interested in bringing more gratitude practices into our home and learning about what others do to stay on top.  Please chime in the below comments and also join the Makers of Children’s MOTRIN® in sharing your unstoppable mom tips on their facebook page. For every post – the makers of Children’s MOTRIN® will donate $1 to Safe Kids, and you’ll be entered to win weekly giveaways of $100 gift cards.  (For Official Rules, visit unstoppablemoms.com/rules.)