Fortunately / Unfortunately: our thankfulness game

By Ashley Devonish | Category: Activities with Kids, Family Focus, It Worked 4 Me, The Journey of Motherhood | Posted Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Back in my teaching days (I used to teach second grade) I stumbled upon a fun picture book called “Fortunately.”

The main character is taken on a wild adventure filled with fortune and misfortune.  It goes something like this:

Fortunately, Ned was invited to a surprise party.
Unfortunately, the party was a thousand miles away.

Fortunately, a friend loaned Ned an airplane.

Unfortunately, the motor exploded.

Fortunately, there was a parachute in the airplane.

Unfortunately, there was a hole in the parachute.

It’s a cute story, but the deeper lesson is one that I carried with me.  What deeper lesson you ask?  That there is always something to be thankful for!  In many ways this has become a mantra in my home and is something I seek to remind myself and my children of when we become frustrated, sad or disappointed.

Our “fortunately/unfortunately game” is one that we play from time to time when we feel down as a way of helping us to remember to look for the blessings.

For example:

-If my glass gallon milk jar just shattered all over my countertop (true story), I might say, “Unfortunately, I just destroyed that glass jar which was super helpful at storing our milk.  Fortunately, we are blessed enough to be able to buy another jar and no one got hurt by the glass!”

-If my attempting to potty train 3 year old just happened to pee all over his chair (true story), I might say, “Unfortunately, Quinten just made a huge mess of pee for me to clean up.  Fortunately, he didn’t also poop!”

I find that I need to be willing to lead by example with this game.  Once my kids hear me being willing to express not only my true disappointment, but my effort to look for the good in the situation, they become more comfortable as I encourage them to do the same in those tender, teachable moments.

Since introducing this game to our kids a few years ago, they have shared their own version of fortunately/unfortunately with me, unprompted, on many occasions.  Two years ago when our oldest son (who is now nine) broke his arm, he declared between his sobs, “I’m really glad that in Heaven there is no pain!” Not too long after that he stated, “I am really glad I didn’t break either of my feet!” Later it was, “I’m really glad we came to the doctor, there are so many interesting things here!” and my personal favorite was “Pretty lucky day!” which he said after he got a free pair of comfortable pants from the nurses.  More recently Hunter shared his disappointment with the way his video game ended but reminded himself how fortunate it was that he even got to play.  It blesses my heart each time I hear my children look for the good while struggling with a disappointment.

What do you think? Is this something that would work in your home?

If you missed it previously, you might also enjoy reading about our “opposite game” that we use from time to time as a fun way to get things done!

Ashley Devonish

I have a passion for helping moms and encouraging them in their journey through motherhood. I invite you to journey along with me!

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The opposite game & why it doesn’t work in our house (wink-wink;)

By Ashley Devonish | Category: Activities with Kids, Family Focus, It Worked 4 Me, The Journey of Motherhood | Posted Wednesday, July 18, 2012

 

If you want your kids to do something, turn it into a game.  It’s simple but the best ideas usually are right? Want an easy game idea?  Read on.

Its called the “opposite game” and the rules are simple: agree to say the opposite of what you mean.

For example:

Me: Ashlyn, I don’t want you to clean up those books you left on the floor there.  In fact, I want you to walk away and leave them there for the rest of the day, that would make me VERY happy!

Ashlyn: No mom I won’t clean up the books!

Me: Good, I didn’t think you would.

Ashlyn: (cleaning up the books) I don’t like this game.

Me: Neither do I and I am very sad to see those books off the floor by the way.

 

Get the idea?  The beauty of this came is that not only is it fun, but it requires some brain power (converting everything you say into an opposite is tricky business).  If you really want to be a stinker, this is a great time to suggest that you will make ice cream sandwiches for lunch ;) .  Ashlyn and Hunter are 6 and 8 and play this game really well.  My guess is that 5 year olds could follow it too.  Kids younger than that may struggle with the concept, so test it out in a fun way to see if it is something they are ready for before you start spewing promises that may bring on the tears once they realize you were only kidding!

What about you? What is your favorite way to make daily jobs fun?

Ashley Devonish

I have a passion for helping moms and encouraging them in their journey through motherhood. I invite you to journey along with me!

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Easy 3 Ingredient Homemade Lip Balm

By kristinabjornbak | Category: Healthy Living, It Worked 4 Me, Recipes & Kitchen Tips | Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I want to thank Kristina for this great guest post on how to make your own homemade lip balm!  ~Heather

After having some trouble finding an all natural lip balm that I liked, I started looking around at lip balm recipes.  I was floored by the amount of ingredients in some of them.  Five ingredients?  Ten???  The cost just to set up was staggering.  Not only that, many of the ingredients I would use only for the lip balm, making the cost seem even more dizzyingly high.  I just wanted something easy, something simple, something natural.  That’s why I was delighted when I stumbled upon Green Bee‘s recipe for homemade lip balm.  Super quick, super easy, and only three natural ingredients!

Of course, like most recipes I find, I modify them just a bit as I see fit.  Below you find my slightly modified recipe for a nice mildly minty lip balm.

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons grated beeswax
  • 2 and 3/4  teaspoons sweet almond oil (not bitter almond oil!)
  • 5 drops peppermint essential oil

Materials needed:

  • 2-3 lip balm tubes
  • small pot
  • Pyrex or heat resistant 1 cup measuring cup

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A digital Christmas card option that is easy and will last a lifetime

By Ashley Devonish | Category: It Worked 4 Me, The Journey of Motherhood | Posted Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Last year I wrote a blog post on the topic of christmas cards that resonated with many of you.  I shared what I loved about the tradition of sharing cards as well as what I don’t love about it.  Then I shared that I decided to “send out a Christmas card, but it would be one that would be fun for me to make, fast for me to send and one our family could enjoy for years to come.”  I am continuing that tradition this year.  I started by making a digital card using Cocodot (which is now a free service).  You can see the digital card that I created here.  Then I linked that card to our family slideshow video (also shown below).

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Ashley Devonish

I have a passion for helping moms and encouraging them in their journey through motherhood. I invite you to journey along with me!

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Clean and Sparkly Green Window Cleaner

By kristinabjornbak | Category: Healthy Living, It Worked 4 Me, Moneywi$e, Recipes & Kitchen Tips | Posted Monday, November 21, 2011

Getting ready for company coming over this week for Thanksgiving?

I’ll admit that cleaning the windows, mirros, and glass doors of our house is something that frequently goes by the wayside.  When I do remember, I generally use a store bought window cleaner like most other people, but I find I need to wear gloves to use it.  The smell just stays on my hands.  But what else besides the scent is staying on my hands?  Whatever it is, I figure that it can’t be healthy.

Eventually, I ran out of my usual window cleaner and decided to look around for some of the green recipes that I knew were out there somewhere.  In my search, I came across Crunchy Betty, a site that I have never heard of before.  However, in the archives I found something wonderful: Battle of the Homemade Glass Cleaners!  Ms. Crunchy Betty was kind enough to test drive several glass cleaning recipes and report back the results of her tests and therefore the best glass cleaning recipe.  The winning recipe contained alcohol, water, vinegar, and cornstarch.  Yes, cornstarch!  She wasn’t wrong when she assumed that readers would find it an odd addition.  I certainly did.  But, with a whole morning and a lot of dirty glass before me, I decided to give her “Alvin Corn Homemade Glass Cleaner” a try.

When I first sprayed it and wiped it (best done with a lint free cloth), it seemed like it was going to leave a cloudy film.  Nope!  After wiping until almost dry, the glass cleared right up and wowee wow wow!  This recipe worked even better than the store bought stuff!  I quickly went through the house, cleaning mirrors, doors, and windows.  Everything was sparkly, even where the dog plants her nose prints and the dreaded mirrored closet doors in the kids’ room.

As a final note, I want to say that I was really worried that the cornstarch would scratch the glass.  I didn’t notice any scratches that I’m pretty sure weren’t already there, but if you are worried, test on a small area first before you go all out.  Also, I know some people don’t like using rubbing alcohol.  If that’s the case, check out Heather’s glass recipe instead.

Happy cleaning!

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