I’m so excited to say that I’ll be a months contributor to our local parents magazine here in Shreveport, Red River Moms Magazine. It’s such an honor and I’m having a lot of fun coming up with the content. Here is my January column all about my favorite holiday and how to tackle writing thank you notes with your children.
The holiday season is behind us and now it’s time for a new year and new celebrations. Before we get to far into 2014 we need to stop and be thankful for the things given to us in 2013 and having your children write their own thank you notes for Christmas gifts is a great way to do this.

Teaching your children to be gracious, compassionate and authentic is a very important lesson that they in turn will pass down to their own children one day. Writing thank you notes for many children seems like a chore but the trick is to make it creative and fun so they are free to express themselves. Spend a few minutes talking about the gifts and what made them special. This is especially helpful for a child who’s great aunt gave them a hand knitted sweater instead of a fun toy. You can discuss the time that she spent creating a special, one of a kind gift and how thoughtful that was. When you are ready to start, help your children create their own correspondence kit. In their own labeled container gather a favorite pen or pencil, stickers, their own address book and personalized stationery or blank thank you notes they pick out themselves. Another fun addition is to purchase their own personalized address stamp to make them feel a little bit more grown up. You can now find multi colored stamp pads at most hobby stores and kids will love this added touch of color. Allow a block of time to get it done, if it’s rushed no one will have fun and it will seem like a chore. Writing thank you notes can be a bonding time as well as a learning opportunity. Write a list of  synonyms for your child so the note doesn’t become so repetitive, this is helpful for older children capable of writing their own notes but may get stuck on what to say. For younger children you can help them by allowing them to dictate to you what they want to say but leave a spot for them to sign their own name or draw a picture. One last way to make note writing a fun experience is to take photos of the child wearing, using or playing with the gift. Have them printed and then write the thank you note on the back.

January 6 is the start of Carnival Season with the Feast of the Epiphany or the Twelfth Night and lasts until midnight on Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras. Anyone who knows me knows that this is my favorite time of year. Mardi Gras is a celebration of food, fun and all things Louisiana, what’s not to love? The three colors of Mardi Gras have special meanings, Purple for justice, Green for faith and Gold for power. You can host your own special Mardi Gras celebration for children with a few fun crafts and yummy treats.

Party Invitations: Children can get involved making their own party invitations by decorating simple circle cardstock cutouts with markers and glitter. They can create their own Krewe emblem on one side and the party information on the back. Punch a hole in the top and run ribbon or a bead through it and you’ve got your own custom bead invitation.

The Children’s Mini Parade
: This is an annual event at our party. Guests decorate their own wagons, bikes or tricycles and parade in front of the house. This can be a wonderful activity especially if you theme their parade by picking your child’s favorite movie or cartoon character. Gather some “judges” and award prizes to the funniest, best decorated and most original floats.

Décor, food and fun: Decorations are pretty easy to find in this area but you can get your kids in the spirit by having them make their own. Cut the center out of a paper plate, flip it over and allow kids to decorate them like king cakes. Add extra embellishment by adding glitter or streamers. String them all together to create a fun party banner. Speaking of king cake, it’s a must at any party! Add a fun twist by serving it with Mardi Gras, simply add purple or green food coloring. Dip the rims of the cups in melted chocolate and roll in colored sprinkles. Play Cajun or jazz music to get everyone in the Mardi Gras spirit.

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