Happy Thanksgiving

Today is another Thanksgiving filled with lots of emotions…as usual, I will be spending a lot of time crying.   Tears of gratitude for the blessings of this year mixed with tears of sadness.

This is our second Thanksgiving without my dad.  Since Belinda was a baby, we locked in two holidays which were always spent with dad – Father’s Day and Thanksgiving.  We will be spending the day with my step-mom and extended family but it will be a struggle.  Belinda is in NC celebrating Thanksgiving with her in-laws.  As I watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade, I struggle with memories of past years filled with high school football games, homecoming floats, dinner at Grams with the entire family.

Today I am counting my blessings….  Blessed to have a supportive hubby, it has been a rough year but he has been my rock.  I am grateful I was able to fix us a mini Thanksgiving dinner on Monday since he is working today.   I am grateful my family is healthy as mom and Sal head off on a cruise..

This Laura Story song is one of my favorites…

Thirty One continues to bless my life and be the thing which keeps me going on those bad days.  Who would have thought 7 plus years ago, a $99 kit would make such a difference in someone’s live?   Over the last 6 months, my business has grown beyond my wildest dreams.  I have an amazing team of women who inspire me with their strength, courage and friendship.  I’m grateful I am still able to earn an income despite the challenges of MS.  I have a multitude of women who have gone from customers and hostesses to friends.  The greatest blessing is the ability to share with those who are struggling by giving back to our community.

Words can’t express how grateful I am today and every day. My wish is each of you have a blessed Thanksgiving – enjoy the time with your friends and family. Cherish the moments for all the years to come.

A Thanksgiving Prayer by Gwen Smith…

Dear Lord:

We come with hearts of gratitude today to bless Your name and to ask that Your hand of blessing would be upon us. THANK YOU, Father, for loving us with an eternal love that stands firm, even when we are unlovable. THANK YOU for being faithful, righteous, holy and just, yet willing to see us, Your children, through divine eyes of compassion, mercy, forgiveness and grace. THANK YOU for being a God of restoration and renewal in the midst of a broken, pain-filled world. THANK YOU for providing for our needs, directing our paths, and establishing our steps.

We acknowledge Your sovereignty, Lord, and freshly submit to Your will today. We ask Your BLESSING and GUIDANCE over our children, grandchildren, marriages, families, and loved ones. We ask Your BLESSING and GUIDANCE over our country, president, governors, senators, representatives, and local officials. We ask Your BLESSING and GUIDANCE over our communities, churches, schools, work places, decisions, and opportunities. Please FILL US with the presence of Your joy, peace, patience, goodness, gentleness, and self control today. HELP US to see as You see and to love as You love. HELP US to serve others humbly for the sake of Your name. HELP US to be light that shines in the darkness. HELP US to follow Your ways and continually seek Your leading.

You are our hope and our strength, Lord. We give you THANKS in all of this and ask for the fullness of Your BLESSING in all these things, according to the power of Jesus Christ who is at work within us through Your Holy Spirit.

Amen

Have a ThirtyOne-derful Thanksgiving!

How To Get Your Kids to Clean Their Room

Belinda may be grown BUT I do remember the battle for her to keep her room clean – okay, even neat would have been nice.  I was grateful company never had to walk past her room to get to the bathroom or I could just close her door….  What about you?  Do you struggle to get your kids to clean up their room?  Are things tossed EVERY WHERE???

If you’re a parent, you have heard the endless excuses your kids can come up with when it’s time to clean their rooms.  From “I’ll do it later!” to “I’m too tired,” we’ve heard them all! The truth is, we probably used them ourselves at some point in our life, right?  Here are a few tricks to help make the room-cleaning battle a bit easier.

1. Set clear, realistic expectations

What is clean to us may not be clean to our kids.  We need to set age-appropriate goals to help them recognize when their room is “clean.”  For a three-year-old, a clean room could simply mean books are on the shelf, toys in their place and dirty clothes in the hamper. Yet for an eight-year-old, there could be the added responsibility of making their bed or putting clean clothes away.  The key is we need to share our expectations with our children.  Maybe even give them a list of what to do and if they can’t read, use pictures with the words.

2. Let your kids OWN their space

Belinda’s room was her room – seems like a no-brainer, right?  I let her make her own decisions but often gave her just two choices I could leave with – whether it was picking out her clothes, what color her room was or what game to play.  I never thought about giving her a .choice about where things went in  her room… It did get better once we put the closet organizer in with shelves and a spot to hang her clothes.

primaryFor some kids, putting toys, games and clothes away is never fun – except when there’s a monster involved! Here is a unique craft idea to turn Thirty One’s  Your Way® Cube or Your Way® Rectangle storage bin into a fun monster kids can keep their belongings in.

Not only does it help keep bedrooms and toy rooms neat, it makes a great decoration and an adorable gift your kids will love. I’m pretty sure this is one monster your kids will want under their beds … or in their closets!

image1Here is what you will need:

  • 1 white sticky-back foam sheet (color optional)
  • Pair of sticky-back googly eyes – size and number of eyes optional
  • Scissors or craft knife
  • FREE monster teeth template (Your Way® Cube and Rectangle sizes included)
  • Glue stick (for other/additional design options)

How to make it:

  1. Choose either a Your Way® Cube with matching Cube Lid or Your Way® Rectangle with matching Rectangle Lid in the color or print you want your monster to be.
  2. Print out the monster teeth template below and cut two rows of teeth for your cube or rectangle from the sticky-back foam sheet. If you prefer, you can also design your own teeth, but be sure to measure the window or panel of your bin first.
  3. Peel and stick the teeth to either the clear PVC window or chalkboard panel of your bin, aligning the flat edges to the top and bottom edge.
  4. Next, identify the front-facing edge of your lid, and place it on your bin. This will help you decide on the placement of your googly eyes.
  5. Now, peel and stick the eyes in place to the front-facing edge of the lid. You made a monster!

 

Add even more embellishments, if you’d like: Maybe some foam-sheet spots in a contrasting color, or eyelashes, horns, ears or a nose. Maybe even glue a little faux fur or feathers to the lid for hair!

Consider stacking up a few monster cubes to create a fun tower shape or line them up on shelves to create a monster row. The most important thing to remember is to have fun and be creative!  Click the link:  Monster Teeth Template to get the teeth

 

3. Set a good example

Kids learn by example, right?  They learn from what we do, and not from what we say.  I’m sure you have said it at least once “Do as I say, not as I do”… Admit it, we all have.  Honestly, sometimes it’s easier to say, “Clean your room!” and walk away than to actually go in and HELP our kids.  Sometimes, it takes just that!  If your child is resisting, why not get down on the floor and help.  When you do the work together, you are setting a good example of how families help each other – and it actually is a chance to spend  some quality time talking and bonding with your child.

I wish we had personalized containers like The Littles Carry-All Caddies, Mini Storage Bins and Your Way Cubes when Belinda was younger.  They are the perfect size for storing toys, extra clothes and other stuff which clutter up a child’s room. Plus, they can be personalized with your child’s name, a favorite picture or animal (using our Icon-Its) or anything else you come up with.  Have some fun with your kids and let them help in personalizing the storage and organization products for their rooms.

How do you help your children keep their space neat and tidy? Show us your organized kids’ rooms by sharing your photos on social media – we love seeing how you put Thirty-One’s  products to use. Tag us with #partywithHope

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Halloween Party Fun

 

Boo! It’s the time of year, when the ghosts and goblins appear and an added bonus is Thirty-One comes out with some adorable Halloween-themed printables!  So whether you are a room mom, a home schooler, or  just like to have some plan old fun with your kids…. you are going to LOVE these Halloween fun and festive decorations inspired by Thirty One’s fall-exclusive Littles Carry-All Caddies and Icon-Its!

Gather your supplies….

  • Printer
  • Scissors
  • Hole punch
  • Ribbon, twine, yarn or string
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Tape
  • Pen or marker
  • Optional: glue or glue stick
  • Optional: stapler

First up is a Trick-or-Treat (or just some fun holiday decorations) banner…..  Thank you Thirty One for these great ideas…

Choose the printable banner to match your space! Use bats for a crisp, black-and-white color scheme, or go for monsters for your little one’s Halloween celebration with friends! You can also spice up your banner with other phrases like “Boo” or “Happy Halloween” by drawing and cutting out your own letters!  My favorite is the little monster….What about you?

Directions: Print and cut out the letters and enough bats, skeletons or monsters to span your space. Use a hole punch on each printable where marked and thread your letters and characters on twine, yarn or ribbon. To make sure the printables don’t slide around on the string, reinforce holes with tape or staples.

Tip:  Let your little ones choose their favorite character and make a mini-banner to hang over their bedroom door during October.

Are you a make your own costume kind of gal?  I made all of Belinda’s costumes for years.  I remember when funds were tight (the early years of recovery), we were all DUCKS!  Yup!  Yellow sweatshirts & sweatpants with masks made of craft foam.  It was a fun year…  Here are some Lil’ Monster masks (and more!)

So, if you are not a big costume person and want to have some fun with your kids.  You may  enjoy “wearing” this easy and casual look!  Match a bat mask with an all-black outfit or the monster with a cute green shirt for a Halloween “costume” you can easily flip on and off.  I”m thinking of doing one of these for my vendor events in October, which one would you pick?

Directions: Print and cut out your choice of masks. Cut out holes where marked (eyes, mouth, etc.). Then use glue or tape to attach the top portion of the popsicle stick to the side of the mask where marked for your handle.

Tip:  If you’re looking to go the extra mile and keep your hands free all night, or you know the kids will end up needing both hands to grab twice the candy, punch holes on either side of the mask and attach string instead of a popsicle stick. Tie it on and trick or treat away!

I will admit, I am not must on decorating anymore…. what about you?  Do you go all out for Halloween or do you just put the light on to hand out candy?  Here are some easy candle or cup wraps to add a holiday touch to what is already on display at your home.

Cup wraps are a great way to jazz up plain party cups for a Halloween-themed bash! Go with bats for a classic black and white look, or spice things up with colorful monsters and skeletons.

Directions: Print out wraps. For candles, cut along the outside of the rectangle. Wrap around your candle and tape into place. For cups, cut along the dotted lines. Wrap around your cup with the longer edge near the top of the cup and tape into place.

Tip:  Go for candle wraps to create a unique and festive table centerpiece. Add pumpkins, fake spiderwebs or candy for a fun and spooky look that your guests are sure to love.

Are you a mom business owner (even if you are n to a mom, these are fun) Why not hand out some candy bags (with your business card) to the parents as they walk around with the kids.

Whether you are looking to give out something a little different than the same old candy this year or you what to share your business with some parents, why not try these fun tags.  These tags add a little something extra for trick-or-treaters or party goers! These easy printables can help you make sure even the smallest details of your Halloween celebration are special and spooky.

Directions: Print out tags. Use scissors to cut tags out and then hole punch where marked. Use ribbon, twine, yarn, string or a stapler to attach the tags to gift bags of candy. Or, tape an individual piece of candy to each tag.

Tip:  Besides fun decorations, these tags are also useful for categorizing your candy! Use a bat tag to denote nut-free goody bags or a monster to label treats without milk or eggs. This will make it easier for your trick or treaters and their parents to have a sweet night!
Can’t wait to see how you use these AWESOME printables……
Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!
Printable templates:

Tasty Tuesday: Healthy Lunch Box Ideas

I know it is WAY too early to think about “healthy school lunches”, right?  BUT these are also some great ideas to use for trips to the beach or the park or even those outdoor activities this summer.

I never thought of Belinda as a fussy eater, she just knew what she wanted and it was one battle I did not want to fight.  So for lunch was usually carrots and dip or peanut butter and no jelly.  She wanted nothing to do with anything “green” but she did like “finger foods” for lunch so baby carrots were always good.

I’m sure some of you have a problem getting your kids to eat healthy.  Although I think it is a little easier these days.  Thanks to Thirty One for these yummy ideas!  We’ve searched far and wide to bring you the most delicious snacks you can easily swap out to boost your kids’ nutrition. (And they’re all perfect to pack in our colorful and hard-working insulated lunch bags!)

Swap out PB&J for a PB&B

We all remember pulling a pale, squashed PBJ out of our lunch bags as kids… with that dark purple splotch of jelly seeping through the soggy white bread. (Bleh.)  I loved it BUT Belinda didn’t do jelly.  Why not give your kids a healthy sammie worth celebrating? A peanut butter and banana sandwich on whole wheat or put it in a wrap.  It is packed with 17 g of protein, 7 g of fiber, complex carbs and healthy unsaturated fats. This combo can help kids feel full and energized throughout the afternoon.  Slicing up half a medium banana instead of spreading on two tablespoons of jam adds potassium and cuts out 10 g of sugar! You can even layer in sliced strawberries for a touch of sweetness and a big dose of vitamin C.

Swap out juice boxes for a reusable water bottle

Single-serving drink boxes are convenient and fun, but many also contain artificial color, flavoring and preservatives. Even 100% fruit juices can contain up to 20 g of sugar per pouch!  Instead, try infusing a pitcher of water with citrus slices, torn fresh herbs or muddled berries at home. Combine together herbs and fruits (like strawberry-basil or blueberry-mint) for a refreshing change of pace. Leave your pitcher to infuse overnight in the fridge and pour into a leak-proof water bottle.

Our roomy new Lunch Buddy Thermals feature an elastic-topped mesh side pocket that’s perfect for toting the kids’ water bottles to school and back each day. (And the fun prints are irresistible!)

Swap out applesauce for apple slices

Packing a large, sliced apple instead of a cup of applesauce can double your kids’ fiber intake (5.4 g vs 2.7 g), boost their vitamin C (10.3 mg vs 2.7 mg) and provide them with the beneficial antioxidants contained in the skin of the apple.  Kids love to eat raw apples plain as a healthful snack, or dip slices in a delicious nut or seed butter for added protein and a salty kick. If you want to keep the convenience factor, toss in a whole apple or nab a segmented slicer tool to make quick work of lunch prep.  If you do decide to sometimes opt for applesauce, look for healthier varieties made without added sugar or artificial preservatives. Or make your own unsweetened applesauce, and be sure to leave the skins on!

Swap out chips for nearly anything else

Do your kids crave something salty to go with their meals? (Us too!) Steer clear of the fat, sodium and calorie bombs that are potato chips, which have been scientifically linked to weight gain, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.   Instead, why not offer your kids one of these tasty (and nutritious) treats?

  • Roasted pumpkin seeds
  • Deli turkey-wrapped cucumber slices
  • Nuts (Be sure to check your school’s allergen policy first)
  • Edamame, boiled or shelled and roasted
  • Air-popped popcorn (It’s a whole grain!)
  • Cheese cubes
  • Whole wheat pretzels
  • Celery sticks with nut or seed butter and raisins, or with cream cheese and dried cranberries
  • Swap out pudding cups for Greek yogurt
  • Kids love spooning up creamy treats at lunchtime. But when you’re packing their lunch bags, think Greek: While the calorie count and amount of calcium are essentially the same, a serving of Greek yogurt can provide as much as 20 times the protein of an individual pudding cup.

Stick to plain Greek yogurt for the least sugar, and add sliced berries or a little honey for sweetness. If the kids want the flavored kind, choose one with sugar near the end of the ingredient list: The first three ingredients should be milk, live and active cultures and fruit.

Keep their yogurt – and the rest of their healthy food swap-outs – cool until lunchtime in a classic Thermal Tote personalized with your child’s name and favorite embroidered Icon-It design. Your kids will be eating healthy and noshing in style!

 

What is your kids’ favorite lunch?  Share it with us…. Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Campus style: College fashion bag trends

I know High schoolers and younger are not thinking about going back to school BUT I am sure the college students are gearing up for their new life.  The summer Belinda went off to college was a whirlwind of craziness….

Of course, changing colleges just two weeks before heading off for the first extended trip away from home did help either.  She went from attending Johnson & Wales in Charlotte to Western Carolina University in Cullowhee.  I wasn’t sure how it would work out but it was the best decision she ever made.  I miss her like crazy since she is 12 hours away but I am so proud of the woman she has become.

From backpack purses and messenger bags to slouchy totes and crossbody wallets, this year’s hand-picked campus trends will take you back to college in style. Read on to discover the hottest bag fashions designed to be super-functional, keeping you organized semester after semester.

Trend-right mini backpack purses

A small backpack purse is the perfect combination of hands-free and on-trend. Choose one with sturdy hardware and plenty of pockets – the one you pick will need to hold a ton and stand up to your busy daily routine. Don’t go too bold with this one: choose a solid color in an elevated finish to maintain wearability and lend a timeless air to an of-the-moment style. Thirty-One Gifts’ own Boutique Backpack comes in a luxe, faux-pebble fabrication in your choice of four colors with contrasting striped handles for a pop of fun!

Brand new for Fall 2018, our version of this fashionable, hands-free bag is available early (and at a great price!) to Customers who invite their friends to shop Thirty-One Gifts together this July! Connect with me to learn more about shopping and sharing this great style when you host a party. And as always, personalization is free on Hostess Specials – so make your backpack really stand out with an embroidered monogram or initial in color-coordinating thread.

Campus fashion tip: Wear it over a flowy floral top or dress, and tie a light cardigan or denim button-up shirt around your waist for those college lecture halls that seem to perpetually blast the AC.

Hands-free crossbody wallets

Whether you’re biking to class in the morning or hitting the town at night, hands-free is where it’s at. Choose a sleek and slim crossbody wallet to keep your phone, credit cards, ID and other essentials close at hand. And if you find one with a removable strap like our chic Tons of Funds, snag it – these styles easily transform into an everyday wallet for your larger bag, or clip on a Wristlet Strap for a cute clutch. Three great uses – all without unpacking your things!

Campus fashion tip: Skip the jewelry and sling a brightly colored crossbody wallet across a simple striped tunic and leggings to add a trendy visual pop.

Versatility is key when you’re selecting an everyday tote for class. Our slouchy and stylish Retro Metro Collection features a few stand-out pieces perfect for campus life: Try the Retro Metro Hobo Crossbody in black-and-white, vintage-inspired Twill Stripe. The long, flexible handle means it can be worn as a crossbody, or knot the strap to shorten the handle drop for a relaxed shoulder bag.

Need something with more room and a bit more structure? Our Retro Metro Fold-Overshares the same comfortable styling and durable construction, but features a shaped base and reinforced square corners for more of a messenger bag look. It’s available in cotton or canvas, perfect for toting textbooks, tech and more.

Campus fashion tip: Pair a slouchy bag with a fitted blazer or jean jacket to balance the casual vibe.

What better way to achieve exactly the campus style you’re looking for than by designing it yourself? For a true messenger bag in a chic, upgraded finish, check out our Studio Thirty-One Modern purse. The large magnetic flap is removable so you can switch up your look from semester to semester…or even day to day!

We love the classic sophistication of a monochromatic Caramel Charm Body and Flapwith a stylish pop of black-and-white webbing in the crossbody strap. And be sure to check out our Studio Thirty-One flaps from the Global Inspired Collection featuring bright, graphic prints.

Check out even more hot Studio Thirty-One combinations, or jump right in and start designing your own! Bonus: Each one of these purses is polished enough to take you from class straight to your internship. (Grown-up points!)

Campus fashion tip: Wear it with an olive green military-style jacket and cute ballet flats to punch up your favorite jeans-and-tee combo.

Bonus accessory trend: Lightweight scarves

Want another great college-friendly fashion tip? Think beyond the bag! A square, rectangular or infinity scarf is a key element in your back-to-school wardrobe. Tie it on your bag to add stylish flair and a shot of color, or wrap one loosely around your neck to make a fashion statement in any season.

There are as many ways to wear a simple scarf as there are prints available in our long and lightweight Avenue Scarf: a quick search on Pinterest turns up tons of creative tying methods, from simple knots to fancy braids, head wraps and even belts!

Campus fashion tip: It’s easier than you think to turn a rectangular scarf into a stylish kerchief: you’re just seconds away with this four-step tutorial we love!

Thank you ThirtyOne for today’s blog post.