Thanksgiving Time Capsule
As our family grows and our little ones get older, I want them to think of Thanksgiving as something more than pumpkin pie and turkey. I want Thanksgiving to be a time in which we truly reflect on all that we have to be grateful for. So this year, I’m instituting a new tradition in our home – the  Thanksgiving Time Capsule! My goal is that each member of our family will create something special to tell of what we’re thankful for this year, to be tucked away in the treasure chest until next Thanksgiving. Then each and every year, we’ll repeat the tradition, reading through past years’ contributions and no doubt smiling at the memories they bring to mind.
No matter what the age or stage of your child, they can participate in and have fun with your family’s Thanksgiving time capsule…
·   Older children can write a list of all of the things they are thankful for.
·   Younger children can draw a picture of things they are thankful for – just be sure you write on the back of the picture, so that you remember what it represents in years to come.
·    Even the tiniest babies tell us what they’re thankful for – it’s just up to us to observe and interpret. Write a little list of the things your baby loves, decorating it if you’d like with a little tracing or print of a tiny hand or foot.
The lovely thing about this tradition is that it can be as simple or as elaborate as you’d like it to be. Some different twists on the time capsule tradition include…
·    Purchase a simple little notebook. At Thanksgiving dinner, ask each family member what they are thankful for and write their response in the notebook.
·    Create a video time capsule, asking each person to share what they are thankful for on video.
·    Create a Thanksgiving scrapbook. Have each person write or draw something that they are thankful for on small pieces of paper. Arrange them on a single scrapbook page, adding pictures of your Thanksgiving as a family, or little reminders of things you are thankful for – souvenirs from a family vacation, pictures of loved ones, etc.  Add a new page (or pages) to your scrapbook each year.
·    Or create another tradition to share as a family. Have fun, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Halloween Pumpkin Pizza

Here's a fun little idea for your next Halloween Party, or even just for a pre-trick-or-treating dinner with the family...
Pumpkin Pizzas
Pilsbury pizza dough (or homemade pizza dough, if you are feeling ambitious)
Pizza sauce
Cheddar cheese, grated
Your choice of toppings:
Pepperoni (cut into triangles for a traditional Jack-O-Lantern look)
Red peppers (cut into long thin slices, for mouths)
Pineapple, mushrooms, onions, green peppers (cubed, for eyes and noses)
To make pumpkin shaped pizza crusts, roll out pizza dough and use a round cookie cutter (or almost anything round, such as the rim of a bowl or mug, depending on the size you would like your pizzas to be) to cut a round mini pizza crust. Use your finger to form a slight indent (as though making a heart shape) at the top of the “pumpkin”. Cut a small rectangle out of pizza dough and attach to the indented portion of the pizza crust to form a “stem”. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and bake crusts roughly 7-8 minutes on a cookie sheet sprayed with non-stick spray.  One roll of pizza dough yields roughly 2 adult-sized and 3 child-sized mini pizzas.
Prepare your pizza crusts ahead of time, then allow your little ones to decorate their own pumpkin pizzas! The cheddar cheese gives the pumpkins their orange colour, and toppings placed on top of the cheese will form your jack-o-lantern face. So simple – yet so much fun! Happy pumpkin eating!

Why Not Celebrate?
Life with children is wonderful. And it deserves to be celebrated. I want children to grow up with memory banks filled to overflowing with snippets of brightly coloured moments – playtime with friends, celebrations with family, quirky traditions, and frequent, spontaneous outbursts of togetherness and joy.
As busy as life is, taking the time to celebrate life is totally worth the effort. Little parties and special events don’t have to be fancy or over the top to be fun and memorable for little ones. In our home, we’ve decided to allow ourselves one “big” event per year (usually for our little one’s birthdays). But for the rest – the little Valentine’s day teas and Halloween lunches – I’ve set a few little guidelines…
1.    Keep it small. Two to five mommies or daddies and accompanying little ones is plenty.
2.    Make it a potluck. I provide the main course (we usually try for lunch time parties) – something simple and kid-pleasing like mini pizzas or macaroni and cheese. Then I delegate the remainder of the food – fruit, veggies, dessert, munchies – to my guests.
3.   Remain calm. I know that the friends I’m inviting all have little ones too, and won’t judge me if my house isn’t totally spic and span.
4.   Make it festive! I throw a few dollar store decorations up on the wall, then pack them away in my “party supplies” box to be used another year.
5.   Relax and have fun! I save the games, activities, and entertainment for birthday parties. At little celebrations, we just hang out and let the little ones play…And it is SO much fun!

Tropical Luau Birthday Cake
I box golden cake mix, plus required ingredients
1 cup crushed pineapple
1 cup flaked coconut
Prepare cake mix according to package directions, then fold in pineapple and coconut. Bake according to package directions.  The result is a wonderfully moist, very tropical-tasting cake that takes almost no effort to make. Decorate with any tropical-themed items you have on hand. I used some plastic palm trees and sharks and a couple of drink umbrella, and encircled the cake plate with a couple of dollar store leis. What could be simpler! To see pictures, click here.