Chalkboard Thankful Tree

Hello my friends, how is your November going?  This is one of my favorite months of the year, and we always try to do some activities to help us be more thankful and cultivate an attitude of gratitude.
  Unfortunately, more often then not, I come up with a super cute and super unrealistic activity that takes lots of effort and usually fizzles out by the second week of November...can anyone else relate?!  This year I decided to simplify, and thank goodness I found THIS genius idea on Pinterest...
A Chalkboard Thankful Tree!
In our study I knew I wanted a HUGE chalkboard, and since I could never find one that I wanted we just slapped some chalkboard viny on the wall and framed it with this great Ikea frame.  We have used it tons already, but it really came in handy for our Thankful Tree.  As you can see, we just drew lots of branches on our tree and every morning after breakfast we go into the study and take turns saying one thing we are thankful for.  Some are silly and some are serious, but I LOVE that for 10 minutes out of the day we are thinking of nothing but ALL we have to be grateful for.
We just started this 3 days ago and our bare tree is really starting to already fill in!
How do you help your kids show more gratitude this month?  Keep checking back, we have a few simple service projects we are doing and as always some yummy treats and crafts...have a fantastic day!


Making Oatmeal Monday...Funfetti Cake Batter Oatmeal!

 Hello friends!! It has been a LONG time since I posted something on here...is October as crazy for everyone else as it always seems to be for me?!  I cannot believe it is already November, time is flying by like it always does!
So it seems like every Halloween we have so many treats leading up to the big night, and then SO much candy after, that I am always trying to get back some healthier habits come November.  One thing that has been driving me crazy lately, but I have been too lazy to do anything about, is that my kids are eating sugary cereal pretty much every day for breakfast.  This bugs me on many levels.  They are filling themselves with sugar immediately as they wake up, they stay full for approximately 7 minutes, and they get completely addicted and go crazy if I try to have them eat anything else!  I decided to cut it out, except for the occasional weekend treat.  I knew this would not go over well, so I am trying to do some fun things to introduce different breakfasts to my kids...and one of my favorites is oatmeal!!  I love how filling it is, how many different ways you can make it, and there is nothing better on a cold fall morning ;)
I told the kids every Monday we would try a new oatmeal recipe, so today we kicked off our Making Oatmeal Monday with something I KNEW my kids would love...
Funfetti Cake Batter Oatmeal!

Seriously, how fun is this?!  I found this recipe at Amy's Healthy Baking and knew my kids would love it.  I mean, sprinkles for breakfast?!  And, its actually pretty healthy too!
The key to making this oatmeal taste like cake batter is using butter extract.  I had never heard of it before, but it made the oatmeal taste exactly like cake mix and I was able to pick some up this morning at WalMart in the baking aisle.  Here is the recipe in case you want make some for your family too! :)
1 1/3 C rolled oats
2 2/3 C skim milk
1 tsp butter extract
sweetener to taste
Cook oats and milk on the stovetop at medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed by the oats.  Then let stand until the oatmeal thickens.  Stir in your butter extract and sweetener of your choice (I just used about a 1/4 C of brown sugar) and then add a sprinkles to the top!
This was a HUGE hit!  The only thing my kids said for when I make it next time is that it was a teeny bit TOO sweet...so you can add less sweetener and it will probably be even better :)
Make sure you stop by next week for another Making Oatmeal Monday, we are trying something tasty....and if you like pumpkin you won't want to miss it!