Tips & Tricks

Big Hearted Back To School Prep

August Book Club
August Book Club

It's that time of year again. My family, like so many of yours, is once again engulfed in all of the excitement, nervous planning, and - yes- shopping that goes along with a new class schedule. If' you're looking for big-hearted conversation starters, book ideas, and really great tips to add  a "giving" aspect to your back-to-school rituals check out the Doing Good Together newsletter.

My family has been enjoying the book Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts, which is this month's book club pick for Big-Hearted Families.

Those Shoes is exactly the type of story we hunt for here at Big-Hearted Families. It is a book full of thought-provoking ideas and real-life challenges. It’s also a beautifully written, heart-warming story that your family will want to pick up again and again.

My five-year-old has been asking for it at every story time lately.

This little book is packed with important ideas, such as:

>   Recognizing the difference between what we want and what we need is not always easy, for kids or adults.

>   We all have something valuable to give, no matter how much or how little we have.

>   Being generous is rewarding, but it can also be difficult.

There are still  a few copies available over at our shop, if you want to  bring this wonderful book - along with the recipe and activity - home for your family.

I found the clothing drive particularly helpful. Not only did the story and the conversation inspire my girls to clear out the clutter of beautiful but rarely worn clothes in the back of their closet, but it got them talking to their friends about "gently worn" or even new donations.

We'll be making our drop off on Monday -three large bags full of barely worn children's clothes and shoes.

Plus, as we school shop for ourselves, we're working hard to identify "need" versus "want," in an effort to avoid cluttering up the closets once again with more than we can wear.  Thankfully, my girls are young enough that they are as unconcerned as I am by brands and trends, so coveting the latest pair of .... whatever is trendy this fall... won't be a hurdle for us. I am hopeful that folding "giving" aspects into our back-to-school rituals will help make future years a little easier to manage, even after they become more socially aware.

How are you making back-to-school season a time of giving and reflection with your family?

Your Big-Hearted Stories

We're hearing from so many big-hearted families doing many wonderful projects and activities. I'm grateful for everyone's contributions not only because they are strengthening our offerings here at Big-Hearted Families. They also keep me motivated to try new projects with my own family! I hope they do the same for you.

I spoke with one family that is busily preparing Halloween decorations for two nursing homes! What an inspiration, and what a great way to help a craft-loving child put their skills to good use!

Another family we know worked to Feed Hungry Minds this week, donating books (complete with notes from the family), to a local charity.

Many families are establishing regular habits to make good deeds part of their family routine. Setting up a dedicated "giving box" for a local food shelf or homeless shelter is one of the most popular ways to do this.

Check out Traci and her family's effort to place a "give" box in every closet, keeping donations at the forefront of their thinking.

And when you get a moment, share you story with us, either in the comments section here or straight to my inbox at Thanks!



Meals on Wheels: Timing is Everything

Ever since my third baby was born, our family volunteering efforts have been mostly confined to the kitchen table (you can find loads of ideas for at home projects right here). I know, I know... he's a year old. It's time for us to move out into the world. And we will. Both of my daughters have been asking repeatedly to deliver for Meals on Wheels again. Though it has been a little over a year since our last deliveries, the girls are full of fond memories of our former route.

Our time will come. We'll probably start that adventure next summer when a) Mr. Toddler is steadier on his feet, b) when his napping schedule no longer runs into the 10:30 to 12 delivery time, and c) when Miss Second Grader can come along to help lead him around.

Until then we'll marvel at our neighbors. My inspiring neighbor just signed up as an on-call MOW family. When the local center is short of delivery people and her family isn't otherwise engaged, she loads up the troupe and off they go.

You can see how much they enjoyed the adventure. There were smiles all around when they returned.

Because their stories are getting my girls excited about the Meals on Wheels mission again, we'll be doing a few at home mow projects. Join us! And share your story!

1) Decorate lunch bags (to carry the MOW dessert - just deliver to the local MOW site for distribution)

2)Decorate Placemats (for the MOW recipients - just deliver to the local MOW site for distribution)

3) Follow Meals on Wheels on FB for updates on other short term needs they may have