Here’s How to Help People Affected by the Government Shutdown

I can still remember my first government shutdown. I was in middle school and my dad was furloughed. In an effort to save my family money, I brought home my brown paper bag from lunch every day to reuse.

I remember the ones from the Obama administration. And then the one that made me most upset – back in 2018. Over a structure.

The only government shutdown that truly affected me was that one in middle school. I was a kid, and I could tell my parents were stressed out. Which is why I did the only thing within my power at the time: reuse my brown paper bag.

I honestly don’t care what side you’re on: debates over a structure — or flat out refusal to work with others, like we’re seeing now — shouldn’t stop people from going to work and getting paid. It’s happening too often, when it was a rare occurrence (if it ever occurred) before I was born.

Helping People Affected by the Government Shutdown

Having lived in an area saturated in government workers and now living in an area with a good mix of government employees and military families, I’ve seen a lot on Facebook from folks wanting to help when these shutdowns occur, but aren’t totally sure how.

I’ve taken what I’ve seen suggested over and over in various Facebook Groups, along with a few of my own ideas, and compiled a list. Whether you personally know someone who has been affected or not, there is a way you can help out those in your community affected by the government shutdown now.

Send them a gift card

This can be a gift card to a grocery store or a favorite restaurant. Also consider gas cards, as those who are still working but aren’t being paid are dipping into their savings to pay for gas to commute.

Make them a meal

It doesn’t have to be anything complicated. A lasagna or casserole will do. Invite them over for dinner or take one over to their house. These make-ahead meals would be perfect if you’re looking for ideas on something to deliver a friend or neighbor.

Send them a meal

Order them a pizza or even sign them up for a meal subscription box.

Offer to babysit

A furloughed parent brought up an excellent point: as much as she loves her kids, she needs a break from being around them all day. As a SAHM I can relate. Offering to watch their kid(s) for an hour or two can give them a chance to do something for themselves or simply get a few necessary tasks done.

Host a play date

Provide lunch or some snacks.

Donate to Local Diaper Banks

If you’re a parent, you probably know how expensive diapers are (about $70-$80 per month per baby). A staggering 1 in 3 families cannot afford to put clean diapers on their baby. To find a diaper bank near you, visit the National Diaper Bank Network.

Donate to Local Food Banks

To find a local food bank near you, visit Feeding America.

Don’t forget about those with food restrictions! While you’re reaching for the peanut butter consider buying a jar of Sunbutter to donate as well. Food allergy families tend to spend more on groceries as the substitutes available cost more.

Hands holding food to put in cardboard box marked donations

Reach out to your local schools

Our boys attend a Title 1 school. Part of this means that most of the students receive a free or reduced lunch. The school actually has an ongoing food drive to help make sure students are fed after school and weekends. You might not know this unless your child attends the school (I didn’t!), so it doesn’t hurt to find out if your local school(s) have something similar in place.

Frequent restaurants offering discounts or free services to those affected by the shutdown.

They’re losing money by doing these things. Help make it worth their while by popping in and buying a meal of your own.

The same goes for any business offering discounts or free services to furloughed government workers.

Share the love on social media

Know of a business offering free lunch? A church offering a hot meal? A discount on tickets to a play place? Did you find a list of local resources to help people affected by the shutdown? SHARE IT!

Sharing encourages others to share. When more people share, those who are silently struggling know where they can go for assistance without asking around.

Support the side hustles

There are some government workers who have a side hustle. My dad was one. And if they don’t, their spouse might. Many of my friends do. Support them! Buy something. If you are unable to, then share their websites and posts so they are seen by wider audiences.

Contact your local Coast Guard base and find out what items you can bring into the food pantries they have opened up.

Call your representatives

This is the #1 response I’ve read from people who are directly affected by the shutdown. When they’re asked “how can I help?” they haven’t responded with “I need gas money” or “I need money to pay my heating bill.” They have been telling us to use our voices to end the shutdown and get the government back open by calling our representatives in Washington.

How are you helping your community during the government shutdown?

How to Help Those Affected by the Government Shutdown via muddybootsanddiamonds.com

Springtime Word Search for Kids

Snow is melting. Birds are chirping. Trees are blossoming.

It must be springtime!

Today I’m sharing another word search that you can print out and use for fun or your homeschool curriculum! This Springtime Word Search is perfect for elementary-aged kids. Let them take it outside to complete on a warm day, or use it as an indoor activity on a rainy April day.

If you’re homeschooling, my Signs of Spring Scavenger Hunt makes a great compliment to the word search if you need an additional activity for younger children.

Image of Springtime Word Search graphic with text overlay via muddy boots and diamonds blog

A thing about my printables:

This word search is 8.5×11 inches. If you’d like to use this for yourself, feel free to download it and print a few out. But please….

  • This printable is for PERSONAL USE ONLY
  • You MAY NOT resell, redistribute, or claim the original as your own
  • If you post this on the internet, please give credit to this blog, Muddy Boots and Diamonds, and link back to this specific post so others can obtain the resource.
  • I’d love to see how you incorporated this scavenger hunt into your Halloween plans! Feel free to tag me (Twitter: @bootsndiamonds or IG: @muddybootsndiamonds) when sharing your photos!

Download your Springtime Word Search for Kids here.

Springtime Word Search with text overlay pinterest graphic via muddybootsanddiamonds.com

Fun St. Patrick’s Day Art Prints for Your Home or Office

St. Patrick’s Day art prints are a great way to make your home or office more festive during the month of March.

I don’t usually go all out for holidays other than Halloween and Christmas, but since we’re still stuck at home due to the pandemic, I have been trying to find ways to make smaller holidays special for my family. Putting a garland on the mantle or hanging a festive picture has helped put us in a festive spirit. I’ve discovered that art prints can really help with that. 

As a bonus, adding a touch of lesser-celebrated holidays helps remind us of the calendar! Because let’s face it, being stuck at home makes the days, weeks, and months, all run together. (I seriously can’t believe I’ve been living like this for nearly a year.)

Etsy is becoming my go-to for fun, unique finds. I love that I can help out a small business owner, and the site allows you to search for businesses based on locality.

Wall Art That Celebrates St. Patrick's Day pinterest pin with text overlay black leather chair under photograph of green four leaf clover via muddybootsanddiamonds.com St. Patrick's Day Art Prints For Your Home or Office

Disclaimer: This post contains Etsy affiliate links. This means I will receive a small commission should you make a purchase through one of the links, at no extra cost to you! For more information, please read my disclosure statement.

I’ve put together a list of some of the St. Patrick’s Day art prints I favorited on Etsy this week. Most of them are instant downloads, making them a great last-minute St. Patrick’s Day decor idea! After purchasing, they’ll be emailed to you in a zip file, and sometimes will include 2-3 different sizes. You can print them out ASAP on your home printer or order them through a printing service.

St. Patrick’s Day Art Prints For Your Home

Looking for more inspiration? Check out my St. Patrick’s Day board on Pinterest or these past posts.

Do you use St. Patrick’s Day art prints to bring a festive spirit into your home? What do you do to make the day special for your kids?

7 St. Patrick's Day Art Prints that Celebrate St. Patrick's Day via Muddy Boots and Diamonds pinterest image light green with text overlay and four leaf clovers

Dinosaur Valentine Cards – Free Printable

If your littles love dinosaurs as much as mine have, they’ll love the Dinosaur Valentine Cards I recently created. Punch two holes through the card and tie a small dino toy as a gift (like these DINO-mite valentines I made for G several years ago). Or use washi tape to attach a lollipop or pencil to one. OR! Go old-school and simply let them hand one to their special friends.

Days, weeks, months are all running together thanks to the pandemic. I can’t believe I’m already seeing Valentine’s Day commercials on TV! That’s usually my cue to plan a Valentine’s Day post, and I’m sharing it today to give you time to get ready yourself.

I’m not sure what Valentine’s Day will look like for G and L  this year. Will their teachers gloss over it as they have with Halloween and Christmas? Or will we be asked to drop off Valentine cards at school for some kind of distribution? 

If your kids are back in school, or if they’re learning in a pod, these Dinosaur Valentines will be a fun way for them to tell their peers they’re awesome!

A thing about my printables:

This Valentine printable is 8.5×11 inches. You will need to cut the cards out yourself. If you’d like to use these Valentines, feel free to download the file and print a few out. But please….

  • This printable is for PERSONAL USE ONLY
  • You MAY NOT resell, redistribute, or claim the original as your own
  • If you post this on the internet, please give credit to this blog, Muddy Boots and Diamonds, and link back to this specific post so others can obtain the resource.
  • I’d love to see how you incorporated this scavenger hunt into your Halloween plans! Feel free to tag me (Twitter: @bootsndiamonds or IG: @muddybootsndiamonds) when sharing your photos!

Download your Dinosaur Valentine Cards for Kids here.

 

Looking for more Valentine’s Day ideas for your family or students? Check out my Valentine’s Day board on Pinterest!

December Holidays Word Search

December is full of reasons to celebrate, but growing up only one was a major focus: Christmas.

So far, it’s really no different for my kids. In school, they sing Christmas Carols. They create Christmas crafts. Their assignments are Christmas-themed. 

On the surface, that’s okay considering it’s what our family celebrates. However, I always think about the kids who don’t celebrate Christmas.

Growing up, I was friends with a girl who celebrated Hanukkah. I remember in 5th grade a mutual friend of ours handed her a Christmas card. My friend wasn’t happy. Why would our friend give her a Christmas card when she’s Jewish? That moment taught me the importance of recognizing other religions besides our own.  

December is a month of celebration, some religious some not. Mostly, it’s a time to show others how much you love and appreciate them. It’s a time to reflect on the past and look forward to the future.

December Holidays Word Search for Kids social media image via muddy boots and diamonds blog

Last month, I created a Thanksgiving word search, and I decided it would be a good project for this month’s blog post (ugh, the pandemic is really hindering my writing capabilities!). I wanted to create an activity that I wish my kids’ teachers would hand them this time of year; an activity that helps show kids that there’s more to December than Christmas (break from school).

I chose three of the bigger celebrations: Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa. Full disclosure: I only know the basics of Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. I’ve included a small blurb for all three, with links so you can learn more.

Hanukkah

Hanukkah (or Chanukah) means “dedication” in Hebrew. This holiday begins on the 25th of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar and usually falls in November or December. Often called the Festival of Lights, the holiday is celebrated with the lighting of the menorah, traditional foods, games and gifts.

Learn more at History.

Christmas

Christmas is a Christian holiday honoring the birth of Jesus. It has evolved into a worldwide religious and secular celebration, incorporating many pre-Christian and pagan traditions into the festivities, such as the Yule Log and Christmas Tree.

Learn more at History.

Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa was created in 1966 by Dr. MaulHe wanted to find a way to bring African Americans together as a community after the Watts riots in Los Angeles. Each evening, there is candle-lighting ceremony in which one candle is lit and one of the seven principles is discussed:

  • Unity: Umoja (oo–MO–jah)
  • Self-determination: Kujichagulia (koo–gee–cha–goo–LEE–yah)
  • Collective Work and Responsibility: Ujima (oo–GEE–mah)
  • Cooperative Economics: Ujamaa (oo–JAH–mah)
  • Purpose: Nia (nee–YAH)
  • Creativity: Kuumba (koo–OOM–bah)
  • Faith: Imani (ee–MAH–nee)

Learn more at the Official Kwanzaa Website and History

 

December Holidays Word Search for Kids Pinterest Image

A religion class I took in college helped me realize that there are a lot more similarities between religions than most of us realize. Throughout the year, I try to talk to my kids about the holidays that are celebrated besides our own as they come up on the calendar. I wholeheartedly believe that by teaching our kids about holidays and traditions different from our own, we’ll raise more empathetic humans.

I hope you’ll find this December Holidays word search a useful — and fun! — way to introduce other holidays besides your own.

A thing about my printables:

This word search is 8.5×11 inches. If you’d like to use this for yourself, feel free to download it and print a few out. But please….

  • This printable is for PERSONAL USE ONLY
  • You MAY NOT resell, redistribute, or claim the original as your own
  • If you post this on the internet, please give credit to this blog, Muddy Boots and Diamonds, and link back to this specific post so others can obtain the resource.
  • I’d love to see how you incorporated this scavenger hunt into your Halloween plans! Feel free to tag me (Twitter: @bootsndiamonds or IG: @muddybootsndiamonds) when sharing your photos!

Download your December Holidays Word Search for Kids here.