Elf on the Shelf : Everything You Need to Create a Fun & Meaningful Holiday Tradition

I’ve teamed up with my very dear friends,  Kristina Proffitt & Rebecca Cooper, to bring you the ultimate “Elf on the Shelf” collaboration! Every year Kristina puts out a free elf planner & this year I was super happy when she asked me to help design it! I also teamed up with Rebecca to bring you some cute printables for documenting this super fun holiday tradition.

As I was designing, I was trying to think of a way to make our elf adventures even more meaningful this year. I finally came up with the idea of having the elf bring the “gift of gratitude” with him daily through journaling prompts.


This is how it works:

Every day, your elf will show up with a “Countdown to Christmas” tag & a gratitude journaling prompt printed on the back (just print out the cards, punch a hole in the top of the tag, add some twine, & you’re ready to go!).

When your elf shows up on Thanksgiving day, you’re kids will find a wrapped present, along with the following letter…

Hello Friends!

I am so excited to be back!

For Christmas this year, Santa wanted to give you one of the best gifts of all: the gift of gratitude! But he didn’t want to wait until Christmas morning. He wanted you to experience this gift throughout the entire holiday season!

So every day I’m going to remind you about a gift that you already have. And every day you get to write about it in your gratitude journal! On Christmas eve, leave your gratitude journal out for Santa to read!

You don’t often get a chance to give Santa a gift, but reading your gratitude journal will be the best gift you could ever give him!

I’m so excited to start this new holiday tradition with you! I can’t wait to read what you’ve written, so be sure to leave your journal out every night! I’ll be back every day with something new to be grateful for!


Your Elf

*Note: You’ll want to purchase a journal for your kids to write in every day. This can be one journal for the whole family to share…or you can get a journal for each of your kids…your choice!  Wrap it up & put the letter from your elf on top so your kids can open it the first day your elf arrives!

I’m super excited to bring the spirit of gratitude into our holiday season & I hope you’ll join me too!


Head on over to Kristina’s blog to download our free elf calendar! It’s full of fun ideas to make hiding your elf stress-free & fun for the whole family!



This is the digital kit that Rebecca & I created to document all of your elf’s adventures this year! You could even print out the cards & use them during the month with your elf!



And finally, be sure to check out Rebecca’s blog where she’s posted over 40 pictures of fun ways to hide your elf!



Thank you so much for stopping by! We hope we’ve helped bring a little more Christmas joy to your holiday elf this year!


Need Some Digital Supplies or Fonts?! You’ve Got to Check Out Design Cuts!


I often get asked where I find my commercial use fonts & digital supplies that I use in my designs, so I thought I’d share one of my secret weapons with you today…www.DesignCuts.com. They work with some of the best designers to get you amazing deals for over 90% off retail price! Every two weeks they put out a new deal that’s usually around $900, but you can get it (for a limited time) for only $29!!  It’s crazy! Right now they are celebrating their 2nd birthday & for a few more days you can grab some of their best deals from 2015

“Change Your Thoughts, Change Your World” – Humor helps…a lot!

Today’s topic is all about humor! I think sometimes we get so caught up in the ins & outs of life…or so caught up in trying to improve ourselves that we forget to have a sense of humor. When that happens, life in general & self-improvement can feel heavy, hard, & tedious…but that’s the exact opposite of what we’re trying to achieve! It’s good to take a step back & find the humor in ourselves & in every day life.  I love today’s quote because it shows how a sense of humor is not just “nice to have”, but it is also extremely powerful! A little bit of humor can go a long way in helping us enjoy life more, both mentally & physically.


One of the beautiful things about life is that we get to choose how we react to any situation. The exact same situation could happen to two different people & one person will laugh about it & another will experience an entire range of negative emotions. One of my favorite talks on this subject was given by Joseph B. Wirthlin called, “Come What May & Love It”. I wanted to share a part of that talk with you today…

Learn to Laugh

The first thing we can do is learn to laugh. Have you ever seen an angry driver who, when someone else makes a mistake, reacts as though that person has insulted his honor, his family, his dog, and his ancestors all the way back to Adam? Or have you had an encounter with an overhanging cupboard door left open at the wrong place and the wrong time which has been cursed, condemned, and avenged by a sore-headed victim?

There is an antidote for times such as these: learn to laugh.

I remember loading up our children in a station wagon and driving to Los Angeles. There were at least nine of us in the car, and we would invariably get lost. Instead of getting angry, we laughed. Every time we made a wrong turn, we laughed harder.

Getting lost was not an unusual occurrence for us. Once while heading south to Cedar City, Utah, we took a wrong turn and didn’t realize it until two hours later when we saw the “Welcome to Nevada” signs. We didn’t get angry. We laughed, and as a result, anger and resentment rarely resulted. Our laughter created cherished memories for us.

I remember when one of our daughters went on a blind date. She was all dressed up and waiting for her date to arrive when the doorbell rang. In walked a man who seemed a little old, but she tried to be polite. She introduced him to me and my wife and the other children; then she put on her coat and went out the door. We watched as she got into the car, but the car didn’t move. Eventually our daughter got out of the car and, red faced, ran back into the house. The man that she thought was her blind date had actually come to pick up another of our daughters who had agreed to be a babysitter for him and his wife.

We all had a good laugh over that. In fact, we couldn’t stop laughing. Later, when our daughter’s real blind date showed up, I couldn’t come out to meet him because I was still in the kitchen laughing. Now, I realize that our daughter could have felt humiliated and embarrassed. But she laughed with us, and as a result, we still laugh about it today.

The next time you’re tempted to groan, you might try to laugh instead. It will extend your life and make the lives of all those around you more enjoyable.

So how does humor help your thoughts? There’s actually quite a bit of research on this topic. The following info is from HelpGuide.org. This is a wonderful non-profit site dedicated to the topic of mental health & well-being. They have a ton more info on the benefits of humor & laughter. If you’d like to learn even more, I encourage you to check them out!

The link between laughter and mental health…

  • Laughter dissolves distressing emotions. You can’t feel anxious, angry, or sad when you’re laughing.
  • Laughter helps you relax and recharge. It reduces stress and increases energy, enabling you to stay focused and accomplish more.
  • Humor shifts perspective, allowing you to see situations in a more realistic, less threatening light. A humorous perspective creates psychological distance, which can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed.

Laughter is also good for your health…

  • Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.
  • Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.
  • Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
  • Laughter protects the heart. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.

“Your sense of humor is one of the most powerful tools you have to make certain that your daily mood and emotional state support good health.”  ~ Paul E. McGhee, Ph.D.

We’ll talk more about humor later on in this challenge, but for now I’ll leave you with a couple of videos that I hope will bring some humor into your life today…

Best Lip Sync to Frozen’s “Love Is An Open Door” Ever 

The Evolution of Dance

Why Moms Get Nothing Done

“Salesman” Written & Spoken by Kids, Performed by Adults

“Change Your Thoughts, Change Your World” – Thoughts & Habits

Hopefully by now you’ve had a chance to think a little more about your thought processes & whether or not you are producing the results you want in your life. Most people can look at their lives & see both good and bad results. Today’s quote is a powerful reminder that it all begins with our thoughts…


That jump from our “thoughts” to our “destiny” is pretty small when you think about it. And in-between that is the “habits” that we form. One of the most powerful sermons on this topic is found in Og Mandino’s Ten Scrolls from his book “The Greatest Salesman in the World”.  I want to challenge you to find some time over the weekend to sit down & read Og’s first scroll & ponder its message (I found a link where you can download the ten scrolls for free HERE). You’ll want to have a pen & paper next to you as you do this. He is a very eloquent writer & I find that it helps to take notes & journal my thoughts as I read his words.

Og encourages the reader to start with the first scroll & read it three times a day, for thirty days. After you’ve done that, he says to move onto the next scroll & read it every day for thirty days, and so on, until you’ve read all ten scrolls. His reason for this is because he knows the power that comes from putting something into your mind on a daily basis for thirty days. After the thirtieth day, it becomes a habit. This is an excerpt from his first scroll on the power that habits have over our lives…

In truth, the only difference between those who have failed and those who have succeeded lies in the differences of their habits. Good habits are the key to all success. Bad habits are the unlocked door to failure. Thus, the first law I will obey, which precedeth all others is – I will form good habits and become their slave……

And how will I accomplish this difficult feat? Through these scrolls, it will be done, for each scroll contains a principle which will drive a bad habit from my life and replace it with one which will bring me closer to success. For it is another of nature’s laws that only a habit can subdue another habit….

And what will be accomplished with this habit? Herein lies the hidden secret of all man’s accomplishments. As I repeat the words daily they will soon become a part of my active mind, but more important, they will also seep into my other mind, that mysterious source which never sleeps, which creates my dreams, and often makes me act in ways I do not comprehend.

As the words of these scrolls are consumed by my mysterious mind I will begin to awake, each morning, with a vitality I have never known before. My vigor will increase, my enthusiasm will rise, my desire to meet the world will overcome every fear I once knew at sunrise, and I will be happier than I ever believed it possible to be in this world of strife and sorrow.

Eventually, I will find myself reacting to all situations which confront me as I was commanded in the scrolls to react, and soon these actions and reactions will become easy to perform, for any act with practice becomes easy.

I hope you’ll take advantage of today’s tool & start reading it daily for the next 30 days. The whole purpose of Og’s first scroll is to get you into the “habit” of creating good habits by working on your thoughts….which is the reason we’re doing this challenge in the first place!

“Change Your Thoughts, Change Your World” – Truth Vs. Lies

On Monday, I told you that a focus of this challenge is to learn from our negative thoughts. In fact, if we can look at them as a gift, rather than a curse, we will realize what a blessing they are! Today’s tool is something that everyone has access to, it’s super cheap, & it’s powerful beyond words. So what is it?  It’s a piece of paper & a pen. Did you know that one of the best ways to deal with your negative thoughts is on paper & NOT in your head? In fact, your head is the worst place to deal with your negative thoughts! This quote explains why…

The mind will outsmart you. Before you are even aware of it, it will be off and running into another story to prove yourself right. The mind can justify itself faster than the speed of light. BUT it can be stopped through the act of writing. – Byron Katie

Stop & think about it. How often do you find yourself rationalizing, judging, worrying, criticizing, blaming, etc.? Your mind is on autopilot all the time. Those thoughts need a place to go. They want to be heard & dealt with, otherwise, they will continue to play out as a broken record.

So how do you deal with them?  Well, there are several variations of journaling that I’m going to introduce you to. We’ll go through them one at a time over the course of the challenge. Today’s journaling tool will help you to decipher truth from lies. A couple years ago I read this quote & it really hit home with me…

ChangeYourThoughts_2015SummerChallenge_TruthVsLies_02 It’s time to start recognizing the lies & replace them with the truth. Get out a piece of paper & write down a negative thought about yourself that has been on constant replay. Did you do it? It only takes a minute. If at all possible, do it right now because you may not get to it later. Next, you’re going to look at what you wrote & then ask yourself the following question…

- Does this thought lift me up or bring me down?

By answering this simple question, you are uncovering the truth and it’s source.  If this thought about yourself does not contribute to your life in a positive way, then you can know that it comes from Satan.


- Truth comes from our Heavenly Father.

- It gives us a good feeling & leaves us feeling uplifted.

- It encourages us to always strive for the best within us.

- It fills us with gratitude & gives us energy & hope.


- All lies come from Satan, the “Father of Lies”.

- Lies make you question your sense of self-worth.

- They drain you of your energy & make you feel hopeless.

- They make you believe you’ll never be good enough.


Now take your piece of paper & cross out the negative thought. Earlier I mentioned that we can look at these negative thoughts as “gifts” & this is why: Satan always tells us the opposite of the truth. So, in reality, he has also “gifted” you with a very important understanding of who you really are & how God sees you. For example, if Satan wants you to see yourself as worthless, it’s because he knows of your value. If he tells you things are hopeless, it’s because he knows that, with God, there is always hope.

Take the lie & turn it into truth. Write it down & put it somewhere where you can read it EVERY DAY until you no longer doubt it. Ask Heavenly Father to help you let go of this “entrenched habit of belief” & replace it with the understanding of who you really are & what you are capable of with His help.

Remember to use this tool as often as you can to catch your negative thoughts & turn them around. The more you do this, the sooner you’ll realize what an amazing person you really are!!!