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Archive for the ‘family’ tag

September 5th, 2014 at 4:56 pm

Family Connection

Family Connection

Everyone should put aside some time to reconnect with their family each day. Dinner time is a great time to do this when you are all sitting at the table together. For many families, this is one of the only times during the day that you can actually have a full conversation. However, as kids get more involved in school and activities, and parents have obligations outside of the home, sometimes dinner isn’t always a full family gathering. Here are some tips to make sure you’re connecting as a family:

  • If someone is missing for dinner, you should still gather the rest of the family around the table when they do eat. Serve dessert to everyone else while the late family members are eating dinner, that way you’re still eating together.
  • Evaluate your day to determine the best time family time for your family’s schedule.
  • Build a daily review into your bedtime routine with the kids.
  • Go on a family walk and talk while getting exercise.
  • Gather the whole family for a different meal. If everyone is around during breakfast and it isn’t as hectic as later in the day, that may work better.
  • While driving kids places, talk to them while they are traveling in the car with you.

Some days, the only time my husband and I get to talk with my nine-year-old is while he is showering before bed. He chats from the other side of the shower curtain. Active kids are busy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find time to talk! Find what works for your family and enjoy those conversations!

 

 

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April 25th, 2014 at 6:52 am

Get Your Family Moving!

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Life is different for kids these days – between video games, television, busy schedules and long car rides confined to car seats, there isn’t as much time for physical activity. We have to think about making our lifestyles more active and making physical activity a part of our everyday life. Here are some ideas to get your whole family moving more.

Have a Dance Party. Turn on some music and go crazy. The kids love doing this especially when parents are involved.

Set Up An Obstacle Course.

Take A Bike Ride. Add a bike carrier for little ones that can’t ride themselves. Take a ride to the park or a long ride around town. In summer we love to take a ride to the nearby ice cream shop for a treat at night.

Take Walks. Strap your little one in the stroller and take a walk. Not only is the fresh air great, but the change of scenery can be a good change of pace. Go to a nearby trail and have everyone walk along.

Exercise During Commercials. Make commercials fun for the whole family with some of these great ideas.

Make Exercise Challenges. Kids love challenges. In January, I was practicing my plank, increasing my time every night. My kids loved to do it along with me and try to beat me at it. Do this with sit-ups, push-ups, and even flexibility. We love to race to the car or house door when arriving home from outings as well.

Do Yard Work As A Family. A great workout can be achieved by raking, shoveling, or even pulling weeds. Work together as a family to get stuff done around the house.

Hold A Sports Night. Do you often have a game night? During nice weather switch to a sports night. Play tag, jump rope, soccer, tennis or any other fun game that involves activity.

Take The Stairs or Park Farther Away - Park at the back of the parking lot or take stairs when they are available. Your kids will think this is the norm!

What do you do to help your family be more active?

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April 11th, 2014 at 8:38 am

Planning an Easter Brunch

brunch

One of my favorite things about Easter is the meal. It’s the one time a year where we eat my favorite meal, breakfast, with lunch as well! There are so many different things you can do with brunch. Here are some things to consider when planning your meal.

Buffet or Served Plate?
Personally, I like to offer my brunches as a buffet. This way, everyone can choose what the foods they like best, and they can control how much they take of each. Seconds are much easier to handle as well.

Planning Your Dishes
When choosing food types, you want to consider the time it will take to make them…simpler recipes will allow you to enjoy your party more. Some things that are easy to make ahead of time are breakfast casseroles, pancakes, quiches, scrambled eggs, waffles, french toast, and fruit and vegetable platters. Also think about things like taco bars or waffle bars, where your guests or family can personalize them and put them together. I also like to include a deli meat selection, pulled pork, or shredded chicken or beef for build-your-own sandwiches. Ham, lamb, and chicken are typical Easter meats, so you can offer one of these as well…especially if brunch is the main meal you’re planning for the day. Here are some categories you can incorporate into your brunch:

  • Egg dish
  • Pancakes, French Toast, Waffles, Crepes
  • Meat Dish
  • Potato Dish
  • Bread Dish (Easter bread with dyed hard boiled eggs is a nice idea!)
  • Light Pasta Dish
  • Salad or Fruit
  • Dessert

Drinks to Serve
Have fun with the drinks – think about coffee, juices, water, and milk. You can also make fun punches or alcoholic drinks like mimosas, bellinis, and sangrias for the adults.

Brunches can be lots of fun, but portions are difficult to control, so make sure you have enough food on hand. My guests always get excited when they hear i’ll be serving brunch – the BEST of breakfast and lunch!!

 

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March 24th, 2014 at 9:19 am

5 Steps to Creating a Family Mission Statement

photoA family mission statement lays out a vision of where you want your family to go together and how you will get there. It helps parents to have a guide for life and aid in parenting decisions. It sets standards that you expect of your children and they can also expect of you.

Step 1 – Decide you want to set up a mission statement.

Step 2 – Gather as a family to discuss what your family is all about. This process needs to involve both leaders of the household, but depending on the age of the child(ren), you may want them to be involved.

Some questions to ask of everyone during this process:

  • What do we want to be remembered by?
  • What things are important to us?
  • We are at our best when…
  • What kind of relationships do we want to have with one another?
  • How do we like to spend our free time?
  • What three words would describe our home?
  • How are we unique?
  • How do we want to operate financially, emotionally, spiritually, physically and intellectually?
  • How would we like to treat each other?
  • What is the main purpose of our home?

Step 3 – Think of words or phrases that speak to what your family is all about. Make a list of things like honesty, kindness, honesty, and service.

Step 4 – Pick 5-10 ideas from the list that everyone agrees are the most important.

Step 5 – Write out your Family Mission Statement and display it in a special spot in your home. There are many different ways to display this. You can make a list on the computer, print and frame, put onto a canvas or paint onto a piece of wood.

Throughout life you will want to review what you have chosen and may need to make some changes. Most of all – HAVE FUN! This is about you and your family!

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

 

 

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March 17th, 2014 at 6:44 am

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

stpattysdayKnock Knock
Who’s There?
Irish!
Irish Who!
Irish you a happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Has the leprechaun been tricky and visited your home yet today? Our leprechaun does some tricky things like turning our milk green! He’s a sneaky little fellow! He can show up any time so if he hasn’t appeared yet, be aware!

In our house we will be eating lots of green foods today! Think kale, sugar snap peas, green M&M’s, spinach, and more! We also like to make some foods green that aren’t usually green. Ever have green pancakes or green floats?  Check out this rainbow treat with gold at the bottom of it. An adorable treat for the kids or a great item to send to friends! I also think this rainbow of fruit may have to make its way to our dinner table.

As my boys get older, it might be more fun to do a treasure hunt for the leprechauns gold. Check out some of these great ideas:

Lucky the Leprechaun Treasure Hunt

St. Patricks Day Limerick Scavenger Hunt

St. Patricks Day Hunt for the Gold

Remember to leave a little treat from the Leprechaun like a lucky penny, some chocolate gold coins or a box of Lucky Charms cereal.

Here’s a few more sprinkles of laughter to bring fun to St. Patricks Day.

What is Irish and left out on the lawn all summer?
Paddy O’Furniture

What happens when a leprechaun falls into a river?
He gets wet!

Why do frogs like St. Patrick’s Day?
Because they’re already wearing green!

Why can’t you iron a four-leaf clover?
Because you shouldn’t press you luck!

I’ll send you off with an irish blessing:

Here’s to me, and here’s to you. And here’s to love and laughter.
I’ll be true as long as you. And not one moment after.

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

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February 20th, 2014 at 12:46 pm

It’s National Love Your Pet Day!

By

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Today is National Love Your Pet Day, which seems kind of odd because we love our pets EVERY day, but it’s definitely nice to designate a day to really celebrate how much they mean to you. Whether you’ve got a dog, cat, rodent, reptile, fish or any other type of pet, give them some extra TLC today. Spend more time than you usually do with them…either playing with them or just holding, cuddling or petting them. Extra treats won’t hurt either! In our busy day-to-day lives we don’t always have time to give them, so make today great for both of you! What will you do with your pet?

Photo Credit: keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk

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February 14th, 2014 at 12:06 pm

Last Minute Valentine’s Ideas

IMG_3183I feel like Valentine’s Day sneaks up on me every year. I always have the best intentions, but alas it is Valentine’s morning and I am still trying to figure out how to “treat” the boys in my life – big and small. Valentine’s Day is always last minute. We were completing our actual cards for school just last night. (You can guess how thrilled the Kindergartener was to write 21 names in one sitting)

Here are some of my last minute ideas:

Decorate the kids bedroom door with reasons I love them – I cut out hearts and wrote reasons that I love the boys. Then I taped them all over their bedroom door to surprise them in the morning!

Special note in their lunchbox – There were so many great ideas on Pinterest that I just found a printable to use. I put this note and a special sweet treat in their lunch box. I also cut their sandwich in a heart shape using a cookie cutter. What a fun surprise! I also love this idea to add some fun to milk.

Valentine waiting for them after school – When we get home at the end of the day I will have some homemade cookies along with a special Valentine book surprise.

Valentine Coupons for my husband- Since we don’t really do presents (although he always gets me flowers) I am surprising him with some valentine coupons I found here or here.

Special Valentine’s Day Dinner – I’ve toyed with the idea of cheese and chocolate fondue, a heart shaped pizza, or maybe even some heart shaped grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup. One of my favorite treats for the kids is a Cherry Soda float!

Here are some other good last minute Valentine ideas I found:

Last Minute Toddler Ideas

Homemade Valentine Socks

Last Minute Valentine for Older Kids

Hope you have a great Valentine’s Day!

 Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

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February 13th, 2014 at 2:20 pm

Crockpot Meals

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Parents often don’t have a lot of time to prepare dinner, especially meals that have a main dish and a few sides. The crockpot is one of the best kitchen tools for busy families. It’s a safe way to leave food cooking for long periods of time, and the recipes can be as simple as throwing the ingredients in together! You can cut your cooking time in half, or even more, by using one. Here are some great crockpot meals the whole family will enjoy.

 

Do you have a great crockpot recipe to share? Post it on our Facebook page and show us your delicious creations!

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February 10th, 2014 at 10:25 am

Favorite Valentine’s Day Books

ValentinebooksOne of my favorite things to do to prepare for Valentine’s Day is to share stories of love with my little ones. A tradition of ours is to snuggle on the couch with some fresh chocolate chip cookies and milk while we read some of our favorite Valentine’s Day books. I wanted to share a list of some of our favorites that we have shared through the years.

The Day it Rained Hearts by Felicia Bond

One day it rains hearts, and Cornelia Augusta catches them. Each heart is special in its own way, and Cornelia Augusta knows exactly who to send them to.

Happy Valentine’s Day Curious George! by N. Di Angelo

George and his friend celebrate Valentine’s Day with decorating, card making and the kind of mischief that only a monkey can make!

Clifford’s First Valentine’s Day by Norman Bridwell

When Clifford was a baby he got into so much trouble on Valentine’s Day, but continues to be Emily Elizabeth’s favorite year after year.

Hedgehug, A Sharp Lesson in Love by Dan Pinto

A great story that you have to find the right person to love you for who you are.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Mouse! by Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond

Our favorite mouse from If you Give a Mouse a Cookie celebrates Valentine’s Day.

Roses are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink by Diane de Groat

The story of a prank gone wrong changes the pranksters heart in the end.

The Valentine Bears by Eve Bunting

An old favorite from my childhood shows that even if you have never celebrated Valentine’s Day you can always start!

There Was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Rose! by Lucille Colandro

If you have read any of the books in this series you know that this book makes the classic song come alive in a different manner.

I Love You Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt

This book shows that a mother’s unconditional love will never be changed.

Olive, My Love by Vivian Walsh

We love the book Olive, the Other Reindeer by Vivian Walsh so were excited to see this title.  This funny story is a great example that anything can happen if you follow your heart.

Guess How Much I Love You by Sam Mc Bratney

My boys have heard this story since they were first born. They love the story of the endless amounts of love a father and son can have for one another.

Pete the Cat Valentines Day is Cool by Kimberly and James Dean

Pete discovers how special Valentines can be and makes Valentines for everyone.

Print this list and take it to your local library, then snuggle up and enjoy the stories of love with your little ones all this week!

 Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

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December 13th, 2013 at 7:49 am

Making Christmas Treats with the Kids

cookiesEven since my nieces and nephews were little (they are grown adults now) I loved our tradition of making Christmas cookies together. I now do this with my own boys and love the interaction. This is an activity that kids of any age can participate in. They look forward to helping make the treats and having their certain jobs. Not only do they gain baking knowledge, we throw in a little math lesson without them knowing. They take such pride in their work when they see the finished product and are happy to share them with everyone. Plus, the baker and baker’s assistant always get to taste the product first. That’s the best part!

Here are some easy treats to make with your kids…

Puppy Chow - my boys can eat bags of this!

Sugar Cookies - these are so good!

Pretzel Turtles – easy treat that makes a great gift

Bugle Bites - we make ours with milk chocolate

Rice Krispie Wreaths

Peanut Butter Kisses

Make it more fun by having special aprons for you and your children. Take lots of pictures and don’t worry about the sprinkles all over your kitchen. Those make the best memories!

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

 

 

 

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