Tuesday, July 31, 2007
1. Read aloud as a family
2. Work on a prepared Bible Study
3. Sort & organize photos
5. Listen to stories on tape or CD
6. Cut & file coupons
7. Play cards
8. Go for a walk
9. Play horseshoes
10. Do origami
13. Clean out the garage
14. Write letters
15. Jump rope
17. Carve soap
18. Play H*O*R*S*E
19. Play the piano or guitar ( or learn how )
20. Go on a picnic
21. Bake bread
22. Rake the yard
23. Paint a room
24. Build a cardboard or blanket fort
25. Go letterboxing
26. Go swimming at the pool or lake
27. Hula Hoop
28. Do a jigsaw puzzle
29. Practice calligraphy
30. Read a good book
31. Write poetry
32. Organize the closets
33. Play board games
34. Invite friends over for tea
35. Do manicures / pedicures
36. Play marbles
37. Sing hymns and the read the stories behind them
38. Tend the garden
39. Organize and enjoy your collections - baseball cards, stamps, postcards, etc.
40. Ride bikes
41. Do science experiments
42. Build with Legos or other construction toy
43. Learn sign language
44. Make jewelry
45. Go birdwatching
46. Knit or crochet
47. Make greeting cards and envelopes
48. Learn cartooning
49. Play string games ( cat's cradle, etc.)
50. Learn carpentry
Sunday, July 29, 2007
One thing my younger kids already do frequently is listen to story tapes ( the "Adventures in Odyssey" programs are a particular favorite ) while they color or draw. Since my 8-yr-old will listen to the same stories over and over and over, we encourage him to use headphones.
Right now Jason and one of his buddies are sprawled out on the living room floor with a 3-ring binder, empty trading card pages, and a gazillion baseball cards which they are sorting by team and putting into the pages. So working on a collection or a hobby like building models can fill time currently occupied with television and video games.
Letter writing is somewhat of a lost art these days. Email just isn't the same as a letter written on stationery with your own handwriting and mailed to the recipient. So an evening every once in a while spent writing letters to family members, far-flung friends, missionaries, soldiers would be an excellent way to practice writing skills and bless someone else at the same time.
Create greeting cards with an assortment of papers, inks, and rubber stamps! You can even make your own envelopes from white copy paper, or use scraps of leftover gift wrap for a one-of-a-kind special delivery.
There are tons of ideas online. Check out one of my favorite sites for learning activities for kids - http://www.enchantedlearning.com/ There is enough on that site alone to keep your kids busy for an entire month! Another favorite resource of mine is Family Fun magazine, and its online counterpart - http://www.familyfun.com/
Go to The Tree House for a whole lot of ideas for Old Fashioned Family Fun.
Author Jan Brett's website is full of fun activities, games, coloring pages, and more for children. http://www.janbrett.com/
Saturday, July 28, 2007
*How about setting aside 30 minutes to an hour each evening for a family read-aloud. All ages enjoy this, not just small children! You can find lists of good books on many homeschooling sites. Here is one -
1000 Good Books List
*Of course, this would also be an ideal opportunity to spend time in God's Word, either individually or as a family. Work through a prepared Bible Study guide together. Read a bit of a devotional each night. Nourish your spirit.
*Visit the public library and have each person pick out a few books they are interested in - each can pursue their own interests and perhaps try something new, like poetry or a classic novel. At times, I have instructed each of my children to choose books from specific categories, such as 1 biography, 1 history book, 1 craft/how-to book, 1 book of poetry, 1 book about nature, etc.
*Fill a box with art supplies such as drawing pencils & erasers, colored pencils, markers, paints & brushes, pastels, etc ( depending on the ages of your children ). Get a few art instruction books and pads of paper. Either hold an art "class" or just let everyone explore on their own. But endeavor to improve and develop skills.
For younger children, you might enjoy the DRAW WRITE NOW series. Notesketch books or Picture Story Books are wonderful for this. They are spiral bound sketch books with the top half of the page blank for drawing and the bottom half lined for writing.
Miller Pads & Paper is my favorite art supply source - everything you could want and great prices too!
*Calligraphy is also a wonderful skill for the older children and adults to learn. It takes a lot of practice ~ but is beautiful and satisfying when mastered.
I have a table full of scrapbooking supplies that I haven't touched in ages. In addition to the years worth of photographs in boxes are the hundreds of digital photos now stored on my computer! Who gets to enjoy them? My kids enjoy working on photo scrapbooks as much as I do ~ yet we never set aside the time to do it! And time is passing, memories are fading... if I don't get these pictures in albums and the memories written down soon, I'll forget who and where and which year and all the wonderful details of our family life that I'd like to preserve and celebrate for my children's children!
4. PLAY GAMES
My children, especially the younger two, LOVE to play board games and card games. We have a stack of them in the closet. Some are even educational!
It's a shame they don't get used more often...
5. GO FOR A WALK
Take the whole family and go for a walk through a pretty neighborhood or along a nature trail or in the mall or around a track! It doesn't cost a thing and it is good exercise. If you are really adventurous, hop on your bikes or don rollerblades ( with helmets!)
6. GO LETTERBOXING
Combine walking with treasure hunting and try letterboxing. Go to http://www.letterboxing.org/ to find out how to get started and find clues to boxes hidden in your area.
7. CLEAN OUT THE GARAGE
hmmm.... time to organize closets, go through old files and toss unneeded papers, empty and organize the "junk drawer", get rid of old Tupperware bowls or videos or toys that nobody uses anymore
9. LEARN OR PRACTICE A SKILL
Learn to play the piano, learn to sew, learn a foreign language, learn HTML, learn to dance.... or practice a skill that is rusty and hasn't been used much lately
10. SPEND TIME WITH FRIENDS
Invite friends over for coffee and conversation, have a cook-out, host a night of playing cards or board games or backyard volleyball, just hang out with people you enjoy and nurture these friendships
More to come...
I have not broached this subject yet with my family but...it is time. We have done this several times in the past - turned off the TV for an entire month - and lived to tell about it! It really is a very good thing - a detoxifying, rehabilitating, family relationship-building, mind-clearing, re-prioritizing exercise. But it has been too long since we have done this and the box has regained control of the minds and hearts of many members of this household. I watch very little TV myself. Last night I sat down and watched the video "Sense and Sensibility" with my daughters. And the whole family has been watching "So You Think You Can Dance". But while my family is watching TV, I am more likely to be in the other room on the computer. Not very condusive to togetherness.
The fact is, TV is a time-waster and relationship-stealer. Whether it is the Disney Channel or Fox News, reality shows or sit coms, PBS or ESPN, it is all mind-numbing. And there are so many benefits to NOT watching TV ~ it is amazing that we let ourselves get sucked in the way we do. So, I challenge you! Go to Revive Our Hearts and read some of the articles. Make a list of things you could do in the evenings or on the weekends INSTEAD of watching TV. Then pull the plug. I'll keep you updated.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
There is a website that outlines a walking program and explains the benefits of exercise ~ as if you didn't know. ;-)
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Sunday, July 22, 2007
"Protect Me From the Grown-Ups"
Mark 9:36-37 He [Jesus] took a little child and had him stand among them. Taking him in his arms, he said to them, "Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me."
Friday, July 20, 2007
Kate and Jeff take turns writing on the blog, and while Kate gave an update on their baby boy, Noah, and the challenges they face with his illness, Jeff took over at the end to ask for help in the gift-giving department. Oh my goodness! I was laughing so hard I was crying! Maybe because it could have been some guy I know writing it!
Ladies, you'll bust a gut! Guys, keep reading the replies at the end and maybe you'll get some good ideas for the future....hint hint...
Saturday, July 14, 2007
The girls got dressed up and made ribbon-covered pens, body glitter ( aloe vera gel mixed with fine glitter) and "princess headgear" from tulle, ribbon, and silk flowers.
Then they divided into teams of 3 and played "fashion designer", creating a gown from tissue paper! ( and tape and staples)
In addition to the cake, we served chocolate-covered strawberries, cream puffs, chicken salad in puff pastry cups, and orange-pineapple punch.
1 cup water
1 stick butter
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup flour
Put water and butter in saucepan, and bring to a rolling boil. Remove from heat and add flour and salt all at once. Beat with a wooden spoon until dough forms a ball. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until dough is smooth and glossy. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes. Cool. To fill, slice top off of cream puff with serrated knife.
1 sm. pkg cheesecake flavor Jello instant pudding mix
1 pint heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
Beat ingredients together with mixer. Chill to set. Spoon a heaping tablespoonful into each cream puff. Drizzle with Chocolate glaze.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Sunday, July 8, 2007
That's the fastest we can make that drive. Our worst time ever was 18 hours... let's not talk about that time.
We stayed with my parents and just "hung around" all week. There was a full house, because not only did we descend with 6 people ( Sarah couldn't make the trip because of work ), but the cousins wanted to spend time together so my 2 nieces and my nephew also bunked over at Grammy & Grampa's house!
The weather was quite mild, even cool sometimes ~ I regretted not packing a sweatshirt. But that's so much better than hot and muggy, so no complaints here! My aunt and uncle and a couple of cousins and their families all came over for a cook-out one night. We enjoyed a cook-out with the neighbors on the 4th, and their covered front porch provided shelter from the rain. And we spent an afternoon visiting Mark's college roommate, who happens to be chaplain for both the Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots.
We spent one afternoon visiting my sister at her cafe,Victoria Station Cafe, in Putnam, CT. They are getting ready to move into a new, bigger location just two doors down from where they are now, and the excitement is growing. Chris and Dave make all their own pastries, so of course we had to sample some cannolis, lobster tails, fruit tarts, lemon squares, bicotti, and even some savory chicken pot pie. yum yum yum And of course, the kids wanted frozen cappucinos and smoothies. There's even something for the youngest - YoYo Cappucino ( so named by my niece when she was about 3 ) - which is milk with chocolate and coffee syrups and whipped cream.
Although Mark's family lives close by, we almost didn't get to see them this trip. His mother and his sister and her family were expecting to return home Tuesday after a vacation in Europe. But their flight out of London was cancelled due to the bomb scare at Heathrow, so they had to reschedule another flight for Thursday. Fortunately, they did get home safely and we got to spend one evening with them before we headed back south.
It was also fun getting to meet cousin Luigi, my dad's second cousin from Italy who is also visiting my parents for the summer. He is 27 yrs old, a language teacher who speaks 3 languages fluently - Italian, Spanish, French. He came here to improve his English, which really isn't bad at all! He said that he was surprised by 2 things so far ~ that so many American homes are "in the forest", as he put it , and that we all didn't eat at McDonald's every day!!!
Thursday, July 5, 2007
Wednesday, July 4, 2007
Irving Berlin, 1918; revised 1938
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
Organizing from the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern
Organizing Plain and Simple by Donna Smallin
Currently there is far too much stuff in my home that does not have an "address" ~ that is, a place where it permanently resides and can be returned to after use. Big problem with 7 people living in 2000 sq. ft. I don't have a natural affinity for organization, but I do have a very strong desire to BE organized. I get very cranky when things are too cluttered and untidy. I spend hours trying to come up with a better system!
One tip that I read today is to look at whatever room you are trying to organize and think of it in zones, based on the activities that take place there. This is like a Kindergarten Classroom, which has the Book Corner, Painting Center, Block Center, Housekeeping Corner, etc. So my bedroom has a Sleeping Zone, Dressing Zone, Reading/Rest Zone, Home Office Zone, etc. The things I need for each of these activities should be stored and arranged close to the area where that activity takes place. In other words, don't store linens/ blankets for the bed in another part of the house. Or have everything needed for dressing in the morning conveniently located close together in or near the closet. This also made me think of some of the things I currently have in my bedroom that really shouldn't be there. For instance, I have a table full of photos and scrapbooking materials, which is a jumbled mess and which I haven't touched in months ( okay, years?) I also have my sewing machine and sewing kit in my bedroom, but fabric and boxes of other sewing supplies ( buttons, thread, etc ) in the closet in the family room. hmmmm
I don't do those activities in my bedroom because I'm away from the family, and because my husband tends to go to bed early, which is the time when I'm most likely to scrapbook or sew anyway!!! SO, I need to rethink the location of those items! I'm learning some useful things that I just need to APPLY!
I recently learned that there are quite a few others like me ~ those who make detailed plans and schedules and lists and systems.... but can't quite implement them. Part of the problem is that we are always looking for something better. We are great at coming up with ideas, but not so great at utilizing those ideas. Anyway, somebody started a Yahoogroups called "Schedulizers" just for people like that, and within 2 days there were over 100 people signed up.