Saturday, December 27, 2008

Star Cinema Grill

We visited the Star Cinema Grill for the first time this week. This theater shows new movies but also has a full menu with waiters who bring the food to you. You can order throughout the movie. We went on Tuesday when all show tickets were $5. The menu ranges from candy and popcorn to entrees reminiscent of Chili's. The prices were no worse than Chili's and my husband said the hamburger was better than Chili's! This theater does not allow preschoolers so this is a good family activity for families with older children.

Monday, December 22, 2008

finding the right gift

We always love buying gifts for each other at Christmas. I think it's important for the kids to be able to find gifts they want to give as well. When they were little I let them help me make things to give to people. As they grew, they wanted to pick out special little things to be just from them. We would let them pick out items at the dollar store that would be appropriate gifts. As they got to be tween aged, I would let them go around the store by themselves choosing items and even let them check out alone (as I stood nearby keeping an eye on them without trying to see the gift they were getting me.) Now as teens they can choose great gifts and pretty much spend their own money. Having Dad take them shopping for me and me take them shopping for Dad is another great approach to keeping gift giving special. Letting kids choose their own gifts is important and teaches them to be selfless gift givers. It is also lots of fun to see what they have picked out for everyone!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas lights

One of our family's favorite traditions is walking around the neighborhood looking at Christmas lights. It's nice to talk a walk after dark and see all the festive Christmas decorations and lights for the holiday. It is a fun activity for both kids and adults. It's relaxing and a good way to spend time talking together.

In the past we have also driven around other neighborhoods to see the lights and decorations there too. We have seen lights set to music and even a Santa Clause roller coaster! Spending time relaxing together and enjoying the sights and sounds of the holiday are great family building activities.

Friday, December 12, 2008

decorate the tree

Our family loves to decorate the Christmas tree together. I have the ornaments I've collected since I was a kid and the same is true for my children. It is fun to reminisce over each ornament. We play Christmas music and spend an evening together going over the memories each ornament and photo bring back to us. It is a special tradition I look forward to each year. And when my kids leave home, I intend to give them their collection of ornaments to take to decorate their own tree with.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

christmas cookies

One of my favorite activities during the holidays (and any time really) is baking cookies. I love the smell of them baking and of course love to eat them. This is great activity in which the whole family can participate. You can use any recipe to make your favorite cookies or even use the slice and bake dough. It's fun to introduce kids to new recipes. And decorating cookies is almost as much fun for the kids as is the eating! The cookies can also make great gifts for teachers, friends and neighbors.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

family fun run

On Thanksgiving Day, my husband and I got up to do a small local fun run. Our kids decided they would rather sleep in. But there were several other families who showed up together. Several young kids ran the 5K with (or even without!) their parents. It was cool to see the dad pushing a stroller run with his older daughter and then go back and come in with his wife and younger daughter. There were snacks and prizes and even a kids K complete with prizes. It's a fun way to spend time together and promotes healthy living at the same time!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

nature walk

When my kids were small, we would go on nature walks regularly. They would carry a small bag to collect items in that they could bring home for further study. We might walk around the neighborhood or walk along the ditch in the back. Occasionally, if my husband went with us, we would go to an old sand pit behind our house. The kids loved going out for walks and really loved being able to bring back the things they found on our walks. Be it leaves, grass, flowers, even weeds, they found these items interesting and worthy of more study. It is a good way for kids to learn about the world around them and a great way for families to spend time together.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

caramel apples

I have been looking for some time for a good homemade caramel recipe. We love this sticky treat, but I don't like using candy with artificial flavors and colors. I have come across a couple of easy recipes online. And when fall is in the air, we love to stir up the sticky sweetness, slice up some apples and dip them in the caramel! Whether you choose to melt caramel candies, use pre-cut caramel slices or find a recipe, caramel apples are a great fall family snack!

Saturday, November 15, 2008


I have been working on some vocabulary activities for my daughter. It reminds me of how kids learn words in the first place. It is often from hearing or reading new words. I love hearing my kids learn new words. I think it is important to read books with good, rich vocabulary in them, from the time the kids are young. Then you can expand that by keying in on a word or two, particularly if there are some the child asks about. Then, go about in using that word within normal conversations. This will help the child to make the word his/her own and increase her/his vocabulary. You can make this a fun family game by reading a book or article together and make a point to use the new words throughout the day or week.

Monday, November 10, 2008

raking leaves

Although this can't really be done at this time of year where I live, in many places the leaves have already started turning fall colors and dropping from the trees. One of the favorite things that can be done with these fallen leaves is to rake them into large piles and let the kids jump into them! Most of the time the kids will be really happy to help rake and make piles. And after the jumping fun, they will likely want to rake and re-pile them to keep jumping into the pile! Lots of fall fun for the family!

Monday, November 3, 2008


As tomorrow is election day in the U.S., this is an opportune time to teach our kids about voting. If possible, take them with you to the voting place. Talk to them about who you vote for and why. Of course, depending on their age, you can teach them how folks get nominated and elected. Talk about the different parties and their platforms, talk about the right and privilege to vote. Talk about the different issues which are important to people. I think kids care about what is going on in the world around them and the older they get, the more important it is that we teach them how to use this information and how to participate in the world in which they are growing.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Wings Over Texas Airshow

I got to see some of the Wings Over Texas Airshow from the road as I was driving by this weekend! The show took place this past Saturday and Sunday and was full of areal tricks and feats. My friends went to see the show. They said the re-enactment of Pearl Harbor was pretty awesome! And the finale starring the Thunderbirds was pretty good too! Their four year old son loved the jet truck, which could go faster than an airplane! The air show was a great family event for my friends, though they did say it was LOUD! At times the four year old got scared. And they were glad they did not take the baby.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Family Self Protection Seminar

Next Thursday, October 30 from 6:00-8:00pm Al Garza's Premiere Martial Arts is offering a Family Self Protection event. This fun and educational seminar will focus on training the entire family as a unit. Family members will learn verbal, mental, and physical defense techniques and they will learn to work as a team if a dangerous situation arises. This seminar is specifically designed for participating 5-12 year olds and their parents. This free event is open to all PMA families as well as families in the community.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

talent show

When our kids were small, we got together with several other families to put on our own talent show. Each child chose something they wanted to "perform" and had about five or so minutes to do it. We had kids doing things like bike tricks, reading a book, karate, balance beam, magic tricks, and hula hooping. It was great fun for all the kids. We were sure to video tape them, and have had fun watching it played back after several years!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Friday Night Lights

Here in Texas, Friday night high school football is a big deal! My son has been going to his high school's football games the last few weeks having lots of fun. But my nephew's were able to go to a high school game this week too. And they had a lot of fun. This is a fun place to take the whole family. You get the fun of the crowd and the game, you get the half time show, you get to spend time with family and friends. And it is more affordable than most family outings these days!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Sports are big in many families. Letting kids play sports is good for them in many ways. And having to take turns watching their siblings play too is a good thing to learn. Sometimes, participating with the sibling in their favorite sport can add a new dimension of fun for those who are not normally involved.

One year when my son was in canoeing, all the families were invited to be taken down the bayou by the student. He guided and directed us, led the instruction for paddling and took us to Mud Island. We all had a great time and it was good for us to be able to see what he had been doing, learning and enjoying.

Another time, when my daughter played volleyball for the YMCA and again tomorrow on her competitive team, the last practice is a girls vs. parents/siblings game. It is fun to get in on the game and see how much the girls have grown in their sport. And they love beating us, too!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

a "bend" in the rules

A family night with a small "bend" in the rules can at times be just what everyone needs to let off a little steam. Things like staying up a little later at bedtime, or having just a pizza for dinner with no salad, or staying in your pajamas all day on a weekend are fun little ways to let down a bit and (hopefully) help everyone remain on an even keel. This of course works best with children who are old enough and self-controlled enough to understand that this is not the norm, but the exception. And it's sometimes fun for mom and dad not to have to be the "bad guy", if even for a short time!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Journey to the Center of the Earth

We finally saw this summer 3D movie today. It was fun for all of us. It could be a good movie for a family with school aged kids. It was filled with lots of action and some cheesy fun. The 3D effects were fun too. There was only one point where there was a play on words that bordered on bad language. And the female character was pretty well covered up for a nice change compared to most modern movies. All in all it was a fun afternoon matinée for the family.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

storm debris clean up

After a storm has passed, families can spend time together cleaning up their own property as well as helping neighbors. It is important to make sure the area is safe for littler members of the family, but young kids can help put things away and clean up twigs, maybe they can sweep and rake, or take care of pets. It is great when clean up is made into a community effort, with several families helping each other. Maybe they can help clean a park, church or community center. Maybe they can donate some of their toys and clothes to those who have lost theirs. Or perhaps they can go shopping with parents to choose new items and/or food to take to shelters and points of distribution. It is good for kids to feel a part of a family and community by pitching in to help where needed. It is also good for kids to help serve their community in ways that they can.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

storm prep

Living on the Gulf Coast means being ready when storms hit. Children in such families can be very frightened if they don't understand and are constantly bombarded by the media's take on the impending storm. For such families I think it is important to speak with your children, letting them know that you have a plan to keep them and the family, including their pets, safe. Let them know what the plan is. Then let them help in storm preparations. Younger children can help by doing jobs like clearing the yard of toys and debris; older kids can help board up windows and put valuables in high, safe places. Whether it is packing a back pack with favorite toys and gathering pet supplies in case of evacuation, or whether it is gathering flashlights and batteries and helping to store water and food in case of staying, it is important for children to know they will be safe and helping the family prepare can be a boost for all involved.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

making prints

Have you ever painted your child's foot prints or handprints?

We have done both. We have a tradition where each Christmas we paint the kids hands and they put their print on our Christmas Tree skirt. This week, my son found a towel in his closet with the date of 9-3-94. He thought it was cool, since that corresponds to this week. I showed him why the towel was dated. We had painted his feet and he walked over the towel, leaving his footprints. He then compared his foot now to his foot fourteen years ago...

This can make a fun family activity for toddlers and preschoolers. And when your kids are big, they will periodically have fun comparing their hand or foot size to what is was "when s/he was little".

Monday, September 1, 2008


My husband and I both like to work out. Our son usually does too. But not our daughter. Whenever possible, we like exercise as a family. Family walks, runs and bike rides are our favorites. Or maybe a game of basketball, volleyball, tennis or badminton. Families with younger children can go on walks, bike rides or swims. Making exercise a fun and regular part of family life will make for more happy and healthy families.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

family tree

Have you ever made a family tree with your kids? Sometimes it's hard for kids to keep all their family members straight. But seeing it drawn out can really help, and can help kids connect to their roots, their heritage. Adding pictures of family members can help kids keep it all straight in their minds.

You can start with a simple line drawing, or make a drawing like a tree. You can make a chart on the computer. Whatever appeals to you and your kids is the best way to approach it. Kids knowing they belong and where they belong adds great security to their sense of family.

Even if yours is a blended family, it can be fun to draw out a family tree showing just how your family fits together. Tracing back and drawing out a family tree is fun, informative, educational and may even turn into a new hobby for some!

Monday, August 18, 2008

praparing for a sibling

Other ways that I have found to help prepare a child for a sibling include talking and reading about the upcoming addition of a sibling. Of course a young child has no real concept of what is about to happen, but talking about it and reading stories about it can help to make the adjustments easier. Helping to pick out nursery items, clothes and toys can make big brother/big sister feel included in the process. It is fun to hear his/her ideas for baby names too! Our friends' three year old wanted to name his brother "Sky Train"! Building these bonds in preparation for a new addition to your family can help to strengthen bonds and prepare the older child for the changes ahead.

shopping for maternity clothes?

If you are welcoming a new little one to your family, it is sometimes hard to get the big brother/sister excited and prepared for the new addition. Not to mention that you have no time to take a youngster and go out shopping for maternity clothes! But if you could do your shopping online and have your older child help you pick out some of your new "mommy wear" it could make maternity shopping easier on you and a great way to spend time getting your older child involved. This seems to be the perfect way to grab clothes you will need for the next few months. And even better, there are prices starting at just $9.99 with free shipping for orders over $75 using the coupon code: freeship!!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

We have been blessed to have good neighbors. There are many people from our church who live in our subdivision. The kids know they can call them if they ever need anything.

Our closest neighbors in proximity have always been here for us if we need anything. And they have all been good to our kids. We always wave and speak to our neighbors. And there is a party in our neighborhood nearly every weekend.

I heard on the radio last week that building bonds in your neighborhood is good for kids. It is supposed to help kids feel more secure and more connected. A great family activity can include your neighbors and/or neighborhood.

Street or driveway parties, just letting the kids play, and lots of snacks and drinks are always good, easy and enjoyable. Some folks like to have pool and/or deck parties. Cook outs are great ways to build bonds with neighbors as well.

Finding ways to connect with neighbors can be a great way to build your own family.

Friday, August 8, 2008

the Olympics

Watching the Olympics together as a family can be a lot of fun. Rooting together for your "home team" and seeing athletes excel in their sport can bring the fun right into your family room. Learning about the country where the games are hosted can be interesting and educational as well. So if your family is ready to "go for the gold" then today is the day that "the games begin."

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Discovery Green

Sounds like there is a great new place to spend family time in Houston-Discovery Green.

This newest park in Houston opened in April of 2008. It is located directly across from the George R. Brown Convention Center. Admission to the park every day is free. There are many activities going on daily at the park. There are yoga and pilates classes offered. There is dancing under the stars, Gymboree classes, Nature Workshops and every Thursday is Green Market. At Discovery Green you will find a lake, gardens and a misting "water tree". There is a restaurant located in the Green that serves lunch and dinner. There is a dog run, a jogging trail and even reading rooms. On the weekends you can enjoy free Bocce, putting, shuffleboard, horseshoes and chess. It sounds like there is a lot to do for families of all ages.

seafood cook off

Living on the Gulf Coast means growing up with sea food. Most of my family loves seafood. Fish, scallops and especially shrimp. Even my daughter who doesn't like to eat meat will eat shrimp! My dad makes a really delicious pepper shrimp. We all love it and gorge ourselves til nearly sick on this feast! We've even had it for Thanksgiving Dinner in place of turkey!

This past year we had a college age friend over for his birthday. I wanted to make him something special that he would enjoy. I asked him what his mom would make him if he were home on his birthday. He told me "Cajun Shrimp". So I emailed his mom and got the recipe. It is very close to my dad's pepper shrimp, but much more heart healthy.

I know that if we had a seafood cook off in our family, Dad would prefer his pepper shrimp. As for the rest of us, I'm not sure. We may just have to plan a seafood Cook off for our Thanksgiving Dinner this year!

Since we live close to the coast, we can use fresh shrimp, which makes it even tastier! If you want to try this dish, it's really pretty simple (and you can use frozen shrimp too.)

Cajun Shrimp
2 lbs large fresh shrimp (shell on)
1 C butter
1/2 C olive oil
5 minced cloves garlic or 1 1/4 t garlic powder
1/4 C fresh lemon juice
1 T salt
2 t crushed red pepper
1/4 C Worcestershire sauce (I may have left this out once...)

Place shrimp in 9x13 baking dish. Melt butter and combine with other ingredients. Pour over shrimp. Bake in preheated 375 oven for about 30 min, basting every 10 minutes. (Shrimp should be pink when done.)

**thanks goes out to GS for sharing this great recipe with me!**

Friday, July 25, 2008

make gifts

Whenever there is an occasion to give a gift, I love to make something for the recipient if at all possible. This would be a great family activity as well. Whether you want to make edible gifts like cookie mixes, cookies or breads, salsa, soup, or hot chocolate, getting the whole family together to mix, bake or assemble is a great way to spend time together as well as thinking of others.

Other great gift ideas are blankets, photo albums or scrap books, music or story tapes/cds, wood burning, or any other thing your family can think of. Spending time working together and thinking of the person for whom you are making the gift can be rewarding for everyone involved.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

making cookies

Lots of families take time to make cookies together for the holidays. Today, my family had a cookie baking day. We were making up cookies for our upcoming Vacation Bible School. We made a big batch of chocolate chip cookies. Then the kids got together to make up the snickerdoodles. It was the first time we'd done those and we got a bit too much cinnamon, so we kept those. Our last batch will be sugar cookies. It was fun all working together, playing, laughing and making some delicious cookies (even if they did have too much cinnamon!) It was really great having a couple of big kids help me out. A pleasant way to spend a summer afternoon. And of course, we had to sample all the cookies, making it that much sweeter!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Based on a comment on my last post, I thought I'd mention the game of Nertz as a great family activity. Growing up, my family used to play "Pounce" which is another name for Nertz. It is basically a game of group solitaire. Each player has a stack of thirteen they are trying to get rid of. To the left of this stack are placed four cards face up. These are played on just like solitaire. No one else can play on these stacks. As in solitaire, the Aces go into the middle. These are fair game for everyone. You build the stack up Ace through King of the same suit. The first one to deplete his/her stack of thirteen yells "Nertz" or "Pounce" to end the round. For every card left in your stack, you must have two in the middle to break even. Any above this number is how many points you earn. Check out the Nertz website if you want more information.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

skip bo

We had a great time playing Skip Bo last night. It is apparently based on an older game called "Spite and Malice". It is a good family game for kids of all ages. The younger ones may need some help, but partnered up with someone else, they can join in as well.

We have an old set, which includes face cards and not all numbered cards, and have not played in years. It was funny me trying to remember the rules. I think I must have combined the rules from two or three different games. We ended up "stuck" and nobody could play. Upon further inspection, I found the rules in the closet! It is not a hard game to play.

There are three decks of cards. Each person has a stack of cards they are trying to get rid of. Aces go in the middle with each player able to build up on them through a king. Once the king has been played, the stack is removed and another can be started. There are also up to four discard stacks allowed. It reminded me of a sort of single player "Pounce" or "Nertz" game.

If you want to get up a game for your family, you can buy a set of cards , or I think you could play by combining three decks. You can find the rules here or elsewhere on the web.

family glasses online

As summer is nearly half over, some folks are already looking ahead to the next school year. There are many things that are necessary to get a family ready for the first day of school. One important item is making sure everyone has had their eyes checked and getting the proper eyewear.

If you are like my daughter, she opted to get two pair of glasses last year. This can really add up quickly. I found a website that offers eyeglass frames from as little as $8. They offer men's women's and children's frames. You simply fill out the order form and the prescription form (help is on the site if needed) all from the comfort of your own home.

If you want to see if this option will work for your family, check out

Friday, July 4, 2008

Independence Day

As we celebrate the Fourth of July, there are many ways families love to celebrate together. We have always had a tradition of watching fireworks together and plan to do so again tonight. One year, we were so tired that we decided to stay home and watch them on TV. We enjoyed it, except for my daughter. It was important to her that we go and watch them so I have tried to keep to that tradition, no matter how tired I am!

There are many communities that offer parades and festivals, re-enactments and of course fireworks. These are great ways for families to spend Independence Day together.

Friday, June 27, 2008

National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature

I just learned about the National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature.

This unique museum is located in Abilene, TX. I saw it highlighted on Texas Country Reporter and it looks like the perfect summer place for family fun. It is filled with artwork from favorite children's literature. There are permanent exhibits as well as traveling pieces. You can view artwork from books authored by David Small, William Steig, and William Joyce and of course, Little Golden Books, among other favorites.

There are regularly scheduled family activities at the museum as well. You can meet authors and attend book signings, every Saturday from 1-4 there is a free family activity, there are summer camps, and once a month there is an ArtWalk.

Patrons of all ages love viewing the artwork from some of their favorite books. Grandparents love sharing their favorite stories with their grandchildren. Teachers love bringing classes here for a field trip. Families enjoy spending time browsing the artwork and participating in the many family activities.

Admission to the museum and Saturday activities is FREE!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon Lake is a great place to spend the day as a family. Located just outside of Huntsville,TX, this lake is perfect for divers and swimmers. There are no boats to worry about. The water is warm and clear. We found a great spot with some rocks that were fun to jump off of and swim around. There is no wildlife to be seen underwater due to the Ph balance of the water, but they have decided it is worth the trade off in visibility for divers. Even when the area is full, crowding does not seem to be a problem. There is a place to fill scuba air tanks as well as to get a few snacks. There are shelters and port-a-potties locate throughout. It is a really nice area to spend a day.

Monday, June 16, 2008

household chores

Something you may not think about as being a family activity is taking care of household chores. Even young kids can help. It helps train the kids to all help pitch in as part of the team to get the job done.You could even crank up the radio or old tunes to help pass the time while working together. Any chores from helping to dust or fold laundry or clean base boards to weeding the garden or sweeping the porch and/or walk, kids like to know they have a job, a place in the family. And it doesn't hurt to have a reward waiting at the end of the day together too. Maybe a family picnic, even if it's only the backyard. Or have ice cream together. Or watch a movie. Enjoying the extra minutes you have together because everyone pitched in to help out pays off in the long run.

Friday, June 13, 2008

classic car show

I have not been to one of these in a while, but last year my husband and son went to one. They loved it! These shows are a lot of fun. There are usually some really cool cars there, cars that the kids most likely have never seen. Many shows have cars ranging from the 1920s to the 1970s. The kids will likely get a kick out of some of these cars. The owners are usually friendly and willing to talk about their cars. This can be a fun, inexpensive and educational outing for the whole family.

Monday, June 9, 2008

My Haves and Have Nots

Last night I saw a list of Haves and Have Nots at my good friend Marathon Bird's blog. I thought it would be fun to play along. Then I thought that it could even turn into a fun family activity. I can see parents and kids sharing the things they have done as well as the things they would like to do. If you and your family want to join in, simply copy the list and highlight the things you have already done. Then share together your experiences and dreams.

My 200 Have and Have Nots!

1. Touched an iceberg
2. Slept under the stars (in a tent!)
3. Been a part of a hockey fight
4. Changed a baby's diaper
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Swam with wild dolphins
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a tarantula
10. Said "I love you" and meant it
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Stayed up all night long and watched the sun rise
15. Seen the Northern Lights
16. Gone to a huge sports game
17. Walked the stairs to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
19. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
20. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
21. Had a pillow fight (recently my youngest nephew challenged me!)
22. Bet on a winning horse
23. Taken a sick day when you're not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb (helped my friend who raised a lamb, but never held it)
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Taken an ice cold bath
28. Had a meaningful conversation with a beggar
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Ridden a roller coaster
31. Hit a home run (T ball!)
32. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
33. Adopted an accent for fun
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Felt very happy about your life, even for just a moment
36. Loved your job 90% of the time
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Watched wild whales
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Gone on a midnight walk on the beach (not midnight, but night)
41. Gone sky diving
42. Visited Ireland
43. Ever bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited India
45. Bench-pressed your own weight
46. Milked a cow
47. Alphabetized your personal files
48. Ever worn a superhero costume
49. Sung karaoke
50. Lounged around in bed all day
51. Gone scuba diving (just got certified!)
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Done something you should regret, but don't
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business (blogging for money??)
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Been in a movie (an extra in a commercial)
60. Gone without food for 3 days
61. Made cookies from scratch
62. Won first prize in a costume contest
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Been in a combat zone
65. Spoken more than one language fluently
66. Gotten into a fight while attempting to defend someone
67. Bounced a check
68. Read - and understood - your credit report
69. Recently bought and played with a favorite childhood toy (would books count?)
70. Found out something significant that your ancestors did (Patrick Henry is a distant relative)
71. Called or written your Congress person (email)
72. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
73. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
74. Helped an animal give birth
75. Been fired or laid off from a job
76. Won money
77. Broken a bone
78. Ridden a motorcycle
79. Driven any land vehicle at a speed of greater than 100 mph
80. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
81. Slept through an entire flight: takeoff, flight, and landing
82. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
83. Eaten sushi
84. Had your picture in the newspaper (for those T ball home runs!)
85. Read The Bible cover to cover
86. Changed someone's mind about something you care deeply about
87. Gotten someone fired for their actions
88. Gone back to school
89. Changed your name (When I got married)
90. Caught a fly in the air with your bare hands
91. Eaten fried green tomatoes
92. Read The Iliad (hm, in school and I doubt it was the whole thing)
93. Taught yourself an art from scratch
94. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
95. Apologized to someone years after inflicting the hurt
96. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
97. Been elected to public office
98. Thought to yourself that you're living your dream
99. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
100. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn't know you
101. Had a booth at a street fair
102. Dyed your hair
103. Been a DJ
104. Rocked a baby to sleep
105. Ever dropped a cat from a high place to see if it really lands on all four feet
106. Raked your carpet
107. Brought out the best in people
108. Brought out the worst in people
109. Worn a mood ring
110. Ridden a horse
111. Carved an animal from a piece of wood or bar of soap
112. Cooked a dish where four people asked for the recipe
113. Buried a child
114. Gone to a Broadway play (well, off Broadway)
115. Been inside the pyramids
116. Shot a basketball into a basket
117. Danced at a disco
118. Played in a band
119. Shot a bird
120. Gone to an arboretum
121. Tutored someone (nearly every day!)
122. Ridden a train
123. Brought an old fad back into style
124. Eaten caviar
125. Let a salesman talk you into something you didn’t need
126. Ridden a giraffe or elephant (I have ridden a camel and my kids rode an elephant in the Singapore zoo)
127. Published a book (maybe some day; I’ve got an idea and it’s already typed up)
128. Pieced a quilt
129. Lived in an historic place (TEXAS is pretty historic isn’t it??)
130. Acted in a play or performed on a stage
131. Asked for a raise
132. Made a hole-in-one (if Putt-Putt counts)
133. Gone deep sea fishing
134. Gone roller skating
135. Run a marathon (done two triathlons)
136. Learned to surf
137. Invented something
138. Flown first class
139. Spent the night in a 5-star luxury suite
140. Flown in a helicopter
141. Visited Africa
142. Sang a solo (only to my kids or my bible class kids!)
143. Gone spelunking (do tours of caverns count??)
144. Learned how to take a compliment
145. Written a love-story
146. Seen Michelangelo’s David
147. Had your portrait painted
148. Written a fan letter
149. Spent the night in something haunted
150. Owned a St. Bernard or Great Dane
151. Ran away
152. Learned to juggle
153. Been a boss (hey, MOM is the boss, right??)
154. Sat on a jury (almost!)
155. Lied about your weight
156. Gone on a diet
157. Found an arrowhead or a gold nugget
158. Written a poem
159. Carried your lunch in a lunchbox
160. Gotten food poisoning
161. Gone on a service, humanitarian or religious mission
162. Hiked the Grand Canyon
163. Sat on a park bench and fed the ducks
164. Gone to the opera (kids opera)
165. Gotten a letter from someone famous (if form letters count)
166. Worn knickers
167. Ridden in a limousine
168. Attended the Olympics (1984!)
169. Can hula or waltz
170. Read a half dozen Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys books
171. Been stuck in an elevator
172. Had a revelatory dream
173. Thought you might crash in an airplane
174. Had a song dedicated to you on the radio or at a concert
175. Saved someone’s life (unless you count the numerous times I didn’t "kill" my kids when they deserved it!!)
176. Eaten raw whale
177. Know how to tat, smock or do needlepoint
178. Laughed till your side hurt
179. Straddled the equator (but I have been in four states at once-Four Corners)
180. Taken a photograph of something other than people that is worth framing
181. Gone to a Shakespeare Festival
182. Sent a message in a bottle
183. Spent the night in a hostel
184. Been a cashier
185. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
186. Joined a union
187. Donated blood or plasma
188. Built a campfire (that’s hubby’s job!)
189. Kept a blog
190. Had hives
191. Worn custom made shoes or boots
192. Made a PowerPoint presentation
193. Taken a Hunter’s Safety Course
194. Served at a soup kitchen
195. Conquered the Rubik’s cube
196. Know CPR
197. Ridden in or owned a convertible
198. Found a long lost friend
199. Helped solve a crime
200. Responded to a NJP newsletter

Sunday, June 8, 2008

goody boxes

Many times during the holidays, families will join in the filling of shoeboxes for needy children around the world. This is a great project for families with kids of all ages. The kids can help you pick out items and pack them into the boxes. Small items like socks, granola bars, bibles, cars and toothbrushes can be big hits.

Another way that you can use this idea any time of the year is to fill goody boxes for soldiers and missionaries that live overseas. There are many who would love to get little goodies from home that are hard to come by where they are now stationed. Again, some of the same small items work well here too. As well as playing cards and magazines, etc. It is a great way to get kids involved in community service and helping others and thinking of others in differing circumstances. It helps kids to widen their world a bit.

I know that our homeschool group has done the boxes for soldiers before. I know that when you gather many of these to send, the shipping can get rather high. And the post office cannot cut any deals with you on the price of shipping.

But I just learned about a place that can. At the Freight & Shipping Blog , I came across a post about how they are willing to work with groups who would like to send goody boxes overseas. This would be such a great family activity with a little savings added in.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

snow cones

A couple of weeks ago, I took my daughter and two nephews for a day at the park. We had a great time running up and down the trails, playing tennis and checking out the playground. After we were done, we had the great idea of heading to the snow cone stand. What a treat after a long hot day at the park! These icy treats felt so good and tasty. The kids went home with brightly colored tongues.

We are thinking of maybe buying a little mini-snow cone maker for the house. My daughter loves the idea and it would be fun to make icy treats anytime we want. And this weekend, our church is handing out free snow cones to the community! What a cool way to spend family time together!

Saturday, May 31, 2008


My sister and I have always enjoyed playing games together. One of our favorites now days is Scrabble. We love to pass the time visiting and trying to get a good score in a Scrabble game. We just enjoy it. We love it even more when everyone else plays with us too. My parents and sometimes my kids will play. On rare occasions my husband has been known to play. This past week, my young nephews even got in on the game! They teamed up with someone and we all had a great time. One of the silly fun things we have done in the past is to decorate our little wooden "benches" that the letters sit on. We now have eight of those from combining two sets (no, we did not combine the letters.) It was so cute to see the little boys decorate their own this last week-a part of the tradition!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

puppet show

I came across the blog of a young mother this week who had just witnessed her kids perform their first home puppet show. It brought back memories for me! When my kids were younger, they would often get their puppets and stuffed animals and even homemade puppets together to put on a show for me and my husband. They may or may not have practiced and there may or may not have been a storyline and/or plot. But they were fun!

You can get a big cardboard box to make a puppet stage. You can turn a card table on its side or let the kids get behind a chair or couch. Then let their imagination take over!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

little things

Sometimes it's the little things that count. My middle sister is here right now and she, my mom, my daughter and I just enjoyed a "girl's night out", of sorts. We were heading over to the sporting good store, but they were closed, so we stopped by Wendy's for chocolate treats, Frosties, etc...It wasn't long, but it never is when she is home. We always just enjoy the chance to be together for however long we can.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Prince Caspian

We have not yet been to see the latest in the saga of the Chronicles of Narnia. We love the books and know that soon we will be to see the new film. I am hopeful that it will make a great family night, complete with cousins, grandparents and an aunt from overseas. The Chronicles of Narnia have been the subject of many a family night in my home, both as a child and as a parent.

family vacation

With summer right around the corner, many families are beginning to plan their summer activities and vacations. I know for our family, vacations and spending time together are important, especially as the kids get older. Right now, many families may have to be cutting back on their travel plans as gas and food prices rise constantly. Going places closer to home, or doing things like camping out seem to be a little more affordable options for some families. I did just find out about another option that some families may be interested in. I had not heard of Vacation Loans per se before, but it seems like a way to help some families be able to get some money together so they don't have to put off this year's vacation. You can get up to $1000 wired directly to your savings or checking account to help you add a little more enjoyment to your summer plans.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Play's the Thing

One thing we have enjoyed in the past as a family is watching plays. We find local plays at colleges or go into the city to see an Off Broadway play. We have enjoyed both levels. But some of my favorite plays to watch are the ones my family have performed in. Both my kids and my husband have been in local productions. Before our son was born, my husband performed with a small local community theater. After our son was born, it was not a conducive atmosphere and my husband did not perform again for many years.

When my son was 12, both he and my husband appeared in Oliver! and a few years later my daughter and husband performed in Annie Warbucks. It has become a fun family affair!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Tennis Anyone?

This past week, my older nephew bought some tennis balls and brought them to my house. He has been wanting me to play with him, but we'd lost all the tennis balls, so he solved that problem!

Yesterday, we went to the park and all practiced together. As we left the rackets and balls in the car, our family was happy to have them when we were stuck somewhere waiting for an hour, and there was a court nearby!

We grabbed the rackets and balls and a game of tennis. We played kids vs. mom and dad. Then we played girls against boys. We had a good time and are hopeful that this will become a game that we can all play together more often.

Friday, May 2, 2008

scuba class

Our family started scuba diving class together this week. Though some of us are more hesitant than others, we know this will be the first step in many other times for our family to spend some exciting adventures together. We spent Monday in a classroom session. Not as fun, but know it is vital to what we need to know. Tuesday we went through a chapter together at home. Thursday we took our swim test and our first session in the pool. The kids LOVED this and now can hardly wait to get done so we can get on to the diving!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Downtown Disney

Having just returned from Orlando, I was thinking that if we lived around there, heading out to Downtown Disney occasionally would be a nice way to spend a family night together. Although it can get expensive down there, we found just walking around and taking in the sights to be rather enjoyable. Since we were on vacation, we did opt (no other real choices!) to eat there. We really enjoyed Wolfgang Puck's express cafe. We all had delicious meals which we enjoyed on the patio in the nice weather. We love walking through the toy store, the sports store, the Disney store and of course, the Lego store. There are some pretty amazing Lego sculptures to view while at Downtown Disney.

At the other end is Planet Hollywood. The food is good, but it is NOISY! I had a real headache by the time we finished there. We walked past the candy shop, drooling over the candied apples there. The kids finished off their meal with an ice cream cone. There is also a movie theater and the Cirque de Soliel if you get the chance.

share your family vacation photos

After a family vacation like we just returned from, we love spending an evening together looking through the many photos we took. It is such great fun to relive the things we experienced together. It helps to build the family bonds, and set the memories more concretely in our minds. We also love sharing our photos with family and friends. Last night when we returned from our four day trip to Disney World, we called my parents and nephews to come over and see our pictures. It is so fun to share the trip with family and friends this way.

But for those who are not as close by, it would be such great fun to take a few of our favorite photos from the trip and turn them into Photo Cards. This is another excellent way to spend an evening together as a family, choosing just which shot is the very best to turn into a card to send to friends and family. And what fun to "brag" about our excellent Disney World trip while everyone else was at work and school! We can even add our own caption to the front and/or inside, just to let everyone know what a wonderful trip we had!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

neighborhood party

Last night many of our neighbors got together for a neighborhood party. Everyone met at one house where the kids could swim. Each family brought some food. A couple of the men had gone in and got crawfish and several did some grilling for the main dishes. Everyone sat around and enjoyed the wonderful weather, watching the kids and eating some good food.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

hunting for wildflowers

My son has been assigned a project in biology class. He has to locate wild flowers indigenous to our state. It has been a long involved process, one that the whole family has become a part of. I know while out and about, I have been on the look out for wildflowers. We have driven to several different places looking for particular flowers. My young nephew is constantly bringing in "wildflowers" for his cousin. In talking with other families who have the same project, it is indeed a family affair! But it has actually turned out to be a rather pleasant family activity after all. We have gone to parks together, taken walks together, even stopped on the side of the road in search of wildflowers. It has been fun for us to even trade flowers with another family ("I'll give you a wine cup for an Indian paintbrush"!) Making school projects into family activities is a way to pull the family together and keep it bonded, even in the midst of a busy school year.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

kite festival

This weekend there is a local two day kite festival. It will take place on Apr. 12-13 at Highland Bayou Park. This park is at Exit 10 off of I45 follow the service rd going south. Park entrance will be on right after Oasis RV Park in La Marque, TX. Activities include a free kite workshop for 50 kids each day, fun flying for everyone, demos and more! This is a nearby event that I hope we can make it out to!

Monday, April 7, 2008

kids and money

Have you ever talked with your kids about money? I know that with my own kids, ever since they were small we have used real life situations to talk about money. How we get it, how we spend it, what checks are, what credit cards are, when, why and how it's good to use them. It is important to start teaching our kids about these issues before they leave home and find themselves in a financial crises. Of course, kids will have to go through their own struggles, but preparing them in advance to avoid the situations of looking for bad credit loans or having to try to struggle out of the hole with bad credit credit cards , it makes sense to start teaching them early on so they will have a better foundation when it comes to spending their own money.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Expelled the Movie

I just learned today about Expelled the Movie . It looks like it could be an important tool for parents to use to talk with their children about science, creation, God, and their beliefs. Because most children spend so much of their time at school listening to what teachers say, and are exposed to so much that the media says, I think it is important that we as parents be sure we take the time to discuss with our children what we value and believe. This movie could be an excellent tool for parents of older children to help initiate some conversation and spark some thought and desire in our children. Let's be active in helping our kids to find the Intelligence that many are not interested in seeking.

Monday, March 31, 2008


This past weekend, our family participated in the Lone Star Triathlon. My husband, son and I all finished the race. My daughter was not old enough so she and her grandmother came down to cheer us on! This was great fun for all of us and we were proud to have completed the challenge.

It was tough working in all the training times. But we got through it. The kids were really understanding and even joined in when they could. Working together on such a challenge is a great way to strengthen family bonds.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

the beach at nightfall

During Spring Break, my kids were really wanting to go to the beach. Because I had to prepare for a retreat on the weekend, I was very busy during the whole spring break. But I wanted to be sure that we got to the beach, even if just for a couple of hours.

So last Thursday, we finally made it. We got there at 6pm. I was afraid this was going to be a disappointment for the kids, but it turned out to be for the best.

The traffic on the island was awful and seawall parking was overrun. But folks were just starting to head out as we got there, so we had a very pleasant couple of hours on the beach. We ended up being there for a while by ourselves.

Even though it was windy and cold, my daughter swam and played in the waves. Both kids ended up having a mud fight. We walked out on the jetty and walked on the rocks along the beach. Seeing the moon rise above the ocean was gorgeous.

It is fun to spend time on the beach at an hour other than you usually would. It is a great time to relax and reconnect as a family.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

the family that blogs together...

I started blogging about a year and a half ago. My sister got my dad and me involved in it. Now we all try to make some money with our blogs. I have saved enough that we hope to take a nice family vacation this summer.

Seeing me make money with my blog piqued my kids' interest in having blogs of their own. I had originally gotten my son into blogging at a now defunct site. He enjoyed it a bit, but was not too much into making consistent posts. Last year, I sent up blogs for each of them and had them post assignments on there regularly. Over the summer, the blogs fell into blahdom. But as PayPerPost recently announced that they will begin accepting blogs as young as 30 days old, my kids got interested again. (And they also each had an ad offer on their blogs!)

So they have begun posting a little more frequently now. In fact, my son wrote a really good post for one of my blogs tonight . I think blogging together is a good way to interact, and to help kids hone certain writing and computer skills at the same time.

teens changing tastes in music

As my kids get older, I find they are into things they were not into a few short years ago. As my son has been in public school and particularly on the basketball team, he has become a little more interested in different styles of music. This is one area that we differ greatly on. But a good way to spend family time together is listening to music together. I am not keen on the rap scene, but as my son gets more and more interested in hip hop news, it is something I want to pay a little more attention to. If your teens are into rap and hip hop, spending time together browsing the Rap Artist website could be a great way to spend a few enjoyable minutes with your teen. Maybe you will get to know him/her even better!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Livestock Show

I took my daughter and her friend along with my two nephews to the Houston Livestock Show earlier this week. We had free tickets and only had to pay for parking. We were told when we got there that we would have to leave at 3:30. (I don't know if it is that way every day, or just that day.) The man who drove our tram said it was because they would need the parking later that evening.

We went in to see the horses first thing. We were disappointed that it was a switch day, so we were not able to see any. We did stop in on our way out at 3 and saw a few people that had come in and were getting a little practice in. So we headed on over to the Agventure.

This place is set up for kids and it was great fun. There you can see cows , rabbits, pigs, lambs, baby chicks being hatched and those that had just hatched. There were some brand new piglets and lambs this week. There is a petting zoo . There is a milking demonstration. It is fun for the kids to get to look around at their own pace and see the animals and demonstrations. My youngest nephew was very interested in the spinning and weaving demonstration.

Outside you can find the pig races , the stick horse rodeo and the carnival. We missed out on most of these attractions because it poured down rain all afternoon! In spite of the weather there is a lot to see and do and it turns out to be a pleasant day for all ages.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Kemah Boardwalk

We spent yesterday afternoon at the Kemah Boardwalk. It was a beautiful day and we enjoyed taking it easy, relaxing and being together. The boardwalk has really been built up since we last visited, several years ago. There are a few new rides. Each ride costs, a bit overpriced in my thinking, but you can purchase an all day wristband to ride over and over again.

We got there around noon and the boardwalk was not too crowded yet. We purchased our writstbands and went to ride a few rides. We rode my daughter's old favorite, Pharaoh's Fury, a giant swing, first. Then we headed over to the new roller coaster, The Bullet. We all enjoyed our first ride on this wooden roller coaster. It is fast and it is rough. Our next ride was even faster and by our third ride we were so beat up we were done!

We enjoyed strolling the board walk, enjoying the sights and sounds. We came upon a Hannah Montana look alike contest, complete with a Robin Williams look alike MC.

We strolled through shops, my son won a basketball, and we simply enjoyed being together.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

all work and no play...

Today was supposed to be spent helping a family move into an apartment. That fell through, so we had a "free" day. The kids were thrilled...til Dad came up with project after project of work that needed to be done around the

we have dedicated next Saturday to a day of PLAY! We plan to go just spend some time (and blow some money!) at a local amusement area. The kids are looking forward to it already!

I read an article today that mentioned a study done years ago by Gary Smalley. In it he was looking for what held a family together and kept them close as the kids grew into adulthood. He got many answers from the families interviewed, church attendance, service projects, but the one answer that was found on every list was...camping! His point was not to advocate that every family should start camping on a regular basis, but that they should find an activity that they can all enjoy together and do it regularly. All work may help keep a family functioning day to day, but the key to really keeping a family functioning happily it seems is the ability to play together as well.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Juice It Up

My husband used his Christmas money to buy a juicer. We have all quickly gotten addicted to our daily allowance of orange juice. It has truly become a family affair. My oldest nephew comes in each morning and asks "when are we going to make juice?" So the two boys have gotten drafted as official orange peelers.

Most of us stick to plain OJ, or perhaps OJ w/ an apple tossed in. But the older boy loves what his uncle is preparing--some new concoction each day--a little of this, a little of that....mmmm, good!

the homeschooling family

As a homeschool mom I am always on the look out for new and excellent resources. Over the ten years I’ve been homeschooling, I have come to the conclusion that true homeschooling is more than just school at home, but it is a lifestyle. For those of us who have educated our children at home from the beginning, we seem to have learned right along with the kids. There are many others I know, like my cousin, who have taken their older kids out of public school to begin homeschooling. It seems as if jumping feet first into this lifestyle can be a bit overwhelming. Allowing older kids who are beginning to homeschool to have a say in how they study and some of what they study can go a long way to helping your homeschool be more beneficial to the student(s) involved. Spending some family time together going over just what goals, benefits, obstacles, etc that you are expecting can be a good way to start off your homeschool journey together.

For folks who would like a helping hand in getting and keeping their homeschool organized, there are many choices available. Today I learned about The Jubilee Academy. This online resource helps parents by providing all books and cds, providing an online calendar of daily assignments and lesson plans, and the staff is available to provide guidance to the parents. There is also an online message board for parents to share ideas with each other. This may well be one of the most valuable resources offered. I know that as a homeschool mom, sometimes I need someone who really “gets” where I am to just listen. Being internet based allows families who travel regularly to stay up to date with lessons and assignments. Access is available anytime night or day, seven days a week.

Friday, February 15, 2008

birdhouse building workshop

I recently learned about a local birdhouse building workshop. It seems like a great activity to take the whole family to. It is scheduled for Feb. 24 at Seabrook Int. school. Three classes are slated at 8:30, 9:30 and 10:30. The Seabrook Tourism Committee is sponsoring this free event to encourage backyard birds in the community. You will build a birdhouse to take home.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

pontoon boat cruise

In their efforts to reconnect people with nature, the Armand Bayou Nature Center offers pontoon boat cruises every Saturday on their 28' Ranger. You get to choose either an early morning breakfast or sunset cruise. On these guided aquatic safaris, you will be able to view local wildlife and plant life.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Mardi Gras

Can Mardi Gras be considered a family event? I know that around here, local celebrations have offered children's parades during the daytime hours, allowing families to celebrate together. Down in Galveston, Texas, there is a Mardi Gras museum that families can visit together to enjoy a little more of the festivities.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Chinese New Year

Last night we celebrated Chinese New Year a bit early. It is not officially until next week (so you still have time to celebrate with your family!) We have a Chinese friend with whom we celebrate every year, as she is far from home and this is her biggest holiday. It would be like us missing Christmas and/or birthday. Her sister was here visiting so we were doubley blessed to celebrate early.

It is really great to learn about the traditions associated with the culture, try new foods, and have fun together. We had the traditional fish (well, baked fish minus the head, tail and bones) chicken, rice, stir fry veggies, fruit and fortune cookies.

oranges symbolize wealth and fortune cookies are always fun!

sweets are shared to hope for a "sweet" year! my kids love pocky sticks and the chocolate covered fortune cookies were a sweet treat!

I found gummy rats in honor of the year of the rat!

We kept it very simple this year compared to past years, but still a very nice time together. We also made sure to hand out red envelopes filled with money to all the children.

red packets are given to the kids. It's everybody's birthday!(these were simple to make using library pockets as a pattern and computer generated clip art!)

Learning about another culture together and experiencing some of the customs together is an excellent way to spend family time together. Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Harlem Globetrotters

I have not gotten to see the Harlem Globetrotters in many years. I think everyone knows they are a great basketball team full of fun and antics. They are coming to a nearby city next month. We thought of getting tickets. But last night the Globetrotters game was aired on TV. We were not all able to be here, so we taped it and watched it together tonight.

The kids really enjoyed the show. My son talked about some of the old players he's read about. He told me about one of the more recent former players who is now playing for the NBA.

The Globetrotters are just a fun show to watch. This would be an excellent family activity for all ages, whether televised or live.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Chinese food

I am not too crazy about Chinese food, especially in the States. But since going out to eat as a family is always such an ordeal, we ended up at Chinese food last night. This can be a great family outing. The place was decorated really nicely, and I am sure will be even more so in a few weeks for Chinese New Year. The order was taken and the meal served very quickly. Everyone can try eating with chopsticks. Each person ordering something different can make it fun to share and try new foods. Even reading the fortunes at the end of the meal can be fun.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

chinese checkers

Our family loves to spend time playing games together when we have a few quiet moments. As these are getting to be more rare these days with the kids busy schedules, we take what moments we can get. The other evening we introduced my husband to Chinese Checkers . None of us could believe he'd never played. It is a simple game of trying to get your marbles from one end of the playing board to the other. The more people playing the game, the more fun. It is easy enough that the whole family can enjoy it together. Of course, it being Dad's first night of playing, he beat us anyway! Beginner's Luck! ;)

in the gym

Most of our family nights as of late have been at high school gyms in the area. Our son is playing basketball for his school, and we have been out to support his team. Right now, he is filled with his passion for hooping. Any free moments he has are dedicated to playing ball. He is always down at the YMCA for a pick up game or two or three...when he is not playing, he is on the internet checking out the latest in college and pro basketball. He loves to watch all the highlight videos he can find on YouTube. But I just learned about another website in which he will likely be very interested.

At Takkle he can learn all he wants to know about the highest rated High School Basketball players in the country. He can check out their stats and yes, watch highlight videos. Takkle is a great way for families far away to keep up on their favorite players. Coaches can use the site to organize schedules for practices. And college coaches can use it for scouting purposes.

I am sure my son will be sharing some of these videos with the rest of the family long before the next family night gathering!

Thursday, January 17, 2008


I had not heard this term before, but I love the idea! Coming up this weekend is a local volkssporting event , a volkswalk. These are family friendly events which are open to anyone of any age (children under 12 must be with an adult.) It is a free event. You choose your own start time (within the given time frame) and participate in the 10K walk. There is a 5K walk for those looking for a shorter hike. You can go at a leisurely pace and enjoy the historic sights and sounds of your local route. The route is monitored with check points throughout. It sounds like a wonderful way to spend some time together enjoying local points of interest you may have otherwise overlooked.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

junior college basketball

We went tonight to see one of our friends play in a junior college basketball game. We have not seen him play since high school and it was fun to get to see him play and see his family as well. The stadium was filled with quite a crowd (and one very vocal fan) of all ages. The tickets were very affordable at $2 and $3 each. The seats for the home team were great since they were stadium seats and not bleachers. This is a great way for families to get out and enjoy a sporting event without breaking the bank.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Zodiac Birthday Meme

I was tagged by my friend Sire to do the newest zodiac birthday meme . These are often fun little cyber world games, but this one could be fun to do as a family. Here are the rules for cyber world play:


1. Mention the person who tagged you and create a link back to them.
2. Copy-paste the traits for all the twelve months.
3. Pick your month of birth.
4. Highlight the traits that apply to you.
5. Tag 12 people and let them know by visiting their blogs and leaving a comment for them.
6. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve done it.

My birthday month is December:
Loyal and generous. Sexy. Patriotic. Active in games and interactions. Impatient and hasty. Ambitious. Influential in organizations. Fun to be with. Loves to socialize. Loves praises. Loves attention.
Loves to be loved.Honest and trustworthy. Not pretending. Short tempered. Changing personality. Not egotistic. Take high pride in oneself. Hates restrictions. Loves to joke. Good sense of humor. Logical.

If you want to do it for a family activity, simply print out the list of birthday attributes and see which fits each family member. Could bring out some laughs and maybe even some good discussion.

JANUARY: Stubborn and hard-hearted. Ambitious and serious. Loves to teach and be taught. Always looking at people’s flaws and weaknesses. Likes to criticize. Hardworking and productive. Smart, neat and organized. Sensitive and has deep thoughts. Knows how to make others happy. Quiet unless excited or tensed. Rather reserved. Highly attentive. Resistant to illnesses but prone to colds. Romantic but has difficulties expressing love. Loves children. Loyal. Has great social abilities yet easily jealous. Very stubborn and money cautious.

FEBRUARY: Abstract thoughts. Loves reality and abstract. Intelligent and clever. Changing personality. Attractive. Sexy. Temperamental. Quiet, shy and humble. Honest and loyal. Determined to reach goals. Loves freedom. Rebellious when restricted. Loves aggressiveness. Too sensitive and easily hurt. Gets angry really easily but does not show it. Dislikes unnecessary things. Loves making friends but rarely shows it. Daring and stubborn. Ambitious. Realizes dreams and hopes. Sharp. Loves entertainment and leisure. Romantic on the inside not outside. Superstitious and ludicrous. Spendthrift. Tries to learn to show emotions.

MARCH: Attractive personality. Sexy. Affectionate. Shy and reserved. Secretive. Naturally honest, generous and sympathetic. Loves peace and serenity. Sensitive to others. Loves to serve others. Easily angered. Trustworthy. Appreciative and returns kindness. Observant and assesses others. Revengeful. Loves to dream and fantasize. Loves traveling. Loves attention. Hasty decisions in choosing partners. Loves home decors. Musically talented. Loves special things. Moody.

APRIL: Active and dynamic. Decisive and hasty but tends to regret. Attractive and affectionate to oneself. Strong mentality. Loves attention. Diplomatic. Consoling, friendly and solves people’s problems. Brave and fearless. Adventurous. Loving and caring. Suave and generous. Emotional. Aggressive. Hasty. Good memory. Moving. Motivates oneself and others. Sickness usually of the head and chest. Sexy in a way that only their lover can see.

MAY: Stubborn and hard-hearted. Strong-willed and highly motivated. Sharp thoughts. Easily angered. Attracts others and loves attention. Deep feelings. Beautiful physically and mentally. Firm Standpoint. Needs no motivation. Easily consoled. Systematic (left brain). Loves to dream. Strong clairvoyance. Understanding. Sickness usually in the ear and neck. Good imagination. Good physical. Weak breathing. Loves literature and the arts. Loves traveling. Dislike being at home. Restless. Not having many children. Hardworking. High spirited. Spendthrift.

JUNE: Thinks far with vision. Easily influenced by kindness. Polite and soft-spoken. Having ideas. Sensitive. Active mind. Hesitating, tends to delay. Choosy and always wants the best. Temperamental. Funny and humorous. Loves to joke. Good debating skills. Talkative. Daydreamer. Friendly. Knows how to make friends. Able to show character. Easily hurt. Prone to getting colds. Loves to dress up. Easily bored. Fussy. Seldom shows emotions. Takes time to recover when hurt. Brand conscious. Executive. Stubborn.

JULY: Fun to be with. Secretive. Difficult to fathom and to be understood. Quiet unless excited or tensed. Takes pride in oneself. Has reputation. Easily consoled. Honest. Concerned about people’s feelings. Tactful. Friendly. Approachable. Emotional temperamental and unpredictable. Moody and easily hurt. Witty and sparkly. Not revengeful. Forgiving but never forgets. Dislikes nonsensical and unnecessary things. Guides others physically and mentally. Sensitive and forms impressions carefully. Caring and loving. Treats others equally. Strong sense of sympathy. Wary and sharp. Judges people through observations. Hardworking. No difficulties in studying. Loves to be alone. Always broods about the past and the old friends. Likes to be quiet. Homely person. Waits for friends. Never looks for friends. Not aggressive unless provoked. Prone to having stomach and dieting problems. Loves to be loved. Easily hurt but takes long to recover.

AUGUST: Loves to joke. Attractive. Suave and caring. Brave and fearless. Firm and has leadership qualities. Knows how to console others. Too generous and egoistic. Takes high pride in oneself. Thirsty for praises. Extraordinary spirit. Easily angered. Angry when provoked. Easily jealous. Observant. Careful and cautious. Thinks quickly. Independent thoughts. Loves to lead and to be led. Loves to dream. Talented in the arts, music and defense. Sensitive but not petty. Poor resistance against illnesses. Learns to relax. Hasty and trusty. Romantic. Loving and caring. Loves to make friends.

SEPTEMBER: Suave and compromising. Careful, cautious and organized. Likes to point out people’s mistakes. Likes to criticize. Stubborn. Quiet but able to talk well. Calm and cool. Kind and sympathetic. Concerned and detailed. Loyal but not always honest. Does work well. Very confident. Sensitive. Good memory. Clever and knowledgeable. Loves to look for information. Must control oneself when criticizing. Able to motivate oneself. Understanding. Fun to be around. Secretive. Loves leisure and traveling. Hardly shows emotions. Tends to bottle up feelings. Very choosy, especially in relationships. Systematic.

OCTOBER: Loves to chat. Loves those who loves them. Loves to take things at the center. Inner and physical beauty. Lies but doesn’t pretend. Gets angry often. Treats friends importantly. Always making friends. Easily hurt but recovers easily. Daydreamer. Opinionated. Does not care of what others think. Emotional. Decisive. Strong clairvoyance. Loves to travel, the arts and literature. Touchy and easily jealous. Concerned. Loves outdoors. Just and fair. Spendthrift. Easily influenced. Easily loses confidence. Loves children.

NOVEMBER: Has a lot of ideas. Difficult to fathom. Thinks forward. Unique and brilliant. Extraordinary ideas. Sharp thinking. Fine and strong clairvoyance. Can become good doctors. Dynamic in personality. Secretive. Inquisitive. Knows how to dig secrets. Always thinking. Less talkative but amiable. Brave and generous. Patient. Stubborn and hard-hearted. If there is a will, there is a way. Determined. Never give up. Hardly becomes angry unless provoked. Loves to be alone. Thinks differently from others. Sharp-minded. Motivates oneself. Does not appreciate praises. High-spirited. Well-built and tough. Deep love and emotions. Romantic. Uncertain in relationships. Homely. Hardworking. High abilities. Trustworthy. Honest and keeps secrets. Not able to control emotions. Unpredictable.

DECEMBER: Loyal and generous. Sexy. Patriotic. Active in games and interactions. Impatient and hasty. Ambitious. Influential in organizations. Fun to be with. Loves to socialize. Loves praises. Loves attention. Loves to be loved. Honest and trustworthy. Not pretending. Short tempered. Changing personality. Not egotistic. Take high pride in oneself. Hates restrictions. Loves to joke. Good sense of humor. Logical.

Those I would like to tag include Jerseygirl , MomandMore , Marthon Bird , Christine , Hifidel , Pinhole , Jameo and anyone else who would like to join in!

Friday, January 4, 2008

personal inventory

This year is the first in many that my husband has been around for New Year's Eve and able to enjoy New Year's Day with us. We tried something new this year-a personal inventory. This will be an activity for families with older kids to try. I made up a booklet of some things I wanted our family to think about, how their spiritual life was moving, how we spend our time, etc. We sat together and filled out the packet then discussed the things that we felt comfortable discussing. We helped each other with ideas and talked about ways to hold each other accountable in the future. We finished up by each getting a personal prayer packet filled with questions to ask ourselves and pray over. This is an excellent way for families to begin a new year.