Monday, December 28, 2009


We got a great family gift this Christmas! We were given a huge block of clay! Some family members work ceramics and even have their own kiln. Since they need to fire many pieces at once, they wanted us to join in! So after opening our gifts, we dug into the clay! We have several pieces drying, waiting to be fired then painted. This is a wonderful way to spend many family nights together!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

low key holidays

As everyone around us hustles and bustles around in preparation for the holidays, our family kept a low profile yesterday. Our family gathered yesterday to celebrate being together. It is our first Christmas without Granny and we did not want to give up getting together, but did not want to make a big ordeal out of it either. We ate sandwiches and chips, played games and only the youngest kids were given gifts. All in all it was a good day and the stress level was kept to a minimum, reminding us all what is really important.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

500 sack lunches

In conjunction with a church mission, our family is helping to put together 500 sack lunches for those living on the streets in the inner city. Doing service projects together as a family is a great way to spend time as a family. It teaches your family values in a way that words cannot. It lets your kids see others who are not as blessed as they are. It gives them a chance to think beyond themselves. Whether serving sack lunches or handing out clothes or buying Christmas gifts, there are lots of ways that families can work together to help other families.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Attending church together as a family is always important to me. I think attending together sends an important message to the kids. During the holiday seasons, there are many worship services offered that are geared to giving thanks and remembering Jesus' birth. Going to church together to participate in these types of worship services is a very beneficial family activity.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Putting a puzzle together has long been a favorite past time for our family. Even though the kids are older now, putting together a challenging puzzle is fun. Finding one that provides a challenge but does not take forever to put together is the perfect fit. Families with children of all ages can benefit from a quiet evening doing a puzzle together. It is great for dexterity, problem solving and spending time together. It allows a place for interaction and conversation. Or even some great background music. Puzzles are a great family activity!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

sitting around the fire

There is just something magical about sitting around a fire. And doing it together as a family brings the magic home to you all. It is amazing to share this mystical experience with your children. Sitting around the fire is relaxing, it provides an excellent place to talk. With the shield of dark surrounding you inhibitions can be forgotten and teens can open up. Little ones can enjoy the magic dance of the flames (so can the older ones!) It is the perfect backdrop for storytelling. All ages love roasting marshmallows too. Whether it's an all out camp fire, a fire pit in the yard, or a cozy fire in the fireplace, sitting around the fire together makes an excellent family night activity.

Friday, October 16, 2009

high school football game

Going to a local high school football game is a great outing for many families. Rates should be fairly affordable, at least cheaper than a movie. You can see a fun sporting event and watch a great half time show. It's fun to root for the local team and see many friends.

Monday, October 5, 2009

watching tv

I don't recommend too much tv watching, but I feel like doing it together is the best way for families to view today's programs. This applies to families with teens as well. We still like to watch shows with our teens (no televisions in any bedrooms) and then are able to discuss characters, their actions and any consequences shown or not shown. Watching tv as a family is a good way to reinforce family values.

Monday, September 28, 2009


My daughter has been campaigning for a Wii since last year. She asked for one last Christmas. She has asked for one again this year. Then she hit me right where she knew would make a difference to me. She said "A Wii would be perfect for family nights!" She knows I am not into video games, but I am into family. A family playing together is always good. And kids love it when they can beat the parents at something!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

out for breakfast

Sometimes you gotta take "family night" when you can get it. Today, our son's school had "late arrival" day (the high schools don't do early releases, instead they have late arrivals.) So we went out together as a family for breakfast. We don't do that often and the kids all thought it was a real treat!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

snow cones

As summer draws to a close, it's not too late to enjoy an icy treat! Kids love the refreshing treat. You can find tons of flavors from which to choose. It's fairly cheap. A nice way to spend a late summer afternoon or evening.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

improv theater

We found a family friendly improv theater nearby. We took our kid's and a friend to their FREE anniversary night. We had lots of fun watching the impromptu skits, which included audience participation. We had lots of laughter. The skits were followed by karaoke singing. This was great family entertainment!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

dinner with friends

We were blessed to have some friends over for dinner last night. They spent all summer overseas. We loved hearing how some of our friends and family are doing. We loved hearing all the stories. We loved seeing the pictures. We are happy are friends are back home.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

just talk

In our most recent family meeting, it was brought up that as parents, we only talk to our kids about things we are reading, hearing, worrying about. That we don't "just talk" about random everyday things. We try to make every conversation into a teachable moment (yes, we do!) But it sounded as if the kids really just want some plain old chatting too. Leave the lessons behind from time to time and just talk.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Shakespeare Festival

Miller Outdoor Theater in Houston, TX. has begun their 2009 Shakespeare Festival. Showing on alternate nights are Twelfth Night and Pericles. These performances are free and begin at 8:30 nightly. The shows keep to Shakespeare's scripts, but I've heard they may be presented in their own unique way!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

hard rock cafe

We enjoyed a lunch at Hard Rock Cafe yesterday. Eating with three teens, this seemed to be the perfect lunch choice. There was something on the menu for everyone. And there were more selections than I thought there would be. The ambiance was perfect for the kids. They enjoyed the music videos, hearing songs from Guitar Hero and seeing the icons on the walls and in the trivia book. Our waiter was very nice, pretty cool, though I would preferred him not to curse. The food was good too. We went early enough that we beat the crowd and really enjoyed ourselves. It is a fun place for families with kids of all ages.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Astro's Kids Free Tickets

Today we got adult tickets to the Astro's game. With each ticket, two kids were admitted free. Each kid also got a free hot dog and coke. Then after the game, they got to go on the field and run the bases! This is very affordable family fun for all ages!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

food pantry

A local food pantry is looking for volunteers tomorrow from noon to four. I am hoping to make this a family affair. I want to go for a couple of hours and show the kids that it is important to help the community. And this is a good and easy way to do so. I think it is something we can do together, even my son with his broken collar bone.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

beach clean up

This Saturday at Menard Park in Galveston, there will be a beach clean up day from 9am til noon. Set up starts at 8:30. Cleaning begins at 9. Afterward there will be live music, a barbecue, pictures and cool surf prizes. There will also be a paddle out. Those without surf boards can rent one at Ohanas. The party lasts til 2pm. If my kids were here I would love to go. Maybe they will have beach clean up parties again!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

build a sandcastle

As summer is upon us, one of the favorite past-times of many families is a day at the beach. Whether you live near the coast, or just have access to a sand box, building sandcastles together is lots of fun for kids and adults alike. You can find plastic tools to help make the job easier. You can add accessories like seashells, flags, sticks, and cars to make your castle even more fun. Playing in the sand with your kids can make you feel like a kid again!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Destination Dinners

I learned about a great way to incorporate virtual field trips into family night! Destination Dinners are prepackaged boxes which contain spices and recipes for creating meals from other countries. Included in the packages are also some fact sheets about the country which the dinners represent. These meals feed four to six people and start at $25. You can feast on fare from countries like Japan, Korea, Thailand, Lebanon, Israel, Jamaica and even the U.S. This seems like a fun way to spend family night!

Friday, May 29, 2009

archaeological dig

I learned about an opportunity to be a part of one this summer. Located outside of San Antonio at Rancho de las Cabras, Floresville, Texas, there are three FREE dig days being offered! Saturday June 13, Saturday August 29, Saturday October 3 from 8:30 am- 2:00 pm is a great chance to dig for fossils and artifacts! This is sponsored by the UTSA Center for Archaeological Research and the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park at this 18th century Spanish Mission Ranch. There is also a scout day being offered in November. Ages ten and up are allowed, with those sixteen and under requiring adult supervision and one adult per every three children. You need to bring your own lunch and snacks, water and digging tools will be provided.

Call 210-932-1002 ext 223 or e-mail for more
information and to reserve your spot!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

backyard volleyball

We were able to enjoy a rousing game of backyard volleyball this week! Rather than set up a proper net, we just used the swing set as our net and set some "out" boundaries. With older kids, we played the first match kids vs. parents. Next, mother and son vs. father and daughter. Then, girls vs. boys. All in all a great night of family fun. This could work well with preschool and school aged children, just adjust the game to fit your families ages by setting lower nets and smaller courts as needed.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

neighborhood pool

Last night we were able to go to our neighborhood pool for a little while. It is a great place for families with kids of any age. There is a kiddie pool for the littlest ones. There are lifeguards on duty. There is a deep end with diving boards. The pool was not crowded and we all enjoyed the time just swimming and playing. It was good to just spend some time enjoying a little safe rough housing and laughter.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


My children have often auditioned for parts in a children's theater program. One family we know loves to come to both audition nights for cheap family entertainment. What a great idea! Even if your kids don't want to try out for a part, it is fun to watch all the kids get up and give their audition. It takes a lot of courage and who knows, maybe it will inspire your own kids!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

three on three tournament

This weekend my son was able to join a friend and his father for a three on three basketball tournament! What a fun way to spend some family time together doing what your kid loves to do! It is a great way for families with older kids to get to be together, have some fun, let off a little steam, and even get some exercise! The tourney was enjoyed by all, even if they didn't win!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

time with grandparents

Spending time with grandparents is a great way to strengthen family bonds through multiple generations. There are benefits to having the kids spend time with grandparents alone, without mom and dad tagging along. This is such a special time for kids and grandparents alike. This goes for kids of all ages. I know a boy whose grandmother lived next door to him as a teenager. He would go see her every afternoon. It was a safe place to find love and acceptance. A place to vent. A place to talk when it was hard to talk to mom and dad. Just the other day, my mom took my nearly thirteen year old to the park just to spend time talking and building the bonds. Sharing time with grandparents is an important part of family life.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

San Jacinto Day

Saturday, April 25, San Jacinto Battleground will celebrate Texas' Independence from Mexico. At the San Jacinto Monument, there will be an historical battle reenactment. From 10am-6pm you can experience what life was like for the Texians in those days. You can also watch the 18 minute battle, the Runaway Scrape, be reenacted along with narration. There is no admission into the festival. Fees will apply to ride the elevator up the monument. This is a great way to spend family time together learning about history.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

dying Easter eggs

My nephews are really excited about dying real Easter eggs this year. This is a great family project and is rather cheap too! You can find the egg dying kits at most stores. Kids love to paint the eggs and see the variety of colors. Then of course, hiding the eggs is lots of fun. Afterwards, eating the eggs is the perfect ending!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

family to family

Last night we got together with another family. Our children are not all the same ages; the girls are a year apart and the boys five. But we had a nice, relaxing evening enjoying our time together. We had a simple pancake supper. The kids horsed around, pushed each other in the pool, jumped on the trampoline, roasted marshmallows over a fire. We also enjoyed a quick board game. It was nice to have a simple evening, a pleasant end to a stressful week.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Stations of the Cross

Stations of the Cross is a Catholic tradition that takes place in the weeks before Easter. There are several stations set up depicting different scenes from Christ's Passion Week. I am told that different churches celebrate it in different ways. Tonight we are attending with some friends. It will be done inside with the congregants seated as the priest moves through the stations explaining each depiction. I have heard that some churches do other kinds of presentations of the Stations of the Cross including dramatic and/or outdoor

Friday, March 20, 2009

a little taste of them all

When we travel together, I love to try a little bit of many different items. Our trip to Boston was no different. I love each of us ordering different items and sharing them all. We would order a few different items to share for dinner as well as dessert. It makes it fun and that way we get to taste several different items.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Old Car Picnic

The 26th Annual Old Car Picnic will take place this Sunday, March 15 at the San Jacinto Battleground. Gates open at 9am. You can see hundreds of classic cars. Of course, bring your picnic lunch and enjoy the fun! The event is free to spectators, however there is a park entrance fee of $1. Prizes will be awarded at 2pm.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

my home town scavenger hunt

If you are looking for some cheap fun close to home, why not try a hometown scavenger hunt? You can come up with ideas to search for throughout your town. List them out, load up the car and head out to find them. This can be done with a range of ages and can be fun for all. Bringing along a camera to record your finds adds to the fun!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

This show is great fun! It follows closely to the video script. There are lots of laughing, singing and dancing. The actors are all very talented, with lots of experience. The flying car is grand! I love how the background was all black with "stars" to aid in the illusion of flying. We enjoyed the show and the audience really got into it. I must say I did not enjoy the potty humor of the spies, even if they were from Vulgaria. I enjoyed the performance of Professor Potts, Grandpa, all the children and even the child catcher! Be sure and catch this Broadway Across America show if it comes to your area!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

new restaurant/cuisine

Trying a new restaurant or a new cuisine together can be a fun family outing. If you have never tried Greek, or French, or Chinese food, why not make it a fun family affair. And if everyone orders something different, you can try each others, expanding the experience. If you go for Chinese, be sure to try using chopsticks and reading the fortune cookies. Talk about what it might be like to visit the country whose food you are tasting. Eating new foods together can be a great bonding experience for families.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

family stories

My dad loves to tell family stories. I too think they are important. You can learn a lot about your relatives, your heritage and some of your own experiences when you were younger. Kids love to hear these stories being told, especially if they are told in a fun way. Finding out about your past helps you to better know who are and how you got to be who you are. It's fun to find out that you are like your grandparent or that you met somebody famous when you were too young to remember. If you can add pictures to these stories, it adds a new element to the fun of sharing family stories.

Friday, February 13, 2009


Going to the library has long been a favorite of my family. I started taking my son when he was still in a stroller. It is a cheap and easy way for families to find entertainment. There are of course tons of books from which to choose. It's fun to share your childhood favorites with your own kids. Reading a book aloud is a great bonding activity for families. Libraries also offer movies and CDs to borrow. Often libraries offer family activities ranging from story time and movies to crafts and karaoke. Check out your local library for an assortment of family activities.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

walk to the mailbox

Making time for families in simple ways is important. Tonight, we simply walked together as a family down to our mailbox at the corner. It was the kids' idea! Just a simple act of taking a short walk together allows time to be together in a casual way, expressing affection and building bonds. It allows for a fresh perspective, some fresh air and change of scenery. Doing the day to day routine acts together is an easy way to bond closer as a family.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


I know many families will be watching the Superbowl together tonight. It is a great opportunity to spend time together as a family, even if you don't care much about football. When my kids were small, we would watch part of it together, including the half-time show (though that has since become a questionable family activity, thanks to Janet Jackson!) It gives you things to discuss together, from learning the game, to the personal lives of some of the players, to things in the commercials. It provides a time to be able to teach some of your personal values in a non-threatening approach. And sometimes the commercials can even be fun! It gives a time to relax together and something which to bring up in conversation with those outside the family in the upcoming days.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Reading a news article together and discussing it as a family is a great way to spend some time as a family. You can find anything that would capture the interest of your family, whether young or old. Finding something to stimulate conversation will help build family ties, know what each other is thinking and feeling, and keeps communication lines open. It can help jump start a conversation about serious social issues, can help come up with ideas for other family activities and can help language and social debate skills. This can be done over dinner or in the car or sitting at home. It is a great way to learn more about each other and grow together as a family.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I hope many families were able to watch the inauguration together. What an opportunity for teachable moments to arise. From government/politics, to social issues, to historical items and ideals, to famous people and many other things to talk about and teach our kids about. If you were unable to view it with your family, what a great thing to talk about at dinner tonight and over the next few days. It is important to teach our kids about the world they live in and our values and ideals that we hold close. Though many are bringing the historical aspect to the forefront of this inauguration, I feel that every president's inauguration is an important historical aspect for our country.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

library book sale

In our area, several libraries run book sales from time to time. One even does a book sale every month. This is a great way to spend some family time. There are usually books for every age and taste. The sales often have great prices on the books they sell. Here you can find some of your favorite books to bring home and treasure as your own. You might even find some old favorites from childhood to share with your own kids!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Prayer Walk

This is a tradition that we started last year. We did our prayer walk on New Year's Day this year and really enjoyed it. We made several stops at homes throughout our neighborhood to read a passage of scripture and say a prayer over a specific need. We had folks of all ages join in the walk, from 7 to over 60. Not everyone walked the whole route and some only came out at their own homes. But a special night of prayer and need were experienced by everyone who attended any or all of the prayer walk.

Friday, January 2, 2009

going for a visit

We have some friends who do not have kids. Yet they have one of the most fun Christmas trees around! (They actually have more than one!) We began a tradition a few years ago of going to see their tree(s) sometime during the holidays. We have not gone every year but every few years. This year they had gotten a new house, so we wanted to make sure we got to see their tree and their new house.

They had also gotten a huge new tree this year. They decorate with all sorts of fun ornaments including Disney characters, Wizard of Oz, Looney Tunes, Harry Potter and Barbie. The husband also has a Star Wars/Star Trek tree in his office. It is always fun for us and the kids to see and hear their assortment of ornaments and it's fun for our friends to show them off. They have gotten so many that they have had to "retire" some of their older ones!