Tuesday, December 13, 2011

decorating the tree

Sometimes family traditions are hard to change. As the time drew near this year to decorate the Christmas tree, I told my daughter to go ahead and put her ornaments on and when her brother got home from college he could add his if he wanted. She refused saying that she would just wait til he got home to do hers; that is just the way it is supposed to be! So for now our Christmas tree stands bare with nothing but lights. And there is a family night that awaits us to decorate the tree.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Many people think that surprises are good. And maybe a family surprise can be pulled off and even enjoyed. After a family surprise this weekend in which I did not respond with the best composure, I am not sure that all surprises are in order, even if done with the best of intentions. I hope that in the future I will handle the surprises which I face with more composure and grace than I did this weekend.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


One thing that sometimes gets overlooked is telling our kids how proud we are of them. My husband called me today to tell me about something our son, who is away at college, did for someone last week that was really an encouragement. We would never have known about it if this lady did not tell my husband about it. My husband then told me how proud he was that our son did that. I told my husband to be sure and tell our son. He said of course he would. I know that kids love to feel their parents' pride and it is an important aspect of the family. It's never a bad time to tell kids of your pride for them.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

family meals

In spite of all the flak kids give parents about so many things, including sitting down together for family meals, today I was reassured by a mental health professional that it is very important for families to do this, ideally once a day. It allows time for reconnection, communication, involvement, a feeling of belonging and a chance to model and observe appropriate behaviors. Even though our kids would at times only come to the table begrudgingly, I am glad to hear that this ideal is still endorsed by professionals!

Technology Loving Parents

Thanks for the article from Laura Ryan

I think I have the coolest parents. When I was a kid, that statement would have been difficult to make. No one thinks they have cool parents. However, now that I am grown up I realize how cool my parents were and are. They were one of the first people to own a computer. When I was little, I didn’t even know how cool that was. They were also one of the first people to get DIRECT TV. And to top it off, they were also the first to get a cell phone. Looking back it is amazing how quickly my parents accepted technology. They were able to see what items would be fads and which items were here to stay. To this day, they are still trying new things and having the coolest gadgets. Most parents go to their kids for advice on computers and such, but I go to my parents. I look back on my childhood and realize I was a lucky kid to have had some of the coolest parents around and I still am.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

debrief and reminisce

Our family has always had a tradition of debriefing and reminiscing events. And large historic events are especially good times to debrief and reminisce. I posted this idea on another blog but it fits well with family night activities:

As today is an important day for Americans to remember those who have fallen in recent history, it is important to teach the younger generation why it's important to remember. Sometimes history seems like such a dull thing of the past to kids. Teaching them now about an historic event that we and many of them have lived through puts the human touch, emotion, and passion into history. It is important to impart not only information but values and lessons learned from such historic events. Today is a great day to remember why it's so important to remember and share such events.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

imparting values through current events

While watching a talk show today, it was mentioned about an upcoming reality show casting a controversial figure. The points were brought out about just not watching the show, or watching the show and not mentioning it to kids or watching the show and discussing it with your kids. I happen to agree with all three and it depends on the age of your kids. I think however if you do decide to watch, it will likely have to be mentioned because my guess is that the controversy will be brought up during the show itself, leaving it unwise not to mention it or talk about it with your kids.

If you do decide to watch, it makes for good family time, both while viewing but also setting your family up for discussions later after the show and possibly more discussions later on as well. Isn't this what we want with our kids, to be able to impart our values to them? What better way to do that than to use real life current situations and have meaningful conversations with our kids about it.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

It seems that kids of all ages love to cook. Cooking up a batch of some fun foods is a great way to spend family time together. Making fun foods to enjoy together always brings happy memories. Try making cookies (slice and bake is fine!), cakes, ice cream or popcorn (on the stove!) Then enjoy the treats during a game or movie.

Also cooking healthy meals together makes it more likely that the kids will want to try all the good healthy foods they have helped prepare. Cooking is always an educational experience including math skills, reading skills and science skills. But best of all, is the bonds formed in the kitchen.

kids room remodeling

With older kids who want to have a say in how their rooms look, or are even asking to remodel their rooms, getting them in on the action and work can be some good family time. Kids love to plan, decorate and see their ideas put into effect.

My daughter is having some grand ideas about a lot of house remodeling (she is signed up for an interior design class so this is practical hands-on experience for her!) including plans for her and her brother's rooms. When looking for the perfect decor for kids and teens rooms, I came across some great ideas. I have long been a fan of kids loft beds because of the room they provide for other great kids furniture like a mirrored console, desk or couch. For those kids who adore every style and color of foot wear, a shoe storage bench could be the ideal piece of furniture.

Whatever plans kids have for designing their rooms, be sure to include them. It could likely make for some fun family memories!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

art museum

As the kids get older, it is harder and harder to find affordable things that we can all agree on for family activities. One thing I have in mind to do this summer is to take my son and his girlfriend to a free art museum. I have been there a couple of years ago and found it to be small enough to enjoy with lots of diverse exhibits. I am hoping it will be a great family outing for a family with older children.

movie night

With teenagers in the house, nearly every family night consists of movie night. It's just something we can all agree on! I guess that guest blogger Antone Medina might have the same idea. Here is what Antone has to say about movie watching:

Cinamatic Legends in the Making

Thanks for the article from Antone Medina

The recent purchase from a local www.tvbydirect.com provider has enabled the viewing of many favorite movies, both classic and newer releases. Being partial to the talents of Brad Pitt , finding many of his starring roles at the press of a button is sheer delight.

Mr. Pitt has the ability to become one with his character is nothing less than phenomenal, while in the same instance retaining his unique methodology that reaches through the silver screen.

One particular favorite is the role Mr. Pitt portrays in a story of three brothers and the woman that became a part of their lives. Taking place during the early 1900's the brothers Tristan, Samuel, and Alfred Ludlow faced the issues of combating nature, war, and the rivalries of family. Susannah Fincannon, the lovely woman who was betrothed to the younger brother Samuel, became a central character during the film.

Although Mr. Pitt's resume of film credits is lengthy, the film described above has been viewed numerous times, and with each moment spent in the company of the Ludlow family causes a bitter-sweet emotion.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Dr. Suess Birthday Party

We have been invited to our neighbor's house for Dr. Suess' birthday party. It should be lots of fun with games and food centered around Dr. Suess stories. My husband will recite Horton Hatches the Egg. I don't know what all games are in store but surely they will be serving Green Eggs and Ham!

Monday, February 28, 2011


Teaching kids to conserve energy is a great way to start learning how to be better about it ourselves. It is important to model the behavior and to show ways we can conserve. Working together as a family is a great way to help save our earth today and for the future. This guest article by Antone Medina gives a good idea on one way to start conserving together:

I Rode On One Of Baltimore, Maryland's New Green Technologies

Thanks for the article from Antone Medina

I've begun thinking about green technology since I rode on the Maryland Transit Authority's new buses. I had to journey to Walmart to pick up a prescription, so I thought I'd catch the bus. I was impressed. The ride is much smoother than the bus used to be. There was no sound of air brakes swooshing, either at the bus stop or when I was riding. There was no sign of emissions from the bus when I watched it stop at the bus stop. That impressed me as well, because you know what a choking diesel cloud usually arises when the bus takes off. That was nice, not to smell it.
Think of the gas saved by using hybrid buses. In the neighborhood of 500,000 gallons per year at roughly 3.50 per gallon, that's going to put a serious cramp in the oil situation. Now if we could do that with cars, this country could stand on its own feet and not be ransomed by the oil producing countries. Suits me. You know, I'd expect to see home energy savings(www.energysavings.com) through green technology, but beginning with vehicles is a good place. God knows, we're in our cars more than we are at home. At any rate, it was a nice ride on a bus using hybrid technology which means cleaner air and less gasoline consumption.