Falling in love with your family

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12 ideas to make Valentines Day Fun for the Whole Family, Family game ideas, Family reunion ideas, Family Valentines tradidtionsTwelve ideas to make your Family Valentines better

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Valentine’s Day Candles

conversation hearts Valentine's banner, #valentinesday, #valentine, #banner, #garland, #valentinesdaydecorations, #conversationhearts, #thriftycraft, #easycraft, #quickcraftConversation Hearts Banner

Kleenex or tissue box cover, storage for that ugly kleenex box, BOOKs or STUDY room decorShabby Chic Kleenex tissue box

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Updated: 12 ideas to make Valentines Day Fun for the Whole Family, Family game ideas, Family reunion ideas, Family Valentines tradidtions

One of the most important characteristics of a happy family is the ability to play together.  Any holiday is a good excuse for a party, but Valentines Day is an especially appropriate time to put a little effort into making your family feel special.  Sometime in February, have a fun party for the whole family.  Here are some ideas for a super-thrifty Valentines Day Celebration!

Food

You don’t have to spend any more money on a Valentines Day meal, just think pink and heart-shaped.

Breakfast: Make a pink strawberry smoothie, French Toast cut with a heart cookie cutter, or heart-shaped biscuits.

Lunch: Cut out sandwiches with heart cookie cutters.  If you have different sizes, cut the bread with a large heart, ham or turkey with a medium heart, and cheese with a small heart.  Stack them together for a fun, open-face sandwich.

Dinner:  Try your favorite meatloaf recipe on a cookie sheet, shaped like a heart.  Or, make a homemade pizza with heart-shaped dough.  Even a dinner of canned tomato soup can be dressed up with homemade or store-bought breadstick dough shaped like a heart.

Dessert:  Anything looks fancy layered in tall glasses!  Try alternating layers of brownie bits, French Vanilla pudding, and cherry pie filling; yogurt, granola, and strawberries; or angel food cake, real whipped cream, and raspberries.

Put on a tablecloth, sprinkle conversation hearts around the table, and light some candles.  I love how little eyes sparkle in candlelight!

Games

(For younger kids)

Heart Attack: Cut out paper hearts from colorful Valentines paper or cardstock, then cut them in half with zigzags, curvy lines, etc.  Mix up all the halves and let them put the heart puzzles together.

Love Bag:  Glue or decoupage small pictures of family members on cardboard, foam board, or heavy paper.  Laminate them if you have access to a machine.  Put them in a bag and take turns picking a picture.  Tell something you love about each person as their picture is drawn.

Make Pink Butter: Before dinner, put 1 cup of cream and a couple drops of red food coloring in a pint jar.  Screw the lid on tight.  Then take turns shaking it.  After several minutes, solid butter will form, surrounded by liquid.  Discard the liquid and empty the butter into a dish.  Salt lightly and enjoy on your heart-shaped biscuits or breadsticks.  This is a great way to keep little hands busy while you cook!

(For older kids)

Girl’s Name, Boy’s Name: Each person is given a paper.  On the top of the page, write the name of any girl (it works best if the people playing all know who she is).  Fold the paper down so the name is covered.  Pass the paper to the left.  Without peeking under the first fold of your new paper, write any boy’s name below the first fold.  Fold over the boy’s name and pass the paper. Repeat for these categories: Where they were, What they were doing, What she said, What he said, How it all ended.

After everyone writes each answer, pass one more time, then take turns unfolding the papers and reading the crazy stories.  (As the paper gets passed around, you just may end up with Vanna White and Justin Bieber at Yellowstone National Park, knitting.  “How much are snow cones?” she asks.  “I think I’ll cut my toenails tomorrow, ” he replies.  They end up buying a pig farm and become amateur photographers.)  We loved to play this when we were little!

Poor Kitty: This quick game is a favorite around our house when we need a good laugh.  Sit in a circle, one person in the middle.  He is the Kitty.  The Kitty goes up to one person in the circle and mews, three times, and tries to make the person laugh.  After each mew, the person has to pat Kitty on the head and say, “Poor Kitty” without laughing.  The others in the circle are the judges.  If the person laughs, they are the Kitty.  If they don’t laugh, the Kitty chooses another person to mew to.  Here are some of the Kitty faces some of my kids (and a couple cousins) came up with the last time we played.  (Warning: Objects in this picture are much cuter than they appear!)

Poor Kitties, Indeed!

Hopefully this will help jump-start your plans for a wonderfully thrifty Valentines Party for your whole family!  Add your comments below and share your plans to make Valentines Day fun!

If you like this idea be sure to check out our list of OVER 25 Valenitnes crafts, DIY, Recipes and ideas.

Valentines ideas, recipe, DIY, Crafts, Printables and more.  Everything you need to make Valentines day special, Fun Valentines Ideas

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One of the best things you can do is spend alone time with the person you love. A great example is a fun camping date night – even if it’s on the floor by the TV. Add a two person sleeping bag and a great tin foil dinner over a campfire or oven and you will always remember it! Whether it’s the fall cool weather or spring flowers – a great date night will really bring you closer together!

two person sleeping bagAmerican Trails Ozzie and Harriet Double 2 Person Giant Sleeping Bag, 80-Inch x 66-Inch

Normally around $70 – Right now this two person sleeping bag is on sale at 32% OFF – As low as $47.41 and free shipping

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2 person airbed air mattressIntex Classic Downy Queen Airbed with 2 Pillows and Double Quick Hand Pump

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This is a great post Alison wrote a few years back, since we just had our 5th baby I thought it was great advice and worth sharing again. 5 ways to help younger siblings deal with a new baby
My sister just had her second child.  Like most parents, they’re trying to figure out how to help their daughter adjust to this new little critter.  Whether there are one or seven siblings who greet the newcomer, here are 6 ways to help older children have a great experience sharing the throne.
1. Prepare
One way to start preparing your child is to begin reading new baby literature.  One classic is Peter’s Chair by Ezra Jack Keats.  Amazon has (only!?!) about 1,600 more.  Your local librarian could also help you find a whole stack of books on the new baby theme.  Keep reading these books through the transition stage.  They’ll help your child know what to expect, and give a voice to complicated emotions they may be feeling. 
Another helpful preparation tip is to start shifting some of your parenting duties to others.  If you are always the one to read bedtime stories or give baths, encourage your spouse take over a few of those duties before the baby comes.  If your child will be sleeping overnight at Grandma’s while you are at the hospital, let them have a sleepover a few weeks before.  The fewer new things that occur with the baby’s arrival, the better.
Let your child help you prepare by picking out the outfit you bring the baby home in, helping decorate the nursery, or buying baby supplies.  Get them involved and excited from the beginning.    
 
2. Baby Talk
      One of the most important things a baby needs in the first months is lots of face-to face conversation.  This helps them recognize your face, read expressions, and learn the patterns of speech.  But, no one said what you have to talk about!  Babies at this age respond to expressions and voice tone; the words don’t mean anything yet.  Instead of putting your older child through hours of listening to how beautiful, precious, and sweet the new baby is, occasionally tell the new baby how wonderful their sibling is and all the exciting things the baby will learn from them.  You’ll give your older child a great boost of self-esteem, and give your baby the verbal communication they need.   
 
3. Take Time for One-on-One
     Even though your days and nights will be filled to the brim, take at least a few moments a day to snuggle your other child, play, read a story, or sing a song.  Don’t assume they know how much you still love them.  Tell them often.  In the early days, when your time becomes more divided, they need to know without a doubt how much they are still loved.
 
4. Expect Regression
     After giving my second a child sponge bath in the sink, I found my two-year-old sitting in there, fully clothed and cooing like a baby.  Can you say regression?!?  Other kids wanted to suck a pacifier again, drink from a bottle, or wear diapers.  One crawled back into the old crib, and another started talking baby talk.  Don’t be surprised if potty training takes a step backwards, they suddenly don’t like their big boy bed, or if they snitch the baby food.  Kids are pretty creative in their coping methods, but with each strange behavior, they’re just processing things their own way.  Relax about the regression and just take pictures (the one of my son in the sink is a classic!).  It will soon pass.
 
5. Keep up the Discipline
     Just because your little one has been dethroned, doesn’t mean he doesn’t still need some royal discipline.  Even when you are tired, stick to your rules and consequences.  It will help your other child feel secure and know that life is still predictable. 
     If you have resorted to harsh discipline in the past, consider learning some more tools.  Speaking in anger and hitting your older child at this stage is particularly damaging.  Think of how they see it…Mom snuggles and kisses this new kid, but when I make too much noise she yells at me. This is a tender stage, and your anger will only encourage resentful feelings.  Control your temper, teach clearly, and give consequences when necessary in a firm, neutral voice.  Give your child a chance to practice the appropriate skill, and end the interaction with love.
6. Make a Nursing Basket
     One of the most helpful things is to have a small basket of new little toys or activities to take with you whenever you need to nurse or do something for the baby.  Only pull it out when you are busy, so the novelty will last through a feeding or task.  It will help entertain your older child for a moment when your arms are full.
Bringing home a new baby can be an incredibly sweet time for a family.  It can also be a stressful survival experience.  Hopefully these tips will help the transition and set the stage for great sibling relationships!

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summer boredom buster idea, #summer, #boredom, #kids, #easy, #summeridea, #keepingkidshappy, #summervacation

Summer Boredom Buster Idea

We are only a couple of weeks into summer break and if I hear “I am bored!” one more time I am going to go crazy!  I have one child that is the biggest user of the word, but all of my kids have claimed to be bored more than once.  For the sake of my sanity, and my children not being sent away to boarding school I came up with this idea.  I had seen it a few years back via pinterest, but couldn’t find it again to save my life!  Oh well, I just made my own version.

The idea is that the child must have done everything on the list before he/she can claim to be bored.  I made it easy to read and will hang it on my fridge so no one can claim to forget.  This week will be the test to see if it actually helps.  I know that not all of the items on my list are pertinent to everyone, but it is a good starting point to help you brainstorm some ideas of your own.  Good luck!  If you try it, let us know how it works out for your family!

More activities, projects and fun things to do with your kids.

Dirt and Worms ~ Fun summer recipe for kids
 Make your own Crayons ~ Activities to do with kids
Be a Back Yard Detective ~ Activities to do with kids
Wiggle Worm Game ~ Games to do with kids
Make your own Bean Bag Toss ~ Games to do with Kids
Watch a Local Race ~ Frugal Family Activities to do
Corn Starch Gak Science Project to do with kids
Color Collage with ads from the paper
DIY Chime Set ~ Music Fun For Kids
Recipe for Homemade Slime
 Under the Sea Art Project for kids
Balloon Barrettes DIY Kids Fashion
Lady Bugs made out of an egg carton
Exploding Soap ~ Microwave Science For Kids
Horse made out of a pop bottle
Thanksgiving Crafts for Kids ~ Paper Turkeys
Easy Kid Games ~ Turn Easter Eggs Into Reading Games for Kids
 Math Games For Kids
Learn to tell time ~ Time Games for kids
SNOW-DAY ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS ~ SNOWMAN COOKIES
NEW YEARS EVE ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS~ “GOODY BAGS”
DIY~ MEMORY MAKING CHRISTMAS DECORATION
LEAF BUILDING FORT ~ HOURS OF FUN FOR KIDS!
SHARPIE TIE DIE SHIRTS ~ EASY SUMMER ACTIVES FOR KIDS
FIREWORKS ~ JULY 4TH CRAFTS FOR KIDS, QUICK AND EASY
VALENTINE CRAFT FOR KIDS ~ HIDDEN MESSAGE HEARTS, QUICK AND EASY
GROUNDHOG DAY PUDDING CUP SNACKS
FROZEN DRINKS
 Frozen Popcorn
Frozen Snowball Pops  
FROZEN Rice Krispy Treats
 Blue Jello Cake Recipe
HOW TO MAKE MEMORY PLATE
EDIBLE PAINTED BREAD 
Magical Moving Milk Science Experiment 
How to make Flubber
Lava Lamp Bottle
Cloud Clay, the softest clay EVER made with only 2 ingredients
Play Time With Dad Shirt

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Mom and Me Journal

Mom and Me Journal~ Staying Connected With Our Kids

A couple of years ago, my then eight year old daughter left a “love note” on my pillow.  I still have it.  I loved that she would think to do something so sweet.  It dawned on me that I could start a journal with her.  Just her.  No one else would ever get to see it, or hear its contents.  For me, I have always kept a journal, and I find it much easier to share things that I wouldn’t feel comfortable saying out loud.  The very next day I bought a notebook just for us.

Let me tell you, it has worked wonders!  I have gotten to hear some of her fears, crushes, embarrassing moments and just some sappy love notes. Some of the entries are deep and emotional, while others are funny and make me laugh.  I love that I can encourage her, express my feelings for her, share thoughts on life with her.  We don’t write in it daily, but it makes it all the more special when one of us finds this treasure under our pillow at night time.

My daughter is a talker, so I was surprised how much she actually wasn’t sharing because she was too embarrassed to express some things out loud.  Which got me thinking… Her brother is a very introverted child.  Doesn’t like to share much at all.  He talks to us, but when anything “deep” comes up he gets uncomfortable and tends to clam up. How much was I missing from him that he was too afraid to express?  At the time I started journaling with my daughter, he was too young to write or read., but as soon as he was in 2nd grade, I started one with him as well.  Same stipulations; for our eyes only.  The difference in their journals is pretty funny.  Pages are written between the girls, while we have barely passed 2 pages in my son’s.  It hasn’t worked yet for him, but I keep it going hoping that the simple “I love you Mom” notes he leaves me will soon give way to longer entries.  Maybe even get some real depth in them.  However, whether they do or not, he knows that the book is there, that he can open it at any time a send me a note.  He knows that it is a non judgmental way to express his feelings.

The point of the journal is to connect with our kids.  Sometimes I don’t get it back for a month or longer, but I can still sneak into their room and borrow it to write them another note.  That way they get a note.  I plan on keeping them all in a safe place as we fill them up.  I look forward to seeing the penmanship change, the spelling improve and the entries grow in length.  But more than that, I look forward to them reading them as an adult and feeling how much I love them.

This experience has taught me so much about being a Mommy.  I really feel it has strengthened my bond with my kids.  Just a simple way to take a minute from our super busy lives and share a memory or a thought with my kids.

You should find an inexpensive notebook and give it a try.  It doesn’t have to be a fancy journal, my son and I share a composition book (I couldn’t find anything that wasn’t too girly) and it works well.   Even if you aren’t a fan of keeping a journal, this will change your mind!  It is such a  simple way to share our love with someone we care about.

Mom and Me Journal 2

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