Tag Archives: family time

Making S’More Memories

smores

It never ceases to amaze me that some of the things that my kids get the most excited about in life are so simple. I mean, if my husband and I say that we are going to get a little fire going in the fire pit, the kids jump up and down likes it’s Christmas… well almost just like that. None the less, they excitedly jump around and start yelling for s’mores. Now why is this so exciting? We make s’mores all the time using the microwave to slightly melt the chocolate and puff up the marshmallows.

But that just doesn’t compare to the experience of making s’mores over the open fire.

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Besides the fact that they get to have extremely sharp roasting sticks, which is a novelty in and of itself for them, they get to “play with fire.” As you can imagine, having three boys, I try to avoid sharp objects… and fire… and sugar, the other major component of this. Maybe that is why it is so exciting. This combines sugar, sharp objects, and fire– all of the forbidden elements of my little boys’ lives.

Of course, it wouldn’t be as exciting if someone didn’t catch a marshmallow on fire either. In fact, I think that we may lose as many marshmallows to being consumed by fire as what actually end up edible. My middle son always says that he didn’t mean for the marshmallow catch on fire, but really, when he holds the marshmallow a bit too close to the flame, and it actually does catch on fire, I think he is secretly satisfied with himself.

smore braylon

Even though we did this several times this summer, and now into fall, there is something special about the family gathering together around the fire pit, talking, laughing, and just enjoying a little family time. It’s not a big event, but it’s fun. It’s not expensive, bit it’s memorable.

I hope that when my boys grow up and have families of their own, and when they roast marshmallows over a fire to make s’mores, they can’t help but be drawn back in time to the memories made this year.

smore chase derek2

Even though this ends up to be a sticky, face-and-clothes-covered-in-chocolate-kind-of-mess for my trio, I can’t help but be a bit amused by it all.

Spending time together as a family is what it is all about– making memories together by just being together and actually enjoying being around each other.  There are so many ways to spend quality family time together, and it doesn’t cost anything:

  • Movie night– my kids love to pick a movie that we watch together as a family– of course, enjoyed with some popcorn and M&M’s!
  • Game night– I don’t know why, but it is something special for the kids when my husband and I play the Wii or xbox with them.  They play all the time by themselves or even with each other, but they get so excited for us to play with them.
  • Picnic in the park– go to a local park.  Let the kids play, then take lunch, a snack, or just popsicles to enjoy.
  • Ice cream sundae bar– letting the kids have ice cream is one thing, but let them top it with hot fudge, caramel, sprinkles, whipped cream, etc… it is all of a sudden an exciting event.
  • Camp out at home– yes, this one is going to probably have your back hurting for a couple of days (at least it did for me!).  We set up a tent in the basement in the winter and put sleeping bags in it and the kids loved it!  I loved that they had fun, but I also loved sleeping in my bed the next night.  It makes it worth it though that a year later, they are still talking about the camp out in the basement and wondering when we can do another.
  • Outdoor fun– take a hike, go bike riding, play basketball, soccer… you get the idea.

I see for myself, and any parent will tell you, that the time that you have with your children flies by all too quickly.  Make the most of each day.  Take the time to make s’more memories.

5 Ways to Invest In Your Children’s Future

Family Time ~ Have fun together!

Family Time ~ Have fun together!

Investing. Typically, when we talk about investing, we are thinking about putting money into stocks, bonds, or mutual funds in a retirement account or a savings account. There is usually a tangible goal in mind: being able to retire comfortably or paying for a child’s college education. That type of investing is definitely something that should be a part of every person’s financial plan. But that is not the only type of investing that is important.

We need to be investing in the lives of our children in a way that is far more critical: emotionally and relationally. Being a parent is so much more than just providing food, clothes, and shelter for a child. Raising a child involves teaching them values, morals, and ethics. Whether you are actually an involved participant in teaching your children this or not, they will acquire a set of values, morals, and ethics, or a lack thereof, depending on the upbringing they receive. So how do you actually invest in your children? How do you know you are achieving your goal when there are no quantitative measures? Here are 5 ways that you can concretely participate in your children lives:

1.  Eye contact—from the time a baby is born, they start to gain an understanding of the world around them and how much they are loved based on the eye contact they receive. Even as an infant, a worldview is starting to form. Take the time every day to look your child in the eye and tell him you love him—it doesn’t matter if your child is 6 months old or 16 years old.

Investment: Self-Worth—by looking in his eyes, you are telling your child, “You have value.”

2.  Say “I love you.”—this one may seem self-evident, but, trust me, you need to actually say it. Clearly communicating this simple message with your child often is critical. Through the trials that they will surely face in life—a mean kid at school, breaking up with a boyfriend, peer pressure—if your daughter knows that you, her parent, loves her, getting through these situations will be easier for her.

 Investment: Security—by actually uttering the words “I love you,” you are letting your child know, unequivocally, that no matter what the world brings their way, you are there for them.

3.  Give compliments—as parents, we are so used to telling our kids what they can’t do and what they did wrong, that is it essential to make a concerted effort to tell them when they’ve done something right. Just to get through the day without someone getting hurt, I feel like I am telling my kids every couple of minutes what not to do—a negative directive: “don’t throw the ball in the house,” “no wrestling by the fireplace,” “pick up your toys before someone trips over something and gets hurt…” Yes, this is a parent’s job, however, it makes it just that much more important to catch them doing something good. It can be anything, even something little: “you did a great job cleaning your room,” “thank you for mowing the lawn,” “I’m proud of you…”

Investment: Self-Esteem—each time you tell your child they did something good, you are building up their confidence.

4.  Spend quality time together—in order to invest in the lives of your children, you need to actually be there. Yes, face-time matters. Maybe you are busy traveling with your job, maybe you are putting in hours around the clock trying to get your new business off-the-ground, but you can figure out a way to carve out quality time for your family. In the grand scheme of life, will your children be able to remember that you went to their baseball games, cheerleading competitions, or awards ceremony at school? Will they remember sitting down and eating dinner together as a family? Will they remember you teaching them to drive? Will they remember being able to talk to you about major life decisions, such as college, a career path, or renting their first apartment? Perhaps, you time is limited due to circumstances in life that you can’t control, but that is not an excuse for not making the time you do have with your kids count. After all, it is entirely possible for a parent to see their children every day, but not really be there.

Investment: Yourself—investing time into your children creates memories for them. Someday when you are gone, the memories will still live on. Don’t live a life that will cause you to look back with the regret of “I wish I had spent more time with my kids.”

5.  Eternity—for me, this is the most important. You may have heard the saying, “the family that prays together, stays together.” I think there is a lot of truth to this. Honoring God as a family helps to keep other priorities in order as well.

Investment: Purpose—understanding that God has a plan for each of us, gives life meaning. Teaching my children about God is investing in their eternity.

Investing isn’t always dollars and cents, sometimes it’s just common sense.