Archive for the ‘Family Fun’ Category

Sometimes The Best Family Ties Are Fishing Lures

Monday, April 5th, 2010

We just got back from visiting my parents in Florida, and it makes me realize how important it is to make sure Matt gets to see his Nana and Papa and that they get to see him growing up. He’s changing so fast, and I know it won’t be that many years before he (gulp) heads off to college. So these visits are important. (Plus I get to see my mom and dad!)

Randy, Matt and my dad had a good time fishing, even if there was a lot more fishing than catching this time. And Mom and I got to go to to the well-attended coffee and Easter parade at the clubhouse at their retirement community. Mom had some fun Easter goodies for me to attach to my floppy hat, and we had a great time!

What are you doing during Spring Break this year to strengthen family ties, either with your extended family or right in your own home? Let us know.

Give a Day of Service — Get a Day of Disney Fun!

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

I love this idea… Disney is inspiring families to volunteer in their communities during 2010. And they came up with a great way to do it. One million people who perform volunteer service for a participating organization will receive a free one-day admission ticket to a Walt Disney World Resort or Disneyland Resort theme park.

To learn all about the “Give a Day, Get a Disney Day” program, including how to get your free one-day admission pass, visit (U.S. and Puerto Rico) or (Canada).

To enable people to sign up for an eligible volunteer project, Disney is working with HandsOn Network, the nation’s largest volunteer network. Part of the Points of Light Institute, HandsOn Network has 250 volunteer action centers across the country. They connect volunteers with more than 70,000 nonprofit agencies that need their help. Many of the opportunities are for projects that entire families can participate in together. (Kids must be at least age 6 to participate.)

And while you’re at your favorite Disney resort, be sure to pick up one of these cool new black-satin princess hats. I love the rhinestones on the front (especially the Mickey-shaped one at the very top of the crown). What better way to channel your inner Disney princess? (And you know she’s in there!)

Little Ways to Say “I Love You” to Kids

Monday, February 1st, 2010
Scan of a Valentine greeting card circa 1920.

Who says we have to celebrate Valentine’s Day just on the 14th? It’s fun to find creative ways to show our kids we love them — throughout February and all year long:

°         Brag a bit. “Let your child overhear you bragging about her to your spouse, friend or relative — but make sure your other child isn’t within earshot!” suggests Carol Weston, author of Girltalk: All The Stuff Your Sister Never Told You (HarperCollins). (It’s also available on Kindle. See the left sidebar…)

°         Spend time in the kitchen together. Whether you’re baking Valentine’s cupcakes with gooey pink icing or simply cutting up veggies for a Thursday-night stir-fry, include your child in age-appropriate kitchen tasks. It’s a great time to catch up with him after the school day. Older kids can cut the snow peas or man the stove, with supervision. And kids ages toddler to teen will enjoy helping you spread that icing. Don’t forget to lick the beaters!

°         Make Valentines together. A few days before the big day, visit your local crafts store and pick up construction paper, glitter pens, stickers, etc. Then sit down with your child and have some special time together, whether you’re making 30 Valentines for school or a special one for Grandma.

°         Say “I’m thinking of you.” Put fresh flowers on your child’s desk or other homework area with a note that says, “I know you had a hard day” or “I’m so proud of you!” suggests Weston.

°         Watch a Valentine-themed movie together. “Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown” (available on DVD) is a great one to rent. This classic and much-loved Peanuts story centers on the romantic yearnings of Charlie Brown. As Valentine’s Day approaches, Lucy tries to get Schroeder to give her a card, Sally chases after Linus and poor Charlie Brown dreams of getting just one valentine. Even Snoopy’s mailbox is stuffed with red, heart-shaped cards!

°         Go for the unexpected. “I like to surprise my kids with their favorite dessert for no reason at all. I love to see the look on their faces,” says Manhattan Beach, California mom Lina Moy.

°         Jazz up your communication. “Send your older child loving emails now and then, complete with bold or colorful letters,” suggests Weston. “Or after a big event, send an email to your child saying, ‘I didn’t want to embarrass you in public after the game, but I was sooo proud of you that I just have to gush: You were awesome out there! Four serves in a row! You’re a *star*!’”

°         Make your child the hero. Even uncles can get into the game, says W. Thomas Smith Jr. of Columbia, South Carolina. Smith once took 48 giant football cookies to the locker room after his nephew’s game. “It was a huge hit,” he says. “And Max, my nephew, got the credit ’cause I’m his uncle.”

°         Share a special family word or phrase. When my husband was a young boy, his mother would always say “See you in the morning” to him and his brother after she tucked them in at night. Now I say that same phrase to our son every night — even though he’s now 14 and taller than me! It always brings a smile — and warm thoughts of Grandma, too.

°         Add a little fun to your child’s lunchbox. “When I was young, my mom used to carve a simple face into the apple she placed in my lunch box. It looked a lot like a jack-o-lantern face,” says Sarah Doyle Lacamoire of Isle of Islay, Scotland. “I know it probably sounds silly, but just the fact that she took the extra time to do that made me feel special — and gave me a good giggle.” To add a Valentine’s twist, carve a heart on the side of a big red apple — complete with Cupid’s arrow, of course!

°         End the day with love — and a little silliness. Top off your day with a special goodnight kiss designed just for your child, suggests Susan Newman, Ph.D., author of Little Things Long Remembered: Making Your Children Feel Special Every Day (Crown). “Two pecks on the forehead, one on the nose and one on top of the head, for example, underscores how special your child is to you.”

Bedwetting: Here’s Help

Thursday, December 17th, 2009
Vince Vaughn at the London premiere of The Bre...

What do baseball slugger Mark McGwire and actors Vince Vaughn and Michael Landon have in common? They all wet the bed as kids. And all went on to speak out about it as adults to reassure both parents and kids that bedwetting is nothing to be ashamed of.

And it’s certainly nothing to be punished for. Landon wrote that his mother would display his unwashed wet sheets on the clothesline — and even tied parts of the wet sheets to him before he went to school — in a misguided attempt to get him to stop wetting the bed. As an adult, Landon had little contact with his mother. Hard to blame him.


A Father’s Gift

Saturday, December 12th, 2009

A Father's Gift

The children’s theater program at our church puts on a Christmas musical every year, and my son has been in these productions since he was 5 years old.

But my husband? He’d never set foot on a stage, and I would have bet the farm that he never would.

But when the choir director asked him if he’d play Santa (with a bunch of lines!) in “Babes in Toyland,” Randy — bless him — said yes. What a wonderful family memory.

Matt gets to play the bad guy, Barnaby, and Santa tells him off and saves the day at the end of the show, which makes it a real hoot.

Thanks, Randy, for being such a great dad and for giving Matt — and me — this wonderful Christmas memory. It’s better than anything we could find under the tree.

Weather Report: It’s Snowing at Disneyland!

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

snowing at disneyland

Such an amazing site: Sleeping Beauty’s castle, all decked out for the holidays, with “snow” falling all around us.

After Thanksgiving, I’ll be reporting a lot more on our recent visit to Disneyland, and sharing all the cool stuff they’re doing for the holidays. But for now, I just had to share this photo.

Where Do You Go to Relax?

Thursday, November 5th, 2009


Genny over at My Cup 2 Yours asks today, for Talkin’ About Thursday: Where do you go to relax?

My answer? Yosemite. True, I can’t go all that often. We usually get there about once a year. But when I’m there, walking around the snow-covered valley floor and looking at Half Dome and El Capitan, I realize that I’m just one small person in the world and that my problems, in the scheme of things, aren’t all that big.

For a busy mom who feels tied to her car and to-do list much of the time, that’s no small thing.

Where do YOU go to relax?

I Heart Smilebox

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

How much fun is this?! My Halloween Smilebox slideshow is featured on the Smilebox blog.

Check it out. I love the other two creations featured on the post, too. There is so much you can do with Smilebox! And it’s a piece of cake.

Make that candy corn.

Mickey’s Trick-or-Treat Party Offers Fun for Little Goblins

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

Visit my Reviews Blog to learn about all the fun stuff Mickey has in store for little trick-or-treaters. It's spooky (but not scary) fun! Got older kids who want to get SCARED? Send 'em to Ghost Galaxy

Feeling Grateful For…

Friday, August 21st, 2009

° Doing "Family Movie Night" and working our way through nearly all of Sidney Poitier's movies (favorites so far include "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner," "In the Heat of the Night," Lilies of the Field" and "To Sir With Love") Love you, Netflix!

° Seeing my two favorite guys relaxing on a warm summer evening.

° Learning that the adorable puppy that suddenly appeared in my brother's backyard wasn't truly lost and was the neighbor's new puppy. (He's able to squeeze under fences, apparently!)

 ° Summer fruit from Trader Joe's. Love the fact that they have fresh fruit that fits my budget.

°  Visiting Voodoo Doughnuts in Portland (what a great city!) on a recent family vacation and getting to see for myself the "voodoo-doll" doughnut with oozing strawberry filling and pretzel "pins." Fun! 

Life's little pleasures…