However, this can be difficult since Valentine’s Day often falls on a school day during an already busy week. Here are some fun, yet easy ideas to make memories with your family, simply.
Learn the True Story of St. Valentine
While there are many versions available, we prefer listening to the Adventures in Odyssey version. Find it at WhitsEnd.org on Valentine’s Day and for a week after!
Pink and Red Food
Many foods can easily be dyed pink or red (naturally!) for a fun twist on your normal menu. Blend a few strawberries or raspberries into pancake batter; make a strawberry or raspberry smoothie or add dried (or fresh) cranberries to your favorite chocolate chip cookie or muffin recipe.
Serve a Special Dessert
Dessert isn’t a normal part of our meal plan. Since I save desserts for special occasions, even a simple dessert makes a meal a celebration! This year I’m making Trim Healthy Mama Cheesecake (from the cookbook). Cheesecake is my husband’s favorite, and when made in a pie plate instead of a springform pan, is super easy too! I’m also making my non-cheesecake loving child Brownie Pudding Cake (very similar to this recipe); it’s super quick and easy, and he loves it!
Love Scavenger Hunt
This idea of a love scavenger hunt by Big Family Blessings is cute and easy to do with all ages. Use a different color of construction paper for each member of your family. This would be a fun one to prep during the day with the kids as a surprise for Dad when he gets home from work.
Happy 2018! The holidays are over, the new year is here. Time to recover from the excess sugar and stuff and get back to what really matters. The new year is often a time to start over; a time of making grand resolutions with the assumption that dramatic changes will give us a dramatically better life.
If you have ever made new year’s resolutions, you know the problems with this. Dramatic changes are rarely sustainable, especially when several dramatic changes are made at once.
But that’s OK! Dramatic changes don’t make for a dramatically better life. Consistent, sustainable habits lead to dramatic life change. This is great news for us as we begin a new year! It’s not needed (and actually harmful) to make grand dramatic changes. Small changes we can commit to, that is where real success happens!
What small changes can you commit to this year?
Here are a few ideas:
I will eat a protein rich snack or meal every 3-4 hours.
I will drink more sugar-free, caffeine-free fluids every day.
Perfection does not equal success. Success happens when we reach the good enough level at least 80% of the time. You get to determine your own good enough level. Do this by setting realistic goals for yourself: a healthy, balanced meal NOT a gourmet meal; 10 minutes of cleaning NOT deep cleaning the entire bathroom; getting dressed (in real clothes) each day NOT trying to look like a French fashion model!
Setting realistic goals and expectations for yourself (and others) ensures success. And success encourages more success!
Replace a Habit You Want to Change With a New Habit
Do you reach for a sugary snack in the afternoons? Replace it with a protein rich trail mix with a few dark chocolate pieces. Do you want to spend less time on your phone and read more books? Download a Kindle app and a new book or leave your phone on the counter and read a bit before going to bed.
Change Your Perspective
Sometimes all it takes is a change of perspective to make something go from drudgery to enjoyable. Getting up early on cold, dark winter mornings doesn’t sound like much fun. But when I choose to see my getting up early as “me” time to relax and prepare for my day, I look forward to it!
Habits Take Time
It takes time for new routines to become habits. Experts say from 21-30 days. Give yourself time. Develop one or two new habits each month. What could your life look a year from now with 12 new habits?!
What habits do you want to adopt this year? What one thing are you going to start with?
Christmas, Valentines, Easter, Birthdays, Just Because…Kids seem to get so many gifts and so much stuff! If you desire to lead a simpler life, less controlled by stuff, this can cause many problems in your home!
You (and your kids) have spent a lot of time de-cluttering and finding “homes” for the things you love and need. But more stuff keeps coming in.
People like to give gifts to kids…They like the grand reaction kids give upon the opening of something new. But as a parent, this means you either have to find a place to put all.this.stuff or get rid of some stuff. And having your kids be forced to decide what new stuff or other loved stuff to get rid of causes them strong emotions and stress.
Here is a gift guide for the kids in your life. We either have these things and really like them, or they are things I am putting on the list for my kids this year.
We have both of these and love them! The animal one can be played by kids as young as two, as long as they know their animals and can speak clearly enough to be understood. This is a good game for all ages to play together and is quick for use with limited time. This sports one also looks fun!
I’m adding the games Blink, Loot, and Suspend to the list of games we’d like to try.
My one tip for a simpler gift buying is to buy all your gifts online! If you have Amazon Prime, now is the time to take full advantage of it and if you don’t (we do not) plan ahead and just order all at once to get free shipping. I’ve also used Costco.com and Target.com for fast and free shipping!