Category Archives: Family Fun

Motherly musings on Family fun!

The Twelve Days of Christmas – Day 10 1/2

Music is one of the best ways to lift your spirits. You knew we were eventually going to go here didn’t you?

Day 10 1/2 – Caroling – We hesitate to suggest this as a way to lift your mood on the off-chance you might ask one of us to sing. Be forewarned, this would be a terrible mistake.

In MB’s childhood home, Holiday Sing-along with Mitch was big. We often watched the Mitch Miller Show and sang along to the bouncing red ball. The thing is we didn’t sing well. We had a lot of fun though.

Mitch Miller

Must Be Santa was a big hit with us, even today we all sing along when we hear it.

Mitch Miller – Must Be Santa 

For our children, it was the Muppets Christmas with John Denver or Disney Sing Along

John Denver Muppets Disney Sing Along

John Denver & The Muppets – Christmas is Coming

Caroling with family is a great deal of fun. Be forgiving of those who can’t necessarily carry a tune but wish to take part, encourage those that can sing to lead and let your music ring out.

As our children matured, their tastes in carols changed a bit. And they cringed a lot when their parents sang-along.

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BoyzIIMen Silent Night

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Frank Sinatra Jingle Bells

If you really can’t bring yourself to sing in a group, then go to one of the free caroling events in your area. Karaoke anyone? Whether you Sing, Hum or Lip Sync, try caroling to keep the merry in Christmas this year.

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Be sure to click on the links and sing along!

 

 

 

 

The Twelve Days of Christmas – Day 9 1/2

We often wish that our parents and grandparents had kept a written account of their childhood for future generations.

Day 9 1/2 – Write – Our 12 Days of Christmas are written to help you find serenity during this hectic holiday season. Keeping a diary is a wonderful way to not only reflect back on your day and express gratitude but to preserve your history for future generations.

Our advice would be to keep a separate piece of paper nearby if you feel the need to vent, then destroy it just as soon as you’re done. No need to save that for prosperity’s sake.

The journal should include names, whether they are a friend or a relative, dates and the experiences you shared.

Goats and Christmas Train

We’d love to know how our childhood Christmases were different from our grandmothers.

I know that my parents grew up during the Great Depression so they usually received a hand-carved toy, rarely was it painted. On really good years they also received an orange. I don’t know if anyone came to visit, what they had for Christmas dinner, if Santa Claus was a fixture in their childhood.

Mom as Santa

Writing about everything you are grateful for helps improve your attitude.

Purchase a beautifully bound journal, have everyone in the family write a memory in it, add a few pictures, pass it down through the generations. Or start a private family blog where everyone can add their memories. Family members can read it anytime they like.

Documenting your family history is a truly a gift that keeps on giving.

 

 

 

 

The Twelve Days of Christmas – Day 7 1/2

Today is the last Saturday before Christmas to shop. It’s going to be crazy out there. We’ll keep it short and simple today so you can get on with it. 😉

Day 7 1/2 – Random Acts of Kindness – whether it’s holding the door open for someone or allowing the over-burdened person in line behind you to go first, acts of kindness will brighten your day just as much as it will theirs.

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Giving a stranger one of your smiles may be all it takes to improve their day, adding a compliment would be icing on the cake.

Researching this blog we came across this site – RAKing.  We haven’t printed the cards as they suggest yet but we are practicing what they preach.

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The world is an uncertain place. Kindness makes it feel safer. Anita Rodrick said “The end result of kindness is that it draws people to you.” and “If I can’t do something for the public good, then what the hell am I doing?” Both of these quotes say it all.

The-end-result-of-kindness-is-that-it-draws-people-to-you No Act

Isn’t this what Santa is all about? Giving, otherwise defined as kindness?

This holiday season spread kindness as far as you can. Please share with us your acts of kindness. We welcome new ways to practice RAKing.

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The Twelve Days of Christmas – Day 6 1/2

As is usually the case during the holiday season, I got so busy yesterday with my day jobs, shuttling back and forth to the airport and celebrating my birthday that Day 6’s blog got lost in the shuffle. So welcome to Day 6 and 1/2!

Day 6 1/2 – Game Night – This has long been a tradition in my family although we don’t limit it to Christmas. We starting having game night when I was just a child. My mother bought a game called Tripoley, popped up a big batch of popcorn, and taught us to play.

Tripoley

Game night has evolved through the years, we have had marathon nights of Risk where the last 2 players were still competing the next morning while everyone else had fallen asleep. We have tried quite a few new games and added a few to the regular mix.  Two of our current favorites are Telestrations and Camel Up Supercup.  Telestrations had us laughing so hard we had tears in our eyes.

Telestrations Camel Up

Game night is a great way to de-tress, stop focusing on the things that need to be done during the holidays and reconnect with loved ones. Enjoy those fresh-baked Christmas cookies from The Twelve Days of Christmas – Day 3  while engaging in some friendly competition. Be ready to laugh, tease and create some great memories.

We are always open to new ideas, what board games do you recommend?

Let the games begin!

 

The Twelve Days of Christmas – Day 5

In all the noise of the holidays, we sometimes wish for a little peace and quiet.

Day 5 –   Walking   –   Walking is beneficial in so many ways, healthy and uplifting. We love walking during the holidays, whether it be after a snowfall or to view the holiday lights. So grab your loved ones and head out.

There is a special joy in bundling up and heading out in the brisk air. When the sunlight hits the new-fallen snow it seems to glisten with diamonds. I am always tempted to make a snow angel. My decision is based on how far it is to the house.  Breathing in the fresh air is both invigorating and calming.

Our favorite walk during this season is to see the lights, strolling along the creek path with the tall trees covered in white lights while the bushes are draped with multi-colored lights until we reach the LED tree. This enormous pine in its cloak of many colors is a beautiful sight to see.

Visitor Center Tree

Or a visit to the botanical gardens with its covered trellises, whimsically lit butterflies, dragonflies, and strolling carolers. Every year there is something new, but our family tradition remains the same. We buy hot chocolate, a bag of roasted chestnuts and head down the path. Once we are sufficiently chilled, we step into the warm atrium filled with poinsettia of every color. I love to sit on a bench near the fountains for reflection. It’s so serene.

Blue Tree Botanic Gardens

There are so many places to take a holiday walk and escape the noise of the holidays. We have  Zoolights, Butterfly Pavilion, our neighborhoods, the Civic Center and many more. One of these years we will manage to see them all!

If you find yourself getting a bit overwhelmed this year, head outside, it’s good for the soul.

The Twelve Days of Christmas – Day 3

Today there is an emphasis on eating healthy including your holiday treats. I’m more than willing to give it a try.

Day 3 – Baking – Baking during the holidays for me is about the camaraderie and family bonding during our annual bake day. While I love using the cookie recipes that have been passed down through the generations, I also get that Crisco shortening is not all that good for my general well-being. Yes, the traditional sugar cookie recipe we use calls for Crisco. This year, I’ve been researching healthier recipes for baking day.

Vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free, honestly, I’m not likely to hit all those milestones. Organic, real butter not margarine, almonds, and honey I can do.

Shortbread cookies are a holiday favorite in our family. This year we’ll try these gluten-free, almond flour shortbread cookies. I found this recipe and several other gluten-free cookies on the King Arthur Flour blog.

We choose a day, a few recipes and  do our grocery shopping.

Baking day starts with breakfast and a bit of discussion, we get organized; which recipe needs the hottest oven, which cookie do we want to taste first, are we frosting any cookies this year?

Once all the cooks are present and accounted for, the teasing begins, for while baking day does involve some actual baking,  it’s more about revisiting the great family moments throughout the year and holidays past.

We reminisce about our mother/grandmother, who taught us all we know about proper baking and our father/grandfather who taught us all we know about eating all those wonderful baked goods and showing appreciation for them. Always kiss the cook!

And the end of the day, we’ve shared many laughs, made new memories , consumed a few calories and stored dozens of cookies for our Christmas Eve celebration.

 

 

 

 

The Twelve Days of Christmas – Day 2

The media is filled with bad news, arguing politicians and more. We are entering a joyful season, yet negativity abounds. Let’s find a way to find some serenity.

Day 2 – Humor – Gather your family and/or friends and have some fun! Enjoy holiday movies, Christmas Vacation, Elf or the Santa Clause? A Christmas Story is a classic favorite of so many. For the men we know, Bad Santa rates a solid 10 for an adult get-together.

Take a poll before deciding which movie to watch. In MB’s house, Elf is a sure winner, although there is always one hold-out for A Christmas Story.

If all your viewers are in agreement consider ad-libbing the characters’ lines, that’s sure to add a chuckle here and there. We would advise you to have a solid agreement before doing this as some people take their favorite holiday movie very seriously.

Does your family love the classic animated specials? Rudolph, Charlie Brown or Frosty the Snowman take us right back to the excitement of childhood Christmases.

If you have snow where you are, play in the snow, make snowmen and snow angels. Throw a snowball or two, embrace your inner child. Children can find humor in the simplest things, let’s follow their lead.

A good laugh is the magical cure for winter or holiday doldrums and pretty much guarantees you a great night’s sleep.

So pop some popcorn, pour the eggnog, and embrace your funny bone. Chuckle, giggle, or snort if you must! Just laugh!

Christmas Gifts – Ideas for Him

In our recent conversation with friends about Christmas gifting ideas, the men were pretty easy-going about receiving with 2 exceptions – ties and underwear.  Tim’s comment – “I’m no Magic Mike, so how about getting me something with a little more thought behind it.”

Final Touch Black Watermelon Keg Tapping Kit  – We didn’t even know this was a thing, however, the guys had several ideas for using it.

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Anything Star Wars –

Star Wars Stein – This might work well with his watermelon keg!

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Star Wars Death Star Imperial Watch

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Han Solo in Carbonite Shower Curtain

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Heck, almost anything from ThinkGeek.com would make a fun gift.

Earth Spinning Globe  A great conversation starter for his desk. (If you are picking up one of these, we have empty stockings!)

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Sky Viper Video Surveillance Drone

Not every man who took part in our discussion spoke enthusiastically about having one of these, but all of them had an ideas on how they would use it, from filming their child’s soccer game to hiking up a mountain and launching it over a cliff. Larry, whose daughter just started dating, thought he could put it to good use keeping her potential suitors in line.

drone

How about a unique watch, something out of the ordinary for that special guy?

Iron Samurai Wristwatch With Glowing ‘Red Lava’ Digits

Samurai Watch

Kisai Neutron LED Watch

Nuetron watch

or the popular Apple Watch

apple watch

Awesome Door Stop 

A nice touch of nostalgia for the man cave or tool shed

soldier

Are you always helping him find his keys? This is a very classy looking tracking tag.

Bluetooth Tracking Tag

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Baby, It’s cold outside! Keeping him warm this winter was a common theme

Black Diamond Gloves

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Men’s Beanie

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The #1 gift idea – on which they all agreed?

Vacation!

Where would he like to go?

vacation

Our take-away from this conversation is that everyone appreciates it when you put a little thought into your gift. Celebrate the holidays in whatever way brings joy to you and your loved ones.  Keep it playful and fun, take a pass on anything stressful.

Here’s to a happy life!

🎅 MaryBeth & Sherry

 

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A Christmas List – Gift Ideas for Her

Recently, while hanging out with a group of friends, the stress of giving and getting Christmas gifts came up. What does she really want?  What will he actually use?

So we asked, what would you like to receive?  Below is a list of gift ideas for her from their responses. We will do a gifts for him blog too.

These laptop cases have style and make her life a bit easier.

Laptop Carrying Case – Bellino Mason Messenger – this bag is faux leather and gets great reviews. The strap is adjustable for either shoulder or cross-body. This bag works for men or women. The price is great too!

Bellino Messenger

Looking for a more colorful case? Try this one – McKlein Women’s Tote – this one is leather and comes is a nice variety of colors for her.

McKlein-Womens-River-Forest-Leather-15.4-inch-Laptop-Briefcase-1671cfc8-8c5d-40b1-b45f-9b46f542bb9a_600

For the High-End Gift Giver try this Prada bag – Prada

Prada

Are you a jewelry giver? How about this simple yet elegant necklace? It’s perfect for either the office or a night out.  Black Pearl Necklace.

BLACK PEARL

The forecast for this winter is COLD! How about some warm items to help her survive?

These Muk-Luk items are perfect when you are outside on a cold winter’s day. I’ve given these as gifts and own a set myself. Muk-Luk 3-in-1 Gloves and Muk-Luk Trappers Hat

Mukluk gloves MUKLUK Hat

These hat is perfect when you need warmth but desire a more fashionable look. Crochet Hat

Etsy Hat

(A side note – if you haven’t yet shopped on Etsy.com please do, these shops offer so many unique items.)

You can pair either of the above accessories with this Cold Weather Coat – Columbia TurboDown Jacket

columbia-gold-650-turbodown-radial-mid-womens-jacket-black-16-2

Finally, a little something for her long winter’s nap.

These pj’s are incredibly soft and comfortable while still providing warmth – Gisele Long Pajamas  or if you live in a warmer climate Gisele Shorts Set 

eberjey-gisele-pj-set eberjey-gisele-short-pj-set-pj1018s-14

Comfy Slippers?  Minnetonka Cally Slipper or Bob’s from Skechers Slippers

minnetonka cally slipper bobs

These gifts sweeten the atmosphere while provided a romantic glow. Himalayan Salt Lamp or Honest Organic Candle

himalayan salt lamp Honest Co Candles

We learned that when it comes to choosing a gift for someone the best way to figure out what they would really like is to listen. Most people unwittingly give clues in conversation.  What would you like for Christmas this year?

Here’s to a Happy Life!

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🎁MaryBeth & Sherry

 

 

 

One of My Greatest Gifts

Today my first-born turns 35-years-old! And yes, I instantly think where did the time go? More importantly though as I reminisce about his life I feel such joy at having spent the last 35 years with him.

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He was such a happy baby, a real smiler. Even today, his smile melts my heart. That smile probably allowed him to get away with more than he should have!

He was then and is now very inquisitive. Although today he can pretty much “google it” whenever he wants to learn something new, then he would come to either his father or I with questions about a myriad of things. Often these questions would result in a trip to the library for a solid explanation.

What propels a rocket into space? How do worms actually move? Apparently, butterflies come from cocoons, why?

His love for all things Star Wars and Disney was unrivaled in our neighborhood. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ran a close second.

darth Vader & Princess Leia

When he was 4-1/2-years-old, his little sister was born and for the most part he adored her. Dressing her up in her walker as Princess Leia, then “flying” her all over “space” aka the basement, building with Legos, patiently reading to her or coloring beside her.

Artists

To this day, they are the best of friends.

Some of our best memories come from family vacations. Road trips to Dinosaur, CO; through the Grand Staircase in Utah and Arizona: Mesa Verde then Disneyland. He was our navigator, telling his Dad to take I-70 318 miles to I-15 then head south or the like.

We hiked the trails, read every sign at the trail head, took pictures galore. We laughed at the silly things we saw. We stopped dead in our tracks watching a tarantula crawl up a man’s leg while his friend shot video, hiked Bryce Canyon in a rare early summer snowfall, sat through a torrential rainstorm in a cave at Zion National Park. I do miss those days.

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We enjoyed many a family game night, trying out so many new boards games that the games had their own closet. We still meet for game night as often as we can.

Our Christmas light tour was a must every year. We packed hot chocolate and snacks, put Christmas music on the radio and drove all over looking for the houses with the best lights.

I wouldn’t trade these memories for anything, they make us who we are today.

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He is a remarkable human being, with more empathy, intuition, and knowledge than I could ever hope to have. Now he patiently explains to his parents why things are the way they are. He still talks to his sister every day and worries about her living so far away.

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I cherish the memories of the little boy, I am so proud of the person he has become and I look forward to at least 35 more years.

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Reminiscing about my children reminds me once again, that experiences are far more important than things.

Here’s to a Happy Life!

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🎉MaryBeth & Sherry