Author, Shelley Wille shares three ideas for making home a fun place to be.
(Excerpt from Shelley’s book, “Great Kids are Homemade”)
Everyone knows how essential planning and organizing are to be successful in anything! As a parent, if you are to accomplish your goals of building a close, loving family in an atmosphere where great kids can develop and thrive, it will take some real organization or you will be spinning your wheels doing things that are of less value. Take a careful look at your priorities . . . are you making time to do the things that really matter the most?
We must go beyond just taking care of the bare essentials of feeding and clothing our children. We must be actively involved in loving, training, and teaching our children!
As a parent you can’t build a close family, and influence your children for the good, if your children are never home. The only way to compete with a child’s friends and their interest in activities outside of the home is to offer them something which will make them want to be home more than they want to be somewhere else. This usually doesn’t just happen – it takes some effort and serious planning on your part.
If you take the time to plan, and then carry out, fun activities that bring a greater feeling of closeness and growth to your family, you will have achieved something truly great!
Have a planning meeting (with yourself) once a week. A good time to do this might be on Sunday evening after all has become quiet. This is the time to plan the Friday night family activity, the weekly children’s “date with Dad” activity, and any other responsibilities for which you need to prepare as well as personal goals for the week. This can often be accomplished in less than an hour. It will keep you from having to push the panic button when it’s time for your weekly family activity and you have absolutely nothing planned. If you are unprepared, your activity will flop and the children’s enthusiasm for future family activities will quickly fade.
There are usually four, and occasionally five, Friday nights in a month. Reserve this night of the week for activities with the family. Most of these family activities are quick and easy to plan and prepare. Here are some sample activities:
Tell the family you are going to the drive-in to see a movie the following night. To build anticipation for the coming event, hand each person a ticket that they can use for “FREE ADMISSION!” The next evening, grab blankets and pillows, and pile everyone into the car. Drive around the block and then pull into your garage.
Beforehand, have the TV, VCR, and “snack bar” set up on a table or workbench in the garage. Hang a sign next to the snack bar indicating the costs to purchase soda pop, popcorn, candy, hot dogs, and dill pickles (one to five cents each—what a deal!). Turn off the car, and unroll the windows so you don’t fog up. Let the younger children sit in the front while you and Dad sit in the back seat and have a great time eating fun snacks and watching a good movie!
“MILE LONG” BANANA SPLIT
Instead of serving your ice cream in bowls, go to a hardware or building supply store and purchase a section of plastic rain gutter approximately 3-5 feet long (depending upon the size of your table). Place banana slices along the bottom of the gutter. Over the bananas, place scoops of your favorite ice cream. Finish off by spreading your favorite flavored toppings over the ice cream. If you like, add chopped nuts, whipped cream, and cherries. Place your “mile long” banana split in the center of the table. Arm each family member with a spoon, and let the fun begin!
DINNER IN A PUMPKIN
Mealtime is always a great time to start a holiday celebration. Begin preparations for your special family Halloween dinner by cleaning out the inside of a fairly large-sized pumpkin and then use a black magic marker to draw a silly, smiling face on it.
Use this as a “serving dish,” placing the previously prepared main course of your Halloween dinner inside.
(Note: Do not “cook” your dinner inside the pumpkin because it will take on the pumpkin’s taste!) Some possible entrees include spaghetti, beef stroganoff, or stew.
Here are a few more ideas that can be used during your Halloween mealtimes:
Cut out jack-o-lanterns from slices of cheese using a cookie cutter. Cook your normal hamburgers, place on a bun and place the cheese on top.
Using food coloring make orange pancakes for breakfast. Add a face by using chocolate chips.
A quick and easy to make “pumpkin dinner” can be had by simply purchasing a round cheese pizza at your local grocery store. Make a face on the pizza using black olives which have been cut in half. Make the stem at the top using a green pepper. Pop in oven and then serve – everyone will be delighted.
Purchase a pair of inexpensive plastic gloves at your local hardware store. Fill one glove with water and place in freezer overnight. When ready for use, cut off plastic and place hand-shaped ice cube in punch bowl. Or, younger children really enjoy spiders in their punch. Do this by purchasing plastic spider rings, washing them, and placing them in ice cube trays. Pour water over the top and place in freezer. Drop ice cubes in a child’s glass and fill with punch.
Use cookie cutters shaped like pumpkins, witches, and ghosts to cut slices of cheese into Halloween figures. Place these figures on top of individual serving plates of green salad . . . or on top of a bowl of chili.
Decorate your table by covering with an orange table cloth (or you can buy orange-colored butcher paper at your local office supply and tape it to your table). Spread Halloween-colored candy corn all over the table. Eat by candlelight, or use a kerosene lantern . . . or set your table out in the backyard and eat outside in the dark, using only a candle or two.
Shelley Wille loves motherhood and is the proud mother of six children. She is a popular speaker and author. Her books are available from her website at www.shelleywille.com .