By Momivate's Atmosphere CouncilMom, Annette T. Durfee
One of my favorite things to do while growing up was to visit my grandmother’s homes on both sides of my family. I think everyone enjoyed it! I have to mention that while some people have “cookie” Grandmas, I had TWO "ice cream Grandmas!” My Grandma Durrant always had her freezer stocked with a favorite flavor at a moment’s notice. And my Grandma Tenney would let us sit on her back porch and grind the handle of the old-fashioned ice cream maker with a fresh cream mixture until the ice cream was nice and thick! YUM! So, was it the ice cream factor that made my Grandmas' homes such special places to visit? Being the ice cream lover that I am, I confess my answer to that question: “YES!”
But, of course, there was more -- much more!
In fact, everything in my grandmothers' homes spoke in a special way to my heart:
Don’t we all want that kind of a home? A home filled with warmth and love! Happily, it is something we can all achieve with work, creativity, time, and a whole lot of help from above! One song that describes this loving ambiance we want in our homes is called, “Home,” written by Caroline Eyring Miner:
Home is where the heart is
Where warmth and love abound
Home is where encircling arms
Go all the way around.
--by Caroline Eyring Miner
A home, as we all know, is more than just the furniture and the stuff we own. It is made up of the people who live there – our family! Therefore, in order for a home to have that ambiance of love that we desire, one of the most important things we can do is to prioritize our time to strengthen our relationships with our families.
In families, love is spelled T-I-M-E.
Time spent with our families is a true investment that pays long term dividends. When we spend time with our family, we increase our family’s capacity to feel loved and secure in our home. What we are really saying is, “I have time for you. You are important to me.” Time spent with family doesn’t have to be expensive to be effective, but both quantity as well as quality are important and consistency is key.
How do YOU spell love with your family? What message are you sending with the events on your calendar? Here are a few ways that strong families send their families a little love note to pump up the love-meter in their homes:
1. Set aside a weekly family night – What could be better than a time reserved just for your family each week where you all have a blast together?! Start out with one and build up to planning out a few at a time. Keep it simple or spruce it up. Just make it a night that the whole family looks forward to! It’s a great time to teach your family values as well as life skills. Play games and activities or go on outings! Maybe even work on a project together once in a while! And always – I mean ALWAYS - include a special treat!
2. Set aside a weekly family planning meeting – This is a great time to calendar events, share goals and dreams, and express ideas that will strengthen your family and leave everyone feeling calm and reassured. What can you do to assist them? How can they in turn help the family run more smoothly? You can do this as part of your weekly family night or at dinner. Just find whatever time works best for your family.
3. Individual Attention – One-on-one time with your children can be an effective way to connect with them even if it’s only a few minutes a day. Maybe you do this as you prepare dinner together, go on a short outing, run an errand together, or enjoy a special bedtime routine. Letting them talk about whatever is on their mind and really listening to them without judgment or criticism will help them to feel important and loved.
4. Unplug – In a world that is running at breakneck speed, we don’t want our families to get lost in the shuffle. So be sure to take a little time each day AWAY from phones, computers, television, and so on, not only to benefit yourself, but so that the whole family can really connect. This electronic free time becomes your chance to look each other in the eyes, talk together, laugh together and learn from one another, so don’t let it pass you by!
5. Eat meals together - Even if you can’t do it for every meal of every single day, do what you can to regularly schedule this important time together. Making it a priority to eat together blesses our families tremendously! Children whose families eat together not only develop healthier eating patterns and have better health, but they have a better vocabulary and academic performance, a higher self-esteem, a greater sense of reliance, and a lower risk of depression, substance abuse, and teen pregnancy.
6. Make and keep family traditions – Silly or special, extensive or simple, taking time to infuse family traditions lights a spark of joy and love in families. Some families have a song or a cheer. Some gather for a family prayer and group hug before heading out the door each morning. Some explore a special place each year. It really doesn’t matter what the tradition is, only that you do it and remember to keep doing it. Whether it’s as simple as having green eggs and ham on St. Patrick’s Day, strawberry pancake stacks on Valentine’s, or a treasure hunt on birthdays to find the presents, traditions not only give children something fun to look forward to, but help them to feel emotionally supported.
My grandmothers always had time for their family. They could have done a million other things, but instead they chose us. They turned on the love-meter in their homes by including us in their lives - teaching us how to do ceramics, raking the leaves together, playing a game of cards, going for a walk together to the post office. The ambiance in their homes was more than just physical surroundings, although that was certainly part of it. By opening up their calendars, what they were doing in essence was allowing us the time to open up our hearts to them, time with which they could then use to share their powerful influence for good. Now that’s what I call time well spent!
By Cindy Thomsen, Momivate's Leader over Schedules & Systems and blogger at ResilientMotherhood.net
Summer break is here and it seems when kids are bored they spend their free time on a screen? There are so many fun electronic resources as well as so many distractions! What do your kids like? Youtube, streaming movies, playing games all day! How do we stop that from happening and help our kids get the most out of their Summer?
I started researching ways to help my kids put down their electronics and find more productive ways to spend their time. There are so many great ideas out there. Here were a few that stood out to me. Hopefully these can help you too to have a fun-filled Summer together with fun activities and a more focused and planned screen time.
... to read the rest of Cindy's post, visit her blog at: resilientmotherhood.net/tips-to-reduce-screen-time-this-summer/
Some houses try to hide the fact
That children shelter there.
Ours boasts it quiet openly,
The signs are everywhere...
For smears on the windows,
Little smudges on the doors.
I should apologize, I guess,
For toys strewn on the floor.
But I sat down with the children,
And we played and laughed and read,
And if the doorbell doesn’t shine,
Their eyes will shine instead.
For when at times I'm forced to choose:
The one job or the other,
I’d like to cook, and clean, and scrub...
But first I’ll be a MOTHER.
If you want to know the value of...
ask a teenager who's been grounded.
ask a student with a research paper due.
ask a substitute teacher.
ask a guy getting bombarded with questions by the parents of the girl who is still upstairs getting ready for their date.
ask a basketball player, down by 1, in possession of the ball.
ask a gymnast.
ask a running back at a football game.
ask a bungee jumper.
ask a teenager who buys his own gasoline.
...a phone call...
ask the person who just put in a job application.
What would you add??
Written by Leigha Westover, Co-Founder of Momivate and Director of Income & Outgo
What does Self Reliance mean to you?
Please take a moment to ponder the meaning of Self Reliance.
Webster's dictionary states that self reliance is reliance on one's own efforts and abilities.
If we are to take this into account then I am not very self reliant -- I need the aid of others to provide my clothes, food, and shelter. In our society we have prospered by using our personal efforts and abilities to share and provide for others’ needs, as they also do for us. In exchange for the services rendered, we use the value of currency
As a child I learned to work and contribute in our home while my father went to work to provide for our needs. As I progressed in years, my desire to become more independent increased. I secured a job in a delicatessen as a part time server, so I was able to provide for some of the increased desires of a teenager, such as entertainment.
Approaching my young adult years I continued to thrive, and advanced to being able to purchase a car and move into an apartment with other young adults. My understanding of finance was just to meet the basics and get by. As I was learning and growing socially, spiritually, and mentally, I did not increase my understanding of providing beyond what I needed.
I continued to live by the basic principles of earning just enough to get by for the first 25 years of marriage. We struggled, trying to get ahead financially and we never got there. We always had barely enough for us and sometimes not even that. My underdeveloped outlook on budgeting limited my family. Occasionally I would stretch out my faith to believe there would be enough when the kids wanted to invite a friend to eat with us. And there alway was even when I lacked faith and said no.
As you seek to understand what self reliance means for you in your life, you may discover that you have more learning to do. Identify principles -- statements of truth -- you can try to apply to your daily life.
Some principles to consider
Pay the Lord first (tithing and/or donations), then pay yourself (savings), then SPEND WISELY.
Build up the self-discipline necessary to live according to your budget.
Be willing to sacrifice for the sake of stability.
Less really can be more. Simplify! Embrace the concept of ENOUGH.
Get out of debt and save to purchase what you want.
Money is not a god worthy of our worship. Trust in financial good karma!
It may not always be money you will be blessed with. It may be as simple as creating a revolving closet in your home or extra food in your garden, etc. As you are blessed with plenty, bless others with it as well. We do not need to hold on when others' burdens can be lighter.
Work together to make things work: Value ALL the work necessary to make a family successful, whether or not it brings in financial income.
In the Bible, we read “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). I believe that if our desire is to do good continually to comfort, strengthen and clothe our neighbor (love them!), we must budget wisely, and then when we are blessed with excess, we can pass it on to others.
By Cindy Thomsen, Momivate Director of Schedules & Systems
I am a mom of 3 kids. When my kids were younger, we set up several systems to facilitate our life. I have found that having good routines in place has helped our family tremendously. Finding meaningful schedules and systems keeps our family household running smoothly, creates structure in our home, prevents many arguments, and gets us through daily tasks quickly and efficiently, thus leaving more time for other things.
Creating regular and consistent schedules and systems in your home will help you feel more successful as a parent. When life gets busy, setting specific routines can help you simplify your workload and elevate your family life, allowing you to feel more control in your everyday family life.
One of my favorite systems that we have in place in our home is our afternoon schedule. When my oldest was in first grade, I really felt like we needed time to do homework, reading, and any other projects and assignments that came up. So we set up a homework area by the kitchen table. When my kids came home from school, the first thing we did was sit down and work on their homework. I made sure that my schedule was open as well so I could be there to help if needed.
Amazingly, within a year or so, it had become such a habit for my kids that when friends would want to play with them right after school, they would tell them they could play after their homework was done. Usually, they still had time to play with friends before dinner. Here is a picture of my kids all doing their homework on the porch. Great way to enjoy the nice day!
What I have learned over the years of following this system is that as teenagers, my kids continued to follow this routine. It is such a part of them now that they still do their homework first as soon as they get home (or first thing in the morning on social distance days). Now, I don’t have to nag them or follow through on their homework, they just do it. This one simple routine has saved us so much stress and potential headaches. It had a major effect on their ability to get good grades and prioritize important things in our lives. I’ve also found that when they have a question, they could ask each other!
I also found that I have really enjoyed this special time after school with my kids. I like to call it my “golden hour” because my kids are super chatty right after they get home from school. Once we get done talking, homework is done quickly and that leaves us more time after dinner to have fun together!
It feels like there are things that always need to be done in our home. These systems will help simplify your life! Setting up specific schedules and systems in your home will allow you to create a home environment that can flow seamlessly, elevating your time together as a family.
Over the next few months, I will continue to add systems and schedules to the website that will inspire you to create the systems and schedules specific to your own family!
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