Tag: Family time

Family Togetherness: Dance Party Saturday Night

Photo: Party Tent, property of Lenny Steele Dancing has been my passion since I was at least three years old. I danced and leaped all over the house begging my mom to let me take ballet lessons. I was captivated by shows like Shirley Temple and 

Simply Orange Juice

My Grandma Penny lived on a farm on the outskirts of Clewiston Florida. Every time we visited we would fill sacks with oranges and tangerines to take home. One year we had a bucket full of oranges and my sister and I decided to make 

Making Time for the Family: Family Bike Night

Family bike night was an integral part of my early childhood. I can’t say when it stopped, most likely when our evenings were filled up with youth group, sports and scouts. I can remember a feeling of closeness to my family as we rode through the streets with the wind in our faces.

I wanted to create the same experience for our children for as long as possible. We have enjoyed cruising  around the neighborhood together and creating new adventures while riding to the park. It is a nice relaxing way to end the day or start one. Choose a night, or day, when all the kids are home such as a lazy Sunday afternoon. Sure the older ones will fight you about it at first but in reality they will not miss the TV show or the video game. If it is one thing I have learned even with little ones is deep down they will be glad of the effort even if they do not show it.

Cheesy Polenta or Grits

Today I decided to pay tribute to my favorite Great Aunt. I was simmering a pot of polenta when my mouth started watering for my Aunt Ruth’s cheesy grits. To me polenta is just a fancy Italian term for grits (Don’t tell tall and handsome. 

Finding The Perfect Pumpkin

Halloween is nearing fast and it is time to pick out a pumpkin. It has become a tradition to visit the pumpkin patch in the area; however, this year we took a trip to the Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch in Lathrop CA. We had 

Cultivate a Love Affair with Nature

Many years ago, my brother and his little family came out for a visit. While here, we took a trip to the Muir Woods, a state park north of San Francisco. The Red Woods are one of my most favorite places to explore. I love hiking through the calm, majestic trails. The tranquility always opens my mind to what it would have been like in JR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings as they trekked across uninhibited lands.

During our visit to the red woods, I remember watching my brother’s kids stomping in the puddles of water. They were having so much fun getting all muddy and wet. My first reaction was, “oh no, they are getting wet”. But, my sister-in-law, Emily, was not concerned. She came prepared with extra clothes in the car. Several people passed by with looks of disdain and shock. However, one older couple stopped to congratulate Emily on allowing her children to be children. Seeing my little niece and nephew play, made their day. They were troubled by parents today who do not allow their little ones the chance to play so freely.

Growing up, my siblings and I lived outdoors. The town was our playground to explore and discover from dawn to dusk. Our backyard was a world filled with amazement. My desire is to instill the same passion for nature in my children. Ever since we moved to a city lacking forest trails and nature parks, and moved into a house nestled in a small barren yard, I have felt hard pressed to come up with ways to share the importance of being among nature.

Getting into the car everyday to drive 30 minutes to an hour seems to take the creative soul right out of me. It took a while, but I have learned there are ways to enjoy my surroundings here at home.

  • Sometimes Stephen takes the children to jump on the trampoline. Exhausted, they lie down and watch the clouds roll by or look for shooting stars.
  • Where we live, clay is not my idea of mud, but it holds water well enough to splash in and get dirty.
  • In the planters, we love to uncover earthworms and other creepy crawly critters.
  • Early morning walks are the best time to catch snails and worms making their way across the sidewalks or listen to birds busily looking for breakfast.
  • Behind our home is a canal and plenty of rocks and sticks to throw.
  • Along the canal is a path with a variety of trees to study. Next time, we will have to bring our notebooks to make sketches and then we could attach the matching leaf and/or berry/flower.

There is something about nature that has the ability to reset the mind and calm the spirit. The demands of life seem to flitter away.  We can stop and we can begin to create.

The Simple Home and the Imaginative Child

At the end of the day, the last thing I want to do is clean. I sometimes stare at the horde of toys before me and wonder how my siblings and I ever conquered childhood with such a minimal collection. I began this year on 

Family Chores, Connect and Have Fun

A family that learns to clean together, learns to play together. My brother-n-law works many long hours during the week. On the weekends, he enjoys staying home with his kids and doing chores together. He says it allows him to reconnect with his children, while