Friday, February 3, 2012

{Valentine's Day GIVEAWAY!!!} Ways to make your children feel special

Family

{NOTE: THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED}

I am very excited about today! Not only are we having a fabulous guest post but we are also doing another awesome GIVEAWAY! So, keep reading...

Around this time of year I start needing some extra inspiration to keep me motivated. The weather is blah and dreary, kids are sick, everyone is stuck indoors. Sometimes, we just need to hear or read ideas from other moms on how they bring the "special" back into these blah days.

Today's post is written by one of my oldest and dearest friends, so I just have to brag on her a bit. :-) Krystal is a stay-at-home mom to 4 little kiddos and wife to the Sunday school director at our church. She amazes me with all of her energy and passion for serving God! Some of her other ministries have included high-school basketball coach, women's retreat organizer, school and Sunday school teacher, home-school mom, and organizer of our local Veteran's Day parade. Growing up as the eldest of 6 siblings, Krystal has had LOTS of practice using her creativity and energy to help out in her family. I also know from first-hand experience that her mom is also an amazing wife and mom, so I know Krystal had a great example in these areas.

This is why I went to her for advice on special ways to connect with your children when you're just feeling like a tired, cranky mama (which is how I've been feeling lately!). And that's what today's post is all about! Simple, fun ways to make your children feel special and ways to connect with them on a daily basis. The following ideas are some of what Krystal does and she hopes they spark ideas for you and your family...

I think the biggest thing my husband and I do to make our kids feel special is that we alternate months taking one of our children on a date.  We wanted to start doing that with our children at a young age so that they will always be deeply connected to us.  When we do these special dates we try to pick things that the child is interested in, further affirming that their special time is all about them and that we know them and love them as they are.  This month my husband took our 7-year old son to a new art gallery that opened up because he LOVES art, and then they went swimming at our fitness center.  Our 4-year old son got to go with his dad to the gun range and shoot because he is all boy and then some.  Our 3-year old daughter’s turn is this Saturday and she and daddy are going to a "Beauty and the Beast" matinee.


Some months we do things that may cost something. Some months we are tighter and we need to do free things; but no matter what it is we have seen deeper relationships formed, and the older our children get the more important that connection becomes.  Other ideas we have done on dates include hiking, swimming at a creek or lake, fishing, going to the library to read books and play on the computer, feeding the ducks, getting ice cream (you can sign your child up for the kids' clubs at fast food places and they will get free things on their birthday—Sonic/Andy’s/Burger King/Toys 'R Us/Hu Hot), building time at Lowes, getting a manicure, making jewelry, eating at a new restaurant, and going to the pet store to look at the animals.


Also, since I am a stay-at-home mom, I get to plan little special times with all the kids together that my husband doesn’t get in on, so every year on their birthday (starting when they are five) they get to go out of town one night with my husband and stay in a hotel and do something fun.  The hotel isn’t an expensive one, but our kids love swimming so we always make sure it has a pool.  This special time of one-on-one attention for more than a few hours makes a huge difference in their relationship with their dad.


credit source
For everyday ways to make my kids feel special we have certain traditions.  Sometimes, especially in the winter, we will have pajama day where we stay in our pajamas all day long.  We usually play games on these days and I let the kids each pick a game they want to play and we take turns playing all of them.  I have found that even if it’s something I hate playing, if I set the timer for 5-10 minutes, I can endure it with a happy attitude because I know the end is coming soon. :-) We sometimes have popcorn and book times.  I pop a bowl of popcorn and we all squish on the couch and eat popcorn while I read a million books to the kids.


Every Monday night a local pizza offers a $4 pizza deal, so that is our designated pizza and movie night.  We eat pizza, salad, and popsicles in front of the tv while we watch a family movie.  I also look online for a craft to go with the movie theme that the kids can do after nap time while we are waiting for dad to get home from work.  For example, on the night we watched Dolphin Tale we made a jumping dolphin puppet and my 7-year old and I helped the younger two with letter recognition and writing of the letter D.  


In the summer we pack up picnic lunches and go on outside adventures!  We go to new parks and school playgrounds and take hikes and wade in creeks.  In the winter we spend a lot of time around our fireplace playing games and working puzzles while listening to old records and tapes.  


We try to have Jesus time every day where I read them Bible stories, and I like to either have a craft/coloring page or we act out the story afterwards to make the time more special.  Every Sunday after lunch we play a game called "Funny Sunday" where we have one prop (like a blanket or a kitchen pot). We take turns using that prop to act something out or pretend we are something. The others have to guess what it is.  (Like putting both feet in the pot and rowing to pretend it’s a canoe or jumping onto the blanket to pretend it’s a swimming pool.)


I also scour garage sales all summer for small gifts like new stuffed animals, puzzles, and books to go in a box that gets pulled out only when one of the kids is sick.  It gives them something new to do besides watching tv and helps me keep my sanity on those sick days that are exhausting for us moms.


Many of my ideas I have gotten from years of looking at the Family Fun magazine.  I also get great ideas from Focus on the Family’s Thriving Family magazine.  I love to have fun, so I try to make everyday special by having at least a little bit of fun in it.  The fun thing doesn’t have to take a lot of work on my part or even take money...it can be as simple as all of us piling in my bed and snuggling under the covers while watching a Netflix movie. No matter what it is, if I am taking time out to do something with my kids, that is what makes them feel special.        

Family Fun
Thanks, Krystal! I love these ideas and can't wait to start implementing some of them. Today's GIVEAWAY goes right along with these ideas, because....what Krystal and I are giving y'all is a chance to win a one-year subscription to Family Fun magazine! Believe me when I say that this magazine is packed with great ideas to do with your kids!

So, now on to the giveaway details:

For a chance to win, just leave a comment on this post telling us which idea from Krystal's list really inspired you!

Extra entries (leave an additional comment for each of the following actions that you do):

  • Share one of your ideas on how you make your children feel special!
  • "Like" us on Facebook
  • Subscribe to our RSS feed or emails (find all these tools in the right hand column of our blog)
  • Follow us on Twitter @defrumpme
  • Blog, tweet, or post on your Facebook wall about our giveaway
On Valentine's Day, we will randomly select one comment and its poster to be the winner of the Family Fun magazine subscription!



Good luck!












Linking up...

A Vision To Remember
Be Different Act Normal
Crafty Moms Share
Gingerbread
Ladybird Ln
Lolly Jane Boutique
Serenity You
Six Sisters' Stuff
Tatertots and Jello
Artful Rising
Between Naps on the Porch
c.r.a.f.t. Creating Really Awesome Free Things
Delicate Construction
Keeping it Simple
Skip To My Lou
The Girl Creative
At the Picket Fence
Mom on Timeout
Chic on a Shoestring Decorating
Creation Corner
Simply Designing
Fun to Craft
Happy Hour Projects
Making Lemonade
My Romantic Home
What are Little Boys Made of?
Stuff and Nonsense
Sun Scholars

24 comments:

  1. I just found your blog through Six Sisters' Stuff & I'm glad I stopped by! We have three boys: 9, 5 & 11 months. The oldest two were getting put on the side burner because of the baby's needs and we decided to set up nights out w/ them. We take turns w/ each of them or all go out without the baby. We have noticed the change in them and we're all better for it!

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  2. i liked the mommy dates ideas. I want to do that with my kids,

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  3. This is very cool, Audrey! And thanks to both you and Krystal for putting these ideas together!

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  4. Stopping by from Delicate Construction - LOVE all the great ideas! I think the idea of having Daddy go to a hotel with them at b.day time is awesome...and p.j. day with popcorn and books - that is one I can get in to.

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    1. Dear OneMommy,

      You are the new winner of this giveaway! Our first winner never responded with contact info. What I need is your mailing address so I can have the subscription sent your way. You can email me at audreyblevins@gmail.com to give me your address. Congrats!!!

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  5. Every couple weeks my husband and I try to have one on one time with our kids. Sometimes we go to lunch. Sometimes the dollar store. Sometimes just a walk outside.

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  6. Following you on Twitter now! OneMommy1

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  7. One of my favorite things on bad weather days (or the day before bad weather hits) is to take Abraham to the library to pick movies he wants for the days ahead inside...and get some chickfila as we head home to watch one! :) it's the lil things w him!!

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  8. We love to do the summer picnics with the kids. And we do incorporate some Bible time into our day already. I thought the idea of taking the kids to a hotel for a night was an interesting one. Thanks for sharing.

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  9. Although my chances of winning are limited due to the fact I dont presently do facebook twitter ect ect...I will however cross my fingers (and toes*grin) for this my one chance.This is a great giveaway I have seen very few of their magazines but heard lots about them.a long time ago we incorprated what we call Family fun Fridays(mommy Mondays,tidy up Tuesdays,wacky Wednesdays,thoughful Thursdays,and FAMILY FUN FRIDAY!!)in which varys in the activity /game/movie ect ect in which we do but a great time to just be focused which is so needed in these times.I must say though this is a great reminder to me that we need to buff back up as we have gotten slack over time in the follow through per say.famil is by far important.thaks for sharing all your many ideas an for this great opportunity;)Enjoy your time withyour family as together we all keep the it a priority!!!

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  10. Facebook share!!:)PS can i share more than once?

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  11. I blogged about this giveaway. What a great prize!!

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  12. Such an awesome post! We have evening family stories {going through the Narnia books right now} it's precious to share time together as a family. They draw as we read and we get to praise their beautiful creations!

    Crossing my fingers for the magazines!!! XO, Aimee

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  13. Wonderful blog, thanks for sharing with us. And thanks so much for joining us on "Strut Your Stuff Saturday". We loved having you and hope to see you back next week with more great ideas! - The Sisters

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  14. I forgot to mention that I subscribe via RSS!!

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  15. Thanks for linking up to Serenity Saturday Link Party!
    Hope you can join me again tomorrow

    Natasha xx

    www.serenityyou.blogspot.com

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  16. I like her idea of date night with the kids. We have done that off and on but not consistantly with them :)

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  17. I think my kids feel special when they get just one on one time alone to talk about anything they want with mommy/daddy.

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  18. The kids love it when they get personalized love notes. Leave one sitting on their bed for them to find.... or in their school book. Better yet, mail it to them. Who doesn't love getting mail, right? :)

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  19. Great ideas! My husband has started having "sleepovers" with my 8 yr old son on a regular basis where they pick a movie to stay up late and watch in the basement after my daughter and I hit the sack. I have seen such bonding take place between them as a result!

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  20. I love the ideas. I try to do things fun, but sometimes the day just gets away from me. My husband does the bed time routine and my kids love that.

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  21. Those are two of my very favorite magazines! So many great ideas! Thank you so much for sharing at Taking A Timeout Thursday! Hope you had a wonderful Valentine's Day!

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