Category Archives: 31 days

Day 20:Let them eat cake!

The stuffed animals that is. Sophie declared today to be Princess Wolfie Pie’s 2nd birthday. Honestly, she’s probably not far off. I think it was around this time of year that she conned my mom into buying her this silly wolf from Great Wolf Lodge that she has been attached to ever since. She spent most of the day making Wolfie fake food to eat and setting up parties for her. Well, after dinner she demanded that we go to the store to buy ingredients to make Wolfie a “real” cake for her birthday. When Cody informed her that we would not be doing that she look completely crestfallen. I really thought she was going to cry. Since it was family time anyways , he suggested we all make her a pretend cake, but Sophie insisted that Wolfie doesn’t like pretend cake which is somewhat picky for a stuffed animal who doesn’t actually eat at all. Cody saved the day again by scrounging up what cake ingredients he could find in the house: ice cream, sprinkles, icing, and candles. Wolfie's birthday

The kids helped put together an impromptu cake for Wolfie Pie complete with candles and Birthday songs. In the end everyone was happy. Sophie was ecstatic that Wolfie got a party, Lizzie was happy that she got ice cream, and mom and dad were happy to advert a melt down.  Oh, and if you look behind us in the picture you can sneak a peak of our new tile back splash!

31 days to a closer family


Day 19: Get your color on

You may remember way back on Day 1 that part of my goal for this challenge wasn’t just to spend time together as a family, but to try to keep things simple as well. I have a tendency to over-plans things. and it’s something I need to work on. So, with that goal in mind tonight we had a family color-a-thon. What is that? Basically we got out crayons and coloring books and colored together. See? Simple. We had a long day today, so it was really nice to not have to think real hard about this one. Everyone was pretty into coloring except Lizzie who was more into taking all the books off my shelves.  Sophie and I colored ponies while Cody decided on a Christmas surfing elf. It was nice to wrap up the day with something quiet and just get to talk for a little bit. Towards the end Lizzie got more into coloring. Specifically, she decided to scribble all over my picture than rip it half…… oh, well. The goal was just to spend time together, not to produce masterpieces (which I can assure you that my rendition of Minty the Christmas Pony surely was).


31 days to a closer family

Day 18: Dining Out

Today I’m challenging you to take your kids out to eat….like at an actual restaurant. I know, I’m not always a big fan of taking my kids with me either, but I do think there are some important points that may consider you to concede on this one.

  1. The only way your kids are actually going to learn how to politely sit at a table in public is if you let them try.
  2. It’s amazing how much more in tuned with each other you can be as a family when you take away all the distractions of being home.

We eat dinner together as a family pretty much every night, but I find it hard to actually concentrate on the family. I’m usually already thinking about what needs to be done after dinner: cleaning, baths, blog updates. I’ve even been known to get up the second I finish eating and start washing dishes while the rest of the family finishes up.  What I like about going out as a family is that all those distractions are taken away. I have nothing better to do than talk to the kids and clean up sugar packets off the floor. Even better is that I feel no rush to get up from the table the second we finish eating.

We happened to be celebrating my brother’s birthday tonight, so it made the evening more special, but I’ve even found that sitting down at a fast food restaurant or taking the kids to Starbucks for hot chocolate has become less stressful than eating at home together….now if only the food was as healthy.

31 days to a closer family

Day 17: Ice cream sundaes

Getting home from work at 7:00 has been proving problematic for family time seeing as it is practically Lizzie’s bedtime. Cody likes to bribe the kids with sweets to behave until I get home, so when he told me to stop and get ice cream on my way home I got the bright idea to have an ice cream sundae party. I bought some ice cream, sprinkles, whipped cream, and chocolate fudge on my way home and let the kids go at.


Lizzie dumped half the sprinkles on hers then proceeded to eat it all with her hands.  Sophie was super excited that we let her put on all her own toppings. It actually all worked out great seeing as I was just sitting down to eat dinner. It made me feel as if I didn’t really miss out on our normal dinner time meal together. Of course now the kids will probably expect ice cream sundaes every night that I work late.


31 days to a closer family

Day 16: Get in Character

Today I’m going to challenge to pick one of children’s favorite movies or show and get in character with them.  Princesses are an obvious favorite around here and since it was another girl’s night I figured a princess movie was just what the doctor ordered. I’ve been a little bit on pink overload lately what with all the Aurora, Strawberry Shortcake, and Barbie, so I decided to introduce the girls to a slightly different kind of Princess: Mulan.

Honestly, I wasn’t sure how much Sophie would like Mulan* as she doesn’t have a tiara, a pretty dress, and the Huns are pretty scary, but she surprised me by not complaining once.  Mushu is personally one of my favorite Disney Characters, so I enjoyed the movie as well. Even Lizzie almost made it through the whole thing before having to go to bed.  To get into character we raided the dress-up box for tiaras and necklaces, but I’m hoping after watching the movie she may start to realize that strong women come in many forms including some that don’t dress in pink. Who knows I may even convince her to watch Mulan II*.  We had a fun night and we even danced to the songs during the credits, although Sophie did seem disappointed that Reflection* is sung by Christina Aguilera and not Taylor Swift.

Your turn: What are your children’s favorite characters? Have you ever tried to introduce them to new ones?

*These are affiliate links

31 days to a closer family


Day 15: Walk-A-Long

After a week on vacation the sun has finally returned to Virginia along with 70 degree weather, so it only seemed right to worship at the celestial alter with a family walk. We love to go on walks together and we usually take either the double stroller or the wagon, but it dawned on me the other day that when we do that Cody and I get a lot of time to talk but it’s almost as if the kids aren’t with us.  So today for the first time ever we let both kids just walk. Sophie was a little confused by the change. She kept asking me how she was going to walk and it took me a while to convince her that her feet could handle the job.  It was the perfect weather this evening and the sun was at just the right spot to get the perfect pictures.  Cody; however, seemed to find my picture taking to be a nuisance (see the attitude in exhibit A below).

exhibit A
exhibit A

The photographer in me wanted to keep shooting, but in the end I acquiesced to the family as Cody kept complaining that it wasn’t really a good use of family time. Besides they wouldn’t stay still long enough for me to focus my lens.  I did catch this nice picture of Lizzie who was rather intrigued with a large yellow leaf she found.


It was nice to get to hold the kids hands for a change, and I did find myself talking to them more frequently than when they are in a stroller.  Since both of them behaved well too I think this may become our new preferred mode of evening strolls.


31 days to a closer family

Day 14: Give it a break

Well it finally happened. We skipped family night. It was bound to happen and honestly I’m pretty impressed we made it half way through the challenge before it did. I didn’t get home from work until 6:45PM tonight, and Lizzie was pretty frustrating all night for Cody (I’m told she threw an entire bowel of soup on the floor rather than eat it). By time baths were done we were pretty much all ready for bed. We spent some time watching an episode of Color Crew together, but I don’t really count that as quality time. Hopefully we can rebound tomorrow, but for tonight we are taking a break from one another and I’m OK with that.


31 days to a closer family

Day 12: Family Breakfast

To be fair I cheated a little on this because we actually eat breakfast together as a family a lot, well at least on the weekends.  Cody made his usual fare of bacon and scrambled eggs for us, but this time her really let Sophie help.


We were building off our letting the kids help out theme from two days ago, so Sophie’s job was to crack the eggs and break up all the yolk. She did a surprisingly good job at it and was very proud of herself for getting to help cook. Over breakfast we talked about all our plans for the day including what we expected from the kids (i.e. yes you can help Daddy by handing him the screws, no you cannot help Mommy paint). Lizzie was a little piggy this morning, so we practiced sharing and trading food at the table (I’ll give the rest of my eggs for that piece of bacon….) It was nice to start the day with a family meeting. It was also really nice not to have to spend all day trying to plan family time for later. I think I might try to plan out some more early day activities for us all.

31 days to a closer family

Day 12: How to create mini hipsters

The non-stop rainy weather for the last week has had us all a little in the dumps lately, so we decided to raise our spirits with a quick infusion of caffeine. Sophie had conveniently won a Starbucks gift card at a baby shower recently in one of those close-pin don’t say the word “baby”  games.


I don’t think it’s ever to early to teach your kids how to properly behave as a hipster, so we donned our skinny jeans and pulled our rain boots on over them and headed to the most hipstery place I could think of: Starbucks. I ordered my usual Chocolate Chai Tea Latte, while Cody went with a black coffee (boring I know but I can’t seem to convince him that he would be infinitely cooler  if he ordered something with at least 4 words in its name). Lizzie ordered an organic chocolate milk while Sophie tried her luck with a kids hot chocolate with extra whipped cream. Tip: You can ask the barista to brew the hot chocolate at 100 degrees for the kids, so they won’t burn themselves.


The kids had fun running around and pretending that they weren’t cool even though they know now that they are way cooler than other kids as evidenced by the fact that their parents like to overpay for their caffeinated beverages. It was fun getting out of the house as a family for once, yet not quite as stressful as trying to make it through a whole dinner with the kids. I’m pretty sure this is an excursion we’ll try again. Especially as our Starbucks is located directly across from the Home Depot. I even managed to actually get in a picture for once.


We pushed our luck by taking the kids to Home Depot at 7:00PM, but they were surprising well behaved. Perhaps there is something magic in the organic chocolate after all.  Even Sophie must have picked-up that there was something special about Starbucks as she insisted on carrying her cup all over the hardware store even though it had clearly been empty for the last 30 minutes. And as if you needed any more proof that drinking Starbucks makes you cooler in that “I’m too cool to care if I’m cool” kind of way; as I was walking out of Home Depot I got hit on by a stranger for the first time in a bajillion years. That’s proof positive that rednecks are attracted to the green and white cups as much as hipsters (or that hanging out at Home Depot on a Saturday night makes you look desperate…..)

Your turn: Do you ever take your kids to less than kid friendly places? How did it turn out?

31 days to a closer family

Day 11: Helping Daddy

It was a late night for me tonight, so it was a daddy and girls kind of night around here. Lizzie didn’t get a nap today at daycare, so Cody was mostly trying to do damage control by keeping them occupied.  Since he was also responsible for getting dinner ready he decided to include the girls. The kids love to help out so we always try to find ways to include them. Tonight Sophie was in charge of helping peel the shrimp which according to her “only big kids can do.” I like having the kids help prepare dinner because I find that they are more likely to eat it then. Lizzie has been really into Cody’s tools lately (probably because with the renovation they are all over the place) and she loves to hand her Daddy screws and washers as he needs them. Tonight she also faced my fear of heights and climbed to the top of the 6 ft ladder a couple of times. The three of them all cuddled on the coach and had tickle time while waiting for my arrival as well.

After dinner Sophie talked me into watching this “new really funny show” with her. My guilt over not getting much time with them today was sinking in, so I agreed to watch an episode of the Color Crew. It’s a good thing Sophie is really cute or else I don’t know if I would’ve made it through that show. Do yourself a favor and don’t let your kids watch it. I’m hoping to make up some extra family time this weekend. Hopefully we can expect some nicer weather than we’ve had this past week.


Your turn: What types of activities do your kids help you with?

31 days to a closer family