Monthly Kid Dates

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Would you like to know a secret: I was so worried when we got pregnant with baby number 4 that the other 3 kids wouldn’t get my attention. Come to find out, apparently everyone worries about this from time to time in families of more then 1 kid, let alone 4. So instead of worrying about this issue (which I am great at worrying), I decided to pray, seek council and of course go search pinterest ;).

During my search I came across a lot of great ideas. I would like to talk to you about one idea that we just implemented and I LOVE IT! We are calling it Monthly Kid Dates or in my kiddos lingo they call it “special days.”

Let me break down how it works. We have taken each kid and have pair them with either: me (mom), dad (Darren), Nana/Papa (my parents), Grandma/Grandpa (Darren’s parents). And, every month it rotates. (See Picture Below).

Monthly Kid Dates
Here is three months, hung by our family command center

We have already had several “special days” with the kids and the feedback from them has been more the good. It is so fun to hear them talk about what they got to do. You may be asking yourself, “wait, how can you do a date with a 6 week old?” I thought the same thing, my dad brought up a great point when we were talking about the “special days.” He said perhaps a lot of the kids won’t remember EVERY date they have with each person, but what they will have is the pictures, the relationships, and the love from their family. I couldn’t not agree more with him. I look back at pictures when my grandparents and parents took me to the Oregon Zoo when I was a toddler, and to tell you the truth I remember NOTHING of that trip, but looking at the pictures the first thing I feel is LOVE, and the first thing I think is what a invested family I had (and still have)!

Some ideas of things that have been done or creative ideas of what to do on our dates include:

  • Trip to the Library
  • Go to Lunch
  • Bake a special Meal or Dessert
  • Painting
  • Trip to see a special interest (example: trains)
  • Hiking/Walking
  • Swimming
  • Zoo
  • Playing a special game
  • and more!

Another blessing I have found with the “special days” is the relationships that are built when one of the kiddos is out on their date. The one-on-one time they get with one of their people creates lasting memories and builds on the love they have for that person. They get to talk one-on-one, they get snuggles one-on-one, they laugh, play and get one-on-one attention. These moments are just as valuable as being with the whole family,  which they absolutely love as well!

On a normal day of playing at home our two older kiddos (ages 4 and 2) tend to play together the majority of the time. Our third Jonah who is currently 16 months is still learning how to play the games the older are playing, BUT when one is gone on an outing the other older kiddo who remained at home join together and play beautifully. I love seeing the building of all sibling relationships!

Here are some pictures of different “Specials Days”:

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Noah got to ride a ChooChoo (HE LOVES TRAINS) .. yes it was a little loud for him hehe
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Madeline got to make a peach cobbler with Grandpa
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Baking Peach Cobbler, they even went to the fruit stand to pick out peaches

We are so blessed with WONDERFUL involved family members! I thank GOD so much for their love, wisdom, and support! But, this can be done with less kids and even less family involvement due to many reasons, (I know lots of friends who have AMAZING families but they just live far away). The original idea I saw on pinterest was just with 3 kids and mom and dad. They had special dates with mom, dad and then there 3rd was called family outing and the 3rd kid got to pick the family outing. There is tons of opportunity to be creative with “Special Days,”

What are some special (and affordable) activities you like to do? (Lets make a big list … sharing is caring;))

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Family Table

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I can not begin to tell you how many times a day I find myself cleaning our kitchen table! It seems to be the catch all of things! From coloring books to play dough to my papers, I am consistently cleaning the table.

We are now a family of 6! To be more accurate we are a family of 6 that loves to have family and friends dwell with us. We ENJOY so much hosting people at our house! So because of our growing family and our love of people, my hubby and I decided we needed a larger table :). So Darren went to building one for us! Our table seats up to 12 comfortably and we have been known to squish more in or grab another table.

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My fabulous husband is what I would call a minimalist. He LOVES a clean table! He loves cleared surfaces and declutter lifestyle. My own mom is the same way! So I don’t know what happened to me haha! No really, I have personally come a long way from the cluttered lifestyle to the minimalist side of life. I always wonder why some people thrive off of clean and clear spaces, then I heard a quote at a women’s conference that spoke to this beautifully for me. They said the goal to organizing and declutter is to get all the details of your life, “clean, clear, current and complete,” because then once you, “get it out of the brain or out of the way, it makes more room for creative ideas.”  And boy oh boy I have seen the creative opportunities happen when we are, “clean, clear, current and complete.”

BUT, why does it seem like the family table is ALWAYS dirty! The answer is clear: WE SPEND TIME AT IT!

I recently read an article I found inspiring by Sally Clarkson, Click HERE if you would like to read it. But, I would like to share a few quotes with you that were so motivating when it comes to the family table.

Sally starts off by talking about how busy we are in life and she follows up by saying, “I think, we get lost in these multitudinous tasks that rule our lives, and we lose sight of the underlying purpose behind all these tasks, which is to prepare our children to go into the world and bring light, love and beauty to a fallen world. Each of us is to play a part in God’s kingdom work. Right in our homes we have the potential to raise future leaders who are moral, filled with faith and ready to take hold of their arenas for Christ.” I love the purpose we have in our children’s lives. I am growing excited when I see opportunities to disciple my kiddos.

What does this have to do with the family table you maybe be thinking. Well! GREAT QUESTION! How many times do you find yourself at the family table? We are there breakfast, lunch, dinner, two snacks a day, cooling time, play dough time, family game time, and more! You name it! We are always at the table! There is one time though we have cherished and that is DINNER TIME, because that is when DADDY is home! I love what Sally says about her dinner time,

“when I learned to see our time together at dinner as a time when we could all breathe in grace, comfort, inspiration and a place where everyone could find welcome and love, I purposed to design such a space. I came to understand that I was the conductor of such dreams, soul treasures, and it gave me direction in how I planned to be intentional each night to pass on the encouragement their hearts needed in these areas. 

When children hear the words verbalized night after night, “Thank you, Lord, so much for the sweet children you have given us. We are so grateful that you always love us and want us to be with you. We are thankful for this meal and all the ways we see your faithfulness in our lives today. Be with us as we spend time together tonight. Help us to know how we might serve you and others through all the days of our lives.”

When they feel you have prepared for them by buying or making something tasty. When the table is a place where everyone can share their feelings and be accepted and tell the details of their day, when no dreams are considered too big to verbalize, these rhythms will begin to touch deep places in their heart that they long to have filled.

To have a place to belong and be cherished every day is a gift that few people feel in their lifetimes.”

What a beautiful perspective on the family table. This is a place to come, sit, talk and love one-another. I know in my husbands and my growing up years we had the example set by our parents of family meals. We are both so grateful for that and pray to continue the legacy of being together.

My prayer would be that we will soon need a bigger table!

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Practice Week and Stone Soup

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In preparation for preschool for Madeline and Tot-school for Noah we read the story Stone Soup by Maria Brown (Caldecott honor book). The story is about working together and making the best of any situation, hospitality and sharing (at least that is what we took from it with their ages). Creative play is something I enjoy for the kids, and these kiddos thanks to their daddy LOVE cooking and baking!

Since this is the week before we officially start with homeschooling, I wanted to take some practice runs at the different subjects. On Monday we did reading, Madeline and I are doing Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, which has been highly recommended to me by many homeschool teachers including my mother in law who used it also on her three kiddos. While I was reading with Madeline, my sweet Noah had his own “Read to self box,” with books at his level which I will rotate. He read peacefully while I worked with Madeline. Along side Noah, his brother Jonah (age 1) had his own “read to self box,” in which he looked through the books (not so silently ;)) calling every animal he saw a “dog dog.” And lastly, my 6 week old Jesse slept! Worked great for the first practice run!

The following day we all went through our math portion of the day. Highlighting the different activities and games we might play during our math time, which built a lot of excitement. Then we ended with some creative block building time.

We ended our practice run with some calendar time. This is a fun time in which all three kiddos (minus Jesse), get to participate together! 🙂 We practiced our verse of the week, talked about the days, months, seasons, and weather. Madeline is the only one with her own calendar but I can quickly see how her brother Noah would like one of his own too! Learning, learning … I am always learning 🙂 and I love it!

This will be an whirlwind of a time but I am trying to approach everything even the hard times with JOY! to quote a few lines from our family foundations:

WE CHOOSE:

Courage Over Comfort

And to do EACH act as unto the LORD

Joshua 24:15

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Stone Soup by Marcia Brown
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Starting the soup making process
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Measuring
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Everyones stone/toy soup
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“Toy Soup”

 

Fall is coming and Soup season is around the corner, I think these kiddos will be super helpful with making some yummy soups this year 🙂

What is your favorite FAMILY friendly soups???? Leave a comment below 🙂

 

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Family Foundation

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My husband Darren and I had some wonderful friends come and visit from North Carolina. During our evening together, they spoke of a family in their church who wrote out their family’s constitution. As, we heard more about this I grew fascinated, so of course that night I searched Pinterest to see examples of what this looked like. And in true “Rice” fashion I took a lot of what I saw, added some of my own thoughts and created what we believe works for our family. We call it our Family Foundation, it is what we hope and pray will be the foundation of our home. I have to tell you in all honesty that since my oldest child just turned 4 this family foundation visual has been more of a reminder to myself then to them (SO FAR). It has helped me at the heart of issues respond in a way that would honor God. Don’t get me wrong I fail A LOT, but it the reminder is always needed and helps make more successes then failures.

We have decided through prayer and council to homeschool our children and this fall we get the opportunity to start preschool and what we are calling tot-school for our oldest 2 (ages 4, and 2). Darren and I felt this was very important to outline our vision for our family foundation first because in all we do we want this to be where we land.

What are some of your family foundations?

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