Saturday, February 13

Family night and Valentine's fun

I was challenged by an older and much wiser mom recently to institute regular family nights into our routine. It's not a new idea, rather one we've always liked the idea of, but never put into regular practice.
The good thing, for people who shrink at the thought of having to create new and exciting activities from scratch every week, is that we have so many holidays and special occasions as a family, as a country and across the globe from which to draw inspiration. More on that later.
Our family values giving gifts made by hand and sharing kind words through home made cards. We don't, however, manage our time particularly well and have always had trouble separating the kids and giving them each a chance to make something special for their siblings and parents. I mean, you wouldn't want to see your card being made, right?
After hearing another family's experience in card-making, though, it occurred to me that I could go about this in a completely different way and actually accomplish our goals of enjoying a creative activity together and blessing everyone in the family with a heartfelt gift.
We set aside time Friday evening to be home together making Valentine cookies and cards. We brought all the cookie ingredients into the dining room so we could all fit around the table, versus crowding up in one chair in order to reach the available corner of counter space in the kitchen, and mixed up a batch of those peanut butter blossoms from the back of the Hershey kiss bag.
While the first pan baked, we cleaned the table and brought out some card-making supplies. Felt, buttons, glues, papers, craft foam, scissors, markers, etc. After pressing the kisses into the tops of the hot cookies, we began making cards. The goal was for each of us to make one card for every member of the family.
My husband surprised us and turned out some very cute and catchy cards. (He doesn't expect much from himself in the craft department). My oldest daughter quickly made two cards for everyone, losing momentum as she went until her final card (mine) simply said Mom on one side and featured a minimalistic spiderweb-ish design on the back. My youngest daughter had to be put to bed before the cookies were completely mixed and therefore didn't attempt making any cards. My son made four cards all illustrated with a multi-humped camel flying over a land dominated by moles. And all for his older sister.
I foresee many cards in the future starring the Heep family Valentine camel.
We had some unpleasant bumps and some very pleasant quality time. Today, however, everyone was thoroughly excited to exchange Valentine cards and eat cookies. We had lunch together (kind of a rare treat for us) and then distributed the cards. They loved the personal messages from their dad, the pretty pictures from their mom, and the sheer receipt of anything from their siblings. I gave them each one of the decorated pb jars filled with a box of animal crackers (my sister's genius idea), a couple chocolate kisses, and a couple mini raisin boxes. They were thrilled. I think they're discussing their Valentine's day adventures as I write, wishing they'd fall asleep, which is pretty cute.
Happy Valentine's Day! I hope you enjoy time spent with your family this weekend.

I was going to write a bit more on family nights, in general, but realize I've written a lengthy narrative on Valentine's Day alone. This just means I'll have to blog more.

20 comments:

Amy said...

Wow, what a fun post! It's exciting that the kids had so much fun making cards for each other.

And you know how I feel about shout outs. :)

Jessica said...

That all sounds really fun - what a great way to get all the family together for an evening. Thanks for sharing - I just hope that by the time my own little one is a bit bigger to do something similar that I make the time so that it happens.

tonyastaab.com said...

We try to save Friday night as our family night. Normally it's a 'make your own' dinner night - ie we put out pizza bases that the kids will put their own toppings on, or they'll fill their own tacos or burritos, then we set up a picnic table and blankets in the family room and watch a movie while we eat dinner picnic style.

I hadn't thought to incorporate crafts into our family night. This is a great idea. I love having fresh ideas so we can mix up our nights a bit.

moomer said...

A delightful post! Making good memories & establishing family traditions with handiwork & hilarity...the Heep way. :)

Anonymous said...

yes, please do blog more! good to see you back. wondering if we could make a date to meet that valentine's camel and the rest of the brood- friday perhaps? ame

Dee said...

Wow! What a wonderful idea - so many memories made! Thank you for the inspiration! Dee x

Helen said...

What a great idea to make cards together. I'm already excited about doing something like your family night for Easter.

Pleased you are back, by the way, I really enjoy reading your blog.

Helen

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