Being a family

Our Family Activity Jar

Our Family Activity Jar

This jar has revolutionized our time together as a family.

As many families experience, we were somewhat stuck in a routine rut: home from school, home from work, dinner, cleanup, scatter, TV, more TV, baths and bed. Often we would play together or talk or take a walk, but we weren’t making the most of the time we had on weeknights.

So, I took a jar, wrote a bunch of activities on strips of paper, put them in the jar, and presto! The Family Activity Jar was born.

I didn’t realize what a sensation this simple jar would be to the kids, or how much it would improve our quality time enjoying each other!

When we have free time in the evenings, we take turns drawing an activity out of the jar. Usually, the kids are begging us to do family activities before we are finished with dinner. They absolutely love being a family, and spending time interacting as one.

Tonight’s activities included taking a walk in the dark (we bundled up in our winter coats and got out our flashlight and lantern to light the path), baking brownies (with each family member contributing in the process), praying for friends who need Jesus, and writing a letter/drawing a picture for a friend. Other activities have included board games, a dance party, building a fort, playing Wii, having a tea party, building towers, connecting train track around the living room, and many more. Some of these activities would have been difficult to get everyone involved or even interested in before, but now if it comes out of the jar, it’s full-on excitement! We are (all) learning lessons in taking turns, sharing, patience and participation.

Family is meant to be enjoyed. God specially gave us to each other to know, love and have fun together.

I realize that our children won’t be young for long, and homework, sports and other events will begin to take a larger role in their lives.  I don’t want to miss the joy of being together now and building a foundation together of trust and devotion. TV, computer and other screen time is a poor substitute, that often separates us rather than providing community.

Our Family Activity Jar is giving us an impetus to make the most of our time as we enjoy living life together.

Rockin’ the Kiddie Pool


My kids know how to have a good time!

It’s been in the 90s for a few weeks, and we could wait no longer. I had Matt pick up a kiddie pool from Walmart on the way home for lunch, and by 1 p.m. we had the sunscreen on and splashed into the cold water.

Here are some things I learned rockin’ the kiddie pool this afternoon:

  • Adults are not meant to merely watch poolside while the kids play. You’ve got to get in too!
  • Bring on the bath toys. A kiddie pool is just a little larger, and bath toys make the time more fun. If you have any ball pit balls, those work great, too!
  • Splashing is a must. It is a requirement for kiddie pool fun, so don’t think you’ll get in but you want to keep your hair dry. You will be soaked from head to toe.
  • You can measure the amount of fun had by how much grass is in the pool.
  • Don’t fill the pool but maybe half full. When you sit down you’ll know why.
  • Moms make the best waves.
  • Kids have a compulsion to splash water outside of the pool. Just go with it!
  • Wet, sunscreened kids are slippery. Be careful when entering the house!
  • Naps should quickly follow afternoon kiddie pool fun. Treasure their worn out, peaceful faces already asleep before you tiptoe out of the room.
  • Leave the pool for dad to empty when he gets home!