Are you trying to squeeze the last bit of family fun into the remaining days of summer? Why not plan a family date night? Our family headed out to Wild Blackberry Farms for the inaugural Blackberry Festival. While it can be difficult (but oh so worth it!) to find a night that works in everyone’s schedule, this was so worth the planning of our Blackberry Festival family date night!
I’ve had many people ask me how we knew about this particular festival. I agree that it is hard to know about every fun event around you, but it led me to look into festival informational sites. Each state has many local resources, but I also found a couple of sites that you can search all 50 states….
Blackberry Festival Family Date Night Activities ~
U-Pick Blackberries ~
This particular festival was a smaller fare, but not short on fun family activities. We started out with the U-pick blackberries. I wasn’t sure how much the younger ones would enjoy this part, but they loved it! We had a quick lesson on which berries were ready to pick and everyone headed out with their buckets. They had so much fun searching the rows for the ripest berries! Also important here is that it kept them entertained for quite a long time!
What was even better was they could pick down low on their own while also enjoying a little help up from the family members.
I walked outside this morning and heard birds singing. So cliche, right? If you had the surge of Cicadas 2021 in your yard, you understand. It’s truly the first time I have heard several birds sing at once this month. While I am happy to have the birds and bees back in our yard, I honestly have learned a lot about cicads this time around. Follow along for the buzz on cicadas ….and maybe some really goofy videos!
The first thing you hear anyone say about the cicadas is, “Gross!” They are such an annoyance as well as being so very ugly…and THOSE CREEPY EYES!
Put those thoughts aside and what you actually have is a pretty cool phenomena! Think about it! These little critters are underground for 17 years! Contrary to popular belief, they are not hibernating. Cicadas keep busy feeding off the sap of trees, digging tunnels and aerating the soil while we cannot see them. Isn’t it intersting that just as we are emerging from our homes after COVID, they too are emerging from their homes?
Nutrition for Nature ~
Aside from the noise, one of the biggest things I have noticed is my bird feeders have been empty. Not empty of birdseed, but empty of birds. It took me a couple of days to realize that my seed isn’t quite the delicacy that the cicadas are. I’m assuming that after they fill up on that special appetizer they just don’t want dinner at the feeder anymore. Now we know why parents always tell us not to ruin our appetite on chips and snacks before dinner! 😏
Basically almost every wildlife creature you can think of feasts on cicadas. Heck, even while they are underground, “rodents” like moles eat them as well. Afterall, while moles may be considered a rodent to many, they are actually insectivores (thus eating insects!) As you can see, cicadas are a postive benefit to society right there just as food alone!
Slug feeding on dead cicada
Nutrition for Humans ~
Seriously? People eat those nasty things? The astounding answer is yes! In this Keto diet loving world, cicadas appeared just at the right time. They are high in protein and low in fats and carbs. Did you create any fun cicada recipes this year? While I think these little guys are pretty awesome, I will admit that my family had NO interest in chomping on them!
Cicada Life Cycle ~
Rice shaped eggs are deposited in small grooves of tree limbs
Young cicadas feed on tree fluids of those grooves they are in
Cicadas crawl from groove and fall to ground
17 year cicadas are active underground for the whole amount of time
Cicadas emerge by digging up through ground and creating small holes
The outer shell of the cicada is shed
Wings of the cicada are inflated with fluid
They live their very short lifespan above ground
Wash, Rinse, Repeat as the saying goes!
Can you even imagine working for 17 years with no credit? No awards, no pay raise, no pat on the back with a “good job!” When I think of it that way, I start realizing that cicadas are pretty awesome creatures! Keep in mind that this is the 2021 Brood X cicadas I am talking about. There are other cicada broods, some come out every summer and some every 13 years.
90 Decibels ~
The buzz on cicada sound is that they reach up to 90 decibels. If you did not get to experience it, let me tell you, with a yard full of cicadas, it is LOUD!
The following video was taken a week before they got to their loudest. You will notice you can hear one or two birds in the background. Our backyard is usually filled with the melody of many birds. TURN YOUR VOLUME UP and listen to the video ➡➡Cicada music at 90 decibels.
So what makes that sound? These guys are pretty big as far as insects go, but how are they SO LOUD? I was surprised to hear that only the males make the sound. Obviously, this is a mating call. They flex organs in their abdomens, just under their wings. Pretty cool!
Cicada Attack ~
What is not cool, is if you make a loud sound similar to their mating call, they will FLOCK to you! Seriously! I figured that out by accident. I am a gardener and yard person by nature so I am outdoors a lot. While cutting the grass I would have to swat away a crazy flying cicada every once in awhile. However, when I started the leaf blower to clean up the grass clippings, I was SWARMED! Kid you not!
I have to assume now that it was all females coming at me since I have learned that only males make the noise. Mind you, they do not sting, but when there are bunches of them flying at you at once, you get a little stinging feeling as they all hit you at the same time. I truly felt like I was in a new version of the Alfred Hitchhock movie, The Birds. If only someone had been home to video me.
I immediately turned the blower on the little buggers to get them away from me. Have you seen how long the attachments on most leaf blowers are? They are pretty darn long, thus making it hard to get at the cicadas that are already all over me. I turned the blower off thinking I was insane (and secretly hoping none of my neighbors were watching me!) They all flew away.
Next, I did what everyone laughs about when watching scary movies. You know what I ‘m talking about. The lady walks by herself down the long dark hallway where she knows someone is hiding out to kill her. Everyone watching the movie is saying, “You idiot, don’t go down the hallway…run!” Well, I turned that lovely blower back on…yes I did! Guess what happened?
The Buzz on Cicada Aftermath ~
Ok, I will tell you what happened. Yes, they returned. I was the idiot we all scream at and I paid the price. However, I promptly turned it back off and the grass clippings remained on my driveway until a storm hit.
June 2021 is coming to a close and the cicadas have almost disappeared from our area. I have to admit I actually kind of miss the little creepy guys. Afterall, it is truly a a pretty miraculous lifecycle that is fun to learn about and teach to your children and grandchildren. We can use their story to teach children about “coming out of their shell.” Maybe even, “make noise when you need to be noticed.”
Some of the houses around me that got hit pretty hard may not miss them quite as much as me though. Some of my neighbors were literally using snow shovels to clean off their driveways. And the smell of rotting cicada carcasses leaves something to be desired.
So yes, they are creepy and loud, but they are really pretty amazing, regardless of the downside. Besides, haven’t we always learned to look at the glass half full? Find the beauty in all of God’s amazing creations!
The Promised Goofy Video ~
I’m letting you all in on the goofy side of Mimi….well those of you who know me know I’m usally always pretty goofy. I decided we needed a little update to The Birds movie with my version of The Cicadas 2021…click the link and enjoy! Cicadas attacking
Family traditions are the glue that holds families together through the years. As you are reading this, you may recall long-established customs or you may just be thinking about a new tradition you started with your immediate family. Regardless of the number of years you have celebrated each one, the importance of family traditions is tantamount to strong family bonding.
Small Quiz ~ ✏
Do me a favor. Take a few minutes to set everything aside…your phone, computer, tv, game, etc. Sit quietly for a moment and think about what family traditions you celebrate. Think first of the holidays. Are there traditions you do with your children that possibly your parents did with you as a child? Have you started new ones since you have become a parent? Let’s go a step further….write those down.
Now, let’s think about seasonal traditions. Activities that may not tie in exactly with a particular holiday. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…write those down too. What about nightly family rituals, such as reading a book. There may also be weekly or monthly family traditions, such as family game night, daddy dates, or family service days. Let’s not forget birthdays! Are you starting to recall more traditions than you even imagined? We cling to traditions, sometimes when we don’t even realize it.
These events have been shown to strengthen family bonds and reinforce family values. It warms my heart when my grandchildren will ask a question pertaining to a specific holiday. For instance, we love to put on our pajamas, make popcorn and hot cocoa and pile in the car to drive around and look at Christmas lights. We also always get Chinese takeout on the night we decorate our Christmas tree. The grandchildren, now at ages 3 & 6, ask each year if we are going to do it again. They remember and look forward to those special moments.
There are numerous holidays: Federal, State, Religious, Observance, and Sports. There is a list below that includes some of the more known holidays here in the states, but it is certainly not all encompassing. The important thing to remember about family traditions is quality over quantity. It is so much fun to create reasons to celebrate, but don’t overwhelm yourself or your family. There is nothing more depressing than a child that is let down because a parent doesn’t follow through. So keep old traditions and maybe start a few new ones too!
Do you have a specific decor style? I don’t! That’s part of my problem….I love so many different styles! I change my mind often because there are SO many beautiful things out there to decorate with. Do you have the same problem? Or are you content with your style but looking for some new piece(s) to freshen up your home?
I am LOVING this new website I recently discovered…Antique Farm House. Not only do I love their products, but their website is so user friendly. You can shop by room, sale event, department or style. How’s that for helping you narrow things down quickly! If you are thinking, “This post isn’t for me…I’m not an antique farm house girl,” think again!
Their style and shipping is similar to Decor Steals, which I posted about last year. I have added several of their awesome pieces to my home and am in love with their products. Be sure to look back at my earlier blog on home decor by clicking right here!!! You need to pay attention to their shipping notes, which they clearly post…and remember…good things come to those who wait. It is not an overnight shipping but it does come in a timely manner!
Mixing Decor Styles ~
I am not an interior designer, but I do love decorating! Because of this, I read many articles (I also love reading 😉). While I am sure some will disagree, there are many articles out there that state that some of the most beautiful and inviting homes actually mix different home decor styles. There you have it….don’t be afraid to try new things!
If you are mixing design styles though, be sure to create unity between the different styles with things such as color or linking the two with various pieces of each. You can also use a beautiful piece of wall art to help combine your interests. Make your home cohesive and beautiful while still showing off your own individual personality.
When my daughters and I are shopping, we many times will state, “Oh, this piece looks like so and so,” (filling in the so and so with whoever comes to mind). Have you ever found yourself doing this? Does it make you wonder what people say when they slide your name into that slot? Do you fall into any of the decorating styles listed below?
Rustic Decor ~
This has to currently be one of my favorite decorating styles. Judging from what is out in stores, I believe there are many others who feel the same way. Check out some of these fun ideas for new additions to your cozy home!
I’m sitting here literally laughing at myself as I just typed the title of this post. I have been diligently working and learning all about blogging….and I LOVE it! As you all know, blogging is all about writing about what you love and sharing it with others. In order to share, you have to make yourself known…and this of course mostly happens through social media. So WHY am I writing an article about Social Media Fasting???
As much as I truly love technology and everything social media, I also love everything family! I have had many debates with others over the years about the positives vs. the negatives of social media. Both sides have very valid points, but for me it’s a good thing. I have reconnected with so many people I had lost touch with…followed family fun of others…enjoyed seeing pictures…celebrated milestones with my children’s friends that have grown up and started work and now have families of their own. This list goes on and on.
However, I do think taking a break from social media…short, intermittent breaks….can bring many positives into your world. Try this for 24 hours. Then try it once a week or once a month. I’m betting you will be very surprised. I just finished a 24-hour fast from social media and game apps. I surrounded myself with blank paper and books. Every time I went to pick up my phone to check the latest updates, I set it down and picked up a book or paper instead. Those books were about prayer and positive writings. I then prayed after I read each time.
I have been following a local family that has gone through a great tragedy with their children. I tried this fasting upon the request from a large following that asked everyone to give up something and pray in return for the family. I am a strong believer in the power of prayer, but I have gained more from this than what I expected. You, too, can follow this family on Facebook ~ Light for Levi and Lainey.
What I Gained From Social Media Fasting ~
More time in prayer, not only for this very precious family, but for my own!
Relaxation – my brain relaxed!
Sleep – Ahhhh, this was amazing and I’m assuming it was because of the above bullet point!
Time to read – something I love but tend to put off to play “just one more game!”
More time to communicate with my family….talking and LISTENING! I have been working on listening lately. Really listening. My mind is so often moving on to the next thing that I have realized I do listen, but I’m not always fully “hearing”…or my head is buried in my phone too much to listen intently.
What I Expect to Gain Long Term ~
I am setting a date on my calendar to do a 24-hour fast each month. Eventually it may be each week, but I want to take it slow so I can make it stick. I have no intention of giving up social media…I love it too much! Just taking time once a month to make myself enjoy the other things in life I have put on the back burner. Once you start letting those other important elements back into your life, you may find how much you miss them.
What to Do While Fasting ~
Read! Read passages in the Bible, self help books or that novel you have been wanting to dig in to! Did you know that you can do a quick search on Amazon of New York Times current best sellers….it doesn’t get any easier than that!!! I’ve put a quick link in for you here to check it out: New York Times Best Sellers
Write! Jot down what is in your head, write poetry, write a letter (remember snail mail???), write a story…just write! I love to have loads of different pens and paper available for this. I have recently become an affiliate of a couple of really cool stationery companies..I hope you will check them out!
Yoga! Whether you have done yoga before or not, it is something everyone should look into. So take that social media break and spend some time stretching and destressing! I wrote about this in an earlier blog post. You can do yoga as a family too…Yoga with Meddy Teddy!
Get Outdoors! There is nothing like fresh air…whether it’s hot or cold! Take a walk, do some yard work or just sit and get some natural vitamin D. Leave the phone inside for a bit!
Cook! Ok…you can use your phone but ONLY if it is to look up a recipe…don’t cheat….no social media or games!
Pray and Meditate! It’s just good for your soul! Mark 10:27 ~ All things are possible with God!
Call Someone! Reach out and catch up with a friend or family member.
Whether it is something from the list above or another favorite hobby, try a little social media fasting and see what a mere 24 hours can do. Seriously, 24 hours doesn’t seem like a long time but I know I sure was amazed by it! I slept better and woke up with a fantastic start to my day feeling good about what I had read the night before!
It’s Time for A Challenge!
Are you up for it? Subscribe to my page and work along with me! Let’s do a 24 hour challenge once a week for the next 4 weeks. #SMFChallengewithMimi. Respond in the comments or click on the subscribe button (at the right on desktop or at the bottom of the blog on phone) so we can support each other. What are you waiting for????
Yes, yes…and YES! In fact, don’t stop at one! Drop everything you are doing…seriously….go out a get a pet! You already have one? Go get another one….add a new type of pet to your family. Have you ever considered something other than a dog or cat? Whenever I hear someone ask, “Should I get a pet?,” there is no hesitation in my answer. The benefits of having family pets are truly amazing!
Many of us already know some of the top benefits of growing up with pets. Seriously, look at this picture. PURE JOY AND HAPPINESS! Studies show that growing up with pets creates:
HIGHER SELF ESTEEM…
(for both the child and the pet 😉)
LEARNING TO SHARE…
EMPATHY & COMPASSION…
THE MANY BENEFITS OF PETS~
However, there are so many other benefits as well. I constantly am reading about “screen time” rules. There are many learning opportunities with technology today, but kids also need to get outside. Time spent playing outside increases exponentially when they have the opportunity to play with their furry friends.
Which then leads to very interesting, yet fun bath times….
ADDITIONAL BENEFITS OF HAVING A PET~
Owning a furry friend also provides many life lessons. Lessons of birth, sickness and unfortunately death. These are not subjects we choose to talk about, however, they are a fact of life, and we must all teach our children how to deal with each one. They watch and learn from us when dealing with each of these situations.
Along with these lessons are ones more in the way of biology. What is the purpose of whiskers? How does a snake digest it’s food? If my pet is very small, like a goldfish, does it still have a heart? Why doesn’t a dog have to blow it’s nose? Does a cat really have 9 lives? How do birds sleep? How do you know if your hamster is a boy or a girl? So many learning opportunities here!!!
I urge you to consider letting your child raise different types of pets. Many people do not think of any companions besides a dog or cat. This is a great read on the types and benefits of other options available to us: https://www.healthline.com/health/best-pets-for-kids#brine-shrimp . Of course, all pets have different types of care you need to consider. Not all of these animals/reptiles are cuddly yet they can still be good companions.
Have you considered any of these options? Fish, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, birds, turtles, lizards, frogs, geckos, rats…yes rats! Explore your options!
SO…SHOULD I GET A PET?
Once again, YES! More than anything, pets help teach a child about unconditional love. A love that every child should receive and give!
Dance: the movement of the body in a rhythmic way, usually to music and within a given space, for the purpose of expressing an idea or emotion, releasing energy, or simply taking delight in the movement itself.
How long has it been since you danced? Really danced–letting go of all stress and just taking delight in the movement itself? For Brad and I as a couple it has been a while. We used to love dancing! We would go every single weekend when we were dating. When I sit and reminisce about those days I am filled with pure joy! So why did we stop? Life got in the way I suppose.
Enter Addi & Max….they have brought that fun back into our lives! Every time we have an overnight–after dinner is done, one of the kids yells “Alexa, play <insert their favorite song of the moment>, and we all dance around the kitchen like crazy. Thus the sign that is now a focal point in our kitchen. We play new music that they are obsessed with and then we play old music that Brad and I are obsessed with…and we abandon all cares and just have FUN!
When the evening is over and jammies are put on and teeth are brushed, we snuggle in with movies. Only to wake up and…..DANCE AGAIN! Isn’t it amazing that with all the toys and gadgets out there, that you can have so much fun just dancing.
It is a must that all members of the family join in on this family fun! Afterall, this is a great activity that is sure to bring smiles but also is a great form of keeping active with the whole family. More fun can be added in with the addition of this awesome game…. Check out this entertaining family dance game! This will be sure to have the kid’s often saying, “let’s dance!”
I ask again, how long has it been since you danced?
Regardless of what we are called, we all feel the same amazing love when we become a grandparent. It’s a feeling you can’t quite describe…isn’t that what you ALWAYS hear??? Well, it is true! Maybe it is just that you have slowed down a bit and have learned to enjoy the intricate details of watching a baby grow. Don’t get me wrong, being a mom is amazing too! I was blessed to be a SAHM (stay at home mom), which is what I wanted more than anything, and I will ALWAYS cherish those special days.
Something I didn’t quite think about though until we actually entered the grandparent stage, is how much I would enjoy watching my husband of 30 years, the father of our three children, become an amazing Pappy. Once again, there are so many fun names for this role as well, but he chose his name…and it is perfect! He is the best Pappy! I truly feel so much love just watching him play with our grandchildren, laugh with them, and reach out to them with pure love if they are hurt or upset. It has melted my heart all over again.
We enjoy family time as much as we can get it. At this point in my life, there is nothing better than spending time with our family.
Wherever you are in the grandparent stage of life, I hope you can still gather some good “stuff” from this blog…whether it’s a fun craft, game, book, recipe, or just making a connection. This will help us all share the special moment in life called Grandparenting!
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