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Tag: birthdays

The Importance of Family Traditions

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.

Holidays ~

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!

  • New Year’s Day
  • Valentine’s Day
  • St. Patrick’s Day
  • Easter
  • Mother’s Day
  • Father’s Day
  • Fourth of July
  • Halloween
  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas
  • New Year’s Eve

Nightly or Weekly ~

Here are some ideas of activities the family can do nightly or once a week:

  • Reading a book together
  • Family game night
  • Pizza night, taco night, Italian night (you get the drift)
  • Evening walk or Sunday walk
  • Sunday special breakfast
  • Movie night
  • Family meals together…a tough one but oh so worth it!
  • Making a story up together…one person start and give a few sentences then another person takes over, etc.
  • Highs & Lows – every morning or evening have everyone tell the best and worst part of their day

Take the read aloud family challenge – such a cool idea! ➡➡Check out this fun Family Read Aloud 100 Book Challenge with journal!

Monthly ~

Here are some ideas of activities the family can do together monthly.  Choose one day of each month and plan your activity.  Whether you do the same activity monthly or change it, start with the day and get it on the calendar!  This gives everyone something to look forward to and also helps with planning.  Stick to it!!!  This is what makes it a tradition!

  • Hiking at different parks each month
  • Zoo/Museum/Sporting Event/Play or Muscial – plan something like this for each month
  • Family service project – Work together on a monthly plan of where you can help out in the community
  • Movie Night – this is also listed in weekly, but maybe you need to spread it out more
  • Cook together as a family
  • Game Night – this is also listed in weekly, but maybe you need to spread it out more
  • Mommy & Daddy date night – let each child have special time with the parents

Random ~

  • Journal – keep a family journal somewhere for everyone to write in when they have something they need to talk about
  • Back to school day – make it special every year
  • Hooky day – everyone gets a day off for crazy fun family time

Check out this fun Family Journal with prompts that make it easy for the whole family to use ➡➡Check out the Creative Family Journal with writing prompts here!!!

This is a very small list of ideas.  Once again, choose what is most important to your family and follow through.  There is no need to have so many traditions that you are overwhelmed.  They are meant to be special times bonding the family together.

They can be simple.  Lauren loves going to the her grandparent’s place at the lake.  The kids know they are going to get on the golf cart and zoom all over.  It is something they look foward to every time.  They then head to the lake shore and take pictures.  How fun it has been to see the kid’s growth over these last few years with the same background.  Similar to using a yardstick to measure children’s annual growth on a wall.

In October, my mother puts out a large light up pumpkin.  It seems like that pumpkin has been around FOREVER!  However, the kids love to have their picture taken with Grandma every year.  Likewise, when our children were small we would take the same picture of all of the grandchildren at Easter around the same tree at their Grandma’s!  It’s a small thing, but it’s tradition!

               

Another fun tradition is to make food to match the color of the current holiday.  You can be as simple or creative as you like.  Believe me, the kids will have a LOT of fun with this.  I will be honest though, sometimes they turn out as a flop…these things happen.  Probably the worst one my kids remember is green oatmeal for St. Patrick’s Day…it looked just like vomit.  We laughed so hard!

     

Birthdays ~

Birthdays are a pretty big deal in our family.  The birthday person wakes up to a decorated bedroom door  (Check out the Birthday door idea by clicking here!), gets to choose what type of cake and dinner and also gets to choose the activity.  Deciding on the activity is the best part for me…yes, we still do it as adults!  I absolutely love to find different things to do as a family each year.  Bowling, paddle boats on the canal or hiking to lunch on the Monon have been some of my favorites.  As long as we are together, I am happy.  Now, for those of you who know Brad, it is a different story.   Nothing makes him happier than all being on the deck and him grilling!  That’s nice and relaxing too!

Schedules are hectic….times are crazy!  However, this is one thing you can make a point to do with your family.  Sometimes we simply forget about the importance of family traditions….but our kids don’t!  I hope you will share some of your family traditions below!

Hugs – Mimi

 

PHOTOriffic Birthday Party Theme

Two year old Max declared he wanted a “Just Max” party for his third birthday.  As is usually the case when having a discussion with Max, you can’t help but find yourself chuckling at his responses.  Life is definitely a lot funnier with him in our world!  After a bit, Lauren (his mommy) asked, “Why not?”  And that, my friends, is how the PHOTOriffic birthday party theme came to life!

In true Lauren fashion, creative ideas started flowing right away.  This girl definitely knows how to take a birthday party to the next level.  Even more perfect is that she got to mix her love of photography with her love of party planning!  The end result was a fun photoriffic birthday party theme that can be used for any age…child or adult!

Planning ~

You will need to decide if you want to use just a few pictures or if you want to use a large amount of various faces.  As mentioned earlier, Lauren, (who we call Photo Lo) has an abundance of fun candids so the choice was easy for her.  There are so many fun “faces” of Max that she couldn’t use just one or two.  I, personally, am glad we used a lot of photos as it was fun to reminisce about the different ones throughout the evening.  In fact, there were many responses of, “Bring ET back!”….this stemming from a short period of time when Max wore an ET mask everywhere!

Organizing the photos in one folder on your computer is very helpful.  In this era, we tend to keep a lot of pictures on our phones and on social media apps.  The most time consuming part is going through those pictures. If you have ever searched for a particular picture on your phone that was taken months earlier, you know this many times take longer than you expect.  Once you find ones you think you will use,  copy them into the folder you have created.  This will prove to be very beneficial as you start creating your party props.

Crafting ~

Photo T-Shirts ~

Making shirts for everyone was a BIG hit.  Instead of worrying about what size is good for each one, we bought men’s packages of t-shirts in large and extra large.  Those who were smaller can get fancy with how they want to wear their shirt.  These are obviously easy enough to get at discount stores, but if you plan ahead you can get even better deals through Amazon like the one below.  You can’t beat prices like these:

Men’s package of 6 White T-Shirts at a lower price of $11.50!!

Next, you will need to purchase iron on transfer sheets.  These are so much fun to use, but you need to follow the directions closely.  One of the most important tips they give you is to use your hottest, non-steam iron setting.  This is very important.  Once again, these can be found in your local stores, but I did find better prices on Amazon.

Iron On Transfer Sheets for White or Light Colored T-Shirts

These are $8.98 for a pack of ten…that is a STEAL!  We purchased some at both Michaels and WalMart.  Neither one of those purchases were as cheap as the price above from Amazon.

Iron on Transfer Sheets for Dark T-Shirts

These are $12.94 for a pack of ten.  If you are going to use darker shirts then you must use these.  We tried transferring to a gray shirt and ruined it.  You could barely see the image.  So do yourself the favor if you want to use a dark shirt, spend the couple dollars extra.

Photo Banner ~

Creating a birthday photo banner is easy but time consuming….so plan ahead!  You can do these in multiple colors or follow a specific theme.  As you can see, we went with multi-colored hats.

Printing Out Pictures for the Banner~

The next decision is whether you want the banner single sided or double sided.  The pics above are single sided.  Regardless of which option you choose, it is important to print each picture out on heavy card stock.  This creates more durability as well as a better image for the banner.  If you choose to make your birthday banner double sided, you will need a program such as PrintShop to flip the image.  By doing this, you can match the images back to back perfectly.

I took images we had saved in the folder discussed earlier, transferred them to PrintShop and enlarged them to get a clear but sizeable image.  Once you get it as large as you can without losing the clarity, print it out on heavy card stock.  Next you will need to cut the faces out.

Making Birthday Hats for the Banner ~

Let your creativity flow when making the birthday hats.  We used both printed paper and solid paper and cut them out in the shape of a birthday hat.  We cut ours out freestyle.  I think one can get lost in trying to make it “perfect.”  Seriously, don’t get to caught up in that.  Also, you will find that the pictures will tend to be different sizes, therefore, you will need to make some hats smaller and some larger.

Adorn the hats with fun stickers, printable images and fun different dimensional items for the top of the hat.  I printed out some of Max’s favorite characters on the computer and then cut them out to create our own stickers!  We had hats with The Hulk, Scooby Doo, Batman, PJ Masks, and soccer balls.  We even created a couple of hats with pictures of Addi and Max to help keep jealousy at bay. 😉

Multi-colored pom poms for the perfect birthday hat!

It is fun to top off the hats with different creative items, but you will find that your “go to” on most of them are pom poms.  It’s fun to have different colors and sizes.  We also used other articles such as a plastic bat ring left over from Halloween for the Batman hat and a soccer ball sticker for the soccer hat.  As I said earlier, let your creativity flow when you are creating your photoriffic birthday themed props!

Use Banner Photos Around the Party Area ~

Are there so many cute pictures that you just couldn’t narrow it down to what you needed for the banner?  I feel ya!  So keep crafting and place extras in various places around the house.

We transformed dancing Santa into dancing Max for the evening!

We also updated center pieces for evening!

Spread the love all over for everyone to enjoy!

Photo Tattoos ~

Tattoos transcend all ages….well at least temporary tattoos!  Now, let’s take that a step further and turn photos into temporary tattoos for this amazingly fun birthday party!  Of course, Etsy comes to the rescue in helping to fulfill this step of the party planning.

Temporary Photo Tattoos are a MUST for the party!

Advance planning for these is a necessity, as any custom photo order item takes a bit more time.  However, as always is the case, Etsy comes to the rescue with these temporary photo tattoos.

What birthday party is on your calendar to plan next?  Do you have your pictures organized?  Start planning today because this is a photoriffic birthday party them that you are definitely going to want to try!

 

 

Birthday Door

 

CELEBRATE WITH A BIRTHDAY DOOR!

Birthdays are a big deal! It has always been important to me that our children felt extra special on their birthday.  I began decorating the kid’s bedroom doors early on so that their special day began with a smile.  Back then this mostly consisted of streamers and/or balloons.   (If only I had access to Pinterest in my early motherhood years!!!)   Now there are so many creative ideas to making a Birthday Door!

I waited until the kids would fall asleep.  Those who know me understand that this could be an issue at times….I decompress quickly as the evening rolls around.  I would then tape long streamers from the top of the door frame down to the floor.  I would usually use 2 or 3 different colors, depending on their favorite at the time.  I then would run the streamers across from one side of the wall to the other in the hallway.  These would be at different heights giving them no choice but to crawl through or over them to get out of their room and down for breakfast.  In spite of how tired I may have been, I am so glad that I continued this tradition with our children.  As they got older, it became more apparent at how much they loved this!

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