Friday, April 29, 2011

Picture Magnet

I got this little gift for Mother's Day, from Jessica, 10 years ago when she was in the second grade. There are two things amazing about that sentence. First -  Jessica was in the second grade 10 YEARS AGO! Second - I still have something she made me in second grade, on display, out of a box. It's so easy, and stands the test of time, making it the perfect Mother's Day present!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Man Cave: A Salon Guide for Men

My wife owns a hair salon. That being the case, I've probably spent more time in a salon than most other men. Sometimes I'm in there doing manly stuff: painting, plumbing, wiring in lights. Other times I'm there for my regular cut, or to sit around and fraternize with her customers. But other times - secret times - I sneak down there for a li'l something extra. Sometimes a guy just needs a girl's day, ya know?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Two Dollars CAN Buy Happiness!

Are you all sitting around bored? Need something to do, but don't have a lot of money? I have the perfect activity for you! All you need is paper, pencil, a car and $2.00 for each person.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Shedding Of Youth Ritual

Time. It's such a funny concept. When I look at this picture of Jessica, taken only hours after she was born, it feels like just yesterday.... sometimes: other times it seems like forever ago. I have enjoyed every stage of motherhood immensely and I wouldn't trade my experiences for anything. We are all getting ready to move onto a new stage, and excitement is what I feel most of the time, but occasionally I feel anxiety. This weekend was a big dose of anxiety, when I cut all of my daughters youth off.

Monday, April 25, 2011

10 Rainy Day Activities

It's raining - again. What can I say, I live in Seattle. It's always raining here this time of year, and thus far we are having the coldest April on record. So, what do you do the keep the kids - and yourself for that matter - busy when you can't get out?

Here are my top 10 favorite ideas.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

Have a great holiday. Enjoy spending time with your family and we will see you tomorrow.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Adoption Option: Spring Chick Cupcakes

 I made these adorable cupcakes for our Easter party tomorrow.  They are so delicious, they are sure to be loved by not only the kids, but the adults too.  If you need an easy family friendly dessert idea for Easter or for a Spring party, then you ought to give these a try!

Friday, April 22, 2011

5 Things To Do To Celebrate Earth Day

Even though Earth day was established clear back in 1970, it went global in 1990 and has become a household phrase. Today events are organized throughout all of our schools and communities to promote the cause. It is a great opportunity for us to teach our kids to care for the earth we live on and how to be environmentally sound. Take a moment today to do something with your kids. Here are a few quick, easy and fun ideas.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Man Cave: Top 10 Chores for Men

Chores are an inescapable part of life. Meals gotta get cooked. Dishes gotta get done. Most chores are boring-but-essential busy-work. A precious few aren't. You see that picture to the left? That's what I did last Saturday. Splitting firewood is one of the "precious few". It's a sweaty, glove-wearing, sharp-tooled, brute-force-of-a-chore, 100% chock full of manly goodness.

And it got me thinking: what are some others?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

5 Tips For An Exciting Easter Egg Hunt: For All Ages

Now that you have your eggs all colored in psychedelic ways, lets talk about the hunt. No Easter would be complete without an egg hunt and this can be made fun for all ages. Here are a few ideas to make your Easter egg hunt extra fun this year, for all involved. Let's fill those babies with more than just candy.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Egg Decorating Ideas

I was perusing around the other day looking for some cool egg decorating ideas and found some pretty good ones. This was my favorite: it looks really cool and uses a supply that most families have laying around their house - Crayons.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Butterfinger Cookies

I am not a fan of dipping things in chocolate. Partly because chocolate just isn't my thing, but mostly because I really suck at it and it's messy. I do make an exception with these cookies though. They are easy and taste like a Butterfingers candy bar when you are done. 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Gearing Up To Send My Daughter To College

A new phase in life is quickly approaching me. Aaron and I just spent the day yesterday driving Jess and her friend over to Central Washington University for their Open House. The main attraction for the two of them was touring through the dorms that they will be staying in. It was very fun, and hard at the same time, watching Jess walk around the place she will be calling home in a few short months.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Origami Easter Bunny

This cute little bunny is easy to make and will keep the kids busy for a few minutes at least. Jess and I are gearing up to make our yearly Easter baskets this afternoon. She is going to put invitations to a "Girls Day" party in hers, and we are going to use these little guys for the invitations. 

Following are the step by step directions:

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Man Cave: Invictus

For those who don't know or haven't yet heard, Invictus is a poem by Englishman William Ernest Henley. It was written in 1875, at a time when young William was in the midst of great physical adversity (his leg was about to be amputated). I think it may be the manliest poem ever written.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Multitasking Madness

Sometimes I feel like there just isn't enough time in the day. When I look at my to do list, and the more I do the longer it gets, something has to be done. Most days I don't have time for all the things that need to get done, let alone the things that I want to do. That's when the multitasking madness starts. Here are some of the things I have coupled together so that I can get to everything.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Happy Birthday Aaron

Today is Aaron's birthday! He is 43 years young today and better than ever. I will not bore you with 43 things that make this man wonderful, but I will give you my ten thing that Aaron does to make our marriage and family so great. After all, that is what this blog is all about - right?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Keeping Open Communication With Your Kids

One of the most popular posts to date here on Family Strong has been Aaron's The Man Cave: Calling Grandpa Out. I have been thinking of his words in that post lately, "Some things on my list are urgent...and mostly have to do with the things in my life. Others are important....these usually have to do with the people in my life. I think a real man of action and purpose is one that budgets his time well enough that the urgent stuff never tramples over the important stuff." I would like to expand on this thought.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Easter Basket Gift Idea

My mother-in-law just retired. After years of raising children and working for the man, she finally was able to hang up her hat and earn the right to start a new chapter in her life. With her retirement she has decided to really start anew by moving to a different state. That cannot go unnoticed, so I had a party for her last night. I had to share what we did for her gift as it turned out perfect.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Adoption Option: Openness In Adoption

When I was in college, I had to write a research paper and give a presentation for an English class.  The topic I chose was 'Adoption: Open vs. Closed'. I learned a lot from this research and came to the concluding opinion that an open adoption seemed to be the best option for both the birth parents and the adoptive parents.  Little did I know, some years later, I would be sitting on my couch with two beautiful daughters and their birth mother. 

Friday, April 8, 2011

Pass The Pigs

When our kids were little, this was one of our favorite games. We have played it on family nights, camping trips and in hotels on road trips. It's simplicity made it possible for everyone to play and have a great time. Even if your kids are too small to ad up their own points, they will have fun chucking the pigs across the table. We used to make bumpers on our table with our arms for Jessica, when it was her turn. It's cheap, easy and extremely portable. Perfect.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Man Cave: Teaching Children to Avoid Tobacco

1972. Richard Nixon. Watergate. American forces were still in Vietnam. The Godfather was released in theaters. Apollo 17 landed on the moon. 1972 was also the year I turned four years old....and it was the year my grandfather introduced me to tobacco.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Family Is Such An Evolutionary Word

Family. I think this word means something a little different to each one of us. The thing about the word family, in my book, is it is ever changing. Family doesn't mean the same to me now as it did back then, when this picture was taken. My mom and dad and baby sister - that's all there was to family. Maybe throw in a grandparent once or twice a year with a little sprinkling of an aunt, uncle or cousin and that was about it. As I get older, and watch my family change, my idea of family changes with it.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I Love Easter Baskets!!

East is around the corner, and that means Easter baskets! As far as I am concerned, you are never too old for Easter baskets. I like to have a girls day with Jess, and maybe a friend or two, and make baskets for our friends. We enjoy making them, and our friends love receiving them.

Monday, April 4, 2011

5 Tips For Movie Night Success

We are huge movie buffs; we can come up with an appropriate movie quote in just about any given situation.  Netflix is the next best thing in our house since sliced bread. One of our favorite things to do on a Friday night is make pizza and cozy into a great movie. We are not picky about genre, variety is great - as long as it's a good flick we are happy. A movie that will generate laughter or a great topic of conversation are always our favorites.

Here are our top five tips for making movie night successful and more fun. Make your next family night a movie night!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Day I Fogot My Daughter

I first mentioned this little embarrassing moment of parenthood in my blog launch post. I think I have made elusive suggestions to it here and there and I have had a few people ask about it, so here is my secret confessions of one of the most un-ninja moments of my child rearing days..... the day I left my 10 year old daughter at Fred Meyer.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Adoption Option: Our Baby Girl Is Born!

We were counting the days until our new baby would join our family.  Every time the phone rang, both my husband and I would bolt to the phone and look at each other as if to say "This could be THE call."  We were getting very excited for the baby to be born.  Finally, on a Sunday morning we were getting ready to leave for church and we got the call!

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Man Cave: Man Overboard

As loyal Family Strong followers already know, our family went on a cruise last week. After two cruises I can now say with surety that I'm not a huge fan. Too much fancy fluff. I don't need some guy laying my napkin in my lap for me. I don't want mints on my pillow and cute origami towel animals. Worst of all: "elegant night". Just shoot me. I did, however, manage to eke out a little manliness in the midst of all the estrogen. Here are my top five manly vacation moments from last week.