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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Friday is Family Fun Night

One recent Friday found our family with very little to spare in the "entertainment" pie slice that is affectionately called "our budget."  The term "affectionate" is used because to me, you actually need to have money to divide it into a "budget" pie.  Our pie is more one where we shave off a sliver of one slice and try to stick it onto the piece of another slice in a valiant attempt to even call what we have a freakin' pie!  Anywho...I assured my family that we are not the only ones in this proverbial boat and we can make the best of this time in our lives by being more creative individuals.  Eyes rolled and heads almost rolled as the result of this bittersweet assessment. 

So I scraped together a few bits of loose change, and threw caution to the wind.  Instead of using the $2.00 bounty I had recovered from our forage of the couch, under beds, and in every one's pockets for a loaf of bread, we trudged to the gas station to purchase a Georgia Lottery Ticket for Friday Night.  Now I realize that this was pretty risky, not at all sensible, and perhaps even foolish.  However, the remarkable thing that happened that evening was one that I will always treasure.  I do not necessary condone regular purchases of Lottery Tickets as a means to one's future retirement fund. However, an occasional ticket to feed one's fantasy and dream can produce a feeling of satisfaction that yields its own rewards, whether financial gain is involved or not. 

Upon returning to our humble apartment, my three children, their father, and myself sat down at the kitchen table for a homemade, cost effective dinner (sans Chicken McNuggets), and let our imaginations run wild.  What would we do if we actually won the lottery that night?  What hopes and dreams would we be able to breathe life into if our winnings were realized?  The whole family was together, talking, laughing, and dreaming in a way that promised to go down in their memories as one of the most fun and enjoyable exchanges of their young lives.  We planned, we made lists, and my husband and I told stories from our own childhoods.  The children listened to us and absorbed all of it!

At the end of the evening, we didn't even stay up late enough to listen to the news with the results of our Lottery Ticket.  That would come later in the week when we returned to the gas station to retrieve the winning numbers.  Turns out we got 2 of the numbers for that night.  Yet I still feel like the $2.00 was well spent for a night of reminiscing, laughter, and family togetherness.  The children are still young now.  But I know that this time will fly by too fast!  I hope I will continue to enjoy these "inexpensive" yet very valuable experiences with them. 

We may never be financially wealthy.  I can only hope that we will be financially stable.  The best thing I can leave my children is a treasury of stories and memories to pass along to their families as they too sit around the dinner table and recall their childhood.

Many blessings to all my readers.  Enjoy your families!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Value of Playing Outside - A Forgotten Pleasure?

My children can't get enough time in a day to play outside. They love being part of the landscape. I wonder how many children still enjoy the simple pleasures of having the wind on their faces, sand and dirt running through their fingers, and grass beneath their feet.  Technology can be a wonderful tool that opens up a world of resources to us, yet has it also become one of the things that separates our children from the many sensory experiences that were a part of our own upbringing?  What might our children be missing in their repertoire of daily life?  

Here are some of the things I noticed when my three children, ages 9,6, and 4, are turned loose to run and play outside of the confines of the four walls of our apartment: 
  1. Climbing trees
  2. Running through the grass
  3. Skating up a hill
  4. Friends helping pick you up when you fall
  5. Skipping/Hopping/Jumping
  6. Lots of Motion
  7. Feeling a breeze on your face
  8. Watching the breeze sway the trees; blowing leaves everywhere
  9. Twirling in Circles
  10. Getting dizzy
  11. Shouts and Laughter
  12. Breathless wonder as you play chase and hide-n-seek
  13. Great friendships formed
  14. Creation of Games and Negotiation of Rules
  15. Throwing balls, Frisbees, and airplanes
  16. Riding bikes, skateboards, scooters
  17. Collecting leaves/sticks/rocks/pine cones/acorns
I'm not saying that children shouldn't be allowed to explore technology according to age and developmental level.  I do believe there needs to be a balance.  That balance is the responsibility of parents and those in charge of children's entertainment and after school activities. I hope we still recognize the value of encouraging children to get outside, exercise (also known as active play), and experience the many sensations that occur during those moments of fun. Now that the hot Summer days are turning into a cool,crisp,Autumn,
there will be a whole new array of sensory moments to experience.  Let's not allow our children to miss out on this change of season.  Get out there and have some fun.

Have a wonderful week.  Hope you enjoy some playful outdoor moments with your own family.  I would love to hear from you.  Just drop me a line in the comments section of this blog.