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May 9, 2012

Family Favorites

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Our family is ALL about family night–we call it pizza pajama night.  When the holidays roll around, we spend days on end working puzzles, playing games and reading books aloud.  It is what we do!

Perhaps in your home, with your family or even in singleness, you find that these kinds of events never happen.  Well I can guarantee you, invite some from the youth group over or your neighbors or even a family at church. It is something that is well worth the few extra steps it takes to do it. Then just do it!

If you are of the mind that games, read-alouds and puzzles are things you despise, then I might question your joy-o-meter!  But I would suggest, too, that you give it another try and give the experience a NEW and FRESH place to grow.

There are few things that match what laughter and a bit of  shallowness can provide in the way of whole-health and wellness.  Oswald Chambers warns, “Beware of allowing yourself to think that the shallow concerns of life are not ordained of God; they are as much of God as the profound. To be shallow is not a sign of being wicked, nor is shallowness a sign that there are no deeps: the ocean has a shore. Our safeguard is in shallow things. Determinedly take no one serious but God.”

So do laughter.  Enjoy some shallow. It is life handed out to others and health and joy welling up in yourself. Stop taking yourself so seriously!

Here are my top picks for some great holiday family games, puzzles and reads (not an exhaustive list or I would exhaust you.).

GAMES

  1. Settlers of Catan (If you have more than four, get the expansion pack)
  2. UNO Spin (My family LOVES this game, though it is not my favorite.)
  3. Whodunit (Find it on Ebay.  It is a great game of logic and clues–more challenging than just regular Clue.)
  4. Monopoly (If you have a long time to play…)
  5. Farkle (Easy peasy dice game)
  6. Pictionary (We found one on the Wii that is really fun, too!)
  7. Sorry! (Simple for 5 and up)
  8. Cranium (Fun and lots of laughter)
  9. Apples to Apples (For older kids, but they LOVE it!)
  10. Sequence, Mexican Dominoes and Pit (Couldn’t decide which one, so added all games! Pit gets pretty loud, just to let you know.)

PUZZLES

  1. Times Square
  2. Night Before Christmas (Can You See What I see?)
  3. Trump’s General Store
  4. On the Porch
  5. A Joyful Celebration
  6. Moonlight Funning
  7. Sunday Evening Sleigh Ride (Holiday Hidden Messages)
  8. Keepsakes on Santa’s Desk
  9. No Room at the Inn
  10. Wet Your Whistle and Warm Your Toes

READ-ALOUDS

  1. The Hobbit J.R.R. Tolkien
  2. Chronicles of Narnia series C.S. Lewis
  3. The City of Ember Jeanne Duprau
  4. Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief Rick Riordan
  5. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz L Frank Baum
  6. Henry Higgins Beverly Cleary
  7. Trixie Belden #1: The Secret of the Mansion Julie Campbell
  8. Betsy Tacy Maud Hart Lovelace
  9. Anne of Green Gables Lucy Maud Montgomery
  10. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Mark Twain

How about you?

Do you have any recommendations for games, puzzles and read-alouds that we should check out?

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Make a Batch of Bubble Mixture!

Bubble Mixture

If you are looking for a fun craft for your kids this summer, check out what my daughter and I made–homemade bubble mixture!

It is very inexpensive and easy to make. One bowl kept my daughter entertained for most of the summer. This bubble recipe works out great if you are short on funds but need something fun and creative for your kids to do.

Here is what you will need to create your own bubble mixture:

1/2  cup dishwashing detergent (I used Dawn or Joy– I purchased it from the Dollar Store)
4-1/2  cup water
4 tablespoons glycerin
(available in pharmacies)

When you are ready to make a batch, this is how you mix it:

Measure out the water, detergent, and glycerin into container with a cover and stir gently. Note: The longer you let the mixture set, the larger the bubbles are and the longer they seem to last.

We had loads of fun playing with this bubble mixture! It kept hands and bodies busy instead of saying,
“Moooom, I’m bored!”


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Oobleck~What is That Runny Stuff?

Oobleck 1

To me, this stuff looks like a gobbly, goopy mess. But to kids. . . it is the divine and fun way to play!

It basically starts out all runny, but when you apply pressure to it, it turns into a hard solid ball.

Once pressure is released, it automatically turns into a runny, gloopy mess again. Apply pressure and it starts all over again.

The kids played with this stuff for over an hour. Eventually the liquid dehydrates from it and it just starts to crumble, but for a while it is SO fun to play with. I even enjoyed it!

If you want to make your own Oobleck, here is the recipe. I love it because it uses simple household items.

Oobleck

2 parts cornstarch
1 part water
food coloring of your choice
(FYI–the food coloring will stain your hand, but it should come off with soap and water)

Mix all items together and play until your heart’s content!

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