Five Things to Do This Valentine’s Day-That Fills Everyone’s Love Tank!

fivethingstodothisvalentinesday

Love is essential for emotional health and well-being and to feel loved is a primary human emotional need. According to Gary Chapman, author of “The Five Love Languages,”  love can be expressed and experienced in five ways:

-quality time

-words of affirmation

-physical touch

-receiving gifts

-acts of service

We have natural preferences and tendencies to give and receive love in one or two of the five ways listed.

Dr. Ross Campbell, a psychiatrist of children and adolescents, suggests each person has an “emotional tank” that needs to be kept full for optimal health and well-being. When our “love tank” is empty, we do not feel loved, perspective on life seems darker, we may feel irritable, and act out. “A lot of misbehavior in marriage grows out of an empty love tank,” said Dr. Gary Chapman.

Our children have their own love languages and love tanks too. Although, their primary languages will not be established until they are older, it’s important to keep their “love tanks” full by loving them in all five ways. Knowing your own and your family members’ love languages can improve relationships and help see interactions in a new way. Your can discover your love language here.

This Valentine’s Day be intentional with how you love and work to keep love tanks full. Below are a few ideas that reaches each type of love language.

Cooking: (quality time, acts of service, gifts)

For Younger Kids: Valentine’s Day Sparkle Playdough

valentinesdaysparkleplaydough.jpg

Sparkle Playdough Recipe adapted from https://www.iheartnaptime.net/

Ingredients:

-2 cups flour

-3/4 cup salt

-4 teaspoons of cream of tarter

-2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

-red food coloring

-red and silver glitter

-quart size plastic bags

Directions: 

1.) Add flour, salt, and cream of tarter to a large pot. Stir.

2.) Add water, oil, and food coloring.

3.) Over medium heat, stir mixture constantly until dough has thickened.

4.) Separate dough into two bags quart size plastic bags and add silver and red glitter.

5.) Knead the dough in the bag until glitter and food coloring is incorporated and combined.

6.) Have fun!

The playdough can be packaged with a heart cookie cutter and given as a cute Valentine’s Day gift.

valentinesdaysparkleplaydoughgift.jpg

 

For Older Kids and Adults: 

Try a new recipe and learn a new technique. Here’s a scrumptious recipe for truffles by my friend Stacey. They make a beautiful, thoughtful gift!

 https://www.inthekitchenwithstacey.com/chocolate-truffles/

staceystruffles.jpg

 

Crafts:  (quality time, receiving and giving gifts)

Younger, Older Kids and Adults: Pull out the craft supplies and lots of glitter and make Valentine’s cards.

valentinesdaycrafts

 

Older Kids and Adults: Sewing and Embroidery

We did a simple sewing project this week with muslin and embroidery floss. With a pencil, I stenciled a heart on the fabric and embroidered around the traced shape. They added heart after heart in different colors. The end result was so cute, we framed them.

embraceenthusiasmvalentinesdayheart

 

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Appreciate Love and Others : (words of affirmation, quality time)

Grab a deck of cards and some paper. Write 52 things you love about a person or what you love about being a family. Cut and paste one thing to each card. Hole punch cards and tie together. (This makes a great gift! I gave this set to my husband about five years ago.)

52 Reasons Why I love You
Create a gratitude board with the  100 Things I Love activity. We did this at MOPS a few of years ago as a practice in gratitude. It was a great reminder of all the big and little blessings that make my life richer and more enjoyable. This activity could be done together or separately.

100-things-i-love-activity

Dance Lessons (physical touch, quality time)

Lego Birthday Party - Box Step Feet Dance Steps DiagramGrab a partner and learn a new dance with these fun dance cards from Step Calvert Art.

 

You can get printable dance cards like the one above at this link: https://stephcalvertart.com/lego-birthday-party-dance-dancing/

Here’s an example: Rhumba

Reading Books: (quality time, physical touch)

reading

One of my favorite parts of the day is when we are all snuggled on the couch with a cozy blanket and a good book. No matter what the book it is, it’s the time spent together, the amazing places you “go”, and the interesting characters you “meet” that makes it such a special time. I also love the great conversations that follow the readings.

Take time to slow down and enjoy your loves today.  Have a very happy Valentine’s Day!

Love,

signature

 


Decorating Easter Eggs with Nail Polish

eastereggs3

Happy Easter!  He is risen! The tomb is empty and we celebrate hope and new life. I hope that you had a blessed day gathered around your friends and family.

Now, I realize that this post may be a little late for this year. Most of us will not be dying or decorating eggs until next Easter but I had to share this nail polish technique. Tuck it away for next spring or boil some eggs and give it a try. I couldn’t believe that it worked so well. Our eggs look like art. They boast bold, bright colors and unique designs and patterns. I was very tempted to boil another couple of eggs just to see what different patterns I could create.

You will need:

  • eggs (hard boiled or blown out)
  • bright colorful nail polish (the more expensive brands worked better than the cheaper polishes)
  • plastic cup
  • water (room temperature)
  • toothpicks
  • plastic gloves
  • newspaper or table cloth
  • paper towels
  • a place for the eggs to dry (egg carton, plate with paper towels)

Directions:

Watch the tutorial below.

 

Tips:

1.) Decorate eggs in a well-ventilated area. The nail polish smell can be overwhelming.

2.) Cover your table or work area with an old table cloth or newspaper. This can be a messy project.

3.) Be sure to use room temperature water.

4.) We had difficulty using the nail polish brush to drop the nail polish into the cup (see video.) Instead, we carefully tipped the nail polish bottle and let the desired amount polish slowly drop out into the water.

5.) When lowering the egg into the water, hold the egg vertically rather than horizontally. We noticed that the patterns and swirls seemed to come out better this way.

6.) If you do not want to waste eggs, blown out eggs would be work great too. (http://www.wikihow.com/Blow-Out-Eggs)

7.) To fill in any white spaces, dip the nail polished egg into the traditional egg dye.

8.) NOTE: I WOULD NOT ADVISE EATING THE EGGS AFTER DECORATING WITH NAIL POLISH. Instead of eating them, try an egg fight. Egg fights were a fun Easter tradition in our family complete with “trophies” and bragging rights.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1j2yJtea6Ug

Here are some of our eggs:. 

eastereggs1

eastereggs2

 

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Painting With Snow

Puffy Snow Paint

I am still waiting for a BIG snow storm to arrive. The “Blizzard of 2016” turned out to be a disappointment, dropping a total of zip-zero inches in NH. I am slightly bitter that the snow was redirected to the Mid-Atlantic states and accumulated in the yards and driveways of some of my relatives (who by the way, are not particularly known to be snow lovers.) My lucky brother and sister-in-law got at least 18 inches! Oh, I am so jealous!

I cannot say that we have had no snow this winter. Two weeks ago, a small storm came through bringing a wimpy three inches of snow with it. The kids were able to scrape together a cute, little snowman who stayed around much longer than we expected. Unfortunately, last week’s warmer temperatures did a number on the poor little guy. See picture below. (How about those flip flops???)

cute little snowman

sadsnowman

It seemed about the right time to whip up a little “snow” of my own. My kids love snow paint! Snow painting is an easy-to-make, fun, sensory activity. With snow paint, you can create three-dimensional snowmen and other snow designs that will stay around all winter no matter what the weather report is.

Snow Paint

Puffy Snow Paint Snowmen

You will need:

  • shaving cream
  • school glue
  • glitter (optional)
  • paper plates or bowl
  • spoons or hands to mix with
  • construction paper
  • paintbrush
  • materials for snowman’s arms, mouth, nose, accessories

On a paper plate, mix 1/4 cup school glue to 3/4 cup shaving cream. Add glitter. Combine with spoon. If using your hands, I would recommend blending the materials in a big bowl or on a cookie sheet. It will give you more room to work with and help contain the snow.

Mixing Puffy Snow Paint

Using your finger or a paintbrush, make an outline of a snowman on construction paper. Generously fill the outline in with snow paint. The more snow, the better. The more textured, the better.

Snowman outline

Decorate your snowman as you wish. Use different materials for his arms and face. Give him a scarf or a hat. Be creative. Twigs work great for arms and a background. Fleece and fabric work beautifully for hats and scarfs.

snowmanaccents

Add falling snow and/or a background. Allow paint to dry completely. When dry, the paint will set into a soft, puffy material.

snowmensnowpaint

Embrace Winter! Embrace Creativity!

(This idea is adapted from a  BOZ MOPPETS Lesson)

 

 

 

 


Tot-Time Tuesday-Autumn Mixed Collage

Tot-Time Tuesday- Autumn Mixed Collage

The first day of autumn was last week but the warm weather continues to linger in parts of New England. I am ready for autumn to make its full, glorious appearance and stay for good. Rainbow leaves, over-sized, comfy-sweaters, UGGs, fresh apples, and bright-orange pumpkins are some of my favorite things and I cannot wait to be reunited with them.

Last Wednesday, to get us in the right mood for fall, I read It’s Harvest Time by Amy Beveridge. It is a short, early reader that highlights all of God’s blessings in the season of autumn. I love these little, inexpensive Happy Day books (Tyndale House Publishers.) They incorporate faith, family, and values in interesting stories with brightly colored pictures.

It's Harvest Time

 After the book, I modified an idea I found in our Boz’s MOPPETS curriculum. I provided my son with a red paper plate and a variety of fall colored materials. The materials included pieces of orange curling ribbon, yarn, pipe cleaners, twine, sparkly leaves, and pumpkins (that I had purchased on clearance at the end of last season.)

fall collage

I put some Mod-Podge in a cup, gave my son a paint brush and demonstrated how to paint with the glue, then stick the item to the plate. I think that he enjoyed painting with the glue more than placing the items. When my girls were his age, they would have enjoyed placing the items (A LOT of items) on the plate over the gluing part. The differences in my children amaze me and makes me smile!

 Fall Collage

Unfortunately, I forgot to get a picture of the final product. BUT we will be doing this project again with real items we find outside. I am hoping for brilliant red maple leaves, yellow birch leaves, artistic designs of sassafras leaves, and brown acorns. We just need fall weather to come and stick around. It shouldn’t be too long now. Mark Twain was very correct when he said, “If you don’t like the weather in New England now, just wait five minutes.”


Tot-Time Tuesday- Traveling Time- Screen Free Ideas

Tot-Time Tuesday Traveling

We went on a short family trip over the weekend.  I knew that we would be spending a bit of time in the van- about 3 hours each way. Although the kids would have been thrilled to watch movies the whole time, I wanted at least one way of the trip to be completely screen-free. With a little research and a few Pinterest searches, I came up with some ideas.

Here is what we did…

Tot-Time Tuesday- TravelingTimes

We started our trip off with a quick trip to Wendy’s (no fast food judgments-LOL.) My son found a creative (and disgusting) way to entertain himself. I also had plenty of other healthy snacks on hand. Granola bars, dried fruit, pretzels, almonds, and Annie’s Organic Fruit Snacks. The fruit snacks were a hit. I rarely buy them so they were a treat for the kids to eat.

tot time tuesdy dressup tot time tuesday dressup 2

The Kid’s Meals came with a toy (King Julien’s crown) which provided about 5 minutes of entertainment.  And since we like to “Move it, Move it”….

Music and Traveling

We had some great music to listen to in the van. Yes, we are that family! We sing loudly and “dance” in our seats. Recently, my son has started to demand “MUCK” “MUCK” (translation “music, music”) from his car seat and we are happy to oblige with a “please” and “thank you.”

Our top music album choice this weekend was TOBYMAC’s ***THIS IS NOT A TEST*** This album was just released August 7th. It is a great collection of soulful dance and pop music. With family friendly and uplifting lyrics, it is hard not to move or be in a good mood listening to it.

Check it out! http://tobymac.com/

Coloring on a Car Trip

I was surprised at how long coloring occupied my little guy. Before the trip, I printed out free coloring pages of some of my son’s favorite things- tractors and monster trucks. I put them all on a clip board and handed him one crayon at a time. I was afraid to give him more than one as the whole crayon box would have been poured out. This was also a great time to practice and reinforce color recognition. “Oh, you want a GREEN crayon.” “Sure, here is a GREEN crayon.” It is amazing how much learning is done naturally.

bingo

For my older girls, I found some fun car bingo sheets. We are still working on reading skills, so I loved the one from Stuck On You. This BINGO sheet had pictures AND words. It was simple and clean looking.  (link below)

http://www.stuckonyou.com.au/ourblog/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/cartripbingo.pdf

For older kids try: http://www.free-puzzles.net/travel-games-for-kids/printable-games/scavenger-hunt/scavenger-hunt.pdf

Gold Balls and Pipe Cleaners

We did not get to use this in the car but we used it in the hotel. I found this idea online and modified it for my family. I purchased practice golf balls and had a bunch of pipe cleaners. The kids stuck the pipe cleaners through the holes (fine-motor skills) and created “creatures.”  Or try to lace one pipe cleaner through all the holes. I tried but couldn’t do it.  Even my husband got in on the fun. 🙂

pipe cleaners pipe cleaners and golfballs

I was prepared with other ideas but we did not have a chance to use them. I came across some cute and great resources on Dating Diva’s site . http://www.thedatingdivas.com/tara/the-road-trip-date

Their Road Trip FINAL QUESTIONNAIRE  was great but the questions were geared for a husband and wife trip. I came up with my own questionnaire that could be used with the whole family. (See PDF below.) It’s going to be a great way to get the family talking on our next road trip. Something to look forward to on our next adventure!

Road Trip Family Questionnaire

Click below for PDF

Road Trip Family Questionnaire