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FAMILY night

It’s nearing the middle of March. My heads going to mush right along with my middle. Oh I long for a nice hot day, or even just a day I can take our dog for a walk with out freezing a lung.

I’m not one to push my kids outside…if they are reading or doing something constructive I leave it alone….but on occasion I do get out the broom and sweep them all out the door. Get some fresh air you Brats! My littlest, Cece, will go in and out no less than 50 times. “It’s cold, my sock is funny in my boot, Luke took my sled, I can’t find my sled, there’s snow outside.” Don’t send protective services after me but I have locked the door on her before…just for 10 minutes or so, not over night or anything like that….geesh.
I’ve tried to get creative this winter. To get us moving and interactive with each other. Instead of all six of us each going to our separate corners of the house and doing our own thing. It hasn’t quite worked out the way I’d hoped, but I thought I would share our activities and the outcomes with you. If nothing else you will get a good laugh at our expense.
My first attempt at FUN and getting our booties moving was Dance Party Night. WhooHoo! Who doesn’t love to dance? I LOVE TO DANCE. I could stay out on the dance floor all night. (But, these days all night looks more like 15 minute intervals 30 minutes apart).
So here’s the Dance Party scoop!
I told my kiddos that I would give them each three iTunes bucks a week to make a Dance Party Play list. Or they could take songs we already had and put it into the play list. Then we would build on the list each week. Sunday Night was Dance Party time. We could hear each others music preferences and have a grand ol’ time dancing the night away every Sunday night, all winter long.
I explained this all to them over dinner one evening. I expected Whoops and Hollers , “AWESOME mom you Rock!”, milk glass CHEERS!, and silverware banging.
NONE of that.
They all looked at me like I had an alien on my shoulder, or worse a giant booger hangin out of my nose! Silence. Then my oldest daughter, says “really? why? I don’t wanna do that.” Then it started. The mutiny!
Full on mutiny.
I thought I was gonna be given the “Cool Mom” award, for this marvelous idea. iTunes money, dancing with mom and dad, hangin’ out together. Apparently that is not a “cool mom” idea. So I conceded, “let’s just try it once…..pleeaase.”

“Mom’s lost her marbles…”

The week went on, I kept giving them reminders to get their songs in to “THE Dance Party Play list”. Sunday afternoon rolls around. No songs in the play list. So I decide to take matters into my own hands. I made a play list, and at 6pm sharp I round up the troops, plugged in the iPod dock and start dancin like a freak of nature! Ken was being a good sport, but I could tell his heart was not in it either.

Three oldest looking over my play list, mumbling, trying to think of a way they could get out of the kaka-maymee-idea their mother had.

Of course my baby was being a good sport.

She didn’t want her poor mama to look a fool all alone on the dance floor. Wouldn’t be the first time. Please ignore the arm dangle.

Yeh! My Lover decided to join me. Look at him, he’s watchen’ my butt jiggle. Just like
J E L L O baby!

OK, finally the troops were comin’ around. Teaching their father some new moves!

My younger two ended up having a good time, the older two made me promise not to post any pictures of them dancing….”really not cool mom”.
Eventually they all took pity on me and started dancing. We all got a little excersise and had a few good laughs. But I decided not to push the Dance Party on my family again. When the kiddos were little we used to boogie down all the time. On a daily basis we would have the music cranking and dance around. Where did those days go? Sniffle, snort, they get big and no fun so fast.
Here are a few other things we tried….THANKFULLY with more success than the Dance Party!
Game Night. My kiddos range in age from 8 to 14, so sometimes it gets tricky trying to find a game we all enjoy.
Here a few of our favorites. Spoons, Apples to Apples, LRC (Left Right Center), Bogle, Skip-bo, The T-shirt Game, and Guesstures.

Giant Spoons
These game are all “the more the merrier” type games. Sometimes there will be other kids around so these games work well for a gang.

A note regarding the game Guesstures: Beware of tile flooring sometimes when acting out your word it can get slippery and you may or may not fall flat on your face. Not that I have ever done that or anything.

Puzzle. I bought a 500 piece jig-saw puzzle and set a folding table up in our basement in hopes that we would gather around the puzzle and “get-er done” while spending quality time together, and maybe singing a few show tunes! Fat chance. I found out my 8 year old loves puzzles and the “one on one” time with mommy. The other three have joined in for a nano second here and there, but mostly it has been a great way for me to hang with my baby.

Wii Night. Do you have the Wii gaming system? It was our present to the kids for Christmas a few years back. They HAD TO HAVE IT! After that first year they have barely played it at all. The kids received the Michael Jackson the Experience game as a gift this past Christmas, believe it or not I could get them to dance with me doing the Wii game, but not of their own accord.
Ding dongs!
Oh well, it’s been fun. We have bowled a few times, and done some crazy balance game. By the way the Michael Jackson the Experience is a darn good work out. I had sore abs the next day!
Take a Sunday drive. Hop in the car and drive. No movies. No cell phones. No iPods. Just drive somewhere rural, maybe somewhere that involves a treat at the end. Like The Peanut Shop in Holland. (Peanut Shop is a old fashioned candy shop that my kids love.) It doesn’t have to be on Sunday, of course. That’s just what I call a slow paced drive that doesn’t involve the highway.
Pizza Night. It’s quick and easy to pick up a pizza for dinner. These days most people are within 5 fast food pizza shops.
What ever happened to going out for pizza?
Ordering and waiting together at a table. Novel idea huh? A couple of our family favorites are Vitales, Fricanos, The Clover Bar, Big O’s. It’s a relatively inexpensive meal to eat out with your family, especially if you can get away with water only or better yet if they have pop by the pitcher. My kiddos LOVE pizza out nights!
These are just a few of the ways we tried to break up the long winter months. Add a little zing into our lives. Even though my kiddos weren’t really into a few of the activities, I felt like at least we tried, and we did have some good laughs on Dance Party Night, and I found out my little one likes puzzles.
If you, like me, are from the Northern Regions, then you are most likely still looking at snow on the ground. Maybe these ideas will help get you through these last few weeks of winter.
I would love to hear what you do with your family to have fun and spend “quality” time together.
Rock On!

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  1. Sheila~
    WONDERFUL ideas; all of them!! I think I might just try dance party night. My kids are a bit younger, so maybe it will be better accepted? Every once in a while I'll break into a jive, but since they're not expecting it I end up dancing alone & getting strange looks (go figure?). I bet if there was a plan & they were looking forward to it, maybe, JUST maybe they're buy into it??

    As a family we do love to play games. We don't have a specific night identified "game night" but frequently we'll just bust out a game & play it together. Every so often we'll just get out the coloring books & all just color together too. Now with boys 4.5 & 7 I can get away with that. Not sure how it would go over with your teens though??

    Anyway, thanks for the good idea & the laugh!

    ps, I didn't respond to your blog last week re: your new idea. I'll follow ya where-ever ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. So cute Shelia…We have started doing family night at our house too! I love your ideas. Since my boys are a little younger we have done a movie night, lego building challenge night, candyland and memory game night…and since the weather has been getting warmer we are planning an evening where we catch lighting bugs in mason jars. But those are just a few.