Must Have Pieces of Quality Family Time to Keep Your Family Together Forever

7 Must-Have Pieces of Quality Family Time to Keep Your Family Together Forever!

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This post may contain advertisements and/or links for products and services that I value. I offer recommendations to products and/or services that I find helpful in my own life as a mom. I may receive a commission based on viewer purchases or interactions with these ads. You will NOT be charged any extra money. All prices will stay the same for you whether your purchase items/services through links found on this site or not!

 

TRIVIA: On average, how much quality time do American families spend together per day???

(Scroll to the bottom of the post for the answer!)

 

Families in our world today face many challenges- but none so great as the lack of time together. 

  • Moms and dads work,
  • kids are involved in after-school activities or sports or clubs,
  • the house has to be maintained,
  • someone’s got to make dinner,
  • the laundry needs washed,
  • the dishes need cleaned.

There are so many things competing for our attention that it’s easy to get distracted and forget those people who are most important to us- our kids, our spouse, our parents, our siblings, our cousins, our grandparents…

If you fall into that category, don’t fear! You can keep your family together by making whatever time you do have with your family QUALITY time. Even if it’s just an hour each evening after work.

It’s just like a puzzle- if you have all the pieces, everything fits together naturally. BUT- If you’re missing one of the vital elements, you’re not achieving your end goal of having successful quality family time.

Here’s the recipe: four vital attitudes and three vital activities to incorporate into your family time to achieve QUALITY family time. 

two people doing fist bump

Attitude 1: Respect

Now, don’t stress if you’ve got teenagers at home. Sometimes it seems like you’ll never have respect in your family time with teens around.

Remember that the only person you have control over is you. If you set the example of respect, people around you will follow. 

Ideas to show respect at home:

  • Try to see from your children’s perspective. Every child, no matter their age, has real reasons for why they act the way they do. If you can see that, you can respond in a respectful way that meets their needs.
  • Pay close attention when your family members talk to you. That means eye contact! I know, it’s so much easier to listen while you scrub the dishes or throw a load of laundry into the wash. But doing other things shows the child or your spouse that they are #2 in your life. And they’re not! They’re #1 all the way!
  • Value their opinions. 
  • Treat your kids and spouse like you treat your friends. The other day, I fell asleep on the couch after a long day. My poor toddler was potty training and had a bit of a sick tummy. She tried to wake me up, but I told her mommy was sleeping and she needed to let me rest. When I woke up a little bit later, I found out that she had an accident because she needed my help to go potty!! Poor girl!!! I am quick to offer help to my friends, and I NEVER ignore them (even if I were sleeping!) but I didn’t help my child and ignored her legitimate need. It’s ok because I learned from it and I’ll be a little better tomorrow than I was today.

two child hugging in front of field

Attitude 2: Forgiveness

Have you ever felt like it’s easier to hold a grudge at home than in other relationships? I guess you kind of HAVE to forgive people at work because you’ve got to come in to the office and be civil every day or you’ll be fired.

Nobody’s going to fire you from being a parent.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t big consequences for holding grudges in the home.

Ideas to show forgiveness at home:

  • Never being up old offenses. If you’ve truly forgiven, then they’re gone from your mind completely.
  • Don’t keep score. Families aren’t about winning or losing. Tallies of good and bad behaviors are hurtful. We love each other equally no matter what the score board says.
  • Show love quickly after a family member hurts you. The faster things are solved, the better. Make it happen!
  • Always believe in your family, invest in them, show interest in them, sacrifice for them- even when it feels like you’ve given enough. You haven’t. You’ll always be giving and they’ll always be giving back. Take a minute to see all the ways that they are giving back to you! You’ll be amazed!!

person carrying baby while reading book

Attitude 3: Love

We all know we should love our family. And we do!

But sometimes the feeling of love in the home gets lost in the shuffle.

Things have to be done, we’re on a time crunch, it’s hard to keep patience. But when we recenter on what’s really important, it’s not so hard after all.

Ideas to show love at home:

  • Speak in a kind voice. Your tone and volume can convey love even when you are disciplining or correcting a child… or even during a disagreement with your spouse.
  • Read up on love languages and do something special for each member of your family that fits their love language! I love Love Languages. Basically, it’s a way to tailor your expressions of love in a way that will be well-received by the person you are showing your love to. And I totally believe in them!
    • My husband is a “words of affirmation” guy. I’m not. So he was always giving me lots of compliments and I never realized that I needed to compliment him back to make him feel loved!
  • Make time for each other. I know, the whole goal here is to make the most of our limited time together, but the fact is- the more time you have with your family, the better! Families are just too important to leave up to chance. We don’t just sit back and hope our marriage will make it. We make it work! We don’t just hope our kids will turn out ok. We actively teach them to be responsible citizens! The more family time you have, the better.
    • By the way, everyday family time is WAYYY more important than once in a while family time (like family vacations). Try things like:
      • Taking your spouse on a date every week (even if it’s an in-home date).
      • Having a “family night” once a week and plan a special activity (even if it’s something cheap or FREE).
      • Get involved in your kids’ after school activities, clubs, or sports.
      • Help your kids with their homework.
      • Involve the kids in the household chores. They’ll get done faster (which means more fun time together) and the kids will learn important skills.

selective focus photography of woman and boy

Attitude 4: Compassion

Compassion is understanding other people’s problems, feelings, concerns, stresses, and misfortunes.

It’s caring enough to ask, and knowing enough to thoroughly relate.

It’s true empathy.

Ideas to show compassion in the home:

  • Create a Love Map of each family member’s life. This is a concept developed by John Gottman (see the link) that initially applies to your significant other, but it totally works for kids too!! Basically, if you really love someone, you should know the ins and outs of their life. Things like:
    • Who are your kids’ best friends?
    • What are your kids’ favorite foods?
    • What are your kids’ fears?
    • What are your kids’ goals?
  • Be an Emotion Coach to your children. Another awesome Gottman concept! If you don’t know about emotion coaching, you’ve got to check it out! It’s a scientifically proven method to teach your kids about emotions so that they can understand their own feelings and other people’s feelings. It’s great practice for adults too!
  • Ask each person how their day went, dig deeper, and really listen. That old question “How was your day?” is a great start! It can lead to understanding more about the details of your child’s life. But don’t stop there- ask more questions! Dig deeper! Get a real conversation going! And of course, make eye contact and give the child your full attention when they tell you.
  • Make one-on-one time with each person. Personal topics don’t always come up in front of a group. Even if the person wants to share, the group setting can cause them to stay quiet. If you make time for each child to have one-on-one time with you, they are more likely to open up about their individual struggles.

 

Ok, let’s get to the nitty gritty!!! You’ve got your family all gathered together. You’ve got the TV off. You’re all staring at each other…

Now what??

woman wearing white sweater carrying a daughter

Activity 1: Discussions

Family time doesn’t have to be full of excitement and packed with activities.

Some of my best memories as a kid are of my family gathered in the living room. We’d all be strewn all over. Some of us laying on the floor, some on couches.

There was never enough sitting space for all the people present, so there’d be a few of us on the arms of the couch, a few on the headrests, a couple on other people’s laps, just lounging anywhere we fit.

And then we’d just… talk.

That’s so hard to do nowadays because the TV or our phones keep us entertained. We almost HAD to be bored before we had the best conversations.

And these were amazing teaching opportunities for our parents! They got to talk about the things that are most important to them! They discussed religion, politics, our future, family goals, what things are important to them and why, how to be successful in life, and much more.

Here’s some ideas of topics to discuss as a family:

  • Religion. Or even if you’re not religious, discuss what you believe and why. Don’t forget to let each child form their own opinions and express them!
  • Politics and current events. It’s important for kids to understand specific issues in the world around them. They can start forming opinions of the best solutions and grow to be adults who passionately (and respectfully) defend their political views.
  • Your children’s future! What do they want to be when they grow up? Do they want to be parents? How will they make a difference in the world? Who will they help? What do they need to do or become now to reach their goals?
  • All about your kids!! This is a great time to develop those love maps! Ask all kinds of questions about your kids’ day to day life! Click here for some great Get to Know You questions.
  • Set family goals. My family decided we wanted to go to Disneyland together. There were a lot of kids, so that was no easy task to save enough money. But we set that goal together and then we worked hard to meet that goal! We saved pennies, we contributed money we had earned, we gathered change in WalMart parking lots, anything to gather the money! And then we finally got to go and had a blast!!!
  • What qualities we want to have. Set personal goals, with a whole support system in your family to help you meet those goals! Decide what you want to become, and work toward that goal- but you don’t have to do it alone! And you can inspire the others in your family to be better too.
  • Personal struggles. You’ve got a perfect, loving, non-judgmental, supportive community to bounce ideas off of! Need advice? Need to think through a solution? Family time is the perfect time! It’s amazing how often the kids have the perfect solutions to big adult problems. They really are clever!

person mopping the floor

Activity 2: Work

Yes, family time can be used for work… and SHOULD be used for work!

Life isn’t always fun and games. It’s important for kids to learn how to handle difficult thins too. Who better to coach them through that than mom and dad??

So get your kids involved in the work at home, and you get involved in their work tasks!

Here’s some ideas to include work in your family time:

  • Help kids practice! What are your kids involved in? Sports? A musical instrument? Chess? Try it out with them! They can teach you something, you can help them out, and you’ll have family time while checking one thing off the to do list! Not to mention that showing interest in something your child is interested in (even if you’re NOT interested in that thing) really goes a long way!!
  • Do homework together. Even if you don’t know how to do the problems, you can all research it together or maybe one of the other kids know the solution. 🙂
  • Get the chores done. Your kids can and should help with household chores. It’s great for them to learn how to clean a house! They are going to have to care for their own space someday, and it teaches them respect for the things they have. It also creates empathy for you and all the hard work you do for them every day.
  • Take care of the yard. Same story- just outside! Help your kids learn important skills and learn to value what they have!
  • Let older kids care for younger siblings or pets. Most people will become parents some day. Caring for younger siblings is great practice! But there’s an even bigger lesson-caring for siblings teaches kids how to sacrifice for the well-being of another person.
  • Help out a neighbor! When you teach your kids to work hard, help them learn to care for others outside the family too. You are a vital part of your community. You can build your neighborhood up and make it better! Your children will learn the magic of helping out someone in need.
  • Cook dinner together! Follow these links for all you need to know!!!

Activity 3: Fun

This is usually what I think about when I think of family time! FUN!

And it is a great piece of the puzzle- but now we know, it’s not the ONLY piece of the puzzle.

When you have fun, make sure you’re doing something fun for everyone in the family. Choose an activity that will reach out to a struggling family member. Choose an activity that will teach a new skill! Choose an activity that will require family members to work together cooperatively!

Here’s some great ideas of fun family activities!

 

Do you have other great ideas for family time?? Share them in the comments!!!

 

Well, that’s it!!

Go have fun, learn together, grow individually and as a unit!!

You’ll all be stronger and happier as you spend time with your family… as long as you make it QUALITY time!!!

For more information, see The Family: A Proclamation to the World. 

Sincerely,

Mrs. S

 

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Who is Mrs. S… and why do people call you that? 

It’s my favorite nickname! That’s what all my students call me!

I’ve been around the block a time or two. I’ve worked with children from ages 0-18, some with mental illness, some with disabilities, some with Autism, and many with behavioral problems.

I also worked as a parent educator!

All that doesn’t hold a candle to my best experience with children- being a mom. Want to learn more about me? Click here! 

 

Trivia Answer: American families ONLY spend an average of 37 minutes per day of family time. 

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Top Recipes To Cook With Your Kids To Teach Life Long Cooking Skills

Top 9 Recipes to Cook with your Kids To Teach Life Long Cooking Skills

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This post may contain advertisements and/or links for products and services that I value. I offer recommendations to products and/or services that I find helpful in my own life as a mom. I may receive a commission based on viewer purchases or interactions with these ads. You will NOT be charged any extra money. All prices will stay the same for you whether your purchase items/services through links found on this site or not! 

Updated 2/6/2019

Every day, I have the same two big items on my to do list- spend time with the kids and make dinner.

I love to get both done at once!

But I was also getting sick of eating cereal for dinner… since that was the only food my kids knew how to help me “make”.

We decided to branch out. I realized that if I really wanted to have more options of what to cook with my kids, I needed to teach them some basic cooking skills! I was excited about this idea, since I knew these skills would become valuable life lessons!!

And I could eat more variety of delicious meals, NOW!

Here are some of my favorite meals or deserts to cook with my kids’ help… along with the life lesson that my kids learned from each cooking experience!

girl eating cereal in white ceramic bowl on table

1) Anything out of a box.

I know, I know…. These things are rarely healthy. But they are easy and yummy! And a great experience for your kids.

And when they go to college, these will probably be their staple food items anyways, so they might as well know how to cook them.

Food out of a box is the best preparation for reading and following a recipe for a child who is beginning to cook. 

It is simplified, has few ingredients, and is easy to follow. Making these easy food items gives kids confidence that they can make more complex foods by following a recipe.

But that’s not all! Kids also learn concepts like:

  • checking to make sure you have the ingredients before you begin cooking,
  • measuring ingredients,
  • substituting ingredients as needed (my kiddo learned this when we realized we were out of butter so we used applesauce in our cookie dough instead!)
  • having appropriate cleanliness in the kitchen,
  • asking questions as they learn!

Here are some of my favorite boxed foods to prepare with my kids:

  • Brownies
  • Cakes
  • Pudding
  • Cookies
  • Hamburger Helper
  • Pancakes
  • Pasta Salads
  • Mac N Cheese
  • Top Roman (If you’re sick of Top Roman, try adding in fun extras like fresh veggies or meats.)

slice of brownies beside silver strainers

2) Snow Ice Cream

This recipe is usually my kids’ VERY VERY first experience “cooking” with me. They make their own Snow Ice Cream when they are as young as 1 1/2-2 years old.

‘ love it because they get to feel involved and get a taste of making their own food… with absolutely no possibility of getting hurt in the kitchen. No heat, no knives, no worries! 

This recipe is so fun and easy to make! It is seasonal… and dependent on the weather… but if your kids love to make it, you could always substitute shaved ice for the snow.

And of course, (I can’t stress this enough…) make sure your kids are gathering clean snow. 😊

snow-covered tree lot during daytime

Snow Ice Cream

2 cups Clean Snow (or shaved ice)

2-3 Tbsp. Sweetened Condensed Milk

1 drop of Vanilla (or Root Beer Flavoring, or Strawberry Flavoring, or Orange Flavoring, etc…)

First, gather clean snow from outside right after a snowfall. I prefer to set a clean bowl outside during a snowfall. The bowl slowly fills up with perfectly fresh and 100% clean snow. No hoping or guessing that the snow hasn’t been somewhere yucky. If you are going to allow your kids to gather their own snow, this step takes a lot of supervision to make sure the kids aren’t gathering snow from the wrong places.

Second, divide the snow into cups for each child. Add the remaining ingredients and allow the child to stir up his or her ice cream. Add more snow if needed (sometimes the mixture tastes too strong and more snow will remedy this).

That’s it! Ready to eat!

Please note that adding the other ingredients makes the snow more dense than it was to begin with, so you end up with less ice cream than you might think. 2 cups of snow makes about ½ cup of ice cream.

I use this recipe to teach kids the following concepts: 

  • Following mom’s directions in the kitchen
  • Getting creative to make the recipe your own
  • Mixing without spilling
  • Why eating clean food is important (we usually discuss how germs can make us sick and that’s why we wash all the produce mom buys at the store) 

3) Kabobs

people having a barbecue party

Kabobs are so much fun to make with kids!

When kids make kabobs, they learn the following life skills:

  • Early exposure to the concept of being careful because some kitchen tools can hurt you. This is a great pre-lesson before learning to cut with knives.
  • Become familiar with ingredients. Kids learn to recognize and identify a variety of foods that they may cook with later on.
  • More likely to try new foods
  • Choosing between many food options
  • Introduce the concept of cross contamination. Explain that we cook the meat before they touch it so that they don’t cross contaminate fruits and veggies with raw meat.
  • How food changes when it is cooked. Example: raw bell peppers vs. cooked bell peppers.

There are so many options of yummy foods to put on a kabob- cheese, fruit, veggies, meat- so it’s easy to make a healthy kabob that your kids will actually enjoy eating.

Rather than following a strict recipe, I usually just set out all the food options (precooked if necessary) and let me kids go to town spearing their favorite foods. Here are my favorite kabob options.

  • Meat cut into bite sized pieces
    • Beef, chicken, or pork are the most common.
    • I have also cut up lunch meat into squares and allowed my kids to put that on their kabobs.
    • Another nontraditional option is Little Smokies or pieces of hot dogs.
    • Be sure to cook the meat beforehand to avoid kids touching raw meat or cross contaminating other foods.
  • Grapes
  • Strawberries, Raspberries, Blueberries
  • Melon pieces
    • Honeydew, watermelon, or cantaloupe
  • Cheese
    • My kids enjoy when I give them options in various kinds of cheese- such as swiss, mozzarella, or cheddar.
  • Nontraditional fruits- such as apples, orange slices, or chunks of pears- can also be added to kabobs. They are tasty and help kids eat a variety of foods.
  • Any vegetable that you can get away with. I try any and all new veggies that I can possibly skewer on a kabob. This is a great way to trick my kids into trying new foods because they are so excited that they get to spear the food. I’ve done onion, bell peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, squash, and cooked carrots.

When we make kabobs, I cut up all the ingredients, put each thing out on the table in a bowl, and allow the kids to choose what they want on their kabob. They love “spearing” the food onto a kabob stick.

Sometimes, my kids make crazy kabob creations that I wouldn’t necessarily want to try, but they are always very excited. They are more willing to try new things when we make kabobs.

4) Stir Fry or Fried Rice with Veggies

I use stir fry as my child’s first exposure to actual cooking! Here’s why stir fry is the perfect meal to cook when it’s your first time cooking:

  • No measuring ingredients, which means there is no messing up! Stir fry always turns out great (unless you burn it). This is a great confidence-builder for kids who are just learning the skill of cooking! 
  • The child can make it their own. There’s no right or wrong answer to which veggies or meats go into stir fry. This is a great time for creativity! 
  • There’s little technical skill. Just stir to avoid burning!
  • The heat doesn’t have to be turned up all the way. Keep the heat at medium. Even though it will take a little longer, it’s less likely for the child to get a burn. 
  • You can involve kids in a variety of ways.
    • Kids love to add ingredients into the sauté pan as you go.
    • If your child is old enough and responsible enough, you can let them help you cut the veggies or meat into bite sized pieces. If that’s not the case, you can do it before hand. No harm done!
    • If your kids are old enough and responsible enough, they might enjoy stirring the pan while the veggies cook.
    • If your child can handle it, this is a great recipe for him to try ALL on his own!

Ready for your recipe?

Stir Fry: 

First of all, the list of ingredients is optional. Here are some of my favorite options of ingredients to include in stir fry. Pick and choose your favorites!

  • Precooked Rice
  • Soy Sauce or a similar yummy sauce (I’ve substituted General Tsao’s sauce, Orange Chicken Sauce, Kung Pao Sauce, Sweet and Sour Sauce, etc.)
  • Onions
  • Mushrooms
  • Peas
  • Egg
  • Bell Peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Chicken, Beef, or another favorite meat
  • Green Beans
  • Bok Choy
  • Water Chestnuts
  • Sesame Seeds

Cut up all the ingredients into bite sized pieces. My kids love to “measure” to see if the veggies are bite sized by eating a few.

In a large frying pan, cook your meat first.

When your meat is cooked, add any veggies you would like. Stir to avoid burning the food until the veggies are cooked.

Add in your sauce.

You can serve stir fry by itself, over rice, or you can easily make it into fried rice by adding the rice into the sauté pan of veggies and cooking it with an egg.

5) Homemade Pizza

Who doesn’t love pizza? And making it yourself only adds to the fun!

Pizza teaches kids baking skills (which are VERY different from stove top cooking skills) such as:

  • How leavening agents make dough rise,
  • How the cooking process can transform dough into bread (there’s nothing like this when you’re making stir fry!) 
  • Measuring carefully to ensure that the dough turns out right,
  • Rolling out dough,
  • Taking your time!
    • I like to buy premade pizza dough. This cuts down on the prep time and makes my life easier. Sorry kids, you’ll never be bakers. 🙂 

Lucky for me, pizza still teaches some other things too. For example:

  • Creativity
  • Food presentation
  • Spreading ingredients evenly throughout
  • Using an oven- how to set the temperature, preheat the oven, turn on the light to check the food, etc. 
  • How to check to see if food is done baking (golden brown crust, not doughy) 

Here’s your recipe!

Homemade Pizza: 

If you’re cool, use the recipe found here (Courtesy of Sugar Spun Run) to make homemade dough.

If you’re like me, buy some premade dough and skip ahead. 🙂

Canned Spaghetti or Pizza Sauce

Shredded Cheese

Whatever toppings sound yummy!

Spread the pizza dough into a large circle on a sheet tray. If you are making one large pizza, allow each child to decorate a portion of the pizza with toppings.

It can also be fun to make several smaller pizzas so that each child can have his or her own.

The kids can help spread sauce and cheese on the dough.

Offer the kids a variety of toppings to make their pizza unique. Allow them to get creative and make their pizza a piece of art.

Here are a few flavor combinations that can be tasty!

  • Traditional (Marinara sauce, mozzarella, pepperonis, sausage, onion, bell peppers, olives, etc.)
  • Barbeque (BBQ sauce, mozzarella, chicken, bacon, pineapple, onion, etc.)
  • Alfredo (Alfredo Sauce, mozzarella, chicken, bacon, onion, tomato, etc.)
  • Desert Pizza (Chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, marshmallow cream, crushed cookies, crushed Oreos, pie fillings, etc.)

Bake according to the directions on the dough package. Usually 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes.

6) Fruit Salad

person holding sliced fruit salad on yellow bowl

Fruit Salad is a great way to let your kids practice using a knife by cutting soft fruit with a butter knife. The fruit pieces might not look pretty, but they will taste yummy. And your kid will learn a lot!

When I make fruit salad with my kids, I start by choosing which fruits they can cut themselves. Grapes, melons (after I remove the rind), and berries are easy for kids to cut with a butter knife.

I begin by removing the rind on any melons and then my kids cut the melon into pieces. They cut the grapes in half and strawberries into bite sized pieces.

As your child gets more skilled, allow him to experience more challenges- cutting more difficult fruits until he masters them all! 

That’s it! If you want a little extra pizzazz, you can serve your fruit salad out of a hollowed out watermelon rind. My kids get excited about that.

7) Fruit Pizza

Image result for fruit pizza

If fruit salad is too boring for you, put all those great knife skills to use on a fruit pizza!

  • Teach your kids to use a knife, using the same techniques described above. 
  • Teach creativity and self-expression. 
  • Teach presentation. 
  • Expose kids to unique foods, like kiwi, that they might not try otherwise. 
  • Spread icing using a butter knife.

There are really yummy recipes out there for fruit pizza made entirely from scratch.

However, when I’m cooking with my kids, simple is better.

Fruit Pizza: 

Premade Sugar Cookie Dough

Store Bought Cream Cheese Icing

Fruit

Help the kids roll the dough out into a pizza shape. Bake the cookie according to the directions on the package.

Once the cookie is cool, top the cookie with store-bought cream cheese icing. The kids love to spread the icing over the pizza.

The children can help me cut soft fruits, such as strawberries or kiwi, to put on top of the icing. Let them get creative and make a beautiful design of fruit.

Some of my favorite toppings for fruit pizza include: kiwi, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, almonds, peaches, grapes, mandarin oranges, and banana.

8) Quesadillas

Quesadillas are my favorite meal to teach kids to use cooking alternatives, like a griddle or a microwave. Of course, it’s excellent practice to learn to use a classic stove top as well! 
BLACK+DECKER Family-Sized Electric Griddle with Warming Tray & Drip Tray, GD2051B

  • Multiple cooking methods- griddle, stove top, or microwave! I often have conversations with my kids like this:  
    • How are various cooking methods alike? 
    • How are they different? 
    • Which one do you like best and why? 
    • What different circumstances might change your cooking method? (Example: If I’m in a hurry, a microwave is a great option!) 
  • If I’m teaching a child to cook who doesn’t want to sit and focus for very long, quesadillas can be a better option than stir fry. 
    • Active children can be more likely to be burned if they are fidgeting or playing around when they are supposed to be cooking. My favorite thing about quesadillas is that you can cook them over a low heat, reducing the risk that your child might burn themselves.

Quesadillas are simple, quick, and easy- which allows the kids to focus on the new skill of using a burner or griddle rather than on the preparation.

Quesadillas: 

Tortilla

Cheese

Nonstick Spray

Any desired add ins (Meat, veggies, salsa, etc.)

I begin by spraying a frying pan with a nonstick spray.

Before I turn the burner on, I place the tortilla in the pan and add cheese on one half. Fold the tortilla over to cover the cheese.

Then, turn the burner on low. Allow your child to flip the quesadilla when the first side is golden brown.

He/she can practice watching the food to avoid burning it, flipping the quesadilla, and using the stove top safely.

9) Cream Cheese Fruit Dip

I use this recipe to teach kids how to use a hand mixer in the kitchen- a very useful tool for lots of recipes.

Click the image below!

Hamilton Beach 62682RZ Hand Mixer with Snap-On Case, White

Here’s what you need:

2- 8oz packages of Cream Cheese

1 cup Powdered Sugar

Any fruit to dip, cut into bite sized pieces

The child begins by beating the cream cheese with the hand mixer for 3-5 minutes. It takes a long time to mix the cream cheese until there are no more lumps (more practice for the child!). You want your cream cheese to be smooth and creamy.

Add in the powdered sugar. Use the hand mixer to mix thoroughly.

Dip a variety of fruits in the fruit dip, including apples, bananas, grapes, berries, etc.

This recipe teaches kids to use the hand mixer without making a mess. I suggest mixing the cream cheese in a large mixing bowl to catch some of the mess.

If the child holds the hand mixer at an angle rather than straight up and down, the mixer will spray bits of cream cheese. Since you must mix the cream cheese for several minutes, the child gets lots of practice.

Do you have any favorite recipes to cook with your kids? Share them in the comments below so that we can all enjoy them!

Sincerely,

Mrs. S

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DIY In-Home Mother Daughter Spa Day!

DIY In-Home Mom and Daughter Spa Day!

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Photo by Adrian Motroc on Unsplash

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Updated: 2/6/2019

There’s nothing better than a day at the spa!

And it’s even more fun to take your daughter along. It’s a great place to get to know each other better, to relax together, and to feel spoiled together.

But, it can be SOOO expensive!

Massages, manicures, pedicures, facials…. The $$$ adds up fast. It’s just difficult to justify spending the money for a professional spa day.

Solution??? I created my own spa day, right in my home- which was a lot of fun and saved a lot of cash! We invited some friends and neighbors and had a great time.

This is a great activity for a girls’ day in, birthdays, before a big event like prom, for a sleepover, or just for fun!

This activity is a people-pleaser, from 5 year-olds, to teens, to adults! 

And you can make it custom to fit your own needs…. AND your own BUDGET! Yes please!

Here are my tips for a great spa day at home with your girls!

1) Relaxing Ambiance

The first trick is to make your home feel like a getaway.

If it still feels like your house, it just isn’t a special day.

Find small things to change that contribute to the overall atmosphere. We’re going for relaxing, zen, peaceful, paradisaical, fun, cozy. 

Here’s a few steps to create a spa mood:

  • Turn off lights.
  • Open windows for natural light and a light breeze.
  • Light candles… Or at least use tea lights.

KitchenGynti Scented Candles Gift Set – Lavender, Rose, Tea Tree and Peppermint, Candle Soy Wax for Stress Relief and Aromatherapy, Candles – 4 Pack

AIMASI Scented Candles Jasmine,Lotus,Lilac Blossoms & White Gardenia,Natural Soy Wax Portable Travel Tin Candle,Set Gift of 4

Yankee Candle Votives – Grab Bag of 10 Assorted Yankee Candle Votive Candles – Random Mixed Scents

Stonebriar Long Burning Tealight Candles, 6 to 7 Hour Extended Burn Time, Bulk 200-Pack

  • Remove all unnecessary items from the room for an empty, uncluttered, free feel.
  • Turn on relaxing music or nature sounds.
  • Rearrange the couches to create a large open space.
  • Bring in comfortable arm chairs (the kind that belong on a patio or pool area) to recline in.
  • Bring in pillows, towels, blankets, and anything else we could think of to make ourselves more comfortable.
  • Prepare treats and drinks beforehand and set them out on a coffee table between us to enjoy at our leisure.
    • We especially enjoyed snacks that we could eat easily without messing up our manicures, like crackers with cheese, fruit and dip, or pinwheels.
  • Turn on the Scentsy for a fresh new smell. (Click the image below!)

Candle Warmers Etc. Midsize Illumination Fragrance Warmer, Hobnail

Candle Warmers Etc. Illumination Fragrance Warmer, Peppercorn

VP Home Ceramic Fragrance Warmer (Live Love Laugh)

Febreze Wax Melts Air Freshener Variety Pack, Fresh-Pressed Apple, Hawaiian Aloha, Moonlight Breeze and Gain Original Scents (4 pack, 6 count each)

Yankee Candle Wax Tarts – Grab Bag of 10 Assorted Yankee Candle Wax Melts – Random Mixed Scents with BONUS yellow organza bag

Hosley Set of 6 Assorted Wax Cubes/Melts/Tarts – 2.5 oz Each. Apple Cinnamon, Caribbean Breeze, Eucalyptus Mint, Lavender Fields, Rustic Sandalwood, Sweet Pea Jasmine. Ideal Gift O2

woman sleeping with pink flowers

2) Warm Hand Towels and/or Wash Cloths in a Crock Pot

I thought this would just be a small touch, but it really made a difference in our spa day. The girls specifically mentioned several times that this little detail brought our spa day to life! 

We warmed several hand towels:

  • Some for removing facials,
  • Some for drying our feet after the foot bath,
  • Some for removing the massage oil from our hands after giving massages,
  • Some to put under their hands and feet while they painted each other’s nails to avoid any messes.
    • (For this step, we reused hand towels from the foot bath because we did not have enough for each girl. They didn’t mind at all!)

(Click the image below!)
AmazonBasics Cotton Hand Towel – 12-Pack, White

AmazonBasics Cotton Washcloths, 24 – Pack, White

Cotton Craft – 14 Pack Multi Color Hand Towels – 100% Ringspun Cotton – 16×28 – Light Weight 450 Grams – Quick Drying and Highly Absorbent – Colors – Ivory, Light Blue, White, Linen, Mercury, Charcoal

Chakir Turkish Linens Turkish Cotton Luxury Hotel & Spa Bath Towel, Hand Towel – Set of 6, Gray

This step is so easy to do! And it really added to the pampered feeling that is vital to any spa day! Just roll up dry, clean hand towels and organize them in the crock pot. Turn the crock pot on low and wait! Done! 

We found that there were too many girls to fit all the hand towels in the crock pot at once, so we refilled the crock pot every time we used the towels. That way, we never ran out of warm, cozy hand towels and we never had to wait for them to be warm!

Each time we needed a hand towel, they were warm and cozy.

It felt luxurious, even though it was a super easy thing to do!

selective focus photography of green succulent plant

3) Homemade Facials

I recommend beginning your spa day with a facial. This is a nice calming activity to begin with, it really sets the tone for the rest of your spa day, and you can let your facial set while you get a massage or soak your feet in a foot bath!

Facials are easy and quick to put together. If you want, you can make the facial beforehand. This will prevent you from having a noisy blender in the middle of your spa day.

Or, if your daughter and girlfriends would really enjoy helping you make the facial, you can make it together during the spa day.

The most exciting thing about the facial is that you can tailor them to your individual needs and preferences! After all, spa day is all about YOU!

Each ingredient adds something to your facial, so just pick which things you would like to add. Here are some common ingredients to choose from.

  • Cucumber: Cooling, healing, soothing
  • Avocado: Vitamins, moisturizer
  • Honey: Tightens skin, toning, hydrating, heals acne
  • Yogurt: Exfoliating, softens skin
  • Banana: Moisturizer, softens skin
  • Vinegar: Tones skin, cleanser
  • Oatmeal: Soothing, softens skin
  • Mayonnaise: Smooth skin, cleanser
  • Mustard: Stimulates skin (Test on a small area first in case you have a negative reaction)
  • Lemon: Exfoliating, moisturizing
  • Egg Whites: Cures oily skin
  • Powdered Milk: Exfoliating, clearer skin

Whole Milk Powder (11 Oz): Non-GMO, Hormone Free USA Produced (2.5 lb Value size Also Available)

  • Coconut Oil: Heals acne, soothe inflammation, healing
  • Applesauce: Exfoliates, soothing
  • Almond Oil: Hydrating, rejuvenating
  • Charcoal Powder (Click the image below!): Cleansing, clearer skin

Organic Charcoal Powder – The Only USDA Certified Organic. Food Grade Powder, Non-GMO, Vegan, No Fillers 100% Pure Use for teeth Whitening Facial Masks Detoxing

Viva Doria Virgin Activated Charcoal Powder – Food Grade (1.2 Oz Glass Jar)

If you prefer to follow a recipe, click the image below!
Homemade Beauty Products : Over 50 All Natural Recipes For Face Masks, Facial Cleansers & Face Creams & Homemade Foot Spa : 48 All Natural Foot Soak, Foot … Balms (BOX SET 4) (All Natural Box Set)

Homemade Simple all Natural Scrubs and Masks: Make Healthy, Quick and Easy Recipes for Face and Body Exfoliating Scrubs with Nourishing Facial Masks for Different Skin Types

OR

Check out this awesome post by Elle: 7 Homemade Face Mask Recipes.

The girls enjoyed lounging in our comfortable reclining chairs while our facials had time to set. As we sat, we talked and laughed.

It was amazing to hear and see my daughter really be herself with all her friends around. I don’t get to see that side of her very often, so I soaked it up as much as I could! 

Don’t forget to bring extra hair ties to keep your hair out of your facial.

As I mentioned before, we had a nice warm hand towels all ready to go to remove the facial. Don’t forget to put the next set of hand towels in the crock pot at this time so that they will be toasty by the time your foot bath is done!

4) Foot Bath

person's feet with flowers

As our facials set, we enjoyed our foot bath.

Our foot bath had warm water, a few drops of essential oils for delicious and calming smell, and flower pedals. The flower pedals added a lot of fun and fancy to our day!

This would also be a lot of fun with a bath bomb, food coloring, or bubble bath (Click the image below)!

Artizen Aromatherapy Top 14 Essential Oil Set (100% PURE & NATURAL) Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils – All of Our Most Popular Scents and Best Essential Oil Blends

Essential Oil Set 14-5 ml Therapeutic Grade 100% Pure Frankincense, Lavender, Peppermint, Rosemary, Orange, Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Grapefruit, Lemon, Lime, Clove, Spearmint, Lemongrass, Cinnamon

Natrogix Bliss Essential Oils – Top 9 Therapeutic Grade 100% Pure Essential Oil Set (Tea Tree, Lavender, Eucalyptus, Frankincense, Lemongrass, Lemon, Rosemary, Orange, Peppermint) w/Free E-Book

LifeAround2Angels Bath Bombs Gift Set 12 USA made Fizzies, Shea & Coco Butter Dry Skin Moisturize, Perfect for Bubble & Spa Bath. Handmade Birthday Mothers day Gifts idea For Her/Him, wife, girlfriend

Bath Bombs Gift Set Anjou Colorless 6 x 3.5 oz lush Fizzies Spa Kit, Perfect for Bubble Bath, Moisturizing with Organic & All Natural Essential Oils, Jojoba Oil, Shea Butter, Perfect Mother’s Day Gift

Honest Calming Lavender Hypoallergenic Bubble Bath With Naturally Derived Botanicals, Dreamy Lavender, 12 Fluid Ounce

Alaffia – Everyday Shea Bubble Bath, Babies and Kids, Gentle Support to Clean, Moisturize, and Calm with Shea Butter, Lemon Extract, and Lavender Oil, Fair Trade, Lemon Lavender, 32 Ounces (FFP)

Spice Supreme Assorted Food Colors Red Blue Green Yellow 1.2 Oz

obmwang 2000 PCS Dark Silk Rose Petals Wedding Flower Decoration Artificial Red Rose Flower Petals for Wedding Party Favors Decoration and Vase Home Decor Wedding Bridal Decoration. Red

Pack of 1000 Silk Rose Petals, Artificial Flowers for Decoration Wedding Party (Royal Blue)

By the time the water cooled down, our feet were nice and clean (convenient for the upcoming massages and pedicures!), they were soft, and they smelled yummy!

I only wished the water would say warm longer…

If I did this activity again, I would fill my foot bath about halfway full the first time. That would leave room to pour in more hot water from the tap as soon as the water cooled down. 

It’s just such a zen, peaceful activity! I needed more!

But at least I got to dry my feet using a luxurious, warm hand towel! Again- don’t forget to replace the hand towels in the crock pot so that they will be nice and warm when you need to clean up after massages!

5) Massages

person holding amber glass bottle

Next, we all took turns massaging each other’s hands and feet (I only agreed to this because the girls’ feet were freshly cleaned in the foot bath).

The girls used pillows, blankets, towels, chairs, etc. to make themselves comfortable for their massages.

The girls loved getting to play the “masseuse” as well as receiving massage.

There was no formal training or research for this part. If you want to learn a new skill, it could be fun to print instructions on how to give massages properly.

Here’s a great resource from lifehacker.com: How Do I Give Better Massages? 

I enjoyed the pressure-free approach. We weren’t worried about using perfect technique or following any sort of structure. That allowed us to relax and enjoy each other’s company more. This was the way to go for our group of girls.

The girls especially enjoyed having fancy massage oil to use (this wasn’t really fancy, just a cheap version). We put out three options of lotions and oils for the girls to choose from. Each had its own scent and texture that made massages even more exciting!

Click the image below!
Relax Therapeutic Massage Lotion – All Natural Enriched with Lavender & Peppermint Essential Oils Perfect for Massage Therapy – Massage Cream for Full Body Massage – Brookethorne Naturals 8.5oz

Relief Arnica Cream – Enriched with Lemongrass, Eucalyptus & Rosemary Essential Oils – All Natural Massage Lotion for Sore Muscles & Stiffness. Perfect for Massage Therapy by Brookethorne Naturals

Foster(10) Lavender Mojito Massage Lotion – Made with Argan Oil, Arnica Extract, Silk Amino Acids, Not Tested on Animals, Paraben Free, Dye Free, All Scents From Essential Oils

Nooky Orange Blossom Massage Oil. With Jojoba & Essential Oils. For Massaging 16oz

Relax Therapeutic Body Massage Oil – With Best Essential Oils for Sore Muscles & Stiffness – Lavender, Peppermint & Marjoram – All Natural – With Sweet Almond, Grapeseed & Jojoba Oil 8.5oz

The last step is the manicure and pedicure!

person doing manicure

I absolutely think this step should be saved for last. All the other activities could ruin your nails, especially if you have an energetic bunch of girls!

We had a whole selection of nail polish to choose from (click the image below). We had all the various colors displayed on a Lazy Susan so that the girls could pick and choose.

48 Pcs Trendy Nail Polish Nail Lacquers Combo Set + Free 5 Nail Filers

KLEANCOLOR NEON COLORS 12 FULL COLLETION SET NAIL POLISH LACQUER

Kleancolor Nail Polish – Awesome Metallic Full Size Lacquer (Set of 12 Pieces)

Sinful Colors 10-piece Surprise Nail Polish Set

Most of the girls chose multiple colors. They loved coming up with patterns or details for their nails! 

Next time I do this activity, I would love to have nail stickers or other accents to add a little more pizzazz to the mani/pedi! 

The hardest part was getting the girls to sit still long enough for their nails to dry. We ended up turning on a pre-teen chick flick for them to keep them still.

The girls brought their own flip flops to wear while their nail polish dried. Flip flops would also be a cute party favor if desired. You can also try disposable flip flops or flip flop accessories to make your party extra exciting! (Click the image below).

JOVANA 24 Pair Disposable Foam Pedicure Slippers Multi Color Flip Flop Salon Nail Spa

Teacher Created Resources 5353 Flip Flop Accents

L.A. Beauty Womens Flip Flop with Glitter Straps and Comportable Footbed, Cool Looking Style-Black_9

All in all, each girl had an amazing time pampering themselves!!

They also enjoyed getting to pamper each other by helping apply each other’s facials, giving massages, and painting each other’s nails. One girl said that this is her new target career for when she grows up!

Spa day is a great mother-daughter activity, a great birthday party, and a great girls’ day in.

If you have any other ideas for how to have a fantastic spa day with your girls, comment them below!

stack rock on seashore

Here’s a list of supplies for you to choose from. The list is separated by each activity we included in our spa day. Remember- you don’t need everything. Just pick and choose!

Supplies Needed:

Ambiance:

  • Candles, matches
  • Scentsy
  • Towels
  • Hand Towels (3-4 per person, if desired)
  • Crock Pot (to warm hand towels)
  • Relaxing Music
  • Comfortable Chairs
  • Pillows, blankets, etc.
  • Treats and Drinks

Facial:

  • Hair Ties
  • Blender, spoon to mix
  • Facial Ingredients, which could include any of the following:
    • Cucumber
    • Avocado
    • Honey
    • Yogurt
    • Banana
    • Vinegar
    • Yogurt
    • Mayonnaise
    • Mustard
    • Lemon
    • Egg Whites
    • Powdered Milk
    • Coconut Oil
    • Applesauce
    • Almond Oil
    • Charcoal Powder

Foot Bath:

  • Bins to hold water (no taller than around 6 inches)
  • Warm Water
  • Any of the Following:
    • Essential Oils
    • Bath Bomb
    • Flower Petals
    • Bubble Bath
    • Food Coloring

Massages:

  • Various oils or lotions
  • If desired, printed directions on how to massage
  • Towels, chairs, pillows, blankets, etc. to make yourself comfortable

Mani/Pedi:

  • Various colors of nail polish
  • Lazy Susan to display nail polish (Click the image below!)

mDesign Lazy Susan Turntable Food Storage Container for Cabinets, Pantry, Refrigerator, Countertops, BPA Free – Spinning Organizer for Spices, Condiments, Baking Supplies – 9″ Round, Pack of 2, Clear

Copco 2555-0190 Non-Skid Pantry Cabinet Lazy Susan Turntable, 12-Inch, White/Gray

  • If desired, hand towels to limit the mess
  • If desired, nail files, nail clippers, or other nail tools
  • Toe Spacers
  • If desired, flip flops to wear while toenails dry
  • Your favorite movie to watch while nails dry

Have a great time with your daughters, and make sure you get to know their friends as well! Friends say a lot about who your child is and who they are becoming.

Make it a cheap and rewarding mother-daughter day by involving your child in the planning. Have fun!

Sincerely,

Mrs. S

P.S. Need more ideas of fun activities to do with your kids? Try some of these indoor activities!

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