Tis the season to make new resolutions, begin new chapters of our lives, and to begin new traditions. I want this year to be different, you know? I want more quality time with my family, and more time to explore who I am as well as my interests. I want a change. I’m tired of the same old hoopla. Wake up, get the kids to school, go to work, go to the gym, pick up the kids, do homework, eat dinner, bathe, and go to bed. Same old schedule five days out of the week. So I’m going to shape things up this year. Maybe these ideas will work, maybe they won’t. Who knows? At any rate, here I go!
1) Use a “Thankful Jar”. I saw variations of this on other blogs, and thought I’d give it a try. I don’t have a large jar right now, so I saved a small mayo jar after making my potato salad this morning. I washed it out, and put this cute little bow on it (Go Clemson!). Each day, I will write down one thing for which I’m thankful. Then, I will fold the paper and put it inside. You could even have the whole family participate in this. If necessary, you can transcribe for the little ones. This is similar to the #100dayshappy challenge I’ve seen and done on Facebook. For me, I like this idea because sometimes I need something tangible to look through on those days when I’m not feeling so thankful. At the end of a week, month, or 3 month period, it will be great to look through and reflect on how wonderful 2015 truly is.
2) Share a meal with the family at least once per week. Now, some of you may be saying, “Duh! Of course I already do this!” For my family, it can be kind of hectic to do this. With my husband working in retail, he gets home Monday through Friday after 7 p.m., and 6 p.m. on Saturdays–that’s if customers don’t decide to wait until 5:58 p.m. to “shop” for furniture. Then, we have choir rehearsal from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Saturday evenings. So, if the kids and I haven’t eaten prior to rehearsal, we will usually grab something while we’re out or just find something at home. Sundays are usually better for eating dinner together, unless we have to sing at a second service. So, this will definitely be a tough one for my family and me. However, I’m hoping that maybe we can squeeze in a breakfast or lunch together on the weekend.
3) Exercise as a family. Sure, I get my two or three days in at the gym every week, but what better way to spend quality time with family than by engaging in a healthy activity together? As I mentioned earlier, my family’s schedule is quite hectic. So, for me, once per month is a good goal. As things change, if we’re able to do it more, then that’ll be awesome.
4) Donate more! My husband and I try to donate whenever we can, and we explain to our girls the importance of sharing what we have with others; however, this year, I want us to purposefully give to a different organization each month. Make it a family affair, you know? Instead of just giving a few bucks to random groups or charities at the grocery check out line, I’d like to have our girls research a little about an organization, and choose why they feel it’s important to give to a particular one for that month. My husband also suggested giving our time in lieu of money for months when we may not have a lot of extra cushion. So, I’ve been on the look out for information on how to help at soup kitchens, assisted living homes, and food banks. My family and I are really excited about taking on this activity!
5) Learn something about a different culture. Whether by eating or reading, the whole family could enjoy this activity. Since I teach French, it wouldn’t be difficult to dust off the old quiche or croque-monsieur recipe and have the kids learn about their origin. My kids also enjoy going to the public library each month. One of the books or DVDs they check out could be about another culture, and I could have them answer comprehension questions about it. (Gotta get them ready for that Georgia milestone test, right?)
6) Have a Daddy-Daughter / Mommy-Daughter Date. This is another tough one because we have three daughters, but I know it will completely make a difference in the relationship my husband and I have with them. My husband and I have done this in the past, but we’ve never been able to do it with them individually. My oldest daughter and I tend to butt heads quite often because we are so much alike, so I would love to try this with her in particular.
7) Write or draw a surprise note. I can remember when my husband and I were dating, we used to write cutesy notes to each other on napkins when we went out to eat. For the longest time, I kept some of those. I really wish I could find them! Any who, I think it would put a little spice in the relationship to re-live these days. Whether it’s on a napkin or on paper, I’d like to write a little note to show my man he still rocks my world! 🙂 And you know what? The kids might even like to have a note every now and again in their book bags reminding them how much my hubby and I love them. 🙂
8) Accomplish a new goal every month. I got this idea from Brett and Kate McKay. This can be done individually or as a family. The goal could be to read an entire chapter book or to purposefully go out of your way to be kind to someone you may not like so much. This would also be a great way to teach the kids how to set and work towards meeting goals.
9) Stick to a monthly budget. Okay, so I did this last year, but what about getting the kids involved? One thing I wish I knew more of when I went off to college was learning how to properly manage money. My dad taught me how to use a checkbook and how to balance it, but I think my kids will learn a lot from seeing a monthly budget (maybe on a small scale to start out with) and how money is actually used to take care of the family. Maybe this will help out when the kids want to beg for that high-priced toy they see in Wal-Mart.
10) Create a secret family handshake. I got this one from Brett and Kate McKay, too. I’ve done this with certain students over the years, and it works. Kids look at you like “Oh, I wish I had a special handshake, too, Madame!” So, I’m sure my daughters would LOVE to create one for our family.
What traditions do you and your family have? No matter what new tradition you and your family create, I pray you enjoy life to the fullest each and every year!