There is nothing I cherish more than spending time with my children. Not "we have to clean the house today" time, but real "let's curl up and read books or watch a movie or play a board game" time — time that is precious and memory making. With all we have on our plates with a busy family and work life, finding those quality hours can be hard. But when I do, I savor it with every molecule of my body! Though days out in the sunshine on family excursions like painting class and pottery class are awesome, savoring time with family at home is where my heart soars. More than sitting on the couch watching the latest kids movie, I like to plan out fun events at home that encourage laughter, bonding and chatter.
My children are a lot more creative than I tend to give them credit for, so giving them time to unleash that creativity is a wonderful thing for me. My role in their "shows" is to sit, watch, ignore the whispers between them talking about what comes next and clap with gusto when they are done. Sometimes my job includes watching the show again and again until they think they get it right. It is the best job I have as a mom. I don't need photos or to hold my video camera up the whole time they are "performing" — these memories are etched into my mind for life! Help get your kids started with an idea or by helping them find props. Then let them loose as they create the best show ever for their most cherished audience.
I love taking my girls to a paint studio not far from me and watching as the professionals help them create works of art for their room. Seeing my children get so excited when their imaginations come to life on canvas is a wonderful feeling. Re-creating the same feeling at home is easier than you think! With some supplies from the art store — canvas, acrylic paints and brushes — you can set up your kids to paint anything they want in no time. Even I, who can barely draw a straight line, can find a printable to trace onto a canvas for my kids to paint. The activity doesn't take long, but the memories last a lifetime.
The other day, the kids called me into the playroom. It was dark, and they had the idea to tell scary stories to me. Going back to my childhood of scary stories at sleepovers, I grabbed three flashlights, darkened the room even more with a sheet over the blinds and joined in the fun. These impromptu get-togethers are some of my favorites to savor. They take me away from the laundry that will still be there tomorrow, the dishes that are never completely done and the to-do list that goes on and on. As we laughed and tried to frighten each other, my heart swelled with the craving for more of these moments.
It's no secret that some of the best memories in our lives are made over great food in the kitchen. As a mom to three, though, I am more interested in the chatter and storytelling from the kids than making Mom's perfect roast recipe. So, one of my favorite things to do with the kids is to grab some prepared, home-cooked-tasting foods, and let the kids play restaurant with me. One go-to that we can find in any grocer's freezer are Marie Callender's pies. One of my girls loves the Chocolate Satin Pie best, one devours the Coconut Cream Pie, and my Megan gobbles up the Dutch Apple Pie. With so many amazing flavors to choose from, you can please your entire family with beautifully made and delicious pies that have a homemade flair! My girls put on their aprons, set the table and serve pie to me. They then give me a bill and expect a tip, which I oblige because the time together is worth it every time.
If you make it a priority, the art of conversation is not lost in families. Some of the lazy days that I savor with my girls are sitting in the living room, toys strewn about, just talking to one another. With the TV off, the phone muted and my ears open, we tell about things that happened to us during the week and share our dreams and ideas. This is an amazing time for me, and we literally can chitchat about the important things in a casual way for hours at a time. Listen, talk about anything — and learn more about your kids and who they are as people than ever before.
Spending time with family at home is as easy as just taking the time. Putting everything away that can distract you from the family you built and doing something as simple as hanging out can enhance any day at home and bond you all. In this day and age when distraction is the norm, savoring those moments with the ones you love best, even if it's just to share a slice of pie, can be the memory that lasts a lifetime.
This post is part of a sponsored collaboration between Marie Callender's and SheKnows
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