Board Games are more than just Family Fun

Board games are pretty popular in our house.  We play a lot of board games on our Family Nights.  Sometimes it can get pretty intense.  Have I ever mentioned we are all a little bit competitive?  Well, actually some of us are VERY competitive.  And arguments deep discussions have ensued.

Truthfully though, we do argue over the rules, there is always a moment of pause when one looks for a specific point that will make or break his move, and continued discussion most often follows.

And it is awesome!  What better place is there for children to learn strategic planning, communication and negotiation skills.  I know folks who pay big money to master these skills.

This is our family Top 10 list of Board Games (not necessarily in order of favorite)

1.  Chess

2.  Blokus

3.  Quirkle

4.  Quarto

5.  Mexican Train

6.  Mancala

7.  Uno

8.  Catan (for the older kids)

9.  Swish

10.  Animals Upon Animals (for the younger ones)

and just a few more…

11.  Chinese Checkers

12.  Scrabble

13.  Monopoly (not really my favorite, but the kids like it)

What are some of your favorites?


Raising a Reader

School has started and the homework begins…  And so do the required reading lists.

My littles are required to read and record at least 20 minutes of reading per night.  And I think this is great.  Yet this alone is not going to create a reader.

I believe it is far more important to teach your child to love reading, than it is to teach them how to read.  Everyone learns how to read, but not everyone will continue to read.

We read A LOT in our house.  This alone I believe to be the first and most impactful step to teaching your child to be a reader.  Children model behavior, especially behavior of those that they love and look up to.

For a while I was very interested in purchasing a Kindle or reading from the iPad.  I never really got past the fact that I truly enjoy holding my book.  I like the feel of the pages.  I like to write notes in the margins.  I like to see how far along in the book I am and anticipate what comes next.  I even like the smell.  Yet I still considered the ease of instantly downloading my next book.

And then I realized that if I am reading from some sort of electronic device my children will never really know that I am in fact reading and not just browsing emails or meandering through Pinterest.   I would fail to be a model reader and provide them with the foundation to become a reader themselves.

So instead I still buy paperbacks.  I throw them in my bag and fold my pages to mark my spot.  And there is no question about it, my kids see me read – a lot.


If I’ve Told You Once I have Told you a Thousand Times

I am certain you have heard it before, or at least thought it.

If I’ve told you once I have told you a thousand times.

School has begun which means the homework will soon begin to pile up.  I do my best to stay calm in the midst of snack time, play dates, dinner, sports practice – and homework.  Of course there are days though that are more difficult than others.  So next time, or maybe this afternoon, when you have one of those days and feel like you have explained long division or asked for the garbage to be taken out “a thousand times,” keep this in mind…

Words to remember...


Back To School – Making Memories, Traditions and Trinkets

Remember the book All I Really Ever Needed To Know I Learned In Kindergarten?  I think I should write a modern version, All I Really Ever Needed To Know I Found On Pinterest!

Seriously though, skimming through Pinterest I have found some really great ideas.  For example these great links to various back to school ideas…

I love the idea of lunch box notes.  I once met a mother who happened to also be a great artist.  Every morning she would sketch a design, scene, note or whatever on a square yellow post it note and stick it in her children’s lunch.  I know this because when I opened the pantry door each note was taped to the back side.  Her son saved each note.

The great part is you do not have to be an artist at all – or have little squares of paper.  I like to write notes on napkins.  To show your love it doesn’t have to be fancy.  Or, you could use this template and keep a stash of different notes in your drawer to toss in as you make lunch.

Back to School - Free Printable Lunch Notes by PaperCrave

These Pocket Hearts are another super sweet idea.  I know my girls would love to keep one of these in their pockets at school.  Or you could slip this in your little one’s lunchbox or backpack to find during the day.  Granted one might need to be slightly crafty to make these, you might choose something similar but of another material.  A Shrinky Dink (like) charm shaped heart that read “Love Mom” could be another option.


How about a Back To School Interview?  These are some great questions I have found.  This is always a good time to go back to later in life.  It is going to be great fun to share my daughter’s plans one day.  At age 5 her plan was to live on a ranch, be a veterinarian, ride her horse to work and have five children who will stay home with their daddy.  I just love it!

back to school yearly interview tradition with questions

1st Day of School Traditions can be great memories and even help ease the transition into a new class.  Children thrive on knowing what to expect and consistency.  While there will be much change and a lot to learn on the first day back to school, having a few traditions to rely on might help relieve some of the anxiety associated with change.

3 fun first day of school traditions

And when they come home from school be sure to talk about their first day.  While a day in kindergarten may seem like a vacation to you, your 6 year old has just made a huge accomplishment.  Ask questions to acknowledge your interest in their success.  This will be a big confidence booster for the many days to come.  Check out these Questions To Ask After the First Day of School.  And if you have one of those children not really interested in conversation use the car ride home to your advantage, they will be in their seatbelts – a captive audience!

Talk About School with Your Kids: Questions to Ask