Celebrating Life with the Grands
Mar. 14, 2013 8:50 am
Updated: Mar. 31, 2013 8:22 pm
Every year for at least one week, I keep my daughter's four children while she and her husband have a nice get-away. Honestly, I believe every couple should have some alone time, and this is something I can do for them to
nurture and renew their marriage. It's easier for me this year. The kids are now 9, 7, 4, and 3. It was harder when they were all younger and completely self-centered. The 9 year old and 7 year old are huge helpers now. The 4 year old wants to be like his
big brother, and the 3 year old is...well, she's still 3, but not a needy, totally dependent baby. In fact, she's got spunk!
This year, the get-away coincided with the kids' school spring break. So that means being home with them every day all day long. The upside? Not getting up at the crack of dawn to rush to school, not having homework, not hurrying
up and getting supper and baths and in the bed. The downside? We were home every day all day long! I knew I would need to do something to break up the boredom and provide an outlet for all their energy.
I decided first of all to make a list of things we could do every day and another list of things to do every evening. Then I decided to create a contest making one of them The Star of the Day, a position to strive for and be well-behaved
for. The Star of the Day would decide (after conferring with the others) what activity we would do the next day and would get to blindly grab a toy from the grab bag I had brought (dollar bin stuff). What I didn't account for was that the oldest child, a boy,
would feel a little too old for some things. So I let him make decisions for me...like what to have for dinner (his mom had left a list but he got to choose which food for which night), he told me where to drive and how to get places, and he also chose the
group activity in the evening.
Here are choices I put on the daytime activity list:
~ ride the merry go round at the mall and look in the Disney Store
~ go to Dollar Tree (they all love spending their $1.00)
~ go to IHOP for breakfast
~ go bowling with friends
~ go to a local park
~ go to the zoo
~ pajama day (this was a rainy weekend day when they spent time playing inside with their Papa)
~ bike day (it's been cold and only a few days were nice enough to be outside)
~ Go to the local pet store and look at fish, birds, guinea pigs, puppies, and kittens
Here are the evening activity choices:
~ PJ, popcorn, and movie night
~ book reading marathon
~ Wii dance night
~ cookie making
~ Apples to Apples game night
~ play outside with glow sticks
I think kids tend to get less bored when they do things that are different and new. Another activity I planned every night was to spend some time after dinner while still at the table filling out our Thankful Journal. Each person
took a turn telling something he/she was thankful for that day. I explained to them that sometimes we let one bad thing mess our entire day up, when truth be told, many good things came our way. We just have to remember them, think about them, and be grateful
for them. The first night's list was short, but as the week went on, the kids got the hang of it and couldn't wait to put several things each on the list. They were thankful for pizza, getting to stay in pajamas all day, sunshine, no school, petting the stingrays
at the zoo, and playing with Papa, just to name a few.
I planned these activities, but then they also entertained themselves and played throughout the day. Things went quite well...I'd like to think because I planned a little in advance. Four kids can be daunting and their boredom
can play off each other, so I desperately wanted to avoid that if possible. All in all, I think we were able to enjoy the week and each other. The kids even gave me a prize the last night for being the Star Granna!
It's almost the middle of the month, and I feel that I haven't cooked my usual Allrecipes foods. I really enjoy making, reviewing, and photographing new recipes...and finding faceless ones. After making 25 faceless recipes last
month, I admit I'm having withdrawals. My daughter did leave a few AR recipes for me to make for the kids: Broiled Tilapia Parmesan, Chicken Puffs, and Lighter Fettuccini Alfredo, along with tacos and spaghetti. But I must say, I'm looking forward to being
home and getting back in the kitchen cooking for people who aren't picky eaters.