5 Reasons To Rent A Cabin

As you may know, last week my little family loaded up and went to a cabin for our summer vacation. We enjoyed a lot of time talking and resting in the cabin and then went to Dollywood. Because we had so much fun today I want to share 5 reasons we chose to rent a cabin instead of a hotel. These benefits can be applied to beach house as well.

1. You can eat in. A great way to save money on your vacation is by eating in. Even though my energy sometimes runs out of the room when I have to make dinner eating out every day can get expensive. With a rental cabin/beach house you can stock up on groceries and use your own fridge, microwave, stove, and oven.

2. You can have multiple rooms. If you are a family with small kids you will need multiple rooms so that the kids can take their naps. A good nap equals a happy baby. A happy baby equals a fun vacation.

3. You can do laundry. Nobody wants to have a weeks worth of dirty clothes piling up. Having a washer and drying in your rental allows you to cut down on what you bring. You can do a mid-week wash if you need to.  

4. You have privacy. In a cabin or a fun beach house you have secluded entryways, balconies, hot tubs, etc. I loved this benefit with our cabin. We sat on our balcony and rocked each morning and night.

5. You have the luxuries of home. In a rental you can spread out in a living room, pop open the fridge to find a coke, do laundry, have your own private bathroom, and watch TV from your own bed. Having the comforts of home on vacation is a definite plus.

We loved our time at the cabin! I’m so glad we chose to rent a house instead of getting a hotel.

We were sad to go home, but I think that is a good sign that we had a lot of fun! Or maybe we were simply dreading unloading all of this stuff. Tell me… who really needs that much stuff???

Adventurous Afternoon with Crumpled Hippies

Secretly being laid-back hippies (people that can bop around for hours) it is a wonder we made it to Dollywood.  We were glad we did. We enjoyed train rides, splash pads, roller coasters, fun snacks, and little shows. Elias loved the rides and water, and Owen spent most of his day napping in the stroller. We had so much fun… until the moment I though I was going to die.

Family Game Night

Family Night Idea: Have A Game Night

Family night is a great opportunity to spend quality time together. Why not have a fun night playing games? Here are a few tips that might help your game night go smoothly.

  1. Set a date. Pick a day of the week that works best with your family. Planning ahead insures everyone will get to join in on the fun.
  2. Plan to have fun snacks.  Whether it is a bowl of chips, or homemade cookies, kids love snacks. Add to your night by having great snacks lined up.
  3. Have a variety of games. Pull out all your different board games, card games, trivia games, or even video games. If your family is anything like mine, they each like different games. Having a variety will keep everyone happy, and give each person a turn to play their favorite. Let the kids take turns picking and enjoy playing together.

Here are a few of our favorite games:

Monopoly will always be a favorite.

Connect Four has been Elias’ favorite. He loves dropping the pieces in.

If you want to see Mark and I get competitive come play Dutch Blitz with us. We love, love, love this game!

Memory is another favorite with Elias. Or maybe he just likes Elmo.

Enjoy Your Family Night!!!

p.s. Pencilled Daydream was featured on Circle of Moms for answering a question about our favorite board games. Check out my answer here.  What are your favorite games???

Family Night Ice Cream Party

“The family unit plays a critical role in our society and in the training of the generation to come.” –Sandra Day O’Connor

As O’Connor’s quote shows, the family unit is extremely important. That is why I love to share family night ideas. Whether we are doing something silly or serious, spending time with our family will never be a waste.

Family Night Idea: Have An Ice Cream Party

What is it about an ice cream truck that makes your heart skip a beat? When the music starts playing, what makes you want to drop everything you are doing and run and get a popsicle or a scoop of ice cream?

I love that feeling and got it often as a kid. Today I thought it would be fun to create that feeling for our kids on our next family night by having an ice cream party. Who doesn’t love ice cream? This favorite frozen treat is sure to satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth.

An ice cream party can be done two different ways:

1. Create your own ice cream sundae bar at home.

2. Go out for ice cream.

Things You Will Need If You Stay Home:

  • Your favorite ice cream (A few different flavors)
  • Bowls
  • Spoons
  • Ice cream cones
  • Toppings:
      • Hot fudge
      • Sprinkles
      • Nuts
      • Caramel
      • Marshmallow
      • Cherries
      • Candy bits
      • Bananas
      • Whipped cream.

     

Help The Night Go Smoothly:

  • Consider eating the ice cream outside.
  • Use disposable bowls, spoons, and table cloths.
  • Set up an ice cream sundae bar on a portable table.
  • Keep a trash can nearby.

Make The Night Fun:

  • Decorate the ice cream bar. Signs and balloons always make things fun.
  • Let the kids choose their ice cream flavor and toppings.
  • Have fun music playing.

We have done the ice cream party both ways, but recently went out for ice cream because our local ice cream shop, Brusters, was doing a special where they would give out free ice cream cones if you came in your pajamas. It was so much fun.

We all wore our pajamas to Brusters.  A guy behind us told us that we looked ridiculous. When we turned around to see who he was, we found him wearing his wife’s fuzzy white bathrobe. We all had a good laugh.

I can’t believe we went out looking like this, but it was so much fun. The whole place looked like one big pajama party.

Thank you Brusters!

p.s. Don’t forget to vote for Pencilled Daydream on the Top 25 funny moms for 2012. Voting ends tomorrow!!! Click the icon below. Once on their site, scroll down until you see Owen’s picture, and then click the thumbs up button to vote. You can vote once a day and no registration is required. Thank you for voting!!!

Family Night Ideas: A Night At The Movies

“Think of whatever you are doing as an adventure and watch your life change for the better”– Wilferd A. Peterson

Family night is an adventure. It is a chance to make wonderful memories with your kids and with your spouse. And it is as simple as being together. Anything you put into it will be bless your family, and your kids will love the time and attention. Besides you never know, these family nights might just turn into some of their favorite memories.

Family Night Idea:  Have A Movie Night!

This is incredibly simple, but if treat it like an adventure and make it fun, your kids will love it. Turn your living room into a theater. Break out the popcorn. Make a fun drink. Have some candy. Staying home will save you money, and give you a great opportunity to be with the ones you love.

(photo source)

Movie Night Tips:

Choose A Movie: You can pick a movie for your family, or you can have the kids take turns picking the movie on different nights. You could also consider doing a themed night. For example you could dedicate a night to dramas, and another night to comedies. Or maybe watch holiday specific movies depending on what month it is.

Choose A Theme: As you are chosing your movie, you might consider chosing a theme. I love Jane Boursaw’s  idea. She suggests that if you are watching a movie like Finding Nemo, use gold-fish or gummy sharks as your movie snack. Or if you are watching something like Jungle Book, use animal crackers, peanuts, or make fruit kabobs. I also think if would be fun if you are watching Cars to make it a drive-in movie. Have the kids build a car out of a box or simply come in one of their riding toys.

Choose A Movie Time: Set a time for your movie. This makes your movie night feel more official.

Get Rid Of Distractions: Make sure you turn off your cell phones as if you were at a real theater. Try to put all your work away. And make sure the house is clean so you aren’t distracted by the mess.

Get Creative: (Get everyone involved)

  • Have the kids make movie tickets or print some here. Make a “box office” (you can use a cardboard box and decorate it like a real box office).
  • Make a concessions stand- Have each child buy (with play money) a bag of popcorn, a box of candy, a fun snack, or a drink.Try to use boxed candy because it makes it feel more legit. Also give individually served popcorn. You can use brown paper bag or fun striped containers from Target that are meant for popcorn.
  • Let the kids play. Let them usher people to their seats. Give them flashlights to use as they usher each other to their seats.

Create The Enviroment– Turn off the lights in the living room so that it is dark like a theater. Pull in bean bags, fun chairs, and blankets.

Schedule an Intermission– If you have small children schedule a time to pause the movie. Take a potty break, and let everyone go back to the concession stand.

Enjoy your movie night!!!

*many of these tips were taken and adapted from here.

Love Where You Live

“Everybody can be great, because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Family Night Idea: Serve your community together.

January 16th is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It is a day when many people step out into the community with rakes, paint brushes, and meals for the hungry. With smiles on their faces people all over the country will be serving.

This is a day when you along with many others can love where you live. You can love the people around you. It is a day to step out and serve your community. As a family, you can serve together.

Mark and I have used  MLK day as a day to serve our community since college. Bryan college introduced us to this idea by organizing places for each member of the college to serve in various parts of town. One year I served at a nursing home. Another year I helped clean a local theatre, and in my final year of college I helped organize our town’s small library. MLK day is a great reminder to get out and serve.

Need some ideas?

    • Prepare meals for the hungry.
    • Visit a nursing home.
    • Serve at your local church.
    • Rake someone’s yard.
    • Bring a family a meal.
    • Help someone who is moving.
    • Help someone paint.
    • Help clean at a local business or in someone’s home.
    • Babysit for your pastor so he can go on a date with his wife.

Where are you going to serve on MLK Day?

Family Night Ideas: Handsome/Fancy Night

“When you do the common things in life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world.” – George Washington Carver

Spending time with your family is a common thing. After all you live in the same house. You share the same things, you pass each other in the halls, and you probably say “goodnight” to each other everyday. However, spending intentional time investing in the lives of your family is becoming an uncommon way of behaving. Because family relationships are of the utmost importance, I want to share another idea for how to spend quality time having fun with your family.

Family Night Idea: Have A Handsome/Fancy Night

Going out to eat is a common thing, so I suggest you do it in an unusual way. Dress up. Put on all of your finest. Let the little boys wear their sweater vests and bow ties. Let the girls put on their frilly dresses and spend an evening out with your family. Spend time talking and enjoy one another’s company.  And don’t forget to take pictures together- after all it isn’t every day you dress up.

Remember dressing up doesn’t mean you have to go to the world’s nicest restaurant, the kids probably wouldn’t like it anyway, but getting handsome or fancy will create a fun memory for you as a family.

Family Night Ideas: Become A Tourist In Your Own City

“You can’t go home with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. You don’t get hugged by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and you don’t have children with the Rock and Roll Hall of fame. I want what everybody else wants: to love and to have a family.” –Billy Joel

With each person having an incredible desire to be loved and to be a part of a family, we have a great opportunity for the Lord to work. We have in between the four walls of our house what God loves to use to make us more like His Son Jesus- a family. God will use our children to shape us- the parents every bit as much as he uses us to shape them.

Consider your family to be a divine invitation to love, to become more holy, and to become more like Jesus. Because family relationships are so important, I want to continue to give you fun ideas of how to spend time with them.

Family Night Idea: Become A Tourist In Your Own City.

Become a tourist in your own city. So often we miss things because they are so familiar to us. Next time you get the chance to have a family night visit a place you normally pass right by. This could be a local park, the zoo, a fun restaurant, your downtown, etc…

While the weather was still nice, Mark and I decided to visit our local zoo. Mark hadn’t been since he was a young teen and Elias loves to roar at lions, so we thought this would be a fun way to spend the day as a family.


We had so much fun seeing all the different kinds of animals. God is so creative.

This elephant was so fun to watch.


Elias loved playing with this otter.


This gorilla stared at us for the longest time. Of course we stared back.


Mark and I had so much fun watching Elias point to all of the animals and attempt to make their sounds.

After seeing so many animals in cages, Elias decided he wanted to be in a cage. Of course we didn’t let him stay in there.

After seeing a ton of animals, we stopped for lunch and ended up getting a snack as well. This funnel cake was delicious.

We loved going to the zoo together.

Family Night

Idea #1   Enjoy a new dessert together.

I once heard that every good family night should end with a fun snack. Why not try a new recipe together? Or simply make some chocolate chip cookies together.

I have found that it is really fun to allow everyone in the family to participate in some way. Vicki Lansky, author of Feed Me I’m Yours, suggests that you “give your child a chance to do some creative ‘messing around!'”  This means the cupcake’s frosting wont look perfect, and the counters may get a little messy, but it is fun to watch the kids try.

Need a Dessert Idea?

Why not try cupcakes? I recently saw a friend decorate her cupcakes to look like little pumpkins. This is a very simple and easy family night dessert.

What you’ll need:

  1. Your favorite cupcake mix
  2. Orange frosting
  3. Orange sprinkles
  4. Green licorice or a pretzel stick (this will be the stem of the pumpkin)

Directions:
Once you’ve made your favorite kind of cupcakes, apply the orange frosting to the top. Next add the orange sprinkles.  You can then place a small piece of licorice or a pretzel stick in the top to look like the stem. It’s that easy.

(Photo Source)

Vacation At Home

Mark and I recently decided that we needed some rest. We needed a vacation! Unfortunately we had not scheduled one, and we couldn’t just pick up and go to Cancun or somewhere with nice white beaches and turquoise water, so we decided we would become travelers in our own city. We would pause long enough to see things we normally walk right by. We would enjoy the nature around us. For three days we were going to take a vacation at home.

One of the highlights of our vacation, was taking a breakfast picnic at the Cove. After a nice walk, we paused to read from our new book “Alice in Wonderland.”  We sat by the lake and enjoyed breakfast, a story, and beautiful scenery.

Elias loved being outside, and enjoyed watching Mark read the book. Mark is already teaching him to love books!

After breakfast, Elias’ new favorite toy was Mark’s pop-tart wrapper. He crinkled it for nearly 20 minutes.

After three days off, Mark and I feel so rested.  We enjoyed spending time together, reading, watching movies, taking walks, and just talking. It was such a success we might try to do it again next year.