a "been-there" mom of six offers encouragement
to wives, young mothers, and those not so young,
and simple common-sense approaches to
the "ings" of life:
child-rearing (hints and helps), homemaking (all areas),
cooking (simple, cheap, and do-it-yourself)
making (toys and gifts), preparing (for the unexpected),
maintaining (sanity and peace in this increasingly crazy world) and more---
all aspects of making the most of making do on little---
and having fun in the process.

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Few More Simple Suggestions

I didn't start out to do this, but. . . 

this week's M-W-F posts have sorta built on one another. Maybe, kinda in the same way the ideas/practices/habits/traditions came about and/or build on one another, usually one at a time.

Hopefully you can or have gleaned at least one something from these three posts.
Life happens one day at a time. When we are living it, everything is vivid. As time passes,
trust me on this, images and memories fade. It is very important to write at least dates on
the back of all your photos. Identifying those in the picture is also a great idea because, believe
it or not, down the road you may not remember everyone in the photo, or the whens and
whys of the event. The messages on the back of pictures become a photo journal.

That said, if I am fairly close at guessing their ages, this photo was taken about 1983.

Some of the following may increase happiness in the family---
Others may help you maintain your sanity---
A few prepare for the future--- (it is not as far away as it may seem!)

  • Take lots of pictures-----and consider actually printing some of them and fastening them in a book. Back in the day, before computers, many happy hours were spent pouring over photo albums, again and again.
  • Keep a journal (more about that next week)
  • Keep a note pad handy where you and family members can jot down items needed when you go shopping---and then remember to take it with you when you do go shopping!
  • Keep a note pad, manicure set, book, etc. in your purse or glove compartment to use in the spare minutes that you may have to wait for a doctor's appointment, sports practice or music lesson to end, etc. The wait goes faster, and having something to do helps ward off antsy-ness or grumpy-ness.
  • Continue to court your spouse and maintain your friendship. The two of you were more than likely a couple before you became parents and the time will come when it will be just the two of you again.
  • As I have said before, intentionally strive to create memories and traditions since the best things in life aren't things.
  • Find time or make time to spend with each child individually.
  • Don't let children have everything they want or go without chores just because your childhood was financially sparse or heavy on the need-to-help-out. Intentions are good but the results can be disastrous.
  • Let children help you with simple chores while they are still young enough to want to help and enjoy helping. Hopefully chores will be habits by the time the "newness" of the activity wears off. Accomplishment charts can be fun for them.
  • Also, let boys help mom in the kitchen and girls help dad with car and yard chores.
  • Start a "treasure box" for each child---in it they keep special school papers, and stuff. It doesn't have to be fancy, just a decent size. At first our kids wanted to keep everything but learned to be more selective as their apple boxes started to overflow.
  • Learn some simple travel games.
  • Keep a kid kit in the car --- it's contents will depend on the ages of your kids. Our "auto survival kit"   was a figurative life-saver in the days of having infants and toddlers. Dave and I love to take rides and explore the country and we have been known to start out for the grocery store and return home hours later. Maybe we followed a hot air balloon or found an intriguing back road. Our kit made this easy to do. We kept a bag in the car that held extra diapers, bottles, canned formula or juice, baby food, crackers, toys, sweaters, and a change of clothes for each kid. We had these impulsive adventures often enough that the food items never went bad. It was great spur-of-the-moment fun!
Years Later
When we were back to just the two of us, we were/are really apt to start out on a quick outing and come back hours or maybe even days later. Our first experience with that was several years ago when we helped a son and his wife and their little boys (it took two cars) drive 11 straight freeway hours through three states to their new home. Dave and I then meandered home, checking out the most interesting-looking little back roads, photographing many old barns, stopping at several quaint shops---never once getting on the interstate. It took 38 hours.

Last month we carefully planned for our first long (2+ weeks) "real" vacation in five years. We knew we weren't getting any younger and wanted to make this trip and see new things while we were still able. We were excited to get started. 

And after two days, we both decided independently of each other, that we really didn't want to drive day after day and spend night after night in a different motel. We took back-roads all the way home. It was great and turned out to be just what we needed.

And in closing for today, no matter where you are in your life, please remember these three important things . . .

Simple things from Simply, Gail

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