Introducing Family Fun Times

I know that most folks who come to a blog entitled “Mommy’s Apron”, are probably thinking they’ll hear from someone who generally fits the mental image of “Mommy”, and I’m thinking the “Apron” part will likely lead most folks to thinking something about the kitchen and cooking.  Well, if you were thinking along those lines, you would really be mostly right, and you will find most of the things we do here are consistent with that line of thought.  However, our heart is really beyond what happens in the kitchen.  We want to be a blessing to your family, and at the same time, RaShell and I really want to do this blog, like we do anything else, together as a team.  The problem is that around our house, when Mommy is away for any period of time that includes a meal, the children have grown to expect either a restaurant, (think car seats instead of tablecloths) or what they have affectionately called, “a package”.  I personally find that terminology to be a little unfair – I mean, of course they eat the corn dog or the pot pie, and not the actual packaging itself, but I think their meaning is somewhat clear.  Anyway, all that to say that I find myself feeling uniquely unqualified to post anything on a blog called “Mommy’s Apron”. 

However, as a husband to a wonderful lady, and Daddy to a beautiful daughter and a bunch of boys running around, I often find myself trying to come up with a family activity that will not only hold everyone’s attention, but will hopefully be enjoyable to at least a large percentage of our family at the same time, and build those lasting beautiful memories that will someday fill the Thanksgiving dinner conversations around a large table with our children and grandchildren.  “Remember when we used to…?”  I love it.  So, I started thinking that perhaps some of the ideas we have had and some of the things we have done might be useful ideas for other families out there as well.  The type of activities I am thinking of may be in the form of a great book or movie, which is usually where we find ourselves when we have a little free time on a weekend.  Perhaps a board game or card game the family can play together would be a subject of discussion here.  Or perhaps even family-friendly vacation ideas we have enjoyed together.  I want to write this series because, 1) I wanted to write about something I know about, and nothing kitchen-related was coming to mind… and 2) We want to be a blessing to your family and so I want to write about things that have been a blessing to ours – maybe you will find something to help generate some future Thanksgiving meal conversation for your family as well!  Welcome to Family Fun Times.

Family Fun Times

So, I want to get started here with what is perhaps the best advice I can give for fun activities in your family…  It is something that was recommended to us by our Pastor shortly after we got married, and it is something we have a mixed record on keeping up with… here it is…  Go on a date with your wife (or husband as appropriate – perhaps I should use the word “spouse”).  I’m not saying you have to do this every week, or even that it has to be dinner, or that it has to be expensive, or really that it has to be anything particular at all.  I know you are busy, and I know there is a long list of things competing for your time.  I know if your children are young, it involves finding a baby-sitter.  Having a little time together every now and then with the person you have committed to spending your life with is more important than all this.  Find a way to work through all of that and spend some time together.  RaShell and I have not always been consistent with this practice, but whenever we are more consistent, it is so much easier to stay focused on what’s important.  Plus, you communicate to your wife that you still value time spent together. 

We have a family of friends that live nearby.  We will often trade date nights so, we will watch all the children to give them time together, and then in a week or two, they will return the favor.  If you can find 3 families, then one family can watch all the children while the other two have date night.  If you do this once a month, then you get regular time away, and you only have to watch the children once every three months…    Anyway, find something that works, and then use that time to go do something that you and your wife enjoy doing together.  Often times when we do these rotations, we find ourselves just going to the store to pick up the things we need.  (Sometimes we run into the other family at the WalMart doing the same thing!)  It doesn’t have to be fancy.  It can even be practical, but it needs to be some time away where you have the chance to talk and interact and enjoy hanging out with each other.

Family Fun Times Date Night
I said earlier that the plan doesn’t have to include a meal, and it doesn’t.  But, as you find opportunity, a meal together is a great way to make sure you have time and opportunity to talk, and “gaze lovingly into each other’s eyes” (as I sometimes explain to my children what me and Mommy are going to do on our date).  If you are going to use a restaurant, one way to make it a little more affordable is to use an app that my wife found called Raise.  You can go on Raise and find gift cards for restaurants (and retail stores) for sale at prices below their value.  They are listed by percentage of cost to value.  If there is a particular restaurant you enjoy frequenting, the restaurant may also have a rewards program.  If you combine Raise gift cards with the rewards discounts, then that may help you stretch your dining out budget to help it include a date night or two…  I feel I should give you fair warning that my wife explained the Raise app to me while sitting at Chili’s on a date dinner.  We ordered a gift card from her phone that would more than cover our meal at a great discount.  Then we found out the cards sometimes take a few hours to transfer, so we had to use real money to pay the bill…  I think my wife knew it all along and she used it to snicker an extra date out of the deal… You’ve been warned… 

Family Fun Times Date Night

In future weeks, I will talk about fun things the whole family can do together.  But, I thought before sharing those ideas, I wanted to share this advice that will have a big positive effect on your family by helping to keep your marriage strong.  Go spend some time with your wife… next week we’ll talk about something to do with the whole family…  For now, go spend some time with your wife… 

What?  Why are you still here?  Go spend some time with your wife…  See you next week. 

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This post was written by Jason Southerland

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