Category - Tips & Tricks

Family Friendly Holidays in Charlotte

Having lived in Charlotte for 10 years, our family has been able to create memorable holiday traditions. We also love that new activities and creative events that are popping up each year. Here are some of our favorites that we wanted to share with you!

 

Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden

Holidays at the Garden

This destination is one of our favorite must-visit locations during the holidays {and other times of the year too}. If you are looking for a family tradition, Holidays at the Garden is an event where you’ll be able to make memories for years to come.

Children will look forward to filling out their passport when they complete fun holiday-themed games located around the garden and parents will love the beauty of the lights and spending time around a fire with their family.

With light features changing each year everyone in your family is bound to find a favorite, or two. While the stunning lights may be what brings you to Daniel Stowe this time of year, the live music, fairy village, and ambiance of roasting s’mores over the fire will keep you coming back year after year.

There are several food and snack options there are including food trucks, beverage bars, and of course it wouldn’t be the holidays without some amazingly sweet goodies. This year Sproutycakes Bakery greeted us again with a huge array of Christmas yumminess.

{Check them out: Sproutycakes Facebook and tell them we sent you, you can thank us later.}

While you will definitely want to bundle up, DSBG has done a great job of creating warm spaces for your family whether it’s the roaring fire pits, or the warmth and beauty of the Orchid Conservatory.

Additional activities include horse-drawn carriage rides, visit with Mrs. Claus, and Capture the Magic with Santa. *Some pre-registrations and payments required, please check the website for details.

To check out more details or purchase tickets online at a discounted rate for Holidays at the Garden at Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens head HERE.

 

Carowinds

WinterFest

WinterFest is an all-new immersive holiday entertainment tradition, opening select evenings through December 30th.

WinterFest transforms the park into a winter wonderland adorned with more that five million holiday lights, a beautiful 70-foot Christmas tree and festive décor displayed throughout the park.

These words and picture alone do not do the park justice, they really went all out and several park goers outside of our party were in awe.

We loved how the park was divided into different themed areas from Charlie Brown’s™ Christmas Town to Jingle Bell Boardwalk, the ever-so-sweet Candy Cane Lane, and who can forget Celebration Plaza where it all kicks off.

WinterFest activities include a nightly tree lighting, live holiday shows and strolling performers, up to 16 family rides, a special holiday menu, a live nativity and 38-animal petting zoo, falling snow, and so much more!

Additional activities include taking a picture with Santa at St. Nick’s Pics*, decorating cookies with Mrs. Claus*, creating take-home keepsakes at Sally Brown’s Christmas Crafts, , skating on Snowflake Lake* and horse-drawn carriage rides*. *The activities listed may require advance ticket purchase or ticket purchase on-site.

The PEANUTS™ gang, and wonderful winter characters are all decked out in Holiday Spirit {except for Scrooge} and the joy is pretty contagious. With the help of some cheerful elves, Miss C and other excited children, wrote a letter to Santa at the North Pole Post Office.

 

Our family loved the singing and dancing featured in Charlie Brown’s™ Christmas Spectacular, and it was a great way to warm up the entire group, not to mention a fun way to get into the holiday spirit. All through the park is festive, live entertainment both indoors and outdoors.

If you’re anything like our coaster-loving family, you’ll want to take advantage of some extra ride time this season. With up to 16 rides, including Afterburn there’s sure to be a ride for family members of every age and thrill level.

Carowinds’ hasn’t forgotten the holiday treats. There are 20 new menu items just for WinterFest, including Turducken burgers, gourmet mac and cheese, gingerbread-eggnog and chocolate-peppermint funnel cakes, and homemade hot chocolate. {Buy your souvenir mug and get free refills on your day of purchase and $1 refills for return visits.}

Who would have thought, shoppers can browse for gifts at WinterFest too. My favorite section are the booths by local vendors at Artisan Alley. If you’re looking for stocking stuffers, or ugly sweaters, the park has those too!

**Don’t forget, guests can visit WinterFest once for free when they purchase a 2018 gold or platinum season pass.

Otherwise, grab your advance-purchase tickets, and check out all the details at carowinds.com.

Billy Graham Library

Christmas at the Library

If you’re looking for a faith-based Christmas tradition Billy Graham Library is rich with history. Parking and admission are FREE. The library is known for it’s year-round Journey of Faith that creatively tells the journey of Billy Graham {this may be a feature you want to save if you have pre-school aged children}. During the holidays the library comes alive –literally– with a delightful live nativity.

Enjoy the sleigh bells jingling while you take a horse-drawn carriage ride through the library grounds {for an additional fee}, or make your reservations for Christmas Dinner and enjoy time with your loved ones.

We loved hearing the different carolers and musical groups that were featured while drinking a hot cup of cocoa. We haven’t been this year, but in previous years the only thing that was a little let down was the food selection and taste. You may want to consider dining out before or after your visit.

Find out more details about your upcoming visit to Christmas at the Library.

Founders Hall – Uptown Charlotte

Leonard Bearstein Orchestra


The Leonard Bearstein Orchestra is located in uptown Charlotte at Founders Hall in the Bank of America Building. This is a fun event to attend, especially if you have little ones. This full animatronic orchestra perform from on the hour from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week. With the exception of Christmas Day.

Founders Hall also has some restaurants, places to grab a quick bite or coffee, and shops if you are planning on making the visit a longer trip.

**Occasionally, a regularly scheduled performance may not take place due to a special event in the hall. As a parent it’s always good to have a back up plan just in case. I always recommend 7th Street Market, ImaginOn, and the Light Rail.

Head here to view the schedule: Bearstein Orchestra

Charlotte Motor Speedway

Speedway Christmas

Speedway Christmas is definitely one of the must-visits if you haven’t been or if you are new to the area. Surprising to me, I’ve found that people either love the experience or don’t. My family personally really enjoys this Charlotte Holiday event, but if you have anyone who doesn’t like being in the car for an extended period of time they may not enjoy this selection as much. {We haven’t used it but have heard that the fast pass to skip the line is worth the additional fee.} There are several days and times that the speedway is less busy and lines are shorter.

We like to go on a day we feel will be less busy, but also one that still has the Christmas Village experience. In the past the village has had an opportunity to visit Santa, purchase Holiday gifts from local vendors, and enjoy yummy food and treats.

In a previous year we’ve enjoyed the nativity/Bethlehem experience and our girls always love the petting zoo filled with a variety of adorable animals. Often times there will be additional activities for an extra charge like carnival and horse rides.

Get your tickets and more information here: Speedway Christmas

 

While this is a pretty long list of some of our family favorites, we have others and know that you do too. Please comment and let us know your favorite local areas to spend the holidays with your family. Also tell us if you agree or disagree, we want to hear from you!!

Thank you to Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens and Carowinds for hosting us this holiday season!!

Subway’s Share the Color Food Workshop – Giveaway

This post is in partnership with Subway. Any opinions expressed are my own.

 

I’m excited to share with you about the upcoming “Share the Color” Food Workshops hosted by Subway Restaurants in the Charlotte area!

 

Share the Color food workshops will be hosted from October 14th-21st at various Subway locations all across the Carolinas for families to attend.

Check out these links to find an event near you:

Charlotte Area

Carolinas Area

{Feel free to register for your free tickets through the link as well.}

Local food and nutrition experts will be on-hand, teaching a short lesson on nutritious food choices and making sure you have a lot of color variety on your plate. Children will participate in a hands-on sub making activity and enjoy a free nutritious lunch and a fun food explorer coloring book.

In honor of the event, I’m giving away a $25 Subway gift card to one lucky reader. To enter you must comment below letting me know your favorite thing to eat at Subway. For extra entries, share this post, and tag your friends on social media.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Pouring Into Our Children

If you’ve read any of my Love Languages blog posts you know that we all give and receive love in unique ways. Our children are no different. While you may feel loved and love by giving hugs (physical touch), your child may feel cared about more with kind words.

It’s important to pour into our children on a daily basis. While some days are easier than others the end result of them knowing you are on their side even when it feels like no one else is, is totally worth it.

Lately I’ve been reading “Love and Logic“, by Foster Cline, while it’s not a new book by any means it has some pretty relevant parenting tips. The more I read and hear people speak on the topic of parenting, the more I realize we only have these children in our care for 18 years. Then, most of them are out on their own, becoming their own people, and hopefully including us in their “grown-up” lives.

There are so many ways to let our children know we love them and support them, while also allowing them to learn life lessons and grow.

Here are a few ways (with love language guidance) you can show your children how much you care:

Words of Affirmation

Handwritten notes may come to mind as a way to express how we feel with words. To make notes a little more fun try to place them in areas that will surprise your children, tuck a sweet note in their shoe, or leave a thoughtful card in their backpack.

Physical Touch

Warm hugs can make any child melt if done at the right time and place. Be mindful of when you think your child may need a little extra TLC. Physical touch can be holding a hand, rubbing their back, or even playing with their hair.

Acts of Service

While it’s true a lot of parents are always showing their love through “acts of service”, folding laundry, picking up toys, but these things may go unnoticed, so try to think out of the box. What tasks do your children do for themselves that they might enjoy not doing once and a while? If your child packs their lunch, but doesn’t love it, why not make them an extra special one?! Bring the trash cans back to the house without them noticing, an act of service can be a delightful surprise. {This is not to say we should take over chores for our kids, but occasionally it can be seen by them as an act of love.}

Quality Time

Spending time doing homework or running errands with your child is time, but doesn’t quite quite qualify as “quality time”. Sorry parents!! If your child enjoys surprises, by all means, choose an activity that you can do together and surprise them after school or on a weekend. On the other hand, if your child is more of a planner, sit down with them and plan something fun to do together, this will double the quality time in both planning and doing.

 

Gifts

If you’ve read my blog post on gifts you’ll know the present doesn’t have to be extravagant, just thoughtful. It’s a really great idea to write down things that you’ve heard your child mention they really like, for example, if they say they really like pink roses, take note for a future day. If they are frustrated because their favorite markers are running low on ink, grab them a new pack and surprise them.

 

The only way we can truly pour into our children, no matter what Love Language they may have, is to invest in them. Your child doesn’t need to be your whole world, in fact they really shouldn’t be, {that’s another blog post}, however, just as with any relationship, you have to put time, effort, and care into it for it to flourish.

 

For those of you who read my blog, but aren’t parents or around children on a daily basis, can I encourage you to reach out to youth? You may not realize it, but you have so much to offer the next generations. Volunteer, find a neighbor, there are so many children who would benefit from your time, trust me.

What are you going to do to pour into your child(ren)??

Guy Stuff: The Body Book For Boys

If you’ve been a reader long enough you’ll know I’m a girl mom. So what am I doing reviewing a body book for boys? I’m actually not. I have a lot of great “boy mom” friends and luckily one of them who has two younger boys was willing to check this book out and give me feedback from her perspective.

Before we get started I will say we completely LOVE the American Girl body book, The Care and Keeping of You and highly recommend that you go through it with your daughter together. I personally wouldn’t just hand the book over because I want to be intentional with what she’s reading and give her opportunities to talk when she has my full attention to answer questions or just ease nervousness about growing up.

That said, American Girl has recently published Guy Stuff: The Body Book for Boys.

Guy Stuff tackles everything boys need to know about their developing bodies and minds-from healthy eating, bad breath and shaving to pubic changes, moodiness and expressing emotions. Written by Dr. Cara Natterson, board-certified pediatrician, NY Times bestselling author of AG’s Care & Keeping of You series, and mom of a 12-year-old son and 14-year-old girl, tackles every subject in a down-to-earth and approachable manner that will help spark conversations between parents and their sons, including those most reluctant to talk about what they’re going through!

Here’s what Chelsea, mom of two boys 6 and under thought:

“There was a lot of great information broken into each body part or hygiene issue. This allows moms of younger boys to be able to focus on topics that are more on their level. The book is great to keep around long term because it does discuss puberty and what exactly happens “down there” with boys.

My son isn’t quite ready to know everything, so we stuck to the beginning of the book. I do like the fact that they combine the regular body part descriptions with the more private area descriptions. It helps kids understand that every part of their body is normal and able to be discussed openly, but it also lends itself to help kids understand the different between areas of their body that can be exposed and areas that God made to be private. It can also help guide safety talks such as who in their life is able to see which parts etc.

Overall, I like the book. Ultimately, how much or how little of the book you read to or with your child will depend on their age and maturity.”

Though it’s not always easy to talk about this topic, it’s so important. It’s never too early to start talking to your child about their body and most importantly it’s great when that information can come directly from their primary care giver.

You can purchase your copy for $12.99 at American Girl’s Website: Guy Stuff: The Body Book for Boys

Leave a comment!!! At what ages have you talked to your son about their body and/or puberty? Have you used any other great resources?

 

Creating a Relaxing Summer Morning Routine

“I’m sharing affresh® in my life as part of a sponsored series for Socialstars™ #affresh

 

If you read my previous post on Summer Schedule for the kids you’ll know we like a mix of schedule and flexibility in the summer. Some mornings we sleep in and other mornings we have to get up early for play dates or errands, but we always make time for breakfast and that includes a delicious cup of coffee for me.

 

To make things run a little more smoothly in the morning I use our daily magnets to set up how our day will look so the girls will know what to expect for the day first thing in the morning.

If we are going to a play date or the pool I’ll also get any items we will need, like snacks, water bottles, pool toys or towels ready the night before so we can just grab and go. That ensures that we’re not running around trying to find items last minute and also equals less stress for everyone.

I find for me, preparing things the night before helps us to not feel rushed eating breakfast and allows us to enjoy our mornings together.

Since I drink coffee every day I want to make sure my coffee maker is fresh and clean and honestly I don’t want to spend a lot of time doing that when I’d rather be playing board games with my girls or taking them to the park.

I love the affresh® Coffeemaker Cleaner. It is a speciality cleaner designed to work specifically with coffeemakers. That means it is compatible with multi-cup and single serve brewers, cleans hard water deposits and mineral build-up, and it’s super easy to use. There’s no need to mix, measure or stir, I just drop in a tablet and let it do the work. {One of my favorite things is that my whole house doesn’t smell like vinegar after it’s done cleaning.}

 

Here’s just how simple it is:

How to use for multi-cup coffeemakers:
  1. FILL the reservoir with water to max level
  2. Drop 1 tablet into reservoir. (For coffeemakers with covered reservoirs, fill the brew pot with water and dissolve 1 tablet in the brew pot, then pour solution into water reservoir)
  3. RUN 1 brew cycle (or ‘clean’ cycle if applicable) into brew pot.
  4. DISCARD dirty water from brew pot and then fill reservoir with fresh water to max level
  5. RUN 1 brew cycle using fresh water then discard to rinse the coffeemaker.
How to use for single serve brewers:
  1. FILL the reservoir to max level. Drop 1 tablet into reservoir.
  2. RUN 2 brew cycles selecting largest cup size, discarding dirty water between brews.
  3. DISCARD remaining water from reservoir. Fill reservoir with fresh water to max level.
  4. RUN 2 additional brew cycles and then discard to rinse coffeemaker.

Or as I like to say fill, drop, fizz, bubble, brew, clean!

 

For more information about affresh® Coffeemaker Cleaner, check out affresh.com

 

No matter what machine you use to brew your coffee, you can’t beat a virtually hands-off cleaning product, especially when it comes to some coffeemakers that make it tricky to clean thoroughly. So if you’re dreaming of easy summer mornings and a fresh cup of coffee, affresh® Coffeemaker Cleaner may become your favorite cleaning product.

 

 

If you have a busy summer like us affresh® cleaners provide so many quick cleaning options that will allow you to spend less time cleaning and more time enjoying your family. Purchase your affresh® cleaners HERE.

 

What are some things you do to help summer mornings run smoother?

 

 

Summer Schedule for Kids – Free Printable

Summer is all about fun and relaxation, I get it. However, a loose schedule is definitely something that our family needs to avoid meltdowns and still feel like we’ve accomplished a few things during the day.

After school let out we had about a week and a half where we just had down time and that was great, but I could clearly see a need for a little bit of structure to combat the, “I’m bored” or “what can I do now?” moments.

Browsing through Pinterest I saw a great Summer Rules Printable that I liked and wanted to create something similar that fit our family needs a little better.

I created a large poster and thought a watermelon theme would be cute for the summer. {Your artistic skills may be better than mine.}

 

 

Then we realized an individual list for each child would be helpful so they could check off items daily. Here is the printable that I created. Please feel free to use for your own family as well. I know task will vary by child and household so I’ve also included a blank printable that you can use and fill in yourself below.

 

Click the link to print: Summer Rules List MommyBKnowsBest

 

CLICK HERE FOR BLANK SUMMER RULES PRINTABLE

 

We placed the printouts in a plastic dry erase pocket so the girls could write and erase easily, each child has a different color pocket and I’ve really seen them take personal responsibility in completing these tasks without being asked.

 

 

Are your summers more scheduled? Are they less scheduled?

Do you create any summer lists??

Leave a comment below!!

 

 

 

 

Tips for Keeping Your Kitchen Clean in Summer

“I’m sharing affresh® in my life as part of a sponsored series for Socialstars™ #affresh

 

Summertime means a lot of things in our home, it means the kids are home from school every day, it means hosting friends and family for celebrations and gatherings, and it means our kitchen is in FULL use. More kitchen use means more kitchen mess means more kitchen cleanup.

There are so many reasons to make sure you are keeping on top of kitchen cleaning other than to make it looks nice.

Here are a few reasons to keep a clean kitchen in the Summer:

  • Keep away ants and other bugs that LOVE dirty kitchens
  • Make it easier for entertaining {one less room to clean}
  • Not feel like you have chores hanging over you when fun activities pop up
  • Smelly kitchen can effect the way your entire house smells
  • Dishes are clean and easy to grab for a quick meal in between pool time
  • Enough counter space to pack a park lunch
  • Lessens the amount of germs for a healthier summer

 

Is the kitchen a hard place to keep clean?!? YES!! Especially when you aren’t the only one living in your home, but you can see it’s an important room to tidy up. Luckily there are some ways you can make cleaning the kitchen easier.

Enlist Help

With Miss A and Miss C tall enough to reach the counters and old enough to put things away on their own I can give them a good bit of kitchen cleaning chores. Even if you have a small child you can find these fun kitchen helper stools at almost any online retailer and they can easily help with wiping the counter or putting away unbreakable, non-sharp dishes.

 

Remember, help doesn’t just have to be your littles it can also be a spouse/significant other, or a friend {just be sure to return the favor}.

When you’re enlisting help be sure to make it fun, put on some music or make it a game to pass the time and encourage cheerful workers.

Keep it Simple

Use products that will clean without a lot of work. This is what I call “Return on Rub”. If you spend hours using a product that makes you scrub and sweat, and you’re not left with something sparkling clean, it’s so not worth it, am I right???

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Clean Smart. I clean smart using products I know that work, and products that are super easy to use.

Remember the smelly kitchen I mentioned above? One reason kitchens get so smelly is because the ever-so-helpful garbage disposal won’t clean itself. I know, maybe in the year 2030 that will be a thing, but in the meantime giving our garbage disposal a deep clean with minimal effort is humanly possible.

affresh® Disposal Cleaner is designed specifically to clean and remove odor causing residue using powerful foaming action.

 

Not only does it work, {trust me I tried it}, but it’s easy to use. Follow the instructions listed on the back of the box once a month or as needed.

 

 

 

1. Get ready for awesome affresh® cleaning to take place

2. Turn on hot water to a low flow

3. Place 1 fresh, citrus scented tablet in your disposal

4. Turn on the disposal for 15-30 seconds and watch the foaming action

After turning off your disposal and rinsing any foam residue, enjoy a fresh smelling disposal in practically less than a minute.

Wherever there is a specific cleaning job to do, you can count on affresh® cleaners to provide the right tool for the job. Purchase your affresh® cleaners HERE

 

Break it Up

When you’re thinking of steps you need to clean your kitchen think broad and make a list, when you break the work into chunks and spread it out it becomes easier to tackle. If you’re a visual person writing down your task might be a great help. We have a white board in our kitchen that has many uses including writing down and checking off chores.

Here is a list of some tasks that may be helpful to send you on your kitchen cleaning journey:

  • Counters
  • Appliances {you could even break these down more}
  • Sink & Disposal {see tip above}
  • Floors
  • Cabinets

Your tasks may vary depending on the size of your kitchen, your appliances and your personal preference, but hopefully this is a great start to a clean kitchen this Summer.

 

What tips do you have to keep your kitchen clean, and you’re not allowed to say, “don’t use it”, I’ve tried that but eating out every meal is too expensive. 

 

What’s In My Diaper Bag? – Diaper Bag Essentials

This is a sponsored post with Beech-Nut brand, however all opinions are my own, honest thoughts.

 

Let’s face it moms are always on-the-go, whether it’s doctor’s appointments, playdates, or running errands. It’s so hard to try to remember the list of things to bring with you as you scramble to make it out the door. Organization and pre-planning go a long way in the mommy world, and while it’s not possible to plan everything {ie, diaper blowouts, or traffic jams; both equally horrible}, there are some things that you can plan that are easy and will simplify your life.

Today’s What’s in My Diaper Bag? – Diaper Bag Essentials post isn’t an absolute list, it’s a list to get you started in the right direction and allows you to make changes that will fit your family and personal on-the-go needs.

Playtime

The type of toy will vary depending on your child’s age, but generally speaking choose toys that are easily washable. You already know those toys are going straight to the ground. Sophie la Girafe Teether** {pictured above} is a must-have diaper bag toy. She’s easy to find in stores and can be wiped down quickly {don’t use her as a bath toy}.

Some fabric toys that wrap around the carseat or shopping cart are great too. {Always look for machine-washable to save yourself some time and stress.}

Mealtime

Easy travel dining ware, like pop-up bowls and disposable flatware are great for meals on the go.

I also highly recommend easy snacks. We’re pretty mindful of what our kids are eating and compare brands to see which are the healthiest and Beech-Nut** really stands out. Not only are their baby and toddler snacks and cereals real ingredients, but they are super portable and a great addition to your diaper bag essentials.

 

Check out their Naturals™ and Organics™ lines:

 

Don’t forget the two-in-one highchair/shopping cart cover like this multi-colored Eddie Bauer Reversible Cart & High Chair Cover**. We loved ours and highly recommend keeping one in your diaper bag. {Opt for darker colors to hide stains.}

While we are at it, I love these Tommee Tippee Closer To Nature Milk Feeding Bib the unique dribble catcher absorbs moisture and is ideal for drips or teething and they’re reversible as well.

Changing time

Of course diapers and wipes are important, we heart Pampers brand. Be sure to put a few diapers in your bag, get a travel wipes case, and remember to check every so often to refill.

Changing Pads often come with diaper bags but personally I’ve always been hesitant to use them because I feel like they may not be super clean, I typically go with disposable options and you can find earth-friendly versions as well.

Don’t feel like carrying a dirty diaper around in your diaper bag? Yuck! I highly recommend having the handy Munchkin Arm & Hammer Diaper Bag Dispenser & Bags** attached to your diaper bag at all times. It clips on to the strap AND smells great.

 

 

Remember the extra change of clothes for when messes occur, trust me you’ll thank me later.

Mommy time

It’s always nice to have a few things for mom stashed away in your diaper bag. Remember some bottled water, a quick snack, extra clothes, and maybe even some shower wipes to freshen up a bit. If you can sneak a good book or magazine in, GO YOU!!

Healthy time

Disinfect the world. Okay I know some germs are good, but for public places and unexpected stops I love a good disinfecting wipe. Yep, I’m that mom.

You can buy a set of nail clippers, a thermometer, all your baby’s health needs separately, but why when you can get everything in a complete set that comes with a great little bag to keep everything in one place in your diaper bag. Love this set by Safety 1st. Check out their Deluxe Healthcare & Grooming Kit**.

Okay on this last one, I have not personally tried this but feel like I have seen parents in a standing ovation over this health product. Ladies, and gents, I give you the Fridababy NoseFrida® Nasal Aspirator**. Again, people swear by it and reviews on shopping sites are pretty impressive.

 

And don’t forget the cute Oh Joy!® Backpack Diaper Bag** that’s super stylish and just the right size to hold all your essentials and not be overwhelmingly large.

 

So tell me, What’s In Your Diaper Bag? No, seriously, I really want to know! Leave a comment below, can’t wait to see what your must-haves are.

Fun and Easy Valentine’s Ideas for Kids

Valentine’s Day is a great holiday to celebrate with kids. My girls love languages are gifts, words of affirmation, physical touch, and quality time, so basically they cover 4 out of 5 of the love languages. If you haven’t heard about love languages check out my blog post on Exploring Love Languages.

 

Because they have different love languages we do a few things both leading up to Valentine’s Day and on the day itself. Here are just a couple new and old traditions that we partake in to celebrate.

Valentine’s Day Countdown – Make a paper chain, calendar countdown, or think of something creative to count your way down to Valentine’s Day. It doesn’t matter what day you start but here are some ideas of what you and your family can do to count your way down to the 14th.

  • Hug someone in your family
  • Read John 3:16
  • Make a craft with hearts
  • Say one reason you love each member of your family
  • Help cook a family meal or treat in the shape of a heart
  • Look at pictures from past V-days
  • Help someone in need
  • Spend time with another family
  • Invite someone to church
  • Color pictures for extended family members
  • Write a letter to a missionary or military family
  • Make Valentine’s Day cards
  • Decorate your home with words of kindness


Valentine’s Day Tree

We found this Valentine’s Day Tree in the dollar section at Target. It was made for the classroom, but I find a lot of great items that we can use at home are teaching tools or made for school. I love how easy it is to love with words of affirmation and kindness using this simple decoration.

 

There’s also something similar on Amazon*, and of course you could make your own as well:

 

Now that I’ve shared a couple of things we do in our home, I would love to hear your ideas for Valentine’s Day. Share how you celebrate by leaving a comment in the comment section below.

Exploring Love Languages – Gifts

Welcome to the Exploring Love Languages series on MommyB Knows Best! If you didn’t get a chance to read the first post or take your 5 Love Languages test (or test your family/friends) head back to the Exploring Love Languages and How to Show Them post to do that now.

If you know your love language that’s great, that will tell you how you most like to be loved and probably be a good indicator of how you typically love others. While I think loving others is great no matter how you do it, you may find that sometimes when you show love it’s not received in a way you might think, of course this could be the product of many factors, but one thing I’ve found is that my way of loving others may not be their preferred way. While we don’t need to “change” everything we do for others isn’t it nice to meet them where they are, especially our family members/children?

I thought it would be great to explore some love languages and gain some insight so we can all love a little better. As my love languages don’t fit every love language, I’ll need your help, if you fit in the current category or know some great ways to show love in this category won’t you please leave a comment with some tips and ideas too? We’re all in this together.

 

Let’s get started with The 5 Love Languages – Receiving Gifts.

 

 

Occasionally I’ll hear that the receiving gifts love language is a greedy one, when in reality I think each love language is valid and important. I’ve been told by several “gifts” friends and family that it doesn’t matter the size or price point of the gift, rather that someone took the time to think of them enough to give a gift.

Here are some gift ideas from across the board, some are free and others are thoughtful and I would love to hear your ideas in the comment section below!!

 

Personalized gifts – Nothing says “this gift is specifically for you” like a personalized gift. Think about something that the recipient will love like a tote bag or a journal and get their name or initials on it. Every time they see or use that item they’ll think of you, it’s a win-win.

We bought this great Summer tote from Simply Personalized for Miss A, and she loves that it has her name written in one of her favorite colors. There are a lot of great websites that will personalize almost any kind of gift.

 

Handmade gifts – This is where you will definitely want to know your recipient, some LOVE receiving handmade gifts and feel they’re from the heart, others will be disappointed thinking you don’t really know them all that well. Hayley M. mentioned to make sure if it’s handmade it’s also something that person will use. This one can be tricky but hopefully the intentions aren’t lost in translation. PS if you don’t feel super handy you can also check out Etsy.com or local vendors for some pretty amazing handcrafted items. I treasure this necklace my sister got me in memory of our mom.

 

Meaningful gifts – When it’s clear you’ve taken the time to really think through gift giving this person’s “love tank” will be overflowing. One tip I’ve found is by peeking at Pinterest boards and other social media sites the gift getter is on to see what that person has been eying. In the past, I’ve also loved making gift giving a game, making a scavenger hunt or completing a puzzle to find the gift. Some people like Jennifer M. Don’t care what the gift is as long as it means something.

 

Themed gifts – Find a theme, whether it’s red for Valentine’s Day or smiley faces to brighten someone’s day, a theme can help you buy gifts when you’re not completely sure of what to get and be a fun gift to give.

 

Things to avoid:

  • giving gift cards unless you know the recipient REALLY wants gift cards
  • missing gift giving special event, especially birthdays and Christmas
  • generic gifts, Megan H says “like coffee mugs because I’ve been gifted so many”, also things like body wash sets, slippers, again unless you know that’s what they REALLY want
  • thinking they don’t like your gift when they receive lots, Hayley M says, “I often choose one gift (unintentionally) that is my favorite and over use it. I will make my way to the others at some point.

 

I’ll admit as an over thinker I often don’t even up giving gifts because I always second guess what I am getting. Will they like it? Is it what they want/need? Will they even care? I’ve come to the conclusion though that we can’t make everyone happy, however we can at least try and our intentions do matter. So please don’t second guess yourself when it comes to gift giving, the effort counts!

 

Is gifts one of your love languages or do you know someone who is? Leave us some tips in the comment area below!!

 

**I received product from Simply Personalized which I chose to write about, this is not a paid or sponsored post.