Spread love everywhere you go

February Simply Family/Simply Parties by Jackie

Here we are in February, the month of love. I hope January treated you well and this month does so also. Here’s some creative ideas to make some fun family memories.

It’s Cool to Care: Decorate a box or use a basket to make a Care Basket for a neighbor or relative. Some items to include could be a box of tissues, soup, packets of oatmeal, lotion, oranges, heart shaped cookies, flowers, and crossword books. Just a little something to brighten their days during this cold winter month.

Happy to be Healthy: Discuss ways you can help your heart stay strong and healthy. Put up red paper hearts throughout your home as reminders to eat healthy and exercise. Perhaps the hearts have family activities written on them such as having a dance party, going for a winter walk, or doing yoga. Along with diet and physical activity, give meditation a try as a wonderful way to alleviate stress. Here’s a couple helpful websites to check out http://kidshealth.org/en/kids/heart.html

Both of the above recipes I found years ago in an American Heart Association Magazine/Go Red For Women. These are both recipes that the entire family can help prepare and hopefully enjoy!

I love this meditation exercise, it’s from YOGA FOR YOU and your child by Mark Singleton (page 111). Could be a helpful activity when expressing feelings of anger or anxiety. Balloons– it’s supposed to teach you can let go of your thoughts and emotions whenever you want to, just like letting go of a balloon. With eyes closed, imagine a big blue sky around you. Relax as you breathe into this space. Think of balloons floating by representing your thoughts and feelings. As a balloon floats by, catch the string and hold it for a bit. Picture the shape and color. Is it gentle or does it pull back? Maybe there is something written on it. After observing the balloon for a minute or so, let it go. Watch it float across the sky until it disappears.

http://www.firstforwomen.com/posts/meditation-for-kids-153784

Family Fun:

Movie Night- Cook together making spaghetti and meatballs and salad. Be a little fancy by setting your table with flowers, cloth napkins and candles. Enjoy snuggling and watching Disney’s Lady and the Tramp. A couple other movies recommended for this month are Toy Story and Homeward Bound. They too happen to be a bit older Disney movies, but still remain favorites of mine. A friendship activity to go along with these movies is for kiddos to make a collage with friend pictures. Could be as simple as placing pics in a frame or more detailed using colored paper, stickers, and quotes or sayings.

Game Night– Have everyone join in for game night and play classic games such as Monopoly, Clue, Life, and Sorry. Give some of these ideas for snack food a try- Carrot sticks, celery sticks, cucumbers and peppers served with a greek yogurt based veggie dip/ Grapes, cheese cubes, and a variety of nuts/ Popcorn sprinkled with parmesan cheese/ Pretzel sticks with hummus/Turkey and cheese roll-ups sliced and served with toothpicks/Trail mix made with nuts, pretzels, cheerios, raisins, and M+Ms. Here’s a neat recipe for yogurt bark to try http://diethood.com/frozen-yogurt-bark-berries/

Hooray for the Holidays:

Valentine’s Day- Make each member of your household a homemade Valentine card. Use construction paper, doilies, and stickers. Write something you find special about each person on their card.

President’s Day-Talk about what things you would focus on if you were to become President of the United States. Play a United States trivia game or quiz one another with U.S. President flash cards. Make a patriotic dessert for dinner, for example, strawberries, blueberries, and vanilla yogurt.

Chinese New Year- This year 2019, Chinese New Year Day is on February 5th and it’s the year of the Pig. Design paper lanterns, have a tasting party and make fortune cookies. http://wondermomwannabe.com/faster-homemade-fortune-cookies/

From the book YOGA FOR YOU and your child by Mark Singleton
Some pretty cool Chinese New Year traditions -Mandarin oranges symbolize good luck (usually given in pairs), decorations include lanterns, flowers, and banners, spring cleaning represents removing the old and welcoming the new, red envelopes with money may be given to children, celebrations could include the dragon dance which is said to ward off bad spirits and bring in good luck and blessings.

Home Helpers:

As you continue adding to your coin jar, play some math games that teach the values of each coin.

There are plenty of games to play with coins- you can roll dice to get a number and kids use their coins to match. Make price tags for items such as food, books, or toys and play store together. Take turns being the cashier and the customer having them make the correct change or catching you when you don’t. Maybe someday coins will be a thing of the past, but for now they still count!

Plants– add some greenery to your home. Find some plants that are easy to maintain and have the kids be responsible for taking care of them. Have little water bottles and sprayers available. http://farmfoodfamily.com/non-toxic-houseplants/

Mind Matters: Listen to classical music while working on a puzzle, coloring, or painting. Wouldn’t this be lovely to do every day? http://www.classicfm.com/discover-music/best-classical-music-for-kids/

Winter Wonders: Make birdseed ornaments to hang on trees.

Snow Fun: Play outside and enjoy the snow if you’re lucky enough to have some! Make a snow person for each member of the family. Lean back and make snow angels, go sledding, or what about an old fashioned snowball fight? Set up a hot cocoa bar when you return back in. Different flavors of cocoas with mix-ins like peppermint sticks, marshmallows, and caramel make for a scrumptious treat.

Read On: There are many great reads for kids with stories of love, friendship, and kindness. Here’s a sample of picture books that have been popular here and a few chapter books listed as well.

A few reads for older kids- Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo / Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White / Wonder by R. J. Palacio / Rules by Cynthia Lord  

As always for those who live nearby, feel free to borrow any of the books, games, or movies listed.

Groundhog Day may have gone by, but this activity is always a favorite! Read about Groundhog Day and what the legend says happens if a shadow is seen. Then have some fun learning what makes a shadow, use flashlights and have a shadow puppet show on the walls or ceiling.

Parent’s Corner: Love your feet in February. Find a lotion that you like and apply it to your feet every morning and evening before climbing into bed. Stretch your feet and toes by putting your fingers in between each toe and wiggling them back and forth. Make a homemade foot scrub. Take special care of your feet, they help keep us grounded! http://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/natural-beauty-fashion/stories/4-homemade-foot-scrub-recipes

A little loving challenge for yourself.

Have a wonderful month filled with love and laughter! I hope you’re able to have fun trying some of these activities!

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