As summer is winding down, and fall scheduling is back in high gear, intentional family moments will have to be sought after and fought for during the next few months. A few weeks ago, I gave some suggestions for end of the summer tradition ideas and thought it important to have my actions match my talk. Let me tell you, I didn’t want to…
There’s always a reason NOT to capture spontaneous memorable moments.
- I’m busy.
- I have work to do.
- I don’t have any money. We can’t afford it.
- The house is a mess and chores need to be done.
- I’m tired.
- I need to catch up on my overloaded “in box.”
- I have a few calls I need to make.
Yet on this day, I remembered my commitment last summer to being a “Yes Mom” in the little things. A mom who cares enough to say “No” in the hard moments, but captures the magical ones with a big, fat “Yes.”
So when this daughter requested, “Mom, can we take a picnic outside tonight,” I said, Yes.”
Now, hear me on this. Don’t get all HGTV/ Food Network-y on me. We have built up expectations that magical moments need to cost us time and money. That is NEVER the case. Those moments that will be remembered years from now are the ones where you were just available, and I need to continually remind myself of that.
Look below at what our gourmet fare consisted of that evening. Pretty impressive, isn’t it? 🙂
I almost told my daughter “no” to her request because we didn’t have any “official” picnic food on hand. She reminded me about our hot dogs (which I had just purchased Buy One, Get One Free the night before) and chips. Quickly, the two of us set off to boil hot dogs, put them in buns, grab some cookies, chips and ketchup and jump in the van. Our teen boys moaned for a minute, but we didn’t give them the option. Our spontaneous picnic came together in less than ten minutes, and cost us only our time. The food was already bought (with coupons) and the lack of excuses…priceless.
This evening wasn’t about the amazing open air alfresco spread with an assortment of various cheeses spanning three continents. It was just about spending a few moments together and breaking bread…even if it was just $0.99 Harris Teeter hot dog buns.
As busy families, working women, stay at home moms, single adults – what ever stage of life we’re in, it’s so easy to prioritize the non-essentials. I do it all the time, and some how I make time for those moments that won’t even be remembered a month from now.
You can be guaranteed that this magical moment is etched in my memory for a lifetime. (And to think I almost missed it because I was too busy).
When did our baby get so big, or could it be that my husband shrank?
So why not take a few minutes and shake up your after school snack or dinner time hour this week?
Remember, it doesn’t have to be elaborate to make memories. There’s something about the simplicity of eating outside that allows that to happen all on its own. You don’t need a beautiful lake in your vicinity, you just need a few minutes of creative intentionality.
Here are a few inspiration ideas that cost zero money, but more importantly, minimal preperation time:
- Picnic table at your local park – (Summertime Brunch and Tablescape)
- Beautiful meadow with wild flowers that engageyour senses – don’t forget the blanket.
- Switch yards with your neighbor for an hour.
- Hop in the car and ask the kids to direct you for five minutes. Where ever they lead you…stop and eat there. (Yes, it could be interesting, but your kids will talk about it for years).
- Do you live near a friendly neighborhood farm? Borrow their corn field for an hour (after asking, of course).
- Find a local creek. Dabble your feet in the water while you enjoy the freedom that comes with bare feet.
- Are you in the city? People watch at your local city center or find a bench near a fountain.
I would love to hear your creative ideas, and I will add them to the list.
What a wonderful idea Jen……..I always feel so much better when I MAKE myself STOP saying no to my girls and just do it!!!…….These days will be gone before we know it.
At least once a week this summer we packed a picnic and met Dad at work. Sometimes we had no food and I had to stop at the grocery on the way and pick up bagels. Living in upstate NY we have so little warm weather we need to enjoy it while we can.
I love this, Jen.
thank you for this beautiful reminder!
I love this! We have impromptu picnics all the time in the yard. Sometimes we just grab some snacks and juice and go out for a short break!
Isn’t spontaneous just the best sometimes?!! I love, love, love how you just went ahead and said ‘yes’ to fun!
Hey Jennifer. I gave you a Sunshine Award. Cuz I love your blog. You really inspire me. As recipient of this award, you are supposed to post seven tidbits about yourself and pass on the Sunshine Award to seven blogs. But I won’t hold you to that since you probably get a million of these. Thanks for being there.
@Zekesmom10, Jodi – thank you so much for giving this to me. Even though I don’t post them, it always means so much, and I appreciate the thought. 🙂
Great ideas, Jen. I find myself in that situation a lot – but sadly, I still usually say no. Thanks for the reminder!
Just yesterday I took my girls on a blindfolded field trip. You can read about it here. http://foreverinthekitchen.blogspot.com/2010/08/blindfolded-field-trip.html It was sooooooo fun! They thought I was the best mom ever!
@Ashley, Ashley – you are FOR SURE a yes mom. Love that and that’s the best kind of homeschooling. 🙂
I was excited to see the story about your blog in the Northwest Observer today! I had happened upon your blog awhile back. Not sure how, as often happens in this blogland. Never realized that we live in the same town until I saw the article today. I have not been blogging or blog hopping much due to life changes but now that I know I have a “neighbor” in you I will be sure to “stop in” once in a while!
@Sue, So fun that you saw it. but even better that we are real life neighbors. 🙂
Jen, I’ve been following your blog for over a year and it was fun to see the article about you in our local Northwest Observer. Fun!!!
This is a terrific idea—the picnic. I might just do this tomorrow night!!!
@karol, isn’t that fun how the internet can become such a “small world.” Fun to know we’re neighbors. 🙂
So true Jen. Time really is the most valuable asset we have. Not money or things. Why use that asset to revolve around things. It should be used to create those memories with our loved ones. When I look back on my life I don’t remember what I was driving or what I had on-I just remember who was there with me.
Backyard movies. Share with friends. Repeat while swimming.
Oooh! I remember doing that as a child. My dad would come in & Mom would say “dinner at the beach tonight”. I still can not see one of those old green table top grill thingys at a thrift store withour thinking about those fun times…. Thanks for the memories this morning.
(PS…. one day your kids will be 54 & have the same memories 🙂
So touching! Thanks for this wonderful post. It is clear you care a lot about your family.
Jen, I love this post. 🙂 Firstly, your family is beautiful. Secondly, I completely agree about taking the time out for those little moments. I have a quote on my website, “You will never find time for anything. If you want time, you must make it.” The years go by so quickly that the best thing we can do is savor all the little moments that make them up.
In the fall I get together with church women friends and do a Bible Study. When things do get busy I try to get out my crock pot & cook meals up ahead of time & freeze them.
I agree with taking time out for the little moments in life. I try to schedule time with my husband – nothing special just “us” time. We laugh, have pillow fights, & jsut talk about lfie.
With older parents, we make time for them also. We savor minutes we can spend with them and let them reminisce about the past.
LOve this Jen, and this post made me cry! 🙂
Friday morning my husband came home with burgers and buns from the reduced section (yes, he goes almost every morning) and we had a barbecue at noon. I can’t remember having a barbecue at noon on a week day ever and it was such a happy surprise to have all our kids home.
I THINK WE GET SO WRAPPED UP IN OUR DAY TO DAY LIVES THAT WE FORGET TO STOP AND SMELL THE ROSES. TIME IS SO PRECIOUS ESPECIALLY WHEN IT COMES TO OUR FAMILY. THE LITTLE THINGS WE TAKE FOR GRANTED. I HAVE 3 BOYS 30,18 AND 12 AND ONE 3 YEAR OLD GRANDDAUGHTER. STOP AND TAKE TIME WITH YOUR FAMILY EVEN A HOUR OR TWO CAN MAKE UNFORGETABLE MEMORIES. ALWAYS PUT GOD AND FAMILY FIRST.
THANK YOU JENNIFER FOR YOUR POST. PUTS THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE.