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Robin Steinweg: 15 Ideas for Family Togetherness

Posted by Julie on October 4, 2016 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

15 Ideas for Family Togetherness

by Robin Steinweg

Time with our families. How hard can that be?

We probably don’t intend to dash in and out of their lives saying, “Gotta go! See you later!” We want to create memories with siblings, parents and grandparents. But life gets in the way.

September is Intergenerational Month. What a great time to start!

Here are 15 ideas for family togetherness. Some can take only minutes. Choose one this week. Be intentional—make it happen.

  • Q&A-with-a-Twist—Ask foolish questions like these:
    • o Do fish get thirsty?
    • o How does the snowplow driver get to work?
    • o What would chairs look like if our knees were in the back?
    • o Where does your lap go when you stand up?
    • o For more, try these sites: http://ow.ly/w5Pp302TiZ6 or http://ow.ly/ZVAs302Tj6K .
    • Games:
    • o Oodles—or other question-asking games.
    • o Board Games.
    • o Word Games—Scrabble, Bananagrams, Crosswords.
    • o Volley Balloon—for the youngest and the oldest in your family.
    • o Hangman (Wheel of Fortune)—can be played on a napkin at a restaurant while waiting. Someone chooses a word and draws the correct number of lines. Others guess letters. For each incorrect guess, draw another piece of the gallows or the unfortunate hangee.
    • o DIY games with family-made pieces: http://ow.ly/hzjJ302TkaH
    • Share Interests/Hobbies.
    • Walk: make a scavenger hunt of views to collect (sunset, catalpa tree, ant, pine needle…).
    • Music: share a recording, play a song, sing together, or find a youtube video of favorites.
    • Books: read aloud or everyone read the same book and discuss next time.
    • Movies: take turns choosing. Create a family review afterward.
    • Take a class together—learn something new!
    • Cooking/eating: choose an ingredient. Divide the family for a contest using the featured food. Choose a theme with decorations, place-cards, and divide duties according to age/ability.
    • Coded messages: a way to involve relatives at a distance. Write one coded message per week and send. Keep it going!
    • Pray together.
    • Worship together.
    • Gardening: big or small, indoor or outdoor, in-ground or in containers.
    • Teach each other a skill: teach a family member to knit (or whatever), and he/she teaches you to use an iPad (or whatever).
    • Family Giving Project: are there homeless in your community? You might collect food pantry items. Or personal care items. Join up with others—knit warm hats for shivering school children.

How about it? How will you bring the generations together this week?

~+~

robinsteinwegRobin Steinweg finds life sweet in the middle of writing, speaking, teaching, caring for aging parents and adjusting to having adult children. She, her husband and family live near Madison, Wisconsin. Her passion is to help others discover joy in every age of life. On fb—Robin June Steinweg.

 

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Guest Blogger: Recipe for Single Moms by Dawn V. Cahill

Posted by Julie on July 9, 2015 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

Recipe for Single Moms

Many years ago, my three-year-old son discovered a love for food preparation. He’d come up with all kinds of concoctions. Here’s one of them:

½ gallon of milk

2/3 quart chocolate milk powder

Approx 8 tbsp salt

¼ can of pepper

¼ jar of onion powder

½ box of petit fours

In a saucepan, stir all ingredients together on medium-high heat, stir, and enjoy. Note: In order to capture every subtle flavor of each ingredient, it is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to prepare before 6:00 am, before anyone else is up. I promise it will fill your home with a mysterious yet enticing scent, and will bring the rest of the family scurrying to the kitchen.

chocolate shake

Doesn’t that look scrumptious? A half-gallon of milk mixed with chocolate powder sounds like a promising beginning, doesn’t it? Funny how life can imitate recipes. In my own case, life as a single parent started out not so bad. Once I rid my home of my alcoholic husband’s toxic influence, the atmosphere lightened as if the house itself breathed a big sigh of relief.

But then life threw a lot of salt into the mix. And way too much pepper. One of my sons began getting in trouble at school for disruptive behavior, and he was only 6 years old. His grades nosedived and his behavior grew increasingly unruly as the long year wore on. As this was happening,  another son, the chef wannabe, was diagnosed with delayed development.

Sweet had turned to bitter.

I had eliminated one problem – abusive husband – but had acquired umpteen more. Child support was erratic, at best. Financial problems, like onion powder, is only tolerable in small doses.

Life had turned into a disaster that made me gag.

I decided I needed a way to sweeten up my life, and came up with the perfect solution: a delicious new romance! A purely selfish, yet pleasurable way to make life bearable again.

petit fours

Of course, it didn’t work. Petit fours soaked in salt, pepper and onions aren’t so tasty anymore. Neither is romance when the rest of life isn’t working.

But here I am, twenty years later, my sanity still intact—at least, I hope it is. My son the aspiring chef is on the verge of graduating from college. My unruly son made it through school and has been on his own for many years.

So, you might wonder, how did I get from there to here?

It’s a long story, one I’ll have to save for next time. But it’s a testament to God’s grace. His merciful concern for the widow and the orphan.

Be sure to come back HERE for the rest of the story.

~~Dawn V. Cahill~~Since I was a small child, I’ve loved stories, both reading and writing them. One of my earliest stories got high accolades from my third grade teacher. It was about a little Manx kitten whose mother rejected her because she didn’t have a tail. Until an older, wiser cat helped the mother understand the importance of accepting her children the way God made them.

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Book Review: When I Fall in Love by Susan May Warren

Posted by Julie on August 7, 2014 in Book Review, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

51WvY-NSedL

About the book: 

 

Hawaii was the last place Grace Christiansen ever imagined she’d vacation, much less fall in love. But when her family surprises her with a cooking retreat in paradise, she is pulled-or maybe yanked-away from her predictable, safe life and thrown headfirst into the adventure of a lifetime.

Max Sharpe may make his living on the ice as a pro hockey player, but he feels most at home in the kitchen. Which is why he lives for the three-week culinary vacation he takes each year in Hawaii. Upon being paired with Grace for a cooking competition, Max finds himself drawn to her passion, confidence, and perseverance. But just when Grace dares to dream of a future beyond her hometown, Max pulls away.

Wrestling with personal demons, Max fights against opening his heart to a love he knows he should never hope for. And as his secrets unfold, Grace is torn between the safe path in front of her and what her heart truly desires. If love means sacrificing her ideal happily ever after, Grace’s faith will face its toughest test yet.

I believe it hasn’t been since Karen Kingsbury’s Redemption series with the Baxter family have I become so enamored with a fictional family. Once again Susan May Warren paints a realistic family with flaws and issues to overcome, but also with a bond so tight I want to be a Christiansen, too. I really was rooting for Grace and understood Max and his choices.

I loved the Hawaii setting and the cooking competition backdrop. There was great chemistry between Grace and Max. It made for fast reading to see what was going to happen next.

If you’re looking for a great read to wind down your summer, although this is a stand-alone, do yourself a favor and get the series. When I Fall in Love is a perfect summer romance.

 

Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/z5Ijj

 

About the author: 

 

Susan May Warren is the bestselling, RITA Award-winning author of more than forty novels whose compelling plots and unforgettable characters have won acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. She served with her husband and four children as a missionary in Russia for eight years before she and her family returned home to the States. She now writes full-time as her husband runs a lodge on Lake Superior in northern Minnesota, where many of her books are set. She and her family enjoy hiking, canoeing, and being involved in their local church. Several of her critically acclaimed novels have been ECPA and CBA bestsellers, were chosen as Top Picks by Romantic Times, and have won the RWA’s Inspirational Reader’s Choice contest and the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year award. Five of her books have been Christy Award finalists. In addition to her writing, Susan loves to teach and speak at women’s events about God’s amazing grace in our lives. She also runs a writing community for authors. 

Find Susan online: website, My Book TherapyTwitter, Facebook

I received a copy of When I Fall in Love from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 



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