It's finally here. Summertime is in full effect. What better time than now to start getting back outdoors? Allergies are settled down, the weather is nice, and there are so many fun things to do. I've come up with some ideas for a Summer Bucket list that I will be exploring with my family this year and I thought I'd just share them in case anyone wants to entertain a few.
#1 -Almost everyone lives somewhat close to a historical landmark. If you do and haven't experienced (or if it's been a good while since you last experienced) the fun right
under your nose, go ahead and stop taking it for granted. Go walk a bridge, visit a museum, a National Park, etc. Get out and explore with the family and make a day of it. You can teach the kiddos something while you are at it. Check the internet for local landmarks near you.
#2 -Build a terrarium. A friend of mine inspired this one for me. He just learned about making terrariums and quickly became awesome at it. It is not hard at all to get started with making
terrariums. This can be fun and educational. Start out by getting a good book about how to build
terrariums and visit a local nursery for plants. How to build a terrarium.
#3 -Add a bird bath and/or bird house to your back yard. I was in an arts and crafts store the other day and saw all kinds of bird houses and baths that you could design, paint, build, or even some that were ready made. This is surprisingly really affordable (can be under 20 bucks!) and could be a lot of fun for the kids as well as educational. See what The Bird Depot shares as well as good deals- How to make a bird house.
#4 -Make cake pops for the 4th of July. There are so many great 4th of July recipes out there right now. Here is one that I think I'm going to try from Taste and Tell Blog
OR if you want something a little more fruity, try blueberry/strawberry/whipped cream cups. This can also be prepared in one big dish. Red White and Blue desserts.
#5 -Go to the library to check out some good books and then read outside somewhere.
#6 -Make a lemonade stand. You can be as creative as you want with this one as far as building a stand. Otherwise, you can always buy one that is already made. Making the lemonade could be a fun creative part as well. You could even get fancy and have different flavor lemonades. Do you know some recipes for different lemonades besides lemon and strawberry? Please share!
#7 -Create an outdoor movie theatre. Project a movie outside in the backyard- have popcorn and grill up some dinner. There are many different selections of projectors and screens. Check Amazon and Walmart for some reasonable deals. I've even just used a white sheet for a screen and that worked just fine.
#8 -Go bowling or play miniature golf. This is easy and just plain fun; especially when you are with a good crowd.
#9 -Have a water balloon toss/play in the sprinklers and add water guns to the mix. Sometimes its just so hot and this is a great way to cool off. Check out Amazon for a cool selection of water guns and water toys.
#10 -Have a yard sale- Make a party out of setting it up and tearing it down at the end of the day. Who says a yard sale cant be fun? DIY life shares How to Hold a Profitable and Fun Yard Sale
#11 -Fly a kite! Simple fun that is priceless! Everything you need to know about kites.
#12 -Go bike riding to get lunch. That way you get fun time plus exercise before and after stuffing yourself!
#13 -Go to a beach and build a sand castle. I have no idea how to build a sand castle, but I sure want to. Here is some helpful info to get you started from what you need to how to build one.
#14 -Plant a garden. Don't have a suitable area? Get a half barrel and do a small garden with summer veggies or herbs. See what Eat Close To Home says about starting a garden from scratch.
Learn from DIY Network how to make a container theme garden.
#15 -Treasure walk. Give the kids each a little bucket. Go on a walk and let them collect treasures they find along the way – leaves, rocks, flowers, bugs. Don't let those "treasures" enter the house though! See how Audra from Rediscovering Domesticity does this walk with her family.
So there you have it! Hope you try out something on this list to spread some fun into your summer this year. I would love to know more ideas that you could add. Please share in my comments section; especially ideas that can keep families within a reasonable budget.
We adults are pretty good at reminding kids to apologize when an apology is in order. Why do we do that? Because it's the right thing to do and it makes the other person feel better right? When was the last time you apologized for something? ...and truly meant it? Really think about it. I gave this some thought myself.
Might your apologies be so frequent and empty that you can't even recall the last one or do you not remember your last apology because you haven't apologized for much of anything lately? If it's the latter, then you really may want to consider the fact that if you can't ever humble yourself to take some accountability and apologize for something you did wrong (because I doubt that people are perfect) you more than likely have a LOT of people in your life that secretly lack certain respect for you. That's really not cute. I suggest you work at that because it's a preventable character flaw.
Sometimes saying sorry is a hard thing to do because you might feel like it makes you look weak or it takes away from a point you were defending in an argument or debate. Well, guess what...it does just the opposite. People usually respect you for being grown
enough to apologize and can sometimes (not always, but that's their own problem) be inspired to admit their own wrongs in the matter and apologize as well. You can still stand firmly by a belief or opinion you hold and apologize for your tone or the way in which you expressed it. Apologizing can also build trust in a relationship.
Are you a person who is guilty of just kind of tossing the words "I'm sorry..." around like no body's business? Does saying sorry come to you like second nature? I'm sometimes guilty of this. On the flip side, I even apologize when I didn't do anything! That's a great example of how too much apology can annoy people as well. Anyway, if you are one that tends to apologize with lack of purpose and earnestness, perhaps you may want to honestly consider the impact of your apologies if they actually had more weight and thought given to them before you lay one on.
Just give some more thought to why you are apologizing to someone before you do it and express that in the apology. WOW, what a small adjustment to make that could have a HUGE impact.
How many times have you had someone apologize to you and it felt like they didn't mean it? It's like they could have just not said anything at all and you probably would despise them a little less than you do after that sorry (no pun intended) a$$ apology. Or how about this one ~ You and another person are both at fault in some way and you actually do woman or man up and apologize, but the other person doesn't. Hmmm...yeah it's that lack of respect I was talking about that comes into play. You may let it go, but you don't forget when you feel like you deserve an apology and don't even get one.
My point: An apology in ANY kind of relationship goes a loooong way; especially when it's sincere. Make it clear that you get exactly what you are sorry for and help the other person believe that you will truly try to not repeat your wrong in the future. I have a challenge for you. Really take notice of your next apology and reflect on the impact. Don't let it be another meaningless "sorry". An apology is worth it on both ends. To learn more about the benefits, power of, and even exactly how to apologize in a sincere way, check out this link:
Here's to making your next apology count!
At this point it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know how I'll be bringing in the new year. It's kinda been with the same circle of little people for the last 3-6 years...and a few different big people who care to join us sometimes.
So I thought I'd share some fun stuff families could do and maybe give you some ideas for your own way to bring in 2012. I'm hoping I'll get some responses to get even more! Feel free to add to my list!
Skin whitening is definitely a personal decision. Let me just start off by saying that this is a really complex topic and if anything, I only hope to inspire some awareness and dialogue around it especially with regard to how we define beauty and model it for our kids.
I'm sure you have noticed certain celebs getting lighter over the years and if you haven't, just google this topic and you'll see all kinds of stuff and no one really knows whats true or not, however the fact remains that skin bleaching is a popular and commercial thing that many people do.
Are people just not happy or comfortable in their own skin; the skin they were born with? Did someone or something make them beleive it was not good enough? I don't know the answer to that question, but I do know that skin bleaching is a huge business that is generating a great deal of money and attention especially in other countries and its been going on for many many years.
When it comes to our kids...
There are even parents who are bleaching their young children's skin and encouraging them to believe that lighter is better and they will be more successful and attractive if they are lighter. Its not just a black thing either...its world wide and impacts several races and ethnicities. What does it all mean? How are darker skinned people really viewed then and who decided what beauty is? Why is fair skin the ultimate goal? Again, I don't know. An important thing to consider though is how you talk to your kids about skin color and loving themselves no matter what shade they are whether light or dark. Kids do and will always have questions about skin tone. It will come up one way or another. Many adults tip toe around this topic with their kids in fear of saying or sending the wrong message, but actually the more we have real conversations about it the better off our kids may be and more open about the beauty of diversity. They will be more naturally inclined to simply accept people and themselves for who they are. After all, hate is learned.
FYI: The most common skin whitener is not FDA approved.
Resources on how to talk to kids/others about skin color:
See some skin whitening ads for yourself and YOU be the judge. What do they suggest? I know just some of the comments on these videos suggest a lot. Interesting... (If you can't see the videos, scroll down and click the links)
I had some fun with this website. I've actually used it many times in the past and always get great responses! The website is called Jib Jab and it's awesome...and really fun! Here's my card:
Make yours today by clicking this link below! Have fun!
My dad has this quote that I'll never forget. "You didn't choose your family and you don't have to like someone just because they are in your family." While this may seem harsh, it's true. When you put it in perspective, we give many of our relatives a " family pass" where they get away with crap any other average person may not get away with. We don't always call them on it in the moment and many times we end up "letting it go".This is because we love our family right? And also because we may think we will hurt their feelings OR they are too shallow and ignorant to realize that they even have something to be accountable for...they just don't get it and we don't wanna talk to a wall...plus we simply love them, even the members that we don't know that well. We might be a little more generous to those in our family even when we don't know them that well....just because they are "family".
So let me just get to another thought here...for those of us who have a pretty large family (this includes cousins, aunts, uncles, extended family) there is usually a circle of members who keep in close contact for a number of reasons. Maybe it's relatively close geographical distance, familiarity, or some other reason why you stay connected. That's all good. How about the family members who are not geographically close? How often do you stay in touch with them? If the answer is "rarely", think about why. Is it the distance? That's understandable. We get caught up and busy in our own lives and although it doesn't take much to pick up a phone or get online we just put it off for some reason, but that can easily be addressed. What about the ones who don't live that far away that you don't stay in close touch with? Either you do try and they don't don't respond so you give up, or again you are too busy and just caught up.
Other reasons may include past experiences from the interactions that you have already had. What were those like? What do you talk about when you are with certain family members? How do you behave? Being that sometimes they don't really know you that well even though they are your relatives, has it ever occurred to you that you may have done or said something to turn them off (or maybe vice versa of course...but let's just focus on you here for the sake of reflection and what you can control). When you get around them do you talk about yourself too much? Do you only ask them how they are doing because it's polite? Do you actively listen to them? Do you give them a hard time about how they don't stay in touch? Do you talk mess about other people to them? Do you shoot down what they have to say or do you agree to disagree sometimes? Are you a know it all? Do you constantly talk about how hard you work, try to stress how important your job is, or try to impress them by talking about the "important" people you know? Are you indirectly insulting the very person you are talking to without even realizing it? Do you talk about how great of a parent you are...a little too much? Does anybody really wanna hear all that sh$t or are they just being polite to you? I can go on and on.
My point is that the holidays are coming and also a great opportunity to have some meaningful connections with family that you don't see often or better yet, family members who don't like you...it's true, they pretend they do, but you may really get on their last nerves. They love you though. The good news is that you can turn this all around; that is if you can lose your ego. It's so worth it. Also, it doesn't hurt to give those that get on your nerves another chance; sometimes again and again unfortunately, but hey it's not like you have to go out of your way to connect with them. Just give them a chance and try to connect when you have to see them and maybe things will eventually change. If not, as long as they don't purposely disrespect you and it's clear that they are only disrespecting you without knowing because they lack a filter, communication skills, and common sense, suck it up and know you wont have to see them again until the next big family function. We all have faults and we all "F" up. Give them that "family pass" and the gift of honest (and respectful) feedback if necessary to help them reflect or realize the impact they are having on you.
Speaking of you, first and foremost it may be a good idea to do some self reflection to make sure you have the impact you really want to have on others. It might make a difference about who chooses to keep in touch with you. Not only do I challenge you to take a hard and honest look at yourself and your impact on others, but I'm going to do the same.
Good luck and cheers to keeping it real...if you have the guts. Otherwise, don't worry I'm sure you will keep getting a "family pass". Just remember that whatever you do, whether you like it or not, you do have an impact on others with everything that you do and say...what do you want your impact to be?