New Year’s Eve with the Kids

     F2 and I were married for ten years before we had kids so we had already gone out to big New Year’s Eve parties, and we went to a few more when the boys were little. Then safety on the roads became more of an issue so we began hosting, or going to, house parties that included whole families. 

My honey and I

with kids

It became lots of fun to see if the little ones could manage to stay awake until midnight. A nearby sleeping bag was available for the sleepy ones :)
couldn’t quite make it

     As time went on, the kids took part more – having noisemakers of their own, enjoying a fondue party before heading out to their own parties. Finally, it was ..and still is ..the adults trying to stay  awake until the ball drops!!

havin’ fun


still awake…but just barely

     Enjoy the years when you can celebrate with your children…they slip by so quickly!

Be safe and Happy Parenting!
D and C

End of the Year Checklists

Remember some of those Christmas tips we have discussed?

Today we’ll see if we can check one or two things off to help keep your kids on track.
     1. Try to replace gifts as you put them away. Have your kids help by grabbing a toy to replace a toy and clothing to replace clothing. Then you can go together to donate the items.
     2. Thank you notes are important:

any kind

whether your style or theirs

Help your kids if they need help, but make sure they are grateful for their gifts.
     3. Schedules: Start thinking about returning to school schedule early so it isn’t quite so difficult at the last moment. Think about homework, chores, bedtime, and playing outside. All of them are important and can become a normal daily schedule if you plan ahead.

Now is the time to begin new family goals. Sit down, work together, and come up with a plan that you can stick with.

Happy Parenting,
D and C

Believe in the Magic

Believe in the magic of the season — all year:)

Be happy, be joyful, be grateful, be kind, be thoughtful, and be present in the moment! Be the best you can be and encourage others to do the same. What a wonderful world we could have…encourage your little darlings to follow your example!

believing in the magic

Happy Holidays and Happy Parenting!
D and C

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all!!!





Enjoy this precious family time! Merry Christmas!

Happy Parenting!
D and C

The Christmas "Gimmees"

   Here are some hints for a peaceful and grateful Christmas morning!

     At our house after the kids woke us up, we went directly past the Christmas tree (eyes hidden behind their hands) and headed for the Christmas stockings. That always kept the beginning hoopla of Christmas Day a little calmer with smaller treats including things like fruit, socks, a small Lego, a candy treat…all small, but with Mom and Dad reinforcing – “Wow! Santa knew you needed socks!” or “Sure, you can eat the apple if you want to.” or “Want to put  the Lego together now or wait until later?”  AND take photos, it slows the kids down!
     When we went to the tree, we checked to see if Santa had left any unwrapped gifts for the kids  to see right away. Sometimes they were the ones that had to be put together the night before, but sometimes Santa wrapped those gifts so the kids could share in putting them together. We didn’t want Santa to be too predictable!!
     We then began taking turns opening gifts one at a time with Mom or Dad always commenting positively on each gift. “Aunt Susie is always so thoughtful, isn’t she?” after receiving a sweater, beautiful or not! Make sure your children “parrot” you and appreciate each gift  before moving on to the next child’s turn. If there ever were a negative comment or a “yuck” attitude, we would put on our Game Faces and say something like, “Uh, oh…maybe Christmas is over if we can’t all be nice…”  Very calm, just a little nudge in the right direction is usually all it takes to remind them of their manners.
     Santa does Not, and should not, give a child every gift he wants. Children can learn that Santa knows best when and where to have kids receive what they should have. Use your imagination to continue the joy! Remember, it’s really not about the presents!!
     Thank you notes are important! Please make sure your kids, of all ages, follow through with appreciating all gifts. It helps if the family can sit down and write them together. Also, since kids are so anxious to write letters to Santa before Christmas, how about sending thank you letters to him after Christmas??

I know you’ve seen this pic before, but how about I say “Thank you, for my boys!!!!

Be thinking about the consequences of your actions on Christmas Day. Make is JOYFUL and GRATEFUL!

Happy Parenting!
D and C

Friends for Christmas

A TLG Christmas!!
     Our Torch Lake Group consists of seven families that have known each other for over 35 years!  This year ten of the adults and 5 of the young adults plus a spouse, girlfriend, and boyfriend got together for our annual Christmas bash, otherwise known as a party!!
               Thank you to Crarys for hosting this year:


delicious food

     Beautiful decorations, delicious food, and as always, wonderful memory-making moments!

     The eight “children” of the group were born within nine years to five families, and they, along with their parents, have vacationed together, celebrated all kinds of events, and shared growing up almost as brothers and sisters. They continue to laugh and tease each other, following in the steps of their parents.
     This wonderful group has shared many highs and lows, and we continue to look forward to new excitement and adventures.
The Torch Lake Group, adults and “kids”

If you are lucky enough to have friends like ours, embrace and love them this holiday season :)    There is nothing more precious than to be able to show your children the magic of special friends!!

Happy Parenting!
D and C


Holiday Presents, Part 3

The past two blogs were all about the giving and then hiding of presents. Our Part 3 of Holiday Presents deals with receiving gifts!

It is important to start training your children early if you would like them to become gracious, thankful, and thoughtful receivers-of-gifts as adults.

     1. Make sure your children always say thank you when receiving anything.
     2. Teach your kids to have a kind, smiling face showing appreciation, even if they totally dislike the gift. 
     3. Give your child the gift of being able to appreciate whatever they receive, because of the person giving it and the thought behind it.
     4. One-at-a-time delight and appreciation of each individual gift is taught by your modeling whenever you receive gifts of  any kind. Be careful of what you say in front of your kids…they hear it all!! Please remember that your kids, from a very young age, watch and emulate your responses.

family is important

Show your children that each gift, whether from friends, family, or even Santa Claus, is special and deserves to be acknowledged in a positive, appreciative manner.

Help your children to learn the spirit of the season. Give joyfully to others, but also receive joyfully from others.
The companionship of friends and family should always be the best gift to give and receive. Have fun with each other :)
Use the season to teach your children the values you wish them to have! 

Happy Holidays and Happy Parenting!
D and C

Holiday Presents, Part 2

     Now that your children’s gift to others are taken care of (see Dec. 13th), what do you want to do about their gifts from you and from Santa?  If your kids know that you buy them some gifts that you want to be surprises for them, you can give them some tips about not looking around for presents because of the chance of “wrecking the surprise”. If they can learn to delay gratification and wait for surprises, their Christmas mornings will be sooo exciting and they will have developed a useful character trait. If they’re not looking for your gifts, they won’t accidentally find Santa’s gifts.
     I had always thought that Chad and Scott didn’t snoop when Christmas came around because they liked to be surprised. Wrong!! I just discovered that they were nervous that if they found  surprise gifts we wouldn’t let them have them!! I’m sure we never said that exactly, but they could tell from our voices that snooping was not a good thing.
     If you want Santa to last…always keep separate wrapping paper, labels, bows – only to be used by Santa. At our house, Santa wrapped some gifts and left others unwrapped by the tree – and unwrapped trinkets in the Christmas stockings. Last minute wrapping of Santa’s gifts is always a great idea. It’s less confusing if all family gifts are wrapped ahead of time with the whole family involved (and in our house put away until Christmas Eve). So all you need to be concerned with on Christmas Eve after the children go to bed is wrapping Santa’s gifts and arranging the presents under the tree.

whether the presents are wrapped by Mom and Dad
or by Santa
or left unwrapped by Santa

or packages from friends and families

Make sure your kids appreciate each gift individually. More to come in Part 3!!

Happy Parenting!
D and C

Holiday Presents or Presence?

This is the first of a three part series on holiday gift giving.
Today we’ll talk about the “giving” of presents. How do you involve your children in the giving spirit of the season?? Well, the operative word here is INVOLVE!
     Decide with your children who they will give gifts to: Mom, Dad, brother, sister, grandparents, teacher, and anyone else you think appropriate. Remember that some of the most precious gifts family members can receive are those that have been made by the children in their lives.
     Then decide, based on the child’s age, who will pay and how much. When children are very young, obviously the parents will be in charge of buying gifts and helping with decision-making. As children get older they can begin contributing some of their own money as the decision of what to give becomes more their own. Many schools offer Santa Shops where kids can purchase inexpensive items for all of their special people, and in some cases, the Santa Shop elves even help them with wrapping presents before the kids take them home.
     Do include your children in the wrapping of gifts to give to family members. Involving your kids in thinking about what to give, who to give to and why, and preparing the gift increases their ability to care about others and to think about someone besides themselves.

an obvious overabundance!!

gifts of clothing can be fun:)

Christmas photos when they’re young…

…and when they’re older – always important!!

Remember to teach your children important messages in the little things you do every day, especially during the holidays!

Happy Parenting!
D and C

Joyful Season

Whatever your religious beliefs are – can you find JOY during the holiday season for you and your family?

Small gifts are cool!!
finding fun in the little stuff :)

Kids love traditions: Decorations, both indoors and out!

hiding behind the drummer boys

Friends at holiday parties!

torch lake group:great memories include very strange “looks”

Family brings joy!!!

Chad and Scott are all I need for JOY

Remember to find some calm, peaceful time to appreciate what you have and enjoy your time together!

Happy Parenting!
D and C