Posts tagged family activities
Yes Day for your family
What if you answered, "Yes!" all day! Our annual tradition of Yes Day is one that we all enjoy. Consider these 5 reasons to try saying yes again and again.

What if you answered, "Yes!" all day! Our annual tradition of Yes Day is one that we all enjoy. Consider these 5 reasons to try saying yes again and again.

Before you say, "No!", hear me out. Yes Day is a family (made-up) holiday that can bring a lot of laughter and fun experiences to your home.

My children (10, 7, and 5) might even that say “Yes Day” is one of their favorite days of the year. Four years ago when we started the celebration, we thought that Mardi Gras, the day before Lent begins, would be the perfect time to splurge and give in to all the requests of our children. Of course, there are ground rules that we set (and add to) every year, but they love to see the possibilities that come from the power of Yes.

Willing to give it a go? Consider reading the picture book Yes Day and begin brainstorming what would be in your Yes Day.


5 Reasons to Try a Yes Day with Your Children

1. Do you remember the feeling of childhood and lack of opportunity to make your own decisions? Much of the day is dictated to you. Getting up at a certain time, running errands, chores, homework, bath schedules. Yes Day gives your children the chance to see what it's like to make the decisions. And, if they're anything like our kids, they learn that eating donuts, candy, and cookies at all three meals really does make you feel miserable. The natural consequences that come from Yes Day ideas are fabulous teachers themselves.

2. Set the limits and make great choices. Our ground rules are that no one can choose anything that would be harmful to themselves or others. And school is non-negotiable. We have gone out for bowling and movies, watched a lot of TV, and eaten some really strange combinations. And also said off limits to jumping off of the top bunk. Some things deserve the grand "No."

3. Let your kids see you relax and take part. Perhaps your children have this scenario worked out in their heads that Mom and Dad would freak if we... or I can't even imagine Mom and Dad letting us... This is likely my favorite part of Yes Day, seeing the surprises on their faces. Guess what? Mom doesn't like to get out of her pajamas either. And Dad could be convinced to relish a doughnut dinner. Just sayin'.

4. It makes for great sibling fun. With our three children, about two years apart in age, they have had a great time in the weeks and days before Yes Day, scheming what would be the best question to ask. It gets the 10-year old asking the 5-year old (and really listening to him) what he wants to do. Because, guess what? 5-year olds are really in touch with their silly side in ways that even 10-year olds have forgotten how to do!

5. Sometimes you see just how reasonable your children really are. No, Yes Days are not full of awesome for the parents. Kids get out of control. Tantrums happen. But they happen on all the other days, too, so why not have one really memorable day in the mix? Every year I brace myself for the dramatic requests that our three will pose. But, I've found, year after year, that our children know our means (and what cool things we're saving for), they have a decent sense of what could be harmful, and their dreams are delightfully (at this age at least) simple. Perhaps I should be this tuned in more often. Maybe I could actually say yes to things that are beyond my patience level at the time in order to see the Yes joy that they receive from the experience.

This year, Yes Day includes donuts for breakfast, staying in together the whole night, and lobster/crab eating while watching TV. And that's not even my Yes Day (though it's pretty darn close if I had to choose myself).

Would you do it? Have you celebrated a Yes Day?

xoxo, MJ

Mommy & Daddy School

Hi friends! This is totally what I'm feeling right now (so I had to make a pinnable. That's normal, right?). I have this image of my daughter going over to our outdoor faucet and leaning down to take a drink to discover that the water is bursting out of the pipes full blast as she goes to take a drink.

And it's all good.

I have always loved the feeling of going to bed exhausted (let's pretend this is a feeling in past tense) from a well-lived, emotional, love-ful day. We're having a lot of those, and I feel blessed.

However, the organized list of activities for Mommy & Daddy School is not quite what I had expected. As you remember from last week, we base our summer learning together on what makes our children curious. For blogging purposes, I'd like this all to be content-rich, developmentally-appropriate, superior learning.

But, this is real life, and I'm the momma here, and that title trumps blogger in any old Scrabble match (even if it has fewer letters). So, here's what we've had cooking for Mommy & Daddy school. We'll work in our bonus point fun (more on that later) and responsibility songs (ditto on more later) as the weeks go on, with the hopes that these might be useful to you.

Three themes have emerged thus far from our learning: tie dye is unbelievably amazing, scavenger hunts make any kind of learning more fun, and this country we live in is pretty stupendous. (Can I tell you more about the second two in a bit?).

Okay, so let me lay out these fun times so that you can pin, bookmark, star this and do it with your kiddos (or friends).

Tie dying is easy, messy, and perfection for summer. You need:

White (I recommend) cotton apparel - 60% cotton or more
Dye - we used a packaged kit from Tulip that was great and ready to go with squirt bottles half-filled with dye (retail $15)
Rubber bands and gloves (already in our kit)
Wide open space and a willingness to get dye on any of your clothes

We wanted a spiral design in the middle so I grabbed the center point of the shirt and twisted. As the twist got bigger, I placed the ends of the shirt around in a wrapped fashion, and I rubber-banded the shirt, creating four sections. This made it super easy for each child to know where to put their colors.
Some wanted two colors, some wanted all colors, and sectioning it off like this helped them to understand color blocking and bleeding a bit better. We found that putting on way more dye than you think you need is best. Soak it in color!
Once saturated, I wrapped them in plastic wrap to intensify the color. We kept them out in the sun all for about six hours, and I then washed out the dye in cool water. Check out the rainbow sink!
After the water runs clear, which was about 4 minutes per shirt for us, wring out the water and pop it into your washer, with a high water, hot water setting. I kept reds separate from blues just to be sure there would be no bleeding.
 We let ours drip dry (be careful they do drip color), and I was so happy with the brilliance of color.
The kids from big to small loved this. My favorite part of the adventure: these rainbow, water raisin piggies.

Take some time to tie dye this summer. It's addictive.

Join me back here tomorrow to learn how we're going to L-O-V-E our job thanks to Gretchen Rubin and The Happiness Project in our Summer of Happiness bookclub.

Thanks for hanging out, friend. I can't wait to show you more of what's going on over here. Have you started your own version of Mommy & Daddy school? Tell us all about it!


Summer hit lists

Have you seen these floating around the interwebs, friends? Great big, beautiful lists of simple, fun, wonderful summer activities that make you wish you were seven again.

Well, maybe this summer we will be. My fam has joined in the fun, too. In the past, we've made our lists over dinner conversations as the school year waned to a close. This year we again had such conversations and now we're writing them down and posting them pretty for all to see.

My job commitments grow more extensive in the summer so I have to be sure to keep these kinds of lists front and center so that I and the rest of the happy inhabitants in our home can have a carefree summer.
So cheers (imagine me and you holding up our virtual Slurpees right now, only I really am holding my medium watermelon kiwi right now) to a great 10 weeks. Here are some easy, breezy summer lists you should check out:

100 Things to Do this Summer and
100 More Things to Do This Summer from Honest to Nod

101 Things to Do this Summer from Toy to the World

10 Things Every Child Should Experience in the Summer from 52 Brand New

40 Free (or nearly free) Things to Do this Summer from The Centsible Life

Let's Play from Lasso the Moon

30 Summer Activities for Kids from Lil' Luna

Join Camp Classic Play over at

441 Things to Do This Summer from We are that Family

(This one keeps growing) The 100 Days of Summer and The 100 Days of Summer ('12) from Mom Advice

And you just have to read this inspired post over at Hands Free Mama.

Here's our list. Please feel welcome to pin or download and make it your own great summer list.

 I have my own summer list that I'll share with you next week as we move into the Summer Edition of Pars Caeli.

Ah, we're summer lovin'.

Have a great weekend, friends. We'll be kicking it at home, knocking off some of these moments like hanging out by the pool and tie dying summer shirts.

See you back here on Monday! Thanks for a great's so lovely to have you over.


PS. If you enjoy a good photo party, follow me and many others by using the hashtag #instacamp (Chookooloonks offers a new prompt each Monday) and #100summerdays (run through It's super fun to see all the great summertimes captured on Instagram and shared through Twitter.

PPS. I made the above image (with the Slurpee) in Phonto. It's a quirky photo app with tons of great fonts that you can add to your images. Check it out.

Okay, I'm done now. :)