Category Archives: Family Nights

I Heart Dad Family Night

I normally do not tell the kids in advance what our family night theme will be. However, this night I needed their input. Here is the simple, surprise theme (to my husband), family night to honor the favorite man in our lives.

We started with a little prep work that took place during school hours.

It was hilarious to asks the kids about ideas for our I heart dad family night. The answers were immediate and decisive~Starbucks and Apple computers. These kids know their daddy. I added in his current favorite dinner, favorite classical music, and favorite Mother’s Taffy cookies and the results were perfect. Simple, Stress free and together. Which is completely the point of all of this.

My sweet girl won a $10 gift card at Sunday school last week to Starbucks. She bought her daddy his favorite drink.

Try instant messaging while two feet away from your favorite person. It’s ridiculously fun.

Huddling in a cozy circle by firelight playing on computers is a pretty fun way to start the weekend too.

Enjoy yours.

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iCarly Family Night.

A couple of years ago, a sweet friend and I were on a crazy road trip to Las Vegas. It was insane and a little Thelma and Louise~esque, just one of those trips. On the way down south, we received word from my awesome clearance shopping mama that the toys had hit the 75% off mark down THAT DAY at Target. So, what did we do? Well we called sweet friend’s husband at work immediately, so that he could drop what he was doing and direct us to the nearest Target. Priorities, ya know. We ended up in Bakersfield and found some great deals. There was an iCarly charades game for $3.74. Sweet friend suggested FAMILY NIGHT and I was on board immediately. Finally, this game made its way out of my cupboard tonight, for our return of family nights….For a little more info about our family nights check out here or here.

iCarly night it was. We began with the infamous spaghetti tacos. If you haven’t watched the show, I apologize for the grossness of this concept. I did not come up with it. I have to say, however, they were not all that bad.

Believe it or not, my girls loved them. We washed them down with a version of Groovy Smoothies.

Next was on to some RANDOM DANCING.

There was a lot of chaos and fun.

A little bit of the robot…

Some dancing on the counter…

 twirling with daddy…

 ….and a whole lotta smiles.

 We ended the night playing the iCarly game. It was tough. Charades with four children is gonna be, but you add in the weird iCarly trivia and you have a problem. Not to mention the game throws in weird obstacles. Taylor ended up having to act out a word while RANDOM DANCING the entire time.

Shawn did great, but all I can think is DEAR LORD, will someone please guess the correct word, so my poor husband can blink. He was trying to act out the WORLD’S FATEST PRIEST. Yeah, no one guessed it despite his mad skills.

Emma drew the Gibby card. She busted it out successfully and loved every minute of it.


It was a great night. There is more to come….If my kids had their way it would be tomorrow.

Enjoy your families this weekend.

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Sticks Family Night.

We had a gorgeous 77 degree day here in California, so we started out our sticks family night by roasting hot dogs on sticks in our backyard.

Next came Limbo with a broom stick….Taylor was the clear winner all night. She had her groove on.

Emma stuck her tummy out, rolled her eyes, and walked under the stick.

Cameron gave a great try, but it was man down pretty quickly.

Next, came my wonderfully weird husband practicing some ancient chinese ritual of limbo preparation,

PRIOR to his attempt.

Whatever he was doing worked because that boy made it under without issue.

Next came the reason this whole family night happened. We got a great Christmas gift from our friends at church. Lisa and her crew are responsible for a couple of our family nights with their cute, thoughtful, family night friendly gifts…

The gift was a Caramel Apple kit….and thus the stick family night.

and our masterpieces…

Then came a stick hunt. We homeschool our kids and one of our best incentive ideas we have done this year is our class store. The kids can earn sticks throughout the year to shop at our “store”. You can read about it here and here. We have never brought earning the sticks outside of our school hours, so the kids flipped when they found out they could each go on a scavenger hunt for 5 sticks throughout the living room and keep them to later shop with.

We ended the night, eating our apples outside by the fire, while a sink full of dishes and counter tops full of caramel sat untouched inside.

Thanks Grace, David, Lisa, and Scott.

Happy weekend to everyone.


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My Peeps Family Night.

Tonight was a fun one! All about my favorite Peeps.

First on the agenda, was to be Peeps pancakes. My attempt at stick figure shaped pancakes (how hard can that be?). After they cooked, everyone got to decorate their Peep with powdered sugar, blueberries, chocolate chips, bananas, and syrup. Wouldn’t have been all that hard, if I had remembered to put the eggs in the pancake mix. Milk and Bisquick make biscuits. Biscuits don’t cook well in shapes on a griddle.

Second was to take Peeps, to some of our favorite Peeps. One thing I do love about where we live is how close everyone lives to each other. We hit six homes in 80 minutes. Not too shabby. So blessed by our friends.

We visited the adorable Josh, Ashley, Jaden, Trace, and Liam.

Next was Ryan, Isabel, Sophia, Luke, and Jen’s leg and top of her head (as she forgot we were stopping by and wasn’t properly outfitted.) Love these guys, still laughing over our stop there…

Gina, Ella, and Joie who greeted us with cookies back. G just has her act together like that.

Nicole, Nat, and Kyle who always make us laugh. Always.

Then came Barry, Tammy, Max, and Taryn. The reigning king and queen of the pajama pant.

Last but not least was Scott, Lisa, David, and Grace…owners of the cleanest and calmest house in Elk Grove.

Last for the night, came the Peep diorama. One of my fabulous readers Elisabeth sent me the link to this super fun craft idea. It actually was the inspiration for this family night. We spent the rest of the night, in the dining room, making our own Peep dioramas. The only rule was to put the Peeps in some fun location.

Here’s the finished result…

Taylor’s Peeps hit the beach complete with magazines, Emma’s sixteen Peeps hit Peepland where a concert was in full swing, my Peeps were tearin’ it up on the dance floor at a swanky party.

Cameron’s Peeps became head mounts in a mansion while angel Peeps flew guard outside.  Shawn’s Peeps were chillin’ pre concert in a hip green room.

Read all about how our Thursday night Family Night tradition got started here and find some tips to help start
Family Nights in your home here.

Love our family time together! Enjoy yours this week!


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Foot~tastic Family Night.

A night dedicated to feet. Even though I skipped the pedicures to avoid intense humiliation on the part of my eleven year old son, it turned out to be a fun night. The night began with a yummy dinner. Foot long sandwiches made to order and some fruit by the foot for dessert.

And of course, we all had to stand on our own two feet to eat it…the whole time.

After dinner Taylor presented a failry dramatic interpretation of the Foot Book…
We wrapped up the night with multiple rounds and variations of foot volleyball.
A simple piece of yarn or string tied between two anythings and you have a net. A balloon becomes the ball. Rules are FEET ONLY and BOTTOMS OFF THE GROUND WHILE BALL IS IN PLAY.

Lest you think our family nights are calm, carefree, and all shiny happy people…
I leave you with the following picture.

That’s how it goes sometimes…
Have a fantastic weekend with your families!

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Emergency Family Night.

What happens when one of your best friends ends up in the hospital to undergo immediate and emergency surgery, just a couple hours before family night is supposed to happen?

Well the answer is simple…you gather your kids and explain the situation.

Get the 10.99 pizza coupon from the drawer and a movie for the rest of the family to enjoy at home.

Immediately depart for the hospital…trying to get there before they wheel her into surgery.

Family Nights aren’t 100 percent of the time about only blood relatives…sometimes you just gotta roll.

Yes, I did consider having the family at home play a game, but thought that might be a BIT over the top. Despite the fact that Nicole would have greatly appreciated the humor in it.

Nicole is at home minus one gall bladder and appendix, but on the mend. My kids learned a valuable lesson about the importance of people first….and I am glad I got to make it to see her and give her a big ‘ol smooch… cuz she is one of a kind.

Family nights will resume next week. Enjoy your weekend.


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Family Nights Do’s and Don’ts.

Since I began posting about our family nights, I have had so many questions about the logistics of how we pull this off. I thought I would jot down a few thoughts on some of the things I have learned so far…


1. Decide your dates in advance. Then put them on the calendar. WHATEVER number of family nights that is reasonable and doable for your family. Once a month, once a week? Doesn’t matter. Just decide and commit.

2. Plan your themes at one time. Sit down and plan your upcoming family night themes. I usually do mine for 3 months at a time. Make a list. Shop (if necessary) in advance. I have a cupboard in my home that’s ready for upcoming family nights. It’s full of bargains I find while I’m out, supplies I have purchased, after holiday sales, left overs from parties, etc.

3. Utilize the web for inspiration. is my number one resource for all family night ideas. Other resources are blog’s, birthday party idea sites, and GOOGLE. Try even picking an object….like feathers. Build a family night around it. Search it’s history, find a recipe, a craft project, clothing item…..It’s out there!

4. Have a place to collect your future family night ideas. Create a binder, a folder on your computer, or a journal in your purse.

5. Get out of the box. Do the unexpected. Don’t do a Valentine’s theme family night in Feb. Do it in September and use the after Valentines Day sale items you purchased from the previous year. It’s more fun. Do an “I Miss Christmas Party” in the summer….the weird is more memorable.

6. Tell your family, friends, and Facebook when your family nights are…the anticipation and accountability is a good thing!

7. Keep it Simple. This is the whole reason for pre planning. The last thing anyone needs is to have something else on their to do list. Don’t let it cause more stress. Back off if it is! Stress is not the point.


1. Be discouraged when things don’t go as planned. MANY a family night in my house has a minimum of one fight, one meltdown, or a bucket of tears. It’s o.k. DO NOT STOP!

2. Spend tons of money. It’s not necessary. Frugal Family Nights are just as much fun.

3. Tell your kids in advance what the theme is going to be…keep ’em guessing. This way you can also make last minute adjustments if necessary. I don’t usually even tell my kids what’s coming up, once the night is revealed. Sometimes projects or games take longer then planned and then you can delete something off of your agenda without any disappointed people.

4. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Do not say “I’m not creative” or “I’m too busy”. The resources are out there. USE THEM. You can even get together with a friend and commit to 6…Each of you plan 3 and share. Spend a little time to get organized and remember The TIME your family spends together is the best part.

5. Don’t be surprised at the potential addiction that you might experience. The memories will be amazing….I guarantee it.

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The B Night Family Night.

Deviation from the originally scheduled family night tonight. Those usually end up being the best and tonight was no exception. With the parade of storms this past week, we had been inside way too much and I definitely was feeling stir crazy. At about 3 pm today, the “B” night was planned. I usually try and keep family nights at home and cheap. However, we had gift cards from Christmas and I needed to get out :)… so “rules” are always made to be broken, right?
B night How to’s:
Take your stir crazy family to BAJA FRESH. Speak each word starting with the letter B, but don’t say niche, itch, or stitch…

Head over to BORDERS and read BOOKS while sitting on your BUTTS

Finally, complete the evening with a trip to BASKIN ROBBINS

A night well spent…
Enjoy your family time this week…
Happy Weekend.

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Chicken and Worms Family Night.

These items make up our chicken and worms family night. Chick fil a chicken & fries, accompanied by sour gummy worms and 100 chickens and a worm puzzle.
I was walking around Target (shocking, I know) the other night and low and behold…there was this puzzle. I have always found the 100 dogs and a cat thing so funny. Now there was a 100 chickens and a worm, and in puzzle form. It jumped in my basket immediately. For 6.99 and a couple bucks for gummy worms, this week’s family night was created.

There is a batman chicken, zebra chicken, two headed chicken, and of course a worm. It’s awesome AND huge. 750 pieces. No way we would finish it tonight, but it will sit in the dining room and hopefully over the next couple of weeks, we can get it done. I actually love making puzzles.
We had our dinner and then munched on gummy worms while getting started on it…

We got the outside DONE…

We took a break to play worm, worm, chicken…similiar to duck, duck, goose. Well o.k. exactly the same except you say worm, worm, chicken. I have to give a shout out to my Gina, for this game. She suggested it while we were on the phone today. It was so super fun.

And you probably guessed it by now…we wrapped up the night with the chicken dance…

It’s amazing what a little puzzle can inspire….
Hope you have fun times with your families this week.
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Blackout Night.

The first Family Night of twenty-ten was a smashing success. The kids were wound up all day long in anticipation of returning to our absolutely favorite family tradition.

I sent the kids upstairs while I prepared, which involved going on a candle and flashlight hunt. I gathered up what I could, turned off all electricity, prayed to the Lord that the candles would stay vertical.

We informed the kids of the travesty that occurred…we will have to man up and do family night in the dark. Instantly there was lots of pointing out the running clocks on the stove, the backyard light (oops), and humm of the refrigerator. Emma, quite proudly, turned the kitchen light on just to be sure. Once everyones curiosity was satisfied that we were in fact, lying (for the sake of fun) about it, we moved on to dinner.

We grabbed what we could from the pantry and the refrigerator (quickly so as not to lose the cold). It consisted of lunch meats, cheese, sandwiches, tortillas warmed by candlelight, and fruit. The only casualty during dinner was a Hansen’s soda. Not bad, overall.

These were the rest of the activities:

crowning Shawn the champion in Candy Land

flashlight tag
shadow puppets

reading stories, and
being thankful that our fireplace, still works when the power is out.

it was great, it was easy, and it cost nothing. The only thing we were missing was an actual storm.

Can’t wait ’til next week.

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