One Adventurous Family

Big Blue Bus Tour from Amy Earle on Vimeo.

Oh my goodness.  THIS IS SO COOL!

Look at what my friend and her family are doing. “Our family is on an adventure! We’re spending the next six months living and traveling on an old school bus!”

I found Amy on Vimeo back in January 2012.  You can see that initial post I wrote about her and video here.   I fell in love with her family.   The above video has made me do that all over again.

Since meeting her online, I’ve had the opportunity of taking one of her photography classes online.  Not only is Amy a great photographer, but she is a great teacher as well.  I am not surprised she is offering free photography workshops…she is a sweetheart!  If you live in the west area where Amy and her family are traveling, I highly recommend you take one of her FREE photography workshops.  Go visit this amazing family and feel of their warmth and strength.  You can find out more about Amy’s Big Blue Bus Tour by clicking here.

Amy Earle"s big blue bus tour

Disclaimer: I was not paid by Amy Earle to write this post.

Happy Tuesday,

Family Trips Bring Joy & Unity

I’m back!

Anyone miss me last week?

We took the kids out of school a week early {spring break} for a very special family reunion.  Most of my extended family lives in Texas.  Texas had their spring break last week.  My Dad initiated a family ski trip in Pagosa Springs, Colorado.  This trip/reunion was the first of it’s kind for our family since my Dad’s parents, my Grandparents, passed away.  The last time we did something like this was back when my cousin was married about 10 years ago.  It was also in Colorado, but in Boulder where they lived.

Stay tuned this week as I will share some of the things we did to create a memorable family reunion.  This includes menu items, family song, other activities besides skiing, memory book ideas, rental options and a wonderful phone app.  If you ever plan to attend or help coordinate a family reunion in the future, you will not want to miss these upcoming posts. 😉

Linking Up:

The Girl Creative

Family Reunions/Trips Bring Joy,

Weekly Family Night

Every Monday evening

for about a half an hour

to an hour we have what we call

Family Home Evening.

It consists of the following:

  • Opening Song
  • Opening Prayer
  • Lesson
  • Closing Song
  • Closing Prayer
  • Sometimes activity &/or treat {seldom)

Opening & Closing Song

The family member giving the lesson that night chooses a family member to pick a song or hymn.  If the family member wants, they will stand and lead the song. {By waving their hand around as music conductors do :)}  Our songs are usually from a children’s songbook or hymn book, ones we have committed to memory.  For your family this could be optional.

Opening & Closing Prayer

Again, the family member giving the lesson will ask someone to offer a family prayer.  Faith in our family is important so we like to begin & end our family time together in prayer.  For your family this could be optional.


The majority of time I give the lesson.  Most of the time it is because I fail to ask another family member to prepare a lesson.  However, every member of our family has given a lesson several times.  It doesn’t have to be long.  When our children were young, it was very short, maybe a couple of minutes because as you know, they have short attention spans.  As they have grown older we have been able to have longer lessons.  This is the perfect time to teach your children the values you want to instill in them. Strong families with goals and values don’t just happen.  It doesn’t matter how much money you have or where you are on this journey in life. If you don’t take the time to teach your children, then who will?  Unfortunately, they might learn from a movie or a friend from school or an inappropriate Internet site.  Hopefully every day parents will take time to teach their children.  Sometimes, though, we get so busy doing things that we don’t.  So, at least we have one day, amongst the busy schedule, set aside to regroup and teach these values. If prayer or singing does not appeal to you, does not fit in with your family values, then don’t do it. Just make sure that you have some sort of a lesson. So you are thinking, “I don’t have time to prepare a lesson.”  Well, most of the time I don’t either so this is what I do:

  • Purchase books or check out at library that have lessons already planned out. {If you want to know more about these, let me know & I will give you some sources}
  • Play a short video that has to do with the value you are teaching.  You tube has many wonderful videos.  Just search the value you are teaching.  Make sure you watch it before hand in case it has objectionable content.
  • Play an audio excerpt from a speech with a family value.  The Internet makes finding these easy to find.
  • Read from our family history journals.  This is a great way for your children to learn about their ancestors.  Values & lessons are observed in their stories.
  • Read an article from a Church magazine.
  • Read verses from scripture.
  • Think about a value my children are struggling with and talk about it.  Maybe they haven’t been truthful lately, so I might talk about honesty.
  • Read a poem and talk about the values in it.
  • Many blogs have information and lessons you can use. {I will post these resources in the future, don’t have the time to include it today.}

Many Monday’s I improvise and come up with something very quickly.  The kids don’t really care how elaborate the lesson is, or if I have visual aids etc.  What matters is that we are spending quality time together. I have to tell you this…it is not always fun.  The kids sometimes act as if they aren’t listening.  Sometimes they will complain about their siblings.  Sometimes they ask questions that don’t have anything to do with the lesson or the value we are discussing.  Sometimes they argue about the song choice.  Let’s face it, it’s not always fun teaching or learning lessons.  However, I testify that having consistent weekly family night will bring unity into your home.  It shows your family you love them. If a baseball game comes up on a Monday or another conflict arises we simply do it another day.

I am going to include a wonderful video I shared as a lesson a few weeks ago.  During the lesson I had everyone write down specific values they saw being represented by the boy in the video.  Afterward we all read out loud the values we wrote down and discussed them.  It was easy but went very well.

The bottom line is…we have to be deliberate and intentional to create the family we want.




Have a Family Night,

A Definite MUST SEE

We just returned from seeing the movie Soul Surfer.  I am completely blown away by this movie and the main character {Bethany}, who is a real person.  To say I was inspired is a complete understatement.  Bethany has an unbelievable amount of faith, courage and perseverance.  Movies like this are special and rare…I might even say life changing.  I completely recommend this movie. As a matter of fact, whenever I feel down or I feel a pity party coming on I should watch this movie.

Not only was I impressed with Bethany, but with her family.  They had such unity and passion for life.  The relationship between the parents and their children was beautiful and endearing.  Now I know, this was a MOVIE.  Movies don’t have time to share all the unhappy moments when the kids might talk back to their parents or fight with their siblings.  I also know how sometimes movies might not portray things the way they really were in real life.  However, I have a distinct feeling their family had to be very similar to the one in the movie for Bethany to have the strength, desire and support to continue after such a set back.

I believe the PG rating, from my point of view, was because of the shark attack. I hope my sensitive youngest daughter will not have bad dreams about that part.  It was tastefully done, not too gory.  I was glad for her to see the movie, though.  I believe she will come away from the movie with the understanding of how to keep her faith through challenges.  I am grateful we were able to go as a family {minus one daughter, we miss you ;)} and the language was not bad.

The only thing I didn’t like about the movie was how much it made me miss the ocean and the beach, my favorite place on earth.  The scenery was exquisite and breathtakingly beautiful…of course, it was in Hawaii.

Thank you to my sweet husband for suggesting we see this movie.  He says he remembers when the news story broke about Bethany.  I wish he would have shared it with me.  This is the kind of news I LIKE to hear.  Nevertheless, maybe I wouldn’t have appreciated the movie as much knowing so much before hand?  No, I still would. 😀

Disclosure: I was not compensated in any form or fashion for this review. All content in this post are my opinions.
This movie definitely brought me JOY,

Family Theme Song

I’m not quite sure how this tradition began, but I am so glad it did.

Whenever someone in our family does something good, something that requires praise, something I want them to do again, we sing part of a song to them.

“You’re simply the best, better than all the rest, better than anyone, anyone I’ve ever met.”

At first, the kids thought we were a little weird.  It was funny.  However now, the middle child will begin to ‘shout’ along instead of singing.  The oldest rolls her eyes and the youngest will sing along.  It is adorable to hear my youngest {7} sing it.  My children had never heard this Tina Turner {1989} song before.  I think they thought we {my husband & I} made it up for a long time until I played the song for them one day.

Now, if my husband or I begin the song, “You’re simply the best…”   My youngest will chime in singing, “better than all the rest, better than anyone, anyone I ever met.”  I love it!  I’m pretty sure we haven’t done it in front of anyone else {public}.  It’s a family thing.  However, it has brought joy and unity to our family.

I have discovered how important it is to recognize your children and your husband doing something you have asked them to do or value. Sometimes it’s as simple as seeing them washing the dishes or putting their clean clothes away.  Other times it can be seeing them live a principle we value in our family.  As parents & spouses, if we don’t let them know we appreciate them and are grateful for the good things they do, then how will they know?  Besides, it encourages them to do it again and again.  Isn’t that what our ultimate goal is…for them to repeat the good behavior?

Okay,  I know I don’t own the rights to our family having The Best as our theme song.  I don’t need to give you permission to use it if you would like.

However, I want to challenge you to find

your own family theme song you can use in this way.

I know there are MANY songs that would be appropriate to use.  Maybe there is already one that comes to mind as you read this.

Come back and SHARE your song and experiences with me, please.

I would LOVE to hear how your family reacted to you the first time you did it.

Honestly, the younger the children are, the better the reception.  You don’t have to be a good singer either {my husband will be the first one to tell you he can’t hold a tune, I didn’t marry him for his singing abilities 😉 }.  What your family will remember, years to come, is the consistency of you sharing your praise with them.

If you decide to blog about your experience, please link back to this post.  Thank you 😉

Sing On,