A Home that Supports Family Bonding

In my Family Friendly Interiors work, I often encounter families who want to create a playroom just for the children.  When I hear this, I strongly urge them to reconsider.  A room designated just for toys often goes unused.  Children like to be where the action is.  They like to be around their parents, even if they are playing parallel to their parents, they like to be near.  Humans are social animals and we enjoy company.

Rather than a playroom, I recommend a library, a study, or a family room.  There are many ways to create a space for each member of the family within each of these scenarios.  A shelf or cabinet for children can be added in any of these rooms and creates a welcoming atmosphere for all members of your family.  Creating space for a child to play in the same room where you are reading supports feelings of togetherness and connectedness, strengthening the family bond.
Another room where it is important to work together as well as parallel is the kitchen.  The best way to encourage your children to participate in the kitchen is with a Learning Tower.  Once we added the Learning Tower, my child was instantly invited to take part in food preparation and cleaning.  I have made so many meals along side a dish-washing toddler.  As they grow taller, we were able to lower the platform, keeping them engaged in a meaningful and purposeful way.
Have you created a family friendly space in your home?  Tell us about your FFH for a chance to win a Learning Tower!
Together with Little Partners,we are giving away a Learning Tower to help you create a Family Friendly kitchen.  Follow the Rafflecopter link for your chance to win!

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Gearing up to Pack Lunches

I love to cook, bake, eat…but when it comes to packing lunches for school, I feel like I’m always at a loss.  I don’t know if it’s the pressure of creating a balanced, tasty, yet convenient lunch that will travel well and not need too much refrigeration or if its the little part of me that hurts inside when I use a prepackaged food item because I was just not prepared enough or creative enough?

I’m sure some of you can relate.  Now, it’s not that I spend my days fretting about this, these are just some of the feelings that have come up when I walk to the kitchen and open the lunch boxes after the children have gone to bed.
This year we have created a system for the children to pack their own lunches!  Yay!
How did we do it?  The past two years we have asked the children to pack their lunches on Sunday nights and occasionally other nights when we knew the morning routine would be tight.  This year, before school started, we had a family dinner, discussed our goals for the upcoming year, and during that time I laid out a new nightly routine.  After dinner the children would take care of their evening responsibilities (sweeping the dining room floor, clearing and wiping the table), pack lunches, shower, brush teeth and go to bed.  We continued with conversation about what makes a healthy meal.  Two weeks in…it seems we have adopted a new routine!
My hopes and dreams for a packed lunch:
1. I want lunch to be healthy and tasty.  When I make dinner, I make two!  The second one cools while we eat, and then once the kids start packing, its ready to be put into lunch containers.  I recently did this with bean, rice and cheese burritos and even individual pizzas.  I just double the pizza crust recipe and pretend I am cooking for a family of ten! 😉
2. I want to limit prepackaged items (a. to reduce waste, b. to limit processed foods, c. to cut down on costs) – I have invested in SmartBaby containers since the children were toddlers.  I love the snapping lid, the leak-proof gasket, and the stainless interior.  We continue to use these for everything from sandwiches to yogurt.

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3. I want my children to enjoy the lunch that is packed.  Every day can’t be a favorite, but I try to include some of their favorites every week.  We have a grocery list posted in our family message center. The children can add a favorite food to the list so that I remember to pick it up while at the store.

Now that the children are packing their own lunches, I take the time to add a little note after they have gone to bed. Sometimes I write a little something on a post-it note. Recently the kids prefer a joke or fun fact so  I use these from Lunchbox love (promo code LBLNOTES for  20% off).  We enjoy them so much, we gave them out as Valentines last year!
We have partnered with Lunchbox Love to bring you a set of notes to get you started!  Register below!

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Ready to get your Lunch-Packing game in gear?

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