Family Sundays Together –Celebrate National Mom and Dad’s Day!

Happy Family Sunday!  Three cheers for ‘Team Mom and Dad’!  Today on November 13th, we celebrate National Mom and Dad’s Day!

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are set aside to recognize and honor each individually with their own special day, but Mom and Dad’s Day has been established to spotlight the “Mom & Dad Team”, the combined unit together. And in an increasingly fractured society, isn’t that what we need more of — Moms and Dads working together —  to restore family values and home life for our children and the future?

What better way to observe the day in honor of Team Mom and Dad than celebrating it together with the family?  Spending time together with our parents, and with our own children that make us Moms and Dads ourselves.

Image Credit -- Grandparents.com

Image Credit — Grandparents.com

And who hasn’t been tag-teamed by their Mom and Dad at one time or another?

“Mom, can I do this?” — “Go ask your Father.”

“Dad, can I do this?” — “Go ask your Mother.”

“Mom, Dad said to ask you again. Can I do this?”  — “Well, if your Father says it is okay.”

“Dad, Mom said I could do it if it’s okay with you.” — “Well, it’s really up to your Mother.”

“Mom, Dad said it was up to you.” — “Well, I don’t know, dear. Check back with your Father.”

A time-tested routine that works almost every time. Because sooner or later, most kids just give up somewhere between the family room and the kitchen and just say “never mind.”  Another victory for “Team Mom and Dad”. The ability to say “No” without actually saying so. Kind of like a Pocket Veto.

Image Credit -- TodaysParent.com

Image Credit — TodaysParent.com

Of course, the strategy for overcoming the tag team defense was to do an end-around and catch Mom and Dad together in the same room.  Sometimes it would result in a score.  But risking a numbers game, other times the end-around strategy could backfire and result in a brutal rejection, like a guarded basketball net,  when they had you outnumbered two to one in the same room.

But since it was the only play in the kid playbook with any chance of success, after the third or fourth round trip to the kitchen it was the only option available other than giving up entirely, which is what the tag team defense was designed to achieve in the first place. Of course, I suppose the object of the game on both sides was to wear the opponent down until they submitted.  But in a single contest, parents most always have the numbers on their side.

Image Credit -- FamilyShare.org

Image Credit — FamilyShare.org

I speak of this now after having raised four children of my own and having experienced the game from both sides of the field.  My parents were accomplished masters at the tag team game.  We never quite achieved their level of success in establishing the impenetrable tag team defense with our children, which my parents seemed so easily adept at and able to pull off each time.  But then again, they always had me outnumbered, dealing with only one opponent because my sister was much older and already enlisted on their side.

Our four children had the distinct advantage of being able to work in tag teams of their own, applying relentless pressure on the defense. We seemed to invariably get trapped by the vaunted end-arounds by our kids, cornered on the couch and surrounded on all four sides. When the question before the court was not a life or death issue, relenting frequently seemed the only reasonable chance of emerging from the encounter with our sanity and scalps still intact.  So maybe it is a numbers game, after all.

“One of the most important things we adults can do for young children is to model the kind of person we would like them to be.”                              — Carol B. Hillman

So let’s celebrate the dedication and love of Moms and Dads together, and hats off and huzzahs for the Mom and Dad Team! And to single parents who lovingly and determinedly wear the hats of both roles. Parenting is not an easy job and doesn’t come with an instruction book. And no child seems to arrive complete with an operator’s manual. But the rewards are priceless.

Today is a special day to do something nice for Mom and Dad, or to treat yourself and children to a celebration day of ‘Team Family’.

Image Credit -- DeeperWaters.us

Image Credit — DeeperWaters.us

November 13th is also World Kindness Day.  Practicing and Teaching kindness and compassion right in your home is a great place to start. Children live what they learn, and learn by what they see. Moms and Dads — do a random act of kindness for someone, and show the kids how it’s done! And you don’t need to go far. Mother Teresa put it well — ” Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.” Start right in your own family — today.

Image Credit -- TheDailyQuotes.com

Image Credit — TheDailyQuotes.com

Happy Moms and Dads Day!  Happy Kindness Day!  Happy Family Day!  

Wishing everyone a beautiful autumn and family Sunday celebrating Moms and Dads and Kindness — together!

Family Times — Together Times — The Best Times 

Thanks as always for visiting! The special Christmas Story for Little Red Bear and the crew has passed thru the editing stage and coming right along.  Please stay tuned for updates soon, and have a wonderful upcoming week!  —  Jim (and Red!)

Image Credit -- THINKSTOCK

Image Credit — THINKSTOCK

Old-fashioned, Family-friendly Stories and Fun for All Ages and Fitness Levels!
About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends.

 

Family Sunday — “The Falling Leaves of Autumn”

Happy Autumn – Sunday – Family Day!

I  grew up raking leaves and jumping over and into leaf piles on Sunday afternoons. Then later raking them all into a pile over to where the summer vegetable garden had been and setting the pile on fire to burn them. Wonderful for improving the following season’s garden soil.  One of the most delightful scents of the year — burning leaves.  Crisp chilly days and the scent of burning leaves filling the air, an annual fall tradition and harbinger of the rapidly approaching holiday season and winter to follow.

"Falling Leaves" by John Sloane

“Falling Leaves” by John Sloane

I miss that. Many probably do not know the soul-comforting smell of burning leaves in the autumn air anymore. Nowadays the distinctive scents of autumn are gone, replaced by the endless droning of leaf blowers. Not the same to be sure, but as long as there are leaf piles to bury someone in, and to jump in and over until the legs call for a stop,  the back yards and front yards on a crisp autumn day can still be loads of family fun.

"Autumn Mood" by John Sloane

“Autumn Mood” by John Sloane

Autumn is a magical time of year. Shorter days. Chilly nights just right for a warming fire and sitting by the hearth. A refreshing cider or hot chocolate in hand.  Healthy exercise. Tossing a football and Frisbee, ultimately falling into the leaf pile with each catch.   A marvelous fall day to gather up all the family and head outdoors for a fun day of leaf raking – jumping – burying – leaping – collecting. Fresh air and exercise! And quality family time together, learning about the seasons and cycles of Mother Nature.

"Autumn Leaves" by John Sloane

“Autumn Leaves” by John Sloane

There are many old superstitions and beliefs about catching leaves in the fall.   Some folk believe it is good luck to catch a falling leaf.   Some even say that if you catch a falling leaf in autumn that you  will have a whole month of good luck. Others say that you should make a wish if you catch a falling leaf. There’s another school of thought that says if you catch a falling leaf on the first day of autumn you will not catch a cold all winter!

Pagan Europeans and some native North American cultures revered the oak tree and its leaves as sacred. Opinions differ on the professed benefits that accrue from catching falling leaves, whether on the actual first day of autumn or anytime during the autumn season.   Personally, I just think it’s fun, and made even more so on a windy day. “There it goes!”, and the chase is on.

Autumn Painting by John Sloane

Autumn Painting by John Sloane

Yet another tradition holds that you must keep the captured leaves until new green buds appear on the trees in the spring.  Only then can you safely dispose of them without the risk of ruining your fortunes.   As for me, I like to press them in heavy books with weights on top, and then coat them in Modge Podge, a clear coating to preserve and enjoy them all thru the year.  If you do that, be sure to catch them sooner than later, as newly-fallen leaves, more soft and supple to the touch, preserve and hold onto their colors much better than do the dried up, crinkly ones.

Here are some neat leaf projects to do with the little ones — Helping to teach them how to sew with Sewing Patterns on Leaves, Making Leaf Foxes, Leaf Chalk Art, and Making Fall Leaf Prints . And here is information on How To Preserve Fall Leaves. Check out and follow my Pinterest Boards for more ways to preserve autumn leaves, fun projects and information.  And more things “Autumn.”

"Autumn Shadows" by John Sloane

“Autumn Shadows” by John Sloane

So round up the family and head outdoors for a day of leaf-themed play.  Rake leaves. Gather and collect the most beautifully colored leaves and save them to press.  Catch a Frisbee and fall into a leaf pile.  See who can jump the biggest pile. Make some Leaf Art.  And most of all —  have fun!  The glorious season of autumn only comes once each year and is soon gone, giving way to winter.  So let’s enjoy it while we can.

Today’s Family Sunday writing featured the artwork of one of my favorite country artists, John Sloane. Visit his John Sloane Art Page for upcoming calendars and more information.

Thanks as always for visiting! And have a wonderful Family Day!  — Jim (and Red!)

ps — work on a special Christmas holiday short story featuring Little Red Bear and some of his friends is coming right along. Watch for it in December!

"Country Life" by John Sloane

“Country Life” by John Sloane

Old-fashioned, Family-friendly Stories and Fun for All Ages and Fitness Levels!
About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends.

Sunday Family-Pumpkin-Costume-Prepare for Halloween Day!

Happy Sunday Family Day — the day before Halloween!  Do you have the pumpkins carved and costumes ready?  Today is the day to get the kids together and prepare  for the big day.  The little Trick-or-Treaters are anxious to get started!

Via 6sqft.com

Carving pumpkins in our day was a much simpler task.  Two large triangles for the eyes.  A smaller triangle for the nose.  And a big mouth with as many or few teeth as the artist spirit called for.  Some years I went with a lot of teeth, sharp and pointy, interlocking in a scissors bite like a Great White Shark. Frightfully scary. Other years, my pumpkin friend took on a much more simple look with just a few, broad, flat teeth in a wide, friendly, beckoning and happy smile.  It all depended on the seasonal mood, I suppose.

Nowadays it can be much more complicated, with traceable designs that are very intricate and complex, truly raising the bar on skill, talent, perseverance and Pumpkin Art in general.

It seems important to mention, whether you go “old school” or “new school” with your Jack O’Lantern designs, safety is paramount when working with children and little carvers, and close supervision required around sharp tools and knives.  A small hand is no match for a paring knife.

And for heaven’s sake, please do not toss away the seeds!  Pumpkin seeds are a healthy, nutritious snack and unbelievably tasty when made at home.  If you have never made them yourself before, trust me — roasted pumpkin seeds are quick, easy to prepare, and delicious!  Here is my favorite way to prepare them, plain and simple.

ROASTED PUMPKIN SEEDS

1 cup Pumpkin Seeds, 1 teaspoon safflower or canola oil, 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce or salt, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, and paprika to taste.

Carefully clean any pumpkin pulp from the seeds and wash them if necessary.  Brush oil on a rimmed baking sheet, place the seeds on the sheet, spread out evenly, and roast in a 350°F oven until they begin to turn golden, about 10 minutes or so.  Add the remaining ingredients and stir to evenly coat the seeds.  Continue baking until the seeds are crispy, about another 10-15 minutes, keeping an eye on not to burn.  This method can be used to roast any squash family seeds for snacks. (Adapted from the “Vegetarian Times Cookbook”, 1984)

Here are some more links to my Autumn Board on Pinterest for more adventurous ways to prepare them —  Honey Roasted Pumpkin Seeds with Cinnamon and Roasted Pumpkin Seeds in Six Different Flavors.

How about the costumes for the little ones?  All set?  How about one for yourself, either greeting neighborhood Trick-or-Treaters at the door or at a party?  I do not recall ever wearing a “store-bought” costume when I was little.  All of my mine and my friends’ were homemade.  At the time when Walt Disney’s “Legend of Sleepy Hollow” was new and all the rage, the boy across the street’s father made him a Headless Horseman outfit one year.  Needless to say, he had to pull a wagon to haul home all the treats he received in the neighborhood for that one!

When all else failed and we did not have a costume prepared ahead of time, the last minute fall back for all of our group was the never-fail “Hobo” outfit.  Grab up some baggy clothes and suspenders from Dad (or Mom, depending), tie a rope around your waist to hold up the pants in case the suspenders snapped, grab one of Dad’s old hats, smear some coffee grounds (and once outside and out of parents’ sight — real dirt) on your face and you were set.  One of Dad’s big red, work handkerchiefs tied to a stick over the shoulder completed the outfit.  Pick out an old pillowcase to carry home the loot and out the door we went, flashlight and high hopes in hand.

Back in the day, the practice of Trick-or-Treating was much safer in every respect than it has become now.  Parents only accompanied the very smallest kids, and the rest of us were on our own to go as far as our legs and the weather would allow.  I remember Trick-or-Treating in the snow one year — 1954 in St. Louis, Missouri.  I was only going on five at the time, but memories like that tend to stick with you.

Treats into the bag included apples, oranges, and bananas.  Homemade treats like cookies, cupcakes, slices of cake, candy apples and popcorn balls rounded out the list.  I never did get a slice of cake home in one piece though, and always really wondered what was on that lady’s mind with that, to be honest. But we all gave her credit for trying.  And I have never known the kid who would toss away a piece of perfectly good smashed cake and crumbs, anyway.

Some homes tossed coins into your bag, ranging from a few pennies to a by-gosh, honest-to-goodness Silver Dollar.  But those were admittedly rare and given only by neighbors who recognized and thought very highly of you, of course.  It goes without saying, that the most sought-after and coveted treat prize was a Candy Bar.  And that was before some silly-head invented “Fun Size.”  Seriously?   Fun size?  I have never really seen ‘loads of fun’ in a bite-sized candy bar, myself.

Anyway, ‘fun sized’ aside,  wishing everyone a ‘Full Sized’ safe and fun Halloween!  Make today a family day carving the Jack O’Lanterns, getting costumes and make-ups assembled, and getting everything ready for the big night.  And for goodness sake — make up some Pumpkin Seeds for a real treat.  The family will thank you.

And I thank you as always for visiting!  Family time.  It’s the best time. — Jim   (and Red!)

A Princess and Lava Girl Amongst the Pumpkins by Charles Morris.

A Princess and Lava Girl Amongst the Pumpkins by Charles Morris Photography.

Old-fashioned, Family-friendly Stories and Fun for All Ages and Fitness Levels!
About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends.

 

 

Sunday Family Day — At the Pumpkin Patch!

Shhhh! . . . . .    Quietly . . . . .   Listen . . . . . .    Wait for it . . . . . .

Do you hear it?  The almost imperceptible sound of a straining vine under pressure.  A snapping and heavy rolling along the ground.  And . . . . the ever-so-soft sound of dried hay, tumbling to the ground off a wagon . . . . and wheels . . . . tractor wheels rumbling along a dirt road.  Could it be . . . .  a hay ride?  Dry, rustling leaves in the breeze.  And crows.  Do you hear the crows, caw-caw-cawing from a field along the stream bank?

Thill and excitement fill smiling faces of young adults enjoying a seasonal hay ride. A scene of wholesome outdoor entertainment for a group of well dressed group of four people. Action filled shot as man on left throws hay into the air to the others surprise.

Family Fun on a Hayride (via GatlinburgLodgingGuide.com)

And do you smell it?  It’s very faint in the breeze . . . . the unmistakable scent of apple cider being poured into a glass.  And, oh!  Did you hear that?  And again?  The undeniable giggles and squeals of children playing and having fun.

country-autumn-via-the-homespun-wife-uncredited

Happy Autumn!  Getting full swing into the beautiful autumn season now, with only eight days to Halloween.  Time to round up the family and head to the Pumpkin Patch!

It’s a beautiful autumn day to track down that perfect pumpkin for the front porch and partake in that grand old tradition of carving a pumpkin with the kids.  Carefully opening the top, scooping out the seeds (be sure to roast them and let none go to waste!), coming up with a design and carefully carving an eye-popping Jack O’Lantern for Halloween to summon the little Trick-or-Treaters next week.

holiday-halloween-smiling-pumpkin-3

But first, a visit to the Pumpkin Farm is in order to locate the ideal pumpkin.  Rows and rows of pumpkins patiently awaiting your arrival, each hoping to be the one selected for the ride home.  Tractors bumping along dirt roads and thru the fields, pulling wagon-loads of laughing children and families on hay rides.  Face painting.  Refreshing apple cider.  Delicious apple butter and more for sale.  Corn mazes and hay castles to crawl thru and climb.  Good times!  Fun times with the family!

Make this Sunday a family day and head out to the local pumpkin patch for a healthy  day of fresh air, exercise and delightful family fun, good times and memories.

Creating Memories at the Pumpkin Patch (via WoodTV.com)

Creating Memories at the Pumpkin Patch (via WoodTV.com)

Wishing everyone a beautiful, Sunday Family Day!  —  Jim (and Red!)

The Smith Family, by Sarah Whitwell Photography (SarahWhitwellPhotography.com}

The Smith Family, by Sarah Whitwell Photography (SarahWhitwellPhotography.com}

Old-fashioned, Family-friendly Stories and Fun for All Ages and Fitness Levels!
About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends.

Sunday Family Day — Putting “Family” Back Into Sundays!

Things tend to change over time.  Oftentimes for the better.  Sometimes not.

Sundays were family days a while ago.  Back in the days before over-hyped sporting events and media distractions began to dominate the scene and steal away quality time.  Sundays were spent relaxing from the weekly routine, the hustle and bustle, from the work grind and stress.  Reconnecting.  Spending time together. Going for Sunday afternoon drives thru the countryside.  Looking forward all day to Sunday dinner. Sundays were for staying in touch, returning to our center and to what is truly important — Family.

This is the first in a series of weekly Sunday posts dedicated to returning Sundays to Family Days.  Spending quality time with loved ones.  Each of us only gets so much time in our life and no one knows how much.  We can choose to invest the time given to us wisely, into what is most important to us and to the future of our children, or to fritter it away in frivolous pursuits which yield nothing but empty minutes passed and a longing for something more substantial  and connecting in our lives.  So many feel disconnected today.  Be and stay connected — with your family.

picnic-31-via-google-via-123rf-images-site

It is easier to withstand the storms of life, not being blown over by the random winds of misfortune, when we are grounded, anchored and held secure by family and loving roots.  Sundays are made for grounding and staying connected.  Our society, with so many challenges confronting families today, ranging from rampant drug use to negative social media influences and divisiveness, perhaps now more than ever, needs to rekindle that spirit of family togetherness and bonding.

The autumn season, with its refreshing and crisp air, is a perfect time to get the family together for a picnic.  Take a trip to the park and kick around a soccer ball.  Launch a Frisbee thru the air.  Play hide and seek.  Or even spread a blanket on the ground in the backyard and just have a fun time together tossing leaves about and grilling up some hot dogs or marshmallows.  If inclement weather, take that same blanket and make a tent in the family room. Spend the time together, and have Fun!  Experience, share and enjoy the Peace, Joy, and Love. They aren’t just words on a page.  Give them true life in your family, making lasting loving memories while forming the connections which strengthen and hold us together.

(Image Credit: Tori Watson Photography, The Haggards Family)

(Image Credit: Tori Watson Photography, The Haggards Family, blog.tori-watson.com)

Family time.  Together time.  Fun time.  Quality time.  The best time!  To be in our children’s memories tomorrow, we must be in their lives today.

children-parenting-time-spent

Thank You for stopping by to visit!  I hope you enjoy this new Sunday feature, and follow along each week as we work together to bring Family back into Sundays.  Spread the word to family, friends and neighbors.   What does your family do to stay connected?  Please feel free to share in the comments!  We are all in this together, after all.

Happy Sunday!  Happy Family Day!  Wishing everyone a beautiful autumn and family Sunday — together!  – – – Jim   (and Red!)

(Image via CanberraYourFuture.com)

(Image via CanberraYourFuture.com)

Old-fashioned, Family-friendly Stories and Fun for All Ages and Fitness Levels!
About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends.