Browse > Home

| Subscribe via RSS

8 Ways to Engage Your Kids This Summer

June 1st, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Family

There’s just an air of relaxation that settles over everything once the kids are out of school. Our evenings become filled with dinners on the back porch followed by dripping popsicles rather than a rush of dinner, homework, bath, book, bed. The rush of the school year brings its wear and tear on my family, and we just don’t do well at a fast pace. The summer brings a welcome time of recuperation and with it a collective sigh…

The rest of the year is filled with other obligations, but the summer belongs to us. One of my goals this summer is to reacquaint myself with my kids. That may sound silly. I mean, I should know my little family pretty well, right? But the truth is, we all change. My daughter no longer really plays with toys, and her taste in books and music has evolved. My son, who has always been a huge Mama’s boy, has been seeking his own sort of independence over the past few months. They’re growing. If I don’t frequently reacquaint myself with the little people God is growing them into, I’ll miss out on really knowing my family.

With that thought in mind, I’ve dug around, stolen ideas from friends (I mean, borrowed upon their wisdom), and really thought about ways I want to engage with my kids this summer. Here are some of the things my husband, Josh, and I will be doing to get back to the basics of family time this summer.

  1. Look for free outdoor events.

Summer in Canada is always filled with opportunities to get outside and be in community with one another (after all, it’s such a short season!!). Several churches host free community outreach “fun days” or movies in the park, and many festivals don’t require admission (BuskerFest, NOKIA Bike Days along the Canal, Sound and Light Show on Parliament Hill (starting July 10th).

Join CHRI at the FREE Summer Splash listener appreciation event on June 23rd at Camp IAWAH. Beach activities, boat rides, archery, rock climbing, and more.

  1. Start your own book club.

Reading to my kids has always been one of my favorite pastimes as a mom. I’m a sucker nearly every time my son asks, “One more book?” Hey, it’s hard to get snuggle time with a rowdy 5-year-old. But even my preteen still enjoys this time each day, just the two of us.

Have your children pick a book they would like to read with you this summer (my son and I will be reading Charlotte’s Web). Read a passage or chapter and then let them share their thoughts on what happened with you. I’m always surprised by how insightful kids can be.

  1. Take regular family “staycations.”

Have your family take turns picking day trips. My daughter enjoys history, so we are marking a map for places where she can dive into our state’s past. My son is a dinosaur and animal fanatic. So this summer we are hitting up a local museum’s new dinosaur exhibit and visiting a nearby elephant sanctuary. We also have several hiking trails in our area we plan on trekking (when the weather isn’t 110 degrees with 90 percent humidity, that is).

  1. Passport2Purity®

I wish I had shared this experience with my daughter last summer, before she started middle school. No one wants to have “the talk,” right? Talking about sex is kind of awkward, for them and us. Have no fear, nervous parent. Instead of fumbling through your words, Passport2Purity guides you through the topics of peer pressure, puberty, sex, and dating over the course of an overnight trip, just the two of you. I’ve planned a short trip with my daughter just before schools starts in August. Thanks to planned activities and CDs that tackle the hard topics for me, I’m actually looking forward to having the talk with her. From one parent to another, do this one sooner rather than later.

  1. Passport2Identity™

We’ll actually be doing this one in a few years, but I couldn’t mention the above suggestion without recommending something for parents with kids older than mine. And if you are a parent of a teenager, you know raising them for adulthood isn’t for the faint of heart. Passport2Identity can help. Created in the same format as Passport2Purity, this FamilyLife resource leads you and your child through discussions that matter: what a godly man/woman looks like, making their faith their own, and determining what their calling in life is. Remembering back to my own teenage years (some time ago), I guarantee you this is a trip your teenager needs with you. Now.

  1. Grow a garden together.

To be honest, I am known as the killer of plants (I am hoping my kids take after my husband on this one). Even so, there are a few great lessons for your kids (and maybe you) to learn through gardening—hard work, responsibility, patience, and how good it feels to see some fruit be produced after a period of growing. And here’s a bonus: it’s easier for kids to open up when they don’t feel the pressure to talk. Sit quietly beside your child picking weeds out of the garden (or even filling up some containers with potting soil if you don’t have the ground space). Don’t play 20 questions or feel the need to fill the silence. Just sit, enjoy the company of your kids, and be open to listening when they have something to say.

  1. Set a family goal together.

Maybe you want your family to be more active. Or you just want to slow down so you can find more time together. Whatever it is, you have some dreams for your family. Chances are, your kids do, too. So have a powwow around the picnic table (my kids are far better participants if there are yummy snacks involved) in the backyard to discuss a family goal for the summer. Brainstorm some steps toward making that goal a reality. I’ve been thinking about this family goal thing a lot lately. Especially since this is the first time I have worked outside the home since the kids were born. One of my goals for my little family leads me to my final suggestion.

  1. Reclaim the Sabbath.

Confession time: I have turned Sunday into “catch up” day. Everything we don’t have time to do during the week is done on Sunday. Loads of laundry. Forgotten kids’ chores. Yard work. You name it. Sure, it feels good to get that stuff done, but in the process we’ve completely forgotten the purpose of a Sabbath. In Mark 2:27, Jesus told those nit-picking (my words, not His) Pharisees “the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” Just because we aren’t bound by Old Testament Sabbath laws anymore, doesn’t mean we should forget it altogether. It was made for our good. Our family’s good. So I am hoping to bring that good back into my family’s lives this summer. My steps to make this a reality? For starters, we’ll be dusting off those piles of family devotional books I purchased with hope we would actually finish. The Sabbath should not only be a time to rest but also a time to turn out hearts to the One who gives rest. Second, we will put down our devices for the day. Trust me, your soul (and your kids’) could use a break from social media and email.

Maybe you haven’t put much thought to summer yet,  but I’d wager your kids have. Plan a time to sit down and bounce ideas off them. How do they imagine this summer going? Maybe they have some personal goals they’d like to accomplish—mastering two wheels on a bike, perfecting that backhand on the court. Whatever you do this summer, engaging with your kids will never be time wasted. Remember, we only have a handful of summers with our kids before we launch them into the world. Make each one count.

Via: Family Life

7 Exciting One- Hour Road Trips From Ottawa

June 1st, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Family
These one-hour road trips will take you to fun and memorable places around Ottawa. If you want to stay overnight, you totally can! But these are easy enough that you can wake up and go, and come back before you’re too exhausted. Escape the city with these 7 exciting road trips. 

Calypso Theme Waterpark

Who doesn’t love a good waterpark? During the summer it’s the best place to be whether you go with family, friends, or your bae. The best thing about Calypso is that it’s not too far, but you still feel like you’re out of the city. If you think waterparks are for kids, once you’re at Calypso, you’ll totally change your mind. You can get a day pass or a season pass, and either way you won’t regret it!

Smokie Ridge Vineyard

This family owned vineyard is a perfect place to road trip to. All of their wines are to die for, and no matter who you go with you’ll find one wine that you’ll want to take home. They’ve had paint and wine nights in the past, and that’s the perfect summer night activity! You can go here for a birthday, a date, or just a celebration. 

Parc Omega

While we tend to see a ton of wildlife running around in Ottawa, it’s a lot more fun to go to a wildlife park and hang out with the cute animals. You can go on a car tour and feed the animals through the window, or get out of your car and hang out with them! From deer, to coyote, to moose, you won’t want to miss the opportunity to feed and pet the animals. 

(Mississippi Mills)

Almonte is one of the cutest towns in Ontario. Not only is a great to roam for the day, but the Mississippi River Falls makes you feel like you’re at a mini Niagara Falls. They don’t have the basics shops that you would see in a big city, but that’s what makes it so amazing. Make sure to eat at the Barley Mow where you’re right by the falls! 

Brockville Railway Tunnel

This stunning railway tunnel was Canada’s first railway tunnel. As of summer of 2017 and after a few years of construction, it opened to the public and now we can all see the beauty for ourselves. The lights on the side illuminate the entire tunnel which makes it so Instagram worthy. Check out this historic site for yourself!

Eagles Nest Lookout

If you haven’t hiked up this trail yet, then you’re missing out! This lookout point, which you’ll get to by a 4 mile hike, is so beautiful. The trail goes gradually uphill, but then stops at a 120 metre high cliff. If you’re afraid of heights, this is the perfect way to conquer it!

1000 Islands Cruise

I spent half of my childhood in Gananoque, so when people don’t see it as special, I get a little offended. The small town is actually one of the cutest spots, and if you find it boring, you can go on a boat tour of the 1000 Islands. You can find cute restaurants and cafes in Gananoque as well, and since it’s so close to home, you can make it a quick day trip!

Via: Narcity

5 Things Every Daughter Needs to Hear from Her Dad

June 1st, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Encouragement
Girls…They’re wired a little differently than boys. Okay, they’re wired waydifferently than boys. If you have both in your family like ours does, you know that at times they can be as different as night and day. And as a result, your daughter needs to be loved differently than your boys. She needs a rock to lean on. She needs to possess your confidence in her and your verbal and physical affection towards her. She is tender and more fragile. And one of the greatest ways she interprets your love is through your words.

While boys feel love when you spend time being rough and tough or playing outside together, girls often interpret that same kind of love in different ways, like when you speak kindly to them, or just simply listen to them. Your words have the opportunity to give your daughter the wings to fly or crush her before she ever has a chance to get off the ground. Because of this, here are 5 things that you need to tell your daughter regularly.

  1. “You are beautiful inside and out.”

Every girl longs to know that she is beautiful. And she needs to hear it from her father. This reinforces what God already says about her, and meets a very real need that she has for validation in your eyes.

  1. “I love you so much.”

In addition to showing your love, your daughter loves to hear the words, “I love you.” And she needs to hear them often.

  1. “I believe in you.”

Girls have a lot of big dreams in their hearts, and your daughter can do just about anything she sets her mind to when she knows that you are fully behind her and cheering her on all the way. Let her know regularly that you believe in her dreams and goals and are so proud of her for reaching for them.

  1. “I’m so lucky to be your dad.”

Your job as a dad is to make your daughter feel like the luckiest girl in all of the world, and what better way to do it than to regularly remind her that you are the luckiest guy in all of the world. Because you are the one person who gets the privilege of being called her daddy.

  1. “What’s on your mind? Let’s talk.”

Girls are wired to talk. Dad’s need to learn to listen. And even better yet, Dads need to learn to initiate times of conversation and listening with their daughter. Take some time to step into her room at night and ask her what’s on her mind, or randomly take her out for a drink or a meal just so the two of you can talk. She’ll love you for it, and both of you will benefit from it.

Via: All Pro Dad

Summer Splash

June 1st, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in CHRI

A Summer Playlist for the Whole Family on Spotify

June 1st, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in CHRI

The Greatest Showman’s “This is Me”: The Mom Parody

June 1st, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Artist Spotlight

Christians in the Era of Digital Dating

June 1st, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Lifestyle