Several years ago, my husband and I set out to spend more meaningful time as a family. We’ve been married almost fourteen years, and really, neither of us can remember much about our first decade together except that we spent most of it working!
We decided we wanted to be closer as a couple and as a family by making memories together. It’s amazing how full and rich our family life has become over the past few years.
In early 2020, I shared some ideas for starting family traditions centered around holidays. (You can read it here.) Today, I wanted to share some of the things we do that aren’t holiday-related. You don’t have to wait for a holiday to make a day special!
The Adventure Challenge: Family Edition
My husband saw a Facebook ad for The Adventure Challenge and bought the family edition on a whim.
Though we’ve just started the book, so far this has been a hit with the entire family. Even our toddler has joined in the excitement with the activities we’ve done so far. These activities make for lots of laughs and memorable photo ops--perfect for breaking the monotony of predictable day-to-day routines.
The idea is that once you scratch off an activity, you HAVE to do it. I can’t vouch for all the activities in the book because we’re only two in, but so far we’re really pleased.
Read more about The Adventure Challenge: Family Edition on their website here. Though we haven’t had a chance to start it yet, we also purchased the Couples Edition. I can’t wait to try it!
At the start of 2021, my husband and I made a goal together to each read two books a month.
This goal was fairly ambitious for me; with two under two, I had no time to read and no energy left to do anything but crash if by chance I DID find the time! And it was ambitious for my husband because his schedule is insane.
Nonetheless, we created a chart and hung it in our closet.
We’ve numbered two columns 1 to 24 with room for my husband to list his reads on one side and room for mine on the other. Even though it was meant to be a goal we worked toward together, our reading challenge has turned into more of a competition. Every time I finish a book, my husband feels challenged to step up his reading game, and vice versa.
The cool thing? Even though I should only be up to nine or ten books right now, I’ve already read seventeen! (Because so much of my day is monopolized by the babies, my husband is making me take time to myself several evenings a week right now for my sanity's sake!) I feel like God has enriched my life so much this year through some of the reading material I've come across, and the content my husband and I are reading has made for great discussions, too.
Though we haven't included our kids up to this point, I plan to incorporate a reading plan for them for the summertime.
I’ve never been a great cook. For over ten years, my family subsisted almost solely on, well . . . tacos. (Only kidding just a little!)
But we’re trying to change that!
A little while back, I purchased The Great Courses’ The Everyday Gourmet: Rediscovering the Lost Art of Cooking class. It's been on sale for $35 for a long time now.
My husband and I have been taking the course together, and as a result ... my cooking skills haven’t changed much! Ha :) But my husband has turned into a GREAT cook. In a time when I'm constantly wrangling two little ones, his newfound love and adeptness for cooking have been a HUGE blessing.
We also tried a trial subscription to Hello Fresh to get us spending time together in the kitchen. Even though that isn’t something I want to pay for on a regular basis, we’ve found we have an especially good time cooking the meal kits together. It’s like an at-home date night every time!
One unexpected side effect I’ve liked about Hello Fresh is that it has helped me learn how to cook better, as well as given me recipe inspiration and even forced me to try new things.
Depending on the age of your kids, cooking together is something you can also include them in, and it's great for being intentional about teaching them life skills.
Target Dollar Deals
I have an almost-nine-year-old, a toddler, and an eight-month-old. Sometimes it’s a little challenging finding things I can do with them that all of them will enjoy. However, my toddler is two going on twenty, so he’s bound and determined to do anything and everything he sees his older brother and me do!
If you have little ones and access to a Target, you’ve probably already taken advantage of the dollar aisles yourself. However, I thought it was worth mentioning! I’ve found lots of inexpensive art projects (and church-friendly toys for toddlers) at Target in the dollar aisles that went over well with both of my older two.
Doing any kind of project together lends itself to making memories and building relationships, which is why my husband also uses any opportunity he can to get our big boy involved with projects he does outside in the yard.
Spend Time Together
And that brings me to my last and most obvious thought: You don’t have to spend money or try a subscription service to make memories together or start traditions. Any car ride, any trip to the grocery store, and even many work trips and other obligations have the ingredients needed for making great family memories.
Between his job and other responsibilities, my husband has to travel a lot. Sometimes he has events every weekend out of the month. All of the events on his calendar are things he could do by himself--and in many ways, some of them would probably be less trouble if he did go by himself--but we’ve made a point of making everything that comes up a family thing, or at least a couples thing.
. . . So we end up crammed in a lot of hotel rooms together. We spend many hours in the car together. And we go to lots of church services together.
And you know what that’s led to?
Lots of memories.
Lots of pictures.
Lots of experiences.
Lots of time to get to know each other better.
Lots of time to bond.
Lots of time we’re spending together, instead of my husband spending it alone.
With each experience, where we otherwise might find ourselves growing apart, our lives are becoming more intertwined.
I hope this list has inspired you in some way! I’m always looking for more family time inspiration of my own, so share your own fun ideas with me @daintyjewellsblog on social media.