April 15, 2014

A New Baby! AND Listen To Your Mother!

WOW! The last few months have been busy busy busy. No different from your lives, but it has forced me to take a step back from something, and FamilyVolley is always the first thing to take the hit. So, what has been keeping me up at night? Besides the laundry, cooking, cleaning and general mom stuff... Well, two things.

First, we had another baby. The sweetest little baby girl. That makes one boy and four girls for our family. She is the perfect addition and everyone adores her. She is also our first baby to sleep more than three hours at a time, at night. Heaven sent is what she is.

Second, it is LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER Season and the show must go on. If you will recall from last year, I produce and direct the Listen To Your Mother Show. It is one of the most rewarding projects I have ever had the opportunity to be involved in. The show is a celebration of motherhood, giving Mother's Day a microphone. It is a 90 minute show filled with a series of monologues by some of the biggest bloggers and writers in the Northern Utah area. The audience will laugh and cry, often at the same time.  The show sold out last year. So this year, we have a bigger venue and we are hoping to fill the house. If you live in Northern Utah, you should join us. Come, bring your mom, girlfriends, sisters, neighbors, ward friends, even your husband will enjoy it, and celebrate motherhood together. The show is in 32 cities this year and it is a big deal to host in Northern Utah.

The show is Tuesday April 29th at 7pm on the University of Utah Campus in the Union Building Ballroom. Tickets are only 10 dollars and are well worth every cent. Promise. The cast will knock your socks off. Join us, and be sure to come and say hello. Click here for tickets and click here to watch my monologue from last years show. It is the most vulnerable I have ever allowed myself to be in public. I apologize in advance for the crying.

What have you been up to the last few months? Anything new in your house?

January 27, 2014

Tips for Keeping Your 2014 Family Resolutions

New Year's Resolutions aren't just for individuals, they're for families too! 

I know what your thinking. It is hard enough to keep my own personal resolutions and goals. Why would I want to set goals with my family too? Why? Because setting goals together, and working towards those goals, brings us closer as a family. It builds trust, unity, and is a great opportunity to teach our children values and skills. Research shows that by the first week of February, only 50 percent of us will still be keeping our resolutions. Don't let your family become a statistic.

Whether you have a word of the year, make New Year's resolutions, or just have a few goals you want your family to work on this year, here are a few tips to help your family stick with those resolutions so you can grow and improve together. 

1. Make your resolutions something that YOUR FAMILY really wants. Your family's goals and resolutions should NOT be something you think you should do as a family. Or something that you are doing just to keep up with what you see on Pinterest, the internet, or that your neighbors are doing. Honestly evaluate what is best for your family. One of the biggest mistakes families make is making resolutions to keep up with "the Jones' "  Don't worry about what other families are doing. 

2. Make sure your eyes aren't bigger than you stomach. AKA, don't set too many goals. In fact, two or three is perfect for your family. Too many and they get hard to keep and focus on. 

3. Goals should be specific. For example, "Save money", is a good goal. But it is not specific. "Save 5 dollars a week" is a better goal. Being specific makes the resolutions more do-able and makes it easier for everyone to understand what is expected. 

4. Leave room for forgiveness. No family is perfect and there will be many times when we falter on our resolutions. That is normal. The difference between those families who reach their goals and those who don't, is the way they react to set backs. Instead of throwing in the towel, problem solve. Then you can rebound and get back on track. 

5. Include the entire family. It is easy to think that successful family goals are only achieved by the parents. But family goals should include the entire family. Including our children provides opportunities for us to work together, hold one another accountable, allows us opportunities to teach our children, and gives our children the chance to see success and failure. Not to mention, each member of our family has great ideas. I can't tell you the number of times that our children have come up with the solutions to family situations. Including them also lets them know that they have a voice in your family. Knowing that they are heard makes them feel loved, important and understood. (Which also leads to kids being better behaved.) Not to mention that kids are great at keeping us accountable. :)

6. Create short term goals to keep you accountable. We hear this all the time, because it is true. As a family, set a resolution, and then set short term goals to help you along the way. Your family will be much more likely to achieve your goals that way. 

7. Make it fun and celebrate! Whoever said resolutions have to be boring? Find fun ways to achieve your goals and celebrate your milestones along the way. This also helps to keep it fresh in everyones mind. Because a year can seem like a really long time.

Looking for a fun way to set resolutions for your family? Create a vision board! Have each member of your family sit down with old magazines, newspapers, markers and crayons, even the computer. Have everyone cut out or print off pictures, words, phrases that represent what they see for 2014 for the family. Put them all on a big piece of cardboard. Then, step back and evaluate the themes that are most prevalent on the board. Use the common themes to create two or three resolutions to best benefit your family this upcoming year. 

And remember, everyones resolutions look different, just like our families. And that is okay.

I would love to hear what your family resolutions are for this year?

This post was written by me, and was originally posted as a guest post on TheIdeaRoom.net.

December 09, 2013

Elf on the Shelf-Ideas for Where to Put Your Elf (Week Two)

Time for more Elf on the Shelf Ideas for you to use at your house. Remember, if you are following along, Family Volley is taking the guess work out of where to put your elf this holiday season. Here are 7 more ideas for the upcoming week.

1. Set your elf up to have a snow ball fight with another toy. Use blocks or lego's and make two little walls and have the elf and the other toy stand behind their respected walls. Then, scatter some mini marshmallows around the scene.

2. Photo Booth: make a few tiny photo booth props. A mustache on a stick would do the trick. Then have your elf posing with the prop. You could make a few extras and have your elf posing with a few stuffed animal or Barbie friends.

3. Set your elf up holding a small pair of scissors, cutting a snow flake out of paper. Be sure you put another finished snowflake next to him too.

4. Using candies or cereal have your elf spell out a message to for your kids. "Be Good", "Happy Holiday's", etc...

5. Set your elf up working on the computer.

6. Set your elf up doing a puzzle.

7. Using big Marshmallows, have your elf building a snow man. They make jumbo size marshmallows now also. Those would work even better.

I would love to hear your favorite Elf on the Shelf ideas. Share it with us in the comments, or email me, and I will include it next week with a shout out to you.

November 30, 2013

Elf on the Shelf-Ideas for Where to Put Your Elf (Week One)

December 1 is here, which means many houses will start their Elf on the Shelf tradition this week. (If you are unfamiliar with Elf on the Shelf, see this post to tell you more about it and give you some fun modifications you can use in your house).

One of the biggest complaints from parents is that they want to do Elf on the Shelf, but they run out of places to put him. Which seems pretty normal seeing as how you have to come up with 24-25 ideas. That can be a lot. Especially will all of the other responsibilities that come with the holiday season.

Well, look no further. Family Volley is here to help. Every Saturday I will post a weeks worth of locations for your elf. This will take all the guess work out of your tradition. If this has been a tradition that you have wanted to start, now is the perfect time. Even if you don't start December 1. Just start. You kids will love it. 

Get ready to have some fun!

1. Let your Elf arrive in style. Use a Kleenex/ paper towel/ or small scrap of fabric and some string to make a parachute for your little elf. Hang him from a ceiling fan, light, hook, any where. Tuck a little note in his arms announcing his arrival for the season.
2. Place your elf next to the calendar. Give him a pen and have him circle Christmas Day. You can include a little note about how "he will be watching over everyone for the next few weeks." 

3. Prop your Elf up and have him reading the toy catalog. 

4. Put your Elf in the bathroom, wrapped up in a pile of toilet paper. 

5. Set out the cereal bowls and cereal and have your elf eating some breakfast.

6. Set your elf up in the bathroom, getting ready to brush his teeth.

7. Place your elf next to other friends in the house. Have him join other stuffed animals and action figures, "Toy Story" style. They can be having a little tea party, playing a game, or building a tower together.  

Does your house celebrate with the Elf on the Shelf? 

Bringing Books to Life with Netflix #StreamTeam

As a Netflix Ambassador, it is really fun to be able to share the exciting things that Netflix is doing each month. This month is all about bringing books to life on the big screen, and our family had a blast reading and watching together.

Here's what we did. Each of our kids looked at the Netflix list of movies based on books.

"13 Great Titles Based on Children's Books on Netflix" 

Our eleven and a half year old son choose to read "Hugo." Our 8 year old daughter choose "Charlotte's Web." She even read my original copy that I read when I was a young girl. Our 5 year old daughter choose "The Little Engine that Could", and our 2 year old wanted in on the action and choose "The Very Hungry Caterpillar."

The plan was that when they were done reading their book, we would sit down as a family and watch the movie version of the book together. Family movie watching complete with popcorn and treats. 

We had so much fun talking about how the movies where similar and different from the books. 

These are books that many of us grew up reading ourselves. 

This time of year, when our families are working to spend more time together, these Netflix movies are a great resource. Regardless of if you watch TV a lot, or a little. There are so many ways to use Netflix at your house. 

p.s Next on the "to watch list" is Babysitter's Club. Did any of you grow up reading that series of books? They were my favorite! Especially the "Summer Specials" because the books were always longer. I still have all of my old books. Just waiting for our daughter to get a little bit older so she can start reading. 

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