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Fun idea: Family Times Book

January 4, 2009

Do you long to create meaningful times with your kids? 


If you’re anything like me, then you end up having too many movie nights with your family because it’s easy.  Not much thought required, or preparation.  I had no shortage of ideas, but where were they all when I needed them? 


In an attempt to organize my life one summer, I decided to create a Family Time Book.  First, I found a plain 3 ring binder and I divided it into several sections.  Here, I am going to share how my book came together with the hopes that you will create your own book.  And where will you find your ideas to fill the empty pages? 


Magazines, websites, other people’s stories, and even sometimes a movie or TV show can spark an idea.  Of course this site will have new ideas frequently, so be sure to subscribe! 


Here are my sections:


Instant family time ideas:  Here is a section of blank pages that I jot notes down on whenever they pop into my head.  If we’re blessed with an evening with nothing planned, instead of popping in a DVD, I can glance here and find ideas with little or no preparation required.  These ideas are good year round, not season specific.


General Crafts:  Here I store ideas for crafts that do not fall under any particular season or holiday.  If we do a craft and I know we’ll want to do it again some day, I mark helpful hints directly on the instructions for next time.  Sometimes I’ll include a photo.  If the craft didn’t go over too well, I’ll chuck it.


The 12 Months:  This is actually 12 sections, one for each month. Each month contains the following:


Month at a glance:  At the beginning of each month is a blank page where I list the ideas and suggested dates as I add them.  That way, when I am planning my monthly calendar, I can plan these special activities ahead of time.  I also include family birthdays and holidays here, so I remember to have the kids can make cards and thoughtful gifts.


Traditions:  Here I include:  A description of the tradition, recipes, journal entries from previous years, instructions to crafts.  If I got the idea from a book, I list the book and page to reference.  Often times our traditions include historical information as well, such as for St. Lucia Day in December.  Upon completing the tradition or celebration, I will make a few notes similar to a journal entry and file it away for next year.


Holidays:  Here I file copies of recipes and ideas that I use for specific holidays, such as my Apple Butter Pumpkin Pie recipe for Thanksgiving and my Rugelach recipe for Christmas.


Seasonal craft, games, and outings:   These are ideas I’ve found or done that pertain to a certain month. Here I include detailed instructions and photos if I have them on hand.  This is incredibly useful when I am browsing through magazines and find a craft I want to try the next month.  Instead of saving the whole magazine, I can tear out the instructions and file it away. 


A few notes about my book: 

  • I used a view binder, so I slipped in a pretty cover page and spine.


  • Instead of buying countless notebook dividers, I used heavyweight paper and post-it divider tabs to indicate new sections.  You can find these tabs at any office supply, much more affordable than dividers.


  • I gave myself permission for my book to not be perfect.  Instead of typing out all my notes, I write them on lined paper.  This way, I will not put off adding to it, “until I can get on the computer.”  I also make goofy illustrations and print photos on regular paper.  This way, I don’t feel the need to wait until I have the time to make it nice before adding to it.  In fact, its stained recipe pages and doodled-on instructions are part of its charm.



If you take a few minutes to make your own book, you’ll save loads of time!  Anytime an idea comes your way, you can simply file it away and not have to worry about where you put it, or even remembering it.  For me, that is the best part…it is all laid out for you, so you don’t have to rely on your memory. 


Soon, I will be posting some of my favorite entries to share with you.  Happy Family Times!













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