Remembering

I wrote this post two years ago for Memorial Day and thought I’d share it again today. My kids are a little bit (okay, a lot) bigger but this is still our tradition. Whether your attending a parade or service, spending time with friends with family or spending some time in the garden today, I hope you’ll take time to remember and thank those who have served and sacrificed for us.  Michele

I was talking with a friend at church yesterday about our Memorial Day plans. She asked what we were doing and I shared that we’ll be visiting the cemetery.  She looked a little bit confused for a second so I went on to explain that I like to use it as a teachable moment with my kids. We don’t have family buried here in Salem and I’ll admit that we don’t take the time to visit graves when we’re in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  We really should do that more.  On Memorial Day however we take a trip to a cemetery here in Salem and just relax for a few hours. Sometimes we catch guppies in the ponds, or take a walk. My younger kids ask lots of questions about death and dying which is always an important conversation. I usually bring some carnations and the kids and I place them on Veteran’s graves that look untended and lonely. I like for them to think about the sacrifices that have been made for them.  It’s often said that “freedom isn’t free” and we need to remember that. I also use this time to tell them about their grandfathers. My Dad spent twenty years in the Army and retired as a Master Sargent. He was never far from that experience and shared much of it with us. My father-in-law didn’t serve in the military but he was a true patriot and taught us all as well. I love remembering Memorial Days long ago when my family camped together or Michael and I watched the  parade in Wharton, New Jersey with my in-laws. I wonder what my kids will remember and what they’ll share with their children.  I hope that you have a few moments to connect with the people you love today and to take some time to honor and remember those who have given so much for us.

Things That Work For Me–TV Turnoff Time

This week’s “Things That Work For Me” post could really be titled “Things That Work For Us”.

Every family has their own approach to the television’s place in their home from “its on all the time” to “we don’t own a TV”.  We live right in the middle. We do own a TV that we enjoy, but we set limits. The basic rule governing television viewing in our house is very simple;  It’s turned off every day from 10 am until 6 pm.  I must admit that there is sometimes an adjustment if someone is sick and needs a diversion to pass time or on really (and I mean really) cold, wet days when we can’t get outside. In the case of the latter we might watch a movie or turn it on at 5:00 instead of 6:00.

This very simple method of limiting TV screen time has many benefits, for example:

*We find other, active things to do.

*It provides some quiet during the day (one of my favorites).

*There is more cooperation and much less fighting among siblings.

*We spend more time together.

*Homework gets done early, with less fuss.

*We get creative and try new things.

*We read more and we go lots of places.

*Everyone is propelled outside to play, breathe fresh air and to spend time in the garden!

I could go on and on with my list but you get the idea. I’m not trying to speak in favor or against TV viewing, but rather I’m sharing an alternative that works well here in our house.

We started this last June and I’ve noticed that after a while the turn off seemed to extend beyond the “before ten and after six” time frame. When the tv is off for most of the day the habit is broken and it’s not the “go to” activity anymore. Everyone becomes engaged in other things and kind of forgets about watching it.

What works for you? Do you limit television and if so, how do you do it?

My inquiring, tv-less (most of the time) mind wants to know~

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Remembering

I was talking with a friend at church yesterday about our Memorial Day plans. She asked what we were doing and I shared that we’ll be visiting the cemetery.  She looked a little bit confused for a second so I went on to explain that I like to use it as a teachable moment with my kids. We don’t have family buried here in Salem and I’ll admit that we don’t take the time to visit graves when we’re in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  We really should do that more.  On Memorial Day however we take a trip to a cemetery here in Salem and just relax for a few hours. Sometimes we catch guppies in the ponds, or take a walk. My younger kids ask lots of questions about death and dying which is always an important conversation. I usually bring some carnations and the kids and I place them on Veteran’s graves that look untended and lonely. I like for them to think about the sacrifices that have been made for them.  It’s often said that “freedom isn’t free” and we need to remember that. I also use this time to tell them about their grandfathers. My Dad spent twenty years in the Army and retired as a Master Sargent. He was never far from that experience and shared much of it with us. My father-in-law didn’t serve in the military but he was a true patriot and taught us all as well. I love remembering Memorial Days long ago when my family camped together or Michael and I watched the  parade in Wharton, New Jersey with my in-laws. I wonder what my kids will remember and what they’ll share with their children.  I hope that you have a few moments to connect with the people you love today and to take some time to honor and remember those who have given so much for us.