School is in session!
We officially have two kids in school five days a week for a few hours a day. It feels as though we’ve made it! Everyone is healthy, happy, and well-adjusted. Except, now we don’t see each other as often as we did before. Of course we are all pursuing our own journey and coming together at the end of the day. Which is why it feels all the more important that this time together be intentional. I’ve started coming up with fun family themed nights that get the kids excited about coming together. We plan fun activities and take suggestions for dinner plans to get the kids more involved.
Mondays are movie night, after dinner we curl up to a favorite show or movie with a bowl of popcorn. Tuesdays are for tacos, Wednesdays are soup days, Thursdays is an open choice (taking turns of course), and Fridays are homemade pizza nights. Keeping things simple enough to get the kids engaged is one ways we get together and find out about each other’s day. It’s fun and intentional! It also provides some stability that kids often need. In a world where they don’t get to call the shots all day long (we tell them when to get up, go to bed, and where to go), its important that they can feel a sense of knowing what comes next on some level. Even something as small as knowing what’s for dinner can bring some comfort, knowing that no matter whats happening in their day they can count on being with family at the end of it all.
So far pizza night is the favorite. It’s fun and easily personalized. It’s also a fun way to get the kids to try new and interesting combinations of veggies. Some days we go for a plain red Mezzetti pizza sauce with mushrooms, some days we mix it up with roasted peppers. I find the kids are really into the personal pan style. It gives them even more control over their entire pie. I used Naan bread because it bakes really evenly and gets a light crispy crust going in the over (really delicious). Mezzetta marinara’s come in six different flavors all made with the fewest, freshest, finest ingredients from the San Marzano region of Italy.
You can find the following flavors available:
- Italian Plum Tomato
- Whole Garlic & Sweet Basil
- Caramelized Onion & Butter
- Calabrian Chili & Garlic
- Truffle, Porcini & Cream
- Parmigiano Reggiano (my favorite)
- Naan Bread
- Assorted cheeses: Mozzarella, Ricotta
- Assorted veggies: Mushrooms, Peppers, Spinach, etc..
- Mezzetti Pizza Sauce
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Add sauce to the Naan bread, spread in a circular motion
- Add veggies, then cheese and pop into the over for ten to twelve minutes and enjoy!
What are some of the ways you come together with the family after a long day?
Transitioning from one dynamic to another can be tough, particularly for young kids. Although summer is fairly short (in the eyes of a child, perhaps much longer for adults trying to keep up with their kids all day long), but it’s long enough to get used to the rhythm of a laid back lifestyle. I spent a good portion of time reading up on child development and how hard transition can be for kids. You see we already know how it all works, there is a rhythm to life that’s developed over the years. There are seasons, and vacations, and work time. They are still getting used to the rhythmic flow to life, and for a brain still developing, these transitions can be stressful.
I spent so much time learning about all of this, because I happen to have a particularly sensitive child. You see, he couldn’t so much as transfer from the car to the house without having a fit some days. I would spend countless minutes trying to coax him and make him feel safe or comfortable. But this is much like trying to keep the lid on the tea kettle, it’s going to make a ton of noise and eventually spill over. I’ve learned to develop different skills to help him understand the transition. When he was a toddler, I would let him take something along for the ride, i.e., a favorite toy or pillow. This would help him to take something familiar with him until he was okay with idea of going somewhere new.
It may sound silly to some, I get it. My little guy can go with the flow no matter the situation, but we respect that everyone is different. And until you’ve spent twenty minutes coaxing a screaming three-year old while holding all of your groceries in the hot July sun and having to pee, then you may not get it either. If you do, read on!
These same kids can have trouble transitioning into the back to school rhythm. I was concerned with our new Kindergartener and how he would deal with not only all of the changes that come with starting school, but also being introduced into the public school system. I’ve read all the books and been told a dozen times that if you acknowledge your children’s feelings, no matter how insignificant it feels in the moment (it never is, it is always important to them), then they will become secure individuals who will one day transition with ease. Well, I am happy to finally confirm this much is true. Our five year-old is doing wonderfully as a first time student. We survived the first week without any major hiccups and are looking forward to a positive new year ahead.
However, I am not foolish enough to think this will come without any issues moving forward. To be prepared, I wanted to create something to keep the good vibes going. I was inspired by Positively James in his new campaign to “Counterpunch Hate With Love.” Since we bond over crafting and creating fun with simple process art, I decided to take this direction and build a “Happy Box.” We took some of Duct Tape’s fun decorative tape, covered a trusty old cardboard box (you can also use a bucket), and started writing down some of the great experiences he’s had on his first week of school to place inside. Sort of like a good thoughts piggy bank. My thinking is, things won’t always be easy, and bad days are inevitable. Whenever he is having a rough day, he can refer to all of the good experiences we’ve written down in his “Happy Box” to show him that no matter how hard of a day he’s had, there are better days to follow. You see conflict is inevitable, but I believe its how we teach them to handle it that counts.
I hope that he continues to take this approach in life and always remember, you can always bring more love into a situation.
Duck Tape has some of the coolest new designs perfect for personalizing your back to school crafts. It’s a ton of fun and easy for kids to maneuver. We spent a good deal of time talking while creating our box and talking all about why it was important to always remember the good days. There are new designs for everyone.
Here’s a list of Duck Tape’s newest prints to try out:
• Ikat Tie Dye
• Selfie Cat
For more crafty ideas you can check out the Duck Tape’s School Crafts Pinterest Board.