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Present Parenting: Trade This For That


There are simple activities that we get in the habit of enjoying with our kids that simply do not generate the same level of engagement as others do. I noticed this last night when my husband and I were discussing our days and we were shushed by the children because they wanted us to pay attention to a segment of a show they had pulled up on Netflix: this is not good. Here are some ideas for letting go of old activities in favor of more interactive ones.

Trade: Going out to dinner together for…

Cooking At Home. This can even be expanded into looking for a recipe online together, shopping for the food, and then cooking and eating together, depending on the time that you have available. 

Trade: Going out to a movie together for…

Taking A Hike. For people living in more urban areas it is great fun just to take a walk in the city. We spent almost our entire vacation out in Portland Oregon this summer walking around and exploring the town. Walking together provides lots of time for conversation, interesting talking points, and plenty of exercise and fresh air.

Trade: Family movie night for…

Family Game Night. I happen to prefer board games, but even the interactive sort of video games where you are up and are moving, dancing, bowling and playing together instead of just staring at a screen for two or three hours, is a much more engaging experience. Our kids have gotten old enough that we can really play fun board games together now. We love to play Cranium and Taboo.

Trade: Regular Television in the evening for…

Reading Time. I know, I know, it is hard to talk the kiddos into sitting down and reading together after dinner, but it is so very good for them. It also opens up time and a space to talk about what you are reading and what they are reading…it can be really awesome. If you are especially ambitious you can take turns reading aloud. It is something that we have done together before, and it can be outstandingly fun as well. It just takes a little work to talk the kiddos into it.

Trade: Activities that you all do separately for…

Family Activities. Every community has places that teach martial arts classes to families. Engaging in this type of activity creates a common interest for everyone involved and bonds the family together. Alternatively, the YMCA also offers a variety of classes that both adults and children can participate in. It is a way to get exercise, spend time together, and to enrich the entire family.

Don’t get me wrong: any time spent in the same room with our children is a good thing. The absolute worst thing that we can do as parents is let them skulk off to their rooms the minute that they walk through the front door to interact with god-knows-who on their devices for hours at a time. Some types of engagement can be better, but all engagement is good. We can all keep changing it up and find what works best for our families.


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29oz pumpkin puree - 1 lg. can
1 stick unsalted butter - softened
8oz cream cheese - softened
5 eggs
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 c. honey
1 c. GF flour 

Whipped cream:

1 c. heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Honey to drizzle on top.

Making it Happen:

Combine all of the ingredients for the pie in a mixing bowl and mix on medium speed until well combined. When the batter is smooth, pour it into a greased 9x13 baking pan and bake in an oven pre-heated to 350 degrees for one hour.

Allow the pie to cool for 30 minutes before slicing.

To make the whipped cream, blend the chilled heavy cream in a chilled bowl on high speed until it begins to thicken, add the vanilla and continue blending until the cream is thick. 

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