There is a tip in an article in yesterday’s Parade magazine that I like.  The article, titled “5 Easy Tips to Save Money and Energy” does just that–lists tips on ways to save money and energy.  Tip #2 is the one that caught my attention.  David Applebaum, who has designed homes for celebrities and is a “green” advocate, is quoted:  “My family takes a 30-minute energy break together.  We go through the house, turn off all the lights and appliances–including the heater or air conditioner–and unplug unnecessary things like phone chargers.  Then we take a walk or go for a ride on our bikes.  Along with adding extra family time, it gets everyone in the habit of turning things off before going out.”

Having been “unplugged” for the last week, I am taking notice of things families can do to spend more time together.  It seemed that the things I read this last week promoting “National Turn Off Your t.v. Week” focused more on the “green” aspect of the week–“unplugging” would save energy–than on the valuable family time unplugging could provide.  Unplugging can do both, if you choose to use the time wisely.  I don’t want to take away from the importance of taking care of our planet and saving energy, but the purpose of my blog is to promote family, so that is what I focused on while I unplugged for the week.  In the David Applebaum quote above, I zero in on the fact that his 30 minute energy break also provides added family time.

Since my son is off-track from school, most of my unplugged time was spent with him, but I was also able to get in some extra time with my girls.  Here are some of the highlights of my week:

*Yawlin and I were able to explore a different local trail every day.  Most of the days we took the dog with us so that he could get some exercise too.  Tuesday Huh was home for lunch, so she joined us on our walk and Hoob joined us on Friday’s walk since she didn’t have school that day.

*One day Yawlin and I left the dog home so that we could explore a new trail more extensively.  Yawlin made us some trail mix before we left and we brought along water bottles.  As we hiked we chatted together about all sorts of things.  I allowed Yawlin to lead the conversation.  We stopped and ate our trail mix and continued to talk about things important to a third grader–cub scout stuff, friends, soccer and baseball, what he wants to do on our upcoming trip to Oregon.  On the hike back to the car we played alphabet games that Yawlin made up.  When the hike was over he spontaneously gave me a hug and said, “That was fun, Mommy.  Thank you!”  🙂

*We played the “Life” board game so that Yawlin could practice counting money.  He was the banker and he won the game.

*Yawlin and I baked chocolate chip muffins one day as a surprise for the girls when they got home from school.  The muffins didn’t last long!

*We found Yawlin a nice pair of baseball cleats at a thrift store for only $4.oo.  Ya gotta love deals like that!

*Squid and Shroom still dropped by a few times during the week even though arrangements had been made for them to stay with their mother while Hub was out of town.

*Yawlin invited a friend over on Wednesday night to roast marshmallows with us in the back yard.  The two third graders took it upon themselves to make sure the fire never went out.  Mack insisted on burning every marshmallow that she roasted.

*Hoob and Yawlin went on a Costco run with me on Friday.  We made sure to go around lunch time so that they could try all the good food that was being sampled at that time.  They enjoyed it and ended up so full that they didn’t want much of a lunch when we got home.

Of course there were also the usual things that keep us busy during the week–soccer and baseball for Yawlin, softball for Huh, dance for Hoob, homework, parent/teacher conferences at Hoob’s school, grocery shopping, housework–all that “mom” stuff.  It was a great week and solidified in my mind the importance of making time for my family.  It is so easy to do.  The suggestion at the beginning of my post caught my attention because of the simpleness of the tip.  It isn’t that hard to take 30 minutes each day to focus on your family.  Step away from the computer, turn off the t.v., get the kids away from the video games, and spend time together.  It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, heck, none of the activities we did during the week could be considered fancy.  The important thing is that you are together. 

Just be together.

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