Welcome to the “Marriage After God” podcast.
We your hosts, I’m Aaron.
And I’m Jennifer.
We’ve been married for 14 years.
And we have five young children.
We started blogging over 10 years ago sharing our marriage story in hopes of encouraging other husbands and wives to draw closer to God and closer to each other.
We have authored over 10 books together including our newest book “Marriage After God” the book that inspired us to start this podcast.
“Marriage after God” has a message to remind all of us that God designed marriage with a purpose.
To reflect his love.
To be a light in this world.
To work together as a team.
Using what he has given us.
To build his kingdom.
Our hope is to encourage you along your marriage journey.
As you boldly chase after God together.
This is “Marriage After God”.
Hey everyone, welcome back to another episode of the “Marriage After God” podcast. We’re are Aaron and Jennifer Smith, your hosts. I hope you have an awesome week. I just wanna start off by sharing a little thing that I’m doing with the van, Jennifer.
You’re going to tell him about the van?
Okay, but it was my idea, like give me a little credit.
It was definitely your idea. So we love to drive which we’ll talk about in the actually today’s episode.
I have a normal van. Like it’s not a minivan. It’s not a, what is it?
Well, people call it…
They call it, it’s the full size. It’s a Ford transit, it’s a big old boy, it’s huge. It’s got all the seats you could want.
For all the kids.
But you know what it doesn’t have until now, a toilet. But I put a toilet in that van. And the reason we did that is because we like to drive. We like to go on road trips, especially with all the kids. It’s so easy to, that’s how we go see our family.
We get in the car and we drive
But it takes us like 15 hours to get there. So imagine being on the road with five kids, that’s a lot of bathrooms stops and sometimes that’s all we’re stopping for. And so I told Aaron, we need a bathroom in here even if it’s like something easy to sit on and…
And it is, and so I’ve been work. Something I’ve been doing as a hobby is work at building vans. And so I took my van and I built this box out in the back and I put a toilet in there today.
He showed me today, it actually looks really awesome.
I’m really excited to use it this spring, summer, fall.
All of our adventures. I told them, even if we go.
It’s gonna change everything.
Even if we go to the lake for the day. Imagine how nice it will be when we’re out on an adventure and even though we’re kind of close to home we don’t have to rush home. If someone has to use the bathroom, we can use that. And you’re gonna put like a handheld shower thing.
There is gonna be a hot water shower in the back? Not like to take a full-blast shower in the van. We can rinse the kids off. We can rinse the boards off. We can, it’s just gonna be awesome. So cool, guys I’m stoked about it. I’m pretty proud of myself. I have a friend helped me and we’re doing a pretty good job and it’s coming out nice. So this is totally in our van now.
Called the adventure wagon.
Yeah, it’s awesome and it fits all the kids. Plus one, if we needed another seat.
Okay, moving right along. Guys we just want to thank you for being our share warriors. Aaron likes to mention that every week and I think it’s an amazing thing that you guys have been sharing your episodes and it’s just been a huge encouragement to us but it’s also just a great way to get the news out or the the word out about the “Marriage After God” podcast. And so we just wanted to say, thank you, and.
Before you move on to that part.
I just wanna say we don’t always do this but if you do share about our podcast to social media, we might repost it.
Like if we catch it on time.
Yeah, because we like to do that and it’s really cool seeing people do it. So just a little .
Okay, second part we don’t always do but I wanted to take some time out to personally shout out a specific family who I think is probably listening right now. And it started with some friends of ours who I just wanna say these friends have been such an encouragement to us and we really appreciate them. So Stan and Jessica and I know you’re gonna be listening to this episode. Thank you for being our friends. Thank you for all the personal encouragement that you have poured into our lives, especially about the podcast because you have asked us about it, asked us how it’s going. You’ve asked us how you can help in any way that you can. So I just wanna say thank you to them. But I also wanna say hi to all of their extended family because I know you’re listening to just actually sent me a screenshot of one of their families, group texts showing how they were sharing the episode on love. And she was sending it as an encouragement to me. And I just thought how sweet that they’re all listening and talking about it. And then I see, I see her sister on social media shared every once in a while. So thank you to all of you who are listening and specifically Stan and Jessica’s family. We appreciate you, we love you guys.
All right, as usual we have a free thing that we want to promote to you guys. We love making these little resources and this one’s been up for a while, but we haven’t talked about it for awhile. It’s our date night conversation starter download. It’s totally free, and we came up with all these date night conversations, starters. So you can take them. You can go on a date and pick one of the topics and use it to start a conversation.
But you don’t have to go on a date to use it either. I mean, you could do that…
You could sit at the table.
In front of the fireplace.
But dates are awesome.
So you should, you should use this as an excuse to go on dates with your spouse.
Hey, like I have to.
Yeah, so all you gotta do is go to datenightconversations.com all one word, datenightconversations.com. And it’s completely free. You just fill out a little form and you download the little print out and print it out and you got all these conversations starters.
All right, we’re excited to share today’s topic with you guys. We are gonna be talking about just a whole handful of ways that you can have fun as a family. And we think that it’s really important to talk about episodes like this. They’re not as heavy as the ones where we dive into scripture and we’re talking about…
Well let’s go back and forth.
Serious, funny, light, yeah.
And I think that this one’s important because we’re getting into a different season. So lighter weather and warmer weather, hopefully but moving on into summer, you know just getting some ideas out there to say, hey, are we, are we having fun here.
But you have a note here it says, this is our funnest episode. And I actually thought, it said the funniest episode. And I was thinking, why is this gonna be so funny funny episode funniest, we should do a funny episode.
This is like one of those kinds of episodes that just super inspiring. Like, I hope you walk away from it just going, like I want to do everything that was on their list.
Yeah, and then we should redo everything.
Then we should go back and read it. Why, and we’re also gonna share about why it’s important to create a fun atmosphere regardless of what you may be going through because joy.
We’re Christian and we believe in God and he is our source of joy and so.
We shouldn’t make a shirt that just says, because joy.
Also, if you hear the word family and think, well this doesn’t apply to me because we don’t have any children. Let us encourage you that your spouse is your family. So if you’re listening, remember this it only takes two to make a family.
That’s true, that’s true, that’s true.
Should have called this the quote episode ’cause I have a few more good ones to share with you guys. Okay, but if you’re listed, if you happen to be listening and you’re not even married yet, I also wanna encourage you that you’re still part of a family, if you…
Family of God.
Yeah, the family of God and and there’s families within that family. And so you can, there’s always people who spend time with and have a good time with, so. You can adapt this episode and adjust the ideas to create your, your fun with whoever you spend time with.
And some people are just really good at having fun.
I know, they don’t even have to think about it.
I know. We have to think a little bit about it but that’s okay. And for those of them that are, those of them, those that are out there that are like us this is gonna be fun ’cause it’s just some ideas and it’s definitely not an exhaustive list but some stuff that we tried out this year.
So we just hope that this episode encourages you and we hope this creates just some creative conversations in your relationship, right.
Yeah, and if we learn anything from 2020 I don’t know about everyone else but we learned how to have a lot more fun at home in the nature. And we did that.
And also last episode we talked extensively about building a strong marriage. And in this episode, it’s kind of an extension of that conversation.
Cause we’ve, we always talk about this that you gotta be able to have fun.
Enjoying each other along the way.
Enjoying each other delighting each other, being friends with each other. So what do you do with friends? What do you do with people like?
You spend quality time together.
Often doing fun things.
Yeah, I like that. I also wanna note before we get into some of these ideas because I never want people to, you know, cringe or get a little like, oh, I can’t do that because of finances. And so if you hear us say something.
That might cost money.
That might cost money. I just want you to understand that everyone’s gonna be in a different place and might take that idea and do it a different way and do it within their means and do it how they can. And so what I don’t want you to do is hear the list that we’re gonna share with you and say, well I can’t afford that or I can’t do it or we can’t take the time or we can’t fill in the blank. Because those are just negative thoughts and they justify upfront why you can’t participate in having fun in these ways. But what you can do is just take this basis of an inspiration and create your own thing and do it in your own means. So I just, I just wanted to encourage you there, It’s actually, it’s actually beautiful that we can’t all do the same things all the time. Our limitations help create diversity in our families and in the body of Christ and that’s a good thing.
Yeah, we’re all, we’re all in different places in our lives. Different walks, all for the same purpose for Christ. But yeah if we all don’t do the same things and that’s okay.
That’s good, it’s all good. So Aaron, we were just gonna jump into kind of a list of fun things that we’ve done as a family or our friends have done as a family, just you know, to give them inspiration. So do you want to kick, kick it off?
Yeah, this is one that I I’ve kind of been waiting for.
We’ve been doing it and sprinkling it in here and there but now it’s at the point where we can’t get away from this.
Well, so we when we got married, we we loved spending time with our friends and playing games, board games. And we had one kid Elliot, and it was awesome. And then we had two and then we had three. And what happened is we had the shift of like we couldn’t do often like have game nights. We just, that’s the phase of life we’re in.
Like you and me or us with the kids or what do you say?
You and me with our friends. And so just, I mean, we wouldn’t stay out late. We just, our way of doing things changed.
And our kids were so little that we could do some things with them but not to the extent of like actual strategic games.
But now we’ve, we’ve hit a little landmark. I don’t know what you call it but Elliot and Olive I think we mentioned it before now that they can play games now.
And they love it.
And that’s what I meant by we can’t get away from it because they beg us every night, “Can we please stay up after you put the boys today?”
I wanna play a game with you.
Yeah, we wanna play games all the time.
But better than that, like they they’ll play with our friends too. And so we’re kind of now in this transition where we’re going back to being able to play games with our friends and with our kids, oh man.
It’s so good.
Unfortunately they’re really good at it and it’s frustrating ’cause.
They win a lot but that’s awesome.
So we grabbed a few classic games for the kids at Christmas. Do you remember those, “Guess Who”.
Oh, and they love that game.
Yeah, and it’s such a simple game. So if you don’t, if you have young kids guess who’s an easy one to, for them to grasp.
And then we got one recently. I think we’ve mentioned it in another episode but “Cover Your Assets”. I know it seems kind of funny to say but it’s a card game and it’s super lighthearted and easy
Super easy to learn. And it’s really competitive and really fun because you build up these assets and you’re trying to get as much as possible. And then someone can just boom, take it.
Kind of like in a war, yeah you get to challenge each other, it’s super fun. So game night, we wanted to start with game night because that’s one that you invest in kind of upfront but then you have your closet full of games that you go to as a family and those are the ones you bring with you. If you go on a trip where to grandma’s house or whatever. And so just building a family culture where you experienced games together.
Well, another thing we like to do is a tent camping. We’ve done that only in the last five years. I don’t think I ever did it when I was a kid.
Yeah, I did tent camping when I was growing up. And we did in Africa when we were first married.
Yes, and that left a, not the greatest taste but I think I learned.
Oh, it was fun.
I learned to get it back with our kids because tent camping is awesome.
I think something that’s super memorable to me when I was a kid but also even now that we’re making memories with our kids is just how you go to bed, you know, bundled up but it gets really, really cold in the middle of the night. And you’re just like half asleep looking for extra blankets or sleeping bags.
And when you have to go to the bathroom and you’re like is there any animals out there? I heard like a little noise in the thicket and you have to go out and do it anyway.
Yeah, the other fun, memorable thing is just, you know building fire pits at night and then smelling them in the morning. I always, always loved that smell.
And then sitting around it in the morning it’s cold and you’re sitting around a fire. I love having a hot cup of coffee.
Even smelling bacon, cooking on the barbecue but the kids love it because they can run around and just, you know.
Yeah, get dirty, throw rocks, play in the creeks, throw sticks, they love it.
Okay, so some of these examples that we give you guys today we’ll also have options for. So the option here would be, maybe you can’t get out to go tent camping but you can tent camp in your backyard. And we did this this last year.
Which is a great alternative. It was so fun. It was so fun, things.
There’s usually not big animals in the backyard.
I was gonna say things stayed a lot cleaner ’cause like usually the tent gets dirty and stuff like that but it was nice ’cause it was just on our grass and we had access to a really nice bathroom
And shower usually the kids go to bed first and then I sneak into the, go take a shower.
It was really fun. So tent backyard camping is good. What else do we like to do outdoors that’s fun?
I don’t know if it’s necessarily out doors, I guess kind is road tripping. We like to…
That is outdoors.
I guess we’re in a car. Okay, we’re indoors outdoors. Yeah, we’d like to, we’d like to drive places with our family ’cause we get to see a lot of things. We get to move, I don’t know, we like driving.
Yeah, we do like driving. We like to go and visit places. Think of things like a botanical garden.
What’s a botanical?
They are way better than botanical gardens.
Or a historical site, you know, something that maybe you looked up along.
We’ve had that’s some really interesting like little pull, pull offs. Like you look on the map and you’re like, Hey, there’s this thing we need to go to and it’s like, it’s like the sidewalk roadside attraction but we’re like.
Yeah, sometimes we’re way off, you know.
Well we thought it was but they’re often like really unique, weird things that you would never find
This last summer, we went to one of those vortex houses.
That was the one I was thinking about.
Yeah, that was strange.
I’m trying to tell you in your head, everything’s like sideways and weird and we’re in a vortex. That was fun our kids remember those things.
Okay, and then while you’re, while you’re on the road trip you can play games, you know, old school games. Like we play the yellow car game and so anytime someone sees yellow car they get points for that.
Yeah, “I Spy” is another one.
And then if you see a yellow Camaro you win. That’s like the winning point.
In our house. I mean our car. The “ABC Game”. So you can do this with just about anything that your family is interested in. We’ve done it with produce before where we go. Okay, so one person has a, they say apples the next person says.
Okay, you get the point. We’ve done it with people’s names.
The thing about road trips is junk food. That’s a personal favorite of mine.
Smoking bacon and junk food.
And candy, candy bacon has really good.
Your options for each of these is just like what snack goes with it.
Well, I base all of our adventures off of what we’re gonna eat.
You’re funny. Oh, I have a little note here. Having fun going on road trips can also include a visit to grandparents house or other family members.
And those are often the simplest road trips for us. And then our kids love it ’cause they just get to spend all day, every day swimming or playing with grandma and grandpa or whatever and they love it.
Speaking of road trips, this last year we got to go to a few national parks. And so if you happen to be close to one that’s a great way to have fun as a family and just get outside and adventure together. But if you aren’t close to one maybe taking time to plan out that trip.
Yeah, yeah, it can be affordable. Just drive to one, go get the little pass for the day. I don’t know, it depends on how far the air, I guess.
Spent a few days there. We wanna go back and see some more national parks that was actually a lot of fun.
What park was your favorite this last year.
Yellowstone of course, because of all the animals we got to see, which by the way we didn’t see the animals until like the second to last day but it was awesome. But I really loved glacier and I want to go back to glacier and spend more time there. We didn’t spend, I don’t think we spend enough time there.
Glacier was really cool. Also on that trip, we got to go fishing and we had, you know, gathered up some fishing poles
And try fishing.
It was a little cold for the kids. And so it got hard and then had baby Edith in the ergo on me and so I was a little bit worried with Wyatt having a fishing pole and Eliot working with the hook, you know. So I stayed back I didn’t help you much.
Yeah, well we didn’t catch anything either but it was still fun when it was like on this little shore with rocks and casting it in and like get it reeling it in it was fun.
Yeah, I think for fishing, the fun thing about fishing is just spending that time together and all the little intricate details of, you know, what it requires.
Putting the bait on the hook and then like then casting it out and just holding it. Like they just love that stuff.
Yeah, cool, we should do that more this year.
Something that we do a lot as a family is we love like beaches. We love the sand.
I was gonna say anything with sand. So lakes, rivers, oceans. We love going to the coast.
Like we can go and just literally sit all day and the kids will just dig holes in the sand, make little same castles, go find shells draw in the pictures in the sand. They just love it. We don’t even really go swimming. We just sit on the beach.
We, our coast is the Oregon coast now and it’s just, it seems like every time we go it’s really cold and windy, even though we’ve gone different times throughout the year. And so we just make sure I pack up, you know sweat pants suits like sweaters and they bundle up and they go out there and play still. So they’re happy campers.
And then we got one day one time where the sun was out and the so the ocean was cold, but it was like low tide. And so the water was really far out and there’s like these little pools leftover that were warm. And that was actually a lot of fun. We just sit there like shallow. So we just like sat in these little pools of warm beach water. It was a fun.
So getting outside, you know, doing adventures it honestly even, I mean, for us, Aaron having fun as a family could be as simple as walking, you know in the evening around the neighborhood or exploring local parks and local trails. We’ve done that a lot.
Going for walks around the neighborhood. It gets energy out for the kids. It’s also just a different scene. It’s like a different, like they’re if they’re in the home all the time or especially this last year just going and getting out. And like today I just took the kids to the park.
And they ran around and were playing and jumping on the slides and they loved it.
I think if you have older children doing maybe a more more intensive height could be fun. You know, something that really challenges you guys to get up that mountain or hill or whatever it is.
Yeah, to the peaks. Yeah, and see some really awesome views and I think for, I just wanted to share for, you know if you have younger kids something that I’ve been doing recently with our children is when we’re out in nature we’ll do these scavenger hunts where I get really energetic and I’m like, okay, everybody and everybody and mommy’s going to count to three. And then I’m gonna say something and you have to go find that thing and then bring it to me. So, you know, I’ll have them all count to three and they’re getting all pumped and excited. And then I’ll say, you know, pine cone or something green and they have to rush to go get it, go find it.
I’ve done it before. Like find me a red leaf and they have to find me a red one and then a yellow one and then a green one and just.
Oh, four is easy.
Yeah, different things that they have to look for but at the speaking of scavenger hunts it makes me think of, do you remember a long time ago we did Geocaching?
I don’t know if that’s still a thing. That’s probably a bunch of geocaches all over the world that no one even knows about anymore.
If you guys don’t know what geocaching is just Google it.
Yeah, it’s like it’s like hide and seek for little items around the, all around the world though.
That would be fun to do as a family.
Yeah, yeah ’cause I’m sure there’s one probably right around the corner from your house.
Okay, the next thing that we wanted to share was just very simple but family movie night. This one also comes with options. So you could do forts it’s in a movie. So a big sheet for pillow fort. I’ve seen on Instagram someone else recently posted a pillow pool. So they get to pick between a pool or a fort and the kids picked a pool and I’m like, what is that? And it was just a bunch of blankets and pillows in the living room and they all jump.
Like a pile.
Yeah, huge pile.
That sounds really comfortable.
That sounds fun.
And then maybe I was just gonna say maybe added in a fun snack, like popcorn.
Yeah, we’ve also done a movie on the ceiling where I set up my projector pointing it straight up and all the kids lay down on pillows and with blankets on the floor.
They really love that. And they just they’re looking at, and it’s like weird. And so they love that and they love the weird like we’re looking up at the ceiling watching a movie and it’s usually a huge and all awkward because it doesn’t get, it’s not square on the ceiling.
I also feel like for some reason it’s something that they forget about. And so when we say, oh, we should do the projectors tonight. They get really excited about it.
And it’s like, they forget and then they remember how fun it is.
And if you don’t have a projector, you can actually find them really cheap on Amazon. And you get these little small ones. They may not be the highest quality but at least it’s fun. The kids won’t care, they’ll watch it.
All right, so we mentioned this next one on one of the previous episodes in this season on delighting in each other. Do you remember this?
Why don’t you go ahead and share. It’s one of your favorite things.
The kids love it, no I do. Dance parties, just get on some goofy, fun like dance music.
And be silly.
And you just dance. And what’s really funny is all of the kids dance. Druid is the best. Like in my opinion he just sits there and he does, he has this you can’t see how I’m doing it but his hips move. And like, he like hops around the house and like he flicks his hands. Like he’s cleaning some off his pants.
Do you think Druid’s moves are the best part about that? But I think it’s his facial features. He contorts his face and just directs, his jaws to the side and his nose screenshot. And you know, he’s just having a good time. And the Elliot, like hardcore dances, like banging his head and like jumping around and then all of his, like, ballerina. it doesn’t matter what the song is. She’s like Ballerina by herself in her own ballerina world in circles and twirling and.
Everyone’s got their own little way. Yeah, it’s it’s really funny actually.
So dance party, super fun. Another thing that kind of involves music, Aaron is when our kids love putting on a show for us with instruments and as they get.
They just make it up as they go.
They kind of make it up as they go and they have a lot of fun doing it. And so over the years, we’ve tried to invest or accumulate musical instruments, even though Aaron and I are not musically inclined at all. No background here but I did take lessons for a short while on piano and I, I was starting to pick it up. So I wanna stay doing that. But our kids put on a show. So they’ll like have fun just making up songs, singing, dancing, playing the piano.
Well, and because we went through a season of piano Elliot’s done, has he done two recitals now? And I think, did Olive, do one?
Olive didn’t get to do the recital part but she’s been picking it up and learning.
But they saw how recitals work because we bring the kids to watch. And so when they do it, they’ll they’ll say I want everyone to sit down and they’ll say, hi my name’s Olive and Smith. I’m five years old and I’m going to play and then she just makes up a song.
But it’s now turned into like a band show where she’ll then introduce all of her brothers and all of their ages and what song they’re gonna be doing. And it’s just super fun. So for those of you out there who have musical talent and knowledge and you guys are already probably doing this as a family I bet you have a lot of fun. So for anyone.
It’s probably match more musical.
For anyone that maybe this sounds interesting and you have a musical instrument laying around you can play around with that or I don’t know.
So I actually did this today. We have like my, my.
You did everything today.
Yeah, my parents gave us a karaoke machine. God bless their souls. And so Elliot was on the microphone. All of had the electric guitar, Wyatt was on the, Wyatt and Edith were on the our little electric drum set. It’s like this little thing that we got on Amazon, but Edith was literally lik hitting the.
I’m only surprised because I know how much she really loves the microphone.
Yeah, but she wasn’t, she was drumming and it was so fun. It was fun, it was loud. It was like a big metal band. I don’t know why they were playing like rock and roll.
So funny, I think it’s just a big noise making session and we love it. We love spending that time together
For extended periods of time. Another way you can have fun with your family is building stuff as a family, creating something maybe it’s a garden box. I’m sure we’ll talk about that later but building a tree house, we have a tree house in the backyard.
And you always let the kids, when you’re in the process of making it, you let the kids participate here. So here Wyatt hold this hammer or.
Or get up there with us to paint or to be up there while I’m building and it’s just exciting.
We did this other thing where the kids wanted to start saving money. And so we had all these Mason jars for them ’cause we did the three, you know, save, spend we give and you built boxes for them so that they had.
We had Elliot go cut like the wood and then I used a nail gun and he would hold it, and we were, we made, he helped make, make all of them
And they loved it they loved the whole process. And then we took them outside to paint them and so each one looks a little bit different and they got to be creative with that. So I think making projects together as a, it’s just a fun family affair
Along the lines of building here’s some ideas to make your home more fun. Just having fun things like a tree house, a tire swing. If you have the right tree for it. I wish I had a tree that we had to put a tire swing on. That’d be awesome we don’t a bird house, a trampoline. For those of you like the danger of ramblings.
We had a friend who had a big dirt pile who let their kids have, you know those plastic dinosaurs, all different shapes and sizes. So it was like a dyno pit. And then we had another friend who did a fairy garden. And so there’s a lot of different options for, you know what your kids are interested in to make different parts of your home or backyard, you know, a fun zone. I don’t know, I think these are great, great ways to spend time outside with them and having with them.
Yeah, one thing I wanna add someday is a zip line.
Well, we went to a friend’s house. He had a zip line and ever since then the kids keep talking about it too.
Well, I keep talking about, ’cause I want the zip line.
One day we’ll have the zip line.
We will do zip line one day.
So another way that you guys can spend time together as a family is, you know, do you remember growing Aaron, it was getting into the evening and we’d turn all the lights off and play hide and seek or sardines. I remember those are some of my favorite memories as a child.
And our kids love playing it. No matter the fact that, that we know all the hiding spots in the house now they still want to play it and they still go hide in those spots. And then I guess I enjoy pretending I don’t know where they’re at. It’s fun and then actually every once in a while I can’t find them. And I’m like, okay, how did you, where are you at? And then they like totally tricked me.
So don’t forget about those, those kinds of older games. And you know, maybe you guys, you listening can think back to your childhood and what memories you had and just bring those games back with your family.
Yeah, make them your own
Some other things our kids love to do is make paper airplanes, not all of them but Elliot, specifically, all of we’ll do it.
They get intense about it.
Our house is like the trying to make these, you know which one’s gonna go faster, which ones look the coolest.
Or how am I gonna tweak this and what’s gonna happen. Then we just have paper airplanes everywhere in the house.
Another thing that we like to build together, Legos. So I know there’s some serious Lego builders out there. I consider myself a, I just really like it.
You like Legos, yeah.
And all of our kids love Legos on different levels. Elliot has his way of doing Legos. Olive has her way.
Her princess way.
Wyatt’s just now been getting more and more into Legos for for the first time, which is really cool. And then Druid, just tags along, whatever else is doing.
I thought I put the boys down for a nap, you know like two or three days ago. And I walked my Wyatt’s room and I could hear, I could hear like little it almost sound like a little mouse. And so I peeked through the door and Wyatt looks up at me with these big eyes, like.
You got caught.
Yeah, you got caught.
And he’s like, sorry, mom. I just, I had to build this. And he pulls up this like, you know it looked like a big Triton thing
Like a sword, he makes like a swords or like fliers or yeah, weapons.
But he just had a blast doing that. So building Legos together, you could even set up a competition if you wanted to. You know, who can build the best house or tower.
Bridge, airplane, space ships. As a family flying kites, I don’t know if it’s how much talent is involved in this but.
We have attempted a couple of times.
Yeah, just getting a cheap kite and then wowing the kids with get senior. If you can get it to fly in the air, playing chess and learning chess.
You and I like this one. I made the note of learning chess because I’m more of a learner when it comes to chess.
But it’s, it’s like, this is a good one for like a one-on-one with one of your, your little guys or your older kids too. And it allows for time to talk and to be strategic which is a good thing.
Okay, so something we did last year, that was really fun was we found a company in town that could rent these virtual.
Oculus, if you haven’t heard of it.
It’s called Oculus?
Yeah, it’s a.
But it’s virtual reality?
3D goggles, yeah you put them on.
So you rent these goggles and we got two of them. And so two people could got the same time and you put them on and it’s like, you can see, you can see in 3D and you have these wands in your hand and you’re like playing the game. And so you might think, how is this a family oriented thing but it is because everybody else who’s not playing is just sitting there watching you. You guys, when I tried it.
You’re waving in the air.
Oh when I tried for the first time I actually fell, it was so disorienting.
You make sure that you have like cushions around you.
Yeah, but it is, that was really fun.
The all and all of the kids liked it. And there was, of course there’s games that we don’t play but there’s the simple ones that it was like you’re flying.
Or cutting fruit in half.
Or you’re cutting fruit in half and have you had an Ninja.
There’s one where it was like an office space.
Wyatt love the “Ninja Fruit” by the way.
Yeah, there was one that I kinda got into that was like an office space. And you could just go around and push buttons on the computer or the fax machine or pour a cup of coffee. And it was like, this is so strange ’cause it feels like you’re really doing it and we just rented those for the day.
I would say that again.
Yeah, I would do that again too. Also speaking about that kind of style of fun video games and if you can pick one that’s multiplayer
Yeah, like or “Mario Cart”.
You know, the games that you can play with, with your family.
I was trying to look, I was like, what is this.
So I put the note on here “Measure Game” but Aaron you’re gonna have to explain this.
So my, I have my like every household have a tool in the house and all my kids are like, “Can I just play it that tool?” And I’m like, no, you can’t just play with the tool. One of them is my tape measure. And so I have a tape measure sitting there and all of my kids wanna play with my tape measure. They’re fun, you pull this tape on and like slides back.
And we’re always terrified it’s gonna hurt them.
And finally, I just came up with this game where I would have all the kids go in the bedroom and I would measure something in the in the living room.
Like the arm of the chair.
Or like the length of the couch or the size of the, the how wide the door is. And I would, they come back and I said, okay you guys need to find something that’s 42 inches, long, 42 inches. And then they go around the house, around the living room with the tape measure, trying to measure and find the thing that’s where they’ll find something that’s like 40 inches. And I’m like, is it this? I’m like, well, it’s 40 inches. It’s 42 inches. And it was actually a really clever game and the kids love it. Like they just they’ll run around and try and figure out is it the picture frame, is it the door? And it also is like an educational game. It’s just, they’re like, they’re learning how to measure things and what, you know, working with numbers. And so that was interesting and fun.
People listening with like 12 and 13 year olds are going that would never work like. They’re just, our kids are little and they just get really wowed by simple things like that. But again, you can always adapt this to make it.
I don’t know to be honest, I think they’d be surprised. They should try this before they’re 13, 14, 15 year olds to be like, okay.
We have this really fun game.
If you can find the thing, that’s 32.7 inches
I’ll give you a dollar.
Yeah. I think, I think they’ll go around measure stuff. It’s definitely the door knob it’s not the door knob, no, it is the door knob.
Along this line of like, you know, guessing game I came home one time and found a random kind of like shriveled up piece of paper on the table. And it looked like a map of our house. And I was like, what is this? And one of the kids told me it was a treasure map that you had drawn up for them. And you ha you were playing another game with them where they had to like go and find something according to the map that you had drawn.
I think I put something under some rocks somewhere.
So that’s another fun thing you can do.
Yeah, and then they had to, they had to follow it based off of the drawing. Like there was like a picture of a tree they’re like, oh that tree is over there. And they’re like, well, how far from the tree is it
Okay, so moving on a couple of other fun things that you can do as a family is something creative or artistic. So getting the paints out, you know and this could be as simple as finger painting all the way up to like get some oil paints out or acrylic and buy a canvas you know, for each person in the family and do something really special that way. But Aaron, something that we, our family really likes is there’s a tutorial guide on YouTube and the kids love it. And so we’ll just stick that on and everybody will get a sheet of paper and.
We do it with them because of course it’s YouTube and we try to be safe. But the, the channel itself is totally safe. We’re just not sure about the commercials and whatnot but we’ll sit with them and they literally will learn how to draw something for the first time and they follow it. And then if they’re like, they can just start over. They can put it on slow Mo to watch it in slower. And they they’ve learned to draw a lot through watching tutorials.
Okay, so the next kind of group we have here is having fun with food ideas.
So this my category.
Yeah, here we go, bacon.
I like food .
So having a baking day.
A bacon day?
No, baking in general.
No, you said bacon day.
Baking everything. And this, this can be for special holidays, like think of Thanksgiving coming up and you set time aside to do that or could just be for no random reason. Wait, just for a random reason.
That you any random reason that you wanna bake with your kids.
Maybe bake to bring some treats to people from your church to bless your neighbor with.
That would be awesome.
And I think what I also think about with this one is creating a fun family dinner idea that maybe is unusual for your family. I can’t think of anything specific right now but let’s say you guys are used to getting pizza. Well instead of getting pizza, make pizza and make it your own.
So find a special way that your, you know your family is gonna like that thing that you yeah.
Make bacon on top of the pizza.
It’s gonna come up a couple more times.
Something else fun that I did last year was for lunch, our lunches are usually pretty simple, you know a sandwich quesadilla things like that. But I thought are I wanna make this a fancy lunch and so I got, however many cake stands, I could find, I lit candles, I got a bunch of different types of finger foods and fruits and cheeses, like grapes and carrots and hummus and I may just this feast.
Was it called, like a charcuterie?
No it was .
Yeah, it was, but they got to pick whatever they wanted.
Yeah, and so then I, yeah, I kind of they were outside playing anyway.
It’s actually a really good lunch.
I called them in.
Nuts and apple slices and dried fruits and it was really good.
It was really good and they came in, I’m like, they were so confused. They were like, what is this with the huge smile on their face. And I said, you guys can make your own plates get whatever you want, have fun with it. And they had a blast and so.
And they all of it.
Yeah, that’s a fun idea. Something else you could do is a scavenger hunt. We’ve done this Aaron where we leave notes around the house and they have to go from one place to another. And then on the back of the last sheet of paper, you know tell them where you.
Reveals the thing that yo are doing to. Either, what you’re gonna have for lunch or where you’re gonna go for dinner. You know, you can be fun with it
Surprise them with Chick-fil-A. Scavengers hunts are fun. Another thing that Jennifer you’ve been getting into this over the last several years in loving this is gardening.
And all of our kids get into it and I’ve got it, you have me making garden boxes, getting soil and.
I lightly suggest that you maybe help me.
No, it’s fun ’cause we like one of our going back to the whole, you know going out and doing like little road trips. One of the things that we love to do is going to nurseries.
And we walk around and the kids get into the carts and we look at all the plants and I’m like, oh, that tree’s awesome. I want one of those trees, yeah. Or you know, we were particularly like fruit trees. And so we’re often just looking at fruit trees and you know, we planted an orchard in our backyard and.
It has definitely become a family thing to build the garden, take care of the garden, weed the garden.
Prep the garden at the beginning of the season prep it at the end of the season.
Yeah, getting the, getting the fruits of our labor. Specifically we’ll have areas of the garden like Olive last year, I think she had snappies
Oh yeah, so the year before she did mostly flowers but she had planted some peas, you know, around on the outside. And she just loved being able to go pick them and eat them all the time.
Whenever she wanted.
And so last year.
And it’s veggies so good for it.
Last year, she knew that I had previously given Elliot his own box for strawberries and other things, cucumber. And so she begged me, mom, can I have a box? And so I gave her my middle box. So now my tomatoes are dwindling down. I only have one box for tomatoes but.
No, no this year we’re gonna do tons of tomatoes.
The kids have just had a blast doing that and so she filled hers full of peas and she would anytime friends were over or whatever, she just, you know have so much fun doing that. But something that I think about with gardening is just how the time spent out there exploring it and, you know maintaining it, really builds unity. It brings our family closer together and creates a culture where your, your kids want to be a part of that. Well, our specifically, because we have fun doing that but.
It’s also useful skill.
Yeah, but when you think about having fun as a family, you’re, you’re creating a place that they’re gonna want to come back to over and over and over and over again even long after they’re gone, I believe, right.
And I, and we get to enjoy it as it happens. We get to see it grow, we get to see it flourish. We also get to see when like there’s mistakes and so there’s a lot of stuff that happens and in it’s over a long period of time, especially like when you go away for a few days and you come back and it just seems much larger. And you’re like, oh my goodness look at all this. The tomatoes are red now, you know. And also it gives the kids something that they can own. So Elliot just loves that he can go and pick strawberries. He doesn’t have to ask it. He just go get his own strawberries, eat them and enjoy them. Olive goes and gets her snap peas and then they get to share too. And talk about, you know, hey, you can have one you know, oh, that big one I’ve been waiting for that one. You can’t have that one.
Last year Olive did her own harvesting one day and she likes, she went out there with a little pot and she gathered whatever she could find that was ready. And she came in and she prepped lunch. Do you remember this? And she set out all the, all the plates, she set out a cups of water and a fork. And she put all these different veggies on the plate
Some snappies, some cucumber slices.
And then she called everyone lunch is ready. And I was just like, oh my goodness, all of your are so sweet.
It was good.
She even puts some edible flowers on there.
Yeah, was so pretty.
What are this called?
Yeah, it was super fun.
Something that we also really love as a family is bike rides, we love it.
We, especially now that two of our kids, we’re working on our third one to start bike riding his bike this year. But two of our kids ride their own bikes and they just love to go and we have to keep up with them or we have to tell them to slow down.
Wait for me.
But we, we like to ride around our neighborhood. We like to go to specific areas like parks that have big bike tracks.
I think my funniest my funniest bike rides are when we’re out there for like two, three hours just cruising.
It’s, it’s easy.
Yes, it’s takes time and it takes energy but you’re out in nature. You get to see things you’re in a new place and, you know, feel the wind. And it’s just, it’s so exciting. The kids love it. They like to go just adventure and ride and, you know, have freedom.
I don’t have this in my notes but I wanted to share that you know, we’ve talked about it but the children’s books that we’re working on Aaron, I wanted to share a little piece with them listening.
Okay, so we’ve been working on the, there’s two version, two versions of what we’re working on.
There’s two different books.
Two different books, so there’s a story of a mom and a daughter and a story of a dad with the son. And in the dad and the son’s version there’s gonna be this really beautiful picture of the son with the mom riding bikes together. And I’m just so excited about it ’cause it’s one of my favorite things to do in our family. And we’re working with a friend who’s illustrating this book and I’m just, oh, I’m so excited for you guys. So hopefully that will be out this year, stay tuned.
Some other ideas just to move through a few of these Nerf gun Wars.
Oh yeah. It’s really fun. Just you can get cheap ones and just running around the house, shooting Nerf guns at each other. And also as a family going into Nerf gun bombing friends just showing up.
Get the neighborhood involved.
And, attacking them.
Along these lines of water balloon fights. We’ve done more water balloon fights.
Especially in the middle of winter.
No, coming into summer.
Summer, gotcha, yeah.
I was trying to think of other outdoor things like this. Growing up that I did with my family, we played a lot of catch. We played something called home, run Derby. We played “500”, these are all like baseball, hitting games and catching games are super fun and volleyball. So don’t forget about all the sports you can play as a family to have fun.
Doing science experiments with your kids. An easy one. I just did this the other day. I just, I’m like, Hey, let’s take hot water and cold water. Which one do you think will freeze faster? And then they’re like, oh, probably this one, this one. And I measured the temperatures and I wrote the the information on each cup and we put them in the freezer at the same time. And then we checked back at 30 minutes and an hour I was wrong, they were right. But just finding ways of getting them fascinated with science and learning.
They’re always fascinated by that and you’re so good at them. So good with them at doing these experiments and I just wanted to encourage those listening that you, you know you don’t have to homeschool to do exciting experiments. You can do these no matter what. And I know they have books at the library. They have books at Barnes and Noble or YouTube channels go on Pinterest and find really easy ones. So, yeah, that was a really good one. One, I don’t know if this was an experiment, but we did. It was it like two years ago was the butterfly experiment.
That’s what we really called it? It was a kit, where you have the little cage set up and then you, you know send them this code and they ship, you live butterflies.
No, they’re worms.
That’s right, live caterpillars. You said, worms?
Live caterpillars. And you put them in this little environment and they turn into butterflies and you get to watch the whole process. That’s pretty bloody actually surprisingly. The kids are like, what happened.
You could just said, messy. They were messy but, but do you remember being out in the backyard and I took some photos on my phone when we let them go because they kind of just stuck around for a little bit.
Well, they, they just sat on that, Olive’s finger and it wouldn’t fly away and Olive was so stoked that I would just sit there and then it finally flew away and he’s like, no, come back.
That was really fun. Another thing that we wanted to encourage you guys with to have fun as a family, and you could do this every day, if you wanted to, but making work feel like play. And I have a good example for this. It’s not our example, it’s actually a friend’s example.
This is work for adults too, make work feel like play.
Yes, of course we are getting better at this but our friends, they blast music after dinner and do this whole cleanup party. And I know because they’ve showed it on their stories before on Instagram and their kids are like smiling while they’re doing the dishes and singing while they’re sweeping and I’m, and I’m thinking, what magic is this.
So you just, you just gotta find those moments and make the best of them.
Something you came up with this last Christmas, Jennifer. Which was a pretty creative thing. It was a Christmas, a Christmas box maze. We got a bunk, a bunch of cardboard boxes, open them up on both ends and then taped them all together and made this like maze. We put with stuff like Christmas lights in them, so like.
It took over our entire house for a whole day.
Because we made these tunnels, we made these tunnels that went through to the different rooms and it was so fun.
Yeah, went to the living room and then I made a, I made a PVC pipe igloo and I we put sheets over it in the middle of the maze. It was a lot of fun.
It was so fun, and then we, I put wrapping paper on the front that said, Christmas Maze. And, but you guys can do this without it being Christmas you could do it for no reason at all. You can actually just Google.
Card board box maze.
Card board box maze and you’ll probably see different types different options to show up. But you can also have fun by just finding ways to squeeze in surprises as a family. So this is probably going to be the parents for the kids, but you know those random like let’s have hot chocolate, you know, let’s.
And don’t even tell him, just sit him down for normal lunch and then just serve hot chocolate. Everyone’s like, what is this? Why are we having hot chocolate with marshmallows right now.
Or you can go more extravagant and surprise them with family coming into town, or I dunno, a surprise birthday party just shows up.
Grandma just shows up.
So along those lines, celebrations, you know, just making sure that you’re not skipping over those milestones. Like for example, just you know, one of your kids starts to read. You know, learns how to read code, get ice cream, go celebrate, go affirm them.
I don’t think we can have too many reasons to celebrate I think. Like we can’t, like there’s it’s good to celebrate things.
No, we should be celebrating every day for something.
Cause we’re supposed to be grateful people. This is really our reminder to ourselves that our time together with our children is so short and brief.
Yeah, so brief.
You were just looking at pictures. A friend of us, a friend of ours sent pictures of our son and his friend, like how, how old was he? Three.
Two, three and Jennifer was like, I just wanna start crying. Like, why are they so old? Like, it, it goes by so quick
I was just texting with my sister-in-law about how big our kids are getting. And she said, she texted back to me and she said, time is a thief. And I now I’m like, yes, you’re right it is. And I didn’t even remember that in a way that is like, we don’t get it back, you know
We only have what we have. So that was a pretty big list. And I’m sure there’s gonna be more things that we’re gonna try this year and figure out. And I hope it was an encouragement to everyone listening. So might just some ideas. So they have this list, they can adjust it, they can use it, use it as an inspiration but more than doing the things that are found what kinds of things might stop us or get in the way of us having fun because that can happen.
Yeah, I think the, the immediate thing I think of is the inconvenience of a mess. Like my mind, my flesh automatically goes to what’s gonna require.
Yeah, messing the living room for the fort.
Or whatever, yeah.
All the different things or just being lazy.
Lazy is a big word for big… Like get up and go through balloons at each other. That’s another thing, I don’t wanna be wet and cold.
Sometimes it’s just the lack of thoughtfulness. So I’m just in which is one reason why we wanted to have this for you know, inspiration for you guys today because sometimes our minds just not on specific ways of having fun as a family or, or in a marriage. And so it, it requires a bit of inspiration to go. Oh I wasn’t even thinking that, you know
I think another thing that could get in the way is when we’re not right with each other like if you’re just, if you’re frustrated if there’s little off attitudes that it’s gonna be hard to be like, let’s have fun.
So being on the same page being right with each other, walking in unity with each other helps you to be like, hey, let’s bless the kids. Let’s do something creative and fun.
I think another thing that can get in the way is technology. I think that, you know, if we allow ourselves to be entertained by things that have to do with technology and we’re not really bored anymore, we’re not gonna go to that creative level of, I need to make fun, you know.
Yeah, which we used to do before cell phones existed.
Well, we’re a part of that generation that kind of grew up with the.
Grew up without them
Like we were born in our childhood and then the second part was technology. But I wanted to share this quote it’s by Albert Einstein. It says creativity is the residue of wasted time. So that idea of like being bored is good and then from it comes some fun
Yeah. Steve jobs said, “I’m a big believer in boredom. Boredom allows one to indulge in curiosity and out of curiosity comes everything.”
Which is true because when you’re curious, when you wanna know how something works, when you wanna create something that’s where that innovation comes from.
That’s so good and being bored, we will be motivated to create life as we know it, that was like an unknown.
Yeah, there’s got a name for that.
Finances is something that could stop, I know I talked about it earlier and I, I wanted to make a point about that but.
It doesn’t need to.
And that doesn’t mean spend money you don’t have. It means that we can still have fun and creative.
You just gotta figure it out.
Simple as good and it’s not affirmed enough in our fast paced have it all kind of world.
Yeah, often simpler is better. Yeah, like I’ve, there’s been so many times we’ve actually just a quick side note. I was just thinking about what this simpler is better. When we’ve gone on a road trips in the past or go to see family. There’s often things that are where our parents live that we don’t have access to here. And so we’re like, let’s go do this thing. Let’s go to amusement park with our kids. Let’s go do something that’s creative and it takes the whole day and it’s exhausting. It’s hard and it’s expensive and then it’s like, all our kids wanted to do is sit in the sand at the beach all day.
Right, so we’ve been learning how to say what’s the thing that’s gonna be the most memorable.
We have an idea of what it is and often it’s not actually what would be so, simpler is often way better.
And I think to that note, it requires knowing one another knowing your spouse, knowing your kids, knowing your likes, your dislikes and really utilizing that information to create that family culture of what is it that you guys do? What are you gonna choose? I think that that’s good. Another unknown or anonymous quote that I have here is, we didn’t know we were making memories. We just knew we were having fun. And I love that, I love the, the innocence of, of what’s motivating us. It’s it’s just, it’s pure joy. We just wanna have fun.
And then biblically, probably 15. Yeah, there’s some quotes here. Proverbs 15, 13 says a glad heart makes a cheerful face but by sorrow of heart, the spirit is crushed. And this idea just there’s we can produce gladness of heart and have joy in our homes and have lightness of hearts because there’s going to be times of sorrow and it, it does crush the spirit. And so we need to make sure that in the times that we’re not like that, that we are having fun, that we are enjoying what God has given us.
What I also like about this proverb is that it says a glad heart makes a cheerful face. And so the impact that we have in each other’s lives to say, hey if my hearts posture is a certain way I impact or I affect you.
Yeah, it’s gonna show. Yeah, and we should know this. We should, we should know that we have this power to make a cheerful face. If you wanna make your child light up and smile or your husband, think your goofy. You know, like we have that power, so anyways
Psalm 118:24, this is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it, yeah and it’s true. God has made this day and we can rejoice in it.
Okay, so we like I said this was kind of an episode of quotes, I like it. But another one that I wanted to share with you guys is by one of my favorite authors Dr. Seuss. It’s easy to remember and conserve as a reminder that we should seek the fun in what we do with people that we love. And it says today was good, today was fun, tomorrow is another one.
That’s true, I like that. So we wanna encourage you to go on a date this week and talk about having more fun in your relationship with each other and as a family.
Maybe we can brainstorm some ideas.
Yeah, and write a list.
Write a list of things that you’d wanna do and figure out your budget. And then, you know, strategically figure out who’s going to do which part of it, you know.
Well, maybe fun is like a way that you can surprise your kids, like making someone doesn’t even know that’s coming.
Okay, we’re definitely doing that. We’re gonna talk about that, cool. Okay, well, that wraps up today’s episode. I hope that it was super encouraging for you guys to hear fun ways to have, fun ways to have fun as a family.
Yeah, ways to have fun as a family.
Just do it guys have fun.
Yeah, so we’re gonna talk about some things we’re grateful for.
To end this episode. I’m grateful for nature. I love how it expresses the invisible attributes of God and you see it everywhere. I actually like, I love listening to a river.
Oh, wait I just, I was reading about how the many rushes of water is like the voice of the Almighty. That’s really cool.
Yeah, and I love listening to, I love listening to as rushes over the ground, I love watching and listening to trees as they dance and singing in the wind. We were just listening, I said, look at the trees and it was quiet. And they were just wrestling back and forth.
And I was saying how much I love just listening to them sway like that.
That’s so good. I’m grateful for having the opportunity to write a set of children’s books. I briefly mentioned it above about riding bikes
Which are hopefully coming.
This year, maybe.
Yeah, it’s been a really great process. We have a friend doing the illustration for it and I just met with her about it, and you guys are so beautiful. I wish I could show you some screenshots or something but it is coming and we’ll let you know, as soon as it’s ready, but we have those coming. I feel so blessed to have been able to write them and participate with Aaron and write them.
And they are awesome.
In writing them, it was a dream of mine since I think high school to do children’s books. So this is really awesome.
There’s two of them, not one, two.
I can’t wait to see what my children think about them. I think they’re gonna treasure him.
Yeah, and we hope we hope you guys like them too. So would you share what you’re thankful for, what you’re grateful for, with your spouse, with God and with a friend and let’s just spread gratefulness. So we’re gonna end in prayer.
Dear Lord, thank you for the gift of family. Thank you for the adventure of fun. We pray we would be people who seek to have fun and choose joy no matter what we are experiencing. We pray would be intentional to be the initiators of fun. Please infuse our minds and hearts with ideas and the will to make life fun for others. We pray our marriages would be seen as lighthearted and full of joy. We also pray we would not let anything get in the way or hinder us from doing even the most simplest of fun things with our families. We pray our joy and laughter is contagious. A reminder to those in this that you are our source of true joy in Jesus name, Amen.
Amen, we love you all and as usual, our share warriors would you go out and share this episode. Share it with someone who needs some ideas for fun. Share it with a friend, with a family member. We love you, will see you next week.