Activities That Create Lasting Family Memories

When we are young we do everything within our power to get away from our parents. Those teenage years are full of angst and raging with hormones so, naturally, we rebel against what our parents have to say. By doing so, we skip over great years of relationship building.

Eventually, with age, we start to settle down and realize how important and valuable those relationships we build with our family truly are. We look fondly back on those times we spend together, which brings a smile to our face and a flutter to our hearts. For this article, I’d like to share some of the activities you and your parents (or you and your children) can do that will create these lasting family memories.

1. Family trips
Family trips are a great way to create bonds with everyone participating. The trip doesn’t necessarily need to be a big excursion; spending time over the weekend on the open road is often enough to create a few, great memories from the activities you all take part in during the trip.

2. Hobbies
Hobbies, too, are a great way to bring people together. Activities like working together sewing a quilt, doing puzzles, or building something neat like a picnic table makes for a great afternoon/weekend. The upside, as well, is that the things you create can be great talking points in later years which will always bring up a great conversation and reflections of that time.

3. Camping
Similar to a road trip is going out doing a family camping trip. Sometimes it’s a good thing that everyone breaks away from technology. Sure there may be some complaints at first since people can’t get online but eventually, with enough activities while camping, everyone will enjoy themselves and the time they spend together. Going out for a swim, sitting next to a roaring fire, or hiking the trails can be quite the fun adventure that won’t be forgotten.

4. Portraits and albums
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I say each of those words can spur a memory. Getting together to take family portraits is a great activity for creating a tangible memory for the future. It’s hard getting everyone together so these types of pictures are really something special. Once you get them processed get a copy for everyone. Your kids will certainly appreciate a great family portrait for their new place and you’ll definitely love it, too, sitting by your bedside.

5. Concerts
I can bet that everyone remembers their favorite concert down to the smallest details. Music is a very big part of all our lives and so what better way to create memories than to go to a concert together with the family? Everyone could agree on a musician or band they all like, pick up tickets, and make a whole day surrounding the event such as tailgating before the show, seeing it, and then hanging out and talking about the experiences afterward!

6. New traditions
Traditions that are common are a family movie night, eating together on Sunday afternoon, or maybe getting together once a year to visit a favorite destination. Why not put in some extra effort and create a new tradition with the family? It can be anything as long as it’s something you feel you all would do once a year. Over time, these events become very sentimental to everyone and each will provide a unique experience that will create endless memories with the family.

Everyone likes to talk about how we’re all drifting apart because we’re too hooked to our phones and computers. They act like the family unit is totally failing, but this isn’t the case for those who actually try. When you do activities like the ones in this post, you are guaranteed to create memories that will keep the family close. Go ahead and try one this week!

Over to you – what activities do you do with the family to create great memories? Share your suggestions with a comment.


You’re About to Be Schooled

Dear Mr. Dad: I can hardly believe that summer is almost over. It’s been a tough year, financially for our family, and I’ve been putting off doing the back-to-school shopping for my three kids (14, 10, and 5). But at this point I don’t really have a choice. Any tips on how to get it done efficiently and, hopefully, save a little money?

A: Wow, summer did fly by especially quickly this year—I can tell because I find myself muttering under my breath about how much I hate shopping and how expensive things are. But, as you say, it’s got to be done. So here are a few ideas that should make the experience a little less painful.

Check under the bed. Before you go to the store, take a walk through your house. Chances are your child didn’t use up all of last year’s paper and pencils, and you can probably reuse some of last-year’s (or the year before’s) binders. You’ll find that there are a lot of things you can buy less of or skip altogether.
[Read more...]

A Survival Guide to Parenting Teens

Joani Geltman, author of A Survival Guide to Parenting Teens.
Talking to your kids about sexting, drinking, drugs,and other things that freak you out.
Issues: What you need to understand about what your teen child is going through psychologically and physically; mistakes and assumptions parents often make about their teens; what parents of boys need to watch out for vs. parenting teen girls.

Raising Teens to Succeed + Talking to Teens about Tough Issues

Dennis Trittin, coauthor of Parenting for the Launch.
Raising teens to succeed in the real world.
Issues: How to prepare teens to make key life decisions; communicating effectively to build an enduring relationship with your emerging young adult; valuing your child’s uniqueness, potential, and intrinsic worth; moving confidently from the driver’s to the passenger seat.

Joani Geltman, author of A Survival Guide to Parenting Teens.
Talking to your kids about sexting, drinking, drugs,and other things that freak you out.
Issues: What you need to understand about what your teen child is going through psychologically and physically; mistakes and assumptions parents often make about their teens; what parents of boys need to watch out for vs. parenting teen girls.

Gear Up!

Most of us—adults and kids—are walking around with hundreds of dollars of portable electronics. This week we review a number of items that are designed to help you get the most use out of your gadgets, and to protect them—and your ears.

Knivo wireless headphonesKinivo BTH240 Wireless Bluetooth Headphones (Kinivo)
Wires, wires, everywhere, and no one knows where they go or how to untangle them. The solution? Go wireless. With these Knivo Bluetooth headphones—which work on almost any device—there’ll be no more accidentally dragging your music player off the table or having someone trip over your wires and yank your ear buds out. And for kids watching a movie or playing a game, no more wires to fiddle with or gnaw on. But be warned. Once you go wireless, you’ll never go back. $35 on

DualTek Extreme Shock CaseDualTek Extreme Shock Case for Samsung Galaxy S5 (PureGear)
If you’ve got a Samsung Galaxy S5, chances it you paid plenty for it (or made a long, long commitment to your cell carrier). So it’s worth investing a bit more to protect it from the daily bumping and scratching you put it through—and from the drops and dings your kids inflict on it. The new DualTek case fits like a glove, doesn’t get in the way of taking pics or making calls, and takes a real beating. The corners—the weak spot on most phone cases—are specially designed to absorb impact and vibration. Available in yellow, white, and black. $35 at

PureTek Rollon screen protectorPureGear Roll on Screen Shield Kit (PureGear)
Even the best cases have trouble keeping the screen from getting scratched. If you’ve got any iPhone 5 or a Galaxy S5, the PureGear Screen Shield kit is for you. The patented roll-on applicator makes applying the screen protector a breeze, and completely eliminates those annoying bubbles. The protector itself reduces glare and besides resisting scratches, it keeps your screen safe from the dirt, grime, and fingerprints from little hands. $25 at

BlynkBlynk (Lyfeshot)
This tiny, hands-free camera is specially designed to take time-lapse photos. Just set the interval—one shot every second, minute, hour, day, or longer—and you’re ready to go. Blynk then puts all those photos into a single movie (or saves them as individual JPEGs). Now you can condense a week-long adventure into a few minutes, create your very own 30-second video of flowers blooming, or marvel at how quickly your baby (or your puppy) is growing up. Available in pink, blue, and black. $129 on

Paick SleekPaick Power Bank (Paick)
There’s nothing worse than being out with the family, seeing something amazing, and discovering that your battery is at 5 percent. You can solve that problem with a Paick Power Bank. Charge it up before you leave your house or hotel and you’ve got a sleek, portable power source that will help you squeeze a few more hours out of your phone, tablet, or other device. Power Banks come in a variety of capacities. The one we tested was 6000mAh, which essentially doubled the available talk time. $59 and up at

Sun Power solar chargerSun Power 6000 Charger (Secur)
But what if your plans take you someplace where there’s no electricity at all? If you’ve got a little sunshine, all you’ll need is the Secur Sun Power 6000. The fold-up solar panel charges your phone, tablet, or other device no matter where you are. It’s durable, light, easy-to-use, and water resistant, which makes it a must-have for beach- or camping trips. Dual USB ports let you charge two phones or devices at once. $129 at