I recently read an article talking about the value of quality of time spent with your kids versus quantity of time. The study suggests that quality is far more important than quantity. That resonates with me. I’d much rather have an hour a day with each of my kids distraction free and doing something meaningful than four hours spent telling them “one more minute” or physically being together yet ignoring one another. At the same time, it’s easier said than done.
Yes. I’ve found myself very guilty of distracted parenting. It often feels like I’m neglecting one child in order to pay attention to the other or to get everyone fed. It’s the old story of robbing Peter to pay Paul and I’m sure I’m not alone in this feeling. In thinking about 2016 the way most of us examine the new year ahead, I realized I need to carve out more time for Kayla and Blake individually. Especially Kayla.
Over the holiday break I had planned a gingerbread house decorating party for a Kayla’s friends from preschool and had to cancel at the last minute when Blake and I both got super sick. That left me with a stack of pre-baked gingerbread house kits (which are still available online) and some pent up decorating energy. As my thoughts headed towards Valentine’s Day I realized that this would be the perfect Valentine’s Day activity to share with Kayla and an opportunity for some time alone doing our thing.
So gingerbread house we did. After putting Blake down for a nap on a rainy day we got to work icing and decorating our houses. I quickly assembled the houses to make them structurally sound. Or at least as structurally sound as a house made of frosting can be. Then there was the candy. A whole lot of candy!
My friends at Sugarwish supplied us with candy for our houses. We used pink bubblegum hearts, conversation hearts, cinnamon hearts, sour gummy cherries and more. I don’t know if sour gummy cherries scream Valentine’s Day but they’re kind of my favorite so they made the cut.
For a project like this it would make sense to pick up whatever candy you like at your local store. However if you’re giving a gift this Valentine’s Day, Sugarswish is my go to resource for sending gifts of candy to friends, family and business contacts.
You can send a gift within minutes and instead of you guessing which candy is right and searching for a shipping address, your gift recipient picks their favorite candy and where they want it sent. It is seriously my favorite form of happy mail!
Making our Valentine’s Day gingerbread houses was definitely quality time and it was actually a simple and inexpensive activity. Blake woke up from his nap in the middle of our project and normally I’d spring to my feet and takeover with him, even if Craig is home. This time I let Craig ease him out of his cranky mood and focused on our project as though it wasn’t bothering me even though as his mother it was impossible to tune him out. This was going to be our time.
One thing I’ve also learned is that we as parents tend to build up experiences in expectation of a wow factor that we sometimes lose sight of the small yet meaningful things that give our kids a truly memorable experience. Having a special day doesn’t have to mean going to Disneyland, buying a new toy or doing something outrageous.
Last Christmas our kids were inundated with gifts from Santa, relatives and friends. You know what Kayla remembers? It’s not the $100 building set or the impossible to find at the timeElsa dress my MIL and I spent months hunting down. She remembers that Santa put cotton candy in her stocking. She remembers that I let her eat a little bit BEFORE BREAKFAST! This year we bought less. Santa came bearing cotton candy and I guarantee you when December rolls around again that is what she will be talking about.
And this house! Oh my goodness this house melts my heart way more than any Pinterest perfect candy home would. And thank goodness we know who it belongs to 🙂
If you’re thinking of making your own gingerbread houses for Valentine’s Day you can grab the pre-baked kits here. Unless you’re a kitchen ninja I highly recommend buying one of those. Getting gingerbread to bake evenly and cutting it into the proper shapes to form a house that will stand requires a degree in astrophysics. Okay it doesn’t really but you know what I mean.