The 2020 Olympics are postpone to 2021 but the spirit of competitiveness, perseverance, and coming together does not have to be! This weekend, with wonderful weather on the horizon and wiggles to get rid of, why not host your own at home Olympics! I bet many of our Westwood kids are not old enough to truly remember an Olympics, especially a summer one since it has been 4 years. If you want to warm up with some highlights, I recommend any of Usane Bolt’s triumphs, the US Women’s national soccer team (any other Mia Hamm fans out there?), and of course gymnastics (hello Simone Biles!) I didn’t even mention swimming or volleyball. And that is just the summer events. There are so many inspiration moments that come out of the Olympics and hosting your own might be a great way to spend the weekend! Just make sure the competition is friendly, because you still need to live together after the closing ceremonies!
Here are a few components to consider:
Before you start, have your kids work together to make medals. They can just be paper and whatever string or ribbon you have lying around, but have them ready for each of your “competitions”.
Make a torch to light during the opening ceremonies out of tissue paper and those precious toilet paper tubes.
Decide on the games you will participate in. Will you do indoor or outdoor events? Will they be traditional (like a race) or less traditional (like paper airplane flying)? Here is a list of possibilities to get you started:
Bean Bag Toss or Corn Hole
High Jump, Long Jump, or even the limbo
Gymnastics (like somersaults, cartwheels, or hand stands)
“discus” using a Frisbee or paper plate,
Egg and spoon races or a relay race
Have your kids come up with games of their own!
Opening Ceremonies and Parade of Nations: Choose a family uniform to wear and start your ceremonies with a parade. You could use paper to make a family flag to carry, too! Just make sure you are playing the Olympics Fanfare (chills!) when you present the torch!
Medal Presentation: Make sure to have a celebration after each event as you award medals. Maybe let them choose their own “anthem” (who says Frozen can’t be played on the medal platform!)
Closing Ceremonies: Time to parade those medals around the living room or yard! Often times the best part of the Olympics is the fanfare and cultural celebration on display during the opening and closing ceremonies. Maybe this is time for a talent show!
Whatever you do this weekend, I hope you enjoy the gift of weather and family, and know your Westwood family is thinking of you and sending you love! (and hoping for some Olympics photo recaps!)
Indoor/Outdoor camping is quick way to have some fun and make some memories as a family during this odd season of our lives. I still have fond memories of the night my dad set our giant tent up in the living room and we had a camp out to prepare of an upcoming Boundary Waters trip. We pretended we were under the stars, ate food we’d only eat on a camping trip, and shared ghost stories. It was magical and a night I think of often. I know many of you have done this already and if you have any ideas to add, write them in the comments! If you haven’t, this is a way to “get outside” (even if you are still inside) and have a new experience while staying safe and distant. A bonus blessing: this weekend it will be sunny and dry so you can camp in your yard instead! Don’t have a tent or are not a camping family, blanket forts are just as magical!
Camping Approved Food
First things first, you know food is always the priority in my mind. Here are a few ideas for special campfire and camping treats!
Trail mix is always a good snack and can be made with any and all of those end of the bag snacks you have in the cupboard. Pour it all together in a bowl and let the kids mix it up!
Stove-top popcorn: if you are anything like me, you purchased a bag of popcorn seeds with the intent of making homemade popcorn and left it to gracefully age on your shelf. Many younger generations might not even know popcorn can be made outside the microwave and it tastes SO good!
To me, camping is associated with cast iron skillets and dutch ovens. Skillet pizza is a delicacy that all should enjoy and you likely have all the ingredients in your fridge or freezer already! Bonus: I’m sharing my mom’s easy as (pizza) pie crust and sauce recipes in her very own handwriting (stains and all!). (I literally ate this last night!)
Dutch Oven Desserts: we used to make these when I was a kid and it felt like magic. You can pop it in your oven or bake over a fire if weather permits. Also very pantry friendly (any pie filling, box cake mix, or jam on the shelf will work!)
Indoor S’mores are always a good idea, and outdoor are even better if weather permits! If you are anything like me, you have leftover s’mores ingredients calling your name on the pantry shelf that won’t make it to next summer!
Don’t have a fire pit outside, make good use of your treasured toilet paper rolls and build one inside! This is a great craft for kids and can be creatively done with whatever materials you can find!
Sing some classic campfire songs! If your kids have gone to camp or VBS, ask them to teach you their favorite
I hope you find a way to enjoy our beautiful spring and your loved ones this weekend! If you camp or build a fort, send me a picture! I’d love to see your faces! Whatever you do this weekend, breath deeply, know you are loved, and give yourself grace and space as we walk through this season. Holding you all in prayer and sending virtual hugs!
In this new season of ministry, my hope is to provide our families with DIY events that you can pull off with a little planning, a little imagination, and the extra time we have together. This week? The Beach Bash: Home Edition
One of the greatest joys of my time in family ministry has been the beach bash. For the past 3 winters, we’ve gathered together in GSH, dusted off our sandals and Hawaiian shirts, and made memories together to the Sounds of Summer by the Beach Boys. I have to say that this is has been an unanticipated ministry moment for me these past three years, yet I have found it to be one of the best parts of the job. What I love about the beach bash is that it gives us the gift of lighthearted fun, flexes our imaginations, and gathers us together at an event that is messier and louder than anything else we do at church. Why not bring that same energy, imagination, and fun to our homes during this uncertain season?
In an attempt to bring the beach bash to life, I’ve pulled together some DIY ideas for you to pick and choose from to build your party.
First off? Music and atmosphere! What is a party without an amazing soundtrack? To the left is our favorite beach bash soundtrack of the last few years. YouTube has their own playlist, too!
This link will get you to one of our beachy backdrops we’ve used on the screens for the past few years. But if you want to feel like you are scuba diving with the ocean creatures, this is the link for you! I bet your families could have quite the beach or underwater dance parties!
Decor and Activities
Next up, activities and decorations! One of the staples of the beach bash is our grass skirts. Now, if you already have some around you are in luck! But if not, use this tutorial to put your old streamers to good use and make your own! This can decorate your food table, enhance your beach outfit, or both if you really stocked up on streamers! Don’t have green tape or green streamers, a little color never hurt anyone and a rainbow hula skirt sounds amazing! Beach parties require sand, and if you have flour and oil at home you can make your own kinetic (or moon) sand for the party! Finally, dust off your sandals, Hawaiian shirts, and sun glasses! Now is the time to put them to good use! You can even do an at home costume contest! Limbo contests are encouraged and yard sticks from the state fair come in handy for these!
Finally, the best part of any party, in my humble opinion, is the FOOD! Traditionally, beach bash has had pizza for dinner and I don’t need to give you directions on that (pineapple is encouraged but not required- this can be VERY divisive :)).
But my new and favorite addition to beach bash this year was our dessert- SNO KONES! You don’t need a fancy machine and sugary syrup to make it happen, just use a blender or food processor and your family’s favorite juice! There are endless combinations and they taste just as delicious!
There is no wrong way to throw a beach bash as long as you use your imagination. I hope you all can find joy in the little things as we gather in this new way. If you want to share the joy you find in your parties, send me pictures and stories! I’d love to see your smiling faces!