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Old 03-09-2004, 02:09 PM
ajrsmom's Avatar
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10 Frugal Ways to Show Them You Care

by Kim Tilley

Who says love has to be expensive? With a little creativity, you can show your love in ways that don't break the bank and create special memories together.

Compliment Family Members Everyday
How often do we find ourselves reminding our loved ones of all of their faults? Get into the habit of saying something nice about each member of your family on a daily basis. Kids, and spouses, need this reassurance, and it will help you to focus on the positive rather than the negative. There will be days when finding something to compliment may be really difficult. Save the generic compliments for these days, such as "Wow, you've got such strong arms" or "Your hair looks very nice today."

Surprise Them with Love Notes their lunches or coat pockets. This can be so much fun! I like to stick notes to the fruit in my husband's lunch, such as "You are the apple of my eye" or "You drive me bananas!" He enjoyed the notes, although he was a little embarrassed to discover them in front of his coworkers.

Magnetic Messages
You can also leave funny notes on the refrigerator with magnetic letters. We bought some to teach my youngest child his ABC's, but soon found the entire family leaving silly notes to each other on the fridge. This is another great way to compliment your family as well, you can leave "Dad is great" on the refrigerator, but watch out-some kids like to "edit" these messages (I recently came home to find "Mom is not great" and "Beau eats bugs" on my refrigerator.)

Establish a Family Night
Set aside one night a week to do something special with your family. It might be going out somewhere, but it can also be something as simple as watching a moving together at home and eating popcorn. Take the phone off of the hook and keep the focus on the family. Other fun activities you might try include playing board games together, cooking a special meal together, going through old photos, singing and dancing, playing musical instruments, whatever you

Birth Stories
Tell your kids the stories of their births. Take out some baby pictures and tell them what they were like at a young age. Sharing these memories with your children is precious, and may even trigger some long forgotten stories. We recently discovered some old pictures and videotapes of my oldest son as a baby, when we lived overseas. Watching the tapes and going through the pictures, I felt like I had my "baby" back. Sharing these stories is also a great way to deal with jealousy -- when I find my older two getting annoyed at my youngest child, I recall some of the things they did at the same age. They really enjoy the stories, and it makes them feel special.

Love Pizza
Whenever someone in our family has a birthday, gets good grades, (or a promotion!), we celebrate with a "Love Pizza". Just make your favorite pizza crust, shaping it into a heart. Add the sauce and cheese, and cut the pepperoni with kitchen shears into letters to make a special message. I like to write "I love you" or "Happy Birthday" on our love pizzas. I've also tried making the words out of green peppers, but the pepperoni seems to be the most popular at our house.

No child is too old for hugs. Sometimes we assume that older kids don't need or want to be touched, but they may need hugs the most. Make yourself openly available for hugs and kisses from kids of any age, and keep that shoulder ready for them to cry on. Just knowing they can come to you is half of the battle!

Read with Them
Every night we have a family reading time at our house. Sometimes the kids read to us, sometimes we read to them. Together we have discovered some fantastic books, as well as each other. Chapter books such as Willy Wonka, the Wizard of Oz, Harry Potter, Frankenstein, all work well. It's fun because we can't wait until the following night to read the next chapter. We've also read "Green Eggs and Ham" forwards, backwards, and as many different characters. Sometimes we'll even put aside the books and make up our own stories.

Talk to Them
It sounds so easy, and it is. Share your day with your kids and spouse. "Unplug" them from the TV, video games and, yes, even the computer. Ask them how their day was, share your day with them, and make yourself available to answer their questions, no matter how silly those questions may seem. Laugh with them, counsel them, be there for them.

Get Them Involved something you normally do. These are great opportunities for learning and sharing. Even the mundane things, such as cooking, cleaning, laundry, and yard work can become fun when done together. Doing these things may take longer at first, but you are teaching your kids skills they will need to be independent one day. The most important thing is to be consistent and make it fun. Turn on some music, tell some jokes, and talk about your day. You may rediscover your child over a load of laundry or a stack of dirty dishes.

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Old 05-26-2004, 05:00 AM
AnnaInOhio's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Ohio
Posts: 16,238
Gifts Under $10.00

Was just going through an old 1993 Family Circle magazine and ran across a couple of ideas that can be used year round.

1. A sun tea maker include a box of flavored tea.

2. A children's umbrella, mark their name with a colored marker alternately in the sides on the others color hearts and flowers, or maybe sailboats.

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