Thursday, August 25, 2016

Create Family Fun and a New Tradition - Start a "YES Day!"

 Fine Tuned Family: "Wise Parents, Wise Kids" Conversation with Sarah Markowski, MOPS Mentor, and Speaker

Sarah is an Air Force spouse and mom of 5 kids.  She prefers converse tennis shoes to high heels, and gets through everyday with a whole lot of Jesus and a little bit of coffee.  Sarah loves all things food-network, considers chocolate to be medicinal, and works out daily so she can keep up with her kids.  Her heartbeat is connecting with people, and if she has any free time, she loves to write on her blog and read.  Sarah lives each day “looking for the glitter” even if life gets a little gloomy because as every mom knows, even if you just have a little glitter it seems to get EVERYWHERE!

The "Wise Parents, Wise Kids" video chat between Janet Bonnin, Angela Woodrow and guest Sarah Markowski was really fun and filled with ideas!  You can see that by going here:

If you'd rather read about it, here are some highlights:

FTF: What is "YES Day"?

SM: YES! Day is a concept I borrowed from a children’s book of the same name. It’s a day that allows your children to ask for the (sometimes crazy) things that don’t fit into a regular “schedule” and gives you the chance to say YES!

FTF: Why did you decide to do a "YES Day"?

SM:I decided to do YES! Day because as a mom, I was feeling burdened by the amount of correction, redirection, and “no” that seemed to dominate my parenting journey.  I wanted my kids to feel the positive reinforcement of receiving permission, and I wanted to feel the empowerment that comes with giving permission.

FTF: What should parents do in order to have a successful "YES Day"?

SM: To prepare for YES! Day, I had to think three steps ahead of my kids.  I did write a few ground rules to prevent the day from spiraling out of control, and I started the day by presenting those so that we wouldn’t have confusion or conflict during the actual day.  As a parent, you have to think about what you are comfortable with and what your budget allows.  For instance, one of our rules was that the kids could not ask to do things that jeopardized their (or anyone else’s) safety.  I also had a rule that gave them each a $10 spending limit for the day (outside of food).  I was fine if they wanted to go out to eat three times that day, but I did not want to spend $500 on a clothing-shopping spree.

FTF: What was a favorite memory/moment from your "YES Day" experience?

SM: My favorite moment was at the very end of the day.  My oldest (about 14 at the time) had asked for NOTHING all day long.  By lunchtime I was suspicious.  Just as we were heading to bed, he said, “Mom, can I get a Facebook account?”  I was stunned.  His request did not break any of my ground rules.  He was crafty and clever.  I thought for a minute trying to figure out how I was going to get around this one.  I finally just said YES! But, in the morning we’ll talk about the guidelines that will come with that privilege!  I loved being able to reward his patience and creativity with a YES!
FTF: Would you do a "YES Day" again?

SM: We have done a YES! Day every year since that first one.  I usually surprise the kids on a day that is out of the blue when I feel like we could all use a little more fun and joy in our lives!
You can find the ‘Yes Day’ book here:

Other ‘Yes! Day’ resources:
People reading ‘Yes! Day’ book:

A variation on ‘Yes! Day’

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Wise Parent Wise Kid Summer Series conversation: Geocaching

The Wise Parent Wise Kid Summer Series conversation: Geocaching
We had the fun pleasure of connecting and chatting with these two. A nurse practitioner and her daughter, a 2-grade teacher, who love to go geocaching. It is a great low – no cost way to get outside, explore your local area or a new area and discover treasure!

Geocaching actually is the ‘21st century’ treasure hunting experience based on Letter-boxing, a tried and true and ‘very un-techy’ activity created in 1854 in England!
MH: Hi I’m Maureen Havrilla
FTF: Share a few fun facts about yourself so we can get to know you:
MH:  Wife, Mother, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Runner.  I love to travel and camp, and love all things Disney.
Passion:  Kids!
Favorite Foods: Food! And chocolate – it’s a food group! And coffee.  And chocolate and coffee together
Favorite thing to do to take a break: read, take a run, crochet – and always travel!
Favorite Quote/ Quip: “Venture outside your comfort zone.  The rewards are worth it.” -Rapunzel, Tangled
I am most proud of: my kids, they have become fabulous adults
I wish I could: travel more!

CH: And I am Casey Havrilla
FTF: Share a few fun facts about yourself so we can get to know you:
CH: I am a teacher of second graders, a Native Texan, and a huge hockey fan.
Passion:  Teaching our future generation a love of learning.
Favorite Foods: baked potatoes, crème brulee, and anything that involves a caprese salad
Favorite thing to do to take a break: cooking/baking, reading
Favorite Quote/ Quip: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”.  -Wayne Gretzy
I am most proud of: all of my students
I wish I could: multitask and be in more than one place at the same time

Casey and Maureen: a real world treasure hunt! It’s a great way to get out with your family and friends and experience something new.  It’s the thrill of the hunt and the feeling of excitement when you find the cache – big or small!
FTF: How did you get started:
Casey: My best friend got me started
Maureen: Casey! And I have since shared with cousins and friends!
FTF: How can a family get started with geocaching?
Casey: Download a Geocache app, I use the official Geocaching app. I can get badges for collecting different states.
Maureen: I have a different app, but they all show about the same thing. Mine was free, but some have small charges.   
FTF: What are some of your best tips for geocaching for families?
Casey: Don’t give up, keep looking.
Maureen: whenever you travel, look for available caches – makes traveling interesting and fun
FTF: What is a good age to start geocaching?
Casey: if they can walk and talk independently, they should be able to understand with a parent’s help.
Maureen: I have shared with two friends with kids, one had a 9 year old daughter who loved it, and one had a three boys, the oldest two were 4 and 8 and they had fun.  Walking is a big part, so at least able to hike a little.
FTF: So far, what has been your ‘favorite find’?
Casey: The one in Central Park
Maureen: The one we have yet to find at Inks Lake – still looking!
FTF: Have you found any caches outside of Texas:
Casey and Maureen: Yes! That is what makes it fun, we check where ever we travel, even on the way to the grocery store!

Fun Facts: where did Geocaching come from?
Letter Boxing– 1854 UK
Geocaching—2000, OR
ConQuest–2004, B.U.G: use your camera phone to capture code hidden around your city
Plundr– 2007, Dartmouth College dorm room, WIFI hotspots are contested islands to ‘capture’
Pokémon GO!–2016, Nintendo: Hunt and collect
Geocaching was started in May of 2000. It started in Beaverton OR.
As GPS became more accessible and and accurate for everyone the process adapted from Letter boxing was started

How to start Geocaching:
You need to set up a user account on a
geocaching website. A good site to use is
What do you pack?

Today’ Resources:
A video: