Family Movie Night (and a Giveaway)

As you can imagine, this summer has been a little on the chaotic side for our family. Between flying straight to Vegas from vacation in the Outer Banks, to three weeks living with Bart’s sister, then six weeks with my parents, and now six weeks in Arizona, it’s definitely had a touch of the crazy.

Bart and I have made major efforts to keep the girls’ lives as calm and regular as possible during this time so that they don’t feel totally unmoored. They have regular nap and quiet times every afternoon, and they are in bed at 7 on the dot pretty much every night. We go to church on Sunday, visit the library and IKEA weekly, and have regular meals as a family.

And we also reinstated Friday Movie Nights once we were all back in the same house.

In my usual fashion, we’ve kept things very simple. I know myself well enough to realize that if I make it complicated, I’ll just quit, so it’s pretty streamlined.

We have (homemade) pizza for dinner, and then we have (not homemade) ice cream while we watch our movie.

Just before seven, we pause the movie, get both girls completely ready for bed and put Ani down. Then we finish the movie with Ella and she goes immediately to bed once the movie is finished (since she basically never stays up late, even by 7:45, she’s usually asking “how long until this movie is done?”).

Sometimes, if I’m feeling very nice (or I want to get things rolling earlier), we’ll let the girls eat on a picnic blanket and start the movie during dinner instead of waiting until after.


And now the giveaway part. . . .
Last year, when Pampers invited me out to their Blogger Day in Cincinnati, we voted on the new designs for the wipe packaging (there were nine designs and we picked three – I didn’t vote for a single of the winning one because I obviously have no taste, but let’s not talk about that).
Those wipe packages just came out this month, so they sent me all the new designs, plus some diapers and a slew of other cool things, including the picnic blanket above, a picnic basket, a whole set of children’s dishes (a lifesaver, since Ani broke two dishes in the first week or two we were in this rental house) and. . . .


. . . a Poloraid camera with film, and a puzzle, a bottle, a book, a changing pad and the biggest box of styrofoam peanuts you’ve ever seen.


Pampers is giving away another identical gift basket with all those goodies to one reader. Yippee! (Also, save the box and peanuts – my girls have been playing in it daily for two weeks. We may be a little starved for toys around here).


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  1. Bathtime (my husband bathes the kids, and I love to eavesdrop on their conversation) and then bedtime (we all chat about our day and our plans for the next day)

  2. Kyle thrives on his morning routine- wake up, have a fruit pouch, and then a bottle (I'm supposed to wean him off those before kindergarten right?), and then a bowl of cheerios, everyday like clock work!

  3. I can't believe they still make Polaroid cameras with FILM, especially! I'd really like to win the basket for A Baby Center, a local charity that gives diapers and other necessities to needy families.

  4. Sunday is Family Fun Day. This usually involves going to the woods somewhere to let my feral sons (and husband) loose in their natural environment. Movie nights would never fly at our house, sadly. I'm the only one who will sit still for one.

  5. Hi! I have a quick question if you don't mind… I tried sending you an email but not luck, so maybe I'll have better luck here lol anyway, what types of books do you recommend for infants? My little guy is seven months old and I want to start reading to him, but I feel silly, like he's too young to pay attention so why read to him? Is there a certain time? Is he too young right now? What kinds of books do you recommend? Should I be looking at board books, things with textures, things that make crinkly sounds? Sorry for all the questions but I thought you would be the right person to ask.

    (If responding, please email or comment a blog post of mine.)

  6. I get to sleep in on Saturdays while my husband gets up with our 8-month baby. Best "tradition" ever.

    Also, we play bingo after thanksgiving dinner with really goofy silly prizes. It's a blast!

  7. My husband and I always go to bed at the same time. It's not super exciting, but it keeps our schedules on the same page!

  8. Love this giveaway – Family movie nights are the best – but now that our kids range in age from 8-18 months – finding one movie that EVERYONE agrees on can be tougher! 🙂

  9. My favorite family routine is our Sunday barbecue. My husband has been perfecting his burger patty recipe for years and he loves trying new things with it. Plus, it's the only time he ever cooks and I love that I don't have to plan anything or work very hard on Sunday, just slice up some fruit or throw a side dish together, or maybe make homemade buns if I'm feeling adventurous. We grill all year long, even in the deep freeze of winter. Our kids love it almost as much as we do and I don't think they would know what to do with themselves if we ever ate something else for Sunday dinner.

  10. In the fall/winter, we also do family movie night and my boys love it! Another family routine is game night with board / card games.

  11. We spend the 20 minutes (or more!) leading up to quiet time reading stories, and I love it. We also have a pretty simple FHE routine (read a chapter from the comic book scriptures, sing a song, play a game) that the boy is so enthusiastic about that I have to enjoy it too.

  12. I love the idea of having the same food one day each week (Taco Tuesday or whatever), but I just can't think of anything that I want to eat that regularly. Even pizza.

  13. We also do homemade pizza and movie nights. In the summer, I give my kids long naps and let them stay up late enough to watch the movie on the projector outside in the backyard. It's like camping… Only more glamorous.

  14. Good timing for you for that gift basket!! I got really excited about possibly implementing this tradition (pizza, ice cream, and movies are basically the holy trinity of activities), but then I remembered Fuqua Friday. Maybe a Saturday night tradition then 🙂

  15. We do Friday night movie night too! Also with homemade pizza! My kids love it, to quell the fighting, each member of our family has a Friday to pick out whatever (kid friendly) movie they'd like to watch. If it's a special request we go to the library and see if we can find it. Tonight Belle and the Enchanted Christmas (my Tessa has been asking to watch this for months and we finally got it at the library, who care that's it's the middle of the summer!)

  16. Going for a walk through the neighborhood after dinner. Wears my son out and gets us all a little exercise 🙂

  17. We really are quite good at having dinner together most nights. I love that we've done so well with that!

  18. Ella has the best facial expressions, bar none.

    We've always had pizza & garlic bread Saturdays. Lately we've been adding a viewing of the old Next Generation Star Trek episodes into the mix. In an effort to nerdify our children. It is so awesomely nostalgic as some of my best memories are watching that show with my dad.

  19. Well, it's just me here, but one of my routines is I like to have people over for dinner on Sunday nights. (I hope I win — I want that camera!!!).

  20. We end our weekend with a standing date with friends for dinner, it's a nice low key way to round out busy weekends and get the week off to a good start.

  21. We have a weekly pizza night at one of our local pizza joints. My husband did this with his Dad growing up and we started as soon as we had kids!

  22. Weekly movie night. I'm going to follow your lead though and start the movie during dinner. Sometimes it goes a little later than this tired mommy wants.

  23. On Sunday afternoons, my husband plays primary songs on his guitar and we all sing 🙂 on days that aren't Sunday we put "rockin'" songs on and have dance parties 🙂

  24. I love the idea of pizza and movies on Friday nights. We do a big breakfast on Sundays and then head to the farmer's market.

  25. We do Thursday night breakfast for dinner, and Friday night dinner with my parents! I loooove the movie night idea though. Actually I think we need to start that ASAP!

  26. I love our nightly routine of kisses and reading stories right before bed. It is always a great end to the day.

  27. I love that every night, after family prayer, we all put our hands in the middle for a cheer and then have a big group hug. This is followed by everyone giving hugs and kisses and saying "I love you" to each person of our family. It's amazing how much it can bring little boys together after a day of craziness and some occasional fighting.

  28. Yep, pizza fridays. Though I should jump on the ice cream bandwagon. We're not that consistent in our ice cream eating. A fact which should be immediately remedied. (Also, it looks like you could use a new ice cream scoop.)

  29. We have "Fun Food Friday". We are gluten free and dairy free (not by choice).On Fridays, we make our own versions of all the naughty food. This way, we still get to enjoy all the yumminess and don't feel like we are missing out.

  30. We try to plan family trips or just hang out at home on weekends. During the summer its usually boating, fishing or swimming and then winter time we do movies and games with homemade hot cocoa and a fire in the fireplace.

  31. Curious to know what designs you picked? Love picnic stuff, what a fun giveaway! Your girls are going to have so many fun memories! Love movie nights and homemade pizza! I still can't believe you get your girls down at 7?! I wish!!

  32. My favorite routine is watching a family movie at 7pm most nights before my kids go to sleep.

  33. It was good to see you st ikea on tuesday. For the record, you cam get a refund on your plant, if it dies, just bring in the original receipt!

  34. We like to have family movie night on Fridays as well. We typically allow the blanket for dinner but find ourselves needing to stop the movie from time to time to remind our little girl that she needs to eat. Fun times.

  35. One of our favorite family routines is brinner on Thursday night. Super easy and helps usher in the weekend!

  36. best days are our lazy sundays!. sleeping, watching movies, shows, games, puzzles, crafting.. of course having our breakfast lunch and dinner in our pjs

  37. It is simple really, but I love my son's bedtime routine. After bath, we snuggle in a comfy chair and read his bedtime books. I pray for him and sing to him (he has to endure my terrible voice), and then it is off to bed with plenty of kisses.

  38. Bedtime routine- bath, reading, then prayers together. It definitely helps our girls go down a lot easier when there's a routine!

  39. Eating dinner together. As the kids get older, things get crazier, so it's especially nice to have the time to reconnect.

  40. Sunday night popcorn while skyping with grandparents. Since we're on the opposite coast now, we skype with different grandparents, but still the same tradition! 🙂

  41. I'm loving rocking my youngest to sleep (I know I shouldn't!) because it is so peaceful and calming for us both!

  42. Not sure how "family" this is, but – I sleep in on Saturdays while my husband feeds the kids breakfast:)

  43. Nap time every day, family dinner every night. We do family movie night too. We usually call it coffee table dinner and eat dinner at the coffee table while we watch a family movie. Even my husband gets excited about "coffee table dinner".

  44. We just moved across the country, so routine is touch right now. But I love putting my daughter to bed. Bath, pjs, boob/bottle, story, and "I love you" Simple and a perfect end to the day.

  45. Sorry if I double posted (not sure if the first went through). We don't have a family "tradition"- we probably do but I can't think of anything consistent. My baby is 4 months old. My favorite family time activity is when I'm nursing the baby to sleep while my husband reads him (and me!) a book. It's a treat when it happens since his schedule is so busy!

  46. Growing up it was my dad making breakfast on Saturday mornings, and now my husband and I are trying to institute that with our family (which right now is just us and a soon to be born baby, haha). I also love the idea of family movie night, something else we might try out.

  47. In the morning while everyone is still groggy & not quite ready to do chores, but must get out of bed, they all pile on my bed ( I'm already up, dressed, bed made) and I read a few short stories – board books, then one chapter of a chapter book. Many times they just listen as I read & kind of snuggle like sleepy little bumps on a log, but as they wake up better, they will doodle whilst they listen. They will not forgive me if we skip this more than a couple of times per week.

  48. I loved reading all the other comments about weekly family traditions. Besides nightly bedtime routine and biweekly trips to the library, we don't have a lot weekly fun "traditions" but I feel like now is the perfect time to start some with Charlie.

  49. Bedtime, after baths, everyone gets into their pajamas. We read a story… have last minute conversations. Give hugs, kisses, and say our prayers. I love this time! The kids are so sweet and precioys!

  50. Our family goes camping every summer in W. Va. for a week and it's all the Aunts, uncles, cousins and all the new members of our big family including my own grandkids and the one on the way all this would come in handy.

  51. My favorite is pajama days, when I don't work me and the kids spend all day in pjs and just bum and relax around the house.

  52. Our much anticipated summer vacation where we're together all the time and just enjoying each other with no schedule.

  53. We are foster parents so the ages of our kids varies. Currently we have a 10 month old and a 13 month old and so we don't get to do a lot of family activities. So currently our family tradition is on Sunday evening we put the kids to bed a bit early and the hubby and I have movie or binge tv show watching.

  54. While dinner is being cooked, the parent that is not cooking dinner that night sits and reads to our daughter the entire time. She loves her reading time so much.

  55. Jealous that you have IKEA. We don't have those in Nebraska. Booo!!

    I love your daughter's red hair. My youngest has bright red hair and I love it. 🙂

  56. We've been doing Friday night movies for well over a year, and that works out excellent. I make the kids popcorn and fruit for dinner (and sometimes yogurt, and occasionally something more but popcorn usually is good for everyone) and the kids eat on the floor with their floor pillows. This week we're doing Who Framed Roger Rabbit before it disappears from Netflix.

  57. I love our nighttime routine because I get to read to my kids. I love that they enjoy reading books so much!


  58. What a great giveaway! I love getting to have lunch with my husband most weekdays (working at the same university definitely has its benefits). I'm really enjoying reading about everyone else's routines, and must admit I will be stealing some of these ideas to try for ourselves. We are excitedly anticipating the start of new family routines when our little girl finally joins us next month–there's some great inspiration here! =)

  59. Ty, who it is safe to say has almost zero culinary talents, makes waffles every Sunday morning with Tal. They are sometimes… not that great, but it's the sweetest tradition.

  60. Friday night was always our pizza/family night as well growing up. Those were the days when I thought a can of grape soda was second to none. 🙂

  61. what a great idea! i will have to start this at my house once my daughter is older – maybe with pasta or some other takeout since my daughter has pizza for lunch every friday at daycare.

  62. We always watched movies on Fridays when I was growing up. My three year old would love continuing that tradition. And my husband would love the pizza every Friday tradition.

  63. I'm actually pregnant with my first, so we don't have any routines/traditions yet. 🙂 I hope to start a sleep routine first (ha), and then add in some fun routines like a family movie night later on!

  64. French bread Friday! We pick up some fresh produce, bread, and samples of fancy cheeses from Sprouts and have a picnic together every week.

  65. Would have to say that we love to wake up to homemade croissants on Sunday morning – rafflecopter – shaunie

  66. Every Saturday night we have dinner at Souplantation. Salad and soup with tons of choices for the kids, win-win

  67. We have family movie night once a week, too. Pizza or tacos while watching a movie the kids usually picked out. 🙂

  68. We love to go out to eat as a family. Esp. Those nights kids eat free at places 🙂 we also like to do fam movie and or game nights!

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