Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Gift of a Day: A Summer Tradition

Hello, my friends!  I know Back-to-School season is upon us, and I have been busy at home and in my classroom prepping for the upcoming year.   I truly am super excited for school to begin…but it’s also a bittersweet time for me.   As y’all know, I’m a momma too… and I will always view being a parent as my life’s most important work! On that note, I’m doing my best to squeeze every last minute of special time with my own kiddos out of the summer! 

Now, if you’ve followed me for long, you already know I’m a family tradition nut!  I’m ALL about making memories and trying to be “intentional” as a parent. However, I’m human and as hard as I’ve tried, I just can’t manage to add hours to the day or extra days to the week…so I’ve had to be creative in the ways of creating family traditions.  I have to find ways to make a BIG impact with the limited amount of time I seem to have.  I think I’ve come up with quite a few pretty cool traditions that are “do-able” for parents with limited time, if I do say so myself! 

I know this is a “teaching” blog… but I always seem to get a lot of positive feedback and questions when I post about special things I do with my family….so I thought I’d share more.  

One of my favorite summer traditions is what we call 
A Gift of a Day.”

I mean, really…Fewer things sound more delightful than spending a day doing exactly what we want, right?!! To our family, “The Gift of a Day” reminds us that sometimes we need to put our obligations and our work aside and just BE.  We need to spend time with our loved ones, in our favorite place doing our favorite things, completely relaxing and forgetting about the hustle and bustle of our daily lives. “The Gift of a Day” is about making the most of every moment and approaching all that you do with purpose and love.  It's about keeping the people and activities we value the most in the forefront of our minds so that we don't get distracted by all those things that aren't important.  It's about feeling the satisfaction of truly giving and appreciating life around us and not taking one single thing for granted.

I may not be able to be “SUPERMOM” every day of the year….but this tradition allows me to be just that for a least one day! LOL   And when you stop to think about it… If you consider how the events of a single day have changed the course of history… maybe, just maybe, giving your child a “Gift of a Day” may just change their lives forever too!  

So this is how it works in my family...

During the first week of summer, we have each family member complete their own "perfect day" card. (We currently just have our kiddos fill them out…but every few years “we” {mom & dad} have filled them out too!) We have each person write down (in their own handwriting -- It makes an awesome keepsake!) all of their favorite things, the things that they would love to experience packed in one day! We then store each member’s card in his/her envelope on their specially assigned page in our “Gift of a Day” memory book.  

This is what OUR little "Gift of a Day" keepsake book looks like.
Here is a peek at the inside.  The first pic shows a little description of the tradition and the next two pics are examples of the inside pages.  Note that the photos of my boys are glued onto actual envelopes that are glued onto the pages of the mini-scrapbook.  The cream cards then slide into the envelopes for keepsake keeping!  (Sorry!  I know these pics are not the greatest...but I want to get this post finished and posted!)

This is just a small scrapbook that has an envelope glued to each page with a name on each. Nothing fancy….just simple and organized. {You could also just have a special envelope for each person that you keep in a pretty little storage box. The container doesn’t matter.  It’s the memories that will!}  During the summer, we commit one day to giving each family member the “Gift of a Day.”  We secretly plan these days without our children’s knowledge and then surprise them on the morning of their special day by decorating their door and other places around the house with simple posters and balloons. Even though we have done this for over seven years and the kiddos know their special days are coming, the look on their faces on their “Gift of a Day” mornings is priceless!

One of our favorite parts of this tradition is actually looking back in each of our envelopes at the past years’ “Gift of a Day” cards and photos.  My kids get a big kick out of looking back at what they used to think was “the best thing ever” and giggling at those things! 

Here are a few pics from past "Gift of a Day" activities....

Lexi's 2008 Gift of Day: Spending a "girls" day with her best friend, big cousin and Mommy!  We went to Build-A-Bear, went to the animal shelter and made some animal treat donations, and played with the animals waiting for homes.  #futurevet  

Lexi's 2010 Special Day:  Another girls' Day at the animal shelter with her big cousin and a few friends! I love that almost every year her idea of a "perfect day" involves serving!  

Colton's 2008 Gift of a Day: He just wanted "his people" (cousins, aunts, uncles and friends) to come over and play tractors with him in his room.   We had a cookout menu of hotdogs, carrots and beans. (His choice!) We had over 50 people show up to celebrate Colton's "Gift of a Day" and have pictures of everyone of them in his "tractor room" with him!  #lookatthatsmile 

(Thought you'd get a pic out of a throw back family pic!)

 Colton's 2009 Gift of a Day: All he wanted was to have his family over for an "Ehle chicken" cookout and set up his tent!  We actually took pictures of all 60 people who came!  It was incredible! #hesapeopleperson #ehlechickenisfamous

Colton's 2010 Gift of a Day: Oh, you know.... The year that he wanted "his tribe" to come over for a play date in his teepee.   LOL.  Yes, yes I did paint a photo prop for the occasion.  Hey! It was on his "perfect day" request list! Oh... Did you check out all the cool teenagers he invited who painted his nickname "Bubba" on their chests?!   #everyoneinEhlevilleappreciatesthistradition

Hunter's 2008 Special Day:  Hanging out at Chuck E. Cheese, Crazy  Pins and Steak and Shake with his best friend, Ty.   Ty has been a part of Hunter's special day for 7 straight years!  The picture memories are incredible! #bestbuds

 Lexi's 2014 Gift of a Day: This day included chillin' at our pond with her bestie! #simplelifeisgood

So that’s it! It’s pretty simple really….but it has had a HUGE impact on my kids.  They know I can get “busy” with my job….but they know I know how to “stop the bus” (<-- Reference to Ron Clark’s new Move Your Bus book here! If you haven’t read it yet….do it! It’s great!) and put things in priority.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my family and this is just one simple way I can show them!

If this post has inspired you to try granting “A Gift of a Day” to your kiddos (or hubby), click HERE to snag my template of our “Gift of Day” cards!  Be sure to leave feedback if this post was helpful to you!  I have dozens of other fun family traditions I can share, but want to make sure that YOU would find them useful/beneficial since they are not technically “school” related!


  1. Holly! This is AMAZING!!!!!!!! I seriously love this idea. I hope one day if I have a family, that I can implement this!!!

    Hooo-Ray For Teaching

  2. Thanks for sharing Holly! I can't wait to get this started in my family! And YES - keep those posts coming!!!

  3. This is seriously one of the best ideas I've ever heard! I absolutely am implementing this tradition in my own family before the end of this summer (luckily I still have all of August!)

  4. Holly, I love this!!!! You are such an awesome mom!!!!!! Please keep the traditions coming!!!! -Erin from Erin's Ink :)

  5. Holly, I love this!!!! You are such an awesome mom!!!!!! Please keep the traditions coming!!!! -Erin from Erin's Ink :)

  6. I love this so much! Thank you for sharing and I would love to read about more fun family traditions. I am gearing up to go back to work after my fourth baby, I know from experience that balancing school/home is tricky. Thanks again xx