I try to set aside a Saturday every six weeks that is known as a family fun day. The focus is on a day of fun with just the family. I really enjoy planning and executing these family fun days (even though a few have flopped). One recent family fun day included a train ride to a nearby town, ice cream, train ride back, then that evening we went to a dirt track to watch car racing.
We had a family fun day this past Saturday. We drove about an hour away to do some apple picking. On the way up my daughter and I were creating songs. We sang about everything from our cats to green beans. At the apple orchard my son and I broke off, while my wife and daughter formed their own team. It was a blast lifting my son up through the branches to get the really good apples. Thankfully he is a wiry little guy. But to get to the honeycrisp apples, it required a 1/3 mile hike waaay back in the lower 40. After about 40 minutes of picking we had two bushels of apples.
Then we had lunch, which I prepped and packed the night before. We ate in the pavilion area located at the orchard. The kids really enjoy these simple moments – lunch at the orchard, just family. To help with such moments I got rid of my IPhone in June. Today I have this 2009-style flip phone. So there is no interference with my kids. My attention is 100% theirs!
Before leaving the orchard we stopped in the general store to get some goodies. My wife got two apple donuts, my son got a small truck with candy inside, my daughter got some fudge, and I got a small loaf of apple bread.
Then we drove to a nearby state park and spent 90 minutes hiking. A small creek meandered alongside one of the trails. It had some small trout you could see from the banks. Halfway through we came to a clearing that had easy access to the water. My son couldn’t resist the temptation. He started playing with some of the rocks in the water. I saw a rock that would be ideal for a crawdad. I flipped it over and sure enough, there was a 3” crawdad. The kids were in awe of him! I tried to grab him but no luck
After our hike we drove back home where I mowed the yard and then did hibachi night!
Hibachi night is one of a kind. My kids love going to the local hibachi restaurant. The atmosphere, the food being cooked in front of you, the cool things the chef does….so last year I decided to do my own hibachi night at home. It was such a hit that I have since done it two times.
What I do is buy a couple packs of frozen oriental meals and fix them on the stove. At our island my wife and the kids sit while I take my pancake griddle and turn it into a hibachi grill. I take rice that’s already fixed, put it on the griddle, add some egg and soy sauce for our own fried rice. Then I make my own yum-yum sauce – all while flipping utensils in the air and playing oriental music off YouTube.
As they work through the fried rice I take some of the entrees from the stove and introduce it to their plate. It is a fun time but boy is it a mess!
After clean up I fixed some freshly baked white macadamia nut cookies and served it with ice cream! A 5-star day
I have watched my kids over the years. They like vacations, but they LOVE little day trips like these, and silly activities like hibachi night. They value undivided attention and they can easily identify when great effort has been put into making their day happy. I am amazed at the detail they can recall when it comes to past family fun days. Whenever I announce we are having a family fun day, they get really excited. My son, who is low key, will get semi-emotional when he thanks me for such days. Several times on Sunday he would say “Thank you for doing this for us daddy. Thank you for apple picking and hiking and hibachi night”.
That’s what it is all about!