Me and Mom circa 1984

Riding the bus to school was a big flippin deal. It meant I was a big kid now. A first grader. I had arrived.

The day before, my mother had driven me to the school to do a little walk-through. She showed me the yard where the school bus would drop all of us off. She pointed out the first red brick building, and if I looked to the right, my classroom was the first door of the second red building.  Directly across the hopscotch squares. Simple enough.

So on that first day of school, I felt brave, confident. The world was mine. I waved goodbye to my mom and practically ran onto the bus, eager to start my new adventure. It was a quick ride, and before we knew it, the bus dropped us off, right in front of the yard, exactly where my mother and I had practiced the day before.

That’s when the fear set in. The yard before had been empty, a picture of calm. Even the trees had beckoned in a friendly manner, pointing the way to my classroom.  Now, with dozens of loud, bustling children all about, it looked completely different. Was it the first door of the first red brick building? Or the second door of the first building? Or the second brick building? And where were the hopscotch squares?  It was the picture of chaos…the same kind of frenzy I felt rising up in my chest. The landscape started to get watery, as tears began to fill my eyes.

Just when I thought my first grade career was over before it began, I saw the most beautiful sight I’d ever seen in my life. My mother, walking toward me, arms outstretched.
Jenny! I heard her say and I ran, literally ran, for dear life right into her arms.

My dear mother, bless her heart, had gotten in her car and followed the bus. She knew it was a confusing world for a little girl on her first day of school, and wanted to be there, just in case I needed her. That day my mother made me feel like the most special and most important person in the world.

So. How do you make your kids feel special? It really doesn’t take much. Sometimes it’s a simple time-out from your busy day just to say “I love you.” Here are 10 simple ways to show that…and it won’t cost anything but (a few minutes of) your time.


Little helper

1. Pack a picnic with your kids. Take them to the local park. Or your backyard. Anywhere with a little fresh air. Bonus points if you use a cookie cutter to make cute sandwiches.


Get your hands dirty!

2. Plant a succulent together. Not only will you teach them the joys of gardening, it’s a quick and easy way to beautify your home.


Creating a collection

3. Grab a mason jar and head to the beach. Or the mountains. Collect some pretty stones and pebbles. Instant paperweight/jar full of memories.


I <3 my boys

4. Write “I love you” on the mirror in lipstick. Rachel did this for her kids. In fact, the picture above, was the inspiration for this post. They begged her to keep it up for days..a visual reminder of just how much they are in fact, loved.

Cooling Cookies

Yum yum!

5. Bake cookies together. Doesn’t have to be a fancy recipe. Just spending time in the kitchen together will make your little one’s day. Click here to try Rachel’s amazing citrus oatmeal raisin cookies.



6. Choose a clear night and pick out constellations. I remember the first time I saw Orion. Coolest.Thing.Ever.

photo (4)

7. Take them to the library and let them pick out as many books as they want. Doesn’t even matter if they don’t end up reading them all…but I guarantee they will.

sidewalk chalk

Look ma! I’m an artiste!!

8. Grab some sidewalk chalk and get creative! Paint silly pictures on the sidewalk and encourage your budding Van Gogh to create their next masterpiece. {Photo Source:}


Little Miss/Mr Independent

9. Let your little one pay the cashier the next time you go to the grocery store. I know this is a little thing, but it goes a long way towards making your kids feel special. Teaches them the importance of money too!

mom kissing kid

{Photo Source: Bella Happy Baby}

10. Put down the phone! Or tablet, or laptop. I know I’m guilty of this…always texting, surfing, tweeting, etc. Even my little guy, who’s only 10 months old, yells at me (ba!) whenever he feels like I’m being swallowed up by technology. Hard to believe, but just being present and giving your kids your complete and undivided attention can be the very best gift of all.

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