The Year of Motherhood: Themed Family Nights

April Family Night – Recap!

My April challenge was to plan a family night each week that was more than dinner and a movie.

I feel like my husband, Aaron, and I spend a good amount of quality family time with our kids, but for some reason I felt as though we needed a little boost to our nights.  I wanted to put a little pep in our step and bring them up a notch. 

Our first family night was a LUAU FAMILY NIGHT theme and it was so much fun with the kids.  I learned that on one hand it was super easy because it’s food we would have normally eaten, and I didn’t have to buy much to make the night special.  We played limbo with a broomstick I found in the backyard, and silly straws and virgin pina colada’s don’t cost too much these days!  The kids loved it.  At one point I looked at Aaron and thought, I could do this.  I could plan something like this every week and be a really “good” mom!

The next family night snuck up on me and I was not as prepared. Around 5:30pm I was still at the grocery store and texting everyone I knew in our neighborhood asking if they had a tent that we could borrow for our camping theme night.  We finally got a tent, and finally got dinner made and in the end had one of the kids favorite desserts, but it was stressful for me, and I felt like I was more concerned with feeling like we were “camping” than I was with hanging out with my kids.  Sure they ate in the tent, but I’m not sure I talked to them at all during the dinner.  I could check another family night off the calendar.

That family night left me feeling defeated.

Another night was completely unplanned and we ended up making nachos late at night with our boys while watching a movie.  Aaron looked at me and we kind of had the look that we both knew what we were both thinking.  We both knew that this was a memory night.  Completely unplanned and no theme at all, unless you call it a “How-much-gross-food-can-you-eat-in-one-night” theme!  My kids thought it was hilarious that we put a TV in their room and let them eat nachos on the floor while we watched a movie.  It was out of the box and so fun for them.  I didn’t plan this theme.  

It was just life happening and it was perfect.

Themed family nights have been fun and they’ve also been draining.

I’ve learned this month that each mom is different and I need to know my limits.  Planning themed nights is not my thing, and I can say this with all confidence…. I’m.okay.with.this.  For me, I’ll still do a theme night every once in a while, because my kids loved it.  I’ll also not stress about them, because my kids also just love it when we’re together eating nachos on the floor in their room just because.  No theme necessary.  Just because.

The Next Motherhood Challenge

My challenge for May is to encourage each of my kids daily.

To say this out loud seems very elementary, but the point of this month is to stop and really talk to my kids each day.  If you are like me, you wake up; get them to school and when you pick them up from school the whirl wind starts.  The hours between 4 and 8 pm should be the sweetest, but sometimes they are the craziest.  Baseball practice, homework, piano lessons, church stuff, dates nights, etc. etc. etc.

I want to slow down each day and spend time exhorting my children.

I want to look at them and find their strengths and encourage them in them daily.  Unfortunately this will be a challenge for me.  Instead of seeing so many areas that need improvement I’m asking God to help me see the areas they are succeeding in and encourage them there.  In Hebrews the writer tells us to “exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you maybe be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin”.  That’s what I want for my kids.  I want to be their biggest fan and encourager.

Will you join me this month in becoming your kid’s biggest fans?

Together, let’s find ways to encourage our kids every single day.  When they are driving you nuts, find something good in them that is worthy of encouragement.  Let’s cheer our kids on with encouragement this month and all the months to come!

Share with us in the comments how you take special time out each day to encourage your kids.Click here to join the discussion!


Leave a Comment



  • Kenia says:

    I somehow missed this challenge in the begining of the year. I think it is amazing! I have been thinking of doing the same but it is really hard to find the time. (I know, an excuse!) I was thinking about writing a blog series about making this summer about my boys. However, this made me think… I shouldnt wait for the summer I should do it now. Live in the moment! Thank you!

  • Jamie says:

    Yes you can do it! It was a lot of fun and a lot of work all in one! Totally worth it and totally hard! So … YES go for it!!! There are great sites full of help on family nights out there on the internet! Have fun!

  • Debbie says:

    Thanks, Jamie! I had just been talking about this very thing with a friend this week. I’m beginning the teen years (well, my kids are I mean), and it’s so easy to focus on their struggles rather than their accomplishments. Thanks for this great reminder.

    • Jamie says:

      Oh goodness Debbie I just broke out into a cold sweat talking about teenage years! Oh my you have so much to teach me! I’m glad we’re all on this motherhood journey together!

  • Great post – I also struggle with wanting to plan and do “everything,” but realizing that’s not life and all I’ll do is stress myself out and miss the moment. I love your theme for next month – I’ll be joining right in!

    • Jamie says:

      Thanks Pam …. I struggle with wanting to control all situations around me, so living in the moment can be hard. I’m bound and determined to do better at it and this next month I want my kids to be sick of me telling them how special they are and that I’m super proud of them!

  • Suzanne says:

    Thank you for this post! It is so easy to focus on what my girls are doing wrong that I completely miss all of the sweet and encouraging moments. We currently do “date nights” every Friday (on a rotation thing, that allows parent/kid one-on-one time, including a date night for me and hubs). But I don’t have to wait until Friday to encourage my kids! I just blogged the other day about being intentional with snail mail to encourage/bless someone, why can’t I do that with my kids?!? Thank you for the thoughtful post!!

    • Jamie says:

      LOVE your date nights with your hubby and your kids. I need to do more date nights with my kids! I also love to get mail, so I might just sit down and write someone a letter today!

      • Kenia says:

        I love the idea of rotating date nights on Fridays. I might just have to use that great idea in our house. Thank you!

  • Jessica says:

    Great post! I have been convicted how it really does take intentionality to slow down and really be an encourager to my kids. Mornings are all about rushing them out the door to school. I have to teach piano to make ends meet, so after school I’m preoccupied with piano students from 4:00 – 6:00 so I need to use the 6:00 – 8:00 time very wisely, because that’s all I have to give them until summer comes. I’m joining you on this challenge!

    • Jamie says:

      I think it’s all about using the time you have wisely and sometimes that means letting go of selfish desires. Oh how I’m preaching to me girl!!!!

  • Kat says:

    You are just a breathe of fresh air. I love your honesty and passion! Also, we’re so much alike. I tried themed nights for awhile…and it totally stressed me out. You’ve inspired me to pull one out again, though, just for fun – but with no commitment for more. 🙂

    Regarding encouragement, I love what Sally Clarkson says, “Are you your child’s adversary or advocate?” Some days I don’t like my answer to that question. Like you said, I want to be their biggest fans.

    Thanks for sharing your journey with us!

  • The majority of criminal attorneys spend a considerable amount of
    time representing petty criminals for exceptionally
    small fees. The stage of expertise you might be after relies on you.
    In as little as four months, students are trained in basic civil and criminal law tenets,
    case investigation, personal injury and tort law, and are given a solid understanding of the American court system.