Building a Life Giving Home and Family Traditions: Movie Nights and Adult Forts!

Hi everyone!  Today I wanted to share a fun family tradition that we started a little while ago.  So this past year Ezrah has reallyyy gotten into the love of building forts.  At this point I can barely keep the pillows on our beds and couches because she is always gathering them all up and building forts with them.  So a little while ago we had this idea that we would bring our bed into the living room, build a giant fort, make a lot of junk food, watch movies all night, and have a big family sleep over! 

It turns out that it was a huge hit so we decided to do it again last night!  We had pizza for dinner and then I made a big batch of our favorite heath cookies.  Then later we had ice cream and popcorn.  Guys, I ate so much that I am still full a solid twelve hours later haha! 

*Just a quick side note:  I love really soft fudgy cookies and I thought I would share with you my tricks on how I do it.  So the first tip I have is one my mom shared with me.  Instead of using butter I use butter flavored crisco.  It's a thicker consistency and it keeps the cookies from spreading into a super thin layer.  It might sound weird but I swear by it!  The second tip I have is to bake your cookies one minute less than the lowest recommended baking time.  So for this kind of cookie it's recommend that they bake from 9 to 11 minutes so I bake them for 8.  When you take them out they are going to look very underdone but that's ok because they are going to continue to bake a little while they cool off.  In the end they turn out to be super soft and gooey, which is my personal favorite way to eat a cookie! 

So while we ate to our hearts content we decided to have a Shrek marathon, and by marathon I mean we made it through the first two before my husband and I fell asleep!  It's a special night so Ezrah is allowed to stay up as late as she wants watching movies so we let her surf around on Netflix for more movies to watch.  She ended up watching a Barbie super hero movie and after that, Tinker Bell and the Legend of the Neverbeast.  I woke up around 11:30 and she was finally fast asleep. 

This is one of my favorite family traditions because everyone gets so excited (Especially Ezrah, she had the biggest smile on her face ALL night) and we just love getting to snuggle up with each other and have a special night together as a family that looks vastly different from our everyday nightly routine.  Oh! and if you're wondering, we set up Hadessah's pack n' play right up next to our bed and she was also pretty interested in the movie before falling asleep.  I can't wait until she is old enough to pile in our bed as well!

About a month ago I was listening to a podcast with the Bethke's and Sally Clarkson (so plan on reading her book very very soon!) and they were talking about building a life giving home.  It really resonated with me because it's something that is really important to Bryan and I as a couple and as parents.  We want to build a home where our children feel loved and a home that encourages a bond.  We want to strive towards a home where our children are friends and not rivals, a place where they can trust us with anything as their parents.

I don't say this with the expectation that there won't be trials or disfunction at times (I mean, we are already going through it now) but building a solid foundation of a life giving home, I believe, is so important to our marriage and the growth of our children.

So we build our daily routines but we also build traditions that we can always look forward to, where we can eat all the junk food and stay up late into the night by each others sides.  Smiling, laughing, and dancing together during the movie credits.  So much love, so many memories.

I also wanted to share one of my favorite traditions from my childhood.

Every Christmas Eve in the Schaffner family (my maiden name) we ate clam chowder, which for some people (my husband included) is soooo weird but that's what we did, and I love that it's ours.  To this day if we are together that's what we eat.  It's the little things that can impact a lifetime.

My parents always did their best to encourage a bond in our family and although things were almost never perfect with us kids growing up I can say that today my two brother are some of the greatest friends that I have and I owe it to the foundation that our parents built for us.

Ok, so this post has honestly became way longer then what I planned haha!  But I hope it encourages you today!

What are some of your favorite family traditions?  I would love to hear them! 

Have a blessed weekend, everyone!



  1. I made an appreciation plate at a paint your own pottery place. Whenever we had dinner together, we would take turns with the plate. When you had the plate, the rest of our family each shared one thing they appreciated about you. It was special for all of us.

  2. Aww I love that so much!! I was actually thinking recently about how to incorporate thanksgiving everyday in our household. I think it's so important to always point out what we are thankful for, especially when it comes to each other!

  3. We have various traditions but one of my favorites is buying new PJ's for all of the family to wear Christmas Eve. This also results in adorable Christmas Day photos.

    1. Yes!!! Such a great idea! Christmas pj's are my favorite!