Tag Archives: family

Fun Aunt & Uncle

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Fun Aunt & Uncle

Hello!! Johnny and I pride ourselves on being the Fun Aunt & Uncle to our two sweet nieces, Valerie and Raya. They are the absolute best and we cherish every minute with them! With all of the craziness going on in my life, it had been hard to see our nieces as often as we would like and that was my first order of business to change once things (Thankfully!) slowed down. This past Wednesday, we hosted our darling Val for a slumber party and it was a blast. Val claimed that Wednesday would be “the best day ever” and she was so right, as always!

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Val arrived fairly late into the evening on Wednesday and came prepared with all of her slumber party supplies; A sleeping bag, stuffed animals, jammies and slippers, and books to read before bed. It was like she consulted the “what to bring to a sleepover” manual and it was adorable. To kick start the party, we had her favorite meal of spaghetti and Parmesan cheese and both of our favorite dessert – ice cream sundaes! Extra sprinkles for Val, of course! While we ate, we had a viewing of Ugly Dolls, which I had never seen before and I LOVED it. It was such a fun, sweet movie with an awesome message and an all star cast. Huge shout out to Val for her selection!

Once dinner and a show was complete, it was time to play, play, play. We hung out with Melvin and Penelope, and I didn’t think anyone could be as obsessed with them as I am, but I met my match with Val! She enjoyed petting and brushing both Mel and Pen and our shy Penelope graced us by letting me pick her up so Val could hold her. They both did great! After bunny time was done, we kept the theme going by playing a rabbit themed board game: Uncle Wiggly. This was Johnny’s favorite game in his youth so it was really special to play it all together and introduce a new generation to it.

Since Val arrived late, it was time to wrap up the evening and start heading to bed after our bunny jamboree. Val and I snuggled up and watched Home while surrounded by all of our plushies. We were both fast asleep as soon as it was over! Before Val was picked up in the morning, she assisted me in caring for the bunnies and making chocolate chip pancakes. Unfortunately, she decided after one bite that she didn’t like them lol so we just had spaghetti for breakfast! She is so much like me because that is honestly my favorite thing to have in the morning too. 😀

After Val left from our slumber party, I was missing her like crazy! She is mine and Johnny’s number one best girl and we are all looking forward to many more “best days ever” with her! ❤

Did you have a favorite aunt and uncle when you were little? Do you prefer regular food or actual breakfast food in the morning? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

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Easy Ways To Help Your Child’s Social Skills

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Easy Ways To Help Your Child’s Social Skills

It is highly beneficial for your children later in life if you help your child’s social skills as early as possible. Some experts agree that it is never too early to begin teaching your kids – some evidence suggests this can begin as early as in the womb, where babies can form attachments. To help your child’s social skills blossom, you can begin with some of these ideas:

Let them Mix with Other Kids:

An isolated child will find it hard to develop the necessary skills later for mingling with others. This can mean a harder time in school, college, and even carrying on into adulthood. Letting your kids mix with other children will help give them the confidence they need to speak to others, therefore avoiding social isolation. Daycare centers like Play and Learn School offer a wide range of activities to help your children in their vital early years of social skill development.

Engage with Your Kids:

A recent study in the UK found that 10% of children struggle with learning the social skills needed for the best possible education. But simply having your children engage with others helps build confidence, teaches them social responsibilities, and develops language skills. And this is easy to do. For example, have your children converse politely when someone enters your home. Also, teach them to say please and thank you. And above all, talk to your kids often.

Help Your Child’s Social Skills with Activities:

Bonding with your kids over a shared interest is one of the greatest joys of life. But it isn’t always the case that your kids will enjoy the same things as you and forcing them to take part in activities they don’t want to will cause great distress. It helps to expose your kids to a wide range of hobbies and activities, so they can find something they enjoy. Then, you can capitalize on this since they will be more willing to engage with other kids while doing something they like.

Teach by Example:

You play a massive role in the life of your children and kids learn most of what they do from their parents. For instance, your children will speak the way you do, treat people how they see you doing it, and even swear if you speak that way. So, your responsibility as a parent goes well beyond taking care of your children. You are the prime example of their social development. Leading by example can play a key role in helping them become more socially well-rounded.

Don’t Push Them Too Hard:

As a parent, you know there is a delicate balance between trying to get your children to do something they don’t really want to do. Forcing them into a situation can cause resistance. And over time, this builds into complete refusal. It’s the same for social activities. It is a good idea to expose kids to social activities and encounters. But some children are naturally shy, and forcing them to engage will make this worse. Let them engage when they feel more comfortable.

It can be tricky to help your child’s social skills develop properly. But you can help them along by having them mix with other kids, talking to them, and being patient for them to socialize more!

Featured Image By: Pexels

Super Easy Baked Potato Dinner

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Super Easy Baked Potato Dinner

Hello! After a long stint of craziness in my life, I have finally found some extra time and energy in the evenings to cook again. It makes me so happy to be able to make dinner and mine and Johnny’s wallets have been happy because we haven’t had to DoorDash in weeks! Despite having the additional time to cook, that doesn’t mean I want to spend all evening cooking and if the meal takes longer than a half hour to make than I say forget about it lol. The same goes for if the recipe has a million ingredients because that’s a hassle and a half too!

With my time and ingredient limit in mind, I racked my brain for dinners that I could make fairly effortlessly when putting in my curbside order. I came up with several, one of them being baked potatoes. I cannot tell you the last time I have had one and as soon as I thought about it, I was craving them something fierce. This past week, I made a baked potato meal with all of the fixings for me and Johnny and my dad and brother and it turned out SO bomb. 20/10 would make again! Check it out:

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Although baked potatoes are crazy easy to make, I have never made them before. In my youth, I remember my parents just sticking the potatoes in the oven and calling it a day. I wanted to make the 2.0 version, however, and began consulting different websites to find the best way to make them. The resounding theme that I found was to coat the potatoes in olive oil and seasoning and bake it on a foil lined sheet. I did just that and coated the skins with salt, pepper, parsley, and rosemary and let them bake for about an hour at 425 degrees. Once they were close to being done, I steamed broccoli and dinner was ready to go.

The final result of my baked potato effort was a huge hit and everyone who I cooked for loved it. The oil and seasoning truly made all of the difference. The skin of the potato was so crisp and flavorful and the inside was soft and fluffy – they were the dictionary definition of “just right”. This meal required no skill or thinking, but it was the favorite thing that I have made for my captive audience in a minute. Often times, simple is best when it comes to making dinner and this is one that I would definitely make again soon!

I have been working hard at setting small goals for myself and cooking was at the top of my list. I am beyond thrilled that I am holding true to my goal and accomplishing it and the reward is everyone enjoying what I am making. That’s the best part of all! ❤

What is your favorite easy dinner to make? What is your go to baked potato toppings? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

May Flowers

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May Flowers

Hello! This past week when I got to my parents’ house after work, I found my dad in the backyard preparing his raised planters for spring flowers. It was a gorgeous day outside and it was going to rain that night, making for the perfect conditions to plant. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to bask in the sunshine and spend some quality time with my dad and even though I was dog tired, I offered my assistance which he happily accepted. We spent a glorious hour or so together creating beauty and I am so pleased with our handiwork. Check it out:

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Ever since I can remember, my dad has been an avid gardener and all spring, summer, and fall long you can catch him outside tending to the yard. During the warm months, we enjoy the bounty of his vegetable garden and the bouquets he makes weekly for my mom. Not only does he have two green thumbs, but he is also a very gifted flower arranger and his bouquets are stunning. Last year, his veggie garden went into overdrive with hauls so big we simply didn’t know what to do with everything. So, he decided flowers were the way to go this summer since all of our lives are crazy at this current juncture.

When I was younger, I loved to help in the garden and as I grew up, I tried to help as much as I could with planting and upkeep. It had been a while since I gardened and I forgot how much fun it was! Seriously, all of it was a blast from donning ridiculous gardening gloves, handling the delicate flowers, and cleaning up the dirt that got on us with the garden hose. And, of course, doing it all side by side with my dad. For the past few months, the time we have spent together is almost always driving to the Cleveland Clinic, so it was SO awesome to be able to do something with him for the joy of it.

Our garden day was the first time I had spent a considerable amount of time outside in so long. It only recently got nice out in Ohio and the previous weather had been absolute garbage. Being outside, soaking up the sun, and making something grow was just what I needed. Once we returned inside, I wanted to go back out again to plant more and I found myself thinking that I would like more house plants when I got to my apartment. I might just have a green thumb yet!

My dad has now started to plan his garden projects with my help in mind and I am more than up for the task. In fact, we will be planting flower seeds later this week. I can’t wait! 🙂

What is your favorite outdoor activity? What do you and your parents do to spend quality time together? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Happy Mother’s Day!!!!

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Happy Mother’s Day!!!!

Hello everyone and Happy Mother’s Day!!!! Today, we celebrate all of the amazing moms around the world and I like to think of this as my first Mother’s Day now that I have Melvin and Penelope lol. Hey, they are the closest thing Johnny and I will ever get to having kids! Of course, the real star of the day is my wonderful, beautiful, fantastic, strong, hilarious, and every good adjective that I can think of mom. ❤

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My mom is my ride or die, A1 bestie. I am literally obsessed with her and we are typically in constant contact throughout the day because she shares the same sentiments about yours truly. We end up missing each other as soon as I leave the room or hang up the phone! My mom is a true class act and handles every difficulty life hands her with the utmost strength, grace, and resilience. She is a fighter, warrior, and the best mom; being her daughter is an absolute gift and I feel proud of that every single minute of every day. I love her so much I can hardly stand it! ❤

I would not be the person, friend, wife, and business owner that you all know and love without my mom guiding, supporting, and cheering me on every step of the way. We are each other’s own personal cheerleaders and I always know who to go to when I have exciting news, need a kind word, or just want to chat about nothing. The bond I share with my mom is something that I am eternally grateful for and I wish I could shrink her cute little self and carry her around in my pocket all day. Lol, is that weird? 😀

My mom deserves to be celebrated every day and I cannot wait to create more memories with my partner in crime by my side. Happy Mother’s Day to all of you and I love you, mom, more than words can say!

What is something special about your mom? What is your favorite memory with your mom? MOMS!! I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

 

 

Cleveland (Clinic) Rocks!

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Cleveland (Clinic) Rocks!

Hello! In the greater Akron area, there is honestly not too much to do lol. For the people who think Ohio is basically just corn; you’re spot on! In fact, the most exciting thing that has happened was a literal dumpster fire outside of my apartment this past winter SMH. Having said that, there are tons of perks to living in my neck of the woods and that includes being about forty-five minutes away from Cleveland. Of course, I love my outings at Playhouse Square, but the most important thing is being close to some of the best medical care on planet Earth: the Cleveland Clinic.

For the past two months and change, I have essentially been living at the Cleveland Clinic as a loved one has been a long term patient. I now consider my family to be a CC staple and jokingly call ourselves the mayors of the Clinic every day. It never gets old! Although this current situation in my life isn’t great, we take immense comfort in knowing our loved one has access to treatment from the absolute best doctors, nurses, and staff.

99.99% of the people we have interacted with that are employed by the Clinic have been nothing short of amazing. This doesn’t just go for the doctors and nurses, but everyone from maintenance to housekeeping, the art and music therapists and anyone in between. My family is always greeted with smiles, chit chat, and the pleasantries that make us feel a bit more at ease in a difficult time. One of the things that I adored was this sweet surprise in my loved one’s room compliments of the housekeeping staff and I got to take it home in honor of Mel and Pen:

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^^^ Seriously, how cute is that?!

Saying that we are eternally grateful to the Cleveland Clinic is the most severe understatement of the century. They have done more for my family than words can say and have been with us through each hardship as if they were our family too. My life has been turned upside down and on its head this past year, but being around the CC staff who I now interact with as old friends makes things a little easier. We are in awe of everyone’s expertise and will never forget everything that they have done around the clock to help our loved one. They are all angels on Earth and as much as I enjoy their company, I’ll be happy when I never have to see them again lol. 🙂

Life has been rough for Lil Red for a while now, but I can’t think of a better place for my loved one to be than the Cleveland Clinic. Like the Olive Garden, when you’re at the CC, you’re family too!

What is a great thing about where you live? What is something that you can only find in your neck of the woods? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Best Girls Girl Time

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Best Girls Girl Time

Hello!! My nieces, Valerie and Raya, are two of the best things that have ever happened to me. They have been my little besties since day one and I love watching them grow, even though I’d prefer for them to stay little forever! Last Tuesday, I finally got to spend some quality time at my sister’s house for the ultimate girl’s night in. We play, play, played, danced, and ran around the house like crazy people! The best part, though, was playing dress up with my Val Gal:

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Valerie is so much like me and it never fails to warm my cold, bitter heart. She is so funny, sassy, and kind and I love her creativity. Val has taken to her dance classes like a fish to water and is eager for her TT to teach her how to ice skate. Like her ol’ T, she also has a passion for fashion. Val selects her own outfits every day and I am always excited to see what she comes up with. Future OOTD blogger in the making? I think YES!

On Tuesday, Val wanted to get fancy and I was so there for it. She proudly showed me her jewelry box filled with her Disney Princess nail polish, necklaces, bracelets, hair accessories, and random artifacts and TT got to work. First, we played nail salon and Val selected her favorite colors of polish and the pattern she wanted for her nails and toes. Like me, she insisted on nail touch ups if they smudged while drying. I was so proud. ❤

Once her nails were to her liking, she let me do her hair and I was thrilled about that because she never lets me put her hair up. I have wanted to do space buns for her for forever and they turned out as adorable as I pictured them! After her nails and hair were on fleek, it was time to accessorize and, in this case, more was more. Val put on every single bracelet she owns and I helped her clasp all of her necklaces. The look was completed with a butterfly clip and a bow in her hair and my girl was ready to work it!

I like to think of this day as when Val learned the power of the confidence boost you can get when you are wearing something that makes you happy. By the time her OOTD was done, she was not merely walking but strutting! We worked on our runway walks and poses and my heart melted when she summoned her parents to check out our handiwork by saying “Mommy, daddy! Look at me! I’m so fancy!” Haha, that’s my girl. 😀

While Val and I played dress up, my mind went into a montage of us shopping, getting our nails done, and having girl time. It made me so happy and proud and these are seriously the moments that I live for. Val is most excited for our next slumber party because we plan on playing dress up again in TT and Uncle Johnny’s closet. I think she is going to lose her mind seeing all of our scarves, hats, and jewelry at her disposal! I can’t wait. ❤

What was your favorite thing to play when you were little? What makes you feel “so fancy”? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Better Design Your Family Home With These Tips

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Better Design Your Family Home With These Tips

When it comes to designing a family home, you want to get it just right! There will be many different things that you need to take into consideration, one of them being the safety of your kids. You shouldn’t buy things for your home that are risky to them like breakable vases or sharp corners. If you are looking to design the perfect home for your family, this post will help get you started:

Add Plenty Of Textiles:

A family home won’t feel like home unless you add in some textiles. You should think about including curtains, cushions, and throws in most rooms in a range of materials so you can create a warm and inviting space. Steer clear of natural materials as these can soak up stains and that’s not what you want with children in the house. Try not to add expensive rugs or sentimental soft furnishing in the main rooms where the kids are because no matter how hard you try, something will always get spilled!

Think About The Maintenance:

One of the best ways you can look after your family home is to think about the maintenance that will be needed when you are designing it. For example, if you are adding an AC system, you need to remember that you will need to add AC maintenance to your yearly list of tasks to get done in order to look after your home. The same applies to things such as your outdoor space. Always think about what it will take to look after the features you are adding to your home before you commit to them.

The Ideal Furniture:

Finding furniture for your family home can be difficult. You want it to look great, however, you don’t really want to spend too much on it. As your family gets older, you will be able to upgrade and buy more expensive pieces, but there is no point while the kids are young. The same applies if you also have pets. Try to avoid any jagged edges and lighter colors. Young children are prone to walking into sharp edges and making a mess on light-colored furniture.

Using Non-Slip Mats:

If you have hard floors around your home, then you should really think about adding some non-slip mats. They will help to prevent slipping from your children. They run around a lot so you need to make sure you add some protection for them. If not, hard floors can spell disaster and they could seriously injure themselves. Make sure to try to cover as much of the floor as possible, non-slip mats aren’t overly expensive and they will make sure your kids are kept safe.

Bring In The Sunlight:

You really want to bring in as much sunlight as possible to your home. If you blackout your windows or dress them wrong you could be creating a dark home. Ideally, you want to create a bright and airy space to enjoy. It will not only create a more positive environment but will boost everyone’s moods. With energy prices continuously going up at the moment, letting in natural sunlight will also help to heat up your home. If you struggle to get more light into your home, think about adding blinds where you can control both the privacy and the light coming in. You could also think about changing the type of bulbs you are using so you can get the vitamin D that you need.

Creating More Privacy:

Your home is supposed to be the most private place that you can be. This means that you definitely don’t want anyone to be able to walk past and see inside. Think about adding some trees to your front garden, or even a fence or trellis. You are only going to feel comfortable in your home if it is private so make sure you put the steps in place to ensure that you get the privacy that you and your family need. If you are thinking about planting trees, make sure you use semi-mature trees so you don’t have to wait years for them to give you the privacy that you are looking for. Consider the point above, about letting in more sunlight to your home. You need to ensure that the trees or fences that you are putting in aren’t preventing the natural light from entering your home. It’s about the right balance.

When designing a family home, it is all about the steps you can take to keep your kids safe, cut costs, and keep upkeep and maintenance low key. These tips will all help steer you in the right direction!

Featured Image By: Paige Cody on Unsplash

Summertime Activity Goals

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Summertime Activity Goals

Hello! The weather in the good ol’ AK-Rowdy has been friggen abysmal and my life is in shambles lol and, for once, I find myself wishing for an extra dose of Vitamin D. Shocking, I know, since we all know that Johnny and I all but melt in the sun! Although the days are gloomy, it helps perk me up to think of activities that I would love to do this summer. I might not get to do everything I have in mind, but I know I can easily do at least a few of the following:

Hit the pool:

One of the best things about living in Timber Top, despite numerous fiascos this past year, is the outdoor pool! We actually have a really nice pool with a deep area, a children’s area, waterfall, and upper deck mini pool that I genuinely don’t understand why it’s not a hot tub! I always say that once the pool opens, I will go spend an hour or two swimming or lounging after work and I’m usually too tired by the time I get home to commit. This is not going to slide this summer, however, because this is one of the easiest things on my list; the pool is only a two minute drive away!

Botanical gardens:

I would absolutely love to go to the botanical gardens in Cleveland or Mansfield with Johnny as a date day. I have never been to the one in Cleveland, but I adored a family trip to the Kingwood Center Gardens in Mansfield with my family a few years ago. It was so much fun to explore the grounds and bask in the glory of the flowers and landscaping. And, we all know that botanical gardens make a perfect backdrop for OOTDs! This summer, I think the one in Cleveland will be the move and maybe Johnny and I could have dinner at Pepper’s, my favorite restaurant afterwards. 🙂

Play, play, play:

My sweet niece, Val Gal, is a constantly on the move four year old and she keeps me young! I cannot wait for warm days spent in my parents’ beautiful backyard running around with Val, blowing bubbles, drawing with chalk, and searching for bunnies. Speaking of bunnies, I very much would like to get a playpen with a cover on top so Melvin and Penelope can experience being on the grass. I know Val would get a huge kick out of that and it would be a great learning experience for her. This past week, she proudly showed me a book about caring for bunnies that she got from the library because she desperately wants one of her own. My angel! ❤

Outdoor events:

There are always so many awesome events happening in my general vicinity that I always say that I want to go to, check “interested in” on Facebook, and never attend. This summer, I would like to go to at least one or two, whether it be a farmer’s market, food truck festival, or outdoor concerts and classes. Johnny and I have already been talking about going to a few baseball games for Akron’s minor league team, the RubberDucks (dumb name, I know!), and I can practically taste the Dippin’ Dots as I type this! 😀

Watercolor painting:

It has been a while since I painted watercolor due to lack of time and I miss it terribly! Like going to the pool, this is also a no excuse activity that I know I can accomplish. I would like to set up my supplies in my parents’ backyard and paint the many gorgeous flowers my dad tends to. I can picture sitting on the deck right now, painting, and sipping iced tea with my mom and it would, truly, be the best afternoon ever. ❤

Weekend trip:

A weekend trip might be a bit difficult due to the current craziness in my life, but it needs to be added to this list anyway because it’s something Johnny and I want to do so badly! I would really like to get a cabin in Hocking Hills for a long weekend to hike, relax, and soak in a hot tub. It would be so nice to have a little getaway together, as we haven’t even been on our honeymoon! Although Hocking Hills isn’t Europe, it’s still as good a place as any to start our travels together.

I have grand plans for this summer, and I hope to accomplish at least a few of the activities on this list. It will take a bit of motivation on my part to shake off my general exhaustion, but I know that having fun is sometimes the best medicine of all!

What are your summertime activity goals? What is your favorite warm weather activity? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

5 Ways To Treat Your Dad This Father’s Day

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5 Ways To Treat Your Dad This Father’s Day

Switch up Father’s Day this year by creating an unforgettable day geared specifically toward your dad’s preferences, likes, and wants. From exclusive experiences and thoughtful gifts to delicious meals and heartwarming moments – here are five ideas to ensure it stands the test of time:

Take Him On An Adventure:

How about organizing a day trip to one of your nearest national parks for a leisurely hike and picnic lunch? Alternatively, you could book him an adrenaline-inducing activity such as skydiving or bungee jumping for him to experience! Indulging in activities that excite him, and treating him to a day all about his favorite hobbies, will help create a memorable experience he’ll never forget.

Get Him Something Unique:

Father’s Day is an opportunity to show your father just how much you value him, and one way is by getting him something unique. From jewelry and watches to tech gadgets and lifestyle accessories like a drone, there’s sure to be an item or two out there that would bring a smile and add excitement to his everyday life! Giving something you think your dad wouldn’t buy for himself will always be an awesome Father’s Day surprise. You could even try to find a Rolex for sale that he has been ogling since forever!

Plan A Special Meal:

Enjoying a wonderful meal together is one of the easiest yet most meaningful ways you can show your dad just how much he means to you. Try planning breakfast-in-bed, dinner at his favorite spot, or even something truly original, like making him something yourself that honors his heritage or favorite cuisine. Spending time enjoying meals together will bring great pleasure on all sides!

Spend Quality Time Together:

Sometimes the greatest gifts don’t come wrapped up neatly – show your father just how much he means to you by setting aside quality time just between the two of you. Plan an afternoon of golf together or invite him over for homemade treats and old classic family movies at your place; whatever it may be, both of you can relax while reconnecting.

Write Him A Letter:

Father’s Day provides the ideal opportunity to show your dad how much he means to you by writing him an emotional, heartfelt letter. Express how proud of him you are; recall fond memories together and express how important he is to you; even include photos as an extra special gesture! Your letter can become something lasting which will always remind him how special the love you share is! A thoughtful letter makes an everlasting keepsake that can be looked back upon with fondness for years afterward.

No matter how you spend Father’s Day, enjoy yourselves! Whether you’re out for an adventure or a low key day, the time spent together is the most important thing!

Featured Image By: Pexels