Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

June 8, 2011

Around Here

05 | 31 | 2011 Evening Toes

AROUND HERE we’ve decided to have a no-TV summer. With the exception of maybe a movie night once a week/every couple of weeks, the TV is going to be off for the duration. Swimming, bikes, toys, running, playing outside, hanging out in the yard, reading books, making up things to play, playing together, more swimming – that’s what I want our summer to be about. Most recently the TV has just been creating grouchy kids and I’m done with that…they might be grouchy for other reasons but it won’t be because they can’t watch another round of stuff on TV.

AROUND HERE I’m feeling really thankful to whoever it was that recently recommend The Family Dinner: Great Ways To Connect With Your Kids, One Meal At A Time. I cracked it open tonight and was inspired from the first few pages. I think it helps that this is really the mind-set I’m in right now (see TV comments above). We eat at the table together most nights (at least the kids and I do – it’s been crazy the last six months for Chris while the legislature is in session) but I’ve been feeling worn down about the process lately and really just needed some inspiration to help me refocus on all the benefits that come from entering the kitchen with a positive attitude, having a plan & sticking to it, involving the kids in the process, and creating these really lovely daily rituals that I hope will have ripple effects throughout their lives. I haven’t cooked any of the meals yet and I haven’t read the whole thing (there’s lots of content beyond the recipes – antidotes, quotes, and other inspiration), but from what I’ve seen so far and the inspiration I got from just browsing through, I can’t wait to really dive in and implement some of the ideas. The Family Dinner also has a blog with recent posts (including recipes and table talk suggestions) here.

06 | 07 | 2011

AROUND HERE Anna’s big girl bed (a twin mattress set) was delivered yesterday and she spent the night in it last night. She’d been napping in a big girl bed at Kim’s house and slept on a twin mattress at my parents last weekend. She was so excited to come home and find her new bed in place and all ready for her to climb into (and jump on a couple times of course). I went in to check on her before I went to bed around midnight and as I was re-arranging her so that her legs pointed toward the end of the bed she sat straight up in that wonderful-mid-sleep-state and said, “I got a big girl bed.” Then she laid back down, snuggled right in, and went back to sleep.

AROUND HERE all she wants to wear is pink or purple and often both at the same time.

AROUND HERE the Harry Potter Knight Bus lego just arrived and Simon is loving driving it all around. He was playing with it on our back patio and when I told him to come inside he went through a whole routine of getting the guys ready to go just like in the movie, including saying where in our house he was headed. When he was putting it together he asked me how it was going to squish together like it does in the film.

AROUND HERE he has just a few more days of third grade. Seriously.

AROUND HERE the legislature just a few more weeks (hopefully) in the 2011 session.

In Progress

AROUND HERE I’ve got lots of projects in progress (such is the creative life). My office is full of stuff I’m in the middle of: a class using my Italy photos from last year, compiling content from Yesterday & Today into an eBook, One Little Word prompts for upcoming months, Designer Digitals product ideas, a layout using the June Studio AE stamps, etc. My mind is full of things I want to do in the garden and around the house: painting, weeding, re-arranging.

AROUND HERE I’m excited about the Your Story Retreat next weekend. I’m looking forward to a new experience.

AROUND HERE my heart is happy for summer.


  • 1.
    dawn said…

    This all sounds wonderful to me. How precious is sweet Anna on her new big girl bed, love all the crisp white on it. Love her pink/purple outfit. I think it’s great about the no tv for the summer, it’s much more fun to go play and enjoy the outdoors, good for you. There will be less tv in our house too. Thanks for the idea/link about the family dinners, that’s also on my list to do with the kids. We are going to plan days where each kid will get to be my jr. chef and help me in the kitchen for the day and plan one of the meals too. They are excited about this and so am I. Thank you for sharing your sweet little family and ideas with us. Happy Summer to you and your little ones. I’m so excited that today is our first day of vacation.

  • 2.
    Tanya W said…

    I think it was in yesterdays post and you had a photo of Anna by her cot and thought mmm she must be getting ready for a big girls bed soon, and sure enough she is and what a big girl she is becoming :)

  • 3.
    Tami said…

    We have no tv period. One of the best parenting decisions we have made

    • ….
      dawn said…

      Tami, that’s awesome!!

    • ….
      pidge said…

      My parents got rid of the TV when I was twelve … and after the first week I didn’t even care. It opened up a whole other world {the real world} of creative things to DO. When parents ask me about why my sisters and I are so creative, I always say, “We got rid of the TV!” :)

    • ….
      dawn said…

      pidge, I love this story. Good for your parents to know even then to pitch the tv. That’s great, glad you have kept with the idea. It’s funny my sisters and I grew up with the tv on but as I get older the less tv the better for me. Where as my one sister tapes every show and watches every rerun of older shows and spends all her time off/vacations sitting in front of the tv. My other sister watches it sometimes but loves loves to rent movies a lot and watch them all weekend with her kids. Funny how we all turned out different regarding the tv.

  • 4.
    Tina said…

    We don’t have a tv either and so far I am glad we have made that choice. Love all of Anna’s ruffly little clothes! Have you seen the blog – ? You might like that too.

    • ….
      dawn said…

      Tina, I have checked out this blog a few times and love it. Thanks for reminding me about it as it’s been a few months since I last checked it out. Good for your no tv also.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      I have their cookbook too and really like it.

  • 5.
    dawn said…

    Ali, I forgot to mention that my kids are signed up at our two local library’s for the summer reading program. The read a certain amount of pages and keep track in a little book. We then go every week to get new books and have our book stamped up to that point they’ve done and earn prizes for every 10 hours of reading. My girls are also signed up to do the reading with buddies at the library too and we signed up for their free craft class for them and for Sam their is a lego class and a Pokemon class. All of these are free and it’s something the kids can enjoy and learn from. So maybe check out your library for a reading program, would be great for Simon to keep motivated over the summer.

    p.s. about your no tv and less fighting about it. My kids don’t fight too much about it but my son will breakdown if they change the show he thought was on isn’t. or if none of his shows are on he will be upset for hours so that’s why having a no tv rule would be great. I am happy that my Army Wives has their season finale this Sunday then no more tv for me this summer. I only watch 4 shows a week as it is, so I could easily throw the tv out and not worry about it. Also there are no-tv book ideas at our library we check out during the national no tv week in April every year that has a lot of good ideas to play and craft and keep little ones busy. Hope these ideas help.

  • 6.
    Lisa W. said…

    I JUST WANT to sit and read this blog ALL day. I’m sneaking a quick peak at work and I LOVE LOVE love this!!!!! Thanks Alli, and Anna what a big girl……..oh just love. Thank you for this wonderful inspiring yummy post:)

  • 7.
    nfoz said…

    Congrats on no TV, loved summer reading programs at the library when my kids were little and I’m SO EXCITED to hear about a Yesterday & Today ebook. Will it be like the BPC class? I was hoping it would someday turn into a self paced class at BPC, but and ebook would work too :) Can’t wait to hear more.

  • 8.
    Elena said…

    Sure hope your “let my love open the door” gets made into a brush! I was just listening to that song the other day :)

  • 9.
    Liz said…

    we love the summer reading program too here in our town…and no TV is usually a big hit around here…only movie night once a week…i do not like TV at all!!
    i love how you started with “around here”

  • 10.
    Jessica said…

    love this! we too are doing a no TV summer…..just think of all the wonderful (& creative) memories your children will have of their summer :)

  • 11.
    Sara Mangan said…

    We are starting the summer with no tv or computer for 1 week. My goal is to get to them in the habit of finding other things to do. I think kids thrive without TV. My goal is after one week of no TV they will be in the habit of finding other things to do.

    Love this post Ali. Sums up what I want for our family this summer too.

  • 12.

    love this. i have to say, i wish i could have a no TV summer, but i don’t think it’s possible w/ J gone. i need that one show per morning and one per night to keep the bigs busy while i tend to the littles! maybe we’ll do this next summer (although he’ll probably be gone again!). have a beautiful, beautiful summer!

    • ….
      Ali said…

      I totally get that Stephanie – totally.

  • 13.
    Jenni Hufford said…

    i love this ali!! i think a no-tv summer sounds amazing- only good things can come of it. We got rid of cable a few years ago and i am SO glad. Sometimes i feel like i “miss out” on fun shows my friends are watching but in the end it doesn’t really add anything to my life– except more time with my husband and family. (and PS love Anna’s bed!)

  • 14.
    JosieK said…

    We have limited the tv watching at our house for the Summer as well. Only 2 shows they’re allowed to watch with a movie thrown in every weekend. And because of where we live, we don’t have a lot of outdoor places for the hooligans to run around outside..which means more trips to the park, friend’s houses etc..but ultimately, I’ve seen my hooligans playing together better and using much more imagination and it’s thoroughly entertaining! Even with the older one teaching the younger one how to read..Have a great Summer Edwards Family! oxo

  • 15.

    I think no t.v. is a great rule!
    my girls barely EVER watch t.v. maybe
    once a week and it’s usually me turning on a
    Disney show and asking them to come watch with me!
    BUT, they ARE on the computer (youtube in particular watching American Girl doll videos and making their own) so they maybe need to limit their computer time, but sometimes I have a hard time making them do that because I think editing photos and making videos is such a creative outlet! how do I limit that? I think I need this book though! tHANKS FOR SHARING
    love the photo of Anna on the bed, she’s a DOLL!

  • 16.
    Debbie S. said…

    Love the photo of Anna lining up her guys on the tub…my 6 yo still does that some nights. Getting pruny. :)

    Good job on the no-TV summer. We always do the library summer reading program, too. Trying to prevent that summer backslide. I also get my littles into Jump Start just to keep their minds oiled. :)

    Here’s to a super fun summer!

  • 17.
    Sara said…

    Great post. Love the same journaling prompt idea. So much tumbles out when I use this technique. Can’t wait to hear more about the class involving Italy photos!

  • 18.
    Ruth said…

    I love the idea of a no TV summer, but my DH would hate it! I am very strict, though, on how much time DS is allowed to have in front of it.
    Thanks for the info about the family cookbook ~ I’m always looking for inspiration re the evening meal. DS and I always eat together and DH is beginning to join us if he’s home. DS loves us being together.

  • 19.
    Dawaila said…

    The family meals have been a struggle since the kids got older(now 20 & 13) but I plan a weekly menu on Sunday before going to the store every body plans one dinner and they are in charge of making it. My 13 year old has a cooking class at school and has become quite adventuress with her meals. Its fun for them and less mundane for me!!

  • 20.
    Tanya said…

    We just moved cross country and did not bring a tv with us. The kids are happier overall. We had the same whining here regarding wii games and tv shows with our son. Wish we could stick to not owning a tv, but that may be a little too drastic for us. Check out your local movie theater for $1 movies during the summer for the kids. Our theater runs older G / PG movies twice a week for the kids. It’s a great, cheap event for some fancy screen time!

  • 21.
    Abbie said…

    Several years ago we decided to go “no TV” just to see what it was like. We LOVED it and have never looked back. Currently, we do have a TV set, which my husband turns on every once in a while to watch sports. We also use Netflix/Redbox for movies.
    The impact of no TV on my kids’ day to day life has been a wonderful experience for our family. (I know it’s not for everyone, though.)
    My children asked about our decision (why no TV?) for about a week…and in the years since that time they have NEVER EVER asked for TV here at home again. They are 7 and 9 now and really don’t know the difference.
    They do enjoy TV when we’re at a hotel or visiting grandparents.
    Anyway, I hope that your family has a good experience this summer as you investigate what it’s like to remove tv for a season.
    I’d love it if you’d post your observations towards the end of the summer.
    Good luck, and have a great summer!

    Adorable purple tutu, btw. :-)

    • ….
      Kenelm said…

      Brllcianie for free; your parents must be a sweetheart and a certified genius.

    • ….

      This is a most useful contribution to the debate

  • 22.
    young said…

    Great post! We’ve moved our TV to the garage (a converted living space), so you REALLY have to want to watch. :)

  • 23.
    Carol Anne said…

    Early on last summer, my kids were horrible! So I decided they would get to experience my life as a child — in 1969. No computers, 4 TV channels (none of them of any interest to them), no CDs, and LOTS of chores. After the initial meltdowns, they were so much happier. At the end of the summer, they both told me that they actually enjoyed it. Maybe not the chores part so much, but they did what they were expected to do, then went outside to make their own fun instead of sitting in front of a TV or computer.

  • 24.
    Erin said…

    We have 3 girls (ages 10, 8, and 5) and we got rid of tv completely over a year ago. We homeschool and I was finding it to be a temptation for them during the day. I thought it would be difficult for them, but it wasn’t a big deal at all. It has been one of the best things we have done as parents. Something we have always done after dinner is High/Low. One person starts and says the High of the day and their Low of the day. Then they pick the next person. Once everyone has gone, we sometimes go back and talk more in depth about certain ones. It is a great way to connect as a family and opens up opportunities for encouragement, praise, teachable moments, etc. Hope you have a great tv-free summer.

  • 25.
    Debbie P said…

    This is awesome! I have one day a week with no computer. It would be more but I am attending online college :) but its nice to put away the technology and enjoy the family around us!!

  • 26.
    Anne-Marie Cox said…

    A big girl bed???? Surely not???? She was only born just a few short months ago wasn’t she? I am loving the “around here” prompts… thanks for sharing your life and cleverness with us. ;)

  • 27.
    Marianne said…

    Love the no TV rule. I also love Anna’s new comforter. I’ve been looking for a white one with little flowers for my little girls room. I stumbled upon a duvet at Target but it wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for. I was curious where you found yours. Thanks!

    • ….
      Ali said…

      It’s from Target – the Dwell Studio one. The white is actually the “underside” and the other is blue with flowers.

    • ….
      Marianne said…

      Thanks for the reply! That is the exact one I found at Target and liked the blue but loved the underside more. What you did is exactly what I was thinking of doing and hoping I’d like it. Glad to see it worked for you!

  • 28.
    marisa said…

    Thanks for posting about that book. We are currently working with a ABA therapist to help with mealtime routines and this book might come in handy. Pulling our intensely focused child off of the computer at mealtimes without a meltdown is our goal :) We recently cut waaay back on TV because of the transition issues we were having. Crossing our fingers this helps!

  • 29.
    Cynthia said…

    My Husband and I got rid of cable this summer as well. We want to be outside as much as possible!!!! Reading books,going for bike rides walks!!!! etc. Summer for sure needs to be lived:)

    So, excited for yesterday and today being a e-book! loved that workshop and can’t wait to revisit it!!!!

  • 30.
    carol in seattle :) said…

    Hooray for Family Dinner! My husband travels a LOT (last year was 40 weeks gone) and it *IS* hard to do the family dinner every single night without feeling a little put out from time to time. I’ve found that when I approached dinner a little differently, it became the best part of the day.

    We play the question game during dinner. Each person asks a question and each person answers every question. The only rule? It has to be an open ended question – no yes or no answers allowed. Sometimes the questions are easy (what is your favorite color/food/movie/toy) and sometimes more intense (how do you feel about rainy days/friends moving/end of school), but it’s been a wonderful way to learn more about my kids and to have them learn more about me too.

    Good luck Ali!

  • 31.
    Rachel said…

    yay! So glad you are enjoying the Family Dinner book! I’ve been loving mine too…need to dig into it a bit more and implement some of the stuff! :) Anna reminds me of Arden with her girly pink and purple ruffles! so cute!

  • 32.
    madeline St onge said…

    Love these posts Ali, I hope you and your family have a wonderful summer. Go you for making it TV free.
    I love Anna’s big girl bed, and there is nothing wrong with pink and purple, together or alone, they are princess colors and she is a princess.

  • 33.
    Pam Abbott said…

    Ali – Love, love, love that you are taking the reigns on controlling the TV. Such a huge undertaking, one that I’ve thought about, but have never been able to commit. I also love that you are looking at the family dinner book. I need to put that one on my list. And I love that Miss Anna has a big girl bed. We have an almost 3 year old and she has been in hers for a couple of months now and absolutely loves it. The pink walls are beautiful with the white bed linens. What color is that?

    Good luck to you in your adventure without TV!

  • 34.
    Tona said…

    The end of 3rd grade & a big girl bed. They grow up so fast, don’t they?

  • 35.
    france said…

    during summer break between 5th and 6th grade my mom took the television cords, put them in her handbag and took them to work. She had enough of the fighting over the clicker…and we didn’t even have cable so we were fighting over maybe ten channels:) She did it almost every summer thereafter and we never cared. These days I actually like tv…but the peace I feel when I shut it off reminds me of suumertime.

  • 36.
    Nancy said…

    Don’t you just love the change in routines that summer brings? Lovely post and it sounds like you have a great summer ahead of you!

    Anna and her big girl bed reminds me of when my daughter made that transition years and years ago. Makes me kind of misty!!

    Thanks for sharing.

  • 37.
    Kathleen O'Brien Meyer said…

    I love reading your blog. Anna is just more adorable each time I see her and I read Simon’s stories with nostalgic fondness for my son’s childhood days. He was a huge Lego fan also! He is now a 16 year old learning how to drive, has a girl friend of 1 and 1/2 years, who I must remind to: shave, put on more deodorant after gym, shlep to lacrosse practice. He is a great kid, but I do miss the simpler days when I ran the schedule and he wanted to marry me, before he decided he wanted to marry his cousin Emma, who just graduated from high school last night! I revisit those days in my memories when I page through my scrapbooks. Time really does fly. I wish all mother’s of young children joy in your time with these angels this summer!

  • 38.
    Rae said…

    I think as the weather warms, we’ll be leaning toward this- we’re already cutting drastically back, as we’ve noticed the same trend of grumpiness associated with the TV. Thank you for the book reccomendation- I put it on hold before I finished reading the post!

  • 39.
    Ann S said…

    Love the big girl bed story. My niece was so excited when she moved into hers that she ended up being in the local newspaper in Vermont. She accompanied her parents to Town Meeting and when the moderator asked, at the end of the meeting, if there was any other important news that needed to be brought up, my niece piped right up and announced that she was in a big girl bed. The photographer covering the event got a great photo of her!!!

  • 40.
    Tere said…

    Along the lines of no TV, I just read this today. I think it says something for all children. And definitely has me thinking about exposure to all things “electronic”. Thanks Ali.

  • 41.
    Newfie Princess said…

    Loving your posts and watching your children grow. Brings back wonderful memories of my girl who is a woman now. We haven’t watched tv for about 4 years except for a movie now and then (especially during the winter). We don’t miss it. We gradually turned it on less and less and think more for ourselves. However, when with friends we notice that everyone talks about tv or uses a tv show as an example to explain what they are talking about which meets with blank looks from us. They cannot believe that we don’t watch tv and often the conversation stalls because they have nothing else to talk about. Its sad really to watch people who just work, come home, eat in front of tv and go to bed. The same thing the next day adding talking about what they saw on tv the night before. To each their own of course. We have found that we have more time to enjoy each other, hobbies, reading, family and something else we had when we were kids – nothing to do – time slows down – to daydream, watch the clouds, journal, and nap. With little ones it might be easier to just put it in a box and store it away. Out of sight, out of mind, no whine ;)

  • 42.
    susan garner said…

    Its not the kids worried about no tv I would have to say it would be me worring. No CNN,Reality shows. Deadliest catch. I think I would be the one needing help. LOL.

  • 43.
    Phaedra said…

    Loving the pink & purple outfit! LOVE! my daughter is (almost) 6 and still very much in love with those colors & lots of frou. Seeing it on Anna is so precious. Especially in combination with the new bed. what a milestone.

    I’m also loving the ‘no TV summer’. Good for you guys! I grew up in a non-TV & then ‘very little-TV’ household and I don’t remember once ever saying ‘I’m bored’ (and I’m still never bored! old habits.I do thank my parents every single day of my life for that decision!)

    and because you seem to be reading my mind the past couple of weeks, I, too, am reading Family Dinner and LOVING all the inspiration. I know how to cook & have plenty of recipes, but that book was just the jumpstart I needed to enhance our dinner hour. I saw someone else posted about Dinner, a love story blog- check it out- they’re great, too.

    and after I say all that- can’t wait to see all the creative things you’ve got going on. Your work is always an inspirational jumping off point for me-
    Thanks Ali for sharing such wonderful moments

  • 44.

    So true.. plans with no tv.. let it go.. have movies at times..
    tv shows and news.. forget them.

    have a great summer.. cook some meals.. have fun as flow..

    What a happy girl with a big girl bed.

    Thank for sharing.

  • 45.
    Wendy said…

    LOVE Anna’s new BIG GIRL BED!!! Yippeee!!!
    LOVE that you are turning off the TV – kids need to learn to play and use their imaginations, go outside and play, ride bikes, build forts and explore. Big kuddos!!! Have a great summer!

  • 46.
    melanie said…

    thanks for the book recommendation! just added it to my hold list at the library. :)

  • 47.
    Michele H. said…

    i just love your “around here” posts. such a great way to capture the here & now.

    loving the idea of a no tv-summer but I was wondering does this include no Wii time and/or computer for the kids? Now that we’re winding down the school year i noticed that my girls’ want to play the wii or get on the computer more than normal (there not real big tv watchers with the exception of a few shows that we dvr for them). I was just curious how you’re handling that.

    Thanks for another wonderful post!

    • ….
      Ali said…

      No wii – and very little time on the computer (no movies…only a math site or

  • 48.
    jennifer said…

    We gave up TV the summer before last and it was awesome! No loafing around on the couch all night and there was a lot of book reading that summer……..people will think you’re nuts (as they did us) but it was great. Since that summer, we only have local TV (thank goodness for PBS) and Netflix for movies and we’re still making it work. Enjoy…

  • 49.
    jennifer said…

    Congrats on the big-girl bed! :)

  • 50.
    Tammy B said…

    We eat dinner together almost every night. I guess it helps that my kids don’t have any activities after school or in the evenings. Sometimes it’s just a free for all meal but we still sit down at the table. I should be happy about that because I have two teenagers that would rather be somewhere else but I appreciate the time to talk about things like school, etc. with them. And how I wish we could cut out the tv for the summer! We will be on holidays for the first two weeks of July and I know my kids will be in withdrawal but it’s good for them to step away from the electronics since they are bombarded with them at every turn!

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