Box of Memories

Perfect sentimental gift for the parent, grandparent, and loved one. Fill a chest with memories and enjoy the experience of reminiscing together. Check out how to involve your kids. | the House of Hendrix #fathersday

Certain people in my life are hard to buy a gift for. They have meant so much to me, that simply spending money on them does not feel like a meaningful expression of my gratitude for their presence in my life. Father’s Day is one of those occasions.

In case you are still searching for that something special for your husband, father, or grandpa, I wanted to share an idea I used on my dad’s birthday.

A Box of Memories

My father was turning 65 so I filled a box with 65 of my favorite memories with him. Any amount would obviously work for Father’s Day. The first 5 are the hardest to think up, but after that I found it hard to stop.

I printed them on the white side of scrapbook paper so the color would add a cute pop.This gift will absolutely delight the recipient. Great tutorial on creating a box of memories for a loved one. |the House of Hendrix #fathersday

I cut them out and put them in a small chest I found at TJ Maxx. Great tutorial for creating a box of memories.  Such a thoughtful gift for a parent or grandparent| The House of Hendrix #fathersday

This best part of this gift is the experience of reading each memory out loud together. You laugh and cry as you delve deeper into each story.

This gift brings people together and is relationship-based.

The chest can be set on an end table for decor, but each time it’s opened, it brings a smile to one’s face.

Kid’s Corner

Adapt this idea by having your children decorate a wood or plastic box and fill it with their “Favorite Things” about that person. This is sure to melt the heart of the recipient.Incredibly thoughtful gift for a parent or grandparent! Have your child decorate a box and fill it with memories and their favorite things about the person. |the House of HendrixOther fun stuff:

  • Create a fully customized (and adorable) personal planner here
  • Check out my latest sock obsession (and perfect gift) here
  • Great Father’s Day photos, here
  • What to send your child at sleep away camp, here

14 more ways to make kids feel Special on their Birthday

Birthdays are a day I delight in making my children feel special!

The House of Hendrix blog just celebrated its 1st Birthday. Our most popular post over the past year was surprisingly not the post on Girlfriends, but rather 20 Ways to Fill Your Child’s Love Tank of their Birthday This tells me that there is a universal desire to make our children feel loved.

So today I am sharing more ideas…Part 2 so to speak.Need some fun and fresh ideas to make your child's birthday memorable? These will not disappoint.

14 More ways to fill your child’s Love Tank on their Birthday.

(Disclaimer: I do not do big birthday parties with extensive decorations, party favors, and games….anymore.  My focus had become about making the party guests feel welcome and comfortable, more than my child.  So I now use the time and energy I would have spent on party planning, and create a day that will delight my children doing wacky and memorable stuff that I hope fills their love tank….but I desperately miss and fully appreciate the creative detail of a good party. So please keep inviting us to yours!)1.

1. Decorate the inside of the Car

Remember in the first post when we decorated the outside of the car with window markers saying “HONK, It’s my Birthday”?  Well, lately we’re focusing instead on the inside. Simply throwing a few Hawaiian leis over the head rests adds a festive touch. This is such a simple way to bring a smile to your child’s face…particularly in carline when surrounded by their friends.Surprise your child when they hop in the car on their birthday! Decorate it!

Imagine getting into your car on your birthday and it's fully decorated! Pure delight! Check out these fresh ideas from the House of Hendrix

2. Party in the Potty

That’s right. It’s the first thing a boy does in the morning, so why not start the birthday off right. I quickly printed a picture of my son on copy paper, taped it to seat, and wrote a message with dry erase markers. I even squirted blue toilet bowl cleaner in there for festive blue water.It's the first thing a boy does on his birthday so why not start it off with a surprise! These 14 ideas are sure to create many Memorable Moments. (the House of Hendrix)

3. Chalk Message on the Trampoline

What does your child do right after school? Decorate whatever it is. The moment we get home, my children head outside. You could imagine my son’s squeal on his birthday upon seeing the trampoline! It was such an unexpected mid-afternoon surprise!What does your child do after school? Decorate it! Check out these 14 ways to delight your child!

4. Text the Teen – “Top 14 Favorite Things About You” List

Do you have an older child with a cell phone? Send him/her an initial text entitled “Top 14 Favorite Things About you”.  Send one every hour so they are staggered throughout the day.  Obviously change the # based on their age. Top 18 for their 18th birthday. I have even done Top 50 for a beloved girlfriend.Text a Favorites thing List to somebody on their birthday. Stagger the texts throughout the day (# of texts according to their age). The House of Hendrix

5. Follow the streamer to your presents. “Scavenger Hunt”

This not only adds an element of excitement, but prolongs the gift opening experience. Kids follow a streamer to their first gift. They open it and then continue following the streamer to the next gift….and then the next. Because this is so much fun, I wrap small things like chapstick and packs of gum to extend the experience. It is the “scavenger hunt” my kids remember more than the presents.Tie streamers to birthday presents for a scavenger hunt. Child follows streamer from gift to gift. Wrap small items like gum to extend the experience. Check out these other fresh ideas from the House of HendrixTie streamers to birthday presents for a scavenger hunt. Child follows streamer from gift to gift. Wrap small items like gum to extend the experience. Check out these other fresh ideas from the House of HendrixYou can also use string (below), a pretty ribbon or rope to guide your child around the house.Tie rope around birthday presents for a scavenger hunt. Child follows rope from gift to gift. Wrap small items like gum to extend the experience. Check out these other fresh ideas from the House of Hendrix

6. Affirmation Yard Attack

When my sweet friend, Kourtney Street, recently turned 40, her front yard was attacked by messages of love and encouragement from her friends. Talk about filling somebody’s Love Tank! I am adding this to my MUST DO list asap.Imagine waking up to a yard of people's favorite things about you on your birthday! Pure delight. Check out these other fresh ideas to bring somebody joy on their birthday.

7. Candy in the Balloon

We took our tradition of wrapping the items in the lunch box one step further. Now they need to POP THE BALLOON to get the surprise. Not sure how the teachers feel about this one.Stuff candy into Balloon. kids have to pop it for their treatLunchbox Surprise - stuff a candy into a balloon and wrap your child's lunch. They have to pop the balloon to get the birthday treat. Check out these other fresh ideas from the House of Hendrix

8. Wear the number on your face

Your face is a visual reflection to your child of your celebratory heart. Siblings enjoy this too. Your child will be reminded again and again of your joy over their birth. (we’ve done this for daddy too.)Kids love seeing their Birthday # on things. Why not delight them with it on the cheeks of their family.

9. Age Age Everywhere

Kids love to see their new number! I love this idea from Martha Stewart of creating a number out of candles and balloons.Make a number out of candles

Kids love to see their new number on their birthday. Tape balloons with double-sided tape to a wall.

Use double-sided tape to adhere balloons to a wall.

Giant balloon numbers for the yard!

Balloons Everyday creates these Giant Numbers for the yard. You can DIY with an aluminum rod.

11. Build excitement with a Count Down

We are constantly trying new ways to count down. The kids love changing the numbers as each day draws closer.Birthday countdown build excitement

12. Make a Birthday Video

Our family loves to use the Photo Booth camera on our computer to make video’s for people on their birthdays. Sometimes we pretend to be normal and simply sing Happy Birthday. But more often than not we will pick a pop song, change up the words, dress up ridiculously, and make a Birthday rendition. Except we have no talent.

Remember when Call Me Maybe spread across the nation? Here’s a small segment of that video. (I am resisting a disclaimer)

13. Party in a Bag…for a needy child

That’s right, not everybody gets a birthday party. Many families have financial limitations which is why I nearly jumped out of my seat when I read this next idea over on my friend Courtney DeFeo’s blog. Her guest writer Deanne, shared the concept of a Birthday Bag (here).

Let your children help plan a birthday party for a child who otherwise wouldn’t have one. Let them pick out cake mix, iciing, plates, table clothes, candles, party favors and balloons. Make a special birthday card and even throw in a Target gift card. Then donate the bag. This is an idea I hope spreads and spreads. Thank you Courtney and Deanne.

How does this make your child feel special on their birthday?

Just try it and watch.Birthday Party in a bag for a Needy child

Serving others makes kids feel purposeful, needed and special….even on their birthday. A few years back my daughter incorporated service into her birthday party, taking her friends corn picking for the homeless. You can read a guest post I wrote on that here.

14. Share your favorite memories

My children never get tired of hearing stories about when they were younger…sticking their face in their 1st birthday cake…holding their baby brother for the first time…crawling out of their crib in the middle of the night to sleep in their sister’s bed. They love it! Crave it.

At the end of the day though, the most important thing we can do for our children is to communicate in words and affection how much we ADORE being their mommy, and how deeply and unconditionally loved they are.  That connection with you is what fills a Love Tank. The rest is just fun.


  • Click here to read “Part 1: 20 Ways to Fill your child’s love tank.
  • Pinterest boards to check out: Celebrations, All Things Kids, Intentional Parenting, and of course The House of Hendrix board.
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Quirky Valentine’s Tradition

Sometimes romance isn't in a bouquet of red roses or a box of chocolate. I love this post about finding romance in the daily subtleties of his personalities and how to avoid falling into a trap of Valentine's Entitlement. Quirky Traditions

When I was dating my husband 16 years ago, he told me to get dressed up because we were going to a fancy restaurant for Valentine’s. I anticipated the evening all week and enlisted the help of my Tias to pick out the perfect outfit. When he arrived, the tias asked where he was taking me. He said with a tinge of excitement, “I was thinking we would head to the Harvest House for dinner”. They looked at each other in a panic. Rookie Mistake.

You see, we were living in Atlanta and he didn’t think to make reservations. That evening we were turned away from half a dozen places before reluctantly entering this hole-in-the-wall pizza dive…clearly over-dressed. It was dark, empty, and a bit seedy. My then boyfriend looked so defeated.

As it turns out, the thin-crust Margarita pizza was absolutely delicious, the pitcher of beer perfect, and we laughed our way through the evening.  It was a tradition in the making.

For the past 15 years, while the rest of town is scrambling for reservations, we find a pizza dive on Valentine’s. It feels like our romantic little secret. Our children love hearing the story behind our February 14th tradition.

So we embrace the quirky things about our relationship or family, even the missteps, because they often make the richest traditions.

Simple expectations

I adore Valentines because it comes after the intensity of Christmas and before the spiritual heaviness of Easter. It is fun, flirty, and fabulous. I start wearing red ballet flats beginning February 1st and add a splash of pink any opportunity I get.

My husband however believes Valentine’s is a Hallmark created holiday. He is not  “a consumer” by nature and believes this is a day where men are guilted into overpaying for flowers and cards. It’s shocking how different we are.

So I decided early on, I did not want to be a wife filled with a sense of Valentine’s Entitlement.   I deserve a card, flowers, a date night?  You know that mindset…what is he going to do for ME?  As women, we can create a unspoken standard of expectation. How fun is that for a guy? It’s not.

So I simply shifted my focus off of myself and onto delighting him.  It is so much more enjoyable and fulfilling. As it turns out, it makes him want to reciprocate, not because he has to, but because it feels good to be shown love.

 Sometimes, the love just looks different from what we see on commercials. Last week when my husband was pressure washing the driveway, he melted my heart with this. unexpected romantic gestures

So if you find yourself disappointed by the lack of romance coming your way this year, shift the focus off of yourself. Use the day as an opportunity to show the love, not just receive it. And if you are in a relationship, appreciate the unique gestures from his heart, whether it be pumping up your tires or sending you a text on the way home from work. A man who lavishes gifts does not love deeper than one who does not. Gratitude is always the easiest way to keep entitlement away.

Kids in the Classroom

Confession: Last year I signed my son’s name on all 15 Valentine’s cards for his classmates. But here’s the thing, I didn’t just sign his name in my regular handwriting. I did it in a ridiculous child-like scribble so it would appear that he had done this himself. Mrs. Geer never suspected a thing.

Valentines at school has become quite the festive event. This week as we chose cards to give their friends, my boys said it was “creepy” to say things to their friends like ‘Be Mine, I Dig you, We were meant to be’.  They have a funny point.

Here are the cards they decided upon which we snagged off of Pinterest.

Love is in the Air

You can download the printable at

What does the Fox say Valentine

You can download this printable at Tips from a Typical Mom Blog

RAINBOW Loom Valentines

Print these adorable Rainbow loom bracelets over at the Nest of Posies blog

You're a sweet Light in our life

For more Valentine’s ideas, check out our Valentine’s Pinterest board. 

Joyfully, Allison