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I am currently suffering from Olympics withdrawals. My house is extremely quiet during the day; now that I am not cheering for team USA in all events (yes, I even watched kayaking). My evenings, which had been filled with recorded events of the day, are now eerily quiet as well! I was ADDICTED to the Olympics, the suspense, the triumphs the shear greatness of patriotism is riveting and exhilarating to watch!

How do I top those evenings tearing up as I watch future Olympic leaders, like Missy Franklin, sing our beautiful national anthem!? I cannot even describe to you the dedication and cheering in my house (much to the fright of my poor dog) when Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings won some really tight matches and their third gold medals (all the while remembering to shout out to the military after their wins!!).

The absence of these great games has made me think of other evening activities to keep busy (and since I watched WAY too much television during the Olympics, none of the activities involve watching television)

READ
This is a great time to take advantage of your local library or used book store. Now that the family is going to bed a bit early in preparation for back to school, take an hour each evening to wind down by reading a book (bonus points if you read it together)! Some of my fondest childhood memories are of my mother and father reading me a book before I went to bed.

EAT TOGETHER
Make family dinner a priority. On the nights my spouse will be home for dinner, we make it a point to sit together at the kitchen table (no television) and enjoy each others company. This is a great time to give family updates and make sure everyone is doing well. It is also fun to prepare dinner together! Assign each family member a course, and let them pick what to make and let them assist in cooking the meal.

PLAY
This can include taking a stroll together through your neighborhood or picking out a game to play as a family. You will be surprised how fun playing an unexpected round of cards can be and what great memories it can create!

Now that summer is coming to a close, make the most out of the homework free evenings that you have left! How does your family spend their evenings?