Spending time with family


This is a sponsored post from BlogHer and McDonald's.



I love the name of the new McDonald's campaign I'm participating in through BlogHer -- Family Time. Happy Time. -- because that's exactly how I feel. My happiest childhood memories are of spending time with my big, noisy, crazy, loving family of parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins. Whether it was playing capture-the-flag with the grownups on the beach, stuffing ourselves with Korean barbecue (and paying the price later) or trash-talking each other throughout a marathon mah-jongg session, I was surrounded by people who loved me and spent time with me, so I grew up confident in my abilities and secure in the knowledge that I would never be alone.

Now Alfie and I live thousands of miles away from where we grew up, and our "small" family of five has no relatives close by, but I'm determined to give my children happy family memories of their own. So we try to do things together as a family whenever we can. We love trying new foods, we love traveling to new places, and we love it even more when we can combine the two! So far we've taken our kids to over 30 cities (not counting the cities surrounding our home town) in 5 countries, and we're constantly saving up so we can travel and taste our way through even more places!

Of course, not all of our family time involves budget-breaking activities. We go for bike rides and picnics in the park. Once in a while Alfie puts on his skipper's hat and takes us all out sailing. We play a highly competitive games of Blokus, Monopoly and gin rummy, and I do believe it won't be long before we're ready to make some fun family memories playing poker and mah-jongg. Finally, almost every single night, even though all the kids already know how to read, we gather together for a bedtime story. The kids snuggle up beside (and on top of) Alfie on the bed as he reads from a book and I stretch out on the floor, close my eyes and enjoy the sounds of my children's laughter (No matter what kind of story we read, we always end up laughing because Alfie can never resist adding some sort of embellishment to the narrative. Try keeping a straight face while listening to a middle-aged, balding Englishman fake a fairy princess voice!). Family time is truly happy time at our home, and every day we're together enjoying ourselves is a blessing!

Just how lucky we are to be able to spend family time together became clear to me when I attended the McDonald's Family Time Getaway in June 2010. One of the most enjoyable and meaningful activities of our trip was visiting the Ronald McDonald House® (RMH®) in Oak Lawn, IL. Like all Ronald McDonald Houses around the US and worldwide, it's a haven for families with children who need medical care, giving them the chance to live close to specialized treatment centers at little to no cost.


The RMH® we visited is located just across the street from Advocate Hope Children’s Hospital, and has housed over 200 families in its 16 bedrooms since its opening in 2008. It's a beautiful place, nestled among tall, shady trees. We were given the grand tour, from the fully-stocked communal kitchen to the bedrooms, from the sitting rooms to the children's playroom, from the handicapped-accessible tree house looking out into the trees to the bright, airy stairwell with its beautiful spiraling wooden staircase. The family bedrooms were filled with thoughtful touches like extra space for suitcases, a writing desk and chair, and a guest journal where families can write out their thoughts and prayers for the next occupants of the room to read.


Above all, it seemed to exude a sense of peace, quiet and comfort. Later on, we heard video testimonies from families who had stayed in this house which confirmed my initial impression -- that this really was a place where they could retreat to after the sterile environment of the hospital, rest and recharge. It was a very emotional moment for all of the bloggers, and we all left with a sense of admiration for the great service that each Ronald McDonald House provides to families -- allowing them to stay together and spend time as a family just when they need it the most.

After this experience, all ten of us bloggers were thrilled when McDonald's announced they were initiating a new online fundraising campaign to benefit RMHC® -- "Family Time. Happy Time" -- and invited us to help them spread the word. The campaign encourages families to pledge minutes of "happy time" together and share their own creative activities with other families via McDonald's Facebook page or their personal blogs. For each minute pledged, McDonald's will donate one penny to the Ronald McDonald House Charities® (RMHC®) -- up to1 million minutes and $10,000! I'm so excited to be participating because it's a win-win for everyone: the money will be used toward family time activities for RMHC guests, participating families will be motivated to spend more quality time together, and they can feel good knowing they are helping other families do the same.




Click here to pledge some Family Time and help McDonald's give some Happy Time to families in need!

Here are even more ways you can support the Ronald McDonald House Charities:

* Drop your spare change into RMHC Donation boxes, located at participating McDonald's restaurants.

* Buy a Happy Meal! Starting this summer, participating McDonald's restaurants in the U.S. will donate one penny to RMHC from each purchase of a Happy Meal® and Mighty Kids Meal®.


Win It!
One lucky Bonggamom Finds reader will win a McDonald's Prize Pack!

The prize pack contains:
* 1 Smile Tote Bag
* 1 set of 6-8 Happy Meal Toys
* $25 McDonald's Arch Card
* 1 McDonald's character vintage tee
* 1 Pen Buddy notebook
* 1 EOS Organic Lip Balm multi-pack
* 1 16=oz. stainless McDonald's tumbler
* 1 Just Give Gift Card for any charity of winner's choice

To enter, go pledge family time on the McDonald's Make Family Time Happy Time widget and let us know what you pledged in the comment section for a chance to win. And, if you have a favorite family memory tied to McDonald’s, I’d love to hear about it!

You can get extra entries by tweeting and blogging about this giveaway, making sure to include a link to this giveaway in your tweet or blog post. Just leave a comment on this post and share the link to your tweet or blog post. Entries will be accepted until 5:00 PM PST on August 24, 2010. For full giveaway rules, click here. You can also gain extra entries by going to the BlogHer special offers page, because the other bloggers who went to the McDonald's Family Time Getaway are also giving away prize packs. Good luck!






This is a sponsored post from BlogHer and McDonald's. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.

57 comments, leave yours here:

Mami2jcn on August 11, 2010 at 11:25 AM said...

I used the widget and pledged 90 minutes for a movie night with my family.

I remember having a birthday party at McDonalds when I was a little girl.

mami2jcn at gmail dot com

anthy on August 12, 2010 at 4:29 PM said...

I used the widget to pledge 120 minutes to go to the zoo with my family (my parents and my niece and nephews, most likely!)

For favorite memories: I have many memories associated with their PlayPlace. Like helping my youngest nephew (he's two) climb the rope latter tunnel so he can go down the slide, and having him get to the bottom of the slide and immediately say "do again!"

Thank you for the giveaway!

anthy_stl [ATT] yahoo [DOTT] com

jennifer on August 12, 2010 at 4:44 PM said...

I used the widget to pledge 120 minutes of movie time, also arts and crafts, 120 min. as well...

My fave memories were getting mc D's gift certificates from my grandma and grandpa for trying hard in school.

anthy on August 13, 2010 at 3:13 AM said...

tweet! http://twitter.com/my_twitraccount/status/21052606638
anthy_stl [ATT] yahoo [DOTT] com

A Family Completed... on August 13, 2010 at 6:43 PM said...

I pledged 90 minutes to a family swim time at the local park.
I loved going to the play yard at McDonald's as a kid!
Thanks for the chance
TonyaMCrain [at] aol.com

sassy2 on August 13, 2010 at 7:14 PM said...

I already do 2 hours at a food bank with my kids. We love helping others

Steph on August 14, 2010 at 11:23 AM said...

I pledged 120 minutes to take my kids to the Zoo.

Steph on August 14, 2010 at 11:25 AM said...

Tweeted

http://twitter.com/mnsteph/status/21169443111

justicecw on August 14, 2010 at 7:58 PM said...

I pledged 120 minutes of family time for a trip to the museum! What a great program!!! Thanks for the chance, justicecw@hotmail.com

justicecw on August 14, 2010 at 8:00 PM said...

Tweeted at http://twitter.com/justicecw/status/21198580494
justicecw@hotmail.com

BrendaLea, the Prpldy on August 16, 2010 at 4:20 PM said...

I pledge to create art with the kids for 60 minutes, using polymer clay.

prpldy (at) comcast dot net

Carolyn G on August 16, 2010 at 7:15 PM said...

I pledged 60 minutes to collect and donate cothes to charity

Carolyn G on August 16, 2010 at 7:16 PM said...

I blogged here http://theartofrandomwillynillyness.blogspot.com/2010/08/blogher-contests.html

Matt on August 17, 2010 at 8:26 AM said...

I pledged to spend time collecting pop tabs with my family for RHMC. We do this as our way of supporting the needs of families.

mattschmunk at gmail dot com

Nancy said...

I used the widget and pledged 120 minutes to collect and donate clothes to charity.

A special McDonald's memory is watching my children play on the McDonalds playground after a lunch at McDonalds.

bleatham on August 17, 2010 at 9:38 PM said...

I pledged 120 minutes for family game night!
bleatham*at*gmail.com

bleatham on August 17, 2010 at 9:40 PM said...

tweet
http://twitter.com/sleatham1/status/21463093644
bleatham*at*gmail.com

Angel Jacklyn on August 18, 2010 at 2:10 PM said...

I PLEDGED 20 MINUTES TO COLLECTING AND DONATING MY CLOTHING ITEMS I NO LONGER WEAR TO PEOPLE IN NEED! WHAT A GREAT PROGRAM! kytah00@yahoo.com

Angel Jacklyn on August 18, 2010 at 2:11 PM said...

TWEET http://twitter.com/kytah00/status/21520539478 kytah00@yahoo.com

Angel Jacklyn on August 18, 2010 at 2:13 PM said...

BLOGGED ABOUT GIVEAWAY @ http://hypnoticblend.blogspot.com/p/sponsored-giveaways.html kytah00@yahoo.com

J on August 18, 2010 at 8:17 PM said...

I pledged 20 min to talk with my kids after school about their day and what they learned.

jakiesmom on August 19, 2010 at 6:54 AM said...

i pledged 60 minutes to make a scrapbook
nannypanpan at sbcglobal.net

best mc d memory..after months//ok maybe weeks of trying to get my son brave enough to eat adult food..he lunged for a mc d french fry and we haven't been able to stop him since

vhubler on August 19, 2010 at 11:56 AM said...

I pledged 20 minutes off reading on the McDonald's Make Family Time Happy Time widget
velvethubler@yahoo.com

Julie on August 19, 2010 at 6:08 PM said...

I pledged 90 minutes to spend with my family volunteering at a nursing home-my husband works at a retirement community that has assisted living....my daughter and I are going to spend the time together

aunteegem@yahoo.om

Melinda on August 20, 2010 at 8:41 AM said...

I pledged to spent 30 minutes donating my unused clothing to charity

Anonymous said...

I pledge 60 min volunteering
Bluegirl1423@gmail.com

Linda said...

i pledged to collect clothes/items for donation

Artisticbaker @ gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

My family prepares meals for families in need! I pledge to do this more!

shoppingchic2@gmail.com

sean said...

I pledge to donate money to help families in need

seanm1999@hotmail.com

JC on August 20, 2010 at 12:39 PM said...
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JC on August 20, 2010 at 12:39 PM said...
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JC on August 20, 2010 at 12:39 PM said...
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JC on August 20, 2010 at 12:42 PM said...

I helped families in need by pledging 120 mins to take photos of nature w/ my family.

My favorite McDonald memory was the birthday party with friends while in Asia.

JC on August 20, 2010 at 12:42 PM said...

http://twitter.com/tcarolinep/status/21689735827

JC on August 20, 2010 at 12:43 PM said...

blogged.http://tcarolinep.blogspot.com/2010/08/giveaway-bonggamom-finds_1237.html

Eve on August 20, 2010 at 5:19 PM said...

I pledged to build a fort for 40 minutes with my family.

shopgurl101@gmail.com

Eve on August 20, 2010 at 5:21 PM said...

tweeted: http://twitter.com/shopgurl/status/21706401683

shopgurl101@gmail.com

Eve on August 20, 2010 at 5:41 PM said...

Blogged: http://sweetqt.wordpress.com/2010/08/20/giveaway-with-blogher-and-bonggamom/

shopgurl101@gmail.com

jenna b on August 21, 2010 at 5:42 PM said...

I pledged to spend 45 minutes a day making dinner with my family. Yes we eat together, but spending time making it together is even more rewarding.

When I was little, if I had been good in school that week, my dad would take me to McDonalds for dinner on Friday night. We would have french fry wars. We would try to find the crispiest fries in our order, and we would use them as swords to figure out who had the better fry. It still makes me smile just thinking about it :)

DG on August 21, 2010 at 9:28 PM said...

I pledge 120 minutes for a trip to the museum with my family - should be fun and we plan on getting in some education and lunch at the museum cafe :)

dreamzz12{at]aol{dot}com

DG on August 21, 2010 at 9:29 PM said...

tweeted

http://twitter.com/DeeGee13/status/21803483977

dreamzz12{at]aol{dot]com

DG on August 21, 2010 at 9:34 PM said...

blogged

http://deegee13.xanga.com/731883790/bonggamom-finds-blog-giveaway/

dreamzz12{at}aol{dot}com

Darcie K. on August 22, 2010 at 7:42 PM said...

I pledged time to cook dinner together and watch a movie
dmkayes@gmail.com

DoughGirl on August 23, 2010 at 1:57 AM said...

I pledged 90 minutes to take my family to the library!

elderberry44 AT yahoo.com

Amy on August 23, 2010 at 8:39 AM said...

I pledged 2 hours to clean up my local park with my family.

avennett AT verizon DOT net

Shelly on August 23, 2010 at 12:45 PM said...

30 minutes to draw with chalk

Shelly on August 23, 2010 at 12:46 PM said...

tweet http://twitter.com/phxbne/status/21938210770

Debra @ A Frugal Friend on August 24, 2010 at 4:51 PM said...

I pledged 120 minutes to make a scrapbook with my family! Can't wait to get started! :-)

afrugalfriend (at) gmail (dot) com

PauleyD on August 24, 2010 at 4:58 PM said...

I pledged to spend 2 hours with my family on the weekend outdoors.

pauleyd68 (at) yahoo (dot) com

PauleyD on August 24, 2010 at 4:59 PM said...

https://twitter.com/lpauld68/status/22042653732

pauleyd68 (at) yahoo (dot) com

Deb on August 24, 2010 at 5:15 PM said...

I pledge 30 minutes to play board games with my family and 30 minutes every night for story time.

Deb on August 24, 2010 at 5:16 PM said...

tweeted

https://twitter.com/fairydancer35/status/22043827661

Missy @ It's Almost Naptime on August 24, 2010 at 6:17 PM said...

board games

maryjaco1 on August 24, 2010 at 8:43 PM said...

I pledge to read 20 minutes daily with my family.

Reply

Benjamin on August 26, 2010 at 12:10 AM said...

I pledge to save the money to pay for a trip to visit my adult children who have moved out of state.
I pledge to make time to volunteer at my Daughter's school.
I pledge to wake up my Wife on Sunday mornings to attend church.

Bonggamom on August 27, 2010 at 10:22 AM said...

Thanks to everyone who entered and pledged family time to help RMHC! This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to the winner: #8, Steph!

may1927 on October 4, 2010 at 3:48 PM said...

When you are young, you are busy getting food on the table so the kids have a good start to the day. Once they "leave the next" everything changes. We are now 81 years old and married 61 years. Life is MUCH quieter. But we have good memories of the years past.
May Schultz
may041827@yahoo.com

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