April Beyond The Block & A Giveaway

Be Present

This month’s personal challenge has really been on my heart recently, and now that it’s in the forefront of my mind, I’m seeing it everywhere and it’s driving me CRAZY.  Perhaps you’re feeling the same way.  For so many of us, the internet holds a vast amount of our daily attention.  We work online, pay bills online, bank online.  We find our next dinner recipe or schedule our doctors appointments online. We chat with friends.  We shop.  We find creative inspiration.  We share pictures and stories and questions.  Truly, almost anything that we could need or want to do is online, but sometimes our phones, or tablets, or laptops, turn into a powerful magnets, sucking us in and blinding us to our surroundings.  I never thought *I* would fall prey to smartphone addiction, but alas, as a stay at home mom, as a member of the online quilting community, and really just as a human being in the 21st century, I’m finding it harder and harder to resist.

I suppose I’ve always been attuned to phone “manners” and have loosely tried to limit myself to what felt like appropriate times, but it wasn’t until recently that the real effects of “phone addiction” started to creep into my awareness.  Truly, I’m not pointing fingers because the perpetrator is most often me, but there’s just something about being on the other end of this scenario that really drives it home.  Some loved ones had stopped by for a casual impromptu dinner last month.  No special plans, nothing fancy- just a glass of wine as the kids played outside.  As I bustled about the kitchen mixing up a quick casserole, and my guests sat around the kitchen table, we casually chatted, until suddenly things got quiet.  I looked over to see that everyone at the table was engrossed in a screen…a couple were on phones, one on a laptop.  The silence was deafening, and as I stood there browning the meat, I felt myself becoming really agitated.  Here we were, healthy and blessed to be able to spend precious time together, and how do we spend it?  Scrolling Instagram and Facebook, commenting on photos of what other people are doing, checking email, tweaking our websites.  At that moment, through the silence, it felt as if my guests were saying “This moment isn’t interesting,” “I’m bored,” “I’d rather be somewhere else,” “This time isn’t important to me,” “YOU aren’t important to me.”

Be Present 03
I know my guests were probably not actually thinking those things.  I know they love me and our times together.  But I can’t change how their actions made me feel, and how it seemed to drive an invisible wedge between us in that moment.  I was convicted- I couldn’t help but realize how truly ugly my own incessant phone checking habit had become.

I just love Gary Chapman’s book, The 5 Love Languages, and am so moved by his call to practice true quality time.  “Quality time is giving someone your undivided attention.  I don’t mean sitting on the couch watching television.  I mean sitting on the couch with the TV off, looking at each other and talking, and giving each other your undivided attention.”  Maybe this moment felt so hurtful because my love language is quality time, or maybe, just maybe, we all need and deserve quality time.  Gary continues, “A central aspect of quality time is togetherness.  I do not mean proximity.  Togetherness has to do with focused attention.”  I see a lot of things getting in the way of focused attention in my life, but I think the biggest culprit is most definitely screen time.

wall decal available from Willow Creek Signs on Etsy

wall decal available from Willow Creek Signs on Etsy

This month’s challenge is to take a good hard look at what’s getting in the way of our togetherness, of our quality time with the people we love.  For me, it’s the phone.  For you, it might be TV, or cleaning, or work.  Whatever it is, let’s bring it out into the light and call it what it is- a bad habit, a parasite sucking time and attention from the relationships we hold dear. Changing these habits is hard!  It’s going to take some effort that might not feel all that great at first, but I know that the effects will be profound and lasting. Here are a few ideas for what this might look like for me:

  • Leave phones at the door.  This is a really tough one, but I feel like we need this in our home.  A basket or bowl in the entryway to catch phones on their way in and to keep them “in their place” during our quality time together.  To keep things from getting awkward with guests, perhaps make this into a silly game, a funny household rule that everyone must play.
  • Add a custom background or note to a phone or computer home screen to remind yourself, “Is this quality time?”
  • Schedule screen-free time periods in the day and stick to them- maybe this is no screen time after 5pm, or no screen time when our family is all together, or when you’re enjoying another activity like relaxing on the patio or watching a sports game.
  • Instate phone-free zones in your home- like no phones at the kitchen or dining tables, etc.

Perhaps you have other ideas!  I’d love to hear them!  Tell us about what’s getting in the way of your loved ones receiving your full attention, and what steps you might take to overcome that obstacle.

I also have a special treat for my Sugar Block Club members this week!  A fabulous fabric giveaway, courtesy of Pat Sloan and Moda Fabrics!  Pat (who, by the way, is such a sweetheart!) has a darling new line out called “One for Me, One for You”, and she’s so generously offered up prizes for 4 lucky winners!

Pat Sloan Giveaway Collage

To enter, you must be a 2014 Sugar Block Club Member.  Good news- if you’re not one already, you can easily join right now, and will still be eligible for the giveaway.  Contest will be open through 4/7/14, and the winners will be announced and notified on 4/8.  Since the prizes include both the standard fabric line, as well as the batiks version, in jelly rolls and layer cakes, I’ll do my best to send the winners their preferred prize.

SBC Members Click Here to Enter the Giveaway

Happy April, friends!!!



  1. Hi Amy

    This is a true bug bear for me – the constant need to be nailed to technology. When my family come to stay they are all addicted to their phones (not my Mum I hasten to add), The internet hub is well and truly off – we don’t have a mobile phone signal in our village so they only way they can get their phones to do anything is if the internet is on – so it goes off. It still annoys me when we are out doing family time and they are looking at Facebook or answering emails – which like you say makes you feel that you are boring and not worthy of their time. I don’t have facebook or twitter, I have a blog to show some of my things but that’s it, I spend too much of my time for my business in front of the computer so in the evenings, the internet is only on if I am doing a Craftsy course or want to update my blog. With no mobile signal it’s bliss, we can walk for hours without a ping or a ding. Even if it does ding or ping I ignore it – what is so important that it can’t wait – if someone wants you in an emergency they will ring you and the cardinal sin computers/ipads/phones in bed ! ! ! Bring back romance is what I say – take time for that cuddle and to tell your loved ones you love them, spoon together and have some quiet time – surely a lot better than playing some game on an ipad. I know others won’t agree with me on this one but like you said in your post technology is sucking us all in.

  2. Love this giveaway :D thank you for chance :)

  3. OMgosh! This is such an issue in our modern world Amy. I’m going to well and truly give away my age when I say “I remember when” (lol) “ordinary working class people” (ok, I’m from the UK!) didn’t have home phones – we had to queue up at the phone box down the road in all weathers, making sure we had enough coins for our call, and sometimes, with people rapping inpatiently on the window to see how long we were going to be!

    We have become beguiled by technology, initially for it’s novelty value and now it’s become such a reliance and a convenience. But, we still have a smidgen of a chance, we still have some awareness of this every increasing problem to extricate ourselves from becoming totally addicted to this machinery – to save ourselves from becoming (unthinking, blissfully unaware) appendages to technology! Just my sense of things! We have to instill this awareness into our kids before it’s totally too late! I also remember when we got a front loading automatic washing machine which replaced my mum’s old twin tub! We sat and watched it go round and round lol! So easily entertained :)

  4. What a nice giveaway, thanks for the chance!. Time is the thing I need ;-) My children live all in the Netherlands, but still more then 2 hours driving. I love it to be a part of their family! Thank you for this post, it is good to remember that there is more than FB and blogs!

  5. I love the monthly challenges as much as I love making the blocks. I am definitely guilty of spending too much time in front of the computer and have been thinking for a while now that I need to limit my screen time to give me more time for things that truly matter. Thanks for throwing down the gauntlet!

  6. Tina Bartkowski says:

    Thanks for the opportunity to win! My phone is such a big part of my job….lately I’ve been putting it on silent when I get home to take a break from work and be more involved. Must do it more!!!

  7. The Five Love Languages is such a great book. It made a big impact on our family many years ago. I’m happy to see it is still out there. For years it was our go to gift for couples getting married! Our daughter has children just entering the stage where they want, and some of their friends have, electronic devices. Their house will have a basket where all electronic devices will be deposited when friends come over to play. That way unwanted material/information will not be downloaded without parental knowledge. And, oh yea, I like the block this month!

  8. Thanks so much for the chance to win :0)
    For having more time for my beloved husband, I canceled a timewasting
    game on my Ipad and mobile phone. I remarked, that it is not only the amount of time that counts,
    but the attention and mindfulness ;o)
    For the first time I take part in a BOM and I like your style to present it…
    and of course the blocks themselves…..
    Have a lovely springtime! Karin

  9. beautiful block, wonderful thoughts! we need a bowl or something around here. =) thanks for the push and reminder. I love that quote from pres. uchtdorf – so cool to see it on a wall! best wishes on your goal to be present this month.

  10. This month and beyond I want to switch off after dinner and then sew by hand besides my husband while he sees tv.

  11. Hi Amy. This months block is really cool. I am two months behind, getting ready to move, its just a week away and I am excited to be moving to my own place. I too am guilt of not giving full attention to the family when we are all together. Our phones seem to be glued to us. We do all try to leave the phones down if we are eating dinner together, especially when we are not at home. But I do have to add that technology has its advantages. Facetime allows me to talk to my girls as if they were sitting next to me. So not living with them is not quite as hard. Thank you for your posts, they are helping to keep me focused on the me I want to be.

  12. Suz Winter says:

    Amy, I found I was much better at being present when my kids were still at home. Now that it is just me and the mister in our empty nest, we both find ourselves “plugging in.” Thanks for the reminder to stay mindful and present. That will be my goal this month…throw down the iPad and reengage with the hubby, especially at dinner.

  13. Grrr… I got spoiled the last few months because the 1st fell on a weekend. Now I have to wait all day to make this block!! I can’t wait it!

    Thanks for the important reminder to stay present. I try to remind myself when I’m rocking my baby or giving him a bottle – don’t think about the million other things I need to get done, just concentrate on how he feels in arms. It helps me stay centered and happy – much more so than mentally building my to-do list!

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  14. Gabriella says:

    Hi Amy,
    so this month …. really I have to be present in my family …. I have a sort of stand by …. and nosense in my life and I don’t understand why.
    Thanks for the chance and good luck to everyone!

  15. Sandra Louise says:

    Hi Amy,

    If you haven’t heard of it yet, you might want to pick up a copy of my friend Rachel Macy Stafford’s book, “Hands Free Mama.” Or check out her blog of the same name. The blog is wonderful, but the book has helpful suggestions for how to be more present without giving up technology entirely. Of course, I’m biased, but she’s a wonderful writer and I think you and perhaps your readers would really enjoy it.


  16. I appreciate the giveaway regardless of the big win or nor{^_^}! But I don’t have any obstacles standing in the way to spend time (more time) with my family because I spend a lot of time with them-no complaints from anyone :) or myself…

  17. Dorothy S. says:

    Lately when I visit with my grandchildren, everyone is on a tablet or computer. I am just as bad cause the internet connection is so fast I tend to watch a video on my iPad instead of having a conversation with kids. One of my grandsons told me that he had to read a chapter book this month and then write a book report. I resolve to read that book and talk with him about it. Thanks, Amy for bringing up this problem. We all have to make a real effort to bring live conversation back.
    Love Pat Sloan and her teachings. Layer cake would be my choice.

  18. kaystephenson says:

    A couple of years ago my husband and I were sitting at the bar of a neighborhood pub. We were both lost in the depths of our smart phones. Suddenly the bartender stopped in front f us and said, “I hope you two are texting each other.” It was a revelation. Since then we have been much more conscious about setting down our phones when we are together.

  19. My son is in Afghanistan right now and he chats with me when he can on FB private messaging. I am trying so hard to just check that piece of FB and stay off the other part because it is addictive for me. The struggle with this constant availability of “services” on this smart phone of mine is horrendous! I think that once Matthew gets home from overseas I need my phone to become just a phone…maybe I need to just get a simple flip phone and give up this smart phone. And I know that will be difficult to do, but for all the right reasons and the help of God I can do it.

    Thank you, Amy. You said it all just right!

  20. Screen time is definitely something struggle with in our family too. I had to move my husband’s laptop offthe kitchen table but it’s still nearby. As a family, our activities together are limited to commuting and grocery shopping, but now with the warmer weather we hope to get more outside play time. Thanks for this question, it is really about what’s important in my life.

    (Rafflecopter is under Lisa McIsaac thru facebook).

  21. My obstacle might not necessary be physical but one just as powerful. Patience. Hurry up get it done life is prohibiting the process and life itself. The other is my homework. Ugh what was I thinking? School now?! Well short term aggravation for a long term dream! Then I’ll be able to have quality family time again. Thank you Amy. I’m loving this series more and more!

  22. Since January, when I started the Sugar Block Club, every reflexion brought from you matches perfectly with what I’m living right now. Isn’t that amazing? Before I read your post I was thinking how I’m gonna deal with my dad that is coming to visit and stay a little long and can’t even eat his lunch if the TV is not turned on. I’ve kept the good habit since and mainly when my first daughter was born. We just don’t eat even breakfast with the TV turned on. But, speaking about phones, my husband really needs a reminder each five minutes or less to put the iPhone down. He got so used during the last five years receiving emails from co-workers to resolve emergency problems (big software company). I’m pretty confident things are working to be changed though.
    Thanks for this wonderful post also for the giveaway.

  23. Evelyne says:

    Ah! I hear you Amy! Such a struggle! My husband is a geek and i find it hard to constantly remind him to drop the smartphone! Thank you for the reminder. (And the fiveaway)

  24. Amy–thanks for this reminder. I am going to try placing my phone in a bucket when I get home and also limit my iPad use at night when my husband is home.

  25. Elizabeth S says:

    I look at my kids & grandkids with their BFF’s in their hands…yes, the modern BFF is the smartphone! As I see it, they become so detached from reality. Where is the hugs, tears, laughter that is shared among human friends? Emoticons can’t replace the real thing.

  26. Love your life reflections Amy! I am not one who has an issue with the phones or Ipad, but the computer is my pitfall. 99% of my time at work is spent on the computer, then as you say, there are bills to pay,FB, fun things to read about or learn. I have been purposefully taking one day a week with no computer time and use it to be creative or spend time with family or friends. It’s amazing how we can get so engrossed with a gadget. Thank you for your thoughts each month – I know if we are honest we all struggle with the same issues on some level. And thank you for a chance to win the beautiful fabrics! We all need more stash! :)

  27. Just like your commitment this month mine is time. I am working two part-time jobs, taking half-time credits in graduate school, have my granddaughter full-time and have not quilted or any other crafting in two months. I hopefully am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel in the next couple of weeks and will get back to the things I love soon!

  28. I tend to check my phone at lunch with coworkers and that is something that needs to be curbed so I can be ‘present’ for these face to face gatherings. Thanks for the giveaway!

  29. What a great challenge this month. I don’t have a smart phone yet, but sometimes I spend too much time on my ipad looking at quilting blogs and beautiful quilts on pinterest, when I really should be creating my own quilts. When I’m stressed and tired it’s hard to get motivated to be productive. However, once I get going, it actually relieves the stress! Thanks for the giveaway1

  30. The Ipad, rather new in my life, has somehow allowed me to take my computer addiction with me everwhere! Time to put it away when hubby is home!

  31. Hi Amy, thanks for your wonderful and inspiring blog!! I find time to be an issue in my life. Working full-time is challenging because by the time I get home, make dinner, and clean up, it’s time for bed already! We DO sit together at the dinner table (no phones allowed) and pray, eat, and talk! So I am blessed with that time! I would love to visit my older children more often! That is what I will work on for April! Getting out on the weekends to visit them! Thanks again!!!

  32. Yes Amy, you are right on the money. There are so many distractions that suck us in. TV is a big one for us ,than the computer, and ….gulp… Quilting… An addiction that is hard to resist.

  33. Our house has become an “unplugged” zone when the family is together. I just felt that we were drifting apart because each person was addicted to their cell phone or touch pad. It was tough at first, but I helped it along by unplugging the wireless router. Yes, I am the mean mom, but they did not want to pay for the data they were using. As time has passed I notice that we are doing more things together and actually enjoying each other’s company. :)

  34. i need to leave work stress at work…..and try not to dwell on it at home

  35. Honestly the phone in my home is a problem but me and my husband have chatted about it and have kind of instilled your rules! Mostly for myself though,funny enough, its cleaning! My three year old really doesnt care if the dishes get done before or after lunch, or if that bathroom got cleaned today or tomorrow, and I feel I miss moments sometimes when I am too consentrated on cleaning (not to mention with a three year old its a never ending battle). I am going to try to clean in my schedule, but save the big jobs for when she is at preschool or my husband takes her on her bike. It wont be easy but I believe it will improve our relationship.

    Thanks Amy! Always inspirational.

  36. Hi Amy, You are, as usual, spot on this month. I think what is placed in your heart each month is really what a lot of us happen to be struggling with. He’s smart that way ;) Funny – we were JUST talking about this same subject last night. My sewing area is in the living room but against a wall so I am not a part of whatever is going on in the living space. The struggle of working full time, trying to keep up socially, spending time with my family, and having a bit of sewing “me time” just feels like too much sometime – like I am being pulled in too many directions. There is always guilt for something. So no phone dinners, a few intentional “family time” weekend hours with limited phone time, and a couple of “no sew” nights for me make it balance out. Thank you so much for the great blocks and recipes and most of all – your heart!

  37. I think you have hit on a very valid point and how people are important to us, not their phones. And how rare to have a conversation with friends and not have your phone, or others, ring, buss, vibrate or command your attention. Thank you for the thoughts and a really nice give away

  38. maggie p says:

    My husband works a lot from home and on a computer. We both are guilty of two much online time. This month we need to set aside weekend as our time.

  39. I love the challenge and I think for me it’s about IPad time. Checking Twitter, my mail etc. even while breastfeeding my baby.

  40. Rita Pannenberg Thomas says:

    My children are all adults and busy with their lives. I need to touch base with me 2 sons more often. My daughter and I connect all the time, but boys are much tougher to keep connected to especially if they are single.

  41. Excellent subject Amy and one that “bites” every aspect of modern life. I live in England was extremely fortunate fours years ago to have an opportunity to take early retirement (52) and the first thing I noticed was the silence from lack of a mobile phone. I spent most my working day on it as senior management and so there was this sudden peace. Did I miss it? Did I heck!!!!

    However my free time gave me further opportunities, one being part of a project at the V&A in London called “Threads and Yarns”. Over three weeks It included students from Central st. Martins college in London, seniors from the local area in London and The Wellcome Group (medical study worldwide). This will surprise some of you as the one of the findings was that it is very important for seniors to be connected technologically with the outside world and that to shun technology was indeed to shun life. It rang very true with me now no longer at work and I left that day and bought an IPad.

    BUT we’re no fools as to how these objects can take over your life so easily. House rules for the last couple of years are absolutely no phones etc at the dinner table, or indeed in the lounge. All techno items, phones, laptops, iPads etc are switched off after six in the evening and it’s lovely. Life has changed dramatically as a result of “managing the internet” and trust me, taking that first step will change the quality of life forever

  42. Hi Amy. You have really hit home with this post. Here is a little story about how I learned about the value of quality time. Years ago, my quality sucking ‘addiction’ was work. I say ‘was’, because in 2008 when the economy went south, I was laid off from my job. I was devastated. Lost. Angry. Depressed. Worried. All of that and more. But my husband was a rock. He had an ebay business that was going full steam and he suggested that I simply work with him on that, focusing my energies on helping him manage the growing workload. That meant spending a lot of time together since we would drive to and attend auctions together, make purchasing decisions together, load and unload trailers of ‘stuff’ together, clean and photograph, list and sell, pack and ship and on and on. During all this time, we laughed, worried, discussed, played and just plain enjoyed being with each other. Also during this short time I learned more about him than I had over the entire 9 years of our marriage. I say short time, because he became ill and died very suddenly after just 7 short months of this newly gained closeness. Sad yes, but here is the point. I had 7 full months of quality time with him because my ‘addiction’ had been taken away from me. I did not make the choice to give it up, but I am grateful every day of my life for the situation that did. So, here you go. You are absolutely right. You have choices in your life. My experience has taught me to choose intimacy, to be present in every moment of my life. If may be so bold, my advice is to be intimate with your life and the people that populate it. Go ahead: know and appreciate every living moment you have.

  43. Sandy Scott says:

    I have a smart phone but I did not allow myself to put facebook on it and I hate checking my email on it. I do that on the desk top. My bigger problem is I rarely take vacations from work. I need to take advantage of that offering/benefit and spend more time with my family. The job will get done without me.

  44. Hi Amy,
    I agree 100%. We have lost the personal connection. Folks of the youngest generation don’t do well speaking with others but rather text, tweet etc. I don’t like any of these forms of “communication”. We become disconnected by this connection. I do like the relative ease of using emails and though I am a Facebook member, I am seldom on it, preferring the talk on the telephone method!

  45. Kathleen says:

    Hi Amy. I think EVERYONE can relate to this month’s post. And yes, we all are guilty in one way or another. I find that realizing it, saying it out loud and acknowledging it, is a great feeling! We are already on our way. Then, as you say, the “game” of how to overpower our time-eating-monsters is on! We can all be creative. I plan to really step up my efforts AND try to get my teenagers to join me. (Not easy as they are attached to smart phones!) But we already have a rule of no phones at meal times. I also have told them to never use a phone when someone gives you a ride home. I’ve driven kids home and they don’t look or talk to me. Just on their smart phones the whole ride. I know they are good kids but as you say, it’s a bad habit that bothers others. For me, I plan on limiting my computer time even more.
    That said, I better get going! Thanks for the great post. And the lovely give away! Good luck everyone! : )

  46. My iPad is my downfall—-I know that I spend too much time checking the mail, surfing the web and playing games. I have been trying to detach from it in the evening and concentrate on family or simply to make more creative use of my time. I totally agree with your comments on smart phones. I do find it annoying when people use their phones to occupy themselves when they are with other people! Well said, Amy!

  47. Thanks for sharing. No electronics after supper is what we tell the grandkid–gives time to unwind, talk, play.

  48. The cell phone is definitely the biggest culprit at our home. I really don’t understand why people feel they need to bring the phone to dinner but I see it every day. I’m looking forward to vacation with my family next week and plan to insist on focused quality time together.

  49. We’re remodeling our living room by putting wood planks on the walls. My husband is nearly done putting the planks up but I’m behind with filling holes, sanding and painting. I need to get that done and off of my plate.

  50. since I only use my phone for emergencies or when the internet phone is out, I cant instagram or tweet to get two m ore entries! I just cant do it and I too have everyone around me on phones that buzz, beep, take pics, and who know what and I just wont do it! Thanks for the rave time and good luck with the leave your stuff at the door, I have the same policy about shoes! less sand and dirt tracked in.

  51. Nichole says:

    Well, I’m not on Facebook but I’d like to get more in tune to looking away from the computer screen when my daughter comes up to me to ask a question. Love the theme, it’s so true!

  52. Tonya Stewart says:

    I am going to try to overcome all the movie watching and texting to have quality time with my family.

  53. I don’t have a “smart” phone, but it is annoying when my older kids visit that they are always looking at their phones. However, when my kids were all home, we always had dinner together with the tv off and no tv’s or computers in bedrooms. Not quite the same situation, but you get the idea. One suggestion is have a little sign on the coffee table or counter (where folks tend to gather) and make a clever little picture sign about perhaps keeping the phone put away or in a pocket.

  54. jenetamasson says:

    I LOVE the wall decal! I’m heading over to Etsy right now!!

  55. This really hit home, Amy! For me, it is my iPad. Love the idea of the bowl where devices are dropped. Thanks for a great post and pattern!

  56. I would have to say that I need to “break away” from my I-Pad/Mac habit also! It’s just way to easy to grab these devices and unplug from the family. Thanks for the article, it’s really inspiring.

  57. My obstacle is not my cell phone or anything electronic it is too many things on my mind. I want to focus more on the person I am with and not other things around me.

  58. Carol F says:

    My obstacle is no being patience and excepting of what needs to be done. I prayed on this the other night, and I feel I’m more of both of these and feeling calmer.

  59. elsabean says:

    I moved away from Southern California almost 5 years ago and left quite a few really great friends. I’ve missed them and haven’t kept up with them. I decided a couple of days ago that I really do need to keep in touch with these friends (we are Facebook friends and see our posts all the time, but it’s just not the same as talking). I love them and want them in my life and I have to make the effort of keep them close.
    I also have been thinking about the smart phone thing for a long time. I watched a couple eating the other day at a local place the other day and they both were engrossed with their phones. I also have a friend who gets constant notifications and will stop a conversation to answer. I bothers me a lot, a whole lot. When I’m with anyone, I put my phone on silent.
    Went to see the movie, Her, the other day. It really is a good one but what I saw were people who weren’t engaged with each other. Everyone was talking but it was to their phones. Made me feel so sad to see this and this is in the future. It’s happening now.
    Thank you for being so honest in your posts ~ it’s so refreshing and I appreciate it so much!

  60. Gina Thor says:

    You ROCK, Amy! You are an awesome parent with an awesome husband, which must be credited to you being an awesome wife! I love that you get to go away to sewing retreats when you have four little kids. You know how to take care of Amy, which makes you an even better mom, and apparently, have the support of family to make this possible. (More brownie points for Daddy Dock?!?)

  61. I always make sure I have my phone on silence when I am out with my husband or a friend..that way I am not tempted to peek when I hear a ring or a chirp. We have 5 kids and we have a “no phones at the kitchen table not even in your pocket rule”. It’s been a good one!

  62. Amy I really appreciate your blogging as much or more than the quilt blocks! I have a distinct problem with my phone, tablet & TV. The thing is, I am all alone. My parents are deceased, my daughter attends college in another state, my sisters live literally around the world & across the country from me. I’m in FL. One in Denver, one in Kiev Ukraine. So I rely on the phone & FaceBook to see what’s going on in the lives of my loved ones!! But then I get sucked into FB for hours!! The TV was my companion but I have given myself a rule of no TV Mon-Fri. It has been lonesome. Sad that it was my company but boy am I getting a lot of quilting done!! :) Everyone should seize the opportunity to be with their loved ones. Life moves relentlessly forward. Make memories & connections that will last a lifetime. Make your time together that *thing* that you & your family can’t do without.

  63. Amy, I agree with the telephone thing. I’m going to implement that my husband and I leave our phones in the car when we go out to eat. It drives me crazy to be enjoying a meal and one of us feel the need to see something right then on the phone. I love spending time with my hubby and I want to look into his eyes while I’m eating my dinner… Here’s to true love with NO PHONES!

  64. Vonda Boze says:

    I plan on taking a few days off from work to spend some time with my family, a much needed time since I havent been on vacation for over 13 years.

  65. So true! We make everyone put them away for family times especially meals.

  66. Rita S. says:

    I totally agree with your “logic”. It always amazes me when I see people eating dinner together, but yet everyone is messing with their phones/tablets. My DH & I only use our phones in emergency situations….so we NEVER take a call during our time together (unless it is from my sister…you never know…I have an 86 year old mother living with her).

    Thanks for the great giveaway and a great sew-along!!

  67. Amy, what a great Beyond the Block challenge this month. My pet peeve with this…when you are out to dinner and you look around and at so many tables there is no conversation as all parties are on there smart phones. Cherish your time together, live is so short!!

    Thanks for this Amy xoxo

  68. Rebecca says:

    Oh I do agree with the screen time! My husband and I started checking our email from our phones every other day instead of 6 times in one day. And we have started “no tv” days also. (We have some friends who think we are crazy) for us that includes no iPad Disney junior either. This means there are nights we end up playing dinosaurs under the dining room table with our 3yo son. Which wouldn’t have happened otherwise. Once we realized he was still telling everyone about that months later it became so easy to turn off devices and enjoy how fun he is! Due to my husband and I both being RNs we do not get family sit down meals but twice a month (terrible work schedules) so we have lots of play time with our sweet little boy and sweet 6 month old baby girl:) which is way better than any email or show on TV!

  69. Janet Siler says:

    It’s only my husband and myself at home now (empty nest) but still find myself in situations that take away from time with him. I would change this by getting out of my sewing room much as this would pain me. He goes target practicing 4 days a week from noon to 3 so have ample time in the sewing room.

  70. Martha Sturgill says:

    Thanks for the reminder. I have just retired and thought I would have some time to myself before my husband retired but he has some serious health problems and needs me to “be present” with him. A good reminder for me.

  71. The phone is our biggest hazard. We have no zones at meals!

  72. Linda Stewardson says:

    I have a cell phone but never use it. It’s in a drawer and rarely charged. I guess I’m a bit of a Luddite because face to face communication is always my preferred mode.
    My challenges lie in other areas !

  73. Brenda Melahn says:

    My biggest obstacle in being with my loved ones more is my COPD. I don’t have enough air to go for long walks, play outside with the grandkids, etc., but I can sew and make them things that they seem to enjoy. I just wish I could “be” with them more. Thanks for the opportunity.

  74. Kathleen says:

    I would have to limit the amount of time I spend checking blogs. Or at least set aside a specific time period to check them, instead of just about all morning or all afternoon! So far I have been successful in resisting signing up for facebook, although my daughters have tried to convince me. And the cell phone isn’t a draw for me because I still have the old fashioned flip phone! The hardest thing for all of us “older” people is to convince today’s “screen-agers”, the kids, that there should be a time to put those things down and look at each other.

  75. I agree with you about too much computer time. I don’t have a smart phone or ipad but do have a pc. It is so easy to read blogs and look at quilting sites that I find I have wasted a lot of time before I realize it. I need to push back from the screen and up to the sewing machine.
    I really am enjoying these discussions every month. Thank you.

  76. I need to work on my thoughts, and stop dwelling on things I cannot change.

  77. Valerie says:

    What a wonderful challenge! It is not too hard for me to leave my phone alone, but I struggle with leaving my computer alone since it is right in the kitchen. It is so easy for me to sit down and get absorbed in checking the news, blogs, fabric stores :-), etc. I miss out on that interaction with my kids. Thank you again for this challenge!

  78. Susanne says:

    Thank you for the giveaway. Also, thank you for the post about quality time. I hardly use my cell phone and it is a struggle to keep them turned off by my hubby. He is pretty good though. This definitely gave me some things to think about.

  79. I agree, constant cell phone use, iPad, computer is robbing relationships. Also is a time stealer. What is scary is how will it affect the family if everyone is held under its spell. One day I saw two women friends out to get a pedicure both were on their cell phones the whole time they were out never talking to each other even though they were siting next to each other for the foot treatment. Used to be if someone called you while you were entertaining a guest you would tell that person I will call you back later anything else would be consider rude to your guest. Best to turn the phone off and tell people I am turning this off to spend time with you :-)

  80. Love the giveaway but even more your heart is so precious!! Thanks for the challenge!! Love you!

  81. Being present is something I struggle with. Thanks for the reminder and helpful suggestions.

  82. I have given myself the goal of positive talk. I so love the song from Toby Mac “SPEAK LIFE”. It has been an inspiration to me. I am trying to speak words of love, confidence and lots of positivism to my children. Especially while we homeschool. Thank you for your reminder and great post!

  83. Thanks so much! I love the new block AND the chocolate chip cookie recipe! Can we really ever have enough of either? I say emphatically”NO”. :-)
    I applaud you for blogging about the time we spend on computers, iPads, smartphones, etc. I have
    sometimes complained when I don’t get the opportunity to hear someone’s voice when we are emailing or texting each other all the time, and I know I am often at fault. Your plan to be more aware of this yourself and to encourage others to take the initiative is great! My first plan will be to surrender our devices at mealtime. Wish me luck!
    Thanks for taking the time to compose another heartfelt blog.

  84. What a great challenge. I am going to work on active listening. I have realized lately that people will talk to me, and I will nod and agree but I am not actually listening to what they are saying. Sometimes it is hard to really live in the moment and be present, but it is so important and it is something that I need to work on.

  85. This is such a sad truth in today’s world. :( My weakness is my Kindle. I spend way too much time on it and much of it is completely unimportant! I need to spend more time playing with my son and limit my Kindle use to when he’s in school or after he’s in bed.

  86. Your blog post today really resonated with me. Both my husband and I are addicted to our laptops and I know we would communicate better if we closed them and turned off the TV (yes, we multi-task) so I will try to be better about this. Thanks for the helpful reminder.

  87. Heidi Bond says:

    This blog really hits home with my family! We too are way too connected to our screens especially with 2 teens in the house. Love your ideas.

  88. Leaving work and not staying late to come home and play with my guy so I can make a nice meal and then we can go for a walk or swim for some exercise. It is sad to see out there all the cell phones at the table when people are eating. They need to make time for their family n friends

  89. Kimberly says:

    Active listening. This is what I plan to try to do this month. Who knows? Maybe if I practice it will become a habit.

  90. You are totally right about the phone and how it pulls us away from the personal interactions that make our life worth living. It’s such a wonderful reminder to set boundaries. Thank you for this.

  91. You couldn’t be more correct! And probably the worse thing, most folks don’t even realize they are doing it! Really, sad, when you think about it. Thanks for giving me “food for thought” – I see a dinner table electronic free in our family’s future…

  92. Thank you for your constant encouragement and positivity as well as fabulous quilting! I always look forward to your posts with anxious anticipation!

  93. Lucy Cesar says:

    I work from home – so shutting down the computer and not checking emails all through the evening. You are right – phones, computers, ipads – the technology pulls us away from family time. We are turning technology off during “dinner hour”.

  94. Linda Lee Stradley (Linnee) says:

    I love the idea of leaving the phones in a basket near the door! But turn the ringer onto silence just to double insure that nobody leaps up to go get their phone! Out of hearing (and sight); out of mind!

    I confess that I take my Droid to Church, but the ringer is turned off, and I have my Scriptures downloaded (a whole lot lighter, and WAY easier to find a Scriptural reference than flipping through pages that often cling together, or I keep missing the actual page).

    This coming from a girl that actually lived for TWELVE YEARS without electricity, running water, or indoor plumbing (okay, we did get a generator, which we only cranked up to do laundry—in the wringer washer—or ironing). Now look at me; I have a computer, a laptop, a computerized sewing/embroidery machine (even though I learned to sew on a treadle machine—in Home Ec!), a 55″ LED 3D television! HOWEVER, if I can get my hands on a brand new treadle sewing machine (Lehman’s Non-Electric Catalog carries them, and they are only about $1,000, if I recollect correctly), and had good propane lighting (as in my growing up days), without all of the above mentioned amenities, I would still be as happy as a clam!

  95. billiemick says:

    It’s the usual….leaving the house. I am going to take care of my granddaughter this weekend.

  96. Claudia TN says:

    One of my husband’s top two love languages is quality time, but it is one of the bottom two for me. As an introvert, I love time alone. I do need to turn off the computer when my husband is home and spend time doing what he enjoys. Thank you for the reminder, and for the giveaway!

  97. Jereena says:

    Be intentionally Present! Got it. Thank you for the wonderful post and an awesome giveaway.

  98. My biggest time filler is my computer. I plan to make a point to spend more time with my husband and no computer screen between us! Now if I can get him to spend less time with the television…..!

  99. I do so enjoy checking in with your blog. I love your great giveaway. I do so desire to use my time for effectively…..not so much computer time. Then I would have more time for others and even more time to do what I want….more quilting time!! It was good to read others comments.

  100. I love youyr ideas!! I need to “leave the phone at the door” more often!

  101. I love how many comments there are already on the blog. As someone who did not grow up with technology (I am 52), I both love and hate technology. I love Facetiming (is this a word?) with my grand baby but I hate how connected people are these days to technology. I live in hope that we will find a good balance. As for me, I need to be able to sit down at the computer to accomplish a task and not be distracted by Facebook or my emails.

  102. It so irritates me when my teenage children are on their phones at dinner time. This is the one time of the day when we are all together as a family and have a chance to talk. Interestingly, though, I think it equally irritates them when I am not tied to my phone all the time as they are–they get very annoyed when they can’t reach me at any moment!

  103. My son and family took me out to dinner for my birthday. All through the dinner they (all five of them) were texting, calling etc. I told my son I would not go out with them again as I think that is so rude. Since that time we have gone out together and he always says “no phones Mom.” Now we have a good time together, talking face to face.

  104. No phones at the dinner table! We use that one. I have noticed the intrusion too. I am finding myself leaving my cell phone somewhere in the house and “forgetting it” so I won’t be tempted to check it constantly.

  105. After being a Facbook addict for 6 years; I’m spending less and less time online because I simply swapped it for another addiction: Quilting!! Yahoooo!! ;)

  106. So excited to work on this month’s block :) I love reading your themes and messages and this month is a big one! DH and I have strict electronic policies in the house. With 3 boys who love Nintendo it can be hard, but we do it and the boys benefit from it and appreciate the environment around them.

  107. Dawn Reins says:

    This is a great word. I too have been on the receiving end of screen induced neglect, and it makes me consider my own habits as well. I think the biggest challenges I face with family is speaking my mind in love, rather than in frustration. At least I’m allowed ample opportunity to practice this :)

  108. HELLO, I know what you’re talking about here!
    Working on having at least one meal together as a family!
    Thanks for sharing!

  109. Thanks for this. I just upgraded to a smartphone and want to be really aware of when it’s stealing me from the life I’m living.

  110. Thanks Amy for the reminder of just what’s important in this life! I am guilty of letting computer time take me away, sometimes for far too long.

  111. Stephanie says:

    Well my daughter has been in the hospital all last week and is still very sick. Being in Children’s hospital has really open my eyes. We have been so consumed with getting our land and house where we want it and working that we haven’t got to spend just fun family time. That is what we will do, just be together having fun instead of working. Which we all do work together, but it is just as important to be lazy together!

  112. My 21-year-old daughter graduated in December and came back home. Immediately I noticed I never had her undivided attention. We were in the car one day and she was texting or whatever on her phone and I blurted out, “LOVE THE ONE YOU’RE WITH!!!” – okay, maybe I yelled it lol. Thanks to Stephen Stills for those wonderful, time worn lyrics :-)

  113. Merrilee says:

    Indeed, TIME is a limiting factor. So many people to love and only so many minutes in a day! My husband’s grandma is turning 104 in a few weeks and I can’t help but marvel how precious time spent with her is- she adores our 10 year old son and they have a very special bond.

  114. Quilting Tangent says:

    Write to them more.

  115. I have to leave my ipad out of the room or I’m tempted to just check my emails.

  116. So true. Sometimes people just need to stay away from their phones.

  117. Janet Hart says:

    Computer, Kindle, phone, tv….they all count as screen time. I stand guilty. I love the challenge and the opportunity to win something cool!!

  118. Love what you said about the phones, etc… I will be working on listening this month to whoever is talking to me, especially family and friends. This is something I have to work on.

  119. I love your comments on the distractions that we have of our own doing!! I love to watch the Today show while drinking my coffee in the morning. Many times, that is when my husband decides that he wants to have conversation with me. I have a DVR and could pause the TV if there is something that I really want or need to see so I need to make use of that and sit quietly and actually “listen” and have conversation with my husband. Thank you, Amy, for making us more conscious of how we “shut others out” without meaning to.

  120. I agree totally to you! My boys are on their phones most of the day – but on table while eating with the family I do not allow them to bring their phones. It is an ugly habit many people have to bring their smart phones along and take them out whenever they make a noise. I use my phone only to make real telephone calls and use the computer in the evening for all the online stuff. I love to be online – but not the hole day long….

  121. Kathy Davis says:

    My obstacle…depression. I went to the fabric store this morning all excited about making my granddaughter’s Easter dress and by 1:00 I was asleep on the couch, never touching the fabric. It’s my yoga night and I don’t want to go. Just playing on the computer and waiting for good things to return.

  122. You are right this is the world of technology ,the devil has taken over , there was a time when we took trouble to write letters to family and freinds it’s no more, just one word,wats up . Thanx would love the giveaway.

  123. Linda Finkelstein says:

    Thank you so much for the opportunity to win a jelly roll from Moda. I go in my sewing room which is also where my computer is. I have plans in the back of my mind what I am going to sew today but first I want to check my email…….3 hours later after doing many things on the computer and I still haven’t started sewing. This happens so often that I do get angry at myself for not stopping with the computer and to really feel that I have accomplished something with my fabric stash.

  124. Mary Reade says:

    I have just read your post to my 2 sons who were simultaneously texting while I was reading – we have all agreed to talk more and listen when we are together – Will let you know how we get on!! and thanks for the chance to win a Moda Jelly roll……. Mary

  125. Meghan Heslin says:

    Hi! I think I am guilty of spending too much of my own time on work-related things. I am a special ed teacher and I typically spend an extra two hours a day working on progress monitoring data, IEPs, lesson plans, etc. I need to give myself more “me” time and spend quality time with family and friends. Thanks for the post—it is spot on in this day and age!

  126. Karen Evanoff says:

    Spending less time watching movies…maybe do some reading together or just talk about our day.

  127. Karen C. says:

    I’ve been more intentional how we spend our time as a family. An example, if the phone rings during dinner, we’ll let the machine pick up and we’ll check the message when our family time is complete. Thanks for sharing!

  128. Thanks for the great giveaway. Love the sugar blocks. My husband and I have stopped watching the evening news and now sit and talk for that extra half hour. It helps a lot!

  129. I made my Facebook password reaaallyyyy long (5words long) so it makes it more difficult to enter on my iPhone (fat thumbs). It works! I just give up half the time and move on to something else.

  130. Lori Morton says:

    What a cool Give-a-Way! I am going to be spending more time with my Husband…& Kiddo’s & Grandkiddo’s…….we spent alot of Hospital time past two years…I am on last turn of this cancer & rebuildiing back to healthy….KNOW how Precious Family time is…..and they all gave me so much thru this Journey. Is my time to start giving back….God is soooo Awesome!!! & Life is Beautiful!!! :)

  131. Thanks for the giveaway this month. I am putting down the iPad and spending more time talking face to face.

  132. Loretta Kramer says:

    My hubby and I really don’t have the cell phone problem, we use it to keep in touch as he is a truck driver. But I honestly think that when families started or I should say stopped having there evening meals at the table was when things started to slip down hill. When I was young there was always family (everyone)at the dinner table and every member had there chore to preparing the meal.
    don’t think that my kids would leave there cell phones at the door but I’m going to give it a try the next time there over for a meal or just a visit, as well as my grandchildren’s tablets and games.

  133. I could certainly stay away from my phone more often. I like the idea of setting a screen time!

  134. Your thoughts and ideas are wonderful. Cell phones are wonderful, but I really don’t want to be attached to them 24/7. We have rules at home, in the car, at church, and out with
    others. There is nothing any sadder than a family sitting at a
    table doing nothing, but checking their phones, well, not in my book anyway. There is no conversation or one on one time. Dinner time was when I learned the most about what was going
    on in our son’s life and it is where they learned family history.
    As always you have given me food for thought and I will ponder it
    until next month when you give me more food for thought! Thanks ever so much.

  135. Guilty!!! I hesitated to join the 2014 Sugar Block Club but I let a friend convince me. I can’t tell you how much I love making the blocks as much as I love reading your blog posts and let them sink into my heart and soul. This month, in particular, has touched my heart. While I’m not as addicted to my cell phone, tablet, laptop, etc.; I do have issues at times. The one that sticks out most in my mind is the time I spend with my sweet mom who is 89 and lives in assisted living facility. The time I spend with her is so precious and she looks so forward to my visits. Why, then, do I interrupt it with looking at my cell phone? Checking Facebook; Instagram; and now Flickr. Arrrggghhh!! I promise to do better…much better. Your post today also reminded me that I need to read a book I have had for several (!!!!) years…The Five Love Languages. I’m going to look for it now. Thanks, Amy, for the blessings of the sugar block club. xoxo

  136. Amy, thank you for the challenge and the reminder to be present and appreciate all that our lives offer. My challenge, since retirement, is not electronics as much as just normal things I enjoy spending time doing – even sewing and quilting. One of my dear golden retrievers reminds me of this when she comes into my sewing room and nudges my arm while I’m sewing. She’ll continue until I stop sewing and just pet her and devote all my attention to her. I’ve come to really love and appreciate those times. It has reminded me to be present and show love to all members of our family, human and pets, when they need it, not just when it’s convenient for me.

  137. Well said…

  138. I have shared your comments with family members and friends. We have become too attached to our electronic devices, and this post really makes stop and think about what is really important – all of those family and friends.

  139. Jackie Mason says:

    I am very attached to my computer and phone. Sometimes I think life was easier and simpler before technology.

  140. One thing that I need to be persistent on is seeing the dining room table return to a place for eating meals. For the past several months it has been a place for my husband to get taxes prepped. Over time is has become his office area, so we have not been able to eat at the table but rather at the coffee table in the family room. Yes, the TV is on while we are eating since my husband is very much a TV person.

    The other thing I would like to put more focus on is calling my adult kids that live on the west coast. Seems like we are doing more texting than talking.

    The cookies look very indulgent. I will have to make some and give them as gifts to various people.

  141. Heather Hambrick says:

    Awesome personal challenge this month! My husband and I recently had an experience similar to yours. Our family was over for most of the day and they spent most of the time on their computers. I was cooking and my husband later had felt very frustrated at seemingly being left out…..

    I like the idea of checking the phones at the door and making guests do the same. It may just allow us to entertain ourselves and each other with out technology. Thanks for the challenge and motivation!!

  142. My Husband and I each plan a night once a week where we do an activity together that is unplugged.

  143. I have a sort of self-imposed rule of no sewing/hobbying once it’s time to cook dinner. From that point on, I spend the rest of the evening side by side with my husband and we are available to the kids for whatever they may need. As teenagers, they are all pretty self-sufficient, but they still need to ask permissions for thigs or be guided with homework. However, my downfall is the time BEFORE dinner prep. I become easily irritated when anyone asks me to stop what I’m doing. Or if I want to meet a particular sewing goal for the day and I have a ton of errands to run. I need to work on remembering that my sewing is a hobby (albeit an important “mental health” hobby), and my families needs aren’t a distraction from that. I am here to be the help-mate and the mom, and that is my job first and foremost. So this month will be work for me to remember not to snap at the family when they need me simply because I’m “working at my hobby”.

  144. Cristine says:

    Love your crystal bowl phone catcher. I’m going to implement that ASAP!

  145. Thank you so much for this inspiring post. I’m a teacher and I tend to spend way too much time grading papers at night. My challenge is commit to doing my grading faster and more efficiently so I can spend time being present with my family.

  146. Thanks for a great post and great reminder… Quality time is my main language as well, and it’s amazing that sometimes I get distracted and forget to give it.
    I have a friend who is really good at giving attention… she locks in on the person speaking, and doesn’t look around to see what else is going on in the room… it will be my goal this month to give that kind of attention to my family, friends and co-workers. Thanks again for the inspiration!

  147. Thank you so much for this great reminder to be present . It goes along with being intentional which I strive very hard to be but sometimes my phone or iPad suck me in!! It’s so hard!
    There are so many great idea that have been shared in these comments and I just may run some of them past my hubby. I don’t want my children to see me so engrossed in my gadgets that they think those gadgets are more important than them.
    Thank you for sharing and as always you have such valuable insight Amy!

  148. Hi Amy,
    It’s like you read my mind each month with these new beyond the blocks. It’s only been recently that I have been having these same discussions with my husband. When he gets home from work he spends all his time on the computer and I feel like I’m constantly nagging him to spend time with me or I give up and go and watch t.v or sew. So I keep thinking that maybe we need to compromise where he has his half and hour or hour on the computer then we sit and spend time together. To me family time is so important and it’s only my husband and myself and our fur babies in our house. You know even through the days when i am at home if I spend too long on the computer the dogs start to wine at me to get off and talk to them or play with them. They are just like humans too I guess and need the interaction to so I also need to spend a little more time with them instead of being on the computer or phone when i’m at home too.
    Thanks for the lovely blog post and the lovely block this this month. I only signed up about 2 weeks ago and haven’t started making my blocks yet just catching up on a few other unfinished projects first but I can’t wait to get started on them and the fabrics I have picked I can’t wait to start using them……
    Hope you have a wonderful day or evening whatever it is where you are.

  149. I’m also guilty of phone/internet-based absence. But, I’m a recovering smart phone and internet user… point in case, I’m going to get off the internet and work on my knitting machine and sewing machine after I type this message. DONE!

  150. Worry, worry, worry. May not be an activity but it definitely takes up time in my head.

  151. Marianne says:

    I hate to say it but I need to come out of the sewing room and engage more! I plan on working on that!

  152. I agree technology has over run our home. I want to try a screen free day. Like sunday. When we just spend quality time together as a family.

  153. LazyLady13 says:

    I totally agree. It’s very frustrating when everyone is doing Facebook or texting while you’re trying to have a conversation with them. And I will work hard not to be one of them. Thank you, Amy, for sharing your heart with us.

  154. Connie Cain says:

    I feel the same when it comes to social interaction. I do not have a “smart” phone, so do not do internet things on my phone. And it bugs me when my kids come to visit and spend their time with the phone instead of me. Another pet peeve is sites that use instagram, as I can’t do it on my phone and have yet found a way to do it on the computer. :( This generation is becoming socially akward as they do not do much face to face communication anymore. It is sad.

  155. Melodee says:

    Hi Amy! Well unfortunately we have had this in my house too! First we have said no devices during dinner. But that’s never really been our BIG problem. Our big issue is evenings. Screen time is crazy over here then! What we have tried and has worked is to declare technology free nights :) but we don’t have any sort of schedule. This month I plan to mark days on the calendar!!

  156. I never felt so free as when I made the decision to keep my old cell phone, the one I carry for car emergencies, rather than getting a new one. I’m not wired into the world, and I rather like that lol.

  157. I put my phone on a shelf to charge from the moment I come in the door and don’t touch it again until I get ready to go to work in the morning.

  158. Natalie F says:

    These are really good tips, I’m going to follow them. We already have screen free zone times for all family members. Now that the weather is getting better, I’m going to make a point for our family to get outside and do something together every day for at least an hour.

  159. I was actually just thinking about this very thing. If I’m in the middle of sewing, cooking, laundry, whatever and someone (my family) interrupts me, I feel bothered, harassed, annoyed. And I really shouldn’t. I love these people and the way to really show them that love is to give them my undivided attention. My kids are growing up so quickly and I won’t have this time back with them. So I’ve been giving more hugs and some kisses to all of them, even the hubby :)
    Thanks for your great post! (Oh, yeah, and the block and the cookie recipe – have got to try that!)

  160. Electronics are also a problem in our home. And being connected to work via our phones only makes matters worse. This was the topic of a recent heavy conversation. I am going to work on it this month. I like your basket by the door strategy. Keep up the good work Amy! Such a great post.

  161. Dawn Frisch says:

    Hi Amy,
    I really have been enjoying this BOM this year especially with your thought provoking articles! Thankfully I still have a flip phone so I don’t have that luxury (?) of checking emails and FB all day long. : ) I think that the thing that I struggle with most is making time for me. After taking care of my guys while dealing with my disabilities, I find that I have no energy or time to do the things that I want or even need to do. I’m trying to prioritize the things that I want to do first but it’s so difficult after devoting my time and energy first on others for most of my life. It is a daily/hourly struggle but I will change!

    Have a great day!
    array-dawn at cox dot net

  162. Sandra Freebairn says:

    Well said Amy. I remember having lunch with a friend and she spent the entire time checking and messaging on her phone. Haven’t had lunch with her since! Also my husband’s phone drives me mad. He has all sorts of reminders in it and it keeps pinging. He will interrupt a conversation to attend to his phone. Then I lose track of what we are talking about.

  163. Definitely going to try the leave your phone in a basket during family get togethers. Thanks for a great idea!!

  164. Caroline says:

    Hi Amy,

    After hearing constant whining from our kids about not having the latest and greatest things, and having to battle with endless gadgets, we decided to institute a 1978 Weekend.

    My husband and I grew up in a time before home invasion of technology and asked our family to only use items, frequent stores, and entertain ourselves with things in existence from 1978. Microwaves? Nope. Cable? Nope. IPads? Laptops? Remote controls? CELL PHONES??! Nope again.

    We hauled out the rotary phone and taught them how to use it. Went to resale shops for record players and records. Found the radio. We played games, discovered the great outdoors, and each other. To this day our family fondly remembers what a great time we had. By the end of the weekend we were sad to see our time together end.

    When life gets too carried away we call out for a 1978 Weekend.

  165. Donata Rolf says:

    Trying to be unplugged at our house can be a little difficult. My husband must be on call 24/7 with his job and must always be near his phone. Not only does he have a work phone but a family one as well. Camping is our way of unplugging. Out where there is no signal and loads of time to spend together while hiking, swimming or just playing a game of cards. Being out in God’s creation is our chance to “recharge our batteries” and remember our priorities. The only issue is my husband must find a signal at least once a day. Somehow we make it work.

    Thanks for taking the time out of your day to make my month a little brighter. God’s blessings to you and your family.

  166. i dont own an iphone and if I am with someone, phonesgo unanswered, that is what vmis for.

  167. We have 2 in our family that take away from quality time – the television and the computer/smartphone. My 23 yr old says that when his bunch go to a restaurant they all put their phones in the middle of the table. The first one that answers his phone(or uses it) has to buy dinner. That could work in a home with a different “punishment” for answering/looking – do the dishes, fix dessert, make the next meal, etc.

  168. I too find the smartphone thing hard to deal with. I just hate it when I see a mother of young ones texting away while the child is either saying “mommy, mommy, mommy,” repeatedly or maybe running around the park unsupervised.

  169. I spend too much time on the computer or cleaning or going to physical therapy according to my cat.

  170. Julie T says:

    I find the laptop hard to deal with. But in reading through this, it reminded me of some recent guests I had, 4 potters from Mata Ortiz, a woodcarver from Oaxaca, and a weaver from Oaxaca. My brother brought them up for a local art show. Most did not speak English, but there were enough bilingual people in the room to translate. We would sit around the dinner table after eating and talk and laugh for hours! So much better than the laptop. Thanks for the giveaway to both you, Amy, and Pat.

  171. I am going to overcome my phone addiction and my childrens’ phone addiction too by telling them to leave their phones on the table just inside the door when they come in until they leave again. We are having a huge family get-together on the 14th of April and this is what they will be doing.

  172. My 3 year old already has issues with this. I only let him play games on my kindle or phone if he’s sick or other random situation. He’ll get o play only once or twice a month, and yet the kid is addicted! Seeing how attached he is really puts it into perspective, as I know I spend too much time on the smartphone myself. Great post, and I’m working hard to turn my phone off more… but its hard. I think I’ll start leaving it downstairs when I go to bed at night.

  173. maggielou says:

    I am trying to work through the grief process right now. I lost my husband of 46yrs in Dec and I have never known such pain. I am trying to put my life back together and spend as much time with my grown children and grandchildren and of course the great grand children. I had become so wrapped up in taking care of my husband and then trying to cope with his death that I have been keeping myself at home all the time. This last weekend I went to the zoo with 2 of my grand daughters 1 grandson and 4 great grandchildren. I have an iphone but as the kids will tell you I dont use it for much. I really hate the fact that I have to carry it with me most of the time.

  174. THe only thing I really need to overcome would be the 3000 mile difference between where I live and where the rest of my family lives. For now it is going to have to be phone calls, photos and yearly visits

  175. Gisela Graeser says:


  176. Using the iPad less!!

  177. Colette says:

    We have some of these rules already in place at our house…thank goodness. The obstacle however, is to get visitors to “play nice” and follow our examples. Oh…and thank you for offering this wonderful giveaway!

  178. get off Facebook! get off the laptop!

  179. wendy Carter says:

    I am trying to spend more quality time with my kids and loved ones. If I am doing anything with one of them, I just let my phone ring. The phone is smart enough to take a message. My problem is getting my husband to let a message be left. Sometimes I just turn the ringer off!

  180. MoeWest says:

    I have a SIL who has no computer. I need to phone her more often.

  181. natalie kok says:

    I have replaced TV in my house with music, not completely TV free but trying our best. Recently had a baby and trying to avoid raising her on our bad habits, making a great effort to media black-out during her waking hours. Have started quilting during her nap time to keep myself occupied and away from technology.

  182. Lynece Penrose says:

    Well said Amy. The perils of modern life! We need to all get on the band wagon before our children and grandchildren completely lose the art of face to face communication.

  183. I would have to agree – it’s the phone. Occasionally, my husband and I are sitting next to each other, sending each other texts…instead of talking. They are seemingly present every minute of every day and it really is getting in the way. We recognize it and even tried a technology free night once a week and only made it through one week. I think it’s time to recommit to it! We are expecting a baby in September and I want to break the dependency on technology and it getting in the way of together time before she arrives. Thanks for the reminder!

  184. Zoë's Mimi says:

    We have the rule that no phones are allowed at the eating table, whether at home or out. Next, we need to work on getting electronics out of the bedroom.

    I would love to get the jelly roll, not batik version.

  185. love being part of the sugar block club!! April block is already done!!

  186. Sally Hurst says:

    My husband and I watch way too much TV. It’s mostly good stuff–classic movies, PBS, Netflix movies and such, but we need to turn off the TV at dinner at least and just talk to one another, rather than comment about what is on TV. Thanks for the inspiration.

  187. Amy, I wish you lived closer to me and that we were good friends that got to hang out and sew together. I love your BE….plan this year. We have some rules about phone and internet use, but I can always use a reminder to be more present in other ways. Thanks for being a thoughtful blogger. My sister blogged about being intentional this year and not just sliding by…that was another thought provoking article. Hopefully, thanks to the two of you…I can be better at being the right sort of characteristics this year. Love the sugar block club. We can all be better if we stick together. :)

  188. My whirring brain busy planning what’s next or checking I’ve not forgotten something often leaves me distracted and only half listening. I think I’m pretty good about technology and only play when everyone else is busy – but I know I get too engrossed and then don’t notice when eveyone else is no longer busy. Always good to have a reminder to be present, it’s one of my main intentions for this year.

  189. Michele T says:

    Such an awesome post! I would love it if someone else would prepare meals and do the cleaning so that I could spend time with my kids… just feeling spent!!

  190. I have to say, this post really hits home with some of the people around us; my friend has made it a rule in her house, to turn the phone off when her ‘kids’ come (they never said anything to anyone, just sat and looked at a screen!!)

  191. Put the Kindle away when my husband is home and turn off the television too. Spend more time together, talking, playing cards or games, getting out and enjoying the Spring temperatures finally.
    Thank you!

  192. No phones, kindle and tv during meals. I work during normal business hours, so sometimes dinner is a bit delayed, and by then, my 8 year old is either on her phone or her kindle, or wanting to play a game on the ps3. I’ve been trying for a while now to get it to work, but this was probably the push I needed!

  193. Linda P says:

    I have not read that book, but will be looking for it. Now that my daughter is gone from the house, married, 2 children, we don’t talk near as much as we used to. I used to just love dinner, because that’s when we all shared. To be honest, I wonder some times if I’m really that interesting or important. My husband doesn’t even want me to set the table any more, he’ll just take his plate in front of the tv or stand at the counter. It really depresses me, but I say nothing. With my husband retired and aging, honestly, I feel we are drifting apart. I have always made it a rule though, not to sew at the machine. If I sew, it’s hand work while he watches news or a movie (hard for me to sit still without doing something). Thank you, Amy – you seem to have a way of giving me an eye opener, and I will have to find a way to get back on track. God bless you. xo

  194. Sara Pieper says:

    Excellent post, hits home for so many of us. I have 2 boys, ages 6 an 8, and we love running around outside in the yard or on hikes, but “inside” time is hard for me. The computer beckons with TV shows while I cook, or work is constantly calling my name with things left undone. Thanks for the reminder that I have a wonderful gift that I should celebrate, not squander!

  195. My mind seems to go 1000 mph and when something I want to share pops in my head it pops out my mouth without regard to someone else talking, I just blurt it out and break up the conversation. My husband finallly got his fill of it and talked to me about it so this last month and this month I have seriously been working on not doing it. I now keep a note pad beside me and just make a quick note so I can remember what was “so important” Remember my mind goes 1000 mph. After looking through my notes, I am realizing that ” I am a conversation bully”. It is hard work to not be a bully.

  196. Thank you for taking the time to put this post together, it speaks exactly to what my heart has been feeling. Since the first of the year this has been on my mind. I am very blessed to stay home with my two girls but still struggle to be present with them all the time. Yet when I do I receive that time back twofold in such good memories, usually filled with just plain silliness :-)
    I think if we as a family don’t set rules/boundaries early on it’ll only get harder & harder to make changes. I just don’t think I can convey with words how much I needed this, thanks again.

  197. Words to live by . . . well said! xo

  198. Hi!!!! Great insight and post!!!!! I agree!!! I have had family come over to visit and pull out a tablet while I am cooking or waiting on everyone!!!!! The quick checks are hard to stop!!!!! I do enjoy no tech time!!!! Something everyone should think about!!!!! Thanks for the fun give away!!!!

  199. I will be starting (for the first time) to practive FMQ!! Thanks for the chance to win!

  200. You’ve given me quite a bit to think about. I plan to be aware and see if there is some way we can all be together “screen-free.”

  201. Jan Colbert says:

    I think the key to an authentic life and genuine relationships is exactly as you say — live in the moment. But, it is easier said than done. Thanks for the tips.

  202. Turning off here too! Amazing how it has grabbed hold of all of us.

  203. I actually don’t have a mobile phone at all being probably the only person that lives in the dark ages. However my 3 teenagers do, and my husband has 2 ( one for work and one for personal use) and it does drive me crazy sometimes. My addiction is reading in the evening and I am trying to remind myself that I need to actually speak more to my family instead of hiding away with a book.

  204. I recently became the guardian of my 3 grandchildren because my daughter has cancer and has been in a hospital for over 100 days. After having had an empty nest for the last 15 years and doing my own thing when I felt like it, I have had to learn to be present for these children by turning on again. Did that make sense? I had forgotten the joy that children give and having them here to love and be there for them. Who has time for mobile devices when you have children who need love and guidance and are looking for you to give it to them?

  205. Electronics are such a time sink. I need to get my house in order

  206. robyn jones says:

    I would have to say spend less time on the computer.

  207. barbara corbitt says:

    I have several serious health issues and I need to quit feeling sorry for myself and start living my life to the fullest each day with the time I have left. babscorbitt@gmail. com

  208. I am so guilty of being a phone addict! I am trying to leave my phone in the glove dept when I go visit friends and family.

  209. I have been pretty lucky that when we all are together we have so much to share that we don’t usually have our phones out. If that happens, it is to share some information or to verify a news story that we are already discussing. Having said that, leaving our phones in a bowl at the door is an excellent idea! If this is my second entry, please forgive me as I know that I was interrupted the first time…not by a phone, lol! Thanks for sharing this topic with us and reminding us all of what is really important…the people in our lives.

  210. Great post- so sad when I see a family out to dinner and everyone is on their phones and not talking to each other. it happens to us all.

  211. Our 3 children are pretty young (from 5-8 yrs.) and we have no cell phones. We also limit TV time to 1/2 hr per day except on the weekends. We also limit computer/other gaming to 1 hr. on the weekends. We eat all of our meals together, so we get LOTS of family time. I would say that the thing that distracts me the most is doing housework or errands rather than sitting still and talking or playing with the kids. VERY good blog post. sarah@forrussia.org

  212. I agree completely with your observations. My children are all grown and it’s just me and the love of my life at home now, but we still have these electronic issues too. We both need to put our IPads down when we are together. Gonna work on that. Thanks for the giveaway chance.

  213. Kathie Craig says:

    I need to spend less time on my computer and more time with my boys. Thank you for the giveaway.

  214. Thanks for the chance in this giveaway! Like many others I need more time!

  215. It would be my yard,,, spring takes up my time making sure things are neat, clean and oh so pretty with color.. when that chore is done it is time to celebrate with a back yard party and all my grand children

  216. Biggest challenge this month: waiting to hear on a new job opportunity for the husband. It would mean a move to a new city, and I am trying hard not to go overboard on research before we know whether he has the job or not. So, patience. Patience. Patience.

  217. We do spend a lot of time together in the same room, but often we’re all doing our own thing. I think it’d be great if we just plan things to do together.

  218. my husband’s sister and her husband just left after a weeks visit. She kept her phone in hand or in pocket and received frequent text messages. But most were from her family and she shared what they said with us, so I didn’t feel left out. We could even tell her something to say to one of them. I have often seen adults at a fast food restaurant with a child, and the adult is on the phone. How sad!

  219. We live close to our oldest daughter and get together with her and her family once a week for dinner and a good visit. We visit with our other 2 daughters by email or phone because they live so far away from us.

  220. Not to sound whiney or depressive, I must comment that now that now that my hubby has dementia and is in a nursing home, our past times together are even more precious. I am grateful we were of a generation that had no “smart phones” etc. My computer ( to check in with friends and family) and quilting sites (for some “me” time) were lifelines and kept me sane during the time he was at home and I was a full time caregiver. I have a cell phone for emergencies, but no one has the number except immediate family and half the time I forget to turn it on. There is a lesson to be learned here — moderation in all things. Don’t get me started on cell phones in supermarkets, department stores, etc., where I have to hear the news about complete strangers’ health issues or divorce. So Rude!! Keep up the good work Amy and thanks for reminding us what is really important.

  221. I cannot agree with you more! I host Thanksgiving every year and this past Thanksgiving I told everyone it was a technology free day-no cell phones, laptops, Nintendo DS, XBox, Playstation, or anything else! Doggone it, life is short and society is losing social graces at an alarming rate. Really “be” with the person who is taking the time to physically be there with you, that’s what I say to my children. Can you tell I feel passionate about this? Thanks for expressing so well what I think on a daily basis! :)

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