We enjoy hearing stories from people about their memories, and we’ve found when you ask someone about their favorite childhood memories, they involve being outside in some way. It might be having a family picnic, playing tag late on a summer night, camping, or just sitting outside by a favorite tree reading. We recently read a great story in the YardApes newsletter about Shayne Newman’s experience with his teenage daughters and we asked him if we could share it on our website. Below is a reprint of his story.
Firepits & Outdoor Kitchens
It’s become increasingly more difficult to talk to my older daughters. They’re 15 and 13, and quiet. (My youngest is four years old and never at a loss for words.) I struggle to meet them at their level, to engage them in conversation beyond the topical.
I have to say, the fire pit has been the single best thing for our family. It helps us stay connected. It’s the one place we’re all together, where a flat screen doesn’t divide our attention. Yes, there is the car, but the girls are reluctant to speak on anything because of the feeling of being trapped.
Everyone can agree on s’mores and there’s something kind of magical about the fire. It’s comforting, it’s cleansing, and beautiful. Ava loves to put on a “light show” with the glowing end of her roasting stick. Grandma Kate had shown Lili and Marlee how to do light shows five or six years ago, and the tradition has since been passed down.
Our outdoor space is an extension of our home, an extra living room, and kitchen—only under the stars. It really does make our spring, summer and fall months unforgettable.
The outdoor living space is the most memorable part of our home. My father-in-law told me I should knock the house down, and leave everything else—his way of complimenting the finished project. We started with the fire pit and over time added a water feature, pond and outdoor kitchen and grilling station.
We’ve increased the size of our space for entertaining, but more importantly, we get the kids outside. The idea of the outdoor living space is to blur the line between the inside and the outside. The sky’s the limit.
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