Tag Archive for traditions

Changing up Our Thanksgiving Routine

Travel Man and I enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving Day with 17 or so of our family around the table for dinner.  It’s so much fun when we get to have all of our kids with us at home for a big sit-down dinner. It’s quite a feat getting everyone to the table on time, but we did it and had so much fun.  I’ve been known to get all mushy with my toasts of thankfulness. My grandson Evan always likes to pipe in and tell a joke to the entire table. It’s priceless and always makes us laugh.
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Our old dining room table, with a total of 8 leaves, comes in handy for this time of year. I’ve written about our dining room table before it’s got quite a bit of history to it.   This year my wonderful husband put together a table extension that will now allow us to seat 20 people at the table for any particular festivity.

This is my professional table-setter,my grandson Evan.  He’s taken on the roll of helping me get the table ready for the past few years.  He was upgraded to “professional” status this year!

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Normally our entire Thanksgiving weekend would be spent around the house with our kids and grand-kids.  This year we decided to switch it up and go camping for the rest of the holiday time after the “big dinner”.  We took off for our destination in the early afternoon on Friday, and we headed back home Monday afternoon.  We’re so lucky that Travel Man had some vacation time to use and that his job allows him to have the flexibility to plan for this type of trip. We’ve had such an enjoyable time relaxing, resting, reading, watching movies and playing Monopoly! And of course I brought some of the Thanksgiving dinner leftovers.  We had to get our fill of turkey sandwiches.

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A few of the sights from our holiday weekend.

Now we’re thinking that maybe next year we’ll host Thanksgiving dinner right from our trailer (I meant to say our “glamping” residence).  We’ll see about that in a few months. I’m such a traditionalist at holiday time I’m not sure if I could do that.  Thoughts to ponder.

I’m hoping everyone had an enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday. I know I’m looking forward to the upcoming holidays and spending more time with family.  Cheers!

Our 2015 Calendar Project Success

The Family Calendar for 2015 has been polished, published and placed in the hands of all of the family members near and far.  This project turned out to be way more stressful for me than I realized it would be.  Setting deadlines for submissions and my Mom helping with getting the month’s assigned to each particular submitter.  Then the calendar pages with all the family members birthdays had to be edited and updated.  This was quite an adventure to say the least!  This is one of those projects that my Mom (or my parents) just always made happen every year, and it never seemed like a big deal, but it most certainly is.

One of my goals for each picture page of the calendar was to peruse the months and check to see that there were no duplicate pictures.  I looked intently at all of the picture months 10 or 50 times.  In the end and after all was said and done there was only one duplicate.  In my editorial opinion I consider that a great feat, and would take on the task again in a heartbeat.

This calendar brings back such great memories.  When all of the kids were younger, and my Mom was doing the calendar all on her own, they would each count how many times their picture appeared in the calendar.  Then they would make a contest out of who was in the calendar the most.  That in turn put extra pressure on Grandma to try and get a good balance of pictures for each grandchild.  Our Family Calendar is almost a 20 year family tradition, and I love traditions.  You can read all about the history of our family calendar here.

Nowadays, quite a few of the kids are contributors to the calendar, and it has made the project quite an annual event.  Not to mention the fact that  when we are taking pictures at family gatherings during the year someone will inevitably exclaim, “That’s a calendar shot!” This is one of those timeless family traditions that I hope will be passed from one generation to the next for many years to come.

Without further ado, these are the pictures pages gracing the 12 months of 2015.  Enjoy!

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It’s the First Monday of 2015

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Today marks the  first Monday of the New Year and I just wanted to let all of you know that if anyone needs me today I will be sitting right here at my computer putting the final touches on our 2015 Family Calendar.  It seems that I have volunteered for a task/project that has a much larger scope/involvement than I ever realized.  This project is normally headed up by my Mom.  This has been a much more emotional task than I ever fathomed it would be.  Just perusing through all of the pictures to find the right one for my pages has been a journey all of its own.  However, this is one of those family traditions that I for one do not want to let go by the wayside.  So when my Mom asked me if I could help with the calendar for this year of course I said yes.

The Family Calendar is a time-honored tradition started by my parents many moons ago. I wrote about the legacy of our Family Calendar a few years ago, and today the tradition continues.

Now mind you our calendar is a tad late this year, but this tradition will go forward and the calendars will be delivered to all of our family members by the end of this week.  Whew!

Honestly the one thing that I am most excited about for our 2015 calendar is that my Mom has not seen one page of it.  The entire calendar will be a surprise for her as well as the rest of the family.  I am the only one who has been viewing the pages in their entirety. That is the honor of taking on this tradition.

For now I bid you all adieu.  I cannot wait to share some of our family pages with all of you once the calendar is completed.  I already have a favorite month, but I cannot tell you which one it is. That is top-secret, classified information.

I hope that each and every one of you have a wonderful day today.

Does your family have any birthday traditions?

I am a traditionalist.  I love traditions, and creating memories for family members.  There are a  few birthday traditions that we have so much fun with I thought I should share them with you. 

The traditions that go with the birthdays at our house are numerous and fun.  We try to have a theme for the birthday parties, whether you are young or old.  Iron Man, Batman, Transformers are some of the recent favorites.  My oldest son works at Party City so we get great discounts on the party decorations.  This makes for lots of fun decorating the house, which is at the top of my “I love to do this” list.  We always hang up some sort of “Happy Birthday” banner.  Last summer Evan and I made a pretty cool birthday banner that had lots of construction paper and glitter.  We are still using this one for some of the birthday celebrations.  Once in a while we get some funky birthday hats to wear.  This is mostly for the girls in the family.  Lots of fun to wear a crown and be the queen for the day.  Oh wait that’s right I’m the queen of my house everyday!!!

Once our theme is in place then it’s just a matter of planning the menu.  The birthday person gets to pick their favorite dinner, and what kind of cake they like. A few years ago we had quite a few “Taco Bar” birthdays right in a row.  Everyone wanted tacos and nachos for their birthday dinner!! 

For my own kids, I have always had some fun traditions.  On your birthday morning we wake  everyone up early to rush into the birthday boy or girls bedroom for a rousing wake you up rendition of “Happy Birthday to you”, sung as loud as we possibly can.

For a few years Travel Man and I would take all of our kids out on the birthday persons’ actual birthday, and then we came to our senses because it was getting way too expensive.  After that we started taking out just the birthday honoree by themselves.  That was  a fun thing to do.  It was great to get some alone time with just the birthday boy or girl.

On my kids’ sixteenth birthdays I gave each of them a journal, and in the first few pages of the journal I wrote my memories to them of the day they were born.  I think this tradition started because the kids would always ask about the day they were born, either on or around their birthdays every year.  I wanted them to have the memories to last a lifetime.

For the 21st birthdays I make a picture collage for the kids.  This is a birth to adulthood collage, a wonderful walk down memory lane.  And this year will mark my last collage, as Zach will be turning 21 in July.  Oh boo!

We have so much fun when the whole family is together singing happy birthday at the Party House.  First we sing a chorus of happy birthday, and there’s always some sort of harmonizing going on.  Then we do a second verse where we sing like this;

Happy Birthday to you cha, cha, ca (with synchronized clapping)”, “Happy Birthday to you cha,cha, cha.  Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday to you, cha, cha, cha!  The cha, cha’s are always accompanied by hand clapping.

I have to check with my mom or my brother and find out how we started singing this way as I just don’t remember.   We’ve been doing it this way since my kids were very young.  It’s just so much fun.  If you’re a newbie at one of our family birthday parties, when we start on the second chorus it’s definitely a surprise!!

Lot and lots of fun traditions can always be expected at the Party House.  I have always loved starting up traditions new and old, and look forward to keeping them going strong.  The traditions are a great thing to be able to share with your kids, and now the grandson too.  And as any Mom would, I hope that the traditions that I have started with my kids are handed down for generations to come.

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