4 Moms Share Family Traditions

This week the 4 Moms of Many are talking about family traditions.  Traditions help give our children a sense of family history and culture and a feeling of belonging.   They are experts on their own family traditions.

Traditions also create lasting memories. It’s fun to listen to a 4 or 5 year old say to their younger sibling, “I remember when I was a little kid…”

Be sure to visit the other Moms of Many to read about their family traditions:

Our family has numerous family traditions.  From simple weekly traditions like family fun night to traditions like our regular tea parties and  eating a tv dinner when daddy is away on business.  We have a whole liturgy of simple birthday traditions that make the day special for the birthday child and November and December are awash with annual family traditions.

The whole week of Thanksgiving is riddled with tradition as Mark takes off work and we prepare to host Thanksgiving dinner for our family (often more than 30 people).

Decorating

On one of those pre-Thanksgiving days the whole family heads out into the woods or a deserted field (someplace that is never mowed is best) and we gather natural materials to use in decorating.  Sticks, dried seed pods and flowers, evergreens and sometimes even rocks are gathered and we spend the afternoon arranging our organic treasures to decorate our home. 

We enjoy exploring God’s creation and marveling at the beauty of texture even in a world that’s been stripped of most of  it’s spring and summer color.

The marshmallow fight

Sometime during November or December (often during the week of Thanksgiving) Mark and I declare WAR on the children.  All you need for this is a bag (or half a bag) of full-sized marshmallows and a sense of daring. (Well us mommas need a sense of daring to be OK  with everyone throwing marshmallows all over the house.)  Mark and I divide up our ammo and when the children are least expecting, we attack.  We’re outnumbered so we start with all of the ammo, but that quickly changes as we throw marshmallows and the war rages all over the house with everyone racing to pick up and collect the fallen marshmallows.  (No relationship between this and the marshmallow gun tutorial. We just throw the marshmallows, shooting may put me over the top.)

Marshmallows that get left under furniture just dry out, no sticky, smelly mess and they are too artificial to attract any critters, I’m just saying.

Pumpkin fixin’

We spend one of our afternoons preparing pumpkins.  The kids look forward to this every year and as soon as they see pumpkins in the grocery, they start reminding me that we need to buy them.

We tackle several pumpkins and make it a big deal with the whole family being involved.  Mark and I cut the pumpkin into pieces and then each child gets to scrape pumpkin seeds and pulp from their own section. Part of the fun is watching the younger children explore the tastes and texture of pumpkin.  Last year Nicholas (then 1) ate a good deal of raw pumpkin, pulp and skin.

After we bake and mash the pumpkin, we roast and eat the seeds.  This is the children’s favorite part and they will talk about how delicious roasted pumpkin seeds are for weeks after.  Matthew says, “I can’t survive the year if we don’t make roasted pumpkin seeds.”

We use the pumpkin in a soup (Pumpkin Soup Recipe) that we serve as an appetizer on Thanksgiving Day (delicious especially when sipped out of a mug) and a variety of pumpkin desserts.  We freeze the remainder of the pumpkin to use throughout the rest of the year.

The day after

The day after Thanksgiving we get out the Christmas decorations and spend the day decorating and eating Christmas cookies.  (It’s whats for lunch, ya know.)

Colby eating one of his dozen or so cookies

We  string popcorn and cranberries, decorate the Christmas tree and snuggle in front of the fire.

Carter and Sadie enjoy the fire and each other

We have a whole traditional menu of goodies to eat with leftover turkey sandwiches when it’s time for dinner (Cranberry Pretzel Dip and homemade  Heath Bars make this list).  The big kids have learned to save room, but usually the younger ones are too full of cookies to enjoy it.

I suppose the bottom line is that family traditions need not be elaborate or expensive.  Just making a decision to slow down and do something with your family can turn into a ‘tradition’ that your children may want to continue doing with their children.

I wonder what traditions the other Moms of Many have to share.

What are some of your favorite traditions?  We are always looking to add to our collection.

Next Thursday be ready to link up with the 4 Moms and share your best Thanksgiving decorating ideas and recipes.

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23 Responses to 4 Moms Share Family Traditions
  1. Sarah
    November 11, 2010 | 8:13 am

    Thank you for the Tanksgiving decorating ideas. We are in the UK but have decided to celebrate Thanksgiving for the first time this year. It seems a great time to remember God’s goodness. This year, too, it fits in well with the history we are learning about the Stuart monarchs and the Pilgrim Fathers.

    We’ve just celebrated Guy Fawkes’ night, on 5th November. Remembering the attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament. My husband takes children aged 4+ to a big firework display and younger children stay with me and look out of the windows. Our four year old was so excited although wasn’t quite sure about the effagy of Guy Fawkes not being real.

    At this time of year, we make Christmas pudding with the children. I’ve blogged about this recently.

    A little weekly tradition, is chocolate after Sunday lunch-much anticipated in this chocoholic family!

    [Reply]

  2. Shannon H.
    November 11, 2010 | 8:29 am

    Oh, this was lovely! Having such small children, it’s fun for me to read things that give me ideas for the future. I like how you involve the children in everything – even when they’re very little. Your home is obviously filled with God’s love. Thank you for sharing it with us!

    [Reply]

  3. Alene
    November 11, 2010 | 9:18 am

    A pleasure to read. :-)

    But where is the pumpkin soup recipe???? I have an abundance of squash from our garden and have been looking for a good pumpkin soup. There are lots of recipe ‘out there’, but I would prefer one from a real person, you know? :-)

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Pumpkin recipe…maybe next week or the week after. I have more posts than days to post them. :)

    If you need it before then, email me and I will have one of my girls type it up and send it to you.

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Um, that would be Pumpkin SOUP recipe.

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Guess what today’s post is? Pumpkin Soup Recipe

    It’s completely because you’re so sweet and wonderful to comment regularly and NOT because I didn’t get any of my other posts spiffed up in time.

    [Reply]

  4. bunny
    November 11, 2010 | 9:36 am

    This is all so much fun, I can’t wait for the pumpkin soup! I enjoy someone else doing most of the cooking.

    [Reply]

  5. Nicki
    November 11, 2010 | 9:42 am

    We make an advent calendar with activities!

    I blogged about it today:
    http://400things.blogspot.com/2010/11/activity-advent-calendar.html

    [Reply]

  6. [...] Kimberly at Raising Olives [...]

  7. Young Wife
    November 11, 2010 | 1:31 pm

    You have some really neat traditions! How fun that you and your husband “attack” the kids with marshmallows.

    [Reply]

  8. pam
    November 11, 2010 | 5:51 pm

    this year we cooked 195 pounds of pumpkin. now I am bummed because i realized it is not working in my pumpkin cheesecake. any suggestions

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Why is it not working, too much moisture?

    Cooked pumpkin has more moisture than canned and I read that you can strain cooked pumpkin through cheese cloth overnight to reduce the moisture.

    Also, depending upon the type of pumpkin that you used, the recipe may need more or less sugar (larger pumpkins often require more sugar).

    That is a LOT of pumpkin, I hope that you can get it to work.

    [Reply]

  9. Michelle
    November 12, 2010 | 6:22 am

    So can you PROMISE there won’t be a marshmallow mess?

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I make no promises, beware the partially eaten marshmallow.

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Seriously though, I do keep an eye on the toddlers (read marshmallow eaters) and we haven’t had any problems with mess other than some sticky hands/faces.

    [Reply]

  10. Pumpkin Soup Recipe | Raising Olives
    November 12, 2010 | 7:36 am

    [...] 4 cups pumpkin (we like to use fresh) [...]

  11. Tracey
    November 12, 2010 | 8:00 am

    I like the thanksgiving decorations. I just might do that!

    [Reply]

  12. Cheryl @ Treasures from a Shoebox
    November 13, 2010 | 10:02 am

    Love the decorations! Very lovely family traditions and memory making :)

    [Reply]

  13. Jama
    November 14, 2010 | 10:59 pm

    I ran across a recipe today I thought you might like. It’s a trail mix recipe that uses pumpkin seeds.

    2c pepitas
    1c almonds
    3/4 c sunflower seeds
    6Tbsp maple syrup
    1c dried cherries or cranberries.

    Toast the pepitas, almonds and seeds with the syrup and spread them on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake in a 300 degree oven for 20 minutes, until golden. After the mixture has cooled, stir in the dried fruit.

    [Reply]

  14. Jessica Hilliker
    November 15, 2010 | 11:56 am

    lovely post! Marshmallow wars & eating cookies for lunch made me think “yikes!” inside, so I guess I am also on the journey of becoming a YES! Mom :) I don’t have any traditions to share, as my husband and I are just beginning to form our own…but decorating with organic decorations from the outdoors was on my list this year!

    [Reply]

  15. Julie
    November 16, 2010 | 8:42 am

    I love reading about your family! We currently have half as many kids as you with #6 to arrive late May/early June. You are an inspiration to me!

    I was wondering what kind of pumpkins you use. Do you get the ones that are sold as “cooking pumpkins” or just the regular pumpkins you see everywhere.

    Also, if you have time, could you share your roasted pumpkin seed recipe? I’ve tried a couple, but haven’t found one I love.

    Enjoy that lovely family of yours!

    [Reply]

  16. [...] You may also be interested in reading about  our family table cloth and some of our other Thanksgiving traditions. [...]

  17. [...] are many things that our family does every year during the holidays.  We have a marshmallow war,  we go on a Jammie Drill, we decorate Christmas cookies, make gingerbread houses and we make [...]

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