Tuesday, September 12, 2006

New Family Traditions

I recently read an article in Real Simple Magazine (see also www.realsimple.com) about starting new traditions. Here, in our family, we have daily, seasonal and holiday traditions, but starting or trying out new ones is a great way to spend/spend more time together. Just this week our oldest daughter asked my husband if she and he could start running together. Yesterday they got up at 6, ran the "big block" for starters and talked on the way. They both thoroughly enjoyed it, and hope to make it a "tradition". Today it was raining, but hopefully they can do it again tomorrow. Some of our other traditions include picking apples, going pumpkin picking, cutting down our Christmas tree, writing quotes or Bible verses weekly on the kitchen chalkboard, cheering on our local college football team, saying our nightly prayers together, and visiting my family in the state I grew up in every Thanksgiving. As our kids get older, our time passes even faster and the minutes we get to spend as a family are fewer and farther between, so I liked this article and its ideas as "tradition starters" to find a few more things to do together. Here are some of my favorites, but not all from the article. Hope you find some you'd like to try.
  • "tour the world: adopt a holiday from another country and honor it with gusto. Prepare a massive traditional Chinese feast for Chinese New Year; eat crepes and watch classic French films on Bastille Day
  • walk on: Go for a (moderately) challenging hike with your family every January 1. Even if your resolutions don't make it past February, you'll have started the year on a healthy note-and the exercise does wonders for a Champagne hangover.
  • have the early bird special: Change the evening-meal routine by serving breakfast for dinner every Friday night. Wear pajamas to the table for the full effect.
  • stage a camp-in: Spread out sleeping bags in the living room, light a fire in the fireplace, cook up s'mores and tell ghost stories by flashlight
  • hot topics: place a jar in the middle of the dinner table and fill it with conversation starters written on strips of paper. Each night a family member can take one out and read it to the group.
  • have a historic birthday: Celebrate the birthday of a historical figure your family admires. Example: for Mozart's birthday (January 27th) prepare Austrain cuisine, watch Amadeus and have the resident family musician treat everyone else to a brief concert on his instrument of choice. "
  • Others included: host a rain-dance party outside with kids in swimsuits, relive your first kiss with your partner exchanging cards, etc, logging miles in a family travel journal, celebrate "opposite day", volunteer together, encourage variety with "spontaneous family day", and showing fido how much you value him during National Pet Week beginning on the first Sunday in May.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Lunch Ideas

Well, the first week and a half of school for the girls has gone extremely well. They are both having a great year so far! Phew! :) They have been making friends, working hard and their teachers seem to be very kind, but expect a lot from them.

Just a short entry today, lots to do, but I already had complaints of the "same old same old" lunch ideas for the girls, as they pack everyday. I began some research. Although these seem like common sense, we get stuck in a rut and have trouble thinking outside the (lunch)box. Here are some ideas we'll be trying in the next two weeks (I found these at familyfun.com and bhg.com):
  • bagel with vegetable confetti: a bagel with cream cheese and chopped up colorful veggies
  • sushi rolls, using imitation crab meat and rolls of cucumber slices, avacado and or tortillas
  • hot chili in a thermos with a bag of Fritos and or cheese to sprinkle on top when ready to eat
  • lunchables, the cheap homemade version: meats, crackers, cheeses, cream cheese and veggies
  • sandwiches cutout with cookie cutters, and different kinds/colors of breads
  • stuff an apple: core an apple and fill the hole with peanut butter or cream cheese and raisins
  • snack mix with cereal, dried fruit, nuts and goldfish crackers
  • banana bread/muffins
  • yogurt mixed with berries and a side of whole grain crackers
  • peanut butter and apple on a whole wheat tortilla
  • bake store bought biscuits in the shapes of stars, use them for sandwiches instead of bread
  • peanut buter and apple wraps