Rituals

img_3289Children have a natural affinity for rituals. They brighten at all of the precious moments of a birthday, not just the moment the presents are opened. They enjoy eating by candle light and my girls love setting their table with cloth napkins and pretty china they picked out. Children model rituals in their play. Tea parties are an intricate example of the practice of ritual. There are many social graces that come into play with a tea party. Who serves whom, where to sit, how and when to say please and thank you. Nearly every day at school, I see children on the playground at school playing “family.” They get together and decide who is the mom, big sister, baby, etc. They also play school regularly. It always makes me hope I’ve given my girls a good model of what “playing family” looks like.

When I ask friends about traditions growing up, they all ever so clearly recall the things their families always did- went to the lake every summer, had blueberry muffins on Saturday mornings, drank tea while opening presents on Christmas morning. These traditions and rituals are a part of us. What we do with our children in these childhood years will be with them for all of their lives.

I have been a little petrified about the idea of making traditions from scratch. I want to have them but I’m a little late to the planning party sometimes when it comes to big birthdays, holidays and the like. I read in the book, “Simplicity Parenting,” that having a predictable day of the week where you eat… say soup is also helpful. So I’ve sat down and tried to make lists of the “official traditions” that I want. These ideas are probably gathering dust somewhere. While I am newly inspired to find more ways to bring beautiful rituals into our lives, I’ve also purchased this little beauty.

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How to Celebrate Everything” has me over the moon excited about the fun my kids and I are in for as we start celebrating our every day lives together. I highly recommend it. (I was not paid for this btw.)

Here’s the short list for what traditions we already have and ones I’d like to add:

  1. Saturday Morning Oatmeal- Charlotte and I adore making food together and we’ve taken to  making oatmeal on Saturday mornings. We are now looking into the many ways we can “write our own recipes” in life and using oatmeal as a jumping off point.
  2. Friday Pizza and Movie Night- Friday is a special day for either Pizza at home or a night out with friends. It’s also our movie night.
  3. Fall and Thankfulness- I LOVE thanksgiving and the beauty and cool weather of fall. I also teach year-round thankfulness so it’s great to have a holiday that I can spend loving them, cooking with them and talking about being thankful for all the beauty our lives have to offer. I have a few side dishes that are go-to’s that I’ll have Charlotte and Josephine start to help me cook this year.
  4. Christmas crafts, cookies and wrapping paper- We make cookies every year, create fun crafts and a few years ago, we started making and decorating our own wrapping paper with craft paper and stamps but this year, I’d like to up our game.
  5. Spring camping trip- Being a teacher, I’d like to take a trip with my girls every spring break starting this year. (Fingers crossed!) Maybe drive to California and camp there.

Other hopes and dreams:

  1. Birthday banner and crown made for the occasion.
  2. A more steamlined meal plan.
  3. Monthly outings.
  4. More nature.
  5. Saying a thankfulness prayer before meals.
  6. Making their halloween costumes
  7. One designated cozy spot for reading every night. (We currently are all over the place)

 

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Frugal Fall Decorating: Little Pumpkin Mantel (Goodwill Find)

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I definitely am excited about fall, perhaps like never before. (I know I say that every post these days.) Living here in Austin, the weather just gets gorgeous. And the winter squashes come into the markets and the whole town comes alive anew after hibernating for a good part of the summer. And! I have a toddler who is cognizant of holidays and seasons! It’s been pretty fun explaining Autumn and Halloween. Char’s take: “It’s scary!”

Pumpkins are one of my all-time favorite items to bake and cook with, and aesthetically, they are pretty darn adorable. So I wandered goodwill this morning and came upon these little wicker pumpkins for $7 for the set. Good find. I’m a happy, fall-loving mama.