Today I’m supposed to be posting a “Helpful List” with the Mini Blog Challenge over at Rx Fitness Lady.
I can make lots of lists, but usually they are only helpful if you can complete them for me! But to GIVE a helpful list? More of a challenge.
I decided to write a list of the top 10 favourite traditions we have in our family that they all seem to love (so that’s helpful, right?)
1. Family Night
Every single week, we try to have a Family Night. Families are a big thing in our faith and we are encouraged to hold weekly family home evenings as an opportunity to share and teach. We run ours in a particular structure, starting with one of the kids welcoming everyone and then “chairing the meeting.” We share and discuss our “Quote of the Week, then discuss “family business” (who has tests, what activities are going on, who’s going where) and then discuss some sort of topic. It can range from something spiritual, to something practical (we have been reviewing social media and social skills in recent weeks). Then finally, the part that everyone really waits for, family night treat. It’s got to be something special too – my kids are pretty strict on that!
2. Quote of the Week
Every week, I try to post a blog post on our “Quote of the Week.” Every week, I try to find a quote that jumps out at me, or sometimes the kids will find one and text it to me or tell it to me. I write it on a card, then on the other side of the card explain what I think it means, or write a little message to them. We read it during family night, then it gets posted in our kitchen for 2 weeks (we always keep 2 up at a time). In the month of December, we put ALL of them up on our wall, and everyone re-reads them and picks their favourite for the year.
3. Surprise Dinners
I’m not sure how this one got it’s name, but basically every second Sunday one of the kids finds a recipe they want to cook (they used to use cookbooks, but now they use Pinterest), and we cook it together to serve to the family. They get to pick whatever they want – even if I hate it. Trust me, we have had some strange meals (spaghetti tacos, anyone?), but some amazing ones too. Some of the kids go over the top. Josh for example always picks a main to make, dessert and usually some kind of snazzy drink too! Just this past Sunday Gabe made a really good Mexican Tortilla Casserole.
4. Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s is a biggie in our house; you can read all about it here. Let’s start with the romantic duo: Rob and me. We celebrate on the weekend closest to Valentine’s on a night with no kids and find a hotel right here in the city that we have never stayed in and spend the night! It honestly feels like a total getaway!
With the kids, we do a few things too. Firstly, I make them each a yearly photobook that captures all their memories of the previous year. In the book, I also include a little summary of their year (who their teachers were, what sports they played, what kind of cake for their bday etc.) and Rob and I each write a little letter to them. We then write on little heart post-its little things that we love about them and plaster them all over the kitchen. Finally, we serve them up a steak and poutine dinner.
5. Vacation Traditions
We have tried to start the tradition of heading to the Outer Banks, and hope that this tradition carries over for many years to come. We have our traditional meals, traditional nighttime routines, and traditional favourite beaches!
6. One on One Dates
This is one that all the kids love (and we do too), but life gets busy and it is hard to stay on top of it (although the kids like to remind us of this one). We each try to take out each of the kids individually for some one on one time. Usually it is out for lunch, or dinner, but occasionally it has been to a movie, museum or excursion. It’s great to have time just the two of you, especially when it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle of a big family.
7. CDF Tennis Tournament: Our annual Tennis tournament is always a hit! We just recently had it and I talked about it here.
Around Christmas, we have a ton of traditions. From Christmas cookies, to acting out the Nativity of Christmas Eve. We all love to take our wagon down to the local church and pick out a Christmas tree and a small Charlie Brown tree for the big boys’ room upstairs (they share a loft on our top floor which is often a main “play space” for everyone). We love our Christmas Eve buffet and the traditional dinner. But here are some specific faves:
8. Pyjama Drive, Christmas lights and hot chocolate
A couple of weeks before Christmas everyone gets some new pyjamas, puts them on, piles in the car with some yummy hot chocolate and we go deliver some Christmas cookies to friends. We love to head over to one of my best girlfriend’ s homes because across the street she has neighbours who do the craziest Christmas decorations! They are always voted the best (or the worst, depending on how you look at it). We like to head to different areas and ooh and ahh (and boo) all the lights.
9. Quiet Elfie
The Elf on the Shelf has created quite a controversy in the media in years past, but let me tell you, our Elf rocks!! We named him Quiet Elfie and he has been known to bring some new movies or a new series of Gilmore Girls (which we have made a tradition of watching together). He hides in the best places – in trees in our yard even! Last year, he was mistakenly pushed and ended up breaking his arm! He has listened to many secrets and always been the kindest Elf ever.
10. Secret Santas
The advantage of a larger family (although more kids would have made this one even more fun) is that we can do things like draw names to play Secret Santa. The kids draw a name at the beginning of December and have to do special things for their Secret Santa (make their bed, put toothpaste on their toothbrush, do their chores) and give them little things (little treats, make them something cute, leave a little note). Then, for Christmas, they buy their Secret Santa a gift and reveal themselves. Of course, by then it is not a surprise (by day 2 it is usually not a surprise anymore!) They really do love the excitement of both giving and receiving!
That’s a list of my faves! What traditions do you have in your family?