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Posts Tagged ‘tradition’

7/8/15 giving to the Goodwill…

written 1/27/14 – Maggie reorganized her room and brought down some things for Goodwill. When the kids were young we would take a load to Goodwill at the end of summer. It was a good time for us to sort things out. The kids have their birthdays in September, October and November, and then there is Christmas with another avalanche of toys coming into the house. At the end of summer we aren’t into school work yet, and the kids know that they have more toys coming to replace the ones that they have given away. We have to sort out the toys or we would get buried. When the kids were young, the girls would keep ten to fifteen dolls and ten to fifteen baby blankets, etc. William would keep about as much of his army men etc. They never were without toys, but a good sort out is sometimes necessary. The first year of giving was the hardest. The kids understood that they would be getting more toys soon and that they still had a lot, but it was still hard to part with anything. About two weeks after giving the toys to Goodwill the first time Beth started sobbing. She had given away a doll that was her favorite. She said that she had taken a long time to decide which dolls to give away…remember that she did keep about fifteen dolls…but she regretted not having this one. She was so sad with her tear stained face and sad eyes. I went to the trunk of my car where the Goodwill load was and got her doll. She was so happy. I hadn’t delivered the load because I knew that this would be tough and I wanted to have the toys in case anyone melted down. I kept the toys in the trunk for about another month. Then I asked the kids if it was OK to deliver them now. We had the birthdays and Christmas and the kids got more toys. The next year it was easier. They knew what was happening. I want the kids to have toys, but we can’t have so many that we can’t walk through the house. Now they do their own sorts when they rearrange their rooms. I do go through their items. Sometimes they throw away a yearbook or something else that is precious to them by mistake. I still keep the items in the trunk for a week or two…just in case. What yearly events do you or your family do to keep things running smoothly?

If you like what you have read, please come back tomorrow!

Here are some pictures: 12770

12531 12532 12533 12534 12535 12536



3/13/15 putting up the Christmas tree…

written 12/14/13 -We have been busy with school. I also lost my cord for my Nook. I can write on it until it needs re-charged, but I can’t transfer anything to the computer. I would like to say that the cats took the cord, but I think that it is too big for them to carry.

We put up our Christmas tree last night. We keep all of the Christmas things in the basement. We found the Christmas tree, which was at the bottom of the pile since we have rearranged the basement  a few times in the last year. After digging it out, we started looking for the base. We all looked and got a flashlight. Finally one of the kids said that she thought that we had put it in the Christmas tree box so that we could find it. It was there. We brought up the ornaments, which are now all in one big plastic tote with the wreath for outside. When we got them open we didn’t have any lights. They were in the basement in a box which we had labeled “Christmas lights”. I don’t usually label boxes as well as I should so it was nice that this one had been labeled. We separated the tree branches by size and started putting up the tree. We have a long rope that we keep with the tree and we tied the center pole of the tree to the close furniture, to help the tree stay up. Then we put up the tree. By now Maggie had decided that she was too warm and had gone to put shorts on and Beth decided that she was cold and was completely wrapped in a blanket. But everyone was there. We put up the lights with all of us standing around the tree handing the lights to the next person until the whole string is on the tree. We decided not to use the lights that have a music box on them…when they are plugged in the music starts playing. The tree actually looked really good with only lights on it. Christmas tree lights We started adding the ornaments. We were all watching the cats. Our older cat doesn’t play with the tree much, but we weren’t sure what the new cat would do. cat2 (2) cat1 We have a separate little ”parade” of ornaments that go off to the side. They are the Christmas things that won’t go on the tree.parade1 parade2 Maggie set this up and William, Beth and I put up ornaments. Then later Maggie helped with the tree. We have enough ornaments to put about three on each branch, the kids pointed out that maybe that is why the tree falls over is because we have too much weight on it. I think that it is because we need a new base. If we put less ornaments on the tree, how would we decide which ones to leave off. We could rotate them, having a three year plan, but I like seeing all of them. Christmas tree1 Christmas tree2 The new cat started playing with the lower ornaments and climbing in the tree. This morning she was on the back of a chair so that she could look at the higher ornaments.

The wreath is up outside, the tree is up and the manger scene is set up except for baby Jesus who hasn’t arrived yet. When the kids were little we had Mary and Joseph start out in another room. Each night we moved them closer to the manger scene, like they were traveling to Bethlehem. One year we got busy with homework and forgot to move them and they made the whole trip the morning of Christmas. Manger scene We have some decorations that need to be put up around the house and we will be all done.

When we were finished we took a Christmas picture in front of the tree with the kids. Except that William said that he wouldn’t be in it this year. We also got the cats to be in it. Except for our little cat who ran out of the picture. Some years we have everyone and some years we don’t.

I thought that we could finish the evening by watching a Christmas movie. The kids said that they already had ”Sherlock Homes” in. They had been watching it another day and wanted to finish it first. So we finished ”Sherlock Homes”.

So this is us. Our tree doesn’t stay up, we are in shorts and wrapped in blankets, we don’t get everyone into the Christmas picture and we watch ”Sherlock Homes” as our Christmas movie. But we are together, we get along most of the time so from out house to yours, I hope you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and you make a lot of fun memories of your own this next year!!!



3/4/15 Halloween decorations, car, Black Friday, Christmas decorations…

written 11/30/13 – We took down our Halloween decorations the day before Thanksgiving. We are usually more organized than that. The front porch looks so bare. Halloween decorations

Our car now has 350,000 miles.  Outstanding!miles

We went out on Black Friday. We usually aim to leave the house at five or six in the morning. Then we leave at seven. We usually go to the mall or to the book store. There are not many people there. They must all be at the electronics stores. This is our third year to do this, I think. The kids are older and they can help pick out presents.

We were going to put up our Christmas tree this weekend. Christmas now seems so close. But we decided not to. Having two big holidays in one weekend was too much…and we also just took down the Halloween decorations.

Here are some pictures: boxes drive thrucats sky1building1



3/3/15 Thanksgiving, peeling potatoes, Halloween decorations…

written 11/28/13 – Happy Thanksgiving everyone! We took the Halloween decorations down yesterday.

We had a good Thanksgiving. Mom came over. We all finished making the meal together. It was fun, all five of us in the kitchen. The kids are old enough that they can make a lot of the meal with out instructions. We wrote what we are thankful for on the cloth before we ate. thankful

One of our traditions is that the night before Thanksgiving the kids and I peel the potatoes. We started doing this when they were really young, they were probably in early grade school. At that time they couldn’t peel a whole potato. The first year was a huge learning experience. They were able to see one piece of the meal and how it was made.  The second year they could peel the potatoes better. It is a time for all of us to sit down together and create memories. The first year we peeled potatoes for a long time. It seemed like forever. The kids kept saying ”this potato peeler doesn’t work” so I would give them a different peeler. They were little, so that one wouldn’t work either. After a while I said that they had helped me a lot and I would finish the job. They were too young to realize that they hadn’t peeled any potatoes. The second year it went better. Some of the kids peeled a potato or two. We spent a lot of time talking about how much they had grown up in the last year.  We didn’t need to switch any peelers that second year. We sat together for a while and peeled and talked. Then I finished the job. By the third year, the kids were pros. We did the whole bag together. It took a while, so we had time to talk about the last year and things happening today. Fast forward to a few years later. One year we set up everything and I went back to the kitchen to get an extra potato peeler. When I came back, the job was done. The kids were ready to clean up. We hadn’t gotten to talk. They didn’t know that part of the purpose was time together. They were ready to put everything away. The next year, I made sure that everything was in the room before we started. This year we completely forgot to peel the potatoes the night before. We should peel a batch of potatoes for Christmas.

Here are some pictures: blurr downtown1



2/24/15 Thanksgiving traditions…

written 11/21/13 – We went to the mall last week. It is not even Thanksgiving and they have Christmas music playing. I love Thanksgiving and don’t like to see it skipped. It is my favorite non-religious holiday. We all get together and cook part of the meal together. There is something about having the whole family in the kitchen at the same time trying to cook. Everyone likes to take a turn mashing the potatoes. We also have some material that we lay out each year. We take a Sharpie marker and everyone writes on it what they are thankful for. At first it was easy. Most of us wrote things like we are thankful for our families. Some of us write more creative things like they are thankful for Google Chrome , weekends and the cat. It is difficult to think of new things each year. We starting thinking farther ahead each year to have something to write. We also put our name and the date by what we wrote. I am not sure if the kids write what the cats are thankful for. I will need to look. If you do this, put some newspaper under the material. The Sharpie marker does bleed through the material and onto the table.

thankful list





Here are some pictures:book drop painted wall



2/14/15 new backpack, Halloween decorations…

written 11 ! 3 ! 13 – Maggie wanted a second back pack from the same company that made the back pack that she carries her school books in. Maggie is fascinated with ordering things online. She found the back pack that she wanted and saved up the money for it. I have an E-Bay account so she bought it through my account. Maggie is thrilled. She can’t wait for it to arrive. The back pack should be here tomorrow or the next day.
We put up our Halloween decorations over the weekend. We are not great at putting up holiday decorations, but when we do put them up we try to get them up before the holiday. We have the witch that ran into the house, a skeleton and some pumpkins outside. The inside decorations were harder to place this year. When we had one cat, we could put things anywhere. She was a quiet cat and didn’t knock too many things off of tables. With two cats, and one being very playful the decisions of where to put things took longer.witch and skeletin

Here are some pictures: fall tree1 fall treeAmerican flag art3



2/12/15 William’s birthday!!! our kitty…

written 10 ! 29 ! 13 – Today is Williams birthday!!! He doesn’t get too excited about the birthdays themselves, but he likes the cake, ice cream and presents! We try to celebrate birthdays on the weekend, so that the kids don’t have to do homework after the party. This really doesn’t apply to William now that he isn’t in school. But, is has become a tradition and it is easier on all of us to get together when we are not rushed.

The little kitty got out again. The first time she was only outside, we believe, for a few minutes. Not long enough to get cold. The second time she was outside for a few minutes also. She used to look at us with playful eyes. Now she looks like she is planning. She has her claws, and might be OK outside, but we would miss her.

Here are some pictures: cat in box fall trees1race car3 ship1daytime factorynight lights alligator9-13




2/6/15 Halloween, ACT, art…

written 10 ! 6 ! 13 – Here are some random thoughts. I think that Beth has decided to be candy corn for Halloween, but there are still two weeks until the Halloween dance. We need to register Maggie and Beth next week for their ACT tests.  We need to put the garden hose away for the winter and get our Halloween witch out and put her on the porch. She is one of the ones that looks like she has run into a telephone pole. The kids and I used to put the witch up each year when they were little. To them the witch was huge, so it took all four of us to carry her. Then we got her set on the porch. It probably only took fifteen minutes, but it was a lot of good memories. Now the kids don’t always have time to help put the witch up. I am not sure if it is because they have homework , or if is because they know that as soon as it is up , I will start saying ” Oh no, there is a witch on the porch” every time that we come home.
Our neighbor likes to decorate for Halloween. They always have a skeleton that looks like he is climbing out of the ground.scarecrow

Here is some art. I didn’t think about taking a picture of the description of the art until we had left the museum. The picture could have told who the artist was.picture of a field



1/21/15 Maggie’s birthday…

written 9 ! 6 ! 13 – We had Maggie’s birthday party today. She will be eighteen next week. We try to celebrate birthdays on the weekend before the birthday. If we have the party on their birthday and it is a school night, it is hard for the kids to put their toys down and do their homework. We celebrate on weekends so that the kids can play longer.  Maggie wanted some puzzle games that she could carry and try to solve if she had time between classes. Actually, she has a whole list for her birthday and Christmas, complete with pictures on her phone. Then if someone asks what she wants, she will be ready to answer. Maggie isn’t a self centered person, she just likes to be

Maggie likes pie instead of cake. It is a nice change to have pie sometimes, but it is more difficult to put eighteen candles on a pie. The crust keeps falling apart.

We also measure the kids at their birthday. We have a six foot board that we measure everyone on and write their names the date and their age on. My mom’s family measured the kids on the kitchen door frame, and when they sold the house they weren’t able to get the board out before the sale. We got a board so that we could take with us when we moved. The big problem is that it is not flat. It was flat when we first got it. It was laid on the floor, but one side was on a book so over time it became permanently curved. We only use it on birthdays so it was on the book for a long time before we noticed it. It is closer to being straight now than when we first found that it was on the book. But…we measured the kids on the curved board for years so all of the measurements are approximate. Now, the kids have stopped growing, but we still want to write their information on the board every year. The measurement each year is in the same place, so we now have a lot of arrows pointing from their name, the date and their age to the same line.

We also measure our pets. At first we couldn’t decide where to measure the cat. Should we measure at the top of the head, or the top of the back? One of the kids thought that we should have the cat stand on their hind paws and measure to where the front paws could reach. I said “no”. Future generations would not understand and they would think that we had a cat that was three feet tall. The kids thought that that was a riot. The first time we measured the cat the kids had the cats back sagging. At the next birthday the cats back was at the normal level. By the third birthday, the cat knew what was coming and had his back arched…I believe this was to get away faster. When we now look at the measuring stick, it looks like the cat grew two inches every month that year. Grandma came over for the birthday so we measured her and her puppy too.




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