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Archive for the ‘traditions’ tag

December 23rd, 2014 at 6:16 pm

Welcoming Santa

reindeer food

Our family has some special traditions for preparing for Santa’s visit. First, we make a batch of “reindeer food” to leave on the ground for Santa’s reindeer. In the evening, we sprinkle it on the ground outside so the reindeer have something to eat while Santa is inside. We don’t have a fireplace, so we know that Santa parks on the front lawn. Check out the recipe for Magic Reindeer Food below.

We also prepare a plate of cookies and a glass of milk that we leave on the table. Santa usually only leaves crumbs, since he is a big fan our our cookies.

During the evening, we check out where Santa is in the world on Norad. It truly is a great learning activity so the kids can learn the parts of the world, the time changes, and the distance from place to place.

Other families hang stockings for Santa to fill, leave a magic key outside, and more. What do you do on Christmas Eve to welcome Santa?

Magic Reindeer Food Recipe

In a small zipper sandwich bag, mix:

  • 1/4 cup uncooked oatmeal
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • 1/8 cup red or green sugar sprinkles


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April 11th, 2014 at 8:38 am

Planning an Easter Brunch


One of my favorite things about Easter is the meal. It’s the one time a year where we eat my favorite meal, breakfast, with lunch as well! There are so many different things you can do with brunch. Here are some things to consider when planning your meal.

Buffet or Served Plate?
Personally, I like to offer my brunches as a buffet. This way, everyone can choose what the foods they like best, and they can control how much they take of each. Seconds are much easier to handle as well.

Planning Your Dishes
When choosing food types, you want to consider the time it will take to make them…simpler recipes will allow you to enjoy your party more. Some things that are easy to make ahead of time are breakfast casseroles, pancakes, quiches, scrambled eggs, waffles, french toast, and fruit and vegetable platters. Also think about things like taco bars or waffle bars, where your guests or family can personalize them and put them together. I also like to include a deli meat selection, pulled pork, or shredded chicken or beef for build-your-own sandwiches. Ham, lamb, and chicken are typical Easter meats, so you can offer one of these as well…especially if brunch is the main meal you’re planning for the day. Here are some categories you can incorporate into your brunch:

  • Egg dish
  • Pancakes, French Toast, Waffles, Crepes
  • Meat Dish
  • Potato Dish
  • Bread Dish (Easter bread with dyed hard boiled eggs is a nice idea!)
  • Light Pasta Dish
  • Salad or Fruit
  • Dessert

Drinks to Serve
Have fun with the drinks – think about coffee, juices, water, and milk. You can also make fun punches or alcoholic drinks like mimosas, bellinis, and sangrias for the adults.

Brunches can be lots of fun, but portions are difficult to control, so make sure you have enough food on hand. My guests always get excited when they hear i’ll be serving brunch – the BEST of breakfast and lunch!!


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February 10th, 2014 at 10:25 am

Favorite Valentine’s Day Books

ValentinebooksOne of my favorite things to do to prepare for Valentine’s Day is to share stories of love with my little ones. A tradition of ours is to snuggle on the couch with some fresh chocolate chip cookies and milk while we read some of our favorite Valentine’s Day books. I wanted to share a list of some of our favorites that we have shared through the years.

The Day it Rained Hearts by Felicia Bond

One day it rains hearts, and Cornelia Augusta catches them. Each heart is special in its own way, and Cornelia Augusta knows exactly who to send them to.

Happy Valentine’s Day Curious George! by N. Di Angelo

George and his friend celebrate Valentine’s Day with decorating, card making and the kind of mischief that only a monkey can make!

Clifford’s First Valentine’s Day by Norman Bridwell

When Clifford was a baby he got into so much trouble on Valentine’s Day, but continues to be Emily Elizabeth’s favorite year after year.

Hedgehug, A Sharp Lesson in Love by Dan Pinto

A great story that you have to find the right person to love you for who you are.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Mouse! by Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond

Our favorite mouse from If you Give a Mouse a Cookie celebrates Valentine’s Day.

Roses are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink by Diane de Groat

The story of a prank gone wrong changes the pranksters heart in the end.

The Valentine Bears by Eve Bunting

An old favorite from my childhood shows that even if you have never celebrated Valentine’s Day you can always start!

There Was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Rose! by Lucille Colandro

If you have read any of the books in this series you know that this book makes the classic song come alive in a different manner.

I Love You Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt

This book shows that a mother’s unconditional love will never be changed.

Olive, My Love by Vivian Walsh

We love the book Olive, the Other Reindeer by Vivian Walsh so were excited to see this title.  This funny story is a great example that anything can happen if you follow your heart.

Guess How Much I Love You by Sam Mc Bratney

My boys have heard this story since they were first born. They love the story of the endless amounts of love a father and son can have for one another.

Pete the Cat Valentines Day is Cool by Kimberly and James Dean

Pete discovers how special Valentines can be and makes Valentines for everyone.

Print this list and take it to your local library, then snuggle up and enjoy the stories of love with your little ones all this week!

 Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

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December 20th, 2013 at 8:30 am

Easy Holiday Appetizers

holida-appetizersMy favorite thing at Christmas is all the appetizers and snacks. The best part is on Christmas Eve when we have a buffet of appetizers while we open presents. We all have favorites that have to be there every year, but then we fill in with some new things. When I was growing up that was my favorite part of the evening, even though the buffet didn’t come out until after 10 pm. Now, we have this instead of dinner. My mom likes to keep some of the same things every year, whether anyone really eats them or not.  It’s our tradition to fill your plate with bite size food. That’s how I associate Christmas the most.

Here are some of my favorite appetizers:

Veggie Pizza

Tortilla Roll Ups

Chicken Baseballs

Taco Dip

Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts

Stuffed Mushrooms

For more ideas check out my pinterest board.

What are some of your favorites?

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.


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November 29th, 2013 at 5:00 am

25 Fun Holiday Traditions for Kids

Image-1-1Traditions are a great way for young children to create memories of holidays. During this time of year traditions come easy. Check out some of my favorite traditions to make the holidays more fun!

  1. Decorate your house the same time every year.
  2. Get matching pajamas for the kids or even the whole family to wear.
  3. Read a book each night before Christmas.
  4. Watch Christmas movies and shows.
  5. Go on a holiday light tour complete with candy canes and hot chocolate. You could even wear your pajamas on the ride.
  6. Have a cookie exchange or cookie baking party.
  7. Make a gingerbread house.
  8. Purchase gifts for a family in need or give toys to a local organization.
  9. Create a way to count down the days.
  10. Read The Night Before Christmas.
  11. Record local holiday events on your calendar to visit.
  12. Visit Santa and get your photo taken.
  13. Collect cans for a local good drive.
  14. Deliver baked goods to neighbors and local organization like the fire and police department to thank them.
  15. See a local christmas show every year – a madrigal dinner, a holiday concert, or a local production of “The Nutcracker” or “A Christmas Carol.”
  16. Cut down your own Christmas Tree.
  17. Create a holiday music playlist.
  18. Purchase a yearly holiday ornament for each child.
  19. Write a letter to Santa.
  20. Send out Christmas cards along with a holiday letter.
  21. Complete some Random Acts of Kindness or volunteer your time for an organization.
  22. Track Santa’s progress on Christmas Eve on NORAD.
  23. Participate in a winter activity of sledding, ice skating or even a good old snowball fight!
  24. Sleep in fromt of your Christmas Tree one night. Leave the tree lights on, snack on holiday treats and play holiday music or watch a holiday movie.
  25. Leave Santa milk and cookies.

Children look forward to these traditional activities that make lasting family memories. What would you add to this list?

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.


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November 21st, 2013 at 12:17 pm

Nontraditional Thanksgiving Recipes




Like many holidays, Thanksgiving is usually a time of tradition…same old turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes etc. For some of you, that might get a little stale year after year and it’s nice to change things up a bit. For those of you looking for some unique recipe ideas this year, check out some of these delicious dishes!

Share your unique Thanksgiving recipes with us on our Facebook wall!

Photo Credit: Parents Magazine

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October 3rd, 2013 at 11:12 am

Fall Traditions


As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized just how important traditions are. As a child, seasonal and holiday traditions were things I looked forward to all year. There’s excitement in knowing a special activity or outing is approaching…they are some of my fondest memories, and now as an adult, I love seeing the children in our family experience the same excitement. Here are some of our fall traditions to inspire you…perhaps you have your own or will start some new ones this year!

Apple and pumpkin picking

At the beginning of every October we pack the family up for a fun-filled autumn day of pumpkin and apple picking. We go to “pick your own” places where you can pick them right off the tree and vine. The kids love climbing the trees and picking the apples, and selecting their own pumpkins. The places we go to usually have a corn maze and other fun activities for the kids to enjoy. I, myself, love the seasoned corn on the cob and apple cider they sell…YUM! After a long day out, we come home and make a warm, hearty meal like beef stew or chili.

Baking pies and banana bread

The kids really love helping make pies from the apples they pick themselves! Apple and pumpkin pie are my usuals, but berry pies are delicious as well. My family has a chocolate chip banana bread (no nuts) recipe that has been passed down for generations, so we make a few loafs for the house and a few to give as gifts to friends and family. Here’s a popular recipe similar to mine (can’t give away all the family secrets!).

Pumpkin carving and painting

Needless to say, this is the most popular tradition with the kids…it’s a great way for them to get creative. Sometimes we use stencils we print online and other times they just let their imagination run. The little ones use paint to safely decorate their pumpkins instead of carving utensils.

Halloween books and movies

Since Halloween can be a somewhat scary time for kids, it’s nice to read books that celebrate and poke fun at the holiday. When I was little, my mother used to read me my favorite Halloween book, The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams. GoodReads has a list with other great titles you can see here. For the little ones, watch It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, and the older ones will enjoy Nightmare Before Christmas (bonus, two holidays in one!).

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March 20th, 2013 at 2:34 pm

Classic Easter Recipes


When I was growing up I always knew what dishes to expect each holiday because my mother is a traditional chef who enjoys cooking the meals her mother and grandmother made. Today I want to share with you my family’s delicious classic Easter meal plan. You can go by the book or you can add your own flair… whatever you decide, you can’t go wrong with these excellent recipes your whole family will enjoy as much as mine has!





Do you have a traditional Easter meal you follow every year? Share your favorite recipes with us!


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December 9th, 2012 at 7:31 am

A Non-Traditional Tree

We have two trees that we decorate this time of year. The first tree we put up is our family tree. It has ornaments from both my husband and my childhood, others reminding us of vacation spots and special things we like to do, and ones the boys have received each year. I like to say that it portrays our family history. The memories that this tree exudes are overwhelming and some make us laugh, while others bring tears to our eyes. Every year as our family unpacks the ornaments we relive those memories.

Then, we have our other tree – the Star Wars tree. Lets make it clear that this is entirely his tree. This tree started when my husband and I were only married a couple of years. When we were dating I would buy him Star Wars ornaments every year for Christmas. We had quite a few that graced the family tree our first year of marriage. That is where he got the idea for this tree. It started out with a few Star Wars ornaments and more blue bulbs surrounding them. Years later, there are few, if any, blue bulbs, and all different kinds of ornaments. A Yoda tree topper graces the top.

I used to not really care for this tree. I would think. ‘how tacky is that?’ Over the years I have watched the joy that my husband has as he unpacks each ornament and has his own memories of whom he received it from or what story surrounds it. Now, with two little boys, it becomes even more special. They quiz each other on what the ship or character is, can’t wait to press the buttons to hear what some might say, and talk about the history of the tree. All three of them exude such pride after they have finished decorating is amazing. I share that pride; for now we have not one, but TWO trees that grace our home each year.

Sometimes, a little bit of break in tradition can lead to wonderful things. How can you mix it up a little this year?

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

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August 16th, 2012 at 5:01 am

What To Do About Cultural Traditions You Don’t Like

Latinos, like many other ethnic groups, are full of cultural traditions that define who we are and where we come from. As an immigrant from Peru married to someone from Puerto Rico, my husband and I are trying to make sure that our kids grow up not only speaking our native tongue, Spanish, but also embracing our Latino heritage, with all its customs and traditions. Sometimes, however, these don’t really jive with the world we live in today and many Latinos–although proud of their roots–don’t necessarily want to pass these traditions onto their children.

Take piercing baby girls’ ears, for example. In most of Latin America, baby girls leave the hospital with their ears pierced or they get them pierced soon after they’re born. No one thinks there’s anything wrong with that and one of the gifts moms usually get are tiny gold earrings for their newborn baby girl. I have absolutely no issue with this tradition and, in fact, my mom brought my daughter’s gold baby earrings from Peru. But many people in the United States have equated piercing baby girls’ ears with mutilation, which I think is totally ludicrous.

In the States, most moms prefer to let their daughters choose when to pierce their ears rather than doing it when they’re babies and they have no say in the situation. While I respect that point of view, I think mine needs to be respected too.

On the other hand, I don’t generally subscribe to the Latino traditions of hugging and kissing everyone they meet. I mean, I’ve no problem doing it as an adult if the situation warrants it, but I don’t really feel comfortable with asking my children to do the same. Most Latinos will tell you that, growing up, we were usually “forced” to say hello to people we barely knew (our parents’ friends, for example) with a kiss. I have taught my children to be loving with our immediate family, but I don’t ask them to hug or kiss anyone else outside that circle.

What do you think? 

Image credit: Ray_from_LA

Roxana A. Soto is the co-founder of SpanglishBaby, the go-to site for parents raising bilingual and bicultural children. She’s currently working on her first book, based on her blog, to be published in September. Roxana is also a staff writer for MamásLatinas.


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