Archive for the 'Traditions' Category

Family Traditions – Ornaments

I hope you are not tired of family traditions or craft posts yet!  This is one of my favorite family traditions.

Every year at Christmas, everyone in the family on my dad’s side receives an ornament.  The ornaments are all handmade by someone in the family – usually my 3 aunts (the sisters).  The tradition started in 1977, when one of my aunts gave everyone a pair of socks and a little gift.  The family has gotten MUCH bigger since then, and the ornaments have gotten craftier.  Here are all the ornaments I had before this last Christmas:

A few haven’t held up over the years, so I’m missing a few, but you get the gist of it.  There’s a lot of knitting, cross-stitching, and lately, stamping.  Occasionally, someone else joins in the fun of making approximately 40 ornaments, and gives my aunts a break.  My uncle and aunt who made my wooden calendar made the little wooden birdhouses and a cousin made the wooden stocking cutout and stamped the dominoes (the tree in the lower corner).  I helped with the long skinny Santas, which is how and when I learned to cross-stitch.

It’s always a big secret about what the ornament is for the year.  I felt really honored to get to know when I was helping with the skinny Santa.  Whoever hosts Christmas gets to display all of the ornaments.  This is a pic from the year my parents hosted Christmas.

This is such a fun tradition because it’s gone on for so long.  I love having so many ornaments, and they have a lot of meaning.  Each year my Christmas tree is basically full just from family ornaments.  I love it!

– Jill

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Family Traditions – Oscar Movie Marathon

If you’re a long-time reader of our blog, you’ve probably seen my two previous posts about the Oscar Movie Marathon that I’ve attended.  But it actually started before then…

As far as I can tell, the marathon hosted by AMC began in 2008 with 5 Best Picture nominees (2007 movies):  No Country for Old Men, Atonement, Juno, Michael Clayton, and There Will Be Blood.  My aunt and cousin Jess attended that one that started it all.

The next year, my aunt, cousin Josh, and I realized we’d be in the same area when the 2009 (2008 movies) Best Picture marathon would occur.  The movies?  Milk, The Reader, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon, and Slumdog Millionaire.  Now I actually only saw the last 4 because I, with the other NerdGirls, was busy MEETING MEG CABOT but I remember thinking that 4 movies in a row was pretty intense.

Then came 2009, when the Academy decided to increase the number of Best Picture nominees from 5 to 10.  We were all atwitter to find out how AMC would run their marathon.  They soon announced that they would break it up between 2 Saturdays (5 movies each) and people could opt for 1 or both days OR you could go hardcore and watch all 10 in a 24-hour period.  Not only did my aunt, cousin Josh, and I decide to do the 24 hour marathon, but my cousin Jess and sister Jamie decided to join us.  And yes, it was intense and disorienting, but it was also awesome.  Not only did I got to see all of the “best” movies for the year, but I got to do it with some pretty cool people and discuss our opinions instantly with each other.

This year the 2010 movies were again 10 and we all decided to continue the tradition of attending the 24-hour movie marathon.  And we also added on 2 people, friends, that meant we had a group of 7.  Again, it was awesome.  And watching the movies all together just before the Oscars made watching the Oscars a lot of fun.  Although the wine, various delicious cheese and veggie dips, bingo, and prizes probably helped make our Oscar party fun too…

So, if you like to see great movies and are up for intense, but fun!, situations, think about joining us next year for the 24-hour movie marathon in Chicago.  🙂

– Jill

Family Traditions – March Madness

The NCAA basketball games have just ended, but that’s another tradition my family has.  Every year – for the last 4 or 5 years now – we have set up a family pool for the men’s bracket.  We run in it Yahoo (where our family group is set up – yeah, we have a family group in Yahoo where we can share info & news.  It started before most of my older cousins & aunt and uncles got on facebook, but is still used because some of the family – *cough* my parents *cough* – are scared of Facebook and will not join).  Usually we get about 8-ish family members to join, but this year we had 13 in the men’s bracket.  AND this year we started a bracket for the women’s tournament!

The best part is the prize.  The winner of the men’s tournament gets milkshakes from all the losers.  Unfortunately, I never seem to remember to pay up to the winners because we all live in different places.  But I will be paying on them this year because this year I WON!  And I know NOTHING about the basketball teams in the tournament except that I recognize many of them from previous years.  I beat people who actually watch basketball games that AREN’T for the tournament!  Of course it helped that this year’s final four was kind of crazy…

Unfortunately, I did not win the women’s tournament.  That prize is high fives.  😦

Do any of you watch the games?  Do you make picks for the tournament?

– Jill

Family Traditions – ice cream

Ice cream is a big deal in my family.  We don’t mess around.  It’s even more important on April 4th, which was my grandpa’s birthday.  He passed away 6 years ago yesterday, the day before he turned 92.  Since then my family has the tradition of getting milkshakes (which he loved) or eating ice cream in his memory.

So if you want to be an honorary member of my family, eat some ice cream today in honor of my grandpa!

Mmm delicious

If you need even more reason to eat ice cream, yesterday was also the 119th anniversary of the first documented ice cream sundae!

And if you’d like a recommendation, I suggest your traditional soft-serve from Dairy Queen, which is what I think I’ll be doing, OR my all-time favorite ice cream flavor Mackinac Island Fudge ice cream.  I first had it up in Michigan.  The day I discovered that Meijer sold that flavor was definitely a very good day.  Seriously, “Mackinac Island fudge swirled with chocolate syrup in vanilla flavored ice cream”?  Yes, please!  I always keep at least 2 containers in my freezer.

What’s your favorite kind of ice cream?

– Jill

Family Traditions – crafting

When I needed BEDA ideas, Jen suggested my family traditions because we seem to have so many. Since I had a craft program today at work, today seems very fitting to talk about my family’s craftiness.

My dad’s side of the family are big crafters.  I remember my grandma working on quilts a lot with the big table thing set up in the middle of one of their rooms.  I’d love to learn how to quilt! My aunts are just as crafty and have taught me how to knit and cross-stitch. When my mom retired from teaching, I had just learned how to cross-stitch and my aunt encouraged me to make this:

Then I decided to tackle another project for myself and finished (after like 2 years of off and on work) with this:

We’ve now started to move into paper crafts.  Several of my aunts, cousins, my older sister and I make greeting cards, and I learned how to quill.

Some of us still do more traditional crafts though.  One of my aunts makes quilts out of jeans.  Whenever we trade names for Christmas, everyone hopes she’ll get their name.  Keep your fingers crossed for me – I totally want one.  🙂  One of my uncles does a lot of woodworking, and this year for Christmas I got an awesome wooden calendar that he made and my aunt painted.

My family is so talented.  Basically name a craft, and someone in my family probably does it.  🙂

Stay tuned for more family traditions!

– Jill