Make an annual trip to see Autumn in all of it’s glory. Make a picnic lunch to enjoy together amongst the fall leaves. Gather leaves and purchase pumpkins, cornstalks etc. to decorate the house with.
Review stories of his life and put pictures up. Have an Italian meal for dinner in his honor. The internet is full of fun and easy craft ideas for this day.
Make a "family cemetery" with tombstones for each of your family members.
Magic Pumpkin Patch:
Tell your children that this year you have found some magic seeds to grow pumpkins. Gather your kids together and give them each 3-5 pieces of candy corn, the “magic pumpkin seeds”. Have them bury each piece of candy in the front or backyard and place a toothpick marker for where they buried their seeds. While they are sleeping, place a small pumpkin on each place they planted a seed. Watch in the morning when they are amazed by the beautiful pumpkins their magic seeds have grown into. Take a picture of each child with their favorite pumpkin.
Halloween Family Night:
On the Monday before Halloween, have a special family night to carve pumpkins and tell ‘scary’ stories. For dinner you may wish to do “Dinner in a Pumpkin” or try some "ghoulash" or "Spooketti" with a "blood" red drink. Make "bones" (breadsticks) to go along.
Gather your family to create spooky, funny or cute Halloween poems. Have each person read their poem aloud during dinner or at your Halloween party. Once your poems are perfected, type them on the computer in a Halloween-y looking script on ivory paper. Then collage the poems onto one sheet and feature this keepsake in a black frame sitting out among the Halloween décor for all to see each year.
The Ghost Hunter:
This is a game that you can play with children of all ages and is fun year after year. Take white tissues, fold them in the middle and glue on plastic eyes, which can be found at most craft stores. Poke a hole in the top and insert a piece of string and tie a knot on the end. You can make as many as you want, but be sure there are at least a few for each ghost hunter to capture. String up your little tissue ghosts all over the house and/or outside on tree branches and plants. Right before it gets dark have your children collect as many “ghosts” as they can find. The winner is given the official ghost hunter crown (you can make this or just buy one at a local costume shop). Take a picture of the “official ghost hunter” of the family and put it in a sectioned frame, add a new picture to the frame each year.
Make a special breakfast to start the new school year off right. Make an elaborate feast, anything but the usual cereal and toast. Let your children select the menu and do the grocery shopping together to prepare this special meal. Wake up early and set the table with your best dishes, turn on background music and really make the meal special.
The night before, you may want to talk about new “school” year resolutions. Have each child write down their resolutions to share if they wish at the Back to School Breakfast. Reinforce their commitment by laminating and posting their list someplace visible, and planning a special reward when they have succeeded.
Labor Day Feast:
Have the whole family help in preparing a special Labor Day picnic. Play charades of some of the different occupations that keep our nation strong. After the picnic give everyone a piece of paper and ask them to write down and draw what they want to be when they grow up. Adults can join in too!
Grandparent’s Day is celebrated on the first Sunday after Labor Day. The holiday was created to remind grandchildren to tap into the wisdom and heritage their grandparents provide. There are many things to do on this day, send a letter/card, write a poem or even put on a special play. Another is to complete a grandparent interview with a variety of questions. What were your goals and aspirations? What was your childhood like? What advice do you want to pass on to your children and grandchildren, etc. This will give your child the chance to see how the world has changed since their grandparents were young, and give your parents the opportunity to share stories.
Mapping Nonna and Opa: Can you say grandma and grandpa in Italian? Use this list of words that kids use for grandparents in other countries. Get out the globe or copy of a world map, and have your children find the countries These words refer to grandma and grandpa in the following countries:
• Poland -- Babcia and Dziadek,
• Germany -- Oma and Opa,
• India -- Nana-ji and Nani-ji,
• Korea -- Halmonee and Halabujee,
• Greece -- Ya-ya and Pa-pu,
• Japan -- Oba-chan and Oji-chan,
• China -- Popo and Gong-gong,
• Italy -- Nonna and Nonno,
• Israel -- Savta and Saba,
• Cuba -- Abuelita and Abuelito
Visit a Nursing Home:
Did you know that 60 percent of nursing home residents never have a visitor? Schedule a trip to a local nursing home, and have your children adopt "grandparents" or "secret pals" to cheer.
August 13th is Left-Hander’s day. Celebrate by making dinner (if you are right handed) using normal equipment, but with your left hand:
• Stir food in pans
• Fill & pour kettle
• Pour from milk/measuring jugs
• Open tins
• Peel vegetables/fruit
• Use microwave controls (often positioned on right of the equipment)
• Wash up (draining board is often wrong side if you are holding the brush in other hand, so you have to pass wet dishes across your body to drain.
• Using spatulas (angled ones go the wrong way for left hand use)
• Cutting bread (wonky slices using right handed knife in left hand)
• Eating & drinking - reverse cutlery and have drink in left hand
• Cutting - using right-handed scissors in left hand is an excellent example of totally right-biased design that doesn't work well.
If there is a member of the family who is left-handed, celebrate them for all they put up with in this right-hander’s world.
Did you know the whole month of August is Water Quality Month? Celebrate by having a water party complete with water balloon volleyball, slip and slide and water gun wars. Invite friends and neighbors to join in the celebration! Make sure to drink a tall glass of water today and appreciate how clean and unpolluted it is.
Tell your children and spouse not to make any plans for a specific day/night/weekend and keep the rest to yourself. Plan a whole day of places and events that will be fun and special for each member of your family. Make up small cards telling what the next part of the adventure is and put them in numbered envelopes. Let each member have an envelope to open and share what the next part of your adventure will be.
For those of you still checking in, just a reminder that I'm now posting to the new blog Lily&Thistle. I am, however, still posting monthly traditions throughout this year here. So here is what I have to share for July:
Independence Day Parade: Decorate kids’ bikes and wagons in red, white, and blue crepe paper and invite neighbors to do the same. Have all of the kids invite their families to stand outside and watch the parade.
Stars of Appreciation BBQ: As a family make stars in red, white and blue. When guests come for the BBQ, as a group, each person takes a star and writes what being an American means to them. After everyone is done, each person reads what they wrote and is given a piece of tape to hang their star as a decoration. After the BBQ is over, bring out a big birthday cake with sparklers celebrating our nation’s birthday. Instead of singing “Happy Birthday”, sing a favorite song about America. Take a picture each year and make a collage of the stars with each year’s picture.
Fourth of July Mural: Invite neighbor children over to create a Fourth of July sidewalk mural. On the day of the event supply every artist with colored chalk and set them loose on the driveway or sidewalk in front of your house. Have them work as a team to create a giant flag or colorful fireworks. The older kids can sketch the outlines, while the younger ones fill in with color. Take pictures of each artist by his/her work of art.
Courage:Because this is the month we celebrate those who have gone on before us in Courage to make our Nation great, it is the perfect time to overcome some of our own fears. Near the beginning of the month, have each family member write down anything they are afraid of or would like to do if they weren’t afraid. Older family members can help younger ones. Everyone picks out one fear to try to conquer for the month and shares it with the rest of the family. Be careful not to laugh at or criticize each other’s fears. Listen, validate and be supportive. Help each family member think of ways they can overcome their fear, instead of suggesting your own, and simply ask how you can help. At the end of the month, talk about what each member has done and ceremoniously dispose of the slips of paper the fear was written on.
National Ice Cream Day: July 15th is National Ice Cream Day. Celebrate by either making homemade ice cream or buy enough ice cream to make a HUGE family sized sundae and share it!
Pioneer Day: July 24th is Pioneer Day. Have a bread and milk supper with fruit, cheese, and onions (old pioneer favorites). Tell pioneer stories and share excerpts from journals. Sing pioneer songs and maybe even have an old fashioned square dance with family and friends.
Hello to all of you that still check this blog. Just a reminder that I am now posting at my new blog Lily&Thistle. I will keep doing the monthly traditions ideas here until the end of the year so here's what I have for June:
Flag Day: Point out the American Flag every time you see one with your children. Explain that the flag stand for our country and that it’s one way to tell the whole world who we are. It also show’s that we’re connected to each other as Americans. Because our flag is symbolic of many things, we treat it with respect. At home, study the flag more closely and display it. Explain to your children each part of the flag and its meaning. The 50 stars stand for the 50 states, etc.
Celebration of Summer: Plan a family campout (either in the mountains or even in your own backyard). Have a family meeting to plan a wonderful summer. Plan family activities, jobs and fun.
Seven Days of Dad: Show Dad how much you love him by celebrating Father’s Day all week long. As a family decide what you will do each day of the week. Each child can take a day and rotate or you can all plan something together on each day. You can give him small notes, meaningful gifts, do his chores etc. On Father’s Day honor him with a special dinner. Dad will feel honored and loved after his seven days of attention.
Father’s Day Hand in Hand Photo: Hands symbolize so much. Each Father’s Day, take a photo of Dad’s hands with each child’s hands resting in his palm. Over the years these photo’s will be a special record the Dad will cherish forever.
The ABC Book: A perfect way to let Dad know you love him is to create an ABC Book. This is a perfect activity to do with small children learning their ABC’s. Make a small book with 26 pages and a cover of cardstock weight paper. An easy way to do this is to punch three to five holes on the left side of each sheet of paper, stack them together, then lace ribbon through the holes and tie it on top. Ask your children to think of things they love about Dad that correspond to each letter of the alphabet. Have children draw a picture on each page showing what they have described.
Dates with Dad (and Mom): Buy a journal/book and offer it to each child wrapped like a gift. Include a short note on the first page about how much that child means to you and that you would like to spend time together, just the two of you. Plan an activity once a month you both enjoy and make a date (on the calendar). The journal is used to record those “Dates” with photos, memorabilia (a ticket stub, napkin, etc.) and a quick description of what took place and how much you enjoyed your time together (older children can keep their own journal or share it with parents i.e. child writes a little note and then the parent writes thoughts, memories as well and gives it back to the child for the next date).
Since so much of my time and attention has gone to paper dolls lately, I thought it would be nice to make some of my patterns a little more affordable...for good. I probably won't be having half off sales anymore or anything like that...just "everyday low prices". So if you've ever wanted to try one of these, now is the time.
Click HERE to go to my While They Sleep Pattern Shop
This is a long post so for those of you who don't want to read all of my babbling and just want to know what is up, scroll to the bottom and click on the links...for the rest of you, here's the long of it:
Announcement Part 1:
I have decided to say good-bye to While They Sleep and change my focus a bit. For a few reasons. One is that there are a gazillion other craft/sewing blogs out there that are doing a fine job of sharing what they know. Also, lately, the girls haven't been sleeping as much.
The biggest reason though is that I have(for a while now) wanted to have a blog/forum that focuses primarily on the work and joy of raising girls specifically. I want it to be a place that mom's and older daughters can go to feel uplifted and inspired and also a place to record my thoughts and things I find while I live and study on this topic. I have also (and continue to) invited some of the mothers/daughters I admire to do some guest posts on the subject. I have named the blog: "Lily&Thistle - Girlhood Illustrated". I'd love to have you stop by.
If you want to know what's behind the name, you can go HERE.
Announcement Part 2:
I also want it to be a place that I can show off some of the artwork I've been doing lately. Jeff has introduced me to the world of digital illustration by teaching me all about GIMP(a lot like Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop but free) and helping me find the most amazing tool to do my art with, theIntous pen and pad. I love this creative tool because there is no mess to clean up and I have complete freedom to try and do new things. When the girls wake up, all I have to do is close whatever it is I'm working on and then I can pick up where I left off when it's less crazy and everything is there waiting for me.
Most Exciting Part of the Announcement:
For the last four months, I have been working on a line of custom paper dolls! They are completely customizable with eight different hairstyles, four skin tone choices, six hair color, and eye color choices. I wanted to make a doll that was cute and sweet and had a vintage feel to it but also current. I also wanted girls and mothers to have a toy option that is modest and celebrates the sweetness of being a little girl. I am finished with a Spring line of outfits and a Fairy Tale line. I'm almost done with a "Girls in Literature" line and looking forward to many many others. My new Etsy shop is called:
You can download a Free MiniMe Dollto print by clicking HERE.
I hope you will all feel welcomed to come over to my new blogging home. I have really enjoyed getting to know many of you through the Wonderful World Wide Web and hope to continue to hear from you.
I will be keeping While They Sleep up as a resource and will continue to post Traditions each month until November but will be posting primarily now on Lily&Thistle. Thanks again for all of your support and kindness.