Friday Favorites: Traditions

What a crazy busy week it’s been…and I’m so glad that it’s Friday!

With a busy family and lots of activities, it’s the time of the year where I pencil in some of our traditions in order to make sure they continue! This got me thinking about some of our favorite traditions throughout the year….so I thought I’d share!

Winter

In December, we visit the Southern Lights at the Kentucky Horse Park. Even when I was a kid, we’d visit lights at a nearby park, and I continued that tradition once Travis and I started dating…and of course continued it when we had kids. I may be wrong, but since 2002, I’m pretty sure the only year we missed driving through lights either in Missouri or at the Kentucky Horse Park was 2009….when I had one month old twins. Apparently, I was too sleep deprived and hormonal to ensure the tradition carried on that year. When we drive through the Kentucky Horse Park, the kids usually have hot chocolate and popcorn while Travis and I have coffee. We enjoy seeing the same lights each year along with new ones they’ve added in. Pro Tip: Go on a weeknight (it’s cheaper) but even better…a Monday night…less crowded. There are activities to do inside, but my kids don’t even realize you can go inside! haha.

A few Christmas traditions include seeing Santa (of course), building a gingerbread house (from a kit—I’m no over-achiever!), and we usually take one evening in December to go out somewhere and let the kids pick a Christmas gift out for each other (to be opened Christmas morning) followed by dinner out at a restaurant. We also go together to purchase gifts for kids on Lexington’s Angel Tree.

We typically visit my family in Kansas City for Christmas. During that time, we make our family’s traditional German waffle cookies. The waffle iron was brought to the United States by my ancestors, and it’s over 100 years old (and very heavy!) Also, we try to visit the Plaza Lights in KC which was a tradition my family had when I was a kid.

Since the kids were little, on the first snow day of the school year (we usually have at least have one—and some years ten!), I make snowman pancakes. We always have pancake mix on hand anyway as well as bacon and marshmallows (for hot chocolate), so I just make sure to have a pack of M&Ms for eyes, nose, and buttons. I’ve even used a leftover candy cane from the holidays for a scarf. The kids always enjoy this breakfast, and we are all excited when we get an unexpected day off from school!

Another favorite tradition we’ve been doing for years is tubing at Perfect North with two of our favorite families. It’s gotten a lot more fun now that the kids can lug around their own tubes!! 😉

This Santa is always the best…and there’s always a long line!
The kids are almost too big for Santa’s lap…not sure how many years we have left.

Spring

In the springtime, I always look forward to St. Patrick’s Day. Growing up, we’d always have cornbeef and cabbage as well as Irish Soda Bread. So, I make all of that each year, and we all love it.

There’s nothing better than Keeneland Horse racing in April and October. We used to have all the free time in the world to go with friends, tailgate, and make a day (or two) of it at the track. Now, a free afternoon takes lots of planning, but we try to make it happen.

And…Travis is always super busy with work at Oaks and Derby time, but I enjoy going to Oaks Day with him. The city of Louisville certainly comes alive during that week.

Just like I take beginning of the school year photos, I also take end of the year photos as well. I clearly remember the last day of school when the kids were in kindergarten…unprompted, they high-fived each other by the school sign. So, of course, now I make them do that each year…they love me (hate me) for making them do it. Only a couple more years of elementary school (insert sad face). Even the school’s crossing guard knows I’m going to take the beginning and end of the year photos.

Then, we always go out to dinner on the last day of school with one of our friends. Considering how busy we all are, I really don’t know how we’ve kept this tradition alive, but I’m glad that we have.

Summer

When I was thinking of summer traditions, I totally blanked. We must not have very many, but of course, we go on vacation and also have a neighborhood get together at the end of the summer.

On the 4th of July, I always make red, white, and blue waffles. Easy and delicious.

Fall

Even though it’s 90 degrees when it’s time to go back to school, I still consider that fall. Back to school means my back to school breakfast for the kids. Of course, that’s when I get the first day of school photo too.

In the fall, we always make a trip to the orchard to pick out pumpkins and get apple cider donuts.

The families in our neighborhood try to get together to carve pumpkins a few days before Halloween. We hosted this year. Chili, hot apple cider, and parents doing all the carving…what’s not to love?

Once November hits, it’s all things birthday for Hayden and Hadley. I buy their birthday shirt and we start planning the party.

One More Tradition…

One of my favorite traditions is the “You are Special” red plate. We had one of these growing up that my mom would use for our dinner when we accomplished a goal, had a good day, or had something to celebrate. A few years ago, she bought one for my family, and I love keeping this tradition alive. This week, the kids each used it for dinner one day to congratulate them on a successful cross country season as well as good grades on their report cards. I put Trav’s dinner on it one evening as a thank you from the kids for being their cross country coach as well as for working so hard during the horse sales this month.

Real talk: I used to be much better about using this plate for celebrations, but sometimes I end up using it to celebrate many things at once because time has slipped away.

I feel like I’m forgetting a tradition or two, but I love keeping these traditions alive for my family. What traditions do you have with your family?

Don’t forget to check out Narci, Andrea, and Erika’s Friday Favorites.

Have a great weekend!

Jen

Instagram: @showmeandsweettea

Facebook Page: Show Me and Sweet Tea

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