Sunday, September 26, 2010

Traditions That Strengthen Families & Giveaway Winners

{Remember that tomorrow's blog hop is a family home evening lesson based on any topic covered in the Family Proclamation. Write a post that tells us about the lesson or activity you had with your family then link up to tomorrow's blog hop.}

Today's guest blogger is Kendra of The Things I Love.
She was a great friend of mine online before I ever realized that I knew her sister in the Langley Singles Ward in DC.  The Mormon world is so interconnected.  It's fun!
Here is the vibrant and talented Kendra!



I’m Kendra and I blog over at The Things I Love.  A place where I write about Family Life, Homeschool, The Gospel, Food, Fitness, Budgeting and Finances.  A place for me to write about The Things I Love. Feel free to come over and visit my blog anytime!

I am honored, and very excited to be asked to do a guest post for this great Celebration of The Family Proclamation.  I could write this whole post on just how much I love the Family Proclamation.  It is an amazing document, truly inspired by God to help the world understand his plan and divine goal for the family here on the earth.

I thought I would write about family rituals and traditions and how spending that time with our children can bring us closer together as a family.  

Family rituals and traditions, does your family have them?  What are they?

We all know that rituals are things we do over and over again, usually daily or weekly, and that traditions are something handed down {or something started hoping to pass down}, that are long established and are done yearly, seasonally or even monthly!  

There is a line in The Proclamation where it says, “Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, and to observe the commandments of God ..”  And another line that says “Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.” 

How better can we as parents teach these principles than through having family rituals and traditions that will also help our families grow closer together?  

One of the themes we hear a lot in our church is “Family, isn’t it about time” You know those sweet commercials we hear all the time showing families doing things together and then at the end it says, “Family, isn’t it about time?”  I love those commercials and almost always have a tear in my eye when I see them.  Why is that?  I think it is because number one, I am usually always pregnant when see them, and number two, they are testifying of true family principles of spending good quality time with our children.  

We as parents have a responsibility to provide for our children in many ways; money, clothes, food, friends, but most importantly we need to provide not only quality time with our kids, but quantity.   And I am not just talking about you mom’s out there.  I know many dads work long hours, my husband being one of them, but he finds time to spend with our kids.  The proclamation says, “Fathers and Mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.”   So even fathers need to step in and do their part!   Elder Oaks said, “Some of our most important choices concern family activities. Many breadwinners worry that their occupations leave too little time for their families. There is no easy formula for that contest of priorities. However, I have never known of a man who looked back on his working life and said, “I just didn’t spend enough time with my job.” 

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Sometimes this task is not easy.  Sometimes we feel so busy in our lives that we just can’t stop what we are doing.  But we need to, our kids need us to, and what better way can we teach our kids the principles in this proclamation than through spending good quality and quantity time with them.   Quality interchange with a child comes from spending a large quantity of time with them.  A great way we can do this is to establish good family rituals and traditions.  Having these rituals/traditions set in place during our day, month or year, helps us as parents to be committed to stop and spend time with our children. 

Sometime we as adult think that spending time with our children means spending money, or doing something big and fun!  After having three children of my own and remembering my own childhood.  The big and fun things are great and we love to do them every so often, but most often it’s the little things we do in our families, the little traditions or rituals that bring us closer together and also provide a time for us as parents to teach our children great principles.   For my kids it’s sitting down and reading a book, going on a walk, playing a game, sitting with them while they practice an instrument, helping them with their homework, teaching them how to cook with me instead of kicking them out of the kitchen.  They LOVE doing these things with both my husband and I, and usually would much rather do this then go out to eat, or spend money on expensive toys to entertain them while we get stuff done.  In a talk by Elder Oaks called Good, Better, Best he says, “In choosing how we spend time as a family, we should be careful not to exhaust our available time on things that are merely good and leave little time for that which is better or best. A friend took his young family on a series of summer vacation trips, including visits to memorable historic sites. At the end of the summer he asked his teenage son which of these good summer activities he enjoyed most. The father learned from the reply, and so did those he told of it. “The thing I liked best this summer,” the boy replied, “was the night you and I laid on the lawn and looked at the stars and talked.” Super family activities may be good for children, but they are not always better than one-on-one time with a loving parent.”

I remember this principle hit me hard last year.  I was busy in the kitchen trying to get dinner ready, and also trying to clean up the house so we could go somewhere fun after dinner.  My 2 year old kept walking up to me trying to get me to look at a book with him.  He was awestruck by this book and wanted to show it to me so badly, but I was busy, right?  I had to get dinner cooked {so I thought}.  So I took him in another room, quickly turned his attention to something else and ran off back to the kitchen to finish what I was doing.  I quickly got done and went straight to the laundry room, and within seconds there was my sweet little 2-year-old running with this big book down the hall trying to get me to look at the book with him.  That is when it hit me.  {And I went and got my camera and snapped a picture of how cute he looked} He needed me, and my attention and I wasn’t giving it to him.  I sat down next to him for a good 20 minutes just listening to his cute two-year-old words describing the pictures and left the laundry undone.  Did I get to it later?  You bet I did.  But he loved that time with me.  He might not ever remember that time, but it taught me a huge lesson.  As my kids get older they will remember if I did things with them, they will remember the fun times we had together and also the things that we taught them during those times.  

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Here are a few rituals and traditions we do as a family where we have great teaching opportunities and grow closer together.
  • Eat our meals together and talk about our day while we eat.
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  • Gratitude’s - At night we have a ritual where we go around the room and say why we are grateful for each member of our family, or something that that member of the family did for them that day.
  • Reading together - My kids love to sit by us and read stories.  I also have my oldest sit and read stories to her younger brothers.
  • Mommy reading time- I read a larger book to the kids before they go to bed.  We talk about what we learn in the book and they love to lie in their beds and listen to me read.
  • Daddy story time – after I am done with my book then my husband sits in the hall and tells our “Down on the W Ranch” story.  {A story we have been telling for quite sometime about our family living on a ranch, which we don’t but would love to one day}
  • Working a long side each other. Every morning we do chores to help the house be clean before school starts.  It has been so nice to have the kids help because it gets done way faster, and we are able to spend that time together working along side each other.   
  • Supporting each other in events.   This is so important, and helps your children feel special.  I remember supporting my siblings as a kid in all their events and in turn they supported me.  I want my kids to do the same for each other. 
  • Participate in family events- this last year I did a triathlon and a 5k with my daughter.  I had a great time spending that time just with her.

  • Daddy days – where the kids get to spend time with daddy while mommy takes a break!! 
  • Stay up late nights – We let the kids stay up a little later then normal and watch shows, play out in the dark or just spend time inside watching a movie or playing games. 
  • Family Home Evening - Every Monday night we have a lesson and activity. Usually it is an activity our kids planned.  This last week we played a round of hockey bowling!!'
  • As for some bigger traditions
  • Go Hiking – We love doing this and find great teaching opportunities for our kids.  

    {I love this picture of my kids patiently waiting for me and my husband to crawl through this nauseating crack}
  • Family Bike Rides
  • Birthday traditions – nice big breakfast at home and pick their favorite restaurant for dinner
  • Decorate the house for different holidays
  • Participate in ward parties and community events
  • Participate in yearly family reunions 
  • Go on a family trip once a year 
  • Go Camping a couple of times a year   

Everything we do with our kids we can turn it into a teaching opportunity.  Last week while I was driving into town my son yelled from the back seat for me to turn the music off.  Then went on to ask me tons of questions, really good questions about life and God.  It was a sweet teaching moment just driving to the grocery store, and made me realize that I would much rather listen to their tiny voices {if they aren’t fighting} than the music any day.  Now when we go to the store I am going to turn the music off and let it be question time, a time where the kids can just ask mommy {or daddy if he is with us} questions and we will give them our undivided attention.

The doctrine and principles in The Family Proclamation are true and I know it and am so grateful for these truths that I can teach to my children and they can teach to theirs.  I love my family with all my heart and can't imagine life any other way.  It is so fulfilling to be a mother.  Tiring yes, but wonderful!  I am grateful I have a great husband to help along side me, who works hard to provide for my family and take care of us.  I am grateful for the time he spends with us.  The good quality and quantity time we spend as a family participating in rituals and traditions that are important to us and brings us closer together as a family. 

President Gordon B. Hinckley has pleaded that we “work at our responsibility as parents as if everything in life counted on it, because in fact everything in life does count on it.”
I would love to hear what traditions and rituals you do in your families to grow closer together?  Please leave a comment, or better yet blog about it on your blog and link to it in the comment section below!

Thank you, Kendra!!

of this week's Party Favors:

Be sure to hop on over to Chocolate On My Cranium for more on the Family Proclamation today!

Our Family Is Something To Crow About Metal on Wood Plaque

Our Family Is Something to Crow About
by For All Seasons


1103  - Vinyl Lettering -  Family Name    Be true to who you are and the family name you bear.  Gordon B. Hinckley

Vinyl Lettering Customized with Your Family name
and "Be true to who you are and the family name you bear." quote.
by Design Divas

WINNER:  Sophia of Sisters Dear


CTR Wood Block Letters
 by Craft 28 Junkie

WINNER:  Wendy of Recipe Cutouts


Eternity Dictionary Page Banner

Eternity Banner
by Bazinga Crafts

WINNER:  Bridget of Team JOHNS Family


Theme blocks with Paper Lettering

"Be Strong and of Good Courage" Blocks
by Under My Umbrella

WINNER:  Kami of Yellow Kisses


2010 Primary Theme - 5x7 Print

Primary Theme "I Know My Savior Lives"
by Jot & Tittle

My Photo

WINNER:  Melanie of Women Divine

CONGRATULATIONS to our winners! 
Thanks everyone for linking up and commenting this week.
Only one week (less than that) left.  I cannot believe it!
What an amazing month it has been!

Tune in for more prizes and great posts this week.
And THANK YOU to our Etsy shop owners for their generous donations!!
Please thank them and check out their shops!


  1. the best part of traditions is when you see your wee ones grow up and continue them sometimes modified but sometimes exactly as they enjoyed them

  2. I love traditions! Especially holiday traditions, but I think the day to day traditions are the most vital. Our twins are old enough to pray now and it is so fun before each meal to have them choose together, with their older brother, who is going to pray.

  3. I agree, traditions really are so important. What a way for your kids to remember how much their parents really do love them.

  4. Traditions are important in my family. I have sweet memories of my own growing up with traditions too. I'm stoked to be a winner, lol! Mahalo Nui Loa my friend, have a great a day!

  5. Traditions are great...I set a few new ones with my boys and now Billy is passing them down to his girls. Thank you Jocelyn for such a great gift. I will deeply enjoy it....hugs.

  6. great post, turning off the music or video and talking is so important. family is our most important priority-they are soon grown and gone.