if you know me you know i'm hopelessly obsessed with making lasting memories for my kids.  as a kid myself, my mom and dad had traditions for us, too.  i knew what to expect on or around certain holidays.  and that's part of the magic, just that comfort in expectation.  when i got married my parents encouraged us to keep traditions, revise traditions, and especially make our own.  as a kid, every year on thanksgiving my family would watch the macy's thanksgiving day parade on tv.  then for lunch we would have a "mini-feast", which basically consisted of hors d'oeuvres and fun stuff like that.  then we would have a traditional feast for dinner, just the five of us.  and my parents prepared the whole meal, just the two of them.  the wednesday before my mom would make all of the desserts.  every single year i would shadow her as she made from-scratch pie crust (and roll it out herself at the dining room table as i sat there scrutinizing her every move), mini-cheesecakes (my favorite), broccoli casserole, and sweet potatoes topped with mini marshmallows.  and we had about 1,687 other traditions throughout the rest of the year for other holidays and special occasions.
my two little indians

me in my kitch last thanksgiving

the most beautifully harvested apples
but my point is that i think that's a big part of what makes holidays (and just life in general) so special.  how keen would your memories be if there weren't traditions you expect and hold onto, live out with your own family as a grown-up?  since i've specifically mentioned thanksgiving, i'll keep on that track.  every year i make the mini cheesecakes (which are now julian's absolute favorite dessert ever) and for the past few years i have had the privilege of having him as my helper.  i make pies from scratch - some of the same and some different from what my mom would make; i like to make pumpkin and pecan pies.  the four of us watch the parade and have a mini-feast (just like i did as a kid).  but eric and i don't make everything for the big feast.  we live by his family so we usually contribute to a potluck.  which is fun and completely different from what i experienced as a kid.  admittedly, it took a little while to get used to.  but it's been a regular thing now for about a dozen years, and it's part of the memories my own kids will hold in their minds and hearts forever (that is, not eating anything but dessert and running around being mischievous with their cousins while the adults mingle and nearly go into a food coma).  yeah, that's more like it!

drinking out of her fancy glass at our mini feast two years ago

a yearly tradition:  the thankful jar
a yearly tradition:  the thankful jar
and traditions evolve, too.  i don't want to say change because that comes across as negative to me.  evolve gives the impression that it has become something even better than it was.  and it has this year.  this year, my sister lives here!  i can't wait to put our creative minds together to make our traditions even better.  because that's just it - as every year passes, traditions just get better.  they become more special as you live them out and solidify them in the hearts of your family members. 

what are some of your favorite holiday traditions?  please share!


new around the house // Christmas edition

so the first snowfall of the year happened last monday.  yowzuzz.  for at least the past two years it hasn't snowed until after the start of december.  so seriously, what? 

so guess what i spent nearly all of monday doing?  oh putting up Christmas decorations!  i don't care that "thanksgiving hasn't even passed yet."  who came up with that awfully ridiculous rule anyway?  i digress. 

most of the photos are of Christmas d├ęcor, if not, it's new or new-to-me stuff around the house.

the dining room:

the reading room:

the kitch:


the living room:


molly's room:

the porch: