Starting Family Food Traditions

Family Food Traditions

Family and food.  Those two words often go together for most people.  Whether you wake up and cook pancakes on Saturday mornings, have a weekly pizza night, or always make certain Christmas cookies around the holidays – there are some things food always brings to the table.  Maybe you always go to a certain restaurant for special meals, or maybe you have your grandmother’s recipe for gingerbread and her worn cloth apron that she would wear as she labored hard over her yeast rolls.  Smell in the memories.

Growing up, we didn’t have a lot of these.  We loved food – don’t get me wrong.  There are a few things: smoked mullet, Granny’s chicken and rice, and Dad’s creole black eyed peas every New Years.  Those are good traditions and I even introduced my mister to Papa’s smoked mullet a few years back.  However, I want more.

As a wife and a mother of two littles, I want to create traditions, with the OK of my mister, that will do two things:

1.  Provide a way to create memories for our family.

2.  Help us to see the goodness of God to our family.

Here are three that we have started, and I will explain these two above points as we go along.

Weekly Pizza Night : making it, Little Caesars, store bought – just a night for pizza (and leftovers of course). Who doesn’t like cold pizza for breakfast.  Hold the olives, please!

Weekly trips to Trader Joe’s and Ray’s Donuts.  I am so grateful that my husband makes time to keep the boys while I go grocery shopping.  I seldom go with them anymore because even if I’ve just fed them, they will eat the produce in the cart.  Not going to happen.  But, I like taking them to Trader Joe’s on Monday mornings.  We get TJ cinnamon cookies, try new products, and make all the clerks smile.  Building relationships.  Its important.  And happy boys.  Also, we’ve started going to Ray’s Donuts in Marietta (amazing donut holes) one day each week.  Nothing fancy, but good donuts.  We spent 1.80 this morning, hung out with some friends who joined us, and ate donuts.  It was so much fun wiping down my boys’ fingers with a wet wipe because they had glaze in between their little fingers and on the corners of the their lips.

Homemade Pad Thai for New Years.  I am definitely southern and like greens and black eyed peas – but I wanted to do something different.  So, last year the Mister and I said we would do this.  I want to teach my boys to love it – and to teach them to love the different cultures of the world.

Our family is just starting out, but so far I’m building relationships that can hopefully spread into opportunities to share the gospel and I can teach our boys to be thankful for pizza, donuts, and pad thai.  God is so good to us.  Whether its an additional 5$ for pizza on a Sunday night – where we can rest and enjoy one another and not dirty up a kitchen – or 1.80 for a mid-morning, mid-week fun time with mommy with sticky fingers.  These boys will have memories.

What food memories are you creating for your family?  We will install more just waiting to see what yumminess!

Gospel-Centered Traditions: Thanksgiving Garland

art garland

Thanksgiving is more than a great sweet potato pie.  And dressing.  And turkey.  And football and Macy’s parade.

I have read and re-read Noel Piper’s Treasuring God in Our Traditions.  I especially find it more meaningful now that we have children and I have a family of my own.  So, I wanted to start early at incorporating traditions that our rooted in the Gospel at every holiday.

Thanksgiving is one of the easiest holidays to incorporate a heart and attitude of Thanksgiving.  Not just one where you say grace before the meal, but one where you stop to think of all the ways you have been extremely blessed by God the Father through the Son.

Romans 8:32 says it great when it declares that God – having given us Jesus – how will he not also give us all things – freely – graciously – for our good and his glory (that’s the KCV – Kimberly Campbell version).

So, even though my boys didn’t have much say-so in what went on our Thanksgiving garland this year – I thought of the family, not just myself, and made a Thanksgiving garland.





Construction Paper



I cut out the form of a leaf (because of the fall) on to fall-colored construction paper.  Then cut them out.  I then wrote on each of them (30) one thing that we were thankful for.  Traced the leaf in glue then sprinkled it with glitter.

As the boys get older I want them to contribute the things they are thankful for, and hopefully instill in them a heart of gratitude!

What traditions do you have in your family?

Book Review: Treasuring God in Our Traditions (Noel Piper)

posted in: Books | 1

Growing up I can’t think of a single tradition we had as a family.  Kind sad – but that doesn’t mean I can’t start any in our new family, especially as we welcome baby boy into the world in a few short months.

Noel Piper has written a tremendous book on why do you have traditions?  I mean why do you watch the Rose Bowl Parade every New Years?  Why do you go to grandma’s house for Easter lunch every year?  What makes something a tradition?  How do you start new ones?

Through many personal stories and Scriptural citations, Mrs. Piper exhorts families to share in traditions together that embrace the Savior and exalt Him to a world that doesn’t know Him.  As parents, we have a huge burden and responsibility (and joy) to raise our children in the ways of Jesus – to help them come to know Christ and see Him for who He is.  How do your traditions/holidays/birthdays, etc explain and display Christ to them and neighbors and other family members?

Honestly, I felt like the best part of the book was the one at the end about worship services and little children.  Her and her pastor husband, John, gave great advice and helpful hints for having young children in corporate worship services.  This is such an important issue in many churches.  And I think every parent/couple must know what will happen come Sunday morning. 

My one regret with this book is that I didn’t read it with my husband.  A wife shouldn’t really establish traditions by herself and this book would have been great, or at least to discuss with my husband, so we can think and plan traditions for our family.  I’m sure he is open for discussion!

“We are always teaching our children, whether we mean to or not.” (pg 34)

“Children need teaching from the Bible so they can grow into men and women of God.  That’s what we long for on their behalf and what God offers through His Word.” (pg 44)

“Our celebrations work good in our own lives and in other people whose lives touch ours, by kindling our love fo God, by increasing our knowledge of Him, and by helping us remember who God is and how He works.” (pg 64)

Piper on Teaching Children

posted in: Books, Quotes | 0

Ok – I don’t have children (yet) but I write for children (and for teachers who teach children.  And some of those teachers are parents.)

“All of us are training our children both intentionally and unintentionally.  We need to make sure we aren’t leaving the important things to happenstance.  We know it’s crucial that they become familiar with God, our Heirloom and our only hope for real life.  We yearn for them to love and trust and follow Christ.  It would be foolish just to wait for them to learn that by chance.  We must plan to reflect God and teach about Christ in the repeated events of our lives.”

(Noel Piper, Treasuring God in our Traditions, pg 35)

EC and I practice things now that hopefully, one day, when our family grows, they will be able to follow us as we follow Christ, however imperfectly.  New Elder nomations last night at church were asked about this question.  Each answered sufficiently and were very emphatic that families are important in teaching Christ in the lives of children.

Much and Link Love (November 29)

posted in: Uncategorized | 0

Well, I don’t feel like November really happened – its already over. Gracious so much happened this month – but did anything? I feel like this month just kinda scooted by and here we are in the last month of 2010 and about to start 2011.
1. Loved wearing flannels during Thanksgiving dinner. Just my parents and I – so after running, the flannels came on. It was great. I did set the table real nice though.
2. It was good having my parents here, sad to see them leave, sort of a lonely feeling, don’t know quite how to explain it.
3. I do not relish the thought of going into another winter season single. Yes, I love being single, we all know that, but winter is somehow different: holiday parties, Christmas Eve and Day, New Years, birthday, valentines day. Just seems like it would be better with a significant other – but not worth settling.
4. More dreams coming true for people – love watching it. God is so gracious to us. He is the ultimate Dream fulfiller!
5. I ran an 8k. 64.21 – beating my previous time of an 8k by 3 minutes, but man, I gotta run more and get a run/walk split down that I can keep and practice and improve.
6. Doing some fun reading: Kitchen Confidential by Bourdain and Eat Pray Love by Gilbert. Good reads. And yes, I take notes even in fun reading.
7. Heard a line today in an Andrew Peterson song that went something like this: Your payment was more than all our lambs we sacrificed. We can never do enough to earn God’s love or salvation – it is all grace.

1. A friend of mine who is a pastor here in Raleigh wrote this about how to prepare for Sunday morning worship.
2. I need to make these since I now have a whole box of sweet potatoes to eat before they go bad, or I get sick of the box. Can’t wait to experiment. If you have any ideas – please pass them along!
3. I made these for Thanksgiving, very yummy. I have a few leftovers. Will be enjoying this week, too!
4. Do you have a love/hate relationship with your grocery store?
5. My friend, Dana, speaks on Christmas traditions in a Christian home. You will want to check back as this is a series…
6. My lovely and creative friend, Christine, made these to hang in their home. Art doesn’t have to be expensive.
7. Girls Gone Wise on single women using protection (read on to answer all your questions)…