Stories have always been a big part of my life. I grew up in a very theatrical family, and learned the art of storytelling early on. I'm grateful to my parents for teaching me how to express myself through story. Now that I have 5 children of my own, I find that I use storytelling every day. I love it when my children say, "Tell me the story about..." or "Tell us about a time when..." These are the times when genuine connections occur, and in this day and age, we need all the connections we can get with our children.
I love my house after the kids have all left for school. I'm at a very interesting time of life, right now. I have a Junior in High School, an 8th grader in Middle School, two in sixth grade at the Elementary level, and a pre-school aged little one.
To say that mornings are hectic around my house would be a HUGE understatement! But, when 8:30 a.m. rolls around, my house becomes blessedly still. Each day I take a few minutes in that stillness and just allow myself to enjoy it.
Congratulations to the winner of our first Family Storytelling Giveaway: Nicole Soh!
Nicole Soh was chosen as our first giveaway winner. Nicole liked our Facebook page during our contest period.
Nicole has won:
20 Cello Treat Bags
Blue Glitter Platter
Purple Mini Bins (3)
Yellow/Purple/Blue Plastic Bins
Various tissue pom poms
I am a reader. It's my favorite thing to do. I can lose myself in a book faster than anything, and ignore the world around me while I read. My favorite places are book stores and libraries. Sometimes I like to just browse, to see what titles grab my attention. That's what happened a couple of weeks ago. I was in the library and grabbed a book because the title spoke to me. The book was The End Of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe. I was intrigued. I guessed that this book would contain a "bucket list" of books that one ought to read before the end of one's life. I couldn't have been more wrong.
My oldest daughter turned 16 this summer. I don’t mind telling you that the thought sent a chill running through me. It wasn’t the thought of her driving that filled me with dread; it wasn’t even the thought of her dating that scared me (although it doesn’t thrill me), it was the thought of a Sweet Sixteen party.
Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to throw a party for my daughter, I just didn’t have the budget for a huge blow-out, and I really didn’t want to give my kids the idea that you have to spend a lot of money to have a good time. Luckily, one of my daughter’s best friends was turning 16 two weeks after my Katie, and they came up with the idea of a joint party. This thrilled me! Abi’s mother is an amazingly creative woman (and one of my besties!), so I knew that she would have some great ideas.
PA·TRI·OT·ISM -[PEY-TREE-UH-TIZ-UHM OR, ESPECIALLY BRIT., PA-] NOUN – DEVOTED LOVE, SUPPORT, AND DEFENSE OF ONE’S COUNTRY; NATIONAL LOYALTY.
When I was a little girl, I didn’t fully understand what it meant that my dad was in the military. Where we lived, even when we moved, there were always other kids whose dad’s were in the military, so I just thought it was normal. I figured all real life dad’s wore khaki uniforms with special patches and ribbons and gold bars, and that they moved around a lot, too. It was only on t.v. that dad’s didn’t. It wasn’t until much later that I realized that what my dad did to provide for our family wasn’t the norm, it was special.
Living in small town America means summer is filled with the following: night games for children of all ages, lemonade stands where the lemonade is so sweet it could rot your teeth, and gardening. I'll be honest, though. I hate gardening! I have the world's blackest thumb! I'm not kidding; plants die around me, with almost no provocation. My husband, on the other hand, is a master gardener! It seems like all he has to do is smile at a plant and it grows! Every year his garden is a sight to behold. Early on in our marriage we made a deal that he would grow the produce and I would take it fro there. I've learned how to preserve vegetables and fruits in many ways: bottling, juicing, freezing, and dehydrating.
Did you know that there is a right way and a wrong way to make a banana split? True story! I learned the art of the banana split early on in my childhood. My parents used to host a banana split party every summer. Dad is a theater producer, and used the party to thank the artists that came to work for him each year. My brothers and sister and I looked forward to the party from early Spring until the day of the party. We knew the day of the party had come when we would wake up to the wonderful smell of hot fudge and butterscotch sauce being cooked on the stove! Mom would spend the entire day making batch after batch of those sauces. Dad was in charge of bananas, whipped cream and banana boats. My siblings and I got to take turns chopping the nuts in a really old-fashioned nut chopper. We spent hours chopping peanuts, almonds, and pecans. In the evening, the guests would come. It was so exciting to us to see these actors that we had watched on the stage, interacting with us just like "real people!" We felt so special! Perhaps for us that was the real treat, and the banana splits were only secondary.
It's funny how certain smells can trigger memories. My mother passed away almost 5 years ago, but certain smells certainly remind me of her. Case in point: I was recently visiting my father, and pulled a recipe from my mom's file to make dinner for him. I assembled the ingredients and began browning meat and chopping onions and green peppers. Before long, a pot of spaghetti sauce was simmering on the stove. As I breathed in, I was reminded of my mom.
The Big Reunion: We’re Talking REALLY Big!
I married into a large family. Really large. My husband is one of 12 children, and those children all have children, and now those children are starting to have children. I think I stopped counting when I learned that on my husband’s side of the family I had 36 nieces and nephews. That was about 20 years ago. Things have just continued to grow since then.
I was browsing the Family Storytelling site last week, and was struck by Stepper McCrery's Thumb Print Family Tree. I thought, "How cute! And how easy!" My brain quickly filed it away as something fun to do with the family... someday. As I stood at my mental filing cabinet something niggled my stressed-out brain. I didn't know what message was trying to get through, and it was really starting to bug me!