The Ceremony of Everyday

monster spray

This post is from Amy from doobleh-vay. Thank you, Amy!

Traditions and rituals act as the glue that holds the distant fragments of our childhoods intact. When we close our eyes and think back about being children often we recall with clarity the rituals and traditions that were constant. The trips to the lake, the holiday parties and pageants, the birthday crowns, the first day of school breakfast, the bedtime kisses, the special secret code you had with a parent, the Halloween costume making, the valentine boxes… All of the beautiful deliberate motions our parents went through to string meaning between small days.

I have been working on carving out my own family traditions these past couple of years. I really want my boys to have memories that can comfort them and inspire them when they are adults and have their own families. Here are a few of the traditions I am doing:

  • An annual “growing-into-it” birthday photo and future wish boards
  • Acting out a winter solstice duel between the Holly King and the Oak King
  • Pancake Sunday
  • Saving winter snow in the freezer for a snowball fight in July
  • I have been loving a book I bought secondhand a couple years back called The Book of New Family Traditions by Meg Cox.

    It is ace and has a ton of fabulous ideas for starting your own traditions and rituals. Some of my favorites are simple things:

  • One mother and her daughter “touch” the night before bed and it makes the daughter less scared. They open to door and touch the dark air and then go to bed.
  • Another father makes a bottle of monster spray for his son. ( water and a spray bottle) It is solace for him in the night alone.
  • I love the family that makes threshold sheets for each birthday, they take a white bed sheet and draw and write all of the child’s accomplishments for the year and hang it so they must cross under it on their birthday morning.
  • Another mom “kidnaps” her kids from school once a year and lets them plan the whole day off work and school.
  • A family in the book has a reading dinner once a month where everyone can read at the dinner table!
  • One family volunteers at a soup kitchen for their Thanksgiving to show the young children the importance of giving back.
  • In the book there is a section on “vision quests” for older children and it is fascinating.
  • There are tons of amazing Holiday traditions in the book too!
  • I love this book!

    Traditions in families can be so powerful to children. I think they allow for bonding and the creation of strong family ideals. The traditions that you begin now will give your children more and more certainty in their lives. It is the small things that we pass down to our kids that will matter the most. The time we spend together and the love that is cultivated between us as we focus on our family. The world is often harsh and demanding, but allowing children to know that inside the family is safe and secure is priceless. I want terribly for my children to always think of our home and family as a safe haven and a place where magic really does happen.

    What will you pass on to your family? Please leave a family tradition that you practice or hope to someday and let’s build an idea library that will be a source of inspiration.

    The Shredded Salad (or why I need a salad shooter)

    This post is from Calee from Sacred and the Profane. Thank you, Calee!

    This summer is wearing on me. Don’t get me wrong, I love the hot, sweaty days at the pool, the promise of vacation, the grilled chicken breasts—but most days? I’m running on sunscreen fumes and when it comes to dinnertime—don’t ask me for a side dish. You may have chicken.

    After one too many spinach salads (my husband won’t eat lettuce unless he has to be polite) I was out of cool, green vegetable ideas. Since we spend around half the year as vegans, this was a giant problem. No veggie ideas, no food.

    Enter the shredded salad. Trader Joes saved my faux gourmet butt when they released broccoli slaw in a bag. Mixed with a little of their spicy peanut dressing, grown men start asking for seconds. I’m serious, it’s happened with our guests at least 3 times.

    Since not everyone has a Trader Joes down the street, I can only get away with serving this combo once a week and our local store seems to be out of the broccoli slaw goodness, I thought I’d share the evolution of the shredded salad. You too, can eat veggies that don’t suck!

    ingredients.jpg

    Basically. This is anything crunchy and fresh in your fridge. My bowl includes: cabbage, carrots, green onions, a couple of snap peas, radishes and a beet.

    shredded ingredients.jpg

    That salad shooter I got from our wedding then promptly returned would come in handy right about now. Pop all that shredded goodness in a bowl and mix it together. As is, this mixture will keep about 4-5 days, depending on your ingredient list. Put it in a plastic bag and add dressing just before serving.

    dressing ingredients.jpg

    I HATE mayonaise. I hate almost all white, creamy things so you’ll never see me eat traditional coleslaw. Thanks to the cabbage, you could just pour some ranch dressing on this and serve it with burgers. But if you’re feeling fancy and fusion, here’s what I used.

    1 Tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
    1 squeeze of honey
    3 TB olive oil
    some lemon juice—sorry, I forgot to measure. Just a dash. Really.
    Salt, pepper
    Chopped cilantro (if you’re making this way ahead of time, save the cilantro until it’s ready to serve)

    Mix all this up with a fork (or a whisk if you’re fancy) and pour it over the shredded salad up to a ½ hour before serving. Toss in a generous handful of honey roasted peanuts and you’ve got something really special for these last few summer nights.

    finished salad.jpg