Fun Ways to Create Lasting Family Traditions

Baking

(ARA) – Whether you’re a family of two or 10, there is no time like the present to create lasting family traditions. Like families, traditions come in many forms — from cooking to storytelling — and making new memories is easy and fun. Here is a variety of creative ways to get started.

Gather for a family baking day
Help ensure your tried and true family recipes continue on for generations with a family baking day. Have everyone meet in a central location and bring their favorite recipe and the ingredients to make it. Everyone will have the chance to learn about cherished recipes and leave with a goodie bag of treats.

Plan a family reunion
annually, or every few years, gather relatives far and wide for an enjoyable time to reminisce, share photos, cook and eat together. Use the time to share favorite family stories and swap recipes. Make sure to take a group photo and share it with the participants and those who couldn’t be there.

Get tech-savvy
Get everyone involved in building and contributing to a family Web page or blog that highlights recent get-togethers, news, photos and favorite recipes. Online sites provide a great way to connect and keep long-distance relatives up-to-date and involved year round.

Host international family dinners
Pick one night a week to take the family on a culinary journey to another part of the world. From France to Italy to Greece to Thailand, there are countless meal options waiting to be explored. Experience more of the culture by learning some phrases associated with the meal, play authentic music and include some decorations. Bon appetit.

Make movie magic
Host monthly movie nights as a way for the family to catch up and experience old classics and the latest blockbusters together. Include an ice cream sundae bar and movie snacks and schedule intermissions to talk about the movie and characters.

The J.M. Smucker Company believes in bringing families together to share memorable meals and moments and often sponsors recipe contests.  Last year’s winning recipe in the “Spreading Smucker’s Traditions” contest is Nana’s Apple Butter Cake, a recipe that has been passed down for three generations.

Nana’s Apple Butter Cake

Ingredients:

Cake:
1 box yellow cake mix
1 cup water
3 eggs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3/4 cup Smucker’s Apple Butter
2 apples, peeled, cored and sliced into about 16 wedges
1 teaspoon cinnamon combined with 1/4 cup sugar

Streusel topping:
2/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup baking mix
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, softened
Powdered sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine cake mix, water, eggs, oil and apple butter. Beat at low speed for one minute, to blend ingredients, and two minutes at high speed. Pour mix into greased/floured 9- by 13-inch pan.

Slice apples into a bowl and add cinnamon/sugar mixture, mixing until apples are well coated. Place apple slices (round side out/core side in) in the batter until just the top shows, in two rows of eight, the length of the pan.

Make streusel topping by combining brown sugar, baking mix, cinnamon, and butter. Cut butter into mixture with pastry blender until crumbly.

Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle streusel topping over cake and bake for an additional 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cake cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.

For more recipes, visit http://www.Smuckers.com.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

Would You Rather Communicate Only With an Etch-a-Sketch or a Lite Brite?

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Busy schedules of both parents and children make it harder to have “family dinners.” But families may not be aware of the benefits that come with regularly eating together at the table.

Research suggests that having dinner together as a family at least four times a week has positive effects on child development. Family dinners have been linked to a lower risk of obesity, substance abuse, eating disorders, and an increased chance of graduating from high school.

Conversation

Eating dinner together as a family provides the opportunity for conversation. This lets parents teach healthy communication without distractions from smart phones, television, computers, and mobile devices.

By engaging your children in conversation, you teach them how to listen and provide them with a chance to express their own opinions. This allows your children to have an active voice within the family.

Conversations at the dinner table expand the vocabulary and reading ability of children, regardless of socioeconomic status. Family dinners allow every family member to discuss his or her day and share any exciting news.

Use these tips to encourage conversation:

  • Let all family members talk. Be an active listener and be sure your child learns to listen as well.
  • Encourage your child to participate. Do not underestimate your child’s ability to hold a conversation.
  • Discuss the child’s day. Express an interest in your child’s daily life.
  • Discuss current events. Bring up news that’s appropriate for your child’s age.
  • Conversation starter questions:
      • What was the best part of your day?
      • If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?
      • If you could be a famous person for a week, who would you be and why?
      • If you could have any superpower, which would you choose?
      • If you had one wish (and you can’t wish for more wishes), what would you wish for and why?
      • 50 Family Dinner Conversation Starters
  • Kids love a round or two of “Would You Rather.”
      • Would you rather drive a beautiful, sleek sports car that was unreliable OR an ugly, dented, rust-covered beater that never broke down?
      • Would you rather never eat your favorite five foods again or ONLY eat your favorite five foods for the rest of your life?
      • Would you rather communicate only with an Etch-a-Sketch or a Lite Brite?
      • 100 Would You Rather Questions for Kids

Rediscover the Joy of Reading-Aloud

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A regular read aloud time can become one of the most cherished experiences of childhood – taking our imaginations to new heights, while also revealing more about our own hearts and minds.  During read-aloud time, some children are content to sit and listen; many aren’t.  So, if your children aren’t the type who easily sit and listen, try these basic rules:

  • While listening, you can pursue any other activity (drawing, playing with a toy, building something, etc.) as long as it’s quiet and not distracting.
  • Only the reader speaks; save your questions and comments for afterward.

Classic read-aloud chapter book suggestions:

  • The Chronicles of Narnia
  • The Little House series
  • The Cricket in Times Square
  • Charlotte’s Web
  • Stuart Little
  • The Trumpet of the Swan
  • The Wind in the Willows

Reading Aloud as Your Kids Grow Older

As your children move into their later elementary school years and middle school years, the following favorite classics can help hold their attention in read-aloud time:

  • Anne of Green Gables
  • The Call of the Wild
  • The Hobbit
  • The Lord of the Rings
  • The Little Prince
  • The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood
  • The Swiss Family Robinson
  • Kidnapped
  • Treasure Island

I’d love to know what your family’s favorite read-aloud books are!

 

 

 

Today’s blog post was inspired by Mack Thomas.