Tag Archives: family traditions

Halloween Is Dead: and a recipe to celebrate its demise

This morning as we sat cuddling before school, Youngest informed me he was not going trick-or-treating this year.

Can I just add that he’s only nine?!?!?

I suppose it’s possible that some of his friends are not going out this year. That they’ve been told they are too old for such shenanigans. Or maybe it’s because he’s never been a huge Halloween candy fan and usually leaves most of it for us to pick at during November. Or maybe because a typical trick-or-treat stint for our family is about two blocks and hardly worth getting bundled up for.

Whatever the reason, that part of Halloween is officially dead in our house. (Yay!)

And so, instead of heading into the bowels of our tiny town begging for candy, we will simply pass out treats from the comfort of our front door and chow down on the first pot of homemade chili of the season.

To be honest, this will be a much more enjoyable evening for me than Halloweens past.

If you would like to join my family in our “Halloween Stew” tradition, feel free to treat yourself to my recipe below. The only trick is making enough to satisfy monstrous appetites.

Cat’s Family Chili

~to be made for the first time each fall as witches fly and ghosts boo~

  • 1 pound hamburger, browned
  • 1/2 small onion, diced and sautéed
  • 1 16 oz. can Hormel Chili with beans
  • 1 large can stewed, peeled tomatoes, chopped
  • 5-8 pepperoncini peppers, chopped
  • 1/4 cup pepperoncini pepper juice
  • chili powder (anywhere from 2 tsp. to 3 tablespoons, start small and go big until you like the flavor)

Mix together all ingredients–adding or subtracting measurements to your personal taste–and let simmer on low until hot and flavors blend. This recipe is easily tweaked, doubled or tripled to delight the masses.

And, according to my fam, it’s best served with shredded cheddar cheese and Frito Lay Scoops. No spoons necessary!

So, while my least favorite part of Halloween shall R.I.P., my favorite traditions will remain.

What traditions do you have surrounding fall holidays?

Curious minds want to know.

*Oh yeah, and I’ll be getting ready for two very important things that happen November 1. But I’ll get into that later.


Does Predictability Equal Boring?

The other day, Youngest says, “I can’t wait for Easter.”

To which I had several thoughts:

  • He has a strong faith and is excited about the resurrection of Jesus.
  • He needs to replenish his sugar levels.
  • Yay, another few days off of school.

It turned out to be none of these. “I can’t wait for my new pair of baseball pants.”

Yep, that rascally rabbit always deposits a pair of baseball pants in the little boys’ Easter baskets. He must know they love baseball and need a nice, clean, new pair each year.

This pattern of predictability got me thinking about writing–picture books in particular. For parents, rereading the same sentence or phrase or idea can be BORING. It might make us want to bury the book in the nearest dumpster. However, kids actually like this  predictability.

The repetition builds anticipation. It helps the youngest listeners stay involved. It creates a sense of connection because they can better understand the rhythm of the story and guess what will happen next.

One of my kids’ favorite books was Cookie’s Week. Okay, one of my faves, too.

  • On Monday, Cookie did something naughty and made a mess.
  • On Tuesday, Cookie did something naughty…
  • On Wednesday…

Yeah, Cookie got into all sorts of mischief throughout the week. The kids delighted in knowing that as each day passed, Cookie would be in trouble once again, whether for scattering pots and pans, knocking over trash cans, falling in the toilet or pulling down the curtains. By Sunday, they were sure more calamity would befall this curious kitten.

Yet Sunday suggests that maybe today, Cookie will rest. Except that the curled up ball of fluff has one eye open on the last page.

Predictability isn’t necessarily a bad thing in picture books. Or in Easter baskets.

Traditions can be powerful tools both in books and in life.

What are your Easter Traditions? Do they feel tired and worn-out or comforting? How can  you keep them alive and exciting for generations to come?

Curious minds want to know.