Traditions

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Recently someone asked me why we have a family Facebook page and a blog.  The answer was quick to me.  My blog is a place where I can share more in depth my thoughts and feelings of why we work so hard to carry on our lifestyle as well as share a bit about our family history.  Facebook users (myself included) are normally scanning quick in their spare time to possibly learn or see something new, share in the pages they follow, and keep a brief running of their life happenings.

As an example, on our facebook page today I posted a few pictures of things we will have on our Easter table.  All of the items are homegrown, hand picked, or made by our family.  To me they signify a tradition passed down from my family starting from my great grandmother, grandparents, mother and aunts.

Our ancestors were “doers”.  They had no other choice but to provide for themselves.  Today’s world is more about “consumers”.  Not many take the time to even think about where their food comes from much less contribute, except monetarily, to their own existence.  I am not implying this is a wrong way to live, but it’s important to me for my children to know how their ancestors lived and to be able to provide a bit for themselves.  Maybe I was born in the wrong era 🙂

Our Easter lunch table will be filled with food and decor our family has grown or made.

It’s a tradition and one I hope my children will carry on into their futures!

 

 

 

 

The Special Room

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Since 1972 I have celebrated Christmas with a tree in this room.  The room has changed slightly over the years with a hardwood floor we put in, a bay window, new ceiling, and narrowing of the entrance, but the structure is the same.  I could not imagine a Christmas without this room.

This was in the early 1980’s with my siblings.  My dad always handed out the gifts while my mother directed him who it belonged to.

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Our trees have always been decorated with many handmade ornaments.  As kids we painted wooden ornaments or made pasta ornaments in school to hang on our trees.  My children have carried on that tradition and most of the decorations on our tree are made by them and some from our friends and family.

This picture was from 1990 after my sister married and I had moved out.  That is my niece enjoying the tradition of my dad playing guitar with my mom singing Christmas carols in front of the tree.  This is how we celebrated Christmas every year until adulthood.

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This room has a special place in my memory and I love that my children will have the memory of their childhood in this room with their special trees.

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And the aftermath of opening their gifts just as I did

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And at night when all is calm and everyone is asleep, I get to enjoy our beautiful tree with the simple ornaments in the special room filled with memories.

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Christmas Cutouts

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Christmas cookies are a great way to make a family tradition. No matter how busy we are and other traditions have been outgrown, the cutting and decorating of the cookies is something that draws us all together.  It’s a fun family thing to do and the kids like seeing their cookies displayed on the cookie tray at our family gathering.

I like to try all sorts of recipes and last year made 2 different types of cutouts so we could vote on our favorite.  This year I decided to try the widely “Pinned” Sour Cream cut out cookies.

The dough was made and the rolling, cutting and of course eating began.

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I found this dough to be a stickier dough you have to knead with flour or powdered sugar after you pull a chunk out (I mix a bowl of flour and powdered sugar to sprinkle on the rolling pin and mat) to keep from sticking. But it was easy to roll and cut.

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I made the dough two days prior to us being able to get together and make the cookies.  It kept very well in a sealed container in the fridge.

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The cookies had a “crinkly” look to them right out of the oven and were very puffy but settled down smooth.  The recipe received the “approval” of the kids as they said they tasted great without the frosting.  It made a nice big batch of cutouts also.

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After the frosting was made and colored everyone went to town to get them decorated.

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And another year of memory making was had!

Here is the recipe I used:

1 cup butter

2 cups sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup sour cream

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

4 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

Cream together butter, sugar and salt with electric mixer.  Blend in sour cream, egg and vanilla.  Mix together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and add to sugar mixture slowly mixing well.  You can leave dough in the bowl and cover with plastic and chill for an hour.  Roll out using flour/powdered sugar as needed to keep from sticking.  Cut into shapes and bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes (slightly brown at edge).  Let cool for 2 minutes then transfer to wax paper to cool.  Frost as desired

Generation to Generation

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This picture speaks volumes to the lifestyle we are trying to lead and the traditions we hope to pass on.

During my childhood I spent time collecting wood and helping stack it for my family.  This is my daughter working with her 2nd cousin (my nephews son), Rohan.  Rohan is 3 and spends as much time as we can have him at our house.  He came over the other day and saw I had let the fire burn out as it was warmer outside and I wanted to clean the stove. We also needed to restock the wood storage on the porch from the woodshed.  The first thing he did after coming into the house was ask where the fire was. For all of his 3 little years he has become accustomed to the wood heat like the rest of us and it’s expected.  I told him I was cleaning the stove and we needed wood.

The tween queen said she would load the 4 -wheeler and start bringing up the wood.  She too has been doing this all of her childhood with us (helping her dad this fall stock the porch).

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Rohan could not get his boots and coat back on fast enough!!  He knew exactly what needed to be done as he has helped in the process since he was old enough to walk and hold a small piece of wood.  So they set off to the woodshed

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It was not long before they were back with the logs and kindling and Rohan was happily helping stock the porch.

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The first load was finished

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And after a few more loads a fire was started and the world was right again.

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Someday he will share the stories of helping his cousins and great aunt and uncle at their farm!

Sharing the tradition

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These beautiful mums on our kitchen table were a thank you gift from a young friend of mine.  (Lulu’s Musings should be proud of my decorated table inspired by her posts!!)   She had asked me to teach her how to can.  She made apple butter and brought it over to can at our house.

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Canning gets such a bad rap.  I hear all the time about why people don’t can because it’s so much work.  The truth is canning is not the work, it’s preparing what is going into the jars that is SO much work.

When we were finished, which took all of 25 minutes as the apple butter had been prepared ahead of time, she was pleasantly surprised how easy canning truly is.  She is going to make another batch for Christmas gifts and can them on her own.

And another canner is born 🙂

The Italians

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Charles Giambra, Carmella Oddi Giambra, Josephine Giambra, Gerald (last name unknown)

This was my father’s parents (paternal grandparents) wedding day in the late 1930’s.  I have written about my grandfather in a past post.  They were Sicilians through and through.  I had many wonderful years with them and am thankful to this day for the blessings they were in my life and the many traditions they shared with me to carry on their legacy with my own family!!