300+ Ways to Become a Memory-Making Mom. A New Book (and a giveaway.)
As I happily anticipate my first son coming home from his first year away at college, I have found myself reminiscing a lot about all of the years with my boys. My boys have been having some fun chats lately about favorite family memories, and new ones they hope to make while Josiah is home this summer. As it turns out, my boys appreciate family traditions more than I had ever realized.
With all of this on my mind, I was so excited to hear about Jessica Smartt’s new book, Memory-Making Mom: Building Traditions That Breathe Life Into Your Home. I absolutely LOVE this topic, and I think Jessica did an amazing job of sharing her heart, and so many inspiring ideas for establishing traditions and creating memories that the entire family will cherish for a lifetime.
Jessica is sharing some inspirations from her book below, and then be sure to comment to be entered to win a copy of her lovely new book! Enjoy…
A decade ago I sat outside the obstetrician’s office, crying into my steering wheel. We had just found out our first baby would be —to my utter shock —a boy! “What will I even do with a boy?”I worried. “What if my husband dies? I have no idea how to raise a boy!”and other sorts of hormonal, pregnant-woman-nonsense.
Ten years and two boys later, life is rougher, louder, messier, busier, sweeter, and more wonderful than I ever imagined it would be as a boy mom. I love every minute of it.
Yes, they’re every bit as rambunctious as I imagined, but they’re also even more tender and loving. My little men tuck in their little stuffed animals, mourn deeply over lost games and hurt feelings. They enjoy snuggling and flowers and writing cards for their friends.
My tender warriors love adventure just as much as they love beauty.
In my quest to do this motherhood thing well, I have landed (quite accidentally) on the wonderful blessing called family traditions! Traditions are the link between the things we want to do and making it actually happen.
All the things I value for my boys —adventure and beauty and faith and serving and nature —each of these things has a tradition in our home.
Here are a few of our very favorite:
- March Madness Tournament and Super Bowl Party: Some of the most treasured traditions are silly or little but our kids treasure these “anchors”in our year. Give us all the sports traditions!
- Hiking Rock Collections:When we hike, we keep a rock and write with marker the date and location.
- Camping! Our new shared adventure is RV camping. I’ve talked to many friends whose cross-country trips were some of their treasured childhood memories.
- Saturday Morning Pancakes: One of our favorites; we never miss a Saturday!
- Cookies for dad’s office: I have all the cookie cutters and we love blessing dad’s office with some snotI mean frosting covered treats during holidays.
- Birdwatching: Does your family have a shared hobby? Hobbies are traditions, too! We feed and admire our feathered friends all year-long.
- Dates with Mom and Dad: we go through an informal rotation throughout the year.
- Back-to-School Fairy: The Back To School Fairy visits the night before school starts and places a fun, school-related toy under your pillow!
- “Restaurant”for dinner: Copied from my own mother, sometimes I make menus and pretend I’m the waitress in a restaurant. The kids love it.
If you, too, long to make fun and meaningful memories with your family, you’ll love my brand-new book, Memory-Making Mom: Building Traditions That Breathe Life Into Your Home. I’ve listed 300+ tradition ideas such as these, on how to celebrate the big things and the small things. It’s packed with encouragement and practical ideas to make memories together, even when you’re tired and busy!
Today, we’re giving away one copy of Memory-Making Mom: Building Traditions That Breathe Life Into Your Home to one of you!
To enter, comment with one beloved tradition from your home. I can’t wait to read them! I never cease to be surprised by the creative and life-giving traditions from other families.
Thank you, Jessica! This book is such a treasure and I know so many families will be inspired by everything in it!
And to you, Friends — Please do comment below! I’m looking forward to reading about your traditions and we will choose a book winner next Wednesday, May 1st and notify you by email! 🙂 Be sure to tell your friends about this delightful new book, and share this post by using the Social Media links below!
Jessica Smartt is a former English teacher turned homeschooling mom of three. A week after her first baby was born, she began her motherhood blog “Smartter” Each Day. Jessica and her husband live in sunny North Carolina, where she loves hikes with the kids (mostly), steaming coffee in the afternoon, family bike rides, and anything that’s ever been done to a baked potato. In March Jessica released her first book, Memory-Making Mom: Building Traditions That Breathe Life Into Your Home.
One of my favorite traditions is our annual sleeping under the Christmas tree as a family. My kids love this night more than anything and even though its not as comfortable as my own bed, I will forever love snuggling my boys and their daddy with the fireplace on beside us and the glistening christmas lights around us!
That sounds like an amazing book! A tradition in our house is a scavenger hunt on St. Patrick’s day. The kids love finding the clues and solving the riddles.
Our most recent vacation tradition is seeing all the major league baseball parks. I hope they cherish these trips as much as my husband and I do.
I don’t think we think of it as a tradition really but we take it in turns to read to our children each night. We have children so each night they get some time alone with mummy or daddy (alternate nights) for a chat and some stories, even though the 8 year old will then read by herself for a while as well she still loves us reading with her. We’ve done this since they were tiny and even if they are late going to bed we will do a short Bible story before we pray but we aim to have about half an hour with them.
These are all fantastic! I love hearing about other families’ traditions 😊 I always said that I would not be the mom that made Halloween costumes or birthday cakes, but that did not work out for me. Our biggest family tradition would be the boys’ birthday cakes. It started because our youngest was allergic to *everything* (not exaggerating) and as his system learned to digest, I had to learn to make food with the very limited ingredients available. I started decorating his birthday cake to try to make it as “cool” as the ones his brother would pick from the grocery store. Then his brother decided he wanted me to make HIS cake because he liked my decorations. Now the design of the cake is a huge secret that doesn’t get revealed until they’re blowing out the candles and I spend about a week putting it together. I’ve learned a lot about cake decorating so the cakes are getting a little better every year. (It doesn’t hurt that people keep getting me cake tools as gifts 😉) At some point I’m going to have to stop trying to make a bigger, “better” cake than the last one because they’re starting to get out of hand. But the boys LOVE them. I’ve only ever made one cake that wasn’t for one of my boys – for my husband’s 40th birthday we had an Irish wake and I made a coffin cake, and technically he’s one of my “boys” haha!
I have 2 boys, 13 and 11. Weekdays are busy! By Friday night everyone is tired. When we get home Fridays, we all get in our jammies, order pizza, and watch the latest episode of our favourite tv show. It’s only a half hour of tv, but it always turns into “family time”. Talking, laughing, sharing our week with each other. These are treasured moments that my kids ask for if it hasn’t happened in a week or two or if it’s just been a really crazy week. ❤️ my family!
Our son is a teenager who has outgrown Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, etc. But even though he knows (and now excitedly keeps the magic alive with his younger cousins), he still gets to enjoy the gifts. He’s not a candy, ice cream, or soda kid. So Easter has always been some gifts, and it’s been a scavenger hunt since he was a tiny guy. It started when the Easter Bunny fell asleep and forgot to set out the gift. So, the next morning, the boy was already up before his parents, and the gift had to be sneakily hidden. He was given a series of clues until he found it. And that’s how it’s been done ever since! Daddy became the mastermind of the clues and stayed up late last weekend crafting and hiding. It started with a video message, in Mission Impossible style. So much fun!
Sounds like a wonderful book! If our guys didn’t wake up in the morning, I’d go in and sing “Rise and Shine” loudly and off-key. Worked every time… 😀 We still have Saturday morning “Christmas pancakes”, whenever they come back home.
Sunday mornings are donut time, because I work 12-hour shifts on Saturday nights and by the time I get home I’m much too tired to argue to get the boys up, ready, and in to their church clothes. So, I pick up donuts on the way home, and whoever is ready first gets first pick. Sometimes I come home and they’re already all dressed!
We celebrate birthdays with:
“What I love about (birthday person)….”
It cultivates love and shows our appreciation for the special birthday person
We have a annual Christmas morning scavenger hunt for our two kids. The scavenger hunt involves multiple clues that ultimately lead to their “big” gift from mom and dad. Every year we have to be more creative and make the clues more complex as the kids are getting older and wiser. 🙂
We have a tradition of drinking hot chocolate while we decorate the Christmas tree, the first weekend of December. I wish we had more though, non-holiday related.
This is such a great topic, and area I could certain get better at, as I feel like I never get to be the “fun one”
I love traditions. It’s amazing to see what different families do as well. One tradition we’ve enjoyed at our house is Saturday game nights. It sounds simple, but each week we rotate who chooses a game, even our two year old. Precious memories have been made playing quite the variety of games. I hope this tradition week carry on through the teen and adult years of my children.
One of our family traditions is Saturday movie nights. Usually we are all beat from the week and from soccer Saturday morning. So we all have dinner and curl up on the couch together. I know it sounds like anti family time but it’s a chance to relax together.
I am originally from Ukraine, where in some areas the Monday after Easter (Ukrainian Easter) is called Wet Monday. The goal is basically to get others wet/soaked/sprinkled for luck. Each year I hope my kids forget about what day it is, so I sneak up with them (sometimes with my own mom) and spray them with a hose or with water bottles as they are walking up to the house. This year, it’s going to be epic! (Plans for this Monday’s soaking are in the works)
This book sounds wonderful! We have Saturday morning breakfast with our cousins most weekends, homemade pizza in Friday’s, and open a Jessie tree ornament every day during Christmas but I would love some fun ideas for the regular old homeschooling days, even when I’m tired with my 3 boys 7, 5, 3, and our baby girl, 1.
My boys were gifted these giant stuffed animals when they were real young. For most holidays and their birthdays, the animals “sneak” downstairs after bedtime and have themselves a party. When the boys wake they find them doing things like dying Easter eggs, opening presents, playing games, eating stuff from the pantry and using/wearing our things. I didn’t realize I had even created a tradation, but they love it and sometimes “hint” for it now.
Christmas Eve we have someone ring the door bell and run – leaving a note from Santa stating that he has to run to get to all the other homes to fill stockings and he will be back to fill ours. He leaves one of his red bags full of some goodies for the kids. It is fun for the adults because we have to choose who will be running and it is hard to get away when the kids expect it every year.
We celebrate Bonfire night in November (a UK holiday we came to love while living overseas- think 4th of July except in the cold and without parades. Lots of fireworks, a huge bonfire, baked potatoes and mulled wine) and all watch the Queen’s Christmas speech while enjoying British treats. We were sad when we left so we purposely focused on some traditions we could continue.
So special!! I love that!! Thank you for sharing!!
The weekends are special family times for us. We celebrate Fridays with ice cream after school, pizza for dinner and a movie. Saturday evenings are game night and Sundays are screen free. We attend church, have brunch, read, bike, may go to a live theater production- fun and uninterrupted time and activities together.
Wow, that is all SO good! What an inspiration! Thank you for sharing!
Our Easter tradition is to tie a string to each child’s bedpost the night before Easter.. it runs all over the house, upstairs and down and then again, at the end of their string, they find their Easter basket. This has been a much loved tradition!
I love that! I have never heard of an Easter Tradition like that. Thanks for sharing!
At Christmas we make a TON of gingerbread cookies, frost them together and then give them to all our neighbors. We, also, eat quite a few along the way!
Every time we leave our house, whether we are going to school or the grocery store, we always say out load “In Jesus Name, we go Today.” And everyone replies “Amen”. It’s a way to remind us that no matter what we encounter, He is always with us and for us.
Oh wow that is awesome! Thank you for sharing… 🙂
Over holiday break we meet up with a few neighbor friends and do a lights walk around the neighborhood. Kids and adults enjoy chatting and checking out all of the holiday lights and afterwards we eat yummy Christmas themed desserts like reindeer poop and santas hot chocolate.