Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Hearts for Home: Birthday Traditions

Look who just turned 11! (How on earth is that possible?)

My oldest child, Joey, turned 11 last week Thursday.
Birthdays always "turn my heart towards home!"
They make me all "mushy" inside thinking about how fast the time flies by-even when one is on bedrest!
(Sorry if the picture is blurry-all I had was my cell phone to use last week.  The regular camera had gotten taken to our business.)
Last year after he turned 10 I felt like I was having a mid-life crisis....
where had those ten years gone and how could I possibly teach him everything he needs to know in the next eight years before he leaves for college?......
Thankfully my sweet hubby helped put everything back in perspective: we do our best one day at a time and remember that God's in control.

Birthday Traditions

My family really didn't celebrate birthdays or holidays as a kids growing up.
My mother still lives by some pretty untraditional ideas.
The first birthday tradition I "stole" from my friend Wendy K.-that is the birthday person gets to pick the menu for the entire day: breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Usually the kids always pick a sugar cereal that we only buy as a birthday present for breakfast.  I have found that I have to limit them to one big bowl each per day-so that maybe the box will last two days!

Joey's lunch menu got changed because our dentist fit us in at the last minute to adjust his retainer before he leaves to visit my late first husband's family for the next three weeks.  He got to have the extra special privilege of eating out on his birthday since we were all famished by the time we got out of the dentist office.  There was just no way that we were going to last for the thirty-five minute drive home plus cooking time for homemade macaroni and cheese.  The babies had already been playing in the waiting room for an hour.....some days you just have to waive the white flag of surrender.

For his supper he picked baked beans and salsa chicken-the chicken we used was our homegrown chicken.  As we ate it I couldn't help, but think about how even more wonderful it would be when we were eating our own canned salsa as well-hopefully next year!

Joey asked for homemade cookie cake, but in 91' weather without air conditioning in the kitchen and nine months pregnant, I just couldn't make that.  So, I did some brainstorming and realized that for the first time in seven years he hadn't put strawberries, his favorite fruit, on the menu.  So we compromised with "strawberry shortcake" for dessert.  I took the easy way out and bought the mini-cakes at the bakery and both big kids helped cut up, sugar and smash the strawberries.  All of us except for the birthday boy topped ours with whip cream-he just ate four helpings of plain cake and strawberries by himself.  (I guess he decided to give us a glimpse of how much he'll be able to pack away as a growing teenage boy.)  The strawberry shortcake got served in Homer Laughlin Fiesta Ware china that my mother-in-law and daughter Jessie got last Thanksgiving from their outlet store.  The outlet store has dollar paper grab bags and my mother-in-law has gotten really good at feeling the bags to figure out what's inside: bowls, coffee cups, etc.  She usually buys some bags for the kids to open whenever she stops at the store.  Last Thanksgiving Debbie and Jessie "scored" six of these two handed custard bowls-and they were all matching yellow.  Doesn't the strawberry shortcake look lovely?

Jason, Joey and Jessie enjoying their dessert:
(Jessie had been helping the babies "cool off" in the toddler pool in between supper and dessert time.)

Anna just eating the whip cream and strawberries.  Sweet sister that she is she left the cake for Joey to eat as one of his four helpings:

Katie eating her dessert (sorry I couldn't figure out how to flip this cell phone picture in the post):

Our last birthday tradition is only three years old.  Since we homeschool year round I came up with the tradition of "game day" for birthdays.  I usually leave a list for the kids to pick from when they get up in the morning.  For instance we've played Scrabble as our spelling class, charades as drama, baseball as gym, stretched uno to be math for a second grader-the sky's the limit.

Unfortunately because of all my on again/off again contractions I didn't think ahead to get a sitter to help entertain the two toddlers-they really don't cooperate well with board games right now.  (At least by Jessie's birthday in October my mother-in-law and Jason's grandmother should be here to help out with game day-yeah!)  So, Joey got to pick a movie off of netflix to watch during the afternoon heat and talked to most of the long distance family members before 6pm that night.  Then thankfully Katie and Anna went down early for bed.  While I was getting the babies down Joey and Jessie played a few games on the Wii and then the four of us played Blokus-awesome game!  Think board game version of tetris-and I won both rounds!

The birthday presents and cards are opened when everyone is present-so that means the birthday person has to wait for daddy to be home from work.

So, this is how my family "keeps our hearts at home" for birthdays....what does your family do?

Check out all the other "Hearts for Home" links!:)Cherished Hearts at Home


  1. how fun! I love fiesta, have quite a bit, but I never knew they had the double handle bowls. I NEED those:)

  2. Hi Molly! I had never seen the two handed bowls before they brought them home either! I am hoping to be able to find more of them the next time we go to the outlet so we have enough when company comes over. They are very sweet! I am going to have to add some hooks to our built in china cabinet to hang them from though since they don't stack very well.:)

  3. Dear Stephanie,
    Thank you for sharing your birhtday traditions. I too had to create these special times in our family as I didn't grow up with them. I wrote a post on it some tiem ago if you are looking for something to read while you rest.
    The title is Why we celebrate Birthday's Like we do (I think) Thanks for some great ideas I love the games one especially.
    Keep resting up
    God Bless

  4. Thanks Gae!

    I will definitely check out your birthday blog during nap time later!:)

    God's blessings,


  5. I just found you from Gae's blog. I saw that you had commented about having a new baby--congratulations! Your blog intrigued me when you wrote about being a fertility care practitioner. I am wondering what that is?
    I,too, am a Catholic homeschooling mother.

  6. Dear Stephanie,
    I just wanted to say congratulations on your sweet little baby.
    How excited you must all be.
    Take care and rest well for the both of you.
    Thank you for letting me know I am so appreciative and gald to know you are safe, well and happy
    Enjoy your precious dumpling
    God Bless

  7. Dear CCC,

    Sorry on the delayed response! I am very glad you found me! I have been trying to adjust to the new baby and having three under the age of three. I am trained to teach the Creighton Model FertilityCare System of natural family planning to couples. Our system is a mucus only based method of natural family planning and we teach couples one on one. The founder of the Creighton Model System, Dr. Thomas W. Hilgers, has also developed NaProTechnology, which is a new reproductive science that works cooperatively with a woman's cycle to help when there are infertility and/or medical problems. Everything is done within the teachings of the Catholic Church and Dr. Hilgers actually has a higher success rate than invitro for helping infertile couples achieve pregnancies.

    i taught for six months at the Pope Paul VI Institute in Omaha, NE (where Dr. Hilgers' practice is.) Then the military transferred my first husband to Pensacola, FL and I taught there as the only practitioner for the entire Diocese for three years. I then joined the Steubenville FertilityCare Center as a practitioner when I moved to get my masters in theology from Franciscan University after my husband died in a military plane collision nine years ago.

    I have been working on my conversion story to Catholicism which also goes into lots of info about Creighton Model FC System and NaProTechnology because the only reason that I have managed to carry all five of my children to term is because of Dr. Hilger's treating me long distance for low progesterone. During this last pregnancy he also helped diagnose me with an impacted uterus that was cutting off urine flow and an infection in my placenta/uterus that was causing continuous contractions/spotting. I also opened myself up to the Catholic faith because of being convicted about the truth of contraception. Hopefully I will get it finished soon so that I can start posting weekly blogs about it.

    Let me know if you need me to send you any info privately!:)

    God's blessings,



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