Thursday, March 26, 2009

Living Lovely with Family

This week's theme for Living Lovely with Family at the very lovely Mt. Hope Chronicles: special treats, random surprises, and seasonal activities.

Special treats makes me think of, well, food. I often bake cookies and cakes. The problem is that I am usually baking these treats to take to some kind of function—church potlucks, scouting events, parties, etc. It always cracks me up and somehow touches me tenderly when I make a batch of cookies and they say, "What are these for? Where are we going?" When I assure them that they cookies are just for us, they are simply gleeful. Note to self: make more desserts.

Admittedly, I'm not particularly good at random surprises, probably because I don't particularly enjoy being surprised—caught off guard or unable to take part in the planning. (I probably need therapy for that.) But my kids do love to be surprised, and I'm working on being better on that. Just the other day my daughter asked me to sometimes not tell her when friends are coming over so that she'll be surprised. "But don't you want to clean your room first?" I asked. "Good point," she said. (She may need therapy later, as well.) But I do have a few surprises up my sleeve. Like yesterday I said to the kids, "Did I mention that we are having spring break this week?" They loved that.

But usually it's just little things, like sometimes I'll swing by and pick up a movie for them and let them watch outside of their "technology time-zone." (Translated, that means that my kids can't normally get on the computer, Wii, TV, etc. until after 4 p.m.) And here's a little something that they absolutely love: The Order of the Queen. This is a special edict issued by the Queen, whereas the day is declared “Game Day,” “Baking Day,” “Movie Day,” or such. No regular schoolwork is allowed. I'll print out an actual edict in an Old English-type font and roll up as a scroll to be opened at the usual start of school (if you have such a thing) or stuck under their doors.

That makes me think about another surprise that we had in college which I think I'll start implementing around here. Each spring we had a special day to look forward to: a surprise day off, with all classes canceled and lots of festivities going on around campus. This would be called "Marvelous Monday," "Terrific Tuesday," "Wonderful Wednesday," etc. depending on the day of the week, which had to be perfectly sunny and delicious. We wouldn't know until that morning, when we'd find an announcement slipped under our doors. I think I am going to have to work on starting a "Wonderful Wednesday" tradition around here…

And finally, seasonal activities. For us that pretty much means being in the mountains.

We live just 20 minutes away from the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, and the mountains hold something special every month. We often take advantage of a warm day in January for a hike. Late February brings our annual trek to Cades Cove to sit amongst patches of daffodils and soak in the blue spring sky. In late March the wildflowers awake and the redbuds and dogwoods color the forests with purple, white and pink. April brings the true onslaught of wildflowers, and May through September are camping months. Autumn is astoundingly gorgeous in the mountains, and we take several hikes during October and November. December is the one month that we don't normally go to the mountains, but of course there is no shortage of seasonal activities during the Christmas season!

How does your family make connections? Share on your blog and leave your post link over at Mt. Hope Chronicles. And while you're there, take some time to peruse and be inspired!


  1. pure lovliness ... makes me wish I had kiddos who I could do these things with. (just doesn't seem to go over with teens *sigh*)

  2. Oh my goodness, Sarah. I didn't know that there were other people who hated being surprised! Growing up, my parents would get so frustrated when they were trying to surprise us with something nice and I'd fall apart...

    I absolutely love the 'by the order of the Queen' idea. Absolutely gonna use that one, since I am definitely the queen around here. :)

    Thanks once again for joining in. I always look forward to reading your thoughts and ideas.

  3. Great post, and some ideas I might have to steal. I don't like surprises either, and am not good at surprising others. Well, sometimes: today we had an unexpected hot chocolate/tea/coffee stop at a cafe (with a great book to read). Nothing like cafe-schooling...

  4. I love the Order of the Queen idea. I need somebody to give me orders like that!

  5. Sarah-- I enjoyed this post so much!! Like you, I don't bake enough (I can't tell you how many times I've heard the same question--"who are the cookies for?") and I hate surprises (I think it's the control freak in me!)... it's so nice to know I'm not alone :) And your Order of the Queen... truly fantastic!

    Thank you so much for sharing... it was a real treat!


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