Traditions—What Are Yours?

Thanksgiving and upcoming holidays are stuffed with traditions, whether it’s the music, the decorations, the food, the trips, or the shopping. Each family has certain expectations of what the holiday will bring. When they were young, I asked our children, “What makes a tradition?” Their answer was easy: “When you do something two times in a row.”  So what are our traditions? Creamed onions, Red Hots applesauce, mashed sweet potatoes, cooking together all day, and making the placemats.

Jen in Florida wants to share family traditions. Early in the morning, her family fixes French toast stuffed with cream cheese and berries. Then they help cook, serve, and deliver meals for the community dinner. It’s a tradition they started eight years ago, and it’s become part of every Thanksgiving since. By giving their time, they get many “Thanks” back.

Special days are coming, and it only takes doing something two times in a row to make it a tradition. So what are your traditions? Your traditions could inspire others. If you have recipes, craft ideas, or photos, we’d love to see them.

Changing Leaves for Emily

Changing Leaves

A very sweet note came the other day from Emily, who’s six. Here’s her question:

Do leaves change from green to orange or yellow all at once?

Sometimes the best way to learn is to just stop and look. Since Emily isn’t here to look with me, here’s what I want her to see.

This tree has a green and orange look. But when we stand closer, we see this.


This tree seems to have been dipped in pink. Standing close to the trunk, we see these leaves.
Then we see some very colorful branches among the green. Moving out a little, we see both the green and pink.


From thirty feet away, this tree is green and yellow. But up close, it’s more green and pink.
Here’s the same tree one week later. See how the colors have changed.


This tree looks green with some yellow. Up close we see each branch has leaves with many wonderful colors.


How would you answer Emily’s question?

When you draw a tree in autumn, what colors would you use?

You can print the drawings of a tree and leaf below. Color the leaves to show a tree in autumn.

 Click on this link to get the Tree and Leaf to color 

Keep America Beautiful – Monday, November 15

   “I Recycle” is the theme of Keep America Beautiful’s America Recycles Day. This nationally-recognized initiative, which takes place on November 15, is dedicated to encouraging people to recycle more at home, at work, and on the go. Read more>

Autumn is the perfect time to observe Nature recycling and reusing resources. Every leaf that falls replenishes and enriches the ground. New life will spring from this nourishment. Nothing is wasted, nothing is lost. It’s a perfect balance. In our progress and lifestyles, we’ve tipped the scales. We all own a part of this problem, so let’s own a part of the solution.

Next Monday is the day to begin and to practice creating more beauty and less waste. What’s going on in your community? The Keep America Beautiful site has examples of projects large and small to give you ideas. There’s a special page for kids with hints, games and tips to keep your community clean.  This week I spoke to Philicia, our local affiliate, to see what’s happening.

Philicia explained that our county is reviving a moneymaking idea that worked forty years ago to build a better zoo and combining that with recycling—Operation Noah’s Ark. Children and families are bringing their aluminum cans to the zoo parking lot this weekend. Our zoo, County Recycling and Keep America Beautiful have partnered together so all proceeds will go directly to benefit the zoo. When they originally collected soup labels for Operation Noah’s Ark, the children collected enough labels to purchase several lions. Wow, that’s a lot of labels and dedicated children. Let’s see what our aluminum cans can do now.

“Zoos are doing more—much more—than simply exhibiting animals for educational purposes, conserving wildlife around the world, or propagating endangered species for the future. Zoos are creating memories.” — Gary K. Clarke, first president, AAZPA

If you’ve ever wondered how you can get your family excited about recycling, tie it to something that helps everyone. Tie it to the animals. Homeschool families are voices of influence. You have a dedication and visible commitment to your family and community. Extend that and see what partners you have.