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Contrary to all the TV commercials, my favorite childhood memories don't involve going to Disneyland.
Instead, they are of the small, seemingly forgettable details. The grapefruit that my grandma always had cut and waiting for us when we stumbled sleepily down the stairs. The smell of bacon and blueberry pancakes my grandfather cooked on Saturdays. My dad's day off when he would take my brother and me out to breakfast before school. Summer mornings spent solving mysteries with grandma and Nancy Drew. The cheerful children's music on the radio that gently carried us from dreamland to reality at 7:30am.
The sweetest memories are the simple traditions that etch their way into our hearts and the very fiber of who we become. I want to create those memories that will always be a warm place of refuge for my children.
So a few weeks back I decided to start small and find things that I can do (happily) to create some of those simple, special memories. I decided to focus on the mornings since that's when I'm at my best and I love those early hours.
Besides, life gets crazy fast, so I enjoy using those first moments to set the tone for the day.
Here's what I do: I set out the breakfast dishes, turn on their favorite music, make a fruit plate, pour juice and greet them with hugs and an encouraging word. And I'm learning new yummy recipes for morning treats - instead of our standard cold cereal.
It's all so simple but it makes such a huge difference in our mornings. They used to be hurried and crazy. Now they are becoming so much more peaceful and enjoyable.
I love seeing my children's eyes widen with excitement when they look in the oven or on the stove and see something special I'm making just for them.
I love knowing they'll have precious memories of those early morning hours as I fill them with good food and sweet words that they will carry in their tummies and their hearts to help them through a long day of school.
I know it sounds awfully idealistic and Norman Rockwell-ish. And...well...that's kinda the point. I want my children to have sepia tone memories of home. They'll face all kinds of crazy at school, on the playground or at sports practice. I want home to be the place of rest, peace and love.
And blueberry pancakes.
Here are a few favorite morning recipes:
1. Toast whole wheat English muffin
2. Cook bacon or turkey bacon
3. Cook egg with our without the yolk
4. Put egg, bacon, and a piece of white cheddar on muffin. Enjoy!
Crepes (My sweet husband makes these every Sunday. A beloved tradition.)
We use pancake mix and water it down with milk to make crepes. We top with butter, sugar or syrup. We also top with berries and toasted pecans.
Homemade Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal
1. Peel and slice a granny smith apple.
2. Cook in a bit of butter, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar
3. Cook oatmeal and top with yummy apples.
Apple Butter Toast
1. Toast bread.
2. Top with store bought apple butter.
3. Wonder why Kat took the time to type this out.
Sausage Cheese Biscuits
1. Cook 1lb turkey breakfast sausage (roll kind, not links or patties)
2. Mix 2 cups bisquick, 2 cups shredded cheddar and sausage
3. Place in mini muffin tin or by the tablespoonful on a cookie sheet.
4. Cook at 375 for 15 min or until brown
These are great for freezing for a fast, yummy breakfast.
**What morning traditions do you have at your house? What traditions do you want to start with your family?**
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Kat blogs at Inspired To Action, a site helping moms develop the skills they need to manage their homes and raise children who are prepared to change the world. Kat and her husband Jimmy live in Texas and have 3 children ages 7, 5 and 3. Kat loves music, running, technology, Jesus and Tex-Mex food. Not necessarily in that order.