Back in September, I wrote about how important traditions are in my piece about choosing baby names. Well, this isn’t the only time I believe traditions are important. Family get-togethers are a tradition my family reigns supreme at and with that said, we do it the old fashion way. My grandma, who has gone on to be with the Lord, set the standards and guidelines we still use today when gathering family together. It’s something our ancestors have always done. You know, the old fashion way where everyone brings their own dish, recipes are shared, kids are heard playing in the backyard at all times, people are laughing and there is nothing, but the company of others to entertain us. There is no… let’s all go out to dinner or elaborate plan, there is simply one another and love. Growing up there was always many ‘outsiders’ who would say, “Man, I wish my family was as close as yours” or “I wish my family did that sort of thing. More than often I would also get a cold shoulder from a friend or two when I chose to go to family dinner we were having instead of the party they were throwing or outing they were planning. See my cousins were more like siblings and aunts and uncles more like second parents. We all very close. My priorities have always my family and I made that very clear. With all this said, we had one of our many traditional family get togethers Friday night and it didn’t disappoint!
This last Friday we had our annual bon fire at my grandpa’s house. This particular get together is the same as all the others but this one is fall inspired. We do it all and I mean ALL. Hay bales surrounding a fire, a tractor for the kids to climb on, soups, hotdogs, hot chocolate, pumpkin carving just to name a few. My grandpa loves getting ready for this particular night. He sets everything up next to his work shop which has an adorable wood burning stove and rocking chair in the corner. His workbenches are cleared of all his tools and replaced with crock pot after crock pot full of potato soup, chilies, dips and cold weather inspired drinks. Just outside the shop is a car port with chairs lining all sides and a table full of chips, hot dogs and complete with a picture of my grandma so we all are reminded of who created the love that engulfs us all. Surrounding this is the bonfire and hay bales and a lovely display of pumpkins and mums placed nicely around the tractor. The kids are off in his huge yard chasing each other and playing ‘boom booms’ as all of us adults are talking about the good old days and our lives now. This all reminds me of when we were little when we still went on hay bale rides with our church. Something that seems to be disappearing over time.Well, we are keeping it alive in our small family of about thirty. My grandma would be over the moon with happiness to see the effort we have made to carry on the tradition. To see us ‘kids’ grown with children of our own still playing in the collective place we call home. The home she created for us all.
This is why it is so important for me to encourage anyone to carrying on these ‘old-fashion’ traditions that may to some be dull or outdated. Well I am here to tell you they are not. Kids still love to play using their imagination, just give them a chance to do it. We all still love to roast a hotdog over an open fire, to drink hot chocolate, to carve a pumpkin. We love to gather together to slow down, eat and catch up with one another. This world needs more of these sorts of things and I hope my story can encourage you to try some of these things for yourself.
This year I decided to try a pinterest recipe for hot chocolate. I could live with or with out this cold weather drink… until I drank this. Usually, to me, this drink just taste like chocolate flavored water. Well this recipe is different. It is rich and literally taste as if you are drinking a chocolate drink. Its what I imagine that Judy the elf in ‘The Santa Claus’ with Tim Allen brings Scott Calvin on his first night in the north pole. If you need a good hot chocolate recipe here it is. Give it a go. Its amazing.
Things you will need:
6 cups of milk
1 14oz can of condensed milk
1 and ½ cup of heavy whipping cream
1 and ½ teaspoon vanilla
A 12 oz bag or 2 cups of chocolate chips
Combine all ingredients in a crockpot. Stir. Let cook for 2 hours then whisk all ingredients together and turn on keep warm. Serve and enjoy.