Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Celebrating Traditions!

This week Mrs. Yollis' class is starting 
a new unit in Language Arts
called Celebrating Traditions!

 A tradition is something that family, friends,
or another group of people has done for many years and continues to do on a regular basis.

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The story for this week is "The Keeping Quilt".
 In the first story, "The Keeping Quilt," by Patricia Polacco, the author retells the story of her family's handmade quilt. In the story, a Russian immigrant mother and family arrive in the United States. She plans to make a quilt from a basket of old clothes, telling her daughter, "It will be like having the family in backhome Russia dance around us at night."  The quilt is passed along from mother to daughter for four generations. It becomes a Sabbath tablecloth and a wedding canopy. It even becomes a blanket for new generations of children. "The Keeping Quilt" is a heart-warming story about one family's tradition.
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In the comment section, please 
share a tradition your family celebrates. 

It can be an annual party, a holiday, or any traditional event.

Please include details about: special foods,  decorations, songs, and/or activities.
 Your comment should be 4 to 6 sentences long. 
 Students: Your comment is due on Friday, October 19!


  1. Dear Mrs Yollis,

    A tradition that we have is we take an extended trip to Wisconsin every summer. I go there because my mom was born there.The town where we stay, has a huge population ...965 people!:D They have food and drinks that California does not have. For example, Wisconsin has deep fried cheese curds, frozen custard, and Spreckers soda!

    In my opinion, Wisconsin is an extraordinary place!

    What traditions do you celebrate?

    Your student,

    1. @ Abbey,

      I just added my family tradition below. Check it out! My tradition is to travel to Minnesota which is right next to Wisconsin.

      I noticed in Minnesota they use the word pop for a drink. They say, "Can I get you a pop?" and they mean soda. Did that happen in Wisconsin too?

      Did you notice any words or phrases that were different?

      Your mid-western friend,
      Mrs. Y♥llis

    2. I like the post above about calling a drink "pop", when everyone knows it's a soda!

      We don't call it "pop" or "soda", but rather a "soft drink".

      My grandmother called ALL carbonated drinks "Ginger Ale" - regardless of what they were.

      One of our family traditions is for my mother and her husband to fly out to Vancouver from Montreal for Passover. We then spend the next two days cooking non-stop for the big holiday.

      The cooking is really the most important part of the holiday, as we are all together pitching in, having a good time.

      And one year, all of us Canadians went down to California to have Passover with Mallory and her crew. That was a special year, which - hopefully - will turn into some kind of tradition as well. Or maybe the tradition will be for them to come up here?

      We like inventing our own traditions. For example, when my kids go to their granparents' house, they are always treated to:

      - party sandwiches on the ride home from the airport

      - non-stop chocolate cake once they are there

      - bonfires on hot summer nights


  2. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    I would like to share three traditions that my family and I do. First, on Friday nights my family and I have a family movie night. We eat frozen yogurt and watch a movie together. Next, at Thanksgiving my family and I always write what we are thankful for on a piece of paper and put it in a bowl. Then, we take turns picking one from the bowl and reading it out load. We like guess whose it is. Finally, on birthdays we wake up really early and set out all the presents, cake, balloons, and cards. Then when the birthday person wakes up, they open their presents, eat cake, and give hugs. Do you or Buck have any family traditions?


  3. Dear Class,

    One family tradition that I thoroughly enjoyed when I was growing up was our annual trip to Pelican Lake, Minnesota. When school got out in June, my mother would pile the family into our 1968 Chevy Bel-air wagon, and we endured the long 1,800 mile journey from California.

    At Pelican Lake, we fished for rock bass and walleye with my Uncle Paul. At night, we dined on Grandma Smillie’s delicious cooking. One of my favorite dishes was Hungarian goulash. After dinner, we coated ourselves with mosquito repellent and dashed outside to play Kick-the-can with the neighbor kids. This annual vacation was a tradition I looked forward to, and I cherish those memories today.

    Mrs. Y♥llis

  4. Dear Mrs. Yollis'Class,

    One family tradition that I enjoyed when my daughters, Kari and Sarah, were young was our weekly outings to breakfast and the public library. Every Saturday, we would take turns selecting a place to go out to breakfast. We usually devoured omelets or pancakes with maple syrup!

    Then it was on to the library. Kari and Sarah would choose the books they wanted to check out. Then they would take turns finding a book for us to read to them. The following Saturday morning, while we waited for our breakfast to arrive at the table, each of the girls would read one of the books out loud to their dad and me.

    It warms my heart to recall this special tradition now that my daughters are all grown up. I am sure that it is one of the reasons they both love to read so much today.

    Traditionally yours,
    Mrs. Ranney

  5. Dear Mrs. Y♔llis,

    My tradition is Chinese New Year. People who celebrate Chinese New Year usually eat dumplings for dinner. Kids also get red envelopes with money inside. They also launch firecrackers and decorate their home with red lanterns. Some people visit relatives and friends. This is what they wear: traditional clothing. I wore Qipao every year. It is really fun!

    What was it about the book that you read together (the Keeping Quilt)? What was in the beginning, middle, and the end? Was it about sewing, or having a quilt? Who wrote the book?


  6. Dear Mrs. Y♥llis,

    I have a couple of my family's traditions to share with you.

    One of our family's traditions is a big Fourth of July party that we go to every year. It started before I was alive! My mom's college friends kids are my friends and we all go to my friend's aunt's house, which is a few hours away. My friends cousins come also. We all stay there for a few days. We used to stay in a condo but now we stay in a hotel each year. Last year, all of the kids even put on a July 4th performance for all the adults!

    Another one of our traditions is at Christmas time. We go to our old neighborhood and "adopt" a family that is poor and buy gifts for them. The whole neighborhood does this. We each pick a member of the family. Then, all of our old neighbors gathers together in one of the neighbor's garages and we wrap the gifts together. Finally, one of our neighbors puts all of the gifts into their car and takes it to the adopted family in need so they can have a nice Christmas.

    I don't know how many traditions I have but I have a lot. Do you know how many traditions you have?

    Your student,

  7. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    I have many traditions, but I thought I should use this one.

    One of my family traditions is making hamentashens with my Bubbie (my Grandma). Hamentashens are triangle cookies with jelly in the middle. We eat them on Purim, which is a Jewish holiday like Halloween. The best part of the process is eating them. My favorite flavors are chocolate, raspberry, and apricot.

    My Bubbie and I make the cookies at her house. To make the cookies, you need to first make the dough. I forget all of the ingredients, but I know you need a lot of butter and cream cheese. Second, you roll out the dough and use a circle cookie cutter to make the starting shape. Then, you put a spoonful of jelly filling in the middle of the circle. Last, you pinch the sides of the dough to make a triangle shape. You put them in the oven and bake them until they are ready. They are delicious!

    Did you ever make cookies with your Grandma when you were little?
    Your cookie making student,

    1. Dear Mallory,
      I love Purim and hamentashes too! My favorite flavor is poppy seed. Have you ever tried that?

      Good cookies!
      Ryan's mom, Dina

    2. Dear Ryan's mom,
      I have tried poppy seed hamentashens before.
      The only thing is, I don't like them as much.
      They don't really seem as sweet as chocolate, raspberry, or apricot.:D

      I have a question for you:
      Did you ever taste the flavor almond?
      I have and they are yummy!

  8. Dear Mrs. Yollis' 2nd/3rd grade class,
    On Christmas Eve, my family eats chili and cornbread. I do not like the chili because it is too spicy. I do like the cornbread because I like to put honey on top. I still enjoy eating with my family, mom, dad, Miles, and Myla. I also get to open one present. I usually choose the smallest present on Christmas Eve because I want to save the biggest one for Christmas morning. Save the best for last. The decorations my family and I put on the tree are candy canes, ornaments, and lights. I also like singing Christmas songs. My favorite song to sing is "Jingle Bells". What is your favorite family tradition around the winter holiday season?

    Continue the family traditions,

  9. Dear Mrs. Yollis's Class,
    This post caught my attention because our class has just started a unit on identity and one thing we ask the students to collect is family traditions. We will be reading this post and the comments in class next week as we share ours. We are ready to start blogging too.
    A tradition I have learned from my time here in Germany is the celebration of St. Nikolaus. His feast day is December 6th, but on the night before children clean their shoes well and leave a shoe out for Nikolaus. They also often leave him a note and some treats. In the morning the children are excited to look in their shoe and find nuts, fruit, and sweets.
    It is interesting to notice that many traditions shared here are from our cultural backgrounds, whereas others are based on special places. Many seem to have food in common.
    Do you have certain foods that bring back memories of family traditions?
    I look forward to learning more about traditions.
    Happy celebrating,
    Ms. Victor

  10. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    My family tradition is at Easter. First, the night before Easter we color hard boiled eggs with the colors blue, red, yellow, orange, green, and purple. Next, we lay carrots out for the Easter Bunny. Then we go to bed. When we wake up the Easter Bunny leaves a trail of jelly beans to our Easter baskets. He leaves all sorts of candy and toys. Later, my mom and dad hide Easter eggs with coins in them and then my brothers and I go and find them. I like this tradition, do you?

    Your Easter-loving student,

  11. Dear Mrs. Yollis' class,

    I loved reading about all the different family traditions in your class. I especially liked Collin's post about his Thanksgiving tradition using the slips of paper with things they're thankful for. Our family does something similar. We keep gratitude journals. As often as we can, we write 3 things that we're thankful for. We're not allowed to name any material objects, so it can be challenging after a while. There were many days over the summer that I wanted to say I was thankful for the air conditioning, but instead I would say I was thankful for living in such a beautiful place with sun, warmth, mountains and beaches.
    One tradition we have in our family is also around the winter holidays. The day after Thanksgiving, we decorate our house for Christmas. We put out stockings, lights, Santas and Rudolphs. Then we go to a local Christmas tree farm that grows sustainable trees and we cut down our Christmas tree. One year I chose a tree that was very crooked, without realizing it. After we finished decorating the tree, it tipped over. So many ornaments broke and Bennett's dad tried to attach it to the wall to keep it from falling again. We finally sat and laughed and laughed. That year became known as the "Crooked Christmas." This year, we'll be sure to choose a straight one.

    Does anyone else cut down their tree?
    @Bennett What is your favorite candy the Easter Bunny leaves you? My favorite are the Peeps!

    Dreaming of a white Christmas,
    (Bennett's mom)

    1. Dear Catherine,

      That Christmas season will certainly go down in the annuls for our family and maybe now you will believe that crooked and curved trees don't stand all that well. :)

      Christmas is my favorite holiday and brings me so many great memories from my childhood. Our Christmas tree would have big colored strings of lights, old glass ornaments, garland and tinsel (the more tinsel the better). We have started new traditions for decorating our tree as Catherine has highlighted above.

      These traditions are different than the ones I grew up with. Has anyone else's traditions changed since their childhood?

      Tucker Sr.
      (Bennett's Dad)

  12. Dear Mrs Yollis and class,

    I really enjoyed reading what your students family traditions are.

    As for me my family tradition is every year all our family get together to make home made sauce. This tradition is one that is celebrated every year. I remember as a child helping with this tradition and now I have my daughter getting in on the act of helping make the sauce with all her cousins, uncles and aunties and grandparents.

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful traditions with us all.


    1. Dear AA,

      What kind of sauce do you like to make?
      Mine is Mango salsa.

      Have you ever heard of it?

      I use tomatoes and Mangos. I forgot the other few ingredients.
      What ingredients do you use?

      Your salsa loving friend,

  13. Dear Mrs. Yollis and class,
    I will now share with you four traditions that my family and I enjoy. First I celebrate the fourth of July at my grandpa and grandma's house. The fourth of July is my grandpa's birthday so every year we have a party and watch fireworks.
    The second tradition is Christmas. The night before Christmas (Christmas Eve) we make cookies and leave them with milk for Santa. Also I we leave carrots for Rudolph. I leave a note asking for Santa's signature.
    My third tradition is Sunday night dinner. Every Sunday night we meet my cousins for dinner at my grandma and grandpa's house. We eat dinner, dessert and then play.
    Finally, we go to Georgia and Florida every year to visit my mom's side of the family. I get to see my cousins from Alabama and Minnesota. I get to go to the beach house and that is the best part! I love to boggie board and ride waves in the ocean. This summer I went fishing in the ocean and caught a bull shark. It was too dangerous to pull up so we cut the line.

    Has anyone else gone fishing? What did you catch?

    Your tradition loving student,

    1. Dear Savannah and her class,

      We are so excited to see Savannah and her family at Thanksgiving this year. We live in Minnesota so we don't get to see Savannah as much as we'd like to. We will have Thanksgiving dinner at Savannah's great-uncle's farm. It's so much fun. We have a delicious dinner with TONS of food and then there's lots of stuff for the kids to do. We ride four-wheelers and go fishing but I think all the kids favorite part is riding around on the golf cart. Sometimes they even get to drive it.

      We can't wait to see you Savannah and we hope everyone in your class has a great Thanksgiving!!

      Aunt Aimee

  14. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    My favorite family tradition is to go to New Jersey every other Thanksgiving. We celebrate at my Uncle Stuart's house with all my Daddy's cousins. His house is actually a 250 year old farm house. It is a landmark for the Historical Society, but even better it has a secret basement where we can ride eclectric kid cars.

    My favorite thing to do there is to wrestle with my biggest cousin Yitzchak. I also got to shoot air riffles, play games, eat lots of delightful, delicious food, and have fun.

    Part of our tradition is to make a day trip to NYC, The Big Apple. One year we went to the theater and saw, "The Addams Family." Another we saw the Macy Parade Floats, before the parade.

    This is some of the reasons I like to go to New Jersey for Thanksgiving. Is Thanksgiving one of your favorite traditions?


    1. Dear Ryan & his class,
      My greatest joy is to have my entire family here for Thanksgiving in my 300 year old Historic home. I get warm fuzzies just thinking of having it here, and plan for it well in advance. The great food, great company, and great warm fuzzies last at least two years, sometimes more. Love, Uncle Stuart.

  15. Hello Mrs. Yollis and class,

    I had to think back to when I was a child and what ere a special time for me, what we might consider family traditions. Here’s what I remember…

    At Easter time, since before I was one year old, my family would visit the Sydney Royal Agricultural Easter Show. As a baby in my mother’s arms I was taken to what had already been a regular family visit. You see, I had family who would enter animals. As I grew, I would save pocket money so I could buy show bags full of all sorts of things and go on rides. We would sit in the main arena seating and watch ring events until the evening came to a close with a fireworks display. Only when I moved away from Sydney did I stop going each year.

    At Christmas time, our summer, the family would take the drive of about 450km (280 miles) to the family dairy farm to be with my grandmother and any cousins who also visited. Christmas Day was often very hot. The adults would eat at the big table and the children at the small. The older children would sleep on the veranda and I remember more than once a heavy summer storm would send down large drops of water, hitting the metal roof and causing a sound so loud we would have to yell to be heard.

    Boxing Day would be picnic day, a tradition started by my grandparents when my mother was a little girl. We would normally find a shady spot along the river or travel to the beach and set up the picnic. The adults would sit and talk while the children splashed about in the river or surf, all the time watched by the grandparents.

    Over the years my grandfather then my grandmother passed and the tradition of picnicking with the grandparents faded. The tradition hasn’t gone. Only changed a little. For our own families, we might take them on a picnic by the river or to the beach on a warm summer day and remember the times we had growing up under the watch of our grandparents.

    Traditions are ways of linking us to the past. They are ways of sharing what has come before. I wonder what traditions you might one day start for your families? Perhaps a hundred years from now your descendants might sit around discussing traditions started their great, great, great grandparents,… you.

    Teacher (retired), N.S.W., Australia

  16. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    There are many traditions that my family and I celebrate. But today I will like to share one of them with you. It is called Diwali, the biggest festival in India. It is also known as the festival of lights. On this day we light special oil lamps called diyas to signify the good over evil. We also worship God, dance, wear colorful clothes, eat delicious sweets and burst fire crackers .

    I love this beautiful festival!

    Your peace-loving student,

    1. @ A♣shi,

      What a beautiful celebration indeed!

      I'm wondering when you celebrate Diwali. Is it an annual event? Where do you put the lamps?

      Peter thinks Diwali is a something incredible! The lights sound like they would look pretty.

      Keira likes the symbols of dark/evil and good/light. The light comes from the candles and the fire crackers.

      Your friends,
      Mrs. Y♥llis, Peter, and Keira

    2. @ Mrs. Y♥llis Peter and Keira,

      I celebrate Diwali every year with my family. Diwali normally falls in the month October or November. This year, [ 2012 ] we will be celebrating Diwali on November 13th.

      You asked where do we put the lamps? We put as many lamps as we want all around our house for celebrating and decorating.

      I can't wait to celebrate Diwali this year!

      Your fun-loving student,:D

  17. Dear Bennett,
    I love our families Easter basket and egg hunt tradition too.
    The rabbit that lives in your garden is an awesome reminder of the story about Peter Cottontail. Have you seen him lately?I think he likes clover.
    Easter Bonnets forever!
    Grandma Grace

  18. @ Mrs. Y♥llis,

    One of my families traditions are Halloween. Every year we trick-or-treat in Malibu [Malibu Colony]. At about 6:00 we march in a costume parade for about 20 minutes. Right after that, we start our trick-or-treating. At the end of the night we have about 300 pieces of candy. I like that most about Halloween.

    Your Halloween loving student,

  19. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    I have three traditions that I enjoy the most. The first one is the evening before Halloween. My sisters and I carve pumpkins, we always do really cool designs. We also roast the pumpkin seeds, they are so yummy.
    Another great tradition is Hanukkah. I love to light the candles each night and open a present. We have fun playing games with the dreidels for gold coins.
    My favorite tradition is going to Denmark every other year to visit my great-grandparents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and baby cousins. We always cook pancakes over a fire pit, they taste really good.

    Are some of your traditions from a different country?



  20. Dear Mrs. Yollis, Grace and students,
    One of my favorite childhood memories is of Christmas eve at my grandparents house. All through my childhood, our family would get together early on Christmas eve. When we entered my grandarents' house, my grandmother had the round, wooden kitchen table covered with flour and a huge loaf of dough. Everyone was instructed to wash their hand and take a turn at rolling out the pasta dough. The children were taught the proper technique by grandma Rose or Grandpa Lewis. The pasta was then boiled and served as part of our Christmas eve feast.
    After dinner we would sit and listen to my Mother's sister play the piano and we would sing and everyone would dance.
    These are memories that I will never forget.
    I've tried to pass on a bit if this tradition with Grace and Allie Rose as I've taught them to make bread and pizzas. Cooking together is a very traditional part of our Italian culture.

  21. Dear Mrs. Yollis

    I have a family tradition. I do this tradition in December. It is called Hanukkah. We light candles on a manorah. A manorah is a jewish candle holder. The manorah has eight spots for the candles. You light one candle each night. The middle holder is taller than the others. On Hanukkah we let the candles go off buy themselves. This holiday lasts eight days because in the miracle of Hanukkah a long time ago a little oil lasted for eight days!

    Your tradition-loving student


  22. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    One of my family traditions are Eid a Norooz.On Eid a Norooz we get money and I got $50.On Haftseen we paint eggs and on the eggs we write happy things and what we wish for.I once wrote I wish I could have all the magic tree house books.

    Your Student Who Loves Hollidays,

  23. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    My family tradition is Halloween.
    Each Halloween I go overt my friends house and go trick-or-treating. People knock on doors and say, 'Trick-or-treat' and usually they get candy. It is a spooky night. I usually go with my friend Kevin. He does not go to our school.

    Your spooky friend,

  24. Dear Mrs. Yollis and class,

    I really enjoyed reading about the different traditions you and your students' families participate in during special occasions. I learned not only about the special activities which were planned, but also about the special holidays being celebrated. This made it a double learning experience for me! Did anyone else in the class learn about a celebration they hadn't known about before?

    The Thanksgiving tradition Collin shared is a cherished one for me. I love it when he and his sister bring around slips of paper and pencils for each Thanksgiving dinner guest. As he said, after we write out what we are thankful for, we fold the slip of paper and put it in the bowl. Later in the evening, each slip of paper is read aloud and we all call out the name of the person we believe wrote the thought. These thoughts of gratitude have been loving, touching, warm-hearted, thoughtful and funny. One of my favorites was when the writer wrote about being thankful for pumpkin pie!

    One other tradition we share with Collin's immediate family is on Christmas Eve. Collin, his sister, mother and father choose a wrapped Christmas tree ornament from a gift bag. In the bag are ornaments Collin's grandfather and I have picked out which we think is appropriate for a particular person in the family. For example, an ornament in the shape of ballerina shoes would be for Collin's sister, while one in the shape of a chef's hat would be for his dad. Each person unwraps an ornament and gives it to the person they think should be the "owner". Most of the time they can guess who the correct person is, but sometimes we have to explain why we chose what we did! We started this tradition so that our grandchildren will have a personal set of ornaments to take with them to their new homes when they grow-up and start off on their own. We hope they will have many happy memories each time they put one of the ornaments on their Christmas trees.

    Happy traditions,
    Marsha-Collin's grandmother


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