Tag Archives: traditions

America Is…

Happy InDePeNdEnCe DaY from The Suede Sofa!  As we celebrate our FrEeDoM we thought we would share our thoughts on what America means to us.

Robyn: Living in New Jersey, America to me is having the opportunity to take my kids to Ellis Island and show them where my great grandparents became United States citizens, seeing the Statue of Liberty, and catching a Broadway play all in one day!  Then hopping in the car and in an hour or so putting our feet in the sand and soaking up the sun on the same beach that my grandparents took my mom to 60 years ago!

Nicholas’ first trip to see The Statue of Liberty

Abby at Chadwick Beach New Jersey!

Selling lemonade at the beach!

Lara: America to me is continuing my husband’s 5th generation farm legacy of helping feed America and the world.

Garrett and Leanne 2012

Counting Pollination!


Red, white & blue waffles!!

Family fun cooling down at the pool!

Family fun cooling down at the pool!!


We thought Rodney Atkin’s song, It’s America was perfect to kick off our 4th of July…we hope you enjoy it too!

We love to hear from our readers.  Leave your comments and let us know what America is to you!

Happy 4th of July!!

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Filed under Holiday, RANDO•RAMA, Traditions, Uncategorized

Christmas Cookies

Marble Chocolate Cookie Bark by Lara

LoVe these Marble cookies because they are super fast to make and a great way to use your leftover almond bark and oreos!  Put them in a clear container and it makes a pretty gift too! ~Lara

2 Tbsp. peanut butter

1 pkg. (6 squares) White Almond Bark, melted

10 OREO Cookies, crumbled, divided

1 pkg. (6 squares) Chocolate Almond Bark, melted

ADD peanut butter to white chocolate; stir until well blended. Stir 1/2 the cookies into each bowl of chocolate.

DROP spoonfuls of the chocolate mixtures onto waxed paper-covered baking sheet, alternating colors of chocolates. Swirl with knife.

REFRIGERATE 1 hour or until firm. Break into pieces.



I really think these cookies are FuN and they taste yummy-licious as well!

You can either use your favorite Sugar Cookie Cutout recipe or the following one I use (from the red and white checkered Better Homes And Gardens Cookbook).

Sugar Cookie Cutouts

  • 2/3 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

In a large mixing bowl beat batter with an electric mixer on medium to high-speed for 30 seconds.  Add granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally.  Beat in egg, milk and vanilla until combined.  Beat in as much of the flour as you can with mixer.  Stir in remaining flour.

Make two batches of the above sugar cookies in separate bowls.  To one batch add 1/2 cup melted milk-chocolate chips.

Press each batch of cookie dough into half of a shoe-box lid lined with parchment paper.  Refrigerate.

After dough has been chilled, layer the dough as in the above pic:

With a long knife cut down through the two layers (about 1/2 inch wide strips).  Take two of these strips and place as shown in the above pic.  Then slice and bake in a 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes.

This cookie dough (or whatever cookie dough you prefer) can be given as a Christmas gift!  Just wrap in wax paper (parchment paper doesn’t allow tape to stick to it) and attach a Christmas gift tag containing the kind of cookie dough and baking directions!  (If your cookie dough contains raw eggs, make note of that on the instructions.)




Italian Knot Cookies by Robyn (Jersey Girl)

I’ve been making these cookies for Christmas since I was a little girl.  The recipe was passed down from my great-grandmother to my “Grandma Triolo” and they are always a HuGe hit!

4 cups flour

1 cup sugar

4 eggs

½ lb. butter (2 sticks)

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

5 teaspoons baking powder

pinch of salt


Melt butter, add sugar, eggs, vanilla, baking powder, and salt…slowly add flour.  Chill dough in refrigerator for an hour.  Form knots and bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.


Mix confectioner’s sugar, a drop of vanilla, and warm water until you get the consistency you want (I like my icing on this thick side).  Dip tops of cookies into icing and add sprinkles!  EnJoY!

~Robyn (Jersey Girl)


Filed under Holiday, RANDO•RAMA, Recipes

St. Nicholas Day

Belgium St. Nicholas

Four years ago when my son was a baby, I started a TrAdItIoN that families around the world have been doing for ages.  December 6th is the celebration of St. Nicholas Day.  St. Nicholas was known for his GeNeRoSiTy to those in need and his love for children.

Italian St. Nicholas

In many European countries, on December 5th, the eve of St. Nicholas Day children leave their ShOeS outside of the bedroom doors and wait for St. Nicholas to leave them a surprise.  I have my children do the same thing with their favorite shoes and I love to see their excitement when they wake up in the morning to find that St. Nicholas has visited our home.  I feel this is a great way toKiCk OfF the holiday season and teach my children about a Saint who was so giving to little ones like themselves.  You can read more about St. Nicholas at www.stnicholascenter.org.

What family traditions do YoU do to start the holiday season?  We LoVe to hear from our readers so please share your stories!

My son's first St. Nicholas Night 2007


St. Nicholas Night 2010 – Let’s hope my son Nicholas has a better day this December 5th so he doesn’t have to get another letter and underwear in his shoes!


Filed under Holiday, Kid Stuff, RANDO•RAMA, Traditions


Yesterday I sent my firstborn to KiNdErGaRtEn.  {Sniff, Sniff}  I was actually only a tad bit emotional.  The real WaTeRwOrKs came the day before when I looked through her BaBy picture books. 

What was I thinking?  I guess I was just trying to get a handle on how QuiCkLy those five years had gone.  I’ve heard the StoRiEs of the first day of school but now I UnDeRsTaNd.

What’s worse is those stories go on to say the years from Kindergarten to high school graduation go by just as quickly. 

Oh No. 

I’m definitely not ready for that…

This reminds me of the quote by Alice Morse Earl that says, “The clock is RuNniNg.  Make the MoSt of today.  Time WaiTs for no man.  Yesterday is HiStoRy.  Tomorrow is a MySteRy.  Today is a GiFt.  That’s why it is called the PrEsEnT.”

Enough of the BiTtEr-StUfF.  Now for the SwEeT.

Yesterday we started some TrAdiTioNs. 

Of course I took a slew of PicTuReS and had Grandma GiGi take the family photo on our back porch. 

We took HeiGhT measurements.

EnJoYeD chocolate-chip cookies with milk after school.

PaiNtEd hand prints.

And SaVeD our local newspaper for the scrapbook.

This MiLe-MaRkEr a.k.a. Kindergarten is a chance for me to look back fondly at the past and forward with great hopes and dreams for the future.   But even more importantly to cherish the PrEseNt.  Hopefully these traditions will help me do just that. :)

How are you marking your miles?  We would love to hear about YoUr first-day-of-school traditions!


Photobook by:  Portrait Designs By Lasha


Filed under Parenthood, RANDO•RAMA, Relationships, Traditions