Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Family Traditions

On the left you see a table spread for a reception that we provided for a few friends. A small pedestal dish contains what we call "Papa's Mints," which are a popular tradition in our home. It began one day when I could not find a special butter-mint that my husband remembered as a child. Most of the commercial mints of this nature were not a soft, melt-in-your-mouth confection that I was looking for. I shall include the recipe for these, at the end of this article.

After making these mints, they were placed inside a clear glass container. I offerred them to members of my family, and thought nothing of it until their next visit when they went straight to the kitchen and looked for the jar. "Where are Papa's Mints?" they asked, from the youngest, aged two, to the oldest, Papa himself, age 62.

Traditions in the home aren't really something that you decide to establish. They often come as family members become fond of something. You may sing a lullabye one night, or tell a story, and the next night, behold, they all remember, and want you to do it again. This is the way the private and unique family traditions are established. These traditions are the things that bond the family together forever. While the calendar may call the population to observe holidays with names like Groundhog Day, your own family can make their own calendar with their own celebrations. This is the way that people come to say things like, "We always go to Papa's house to help make apple cider when the apples begin to fall from the tree."

There are other traditions that develop without us even knowing it: sayings that begin in early marriage, and family rhymes that happen by accident.

Two traditions I like are special foods and special songs, so here I will post the mint recipe, and after that, a special lullabye. It is possible we may be able to provide the tune for it by clicking on a place where it is sung, later.

Papa's Mints: Mix 2-1/2 confectioner's sugar (600ml) with 3 Tablespoons (50ml) butter, 2 Tablespoons (30 ml) cream, and 1/2 teaspoon (2ml) peppermint flavoring. You may substitute flavoring if you like, for spearmint, wintermint, --even cherry and other flavors. After mixing, you can divide it several ways into small bowls and add coloring. Mine that are pictured are left plain. Roll into a rope about 1/2 inch (1.5cm) in diameter. Refrigerate until firm, and then cut into slices however thick you want them. Let stand on waxed paper several hours or over night. This mixture may also be pressed into candy molds.

Slumber My Darling - a little known composition by the Stephen Foster, (1826-1864) best known for "The Old Folks at Home." This is a favorite of our family, and our son in law played the guitar and sang it during the reception. You can hear a line or two sung here and you may be able to download the entire song sung by Alison Krauss from the web. The sheet music can also be obtained from ebay, Amazon, and other locations.

Slumber my darling, thy mother is near

Guarding thy dreams from all terror and fear.

Sunlight has past and the twilight has gone,

Slumber my darling, the night's coming on.

Sweet visions attend thy sleep

Fondest, dearest to me,

While others their revels keep

I will watch over thee.

Slumber my darling, the birds are at rest,

Wandering dews by the flowers are caressed.

Slumber my darling, I'll wrap thee up warm,

And pray that the angels will keep thee from harm.

Slumber my darling till morn's blushing ray

Brings to the world the glad tidings of day

Fill the dark void with thy dreamy delight--

Slumber, they mother will guard thee tonight.

Thy pillow shall sacred be

From all outward alarms;

Thou, thou art the world to me

In thine innocent charms.

Slumber my darling, the birds are at rest,

Wandering dews by the flowers are caressed.

Slumber my darling, I'll wrap thee up warm,

And pray that the angels will keep thee from harm.

On the web are various commentaries about blogging. Some of these articles on quite prominent sites, even news sites, dismiss them as housewives writing down their daily activities, and hardly worthwhile. I would not discount these blogs, for they are more important than people think.

Since many young women these days have not grown up observing their mothers at home from sunrise to sunset, these blogs provide an insight into how life at home operates. Cleaning, organizing, meals, childcare, marriage, and managing finances are things that are learned almost unconsciously when growing up with parents whose goal is to have a happy, contented family. Some people may not have experienced that.

The Christian homemaker's blogs give the new homemaker some idea of the purpose and progress of life at home; some model to follow. Rather than being trivial, these weblogs, even in their simplicity, contain wonderful words of life. They bring hope and reassurance to many a young woman who feels she is pioneering an area that is not charted.

I know that I, as a homeschooler in the late 70's and early 80's felt, without a guide before me, frightened and lost, without direction, and the world against me. I could at least look back a generation or two further and remember that American education and economy was largly family based at one time, and they succeeded. Schools do not prepare us for this kind of life, because homemaking is not regulated by time slots, subject matter, report deadlines, bells or attendance.

Most young people experience leaving the home as soon as they wake up. After many years of this kind of conditioning, it can be quite a challenge to stay home and pay attention to the tasks at hand. These daily homemaking blogs can be quite informative and motivating to new homemakers. It is help available at your fingertips. They can get a lot of ideas about the traditions of home life from opb's--other people's blogs.

If you know of, or have a homemaking blog, please post it in the comments.

Click on the dining room picture for a larger view.


Anonymous said...

My husband and I were both home-schooled as children. I do remember a time though, when mother would wake us up, and say "Hurry now! You'll be late for school!" Once mother quit her job at the hospital and taught us at home; my brother's and I became so very happy!
I'm blessed to have a husband that beleives in a stay at home mother and wife, and encourages me to do so. I hope that when God blesses us with children we will raise them in a way were they see this sort of lifestyle as a truely beautiful thing.
Lady Lydia, I do hope you will consider writing a book, about what you post. I would suport you 100% and would buy it as soon as I saw it in the stores, and well as buying one for my mother-in-law, (who showed me your posts on LAF.) and a few of my friends! :-)
Sarah C.

Lydia said...

Our daughter is trying to compile some things and has contacted a publisher. I've had bad experience in the past of sending manuscripts to someone and then being rejected and finding out later a very similar book appears in the publisher's catolog. Not that I think my ideas are original, it is just that it would be nice to have it all in one book, and it is so much easier to pick up a book than to go to a computer.

Cherish the Home said...

I **LOVE** blogs that talk about the little daily things of life...I find them the most interesting! And you're right, a lot of us didn't grow up with these ideas so it's nice to gain inspiration from other sisters in Christ on home keeping. I am so thankful for the ladies who take the time to blog. (o:

Anonymous said...

I really love coming to this blog, and reading the articles at LAF, and have for a few years now. I have to say, finding LAF was a major turning point for me, because it was then that I realized there were others like me! I grew up with a working single mom, and all my life I was encouraged to go to college and get a good career. I am proud that I have the best career a woman could ever have, as a wife and mother. Thanks so much for your encouragement! My blog is at :-D

Lydia said...

Oh yes, the "hurry-up" music. Gwen Webb mentions this problem of hurrying children in the mornings so mother can go to work, in her book, "Training Up A Child." Children need lots of time, and don't respond really well to sudden changes. I had one child who liked to get used to something before becoming independent, and was quite resistant to change. She now has one child that is like that, and I'm so happy she is home with her children. I think grandparents can do a lot to promote the mother staying home, the way our parents did. They often helped us out with expenses and bought clothes for the children--anything that I would have had to go to work for. If a mother stays home, the grandparents are more inclined to help out. If the parents are both working, the grandparents seem more reluctant to aid them financially.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lydia,

I listened to the song "Slumber My Darling" you linked your post too.
Beautiful! I just love Alison Krauss's angelic voice and the words to this song. Thank you so much for your blog. I always enjoy reading what you take the time to share with us on family,home.
I copied your recipe for "Papa's Mints". It sounds yummy!


Anonymous said...

I agree that blogs on homemaking should not be trivialized. It is true that many women did not have the benefit of a mother to teach them the art of homemaking or some came from a dysfunctional family and are not aware of the true meaning of marriage as God intended it. I have a blog in the spirit of Titus 2 for encouraging women. It is:
I search out quality Christian blogs such as yours and have found yours to be one of the best quality and informative Christian homemaking blogs.

Cindi said...

Don't forget us older women. The inspiration, encouragement, and helping feeling we are not alone we get from reading blogs.

Mrs.Garcia said...

My Blog is titled Christian Homemaking. I am a First Generation Houswife/Homemaker. Who is trying to learn all that I can on Homemaking and also trying to share all that I can on homemaking all from a Christian Perspective.

Lydia said...

The recording of the song is on a CD called "Appalachian Journey" I can't vouch for the rest of the songs on the album, but this is the only recording I know of by Alison Krauss.

Sometime maybe I will write a little about the Applachias and the Applachians and their lives when America was first pushing west in the latge 1800's.

Erin said...

I linked to your blog several weeks ago and have been enjoying reading it regularly! Thank you for sharing your wisdom. I love your perspective on stay-at-home wives.

I'm a younger woman with so much still to learn! But I was blessed to have my mother as an example and teacher as I was growing up. If I have anything to share on homemaking, it's usually come originally from her:o) I blog at

Unknown said...

I so enjoy your blog that I sent it to my younger sister, a newlywed who desires to be a Christian wife and mom. I have been homeschooling my five children for 10 years and have my degree in HOmeEconomics so I love all things "homey". I try to encourage other moms on my blog at It is part journal for other moms, and part journal for the grandparents so there are those entries as well.

Anonymous said...

I just got my blog up and running.

Lydia said...

Amy F at the Sewing Serenity blog: your article on working mommies was really an eye opener. I hope everyone gets time to go and read it.

Lydia said...

Keep the blog addresses coming. Later, we can put them on a main article for easy access.

Anna said...

I also blog about all things domestic at:

Come take a look!


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much! I do tend to have some strong views on such things, and I am glad that my writing found some interest :)

Anonymous said...

It's a beautiful picture of your table and we'll be trying the mint recipe soon. You encourage me very much and the lips of the rightous feed many {in proverbs}
which is a description of your writings. Thank you Lydia


Anonymous said...

here's another one:

julie said...

hello! i so enjoy reading your blog. thank you for sharing your thoughts and wisdom with us. i have a very humble blog that you are welcome to view @ may Jesus bless you! julie harris

Country Victorian said...


We are back from Mexico so I hope to put our time with you and Lillibeth on my blog after I catch up on everything (may take a bit). Then I will be finishing our video.
I love your picture. Was that the tea you had before I visited? You always make everything beautiful.

Love Lisa

Paula said...

Lady Lydia, I am so thankful I found your blog! I had read some of your stuff a long time ago off LAF, and subbed to your newsletter, but never got any of them (I think you had stopped). Imagine my JOY when I came across your blog (from That is not my blog, but one that I think you and your readers will enjoy. I too am a first generation Christian wife/mother/keeper at home. I have two blogs. One journeys everyday life and homeschooling ( and the other blogs my journey from mess maker to home maker (

Anonymous said...

Dear Lydia,
I have been a fan of your writing and ideas for years (long before you started this blog). I have a thick notebook full of printouts of everything you have written. I read it when I need inspiration to stop thinking of homemaking as drudgery, but as an art form.
I have my own blog and I would be honored if you could take a look at it.

Annette Berlin