I am so excited today to bring you a brand new feature – the Magical Days Interview Series. I’ve been so super-inspired by all the wonderful interview series that I have come across around the web, I decided it was about time to start one for A Happy Adventure!
I hope that Magical Days will give you an insight into the ways some of my favourite bloggers and Mamas celebrate their family life. I am obsessed with how other families develop family traditions, what special things they do to create lasting memories for their littles and how they make each day sparkle… I hope that through this series we will all gain a few new ideas and a little inspiration to make magic!
You have no idea how delighted I am to kick things off with one of my very favourite people on the web… Jennifer Cooper of Classic Play. I discovered Jen and her blog around six months ago, and it has quickly become one of my very favourite spots to visit on the web. Talented, honest and genuine: Jen has really nurtured a lovely community of contributors and regular readers on Classic Play, and through her various connections, I have found many wonderfully inspiring women who I also adore. Jen, her husband Dave and her two gorgeous kiddos are a family after my own heart – and I just know she’s going to inspire you as she does me…
Did your family have any memorable family traditions when you were a child?
We had a number of holiday traditions growing up. On Christmas Eve we’d have a little party, just the immediate family. My mom would make little finger foods and each of us kids (there were four of us) could open one small gift. On Easter morning, the Easter Bunny had hidden our baskets so we’d have to look around for them.
But if I had to name my favourite tradition, it’d probably be the birthday dinner. We didn’t have birthday parties growing up but on our birthday we got to choose whatever we had for dinner. I always chose steamed shrimp with lots of horseradishy cocktail sauce.
One of our favourite times of day to connect as a family is story time. What have been your favourite books to read to your children?
We love story time too! When the kids were younger we had a number of favorites: Big Plans, Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, Imogene’s Antlers. I tend to gravitate to the absurd and ridiculous.
The kids are older now but I still read to them before bed. We’ve read most of the CS Lewis series and are working our way through the Harry Potter books. It’s fun to try on different accents for the characters. Although, I must admit, my British accent is terrible. Sometimes the kids will catch it and say, “Why do Ron and Hermione sound like they’re from a different country tonight?”
Do you have any special ways to celebrate milestones & special occasions in your family?
I like to think we do. On the last day of school, I string a crepe paper banner across the front door that says SUMMER! for the kids to run through. At the beginning of the school year, the kids get a special treat after their first day (tea and cupcakes). We also try to do something special with the holidays that’s just our own. For instance, on Easter morning we do a brunch buffet with yoghurt, cereal bar, and little stations so the kids can pick and choose what they’d like.
Which holiday occasion (or season) does your family enjoy celebrating most?
Fall. Hands down. We go apple picking, visit the pumpkin patch, host a small Halloween party for our friends who don’t have a neighborhood to go trick-or-treating in. And my daughter was born in the fall, so we have fun celebrating her birthday too. Plus, I think fall has the best food: pumpkin scones, Thanksgiving turkey and stuffing, warm apple cider, hearty stews… Mmmm!
What is one of your favourite things about being a Mama?
My kids. Not only do I love watching them grow and change, which I’ll admit can be bittersweet, but I feel like I’m a better person for knowing them. I’m probably not going to make any sense here but by knowing them, and being entrusted with the task of helping them grow into the best people they can be, I need to continue growing into the best person I can be too. You know? I feel like I have a very real and concrete reason for doing the right thing, being bold with my intentions and being kind to myself and others—I have two little people watching me.
Any words of wisdom for making life both easier and more joyful?
Laugh. A lot. Laugh until you have creases at the corners of your mouth and eyes. The world needs more laugh lines. Wear your creases proudly.
What are some of your favourite ways to spend time together as a family?
We spend a lot of time out and about on the weekends. We might stroll through a town, take a ride on a ferry, visit a museum, have a picnic, hit the playground. All four of us seem to thrive when there’s a bit of novelty in our routine.
Who inspires you?
This list is long, but at the top of it are my husband and kids. They inspire me to be better person, more authentically me and live in the moment. I am immensely grateful to have them in my life.
I hope I’m not the only one who is now second-guessing their opinion of Summer as the best season… how did I overlook Autumn?? It may be Spring in NZ, but I’m still going to bake some pumpkin scones this weekend!! Jen’s special birthday dinner tradition brings back many memories of my own childhood – although I must admit my palette was probably not up to steamed shrimp and horseradish sauce! If I’m lucky, hopefully one of the girls will develop some of those tastebuds!
And, what about this illuminating nugget: “I feel like I have a very real and concrete reason for doing the right thing, being bold with my intentions and being kind to myself and others—I have two little people watching me.” – yes, yes yes!! – I’m thinking this might just become my daily mantra.
I don’t blame you if you must go read more about Jen and her adventures Right. Now! You can check out her blog here, and if you want to go even further, head into the archives to find the awesome post (seriously, crazy awesome!) that lead me to Jen!!