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Heart of the Home: Simple Family Memories

by | Sep 22, 2008 | Domesticity, Kitchens, Seasonal Decorating & Entertaining

Heart of the Home: Simple Family Memories

We are entering that season where we start thinking about filling our pantries, baking yummy things for our family and spending those cozy evenings together around the table. Family traditions involving the kitchen are probably some of the most powerful we have, since it is the room in our home where we spend so much of our time.

Kitchens are also the place where we can fully experience all of our senses, and because of that, we have the potential to create vivid and rich memories there for our families. Fortunately, with a tiny dose of creativity, we can do this simply, frugally if we so choose, and quite easily.

Simple Family Memories

Heart of the Home: Simple Family Memories

Country Living

Heart of the Home: Simple Family Memories

Heart of the Home: Simple Family Memories

Williams Sonoma

Make memories through seasonal recipes and memorable baking pans. Special Fall cakes made in seasonal shapes will always be remembered. One pan can last through years of baking and cost far less than one dinner at a restaurant.

Heart of the Home: Simple Family Memories

Country Living

Heart of the Home: Simple Family Memories

Country Living

Use hollowed squash or mini pumpkins to serve dips or meals. Kids will think this is very fun and adults will be amazed at your Martha-ness.

Heart of the Home: Simple Family Memories

Country Living

Keep regular weekend traditions but add a new twist in the fall, like pumpkin waffles with maple syrup on a Saturday morning.

Heart of the Home: Simple Family Memories

Country Living

Have seasonal towels and table linens you bring out for the season. If you keep your main dishes white, punching up the color with a few accessories can give you the same visual pleasure as a whole set of seasonal dishes without the added expense or need for storage.

Heart of the Home: Simple Family Memories

Country Living

Heart of the Home: Simple Family Memories

Williams Sonoma

Add a seasonal flourish to your best recipes with special tools, cookie cutters or shapes you make by hand.

Heart of the Home: Simple Family Memories

Sur la Table

Embrace traditions that are unique to the colder weather, like chocolate or cheese fondue. Repeat the tradition regularly so it becomes a vivid memory.

Heart of the Home: Simple Family Memories

Make being in the kitchen creating the meals or baking together part of the experience of memory making. Put on some favorite music and bring your kids in to help prepare a traditional family night feast! Little things and special touches will be long remembered. Simple creativity will bring lasting memories to even the most ordinary of events.

What are your family traditions centered around the kitchen?

You are invited to continue adding your Fall Nesting Posts (as many as you want!) and your list of 20 Little Things for autumn …you guys are AMAZING me with your inspiration. I’m making my way around as fast as I can! THANK you for being so generous to share your ideas! And wow, I even saw at least one GIVEAWAY listed, so don’t miss any of those links!!

photo credits: Kitchens Country Living, Keith Scott Morton, Keller & Keller, Jon Wayne Kishimoto


  1. Candi- Teal Chic

    Every Christmas eve, my mom, grandma and I make tamales. My grandma the tamale nazi, usually yells at me and tells me I’m doing them wrong. I try to be the lazy one and sit down in the other room….but my mom drags me back in. All in all it’s a great family tradition…that my family has been doing for decades!

    Candi- Teal Chics last blog post..MOMENTUM!

  2. Maven

    Well you know I’m all about the kitchen :-)
    I think my biggest family tradition besides Sunday dinner and baking bread, revolves around the soup pot. My grandmother and mother were both brilliant makers of soup and they have handed down that legacy to me.
    One of these days I should do a series of soup blogs as I have many wonderful old time recipes and tips. Thanks for the idea Melissa – you just keep on inspiring me!

    Mavens last blog post..Three Terrific Blogs and a Recipe for Seafood Lasagna

  3. kris

    we bake homemade pretzels on new years eve, and of course the all day bake-a-thon that goes o the day before and of thanksgiving. Then there is the Christmas Prime Rib roast me make…. pretty much every holiday is spent, at least half of it anyway, in the kitchen. Oh! I nearly forgot, right before Christmas I bake about 6-8 varieties of cookies and then we decorate them and package them up to give out. It’s a lot of work, but people still tell me how much they loved the cookie plates I have made for them in the past.

    kriss last blog post..Get Hammered

  4. Vee~A Haven for Vee

    With apples in season, it’s all about them right now. Yesterday, I baked both a Weight Watchers Apple Crisp and apple scones. I don’t think it counts as WW if one eats the whole thing, though, right?

    Love the photos that you’ve selected to share. Seasonal linens? Hmmm, I have a few for every season, but I’d be in rough shape if that’s all I used.

    Vee~A Haven for Vees last blog post..Twenty Little Things to Treasure in Autumn

  5. Carol

    Every Christmas my mum would make a plum pudding on Christmas morning. We all had to have a stir of the pudding mix and make a wish.

    Carols last blog post..How did I miss this?

  6. Emily

    May I please have that pantry? OH, I can? Thank you! :)

    Emilys last blog post..Finished Quilt

  7. Nessa Dee

    I have to say that I stumbled onto your blog a couple of months ago, and I’m addicted! I just had to comment on that pantry because my goal is to one day get everything that comes in a box or a plastic bag into a glass canister!

    As for family traditions that revolve around the kitchen, my family started what we call “Christmas Breakfast” a few years ago to give our kids a special tradition that is uniquely ours. Since Christmas is usually spent out of town, we pick a day before we leave town to carry out our feast. We head to the grocery store in the morning, everyone picks out their breakfast foods of choice, then we head home, cook it, and dig in. It’s something ours kids look forward to each year, especially chocolate chip pancakes with whip cream!

    Nessa Dees last blog post..IF: Clique

  8. Deb

    Oh, I love those acorn pans.
    Once every fall we make a complete Sunday dinner out of a Southern Living magazine from years ago. Once we lost the magazine, called them and described the year and cover–they photocopied the recipe and mailed it to us!

    Debs last blog post..Perfectly Spooky!

  9. Kelly

    How much do I love those little acorns?! Adorable!

    Kellys last blog post..Urgent prayers requested

  10. the Farmer's Wife

    Ohhhhhhhhh… you’ve gone and done it!!!! You know I’m like a junkie when it comes to expensive cake pans. Now my car is going to automatically drive to Williams Sonoma and I’m going to embaress myself salivating over the cute cake pans. I’ll spend an inordinate amount of time talking myself into buying one or two. Must have that acorn pan for sure. The leaf cutters is another must-have.

    – Suzanne, the Farmer’s Wife

    the Farmer’s Wifes last blog post..On the Road with the Farmer’s Wife

  11. Natalie

    Beautiful post. Makes me long for a bit of fall around here. Maybe I’ll cure my longing with a caramel apple…

  12. Elzie

    So many nice things for the kitchen. It really inspires you to go and make a cake LOL.
    Hope you have a nice day.
    Love Elzie

    Elzies last blog post..En utmärkelse – An award

  13. Gretchen

    We have been trying new flavors of pancake each Saturday and its been fun to see which ones turn out best and which ones are family favorites. Its inexpensive, flour, milk, eggs, and usually something living in our pantry like canned pumpkin, or applesauce, or something out of the freezer. My girls are really getting into it, and hopefully we will come up with some recipes we are willing to make more often! We also like to bake everything in those silicone baking cups, quiches, muffins, cupcakes, etc. It just makes it that much more fun to have a funny shaped little meal!

  14. Meghan

    I must have that acorn pan!!!

    Family traditions, right now, we don’t really have any BUT I am trying my darndest to change that.

    Meghans last blog post..Family……

  15. Melissa

    Loving all of your ideas!

    And Meghan, I love that you are trying to establish some traditions. It is never too late to start!

  16. Joy

    I love Fal!! Just reading your posts makes me all warm and fuzzy! I’m still in the process of unpacking my kitchen and getting ready for new baby next month, but I’m excited to use some of your great ideas with my new family. I’m new to the homemaker job (been a single working gal for the last 10 years :)) so it’s great to have all the encouragement and ideas to work with. One of my favorite traditions and memories with my mother at the farm’s kitchen was when she was baking bread… she would always bring out my own little bread pan so I could knead and roll my own little bun sized loaf :) I remember being so proud of that little loaf of bread that would sit next to my plate at dinner just waiting for me to eat it!!
    Thanks again!

    Joys last blog post..{boho}

  17. Janet C

    For my family it was always my mom, me and my sisters in the kitchen getting the holiday meal ready. We did this at Mother’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. My mom has passed on but I will always remember that. Now on Christmas my son-in-law cooks our Christmas dinner — new traditions.

  18. Moi

    Loved this post!! So many cute fall ideas and neat things. I WANT that acorn muffin pan! SOOO cute! thanks!

    Mois last blog post..My name is Leslie and I paint everything black….

  19. Corinne

    I love that pantry! And I love all of these wonderful ideas! Our traditions are all about the kitchen and eating!! LOL, of course! We make zeppela’s on New Year’s Eve, my kids love to get involved in that. Actually they get involved by dusting them with powdered sugar and popping them in their mouth before they even hit the plate!!

    Corinnes last blog post..20 Little Things To Treasure In Autumn

  20. Darlene

    Love that acorn pan!!!!!! Our Fall traditions mostly have to do with baking. We bake cupcakes and put candy corn on top of the frosting, make leaf & pumpkin shaped sugar cookies, pumpkin bundt cake, soft pumpkin cookies, caramel popcorn, & we always buy caramel apples. Hmmm, perhaps that is why I always gain weight this time of year! LOL!

    Darlenes last blog post..Beautiful Fall Leaves

  21. Pat

    I love Williams Sonoma’s products and my secret is to go shopping in their stores after the holiday and buy the special baking pans half price! I bought a turkey pan and a bunny pan and a Santa pan last year that way, each after their respective holiday. They were $14 unstead of $39!

    Lovely ideas! I love Country Living recipes.

    Hugs, Pat

    Pats last blog post..Port of San Diego and The Big Bay

  22. KJ

    I could endlessly pour over fall photos and inspiration! As much as I love Christmas, and really it’s WHO Christmas is about, I’m always saddened when the fall decorations need to be put away.

    Great post!

  23. JO

    I love all these fabulous photos … fall brings such wonderful warm cozy feelings

    I am afraid I am out of the circuit for fall decorating this year… on the mend from my surgery … but it will be a two to three month recovery

    I do love coming here to see what new ideas you have come up with to make our homes feel special



  24. Debbie

    What a wonderful post! You’ve inspired me to take out my pumpkin scented candles. Although it still feels like summer in Phoenix with the temperature outside nearly 100, I can keep the air conditioning on and decorate the inside of my home. Thank you.

    Debbies last blog post..Another Thankful Thursday

  25. PamperingBeki

    I have GOT to try those pumpkin waffles. YUM!

    I need to get my 20 things list together. :)

    PamperingBekis last blog post..New necklaces

  26. jen

    I’m already on the fall baking/cooking train. Last week I made 3 different cookies and some pb and chocolate bars. I’ve also been canning.

    I can’t wait to reno my kitchen. Right now it’s not really good for cooking in so I tend to do all my cooking/baking by myself. This sucks because my daughter (almost 3) is starting to really want to help me cook. Hopefully we’ll get to it soon so I can start making those memories with her.

    jens last blog post..Still Here

  27. Elizabeth

    Pumpkin waffles sound delightful! I’ll have to check those out with the kiddos. I thought this week I would make drop sugar cookies, but let my little darlins’ ice them with paint brushes and sprinkle fall colored sanding sugar. This makes me want to run home and bake up a storm and then eat it all. I guess I’ll share with my family. LOL

    Thanks for all your inspiration Melissa!

    Elizabeths last blog post..Critter – The Sequal and an 80’s Montage

  28. Ms.Tee

    This is a great post with beautiful photos – I love the part about repeating certain foods or using certain cake pans so that the memories are more vivid.
    One tradition we have that’s centered around the kitchen is on Valentine’s day. We’ve always had a family dinner with different types of fondues (and things to dip), sparkling grape juice in pretty glasses, & a heart-shaped dessert. And we eat everything on red plates. :)

    Ms.Tees last blog post..Decorating Girly Bedrooms with Our Tour Guide, Cosby

  29. laura

    This post has inspired me…to eat cookies and pie and waffles! :-)

    These photos are all so fall-tastic. I am loving that big soap stone farm sink. I wouldn’t mind that in the shore house!

    laura @ the shorehouses last blog post..Red Bank or Bust.

  30. Kathy

    What gorgeous photos. That pantry is a dream and the acorn muffins are so cute:>)

    Kathys last blog post..

  31. Catherine

    I will have to check out some of those Williams-Sonoma products. Love the picture of that big pantry. I changed my pantry into a laundry room and may have to change it back some day.

    Catherines last blog post..New Beginnings

  32. Sue

    Always a wonderful post…always so inspiring! I love the Fall and your ideas are such fun.
    I know I am late but I just added my blog to your 20 little things list! I thought it was such a wonderful idea.

    Thank you for your ideas!


    Sues last blog post..20 Little Things About Fall

  33. Mrs. B

    Hi Melissa! What a great post! Every Christmas season I have a baking day with my kids where we make tons of cookies for them to take to their teachers and friends. We make a huge mess, and I admit I get a little flustered, but I still look forward to it. We also have a tradition of making big pots of soup on Halloween for the whole family. My husband makes delicious corn chowder every year! Yum!

    Mrs. Bs last blog post..Little Girls’s Room

  34. A Fanciful Twist

    My problem is that, well, I want to make and try everything now ;)

    our lil’ world in autumn and winter is filled with crisps. Apple, raspberry, pear, peach… crisps, with oats and butter and brown sugar, where the flavors carmelize and explode!


    A Fanciful Twists last blog post..A Halloween Party!

  35. Pumpkin Pink Cottage

    Oh, that pantry is devine, I want it…and the color is perfect. I love country living it is my favorite magazine they have so many wonder stories, the inspiration is the best and the food yummo…hugs, lisa

    Pumpkin Pink Cottages last blog post..Banner Bandwagon….

  36. sherrieg

    I nearly passed out when I saw that pantry. I do have a lovely pantry, which I thoroughly appreciate, but that one is DIVINE. :) Thanks for sharing!

    sherriegs last blog post..subscribing to my other blog

  37. Dawn-Hydrangea Home

    Hi Melissa-beautiful inspirational pics as usual! The kitchen and food is huge in my house. It was always important to my family growing up too. My mom is greek and italian and we know how they feel about food. I grew up helping my mom in the kitchen prepare meals and learned so much. Today, my kids love to help out in our kitchen. My 10 yr old son can’t walk by the stove without stirring and my 12 yr old loves to bake. My other two also like to get involved with prepping meals. They can often be found flipping through my cookbook collection or watching the food channel. So when time allows, we all cook together – it’s messy but who cares – we have so much fun. It also encourages them to try different foods especially when they had a hand in preparing it. We are the type of family that spends well over an hour at the table during a meal. I wouldn’t change a thing!

    Dawn-Hydrangea Homes last blog post..Retreat Report – Part One

  38. Amy from Texas

    You’re making me want to host a party with all these great photos! One of my neighbors has a soup party each fall. It’s always so hot here in Texas, so it’s fun to pretend it’s cooler.

    We will be starting a pumpkin carving tradition with the kids. Those little acorn muffins would be fun for that. We have a leaf jumping party close to December also. Most are kid related now. I’m looking forward to having more grown up events someday!

    Amy from Texass last blog post..Birthday “Big Hair” Contest

  39. Penny

    Melissa, this is a beautiful post! I wish I had little children at home again to bring into the kitchen to help make a fall meal. I think I will grab my hubbie and have him help make the beef stew tonight!

  40. Kristeen

    My biggest family tradition is that every other year I have our children and their family come for Thankgiving dinner – this is the year I get all my married children for Thanksgiving then next year will be Christmas. We have a big meal with the fall dishes and play card games. At Christmas we eat and eat and play and play out in the snow!

  41. Debbie/Four Angel's Momma

    Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread! Around this time every year, I start getting the requests. It is so yummy! I would still love to have you stop by for a slice and some hot tea. Wouldn’t that be fun!

    Happy Fall, my dear BFF!!!


    Debbie/Four Angel’s Mommas last blog post..Breaking Through

  42. Lisa

    Delish, delish, delish! I just ordered those leaf cookie cutters from Williams Sonoma.

    Love all the great ideas and that beautiful chair in the first photo is fantastic.

    Always so much fun to pop in-you never fail to inspire. You find the best pictures ever!

  43. Kathy sue

    I have always said first comes football, I start drinking earl grey tea at night instead of pelogrino with lime and then I start humming and lighting candles, Then and only then has fall begun for me.On Halloween I always made snickerdoodles, doughnut ghost out of biscuits sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and mulled cider for the kids in the neighborhood and their parents walking them around. I use styrofoam cups so they could take it with them to keep warm. Oh sweet memories…

  44. Nicole

    what an inspiring post! i just love the acorn pan! it makes me want to start baking now that my house is all decorated for fall! one of our holiday traditions since my hubby and i married is waking on Christmas morning to a cinnamon pecan coffee cake. we eat, drink our coffee and sit by the tree for a while discussing all of our family ornaments hanging there. it makes all the stress that holidays can sometimes have just melt away…

  45. karen

    Viewing your post each day truly inspires me. Thanks so much! Now I know what to do with little pumpkins , that pantry is the best and those adorable little acorns are so cute.

    On Thanksgiving Day-family and friends get together and eat a whole lot of good cookin, the day starts off with some Sister Schubert Orange Rolls and a good pot of coffee and Macy Day Parade on TV.

    On Christmas Eve everybody usually comes home, all in our immediate family attend evening Candlelight Service at Church For the past few years, earlier on that day my husband and I cook up a special Christmas Eve Dinner, so that when we arrive home from service it is ready. Last year will fixed up White Christmas Chili, and served in small bread bows and yummy salad. Then we all put on our PJ’s and get out our family Christmas movies to watch them along with hot chocolate and some real good and sweet. It blesses my heart to have everyone home.
    Happy Fall Ya’ll, Karen

  46. annechovie

    Your blog is looking fabulous, Melissa! Love your new photo!

  47. Pam

    I would love to have that pantry, I would be oh so happy could stand there and look at it all day. I made my list on my blog if you want to check it out. I make pumpkin pancakes around thanksgiving. Great memories.

  48. Lisa

    I always cook Thanksgiving dinner, so we have the organizing and fixing the usual dishes and adding new ones. I also make a lot of homemade food gifts for teachers and for Christmas gifts.

    Other than that, we don’t have much in the way of traditions yet. I would love to start creating some.

  49. Lisa

    I forgot to mention that I am drooling now after those pictures!!

  50. The Pleasures of Homemaking

    I always want everything I see in that Williams-Sonoma catalog (I haven’t bought one thing though)!

    We do lots of little things like my daughter and I watch Little Women and bake pumpkin bread every Christmas. My husband makes pancakes every Sunday (last week it was pumpkin for me and chocolate chip for our daughter). My daughter and I sit down with a snack and something to drink every day after school and she gives me her “daily re-cap”. We have family movie night every Friday. Our life is full of little rituals!


  51. Barbara

    I love that pantry and that sink! I have a cute recipe for acorn cookies that I never made last year, I should make them this year and share the pics and recipe.

  52. Kirstin

    I love the above pantry! Gave me some neat ideas for my open pantry!


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