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Cathryn's Mailbox
2 Youngsters I can't control.

3 yr old SS crying all the time!

A bio-mom worried about new stepmom in her daughter's life- can we help?

About ready to throw in the towel!

About to become a step parent and am terrified!

Bio mom badmouthing me to my stepson & he repeats to me & my kids.

Bio-mom back & I'm hurt by her impact-what can I do?

Bio-mom doesn't want me present at any of my skids school events.

Bio-mom is online stalking & has issues w/ pictures of skids.

Bio-mom physically assaulted me & telling skids it was the other way around?

Bio-mom used me, I drew a line, she’s angry--now what?

BM doesn't want her kids, then does-what's going on?

Clarifying Mission Statement for SMOMS-revised

Dealing w/ bio-mom who doesn't want to get along with me?

Dealing w/ Deceased Bio Mom's Extended Family

Dealing with SD at my young age

DH finds out he has a daughter-I feel terrible

DH sets no Boundaries for SD20-what to do?

DH w/3 bio-kids not trying to bond w/ my 2 bio kids.

Do I love my ss? I don't know.

Does the BB help or hurt with issues?

Don't know where I went wrong

Ever Feel Like Leaving?

FDH feels guilty about leaving BM & allows her to excessively call/text/email him.

Feeling like invisible parent to stepson- help!

Feeling like the enemy in my own house: Teen SD

Feeling resentment towards my SS & can't connect

From BB- A Ritual for you & your beloved

From BB: Self-awareness can hurt...why is that?

Help w/situation that dad, biomom & skid all agree on but I don’t feel is best

Holiday traditions? Some ideas from sister SMOMS

How can I find the right balance & Boundaries?

How can I handle my SD8 who loves negative attention?

How do I cope w/DH's need for perfect family when I'm more realistic about it?

How do I deal with a lying SD, her bio-mom & the ex-step mom?

How do I deal with all the hurt and anger?

How do I help her understand that chores and rules don't mean that I don’t love her?

How do I stop SD from lying to me, DH, BM, and BM's boyfriend?

How to accept bio-mom's "bad" choices?

How to deal w/ unkind skids, ex-wife, MIL costing me my relationship?

how to deal w/SD choosing bio-mom for school play?

How to handle bio-mom who keeps asking for more $$$?

How to handle it when skids away Christmas Day?

How to help ss, when BM encourages him to lie?

How to help when bio-mom returns

How to let go of the single life I thought I saw going to live versus being SMOM?

How to make transition easier for skids?

how to step back in after stepping out?

Husband still feels guilty, his kids in their 30’s

I am frustrated with my skids 99% of the!

I feel jealous of DH's ex & unheard by DH-Help!

I feel left out & sort of invisible w/ grown SD’s

I really love my FDH, but really wish his daughter didn't exist?

I want a better relationship w/ teen stepson

I want a Closer relationship w/ stepdaughter

I want my bed back

I would like to know how to change my attitude towards my new inherited family

I'm at the end of my tether... Stepchildren don't seem to like me.

If you're in the mood for SMOMS Pep Talk-read this!

Invested so much love, time, energy & $$...seems it's never enough

It's too much work- I need help from DH & Family!

Jealous of sister-in-law & Skids-what can I do?

Just jealous or maybe time to leave?

Local support stepmom groups???

My DH doesn't understand why my feelings are hurt

My husband stays at his mothers when he has his daughter for the night.

Need better coping skills to do so…

No matter what I do, bio-mom still hostile. I feel hopeless & scared

Not a step mom yet but need some guidance

Open for your Questions in March 2015

Right now, I HATE being a Stepmom!!!

Self-Pity-it's an emotional numbing,energy draining tactic

Someone to talk to when things come up or whenever?

SS5 keeps throwing his BM in my face! Help!

Struggling w/ a jealous stepdaughter

Stubborn DH and sexually active teenage SS

teenage step daughter & car...Ugh!

the problem is my partner...why is he fighting my efforts?

Transitions and Coparenting Struggles

Trouble coping w/BF's newborn & ex.

Venting Guidelines- A Requested approach

What are reasonable expectations?

What are these letters?

What boundaries do I need to set with husband and sd?

What can we do about the rage! I "Lost it" last night. Help!

What to do about disrespectful 20 yr/old SS

What to do when Bio mom starts turning step daughter against me?

what to do when step child stops saying I love you?

When bio-mom sends stuff from life w/your DH?

When BM causes drama, how to prevent that impacting my relationship w/ the skids?

When to call it quits? What to do?

When winning more important to bio-mom than getting along

Why do things Skid's say bother me so & what to do?-Updated!

Why does it bother me that my skids don't recognize how much their father does for th

Why does my ss's rudeness bother me so?

Why does my stepson Idolize his bio-mom????

Why don't I matter in the family?

Why so jealous? What about irrational fears?

Holiday traditions? Some ideas from sister SMOMS


So Cathryn and I decided that it would be fun to keep these types of threads going so we can all get to know more about each other Every two weeks or so Cathryn or I will post a new FUN question under the headin "Getting to know each other-FUN POSTS and the date" (so you know if its a new question or an old one). Then Cathryn will archive them on the top of the "Cathryn's Mailbox BB Forum so you can always access. 

So here is the new question...

What is your most unique or favorite childhood holiday tradition?

For Thanksgiving, we all do a toast (with sparkling cider) and each say what we were especially thankful for that year

For Christmas, on Christmas eve we go to the Hawaii Temple Visitors Center where they have a huge Christus statue and different themed Christmas trees decorated. They also usually have some kind of musical performance as well!

On New Years day, Koreans believe that whatever happens that day will affect the rest of the year. So your house needs to be clean, food in the fridge, money in your pocket and absolutely NO ARGUING and lots of laughter and love! We do the tradition Korean "Sebe"...where you bow and show respet to your Elders and then they pronounce a blessing upon you and give you a gift. You usually do this with your parents but when I Was young we would "Sebe" to anyone older than us and since I Was the youngest, I got a lot of blessings and presents (things like money, rice, clothes, etc). LOL

Can't wait to hear all your posts and get some new ideas for the Holiday Season!!!

My favorite holdiay tradition is probably when I lived in germany as a child, and would set my shoes outside the door stoop for it to be filled by cinderklaus (thier version of santa) and would awake in the morning to find all sorts of goodies in it (and it wasnt my parents, it would be neighborhood participants)....candies, toys..ect. It would fill the shoes and overflow onto the stoop. I'd be busy for days!! We also would go down to the church at the end of the street where they would sing these beautiful songs in german...I didnt understand a word...but the sound bouncing off the cathedral ceilings were beautiful ...

I was saddened when we moved back to the states (my now exstepfather was in the military).

My other favorite childhood memory would probably be helping my mamaw (now deceased) cook. I probably ate more than I actually helped cook..but she didnt mind. 

I love that idea...I bet I could get a few of my neighbors to get on board

I'm not sure WHAT day its actually done. PM "megs" she can probably help you on that.

Kermit Wrote:
I'm not sure WHAT day its actually done. PM "megs" she can probably help you on that.

You mean Nikolaustag I think  (the day of St. Nicholas, who is not to be confused with Santa Claus). On 5 December, Sankt Nikolaus, dressed like a bishop, fills childrens' shoes with gifts (if the children have been good. If they have been naughty they get a 'switch' or twigs). The children open their gifts on 6 December. Traditionally these are various special cookies, cakes, chocolate and small gifts. He is usually accompanied by an evil, scary counterpart called Knecht Ruprecht in our region (although this seems to differ from region to region). Photo here


THANK YOU MEGS. I was only eight. I just remember the shoes, the candy and the little toys that were left (i still have a small pair of porcelin cats that were in my shoes one year). I never got twigs or sticks. 

Kermit - you can stay with us! 

Seriously - you would be very welcome. ALL smoms would be welcome (just not all at the same time!).

My husband is Dutch - so Swarte Piet and Sinterklaas are featurse of our life too. This is such an exciting time of the year for children. I'm off to the Münster Christmas Market today.

AWWWW megs thats so sweet of you! well if ever i"m hopping a plane to germany. i will for sure be contacting you. If nothing come visit!

On Christmas Eve, we would go to my dad's side of the family to celebrate Christmas. Someone would always play Santa and show up at some point during the celebration to pass out presents (my grandparents always got all of us a present from them and from Santa and then us cousins drew names - there were about 40 of us cousins). We all sat on Santa's lap for our first present to take a picture. As we got older, the cousins got to take turns being Santa.

My favorite tradition that I still do is that Christmas Eve when we got home (late) from my grandparents house, my dad would read the Christmas story and we would all drink hot chocolate and eat donuts and sing Christmas caroles (taking turns picking the songs). Now all of us go to my parents Christmas Eve night to do the caroles, etc.

One of my favorite traditions growing up was that starting on December 1st, my family and I would read the Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens every single night. Some nights it would be five pages, others a few chapters. On the weekends we would have cookies and hot chocolate, make a fire and take turns reading it. We did that for as long as I could remember, until I went to college. We would often reward ourselves when we finished the book by watching the movie as well. My personal favoraite adaptation? The Muppet Christmas Carol. Oh, and Scrooged!

We made and decorated Sugar Cookies to kick off our holidays!

My sister's birthday is Dec. 17th so in order for her to have a dedicated birthday that didn't get lost in the holidays we didn't start putting up any Christmas decorations or doing any baking or wrapping things until Dec. 18th.

One year, when my sister was going to be 5 or 6, my Mom asked her what she wanted to do for her birthday. She excitedly said she wanted to decorate sugar cookies at her party. Ahhh! Excellent party activity. I was 7 or 8 at the time and old enough to help. Before the party, we baked dozens and dozens of simple holiday shaped sugar cookies (bells, trees, wreathes, stars, hearts, candy canes, etc). For the party, each guest got to pick a dozen plain cookies and then went to work to decorate them with all the colorful frostings (we put them in plastic bottles to make it easier to squeeze onto the cookies) and lots of colorful sprinkles, cinnamon candies, jimmies, etc.

At the end of the party, each guest got to bring home a celophane wrapped plastic gift plate of personally made cookies. They were pleased and proud, so were their families because these cookies are as yummy as they are pretty. It was such a fun way to start off the season, we did it as a family every single year until she went to college.

From that point forward, we did it whenever we could. I started doing it with my ss when he was 6, my cousins kids when they were even smaller. Family and friends of all ages had fun making pretty cookies that they could keep. Even got Gramps involved one year! If anyone made a worries, we all ate the evidence and nobody tattled. It's still fun at any age.

Note: Nowadays they have great little plastic bottles for the frosting and lots of colorful sugars and decorations. For the frosting, we used a simple recipe of Confectionary sugar and milk OR confectionary sugar, melted butter and lemon juice. Remember not to use vanilla if you want truly white frosting. Red takes LOTS of food coloring and you may want to only make a small batch of that in tiny bottles. As long as you keep them airtight, they last for a couple of weeks-well they would if they didn't get eaten 

Happy Holidays, Cathryn


My favorite for the holidays is the crazy cookie baking my family does. Every year for as long as I can remember, we baked an insane amount of Christmas cookies for a few weeks before Christmas, filling the freezer with cookies. We would bake and decorate sugar cookies- my mom has countless cookie cutters, and we decorate some really nicely, and some kinda silly (there is always a dog cookie with a strategically placed chocolate morsel). We also baked several flavors of shoot-out cookies (my dad always shoots 'em out with the cookie gun). Then there are wedding cookies, chocolate chip, almond bars, 7-layer cookies, fudge, snickerdoodles, and whatever new recipes we decide to try out.
Now that my sister and I are grown, we share the cookie baking frenzy with my mom. We split up the list of traditional cookies, and usually add something new every year. In addition to the others, this year we are making chocolate toffee bark, oreo truffles, gingerbread (which my kids call ninja-bread), and pumpkin. Then we will get together and make tins of cookies for the kids' teachers, neighbors and friends, as well as big trays for ourselves. Afterall, it isn't Christmas morning without a plate full of Christmas cookies.

Kermit- my mom is from Holland, so my grandparents used to buy us each a chocolate letter (our initial) for Sinter Klaus day on 12/5. Over the summer, we had a huge family reunion and did a Christmas in July. One afternoon, Sinter Klaus and Svarte Pete showed up and handed out gifts to all the members of the family. A couple of the younger cousins from Holland were mesmerized. It was a lot of fun.

My parents are buying slippers for all the grandkids that look like wooden shoes. I'm sure those will be much more comfy than the real wooden shoes. My Oma had several pairs for decoration, and I would walk around the house in them- boy did they hurt!

that made me smile.
I usually had gold chocolate coins. Kinder eggs (chocolate egg, with a plastic egg inside that held a toy, or sometimes the eggs had kreme in the middle something akin to our american cadberry eggs), homemade pastierys, i once got a kitted pair of mittens, my porcelin cats (which i still have today), gummy candy from the local candy shop . (my neighbors knew they were my favorites somehow..which is odd me being an american child and them german). but my parents landlord (we lived on the german economy instead of army base) pretty much adopted me as her grandchild. In fact I called her OMA. she likely told the people what to give me (or did it herself).
One year...I even was given a pair of wooden shoes (i was there for three years).
I loved it.
I'd love , now that I'm an adult to go back and visit some day.

My mom read "The Best Christmas Pagent Ever" to my brother and I every year. A chapter or two every night. I loved it.

And we also always got a apple and orange in our stockings. I always wondered why Santa didn't know that I didn't like oranges.  You would think he knew this stuff, right???? LOL

And when decorating the christmas tree, my mom had this ugle quilted wreath that either my brother or I put on our heads and she took a picture.

We always put out cookies and a Sprite for Santa and he left us a note. I had forgotten about the note. I always thought that was so cool. So for as long as BS believed in Santa, I wrote a note too.

My favorite for Christmas has got to be the effort my parents always put into Santa's visit. I would leave out milk and cookies for the Santa, and a carrot outside for the reindeer (especially Rudolph of course). In the morning not only would there be presents under the tree and in stockings, but the milk and cookies would be eaten and drunk (perhaps one left with a bite taken?), the carrot stub would be left with teeth marks (grater), Santa always put candy canes on our tree, and THE BEST PART was that I would always know that Rudolph had come into my actual room and given me a kiss while I slept, because I would have a red circle on my cheek (lipstick)!! I remember standing in front of the mirror marveling, and the mad dash to the bathroom to see if I had gotten my kiss was just as important as seeing what was under the tree.

OH yeah! Christmas cookies are a big part of my holiday memories, and tradition for how I ring in the season. I am orgainiing a cookie exchange at the 3rd Annual Trucker's Parade party at our house so that sharing the cookie experience will take on a new dimension. This is the first Christmas being married, our first that also looks like the step sons won't be with us and this year we wont be visiting my parents and sisters.

Anyway, I've just got my reindeer poop to make for Saturday- if you haven't had this yet, you are missing out!  Its an easy recipe and would be a good activity for kids to help with.

Hope you all have a happy season!!

Looks like the cookie tradition is a popular one!!! I guess I will have to get on that bandwagon (we never did cookies, always received some though).

Love all the ideas...keep them coming SMOMS!!!

Okay so CHRISTMAS a present or not? Christmas day...TURKEY OR HAM?

We always opened one present on christmas eve -- that my parents picked. And my dad makes a wonderful HAM. So we always had ham. DH's aunt has turkey.

something DH's aunt does that I don't like is when they had their christmas day dinner -- at whatever time works for her husband that works shiftwork is: they give their presents to their son (he's an adult now but was 17 when i first came into the family) right there when everybody is there. They give a gift to our kids and the nephews and then we all sit around and watch aunt, uncle, and their son open all their gifst to each other. IDK??? I would think that is something they would want to do without all of us there. At my mom's we do presents from them to us and the kids privately, not at the family dinner with all the cousins and stuff. Maybe it's just me????

We always opened our presents on Christmas at a time. Yep, we wanted things to last as long as possible so we'd all sit around the room, anywhere from 7-18 of us and go around the room one present at a time and everyone watching and oohing and ah-ing. fun for us, not everyone's cup of tea.

When my brother in law first learned this he was shocked. His family stacked the presents by person, everyone came into the room together, and then there was a flurry of everyone opening at the same time. Over in 5 minutes!!

Nothing wrong with that, our family just likes to drag it out.
The kids always got to go through and open Santa socking stuff. I believe we had to do this to appease us when we were little. I am oldest of 14 and not sure we could have waited. We'd get to look at Stocking stuff, we'd all have breakfast, then sit down for hours of presents.

Turkey and all the trimmings is our family favorite. We do it on Thanksgiving and Christmas and for the life of us can't figure out why we don't do it the rest of the year. I guess we just want to keep it special.

we always open one present on christmas eve. we get to pick which one (usually something small, or maybe the stockings). rest is for christmas morning. food wise..whatever my mother law cooks. (0r my usually there is turkey AND ham.

I grew up an only child mostly. I had a step sibblings..but didnt live with only opened presents with them a few times over the years. we just did the it was passed to you, you rip into it thing.
I've always thought slower..and drag it out was better. But as long as the gifts are 'appreciated"..i guess it doesn’t matter HOW you do it.

We got to pick one present to open Christmas eve, and the rest Christmas morning. I like one at a time too. I like to see what others get, and see them open my presents. It's more shared joy that way instead of everyone just thinking about what they got. I think I'm in the minority there though.

I like ham or Salmon. Turkey is for Thanksgiving IMHO. 

We did it different when I was a kid, and now that we are grown. As kids, we opened one gift of our choice before the Christmas Service, then afterward, we all came home and opened all our presents. Then we would open Santa's presents on Christmas morning.

As all my sisters have families of their own- and I guess me too now- we would open family gifts on Christmas Eve, eat lefsa and lil smokies and cheese. We would go home from mom and dad's then come back to mom and dad's on Christmas morning and open Santa's gifts.

Now, the nuclear families do Christmas Eve on their own, and the whole gang gets together on Christmas Day still at mom and dad's. All the sisters and their husbands do a gift exchange now- either drawing names to buy a specific gift, or a general but sincere gift- exchanged white elephant style.

The pressed cookies, cherry surprise cookies, lefsa and lil smokies are pretty much required fare for our CE dinner. Christmas dinner is usually ham, but in recent years been swapped out for turkey or beef.

This year, my new DH and I trying to make our own special traditions and make things special even though we won't be home with family or have the SS with us. We got our tree today and have the lights up. It is such a warm light- the twinkling tiny bulbs bouncing off pine needles.

Merry Christmas Smoms!!

We always got to open one present Christmas Eve (fro my aunt who lived out of town and didn't come home for Christmas) and the rest Christmas Day one at a time taking turns. That's still what we do except DH and I also give the kids PJs on Christmas Eve to open and wear.

Funny you mention PJ's...
I've been wondering how we can start our own little family tradition, and like some of the suggestions here on SMOMS- make it non-date specific. All I can come up with is we all go pick out new PJ's and slippers and then go watch a movie together. We are scheduled to get the three SS's on Christmas Eve but BM has been working her magic since the "over-reacting to time out at our house incident" and one of the boys (SS5) still doesn't even want to spend time with his dad, muchless come to our house! We got two of them over (SS10 and SS3) this week via shameless fish buying bribery; they got to have a fish each as long as they come over and help take care of it. {of course one died the first night}

Anyway, I digress... non-date specific holiday traditions? Anyone?

Do little boys like decorating cookies? I had all sisters so I'm a little off reference.

Growing up, my mom always had us make Reindeer food... plain oats and glitter mixed together. She would take my little sister and I outside with our bowl of reindeer food and the glitter to they would know where to stop for it from way up in the sky. We would sprinkle it onto the sidewalk/driveway and we would wake up to nearly all of it gone- just traces of glitter and a few oats here and there! I do this for SS7 now- we run out in the middle of the night and sweep it up- to none the wiser- and SS7 is always surprised to see that the reindeer ate very well! It was my absolute favorite thing, and is now SS7's as well.

We also always had some sort of advent calendar as well, we either had the big cardboard pop out calendars that had a chocolate a day to count down, or one year my dad made a wooden snowman with pegs and little star chips with numbers painted on them to hang on the pegs to count down. I started my own advent tradition this year after finding a blog post about a unique idea to take match boxes, empty them out and wrap them in scrapbook paper with numbers! Each one of my boxes has a chocolate and a slip of paper with a note of something to do. We have done something leading up to Christmas every day now and it definitely is helping build the excitement. Yesterday was "follow clues to a special gift" and today was "read an xmas story together" The ideas are endless- and we thought of a few very awesome things to put in there. Definitely doing it again in the years to follow.

Christmas dinner was always ham because we had just done turkey for thanksgiving. 

Xmas eve we would all get to open one parent picked present. We haven't done this with SS7 because we added a day for a gift in our advent calendar. When he's older, we'll probably start the same.

LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS (makes me wish I had a little one and not a blessed teenager! LOL)


We did a advent calendar. My mom had made construction paper rings that she put the dates on. It was hanging in our kitchen over the pantry door.

Some years she made a strip of paper with a hershey's kiss for each day. My brother and I got to take turns taking one off.
Cathryn's Mailbox
Stepmoms on a Mission®
PO Box 7, Medford NJ 08055