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When I was a kid New Year’s Eve was so exciting! My parents would let us stay up until Midnight to take us out to breakfast. We called it “First Breakfast” because it was literally the first breakfast of the New Year. One year we went to the diner with my parents and their friends, another year the local firehouse hosted a first breakfast event. I was just four years old when my parents started this tradition, but I still remember it today!

I knew I would make this a tradition for my little family one day. The only problem is, at age 6 my kids still “can’t hang.” If they do not go to bed at the same hour every night we have horrible, monstrous humans we can’t face the public with. So our solution is to celebrate a big first breakfast at our kitchen table every year. We make it special with colorful decorations and drink out of fancy glasses. It has become such a big hit at our house that I now keep a kit ready. I pull it out on New Year’s Eve after they fall asleep and set it up before I go to bed (hours before midnight).

The traditional colors for New Year celebrations are silver and gold, or black and white. However, we prefer the colors of Mardi Gras- green, gold and purple. These are all colors of royalty and represent prosperity and good fortune; all great things to hope for in the New Year and they make a pretty colorful back drop to our first breakfast.

Here is what I have in my first breakfast celebration kit:


Champagne Flutes– We don’t actually serve champagne (to the children) for breakfast, but we do like feeling fancy. So we serve up their morning OJ (and our mimosas) in these colorful, reusable flutes. The kids really get a kick out of it!

Hats, Noise Makers and Beaded Necklaces – every year I set the table with these fun accessories for each person in the family. As soon as the kids come out in the morning we put on our fashions and march in a noisy parade through the house. Since mommy and daddy can no longer hang till midnight either, this noise isn’t so horrible after a full night’s sleep.


Holiday Crackers- these are just fun! You pop them open and there is usually a paper crown inside along with some jokes and a little trinket. It keeps the kids busy while I am cooking up breakfast. They take turns cracking each other up and I get to enjoy hearing them laugh instead of argue for a minute. P.s. Holiday crackers usually go on sale for half price after the holiday season.

Tableware- I use disposable decorative paper plates with matching napkins. After cooking a big breakfast of omelets, bacon and fresh cinnamon buns, and drinking a few mimosas, I could use the break from washing dishes. P.p.s I hit up the dollar stores after the holiday and pick up festive prints for 50 cents each. I stock up to keep on hand for the next few years.

Masks- one of my kids wanted to start wearing masks for our parade one year and so the tradition has stuck around. We don’t wear them while eating breakfast because that would just be weird. Unless you are six then it’s just breakfast time. (I don’t even ask anymore).


Clock– another kid created tradition. It makes a great centerpiece for our table.

Not included in the kit are colorful foiled chocolate coins I toss around the table to represent money and sweetness. I buy these every year because obviously chocolate is not going to survive more than a day in my house. And it could get pretty gross in storage for a year. I keep all our decorations in a reusable clear tote and put away until our next first breakfast.

Our version of First Breakfast may not have the same kind of thrill as when I was as a kid, but it is our own. Right now while the kids are still little and so dependent on routine, we are happy keeping the first breakfast tradition alive eight hours after the official start to the new year. It feels more manageable and sane for us. Maybe one day my children won’t turn into gremlins and we can move this tradition to a new location. Or, maybe we’ll return to this cozy tradition year after year. Either way I just hope they remember these first breakfasts as fondly as I remember mine.

What New Year traditions do you and your family celebrate?

The Whatever Mom is a full-time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here. You can also find her musings and popular shares on Facebook and Twitter. Stay up to date with her creative ideas and outings on Pinterest. 


We’re going to a New Year’s Eve party tonight, and my daughter asked if she could make cookies to bring.  As we got out our usual recipe, we remembered that one of the friends that will be there has a nut allergy.  I recalled another recipe we had enjoyed before, so we looked it up and were happy to see it’d be safe.  If you have someone avoiding gluten, soy, and nuts, these are a great alternative. They do call for both shortening and butter, but the substitution of dairy-free butter would likely yield cookies which are just as delicious.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie

This recipe is described as being similar to the Archway Iced Oatmeal Cookie that you may remember growing up.  I have fond memories of Archway Cookies.  Quite truthfully, I didn’t find these cookies to be that similar, but they are amazing cookies nonetheless.  I found that the chocolate chips made them sweet enough that an icing was not needed, so we skipped it this time.  They’re fairly easy to make- my almost-eight-year old was able to do everything herself other than blend in the butter and shortening into the dough.  There are lots of opportunities within this recipe for kids to help out– and before you know it, you may have little ones who can do the whole thing alone!  Let young kids start by pouring and mixing, and graduate to reading the recipe, measuring ingredients, scooping dough onto cookie sheets, and learning how to use the oven and timer.

Make a batch of these cookies for someone special, and enjoy some quality time baking with your little ones.  Eventually, they’ll even learn to clean up after themselves, I promise!

To see what’s happening in our kitchen, or to share what’s going on in yours, stop by, or become a fan on Facebook.  Happy New Year to all of our Hudson Valley Parent readers.  See you next year!



1. New Years eve is a great time to reflect on the past year and look forward to the new year with family and friends. Choose an activity to do together. Bowling, ice skating or roller skating are good options! Many places are offering holiday packages like Colonial Lanes in Chester. For a one price fee for the whole family you can enjoy 2 hours of cosmic bowling, dinner, dessert, cosmic bowlingmusic and more! For tickets and more info: Roller Magic in Hyde Park is also offering a special New Years Eve party. Noisemakers, games, prizes and a special balloon drop finale!

Also: Hudson Valley’s Best Ice Skating Rinks

2. Ring in the new year at NOON in Beacon, NY. The Howland Cultural Center is hosting a very special children’s Happy Noon Year event! Spend the morning with the kids crafting masks, noisemakers and party props. Kids will practice yoga stretches and sing songs. Then just before noon join in the countdown parade with popcorn and punch.

3. Celebrate the new year with family fun for everyone at The Castle Fun Center. Tickets include dinner buffet, snacks and sundae bar. Kids will love all the activities at the Castle and a special “midnight” celebration complete with balloon and confetti drop! http://thecastle.pfestore.comnew years at noon

4. At the Mid- Hudson Children’s Museum, celebrate the new year withthe kids at noon! Sing, dance a party your way into 2015 with a DJ dance party, live performances, crafts, snacks, and a unique countdown every hour from around the world!

5. Head on over to New Paltz for a special day of holiday activities for the whole community to enjoy! Start with children’s crafts and stories at the library, followed by youth scavenger hunt at the Youth program. Later join the community for a dinner at the United Methodist Church, an open mic for teens at the cafeteria coffee house, a community dance at the St. Joseph’s church hall and everything wraps up just before midnight at a community bonfire at Hasbrouck Park! For times and details:

6. Go out to eat! Treat yourselves this holiday and save the clean- up for someone else. What are your NYE dinner traditions? Many families get Chinese take out, others stick with apps and finger foods. Here is a list of kid- friendly new years resolutionsrestaurants in the Hudson Valley, check websites and call ahead to see if they are offering anything special for New Years Eve.

7. Make resolutions together. I am loving this kid- friendly resolutions printable from! Let the kids fill all of the things they want to do and work on in the upcoming year. It will get the kids thinking about bettering themselves and maybe spark a yearly bucket list you can have fun crossing things off all year long! Don’t forget about your own resolutions too! If healthy eating is at the top of your resolution list check out these easy ideas for making healthy eating work for you! Healthy eating: make it a New Year’s resolution

12 grapes8. Celebrate around the world! While the strike of midnight in the Hudson Valley might be a bit too late for the little ones it’s always midnight in another country. Set the clocks around the house to the different time zones, research some New Years traditions from around the world and celebrate as if you were there. In Spain they ring in the New Year eating 12 grapes. (The 12 grapes on a stick photo along with many other great ideas to celebrate with kids found on You can dine on Spanish cuisine, get dressed up and dance around the living room to beautiful Spanish music. In Swiss homes, the people drop spoonfuls of whipped cream onto the floor to symbolize the richness of the new year to come. I’m sure the kids would love this tradition! To find out when 2015 starts around the world click here:


9. Make your own Noisemakers. Pinterest is filled with awesome crafts you can do with the kids on New Years eve. I am loving the idea of making our own noisemakers like these from or these wishing wands from

10. “On New Year’s Eve, kiss the person you hope to keep kissing”. For me this New Year’s Eve no matter where or what time we are celebrating I am lucky to be with the ones I love. Whether your year was filled with great joys or loss and struggles, I hope you take a few minutes to reflect back on some of the happy moments from 2014, find something worth learning from the struggles and start a fresh new year full of love, compassion, wealth and gratitude.

May your New Year be filled with joy, adventure, love and many wishes come true.

I would love to hear some of your New Year’s Eve traditions! How do you celebrate the coming of the New Year?

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