Chez peanut was a tradition we began in my family when the kids were young. One Father’s day we couldn’t figure out what to get my dad. He has everything he ever wanted, and he’s traveled the world multiple times over. At the time my twin niece and nephew were eight, mine ranged from six months to five and half, and the kids were full of energy. We had a long-standing tradition of something we called Fat Sunday. This tradition dated back to the days when my mom was little and her grandfather, a world-renowned Methodist minister, would have the family over after Sunday services. She and her cousins would have to perform before the meal was served. My parents continued the tradition and we would get together for a big meal, swimming, and bonding time. By a stroke of genius, we decided it was time the kids could help put together a once a year project, based on a country or culture my dad would choose, and they would perform on Labor Day weekend. And so the tradition of Chez Peanut was born.
For the first year my dad decided on the Pacific Islands, which gave birth to Chez Peanut Polynesia. Throughout the year the kids researched cultural traditions such as folktales, dances, major historical events, and foods and beverages related to the Polynesian Islands. They also began putting together costumes, drawings, and music pieces related to their research. We, the parents, experimented with traditional recipes and libations throughout the year selecting a menu to finally present during the big event over Labor Day weekend. Some of the foods were down right rancid while others made the cut. By Labor Day the kids had perfected their costumes, presentations, and helped each member of the five team crew reach their potential by age appropriate activities. For example, my nephew learned a song on the ukulele and my niece taught Little, who was almost two by performance day, how to do a version of the Hula dance. My boys attempted to mock a fire dance they watched a video and painted tribal tattoos on their bodies. My niece read a folktale and provided information on how the tale had grown through the culture. The kids also decided on decorations for bringing to life my parents backyard to truly gave them the authentic feel of a tropical paradise. My parents enjoyed it beyond words and the tradition was born.
Over the years the kids virtually visited and created Chez Peanut presentations for Mexico, Germany, Argentina, Italy, Ireland, and Jamaica. By the time seven years had passed the sports train took over and everyone struggled making Sunday dinners with baseball, softball, and volleyball tournaments happening. However, for the years it was in place the kids created some amazing keep sakes and memories which we cherish deeply, holding them close in our hearts.
It’s seven years since our final Chez Peanut, and oh my how life has changed. This Labor Day my nephew is busting hump putting the finishing touches on a restaurant he is helping open. My niece is actually home for the first time in four years as she hung up her softball cleats and graduated from college. She’s working on her next chapter and I couldn’t be more proud. My eldest is at college and meeting his girlfriend’s father. Her father lives out of state and they have dated for a year. I reminded he might want to be charming! My middle just left for school a week ago. He’s adjusting and we are hearing from him quite a bit. I miss him dearly, but know this is where his wings need to spread. The little is here with us. She has her own jam-packed schedule, but is trying it convince us the boy who asked her on a bowling date is only a friend. I’m trying hard to explain boys who are almost sixteen don’t ask girls places as friends like kindergarten boys do. She’s giving me the stink eye. The Mr. and I are not ready for this dating thing with her. All in all, our lives are good and we count our blessings each and every day. Hopefully your Labor Day weekend is filled with many happy memories, and you take the time to count your blessings as well! My best to everybody this holiday weekend!