advent re-invent


So Holden asked me yesterday when "that special day" is going to be here. I asked him to clarify since a *special day* to a 4 1/2 year old could mean anything from Christmas to garbage day to that one glorious day a year when we wash our car. He replied, "you know, that very special day when we get lotsa stuff." And my heart immediately sank to my toes.

What I wanted to do next was talk his little ear off about commercialism and consumerism and sit him down in front of this and this and this (thanks julie!) and force into his impressionable little mind the idea that Christmas is about more than just 'getting' or 'stuff' or blahdy blahdy blah...

But thankfully, I did none of those things. I sat on my hands and said nothing.


Instead, my brain took over and remembered these 24 little Christmas-colored opportunities to focus on giving rather than receiving, on spending time together rather than spending money, and on the importance of appreciation, friendship, gratitude and any other concepts of value that can fit into those 2" by 3" envelopes (which is quite alot, I think).


I have a little list going, including things like Make Glitter Pinecones! Donate to our local Food Bank! and Candyland Marathon Day! Today began big with picking an animal donation via Heifer International in lieu of gifts for the adults in our family. Because what's more fun than giving a family a water buffalo for Christmas, I ask you?

When we were done picking our animals, Holden asked if he could give some money from his piggy bank to the kids in the pictures on the HI website and my heart rose back up above my kneecaps.


Turkey Dance


I won a turkey. Yes, a turkey ended up on my doorstep, wonned. Ham-dinner-plan, be gone with you. We’re doin the turkey dinner song and dance.

So my last-minute change of plans includes: turkey (won), stuffing, cranberries, gravy, bru spro’s, buns and what else? Oh yes, pie. Of course, PIE! What would Thanksgiving be without pie, a wonned turkey, my sweet little fam and wonderful friends, I ask you? Ok pickles. And olives that go on the ends of your fingers, too. It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without those.

Happy day to you all!


christmas, reinvented


After a nice, restorative, pajama-wearing-filled weekend, I emerge eager and energized to take on the Holidays.

This particular holiday season is destined to be different than previous, as our entire stock of holiday decor rests nestled and snug in the corner of our temporary basement, behind and beneath the multitude of boxes that contain the rest of our life. Truth is, we thought we'd be in our new house by now (by Halloween, actually) but dang it to all heck, our planning skills stink and we packed those boxes in first.

So here we are, without stockings to hang by the chimney with care, without my beloved thriftstore-rescued vintage snowman collection and without the things that make everyday living feel 'holiday-y' this time of year.

Life, of course, will go on. And the challenge of having to find creative ways to appease the holiday decorating itch is quite appealing.


Because December 1st comes much, much sooner than December 25th, a new advent calendar battled its way to the top of the to-do list. Taking the idea from this adorable site, I bought a bunch of felt (the same eco-fi'd felt of PDFB turkey hand snafu project fame, might I add) and rigged together a plan for a last minute endeavor. And yes, I admit, I was sucked in by that larger-than-life ricrac. Sigh.

So far, I'm optimistic that it'll be ready by the 1st, especially after adding some buffer time in to compensate for my stinky planning skills.

And, now onto *tree decorating* (ugh). Any suggestions out there for clever-crafty-no-time tree ornament ideas???


s t i l l day


I've really enjoyed the s t i l l-ness around here this past week...just what the creativity-slump doctor ordered.

I'm heading over to the 12 Square blog now to post pics of my november/fall block for ms. turkey cookies. C'mon over!!


s t i l l: bird, watching


Have a lovely weekend, all!


S t i l l shot

Just compensation for flu shots today...



S t i l l Fall


ahhh, loving the fleeting stillness of Fall.



s t i l l here


I realized after Esme's meltdown today over a cheerio stuck to her rainboot that we're all a little overwhelmed with life around here these days. New school, new schedule, new friends, new obligations...you know the routine. So I'm going to step back a bit and maybe post pics of our comings and goings instead of trying to force coherence. Because I've heard that "The clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness" (J. Muir) but I'm kinda stuck on the whole "forest for the trees" thing right now.


Needless to say, I'm quite drawn to this project that I've seen buzzing around blogville. While I'm entirely too lazy to upload my pics to a flickr group, I'd love to partake in some 's t i l l ness.' So here goes.

And there I go, talking. Enough of that. "I'll be baaaaaack" (A. Schwarzenegger)


Book Week: My Turn!

Esme had a typical 2 1/2 year old freak out when asked to pick a favorite book today so I decided to share my current favorite instead.

Of course it's a cookbook!!!!!!!


I have The River Cottage Family Cookbook on loan from the library, but have since added it to my Christmas wish list. With pretty pics, clear instructions and easy, yummy recipes it lives up to all the rave reviews it's gathered in blogland.


The concise descriptions of the hows & whys of kitchen basics come in handy with my inquisitive little kitchen helpers. In fact, the authors encourage cooking with children from very young ages:
"The baby who sits in a highchair watching you washing and steaming some carrots, or peeling a banana, then whizzing his or her food in a blendder, is learning that the true story of lunch begins with raw ingredients, rather than with the opening of a jar."

And as an added bonus, it allowed me to engage in my all-time-favorite activity of blogging my dinner: brussel sprout gratin (recipe from book) and orange carrot soup.


Exactly 50% of our family members enjoyed the gratin this evening -- a promising ratio when it comes to brussel sprouts, methinks. (and please trust me when I say the gratin was much yummier than it looked in that last pic!)


Book Week: Day 2

I asked Holden to name his favorite book and this is what came to his book-loving little mind:

(Actually, his first response was Charlotte's Web which we finished recently but I don't think there's a soul amongst us that hasn't heard of that one...so, this is actually his 'second favorite')

Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin is a favorite of mine as well, although I don't know what I love more: the inspiring story or the beautiful woodblock illustrations by Mary Azarian (love her!)

The true story chronicles the lifework of Wilson A Bentley who developed a technique for photographing snowflakes that proved no two flakes are alike while also revealing the inherent beauty of their intricate design.
"He watched snowflakes fall on his mittens, on the dried grass of Vermont farm fields, on the dark metal handle of the barn door. He said snow was as beautiful as butterflies, or apple blossoms."
The book speaks of dedication, passion for knowledge and reverence for nature and makes me want to run out and buy a digital microscope camera or take a woodblock class...or both!

Next up: Esme's pick (usually the closest book within reach, but we shall see what she comes up with!)


Book Week: Day 1

I'm playing along with Green Jello this week by sharing some of our favorite children's books. We have quite the varied book collection supplemented with a mountain of monthly library additions, so picking just one each day will be tough. So, I'll pick two today. Hee!

Today's Soulemama's post
describing seasonal changes brought The Story of the Root Children to mind. We have a few different versions of the story, but the 'quilted fairytale,' with its amazingly intricate detail and endearing story of how the quilt came to be, is a favorite.


The story follows the seasonal procession of Mother Earth's children as they awaken from a winter's sleep, bloom into Spring flowers, frolic above-ground in the Summer sun and then proceed back into the earth upon Autumn's arrival. Their prep-work for Spring includes brushing the bumblebees and applying new coats of paint to the ladybugs. So cute!
"The ladybirds, the beetles, the grubs and the bumble-bees had also been sleeping under the ground and had now woken up. They had to be washed and brushed, painted colourfully and made to shine so that they would look as beautiful as possible."

And in crafty news...Crafty Wonderland was a success! Lots of cool vendors, great turnout and much giggling under the WhatKnot banner as my BFF and I attempted to come up with a name for her soon-to-be etsy shop.


I plan on adding new items to my shop as soon as I'm caught up on the culmination of domestic duties that got pushed under the rug last week (and as soon as I find my camera which is hopefully buried under the craftshow aftermath somewhere?!). Stay tuned!


Happy Week


This week has brought us:
The beginning of a new co-op preschool adventure for our family! Today was Holden’s second day and he’s already found some dinosaur-philic friends. The school's play-focused style and nurturing, community-focused philosophy feels like a good fit for us right now. Esme will join the little’s room on my classroom days which she is very excited about (fingers crossed on that one).


A new president-elect who offers inspiration, hope and a sense of connectedness in a world that seems to be unraveling at the seams. I have faith in his ability to navigate us back on track. Love this article.


Much time spent in preparation for this weekend’s Crafty Wonderland. I’m looking forward to the view from the other side of the craft show table (pics are a smattering of wares that I shall attempt to peddle).


And as the sweetest icing on the cake, I just got word that my Flock Together quilt won third place in this contest. The prize includes a $25 gift certificate to my beloved Superbuzzy along with a Sublime Stitching pattern (I'm hoping for the Black Apple pattern!) HooRay, little tweets!

Wow, that was a lot of links. If you're still with me, happy weekend wishes to everyone! I'll be back on Monday to share details of my crafty adventure!


Moving On and Gearing Up

Vote: check
Forget to sign ballot, find it returned with a big "you forgot to sign your ballot, dumbass" note on it: check
Sign ballot, resend: check (whew!)
Switch Pandora radio from Bob Dylan to John Denver: check
Stay far, far away from the politi-mercials bombarding our brains: check
Hope with all my heart that tomorrow brings good news: double check

Also on the to-do list: gear up for my next adventure in crafting...

My BFF and I will be participating in Crafty Wonderland, Portland's ultra-cool indie craft fair, on Nov 9. That's this fracken Sunday (ack!) so I plan on having my nose to presser foot this week. I know I ask this alot, but wish me luck!! And if you're in PDX, come visit me, my bff and our little 4x4 foot space chock full of crafty goodliness!