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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Vacation

 My favorite, but must check and make sure it is Fair Trade.  I researched a little and it said it was, but since it was on forums, etc., I must check for sure...

Another fun activity when the kids say they are bored.... (from Family Fun) 
 The final pillow for Soleil's nursery.  She's 18 months old.
 A lesson for the holiday season.  He even got to ring the bell!
 Is every 1st grader obsessed with Angry Birds?  He wanted them before he has even ever seen the game.  Good marketing, I tell you.  (They are cuddly...)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Random stuff I like Dec 2011

I am in a creative frenzy.  I am randomly looking at things I like, watching Alanis Morissette videos (the newer stuff that not many people have seen, not the old angry ones...) and thinking about the future.  Maybe it is the time of year, maybe it the bar of dark chocolate I ate earlier, who knows.

Firstly, Here is another photo of the chaise that I want.  Tate and I have been back to look at it 3 times.  No one who weighs in on it seems to like it!  Too big, too impractical, too expensive for what you get,  might not fit in the next house.  But I love it. 

 I finally scrapbooked.  More importantly, I finally made a flipping friend, who ASKED me to scrapbook!  We had a great time, and I can't wait to crop again.  (For those of you know don't know the verb "crop", it is just nerd speak for cut up pretty paper and stickers and decorate your photos.)

Here are my dad's chihuahuas in felt form for his Christmas tree.  I had to make one for my babe, Soleil, after she kept stealing them.

Thank you, Kate Hewitt, for keeping me in British biscuits for awhile.  (They are my fave, Jammie Dodgers.)

 I didn't make this, but I want to.  Found the idea in a magazine in the pediatricians' office.

Am I too old for this? Ok, I love it.  And yes, it is totally excessive and ridiculous for an almost 40 year old to own.  But I can admire it....

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Natural Play Space

Tate's new school is in a new building.  The building used to be some sort of business, so they do not have a playground.  The school is in the process of planning what they will do with the play space.  After experiencing wonderful play areas at Shining Rivers School in St Louis and Batheaston Primary School in Bath, UK, I can say that kids really love a natural play space.  Not just my kid.  All kids! 

I started to research photos of playgrounds that do not have that big clunky equipment.  The photos are sooo inspiring and make me want to create some of these lovely things in my own yard.

Willow trees can be grown into little caves or forts.  I love them!
 Here is a little reading circle we found by accident whilst geocaching.
 We also found this den, obviously made by kids (the opening in the front is about 2.5 feet high) and Tate loved it.  I can stand in it in its tallest point!  Funny enough, it is located in a little space NEXT to a  traditional metal/plastic playground.
 All you need is a big pile of hay!
 And the reading circle, again, but closer to winter.
 As I said, all kids seem to respond to the outdoors.  I came early to pick Tate up from school and caught the end of recess/playtime.  They had found these ice chunks and as a group, they stacked them to make an "ice castle".  When I saw them working all together, enjoying themselves, my heart melted.

I want to play outside, too!!  
(She has a 3 month sized dress on that Daddy put her in while I was away.   She is 18 months old. Notice the size of the sleeves!!) 

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Listen to Nature

I once had a yoga teacher tell me that this time of year, we should listen to nature.  It is when things start to slow down and hibernate, and instead we humans rush around and make this a very busy time of year.

When I was a kid, I would get sick every Christmas.  It was too much for me.  Too much excitement, too much activity, too much of everything.  This was why Halloween was my favorite holiday, I think.

When I had Tate, I started to like Christmas again.  By then, I had figured out how to avoid getting caught up in the "too much" and it was fun to make things magical for him.  Now with 2 kiddos, I enjoy the holidays even more.

We have had a rough few months.  I can feel myself fight the pressure to be busy with what I know works best for me....quiet, calmness, staying at home.

How do you feel about the holiday season?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Inspired while Shopping

How cute is this?  And how easy to find a thrifted wooden chair and some paint?

And speaking of paint, this is what you get when you use the new Martha Stewart craft paint and an old lamp.  I didn't love it at first, but after it dried and a good lampshade, it seems to fit in my craft room perfectly!

This pretty display is from a small shop called The Bee Cottage.  The decorative "ribbon" is strips of cotton, dyed in light colors and stamped with parisian images.  These would be great to put on the outside of a package.

And this is also at The Bee Cottage.  I love how these little pouches are displayed.

 At Caribou Coffee.

I think they sell this at Hallmark.  I love how the magnets look like Christmas cookies!

Monday, November 07, 2011

Feeling Nesty

I really love fall.  It makes me want to make my nest all cozy like.

I bought this yesterday and I LOVE it.  I particularly like the ideas to reuse packaging (clean, of course!)  in the cutest ways.

I want to get settled into this new house as quickly as possible.  We now have all of our stuff here, but the placement isn't where I want it yet.  I am taking room by room, trying to make it home.  This weekend, I reorganized Tate's "shop".  We also were able to donate extra art supplies to his school.

Soleil is feeling nesty herself.  She has been doing LOTS of grocery shopping.  We empty out her cart, and she fills it over and over.  (My pantry is now a huge mess, but I can't help how cute she is. It took me 15 minutes to find the baking powder earlier tonight. )

Found this great blog, since I have been a little obsessed with home decor lately:  
It has been very inspiring and making me want to make my house a home even more!

Paul has finally been able to get out a bit, and we took a family trip to the furniture store.  We realize with Paul having to lay flat on the couches, we need extra seating.  
(2 comfy chairs? oversized chaise? chair and a half?)   The kids voted for this piece.  I kind of love it, but Paul said no way, since we move often and, while it will work in this house, it may not work in the next.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Fighting to Keep Things Simple

Apple Cinnamon Tea.  Ahhhhhhh.

Moving back to the US has been interesting.  One thing we have noticed, is that there seems to be more pressure to schedule things here.  I am fighting that urge and wanting to spend lots of time at home. 

With Paul's back in the state that is in, we are trying to keep it simple. 
For instance, like making dinner from bagged salad, stuff from the pantry, and a bag of frozen Honey BBQ chicken.  Yum.

Playing close to home.                                                 (in our pajamas.)

Couldn't have made the past few weeks without this guy.  My baby brother.  We are 18 years apart, but we are very, very close.

And since we have been home, we were there to see a deer in our yard.  In the suburbs!

 My childhood BFF, Claudia,  also came for a visit and helped out a ton!  Both kids adore her, and she and my brother cleaned my kitchen until it sparkled.  It was so nice to spend time with someone who knows me so well.  I have to be honest, it has been lonely moving to a new place.

One day soon, I hope to have time to create.  Look at this cute cup cozy!!!  
I will have to be patient until that moment comes.  We are in survival mode.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Why I Haven't Blogged Lately....

Soooo kids....wear your helmet when you ride a bicycle.

Paul was riding his bike, in the dark, without a helmet on the way to Target.  There was a drainage ditch to the side of the bike path and flipped into the hole.  He broke his vertebrae in 3 places and will be in a brace for 12 weeks.

Be back as soon as possible!

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Making Morning Easier

Yum!! Baked Oatmeal for "Oatmeal Day"!
I got the recipe from here lottie and doof,  who got it from Heidi Swanson's book, and it turned out superb.  It is flavorful, not overly sweet, and can be heated up all week.

The baby loves it, as do I, but Tate is going to stick to his Quaker Maple Syrup version (which I know is total junk for him!).  He tried the Trader Joe's version and also turned his nose up to it.  (It has a weird after taste that even I didn't like).

Here is the recipe:
I omitted the nuts and used real maple syrup instead of sugar.

Baked Oatmeal (from Super Natural Every Day: Well-Loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen by Heidi Swanson)*

  • 2 cups / 7 oz / 200 g rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup / 2 oz / 60 g walnut pieces, toasted (see page 219) and chopped
  • 1/3 cup / 2 oz / 60 g natural cane sugar or maple syrup, plus more for serving
  • 1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
  • 11/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • Scant 1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • 2 cups / 475 ml milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 ripe bananas, cut into 1/2-inch / 1cm pieces
  • 11/2 cups / 6.5 oz / 185 g huckleberries, blueberries, or mixed berries
Preheat the oven to 375F / 190C with a rack in the top third of the oven. Generously butter the inside of an 8-inch / 20cm square baking dish.
In a bowl, mix together the oats, half the walnuts, the sugar, if using, the baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
In another bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, if using, the milk, egg, half of the butter, and the vanilla.
Arrange the bananas in a single layer in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle two-thirds of the berries over the top. Cover the fruit with the oat mixture. Slowly drizzle the milk mixture over the oats. Gently give the baking dish a couple thwacks on the countertop to make sure the milk moves through the oats. Scatter the remaining berries and remaining walnuts across the top.
Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the top is nicely golden and the oat mixture has set. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. Drizzle the remaining melted butter on the top and serve. Sprinkle with a bit more sugar or drizzle with maple syrup if you want it a bit sweeter.