Tuesday, December 20, 2011

yarn along

Joining Ginny (Small Things) for a little knitting this week.

Okay, so admittedly not the loveliest photos of any of us. Truthfully, I think my two cuties were just concentrating, but me...I was arguing with Mike about something when he took my photo!

I am knitting a scarf for Finnian Luca. I have no idea if I will get it done in time for Christmas. I hope so. He asked for one. It would be done if I hadn't started it, ripped it apart, and started again 3 times before this one! This photo is from a few days ago. I am a lot further now, but scarves are long!

And my cuties are working on a family made (clearly) finger knit garland project. I might post finished project photos later, but no promises. (And yes, Lala is wearing a swimsuit. No idea why...she was playing something before picking up the finger knitting.)

Link
As for reading...I am reading from the winter holiday books to the kids as well as The Seven Year Old Wonder Book. And I am personally reading both The Out of Sync Child and a Katie Fforde chick lit novel ("slush" book!).

Happiest of solstice days to you. We will be celebrating as has become our new tradition...I will share photos later.

adventures with flour

A request to play with flour went on to a request for some water to add to it and this...led to papier mache.







I thought we might as well make it a useful project, so we made bowls to hold holiday toffee. (Yes, it is toffee time again!)

Here is how we did it:
2 parts water
1 part flour (I bought regular flour for this, not gluten free)
sprinkle of cinnamon

Mix and whisk smooth into your "glue." (You can refrigerate this mix for several days.)

To papier mache, rip paper (newspaper is great) into 1 inch strips, slide it through the glue and adhere it flat to your mold (in our case, the inside of a bowl). Adhere in an overlapping criss cross fashion.

Do one layer at a time, letting dry between layers. It may take overnight for each layer to dry.

Once you have decided you are done, you can paint and even varnish your creation.

Friday, December 16, 2011

right now...



Birthday celebration with family

Gingerbread house making (eating?)

Wrapping the gifts they picked out for our "adopted" family.

Her first grade class is learning the recorder and they played at their winter assembly. They were a hit and I was so impressed! I learned recorder in the third grade!



All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth!
We had been taking bets on these babies for awhile. I didn't think they would last for her school picture, which was two weeks ago, and then boom! they both fell out this week!


This week has been full of celebrations...the winter holiday kind, but also celebrations of Finnian Luca's birthday with family and the loss of two front teeth for Miss Isabella Sofia. So suddenly, these two feel so darn big!

I caught myself singing a song last night that my dad used to play for me. Truthfully, I have no idea how often he sang it, but my memories have always swirled around an image of him on the edge of a chair in my parents' living room, guitar in his hands, singing while I sat listening at his feet on this fuzzy white (with kids! can you imagine?) rug they used to have. I wonder how true this memory actually is.


You who are on the road
Must have a code that you can live by
And so become yourself
Because the past is just a good bye.

Teach your children well,
Their father's hell did slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams
The one they picked, the one you'll know by.

Don't you ever ask them why, if they told you, you would cry,
So just look at them and sigh and know they love you.

And you, of tender years,
Can't know the fears that your elders grew by,
And so please help them with your youth,
They seek the truth before they can die.

Can you hear and do you care and
Cant you see we must be free to
Teach your children what you believe in.
Make a world that we can live in.

Teach your parents well,
Their children's hell will slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams
The one they picked, the one you'll know by.

Don't you ever ask them why, if they told you, you would cry,
So just look at them and sigh and know they love you.

Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

rubber band board

I thought I would share an easy, homemade gift I have made for Finn Luca for Christmas this year. A fast, fun, frugal gift. I made him a rubber band board. It may seem silly, but I was inspired by something similar I saw at his preschool, when both he and Lala were drawn to it at drop off one morning. Finnian hardly noticed when I left and I had to pry Lala away.

To make your own rubber band board:
  • Take a scrap board of any size. Mine was 11x11 inches, because that is what Mike had easily on hand.
  • Measure off and mark at even intervals with a thin, permanent pen. I marked spots for nails 1.5 inches apart with a 1 inch border.
  • Start nailing. I used 49 bright finish nails (2 inch length).
  • Gather rubber bands. I admit, I did pay for mine, although I didn't have to. I thought (and I think Finnian will think) the colorful rubber band ball is so neat!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

lasting favorites (homemade gifts, that is)

Making salt dough ornaments. Inspired by Erin of tiny.twist.creative.


Looking for a little creative motivation for homemade gifting?

Here are the handmade (by us) favorites. These are the gifts that seem to stand the test of time around here.
Personal placemats
Rhythm sticks
Personalized tag blankets
Toffee
Stitched notebook and art caddy
Swim towel cover up
Tool bench with a tool filled tool box.

Here is last year's version of this list, with links!
Oh, and a lot of this stuff (and more) is listed here.

If you sew, some of the most requested items I have made have been snack sacks and draw string bags, both useful for so many different purposes.

And for a little more inspiration, let's draw on the creativity of others! You can view my Inspired Internet series here, or to get straight to December, you can just click on December 2009 part 1 and part 2 and December 2010.

Monday, December 12, 2011

made by someone else's hands

As with last year, we are giving many hand made goodies. If you prefer to gift this way, as well, and don't have the time, inclination, or skill, and simply prefer to give gifts someone else has created, then I urge you to consider these amazing artisans, who I know either through blogging or blood, all from whom I have bought or received items.

Little Alexander :: Incredible paper goods and original artwork.
Dandelion Dream (from tiny.twist.creative.) :: New and upcycled clothes and bags hand dyed and stenciled with original designs.
Elemental, by Amy Ambroult :: Beautiful, handmade metal work jewelry
Gypsy Forest :: Hand sewn bags, clothes, and blankets
FuoriBorgo :: Hand crocheted and sewn creations



I thought today might be a nice day to feature a previously made (by us) gift that was really well received. Francesca's (FuoriBorgo) limoncello. Yum doesn't describe it.

Happy St. Finnian's day!

Friday, December 9, 2011

these days...

Happy, happy birthday to my dear friend, Liz. I don't know what I would do without you!







These days, I am...

~Enjoying Mike's rekindled love of La Pavoni

~Thinking my kids and Father Christmas are really quite cute, but maybe most especially because of my children's continued belief in him, Santa, and St. Nick (as three different people, mind you)

~Appreciating winter concerts, and the love of music my dad has passed through the generations.

~Loving my kids falling asleep on me (Finnian) even if just pretend (Lala)

~Getting a kick out of the belief my girl has that St. Nicholas needs a glass of wine ("but only a little, so he doesn't get sick, mamma!") and his horse needs a carrot.

~Grateful that not all gluten-free bread is dry, crumbly, or rock-hard. Quite the opposite, really.

These days continue to be very busy with school activities. Thanksgiving Break was quiet, just as I look forward to Winter Break being. In the meantime, its the little things, don't you think?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

my heart






Like every mother, every day, my heart is exposed. Growing these two little people of ours is such a big job. The bigger they get, the heavier the responsibility. Or the lighter? I am not sure which, but growing is something they have down, regardless of how I feel about it. Recently, both kids had their well checks. They have the same pediatrician, who knows them both so well. This is relevant to me, as mamma, as they are both so different. Both kids are quite tall for their ages, but Finnian isn't at the peak of the charts where I thought he was. He topped off at 88th percentile for height. Lala, though, she broke the chart. She's so tall, that their pediatrician thought the nurse had recorded her height incorrectly. He hadn't. It is her height (and the fact that this makes her appear much older than she is) paired with her youthfulness that I am navigating these days. I feel this pull between my desire to have her act as old as she looks and my relief that I don't have a little girl who acts like she is 17. And a whole lot in between, of course. My two have always been who they are, very much their own selves, but the best of friends, too. I hope this sibling connection and support remains as they grow. It is my job to help guide these two through to knowing and being confident in themselves. One just goes with the flow most of the time and the other needs a little more support navigating. I was recently directed towards information about individuals with sensory issues and I think I may have a hit a little patch of "ohhhh" to dwell on for a bit.

I have had conversation before, and again recently, about how much of this quirky parenting journey to share here on my blog. In the end, I follow my gut (and input from Mike) and hope that in sharing, a little chip is knocked away from the negatives associated with anyone that isn't "normal." (Which is everyone, by the way.)

Parenting is such a challenge of supporting our children, advocating for them, and teaching them to live confidently in what can be a harsh world (which, for me, is a little depressing). The easiest part is the love, even if it means my heart is exposed every single day.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

the birthday




Thank you, everyone, for the birthday wishes for Finnian yesterday!

The morning table waiting for him. A new crown from mamma, as he had (accidentally?) cut his old one. This one has a rocket ship on it, although I worried it looks a little like a fish. Mike and Lala didn't think so, but when Lala commented on the rocket ship, Finnian said "I thought it was a fish!"


He had been wanting a towel wrap like his sister's, so I made him one. I also made him a new calendar, as I do every year. (I make a personalized calendar, to paste photos in and record special moments.)

Lala made him a new shirt.

He got a stomp rocket for his birthday. Best energy out-put toy! It was a hit.


I think my little man had a good birthday. It was a fairly typical day, although I made a big deal out of letting him make decisions, which he seemed to like.

I had lost my camera lens in a theater, and shockingly found it (whew!), but in the interim, Lala let me borrow her point and shoot for some of these photos.

We ended the day, as always, by reading On the Day You Were Born. It makes me cry every time.

Well, a special guy's birthday down (except for the bigger family celebration) and now St. Nicholas is upon us...

Monday, December 5, 2011

4


Little Brown Mouse (I know...your response is "I'm not a little brown mouse! I'm a Finn Luca!")

I have so much and so little to say. I cannot believe you are 4. Probably, it is because you are my baby and you aren't a baby anymore. Probably, because in the last 6 months, you have grown in height and maturity in a way I didn't expect. Probably, it is because I have a mental quirk about time...its passing affects me deeply, emotionally. But at 4, you light up my days. Often with humor, sometimes now with a fierce determination and strong opinions, occasionally with volume and energy. Always with smiles.

Happy 4 my little big boy!
Love, Mamma

Friday, December 2, 2011

counting down

Now in December, celebrations commence. We will be starting (soon!) with the birthday of a very special someone in our family. Today, you can read about another celebration we have coming in my guest blog post over at Vera's The Spiral and The Lotus. (Thanks for having me, Vera!)

All it took was the flip of the calendar into December and my kids could hardly contain themselves. It was time to pull out last year's sock creation for our holiday countdown. This year, I filled each sock with a slip of paper, each saying something different and festive. We started with Bake Cookies.


Tomorrow, we are off to the Christmas celebration at one of the nearby regional parks. Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

inspired internet: november 2011


My list is quite short this month. A shame, as this time of year, there are so many good holiday prep/gift making posts. I have just been quite absorbed with my real, offline life. I hope to catch up with you all soon!Link
food:

holiday planning:
home and garden:
  • I like Erin's (tiny.twist.creative)post about organization and the links she shares. (I relate to her efforts to simplify during a busy, complicated time of life.)
parenting and education:

other inspiration:

  • Winter 2011 Rhythm of the Home is out today! This is the first time since its inception that I have not included an article. I am not sure why not. I just couldn't pull my creative juju together, but can't wait to read what others have to share!
  • Sparrow Magazine's second edition is out today, too!

And for anyone interested, as a follow up to last month, I spent $521 on our total grocery this month. This month's tally included health & body as well as chicken pet needs. I believe more than $400 of this was actual food, though. I think edibles totaled $480 this month. I am ending the month with no immediate food needs. Usually, I start the month with a long list and big first grocery bill.

Can you see the bird hiding in this photo?

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