Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Hitting the Trail

We're hitting the road for a few days to see friends and family and usher in a new year, but before I go I wanted to wish each and every one of you a year full of happiness, health, and possibility.  I'm so thankful for your comments, your friendship, and your inspiration.  You each make my world a brighter place.

Happy New Year!!


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Winter Walking

After a busy holiday of frantic gift-opening, sugar-fueled kids, and running to and fro to various gatherings, I was only too happy to get a chance to escape to the woods today.  I left the honey in charge of the wee ones, grabbed my snowshoes, and went out to explore the 20" or so of new snow on the ground.

The patterns of the snow-covered branches snaking across the sky was almost dizzying. 

The palette of bark and snow was only occasionally broken by rust-colored leaves, a glimpse of blue sky, a clump of moss, and this surprising find...

...shocking red berries against the white.  I think this may be a Winterberry shrub, but I'm not sure. (UPDATE - it seems that these are viburnum trilobum or a highbush cranberry, which is edible.  Can you guess who will be making highbush cranberry jam next year?) 

I've made it a habit when I'm woods-walking to stop from time to time and look back.  Often I'm surprised by what I see that I had walked right past the first time. 

My boys call this the bridge tree and look for a troll everytime we walk past it.

It was really lovely to have a little quiet time, and the weather was just perfect for it too.  I'm so glad I took advantage of it.  I hope you've enjoyed our walk today, and find a little quiet time yourselves.

Happy Sunday! 

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays To You

Our dream of a white Christmas is here.  We have 7" of new snow on the ground with the promise of more tonight.  We'll be cuddled in front the fire celebrating the baby's 1st birthday, and eagerly awaiting the arrival of the man in red.

Wishing all of you a wonderful holiday season, however you choose to celebrate it, and lots of warmth, happiness, creativity, and joy for the coming year.

The very best wishes to you and yours.

xo Lisa

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Baking and Beans (but not baked beans)

The annual cookie-a-thon has begun in my house.  Each year I bake cookies as gifts so about a week before Christmas the house begins filling with the scent of spices and sugar.   I have a favorite that is really easy to make and delish, so I thought I'd share.  It's a standard oatmeal cookie recipe, but I like to add dried blueberries or cherries and pecans.  ( NO raisins.  blech!!)   Combined with a bit of cinnamon and vanilla, it's pure heaven when paired with a good cuppa coffee.

Here's the recipe:

Oatmeal cookies

2/3 c. granulated sugar
2/3 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. softened butter
1/2 c. shortening
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
3 cups oats
1 c. flour
1 c. dried blueberries, cherries, or cranberries
1 c. pecans

Mix all ingredients except oats, flour, fruit, and nuts in a bowl.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2" apart onto an ungreased (or parchment lined) baking sheet.  Bake at 375 for 9-11 minutes.  Remove immediately to a wire rack.

I have a couple of young helpers at home and while they do looove to help with the baking, sometimes I need a distraction so I can just crank out some dough.  Today I gave them a mixing bowl and dried beans to play with.  Are they going to make a mess?  Yes.  Do they love it?  Yes.  Hey, they're beans.  I can just sweep them up, no problem.

They inevitably moved from playing with the community bowl to other areas of the house.  Once they start making crop circles on the floor with the beans, I try to sweep them up lest we find beans throughout the house until New Years.

What to do once you sweep them up?  Craft!  We glued ours onto some egg gourds I had, added a ribbon, and dubbed them ornaments. 

So that's that.  All in all a good day of baking and beans.  What did you do today?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Yes Deer

We had visitors today.  I was sitting in the living room with the kids, making a blanket fort when the mighty four year old said "Look mommy... deer."  Sure enough, there were two deer casually sauntering past our window.  The boys stayed quiet and still (I was so proud of them) while I dove for my camera. 

They carefully picked their way through the back yard, past the chicken coop, and to the trail that runs through the back woods and off into the county land.  

We commonly see their footprints in the driveway, but rarely see them out in the open during the day; and never this close to the house, so this was a real treat. 

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, December 14, 2009

Princes and Princesses

I did some holiday crafting this weekend and whipped up some presents for my nieces and nephews and my two youngest sons.  Last year I made them all superhero capes, but this year I decided they should get wool crowns.  I didn't have a pattern to work from, just a vague idea of what I wanted them to look like so I drew a template on a piece of paper, grabbed a pile of felted coat wool, and started winging it. 

I handsewed the details, but machine sewed the crown together.  Let me tell ya, me and the machine...we don't see eye to eye...  but I managed to get everything sewn together anyway.  I added a few different button holes so the crowns are adjustable.   Elastic would work perfectly, but I didn't have any on hand so I dove into my button stash instead.

My 3 year old requested a yellow bird on his, and I still have to make one for my 4 year old who has very stringent directions for me....ocean, blue, beach, 1 palm tree, a starfish, green fish only, and sparkles.  Alrighty... 

I'm hoping the kiddies like them as much as I do.   What handmade goodies are you giving this year?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Taking Time

I'm taking a little bit of time off from my Etsy shop in order to spend some quiet time with my family.  Last year at this time I had the honor of being Etsy's Featured Seller, was expecting my 4th child, and was feeling the pressure to get a lot of things done in a short period of time.  This year I decided that I would make different use of my time.  I have a number of projects that I'd love to finish for my family (some that have been in the works for *ahem* months), which I plan to do slowly, more baking and story time with the kids, more relaxation time, more heyjustslowdownaminuteandbreathe time.

While the shop will be empty, I'll still be popping in here with this and that, sharing new projects, recipes, and the like.  Hey, in fact, here's the start of a holiday gift for my little nephew.  I'll be sharing the rest of it soon.

  I hope you take some time to breathe during this busy season too.

See you soon!   

Monday, December 07, 2009

Pom Poms Please!

A few days ago I had seen the pom pom tutorial that Margie from Resurrection Fern had put together and thought it would be a fun project for me and the kids to work on.  I really liked her organic looking version and even though I'm not a pom pom person so much, I had to try it out. 

Little did I realize that I would have so much fun making them.  3 hours.  3 HOURS I made pom poms.  Who knew?  Who knew my husband would have to utter the words "put down the pom pom and come and eat dinner"?  The kids loved them too.  They became fuzzy nunchucks in their hands and they gleefully walloped each other with them.  Even the baby enjoyed spinning them around.  I plan to make more to adorn my nieces' and nephews' holiday gifts, a few for decorations, and of course more for the kids to play with. 

My favorite of all of them were the ones made of handspun yarn.  They look like furry anemones.  Like some little fish should back right in there and call it a home. 

I experimented with different shapes and sizes of pom pom template-thingies and made a gigantic one that is roughly the size of my son's head.  It is the most coveted pom pom of the lot, presumably because the boys can make a serious impact when whacking the other with it.  (I have since put this one up out of kidlets' reach)

If you have some spare yarn around, you should definitely try this out.

Happy Nunchucking!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Checking in on the Acorn Rainbow - December 2009

It's been a month since I last checked in on my acorn rainbow project.  As anticipated, there isn't much acorn activity to be seen now that the snow has started to fall, but the soft powder that covered the stump was incredibly sparkly and beautiful today.  The kind of snow in which you can see each individual snowflake... a visual treat for sure.

Some wee woodland creature scampered right across the stump and left his mark.  Perhaps he's the little bandit that's been running off with the acorns.  I hope he has them strung up like Christmas lights in his den somewhere.

I'll check back in on the acorn rainbow in the spring, and I'm already curious to know if any remain.

Until then...


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