Thursday, December 30, 2010

cozy home.

Wow. Has it really been 10 days since I posted? Hope you all had a wonderful holiday week. We went from sick boy to full on holidays with family straight to a week with my husband home and lots of work around the house.

Some people look to 'spring cleaning' for their annual refresh. We usually pick the time between solstice and the new year for the big stuff. Once we are done with the holiday celebrations we like to clean, organize, refresh and get the house feeling good. It is a wonderful feeling to have a cozy beautiful house for the new year and the deep freeze inside part of the winter.

We started out with putting away the holiday decorations, cleaning and organizing. We moved on to some new furniture, spackling, painting accent walls in many rooms, and re-arranging furniture.

So, we did a bit of this,

and moved the furniture in.

And did a bit of this,

and moved the furniture in.

And did some more of this,

and on we go room to room, rearranging and fixing and painting.

The boys have a new space - they switched rooms, added some new much needed furniture, painted a wall with the color they chose (a great robins egg blue), and have it just how they want it. Everything looks so fresh.

We have a few more walls on our list to complete before the weekend is out, and then we'll just have a few other rooms to work on each weekend for the next month (or two). Ahhh. Feels good.

We are ready to ring in the new year! We plan on having a wonderful evening spent together at home - enjoying the fruit of our hard work, bringing this year to a close, and looking to the future. We have good food, fun games, and some meaningful ritual. Bring on 2011!

How do you plan to welcome the new year?


Monday, December 20, 2010

almost made it.

We almost made it to the holidays without the early winter cold bug. But not quite. A came down with a cold over the weekend, and so we are in asthma boy damage control mode, hoping to keep G from being hit too hard. While I usually can keep myself from catching colds when they are in the house, G always gets them. And this week is just bad timing!

We finished most of our crafty making, so we can just focus on snuggles and healthy little boys. Lots of warm ginger elderberry lemonade, library books, and holiday DVDs, I think!

I have had a few goodies come in the mail just in time for a week at home, too. Seed catalogs (whole garden re-work going on this year) and yarn. Perfect combo.

We are looking forward to the lunar eclipse, several more inches of snow and a beautiful solstice!


Thursday, December 16, 2010


After the blizzard comes the cold, and so we have had an awesome week mostly at home but for the quick outings to karate, the library, or to play in the snow (the roads are horrible and I hurt my back, so I'm very happy staying close!).

When the temps get really frigid the sun comes out and I love how the winter sun in the windows always gets us going and energized. The boys have had a few days of busy busy!

So much energy, so much intensity and focus - love it!

We have had board games, math games, researching, riddles, drawing and painting.

Card making, cookie baking, lots of icing and sprinkles, vintage holiday specials.

Wax molding (snails! reptiles!), snap circuits, money math, bird feeders and Pokémon.

Darts, gift making and wrapping, food chopping, anagrams, and clove-clementine pomanders.

UV experiments, black light tests, chess (or should I say beating mom in chess), LEGO, and dancing.

Tons of books, magnet experiments, leather wallet making, letter writing, Irish history and so much more!


We are waiting for a few last packages to arrive so we can finish all of the last bits of gift making - until then I see more games, numbers, experiments and books in my future! Happy Thursday!!


Sunday, December 12, 2010


Snow day! We are pretty much socked in with snow today. Sure, we could try to leave, but since last night many roads are impassable, plows are struggling and even police have chains on. The wheel loaders (aka plows) have been on our main streets, but not our alley. All of the neighbors are out with their snowblowers, and someone has cleared our sidewalk for us not two, but three times in between our own rounds of shoveling. Neighbors have gone out with shovels when seeing someone struggle to drive down the street. Everyone is chatting and waving (nothing like a blizzard to make Madisonians chipper!).

Boys are in the alley with neighbor kids digging tunnels, forts and quinzees to play in. All the while the snow continues to fall. Blizzard winds will continue and tonight will be below zero temps with up to 35 below zero windchills. Winter has arrived, and we are all happily tucked in, prepared and enjoying it all.

For some reason those twinkly colored lights in and around our homes look so much more welcoming when the snow is blowing and drifting outside. And the air just smells like pure crystal.

We bunkered down last night with games and comfort. Pokemon and Scrabble battles, dart games, word searches, and lots of snowy books and today has been spent in and out, shoveling and playing, taking breaks from the icy wind - little boys with rosy cheeks and damp snow gear hanging all throughout the hallway to dry out before the next round.

We have warm apple cider with spices simmering on the stove, hot tea, tons of board games, books from the library, the oven warming up, and a whole lot more. Just perfect for being snowed in as the winds kick into high gear and the thermometer drops.

Stay warm!


Monday, December 06, 2010


Who knew all we needed to inspire a full on boy crafting extravaganza was snow, cold and a hand drill!

Today we made a bunch of ornaments. They were super easy for kids to do, look nice, have different uses, and we played around happily this afternoon to see what we could make.

We started with a bag full of log slices (all about 1.25 - 2" in diameter), a rubber stamp and archival waterproof ink stamp pad, a hand drill, and both twine and red yarn. The boys stamped a bunch of the slices, and then also wanted to draw some snowmen using a sharpie.

They then drilled holes in the top (my boys would both happily drill holes if they could!).

They threaded twine through the holes and I tied the knots. Voila!

We also made a few batches using red yarn which look great.

For those discs they drew on, they stuck magnets on the back and now have snowman fridge magnets to gift!

Since we had a big bag of the wood slices, we also tried making some ornaments using pressed flowers and herbs from our garden. We had these ready in our press from the summer, but you can easily find pressed flowers at craft stores.

To make - using matte Mod Podge, we painted a layer on the wood, gently set the pressed plants down, and then super gently brushed a good layer of Mod Podge on the top to seal. The rest of the process was the same as the others. They look great!

We wrote the boys initials and year neatly on the back of each ornament with a Sharpie so we (and those who get some) always remember who and when!

My boys did a layer of matte Mod Podge on everything at the end (they couldn't stop! :)), but I don't think that if you are using waterproof archival stamp ink you need to seal those which were stamped ... but it can't hurt!

I love the projects that the boys can do without much help from me - it keeps them from getting bored, and they happily make away and really love that there are things THEY made which they can give to others. And these ornaments will make great presents. Of course, with kids, having something that is both simple AND looks good each and every time is just perfect for a relaxing crafty afternoon.


Sunday, December 05, 2010


"Oh the snow the beautiful snow filling the sky and earth below. Over the house tops and over the streets, over the heads of people you meet.

Dancing flirting skimming along. Oh the snow the beautiful snow how the flakes gather and laugh as they go. Whirling about in their maddening fun it plays in its glee with everyone.

Chasing laughing hurrying by it lights on the face and sparkles the eye. And even the dogs with a bark and a bound snap at the crystals that eddy around.

The town is alive and its heart in a glow to welcome the coming of beautiful snow."

Bon Hiver!


Thursday, December 02, 2010


After having a small dusting of snow (finally!) and putting up our tree, it finally feels more like winter. We love tucking in and being busy at home when the cold and snow arrives. Days full of so many 'things to do' and yet nothing much we MUST do. Snuggles, games, books, baking, making, doing. So much doing.

Lying under the tree on big fluffy pillows looking at the lights sparkle from down below while giggles, stories and songs ensue, one boy tucked perfectly into each shoulder.

Sorting a ridiculous quantity of holiday crafty materials, with the 'what can we make next'.

The almost never ending question - mom, can we decorate those cookies/gingerbread houses. Never enough cookies, never enough icing (I'm to the point of wanting to never have to smell icing again, though. wow.).

The first snowflakes (FINALLY), the birds and squirrels on our deck, and the annual return of our favorite mourning doves.

The discussions of how to get our fluffy and very opinionated rabbit to wear a mini red velvet Santa hat. Or antlers (I have thwarted them so far, though she doesn't seem very appreciative).

The writing and re-writing of the lists. Oh, the lists.

The boys making a daily 'sports hour' to compensate for being inside a bit more now that the cold has arrived. Darts, archery, trampoline, yoga ball, twister, drumming, dancing, and just running in circles full speed.

All of the science experiments and new projects the boys want to do. And sketches of all of the snow animals, forts and ramps that will be made once we get some 'real' snow.


Piano. Long plays and elaborate costumes. Story telling. Family trees. Talk of 'when they grow up'.

Planting all kinds of things to see what we get (lentils, above).

I love when we get that shift this time of year. The air, light, energy and focus just jump. Perhaps having shorter days means the daylight we do have is just - more. More energy, creativity, ideas. More snuggling and talking and sharing. Whatever it is, I'm glad it is here and am looking forward to more of all this doing.