Monday, November 24, 2008

Give Thanks.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Sometimes its easy to be caught up in the worry of our uncertain economic future and a government that has no clue how to fix the problems at hand (apparently throwing money at anyone who asks makes them feel better). Its easy now to overlook all the blessings in our lives. I found out last week that a girl I grew up with lost her full-term baby girl during the final days of her pregnancy. The news has effected me greatly... and has renewed my sense of deep gratitude for the little ones that I love and care for. I can't imagine the pain of the loss of a child. My patience has even been renewed. Even though I don't know her well now, my old friend fills my prayers and I feel incredibly blessed to have my husband, my girls and my family for this holiday season.

On a more upbeat note, I also am thankful for pie. I made apple pie, pumpkin pie and pumpkin cheesecake today. While I was making pie I let Anastasia make a pie for the birds this Thanksgiving. I made some suet which is 2 parts shortening or animal fat, 1 part peanut butter, 1 part oatmeal and 1 part bird seed. I heated the shortening and peanut butter in the microwave for 45 seconds and added the oatmeal and birdseed, then I spread it in the bottom of a pie pan (you could do this in a muffin tin too). I then let Anastasia add some of the stale items from our snack cupboard. I gave her utensils and let her make a mess. She didn't make a mess, she just ate the stale cookies. Ah well. I am sure the birds will appreciate my effort tomorrow. :)
Here is my artistic shot of our backyard in our first snow last week:

And here is Isabel waving bye:

Happy Turkey Day! Remember your blessings!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Handmade Christmas

I love these clothespin dolls from Fantastic Toys.

I am so in love with making things as Christmas gifts. I am hoping to finish up Anastasia's gnome house this week, I have also been eyeing ideas of items to make out of felted wool sweaters like this adorable forest hat by Mosey that if I made 2 of, my babies would have matching cute hats:
The hardest part is coming up with items to make my 4 nieces and 1 nephew. They are all teenagers now, and my best idea is to make little softies to hold a gift card to i-tunes or something. I am constantly turning to Etsy for inspiration. I am completely in love with these little Jollypop clothespin dolls by Allsorts. Check out her blog for some cute Christmas crafts and inspiration.

Its amazing what you can do with a clothespin and some paint! Can you guess what kind of dolls Anastasia might be getting for Christmas? :) Anyhow, I wanted to share some of my most favorite links with tutorials for excellence in handmade gift giving:

One Pretty Thing has dozens of tutorials a day featuring handmade gifts from now until Christmas.

Skip to my Lou has an entire handmade holiday section with plenty of ideas!

and lastly Melissa Goodsell has 25 Days of Christmas Crafts to check out!

I also love JoEbi's Etsy shop for some delicious Japanese fabrics and bento supplies. She also sells some cute Japanese buttons and is currently hosting a giveaway on her blog. I have ordered buttons and forest fabric from her shop and her shipping costs from Japan are excellent as well as the speed of deliery!

Sunday, November 16, 2008


We have all been sick here on our family. Anastasia first, who has been incredilbly cranky and snotty... followed by me and a stuffy Isabel and finally runny-nosed Nick. :( So I haven't felt much like posting... or cleaning or cooking or doing anything other than watch movies and surf the net all day with steaming hot beverage in hand. Anything to distract me from my scratchy throat and foggy head. My most recent distraction has been cuckoo clocks and other wonderful, German hand-carved goodies. I have decided our kitchen desperately needs a cuckoo clock. It will fit perfectly with our old handcarved shelves and real wooden cabinets that make me feel like I am in an German, fairy-tale cottage. There is something so warm and comforting about these European treasures. All I need are some lederhosen and a whole lot of money to feed my new obsession.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Mittens and fallen snow

When I was in first grade we read the book "the Mitten" by Jan Brett. The beautiful story and enchanting illustrations have stuck with me my entire life. It is about a mole who finds a mitten and crawls in... and he is followed by every animal in the forest until ultimately a tiny brown mouse is the straw that breaks the camel's back... or mitten. I now own this book for Anastasia and have read many of Jan Brett's other books courtesy of the library and have not been disappointed by a single one of them. In fact, I love reading them... even when I am having to read them over and over and over again. They are also great for Anastasia because she LOVES animals and enjoys pointing them all out and naming them.

I decided today that Santa would bring one of Jan Brett's books for each of the girls for Christmas. The books are so magical and comforting, most with a wintry theme so I thought they would seem like something elves would send to little kiddies for Christmas... if they are good of course. Anyhow, I was thinking the other day how nice a calender of Jan Brett's illustrations would be. I ended up at the author's website: where I found a free printable calender and a million other wonderful things like coloring pages and games, etc. I highly recommend you read her books, which you can find as little as 1 cent on Amazon (plus 3.99 shipping) and go to her website.

I also think I might have solved Isabel's fuss problem. I cut out milk and cut back on coffee already and it seemed she still got really upset in the evenings usually within 10 minutes of me nursing her. It seemed that when she ate again, she would get even angrier so I knew it had to be something I am eating. Well I think it is eggs! Weird huh? Eggs have become my lunch of choice since I can't have cheese or anything slathered with delicious cheese. At least I don't have to completely give up coffee, my most favorite beverage in the world.
I have been pretty lame about blogging lately, but I have had a lot of company lately (which has been great!) and have been trying to craft in my spare time. I did want to share a quick story: I was walking out of the library last week and this 70 year old woman commented on Anastasia's curly hair. First she asked me, "is her hair naturally curly?" which I have been asked about 20 times by people. If I wasn't a nice person I think it would be funny to just say, "no I torture my toddler by curling her hair everyday!" I assured the lady that it was in fact naturally curly and then she turned and looked at Isabel and her eyes got huge, "That baby has red hair!! I have never seen a baby with red hair!!!" She seemed really excited about that. I guess at 70ish it is probably rare that you come by something you haven't seen before.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Some Things To Smile About...

...In this crazy world.

Over the weekend Nick and I took a drive out to Skyline, and then my parents came yesterday and we took another drive. My mom, Anastasia, Isabel and I hiked a small 1/2 mile hike to a very pretty, but hard to photograph waterfall. It was "socked in" as the park ranger termed the overwhelming fog clinging to the mountains making it hard to see at the overlooks. It cleared up during our hike making for some fantastic views from the ridge. We are so blessed to call this area "home."

I truly hope all this will be preserved for future generations, that my children and theirs will be able to fall in love with nature in this beautiful country. Anastasia had a walking stick just like my mom. What fun!! Is there anything better than a big stick when you are 21 months old? I think not.And look who is smiling!!! At 1 month old! I call that impressive in my own biased way. Perhaps mentioning that Anastasia didn't smile until 2 1/2 months adds credibility to my personal opinion that this baby is very advanced for her age. She just seems so much older than 1 month old... maybe because she is somewhat big. She is 12 pounds already!! Wow.

I took Isabel to the doctor on Monday and the doctor asked if she was smiling yet. "Sort of I guess," was my answer as she didn't have any major smiles. Then the doctor started talking to her and she just started smiling away! It was really cute. Both my girls (and myself) love our doctor! I was a bit jealous that she got her first really big smile, but since then I have seen several beautiful baby smiles. :)

PS-I didn't realize in the picture on my previous post that the flag flying from the Statue of Liberty was upside down. Aparently that is a sign for a Nation in distress. I didn't mean to signal that with the picture and am hoping that it is not prophetic in any way. All I can say is we need to pray.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Sad Day....

I can't believe he won. The "chosen one". While our enemies rejoice, I suggest we pray. Because Bill Ayers and Reverend Wright are celebrating their victory. He won in the states that will pay the most. Ronald Regan, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson are all turning over in their graves right now. I hope that it only takes one term for us to realize that Obama is not the answer... before his socialistic policies and his crummy international ideals make our freedom less available. I know our nation is not completely hopeless, we have just been completely mislead by the media and Obama's words. I hope my children will know America as we all have. God bless the USA.