Category Archives: Festivals and Celebrations

woolly pants

I’m not the only one in need of warm legs.  Baby Roo seems to have suddenly outgrown most of her woolly bottoms.  The other day, when I was searching about for something entirely different, I came across the sleeves and neck of this women’s cardigan (the body having been already sacrificed to a pair of slippers that I don’t believe I ever managed to post about).

I found myself wholly and entirely distracted by this discovery and my plans changed accordingly.  Actually the plan was to whip these up, quick as can be, then move on to my original project.  But after cutting them I discovered a number of small holes in need of darning, so it wasn’t a quick project after-all.  Quick enough though.  And now the girl has a super-thick pair of warm woolies, with elbow patches becoming knee pads and lots of room to grow.  To make them I simply laid a pair of her pants, folded in half, over the sleeve to see how far in to cut.  Easy.

I think most of today will be spent in the kitchen.  I’m making a turkey for the first time ever.  A couple people in the house aren’t turkey fans, but it seems there are enough now that are to warrant it.  I had several requests and the turkey roast of last year wasn’t enough to satisfy them.  I’m trying this recipe for a brined turkey, so work has to begin on it today.  It’s supposed to be very juicy.  I despise turkey that’s too dry.  There will be a couple of pies to bake today as well, and cranberry sauce.  I’ll also get up a marinade for the pot roast (for those who aren’t keen on turkey).  I might prepare the Brussels sprouts, but not cook them just yet.  And I’ll probably get the stuffing underway as well.  Yes, it will be a full day, with lots of time in the kitchen.  And lots of time to reflect on our many blessings.  Is it strange that I find cooking a large meal like this to be a somewhat meditative practice?  I tend to get lost in it and don’t find it a nuisance at all.

I don’t think I’ll be here tomorrow, so Happy Thanksgiving to all of you in the US and I hope that everyone, everywhere, has some time this week to think of the things they are thankful for.


At the Fair (part II)


mairi bird


beautiful quilt

mairi rides

flying Galen

red white quilt


galen rides

brother and sister

bumper cars 1

bumper cars 2

“Almanzo was tired of having a good time.  Three days were too much.

It didn’t seem right to be dressed up again and leaving the farm.

He felt unsettled, as he did at housecleaning time.

He was glad when the Fair was over and everything could go on as usual.”

~Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder

It was wonderful, but we ended up being there four days this year, with the dropping off and picking up of stuff and by the end I could kind of see Almanzo’s point.  Good and glad that we went, but happy and content to be back home and back to our usual routines.

There is still one more Fair post to come.  The one in which I share all of the children’s handy work that they exhibited this year.  Lovely, lovely stuff from these sweet boys of mine.


in our windows…

I’m taking part in the Holiday Home Tour, hosted by Mama Urchin.  It just seemed like a fun idea.

We’ve been in a different house for Christmas for each of the last three years, so we don’t really have a set way of doing anything.  Every year we’ve had to start fresh, figuring out where the tree should go, where to hang the stockings and so forth.  So far (I’m really not done decorating yet, it something that evolves for us over the course of the entire month), I think this is my favorite combination yet.

So, without further ado, welcome to our home!


I have just a little bit to share today, some of the things we use to decorate our windows.  The snowflakes above were a gift from my Seasons Round Exchange partner last year.  They are laser cut snowflakes, much like the ones we got for our tree, that she sandwiched between kite paper and framed.  I think she meant for them to be pieced together as a lantern, which would be very pretty, but I’ve just been propping them up in a window.  They really look nice when the sun is streaming in, which unfortunately it’s not in this photo.

Below is the door out to our stone patio, covered in the window stars that the children and I made last year.


And here is what it looks like now that King Winter has started to walk among us…


The way that the tape shows is kind of irritating, has anyone found a type of tape the is less conspicuous for hanging snowflakes and window stars and such?


T-minus 10 days and counting…


Last week someone asked me how the Christmas crafting was coming along.  I told them that if I had one child, I’d be all set, but since I have four, I’m screwed.  Which is still kind of an accurate statement.  I have gift and pajamas, all finished, for exactly one child.  But somehow I’m feeling more optimistic about it this week.  Having that one stack of things, really and truly done, no buttons to sew or anything, but totally complete, is reassuring somehow.  I don’t know if it’s that feeling or that I’ve given myself permission to relax about it a little and not get worked up, but I feel ok with things going however they end up going.


I still plan on finishing up pajamas for everyone, and hopefully a few other things.  We’ll see how it all works out.


Meanwhile, the elves are at it again…


Next year I think I’m going to make a chart, showing the direct correlation between the number of days from Christmas and the state of my house.  As the number of days left goes down, the mess multiplies.  I came down from putting the little ones to bed the other night to find my living room looking like this:


No, it did not look anything like this when I went up stairs.  And no, as it turns out, our hamper didn’t explode.  This is just what the space around Elijah Rain looks like during a creative frenzy.  No dirty laundry, honest.  Ok, well, the stuff on the drying rack is laundry, but clean laundry.  I’m trying hard to stress the importance of taking it one thing at a time.  Completely finish with that one thing or one part of a thing and then calmly put it away and move on to the next thing.  I wonder where on earth he could have picked up bad habits like this?  *ha-hem*  doot-dah-doo….

And on the other side of the room was Iain….


working on his own Christmas present.

That Elijah is a tricky one.  We’ve been working together on a gift for Iain, but we don’t get enough time alone to make it a complete secret.  We finally gave up and started working on it in front of him.  At some point Iain asked to help and Elijah consented, while refusing to tell him what it was or who it was for.  It’s pretty funny.  I think he’s kind of on to us at this point.


This year’s tree…a photo essay of sorts






back to the car




We have a lot of cinnamon-applesauce ornaments this year.  Small children who come to visit us keep trying to eat them!  They look deceptively like gingerbread.  Speaking of gingerbread, this very timely recipe makes the *best* gluten-free gingerbread cookies you will ever taste.  I think that the fresh ginger and orange zest make it particularly brilliant.


Apart from the garlands and trinkets, hand-made by my own little ones, I think my very favorite decorations on the tree this year are the laser cut wooden snowflakes.  They are a new addition for us, complements of the Etsy shop 2SkinnyGuys.  They are so very pretty!



May your days be merry and bright,




The first day of Advent and a start to our off-the-cuff Hanukkah celebration…


~A couple of pictures from last week~


Clearly, they are ready for December, even if I’m not.  I’m getting there though, partially with the help of Advent baby-steps.  And also with the promise of some actual, honest-to-goodness, day time, alone time, this weekend, with which to get some crafting done.

Yesterday’s advent treat was the making of cinnamon-apple sauce ornaments.  Oh, the house smelled so good!  We’ve always done the kind without glue, but maybe they would hold up better with?  We ran out of cinnamon and ended up adding in some rice flour, which made them too brittle, but still usable, for this year anyway.  I don’t suspect they’ll make it to next year.


We were gifted a set of Christmas dishes a couple of months ago.  Today’s task is to switch out our regular dishes for the new festive ones.

On Tuesday a friend asked me what I had planned for Hanukkah.  I think my deer-in-the-headlights look was fairly self-explanatory.  I completely and totally forgot the holiday entirely.  I mean completely.  Didn’t even cross my mind.  Even though last month I would have told you that I absolutely planned to do something to mark the festival, on account of Elijah learning about Jewish culture this year.    So…a simple, and impromptu celebration was planned.  We made latkes for lunch and talked about the frying oil putting people in mind of the miracle of the lamp oil.  We talked about the menorah, it’s symbolism and features.  I asked the two older boys to design a menorah for us out of supplies that we had around the house.  This is what they created:


I hope you are all enjoying your holiday season, however you choose to celebrate!






We’re back up and running here, after a week of having no internet access.

There are so, so many things that I am thankful for right now, far too many to count.  My heart is overflowing with gratitude for the life we’ve been blessed with.  We’ve had a wonderful holiday weekend here and I’m not ready to give up the last little bit of it, to be tied to the computer for a more official post, but I thought I would stop by and share a bit of our holiday with you.  And to say thank you for sharing this space with me.

I’ll be back soon with lots of holiday crafting to share!


The Festivals of Autumn

We’ve been busy this season, oh, so busy!  So busy, in fact, that I’ve not had time to share any of our celebrations, so here is a quick little “catch up” post.

With a third grader in the house again this year, we’ve been working with some of the Jewish holidays.  I always feel like I’d like to be Jewish in the autumn time.  Those festivals are all so beautiful.  We did mark the High Holy Days, and had some really moving conversations about forgiveness, atonement, and personal growth.  I don’t really have any pictures to show for that time and much of our celebration was of a very personal nature, but I can share some of our Sukkot celebration!

lesson book

~drawing of a sukkah from Elijah’s main lesson book~


The building of a sukkah was a special project for Steve and Elijah to work on together, but the decorating was a group effort.  They used instructions found in The Family Treasury of Jewish Holidays to build the frame, which unfortunately, had some serious design flaws (it actually collapsed.  twice.).  That book does have some nice stories in it though and really nice explanations of the different holidays.


The sukkah was very pretty once it was all decorated.

the sukkah

For Michaelmas we baked dragon bread.  We used our own acorn flour and they turned out….well….pretty gross.  But they had a lot of fun making them.


The boys took these two pictures.  The one above hasn’t been baked yet and the one below had recently come out of the oven.  I served them with “fire jam” (I took raspberry and peach jam and mixed them in a swirl in a bowl), which redeemed them a little.  But just a little.

dragon 2

One of the wonderful things about our new house is that it came with a piano, which we are greatly enjoying.  We’ve been learning seasonal songs.  At Michaelmas we learned the song “Michaelmas” found in Pentatonic Songs for Nursery, Kindergarten, and Grades 1 and 2by Elisabeth Lebret.  We learned the words, we learned to play it on the recorder and we learned to play it on the piano.  And now we’ve done the same with the song “November”, from the same book, for Martinmas (that song was actually a part of the Martinmas play that they were in last year).

stars 2

We also made felted “shooting stars” with our homeschooling group.  I think this is a lovely little project.  Instructions can be found here.



When they were finished (over the course of two weeks), we took the kids up to a magical spot, at the top of a big hill in a wide open field, to throw them.




Martinmas has been a simple family affair.  There has been a lot of singing.  A couple of days ago we carved turnip lanterns.  And tonight we’ll have our lantern walk with paper lanterns made in years past.


And next week we’ll have our harvest celebration with friends.  Here’s to many more joyous celebrations yet to come!