Category Archives: Festivals and Celebrations

Two Dwarves, a Mouse and a Flower Fairy…

I should so be in bed right now, I really, really should, but I’m up making squash cookies instead.  I guess I’m not yet out of the habit of staying up late with sweets.  But, hey, if I bake at night, while everyone else is asleep, I get to lick the spoons for once.  If that’s not worth a little missed sleep, well then I don’t know what is…

As promised…

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I present you Thorin and Filli, from The Hobbit.
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They made their own costumes again this year.  These two boys of mine are just awesome. Really, what more can I say??  They are constantly making me smile.

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On  to the mouse…

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Not just any mouse, mind you, but one Mr. Jeremy Mouse (any Tiptoes fans out there??).  Little Jeremy is a bit pouty in these pictures because Mommy couldn’t find her face crayons in order to give him proper whiskers (I improvised with lipstick for his pink nose!).  Poor little mousling!

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The pattern is Kwik Sew 2711, which doesn’t include a mouse variation, but I used the cat and altered it to make it mouse-like.  With an extra long tail that doubles as a scarf.  Practical mommy, silly, ridiculous, person that she is, wanted to make a shorter tail, but dear little Jeremy would have none of that.

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And the Wee Fairy Girl.

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I had no idea where I was going with this costume until I got there.  The consensus was that she was to be a flower fairy.  I asked around and that was the idea that everyone liked.  Originally, she was to be a black-eyed-susan fairy, but somehow along the way she became a rose fairy.

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I had and idea for the dress, but I wasn’t sure how I wanted the crown to be.  I played around with making one of these.  It turned out much larger then I was anticipating…and then I had no idea what to do with it.   But I had made it, so I wanted to use it…

In the end I wove it into a crown and just let it be, though up until the very last minute, I was still thinking, “maybe I should add some leaves, or undo it altogether and use it somewhere else…”    flower 3

The dress I whipped up on the fly being inspired by, but not in possession of this pattern.  And the wings are nothing more then some scrunched crinoline and fold-over elastic.

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Both the costumes I made were almost entirely from things I had around (everything except for the supplies for the crown and the crinoline) and that heavily influenced what I opted to make.  Well, maybe not what, because they made that decision, but how.  I’ve been trying to focus on getting creative with what I already have.  Everyone seemed content with the results (lack of whiskers aside), so all is well.

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Halloween

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Above is where I was at around 2:00 a.m. on the 30th, with the main celebration planned for later that day.  But it all came together and by party time, we were ready to go.

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Jack ‘o lantern pinata, made by Iain, for the little kids…

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Bat pinata, by Elijah, for the older kids…

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Instructions here.

pumpkins

And 14 tiny pumpkins, made by me.

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Made from various scrapes of yarn and different sized needles, using this pattern.  The ones that look like ‘baby boo‘ pumpkins are my favorites!

pumpkins 2I’m going to try to share costumes tomorrow!

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Camp Trueheart

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arrowheads

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The children and I have been involved in a very special project this summer.  We call it Camp Trueheart.

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In preparation for next year’s third grade Native American studies, I’ve asked some of our native friends to act as a sort of tutor to us all.  We’ve been meeting several times a week for the last month.

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I really didn’t feel like I did this block justice when Iain was in third grade.  This is one of the things that I truly love about homeschooling multiple children.  When you feel like you haven’t covered something thoroughly enough, you have another shot at it when the next child reaches that stage!

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And this has been so much better then anything that I could have done.  They’ve gotten to handle sacred objects, witness the Planting of the Corn ceremony and a Naming Ceremony; we’ve made medicine bags and dream-catchers.  They’ve had target practice with both bow and arrow and atlatl.  They’ve run obstacle courses to test their agility.  They have sat and listened while the Chief plays beautiful music on his hand carved flute.

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These are all memories and lessons that will stay with them for a very long time, I am sure.

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the Compilation Skirt

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For: My sister Rachel on her 18th birthday

Pattern: inspired by both the Twirly Skirt and the Lazy Days Skirt but changed around to be for a grown girl

Fabric and Notions: hand-me-down fabric from my mother-in-law, an assortment of notions and ribbons, some vintage, some new

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My mother-in-law sent over a box of fabric a little while ago and this fabric with all the purple and the batik made me think of my girl.  Isn’t she lovely?  And don’t you want to borrow those shoes?  (I know I do.  cute, cute!)  Galen made her the necklace that she’s wearing.

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She was my first baby, you know.  The first baby that I tucked up in a snugli or cuddled into my bed (and yes, it’s quite true that I’ve been baby wearer and bed sharer since middle school).

And now she’s gone and grown up on me.  sigh.

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She’s off to school, far, far away and that is so not ok.  But all the same it’s the way it has to be, so we’ll all adapt and move forward.

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I’m so glad that she was here for one last visit though.  And that that one last visit happened to coincide with her birthday.  AND, I’m also glad that the warmer then usual summer meant that the peaches ripened earlier then usual, so that I could bake her a peach upside down cake.

cake with candles

I have so much love and many hopes and dreams for my baby girl as she goes out into the world.  Here’s to bright futures, safe travels, thrilling adventures, and remembering to write home!

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eight

“Now Elijah is eight and he has teeth like a shark.  He’s full of giggles and likes to play jokes on people.  He sings in a choir and reads everything he comes across.  He likes to go fishing and play baseball.  He carves little gnomes and makes beautiful pictures of robins.  Elijah has grown strong and beautiful, smart and kind and we are happy to be here with him on his 8th birthday. “

~excerpt from “Elijah’s Rainbow Bridge Story” (for more of Elijah’s Rainbow Bridge story, see here, here and here)

birthday table~birthday table~

us~Me and my Middlest Boy~

~He of the Goofy Grin (he never seems to get that gap toothed grin that other kids get.  His adult teeth always come most of the way in before his baby teeth fall out.  Currently his middle top teeth are being pushed way forward by the adult teeth behind)~

robin~little robin by Galen~

With all of the sewing and photography updates from over the weekend, I never did get around to posting about Mr. Elijah Rain’s birthday (and since then I’ve been busy… *blush* bopping around checking out everyone else’s giveaways).

rocker board

~experimenting with his new rocker board~

rockerboard 2 again

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Gluten free pie crust recipe in progress (and other birthday things)

Today was the second of Mr. Elijah Rain’s three 8th birthday celebrations.  The first was a garden party with his grandparents and aunt, while we were in Pennsylvania (there was a dress code and everything.  any excuse for a bit of bow tie wearing you know).

His actual birthday (next Saturday) will be a quiet family affair; favorite foods, gifts from us and if the weather cooperates, some family baseball at the park.

Today was his official birthday party.  Shared birthday party actually.  He turns 8 a mere 10 days after his good friend.  Just our two families; eight kids playing, in and out of the house, two mamas cooking together, and no one really fussing or stressing about anything, made for one very low-key satisfying day.  The simple shared “party” was a Good Idea.  One that we might just have to repeat next year.

My boys made this set of gnomes for the other birthday boy (inspired by this post).  I think the one below is my favorite.

And I made pie, at my own birthday boy’s request; one cherry and one strawberry-rhubarb.  I came up with this off-the-cuff pie crust recipe.  I’m considering it a work in progress, because I still might want to tweak it a bit.  But all things considered, I think it was pretty darn good.  Of all the gluten free pie crusts I’ve made in the past,  I think this one was closest to a gluten crust in texture.

Gluten free pie crust

1 1/2 C white rice flour

1/2 C almond flour

1/2 C arrowroot

1/2 C potato flour

2 T sugar

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. xanthan gum

Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl.  With a fork or pastry cutter, blend in:

1 C palm oil “shortening”

until dough forms little crumbs.  Add in:

1/2 C cold water mixed with 2 T. apple cider vinegar

Let dough chill in the refrigerated for around an hour.

When I took it back out, it was a little dry.  I re-hydrated it a bit by kneading in some additional water.

Gluten free pie crust can be difficult to work with at times, as it has a tendency to crumble.  I like to roll mine out on a floured Silpat Baking Sheet (parchment paper works too), with some flour sprinkled on top.  You need to roll the dough slowly and carefully, flouring more if needed to keep it from sticking to the rolling pin.  Always roll from the middle out, to keep it even (otherwise you end up with a thick middle and thin edges!).  I like to keep a bowl of water nearby, and every time a creak starts to develop, I seal it up with a bit of water (sprinkle a little flour on top to keep the wet spot from sticking to the rolling pin).

This recipe makes enough for a top and bottom crust for one pie.  After you assemble your pie, you can brush the top with oil, melted butter or lemon juice and sprinkle it with sugar if you like.  Whenever I have extra pie crust leftover, I let the kids roll it out and cut it into pieces, then we either sprinkle it with a bit of sugar or add a dollop of jam for a little pre-pie treat.

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Galen’s birthday crown

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For his first birthday I made him a crown of baby’s breath, I’m not sure why I didn’t make him a more official one for his second and for his third, I made the decision not to because I was trying not to over-extend myself with a new baby in the house.

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But for his fourth birthday, the Goosey-Boy finally has his crown.

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Which he has no desire to wear.

But he says he likes to look at it.

Good enough I guess.

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And Yesterday…

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I think all weekends should be three day weekends, don’t you?  Really, two days aren’t enough.  By the time you are done finishing up everything from the last week and preparing for the next week, it’s Monday morning already.  That extra day is needed for actual down time or recreation.  Sadly, I think my chances of convincing corporate America at large of the virtues of a three day weekend are pretty slim.  Oh, but I will take them, whenever they come my way, in all of their extended glory.  This time it even got extended a bit further in a way because Steve worked from home today on account of the weather.

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So, what’s so great about long weekends??  TIME!  Time to be together.  All of us, some of us, doing something, doing nothing.  This one was extra fabulous because we actually managed to pull off a relatively kid free at home date night, complete with yummy dessert and a movie.  We pulled the futon mattress into the fireplace room (otherwise known as what will be the office, or my studio, if I can only convince people to humor me in referring to it as such, but what currently passes for the least set up room in the house).  There is nothing quite so blissful as quiet time by firelight with the one that you love.  You would think that after nearly 12 years now, I’d be sick of his company, but I’m not a bit.  He just keeps getting better and we keep getting better.  It’s ridiculous really, how giddy he still makes me.

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Monday, our bonus day (!), we took the kids ice skating.  It was really Galen’s first time on a real for real rink, not just an uneven puddle in the yard.

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I took Baby Roo for a joy ride around our CSA, in a borrowed wagon.

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We had a salad that I packed in the car.  I’m somewhat obsessive about salads at this time of year, I just find that I crave them, especially with arugula.  Now that there are winter greens coming in from local farms (thanks to green houses and hoop houses), there is no reason not to go serving huge salads all the time.

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We ate on the way to the garden center.  We get the kids little gifts for Valentine’s Day every year and this year we decided to let them each pick out their own little houseplant.  Something to cheer up the house a bit.  Our old house was a notorious killer of house plants.  They couldn’t take the extreme temperature changes and spotty watering.  We lost many of our favorites in the years that we were there and now seemed as good a time as any to replace them.

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It was so good to be surrounded by green and growing things!  We came home with primroses all around.  In the future I must remember the importance of having flowers in the house during the winter months.  It makes life seem ever so much more pleasant.  I used to grow paper whites every year (why ever did I stop??) and force forsythia of course because we had such huge clumps of it at our old house.  I think primroses are going to be the new February favorite from here on out.

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You know it’s a little thing, but lately I’ve found myself experiencing moments, flashes, of transcendent joy.  I guess that’s not such a little thing after all.  To be perfectly honest, there are moments of sadness too.  I think I kind of had to numb myself to make it through some of the last several months and I’m really glad to be coming out of that space (even when it means coming to terms with certain sorrows as well).  It feels good to realize that my heart is unfurling again, like a butterfly from a cocoon now that the necessity of hibernation is past.  It’s good too, to very clearly know and feel that all I really want or need out of life to be happy is being with these people that I love.  If I just get to do that; to be with them and have them stay healthy and well, I think that I may just be that happiest woman alive.  Really and truly.  Not just because I’ve been so blessed with their presence, but because I am further and profoundly blessed with knowing just how wonderful that truly is.

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