Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Vintage Sweater

Last year, B's dad gave us a wonderful, handmade family heirloom: a sweater he had worn when he was a little boy. It now fits pretty well on D, and sure looks adorable on him. Here are a few pics (unfortunately, a little blurry):

He totally rocks it, don't you think?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Coming Soon

A sneak peek at our new venture:

After 10 years in the tea industry, my husband (along with his business partner) is opening up his very own tea shop. The doors open on Friday, and we are so excited for this new chapter!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Homemade Lip Balm

Lip balm is something I use daily, so I thought I'd try making some of my own. After B secured some lovely organic, cosmetic-grade beeswax from the farmer's market, I was ready to go. It turned out to be very easy to make... though I did end up making a huge mess. But, next time will be easier!

I used SouleMama's recipe for peppermint lip balm as a jumping off point. I wanted to do something even simpler, and love the natural scent and flavor of pure coconut oil, so I decided not to add any peppermint or other oils. I also cut the amounts in half since it was the first time I had tried the recipe.

Here are the steps I followed:

  • Melt 1.5 TB beeswax and 4 TB coconut oil (organic, unrefined for best results) in a double boiler
  • After they have cooled a few minutes but the contents are still liquid, pour into containers. I used a mix of re-used (but clean) lip balm tubes that I had been saving for this purpose, as well as small glass jars (those individual-serving jam jars that you get at fancy breakfast places).
  • After cooling to room temperature, they will solidify. You may want to store in the fridge, especially if using unrefined coconut oil.
  • As for clean-up, I read (after the fact, unfortunately) that baking soda is a great way to remove the resulting greasy mess.
I have to say, I love the results, and look forward to experimenting more with this basic recipe in the future!

Thursday, November 24, 2011


On this day of giving thanks, I would like to offer my profound gratitude to all the amazing people in my life.

To my husband B, who supports me in everything I do, who contributes so much to our household, who can always make us laugh and doesn't hesitate to do laundry or change diapers. I feel so lucky to have you as my partner in life.

To my sweet children, who teach me so much every day. Patience, humility, mindfulness, appreciation, joy in small pleasures. I still have much to learn as a parent--and love sharing the day-to-day journey with you.

To our extended family and friends, who bring so much joy to our lives. Unfortunately, many are far away... we miss you and think of you often.

To our neighbors, for their companionship and generosity. We are so happy to have gotten to know such wonderful people in our neighborhood.

To our little cat (we have not forgotten you!) who is so tolerant of the children and patiently waits until after they are in bed, when she can finally get the attention she craves.

To C's teacher and our school community, for creating such a nourishing environment in which she can learn and grow. And for helping us along on our parenting journey, as well!

To you, dear reader, for joining us as we chronicle our days.

Thank you!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Around Here

Around here, we've been...

... eating lots of soup (tonight's was a particularly smashing French lentil soup, yum)

hooray for slow cookers!

... looking out the windows as it rains, and rains, and rains

... bundling up in rain coats, rain pants, and rain boots to splash in the resulting puddles

... experimenting with grinding our own grain (thanks to a borrowed Vitamix attachment and a recent, somewhat inadvertent, purchase of 50 lbs of wheat berries)

these biscuits are HEARTY!

... hoping that our darling D will start sleeping better soon (waking up in the middle of the night and being wide awake for 2 hours? Every night for a week?! Not cool, D, not cool.)

pictured here in sleepier times

... preparing for a very low-key Thanksgiving tomorrow (just the four of us; on the menu is pot pie, Brussels sprouts and cherry crisp for dessert)

... dreaming, scheming, creating, and gathering for an exciting adventure that's about to begin (more on that soon)

...wishing everyone a very happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Yard Work

Accomplishing yard work with two little ones can be a daunting task. Sometimes I choose to wait until D is napping, since our little climber needs to be watched constantly. But usually, I try to get some work done when we are all together outside. That way, the children can see me doing meaningful work, and sometimes I even get a little bit done in the process. However, it does take some coordination:

Step 1: Get bundled up. This includes any "babies" who may be accompanying us.

Step 2: About 15 minutes later... go outside.

Step 3: Gather tools and begin to work.


Step 4: Soon enough, realize that work time is over and play time has begun.

Step 5: Come inside, take off our outdoor clothes and shoes in the sunroom, help C and D hang up their own coats. Enter the house and enjoy the warmth.

Step 6 (optional, for days when we're feeling ambitious): Sit down for a little tea party.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Coming Home

After a particularly long work week, it felt wonderful to walk through the gate to our cozy, welcoming home. And to be greeted by happy children and dinner on the table... well, I just feel like the luckiest mama in the world.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Potty Success!

We've been spending a lot of time in here these days, as D is learning how to use the potty! He is so excited about it and we've had a good amount of success, even though he's only 17 months old now. I think he's tired of diapers (we're ALL tired of diapers) and wants to be a big kid like his sis. I'm sure we'll have setbacks, but for now, this is where we are--excited and proud, even while we sit in the bathroom reading his truck books over and over ;)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Lantern Walk

On this beautiful clear, crisp autumn night, C's school had their annual lantern walk.

After the lighting of the lanterns, we walked around the nearby gardens singing the lantern songs that the children had been practicing for several weeks.

Each of us is one small light,
But together we shine bright

We then headed back to the school, guided by the light of our little lanterns and the luminous full moon, for cider, pumpkin bread and fruit by candlelight.

What a magical evening!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Autumn in the Garden

Scenes of autumn in our garden:

The blueberry bushes are so lovely!

 The Halloween pumpkins will now feed the soil in our strawberry patch.

The children are bundled up... and chasing after bubbles.

Our newly-constructed hugelkultur bed. We built the border using concrete chunks salvaged (with permission) from a construction site down the street.

Doubtful that we'll see any Brussels sprouts this fall....

Happy autumn!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

One Sweet Ride: Epilogue

D's moves with his little car have gotten more advanced... here he is scooting around while pushing a stroller. Impressive!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Building a Nest

One afternoon this past summer, C set to work busily on a project outside. She gathered up twigs, moss, and leaves and made a nice, cozy nest in hopes that a bird family might move in.

After finishing the nest, she ran around the yard telling me all about it. "The birds will say, 'where will we perch? Oh, there we go, the persons who live here made us a nest! Hooray!'"

The nest still stands. No bird family has made it their home yet (though maybe they will use the excellent cache of materials to help build their own nests). And we have no shortage of happy birds elsewhere in the garden to delight our little naturalists.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Our Root Cellar

This is our very humble attempt at storing food for the winter. If we're lucky, we have enough to last our family about 3 days so far. ;)

Our storage system, newly implemented this year, is a steel cabinet in our basement, which was salvaged (with permission!) from our neighbor's backyard. We drilled in a few holes for ventilation, cleaned it up and it became a perfect, rodent-proof vessel for food storage.

Though we didn't preserve nearly as much food as we would have liked, we did manage to put up a fair amount. We may actually have enough jam to get us through the winter (strawberry, cherry-vanilla, apple butter, pear butter, and plum), along with a few jars of pickles, a small precious jar of dried tomatoes, canned pears, applesauce, and some pear fruit leather. We also have managed to stash away some frozen peaches/nectarines, blackberries and strawberries. A good start, and hopefully next year this cabinet will be packed with an even larger bounty.

Friday, November 4, 2011

One Sweet Ride

Our little man loves to scoot around the house on his little "car" making "vroom vroom" sounds. His favorite page of our well loved "First 100 Words" books is the page with the cars. He runs to the window on garbage day to watch the trucks go by (while his sister snuggles up to us, saying, "Is it garbage day? I don't like garbage trucks").

He also loves to play with phones. And sometimes he combines these two loves. Luckily, cell phones and cars are not quite as hazardous a combination in the Land of Make-Believe.