December 15, 2014

My version of "The Nutcracker"

Magical!  Oh this past Saturday was magical!  It was the boys very first viewing of "The Nutcracker" and man oh man did it live up to my extremely high expectations of it delighting my children.

I've been angling to get Bear and Ace to "The Nutcracker" for some years now.  I wanted them to feel it's magic (how many times can I mention that descriptor in this post?!), and clamor for it each year thereafter.  Judging by their enamored reaction, I'm certain this will become a long standing holiday tradition.

As the curtain rose, Champ pointed out to me that we were about to sit still-as a family-FOR ALMOST 2 HOURS!- during the Christmas season.  Why yes!  "The Nutcracker" is an elixir at face value, but it was also hypnotic due to it's unexpected offering this weekend: a chance to sink happily into a holiday dreamland.  No cares, no schedules, no place to be for a full evening.  This year especially, it was such a welcomed reprieve.  Lots going on here these days, even as we daily reset to keep focused on our faith and the great birthday celebration only days away.  Prioritizing can only get one so far though, I know what to focus on, but it does not mean my heart won't race toward all the things I'm not doing or have yet to do.

I tell you gang, this is the tip that hit me full on this weekend: continue to sort through what's important to you during this holiday season.  Stick to it, but don't be surprised if MAGIC penetrates through your plans when you least expect it.  There is always room for more magic, don't you think?  And what better time for it to appear with all it's snow tinted glitter, and downy fluff feathers, and hot cocoa smiles, and red cinnamon flames than during Christmas?

December 12, 2014

Moments with Mutts

Because of my dogs, I'm committed to finding animal inspiration in the day to day moments.  What animals inspire you? Share your stories and links in the comments!   

Huckle had a birthday and he invited two of his most favorite Vermont gals to attend.  We think he turned 4, but perhaps the celebration is more important than the number?  All dogs I have ever owned are adopted, therefore their birthdays tend to be sketchy.  I give them a date for celebration by picking the holiday closest to our adoption date; most of the time this involves saints since us Catholics really like to have feast days for saints.  In Huckle's case his birthday falls on St. Nicholas Day.   Always such a good kick off to our Advent Season!

The boys leave out their shoes to hopefully be filled with small 
treats from Saint Nicholas.  This year they were delighted to each find a small telescope among their gifts.

The Links:

This could be my mantra

entertaining because it doesn't even make sense

- "King" creates his own weather report (what I love about this clip is the meteorologist- a pit bull comes flying at him, but he responds with love and humor, not fear and terror.)

The Dogs:

*edited to add: so power's back, buy my internet is still a little wonky.  When I created this post, HTML and I had a fight, and the coding totally won.  Bear with my stark, simple sentences and misplaced spaces.  By next week things should be back in order.

December 10, 2014

Not the harshest of conditions

Ice and snow are having their way with us up here in Vermont.  It's pretty.  It's difficult. That blurry 6yr old snowmobiler loves it.

This is our second day without power; the phone line went today as well, BUT notice the dining room light.  It's on!  For the first year ever we have a generator; we currently have a few other guests in our house, so that generator is particularly beloved these days!  It helps us meet the bare minimum of luxury and since blogging does not equate there, I really must keep this short.

Life has been keeping Champ and I moving along rapidly with our hands clasped in prayer.  It began near Thanksgiving with prayers of gratitude gleefully screamed across our dinner table (it had been a particular year for some of us), morphed into a high pitched plea when we heard news that Mark's grandfather was in the hospital under serious conditions and that another family member had recently passed away.  It has now balanced out to a daily check in with my Maker:

Dear God thank you for my life.  For the ability to up and run to be at a beloved's bedside states away- an ability only available because my parents unflinchingly switched their travel plans for me. For friends helping us at home, and for us helping them while they create their new home.  For birthdays and babies and strong, good lives remembered.  For great grandparents who can derive so much pleasure from my impish boys and for a great grandad who continues to methodically beat the odds.  And for generators.  Thank you very much God for generators.  Keep me focused and strong, compassionate and understanding.  Remind me that it's ok that I'm unable to use my ELECTRIC oven in this season of Christmas cookie making because really, that's not what this season is about anyway.  You might need to remind me more than once, but I promise it will eventually sink in and I will be all the better for it. 


December 01, 2014

You May Proceed

That Thanksgiving prep work kept me moving at a clipped pace, and this week promises to deliver the same as there are some behind the scenes things to attend to.  In an attempt to stay true to this year's family motto of "Stay Calm" (I will be the family member to struggle the most with that concept, by the way), I will proceed through this week in as organized a fashion as I can muster.  Perhaps I will not be back in this space for a few days, but don't fret.  I will have soup wherever I am because it's one of the most nourishing, comforts food I know of.  And times like these require homemade soup.

There's my pot of turkey carcass goodness.  Soon enough it will be a sustaining broth for the week.   Do you still have some Thanksgiving bones kicking around?  You should follow my lead; it's worth it since you never know when the day's gonna call for soup.  If you need a crash course, two good places to start are:

"Soup and Bread" by Crescent Dragonwagon
and "Nourishing Broth" by Sally Fallon and Kaayla Daniel

My friend M, gave me the Fallon book for my birthday and I owe her a big thank you (thank you, M!).  I've been making soup stocks for quite some time, but the tips in this book raised my finished products to a heavenly level!

Carry on everyone.

November 26, 2014

Acorns for Thanksgiving

Bear AND Champ are home all day tomorrow: an easy reason to be thankful as we slip and snowy slide into Thanksgiving.  The boys and I got all crafty this afternoon so that tomorrow I can hang in the kitchen for a good amount of time; jamming to music and cooking up a storm.  For me, this is an obvious holiday to get excited about and that's not even including the excitement of Gluttony Bowl.

On to our crafts... this year Bear and Ace did a few simple ones centered around acorns.

They painted some wooden ones to place on leaves for our guests. The leaves we collected in the woods, then I shellaced them and flattened them in a very heavy, thick book.  Any guesses on it's title?

Bear designed the place cards by drawing branches ripe with the ever classic- fingerprint acorn.

We finished up with one more acorn craft- an oatmeal/coffee art project.  Our version had no paint involved, and Bear added a stamped message on his for all of you...

Happy Thanksgiving!

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