Wednesday, December 31, 2008
My wish for you all is a good old Irish Blessing:
May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields and,
Until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
All of the very best to you and yours, and we'll speak again in the new year.
Monday, December 29, 2008
Saturday, December 27, 2008
I'm from Alaska, but I still wasn't interested in driving in the mess of our streets. Where I grew up the streets were plowed before we woke up in the morning, and my dad would plow our driveway while we were getting ready and before we left the house. Here a dusting of snow causes people to freak out. We had 19". NINETEEN INCHES. i think they make a big gulp that tall. We did have some pretty amazing drifts from the snow, and there seems to be no system for clearing the streets here as it is basically NEVER necessary. We've lived here over 12 years and have only seen it snow a couple of times, and it is almost always gone by morning. Our nineteen inches of snow basically shut down the city. People were driving down the streets the wrong way, driving down the MIDDLE of the streets, blowing through red lights, WALKING down the middle of the road with cars stopped behind them, then later driving 50 on the freeway with their CHAINS ON. For REALS.
We stayed in and made things! Cookies, ornaments, Christmas presents, cards... We had family with us, lots of bustle and hustle and NOISE and fun and love. Here are a few of the things we made. The cookies were SO good. They are from my all time favorite cookbook The New Basics Cookbook
Everything I've made from this cook book over the last 20 years has turned out perfectly. I'm obsessed (yes, I'm sick of hearing people say they are obsessed with things, too, but it is late and I can't think of a better way to describe it) with refrigerator cookies right now. How great is it to have a roll of dough in the fridge all ready to slice and pop in the oven? I don't have to spend the whole afternoon baking, I can just bake one sheet and be done. I also made these a couple of weeks ago, and rolled them in candied ginger, brightly colored sugars, and rolled them out and layered them with yummy jam.
We also used Martha's instructions for making Cinnamon Applesauce ornaments. As we were decorating the tree, my 3 year old daughter was reading the names on the ornaments, and there were a disproportionate amount with H names to the M names. H made some of these in his preschool class two years ago, so we made lots more, had a great time doing it, and Miss Mae will have lots of ornaments made by her on our tree! Obviously we didn't use the bird templates.We'll run some ribbon through them and have them ready to hang on the tree next year. They were very easy to make and smell wonderful! The instructions say to roll them to 1/4" thick, but I think 1/2" would have been better. And make sure you keep flattening them as they tend to curl!
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Because of the crappy economy, and baby number three in our household, our Christmas is being WAAAAY scaled back this year. I've decided to MAKE gifts for my parents and the kids. The kids main gifts from Santa are going to be bean bag chairs that I'm making from Simply Sewing with a French Twist. They are sort of squarish instead of a big circle. At our house, Santa's gifts are not wrapped, but set around under and on the tree. This means the kids can't know I'm making them, and I have to work on them after bedtime and when they are in school. DID I MENTION THE SNOW DAYS WE ARE HAVING?? ugh. Christmas is getting close!
I'll take pictures as i go and post them. I've had this book forever and never made anything out of it. It'll be fun to see if I can make something from her notes and tiny drawings. I've never made anything from instructions without a pattern. And I'm going to try REALLY hard to just follow her directions. I usually get caught when I try to change everything and then don't have the directions to get me out of the hole I've dug myself!
Okay, back to cleaning my house!!
Friday, December 12, 2008
Nine ladies dancing,
Dove Lewis and A.B. were breeders of standard poodles, Yorkshire terriers, and shitzus.
This is just SO important!! Please read it and write to your local officials!!!! Obviously we have to be safe. We can't be making things in our homes loaded with lead or make things that would harm our children. "But this year, the CPSC passed the ill-conceived Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act which goes into effect in two months and will absolutely decimate the small toy manufacturers, independent artisans, and crafters who have already earned the public trust." This is from Cool Mom Picks. Apparently this could also affect all of us who make ANY children's products.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Fiiiive gooolden riiiings,
Fo-our calling birds,
Three french hens,
Two-ooo turtle doves,
and a partri-idge in a pear treeeeee!
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
The first show was only an hour and a half long, so my husband took the kids for a drive and a milkshake while I stayed at the show. Baby O. apparently cried the whole time. When they came to get me, he couldn't have been happier! Smiling hugely and he actually laughed for the first time, as if nothing had bothered him for the last hour.
The second show I had help from friends, so my husband stayed home with H. and Miss Mae, and I took baby O. with me. He has had a little "witching hour" crying fits for the first couple of months of his life, but he seemed to be over them. And I thought he'd hang out with us while we manned the table. WELL. He decided to have the worst screaming fit of his short LIFE while we were setting up. Then he decided to be happy DURING the show and take a nap, and then as soon as I put him down to start loading everything, he thought he'd try to beat the original screaming fit. SERIOUSLY. UGH. When he cries I completely lose it - I can't concentrate, I can't understand what people are saying, I just want to hold him. I was battling with myself: I needed to get set up, and out of there and out of everyone's way, I didn't want to bother people with the screaming, I didn't want my friend, who came to help me, have to do EVERYTHING while I held my baby, and I was mortified that I couldn't calm my own baby! Thank God my friend Shannon DID come with me. I do not know what I would have done with out her!! It was very difficult. I didn't leave him with my husband, because I'm nursing him often enough that I couldn't be away from him that long, and we haven't gotten the whole pumping and bottles thing down yet.
While we were setting up and I was freaking out and trying to calm my body so that baby O wouldn't feel how tense I was, and this angel woman appeared out of nowhere and offered to hold him. Should I hand my baby to a stranger? Would she just walk out the door with him?? And mostly I really thought he wouldn't calm down with her because I'M the only one he calms down with. "I'm a doula," she said. What did I do? I hand him to her. What did HE do? He STOPPED CRYING. I was able to set everything up and he was happy with her. She even LOOKED like an angel. Then during the clean up and put everything away phase, and screaming bout number TWO, she appeared AGAIN! And off he went with his angel to wait for me to finish.
I can't thank her enough. If you need an angel, check her out: http://www.pamperedmomma.net/ . She is calm and lovely and obviously has a way with babies!! and mamas!!
The PROs of owning my own business, are that I could lay on the couch when I was ill from morning sickness, and let the business take a back seat to pregnancy, and be able to lay low for a couple of months when baby O. came home with us. I can work when I CAN - when the kids are asleep, or my husband is home.
The Cons?? The shows this weekend, and the horrible guilt I can load on myself when my poor baby is screaming and I can't just walk away with him to hold him.
Eight Maids A-Milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
fiiiive gooolden riiiings,
fo-our calling birds,
three french hens,
two-ooo turtle doves,
and a partri-idge in a pear treeeeee!
I am sure going to have this song down by the time these twelve days are over! Maids a-milking could refer to the eight beatitudes, romance, or proposals of marriage.
We are going to focus on St. Jude's Children's' Research Hospital for day eight of our Twelve Days of Christmas. St. Jude's is a medical center and it is a research hospital. Some of the greatest research in cancers, some acquired and inherited immunodeficiencies, sickle cell disease, infectious diseases and genetic disorders, is happening here. And every child is accepted for treatment with out regard to their ability to pay. I cry just thinking about it - how sad i am for those sick kids, how beautiful it is that they can be helped no matter how much money they have, how beautiful those people are who are accepting them and not caring about money. My mom is named after St. Jude - her mother was always very close to St. Jude. We can make a difference by donating to them. And of course, I will send 15% of any purchase to them - just email me if they are your choice after check out, and I will take care of it.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Seven Swans A-Swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Fiiiive goooolden riiiiings,
Fo-ur calling birds,
Three french hens,
Two turtle doves,
and a paaaartri-idge in a pear treeeee.
Our seven swans can represent the seven Blessed Sacraments, royalty, or, again, a tasty part of a feast, although in England, no one EATS the swans anymore, thank goodness. Today is the last of the birds from the song. If our true love were really to gift us this many birds, we'd have TWENTY EIGHT birds!! That is quite a feast!!
I had a table at two shows this weekend, and got some great donations to our charities! I'm going to be so happy to send off those checks! The shows wiped me out, and I took a long nap this morning (after not being able to sleep past 4 am, ugh) so I'm finally getting this up today.
Today's charity is Autism Society of America. Here is their statement:
- ASA, the nation’s leading grassroots autism organization, exists to improve the lives of all affected by autism. We do this by increasing public awareness about the day-to-day issues faced by people on the spectrum, advocating for appropriate services for individuals across the lifespan, and providing the latest information regarding treatment, education, research and advocacy.
Autism seems to be on such a rise today. Are there really more cases? Are the cases just document better? And the spectrum is SO huge! I've read articles about adults being diagnosed for the first time when their children were diagnosed. I think we all know people who are affected by autism. Let's support them. Here is a way to get involved. You can donate here.
And as always, with every purchase you make at http://www.catinanapron.com/, I'll donate 15% to the charity of your choice from our list. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll take care of it.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
SIX Geese a-laying
fiiiiive goooolden riiiiings,
fo-ur calling birds,
three french hens,
two-oo turtle doves,
and a partri-idge in a pear treeee....
Our gift of geese can either represent the 6 days of creation, or the fact that geese mate for life (although the males seem to mate with MANY girl geese for life - lifetime POLYgamy instead of monogamy...), or 6 sturdy egg laying domesticated animals providing us a good supply of food in eggs as well as potentially more males for eating, OR even protection as some considered them early security systems with all of their honking at strangers.
We celebrate day six with The Children's Aids Fund located in Washington DC. This group supports children and families living with AIDS. "Since the beginning of the epidemic, many have rightfully focused on research to find treatments, vaccines, and hopefully a cure. To complement that effort and provide tangible immediate assistance for those dealing with HIV, the Children's AIDS Fund (CAF) focuses on meeting practical needs of HIV-impacted children and families. Programs have emerged from working with families for more than 15 years that include:
Emergency financial assistance
Counseling regarding such issues as:
Treatment & care
Technical assistance and networking with care providers
International partnerships addressing such needs as:
Education for orphaned children
Establishing group homes for orphaned children
Developing pilot programs for treatment & care
Providing technical assistance for indigenous care providers and support networks"
Here is the mission statement: "The Children's AIDS Fund works to limit suffering of children and their families caused by HIV disease by providing care, services, resources, referrals, and education."
Their website has tons of really great information on AIDS. If ever you have a question this is the place to look. Refresh the front page and every new page shows how many adults, women, children, and orphans are infected with AIDS in each country. Heavy. What can you do in your community? Check here.
As always, 15% of every sale will be donated to the charity from our list of your choice - just email me after check out at email@example.com and I'll take care of it.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
FIIIVE GOOOOLDEN RIIIIIINGS
Four calling birds,
Three french hens,
Two-oo turtle doves,
and a PARTRI-IDGE in a pear treeeee.
The theological translation is the first Five Books of the Old Testament which recounts the history of man’s fall from grace, or they can be MORE birds, namely ring necked pheasants. I'm beginning to think whoever wrote this was just really hungry and into poultry.
SO I was thinking five rings would be the five circles of the Olympics logo, but much closer to my heart is the Special Olympics. And wouldn't you know it, their logo is FIVE little guys, too!
When I was growing up in little Valdez, Alaska, my parents got me involved in volunteering with the Special Olympics. I remember being so overwhelmed by the pride and intensity of the athletes. They had so much determination and drive to win while at the same time being such good sports and supporting each other. I think we could learn a lot from them.
The Special Olympics provides training and athletic competition, year round, to over 2.5 million athletes in over 180 countries! But, according to their website, the movement is still affecting just a small percentage of the up to 190 million people worldwide with intellectual disabilities around the world.
I've been supporting them for years, just email me once you've checked out at firstname.lastname@example.org, telling me they are your choice for donation, and I'll send 15% of your purchase to help support them, too.
I got the http://www.seemommyrun.com/ newsletter this morning and I HONESTLY wish i could go out for a run! I used to run before I got pregnant, continued as long as I could DURING the pregnancy, and then slowed down to walking. I got right back on the treadmill after Baby O. joined us, but the last month or so I have been so busy and tired, that getting up an extra hour earlier has been too much. I'm going to print out this hat and some ladies running, post them on my bulletin board, and get inspired!!
Four Calling Birds,
three french hens,
two-oo turtle doves,
and a PARtri-idge in a pear treeeeeee.
This can represent the four gospels, the four evangalists, 'colly' birds which were black birds (and eaten), or just really cute birds for the whole BIRD theme of the first part of the song. Okay, i have to interject here. I'm a total etymology nerd, and this series is just fascinating!! check it out here. I'm going to keep pointing to these post throughout these twelve days. Another interjection: I sing to my kids when we are done reading books at night and they are falling asleep. One of the songs in our rotation is Hush Little Baby. Every time I sing "papa's gonna buy you a mocking bird", my daughter corrects me and says, "no mama. it is ROCKING bird!" She just won't believe me when I try to explain what a mocking bird is, and why that is part of the song. Why do 3 year olds and 6 year old argue about things like this? I'm sure I have NO idea where they get it - must be their father...
ON TO OUR CHARITY of the day. World Vision - www.worldvision.org - does so much, there is no way I can get it all into one post. Through World Vision, you can sponsor a child, buy supplies for emergency relief, even buy things like goats and ducks and clothing for families in need.
We can help them with as little as $10.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
SORRY, the price has increased since your search.
Are you kidding me?? It has increased in the last 30 seconds?? I think that is called BAIT AND SWITCH, no?? What is the deal with the airline companies that there is no PRICE for anything? It is a constant freaking bouncing scale that you have to some how pounce on at the exact right time. The very same seat is $200 one minute and $800 the next?!?!? Makes me so angry!!
Each evening when goodnights are said,
Take off one link, and hop into bed.
When only the star is left to shine,
Then you will know it is Christmas time!
I love that my son made it. I love that it helps them be aware of how much time is left until Christmas. I love that it is part of our evening routine now. I love that Christmas Eve we'll be able to take that last link off and the kids will go to sleep knowing Santa will have been there when they wake up! I love Christmas time!!!
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
So today, since we've been talking about feasts, our most deserving charity is Loaves and Fishes / Meals on Wheels. The name is obviously taken from the miracle of the loaves and fish where Jesus fed the masses with one boy's lunch. There seem to be a Loaves and Fishes groups all over the country. Here in Portland the focus is on seniors and disabled people who live independently. When I was pregnant with my daughter, my son and I delivered Meals on Wheels. It was such a profound experience. It was heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. Little H charmed everyone he met, and we would stay and chat a little with most of the people. It doesn't seem like a big deal, delivering meals to people, but what it is really providing them is independence. They are able to live on their own and not have to worry about fixing three meals a day.
Ankrom Moisan Associated Architects
SW Macadam, Ste 150
then on Saturday we'll be at the Holiday Shopping Soiree:
Saturday December 6th,
4 - 7pm
Me Too Cafe
16755 Baseline Road in Beaverton
come shop, sip wine and enjoy tasty treats!
We'll have everything marked down for both shows!
Two Turtle Doves
and a partridge in a pear tree.
The doves are supposed to represent the old and new testament, or as doves mate for life, fidelity, faithfulness, and forever love. Pretty nice.
"Habitat for Humanity seeks to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness from the world and to make decent shelter a matter of conscience and action."
Habitat has built nearly 300,000 houses around the world, providing more than 1.5 million people in more than 3,000 communities with safe, decent, affordable shelter. That is just amazing. They are a "teach a man to fish" kind of organization. People who are blessed with a Habitat home must work a certain number of hours on the construction and take classes on home ownership. They aren't just handed a free house.
If you would like to know more, go to their website. You can donate money or volunteer your time. How lucky are we who own our own homes - let's help those who need it.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Now, the whole twelve days of Christmas song seems to have all kinds of history associated with it - it seems no one can agree. One truth for sure, is that it counts down the days from Christmas to Epiphany. We are going to visit them BEFORE Christmas, so we can get lovely gifts to you in time for gift giving, and so the money we are donating gets in the right hands before Christmas.
Our first charity I'll be profiling is Casa Cards. Casa cards produces cards featuring artwork by children. They are just beautiful. (click on the image above to order the cards.) They contain that purity and heart that we adults are always trying to get back to. The sale of these cards funds their goal: "to raise awareness and funding for Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) programs, which provide individual advocacy for children who have been abused." Here is their statement:
- Founded in 1989 by board members of then Multnomah County CASA, the project is currently operated by CASA for Children, serving Multnomah and Washington Counties in Oregon. Over the past 1 9 years, more than 5. 5 million CASA Cards have been sold from our office in Portland and through participating CASA programs nationwide. Proceeds from the sale of our products directly fund the training and support of volunteers who advocate within the juvenile court and child welfare systems. In Multnomah and Washington Counties, every $1500 that CASA Cards generates provides a full year of advocacy for one child. The more cards we sell, the more kids we can help.
This started here in Portland, but there is a national casa, too.
You can also help by buying cards, or by becoming a volunteer advocate. If every child had an advocate looking out for them, I'm sure the system would work so much better! I really want to do this when my kids are a little older.
Remember, we'll give 15% of every sale during these first 12 days of December to one of our 12 charities. If you'd like it to be Casa for Children / Casa Cards, just email me at email@example.com and I will take care of it.
If we are feeling this economy as much as we are, I can only imagine the charities are feeling it more, let's support them. I wish you the very best this season!