Friday, September 30, 2011


being told that someone
is "in love with [my] beautiful design"
and wants to give it to a best friend
to celebrate her wedding
is highly motivating to me
and i find myself willing
to comply with that same someone's
request for a rush order
even though I'm a sleep-deprived mother
of a newborn

: )

yesterday inspiration struck
and i'm very much hoping
to have a new customizable calligraphy design
for my shop
sooner rather than later

linking up with Jennifer's studio sneak peek

leaf garland

I love Pintererst. It took me a while to jump on the bandwagon, but now that I'm on, I intend to hang around for a while. It's such a handy way of organizing all those lovely ideas I find that I don't want to forget. I have an entire board dedicated to Autumn projects, and as the days are cooling and the leaves are brightening, I have decided to try to tackle one of my Autumn projects a week.

The first project I decided to work on was one that the boys and I did together. It is a combination of an idea for making colorful autumn leaves with waxed paper, crayon shavings, and a warm iron with an idea for making a mantle decorating leaf garland.

We began by discussing which colors were autumn colors, and then I let Little Man choose which colors we would use from his crayon tin. Then we made lots of crayon shavings with pencil sharpeners. Both of the boys enjoyed it, but making crayon shavings takes a surprising amount of strength, so I ended up doing most of it.

[pointy-sharpened crayon stubs make me smile]

Little Man insisted that the periwinkle and teal colors were autumn colors too. : ) I can see his point; after all, the autumn sky is a brilliant blue.

Then the boys took turns arranging the crayon shavings on the waxed paper. After the crayon shavings were arranged, I ironed the waxed paper-crayon sandwiches between layers of towel and paper napkin, making lovely marbled patterns.

Then I traced and free handed leaf shapes, circles (I thought that periwinkle circles might be a little more appropriate than periwinkle leaves), squares, and even a couple of kites. Little Man, who is becoming quite handy with scissors, helped cut our shapes out.

We made maple leaves.

and oak leaves

And being good westerners, we had to make some aspen leaves too.

Then we strung them all together, draped them on our mantle, and admired the effect. Little Man told me this evening: "I liked finishing that project with you!"

Linking up with Jennifer's Studio Sneak Peek.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


My Little Man turned four on Wednesday,
the twenty-first of September.
He is growing so quickly.
I want to cherish
each day.

As I mentioned, we officially celebrated the boys' birthdays over Labor Day weekend. Little Man did, however, get a new birthday book (one about trains that came with a tiny train set), a birthday breakfast of banana muffins (complete with four candles and Happy Birthday song) along with pop corn and chocolate gold fish, and macaroni and cheese for dinner. Unfortunately, he also got a cold and was sadly unwell with fever and stuffy nose on his special day.

Little Man...

goes golfing with Daddy sometimes
enjoys riding his bike
is a very fast runner
ran over 1/4 mile without stopping
is really pushing the limits of what he can climb on
has some pretty sweet dance moves
plays a shaker along with music with pretty good rhythm
sings an ever-increasing number of songs
(his latest favorite is "Blessed be Your Name" by Matt Redman)
enjoys Psalm 150 and the story of the Good Samaritan
stacks incredible block structures
loves to "build" with his tools
is always coming home with new wood scraps from grandpa
loves, loves, loves trains
is asking lots of questions about traffic laws
is getting pretty good at holding meaningful conversations
remembers the information he receives in those conversations
is figuring out good ways of expressing his clever sense of humor
thoroughly enjoyed his daily allotment of computer games
"reads" books to himself but prefers to have them read to him
colors with meticulous care
likes using lots of colors
loves to paint
has started home preschool
draws fishing rods and fish
has suddenly become a much pickier eater
especially loves pancakes, macaroni and cheese, and pickles
(not together, thankfully)
enjoys helping in the kitchen
brings the small trashes and empties them into the large trash
still takes naps
is an early riser
tries to keep his brother in line
shows Brother new ways to play with things and put together puzzles
holds his sister gently
brings us much joy every day

I love you, Little Man, and have so enjoyed watching you develop into the big four-year-old boy you are! You are charming and smart, and I love interacting with you. May you continue to develop your many gifts and learn use them wisely.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

autumn ritual

as the days shorten
the morning air nips
and the harvest is gathered
something kicks into gear
and i know.

it's tomato soup time.

[washing and cutting]

[pureeing and cooking and stirring]

[measuring and whisking]

[straining and thickening, filling and sealing]


[boiling and timing]

[cooling and admiring]

[labeling and storing]

today i made
25 pints of tomato soup.

i am tired
but am delighted with the knowledge
that golden harvest is preserved
to brighten the cold dreary
dead of winter.

my three guys

I <3 them.

Monday, September 26, 2011

monday menu

[pickles photographed at the community harvest potluck]

As you may have gathered from the above photo's caption, I recently had the opportunity to photograph our community harvest potluck organized by a friend. In addition to being able to photograph the people who attended and the fiddlers who provided entertainment, I got to take lots of pictures of one of my favorite subjects: food. You'll be seeing some food photos from the community harvest potluck at the agonizingly slow pace of one a week (with my monday menus) for the next couple of months. : )

It looks like we'll be returning to normalcy this week as far as menu planning goes. At least that's what I hope will be happening! Here's what I'm planning on mixing up this week:

M-tuna melt sandwiches, fresh fruit
T-grilled chicken, cilantro-lime chickpea salad (new recipe)
W-chicken caesar wraps (with left over grilled chicken)
Th-veggie-bean stir fry over rice
F-marinated beef kabobs, crispy smashed potatoes, salad

What are you making this week?

Saturday, September 24, 2011


i've been journaling
in this spot for
three years

tons of photos
thousands of words
nearly six hundred posts


but my
favorite part
are the friendships
precious new friends
old friends reconnected
unknown needs met


i would never have dreamed

thank you, thank you, dear readers
for reading

(sadly i have no giveaway this heartfelt gratitude will have to suffice)

Friday, September 23, 2011

rachel's photos

Benjamin's sister and I have the same problem. We're both photographers and spend much more time behind the camera than in front of it. Seeking to remedy this, last June she gifted me a maternity photo session, and a few weeks ago I returned the favor by taking some portraits of her. We had a lot of fun and shared some good laughs in addition to getting some good shots. Below are a few of my favorites.

Hooray for fun and sisters and nice camera lenses. : )

Linking up with Jennifer's Studio Sneak Peek.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

a photoshoot conversation

Written yesterday: It's Little Man's birthday, and we're outside. I give in to the lure of good lighting, and in spite of the fact that he has a cold and is wearing a rather worn T-rex pajama shirt, I decide to take some photos of him in honor of the fact that he's now four years old.

Me: [Little Man], will you come lie on your stomach in the grass so that I can take pictures of you?
Little Man: No. I don't want to.
Me: Okay. That's fine. [Brother], will you lie on your stomach in the grass for me?
Brother: Yep!
Little Man: Yes! Yes, I will do it!
Me: Good!
(He lies down on the grass, looking unimpressed.)
Little Man: But it's tickling me.
Me: Will you lie down over here with the shed behind you?
Little Man: No. It's too tickley.
(He sits up.)
Me: Okay. Can I take a picture of you sitting up like that then?
Little Man: Yes.
Little Man: Look! This is me turning like an owl! Can I see a picture of me turned like an owl?
Me: Sure.
Me: Now will you lean on the shed like this for me?
(I demonstrate how I'd like for him to pose.)
Little Man: No. I don't want to.
Me: Okay.
Little Man: Will you swing me five big swings?
Me: I'll swing you after you stand by the shed for me. Will you please go lean against the shed?
Little Man: Okay!
Me: [Little Man], you need to turn around. Can you please look at your brother?
(That's better.)
(Poor kid can't breathe through his nose and looks horribly uncomfortable. I've got to think of something to distract him.)
Me: Can you tell me about Thomas the Train?
Little Man (smiling at last): Thomas the Train.
Little Man: Percy the Train.
Little Man: Harvey the Train.
Little Man: Will you push me on the swing now?
Me: Yes!
Little Man: Five big swings?
Me. Five big swings.

Monday, September 19, 2011

monday menu

[I have some lovely food photos, but they're on my external hard drive, and I don't feel like getting up. I guess I'll save them for future posts.]

This is a little bit of a crazy week. Little Man's birthday is on Wednesday. Benjamin is leaving for a three-day work conference early Wednesday, and coming back late on Friday. He'll be taking the van and leaving the tiny, not-so-dependable car for me to use in case of emergency. To top it off, my back-up adult interaction (a.k.a. my dear Mum and Papa) are out of town all week. It's a little overwhelming, but if the rest of the week goes as well as this morning's errand-expedition-with-three-children-in-tow went, I'll be just fine.

In light of the upheaval in our schedule, I've planned simple meals this week. I intend to be able to keep on top of things and still be sane when Benjamin returns, but I will have to cut a few corners. Simple meals are a great corner to cut.

M-farmer's market veggie stir fry over rice
T-garlic-fresh tomato-parmesan sauce over pasta
W-macaroni and cheese (Little Man requested a birthday dinner of something with pasta.)
Th-left over chili over baked potatoes and baby carrots
F-grilled cheese sandwiches or pancakes

What culinary adventures are you planning this week?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

calendars with the boys

Little Man is getting big enough that he can remember things from last year and look forward to them happening again this year. This is a very good thing. However, after being asked every day for the first two weeks of August if the fair, the parade, and his birthday were going to happen tomorrow, I decided he needed something to help him gain some concept of time.

My first idea was making a paper chain with him, a link for each day, and counting down by taking off one link per day. That was a bit too involved, though, and just didn't happen. My mom suggested printing up calendars instead. It was a brilliant idea. After a quick google search, I found these monthly printable calendars with coloring pictures at the top.

The boys loved coloring them.

Then we hung them on the fridge. I marked special events on Little Man's calendar with words and little pictures, and (almost) every day we talk about which day of the week it is, and put a sticker on the correct square. (Yes, I know those are August calendars. We have September ones up now; I'm just behind on my posting.)

It's wonderful. Little Man and Brother are learning about months and days of the week. Little Man can see for himself how many days are left until the events he's eagerly anticipating. And I don't have to try to explain every day how long weeks are or how many are between now and his birthday. It's a win-win-win situation! : )

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

three cuties

It's easy to take good photos
with such a high concentration of cuteness
all in one place!

I mean, look at those little faces;
three adorable cuties
all in one chair!

At least it's easy to take good photos
of the three of them together if you redefine "good photos"
to exclude all looking at the camera at the same time,
all smiling, or lack of blurriness.

I don't mind redefining...

Monday, September 12, 2011

sand box fun

Early this summer Benjamin and Little Man made a pact to make a sandbox before the end of the summer. Life was crazy, though, and Little Man waited patiently until a couple of weeks ago for his sand box.

Benjamin and my dad constructed a sturdy wooden box and lid (no neighborhood cats in our sand, please!) and filled it with sand (with some help from Little Man).

Little Man was so excited to finally have the sand box he'd been so eagerly anticipating that he could barely contain himself. He kept jumping up and down and making indescribable inarticulate happy noises. Brother was pretty excited too.

Once they had grabbed some sand toys and started digging, they calmed down a little bit. We've been enjoying it frequently ever since.