Category Archives: holiday

Christmas 2014

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Another Christmas has come and gone! There were choir concerts, and operas, and our first Nutcracker. We made cookies, and saw friends, and celebrated with family. There were tears, and jealousy, excitement, memories good and bad, and joy. My Ara is a lovely mix of childlike wonder and more mature questions and perspective. For her beauty and silliness she is equal parts challenging and moody. As her mind matures she is looking back at memories with a different perspective; “Mama, why did you do this when Daddy did that?”

ChristmasEve2014  I say all this, not to complain but to record a snapshot of life as it really is, because I’ve lived enough to know that all aspects of life are precious. Our good and bad create the beautifully rich colors that make our lives interesting and delicious! Delicious, because I recently had this very deep thought, while eating frozen yogurt and savoring the tartness mingled with the sweet; Such is life! Hahaha. I love a ridiculous metaphor, don’t you? 

IMG_5045 I haven’t blogged in a long time, and I won’t bother to try to catch up on what I’ve missed. At this very moment, I am nursing a cold in bed, Ara is with her Dad for a few more hours. I made chicken soup and spent yesterday running errands, then had dinner and sat by a fire at my Brother’s house. I’m considering some very big changes, trying to look my fear of change in the face and be bigger than it. Being the head of household comes with a weight to carry on my shoulders. I make the choices for us, without a partner to discuss and share the decision with. I love it. I have a budget and a plan, I have to weigh the risks and benefits. I can see into the future, and I like what I see. This might sound strange to someone who didn’t spend a large chunk of their life being told that the finances were none of their business. This is the rebound from having no control, to total control of my money, time and environment. It’s a late start, but I hope I can be a model for Ara. I want to plant in her the knowledge that she can depend on herself. I see in her such strength, intelligence, creativity and beauty, what I want is for her to see those things too. I want her to know her worth so that she will never lose sight of it, or give the key to that knowledge to someone else.

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Christmas is such a beautiful time, I just love it. We decorate and put up lights and make the ordinary seem magical. Then we take it all down and the ordinary seems cleaner and refreshing. We watch the movie classics, then we pack them up and put them away until next year. We spend time thinking about others, what they like, what makes them happy. We give generously and receive joyously. And, although this may make some people uncomfortable, I’ve felt a closer connection to God and his plan for me than I ever have before. And next, comes the New Year and a new age for me. My birthday is January 1st, my standing point in time to access and refocus. In the past I’ve struggled with my birthday tradition of keeping a score of my success and failures. This year, I can see clearly that I am a work in progress, success is irrelevant as long as I never give up.

Love Food!

Valentine Bento

I know I never post food anymore, but when the theme is love and I have so much of that in my heart for my girl, how can I not? The pita pizzas were cuter in my head. I cut a cheese heart and then baked them in the toaster oven.  Broccoli (her favorite veggie) with cheese letters and an apple heart. Apple slices. My famous (not really) quinoa salad, minus the obscene amount of jalapenos I usually put in. I freaking love that quinoa salad, especially when eaten like a salsa with some white corn chips! And, last, though you can’t see it, hidden in the silverware part of the box is 2 squares of TJ’s pound plus Belgian milk chocolate. Oh yeah.

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One of the 41 valentine cards made for her class. The idea was that she would make them and I would help, but it really worked out that I made 90% of them… I end up having to print so much music for my orchestra that sheet music is our scrap paper, could that be any more adorable in a heart shape? It’s at least better than some mass produced Skull Girls (or whatever that crap is) right?

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A slightly sad and mishapen heart shaped banana pancake for breakfast!

I’m really-super-duper-over-the-top-excited to show you the present I had for her this morning, but we had to rush her off to school before I could take a picture of it. It’s ok, it’s so awesome it will get it’s own post. AWESOME. I’ve been dying to give it to her for a couple weeks! Oh man, I love that present.

So aside from the wonderful-ness that is my 8-year old valentine, I am officially grinching up this stupid holiday. Bah Humbug to you and you’re pressure and disappointment and also.. BITE ME! Ok, I need to get on my bike and ride, it’s going to hit 92F here today and I don’t want to be out in that.

Have a wonderful Valentines Day (you didn’t hear that from my, you know my official position)!

Harry Potter Day

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The HP Cookbook! An M & M day gift from Megan. I’m intimidated by a fair share of these recipes, but I thought I might be able to tackle the Pumpkin Pasties!

IMG_6341I was going for a fun day with minimal effort so we used premade ‘Pasty Crust”. We just cut circles out with a cup top and then plopped a spoon full of pumpkin inside. Fold it over and pinch up the sides and tada, you have a pastie! The whole time I could hear Cho Chang saying, “Two pumpkin pasties please”.

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I added an ‘H’ for Hogwarts or Harry whichever makes you happy. Ara decided around this point in the day to change the name of our celebration to “Hogwarts Day” so it all worked out.

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Maybe a little too brown on the edges but it didn’t matter, they were delicious all the same. I’m not really a pumpkin pie lover. It’s too much pumpkin and not enough crust. Well, these are the opposite. More crust than pumpkin. Not too sweet either. Which is good because we washed them down with…
 IMG_6356 Crazy sweet Butterbeer! This was my own concoction. I looked up a bunch of recipes on Pinterest and pulled whatever I liked from them. We did a layer of vanilla ice cream at the bottom, caramel, root beer (maybe cream soda next time?), and a dollop of cool whip on top. Ara saw me add the soda and was VERY skeptical (she doesn’t like soda), but she gave this sugary tower a big thumbs up!

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And while we snaked on our delightful treats we watched the Order of the Phoenix because Ara has just finished the book. When we started reading the series she wasn’t really understanding and retaining a lot of the story. I would ask her questions to start a conversation about the last chapter we read and she was pretty clueless about most of it. Now, however, she is not only comprehending and retaining but she’s asking ME really great questions! She also passed her friend at school so now that girl can’t spoil the plot for her all the time! Crimes against Harry Potter! I wish I was just reading the books for the first time, so I love to hear her perspective.

Ara declared this the ‘best Harry Potter day ever!” and she requested to make it a weekly thing. Since we would run out of HP movies I was thinking of a book to movie night. We could re-watch all of the Narnia movies and maybe Anne of Green Gables… I love having a bookworm daughter!

Crafty Sock Owls

 

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Last year we made glove creatures, and this year I give you; the Sock Owl!

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Choose your sock. I chose this one because it had a two tone design at the toe for the owl’s face.

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Lay the sock out so that the seam is straight.

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Cut out a half circle that will be the owl’s ears. Save the scraps to make wings.

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Turn the sock inside out and stitch up the opening. You can hand stitch or use a machine. The machine I’m using is borrowed and it speeds things up bigtime (when I don’t make tons of mistakes).

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Cut the sock off above the heel and sew it closed, leaving a little gap to stuff through. Turn the sock right side out again.

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Fill the sock with stuffing and stitch up the little hole.

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Next, use your little scrap piece or cut from the left over sock to make little wings. I just cut the shapes out free hand without a pattern but you could use a marker and draw the shape before you cut. Pin your wing on and hand stitch it to the body. The messier the stitches the more adorable, I think!

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Once your wings are on the fun begins! It’s time to give owl a little personality! I used buttons and a little square-ish scrap for the beak. My Mom gave me the bag of buttons she found in a second hand store so they are old and chipped and sometimes mismatched, which I think adds to the charm (maybe?).

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After I took the pictures I decided this was actually a little girl owl and gave her a pink bow. The resident lover of plush animals in the house (Ara, 7 years old and opinionated) gave her a thumbs up!

I hope the other kids on our Christmas list will like them too!

Happy crafting!

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