Wednesday, September 30, 2009

In Memory...

Paul's mom passed away yesterday evening so in deference to him and his extended family, I'll be back with a regular post tomorrow. Please keep Paul and his family in your thoughts and prayers throughout today and the rest of this week. Thanks.

Monday, September 28, 2009


In our house, life events, both big and small, are a cause for celebration. Frequently, this just means that the person whose event we're celebrating gets to pick our dessert for dinner that evening (within reason), or we go on a special outing to commemorate. When Elizabeth finally outgrew her last pair of toddler-sized shoes and moved up to the kids department, it was a big event for her as a small-footed 1st grader, and we celebrated by hiking at the park in her first pair of big kid shoes. Philip learned to ride a bike yesterday, which meant that a celebration was in order! Another tradition in our family are the Boo-nilla shakes we make each autumn. Philip thought the ghost faces should be saved for October, which is funny since, as I looked back, I realized that I made them on this same week last year, so he requested leaves be painted with the melted chocolate chips. My leaves looked more like hanging bats so I drew a twig for them to hang from and now we have Bat-nilla shakes.

Happy bike-riding to all!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

First Autumn Weekend

Our first weekend of autumn was quite rainy and cooler than the previous few weeks have been. We spent most of the day Saturday finding indoor activities to occupy our attention. To start, we flipped through a new cookbook (new to our house, at least) called BabyCakes (after the bakery of the same name in NYC) and found a delicious recipe for vegan spelt raspberry scones. They were divine! (Later in the evening, we also made the chocolate chip cookies from the same book, but they were gone too quickly to photograph!)

Once our tummies were full, we decided to work on a dried apple slices project to hang over our nature table. We had a delightful time slicing, then smelling the apples as they dried in the oven. We strung the dried apple slices with a simple needle and thread.

The rest of the day passed in a less structured fashion. Well...there were structures, actually. Out of wooden Kapla blocks.

Then out of a pile of legos. Better not get too close to that structure!

When the sun came out, we hit the road, and Philip became a two-wheel-ridin' kind of guy. He's concentrating so hard!

A very sweet weekend was had by all. We're glad you're here, Fall!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Red in Autumn

Tipperty-toes, the smallest elf,
Sat on a mushroom by himself,
Playing a little tinkling tune
Under the big round harvest moon;
And this is the song that Tipperty made
To sing to the little tune he played.

"Red are the hips, red are the haws,
Red and gold are the leaves that fall,
Red are the poppies in the corn,
Red berries on the rowan tall;
Red is the big round harvest moon,
And red are my new little dancing shoon."

~Elizabeth Gould

Friday, September 25, 2009


    A Book

There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry.
This traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot
That bears a human soul!
    ~Emily Dickinson

We like books around here.

You might even say we have a few.

A few in the library.

A few in Paulie and Philip's room.

A few in Elizabeth's room.

A few in our room.

We read them too.

Especially at night.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Autumn Season's Round Exchange

I blogged a little last week about the Seasons Round exchange that we participated in recently. The package from our exchange partner just arrived in the mail so I thought I'd share. The knitted squirrel and gnome are just adorable, as are the felted the leaves and acorns. The wooden mushroom is lovely and sure to please Elizabeth immensely. I'm very excited to have more nature cards to add to our stash. The kids enjoy changing them the cards frequently, and I enjoy the fresh look it gives our table mid-season. Thank you to Megin for the lovely seasonal gifts she sent!

We actually just updated our nature table on the first day of autumn with a new silk ground and Gerda Muller card, and Prince Autumn arrived on the scene. Now we'll get to rearrange again to incorporate our lovely Seasons Round items. What a lovely problem to have...too many items to fit on the table at once! I guess we'll be rotating them throughout the season so we can enjoy all the loveliness. :)

**If you are interested in participating in the winter Seasons Round exchange, sign-ups begin next Thursday, 10/1. If you'd like to see more of the exchanged items from the autumn exchange, check out the Seasons Round flickr group.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

WIP Wednesday (aka knitting in overdrive)

I don't know if it's the incessant rain we've been getting here in the southeast or the approach of autumn, but the knitting has kicked into overdrive this past week. I found the cutest little pattern for knitted acorns and made a few using leftover organic cotton yarn from my stash.

The acorn I kept is now hanging in the window over our autumn nature table.

I also (mostly) finished Elizabeth's Christmas blanket this week. I still haven't cast off because I can't decide whether to stop here or buy another skein to lengthen it a bit more and put a trim around the edges. Thoughts?

I've gotten further on the nested felt bowls I started last week. The red and purple need to take another spin in the washer to felt down a bit further.

You can see how they're still a little too big for their green nesting partner.

I've also been working on some Saturday Afternoon Hats for a special group of little ladies. Two down, three to go. The yarn is from Linda's lovely etsy shop.

Earlier in the summer, a dear friend of mine who lives in Ireland sent me several skeins of this wonderful Irish wool as a birthday gift. I had a hard time deciding how I wanted to use the yarn; a decision made more difficult because I tend to knit for everyone besides myself, and since this yarn was a birthday gift, I wanted to knit something I'd love too much to give away. :) I finally decided on this Simple Yet Effective Shawl. I can't wait to wear it on a chilly, autumn morning!

Last, but not least, I found this wonderfully squishy, hand-spun wool yarn on etsy, and as I was already thinking of making an i-cord Christmas tree garland, I decided to jump the gun and get started on my Christmas garland as well. I'm so glad I found this adorable yarn spun with little sparkles. The kids are excited already about how it will make our tree shine.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sunday, September 20, 2009

last summer weekend

On this, the last weekend of summer, we had rainy, cooler weather that seemed to be ushering in the beginning of autumn. In celebration of the impending seasonal change, we had Sweet Potato-Black Bean Chili.

Sweet Potato-Black Bean Chili

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium red pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 sm/med sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups dried black beans, rinsed
1 cup frozen corn
2 tsp cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp oregano

1. Either soak black beans overnight and simmer until soft, or build up to 10 lbs pressure in pressure cooker and let rest for 1 hour (my preferred method).
2. Warm the oil in a large pan over medium heat and add the onion, red pepper, and garlic. Saute until soft, about 4-6 minutes.
3. Add the tomatoes, cubed sweet potatoes, black beans, corn, cumin, chili powder, oregano, and cocoa, bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 30-45 minutes or until sweet potatoes are easily pierced with fork.
4. Serve with fresh guacamole and corn chips.
To complement the hearty chili, new latte bowls from Anthropologie, where my husband stopped after work on Friday just to buy me a little gift. He saw these bowls and thought I'd like the pale blue color. He even bought a few mini latte bowls to make a Finn-sized bowl of chili. He knows me well. :)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Scenes from Saturday

Today we took our weekly trip through the local farmer's market. Along with plenty of fresh and local fruits and veggies, we are fortunate to have potters, wood craftsmen, and sheep farmers who make the weekly trip to the market. One of my favorite vendors is the local sheep farm where we take our kids to see the sheep shearing each spring. The farmer not only has the most lovely colors of corriedale wool, but she's frequently spinning right in front of her stand at the market. My kids always love to see what she's working on, and I love working with her wool!

The pumpkins and gourds are also beginning to arrive at the market. Finn was so thrilled to be able to pick out a little pumpkin to take home. I, myself, couldn't resist getting a small bowl full of gourds for our kitchen table, but I'll wait a few more weeks before buying the cooking pumpkins, I think.

Upon our departure from the farmer's market, we decided to stop briefly at the annual Honeybee Festival in our small town. The Honeybee Festival is rather humorously named since we rarely see honeybees, and only a small amount of honey makes an appearance. Finn didn't miss the honey and bees too much after finding out that a firetruck was part of the festival. He even got to climb on it!

Finn even managed to locate a vendor with hand-carved cars and trucks. His favorite toys!

So, to sum up the Honeybee bees, little honey, but plenty of deep-fried junk food. There you have it!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday's Nature Table

Our nature table received a bit of a makeover this week for early autumn. We'll be adding more autumnal bits as the season furthers. What's on your nature table right now?

To share bits of nature from your world, see The Magic Onions.

**2 giveaways I want to share with you as we head into the weekend:

1. Mothering magazine from Gardenmama
2. a honey bear from Turtles to Start

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

WIP Wednesday

We have quite a few works-in-progress going on at our house this week. Some of the crafty variety, some not. Philip's work-in-progress this week has been learning to tie his own shoes. He hasn't been overly inclined to learn this skill on his own so we decided to provide some incentive in the form of refusing to tie them for him (while helping him, of course) and buying some organic cookies'n cream ice cream as a treat when he could tie on his own. Wouldn't you know that 1 day later he is tying his shoes (and eating ice cream!)

Finn's work-in-progress is trying not to get hurt when his siblings use him for a guinea pig...aka learning how to swing in a big kid swing. He's holding on tight and figuring it out!

My WIP for the week has been putting the last touches on the Seasons Round package that went out yesterday. (If you haven't participated in the Seasons Round exchange before, go here starting Oct. 1 and sign up for the winter exchange!) I needlefelted a pumpkin, used recycled wool sweaters to make an apple tree (with needlefelted apples), made a leafy fall candle and Elizabeth used a cookie cutter to felt a pumpkin. A box of fallish tea rounded out our package.

A close-up of the leafy candle:

I've also been working this week on a set of felted nesting bowls for a friend's impending birthday. The corriedale yarn is from our local sheep farm. :)

Happy WIP-ing!

Monday, September 14, 2009

picnic & hike

::homemade strawberry jam on Amish wheat bread::

::homemade blackberry jam on Amish wheat bread::

::first golden delicious of the season::

::last blaze of green before the impending autumnal sweep::