"Let's have a merry journey, and shout about how light is good and dark is not. What we should do is not future ourselves so much. We should now ourselves. "NOW thyself" is more important than "Know thyself." Reason is what tells us to ignore the present and live in the future. So all we do is make plans. We think that somewhere there are going to be green pastures. It's crazy. Heaven is nothing but a grand, monumental instance of future. Listen, now is good. Now is wonderful." ~ Mel Brooks

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Treat for Mother's Day

Mother's Day is fast approaching. In years past I haven't given much thought in to how Mother's Day would go, but this year, as I'm surrounded by my ever expanding brood, I'm realizing that in celebrating this day given to being a Mother, it's important that I, too, experience the day as I wish.

This year, in honor of Motherhood, I will be doing a three part series on how to celebrate the Mothers in your life, including  yourself. Yes, I am suggesting you celebrate just being you, the radical, amazing, beautiful Mother that you are! This series will include many wonderful things including a mind blowing giveaway from an amazing artisan who creates absolutely breathtaking pieces of work! I can't wait for you to see it!

Today, I would like to direct your attention toward a lovely discovery called Treat, a part of the Shutterfly family! Here is their description from their website::


"Welcome to Treat, your online home for making, sending and putting some real love and personality back into greeting cards. Treat is all about customizing, personalizing and making your cards one-of-a-kind creations that could only come from you. We're talking about adding your own words and pictures so your cards stand out from the crowd and the person who receives them will be totally psyched—blown away actually. These aren't your typical boring greeting cards from the drugstore—these ones actually have thought behind them.  Our reminder service will make sure you never miss a birthday, anniversary or important milestone. At a loss for exactly the right words? Our Message Library will help inspire you. Need a gift on the fly? We got you covered with integrated gift cards printed right inside the card you create. Treat is fun and easy to use, but more importantly, helps connect you and all the people in your life in a more personal and caring way."

I was immediately intrigued because I am a sucker for a unique card and because of that, we always make our own cards or seek out those ultra unique ones at our local specialty stores. Our children really enjoy the process of creating a card; thinking of just the right words, what pictures to draw, and so on. Using Treat, you create your own card with the help of various templates available to you that you can make your own by adding your own photos and creating your own personal message. Your littlest ones would need assistance with the process but it would be a cinch for the older ones. Our eldest daughter, who is 11, created one all on her own. She uploaded a photo to the card she liked the best and changed the words in the template to create her own unique message. I also joined in on the fun and created one for my own Mother. We received our cards in the mail just the other day and they are beautiful. The cards are a heavy card stock paper, the photos are matte, and the colors are vibrant. I was most impressed with the quality of the photos. They are clear, no pixels are visible, and the colors are just as I would have hoped them to be. This is quite an improvement as our printer tends to give us photos of an interesting color palette, not like I would have hoped most times. 

If you'd like to check out some of the other templates available at Treat specifically for Mother's Day, click the photo below!

These are our cards! Aren't they beautiful?!

More Mother's Day Cards

There is a card for every season at Treat; birthday cards, holiday cards, and your everyday greeting cards. I can't help but think of the next birthday around the corner with a family of our size! What I absolutely can get behind is the scheduler that is available for your cards. You can create and schedule delivery of your unique card up to a year in advance! For me, that is revolutionary because typically speaking, I'm the one that ends up calling a day to two after the birthday has passed. That's not the most fun place to be and I look forward to growing out of that particular experience :)

I hope you come back tomorrow to see how we've been inspired through our Pinterest board and for a lovely craft idea that we're making for the Mama's we know and love xo 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

A New Way to Follow A Simple Life

Google Reader is set to shut down this coming July. This is how blogger creates our following, for all blogs. I've discovered Bloglovin from other bloggers who have used it and find it a successful replacement for Google Reader. It is yet another application to download, another place to look at among the myriad other sites one might check in a day. For me, I find it's one stop shopping! All of the blogs I love and follow I have in one place. Bloglovin organizes all of your posts and keeps it simple. If you have your own blog, once you sign up you can "claim" your blog and update your information accordingly.
I adore each of you who come to visit me here and I hope you continue to come by often. Your comments are so uplifting and I've enjoyed creating many nurturing and supportive relationships with many of you outside of this blogger world.
On this Saturday, the sun is shining here (for the moment). I hope you find peace and joy where ever you might go. Thank you for joining me on our journeys around the sun xo

Friday, April 19, 2013

For Little Hands ~ Frogs

Welcome to For Little Hands, a weekly series that hopes to inspire creative whimsy for the little hands in your life.
We had a fun spring craft project planned for today but we were joyfully distracted by this unplanned frog date. I'm choosing to post this instead of the craft project because I'm finding it all too necessary to be focusing on the whimsy of life, the unplanned joyous moments with my children. There is so much to be sad and scared about in the big world outside our window.....pulling in and really seeing the beauty, the peace, and hearing the belly laughs is way more important (today) than sitting down to a structured something or other. Today, we needed to just be in our moments. No directions. No plans. We needed to just be lead by the wind and our childhood daydreams.
Today we met some frog friends. We visited Daddy at work today and there is a great little frog pond that was bustling with activity. One peek lead to immediate giggles and wet feet. Can you make out our little friend in the center of the picture above?

We were all on our hands and knees being eluded by these slippery little frogs. Some, actually, weren't so little!

Sometimes we actually caught one!

When we did it was shear joy! To feel their slippery, wet, smooth skin. How quickly they jumped and slithered through our hands. Oh, how happy they made us all!

It's hard to explain the excitement about catching frogs. It's a simple activity, perfect for any size hands, young and old. It's all about timing and being gentle.

Kiki would have carried one around in her pocket all day if she could!

This photo made me so happy. My adoring husband, my three littles, and our dear Victor (my husband's work partner) all down and seeking a frog in hopes of holding one for just a moment.
I even caught one!
Whatever it is you'll do today with the little hands in your life, I hope you'll take the time to breathe in and soak up those precious, undirected moments. Turn away from the darkness in the world for just a while and embrace the light that brightens your life. Our children are the carriers of the brightest light. Give them the space to shine and allow yourself the space to let them remind  you how to shine.
Loving wishes to you all for a peaceful weekend xo

Thursday, April 18, 2013

{ pretty, happy, funny, real }

Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life.
Every Thursday, at Like Mother, Like Daughter.
{ pretty }
Kiki has one of the prettiest noses I've ever seen xo
{ happy }

Our six little chicks finally got to spend some time out of doors; pecking, scratching, and soaking up some of that gorgeous sunshine that we had yesterday. It has been a long time coming, that elusive sun. I'm looking forward to many more sunshiny days ahead.....and I bet they are, too!

Our little Sprout. She's become such a happy little bugger. Now that her teeth are starting to poke through her days are quite a bit more manageable. The poor lass, she's on the cusp of 11 months and has only 3 teeth. Her siblings each had a full mouth of teeth by now. She's very proud of the ones she's got, that's for sure!

Although she isn't beaming with smiles, I know for sure this little heart is as happy as happy could be. This soft, little bundle of love makes my Charlotte so happy. Little Lionheart brings much happiness to our hearts, he doesn't even need to try.

This is how Kiki spends her days. Barely awake and she has a chick in her arms and sings to them, rocks them, pets them. I'm not sure Kiki can imagine her life without a baby chick in it! Her days revolve around theirs. Our little chicken whisperer.
{ funny }

Kiki's hair this morning upon waking. I don't think I've ever seen hair so unruly! We were in stitches and she couldn't believe what had happened to her hair overnight.
{ real }

We've begun incubating some of our chickens eggs in an attempt to hatch out a few of our own. We've never experienced this and I'm so eager to have our children experience the miracle of a chick hatching from it's egg. It's such a beautiful process (I've only ever seen through pictures).
Our little homestead is growing. Our next introduction will hopefully be some Lincoln sheep. I'm eager to have some sheep that have great wool for fiber processing. The sheep we have currently are not breed for their wool so it tends to be short, wispy, and it breaks when you try to spin it. I'll begin cleaning, skirting, and carding some to see if I can make it work, but.....it would just feel so nice to have wool that is meant to be worked. Dreams!

Monday, April 15, 2013


“Why do farmers farm, given their economic adversities on top of the many frustrations and difficulties normal to farming? And always the answer is: "Love. They must do it for love." Farmers farm for the love of farming. They love to watch and nurture the growth of plants. They love to live in the presence of animals. They love to work outdoors. They love the weather, maybe even when it is making them miserable. They love to live where they work and to work where they live. If the scale of their farming is small enough, they like to work in the company of their children and with the help of their children. They love the measure of independence that farm life can still provide. I have an idea that a lot of farmers have gone to a lot of trouble merely to be self-employed to live at least a part of their lives without a boss.” 

~Wendell Berry, Bringing it to the Table: Writings on Farming and Food

Our little homestead is growing by leaps and bounds. Living in community we have the great gift of living among many farm animals; we care for them and in turn they provide for us. It has been our greatest dream to contribute to the provisions by having our own little team on our plot of land and this weekend, we began to see our dream to reality.

We welcomed six chicks into our family this weekend (along with the newcomers you'll meet below). Kiki adores them and has spent every waking moment tending to them, singing to them, holding them. For just three years old she has given us a glimpse into what amazing care she is capable of. Her tenderness, quiet, gentle devotion. It's almost like she goes to a meditative place while she is with these chicks.

We were also gifted this beautiful Lionhead bunny. While he won't necessarily produce anything akin to food or materials he has already produced a softening of heart, a smile within us all, a gentleness that we all needed after this long, long winter. His name is Little Lionheart.

This beautiful Black Sexlink is Beatrice. She is a wise old gal and happily and immediately made herself at home. She is gentle, sweet, and so far, has enjoyed begin carried about by various little hands. She also have us our first egg!

We have a Red Sexlink as well (her name is Ruby). It has been of utmost importance to her to figure out her new digs as she's feeling pretty broody. I found her nestled into the coop working on laying her first egg so I didn't want to disturb her with a photo op.

This is Max, our Rooster, and his lady love, Gwendolyn. She follows him everywhere. They are both still a bit nervous but have warmed up to us and have let us help them into the coop at night. Our coop is our old outdoor rabbit hutch, modified with nesting boxes and roosts to accommodate our brood. It will require a bit of assistance on our part to get them in and out of the coop, just until they're comfortable with the process on their own.

Our landscape is a beautiful one. The sheep add an element of olden days and when living off the land was how you survived. We're getting closer and closer to that place of self reliance. Our dream is not to live as if it were the 1800's but to embrace and accept our gifts and primal calling to be connected to  the land, to keep our children connected and focused on the sanctity of caring for and working the land, working with our hands, and allowing the realness of providing for ourselves to be at the forefront of how we build our home.

"The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all. It is the healer and restorer and resurrector, by which disease passes into health, age into youth, death into life. Without proper care for it we can have no community, because without proper care for it we can have no life.” 
Wendell Berry, The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture


Being a Waldorf inspired home we are fortunate to live where we do. The daily tasks of tending to the animals, preparing the garden for the season, integrating the childrens daily play and rhythms into the ebb and flow of the natural world around them is so beautiful and unique. 

"As child, one has the magical capacity to move among the many eras of the earth; to see the land as an animal does; to experience the sky from the perspective of a flower or a bee; to feel the earth quiver and breathe beneath us; to know a hundred different smells of mud and listen unselfconsciously to the soughing of the trees." ~ Valerie Andrews, A Passion for this Earth

Friday, April 12, 2013

For Little Hands :: Homemade Seedling Pots

Welcome to For Little Hands, a weekly series that hopes to inspire creative whimsy for the little hands in your life.

Spring is eluding us today. It is a mere 38* outside and there is this wintry mix of rain/sleet/snow happening periodically. This photo was taken this morning.....I was a bit shocked! I know April is capable of many things, I've just been in denial that we would actually continue to see the "white stuff" again. Oh well. We've got the wood stove cranked and it's a balmy 76* inside, I'm devouring a box of Hot Tamales,and while we've got the dream of Spring and warmth on our minds we set off to make some seedling starter pots that we will transfer into the littles gardens outside when the time comes.
If you'd like to join us, this is what you'll need::
Newspaper cut into 3-4 inch wide strips (the length of the newspaper)
A bottle (a notch in the bottom is helpful by not necessary)
Good potting soil
A tray for the pots to sit upon
something to label your pots
A sunny window
I find that this type of activity is perfect for a cooped up inside day. Hands get dirty and there is an element of care and excitement built into the activity. Planting seeds and children go hand in hand. I couldn't imagine planting a garden without a child or two in the mix.

Set the bottle on about 2/3 of the newspaper strip, long ways. You should have about an inch or so that goes passed the end of the bottle.

Roll the paper strip around the bottle, tightly.

Fold the end of the strip into the notch of the bottle, sort of like wrapping a present. It won't stay put entirely but when you put the soil in it will balance out.

Next, fill your pots with soil.

And then the seeds! YAY!!!

Once all of your seeds are planted give them a good drink of water and set them in a sunny window. Covering them with plastic wrap will form a greenhouse effect and sprouting may begin sooner.

The best part about these pots is they can be sewn directly into the soil and will amend the soil as brown matter. It's a win/win.

I hope where ever you are today, dear friend, you are warm and embracing Spring (or Autumn, for my Southern Hemisphere friends xo)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

{ pretty, happy, funny, real }

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life.
Every Thursday, at Like Mother, Like Daughter.
{ pretty }
Our new bedroom.
follow the link to learn more :)

{ happy }

This little Sprout has decided she's in the mood to try pulling herself up and try her hand at balancing. While she's not quite crawling (scooting on her belly currently) I'm finding she's at her happiest when she's making my heart jump while attempting to catch her when she tumbles from her various acrobatics......

....or when she's got a big sister or two or three to play and laugh with. Seraphina could hear laughter from another room and will bust out laughing. Happiness abounds.
{ funny }

Our local theatre had it's open auditions this past weekend. Bella (our 11 year old) tried out and so Charlotte (our 5 year old) thought she'd toss her name in the ring(both are pictured above, the two girls on the left). She was the youngest one there to try out, which consisted of: singing a song with accompaniment in front of a panel of pretty intimidating faces AND learning a dance routine (not geared for the beginner dancer) in about 10 minutes. By golly, that little lass kept up and followed directions and sang her little heart out. She danced like NO ONE was watching and at times threw in a little improv! It was spectacular and kinda funny!

Another bit of funny this week is as we were unearthing what would soon be our new bedroom (link above in {pretty} ) I discovered our old baby names book. I promptly looked up Seraphina as we didn't us a book to find name ideas for her, hers just came to us. I was shocked. Deeply. Her name, in Hebrew, (as you can see) translates to burning. You might recall, if you've read it elsewhere, that Seraphina suffers from monthly fevers of unknown origin. Every month since December (September, really, but those fevers were identified with illness) she has suffered from high fevers, going as high as 105*. We've been in and out of the hospital, appointments with specialists, labs after labs. Thankfully, her body seems to be perfectly healthy. The fact that she has fully embodied her Hebrew name well, I'm OK with that.
{ real }

It's lambing season. So far we have four little lambs with the promise of more on the way.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Art of Spring Cleaning

Well! We certainly wasted no time upon reentry of our 10 day holiday to dive right in and create mayhem in our home. These past few days have been warm and quite Springlike so we threw open the windows and inch by inch tore up the stacks and stuffiness of the back of the house (which inevitably means the rest of the house, too).  It all started with these shelves.......

These are my craft supply shelves. Over the past few months I haven't been the best at keeping things organized and when I am afforded the time to create I usually just leave everything laid out on our dining room table. Of course, we have to eat so everything gets quickly shoved into where ever it might fit. Ironically, these shelves still haven't been straightened! LOL

This is where we chose to begin. The closet. This 8'x10' room was a closet for 5 people! Me, Lee, Charlotte, Kiki and Seraphina. Utilizing dressers, shelves, and a homemade armoire we somehow (kinda) made it work. There is no door to this room so we  hung a curtain in the doorway to keep visitors eyes from drifting too deeply inside. We very rarely could keep it neat; clothes would easily pile up after being laundered, baskets captured most of the dirty clothes, and a myriad of other non-clothes items would find their way into this space simply because we lack the storage and space in this 1000 sq. ft., one floor, home.  Needless to say, I'm glad we made my craft shelves wait.

This was an in between shot. Partially finished but with plenty more yet to do.

This is what happened to the bathroom.....yes, that's a ton of stuff just piled into the bathtub!

This is Bella's room. The poor Dear had just cleaned her room and we took full advantage of the space while she was at her riding lesson. She just about cried when she saw this picture. I assured her it would be back in order before she went to bed, at it was......more or less!!!

This is the laundry space. Just stacks and stacks and stacks. Oy! I dreaded getting in here because a.) I couldn't just close a door and hide it, this space is right in our hallway. There was no way to avoid it and b.) all of the storage that exists was currently being used for other stuff. Where and how the heck was I going to somehow make room!!!
In the end, it was all well worth the suffering.
This is our finished bedroom. Just to give you an idea of why this is a monumental moment, my husband and I had shared a room with the 3 littles. A 10'x10' room that held a queen size bed, bunk beds, a dresser, a shelving unit, a co sleeper, a micro book shelf, and the cozy corner. Cozy in every sense of the word. For the first time in 7 years, Lee and I have our own room, we do share it still with Seraphina but we still feel like grown ups! Big people! It's just so nice.

This is my side of the room. Heaven!

This is now the "somewhat organized, at least manageable, I can reach what I need" laundry space. That huge black case to the left is my massage table. I'm finding that even though I'm not in school anymore (you can read more about that here) I'm still finding use for it, however obtrusive, it'll have to stay there for now.

The bathroom is back in order except for some shelves that need some minor organizing. For now, it's manageable. In case you were wondering, NO, there is nothing hiding behind the shower curtain!!!
This is Charlotte and Kiki's room. Where the long dresser on the right sits is where our bed used to be. Their room is largely acceptable. We still have clothes piles to contend with but they can be assimilated slowly and at a more leisurely pace.

This is a view to their bunks. Just out of bed but so much more room to jump into from bed. They have a huge bit of space to play in now, thank goodness. Next in here will be a new floor and some minor details like silk curtains and taking those stickers of the bed!! Those stickers used to go on our car window (we were those people!!!) I'll have to figure out another way for them to keep their prized "visit to the bank" stickers.

Now, I just have to clean off the dining room table and.......

.....reinvent this corner. This used to be Rosco's window. His bed was right under the window and gave him the perfect spot to watch us from his resting spot. The window will get spruced up, the radio in the corner will be moved, along with the stash of boxes from various trips to the basement that never got returned. My hope is that my craft shelves can fit here, those drawers can stay and be used for homeschool supplies and the like and a few really beautiful plants can sit atop the dresser  and soak up the sunshine from the south. For me, it feels really important to make that space a beautiful one to look at. I miss my boy everyday and to leave his spot empty just reminds us that his little body is gone. Gotta bring some life back into his space, make it a shared space.
This mess is our home.....and even though it feels so good when it's not quite as messy, it's doesn't feel any less like home even when it's the messiest.
Are you spring cleaning? How's it going for you?
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