Monday, December 13, 2010

Traditions continued...

After our Friday experience, we then planned a trip Saturday afternoon to the Manito Conservatory. We visit the Christmas lights display almost every year.  I thought this year would be really fun because Boo was at an age to appreciate it. I forgot my camera, however, and Boo slept through the entire exhibit. We do our best and life happens. I still always like to see the flowering jade plant that must be a century old.

On Sunday the plan was to make and decorate cookies that we would deliver to grandparents for Saint Lucia day the next morning.  My mom beat me to it and brought over 5 dozen cookies to decorate.  The kids had fun eating their creations and racking up a sugar dosage in two hours that they normally don't see in a month. Okay, not just the kids- that canned frosting is addictive.  When I read the can's ingredients  I couldn't help but toss the leftovers away right then and there. I stayed up and made gingerbread scones to deliver in the morning because I didn't see the grandmas wanting there own cookies given back. I couldn't find powdered saffron at the last minute to make St. Lucia buns, so I just went with the traditional gingerbread theme.

So this morning, Monday, I got up early (for me it was early, but there seemed to be plenty of people out and about by the time we left the house) and woke the kids. They dressed in their white gowns and put on their respective head-wear while I bagged up the scones and we were off to see the grandmas. Baby Dragon kept asking me if it was really morning when it was so dark outside. He then asked if I would sew a matching gown for his doll. All this chatter happened before we left the driveway and I was just trying to escape before Boo woke up again and missed her morning snack. We made it to Great-grandma's place and she was already up. Then we went to Grandma's house and she was already up. Finally, we made it to Nana's and Papa's house and woke somebody up. Saint Lucia Day tradition is waking up family members with coffee and special pastries while singing. We haven't learned the "real" song yet, so we just sing our favorite good morning songs. The kids were greeted with hugs, dog kisses, and hot cocoa.  I think they like it.  A lot.

Some December Traditions

Friday night we headed out to Coeur d'Alene to see the lights around the hotel on the water. We like to have hot cocoa inside the lobby by their fire.  We found some coveted seats near the fire, but it became pointless as I chased Boo constantly and Grant stood in line for cocoa. Baby Dragon felt comfortable enough to sprawl out on the floor in everybody's way and Fairy Girl wanted to go on the boat ride that we never mentioned going on that night.  **Sigh** So back to the tradition that started to feel so very forced. Some seats by the windows opened up and we moved there. The seats were in a partially walled area and we relaxed a little then knowing that we only had to block one exit for Boo. Did I mention Boo had conjunctivitis and looked like she'd been wailing and left alone somewhere because of the redness and swelling? That added to the glamour we were trying to capture anyway... So here's a few photos because after all it was better to leave the house than to have stayed and done nothing. There was a little bit of fun snuck in there somewhere.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Day of Four-year-old Musings

Sunday we went Christmas Tree hunting. But that morning, we mosied around the house, enjoying our warm little nest. Baby Dragon came into our bedroom and looked out the window. He asked, "Why are there so many footprints in the snow?" I answered, "Because you and your sister walked all over the yard two days ago." He countered, "But it's morning." Then I understood what he meant: the snow should be fresh and untrodden every morning, because every day is new...
We eventually made it to Elk, WA to hunt for our tree late in the afternoon. As we pulled in to the lot, we recognized that this where we got our tree for Fairy Girl's first Christmas. Apparently neither of us has any space in our brain to remember we've been somewhere until we're there again. I even think I said I would never go there again because there were such horrible diesel fumes on the hayride. But here we were again so we took a hayride up to the tree farm and hiked to the top of the hill to look at the Grand Firs. The snow was deep and hard to walk in for the kids. We had Boo bundled up like a fleece gnome and I wore her on my back. We deliberated on tree preferences, and we eventually picked Daddy's. Fairy Girl was worried that the tree was too narrow at the bottom because most of the lower branches were pinned to the ground in the deep snow. We were not disappointed; the tree has a lovely "skirt". The tree cutting process goes as such: consider, choose, hug the tree, take a picture with it, stand back and let Dad saw it, then yell timber! It smelled so good. Lemony and cedar-y and fragrant. Maybe that's my favorite part, the fresh release, the smell of the cut. We all yelled "timber" and Dad pulled it through the deep snow and tree wells until we got back to the path.

Baby Dragon found a branch and wanted to keep it. It was a pathetic branch, sort of a Charlie Brown pick, but he was so happy and had so many imaginary prospects for it, that we brought it all the way home and it's in a vase on his dresser. The sun was setting as we walked back down the hill and waited for the hayride. This time the kids got to sit right behind the tractor (not diesel this time) and this inspired much tractor play at home.

When we pulled the tree into the house, put it into the tree stand and cut the baling off, Baby Dragon climbed into my lap and said, "September!" I said, "wha?" He said, "September." After a few repeats, I finally asked him to help me understand. He replied, "I want you to say what you said when we cut the tree down." Oh, duh, "Say Timber!" Hence, "September," to a 4-year-old! Makes me wonder what else he hears me say that I am not really saying.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Labor Day Getaway

We booked a weekend vacation at Schweitzer during their Fall Fest. Last year we made a day trip to Schweitzer Resort on Labor Day weekend and were surprised that it was a full fledged event. That's when we discovered there are huckleberries growing at the top of the mountain. But there was also a micro-brew tasting and live music in the village as well as some kid activities. So this year we decided to make a weekend of it and really enjoy ourselves. We arrived Thursday night (it always takes forever to get out of town doesn't it?) But we made it and woke up Friday with a plan.
The plan failed miserably. Being short on space to pack cargo we decided to rent bikes up in Sandpoint. Nobody would rent bike trailers for insurance reasons. After finding a few consignment shops and thrift stores and finding nothing, we gave up the idea. Then a new idea was born. Let's rent a boat! Daddy was shocked that I suggested such a fun way to use up fossil fuel fast. He dropped us off at the city beach and went right away looking for a boat rental. He found one and we were soon out on the water!

Sandpoint City Beach
The kids, (and I admit, myself as well) are always amazed at everything Daddy knows how to do. So he steered us out of the marina and under the railroad trestles and then under the long Sandpoint bridge until we were out of the lake and into the wide Pend Oreille river. The kids yelled, "faster, faster!" They loved taking off after being in a no wake zone. They also loved going over the wakes from other boats. My tailbone didn't. They were so excited. So here they are as we start the trip.
Oh the anticipation!
Even Boo was happy to wear a life vest.

Mom and Dad were having a good time too.

Then it was time to turn around and head back. We had boated for an hour and a half up to the town of Priest River. We went up a tributary and enjoyed looking at houses on the water. Some you could tell had been in the family for a couple of generations, each making small improvements. Then there were brand new second homes/ mansions too. Life seemed to be so relaxed and simple. When we turned back, it had grown much cooler and cloudier, but still beautiful.

We made a beeline back to the marina- see why below....

One marmot in the park
Two marmots in the park

Third marmot will not park and cries almost the whole way back!

Sunset at Schweitzer
Even to the top of the mountain she cried and yet the sunset was still amazing. Our little point and shoot obviously gives it no justice, but the sky had fire in the clouds.
The next morning was a new day. Time to ride the chairlift and pick huckleberries. This was my mission. I made it our mission... so we took a little nature trail at the top and found huckelberries. Watching Baby Dragon go from never seeing the berries to identifying them himself and getting clever picking them was my delight. I wore Boo in the Ergo pack and for a while she was content to watch us pick berries but then it became evident that if I didn't start feeding them to her that there would be a revolt. But c'mon, what's more natural than picking berries on a mountain and feeding them straight to your baby? Plus, it reminded us all of the book Blueberries for Sal. So satisfying.

We stopped for a family picture on the trail- Selkirk Range in the backgound and huckleberry plant in the foreground.

Coming down off our mountain high
A side note here: sometimes I think I have nursed a baby everywhere, but this was my first chairlift session.
The next day the weather was cool and rainy, but that didn't stop Fairy Girl from standing in line and shivering while waiting her turn for the bungee trampoline. Burr. But wasn't I good mom for standing with her while sipping my Rogue brew? Poor Baby Dragon was less than 2 pounds too light for the bungee trampoline. Next year little man- you can live it up. It is hard watching the oldest have all the fun.

The back flip everyone loves

We returned home Sunday evening. We decided on the way home that we should use our precious huckleberries to make scones on Monday morning. But before we had breakfast, Selah ran in to tell me that we have a plum tree and there were baskets of ripe fruit to pick. Our lot is full of surprises!

Here's a little sampling of our Monday morning harvest. Perfect fall colors!

The huckleberry scones found a companion in whipped cream. This inspired Daddy's two projects that day- or so I like to think.

Upon finishing breakfast, Daddy set off with his own plans and the two older kids left with Great grandma. I tried to plan our homeschool lessons, but Boo would have none of that...argh. Still how can you be mad when you just had a gorgeous brunch? Upon returning home in the afternoon, the kids found a new rope swing in the backyard! Daddy of the year award coming for sure! He also put trim around the windows of the playhouse which is less glamorous to write about, but oh so necessary to the remodel. So I guess that makes just about the best Labor Day weekend we've ever had!

Watch out Mom!


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Some Summer Goodness From the Backyard

We believe four of our five hens are laying eggs. Today we cracked open two eggs with double yolks to our surprise! Our Banty Hera laid the small light brown egg, the other brown eggs are from the sexlink hens and of course our coveted green egg is from miss Helen, our beautiful Americauna. They all have an amazing orange yolk color from their free ranging habits.
I am especially proud of the yellow pear and tigerella heirloom tomatoes I started from seed. This is my first harvest. The blackberries came with the house. Again, such amazing abundance have we been given.

The next bit of goodness is a toddling Boo with straight up ponytail and blackberry juice smeared everywhere.

Since she loves berries so much, we've slid into calling her Booberry. Notice the juice between the fingers. This makes her extra delectable.

It was hard to shoot this moving target, but this pic gives you the overall impression we enjoyed last night after dinner.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

And ignoring my blog!!

Maybe it is just a sign of summer to let things slide. Maybe my baby became an official toddler and maybe she just happens to be cutting molars as well... in any case, circumstances have conspired to keep me from blogging.
There were a lot of great possible posts and I stikk, ahem, still couldn"t blog. If you could see me now, nak-ing and batting away stray feet and hands from the keyboard, then you would understand the lack of any posts for 6 weeks!
Those posts would have been about camping over the 4th of July, our first chicken eggs laid in the ivy off our deck, all the sewing going on around here, Fairy Girl in her Irish dance class, visiting with cousins, Boo walking for the first time, fresh peach pies, and more!
But tonight I bring you pictures of a project I have been wanting to make since last fall. I finally started it this weekend and finished it today. It's called "Dress with quilted bodice" from Junko Okawa's book, Carefree Clothes for Girls. It has two layers of contrasting gauze and also quilt batting in the bodice. Sewing crinkly gauze or even just cutting out the pattern pieces was a whole new learning curve for me. Thankfully, the dress is supposed to fray and that hides a lot of the lessons I learned making it! I used gold embroidery thread to quilt the bodice and also to add a glimpse of shimmer to the overskirt's hem. The back closes with finger knitted gold thread loops around understated white buttons. Have I bored you all yet? Anyway, after dreaming of this dress for nearly the the time it takes to gestate a real baby, I can finally say it will cease haunting my creative urges.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Ignoring my garden.

0629001959.jpg, originally uploaded by lichen lady.

In the rush to finish a project for my sister's wedding, I forgot to tend my garden boxes. We picked a few peas, (I should say the kids picked some) for dinner a couple of times. I knew there were more peas, but I just didn't know how many more were waiting. Tonight I put Boo on my back in the Ergo and picked away. The snow peas barely fit in the basket and the snap peas were hefty as well. Yum! I love plants that thrive on my neglect.
While I don't have a literal picture to prove it, I want to say that my/ our chickens (and, ahem, one rooster) seem like the happiest fowl alive. They are ranging the side yard, under the bushes, in the ground cover and on the grass. Fairy Girl is a self designated chicken shepherdess, leading them to greener pastures (patches) and away from the rhubarb plant. I heard sudden grief from the window and ran out to discover that Huckleberry had swallowed Fairy Girl's hair elastic. So far nothing has come of the incident. I hope nothing does. We have since scoured the side yard for shiny chicken temptations and hope that mitigates any potential risks. The sun has shined for 7 days straight and it really feels like summer! How did the 4th of July sneak up on me again? It's time to do some decorating and to plant the next crop and do it while the sound of the neighbor's oscillating sprinkler lulls me into perfect summer oblivion. Ahhhh. So nice!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Tooth Fairy Still Comes!

0617002315.jpg, originally uploaded by lichen lady.

This is a secret, don't let Fairy Girl know I posted this. Her sweet little notes and her handstitched gifts for the Tooth Fairy are so precious. I know she has more teeth to lose than her belief in fairies will last and so I just wanted to capture what innocence and gratefulness she had at 7years and 3 months old. Not pictured here are the coat and bag she made for all the fairy accessories to fit inside. I argued that perhaps that was too much for a fairy to fly off with, but she replied, "Mom, I made a bag for all of it so it would be easy." It is so easy! You just have to believe in possibility...

Friday, June 11, 2010

Home is Where Your Heart is!

0611001144a.jpg, originally uploaded by lichen lady.

I came home last evening to view this out our bedroom window. With all that can burden us through the day, it's nice to know that being together is still the most important thing to my husband.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Boo turns one today!

Just a year ago I was holding a newborn. After a blue labor (I wore all blue- dress, socks and head scarf)- she came out quickly in our teeny tiny bathroom! Surprise, it's a girl, a sweet and pink baby girl at 1:24am. The next day the lilac bloomed outside our window and I could rest my eyes on them from our bed. Then just a week before my baby turned 1, I watched my second niece be born into a narrow bathroom, also a surprise baby girl!

Aren't babies yummy?!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Days of May

Wonderful weather and happy company have recently been our way.
We took full advantage of both friends and flowers and hiked our way to the pond nearby. Fairy Girl and her friend were enraptured with daisy chains and made extras to give away to other hikers.

The next day they made a flower feast and while it isn't pictured, there was also some muddly plantian soup. Tree blossoms, dandelions, wildflowers and grass were all used to make a restaurant. I hear that fairy pancakes are going fast!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Breakfast for self-made champions

0506000900.jpg, originally uploaded by lichen lady.

So what do you do when you grow out of your hand-me-down superman pajamas but you still want to where the cape? Your beg your mother to dig it out of the "too small bin" but she refuses until your begging drives her nuts and she says, "how about we just tape it" on to your new hand-me-down Lightning McQueen pajamas? Mom grabs the painting masking tape near by and ta-da! superhero in action. Glad he was okay with that!
Oh what do champions eat? Chamomile tea, maple yogurt and pineapple muffins. Well, at least for first breakfast anyway!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Saturday's Rainbow

0501001851.jpg, originally uploaded by lichen lady.

By the time I went to get my "real" camera, this rainbow had faded. But it was a gorgeous view looking Southeast from our front porch. When we ran to the Northeast side of the house we could see the other end. We felt "somewhere [under] the rainbow."

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Our first May Day tradition.

We crept up quietly to five houses in the neighborhood and delivered flowers from our yard. We didn't Ding-Dong-Ditch as I have heard some people do. No, it was just fun to feel like we were sneaking away leaving a present. I am very grateful to inherit so many flowers growing in our yard. What a beautiful legacy the previous owners have given us!
(sorry for the repetitive posts, I am having trouble with inserting photos)