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It all started with this "car" that Ryan helped make from a big box.

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Which led to these two "carseats" that Grace and Jackson made from little boxes I had lying around.

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Which led to many hours of happy car play here over the last few days.


My New Favorite Magazine

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I discovered this magazine this fall... and fell in love with it. The pictures and stories are amazing.

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There are always beautiful gardens to drool over (and this sun room that will be an addition on our house someday, minus the checkered floor).

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And I always love the inspiring stories of people making a living through their art or simple craft... soap making, toy making, baking, etc.

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The decorating ideas are unique and very eclectic.

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And the farm stories... I love those the most.

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I'm almost embarrassed say this since anyone who has seen/sees our farm would think I'm ridiculous and crazy (which I am) but I've always felt this house and the land here land have a little bit of a European feel to them. Maybe it's because when we first saw the house it was filled with antiques that the previous owners had brought back from Europe. Or maybe it's because of all the old stones and bricks everywhere... or the overgrown vines and gardens. In any case, it is the only thing that made me hesitate when trying to decide if we should paint the barn red (because there's nothing more American then that). But in the end we've both always wanted a big red barn... and it feels much more authentic to embrace and celebrate where we do live then to try and create something else. Still, I am so inspired by the farms and countryside in Europe, and this magazine is the perfect fix for that.

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Happy Birthday Ryan


Thank you for keeping wood on the fire,
and for how hard you work for our family.


Thank you for being the kind of dad that plays with his kids,
and wears pink crowns on your birthday to please your 5 year old.


Thank you for making us laugh,
and for letting me sleep in every weekend.

Thank you for being you.

Happy Birthday.
We love you.


Every Night


My notebook
A big mug of tea
Comfy chair
This fireplace


Inside Our House On This Cold Day

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Oh I loved today.
This morning Grace woke up and decided she wanted to do some sewing... so of course Jackson did too.

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Aside from tying the knot in the thread, I did nothing else. They decided what they were going to make, chose and cut their fabric, threaded the needle (Grace did that for both of them), and of course did the sewing.

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The end result- Jackson made this little "ball" and Grace a small pillow. I've never been so proud of a pile of fabric scraps.

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And so were they. Jackson loved his ball, playing with it on and off for the rest of the day.

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And Grace had a special plan for her little pillow. It was made for one of her "minnies" as she calls her collection of little fairies, gnomes, and animals.

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She could spend hours playing "minnies" (and now thanks to some great birthday presents from family and friends they have a home and barn too).

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And as an added bonus, all this sewing and playing led to a lot of good quality sit by the fire and read a book time for me.

So yes, I loved today.



So Happy About...


my new calendar. I am loving looking up at the cheery artwork and daydreaming of spring. Found here at my friend Heidi's etsy shop. Next on my list, this one and this one.


Where I've Been...

Phew. That's the longest I've been away from here in quite sometime. It was kind of a nice, needed break though. This week we started back to work/school with our first "full" week. We now have a shorter week (only three days) but I have to be at work much earlier so it has been another transition. The week went well though. I think I'm really going to like this new schedule (and I love being a part of the morning kindergarten).

I've also been using a lot of my time over the last few weeks writing... and I could not be happier about that. Ryan has been really supportive in allowing me the time to do it, which I'm so appreciative of.

Other things we've been up to...


Planning and planning our gardens (even though I told myself I wasn't going to even look at garden stuff until February)


Venturing down to our pond


Cleaning the cobwebs (that suddenly popped up everywhere in my kitchen...I started a major cleaning spree here today)


Warming up by the fire


Still enjoying our new games, puzzles, and art projects we got for Christmas (and a few bonus days here and there with daddy at home)

All and all... a good week.



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I found a new book to get my mind off goats and onto bees, which is much more fitting considering tomorrow I am going to go order them (and purchase my hive equipment). Thankfully this book is just as poetic as "Goat Song" and is having the same effect on me... I am completely caught up in the world of honey bees.

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I am both excited and nervous about this new venture. The more I read the more I realize just how many wonderful things you can do with honey and beeswax. But I am also learning how one mistake or one unfortunate act of nature can cause the whole hive to collapse.

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And while I'm on the topic of bees, I forgot I still need to write down my recipe for the handsalve I made over Christmas.

For starters I should note that the best place to get all the oils is definitely the bulk section of a co-op. The canisters came from Michael's (they are actually sold for candle making but worked great for this too). The beeswax came from Michael's too but I won't make that mistake again. The local beekeeper and dealer that I found where I'm getting my bees sells his beeswax for almost a forth of the price (not to mention is it's probably much purer).

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When you're heating beeswax you can't heat it directly in the pan so I put a bowl over a pan to create a double boiler (and it is now my "beeswax" bowl as the wax does not really come out that easily).

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Herbal Salve Recipe (found here and adjusted for a bigger batch)

12 ounces Beeswax
18 ounces Sweet Almond Oil
6 ounce Jojoba Oil
3 oz. Canola oil
60 (or more) drops total essential oil of your preference

Makes about 24 ounces of salve

Simply heat the Sweet Almond, Canola oil and Jojoba oil in a saucepan and add Beeswax. Pour into tins and let cool. Next time I will experiment with the oil to wax ratio (and try adding more oils) to get it a little bit softer. But overall I am loving this salve. It is so great for dry hands and even cuts and scrapes.


The Pond

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Our new discovery. The pond in our backyard... that we can play on. Today they walked down there by themselves, which of course was very exciting. Three days ago Grace went skating here for the first time and now the pond is all she can talk about. Today I found some skates small enough for Jackson (which he "practiced" on in the living room). So Thursday we have a whole day of ice skating planned. Can't wait. Now I'm the only one who needs some new skates.


Random Thoughts

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~ I don't think I'll ever get tired of those big fat fluffy flakes that are falling outside right now, especially on days like today when I don't have to go anywhere.

~ And speaking of falling, I fell down the basement stairs today into a cement wall and thought for sure I broke something. Amazingly, aside from a few scrapes and bruises, I think I'm okay.

~ It would be good if all the treats would finally disappear from my house. Although I've been eating and eating them, they seem to be endless.

~ Also I cannot make anymore whip-cream (for at least a few months).

~ I finally finished all the blog posts I started over the last few days which felt good.

~ I also caught up on all the bills today. Also feels good.

~ Besides Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, Grace and Jackson have been wearing their pajamas for almost two weeks straight.

~ It is going to be hard to get them back into the habit of clothes come Wednesday.

~ They have been having so much fun playing together today. It has been nice.

~ We just used up the last of the frozen black raspberries and the last jar of black raspberry jam.

~ I am more motivated then ever to pick them this summer.

~ I ordered 6 heirloom organic apples trees this last weekend.

~ I'm pretty excited about that.

~ And I'm in the process of ordering bees.

~ Also ecstatic about that.

~ I made the simplest dinner tonight- brown rice with butter, sliced almonds and dried currants with a side of beans and lentils. It was so easy and delicious (not to mention healthy) and Grace and Jackson loved it.

~ Going to try and incorporate more meals with rice into our dinners.

~ I am loving 2011 so far... all three days of it.


The Haircut

I briefly mentioned the haircut that happened here the other day but I think it deserves it's own post.

So Grace and Jackson were playing together in their room, Grace with her loom, and Jackson with his new cars. It was so quiet and peaceful (somehow I'm suckered every time by this. Quiet and peaceful almost always means we are up to something. How do I keep forgetting this?). Suddenly I heard them starting to come down the stairs. They were giggling and Jackson was holding a chunk of hair in his hand. His head was practically bald in spots with long wispy clumps of it still sticking out in others. I ran up the stairs to find piles and piles of his hair all over Grace's bed.

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When I asked for the story Grace said, "Well, I looked up and Jackson was cutting his hair and I thought oh that looks fun, I want to help with that. So I helped him cut all of his hair. And I really like it. Don't you mom?"

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I was not happy. Not happy one bit. I loved Jackson's curly cues. And besides the horrible haircut, he now also looks so... old. I immediately called Ryan who started laughing. I tried to convince him that it wasn't funny but he wasn't having it, "oh Amy, everyone has a haircutting story from their childhood."

Hmmmm, yes, I guess they do. In fact, actually I have one, and it even comes with pictures. I'm not sure how old I was, I think maybe four. Kirsten and I were innocently playing barber and taking turns to "cut hair" (these pictures were obviously taken before the incident).


When it was my turn to be the barber I went to get a real scissors. "Your not really going to cut my hair are you," she asked. "No, no," I assured her... and then went on to really cut her hair. My mom was not happy. Come to think of it, I don't think anyone was.


So I guess I had it coming to me.

And I'll have to learn to like a buzz cut.