In Search of a Tree

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we spent the day sledding at a friend’s yesterday and then headed out in search of our christmas tree.
the snow and slippery roads didn’t keep us from trekking out and we had the tree farm all to ourselves.
it was bitter cold but we made sure to bundle up and the campfire was a bonus.
we found the perfect little fraser fir, strapped it on the roof and sang christmas carols all the way home.

tonight the girls are out with chris for a hot chocolate/christmas shopping date while i host craft circle.
i hope to finish up a few christmas gifts including a stocking for harry.

the tree is trimmed, the fire is lit, the kettle is on and christmas tunes are on shuffle as i wait for my guests.

Let it Snow

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it’s snowing again!
we are supposed to get 6-8 more inches! Programs for the girls have been cancelled today which means chris has off too.
we didn’t get much snow last year so we are welcoming it with open arms.
there is chicken broth brewing on the stove to make soup for lunch and i just started a fire.
later we will head out to get our christmas tree and we will be sure to fit in some sledding too.
yippeeeee!

Merry Making

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oh there has been much merry making and excitement over here the last few days.

st. nicholas paid a visit with some chocolates and goodies and hannah is in full swing with the nutcracker. we got to see her first performance on saturday and it was beautiful!
i shed many a tear throughout the show. my tears were of joy but also of awe, sadness and a bit of release.

this mama here has been a bit weepy these days and having quite a time excepting that my girls are growing up. i have been resisting it actually and it doesn’t feel good. i want to enjoy and embrace each stage that they enter and this weekend i had a bit of an awakening and decided to let it all go. and oh does it feel good!

and to make things even more joyous and celebratory we got snow! and a lot of it.
harry has declared that he is a snow dog. he was out in it for hours yesterday. we had to thaw him out by the fire.
the girls were romping around out there until 10 o’clock last night. you can see a few more adventures in the snow here.

today we make ornaments for our creature tree and head over to a friend’s house with a very steep hill in their back yard for a day of sledding.

what did you do this weekend?

Foraging for Greens

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we are on a tight budget this year which means i needed to get creative with the holiday decor.
i am always on the look out and keep a sturdy pair of clippers and a pair of gloves in the car at this time of year.
my girls moan and groan when i swerve off the side of the road for that perfect fallen branch or crop of pine cones on the ground.

my goal is to not buy one single green and so far i am keeping my promise.
today i helped a friend prune back a very overgrown juniper which filled the entire trunk of my car.
i used it to fill my window boxes and pots.

i still hope to make my own garland to go around the front and back door and adorn it with magnolia seed heads.
i saw a bunch of them at the library the other day and plan to fill up a basket tomorrow.
i am also inspired to make a wreath like this one.

what are some of your favorite things to decorate with?

Letting the Santas Out

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each year my parents host us all for turkey soup and leftovers on the sunday after thanksgiving.
we sit around the fire while the girls and seamus uproot all of my mother’s santas and reindeer that have been hiding in the cabinet all year.
they love to set them all up in one big scene for marmee to then later scatter around her beautiful home.

my sister and i love to reminisce at the collection. some are as old as me including her german smoker men.
i so appreciate the many things my mom has kept over the years and how they have created tradition and joy for us all.

december 2 envelope: make paper snowflakes by the fire with hot chocolate.

Advent

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happy december!
i thought it would be fun to hang the advent calendar in a new spot this year. one we didn’t even have last year!
december 1 envelope was to take out all of our christmas and winter books.
it’s always so much fun to look through all of them. even though we have read them hundreds of times it always feels as if if we have a brand new bunch of books.

many in the pile give me warm and fuzzy feelings from my childhood including tasha tudor’s a doll’s christmas. i remember studying every single detail in each drawing and my mother would even let us get a real live christmas tree for our dolls.

there are so many beautiful books out there for the christmas and winter season. we probably have at least 50 of our own. i have had to hold myself back from accumulating too many or we may need to build a whole new room on top of hannah’s for a library!

i am always drawn to beautiful illustrations and love elsa beskow’s books. a favorite is peter and lotta’s christmas about the christmas goat.

christmas in noisy village is one of the sweetest books ever and this version of the mitten is beautifully done.

owl moon by jane yolen is probably one of my most favorite books at this time of year. it makes we want to out on a night hike in the woods each time we read it.

so now all we need is a new load of fire wood and we are all set for hunkering down each night to read.

The Advent Calendar

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the last day of november, oh my!
the girls decorated their rooms for christmas and i am in love with those egg carton twinkle lights we made!

the advent calendar is out and ready for tomorrow.
i remember how magical it was to open those little windows each morning to find a candle or a sleigh or a bell.
i am not sure if my girls find it as exciting as i once did but even hannah, at almost twelve, asks for one each year.

they do however get excited for the advent calendar that i started hanging a few years back which is just simply a string of envelopes with the date on each one. each envelope includes a little slip of paper with a holiday activity we will hope to achieve that day.

i make things simple and easy.

tomorrow we will take out all of our christmas books, many of which were mine when i was a girl which makes this one of my favorite activities!

this month i plan to include you on each day’s envelope.

A Bit of Holiday Cheer

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these last few days i have been slowly adding some holiday cheer to our home. i just can’t help myself!

i haven’t put electric candles in the windows for a few years now. i missed the cheery glow. especially with these shorter days. my mom always had candles in our windows at christmas times. it was one of the first things that went up for the holiday and i loved falling asleep each night with those little lights on.

i’m on the look out for fallen evergreen branches, pinecones,magnolia leaves, osage oranges, etc.

we head off this afternoon for a few days to visit chris’ family for thanksgiving.
hannah and i have to leave a day early for her nutcracker rehearsals.
but we will be sure to make time to stop on the way home for our annual tradition.

wishing you all a peaceful thanksgiving.
i am extremely thankful for this space and for all of you who take the time to stop by.
cheers!
xo

Wains Coating

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my grandfather and chris installed wains coating in our dining room about a month ago.
if you look at the photos in the previous post of norah’s birthday, you can see that the trim is attached to the wall both vertically and horizontally. and when painted it gives the effect that it is all wood when really it is mostly the wall.
it’s a clever and affordable solution if i do say so myself. it gives structure and texture to a room and it’s amazing how much brighter and bigger it feels now.

this past weekend my best friend and i had a blissful two days of painting it all while chatting, giggling, drinking tea and eating chocolate.
when we first started i never thought we would finish by sunday.
but time really flew by and before we knew it, the room was complete with time left over for a glass of wine and a pot of homemade cauliflower, butternut squash soup.

i love a finished project just before the holidays!

Seasonal Decor

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i love the change of seasons.
as the light fades and the cooler weather sets in, we are forced inside a bit more.
routines shift, our meals become warmer and hardier and our home becomes the heart of everything we do.

i like my seasonal “decor” (if i can even really call it that) to reflect the changes happening out in the natural world.
acorns, feathers, pine cones, seed heads and dried grasses adorn shelves and corners.
beautiful edible orange and blue squashes sit on my counter and act as a reminder that fall is here.
i bring out the nutcracker, buy some nuts and we feast on them well past christmas.
windowsills and counter tops begin to fill up with plants that i try to salvage from the frost.
baskets of knitting and blankets become part of the scene and we begin to hunker down for the winter.

i do of course have to satisfy the needs of my girls (who i think secretly wish i was a little more mainstream in the decorating department) by observing that halloween is coming with a few postcards and handmade black cats.