Tuesday, November 30, 2010

WIP Wednesday

We've been hard at work on so many wonderful, jolly, and dare I say kitchy projects/gifts this past week. Here are just a few of what we've been putting our hands, hearts, and deep thoughts to:

A winter wonderland village inspired by this at The Long Thread.

A few more handmade Hanukkah decorations. We spent the afternoon listening to a rocking Pandora Hanukkah station gluing strips of blue and yellow paper together to make this:

This was Willow's independently made decoration for our holiday:

Cedar just ate glue.
I'll be back tomorrow to fill you in on what's been helping us making it through the TV free transition (aside from Grace. Lots. And lots of Grace).
I hope your hands are happy at work on something while celebrating the holidays!

Read. Read. Read. Oh yeah, and read.

We are reading more theses days. Yes. I said MORE. How can that be you ask? Well without the tv enticing my little ones they are enjoying the previously often ignored baskets of books laying around our home. We have always been lovers of the written word but are endulding in it a bit more during our days. I thought I'd share some of our recent favorites:

This is Willow's current fave. Rave reviews from the Hart household. It includes fun watermark-ish (aren't I well articulated this evening?) golden snails hidden throughout. Once you find them all you can log into a website and unlock a game! Oh my! She LOVES this book.

Next up, our beloved Ollie's Ski Trip by Elsa Beskow

Willow and I enjoy this tale every winter. She loves the character of Jack Frost and immitates skiing along a snowy moor over and over after we put it down. It's a classic. Get it. Read it. Love it.

We also LOVE OLIVIA helps with Christmas by Ian Falconer.

We are all thoroughly enjoying this new pick from a recent trip to the library. I've harbored a secret love of Olivia for a while but munchkin and monster are just jumping on the band wagon. Even Daddy Oak cracks everyone up when he does an impression of Olivia singing


Little Pea by Amy Krause Rosenthal

Another fun read that we've had since Willow was a toddler that Cedar is now enjoying. It's a tale about a little pea and his parents. He has to eat candy for dinner every night, "candy, candy, candy!". He scarfs down his candy counting along the way until he gets to his dessert. Everyone will be yelling "spinach!!!".

Well, off to snuggle on the couch with an old afghan, some peppermint coffee (hot cocoa for the munchkins) and another wonderful book, Christmas in Noisy Village by Astrid Lindgren, another of our very favorite authors. Maybe I'll share more about that another time!

Happy reading!

TV free Tuesdays!

When we were engaged my boss at the time gave us one piece of advice and it was to "have no TV for the first year of marriage, it'll set you up for success by giving yourselves more time to get to know each other than some characters in a sitcom". We prayed over his wise advice and decided it was best for us. We kept my 13 inch TV/VCR combo for movie nights, but opted out of cable TV. I have to say that between that decision and the support we received from our friends at our Bible Study, we made it through. By the skin of our teeth, but we did it.

By the time our 1 yr. anniversary came around we welcomed a screaming (*ahem* precious) Willow into the world. Tension ran long but money was short. We moved about a bazillion times during which we continued to use our loyal 13 inch TV for occasional movie nights. We finally settled into a spacious 350 sq. ft. apartment. As a means to escape the reality of a year and a half old child who never slept and a whole lot-a family drama, we gave in to the free cable.

Long story short my dreams of having a child who had no idea who Dora was quickly turned to dust as Willow stomped on it with her Strawberry Shortcake shoes while singing "Yo Gabba Gabba!". One day I hit a breaking point, almost literally beat the TV up with a bat, decided to throw it in the closet instead and lived a blissful TV free life. . .. until Cedar was born.

We made it almost two months after his birth until we brought it out and dusted it off. I was overwhelmed with an almost 3 year old with some sensory needs, a newborn with colic that never ended and a whole lot of post partum yucky-ness. And, well, it helped.

A year and a half and another child screaming "Dora" and chasing after a girl with short hair later, I was officially done. Granted, they still didn't sit in front of it all day and we didn't have cable, but I was looking around at my children, children who God created with amazing imaginations sitting around staring at a blue flashing screen. I couldn't help but feel responsible. Of course I was responsible. I am supposed to be the steward of these children at home while they are here with me on Earth and I was not doing them any service by allowing Dora to babysit them so I could read a few blog posts or knit a few rows.

I cannot stand TV as background noise. Sensoraly (is that even a word?) for me I can't think when it's on. I hate what it turns my children into. I hate that it becomes an easy out so that I can have a minute for myself. Shouldn't I lean on Jesus, not the Super Hero Squad?

Daddy Oak and I talked. We agreed it was best. So the first Sunday of Advent I hauled it to the basement with Willow literally holding onto my feet and Cedar pulling on my shirt. It's gone. For good. I listed it on Craigslist.

Three days later and they are back to showing me pictures they took on their digital camera (a wooden block) and defeating monsters in the mirror. They haven't asked for it once! And I am happy.

(and so are they)

I bring all of this up for a point. I promise! From now on on Tuesdays I will be posting what we have done in the past week without the need of a TV, share some ideas for what I have planned for the following week and will share some general thoughts on how I feel we are doing since going back to TV free. Feel free to join in and share your thoughts and ideas, links, and even gripes!

Have a happy day!

Monday, November 22, 2010

New Duds

Cedar has a crazy teeny tiny little waste but a huge 'ol rear end due to his cloth diapers. It's nearly impossible to find pants to fit him. Which turned out to make this mama very happy because what else are you going to make for a boy? I spent so much time sewing Willow birthday and easter dresses, everyday dresses and skirts and the occasionally dolly accessory. I lamented over one thing and one thing only when we found out we were having a boy: no more itty bitty made-by-mama dresses *tear*. But enter tiny but Cedar and we're in business! Pants!

In the past I've just traced some of his old pants and wha-lah! Wait. Too small, need room for the. . . . big butt! Surprisingly enough, I used the Big Butt Baby Pants pattern by Rae at Made By Rae. It was super easy to follow and contrary to what Daddy Oak thinks, they do NOT look like clown pants. Thank you very much.

Next I made a shirt to match out of one of my old shirts and a way too small t-shirt. I used Dana's tutorial and think I started an addiction. I sewed the envelope part a little too tight, so I need to cool it next time.

Now to tear apart more curtains and t-shirts! and to give that boy a haircut!

The Dance

*gotta love a farm girl dancing with a goat!*

Oh Garth Brooks, you used to light up my heart like the combined flames of a campground full of fires. *rolling eyes and laughing* I did love that song though. . . on to the real reason for today's post:

Dancing. I love to dance. Willow LIVES to dance. Daddy Oak doesn't dance. And Cedar, well, he dances like a superhero. Rock it little man. Rock it.

I am currently near obsession with the idea of organizing a flash mob. Watching Modern Family's last episode didn't help any. In college before I even knew what a flash mob was, a few friends and I thought it would be awesome to walk in front of Warriner Mall, drop our back packs and start singing and dancing. How awesome would that be?

I've been thinking about dancing as a metaphorical term lately. The seasons and how they dance, trees swaying in the wind, the balance of relationships, the limbo between being eco-friendly one day and wanting to eat a cheeseburger from Mickey D's the next.

According to the dictionary "to dance" is to 'move rhythmically'. Rhythm is key. The breathing in and breathing out of a day, the ups and downs of life's adventures. Two other def. were also offered:
-To perform- isn't that true? some days I feel like all I'm doing is performing for someone else.
-To skip or leap as in joy - oh how I loved this one! Psalm 149:3 says, "Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with tambourine and harp".

I want to set my life to a Godly rhythm, the only one I want to perform for is Him, and joy, oh joy! I have it all in Him. I want to embrace the up and downs of life, being swayed by the winds of life, all of it by dancing! So get up! Make a joyful noise! and DANCE!

I LOVE this. LOVE it.

I also want to share an awesome blog I've found. I love what she's doing and wish my excitement about it would spread like wildfire to the rest of the family.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friends in High places

I've wandered through life for years praying for friends. Real friends. People who you know have your back and don't care about your ugly stuff. Not just any friends. No, Mister. I was on the hunt for THE ONE. I have a long history of desiring a best friend; coveting the relationships I see others having. Stemming from first grade when my then best friend, Jolene, moved away it's been a hole in my heart that no one had yet to fill. I wanted someone who not only shared similar interests but who Daddy Oak joked was my "chick soul mate".I wanted what I saw my grandma having. Friends that she knew before kids, friends that raised their kids together, went on fun weekends away together, were there for each other through losses and divorces and in their 60's were still baking cookies and getting together on Sunday mornings after church for donuts. I wanted more than anything to find (rather to see God put together a real life "operation-friend-drop") one(or more) who I will sit over coffee with 50 years from now remembering when we weren't so wrinkled or drinking so much prune juice. Several times I've convinced myself out of desparation that this one's the one. This is. The. One. Only to have my heart ripped out a la some alien sci-fi movie.

No more! I declared. No more will I open my heart to have it so viciously (showing just a *little* of my flair for the dramatic here) ripped out. So I rolled a stone in front of it and became a cynic of friendship for over a year and a half. Done. Done I say!

But as we all know God is so funny. Ha. Ha. and here I am again. But not. My heart has recovered and through His Grace has found a new stance on friendship. I will never find The One. Because He was there all along. I was desparately searching and begging for something that only He can provide. He humored me. Loved me and brought me through the pit of despair I put myself in due to my impossible standards and state of oblivion. He is my One. He is the only one that will probably care about what I'm doing fifty years from now. He is the only one who will never shy away from my ugly stuff. He knows my ugly stuff. He LOVES my ugly stuff.

And you know what. . . through this realization He has also put many amazing people in my life. So today after an encounter yesterday with someone who two years ago I would have proclaimed as "The One", and after a night out with two friends who I will probably still be staying up late talking into the wee hours when we are in our 60's, and an instance of realizing the love of a mentor who has come into my life right at the right time: I know that I have Him and I am thankful for His love for me and His perect timing. And above all I know that He is My One. My One.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


On a happier note here's some eye (ear! and mouth! oh my!) candy for your weekend enjoyment.

- I cannot get over how moved I am by this piece.

- I have been drooling over their work for some time. I LOVE everything in their portfolio. Wouldn't one of the kids look great in my living room ;D

- This is on my current to-make-for-Christmas llist. EEEK!! Only 41 more days!

- Reminds me of a certain someone. If I ever do learn how to play the piano, this is the first song I want to learn to play.

-Thanks to Dana all I can think about is pumpkin pancakes! With lemon cream!

-And this is for my sister. I spent way too much time online this morning looking for a video from this. Fun flashback :D

Have a happy weekend! I get to enjoy it with Daddy Oak who was granted a three day weekend thanks to St. Anter's Day. Whoo hoo!!!

That Fast

She lifted her hands up shouting for joy over going to the "smell good store" (candle shoppe). I bent down to secure Cedar in the stroller. When I looked back up I saw it coming and began to shout a shout that all at once embodied the roar of a bear and the scream of a baby. He braked. She ran to me. I cried. Cedar was still asleep.

Time is measurable. They say. But those split seconds seem to last forever in my memory maybe because I came 'this close' to losing her 'that fast'.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Munchkin, Monster, and I have been doing many projects lately. Dirtying our hands in everything from plaster of paris to hot pink acrylic paint and laundry soap. More to come on that later. But just like the autumn leaves, too many thoughts to count have been swirling around in my head.

I haven't written here for a while. . . ok. . . a looong while. This hiatis was the result of a personal blogging crisis. Don't be alarmed, no straight-jackets were involved. But I did find myself wanting to be who I am not. And that is not something the real me who was lost in the blogging thought craziness is ok with. I found myself wanting to fit in some niche of the blogging world. Montessori. Not really. Waldorf. . . um. . . not quite (my kids do love their Dora). Ok, well then I'm a Waldorf and Montessori inspired wannabe unschooling mom who likes to craft. Actually pretty true, but is that all I want to blog about?. A frugal family trying to live a self sustained life (picturing Daddy Oak in overalls with a pitchfork in hand). Definitely not. A wanna be minimalist.. . . maybe mama, but if I let Willow take over this house anymore than I already do American Pickers would be knocking on our door. A. . . . you get the picture.

At the end of my 6 month long personal blogging crisis (during which I'm certain thoughts of committing me were entertained by a certain someone) I came up with this conclusion:

I am not going to change your life with my insightful words of wisdom. I am not going to blow your mind away with my amazing crafting/sewing skills. You won't find breathtakingly creative photos or clearly thought out deep posts on this here page. However what you will find is just me. I'm not an expert by any means in anything. I am definitely not one of those people who "has it all together" and who will be wealth of knowledge for you in your quest for the same. In real life nor in that of the cyberworld am I a well-articulated person. I haven't ever done anything super exciting that will make you envy me and follow my blog in order to remind yourself of who you wish you could be like. But by golly I love my ordinary life and that's enough for me. So if ordinary strikes your fancy, hold on to your skibbies and be sure to tune in because that is just what you'll find.