Friday, December 31, 2010

Celebrating 2010

More or less {This Moment}
With a few more pictures and a few words to close out 2010
Inspired By: Amanda Soule
{This Moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
Good Bye 2010

Who says you cannot be 2 have a style all of your own?

Mr. Strong and Miss Pretty

Dude, this is awesome!!!
Bringing in the new year with a bang.

Tap, tap, tap...

all tapped out.

Hello 2011!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

My Love for Gift Giving and a Bit On What We Gifted This Holiday Season

Giving is soooo much better than receiving!!! I truly LOVE giving gifts to anyone. There are some people out there you have this natural knacked at giving the best gifts. I would not say that I am one of them, I just really enjoy putting my time and energy into giving a gift that is super duper fitting for the receiver. My stumbling blocks are time, I am a total procrastinator especially when I have to hit the stores to purchase the goods to make things. I have already spent a whole other blog post on this very subject, so I will not bore you with the details here again. Anyway, not only do I procrastinate at finishing gifts, I procrastinate at beginning them too. I am sure both of these faults fall under the same reasoning. So, time, is this HUGE issue as it takes time to come up with the perfect gift, it takes time to gather supplies, it takes time to make it, it takes time to wrap it, and than it takes time to get the family ready to gift the gift. Now, if the gift is as ultra spectacular as I would like, than all of this is totally worth it because I get to see the pleasure of the recipient opening this super dee duper fantastic present. Stepping off of my high horse, I really do not think that the gifts our family gives are all that spectacular. It is the entire package that is near and dear to my heart. Whether store bought or handmade I take gift giving seriously because it makes me ultra happy and all warm and fuzzy to gift things to others that I have put a great deal of thought, energy, and love into. The whole point of this story is that I would like to share a bit of what we did for Holiday Gift Giving this season.

I used the December 2010 issue of Everyday Food a Martha Stewart magazine to make food gift baskets for quite a few people. The baskets included Pear/ Apple Butter, Fruit Jellies, Salted Chocolate Tarts, Peanut Brittle, Shortbread Cookies, Gingerbread Cookies, Gingered Nuts, Sugar Cookies, Bacon Jam, and a Loaf of Homebaked Country White Bread. These were really fun to make and the kids were able to help a lot. My only recommendation in the food area, is DO NOT use recipes you have never made before when on time restraints!!! I made three batches of Peanut Brittle and it still was a bit sticky. The first one never hardened, the second one I burnt to a crisp, and well the third we gifted, but like I said it was bit sticky. There were a few other blunders in there, but for the most part it was a bit of a success. Food is kinda more difficult when you are doing of the beaten path recipes. I am sure there is much Bacon Jam in the dumpster as it is definitely love or hate relationship.

Last year I tried out these Lotion Bars and all of the receivers liked them, so we did them again, but with peppermint this time around. The day I made them, I came across this post and recipe for Peppermint Lip Balm. It was so fitting that we threw them in the gift bag too.

My lovely husband really wanted to make 4 clothespin doormats he came across in this book. He made one, and moved onto making bird feeders out of Martini glasses for the other 3 gifts. Inspiration for the bird feeders was out the of the same book as the doormat. We actually received the book for Christmas from our friends a few years ago.

I recently bought this from Amy Karol and used a few of the recipes to make little toiletry baskets for my mom and daughter. Way simple, not very time consuming, and they are both loving their goodies. At the last minute I decided to throw in a few of these scarves. I thought they were much too simple to throw together and way too cute to pass up. I ended up using this fabric to make one for my sister and mom.

I mentioned the Amy Butler Gum Drop Pillows in a post earlier this week. I was little apprehensive about making them at first, but really they were super quick to sew up and very satisfying as they are super duper cute!

I dabbled a little here and there in making homemade bread last year. I kinds tucked it on the back burner as it was one of those things that was just not take priority at that time. But, recently a friend of mine began baking her own bread and even went out to buy a Kitchenaid mixer to knead her bread so she would successfully bake all of her bread at home in the near future. The Kitchenaid mixer definitely makes a huge difference in the kneading area especially of you plan on making whole wheat bread. Anyhow, I decided to gift her the Tassajara Bread Recipe Book and make a few Cotton Bread Bags. I used 100% cotton purchased at a local fabric store here and added my own ribbons and stitches to beauty them up. In the near future I will be gifting myself this very gift ;)

So there you have it, we really gift pretty simply, but it really truly does come from our hearts.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

What I Want To Be, Should Be, and Am Acutally Doing

I do believe to be somewhere in the middle of where I would like to be, what I should be, and what I am actually doing. One does need sleep and well I fell asleep putting the kiddos to bed tonight. That kind of hard sleep where you drool all over yourself and you wake 20 minutes later wondering where you are. Tonight was one heck of a sleep stupor, which must mean I am very, very, very tired. (Probably should be sleeping) But, I am wide awake typing in this little place (What I am actually doing) because I decided to brush my teeth and wash my face before heading to a proper place to sleep (I had fallen asleep on the couch while reading). When I went to bed, I lay there for close to a half hour thinking much to intently about our lives over the past couple of years, when I decided to head downstairs and join my hubby whom is still staking claim to the hallway. (What I want to be doing. But honestly what I really want to be doing is knitting or reading.) I guess I should have inserted another what I should be doings in there pertaining to the painting.

I hope you will excuse me for a second as we have a cat with a few green paws running through the house. You once white kitten is now a tad green and we have a green fly roaming the confines of home. Too bad it is not St. Patricks Day.

Anyway, as soon as we prepared a brush and bowl full of paint for me, Zari woke and ta da! Here I sit and there Jason paints.

It has been wonderful having Jason home, and it would be even more wonderful if we could possibly come with a plan and put it into action to have him home all of the time. However, as grand as this would be, it is not at the top of our priority list right now.

We are working on living intentionally and with purpose all of the time. In this moment our most current wants are making this home a "happier" place, bringing rhythm into our daily lives, and being the superb roll models for our children. Raising a family is most definitely the most difficult thing I have done thus far in life. There are no manuals, nor pamphlets, and I cannot think of one single thing that could of prepared me for the goods and the not so goods of this job (wife and mother).

So here is where I want to be without a doubt, a wife and mother to 4 littles. After close to 9 years I feel deep in my bones that Jason and I are finally on track to what we should be doing. What we are doing lies somewhere in between all of that and a bit more, as it is real life. We are people with faults, we make mistakes, we learn, we move on, and hopefully do not continue to make the same mistakes. We have 4 children that need us sometimes when we may not want to be needed, but we do our best to stop and give them a bit of what they need, sometimes forgoing what we should be doing. And than there is just life and taking what it throws at you. Life is unexpected and we are learning to accept what comes our way, deal with it, and than begin moving forward again.
This week-
-What I Want to Be Doing: allowing our days to flow without restraint as we have no classes or obligations, knitting, giving the kids each a bit of time doing something they choose, saying yes more than no, painting the hallway, staying focused on the present and allowing myself to do more fun than chores, eating up all the good life is offering us right now, staying present, and being grateful.
-What I Should Be Doing: Sorting out our "paper trails", cleaning the house, getting the two broken down cars diagnosed, catching up on sleep, preparing for the return of life next week, hanging with the kiddos, eating up all the good life has to offer, staying present and grateful for all that we have.
-What I Am Doing: I am allowing our days to flow, Coral and I are knitting together (LOVE), I have given the kiddos a bit of undivided attention, I have dabbled in painting the hallway, staying more focused on the present than usual (having no classes and time obligations really helps with this), eating up all the good life has to offer is allowing me to put much of the should be doings on the back burner.
I am fully aware that life is much more complex than this!!! This is just a glimpse of the wants, shoulds, and actualities over here.

So, are we perfect NO!!! Not at all, just a few humbled folks that are still trekking this thing called life.

I sign off in hopes of laying this sweet gal down and joining my painting hubby.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Where You Can Find Me

We have been MEGA busy around these parts recently. So, so, so much so that all I really want to do is sleep all day in hopes of recovering. But, we all know the likely hood of that happening is zilch. Here is a bit of a glimpse at what is happening in lieu of all that sleep I would LOVE to get.
I decided to sew up these Gum Drop Pillows (Pattern by Amy Butler), for a few handsome boys we know for Xmas.
Each of my kiddos were quite adamant they choose the fabric choice for the corresponding aged recipient. Oh boy were the wonderful ladies at our local fabric shop, a bit overwhelmed with us that day. The best is that they could not believe that in 4 days I would be bale to sew up and get out all of the Xmas gifts we were purchasing supplies for that day.

Well, ladies I have news for you, I did get all that and a bit more last minute ideas all done, wrapped, and gifted. Okay, okay, so there were a few blunders. One, being that all 4 pillows opened at the seam I decided to fabric glue rather than hand sew. Believe it or not I decided to break the rules the night before while laying in bed and going over my next days to do list. I thought it would be a bit quicker to slap on a bit of glue and might even look a lot better as I am not so great at the hand sewing thing and it generally looks very hand sewn. Anywho, not a great idea...

the boys opened the gifts and began playing on them while I quickly watched each seam bust open. Thank goodness I stuffed them to the seam, as they are so packed the stuffing just kinda stays put.
Point being one place you will find me if you happen to be looking is hand sewing these very fine landing pads.
The bigger kids usually fall asleep to me reading. Than we must move on to the littles who need more quite, so I nurse and knit till all is still.

And this week, when the babes are sawing Z's, Jason and I are painting the hallway.

The color of our hallway is also the color of the rest of our house. So very drab and dreary. But more nasty than being dark and dreary is that the paint does not allow me to wipe clean the walls. The walls are piled with 6 person family gook.

We rent and we are taking a pretty big leap in committing to be here for what did I say last, 5 years I do believe. 5 years is a long time for us to stay put in one place. Totally worth the effort of painting to cheer it up, make it a bit easier to clean, and umm...pretend we "own" it.

It is our hallway now!!!
Cheers to staking claim, I am off to paint :)
You will have no problem locating me tonight...

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Art of Celebrating Holidays

Celebrating holidays is so very important to me on many levels. It has been a road traveled many times beginning with my own childhood. I do not believe that there is a wrong way or a right way, but different ways.

This year we marked as the year it seems to have all come together for us. We feel that we found balance with all that we wanted this Holiday Season to hold. We blended new and old traditions, we delved a little deeper into why and how these holidays are celebrated, and Santa did is due diligence to deliver what each of my littles requested.

My memories are not cluttered with materialism, but are cluttered with many many picturesque moments we shared throughout the weekend.

Today we spent our day putting away Holiday and reconnecting after a very busy few weeks. We are looking forward to spending the rest of our week staycationing while Daddy/ Hubby is off of work.

Hoping all of you had a wonderful time celebrating in whatever way brings many smiles and warm fuzzies to you and yours.

Friday, December 24, 2010

This Moment

{This Moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
Inspired by Amanda Soule

Our Little Party Girl and Baby Mouse

The last I shared with you, we were all looking forward to seeing Lillitha perform in The Nutcracker.

My oh my were all of us impressed by this little gal.

Waiting in line to have her stage make-up applied.
When she heard she was going to wear "real" makeup her face lit up like a light bulb!

Glamour girl

Lillitha ready to go on stage with her Party Girl partner.
Please take notice that the girls are standing proper with their hands out to the side and not mussing up their pretty dresses.

You can doll up a girl all you want, but you cannot take away whom they really are.

Proud momma and Proud Lillitha!!!
I mentioned I would need tissues, well geesh did I need tissues. Who would of thunk after all of those rehearsals and than being backstage during the first performance?
But still the tears started flowing when she hit the stage and I was in the audience for the real deal. It was so "bad", a dad sitting next to me said, "Dude, that must be your daughter?"
I silently shook my head and smiled a ridiculously huge grin. I should of looked at him and said, "Hell yes, it is my daughter and I am damn proud of that little 4 1/2 year old up there!!!
New Ballet Slippers, pristine and clean ready to hit the stage.

Her first time performing on stage and she kicked ASS!!!

All smiles!

All done with the party scene and heading backstage for a quick change into...

the Baby Mice.

These little gals were so cute with their paws out in front and their tiny feet scampering about.

Big Sister and Big Brother so proud of their Little Sister after the show.

Still beaming with pride and admiration at our gal!
Hope I can pop in tomorrow to share a bit about our elving and Holiday fun.
Hope you are all enjoying this special time of year!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Slowing Down and Reconnecting

A few things I did to slow down during these very busy times:
~Held Zari through her nap while crocheting her sweater and allowing my thoughts to roam freely
~Laid down with Lillitha tonight until she fell fast asleep
~At home date night with my hubby, while the kids watched a movie
~Sat down to lunch with Nishan while the little gals napped
~Sat down and chatted with Coral for a bit this morning while the littles were busy playing
Just these handful of things really helped me to slow down and reconnect after being so busy recently. I am so glad that I took today to focus on giving each of my kiddos and husband a bit of undivided attention. I needed this just as much as each of them. I hope you are finding ways to connect, slow down, and cherish what is important to you.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Two Years Ago She Graced Us With Her Presence

Zari Annika Hill turned 2 today!

She is my bubblicious baby and I love her to pieces. Zari has brought so much joy through giggles to our family. She is big on making you laugh, yet is sly about her silliness.

Each morning she wakes to enjoy a Chai while I sip on my coffee.

"Mine, Mine?", she asks.
She would not allow anyone to open her purse all day. Her 3 big siblings really wanted to show her she had a few more gifts. The gifts inside were not of any interest, it only mattered that this purse was hers and no one elses!

To celebrate with friends we headed over to the Ojai Kids Club Holiday Party where Zari was able to explore and play with an abundance of toddler sized toys.

Her first pick of the evening was painting a box.

Our dear friend Tawnya and Zari sharing a few moments of celebration play.
I was not going to gushy, but as I scrolled to this picture, I immediately thought of my birth with Zari. So rather than go the emotional route, thank you girl friend for being there 2 years ago and thank you for being here today! It would not of been complete without you!

She was loving the paint tonight. But this time she found the sticker stash!

On to dinner at Ojai Pizza.
The Ferdolage family surprised her with the most perfect gift.

She was just delighted with her Flower Headband and TuTu to match.

Our friend using his megs superpowers to protect the flower princess.

How is that for sporting all of her birthday goods?

The best part of our celebration day was celebrating over dinner with friends.
Happy Birthday my Little Boo, we love you so very much

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Preparing for Another Show Weekend

Miss Lillitha our Ballerina
waiting and watching at her first on sight rehearsal.
A little nervous and in awe of that BIG stage.
She sat very quiet and still, while taking it all in.
But, when it was her turn to jump on stage she was all smiles and business.

Zari decided to sleep when she realized she did not get to dance on stage too.

This momma teared up a bit at seeing her little gal on the big stage for the first time, even though it was just a rehearsal.

And, than this momma crocheted, watched, and clicked away like a mad lady with the camera.

This teacher is so, so, so wonderful with the kiddos!!! At 22 I would of been a wreck.
Love Robin!!!
I will be making one more, just one more tutu for The Nutcracker. It is the one I said , "No, no, no!" to doing and in the end I am so happy I did, because it is for this wonderful woman.

Lillitha and her two big girl partners in the Party Scene.

Maddie is her favorite!

Heading off stage and we were all done for tonight.
Sitting in on tonight's rehearsal made all of the hard work so worth it!
I cannot imagine that it can get any better, but I know on show night, I will need a whole box of tissues and a whole lot of memory on the camera!!!
There is nothing like seeing your own kiddo shine after a whole lot of hard work!!!!