Showing posts with label Holidays. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Holidays. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

holiday goodness

I started to publish this post at my new site, but then I decided it had more of the trappings of a family update, so I'm moving it here. We had grandparents visiting for almost the entire two weeks of vacation, and we took trips to North Conway (snow! and the Polar Express) and Rockport. The girls are at a lovely age where they play together for hours, and our Christmas loot was a perfect manageable amount of stuff, which was the result of a team effort. Go team!

In other news, here are some random questions to which my family thinks I know the answers no matter how many times I do not know the answers:

1. What is that smell?

2. Where are my ______? (socks, books, keys, or Charlie's favorite since seeing The Lego Movie, pants)

3. Why am I getting this "Everyday with Rachel Ray" magazine and are we paying for it?

I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and that you're feeling good about the start of a new year.

It snowed when we visited North Conway. Gorgeous!

Snuggling with her new loot.

Coloring is Vivi's favorite activity.

Rockport in winter.

Not quite beach weather.

They enjoyed having a bed in the living room.

Thursday, May 01, 2014


Vivi is six! My mom came up to celebrate her birthday with us. Vivi is particularly fun to celebrate a birthday with because of how much she loves the event. She talks about and plans her birthday for weeks and even months leading up to it. She is just so excited! It's nice that her birthday is in spring because, for me, it marks the beginning of a change in the weather and even the demeanor of the people around here. Everyone heaves a collective sigh of relief that new life has sprung once again.

As in years past, we incorporated a local farm in the birthday activities. Because her birthday nearly coincided with April vacation week, we were able to sign Vivi, Charlie, and a few friends up for a gardening class. Afterward mom and I took them to eat dessert at one of those frozen yogurt places where you pick your own toppings. When I returned one of the girls to her house, her mom came out and said, "Now you can go home and have a glass of wine." That wasn't her first rodeo, but it was mine. Phew! The sugar shock was so great, it almost seemed like the ice cream intoxicated the girls for a full hour afterward. Much fun ensued, as I'm sure you can imagine.

This year I'm seeing how Vivi's growing sense of self is changing how she experiences her birthday. I was surprised to discover, come birthday morning, that she was disappointed to learn that even planning ahead couldn't make her birthday as perfect as she might have wanted. She hadn't considered that perhaps the weather wouldn't cooperate (ha, what's new?) or that she'd still have to participate in regular life activities--school, swim class, bath time--even though it was her birthday. But being the resilient, happy girl we know and love, she recovered quickly and by the end of the day, she said she had a great time despite those minor setbacks. I came to her kindergarten class and read one of her favorite stories, Bad Kitty, much to the giggly delight of the kindergartners, and then I watched as each and every one of them hugged her on their way out the door. She seems to have made quite the impression on them too.

I'm planning to write a personal letter to Vivi that isn't on the blog this time around. You can check out my previous birthday posts, a few with letters, here: onetwo, three, four, and five.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Dublin coddle: a St. Paddy's Day classic

Author's Note: I updated this recipe, originally posted on March 16th, 2012, with some improvements to make it easier and more delicious. I hope you'll try it this St. Paddy's Day!
Mmmmm, Dublin Coddle

Remember when I said I was looking for more Irish recipes? Well, I found a great one! This recipe for Dublin coddle landed in my lap at just the right time, via my monthly email from our CSA farmers. Sweet potatoes are Charlotte's absolute favorite food, and I've been looking for ways to jazz them up apart from the usual routine, which includes variations on butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and white pepper (my mom puts soy sauce on her sweet potatoes...oh, and Italian dressing on her baked potatoes). Plus, it's almost St. Patrick's Day, and you simply cannot live in Boston without getting into the holiday spirit. [I must stop here to tell my friends and family from the south that they SELL clover here, like, in grocery stores. I know!].

Saturday, December 21, 2013

shiny happy people

Jack Sprat & Wife

"Shiny happy people!" was my aunt's comment on this picture I posted after Nate's work holiday party. And we were! On a night of three mixed drinks, I will always be shiny and happy. Plus, the conversation and hors d'oeuvres were plentiful, making the trifecta of a perfect evening complete. I would love to tell you more details about the conversations, but like I said, three drinks.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

the shadows of things that may be

This little light o' mine. My latest thrift shop find. Ain't it grand?

This morning my eyes popped open at 7:00am on the nose. My brain keeps orderly internal time, though I dunno why, given that I haven't had a job to wake up for as long as little sister has been with us. I have no one to impress with that little anecdote except you, Reader.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013


giving tuesday
Giving Tuesday was created as a way to balance all of the spending happening on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation made a list of their four favorite places to give donations. Consider using social media to spread the word (@GivingTues and #GivingTuesday for those on Twitter).

We plan to give our annual contributions to WBUR, Mass Audubon, and our annual rotating donation to promote girls' education (this year we chose the Malala Fund). What's your favorite charity? Leave it as a link in the comments to give everyone as many choices today as possible.

Image credit: Huff Po.

Friday, November 29, 2013


We had a pleasant day of not doing much but feeling like we were always doing something. Nate and I had many conversations, often while holding or munching a piece of food. Some were about household matters we should address at some point; the painting of the bathroom cabinetry, the printing and hanging of pictures, the purchase and assembly of bunk beds. We're already thinking ahead to the new year and all those nagging projects we wanted to complete this year but didn't.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

doing as we please

We had planned to attend dinner at a friends' house today, but the girls ended up with a croupy cough that sounds like the plague, so we scrounged together our own dinner at the last minute. It was delightful! I think it's because we hadn't planned ahead that we were able to enjoy it so much. Well, that and the fact that I have so much frozen and canned food that we could serve up, and that Nate offered to be my cooking buddy.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

a price below rubies

Yesterday I had one of those mornings of shopping planned that required a lot of pre-game thinking, scheming, and generally mumbling to myself like a crazy person. Someday my kids will have lots of material about me over which to bond with each other.

This trip was special enough to plan ahead for because Nate was tagging along with me to BUY ALL THE THINGS! He's the type of no nonsense, strategically driven shopper who wants to get from Point A to C via B with no zig-zagging or redoubling our path, so I deemed it important to get the logistics right. I'm not a logistically minded person by nature. Add to this scenario that I had enthusiastically signed up Charlie for the after-preschool program for the first time--so we could get in some extra shopping and a lunch date--and you may be able to guess what I did next after waking them for school and discovering they both had a cough..........

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

{47}: reflecting on another week

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013."

On the Range
November 19 - 25, 2013

{On the Range} is my weekly series where I discuss what we're doing, reading, and eating. It's a little bit 52 project and other photo projects, and a little bit {Did you Read?} and {In the Ranger Kitchen}.

This is a double duty post to give you our weekly update and check on on Day 14 of pre-holiday boot camp. How was your second week, Mom?

Monday, November 25, 2013

{day 13}: give yourself 15 minutes

Day 13: Give yourself 15 minutes

This is the last official task of the second week, and then tomorrow we can review the whole experience together. It should be relatively easy if you made your self-care list yesterday. Fifteen minutes a day, one day for each activity, is not a lot of time.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

{day 12}: make a self-care list

Day 12: Identify ways to care for yourself

There are many I could have chosen, but on this day these are the five things I like to do at home to nourish, nurture, and relax:

1. Taking a long bath

A long HOT bath. Probably involving one of these delightful French smell-goods.

2. Journaling

You would think that after blogging every day I wouldn't have anything left to say, but you'd be wrong! I love to write down tidbits from my day, and when I remember to go to bed 15 minutes early so I can jot these notes, I never regret that time spent recording life's little moments.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

{day 9}: meal planning, sprouts, giveaway

Author's note: This post includes the Day 9 instructions for those following the 12 Days of Minimalist Holidays series, as well as a recipe for Firecracker Sprouts, and a review and giveaway of a Craftsy cooking class. Enter the giveaway below and then scroll to the bottom to find out what it's about.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

{46}: reflecting on the week

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013."
No lie, this is one of the best pics from our holiday photo shoot. Why is it so hard to get them both to look and smile?

On the Range
November 12 - 18, 2013

{On the Range} is my weekly series where I discuss what we're doing, reading, and eating. It's a little bit 52 project and other photo projects, and a little bit {Did you Read?} and {In the Ranger Kitchen}.

This is a double duty post to give you our weekly update and check on on Day 7 of the first week of pre-holiday boot camp. How was your week? Be honest, you did only half or less of the things, right? That's okay. Being that each will only take you 15 minutes, these items can really be combined into a few days, so don't be discouraged. #LeanIn and soldier on! And if you haven't started yet, you can do it any time. There's no rush.

Monday, November 18, 2013

{day 6}: donate a bag of stuff

Day 6: Donate a bag of stuff

Author's Note: If you haven't yet, read more details about the 12 Days of Minimalist Holidays. You can also read what we've accomplished so far in the Day 1Day 2Day 3Day 4, and Day 5 posts.

This task should be easy. If you've finished yesterday's task, then you already have a bag to donate! You can give to your local rummage sale (at a church, elementary school, or library), utilize one of many charitable organizations that do curb-side pick-up (e.g. VVA or Epilepsy Foundation), or drop the items of at your local Goodwill or Salvation Army donation center.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

{day 5}: declutter

Day 5: Declutter for 15 minutes

Author's Note: If you haven't yet, read more details about the 12 Days of Minimalist Holidays. You can also read what we've accomplished so far in the Day 1Day 2, Day 3, and Day 4 posts.

If you're anything like our family, you're about to get a huge influx of new toys, decorations, and general stuff this Christmas. You can get ready by decluttering the current supply of stuff. Go to a clutter spot in your house, and with a trash bag, spend 15 minutes decluttering. Pick up everything that you are thinking even might be something you'd get rid of, then once it's out of the room, you can examine the items in more detail. Donate or throw away toys that don't get played with, are missing parts, or are broken and awaiting fixing.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

{day 4}: delegate

Day 4: Delegate

Welcome to Day Four. It's time to delegate! You can read what we've accomplished so far in the Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3 posts. In the Day 4 description of the 12 Days of Minimalist Holidays, I mentioned you could identify holiday-related chores (untangling lights, taking down Halloween decorations, etc.) your kids can do and delegate them.

There are many more household tasks to delegate during the holidays. But if you are like me, you have some letting go to do before others can assist in holiday project completion. I learned a bit of this lesson yesterday after Charlie and I raked up all the leaves in the yard. Nate said he was disappointed because he actually likes doing yard work!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

{day 2}: hardest thing first

Day 2: Tackle Your Hardest Thing First

I agree with Minimalist Parenting's assertion that procrastinating brings us down and drains our energy. (n.b.: there is a fantastic chapter in Allie's new Hyperbole & a Half book about procrastination; if you haven't gotten your copy yet, get one! The colorful pictures make for a fantastic bedside reading experience. She was also on Fresh Air a few days ago, so give that a listen.)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

{pre-holiday bootcamp, day 1}: the more and less list

DAY 1: The More & Less List

If you haven't read it yet, see yesterday's post about this two-week pre-holiday minimalist parenting bootcamp. It's time to create our holiday road map. I'm taking 15 minutes to jot down my more and less list, and I'll refer back to the list over the holidays when events and opportunities pop up to see if they're in line with my plan. I got some of my ideas for the more/less list from this great list of 18 things we should be doing more of (thanks, Amanda!).


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