Thanksgiving Tree version 2013

I think maybe I need to take pictures with a better camera. 

Voila, the 2013 version of our Tree of Thankfulness! Isn’t it getting fancy? Dear People, long gone are the days of the taped construction paper brown tree with wonky leaves of all sizes.

We almost didn’t have a Tree of Thankfulness this year, because…to tell the truth…I was tired. And didn’t think I could muster the leaves. But this curly-cue tree was one of the few items of decor that somehow wasn’t trapped at the back of the storage unit, and it was already on the apartment wall. Because I like trees. Especially curly-cue ones.

So the tree was already there. We just needed the leaves — but as I say, I just wasn’t sure that this year I could do all that tracing and cutting. Or at least the convincing of my minions to do it. And anyway, I thought, we we’re not in our real house. Our apartment doesn’t feel like home. One year without this tradition. Maybe it won’t really matter.

But I realized that it does. It does really matter. And when you are in transition — and transition is one thing we seem to be getting a lot of practice at — little traditions can really matter. A little tradition can remind you that even though circumstances around you are in a whirlwind, you — and your family — are this kind of people, who do this kind of thing. And so our Tree of Thankfulness is a reminder that our family is the kind of people who write little things they are grateful for on leaves through the month of November to remind ourselves of all we’ve been given.

And in my opinion a tradition of thankfulness is an extremely important one! Studies have shown (now doesn’t that sound official! — don’t ask me which ones) that people who are habitually thankful are generally happier. There is so much complaining all around everywhere. What if we were the people who could find something in every situation about which to be grateful? So the Tree of Thankfulness would have a 2013 incarnation.

But there was still the problem of the leaves. With six leaves per day times thirty days plus extras for guests and extra thankful people, that adds up to a lot of tracing and cutting! But then…an inspiration. A leaf shaped punch! Why did it take me so long to figure that one out? It arrived like a flash and away we punched and thankful we were. These die-punched leaves aren’t enormous, so we can’t be super-duper thankful at a time, but we can always be thankful serially. And boy, doesn’t it look together?

I took the picture earlier in the month — don’t worry, it’s filled in quite a bit since. And at the end of Thanksgiving weekend we’ll take the leaves off and read them one by one before throwing them into the fire. And on the foundation of gratitude we can begin Advent.

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

Happy Valentine’s Day

Here is what we’ve been doing today. Today is the first day of Winter Break and we’ve had a calm and happy day, puttering and drawing and cutting and pasting little messages for each other.  IMG_1602  Every year I wonder why I don’t start making Valentine’s earlier – I find it very therapeutic. This year I drew and painted little pictures. Athena drew some little pictures and glued them in walnut shells. So that’s what I’ve been saving walnut shells for! IMG_1614 IMG_1611 IMG_1608 IMG_1621 For some odd reason, I always like to take a picture of the Valentine making detritus before cleaning it all up. Creative debris. IMG_1620 Tonight we will have a little party – Artemis is making treats. I think they will be heart shaped. Happy Valentine’s Day, Dear Friends!

Brementown Musicians

I meant to post this back in May as a review of sorts when this was still playing, but well….sometimes life can happen. The past couple years we’ve had the opportunity to see live theater at The Seattle Children’s Theatre. Every show they do is excellent, and if you can go as part of a homeschool group or school group as we do, the tickets are quite affordable. So last month they did a production of The Brementown Musicians that was absolutely fabulous. I was expecting a fun show about a cute fairy tale, but they turned this story into a full-on musical, and it has moved to one of my top three 3 favorite SCT plays. When I was a kid, the Brementown Musicians was one of my favorite Grimm fairy tales – I think it has something to do with the theme of social misfits combined with animals and music. For this show they took all the funny stereotypes of German folk life — pointy Prussian hats, lederhosen, folk art sets (there were even my red polka-dotty mushrooms painted onto the scenery!), mixed them with great tunes and classic SCT animal characterizations.  With a strutting walk and a few feathers we are convinced that the rooster is a rooster. IMG_8857  So anyway, the whole point I bring it up, besides talking up the Children’s Theatre, is that it makes the perfect opportunity to showcase this wonderful cross-stitch pillow made for me by a friend for my 40th birthday. I’ve been waiting for just the right moment to show it off. She said she saw the pattern and thought I would like it. She was so right – I love folk art. But how did she know that was my favorite fairy tale? Anyway, it’s amazing handcrafting and right now it is beautifully adorning my couch, and anyone who dares to sit too close to it, much less on it, better get ready for an earful. IMG_8855 It only pains me because it is so pretty, and very very soon I will have to put it in a box for a year, one of the many boxes that are now invading our living, family and every room. We leave one month from today and all the boxes are making me feel unsettled. So I took a picture of my pillow to tide me over.

A Little Mushroom

Because there is so much to do to get ready for the Big Plan, and because there is so much to do just to carry on Normal Homeschool Life, and because I need to plan my Easter menu and Spring Clean the house, yesterday it became imperative to hand make a little Mushroom. Some days are like that. IMG_8632 I’ve always had a thing for Mushrooms. The first time I saw one of the red and white polka-dotted ones growing under a tree in real life I almost fell over in surprise, and then I crouched quietly nearby to see if the fairies would appear.  I can’t claim the inspiration – I saw one posted on In German this kind of mushroom is called Fliegenpilz – Flying Mushroom – why? I do not know, but it adds to their charm. Now Mr. Bunny has a place to wait in out of the elements.

Lego Winter Olympics

Time once more to be a proud mama: Apollo the Lego Creator has done it again – a tribute to the 2010 Winter Olympics. Can you discern which sports are represented in this diorama? Maybe there will be a giveaway for correct answers! IMG_8322Which is cuter – the Lego Olympians or their Builder? IMG_8326