take one and call me in the morning

Wren loves it that I’m under-the-weather with mastitis because she is VERY into playing doctor. Ever since she attended a lot of my OB appointments when I was pregnant with Phoebe, she has shown a daily interest in all things medical-related. She takes her doctor work very seriously. I’m thinking we ought to eat out more often at the hospital cafeteria a few blocks away! Man, does she love the cafeteria and walking through the hospital corridors…they actually have a decent salad bar, but when’s the last time you tried to negotiate a salad bar with a toddler and infant in tow? Yeah.

It’s interesting to me how as a well-meaning parent I carefully chose toys for Wren (ergonomic, organic, well-designed, wood, educational, blah blah…) and then instead she grabs a little suitcase and fills it with random things, calls it a “doctor bag” and proceeds to give check-ups. That being said, my Mom gave her a pretend doctor kit with some tools and a jacket for Christmas and she knew what it was right away. And was over-the-moon excited about it. Need a check-up? Come by anytime, the doctor will surely see you.

planting a rainbow – January edition

We “planted a rainbow” this fall with a few different kinds of bulbs, said good night to them as we tucked them in their blankets of soil and now are patiently waiting for spring to warm the soil… But who doesn’t love some fresh flowers in the midst of winter too? Actually it doesn’t really feel much like winter here in northern Michigan. I didn’t even wear a coat yesterday, but it might just be hormones? Or maybe because of the fever from the mastitis that’s got its angry grip on me again? Oof. Regardless of the blue skies and grassy yard out there, I know better than to think Old Man Winter won’t visit soon and poor Chris will have to be shoveling the roof off again. Sigh.

Whether we have snow to play in or not, one of our winter traditions is to plant paperwhite bulbs and watch them grow right in our midst. Last year we had some beautiful ones and are hoping for some hope-filled blooms again this year. Wren did most of this year’s paperwhite planting work and it made this Mama so proud to see her engrossed in her work. At one point when I tried to add some stones too she sternly looked at me and said, “Mama, this is MY work.” Montessori!

What traditions do you have in the winter to keep you from going too stir crazy? Especially when you can’t really play in the snow… Other than TV or some other electronic device… Truth be told, we’ve been enjoying enduring some Strawberry Shortcake too. A little bit can’t hurt, right?!

made by little hands

We had a lot of fun last weekend making these pretty little tissue paper candle holders that we spotted over at The Artful Parent. It was a good project for chubby little hands and a fairly short attention span. And a very limited gift budget! Unlike a lot of toddler-made gifts, these are actually useful and beautiful. And not just beautiful in that awww, Wren made this so it’s beautiful kind of way. But really, truly lovely as the light flows through them during the day and filled with candlelight at night too.

Bonus: you’ve probably got (almost) everything you need to make these. I bought candle holders at the dollar store, but baby food jars or jelly jars would be great too. Tissue paper? Check. Mod Podge? Check. Supposedly watered-down Elmer’s glue would work too, but I love Mod Podge. It dries clear and is water-proof. Glitter? Check. Foam brushes? Check. Go!

Are you enjoying a hand-made Christmas? I had grand plans for a hand-made Christmas, but we’ve just dipped our toes in that proverbial water this season with a few small projects and lots of edibles. But with a long winter stretching out ahead of us, we’ve got ambitions for lots of creative pursuits. I would like to make some art of my own too. Someone asked Wren recently if she watches me paint and she said, “no, Mama doesn’t paint.” Boo hoo! It reminded me that I haven’t painted in way too long and it saddened me that she didn’t see me in my own creative work. Just washing the dishes, which she is proud to declare. Sigh. So there’s a good resolution for the coming year: make time for my own creative work. And a helluva lot more fun than the standard “lose thirty pounds! Work out every day! Stop eating sugar!”

What about you, parents. How do you find time for your own creative work? Is it important to you that your children see you creating as well?

Gingerbread Friends

We’ve had a lot of fun with this book Gingerbread Friends lately. We’ve read it at least once a day for the past week and were inspired to try the gingerbread recipe that’s illustrated throughout the story. It’s a really good one – I was surprised that Wren liked them because they are a bit “spicy,” but she does. Or maybe it’s just the act of biting off their heads and limbs that she likes. Regardless, we’re getting our required holiday share of ginger and cinnamon these days. Oh, and butter. It’s really no wonder why I’m not shedding the baby weight very quickly this time around… sigh.

I love a book that inspires action or creativity, like when we planted our bulbs in conjunction with Planting a Rainbow. What is your favorite book that inspires you to do something? Green Eggs & Ham, anyone?

first snow!

We woke up to a beautiful blanket of snow this morning – the first of the year! Wren’s enthusiasm is infectious – she couldn’t wait to get outside and taste it. She’s got a long list of snowy day pursuits: creating snow angels, building a snow man, eating more snow, catching flakes with her tongue, kicking snow, rolling around in the snow, pointing out all the things that are covered in snow… The trees! The cars! The fence! The birdfeeder! The sandbox! The picnic table!

And now I’m new-Mama-of-two stumped. It’s tough to play outside in the snow with a newborn in tow… I will attempt to bundle us all up and snuggle Phoebe in the baby carrier. Wish us luck! Any tips, Mamas?

P.S. the Wool & Honey giveaway ended last night. Check back later today for the winner!

too early?

This past weekend my Mom was here for a visit and she brought a gingerbread house kit to do with Wren. At first I thought it was a bit too early to start with the Christmas rush, rush, rush, but did you know that Thanksgiving is next week already?! Yes, of course you did, but I’m still trying to get the Halloween costumes put away. The gingerbread house was a huge hit, and continues to be although many of the candies have been removed and consumed by a certain toddler…

I’m looking forward to some very low-key holiday celebrations this year. A new baby is a great excuse to keep things extra simple, isn’t it? This will force us into celebrating the basics of gratitude, love, family and friends. There will not be mountains of stuff or decorations to cloud the meaning of this time of year and for this I’m thankful. Although I do really need some new socks so I’m hoping that Santa brings some stuff, ha!

How do you keep things simple in your nest, lovelies? Any tips?


We had a few “volunteer” pumpkins in our garden this year. My best guess is that they sprouted from the pumpkin seeds from last year’s compost pile. Their vines and huge leaves vigorously grew across the carefully-planted rows of potatoes, carrots, beets and tomatoes. By the dog days of late summer, they had taken over most of the garden; their vines reached up to the tomato and pepper cages on the north end and stretched up and down the rabbit-proof fencing. I just didn’t have the heart to rip them out, even though their showy leaves created a dense forest for the peppers and their prickly vines tangled up the asparagus and delicata squash plants. I just wanted to see what these rogue volunteers would do. I even started having daydreams of growing more interesting Martha-esque heirloom pumpkins since they seemed to just want to be here with us. It was meant to be!

They grew bigger and rounder, but they refused to give up their green hue. A little bit of orange here and there to be sure, but they never matured into the true orange pumpkins that garner big bucks at the pumpkin patches. I picked them anyway and hoped for the best, but when our pumpkin-carving night rolled around and they were still tough and green, I gave up hope. And I had let them grow in our garden! Sigh. So I let them be. For another day.

So what’s a Mama to do? Wren and I decided that even though Mother Nature hadn’t turned them orange, it would be fun to paint them. Take that! This might be our new Halloween tradition…