Thursday, November 27, 2014

A Scandinavian Thanksgiving

I am really feeling in the Christmas spirit this year.  Perhaps it is the early snow that's sparking this?  I don't know, but I just CAN'T wait--  this year I'm going to go for a very Scandinavian feel.  I'll add more 'Christmas' after Thanksgiving, but I had to get started before people came!

 I repurposed a birch branch (formerly seen as a tree during Alex's Frozen party) for a hanging centerpiece.  I am in LOVE with this look-- it may just stay year-round and I can change out the bird for the season (robin-spring, cardinal-winter, bluebird-summer, etc.)
 Our advent wreath (Alex made this at Waldorf school a few years ago) is all set to go.  This Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent, so it's not too out of place.  The placemat it's on I picked up at Ikea a few weeks ago.
 I found this carved 'thing' (any guesses?) at the Hudson, WI Goodwill, and couldn't leave it behind.  It's holding my Sami reindeer slippers, Alex's baby slippers and Justin's baby slippers.  Next to it is a little wooden guy I got in Russia during college.
 My dala horse collection.  I picked up one in Sweden, a few on EBAY, a few in Goodwill (love that place!) and the two primitive ones my mom got from garage sales/flea markets in northern Minnesota.
 Oh-- hi Odin!  Welcome to my Scandinavian Thanksgiving, my Norwegian Forest nephew!
 We instituted a new tradition this year-- writing and hanging leaves on a 'gratitude tree' for everyone to read and reflect upon.  I left the tree up for a few weeks because it was so nice to see the blessings in our lives!
 Behind Kolachi you can see my lefse lady painting that I brought home from Norway.  Also the two circle plaques that I found, again, in Hudson, WI (I was really lucky that day).  One is in Norwegian and one is in English-- both wedding presents that now have a new family.

 Justin and Alex got to use the very special glasses from Great-Grandma Alice for their sparkling juice.  They were quite excited!
 Thanksgiving feast!
 Remember those days?  Trying to feed yourself and your child at the same time?  This photo cracks me up.....

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Meeting Odin

Meet my new 'nephew' - Odin.  A Norwegian Forest kitten.....we are ALL smitten!
Justin has declared that he is asking Santa for a kitten this year.  I would jump right on the bandwagon if Percy was ok with the idea.  In short, he is not.  Very not.

Kolachi, however, is.  Kolachi and Odin became fast friends-- she even let him in her kennel.  It might be the painkillers talking (she's a few days out of her spay surgery, which went well), but he is pretty much the best thing in the world!

Aside from cute kitten antics, we've been busy celebrating Justin's birthday (early).  Grams and Gramps brought a piƱata
 .....  AND a fireman costume!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Grams and Gramps visit

Grams and Gramps came up for an early Justin's Birthday / Christmas visit to shower the children with attention and gifts.....and more gifts and attention.  We spent the morning at the Science Museum, where they renewed our family membership (homeschooling score!).

After Justin's preschool, he got straight to work on some Legos (part of their Christmas present was going to the LEGO store at the Mall of America!).  I am so amazing at this almost 4 year old who is assembling pretty complex LEGO sets with barely any help. 

He carefully reads the directions and is able to follow them....even 20-30 step directions!  LEGOS are amazing.  I'm glad I 'caved' and allowed this form of plastic in the house.


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Kolachi's new sport

As an early Christmas present to myself, I dragged the family down to Midwest Mountaineering to have an adventure-- a skijoring harness fitting!  In my mind's eye, I see myself hitching my dog up to my skis and traversing the back field in the winter.  Step One:  teach my dog to pull  (Step Two-Four includes buying skis for myself and re-learning how to do it....but we'll take it one step at a time).
Kolachi was deemed "a perfect body type" for joring (pulling).  It was so fun to visit such a dog-friendly store (she even got a treat on the way out).  She got properly fit for her harness and we're ready for an AWESOME winter!
Here we are practing 'line out' (standing with a taut line) with Justin in the sled.  Kolachi seems to LOVE having a real job to do....and Justin LOVES being pulled!  She's going to have her spay surgery soon, so it will be a while until we're back in the harness, but we got a great start!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Operation Christmas Child

Each year, Operation Christmas Child is a part of our Holiday season with our Church family.  This year the kids had an ambitious goal of four boxes-- two for boys and two for girls.  We hit the stores for supplies and they both had a really good time picking out both essentials (hygiene kits) and goodies (jump ropes and coloring books!) to strategically stuff into a plastic shoebox and send around the world to a child in need.
 The most fun was going through everything and thinking about the reaction of our recipients!  We prayed over the boxes so that God knows JUST who to deliver them to!
 Even Kolachi got in on the packing action-  Because what little kid WOULDN'T want dog hair in their shoebox? ;-P

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Bunny Wool Harvest #1

So.......  we have two Angora bucks in full coat.   Now what?
 I am SO a kinesthetic learner.  I need to have someone show me what to do!  YouTube videos and books are ok, but when it comes to the art of shearing bunnies, I have no idea what I'm doing!
Luckily the Facebook universe connected me with another fiber person who was able to 'talk' me through the process.  She suggested using a we began.
 It ended up taking about four days (of short sessions, as to not stress anyone out), but we collected a LOT of fiber.  I combed the fur and then, using a short steel rake, pulled all the dead fiber from the bunny.  It was really weird, and I was afraid of hurting them, but once I got a little more aggressive the fur started to fly! 
We ended up collecting a tub of good fiber from each bunny.  A few days later I went back with a blunt tipped pair of scissors and cleaned up bottoms and tummies.  This fiber went into a separate container-- hopefully I can use it for stuffing someday.  And now, to learn the art of least the fiber isn't going anywhere and I can take my time!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Updates a' comin.....

This is one reason that I'm officially the FURTHEST behind on my blog updates that I've ever been:  (it's December 5th as I write this!) we had the whole house carpet cleaned.  It was the best gift ever (thank you SO much Brad), but it kicked my butt in the housekeeping/organizing/homeschooling department.
We moved EVERY piece of furniture off of our the large section of the couch upstairs and the couch in the playroom.  This was almost as exhausting as moving!  But after potty training two kids and one dog, it was necessary.  Now we have beautifully clean and healthy carpets to enjoy! :-) 

Monday, November 10, 2014

SNOW?!?! And hot cross buns...

Alex and Justin came running into our room this morning at 4:30am.  "Mama, Daddy, there's SNOW on the ground!!"  Indeed, there was...

After our first outside playtime, we decided to get to work using our new flour.  We made some hot cross buns (Justin's weekly story had his gnome, Juniper, making the same things in preparation for Martinmas).  We decided to attempt them completely from scratch.  This included making the butter.
A few years ago, I picked up a reproduction Daisy hand churn from an antique store.  I didn't really know if it would actually work, but I got it out of my 'present box' and we tried it out. 
I still don't know if it would really work, because we quickly switched to using the blender--- which did.  Much faster.  But it was still fun to try. 
 The verdict:  Alex and I loved them!  Justin wasn't much of a fan (I think the grinder got loosened a bit when we were processing our wheat berries, and they were a bit 'multi-grainy' for his taste).  He did manage to lick the icing off a few, though, before declaring his indifference to the bread itself.
The perfect project for our first snowy day!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Something new at Mill City Farmer's Market

A while ago, I learned that many people who are gluten-sensitive (or gluten-intolerant) CAN tolerate heritage wheat.  I've been thinking about that for a while, and since Alex seems to be able to have "real" wheat in small doses (with prophylactic prunes and probiotics), it seems like the right time to try and reintroduce something like an ancient grain.  Sunrise Flour Mill is a Minneapolis-based mill that carries Ancient Red Fife.  I contacted the owner and found out that they were getting ready for a farmer's market this weekend.  To save on shipping costs, the kids and I checked it out on Saturday (it was a Daddy in Conneticut weekend, anyway).
 The market was inside the foyer of the museum, so it was a warm spot to look at all the beautiful produce and goods.  There was also a boxcar.  Enough said.
 We purchased an assortment of yummy looking veggies, and 10 pounds of wheat berries.  I could have gotten the actual flour, but I really want the kids to start milling our flour again as part of our homeschool rhythm (which, by the way, has gotten completely off-track, but I'll save that for another post).
 We have a very nice hand mill by Victorio, so we got to work.

 Look at that!  Some beautiful, low-gluten flour!  Let's cross our fingers and hope for the best! 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Early November Randomness

Just a few random images from our first week of November.  We did some watercolor paintings-
 Alex constructed her very first doll dress (completely her own design, modeled after the one and only Elsa....) successfully!
 And my dog is stunning, if I do say so myself.