Friday, July 26, 2013

{ 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 Soule Mama.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Procrastination At Its Finest

In two days the kids leave town to stay with my mom through the main part of the moving process.  On Tuesday we will pack the moving van and on Wednesday we will move into our new place.  At this point, I should probably be knee deep in packing, packing, and more packing.  Am I?  Not quite. 

First I have to finish my list of crafts to take with us to the new house.  Some may call is procrastination at its finest, I prefer to think of it as prioritizing.  I have been working diligently to finish up three particular projects, but today I will share only one of them for you.  First I wanted to finish up this table runner with a collection of quilting scraps.  I haven't decided if it will adorn our (new! to us) table or our TV cabinet, but either way I love the splash of color!

The other two projects will be better if reveled after we are settled into our new space...because I'm sure you are on the edge of your seats over such matters.  So, stay tuned!
Linking up this week with Frontier Dreams and Natural Suburbia.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Saying Our Goodbyes


This week we said our "good-byes".  We started with our local putt-putt place.  Hubby and Mannchen have been there many times and I know they will miss it.  The boys really get into their putt-putt game.  Töchterchen was an absolute joy to watch - she's all about having fun!  Towards the end, the shady holly tree and its red berries were more intriguing than the golf game.  Either way, it was a lovely, joyous time together as a family.

Next was our favorite local park - Bluebird Gap Farm.  My college roommate (all four years!) and very dear friend lived a mere two miles away until this past October.  She and her daughters came back into town for a day so we could wish this area an official good-bye together.  It only seemed fitting that we do this together.  We have gone through so many phases of life together - college, the working world, marriage, parenthood, and now moving.  Thankfully, it was a perfectly overcast day and the park was fairly empty (the way I like it).  The kids had a blast running around to see all the animals one last time.

We also took one last walk a long a beachy stretch of the James River, went to the Noland Trail to feed the snapping turtles, and watched the coal trains go by the tracks in our neighborhood this week.  The kids left with my mom yesterday, while my dad and hubby's dad have been helping us pack.  We were able to get some much done yesterday - packing, patching nail holes, touching up paint, waxing floors, cleaning, etc. - that all we have left today is pack the kitchen and finish a little cleaning. 

We've always known we would never stay in this house, but it is still surreal that the moving day is finally here.  I suppose it's one of those incredibly bittersweet moments life can be full of at times.

Monday, July 22, 2013

On The Move

It's moving time! 
This Saturday the kids will leave with my mom for a few days at Oma's house.  On Tuesday, hubby will pick up the moving van and his brothers will come to help with loading/unloading.  My dad and I will leave Tuesday afternoon.  Later Tuesday or early Wednesday the moving van will roll out.  No matter what, on Wednesday we will move into our apartment!  I still can't believe it's almost here, but as I look around at our empty walls and the boxes that are starting to pile up, it becomes more real.
I have wanted to involve Mannchen and Töchterchen in the process in small ways - here and there.  They are still quite young to get too involved in the packing, but I wanted them to each pack a special box.  Before dinner one evening last week, I had them decorate a few boxes.  They went to town with stickers and markers.  They thought it was great!  After that, Mannchen thought they should decorate every box - fine by me!  That has provided them with hours of entertainment.

This morning, Mannchen and Töchterchen woke up and decided today was the day to pack 75% of their toys.  Who was I to argue with that?!  I'm not completely sure they understand once the items are packed, they will remained packed until next week when we unpack in the new place.  I explained it several times, but moving is a completely new concept to them.  They each selected one favorite toy to keep unpacked - Mannchen kept the train tracks and Töchterchen kept the kitchen.  Between time outside and those two favorites, I doubt they will even think of the toys that have been packed away.  In reality, I'm not even sure why we have any other toys beyond those two - they are so dearly loved.
This is the look of "Why are you taking a picture of this mama?".  Mannchen was a huge help bringing things from the shelves to me to pack.
The absolute BEST part of packing today was taking this to the dump.  My mother-in-law snagged this couch for me for free right after I graduated from college.  I was setting up my first apartment and free furniture was amazing.  I also got two kittens from the SPCA around that time and they set to destroying this couch in a serious way (as only two small kittens can).  When we got married I used some of our wedding money to buy a couch cover.  For seven years now, this couch has served us well, but its time with us has come to an end.  It creaked when you sat on it and the back popped in and out if you sat in the wrong place.  There was a permanent depression on one side from all the time I spent sitting in the same spot with a heating pad on my back while pregnant with each of my precious babies.  So yes, we got our "money's worth" and I'm proud of us for being happy with what we had rather than splurging on something we could clearly do without...but I was also joyful to see it go.  (Since our apartment is so much smaller, we will just use our smaller futon in the living room.)
We also spent some time working in our gardens - it will probably be the last time!  The squirrels ate every last kernel of corn we grew.  I suppose that means it was good.  Mannchen doesn't want to plant any more corn in the future unless we have a BB-gun to keep them at bay.  He insisted we pull out all the corn stalks before we move.  I'm hoping the extra sun will help the tomatoes ripen before we leave.

I hope to still be able to check in regularly throughout the move and share with you how it is going, but time will tell.  Regardless, I am very excited to get into our new space and make it home.  I can't wait to share it with you!


Friday, July 19, 2013

{ 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 Soule Mama

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Our Favorite Berry of Them All



(courtesy of Mannchen)

(courtesy of Mannchen)


This family LOVES blackberries.  Blackberry jam, blackberry pie, blackberry yogurt, and I could go on, and on, and on.  We had blackberry picking in the top spot on our "Must Do Before We Leave" list.  We woke the kids up a little early, jumped in the van, and headed to Pungo Blueberries (they have a large blackberry patch also) the first chance we had! 
They were also selling cut-your-own flowers.  Hubby surprised me with a bouquet - the most beautiful sunflower and some bright zinnias.  I love fresh summer flowers.
We picked excitedly until (in the blink of an eye), we hit the wall.  It was perfect timing because we were back in the car before the heat of the day really took hold and home well before lunchtime.  Once the kids woke up we cooked up two batches of jam with our favorite berries.  I wish I had pictures to share of us working together in the kitchen, but we were so involved in what we were doing that it completely slipped my mind.  I assure you, it was a good time!
I decided to experiment around with my usual blackberry jam recipe and I'm so glad I did!  I wanted to use less pectin, with the hope of eventually getting to the point where I feel confident cutting it out, and I wanted to try sweetening with honey.  The results were so delicious, I had to share.
Blackberry Jam
8 cups of mashed blackberries (or 16 cups fresh berries)
1 1/2 - 2 cups raw honey
3 tbsp. low sugar pectin
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Wash fresh berries and pour into a large stock pot (I prefer using my enameled cast iron pot).  Mash as desired.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring regularly.
While berries are coming to a boil, combine pectin and spices. 
When berries are at a rolling boil, add honey and pectin/spice blend.  Return to a rolling boil, stirring constantly, and boil for about five minutes.  Dip a spoon into the jam and set it aside to cool.  If it gels well after cooling slightly, jam is done cooking.  If it stays runny, cook while stirring for several more minutes and try spoon test again.
Once jam is done cooking, pour into clean, sterilized canning jars.  Process jars immediately by your own preferred canning methods.  Makes approximately five pint jars.
Enjoy on your favorite bread or mix with plain yogurt for blackberry yogurt!

Linking up this week with Frontier Dreams, The Magic OnionsCrafty Moms Share and Natural Suburbia.

Monday, July 15, 2013

They're Back!!!

For the past four days Mannchen and Töchterchen have been visiting hubby's parents - their Mimi and Papa!  When we had kids, they told us this was something they would like to do for us each year as an anniversary gift.  And let me tell you - it's the BEST anniversary gift you can give!

Hubby and I had a wonderful time together - we did a lot of cooking together, played golf, did a little packing, and had a big group of friends over to throw one last BBQ before we move.  I love getting time to ourselves to connect.  I think it's so important for our marriage that we don't just get lost in the rolls of parenting.  A long weekend like this past one give us a chance to remember that first we are each other's spouse.  Plus, he's my best friend and a complete stud muffin, so I just love the extra time with him!

All that being said, we are SO glad to have the kids back.  The house is way to calm and quiet without them.  I absolutely loved hearing all about their visit - it's so much fun that they can tell us what they did now!  We could tell they had a wonderful time and partied hard.  I am so thankful they have grandparents that love them so dearly and value spending quality time with them.  I think these past few days will be stories and memories they will carry with them for a long time.

Thank you Mimi and Papa (and Uncle Nate)!!!

In unrelated (but very exciting) news, my friend Nicole has another giveaway going on this week!  She is giving away $75 in Nova Natural credit!  Nova Natural has amazing Waldorf inspired toys.  I would order the entire site, if money grew on trees.  Check it and enter for your own chance to win here!

And The Winner Is!

Congratulations Goldie P.!  You are the winner of the fairy garden set.  I have your email address, so you will also be getting an email from me to get your information about sending the set to you.

Thanks to both of you that participated.  I guess your chances of winning were good.  :)  I look forward to having you follow along with us on the blog!

I'm also not sure that blogger is actually keeping all the comments.  I've had a few friends ask if their comments are going through on other posts.  If anyone has had a problem with this, please let me know.  I was able to tell that over 100 people viewed the give-away post, but only two comments showed up.  I just want to make sure there isn't something else I'm supposed to do!  Thanks!

Saturday, July 13, 2013


In two weeks we will be in full blown packing mode.  So, we have been continually purging and organizing.  Even grocery shopping has the move in mind - which size bottle of ketchup should we buy?  Heaven forbid we move a bottle of ketchup.

Then this morning, I went yard sale shopping, despite our promises to hold off on all purchases until after the move.  I bought half-a-dozen pyrex dishes (we are in the process of eliminating our plastic ware) and an awesome wood bowl set for salads and popcorn.  I bought big bag of girls clothing because it was dirt cheap - boutique Christmas outfit for $1?  Yes please!

But the greatest purchase of all - the one I just couldn't pass up - was this lamp.

I'm dead serious when I say I think this is the greatest find ever.  I have a deep love for unique things.  I don't want my house to match everyone else's.  That's part of why I quit shopping in stores like Target and TJ Maxx.  I want items that are one-of-a-kind and have a story.  This lamp used to be a ceramic chicken feeder.  The woman having the yard sale said it was her father's and he turned it into a lamp when they left their farm.  Oh yes, this is one awesome lamp!

Friday, July 12, 2013

{ 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 Soule Mama

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Giveaway!

Earlier this summer the kids and I began working on our first fairy garden and gnome home.  We started out by visiting our local garden center.  I thought we would be able to pick up a few accessories to get us started.  I was completely shocked by how expensive fairy garden items are!  I decided there was no way I could afford $6 for one tiny birdbath.  We left and headed straight to the craft store.  I picked up a variety pack of Sculpey oven-bake clay and we've been creating accessories ever since. 
For the past several years I've had a bit of an under-the-table cake decorating business.  Working with all that fondant, really made it easy to transition over to clay!  I started each of my kids out with some basics and now every few days they come to me asking for something else.  I pull out the clay for myself and play-doh for them and we create away!
I've been enjoying creating fairy and gnome garden accessories for them so much, that I have decided to offer a set to you!  For this give-away I am offering a table, two chairs, and all the accessories needed for a fairy tea party.
I am partnering with my dear friend Nicole over at My Rhythm and Rhyme in Motherhood for this first one.  She and I have been friends for several years - we met through a mom's group at our church.  She is the one that first introduced me to Waldorf Education and has been such an inspiration to me as we've incorporated more Waldorf into our home and lifestyle.  Plus, once a week she has a few other sweet ladies and myself over for wine and a chance to connect.  Basically, she rocks and I'm going to miss her like crazy when we move. 
We will each give away one set to one of our followers.  Please head over to her site for another chance to win!


The food, plates, and cups are made with Sculpey oven-bake clay.  The table and chairs are made from sticks we gathered on some of our hikes.  They are hand cut and sanded.  The chairs have a heart wood-burned on the back of them.  The table is held together with hot glue.  I gave the table and chairs a light coat of poly-urethane to help with weather proofing. 

I am so excited to offer you all this first giveaway!  And yes, it is open world-wide!
How to enter:
- You must be a follower of my blog to enter.  If you are not currently, click "follow" on the right hand side and leave a comment below letting me know!
-If you are already a follower, leave a comment below letting me know you're interested!
For extra entries:
- Pin this post on Pinterest
- Follow me on Pinterest here
- Share it on your blog

Nicole is giving away an identical set over on her blog, My Rhythm and Rhyme in Motherhood. Please visit and enter her giveaway as well!
For each of the extra entry methods, make sure you leave a comment below letting me know.  The give-away will end at midnight on Sunday, July 14th. 
I will use the random number generator on the morning of the Monday, July 15th to select the winner.  I will try to contact you via email, but be sure to check back here in case I am unable to!  If I am unable to contact you and don't get a response in 48 hours, I will pass the set along to another randomly selected reader.

Friday, July 5, 2013

{ 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. 

Inspired by Soule Mama

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Garden Update


Despite our attempts to do little-to-nothing garden related this summer, we seem to have a decent garden this year.  All the volunteer tomato plants have green tomatoes on them - at least six plants total!  Most are Roma, which means we have our fingers crossed we will be able to harvest them for salsa before our move.  What we thought were yellow squash plants are actually ornamental pumpkins.  Männchen and I are beyond excited and very glad we did not listen to Hubby and pull them all out (I'm the only one in the house who enjoys eating summer squash).  The corn is coming along...but the squirrels are also enjoying it.  It remains debatable as to whether we will get any of it for ourselves.  Even the last minute hot pepper plants have a few peppers growing on them. 
This space has come to mean so much to me.  As Männchen and I spent the morning weeding (of course we did all that work after I took pictures), I realized the stresses of life don't really matter when you're out in that tiny oasis.  It didn't matter that I'm overly annoyed with our real estate agent, bank, and the attorney handling our short sale.  It didn't matter that the only people with any sense of urgency in the sale of our house are ourselves and the woman trying to secure a contract on the house.  It didn't matter that we have four weeks and 1 day left until the move day.  All that mattered was the time with my sweet, gardening loving son and a few more days/weeks to spend in this precious space.  It will be dearly missed.