Sunday, January 31, 2010

Weekend Bliss

One nice thing about having to get up at the crack of dawn and walk the puppy, is to see the early light of sunrise on the fresh snow. And to see the quiet full moon hovering above the horizon, then slowly sinking from view. That couple of minutes fed my spirit for the whole day ahead.

Another  thing that I am grateful for on a snowy weekend, is the slowing down of time. Instead of busying around town, trying to run errands and do grocery shopping, I stayed home and reconnected with my family, my piles of laundry, and my to-do lists. This was an all together good thing for me. David made a nice breakfast this morning, the kids spent hours sledding and playing in the snow with friends, and I got plenty done in a quiet house. Just me and the sink of dishes. Luxurious, perhaps not... but wonderful, peaceful and productive, yes indeed! I even had some time visiting with a friend, catching up on conversation while the kids played. Now this is a treat.

Tomorrow, Mia and I start a new unit block with the Finnish epic, Tales from the Kalevala. I have started reading ahead and feel very excited to get started. It has a mysteriousness about it, and I look forward to unveiling the language and finding meaning inside. The words are forming images in my mind already, it should be an interesting study.   I also had time to read my book club selection for the month, Clash of Civilizations over an Elevator in Piazza Vitorrio. Loved it. Such a rare treat to read for pleasure.

David's salmon and bagel breakfast

A sweet surprise that arrived just in time for our big snow, was a gift of hats from our dear neighbors and friends. A new winter's hat was knitted for each child by Heather and her daughter, Sadie. The kids love them and feel so pleased to be adorned with beautiful handmade gifts. Such love!

And I share a song that inspires me on this Winter's day here. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Snow Day

Just as I was beginning to feel the urge to plan my garden and play in the dirt, it SNOWED! Lots and lots of snow.  Winter is not finished, yet... better to embrace it. We invited our neighbors and celebrated with honey roasted pears  and meringue cookies last night. Vivienne cut out some paper snowflakes to decorate. The full moon gave the entire wintery landscape a glow, it was so beautiful! Today, the kids sledded for hours. For me,  homemade vegetable soup was the highlight. I love the simple pleasures on a cold day.

Recipe for Honey Roasted Pears: Adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Celebrates (a fave):
~Core and quarter a bunch of pears (8 or so) Place skin side up in a lightly buttered ceramic or glass baking dish (10"x15") Preheat oven to 400 degrees. (depending on pears, sometimes I peel them)
~ Combine in a medium bowl, 2 cups juice (apple or pear works well) and 1/2 cup mild honey, as well as a dash of ground cinnimon and ginger, and 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar. There are many options for making the juice! I thin I may try a sweet wine next time, added to the juice and honey.
~Pour juice over pears, dot pears with butter (1stick - I use a bit less) Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Transfer pears to a platter, then pour sauce into a saucepan. Cook on high heat until it is reduced and a bit syrupy, about 10 minutes. Drizzle over pears, and serve with a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. ~Enjoy the smiles from your family. A perfect winter treat!

Winter by Walter de la Mare

Clouded with snow

The cold winds blow,

And shrill on leafless bough

The robin with its burning breast

Alone sings now.

The rayless sun,

Day's journey done,

Sheds its last ebbing light

On fields in leagues of beauty spread

Unearthly white.

Thick draws the dark,

And spark by spark,

The frost-fires kindle, and soon

Over that sea of frozen foam

Floats the white moon.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

More Celebrating

Another family party, another yummy cake. Vivi was due on her daddy's birthday! I had to share my love of the Pavlova that I made for David. It was simple and delicious. A few days ago, I learned about the Pavlova. Someone made this delicious dessert for the afternoon snack at the Foundation Studies that I am attending. (I will have to elaborate on that later...) It has a fluffy, merengue center and topped with whipped cream and strawberries. So decadent! You can find the recipe here.

This is the view of the beautiful rainbow on David's birthday morning. Happiest Wishes, Love.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Corner View: Favorite Hangout

It has been so long since I have been a part of the lovely Corner View postings. So I am jumping back in, as I can. my favorite hangout right now is by far, my own cozy sofa with a cup of tea and a stack of books. I love to sit, put my feet up, sip chai and read. Especially if I can warm myself by the fireplace Not that I have much opportunity for hanging out. Between home schooling and family life and a new puppy, it is a rare moment. But when I get it, I savor it! To get inspired by other Corner View participants, go to Jane's Spain Daily!

Jasper's cozy hangout where he likes to spend hours looking at books and building with blocks

Mia and Vivienne spend a lot of time on their beds with books, or listening to stories on CD

Sydney's cozy hangout

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Bunny Hop


It was a cold, wintry afternoon  for Vivienne's party. So, instead of running around outside, the children made fun playing "puppies" in the house, dancing to Francis England's sweet music, and making sugary cottages. I had picked up a stack of gingerbread kits on a whim, hoping that it would keep a room full of 4-9 year olds busy. And it was well worth the while. I traded out most of the candy for chex cereals and pretzel sticks, cranberries, raisins and coconuts. Getting the initial buiding to set was the biggest challenge. Perfect icing is the key to a successfully built gingerbread house. It was quite a feat to get the sugar glue off the floor and chairs after the party!

The carrot cupcake recipe came from Joy the Baker's blog. She had a recipe for a rich dulche de leche buttercream frosting. Yum. Making the cupcakes pretty was easy with local business Bake it Pretty. Check out her awesome selection!

fancy straws are such fun!

Vivienne's sweet doll with a violin from Gabi at Fairy Wool Dolls, and the little mouse in the teacup is from Etsy's Green Man Shop. Vivi got a lot of presents made by her friends, and art supplies. I love all the handmade goodness!

bunny art by local artist Ashley White Jacobsen

Friday, January 22, 2010

My Birthday Girl

My dear, sweet Vivienne Claire! You are now seven years old, and I remember the day you were born as if it were yesterday. It was quite a tale, since you hurried into the world so quickly! (Here is the whole story!) What a beautiful birth. You have know who you are since the day you were born, learning, creating  and growing with such will and strength. I love you, little one. You may not be so little now, but always my sweet Vivi you will be. Blessings on your year! So much wonder and splendor to come. XOXO  ~mama

Also wishing little James Patrick a Happy Birthday! With love and Congratulations to Genevieve and Bobby!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

It's Puppy Love!

After many months of looking and hoping to find a family dog, we have adopted our pup. Sydney is our sweet girl, 12 weeks old  now. She came from a pet rescue in Tennessee, after wandering alone and getting hit by a car when she was 8 weeks old. Fortunately, she was taken to a vet and suffered only bruises in the incident. A month later, she was brought to the rescue to find her permanent home. The vet said that she has Golden Retriever and Collie in her, which were the two breeds that we were considering most. It seems that my patience has paid off! She is a a good listener, and is taking well to training. She loves to play and still needs lots of naps.

Today, we spend the afternoon playing at the parkwith friends. It has been such a treat to have mild weather.

Sydney, you are just the puppy that we have been waiting for!