Late December Days

Little Red Riding Hood, Annika-style:

It's a winter-time tradition at our house to go crazy after dinner. The nights are dark and the evening energy level is high. Annika gets decked out every night to dance around like a maniac with her maniac brothers. 

Outside. Rylan with his 2 favorite girls- Helen, the White Orpingoton and Ping, the Buff Orpington. Cohen with his boy, David. The best, most tame, rooster ever. And Annika, gathering kindling in style.

Making cookies for Santa. Rolling, cutting and decorating.


Christmas morning mayhem where the floor disappeared in a flurry of paper and packages. 


Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas! 

From my family to yours!


Annika's 2nd Birthday Party

 My little girl turns 2 years old this Saturday. Today we had family over to help celebrate. She had a ton of fun with all the balloons and being the center of attention. First with gifts:

Paul's grandmother got her this huge blanket with Dora on it. She wrapped herself up immediately with the rest of her gifts. 

Then it was cake time. I made cupcakes this year- again with no artificial food colorings. Just strawberries, blueberries and lemon curd added to the icing for the colors.


 And we sang, which she wasn't too thrilled about. I actually thought she might cry- which is totally something I would have done (or did) when I was younger.

But she recovered once we were done and she could blow out the candles.


Then just a whole lot of playtime. With lots of smiles and lots of giggles. 


Future Bakers in America

 Our local homeschool co-op hosted a kid-made craft fair today. And the boys decided it was the perfect reason to make all those treats they've been pinning onto their Pinterest boarrds. We weren't sure what kind of turnout to expect but I told them they could make up to 3 things each. 

Rylan made homemade peanut butter cups, lemon cookies and mini chocolate chip cheesecakes. Cale made peanut butter truffles, lemon meringues, and cookie dough balls. Cohen made homemade peppermint patties and buckeye bark. And Lakin made chocolate crinkles. The kitchen was a disaster area last night!

And today they loaded up their baskets and signs and headed to the sale. They did pretty well considering how many people showed up to buy. They had fun playing with their friends and they are excited to have more spending money to buy a few Christmas gifts!


'Tis the Season....A Trip to the Christmas Tree Farm


We've gone to the same tree farm for the past 10 years, just down the road and less than a minute from our old house. Since continuing that tradition would mean a 2 hour car ride, this year we went in search of a new place to cut our tree. This year we decided to try out Boyd Mountain in Waynesville, NC.

With 7 people- and 7 opinions- choosing a tree is no easy task.  There is lots of commentary- too tall, too short, too scraggly, too expensive....But finally we all agreed.

Our old tree farm did the cutting for you, but this time we could cut our own. Rylan and Cale each took a turn with the saw, and Paul finished it up.

I will admit that I am not feeling the Christmas spirit yet, but now that the mantle is covered with stockings and our collection of random Christmas decor and our playroom sports light covered windows and the tree. It's starting to feel a little more like Christmas...if only it would feel like winter outside!

Those Who Live in Grass Houses

We have a very large field on our property, and seeing as we don't own a tractor we decided to save gas- and the lawn mower- and just let it grow this year. The grass and weeds are tall and dry now and during the past few unseasonably warm days the boys have been out in that field. Creating. 


Armed with water, scissors and big imaginations they set to work making their houses. Secret forts and secret paths. 

They cut tall bunches of grass and set about building their walls, each in their own way. Lakin mostly cleared a large area and helped Cohen to create a shared wall of tied together bunches of grass. 

Cohen made his 4 walls by tying and twisting the bunches together and stacking them. 

Cale and Rylan both gathered stiffer weeds to help support their walls. Cale used them to weave the grass around- wattle fence style. 

While Rylan placed 2 supports together and sandwiched the grass in between. Then he cut himself a secret pathway running from his house to the mowed pathway, using the cut grass as a floor.

Annika and I went out this morning to check out their creations. The grass was wet, so Cale spread his jacket out for her to sit on. That boy spoils her more than anyone I think.


Those who live in grass houses.....

...shouldn't have dogs :)