Building furniture, children, christmas, DIY, home life, painting, Winter, Yule

I made a Stocking Hanger/Coat Rack!

I bought a 4x4x8 from Home Depot.. had Them cut it down to 6 feet in length. I Bought 4 expensive wood corbels for the feet and another sort of expensive furniture bun-foot-thing for the top. 
Screwed and glued it all together. Let it dry overnight. Filled in all the cracks with caulking. Let that dry about an hour and got to painting!

Painted that baby two times with Killz water based primer, once with paint (letting dry between each coats and overnight between the primer and paint). I just used some chalk paint I had on hand that I had bought a while back to test the color and see if it held up in quality to Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint. (I like the color of Annie Slaons old White Chalk Paint better, but it is really expensive!) And finished it off with a coat of Annie Sloan Clear Wax.

I measured down 6 inches from the top to screw in the upper hooks.  Measured 22 inches from the top of the corbels/base to screw in the bottom most hooks.  For the middle hooks I measured between the two sets of hooks already hung and placed them right in the middle.  


Lastly, I hung the stockings, with just a touch of care.. not too much care. Don’t want them getting used to special treatment in a house full of ragamuffins who won’t treat them with so much care 🙂 


I may end up changing the paint at a later date but for now it works perfectly! I’m actually super happy with how my overly expensive coat rack turned out!


The little kids were pretty excited too! They wanted to get dressed up and have me take their photo with the coat rack 😆 now they are having a tea party in the parlor with American Girl dolls and the tea set Miss Persephone got for her 4th birthday from Nana ❤️


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children, christmas, divorce, Holidays, home life, recipes, single parenting, Winter, Yule

On the First Day of Cookies

My true love made with me…
Italian Nut Balls …. or as some people may call them Thumbprint Cookies.
Before I had a million kids it was always so easy to whip out multiple batches of a dozen or so different cookie recipes during the holiday season. I have come to realize that the more children that are added to the family, the less time I have for anything that isn’t following after them cleaning up their paths of destruction. So, last year I decided that I would have each able child pick out a recipe that they would like to make with me and if I had time I would expand on that by myself. I’m sad to say last year we didn’t even make all the cookies that each child requested. In my defense I had just had baby 6 and was still trying to get used to adding another human to the family minus a husband.  I’m hoping that the 5 oldest kids will all get to make what they chose this year. 
Since the 4 oldest are still in school today and tomorrow before winter break starts, I thought Persephone and I could make her cookie choice. I am hoping to get the majority of cookie making done during the next two days because Wednesday is not only the first day of winter break, but it is also the Winter Solstice and I plan to have a little celebration with the kids!  We are going to do grinch night again with a grinchy themed feast and a showing of the Jim Carey live action movie.  We did it last year and they loved it. Well, Ophelia was indifferent but she’s also a high schooler. I also got the kids a little something warm and cozy they can open on the Solstice morning. Sally informed me he knows it’s clothes because he squished them! 🙂 haha

Then Santa will come by on xmas eve night and bring those fabulous children a gift. Later on xmas day the rest of the family will come by and we will have dinner and gifts with them. 
Persephone chose to the thumbprint cookies because she was excited about rolling the dough in to balls and smooshing her tiny thumb down 🙂 She is my go to gal when making and rolling meatballs as well.
Persephone helped me chop up all the nuts too! We’ve been practicing chopping with real knives. She’s so good about keeping her little fingers out of the way! I have actually noticed knife control improvement since the first time I let her help me chop a couple months ago. 



While the cookies were in the oven she took a break to wiggle on the floor.


After they came out I placed them on a cooling rack and she filled each cookie with jam. We did raspberry jam in half and blackberry jam in the other half.

Valentino watched, not so patiently. Thankfully he didn’t grab all over the cookies!


And since she didn’t have a xmas apron I let her have the last one that was in my shop. She loves the hungry caterpillar so it was perfect for her!

CHEESE!


Oh how she loves little baby ears! 🙂


Such a sweet big sister!


My little Krinkles (Valentino) with jam face! I let him lick the spoon when Percy Pie was done with it. 
I got this recipe from my mom years ago, and now to pass it on to you..

**I always use organic and/or local when possible.**
Italian Nut Balls / Thumbprint Cookies

Preheat oven to 350 F

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup butter

2 egg yolks (reserve whites)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

* in a large bowl or mixer combine ingredients, mix well

2 cups flour

* gradually add flour until well mixed
2 reserved egg whites, slightly beaten

1 – 1 1/2 cups finely chopped nuts (we use pecans)

Roll dough into 1 inch balls. Dip dough ball in to egg whites, then nuts

Place on greased or parchment paper lined cookie sheet about 2 inches apart, make a deep depression in center of cookies with finger/thumb tip.

1/2 cup jam or preserves

Bake at 350 F for 10 – 12 minutes until firm to the touch and lightly browned. Immediately remove from cookie sheet, while warm fill centers with a little jam or preserves, allow jam to set before storing.  Store covered or in the fridge for about a week. 

Yield 3 – 4 dozen

(Today we got exactly 31 cookies)
Buon appetito! 

What are some of your favorite holiday treats?

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Blasphemy, children, christmas, Embroidery, Holidays, home life, Homesteading, painting, sewing, single parenting, Winter, Yule

The road so far

Yesterday morning woke up to a chicken torn apart in our back yard. That kinda sucked 😦 goodbye sweet Chicka!  Had a quick little burial under the plum tree.

So it’s December! It’s actually 5 days in to December. I got my good old fake tree up before thanksgiving but I honestly have not had the time to get it decorated. (I like to use fake trees because I think murdering trees sucks. Even if they were specifically grown for it I still don’t like it.) I wanted to decorate our tree multiple times already but I can’t find those dang ornament hooks. The little kids have been begging me to go through the boxes of ornaments to find them but I am not looking forward to a sea of breakables across the floor while I search. Valentino isn’t the gentlest of baby’s. Actually, he is quite the turd!
Though, I do have other areas of holiday goodness.oh you beautiful, beautiful lamp you! It’s a Major Award!! This baby is in the front parlor window. The tree got demoted to the back family room this year so my beautiful lamp could take center stage. Ginger kitty wanted to be in the photo too. Don’t mind the laundry piles and the baby clothes I’m working on embroidering on the chairs there!our naked tree. I’m hoping to find those ornament hooks or I just may break down and go spend the $1.50 to buy a new bunch of them. I just hate to do it because I already have like 3 boxes of the things from previous years.

More messy! Need to get rid of those pumpkins still! Haha! Threw some candles and some lights in the front window and call it good. It actually looks a little different now though, I cut out a bunch of stars from white computer paper and taped them up on the top half of the window.I bought a wreath and some garland from Costco so I can enjoy a little bit of that fresh tree smell.put up a string of lights in the dining room window.. ahh the ambiance. The kids keep knocking it down somehow. Plus it got stretched out a bit as time went on.
I love these star lanterns, but these are actually a year round lamp I keep up in the front parlor.

I was able to find some of our winter/xmas books in the boxes yet to be unpacked and get them arranged with some nutcrackers on our lonely shelf. I need like 5 more of those things to hold all of our books!

And although I am not a follower of the christian persuasion, I did put up my moms old chreche above the computer desk. I just think it’s pretty.. And peaceful.. And I love images of Mary with her baby. I’m a sucker for babies 😉 I also like it because it was my moms.

Some people may be aghast to learn of this, but I fondly recall childhood memories of my middle younger brother and I hanging baby Jesus every year from the rafter above with a noose I lovingly hand crafted from speaker wire. My mom would get so mad. I still hang the noose on my tree every year. I try to put it next to the ornament said brother gave me a few years ago of a stately Santa figure stuffing a small child into his red sack. That child must have been naughty! 

Hung up some of our old advent calendars, just for decoration. That big Santa face one is from 2002 when Ophelia was just 1 1/2 and we had our very first apartment together. Our collection grows every year! Especially now with 6 kids and sometimes each kid getting their own calendar. We don’t reuse the calendars though, I don’t want the cardboard getting weak and the little doors falling off. We never buy the chocolate ones, yuck. Eventually I want to get around to making a reusable advent calendar.. let me just add that to the list!


We just had to get a new fridge the other day, the old black one was on the fritz. So again, please don’t mind the mess! But here are our cupboards dressed up for winter. I put lace on the inside of the glass cupboard doors so I didn’t have to look into our messy cup cupboards all the time! Damn my realistic unmatching cups! Damn them to fake hell! Sweet little Persephone again!old black fridge. It went with the other appliances better. Oh well, I’d rather have unspoiled food!close up of the kitchen wreaths. I bought them at Michaels when they were having 50% off all fake goodness sale. It isn’t really called that. I liked the holly leaves and berries in these ones. Plus, sparkle! I had to use my own ribbon though. These ones came with a tiny red hanger.

So, some of the things I’m working on for my shoppy poo. I decided to move all my painted signs to their own shop, Painted Lady Signs at http://www.etsy.com/shop/PaintedLadySigns Some of the lighting isn’t great. Sorry!

I also make those mobiles in many colors in my original shopmade a silver and gold version of the reindeer names in honor of Yukon Cornelius! 

I just finished up these Joy signs this morning.
I am still in the process of moving all my signs from the original shop Mary, Mary Quite Contrary at http://www.etsy.com/shop/MaryEGuad but there is a lot more signs posted on both shop sites. These are just the holiday ones I’ve been working on lately..  as for other items I’ve been working on in the original shop..

I always have some classic Pooh or Peter Rabbit thing to work on! So $&@%* precious!!

Some Holly and Mistletoe baby gowns. I love gowns. They are so convenient when baby’s are first born!

Little stag/Reindeer head gownand I even converted a couple Reindeer heads into Rudolph with a little red nose 😊

Some cozy flannel baby blankets. They are about 42″ square. I love these blankets. I made them for all my kids and they get used for so many things!

Sweet Persephone modeling for me ❤️ This one is my favorite! I kept one of these for Valentino. I am also planning on making all 4 of the little kids matching pajamas out of this flannel. It’s so cute and cozy! Hopefully I can get to that before the solstice as I want to gift each of my kiddos new jammies! I would make the 2 big kids the same pajamas but I need to find a pattern for their size too. I wish Oliver and S patterns made teen sizes!
So there we have it, for now. My list of things to accomplish or clean is never ending. 

And here is a mug I bought for myself so I can sip hot cocoa out of something cute for a change.

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christmas, Holidays, home life, single parenting, Winter, Yule

Visiting Santa at Skagit Valley Gardens

Since we missed the correct date to see Santa last year I made an appointment to guarantee we would make it this year! 
This last Saturday we made it down with time to spare. Valentino was not a happy boy!


 But I was able to get some cute photos with the other kiddos. Ophelia and Settimio didn’t want to be in all of them but the professional photographer got a few. I get to pick up the photo cd next weekend, with all the photos the professionals took. So for right now I just have the photos on my phone. 


My oldest brother and his son met us there and my nephew  Jacob got to be in some of the photos too.

Skagit Valley Gardens always looks so magical with the many trees dressed up for Christmas. It is one of my favorite places to ornament shop, though I have to admit this isn’t quite so fun with all the little ones!

He looks so sweet when he isn’t crying!

Afterward we went back home for lunch, then headed over to Nanas to decorate some shortbread cookies. I never seem to get photos of that! Always too busy either helping or trying to keep a baby distracted. 
A little less smooth running than in years passed but all in all it was a nice day. 
These might be the last photos you see of Settimio with his luscious hair 😔 he wants me to shave his head over winter break!!

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Elements, Uncategorized, Winter

Forces of Nature

We first moved in to our home in March of 2012. This year we have lived here for four years.  Settimio was the first one in our family to celebrate his birthday here.  Our house was still so sparse and there was much unpacking to do!

We have spent four winters in this little house by the bay. One winter we had a light dusting of snow that melted before the kids came home from school. This winter has been by far the wettest I’ve seen here. There has been almost constant rain and we’ve had our little road flood numerous times. There has been standing water on our road almost the entire winter. It will slowly drain away only to be replaced a couple days later with more rain water. At one point the city closed the road and had people come in to fix the drainage problem. The back field behind our house has looked more like a lake than grassland.

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off my back deck, looks like a lake! to the far right is the bay. to the middle and left is supposed to be a field!

Last night we went to sleep with the wind blowing and howling through the trees up and down our little valley. We live just outside of city limits on a little plot of land between two bays.  The bays lie North and South of us, East and West of us are two hills.  We live on the lower end on the West hill.  So, when the wind gets blowing it just whips right through here, it can be pretty amazing.  Quite a few trees have fallen this winter and knocked out electricity for a time.  The power company is pretty good and usually gets the electricity back on quickly.  I don’t think we’ve gone longer than one night without.

Throughout the night I woke to the wind blowing against our little house. At times I worry that the trees might fall and land on our roof but they seem to be pretty sturdy.

This morning I awoke to the wind blowing and Ophelia telling me to come look at the water of the bay blowing up and onto the road.  Water on the road is not new, but never before have I seen it come from the bay side.  I came out to see and there looked to be two little waterfalls flowing from the bay down into the road.

 

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I have never seen the water this high before.  Some of the driftwood are pushed up off the beach onto the grassy area and the waves are spraying up.  It’s hard to see but the little waterfalls falling into the road are off to the left.

There is a little hill built up by the bay, presumably to keep the water in or out depending on your point of view.  I heard that before the road was built the water from the bay came all the way up behind our house.  Beautiful, scary, and amazing this wind has been.

 

I love the noise and watching the clouds fly by, the bright morning sun breaking through the clouds illuminating the earth making anything with a wet surface shine like liquid silver.

It truly is beautiful and you can feel the power emanating from the elements.  I’m surprised we still have electricity, though oddly and unexpectedly we don’t have water. A water main has broken but thankfully crews are on there way to restore them.  As I sit here writing I can hear the mighty wind whoosh through while my chickens cluck and bawk at the inconvenience of it all!

Days like this I love to open all the windows and doors and let the fresh air flood in, giving the house a much needed cleansing. It’s a wonderful feeling lying in the warm bed with the baby softly snoozing beside me feeling the cold, clean air around us.

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