Thursday, December 23, 2010

Starlings in Gingerbread

The covered porch was not possible THIS year and there is a small inaccuracy involving Nutmeg's bedroom but all in all I am pretty pleased.

Monday, December 13, 2010

St Lucia Day - Age 4

Lucia Day didn't go so smoothly this year.  The baby I tend was scheduled to arrive at 8:30 so there was a deadline.  Nutmeg got up albeit with a bad attitude but Camrock (who was the designated helper) was much too sleepy to be helpful.  There were tears, fighting and commotion for 45 minutes. Meanwhile I was lying in bed pretending to sleep with the camera poised, for 45 minutes thinking the doorbell would ring at any moment and there I was in bed still.
Nutmeg was very uspset because she wasn't able to wake us up for real.   So she had this look on her face when she finally shuffled in the room
We pretended to be asleep and she perked up, then we "woke up" from our pretend sleep as she started singing...
"Away in a manger no crib for his bed, the sweet little Lord Jesus lay down his sweet head. The stars in the heavens look down from the sky, the sweet little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay."
Despite the fighting it was a great way to wake up.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Snow Much Fun!

We happened upon a great wintertime book.  It is called  The Story of Snow 
it has those amazing photographs of snowflakes on a microscope slide.  They are just beautiful. 
The book explains how snow crystals are formed and why they look like they do.
Did you know that snow crystals always have 6 arms or sides?  This is because water molecules attach themselves in groups of 6.  How interesting!

What the book doesn't include but should is instructions for cutting your own six sided snowflake, which is what we did after we read this book.  
I suggest using a slightly lighter weight paper than your typical printer paper.  It is really hard to cut through all of those layers and I ended up needing to cut every one's flakes which led to many tears.  Old fashioned typewriter paper, newsprint, origami or tissue paper would work very nicely.  We also used different sized paper hole punches for some of the details.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Grammar is So Unforgiving

Today is the beginning of the end.  Nutmeg has been reading Level 1 books for a few weeks now, reading is her new passion.  I am so happy but also sad because not 10 minutes ago she was looking at the cover of Little Red Riding Hood and said to me "Mom, shouldn't it be l-i-t-t-O-l?"

Nutmeg has a charming little accent that is hard to pin down.  She likes to pronounce things with a lot of vowels.  "Littol," "clev-uh," "Sister Doming-uh."

As I explained to her that "little" was pronounced "litt-L," I could see the puzzle pieces arranging themselves in her mind. The puzzle of "They way that I say words are not they way that they are spelled.  Either the words are spelled incorrectly  or I am saying them incorrectly."

I am afraid that the benefits of reading and correct spelling will shortly chase her haughty little accent away.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Making the Season Bright

My tree is up, the house is decorated and for the first time in nearly a decade I do not have all of the gifts purchased before December. But I am ready, oh, so ready for December, for a month of looking at the lights on the tree and getting lost in thoughts.   I am ready to sing the familiar songs that make my soul rejoice.  I am ready bundle up and stay put. I am ready for a month of reflection of thinking about the gifts god has given us and searching for a map of the path ahead of me.

I, like Jocelyn at We Talk of Christ, We Rejoice in Christ, am looking for a way to teach my children that Christmas is more than the gifts under the tree and watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas 500 times.  To teach them that Christmas is about service, love, family and Christ.

I don't know what it is going to look like yet but I know that I am going to let them choose who we serve and how. It will also be inexpensive, we have had a lot of major expenses come up this last fortnight and the giving will have to come from the heart not the wallet.

Do you have any ideas for me?  What are you doing this month to teach your children about the gifts that matter?

This message from President Monson might yeild some ideas.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Family Photos at Starlings

Way back in April Sarah and I made a trade, I would make her 6 girls some Miss Moss creations and she would take our family photos.  I would have had to been daft to have said no.  Then life happened and before we knew it, it was November and the leaves had fallen and the rains had arrived. 

Sarah arrived on possible the darkest day of the year and it was raining.  That didn't stop us.

Friday, November 26, 2010


A coldfront blew in this past weekend.  Coincidentally, the furnace went out the night before, we called furnace folks in spades but no one would return our call for 3 days.  On Monday there was a snowday for the public school kids but no snow. Our furnace was also fixed that day; it wasn't broken, just a sensor that needed to be reset, it cost us $90 to learn that.
Snow on our shingles, I just think they are so pretty, It was our first snow at Starlings which was a blessing even if we were freezing at the time.

On Wednesday, I found that the pipes to the washing machine in the garage  were frozen so I filled up the washer with hot water by the bucketful from the laundry sink.  Eventually the washing machine defrosted (with the help of a space heater) but later that evening and maybe or maybe not related to this event the downstairs water heater broke and leaked all over the basement.  Inspection of the almond colored appliance revealed that it was made in 1980.  Obviously replacement not repair will be the order of the day. Of course, this happened at 5 pm the night before Thanksgiving.

We won't be having hot water until Monday at best. Happily the upstairs bathroom has a separate water heater so we can have warm showers, but no dishwasher of washing machine on Thanksgiving Eve!

I had the fun task of cleaning all the dishes and the kitchen before Thanksgiving food was made, during and after by boiling water in the tea kettle.

This wasn't to be a complaining post, I just wanted to illustrate why we chose a snowflake theme for Thanksgiving decorations.
The Gardners and the Warrs heeded my pleas to come to Starlings for dinner and we had a lovely evening.  All the important foods were here, hummus included.  The sweet potatoes were divine and the heritage pastured turkey from Kookoolan Farms (thanks to Kristin's mad bartering skillz and generosity) was the best turkey ever known to mankind.  Even Moose thinks it is the best turkey ever.  We will have to keep inviting Kristin to Thanksgiving forever because we could probably never afford such a turkey on our own.  **Flash to the scene from A Christmas Carol where Scrooge buys the enormous goose***
Here is a photo of Moose carving the turkey, he was the only person  man enough for the task (it must be all that working out on his birthday weight bench.)

I-Shuan made an absolutely darling "Welcome to Starlings" sign as a housewarming gift on her new "Silhouette" machine, so perfect and thoughtful.

And the greatest blessing of all, we have wonderful, fantastic, amazing renters in our old house.  A giant weight has been lifted from our shoulders.  Thank YOU!  Amen.

Friday, November 19, 2010

You Can't Go Looking for One of Those, or Can You?

I was going through my Christmas Around the World Books looking for ideas for our holiday celebrations when I saw a German Pyramid or Christmas Windmill.  I had seen these before and suddenly I thought "If we ever want one of these we need to get it THIS year while the kids are still little enough to appreciate it."

A quick Google search confirmed my suspicion that these little whimsies are very pricey like $500-$600.  Then I found a made in China version on Etsy for about $40 and Moose and I decided to think on it.

This morning, I was out picking up some FREE furniture and decided to stop into a Salvation Army Thrift shop that I had never been in before to see if they had a Christmas Pyramid.  (Yeah Right.)

They did. 

It was missing the propellers and candle holders so I put it in my cart to think about it.  That is how I decide if I want something, I push it around in my cart and look at other things and then right before I checkout I go through everything and see if I still like it and/or the price.

Before I had a chance to decide a couple of employees saw it in my cart and remembered that there were more pieces to it, we searched and found the original box with 6 propellers and no candle holders.  But 6 propellers looked like enough to make it hobble around so I bought it for $4.99!
Here it is at home with the 6 propellers and one candle holder stick.  We are going to have to craft some pieces but I think this will be fun!  For $5 I don't feel one bit frivolous or extravagant.
Oh, and it is sitting on this awsome treadle Singer base table that was FREE.  I have always wanted one.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

When Was the Last Time You Took Your Children to the Temple?

 The other day I was speeding along the freeway listening to Natalie Merchant's Kind and Generous on the radio.  This song has always made me think of my Heavenly Father and how kind and generous he is to me.  How I am in debt to Christ for his gift to me.  I sang along "la la la la-ing" through the autumn leaves and the late autumn sunshine, just as the song ended I saw the spires of the Portland, Oregon temple peeking through the evergreens.

I debated with myself as whether or not we should stop.   I knew that the kids would complain but the spirit told me that this was the time so I took the exit and within two minutes we were walking around the temple grounds with my middle child murmuring about how he just wanted to go home.

Soon it became evident that everything was new and exciting to my 4 year old daughter.  It had been so long since we had been to the temple she couldn't remember any of it. 

We sat at the reflecting pool and talked about the temple, what it means, what you must do to be able to go there and that in the temple we make promises to Heavenly Father that we will keep his commandments. My husband is not LDS and sometimes it is had for me to talk about the temple with my children.  But there in the sunshine it was easy.

As we walked back to the car my daughter said to me "Mom, you know what I was doing back there? I was promising."

"Promising what honey?"

"Promising that I will do what Heavenly  Father wants me to do."

Remind me in a dozen or so years to remind her of the first promise she made at the temple. OK?  Thanks.

This little trip took us a grand total of 10 minutes but I hope gave us 4 eternities worth of memories.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Spooky Times at Starlings

There hasn't been much time but we have managed to do some spooky things this month to celebrate the season. We decorated, no new decorations but with a new house it was fun to find new places to put them.

We had  Third Annual Spooky Stories and Carmel Apples Night 

with Los Dominguez.

It was a hit even though I bought poor apples.

My spooky story recommendation  for the year is "The Dream Woman" by Wilke Collins. (Scroll down to #18-22)
 There was pumpkin Carving And last but certainly not least the costumes.
Camrock as The Grim Reaper with a homemade paper mache scythe.  He made it all by himself.

Boba Fett as Harry Potter.

And Nutmeg as Tinkerbell. 
I think might just start referring to her as Tinkerbell.  When the folks at Disney were imagining Tinkerbell in 60 years ago I am sure that they had Nutmeg in mind.
She looks just like she stepped out of the movie 
complete with the attitude.
This is not Tinkerbell doing the Robot  but Tinkerbell measuring her hips
This is Tinkerbell being really mad at Wendy (the redheaded pirate lass) because Tinkerbell isn't winning a cake in the cake walk.
She has been flitting about for two weeks doing her Tinkerbell imitation and it is good, really, really good.
Making the Tinkerbell hair bun was a feat of engineering that I am particularly proud of, it involved mohair yarn, Styrofoam and lots of hairspray.  I made the wings and sewed the costume from a pattern I had in my head but the Disney Store made the light up Tinkerbell shoes.  The only decent thing I have ever seen at that store.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Fall - Sabbath Leaves

We were standing in the kitchen yesterday afternoon when I looked out the window and witnessed The Fall.  The maple that has been sprinkling leaves for the last few weeks decided to let it all go and  we watched as it rained leaves.  It was magical as so many moments have been this autumn, we stood and watched the yellow rain.  After a while a gust of wind blew through and the leaves fell ever faster.  Now our lawn is covered in a yellow carpet.  A wet carpet as the fall happened just a few hours before a very heavy night of rain.

I am feeling much better this Sabbath day.  This week I have knocked on the door of despair, have had some prayers answered and some prayers I haven't found the answer to yet.  I have regained peace.

I am so grateful for the lovely Indian summer we have had, full of sunny but not hot days; it ALMOST makes up for our nearly non existent summer.  I am glad that it has rained because I need to plant my spring bulbs and the earth was too hard to dig in.  Hopefully the rain has softened it up.

Friday, October 22, 2010

What is a "Demi-Millinery?"

I have been keeping a secret from this blog. 

For the last year I have been developing a little place I like to call "The Demi-Millinery."  The Miss Moss Demi-Millinery is a place where I design and craft and sell hair ornaments.
I have so much fun in the demi-millinery and I can't wait until November 13th when I will be packing up the demi-millinery and setting it up again at the Boutique at the Barn. 
I have been out of the craft show scene for a while now but I am ready to jump back in with both feet.

Please stop by The Miss Moss Demi-Millinery to watch it grow.  I have a lot of millinering to do, an appointment for photos and am looking for someone to help me with a logo and cards.  I am expecting great things.

If you are in the area stop by the Boutique at the Barn and say "Hello."

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


I got my 2nd BlogHer check, and again I made about 11 cents a day, and even though I should have used that $25  to buy shoes for the kids, Moose said I could do whatever I wanted with it.

Things have been happening on the selling the old house front.  Good things, bad things, disappointing things, stressful things, but things, things that require risky decisions to be made.  All choices are equally risky and safe.

I am not going to say just what because I don't want to jinx it.  I believe God is in control  and has a plan for us that we can't always see but I also believe in jinxing. ( I totally jinxed myself out of getting a big calling recently.  I was certain that it was going to be a BIG one, one with a LOT of responsibility but because I told people that I jinxed myself into one with very, very little responsibility. SWEET!)

I can however relay facts. 
  • Fact one, we still own our old house.  
  • Fact two, said house is empty.  
  • Fact three, we can not afford to pay 2 mortgages next month. 
  • Fact four, rental management properties have been spoken to.  
  • Fact five, someone is interested in buying said property but since no paperwork has been made it is still only interest and interest doesn't pay the bills.  
  • Fact six, November is coming quickly.

So last night as I tossed and turned in my bed while I tossed and turned decisions in my mind I knew exactly what I was going to do with my BlogHer check.  Buy pumpkins.  What better way to soothe mid autumn nerves than with big orange squash?

This morning I put the situation to the kids, I had a $25 limit for pumpkins and the pumpkin farms charge a lot of money for the attractions and the pumpkins and as far as I can tell none of them do what they used to do which was pay a fee to do everything at the farm which includes a pumpkin. So we hashed it out and decided to buy pumpkins at Winco (17 cents per lb.) and go to a pumpkin farm that had free attractions.
The main attraction was the "Hay Pyramid"  I even managed to get some pretty decent pictures from the broken camera.

 And just when you think it isn't possible to love Boba Fett any more than you already do, I give you....
Boba Fett the Basilisk, complete with hissing.
On the hayride Camrock spun a tale about  how it was really a vehicle taking us to a Zorg prison camp.  In this picture he was singing a song, presumably a prison song?

As we left we bought some apples for a snack and corn for dinner and a full hay bale.  The hay bale will serve 3 purposes; first, Halloween decoration for my porch, second, a target for my avid archer son, and third, dry matter for the garden.

The best part is I still have $5 left over.