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Around Here

Ski

Ski
Ski
Ski 5 Ski 5
Ski 5

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Outside:

Although we are experiencing some sub zero temperatures, we are finding our way outdoors.    We have a solid base of snow for cross country skiing and between after-school ski practices, MYSL and weekend outings, we're logging a fair amount of kilometers on the trail.

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Coffee shop 2

Duct tape crafts
Duct tape crafts
Duct tape crafts

Inside:  

We are staying warm, even given our recent sub-zero temperature cold snap.   We recently tried out a new coffee shop in town with a welcoming atmosphere after a cold and snowy ski.  We have been keeping ourselves busy inside, the kids experimenting with duct tape crafts, the mama with some knitting projects.  On these winter days we are also savoring summer blueberries and backyard maple syrup with pancake breakfasts.

Wishing you a great start to your week!


Alabama Chanin Sew Along - Taproot Magazine Issue 20 ::Share

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This week I recieved issue 20::SHARE of Taproot Magazine.   I have felt privileged to have contributed to this lovely magazine in the past and this current issue I contributed in a different way - not through my printed word, but as a participant in an Alabama Chanin sew blog project that my friend Christine organized and wrote about in her feature article:  

The Power of Handmade.

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When Christine presented the idea of working together to craft a beautiful garment for someone who needed a touch of joy in their life, I was immediately drawn to the proposition.

 Together we could make beautiful things and spread some handmade joy.” -Christine

I responded to the invitation without hesitation and soon joined an eager group of makers that Christine pulled together from around the world.  Christine sought nominations from group members and two courageous women in my life were chosen as recipients of the gifts:

My dear friend Jen, a mother of three children ages 17, 15, 11 had been recently diagnosed with breast cancer. She just had a double mastectomy and was in the initial stages of chemotherapy treatment.  I knew Jen would be a perfect recipient because she loves both surprises and handmade gifts.  Jen is such a beautiful individual both inside and out and cancer and chemotherapy had taken away some of the beauty she enjoyed sharing with the world. 

Jen’s husband Tim was thoughtfully involved behind the scenes at the start of the Alabama Chanin project by discreetly finding Jen’s measurements and giving input of Jen’s style and color preferences to help Christine chose to perfect garment for us to make for her.  She received the gift of the Classic Coat in a pallet of rich blues while going through a rough patch of her chemotherapy treatment.  She was absolutely delighted and touched by the surprise.  When she opened the package and read all of the kind and thoughtful notes that accompanied her beautiful gift, she was moved by the group partnership and sentiments.

“Throughout my journey battling cancer there have been many unpleasant physical feelings along with feelings of fear and sadness, but along with these - joyful, delightful and happy experiences.  So many people have reached out to me to offer support.  It is this support that makes it almost impossible to have a good attitude.  This gift definitely brightened my day!  Just looking at and wearing the garment fills me with memories of friendship and joy!” -Jen

Alabama Chanin Coat - Jen I made Jen a bucket hat from the Alabama Chanin DIY as a complementary gift in the same style as her classic coat.

Alabama Chanin Tunic Panel 3Betty, a brave woman in my family circle, was chosen as a recipient of a beautiful A-line Top to spread some joy, hope and light into her life.  Betty is a mother who has been enduring the most excruciating suffering of losing her firstborn child.  She experienced a preterm rupture of membranes at twenty-two weeks gestation while pregnant with her son Henry.  Henry was born premature on September 22, 2015 at twenty seven weeks with neonatal complications.  Henry was loved, cared for and supported by his mom, his dad and medical professionals in the NICU for two full months before he passed away peacefully in the loving arms of his parents.   Betty is still grieving and will always have an emptiness in her heart, but being a recipient of this project certainly lifted her spirits. 

“I was blown away by the kindness and intent behind this project.  I received the package in the mail on a particularly hard day.  The timing of this gift was like a smile from God, it was as if it was work from angels.  When I received the gift and read all of the thoughtful notes that accompanied the project, I cried happy tears”  -Betty

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I was a participant in the sewing circle for Betty, sewing on of the four panels in her A-line tunic.
Alabama Chanin TunicParticipating in this act of giving has not only been healing and supportive to these deserving women, but also for myself as a maker and giver.   Going into the project I did not anticipate how my involvement in this act of giving would elicit such inspirational happy feelings in my own heart. Participating in fellowship in this genuine act of kindness and creating something of such beauty and purpose to delight another individual has been such a wonderful experience.  I know that I have been inspired by Christine’s initiative and the comfort and joy that both Jen and Betty experienced as result of the efforts of our sewing circle.  It is my hope that our stories of this experience will have the potential to influence a ripple effect of generosity in the broader community of makers, doers and dreamers. 

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 You will be lucky if you can get your hands on the new issue of Taproot Magazine issue 20::SHARE, read Christine's The Power of Handmade and all of the other great content in the issue as well.

 


Around here....

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inside

  • saying "good morning" with wild blueberry scones
  • meal prep for the week ahead 
  • a little bit of experimentation (dried tansy in a dye bath)

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outside

  • A little bit of wandering - trying to soak up a little sunlight during this dark time of year.  We lost a lot of our snow during a stretch of rain last week.  Today we got a dusting over a layer of ice that has accumulated.  Temperatures are below freezing, so there is some hope that our lakes will start to freeze and we will gently transition into our true winter.

Wishing you a good start to your week, from my little corner of the world to yours!


Interview with Deanna F. Cook (plus a giveaway for Farmers Market Create and Play Activity Book)

I am happy to share in the excitement of the debut of a delightful new book for children: 

Farmers Market Create and Play Activity Book 

It is my pleasure and privilege to share a recent conversation that I had with the award winning author Deanna F. Cook.

Meet Deanna:

Deanna

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself - where you live, your family, and your interests?

I’m the mother of two teenage girls (Ella and Maisie) who have inspired many of my books. I live in Northampton, Massachusetts where I love to cook, garden, and write. I’m from a big family—I’m one of six kids and I have lots of nieces and nephews. 

Please tell us how your writing career developed and has grown.

When I was a teenager, I loved to write and cook, and I wrote my first cookbook when I graduated from college. I travelled around the world and collected recipes for the Kid’s Multicultural Cookbook. After that, I worked for many years as a magazine editor, first at Scholastic then at FamilyFun magazine. I was the editor of all the FamilyFun books and often went on TV to share recipes and crafts including the Today Show and GMA and Food Network. I left FamilyFun in 2012 to spend more time with my girls and to write my own books. So far, I’ve written 4 new kids books, including Cooking Class, Teddy Bear Doctor, Horse Play, and now Farmer’s Market Create and Play Activity Book. I like to write books that encourage kids to be creative and imaginative. 

Tell us about your new book Farmer's Market Activity Book. Did you have any particular inspiration?

When my girls were little, they used to love to play store with pretend money. This book is all about how to play green grocer with the book’s pop out fruits and veggies, signs, price tags, play money, shopping lists, and more. My girls also loved gardening and going to the farmers market, and the book teaches kids all about the whole farm to table process through fun games and activities. 

What’s next for you?

I’m writing a kids baking book and I also started a part time job as an editor at Storey publishing, acquiring kids books and cookbooks. It’s fun to work on both sides of the desk as a writer and an editor. 

Anything else?

My website DeannaFCook.com shows some of the many fun projects I’ve been involved with over my career, from my kids’ books to my writing for Highlights, Kidstir.com, FamilyFun, and more. Take a peek!

Farmers Market Cover

I had an opportunity to review Deanna's new book and found it to be filled with engaging illustrations and fun hands-on activities for children and adults to create together to encourage open-ended play with a farmer's market theme.  IMG_5064

"Nana" working on the tractor with our 5 year old.

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IMG_5077Deanna has generously offered Kids and Eggs readers a chance to win a copy of her new book:

 Farmers Market Create-and-Play Activity Book features more than 100 stickers and nearly 150 punch-out paper pieces. Kids will have everything they need to set up a pretend farm — including gardening tools, plant markers, and a toy tractor — and then peddle their wares with signs, price tags, and a cute shoebox cash register. Fruit and veggie punch-outs do double duty as props and templates to make adorable felt versions to fill up their baskets. Games and activities sprinkled throughout help kids learn while they play, meaning that parents, too, will love this bounty of fun!

 

To enter to win, simply leave a comment on this post.   If your comment is selected by the random number generator, you'll win!  Giveaway ends Dec. 1, 2016 7:00 a.m. CST

*Want even more chances? Earn bonus entries by:

  • Subscribing to Kids and Eggs via email (enter your email on sidebar)
  • Liking Kids and Eggs on Facebook
  • Sharing a link to this giveaway on your social media
  • Following Deanna on Twitter
  • Following  Deanna on Instagram.

Just make sure, whatever you do, that you come back here and leave a comment letting me know how you shared.  Good luck!

 

comments closed - the winner is # 9 - Tiffany!

Congratulations and thanks for reading!


Soap Crafting

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This past Friday I made my last batch of soap for the season.  Last night I started working on some finishing touches on the five varieties of homemade soaps I made this fall.  This year I made 5 batches of soap that I am planning to, of course use - and also to give as tokens of friendship, love and appreciation this holiday season for our friends and family and for so many others in my life that offer support to me personally or to our children....teachers, coaches, parent volunteers in my kindergarten classroom to name a few).

This year I concocted the following batches of homemade soap:

  • Gardener's Rescue Soap on a Rope - made with olive, palm & hemp oils, lime essential oils with coffee grounds as an exfoliant. (approx. 3 oz)
  • Calendula Baby Soft Soap - made with olive oil, palm oil, calendula oil & calendula petals. (approx. 2 oz)
  • Peppermint Tea Tree Swirl Soap - made with coconut oil, mango butter, canola oil, olive oil, hazelnut oil, tomato paste and activated charcoal colorant and tea tree and peppermint essential oils.  (approx. 1.5 oz)
  • Lavender Cedarwood Soap - made with coconut oil, coco butter, olive oil, rice bran oil, caster oil & cedar wood and lavender essential oils. (approx. 2 oz.)
  • Bergamot::Patchouli::Lime - made with olive oil, avocado oil, shea butter, canola oil with loofa and dried rose petals. (approx. 2 oz.)

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I do have a lot of people on my list for giving, but I did make quite an abundance of bars this year, so I do have a few of each variety to sell.   If this is something you are interested in - shoot me an email and we could probably work something out.  For those of you reading who may just be one the recipient end of my holiday gift-giving I apologize for the 'spoiler,' but at the same time hope you will enjoy these gifts that were made with love.



After schooling - Memory Wire Beading

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Earlier this week we had an opportunity to take part in a Memory Wire Jewelry Class at our local library.  It was a fun and enriching part of our day!  It was great to have this (free) experience to look forward to - and even more fun to participate and to learn some new ideas for a fun and easy project.  The best part, of course, was the lovely jewelry that we were able to create and take home!

We love and value our library!


North House Folk School

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As part of our weekend getaway to the North Shore we took part in several events at the Family & Intergenerational Learning Weekend at the North House Folk School.  Friday evening we participated in the Contra Dance, Saturday my daughter and I took an afternoon knitting class (where she learned the craft and I worked out all of my bad habits) and Saturday evening we joined in a wood-fired pizza bake with other families that participated in classes and offerings over the weekend. We had a lot of fun connecting as a family, meeting some new people and participating in these fun events at the North House Folk School.


herbs, ketchup, peppers and pizza

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I had a productive afternoon in the garden, kitchen and pantry.   I harvested some herbs to use and to dry.   When I was tidying up and taking inventory in our pantry I found some hiding pickles, salsa and canned tomatoes from last season.   I decided to use up our canned tomatoes to make some ketchup - a family favorite, especially in the summer when we do a little more grilling.   I also ground up the peppers I dried last fall so they are a little easier to use.

 The season of harvesting, preserving - and enjoying the garden's bounty has officially began!

 

 

I spent a good part of a rainy day yesterday in the kitchen and pantry drying herbs, making ketchup from the last of our canned tomatoesI gathered my big first harvest of herbs.  I collected some basil, parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme, oregano and chives.  After those were washed and drying I decided to go through the pantry, where found our last jars of pickles and four jars of home canned salsa that were overlooked in all