Friday, November 30, 2012

Thursday, November 29, 2012

papa papa papa

Sometimes late in the afternoon, when we're really missing Papa, I find our little son reading the "papa book"; pointing to every picture of his father saying "papa!" over and over and over through the whole book. Melts my heart into a puddle of mush. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Kimmie and Kevin and Ever Bars

While we were out taking our Christmas pictures, I thought I might as well take some shots of our love-bird photographers...

Kimmie's boyfriend, Kevin (whom we all adore) is an entrepreneur and launching his business "Ever Bar" in the very near future.  He and his cousin have created an all natural and VERY YUMMY health bar that they want to get into stores. They are looking for people to back their business and there is only a few days left in their kickstarter campaign.  I wish I could give you an Ever Bar to try...they really are amazingly good.  In a way I wish I never ate one, because now every other granola/health bar pales in comparison. Here's the link, if you're interested in backing this new business. Oh, and watch their video, Kimmie makes an appearance or two. :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Christmas photo shoot

During Thanksgiving break we did a photo shoot in hopes of getting a nice family picture for this year's Christmas card.  My littlest sister Kimmie and her boyfriend Kevin did the honors (thank you, habibis!). And I must say that Kevin was instrumental in those winning Levi-smiles. Levi thinks Kevin is VERY funny. 

I suppose I won't spoil the surprise and show you the photo we chose for our cards, but here are a few other shots from our morning walk around the neighborhood. 
Brian and I even got a few shots by ourselves. That hasn't happened in a looong while.
(Gosh, how I love this man.)

Monday, November 26, 2012

God seeping

How my eyes see, perspective, is my key to enter into His gates. I can only do so with thanksgiving. If my inner eye has God seeping up through all things, then can't I give thanks for anything? And if I can give thanks for the good things, the hard things, the absolute everything, I can enter the gates to glory. Living in His presence is fullness of joy- and seeing shows the way in.
- A. Voskamp

Still counting these gifts...

- a full Thanksgiving; yummy breakfast, parade viewing, a warm tasty dinner, slow and restful family time
- a great start on a whole-family collaborative Christmas gift for Levi
- a little boy marching around the house singing "Mama, Mamaaaa, Maaa-maa!"
- a good and healthy and collaborative start to baby-discipline (I think?)
- Sunday naps, all of us
- a successful Christmas card photo shoot (thanks to Kimmie and Kevin)
- that I forgot to bring dinner to my best friend (not that I forgot..but thankful that she will always forgive!!) :(
- surprise cookies and hot chocolate from B
- Levi's love for his family, our family's love for Levi
- advent just around the bend and a start on decorating
- breakfast at A&J King Bakery with the WHOLE family (and that it just keeps getting bigger!).
- a church-wide prayer for healing for my parents
- a wonderful, wonderful Arts Sunday at church; my husband's inspiring sermon, a gallery full of art, a beautiful and thought-provoking poem, lots of enthusiasm...a church that values the arts! (SO thankful!)
- the other millions of blessings that I know I'm forgetting just now..

Thursday, November 22, 2012

truly blessed beyond measure

Have a joyous and peaceful Thanksgiving, friends!

(we made our "word cloud of thanks" at

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Art Room Diaries: lovely leaves

abstracted autumn leaves,
drawn from observation 
up-close and colorful, 
inspired by Georgia O'Keefe

(selections from grades K-5)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

the tub is my canvas

Our most recent cold-day, stay-inside fun. 
All you need is a naked baby, a tub and some finger paints. 

(and a paintbrush if you have a sophisticated baby who insists on using that rather than his fingers. Apparently that's soooo 7 months ago. )

best part? easy clean-up. :)   

Monday, November 19, 2012

what gifts!

Please Lord
Gild me
In determination
Help me to remember and to be watching
Daily Bread, what you have shown me
What Gifts!
So that I see I should not take
Anything as granted.
- A. Borne

(poem written by a friend and read at church yesterday)

Remembering and watching these gifts...

-many provisions
- a warmer-than-mine body to fall asleep with
- grocery shopping all together
- an unexpected free morning
- a fixed dishwasher; family help
- Levi's over-tired silliness
- a borrowed vacuum, a just-for-a-moment clean house
- piles of blankets and books with Evan and Levi
- potluck in the kettle; two yummy chili's, happy children, sugar and spice cookies
- a new and wonderfully successful Miro lesson
- family over for a double birthday party; homemade pizzas, strawberry shortcake
- when he wakes up and just wants to cuddle with me and blankie
- quiet moments
- inspiring sermons
- Mom ok, after a trip to the ER with kidney stones
- a fun hangout/photo shoot with the Blakes
-for a very adorable little church distraction 
- a possible painting commission
- my husband, steady breathing and asleep on my shoulder
- time to stop and watch the birds
- the upcoming week of family, food and thanks
- cookin' with my sous chef..

Friday, November 16, 2012

why I love him: reason #143053

because sometimes at the end of a long and frustrating day
he makes us chocolate milk 
and insists we sip it through build-your-own-straws.

(of course it was the perfect antidote)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

the winter (survival) list

I know it's not quite winter yet, but last week we had our first snow and there's definitely a chill in the air. I posted a while back about how I was nervous about winter's arrival.  Baby-less, I would have found my seat by the heater, covered in blankets, slippers on, some knitting by my side and blissfully hibernate the winter away in my warm, safe cocoon.  I'm assuming that scenario will not be the case with an active toddler in tow. He's not really into that sort of thing, you might say. 

A wise friend suggested that I start making a winter list. I heartily agreed and started brainstorming ways to keep us busy during these coooold and dark winter months. And this is not just any seasonal list, my friends(see summer and fall), this is my winter SURVIVAL list.  A list to go to when we've been cooped up all day, caught a bad case of cabin fever and are about to drive each other mad. Here's what we have so far...any awesome winter activities I'm missing? 
Here's to a fun, interesting, active and happy winter in (and out of) the Kettle!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Art Room Diaries: a new gallery..

Tons of new student work just "hung" in the new online art gallery I keep for my courses at New Hope Tutorials

Quite proud of what these creative young'uns have been able to accomplish so far this year.. and so much more to come!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

how you like dem apples?

Baked apples are the current favorite warm, simple, cool-weather treat here in the kettle...I mean, you put that baby to bed, snuggle up on the couch with a blanket, your favorite someone and a bowl of warm sugary apple-y goodness; I think you might even be able to call that a legitimate date! 
our concoction of choice
(there are many variations)

Cored apple, filled with mostly brown sugar and a bit of cinnamon and a littler bit of nutmeg. Doused with a tablespoon of water and topped with a slice of butter.  Bake at 375 for about 30 min. or until the apple is soft. Add a dollop of cream; whipped or iced. heaven, I tell you! (with a little "h", of course).
(I wrote this whole post, then I had a moment of deja vu and it occurred to me that I may have posted something very similar when I first started my blog. I was totally right. Here's my original recipe from 3 years ago..I used the leftovers from an apple crisp. Brilliant!) :)

Monday, November 12, 2012

give thanks for all

We ought to give thanks for all fortune: if it is “good,” because is it good, if “bad” because it works in us patience, humility, and the contempt of this world and the hope of our eternal country.

- C. S. Lewis

Thankful this week, for -

- two-cups-of-coffee Brian

- impressive independent art projects by my high schoolers
- Papa and Levi time, so I could take a nap and put a dent in evaluations
- knitting girly things
- Christmas projects planned and begun
- bath time 
- Mom and Dad J, taking the baby while we date (and fancy italian desserts, a caramel latte and a sunset) 
- waking up late (relatively, haha) on Saturday to a clean house, dishes done and my boys having breakfast together.
- Levi's sweet "bye-bye"s, I-know-I'm-funny faces, talking to himself in his crib
- a warm sunday
- my father's faith and hope for the future

(Dad Update: He is recovering very well from his surgery and the doctors are very pleased with how healthy he is looking. At his follow-up appointment, they said that his cancer seems very aggressive so he will have to have aggressive treatments.  This was not great news, but they are optimistic about the outcome, overall. He starts chemo and radiation in about 3 weeks when he's fully healed from surgery. If you think of it, keep praying?)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Levi, meet Elsie. Elsie, meet Levi

(we may or may not be arranging a marriage for these two)
{this moment} Joining with SouleMama

Thursday, November 8, 2012

to (not) remember

(haha, I crack myself up...see post below) 

It's a good thing for Levi that he just so happened to be wearing his dinosaur suit (and was looking so dang cute) while he systematically destroyed my clean house. 

I tried to put on my mad-mama-face, really I did.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

to remember


There are many many things I want to remember about 15 month old you. 

Like how the outdoors invigorates you like nothing else and the way you dance even when there's no music playing. Like how you take your music very seriously, singing and playing your instruments with great determination and concentration...(and how you actually have great rhythm!) Like the way you show us "a steeple" with your fingers when it's time to go to church and how you always run up to your favorites and give them a big warm hug. Like the way you say "peeese!" when you want something and how you swing your arms back and forth repeatedly when you're excited. Like the way you try to communicate with your signs and words and funny little facial expressions.  Like the way you LOVE babies and gently touch them and exclaim "Beebee!" Like the way you look when you know you are being funny and want us to laugh at you...and your uncontrollable giggles. Like when you try your best to repeat the words we say and get so darn proud when you do. Like the way you are constantly exploring and trying to figure out where those noises are coming from or how that works or what button you push to make that happen. Like the way you squeal with delight when kitty lets you pet him and how you try to feed him your food. Like how you insist on helping Papa when he's working on little fix-it jobs around the house. Like the way you sit for a long time quietly looking through your favorite books. Like the way you are always "asking questions" with your inquisitive noises and definitive points. Like the way you fearlessly climb whatever "mountain" or structure you possibly get your hands on. Like how you are happy walking around holding our hands and how you love animals and trying to make their sounds. Like the way you give us those precious, slobbery open-mouth kisses, just because. Like how you continue to be such a personable, outgoing and friendly little fellow, offering your love to those around you with funny gifts (a goldfish, a piece of fuzz, an acorn), hugs, kisses, waves and love tackles. Like how we really can't imagine life without you and how you fit in our family just perfectly.

You are greatly loved, my boy. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Emma's first pearls

This past weekend, I attended (and photographed) a first birthday party for an adorable little lady. I'm not kidding...ADORABLE.


I'd been stashing away an idea I'd seen a while back(here)and thought this would be perfect occasion to try it. 

The "pearls" are made by stamping white fabric paint with a pencil eraser for the small pearls and the end of a chapstick container for the larger ones. The flower is simply 5 layers of fabric circles, sewn together with a couple of small beads for the center. The flower was then sewn onto the onesie. 
Kind of fun to do a girly project once in a while!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Thursday, November 1, 2012

just a little family of

gnomes. :)

Papa Gnome shows Baby Gnome the ways of the garden...
I was bound and determined to get one picture with Levi in his beard...that's what you get, Mama! (baby toorrrtture!)
Although I realize Levi was totally my ticket to bucket loads of candy (and I'm a wicked sweet-tooth), I couldn't really bring myself to bring him trick-or-treating. Just to collect candy for his parents?...seemed weird. Maybe next year?

Nevertheless, we had a fun and laid back night. We stopped by to see the Grandparents (ok, I did take some candy) and then spent the rest of the evening at a birthday gathering for one of our bestest of friends. Tacos, ice cream sandwiches and a nice long fire pit session. Perfect.

These were pretty simple and budget-friendly costumes to put together and oh-so-cute. I think I like them even better than last year. Our clothes were all items that we had or borrowed and I knit the hats and beards from leftovers in my yarn stash. I loosely followed this pattern for the beards and this pattern for the hats. Of course I obviously wasn't thinking very clearly when I crocheted that beard for Levi...he wouldn't keep that thing on for even a minute...oh well, you live and learn. :) 

Hope you all had a fun Halloween!