Little Chef


As my girls are getting older I'm finding that I am getting more and more excited about their gifts.

MaeMae loves helping in the kitchen and I wanted to do something really special for her too (see previous post) so I made her this little chef hat and put together a cooking set for her. It all will go into a Tupperware and be stored in the kitchen for us to make special treats together. Or for her to just help with food prep for dinner.

Poor girl has been throwing up all day though so we are all hoping she will be back to her normal spunky self before the big day.


DIY Canopy - Every Girl Needs One


Each year for Christmas I like to personally make a few of the gifts for my girls. This year Ava asked for a bed canopy and I decided that it would be simple enough to do on my own. 

And fortunately I took pics along the way for a little tutorial of sorts.


1 16' embroidery hoop (inside only)
4 pieces of tulle cut as tall as your room - mine were 8' long. They come in 54" widths.
Colored felt for the dots cut into 1-1.5" circles
Sewing skills + machine


Start by sewing all 4 of the tulle pieces together along the 8' edge. I used a sharp size 9 needle and had a medium-long stitch length - it was much easier to sew than anticipated.

Next take the hoop and fold about 4" of the top edge of the tulle over the outside of the hoop so the raw edge is on the inside of the hoop. I know that makes no sense. See picture above :) Then slide it under your needle - this would probably have been easier to handle if I had pinned it, but I never pin.

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During and after step 2.

Then around and around we sew until reaching the other side. 

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Next, stitch a seam just on the opposite (top) side of the hoop so there would be a nice puff on the top. Again see pictures for better instruction.

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The fun really starts now when adding the felt dots.

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They were first just added right along the raw edge where the canopy splits open. I spaced them about 3" apart.

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Then I decided there needed to be more so I added more dots down each of the 3 seams in the tulle from step1.

Of course I had to try it out. So, I tied some pink ribbon on it, hung it above her bed, and while she was at school I laid under it for a few minutes.

It was pretty magical.

 I have plenty of extra dots left too as I'm sure Miss Mae is going to be wanting one real soon.

It's true, every girl really needs one - maybe even me too. 


The Christmas Trailer


After making this year's gingerbread house I made Easy promise me that someday we will have Christmas in a trailer up in the mountains. 

Anyone want to join us?

Previous houses:



Going to meet their teachers in AR, Aug 2012
Ave (6) MaeMae (5)

Today I'm trying to get my head straight and things organized in preps for our trip to So Cal for Christmas.

I'm having a really hard time focusing though - I have all weekend. As I'm doing laundry, making lunch, putting Rosie down for a nap, I keep drifting into a daze thinking about what happened over the weekend in CT. I cannot count the times since Friday that I have fought back tears.

This morning I lost my keys so I took the girls to school a little late. There was a police officer in the parking lot and my mind drifted to the tragedy. As I walked them in I exchanged smiles and a "hello" with their amazing principal - who is always visible, out greeting parents, relating to the children, and sharing her warm demeanor. I walked down the hall and dropped Mae off while quickly speaking with her wonderful Kindergarten teacher. Ava ran down to her room and by the time I caught up with her she was already chatting with friends in her first grade class. She gave me a big smile and a thumbs up. My mind drifted again.

My heart thumped hard as I waved goodbye and walked out of the school. A big part of me wanted to turn around, scoop them up and take them back home. But I knew they were safe with those caring and capable women.

What happened last Friday was unthinkable and unimaginable. I ache for every family that was effected. I pray that they will be comforted. I pray that those hurt can forgive and be healed over time.


Full-On Christmas Mode


We are in full-on Christmas mode over here. 

Christmas music basically playing 24/7. 
Gifts are being crafted.
Treats being made and eaten - cinnamon rolls and caramel popcorn last week. Today Peppermint Bark Ice Cream
Cards have being sent and received.
The girls made Christmas lists.
Gallons of hot chocolate + whipped cream have been consumed.
We visited Santa.
We have cut and taped snowflakes up around the house.
We have hung...well Easy hung our vintage part blinking, some opaque and some clear lights outside - I love them.
And early yesterday in the wee hours of the morning we had a little snow.

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I just wish it would snow more. I have never wished and wanted for snow so much in my entire life and I realize that my tune may change in March, but I have love love loved the snow we have seen so far in Colorado.

And just because I can't resist:

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We are mostly adjusted to having our new puppy in the family. He is sweet, but at times a little too puppyish for us, ie nipping, barking, licking, smelling, chewing, stinking, pulling, jumping, and whining. We have taught him to sit and shake and are working on laying down. The girls and I mostly adore him. Easy is very tolerant and I appreciate his efforts to bond.

Any dog advice? We will take it! Specifically how to get him to walk on the leash. He does so great in the yard and once we are away from the house, but if we are close to home he sits his butt down and will not move for anything! Stubborn.


A Christmas Wreath


I don't think we can go back to having a fake tree. There are just too many perks of having a real one. Like the smell, how unique each one is, and all that you can do with those little branches after trimming it.

Once our tree was up and sparkling I got my floral design hands working again (they are pretty rusty).  I used the lower branches we had to cut off to make a fresh wreath for the wall.

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It felt so good to get my hands all sappy, smelly, and dirty. It reminded me of the Christmas' I spent in flower shops creating fresh pieces for tables, celebrations, and gifts. And it's so simple! Seriously, anyone can do it.
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First clip all your branches with pruning shears to about 16" in length. Then gather together 2-3 stems depending on thickness and wire them or tie them together. I used this cut into 6" strands for the wiring. They sell it at Joann's and Hobby Lobby. Maybe even Walmart.  

Grab a few more stems and about 6" from the tips of the branches you have already wired together tie on the new ends with the woody stems underneath the pretty foliage. Continue around until you are back to the beginning. 

Use smaller stems to weave through the wreath covering all the wires and reinforce where needed with the wire. Then finish it off with a simple ribbon or attach berries!

And Hang! 


A Hunting We Will Go

please forgive me. i have gotten into a bad habit of leaving my nice camera at home on all our adventures. all my recent pics are from my phone. 
it's been killing me!

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So we are falling in love with Colorado. It's kind of not really a secret.

Last weekend we went up to Fraser and cut down our very own Christmas tree. It was a bit of an adventure where we got lost (I was the navigator) and missed our group that we were supposed to meet up with.

No worries, we just had 25 servings of cornbread muffins all to ourselves + an extra 90 minutes in the car.

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When we arrived I thought to myself. Here we are! Going to take our 4 little girls up a mountain in the cold, we are going to saw down an innocent little tree, drag it down the mountain, tie it to our car, then go home and put it in our living room. Really. ?!?

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Nonetheless, I took the saw and Roo's little hand, Easy hoisted Rosie on his back, MaeMae and Ava searched for the perfect walking sticks and we hit the trail.

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I'm not going to lie to you. Hiking in the cold with 4 children can be frustrating. Along the way you have to make the best of it! I had the girls collect pinecones, look for sticks, throw snowballs, eat snacks (cornbread), jump over fallen logs, look for animals - anything to keep the whining to a minimum. :)

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Finally Easy spotted our tree. We all caught up and gathered around ate more cornbread, anticipated the cut, and listened for the "timber!"

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I half dragged/carried Roo back to the car, Easy hauled Rosie and the tree, Mae took the saw, and Ava was in charge of making sure her deadly walking stick wasn't poking anyone in the face.

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We did loose one little explorer on the way down. 

After tying the tree down we were off eating more cornbread and winding down the hill.  We stopped here in Winter Park and had some amazing real greasy delicious food to warm our bellies - Seriously I've never had a better dog!


And at home we put her in water and busted out the decorations and ornaments. We are pretty proud of our fresh cut little tree.

MaeMae has been diligent at making sure I keep water on it and Roo does rather well at rearranging all the ornaments in her reach. 

The best part? It smells pretty amazing!


Metropolis NV

Remember how I said I'd tell you more about our little Metropolis visit? Well here it is. It's a great and kinda sad story.

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On our drive to NV Easy brought up maybe visiting a ghost town. When searching for one Metropolis sparked my attention because I vaguely remembered that I had family who once ranched in the area. That and it wasn't far off the main road. I thought that my mom's family was here for a couple of years as kids then they moved on to another place because things didn't work out for them. In retrospect I should have called my mom to set me straight before even stepping out of the car. 

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I had somewhat of a hard time finding directions online then somehow I managed to come across GPS coordinates that got us there easily winding 12 miles through the barren desert off the Wells, NV exit on I-80. In the distance we recognized the school arch and shortly the road came to where once stood a grand hotel. Only the footings of the foundation remain at the hotel and the bank vault in the center towers out from what once was the basement.

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A little farther down the road stands the school arch. The basement of the school was pretty creepy with precarious looking stairs that led down on either side on the interior of the arch. Underneath there were glimpses of chalkboards and on the far southwest side the ceiling partially caved in. Needless to say, we didn't stay in there too long.

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After picnicking outside the school we decided to try to find the cemetery. When we arrived at it we found that it was both fenced and locked. It didn't look near a interesting as I had hoped. I was tempted to hop the fence and take a look around but hesitated. There was a mixture of old and new headstones with fake flowers all around. Easy told me to go for it, but I shrugged it off and instead we snooped around a little more in the sagebrush finding an old car and foundations then headed back to the main road.

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On arriving at my parents home in Fallon I immediately told my mom about our adventure and asked her what our family's relation really was to the Metropolis area. She told me that it was her dad's (my grandpa's) parents that lived there and that in fact they (my great grandparents), Ashel and Winnie Hyde, were buried in that cemetery along with many other family members.

My jaw dropped. I looked online and sure enough there are about 15 Hydes buried out there in the middle of that desert. A place that doesn't get visited often and one I likely might never visit again.

My grandma came over that night and we talked more about it. I was sick over my decision not to hop the fence at the cemetery. Almost literally sick - I felt horrible. I would have recognized their names instantly and might have done a few cartwheels unknowingly coming across such a thing.

Actually now that I think of it we really really need to go back. I think it'd be totally worth it!

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