Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Winter Solstice Celebration

Embracing the longest night of the year and coaxing back the sun. The sun that mom so desperately misses. We all sat inhaling the yummy goodness of a boat full of beeswax candles, listening to music, reading by candle light, and eating "sun foods" -- mango and pure honey comb.

We spent the next day stringing popcorn and cranberries (though mostly cranberries since we have a little popcorn monster aboard) and then making pine cone and apple bird seed feeders for the local critters. Zach really got in to it this year and LOVED the idea of helping the animals during the cold winter months. And man, has it been COLD!

We found a lonely holly tree in the woods near the marina and garnished it with our goodies.

(p.s. My camera is dead :( Unless there really is a Santa, I am going to be thin on the photos in the coming months. I used Zach's cheapo camera to capture Solstice.)

Monday, December 08, 2008

Shameless Plug #1

We interrupt this child centered blog to test my tech savvy abilities and post a link to my article in this month's SAIL Magazine.

I have done 5 articles for them in the past year. But I am just figuring out how to post now.

And here is my article in this month's Spinsheet (page 51) I have been a regular contributor since the beginning of the year.


Winter Mail

Stealing great ideas from other people is my specialty, here's the latest. Many people do an advent calendar with treats for every day counting down until Christmas. We decided to do a winter mailbox with the same general idea but counting down the whole month until New Years Day. This way, we include all the winter holidays our various friends and family celebrate and we have activities to do rather than junk food to eat. Plus it's small and easy enough to have on board, and it's something we can continue as a tradition even when we're cruising.

Every morning a little elf leaves Z a message in his mailbox (which I got HERE, she has awesome designs!) and puts the flag up. The first one was what you see above. Other messages that will appear in the mailbox include: drive around and look at lights, go see the Nutcracker, write a thankful list, bake treats for friends, take a walk in the woods, read winter poems, write a winter story, pick out a new calendar for 2009, make pine cone bird feeders, string popcorn & cranberries, holiday movie night, decorate the boat, breakfast in bed, drink hot coco, set out luminaries on the dock, go see the boat light parade, take a horse drawn carriage ride... you get the idea.

But I still think if the weather allowed we'd spend every day on the beach.

Zach and his buddies found some cool stuff washed ashore by the blustery winter winds.

Playing restaurant on an old piling...

Monday, December 01, 2008

Bath Season Is Over

As the temperatures drop, signs of winter are everywhere. The last flocks of geese are honking their way south. The ducks are begging more than usual. And the hoses are out.

Walking back to the boat Zach saw this sight and immediately knew what it meant.

"Mom, is bath season over?"

Yes, we have a bath season. As a year round live aboard in a winter climate baths are not a right but a seasonal privilege. And when the hoses go down that means the marina is shutting off our dock water for the season (because the pipes can freeze and burst on the docks).

This means filling up our water tanks requires a trek up the marina yard to the old office building where the long, mismatched, string of hoses terminates at a water tap with a heated source. So we trek up there, turn on the water, trek back to the boat, open the door to bring in the hose and let all the cold air in, fill up the tanks, then with wet cold hands trek back to turn off the water. Then begins the ritual of walking the whole length of hose and lifting it up to drain the remaining water out. If you don't do this, the water in there can freeze, and when your neighbor needs to fill up they might encounter an ice blockade preventing them access to fresh water. Not good.

So we go on an even tighter water rationing routine than usual. Part of that is no baths. Also the heating system on our boat isn't quite strong enough to warm the extreme corners of the boat, and our bath tub sits in one of those extreme corners. But hey, at least we HAVE a bath tub!

So it's shower season. Zach plays in the shower up at the marina bath house or at the local indoor pool where we swim. And this weekend he hit the jackpot! We went to Grandma & Grandpa's house in North Carolina and he was in bath bliss. I mean LOOK at the size of that thing!

So bath season may be over. But we manage.

And we always carry some bubble bath with us, just in case.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


We made one of those little plastic craft trees that you write what you're thankful for on various leaves and stick them to the tree to use as a centerpiece for Thanksgiving dinner. Zach wrote "mom" on one leaf and "dad" on another. The he wrote "love" on another leaf and asked me how to spell "Majestic" for another (the name of our boat).

The he pauses thoughtfully and says, "Mom, how do you spell 'Declaration of Independence?'"

Uh, that's a lot to write on one little plastic leaf there buddy.

"But mom, if we didn't have the Declaration of Independence we would still be ruled by that bad British king. We need to be thankful for that."

Oh, ok.

The next one he asks me to spell "End of the Civil War". Because mom, if we didn't have the ned of the Civil War there would still be slavery. That would be terrible. We need to be thankful for THAT too.

Oh, ok.

He also wrote down "Ferdinand Magellan" because "he was the first guy to sail around the world and we wouldn't have any good sea maps if it wasn't for him."

Next year we're going to need some bigger leaves I think.


Friday, November 21, 2008

Fall Nature Table

It was difficult for Zach to part with his summer nature table (or box in our case), because he has so many cool treasures from beach combing and lovely long walks. So our compromise was to put it all in a mason jar and save it up on the book shelf.

So fall has been taking shape. Leaves, acorns, sticks, gnomes, pumpkins, and even an original piece of artwork by Zach.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Rescued At Sea

A week ago they were our dock neighbors and Zach's live aboard playmate for the past 2 years. Now they are a headline. The good news is they are safe. No boat, no clothes, no place to live, not much of anything. But they are safe. Read link below.

Rescued At Sea

Edited to add... holy schmoly! It's less than 24 hours since their rescue and it's already on YouTube. Welcome to 2008.

Panache Rescue Video Link

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

King of Fall

We collected a bag full of beautiful fall leaves while out walking the other day. Our original intention was to iron them in wax paper and make signs and place settings and such. But get this, 3 of the 4 grocery stores around here don't even carry wax paper. Then when I did find some, it was microwavable plastic wax paper... so long story short... it didn't work and we couldn't wax our leaves.

If anyone has any ideas about where to get wax paper actually coated in wax, let me know!

So we made fall wreathes instead...

Zach turned his into a crown.

He declared himself King of Fall.

When it was all done we hung it up with the little pillow he made last month too. Nice projects for cold, rainy fall days.

Saturday, November 08, 2008


How the Leaves Came Down

by Susan Coolidge

"I'll tell you how the leaves came down,"
The great tree to his children said,
"You're getting sleepy, Yellow and Brown,
Yes, very sleepy, little Red.
It is quite time to go to bed."

"Ah!" begged each silly, pouting leaf,
"Let us a little longer stay;
Dear Father Tree, behold our grief;
Tis such a very pleasant day
We do not want to go away."

So, for just one more merry day
To the great tree the leaflets clung,
Frolicked and danced, and had their way,
Upon the autumn breezes swung,
Whispering all their sports among,--

"Perhaps the great tree will forget,
And let us stay until the spring,
If we all beg, and coax, and fret."
But the great tree did no such thing;
He smiled to hear their whispering.

"Come, children, all to bed," he cried;
And ere the leaves could urge their prayer,
He shook his head, and far and wide,
Fluttering and rustling everywhere,
Down sped the leaflets through the air.

I saw them; on the ground they lay,
Golden and red, a huddled swarm,
Waiting till one from far away,
White bedclothes heaped upon her arm,
Should come to wrap them safe and warm.

The great bare tree looked down and smiled,
"Good-night, dear little leaves," he said.
And from below each sleepy child
Replied, "Good-night," and murmured,
"It is so nice to go to bed!"

The awesome little collecting box gets used for everything, not just leaves. many bugs have lived and died in there. And everything from gnomes to marbles to pirate gold gets toted around in his trusty box. Find it here at Birch Leaf Designs on Etsy.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Difference

Last night as our family was glued to the laptop following election returns, Zach saw a side by side photo like this on the screen. Here is what he said to me (which I quickly wrote down so as not to forget). This was completely unprompted.

"What's the difference between Obama and John McCain? McCain has white hair and Obama has dark hair. McCain is old and Obama looks young. Obama is always smiling and McCain is not."

I love what he saw and what he didn't see and what he found important enough to point out. I love that he was trying to figure out for himself what mattered to him.

All through the election from the primaries to yesterday Z has been saying he wanted Obama to win "because you want him to win mommy." And I always say to him the same thing, "You should never vote for someone because mommy or daddy or anyone else says they like them. You need to make up YOUR OWN MIND about what you think is important and who you believe will make the best decisions for the people of our country. It's YOUR CHOICE."

After some thought he said, "Then I want to vote for Gavin, because he is the nicest person I know." Gavin is a little friend of his who is about as sweet as they come, and Z has known him since they were both babies. So all along Z has been doing quite a campaign for Gavin. He was thrilled when his Tio & Tia called and said they even voted for Gavin ;)

But yesterday, as the thrill of the actual voting day swept over us, he changed his mind. He asked me if he could make a sign for Obama. Which he painted all on his own, and it's now displayed in our car.
(I think that's supposed to be a pumpkin at the end of the name there....)

Then when NPR mentioned that Obama's grandmother died, Zach heard it and got very sad. His Grandpa and Grandma also live in Hawaii and so this hit a little close to home for him. He said to me, again unprompted, "I want to write a letter to Barack Obama telling him I am sorry about his grandma dying, ok mama. Will you mail it please?"

So he drew a nice picture (I forgot to photograph it before we sealed it up) and he asked me to write the following:

"Dear Obama,
Do you know me? I am sad for you that your grandma died. I hope you win. I like you.
Love, Zach
I live on a boat."

And we mailed it off.

After Obama won last night, Zach said he wanted to write another letter... asking Obama and his wife and daughters if they wanted to have a sleep over on the boat.

I hope we don't end up with a "special government file" for continuing to mail letters like that. Although, if you know my family, we probably already have a "special file", so why not?


Sunday, November 02, 2008

Barefoot in November

It was one of those wonderful days where we were bundled up in our fleece and barefoot all at once. The bay beckoned and off we went. It might be our last hurrah before winter sets in.

Should I take over as Captain...?

Nah, I'd rather just jump on the foredeck!

As the sun got lower in the sky, the chill set in a bit. Zach asked if we could make a "snuggle pit" in the cockpit. He and I had a little snooze as the breeze rocked us gently through the rare November sunshine.

Our friends we call "The Crazy Romanians" came out with us. Here is "C" with Zach & daddy, the guys had fun tooling around.

Our dear friend "I" came totally overdressed for the outing. I made her strip off a few pounds of jewelry before we left, but she looks lovely and glam none the less. Very much a yacht outing, n'est pas?

Saturday, November 01, 2008


Here is the boat all decked out for Halloween. I don't have a good enough camera to capture the detail and light, but you get the idea. The colorful skull flags are my favorite and come from a cool etsy shop called Bad Baby Quilts.

Our setting for a spooky breakfast!

Zach in his KING TUT costume ready to seize the day. Our neighbor Jen made the costume for him, she ROCKS! The hat came from Chasing Fireflies.

Miss T dressed up as Cleopatra and the two Egyptian royalty made quite a pair as they paraded up the street to the old folks home.

Z & I used to volunteer at the old folks home across the street. We don't go regularly anymore, but we always get his buddies together on Halloween to parade through in costume. It always brings smiles to the sweet old faces.

Then we walked back to the marina for a Halloween party! We always through a party for the kids after the old folks visit as a thank you.

I mad some play dough in black and orange with glitter and peppermint scent as a party favor. We put them in some tins that Zach and I decorated, and gave them out with ghost cookie cutters.

The treat table!

These were glow sticks wrapped up in cool
Halloween paper.

Zach painted this picture which he said was called "October". I think that sums it up nicely.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...