Monday, October 31, 2011

halloween fiesta

There is nothing more fun than Halloween. Period. The dress up. The sweets. The scary stories by candle light. The crisp autumn air. It's intoxicating in all kinds of ways. We LOVE to throw Halloween shindigs for the kiddos each year. Last year we didn't do anything because Naia had JUST been born. So this year Zach invited his buddies and we had a cold but festive time.
(banging wall to scare away the ghosts!)

(the spider's nest!)

 (make a mummy craft)

(inside the broomstick goody bags: a CD of spooky stories and Halloween music, a small white pumpkin, and  a jar of homemade slime.) 

There were pirates and ninjas, cowboys and Indians, and even a praying mantis. Zach decided to be a World War I aviator. No mama, not Charles Lindbergh. And I love Amelia Earhart but I am not her either. I am just a regular WWI aviator. Yes sir.
Naia was the most fun to dress up because she can't protest my ideas - yet. So we made her a gnome, of course.


Friday, October 28, 2011

~this moment~ first tea party

A Friday ritual. A single photo capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special moment. A moment I want to pause, savor, and remember. - via soulemama.

This is the last day to enter the Made  By Alejandro sword & elephant giveaway. Click over and enter, you have until tonight!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

oh shenandoah

Last year Naia was a wee sprite at 3 weeks old when we headed to the mountains for a little get away.
We couldn't resist a repeat trip this year too. And our pals from Puzzled joined us which made it all the sweeter! It was a time for exploring and hiking and romping and sleep overs and camp fires and board games and good meals and majestic views.

It's funny how our little family, nestled here on the Bay surrounded by great blue herons and crabs and water snakes and a forest of masts gets such a kick out of the mountains. It's truly a novelty for us and especially for Zach who was waxing poetic at every turn and taking in each detail, noting how very different it was from home.
(mama the mountain looks like it's on fire with colors!)

And what a difference from last year, my girl growing and curious and taking it all in. Even though Doug and I often look at each other and laugh when we realize how laden we are when we travel now, how many bags are packed, how much space is taken up in our wee Honda Civic with diapers and stuffed animals and extra changes of clothes and books and snacks -- oh so far from our 10 minute stuff a backpack grab the dog and go days of yore. This is what visiting new places is all about now. These little people. It's worth all the luggage,


Please don't forget to enter the giveaway HERE -- and spread the word because the discount code is good the entire month of November!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

drunken sailor pants

I followed a pattern. As in a sewing pattern with the sewing machine. Oh yes, there was swearing and drinking and seam ripping galore (by no fault of the pattern, just my brain). And thus if you were to really examine these little pants, they have a bit of what looks like a drunken sailor swagger to the stitching. So, just don't look that close, ok?
Because from a healthy distance they are pretty cute. And they fit for the most part. And my almost walking drunken sailor of a girl loves cruising around in these pants. So far two pairs.
But it's become addicting. So there will be more, especially in the Folksy Flannel which is warm and cozy and holds up so well to baby crawling action.
This was all part of a master plan actually. Back when I was pregnant with Naia I was looking all over for some receiving blankets. In a hormonal streak I remember not liking anything I saw. Too pink. Too cutesy. Too blah. So I decided instead to buy a few one yard cuts of really nice flannel and wrap her in those as a newborn, knowing that one day those same swaddles would become something cute to wear for my girl.
If you're curious, this is a sweet easy pattern from Made By Rae called the Big Butt Baby Pants. I tried originally making the Anna Maria Horner reversible baby pants from Handmade Beginnings, but honestly it was just too hard for a rookie. Just reading the steps made my eyes cross and my head spin. So I gave that book and those patterns to SuperJen and searched for an easier one, and the Made By Rae pattern gave me all of the cuteness with none of the dizzy feeling.

Monday, October 24, 2011

GIVEAWAY - Made By Alejandro !!!!!

Just feast your eyes on these beauties. Alejandro Ortega makes swords from LEATHER that will knock your socks off!
Made By Alejandro is an Etsy shop that will make kids and adults drool. I am so glad I have been able to get to know Alejandro and want to share his work with you all. I asked him how he got started in working with leather.

Born and raised in the Bronx, NY, my introduction to leather began my junior year of college while taking a theater class. I stumbled upon a Punchinello mask, which comes from an Italian art form called Commedia d'el Arte. The original Commedia d'el Arte masks were made from leather and in studying Commedia I learned a lot about the the use of leather as a medium in art. In 2007 I traveled to Italy to take a Commedia Mask Making Course from Maestro Donato Sartori, and learned the difference between techniques taught in books and techniques actually used. I returned with a bigger desire than ever to pursue my love of working with leather.

So how did he start making swords, shields, and the like?
Last summer, How To Tame Your Dragon came out in the movie theaters. I had some time and materials on hand, so I decided to make my three children their own swords, shields, and sheaths so they could be real heroes like the kids in the movie. People saw their leather toys and began placing orders, as well as telling others about my creations. My clientele now ranges from children, to adults, to an online toy store, to a local natural toy store. I am now happily making swords, shields, and other things using a material I love that's been around since the caveman: leather.

I know Zach has used the heck out of his set. He loves the way the sheath is adjustable so you can wear it around your waist or across your chest. He adores the shield and the way it's made so strong it can take blows from big kids with wooden swords. And of course he covets that leather sword, I think he appreciates how special and  beautiful it is as much as he loves just swashbuckling it around night and day. 

What's that you say? You don't have any aspiring pirates, knights, ninjas, or vikings in your home? Fear not! Made By Alejandro also makes these adorable leather elephants.

A pair of leather elephant key chains are the first part of this giveaway. Since elephants are social creatures who mate for life, Alejandro decided it was important to keep these two together. Just leave a comment below for a chance to win. They would make a great gift and if you have a baby who likes to play with your keys this is a nice, safe way to keep their little hands busy (all of his dyes are water based and eco-friendly.)

But wait there's MORE! (I've always wanted to say that) Alejandro is very generously offering this leather sword and sheath set pictured below.

Again just leave a comment here telling us what you like in the shop to win. For an extra chance at either item, please head over to Made By Alejandro's Facebook page and LIKE, then come back here and leave another comment telling us you did. ALL entrants must leave an email address! Entries will be open until Friday night October 28 at 8pm eastern.

But wait there IS even more!! From now and through the entire month of November you can get 15% off your total order with Made By Alejandro by using the code "zachaboardnov2011". Perfect for the holidays! Spread the word!

Thank you so much Alejandro! 

And the winners are:  The pair of elephants goes to CHANI!!!
And the sword & sheath set goes to: MARY!!!

I will email each of you separately for shipping info. Congratulations and thank you to Made By Alejandro. 
Don't forget, the discount code above is still good for the entire month of November. So pass it around and place your holiday orders!

Friday, October 21, 2011

~this moment~

A Friday ritual. A single photo capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special moment. A moment I want to pause, savor, and remember. - via soulemama.

You still have until tonight at 8pm eastern to enter in to the Manzanita Kids Giveaway! Don't miss it!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

birthday recap

First I want to thank you all for the heartfelt birthday wishes! Naia is such a social butterfly and I know she would love to bat her eyelashes at each one of you and give you her chripy "Hi!"

As for celebrating, well second children (and subsequent ones I am sure) make you simmer down and ease up on many-a-parenting thing. For Zach's first birthday we had a shindig. I cooked, I decorated, I stressed. And of course what did he care, he was ONE! We decided we are not throwing birthday parties for numero dos until she is old enough to ask for one. And even then, they will remain small and casual like we try to do with Zach.

So with all that in mind we had a small afternoon cake affair inside on a pouring rain day. 

I finished the birthday crown!  (I battled with the $@#&*(# sewing machine until 2am one night and then gave up and hand sewed the whole thing.)

I attempted to create this for our "cake".  Well I am not a from-scratch cake making kinda gal. So I bought a cake mix. But I think my mistake was buying "healthy" cake mix from Whole Foods. You know, gluten free, wheat free, yadda yadda. So I mixed it all up, separated it into bowls, added the food coloring, all according to directions. But the cake didn't rise to fill the jars, so I got little psychedelic cake hockey pucks stuck in the bottom of the jars. We made up for it with a mound of homemade whipped cream on top and these beautiful edible butterflies. (I got them at Sugar Robot, check them out, they have great stuff!)
cake in a jar
For Naia I made organic pumpkin muffins and topped it with the homemade whipped cream. She of course did not eat any of it, but did decide to stick her entire face in it... of course!

Zach took great pleasure in showing her what a gift was and how to open them. Funny how little ones have zero instinct for this ritual. 
Frankly, she could care less about the few little things we gave her as gifts. Her favorite part was the candle and the singing. Oh yes, more please. Clap clap clap!

One year old stats:
Favorite food: mama's milk
Favorite word: Hi! (to everybody and everything including wind) and Dada!
Favorite song: Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack
Favorite book: tie between Jamberry and I Am A Bunny
Favorite animal: dog 
Favorite play thing: big brother of course!

Naia's First Birthday 1

p.s. Don't forget to enter the fabulous GIVEAWAY for Manzanita Kids! Entries will be open through Friday.
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