Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Home Again

Last Thursday and Friday I chaperoned a trip to Groton State Park with half of the third & fourth grade population. Cora is a third grader this year (already!). When Austen's class went, I assured Gerry that if he went with the boys, I'd go with the girls. At the time, they were still small enough to carry on a hip or in a back pack. Peter didn't get to go, poor plum, because his teacher was expecting her second baby and not up to the trip.
No wonder! Chaperoning the whole trip means gearing up for a full day of hiking and outdoor activities and a night in a leanto with 4 other children and 1 other adult. I have to say up front that I had a wonderful time on the trip! Spending quality time with just Cora (#3 of 4) was really sweet and fun. Her friends and classmates are quite a cute group. If you like Cora's hat, check out Sassy Grace Boutique on Etsy. That being said, I think it's worth noting that the overnight temperatures were in the low 30's and the highs on Thursday were in the mid 40's. No rain during the day, but I woke up at least four times in the night and listened to showers hitting the roof of the leanto. Happily, I wasn't lying in a tent praying that the fly would hold up.
On Friday, we left Groton and moved on to Rock of Ages Granite Quarry in Barre. From start to finish, the production of granite is mesmerizing! The men who harvest the stone, prepare it, carve it and etch it are some of the craftiest, most talented people I've ever watched. The whole process is truly amazing.

We arrived back at school at 3 pm on Friday. It was wonderful to get home to Gerry, Ella, Austen, Peter and even Max. Boy, to I love my bed!

Provided that Ella's class also makes the trip, I have 2 years to pack for the next time out to Groton. I hope they go. I wouldn't miss it for anything!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hello, Pumpkin!

I've been cranking out soap by the truck loads. The craft~ fair~holiday~party~favor season has me working hard and having a ball. It really is a gift to be able to do what you love.

I find myself sniffing this bar of Perfect Pumpkin almost hourly. The fragrance is Pumpkin Spice from Brambleberry. It's a rich, warming blend of pumpkin, cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg. The recipe is simple~ rice bran oil, palm & coconut blended with a bit of organic shea butter. It's colored with turmeric, paprika & a swirl of ground cinnamon. See why I call it perfect?

Pick up a bar or three from Twin Birch on etsy and enjoy these first few days of Autumn in Vermont wherever you are!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Autumn Jewels from Etsy



Along with havin
g a love affair with handmade soap, I'm also crazy about handmade jewelry. I love looking at something that was crafted with more patience than I will ever have to become a beautiful piece of wearable art. Here are some lovely selections from Etsy that highlight the tones of autumn. Go check them out! Happy Monday everyone.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Lots of Summer Fun

We have had an AMAZING Summer! We have six days until the start of school. I think I'll spend every moment enjoying these days and my sweet family. I am so thankful!










Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Autumn Bubbles

I have to admit it. The fragrances of Autumn & the Holidays are some of my favorites. Although I love, love, LOVE summertime, I am crazy about the spicy, warm, comforting scents of Fall & Christmas. I also love playing with animoto. Here's a little piece to help everyone get excited for the the next page in the book of seasons:



Come over to Twin Birch at Etsy to get started on your shopping!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Breathe

video

It's amazing to me that summer is almost over. Even though the calendar says we have about 6 weeks left, kids go back to school in 2 weeks. Here in Vermont, the crickets are singing. For me, that's a real reminder that the schedule is about to become busier and the relaxed yet full days of summer are coming to an end. It's at a moment like this that I have to remind myself to breathe.

Many times this summer, I have felt a twinge of guilt because I haven't been the blogger that I aspire to be. I've also been squeezing in soaping instead of making it my daily focus. I'm sure I'm like lots of other moms who put all of the "important" stuff on the shelf to submerge into the joy of being with their kids and soaking up these fleeting days. It's such a balancing act. Again, I need to remember to breathe.

Gerry tested for his Black Belt successfully a couple of weeks ago. He made a great montage of photos from his testing and the rest of the Blue Wave Summer Camp weekend. I smiled when I listened to the song that he put with the pictures. Good to know we're on the same page. Congrats, Mr. Tallman!

Here is a great video done of Summer Camp 2008 by Mr. Emerson & Miss Kline. Summer Camp is such a blast!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Black Stripe Boys

Whew! The summer is flying by and I can barely keep up with all of the activity! The latest summer high point came last Friday when the boys tested successfully for their Black Stripe in TKD. Operation Black Stripe was years in the making... 3 1/2 years to be exact! We all traveled over to the Bradford Dojang to participate in their Quarterly Testing. Austen & Peter were great! The Dojang was sooo hot and the testing was vigorous, but they did it!
Here's a shot of the boys 2 years ago with GrandMaster Tae Sung Lee (above) and at their testing. Nice high kicks, boys! I am such a proud mama!!
Gerry also did a mock testing for his Black Belt. He was fierce! His official test will be on July 31st in front of the whole Blue Wave Association! Good Luck, honey!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Time in Monet's Garden

I love the Impressionists. I especially love Monet and all of the wonderful colors found in his work. Here is my soap inspired by Monet's Garden. It smells divine~sweet, floral & summery. Grab one on Etsy or Artfire!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Tender Days of June & The Seduction of a Great Salt Bar

There are only 8 days of school left for us here in Vermont. That blows my mind! How quickly these days fly by and we stand on the edge of summer vacation. I love this time of year because of the weeks of pure summer joy that lie ahead! We are looking forward to time on the Cape, Mountaineers baseball camp, lazy days and busy time. I can't wait for the kids to have a day or two to sleep until they wake up and come downstairs with nowhere to go. Of course, that won't last for long because we have PLANS!

I find myself reflecting a lot during these last weeks of the school year. Last month, I was the mom of a kindergartener, second grader, fifth grader & seventh grader. Next week, I'll be the mom of a first grader, third grader, sixth grader & eight grader. What is a natural progression also reminds me how fast the years fly by. This is the time of year that gives me some of those happy mommy tears. There is so much to look forward to and so much to be proud of. Am I the only one? How do you all feel about the end of school?One thing I know for sure is that I am taking my time in the shower for these next few weeks. After all, the morning hours won't be quite so peaceful for long. My favorite bar of soap right now is a Goji Berry Salt Bar. This is my first batch of salt bars and I love them. The soap is made of coconut oil and grapeseed oil. As the soap came together, I stirred in fine grain Pink Himalayan salt. Goji Berry is bursting with the scent of exotic summer berries. Blackberry, goji berry, gooseberry & logan berry are wrapped in vanilla & sugar musk. I got the Goji Berry from Wholesale Supplies Plus and it's delicious!! You can find the soap on Etsy and now on Artfire, too.







Happy Summer!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Mentor Magic


I was so surprised and flatterd to be asked to mentor an RUHS Senior last Fall. Emiline is the oldest daughter of my girlfriend, Beth. She came to me in September and asked if I would mentor her through her Senior Project. Her task was to develop a product, market it, write a paper about it and put together and oral and visual presentation. All the while, she was to check in with a panel of community and faculty members. Senior Project success is mandatory for graduation. The seniors at Randolph Union High School are an incredibly talented group! Walking through the display of completed projects last week was so much fun!
Of course, my favorite display was Emiline's! She did such a great job! She had a great product to sell ~ a gift set with all natural body wash, shea lotion & handmade cold~process soap. She opened an Etsy shop to market it and put together an adorable pamphlet. I am so proud to have been her mentor. Way to go, Emiline!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Austen Plays Lax, Peter Plays Third!

We are officially a two sport family. Peter is playing really well for his Little League team, the A's. They are the team to beat this year with a record of 5 and 0. As a mom, I appreciate their enthusiasm and great sportsmanship. Their coaches are fantastic and we parents have a raucous time in the bleachers! It's always a great time!

This year Austen is playing Lacrosse for the Randolph Middle School Ghosts~that's him with the #1 on his shirt. He is playing quite a lot since they only have 2 or 3 subs for the team. He plays attack mostly and has had a few "pancake" moments. Of course, I had no idea what that means until he explained to me that being "pancaked" is to be flattened on the field by the opponent. One worse than that is to be "sancaked". Yep, it's being flattened by two opponents in the sandwiched and squished sense. Deep breath. Thank goodness for pads and a great coach!



The challenge is to be at two, three or four places at the same time. We are also still way into TaeKwonDo and the girls have concerts & school functions a lot! Last week, Gerry covered lacrosse & I covered baseball. We updated with text messages and reunited at the ball field since 6 innings takes about twice as long as four quarters. I wonder how our parents managed without all of the great technology?




These are truly awesome, fun days. I'm hanging onto them because I know they will pass in a flash

Monday, May 11, 2009

Hey! We've Been Flocked!

We've been flocked by an anonymous friend. It's the most clever fund~raising idea I've ever seen. A high school student here in Randolph was accepted to an exchange program to Europe this summer. To raise money, she is moving this cute flock of flamingos around our town. The plan is that you offer $20.00 to have the whole flock delivered to someone's front lawn in the middle of the night. Of course, she offers to take them away for nothing, but how could you possibly grinch all of this fun?? The thing that cracks me up is that our house is WAY off of the road, so the only "peeps" who knew about the flocking, aside from our family, were our ten hens. They were most curious about the visitors... until they found some good grubs to munch. Hmmmmm... who will we flock next?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Feeling Green



Cora, Ella & I tested for our next belt in TKD this week. Happily, we all passed. Cora & I are now Green Belts & Ella earned her Green Stripe. The girls did a fantastic job!
In other green news, I find myself falling in love with all of the yummy Spring & Summer fragrances that I have. Lately, I've been using LOTS of Shea & Shimmer Scrub. It's been soooo good for my sunburned skin. (I'll admit that I let the sugar rinse off & then just rub the magic shea all over) I've also rediscovered Summer Green Shower Butter. It's just a wonderful, lush, green fragrance! It's citrus-y & summer-y & yummy! Shower Butter is perfect for your skin. It's a soft, whipped soap that softens while it cleans. I love it. Stop by Twin Birch on Etsy to grab yours.I hope it's as beautiful where you are as it is here! Spring in Vermont is our prize for getting through the final, cold days of winter! Happy Spring!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Let the Breeze Blow!


Belize was indescribably beautiful! We had a fabulous trip! It was so wonderful to share great time with Gerry's parents. We are all so thankful for this fun adventure! My favorite phrase came from one of the locals... "Let the breeze blow!" You can feel that philosophy in everyone in Belize. It's friendly, interesting and very laid back. I loved it! These pictures are from the day that we visited the Mayan Ruins in the Cayo district. We were at Xunantunich (shu-nan-tu-niche). The highest structure there is called El Castillo . It's 130 feet high. The kids & Gerry did a great job staying up there & looking around. Me? not so much. I went up and I went right back down. That was just plenty for me! The ruins are breath-taking!Next time~ beach photos!
ps. here's a link to the wonderful place that we stayed. It's the perfect spot! Almond Beach Resort, Hopkins, Belize

Monday, April 6, 2009

A Nod to Jimmy Buffet


In honor of all things sunny and wonderful, I've come up with Margarita Kaleidosoap. It's yummy lime fragrance will carry you to the islands. That's exactly what we're doing for April vacation. We are so excited and lucky to be traveling with Gerry's parents to Belize. What an amazing family experience for us!!

About a year ago, Gerry's parents offered to take us all anywhere we'd like to go (in the world!)
Honestly, I couldn't even imagine a more wonderful idea. After the initial excitement about taking a trip, we realized that the greatest gift of all is that the kids, Gerry & I get to spend an uninterrupted week with two of the most important people in our lives. It fills my heart to imagine the kids spending such magical time with their grandparents. Three generations traveling together and sharing an adventure.

With all that in mind, we decided that taking our Vermont bones to the tropics would be about as close to heaven as we could come. We're really looking forward to soaking in the sun, playing in the sand, relaxing by the pool and enjoying eachother. (we also hope to investigate the Mayan ruins, rainforest, coral reef & pool side bar!) :) Lots of thanks and love to Carter & Sylvia. I have been so blessed to be part of the family for over 20 years and I've loved every minute of it!

Feel free to poke over to etsy for a slice of Margarita. We can't take you with us, but I can send you a slice of heaven!

Monday, March 23, 2009

While Mom's Away, the Kids Will Play





Here are some cute pictures of the girls playing cub scout dress up while I was away on my Girlie Weekend. I don't even know how they found the uniforms! LOL Thanks to Gerry for being such a fun dad & for taking pics of the chitlins!

They also worked on Austen's Family Tree project for his Living Arts class. I love the spring sun shining in and Max chilling out with all of them.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Girlie Weekend

Whew!~ time is flying by & life is crazy, busy! It seems like my ginormous soap order is on hold for now. I'm a big believer in things happening for a reason, and I know great things will come from my clients' interest in a bulk order. Not yet, though.

Meanwhile, March has been non~stop busy for us. Each weekend has been filled with tons of activity and the weeks seem to fly by. Last weekend, I had such a blast! I caught up with girlfriends who I went to school with. East Junior High School, to be exact! Six of us with super~sweet spouses were sent off to spend the weekend at my friend Peggy's family lake house in at Lake Sunapee, NH. Five of us went all the way through high school together. Liz moved after Jr. High. sad! Luckily we all live in New England, so this won't be the last partay...

We all arrived with stacks of pictures & year books, tons of food, bottle after bottle of wine & a cake that was like none that I have ever seen before! We laughed, drank, ate & even teared up once or twice. I was reminded again how blessed I am to have the most amazing people in my life!

Don't you love the pic?! We were cracking up because Kim was working so hard to set the timer on the camera... and we'd had a lot of wine! ;) Back row left to right~Kim, Liz, Shari & Maribeth
front row~ me & Peggy. Love you, girls!

And, lucky me, I came home to an adorable flock of kids and the sweetest, most handsome husband in the world! (thanks Gerry!)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Hurts So Good


We just got back from Blue Wave TaeKwonDo Association's 2009 TaeKwonDo Winter Camp. It was the first year that all of us participated in all of the workshops. It was extra exciting this year for a lot of different reasons. Firstly, Grand Master Lee came over from Korea. He is a 9th Dan (9th Degree Black Belt) and the head instructor of our organization. We all had the opportunity to join in one of his workouts. Here's a brief list of what we did with Grand Master Lee and the other instructors:

Crunches, push ups, planks, lunges, kicks & strikes by the hundreds, poomse practice, paddle drills & sparring
.


I can't tell you how blissfully sore I am! It was the hardest, most satisfying workout I've done in a long time!

We also had the chance to watch our instructor, Master Tom Chase, test for his 6th Dan and Miss Buckholts test for her 2nd Dan. In the wings was Gerry. Having just earned his Black Stripe, he is hoping to test for his Black Belt in August. He got to hold boards for the High Dan Testing, including for Master Chase. He was so excited and honored. Watching Master Chase test was really exciting for all of us. He was great!
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The boys are right behind Gerry. They are waiting to be invited to test for their Black Stripe. Hopefully, they'll be testing for their Black Belt at Winter Camp 2010. All Black Belt testings take place in front of the whole Blue Wave group, so it's pretty daunting. It didn't look daunting for Master Anthony, though. Check out the board breaking sequence he rocked while testing for 7th Dan! ~

video video

All of the Black Belt testings were so inspiring. They are the perfect demonstration of what we can achieve if we practice discipline, perseverance, strength, determination & courage.
We feel so lucky to have found this sport as a family. It makes us a better, more solid clan. We share fun, goals and muscle aches. Here are some pics for you to enjoy!

ps. in the category of "no news is good news", I haven't heard on the big order, yet. The anticipation is killing me! :)