Tuesday, December 30, 2014


I'm lying next to Savannah and scratching her back, warm with fever. Looking out the window I am thinking about my Mom. And I'm not thinking about how horrible her accident was (though it was) or feeling the deep stab of her absence. No, I am thinking about how incredibly close I feel to her right now and how I know her now better than ever as a mother. I understand how she loved and the intensity of her love. I understand the fun she had with us kids, how important it was to show us a beautiful life. I understand the sacrifices, the way she was pulled in all directions at the same time, her pride in her family and her desire to keep her kids close to her and each other. Her need to be seen as an individual. Her need to express her creativity. I get her, I really do. Having Littles of my own has eased the ache of my mom's death. When my littles lay their head on my chest or kiss me or tell me they want me or love me or draw me a sweet picture or love letter or do something kind to another Little then I think back to when I did the same with my mom and instantly I am transported back to that time or feeling of comfort. This also works reverse in less lovely situations like when My Littles argue with each other or with me and then I think of the pain on my face and in my heart which reminds me of the look of pain and frustration on my mom's face all those times way back when. I feel her close to me in all of these reminiscings or little time travels. I feel her with me. And I am sure as My Littles grow I'll understand her more, love her so much more, miss her even more.

Monday, December 29, 2014


I made a few cross stitch families as Christmas gifts, would you like to see?
The Potters. Pinga, Nala, Amani, Krista, Kevin, Wrenna, Sheda and Bear.
The Sattlers. Jackson, Jenny, Jared, Hank, G-baby.
The Grafs. Lucas, Angela, Ricardo, Addie.
The Morris'. Cracker, Batty, Luxen, Tara, Jeremy, Olive, Frank, Georgia, Lily.
The Sattlers. Sylvia, Lucy, Dan, Mollie.
I ran out of time. As it was I was finishing this last one on Christmas Eve. I wanted to do more and then finish with my own family's. I'm not sure I am ready to pick up the embroidery needle this week to finish by the New Year. My favorite thing about this gift is how much time I get to think about each person and animal I am stitching. It is lovely to really reflect on a friendship or relationship while creating. A nice little kickback to the gift I suppose.

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Little Girls' Surprise, Part 2.

After making such darling little outfits for the little mice, I knew I needed to create a space for these special dolls to live in. I found wooden treasure chests at a craft store, painted the exterior black, the interior a blush color and glued in a closet rod. I put trim as crown molding around the base so that if the girls stand the treasure box on end, the box becomes a closet on the left side, and a bedroom on the right. These photos were taken before the final paint touch-ups.
I bought some copper wire at the hardware store and made sweet tiny hangers. It took a few mess-ups before they turned out just right.
Then I made a mattress set!! I wanted to use this French linen ticking I've had stashed away, then I added some more modern prints, colors and to finish off? a cashmere throw I fashioned out of an old sweater of mine to make the bedroom set just right. These boxes are already wrapped and under the tree and so I didn't take a final photo of the bedroom in which I attached a wall hanging- a little decorative chalkboard just above the pillows. The Little Girls can choose to write whatever they'd like on it. Also, I painted little steamer trunks to go with each mouse you know, for when they travel. I will post a photo of the whole set up after Christmas.
Both mouse houses.
And TA DA!!!!
This is Savannah's.
This is Ivy's.
The finished project.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Little Girls' Surprise, part 1.

So Hutters. Shhhhh..... this is what I've been working on for The Little Girls.
I bought them each two little mice dolls, and then...
I made a delicious mouse wardrobe X 2!!!!
I made 6 dresses, a sweater dress, a cashmere trench, jeans, a cape/poncho, a scarf, 2 leather handbags (with tiny leather wallets!!!!), 2 oversized leather bags, 2 pair of "Ugg" sweater boots, 7 necklaces, 2 pair of mittens, and not pictured because not yet finished...2 tutus. All the sweater fabric is reuse from my own closet. I wanted to sew myself into the project and make it more meaningful. So the cashmere and stripped knits were previously worn by me.

And the best is yet to come, yep...there's more fun! But not finished yet...stay tuned!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Shhhh...Some Progress.

Hi Hutters,
I'm still busy making gifts while tending to sick Littles and trying to rest up myself. This last month Goo has been wearing a "cape" I made quickly by tearing an old t-shirt and safety pinning it to his superhero shirt. His desire to have a flowing cape undoubtedly a result of watching Nacho Libre twice in one weekend. I love the handmade cape but I know what a kick he would get out of a real superhero cape. And so yesterday Tim took the kids for a bike ride and I stayed home to whip out a spiffy new cape for Grady.
The photo isn't any good but I like the way it turned out, guaranteed to flow just as he wishes his old t-shirt cape would. I know the satisfaction of the potential flowing this cape will achieve because I ran around the house 2...ok, 3 times to make certain proper flowing ensued.
I can't wait for Christmas morning, he will love it.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Quick Spill.

I've been absent from this space recently because I am busying myself with Christmas projects and getting the flu and cuddling My Littles to sleep, then promptly falling asleep myself instead of getting up one last time to start the dishwasher. I usually write a post after The Littles are tucked in and have stopped getting up for a drink/potty/blow of the nose/one last kiss. Except I am likely to fall asleep before they do and so this space goes unattended.
Last weekend we watched a favorite movie of mine, You've Got Mail. There is a scene in the movie when Kathleen Kelly is looking over her depressingly vacant children's book store, remembering happier times when she and her mother would twirl in the empty spaces between bookshelves. Viewing this scene for the first time with Littles, my own heart lurched forward. I have, in childless times while viewing this movie, attached my happy motherhood pinch-me moments to this scene. The first time I saw this scene in this movie, I made a promise to twirl with my own child(ren) and then added a few other pinch-me moments to my bucket list. One of those pinch-me moment items was to hand make a special gift for my daughter(s) or son. And so just after that scene I decided then and there: it has to be this Christmas' gifts to The Littles. And so that is what I am working on late at night or during school hours or in Art Parliament. I will share soon, must finish first.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Art Parliment.

This weekend Shannon, Rebekah, Hannah and I held Art Parliament. We all met up here at The Hut on Saturday, ready to create. First up? Lip Balm. Shannon brought all the ingredients for making this simple project. The combination of shea butter, beeswax, coconut butter, bergamot, peppermint and fennel made the kitchen smell so good! Tara and kids came over to play too, we all ate stew and enjoyed fun company. On Sunday we continued the crafting, making jewelry and listening to Serial! I worked on a secret project I'll share soon. Spending time with these girls and working alongside them while we explore next ways of creating something beautiful really fed my soul. A weekend well spent cherishing friendship and using our hands.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

On Health.

I have learned so much about the health of our family these last 4 days. I don't want to spend a lot of time diving into it here but the biggest bit of information is this: after having Ivy tested by a Naturopathic Practitioner, we now know her chronic stomach aches are largely caused by a sensitivity to food additives. Artificial flavor, natural flavor, preservatives, food color and dye, artificial sweeteners and enhancers. Yep. And so it turns out finding packaged food that doesn't contain food additives is challenging. Not impossible but time consuming and more expensive to be sure. She is on board to change the way we eat, and Tim and I have decided that in order to be supportive, we are all going to say goodbye to food additives and create a healthier nutritional environment here at The Hut.
There is no dip Ivy loves more than ketchup and ketchup is laden with food additives. And so knowing that taking ketchup away from Ivy is like taking away the joy of eating, I asked my friend Tara for the homemade Ketchup recipe she uses. We had it on meatloaf tonight for dinner, Ivy loved it. And so here is the recipe if you'd like to give it a go.
6 oz. can of tomato paste
1/4 cup of honey
1/2 cup of vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
1/4 cup of water
1 tsp salt
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
Mix all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat until combined. 
Cool ketchup in refrigerator before serving. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Advent Calendar.

Like many people, we here at The Hut LOVE the tradition of an Advent Calendar.
This calendar is a bit tricky for me though, it keeps me on my toes. I can't start off too strong or I'll run out of steam by the teens and twenties. On my lazier days I pop a treat into the box early in the morning if I forget to fill the box the night before. But this year I want to be less lazy, more creative and only use the treats we rarely have in this house (i.e. NO leftover Halloween candy).
As you can see, I've promised Hot Chocolate to The Littles as a treat while decorating the tree. But here is the thing: I really don't like hot chocolate out of a package, it is suspicious and chalky. I'm not into preservatives and whatever "natural sweeteners and flavors" (read: MSG). So, I am excited to share with you my favorite homemade recipe for Hot Chocolate!
Hot Chocolate
1 cup almond milk
1 cup coconut milk
3/4-1 cup semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
Pour all ingredients into a heavy saucepan and place over medium heat. Whisk until chocolate is melted and mixture is hot.
makes 4 small cups.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Round Here.

Do your Littles have the whole week off for Thanksgiving? I'm so thankful mine do. This week has been about snuggles, watching movies, forts, visiting friends and reconnecting with each other.
Perhaps you've noticed, perhaps not, when things are a little quiet at The Honey Hut there is usually a very good reason. Ivy Jane has always been a complex little human. From the moment she was born and the doctor put her on my chest, she peeked up at me and I knew she was unsettled. She has always been sensitive and shy, and overtly anxious. She is introverted and needs to power-down after most group settings. She thrives one-on-one interaction, feeling heard and cherished. These last two months of school have been particularly difficult, her anxiety is frustrating for her and is crippling her educational growth. I've been observing her more regularly and watching for signs when she may need to refuel in solitude and through comfort. I have been exploring alternative healing like craniosacral therapy and Accunect, in both therapies there have been improvements. As a family we are attending this seminar this weekend and early next week have a very important appointment which I hope to share more about here in the future. It feels good to be on this side of the storm, the progress side and heading toward resolution.

Monday, November 24, 2014


These two sweeties have been hanging close to us lately. Whenever one of us sits down, Izzie-pug is maneuvering for the most comfy position on our lap. Genevieve doesn't want to rest on a lap but she does want to keep close, enough so that if she feels like squeaking out a meow, a hand will promptly comply with a scratch. And they are back to their wrestling now that Genevieve is healed up from her spay. Izzie innocently walks by and kitty attacks like a ninja, landing on her back from a high and holding on til the pup goes down. Then its all ankle-biting and ear-nipping.  

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Out And About On Oahu.

We went on a few outings while on Oahu, revisiting some of Tim and my favorite spots like The Dole Plantation! I could not wait for The Littles to try their first Dole Whip! (why do they melt so fast?)
They loved it.
While walking around the property, I turned to Tim and said, "This is like Hawaii's Apple Hill." and then we kind of made fun of ourselves a bit for being tourists. I did take away from Dole learning something new, and this is a bit garden-nerdy but, did you know it takes 1 pineapple plant 48 months to produce just 3 fruits? No wonder they are pricey at the market. 4 years for only 3 fruits...crazy.
We drove north across the island to Waimea Bay to watch the big wave surfers. The beach was closed but we watched carefully from the dune above, barely making out the ant-like figures on the distant horizon trying to catch a big one. We saw some great rides and some terrifying crashes.
On another day we visited the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor.
Tim and I have been before but since Savannah is reading a book on Pearl Harbor we wanted to make sure and fit a visit in on the trip. We didn't drag it out with the guided tour or visit to any other historic sites at the museum. Just the movie and the boat trip. A lot was lost on The Littles, so difficult to understand the magnitude of the events leading up to Pearl Harbor let alone the aftermath. One thing not lost on them was this floating cemetery. We have visited my Mom's grave enough for Littles to understand the reverence and sad contemplation of visitors while visiting a cemetery.

On a different day Grandma and Grandpa took the Grand Little Girls to a sea life park!
Look how friendly these tropical birds were!
They came back from their trip telling stories of sweet birds, the turtles, penguins and Addie swimming with Dolphins!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Ko Olina.

You guys. I don't even know where to begin sharing with you our Botting family trip to Oahu, Hawaii. This trip was a celebration of Tim's parents' recent retirement! We are so thankful they invited us to visit them midway through their 6 week stay on the islands.
Group photo. Tim's sister Angela and her family on the left, Gordon and Margaret in the middle.
This photo captures such a funny moment when this luau chief called all the children up for a hula competition. Ivy was clinging to me in the audience, but as you can see Goo, Savannah and Addie were ready to join in.
These girl cousins had such sweet time together.
We stayed at Marriott's Ko Olina Beach Club. Great location, beautiful beachfront property, fun family activities and gorgeous sunsets.

I took advantage of the time difference with my body clock and got up each morning with the sun for a quiet run up and down the shore. This is the view from the cove south of Marriott, looking north up the coastline.
Our days here looked like this: get up and do schoolwork, eat a big breakfast and head to the beach. We stayed as long as we could, then went back inside for lunch and right back out to the pool or beach again for the afternoon until dinner.
Goo was not interested in the water the first few days, so while Tim taught the girls to boogie board, he and I sat in the sand and made tracks for his cars, castles and tunnels.
The best was when Grandma and The Little Girls played in the water together. It was endearing to see them in conversation and enjoying their time together while playing on this float.
Early on I asked Margaret to take a photo of just Tim and I. So glad I did as we didn't make time for it later in the trip, too busy taking snaps of The Littles.