Thursday, November 3

A Month of Gratitude

Moving into an actual house (A New Year) has granted my inner Martha Stewart full license to tackle my Pinterest wishlist, one project at a time.  There is so much to do... and I'm starting with trendy Thanksgiving stuff.

Something I've wanted forever is a decent dining room to put a huge wooden table in and have sit-down dinners with my family.  This goal has been enthusiastically accomplished. My children took to tablecloths and prayer rather quickly.  They remind me when I forget and have even asked to eat at the table on lazy weekends.  They are just as thrilled with our new home as Papa J and I are.

If you are curious about our mealtime prayer, check out this old blog post on a prayer entitled "Peaceful".

Another great aspect of our new dining room is having blank wall space. I purposely left one wall furniture-free so that we can do holiday art projects on it. I decided to start with a Thankfulness Tree to correspond with Thanksgiving and the general vibe of "we are waaaay too happy" that's in the air around here.

Now, some people are brave enough to paint stuff right on the wall. I am the nittiest nit-pick that ever lived.  I can't commit. And I want that space for other projects, like a Winter Solstice advent project in December.  So, I taped together three sections of my daughter's easel paper. This gave me roughly a 40" x 50" canvas.

Adventure Girl helping out.

I knew I was going to have to get artistic, but I was feeling it, so I searched Pinterest for some ideas on how others had drawn their trees.  I pulled this one up on my phone, from The Mama Birds blog, and started to sketch with a pencil. I wanted a more tree-like look, so I began to add detail and extra twigs and rough out the ends. It took an entire nap of Baby O's to get it sketched, so about an hour.  Naps are legit currency In the House of Mama Stacey.

I upped the contrast.  These are my branches and twigs.

Baby O has a cold right now, his first ever, so he's napping more often.  He worked three in yesterday, and that worked very well for my three-step project.  Haha!  During his midday nap, Adventure Girl and I took up our brushes and painted our tree.  The watercolor look was accomplished by adding a little water to the brown tempera paint so that it was thinner and thicker in some areas.  It gave the tree that varied bark look.

Mama Stacey painting in her p.j.s.

This dried very quickly, but the final step had to wait until after dinner and bathtime.  While Baby O was snoozing again and Adventure Girl was engrossed in My Little Pony, I outlined the tree in black tempera paint (I did not water this down). 

Top: Halfway...
Bottom: All done!

I think it turned out well.  I'm not sure if I can get something this large laminated, but it would save me some time next year if I can.  I still haven't decided if I'd like to add some words at the bottom.  I've even thought of Pagan-ing this project up by painting little Greenman faces on the knots of the tree or adding little symbols among the branches.  We'll see. 

I'm thankful that I can do these projects with my kids.

For the leaves, I found this handy template on the Corwin House blog.  I printed it straight onto construction paper.  I did have to use my handy-dandy rotary paper trimmer to reduce the paper width  from 9" to 8.5", but otherwise my Tru-Ray paper went right through the printer.

You might be able to fit more on each page.

I pre-cut the leaves out and keep them in a small bowl on the dining room table.  So far, everyone writes down something they are thankful for on a leaf before eating.  I am attaching with small bits of rolled masking tape, but if I can get the tree laminated, I imagine sticky tac would rock. 

If you decide to try out a project like this, let me know in the comments section below!


Tuesday, November 1

A New Year

Good Morning!  October was a maddening swirl for the Mama Stacey Clan.  It began with a guest speaking gig at Pittsburgh Pagan Pride Day and ended with Samhain.  In between, the baby got SEVEN teeth, we adopted a dog, Doodle Bug started a new special needs program, and.... we got a house!

We have always made due with teeny-tiny apartments, but with a family of five + regular visitors + a big dog + a zillion hobbies, we were bursting at the seams.  We had been chasing our dream home all summer and it ended in tears as acquaintances of ours butted heads with the owners and they unceremoniously dropped us from the running.  I was bumming pretty hardcore.  I grew angry with the goddess Hestia as we'd been praying to her for months and I had put my faith in her.  Little did I know, She had not betrayed me.  She had taken my wish list and found us an even better home.

Our jaws dropped when we walked in.  The kids immediately began playing in the yard.  We were the first and only ones to look at it.  It was ours.

We began the process of moving on October 4th.  This involved the usual emptying of our old home, but after years of living in too small of a space, we had additional belongings scattered in storage units, family homes, and garages over three counties.  It took a lot of muscles, sprained everything, days off of work, and everything in our bank account to get all the scraps of our life to their final destination.

We gained 700 sqft.  This translates into a 'classroom', larger bedrooms for all, a doubled living room, and a kitchen with cabinets and counters for miles.  We are in love with our new home.

Top:  Our porch decorated for Halloween & Samhain.
Middle:  Our new kitchen complete with lots of cabinets and a dishwasher.
Bottom:  Half of our homeschooling classroom.


A new address gave us the opportunity to transfer Bug into a much better school.  His needs are being met much more often and they are teaching him skills for independent living, which at age 14 should have been a major focus in his schooling (I am trying my best to forgive the old school).

We got a phone call about six weeks ago.  It was a friend who had just adopted a second dog.  We had admired this pup from the get go.  He was all black and soft as can be.  He was half Siberian Husky and half Black Labrador.  Her older dog was much too big and had recently injured the pup while playing.  She feared for his safety and immediately thought of us.  We rushed right over and adopted him.  His name is Roland (Papa J named him after a character in Stephen King's 'The Dark Tower' book series) and he is exactly what this family was looking for.

Roland at 4 months.  He is MUCH larger, now. 
This month also granted me the opportunity to share a stage with some Pagan heavy-weights.  Selena Fox and Byron Ballard presented at the Pittsburgh Pagan Pride with me trying my best beside them.  I felt like a giant!  I never realize how tall I am until I get around a crowd.  Haha!

Mama Stacey, Selena Fox, Byron Ballard, and Pittsburgh's PPD Coordinator.

Baby O got seven teeth in one go, this past month.  THAT was fun.  He couldn't help but bite while nursing and made both of us miserable.  Things are better now that they are all out, but that was rough stuff while trying to handle all the other changes and mental/physical stresses that our home underwent in October.

We ended the month with a traditional night of Trick or Treat and honoring our ancestors.  Adventure Girl chose to be a doctor (go her!).  Baby O was supposed to be a business man, but ended up looking like a cute little hobo.  Doodle Bug is in those teetering final years of engaging in Trick or Treat, so he committed only to a mask which he removed the moment another teen boy poked fun at it.  Oh, well.



Transformation has come upon our home.  It has changed us for the better.  I pray for a winter that allows us to iron out the wrinkles and relax in our new environment. 

How has your October been?