december week

December has come in full and strong around here.  Last weekend we hosted our second swap party and had 17 people participate in the actual swap~  that is almost double the number from last time!  I came away with some wonderful goodies and enjoyed time spent with good folks.  The cider and bourbon drinks weren't too shabby, either.  This time around I was too busy keeping the swap flowing to take many pictures, but here are a few from the preparation and swap itself.

The tables were both full, with hula hoops off to the side and a drying rack set up to hold knit baby blankets and toddler-sized tutu/magic wand sets.  Other offerings included mango butter, apple butter, eggs, handmade jewelry, scarves and hats, notecard sets, succulents in hyper tufa pots, herbed vinegars, orange infused simple syrup and candied rind, pumpkin seed brittle, chocolate barks, cookies, quilted cards, reusable sandwich wraps, homemade bread in a handmade bread bag, crocheted dishcloths, lotions, bath salts, insect repellant, clay masks, chai concentrate, lavender-honey butter and rosemary butter, christmas decorations, tinctures, elderberry syrup, goat milk caramel sauce, butterscotch, feather hair clips and pins, and on and on........  I tell ya, these swap parties are fun!

Later that night Mike's parents got in from New Jersey, up for a visit and to attend his promotional ceremony (he is now a lieutenant with the Asheville FD) on Sunday.  Claire was thrilled to have her nana and pipop in town and kept them busy reading and singing and playing.  We also took a trip over to the grand Grove Park Inn to view the gingerbread houses that are part of an annual national competition.  Everything has to be edible, and looking at the houses (and many non-houses) you'd think the definition surely must get stretched a bit here and there.... the inn is amazing and fully decorated for Christmas, it is quite the sight.  The fireplaces in the lobby alone are enough to make your jaw drop, large enough for several adults to stand in at once.  At home we worked and played all together, pipop splitting kindling for us, as he often does during his visits before and during colder months, me trying my hand at my first length of handmade garland (it came out quite well, really), Claire swinging and playing with nana, Mike splitting wood... a buzzing of work and play, side by side.

We've started with the holiday cheer around our home as well.  On the eve of December I strung up a quick and easy advent calendar for Claire, made of paper that was simply stitched or stapled or taped together, and then strung up on yarn with clothespins right outside her bedroom door.  Each morning she checks it and finds some small something or other.... a note with a suggestion for something fun we'll do that day, an ornament for her tree, a small treat, a mini acorn cap candle, something along those lines.  It is more about the anticipation and the fun than it is about the thing.  We also introduced the celebration of St. Nicholas Day this year, leaving her shoes out on Wednesday evening and having her wake to find them filled with a few coins and treats and simple garland for her tree.  I suppose this means the magic is beginning.

(each day, after she finds the surprise in the little pocket for the day, she tells me something that makes her happy, something she is thankful for, and I write it down and pin it in place over the number from that day... I figure it'll make a sweet little collection of a two-year-old's gratitudes at the end of the month. so far my favorite one is "the cheepy sound the birds make".....)

Happy December!  May we all be mindful to enjoy each other and celebrate love and light and peace during this time of year, not allowing the stresses or pressures that can come with this time take hold and bring us down.  love and joy to you~


thanks for taking the time to read and comment~