June 25, 2011

Lavender and a Fairy Garden

We visited a really neat place this week - an herb farm that's not too far from where we live (yet we never knew about it!). So many interesting herbs and flowers, themed gardens to explore, and a field of lavender ready for picking.

Inspired by the fairy gardens there and selection of miniature plants, we decided to finally make our own little fairy garden when we got home.

A little glass bowl became a pond, and my big boy was happy to add rocks and beach glass for a path.

Although when I first asked him if he thought any fairies would come visit our garden, he laughed and said no. But by the time we were done putting our garden together, he ran over to our vegetable garden and picked some peas "for the fairies".

This morning, the peas were gone and only the pods remained... much to his excitement.

May 8, 2011

Our mud kitchen

Gathering some supplies for an outdoor "mud kitchen" was on my to-do list for a while, after first seeing the idea here and here. Finally, while out thrifting with a friend this weekend I stumbled on some little muffin tins and spoons that were perfect, and finally inspired me to make a few more stops and gather everything we would need.

When I returned home with bags full of cookware and utensils, I had no choice but to tell my 4 year old what they were for. He was beyond excited, and would not even consider waiting until tomorrow to get this set up. I told him I wanted to build something with shelves and a counter to place in the back corner of our yard, but he convinced me that it was "fine" and we didn't need to wait for silly things like planning or assembling anything complex. He helped me find some scraps of wood from the garage, and an old drawer which we nailed sideways on top for "shelves". In about 20 minutes, he declared that this was perfect! and just like a real kitchen mom!.

Part of the fun is scavenging around the yard for "ingredients", like these that he decided to use for tea. There were a few unfortunate sips to be tasted as well. And much excitement as I was presented with my morning latte.

My boys played outside in their "kitchen" until it got dark last night. Then on the way inside, my oldest hugged me and said "this is so awesome mom! I love it! I can't wait to wake up in the morning and put my shoes on so we can come back outside!"

And that's just what we did, at 8am this morning. I can't think of a better way to spend Mother's Day!

April 4, 2011


I've been wanting to make one of these for a while, after seeing so many of them pop up around the internet.

So last week, we gathered the materials (pebbles, sand, charcoal, soil, moss) and put ours together.

The best projects these days are quick and easy for everyone to participate in. Dropping rocks into a glass jar = lots of fun for a toddler.

The final touches were some smooth stones and a few pieces of beach glass from last summer. And of course, we needed a little mushroom or three - (I got them here).

A little spritz of water and we put the lid on tight, and our terrarium is now a lovely, earthy centerpiece for our kitchen table.

March 11, 2011

Obey the Signs!

If you've been to our house recently, you may have wondered about some of these. Just so there is no confusion, I will explain the meaning of these warning signs. Made and displayed by my 4-year-old, they are to be taken very seriously. (And yes, the adhesive half-sheets are shipping labels!)

The first, above, is a drawing of the boys' trampoline. (Yes we have a trampoline in the living room - doesn't everybody?) You'll notice in the photo that the trampoline's rear legs are off the ground. The circle and line mean "NO making the trampoline come off the ground!", which has been something we have been needing to remind them of. I was proud of my little guy when, of his own initiative, he made this sign to remind himself of the rule.

Next, on the side of mama's nightstand, is the sign above. This one is to remind everybody NOT to jump off of mama's bed. Do you notice a theme here? If you were to come to the conclusion that we have a lot of JUMPING in our house, you would be correct... (And just so I don't sound like a big mean NO NO NO parent, there ARE plenty of places and ways that they are welcome to jump safely - and boy do they ever... Our couch, stairs, and their own beds, are fair game!)

This is in our office, on a bookshelf. A reminder to all of us not to yell or scream.

And yes, another reminder of the same - in the living room. We have all struggled with not yelling lately, and I may have set myself up for these by welcoming reminders from my little boy if I start to raise my voice...

In this photo above, you will see my favorite - the SOS. Don't be alarmed, there is no dire emergency, just a little boy who does not like the sound of the vacuum. In his words, when asked about this sign - "It's a distress signal. So when you are vacuuming and you see the sign, you will remember that I don't like it and turn the vacuum off."

Below that, you will see a sign that he made a few days ago. After playing too roughly with his Earth ball to the point of hurting people, daddy had to put it away for a while. So this sign was to let everyone know that there was to be NO more Earth ball (temporarily, at least).

And finally, the newest addition to the living room... No jumping on the clothes hamper. (I had to make this rule after picking up pieces of the wicker hamper off the carpet all morning...)

So there you have it. Is everyone clear on the rules now? :)

March 4, 2011

{ this moment }

My littlest, standing still for a moment as the maple sap runs all around him...

{ this moment } - Inspired by Soulemama, a Friday ritual. A single photo, capturing a moment from the week. A moment to savor and remember.

February 27, 2011

Coming Soon...

Something new will be hatching in our home, come September. Not a new toy or puzzle this time, but a new member of the family.

We were pretty darn sure that our two boys were the perfect match for us. At four years old and 20 months, they keep us plenty busy. So this unexpected pregnancy has taken a little bit of time to adjust to, but now we are all looking forward to meeting this new little one at the end of this summer.

It seems that ever since becoming parents, we have been handed lesson after lesson on going with the flow. It was a challenge to keep life neat and tidy and predictable with one child. After the second came along, expectations had to be lowered all around. The house is never quite as clean, the days are never quite as calm and quiet as they used to be, and there is never as much sleep as there once was... not to mention the unending battle of laundry, and the challenge of preparing meals that include something that all of us will enjoy.

Yes, I'm fully expecting things to get much messier and harder, as our family grows one last time. I will no longer have enough hands for each child. Our kitchen table will no longer have enough chairs. But I am feeling ok about it, knowing that at this point we just have to embrace what is to come and keep going with the flow.

We are excited to be planning another home birth for this little one's arrival. We're going to attempt to sell our house this spring, so with any luck it might be the grand event to break in a new home for us! Our shop is still keeping us busy, and 2011 is already speeding by in a blur. We are excited about what the rest of this year has in store for us, and especially meeting this new little person, who I know will fit right in :)

No that's not me!
But isn't this Organic Cotton Maternity Shirt by Xenotees lovely!?

I've also been admiring these beautiful & colorful diaper covers by Wild Child Woolies

February 20, 2011

Oink! Baa! Neigh!

I'm excited to finally have listed one of our new items in our shop tonight. This Set of 6 Wooden Farm Animals includes a horse, pig, sheep, goat, dog and cow.

We are also working on some new seasonal puzzles, which we hope to have finished and listed soon. Of course, that could mean next weekend or next month. It's hard to say! It's been a busy month at our home - between trying to prepare our house for selling, and my morning all day sickness which renders me pretty useless most days. My family is lucky they have some clean laundry and an occasional meal lately ;)

One of really fun parts of having an Etsy shop is checking our Google Analytics to see how people are landing at our site. A sudden burst of traffic or sales will usually mean we've been mentioned somewhere on the web - and that is always an awesome feeling! To think that someone likes something we make enough to mention it on their website or blog - big or small - is just an awesome warm fuzzy feeling.

Thanks to all these wonderful folks who have mentioned Just Hatched recently:

Cool Mom Picks
Small Town Lovin'

LMNOP Magazine
Buy Modern Baby
Tiny Twist Creative
Bloesem Kids

February 16, 2011

First Socks

I finally finished knitting my first ever pair of socks! I started these with hopes of becoming a Christmas gift for my big boy, but knitting time was really limited over the holidays so they became a February gift instead.

The pattern is Patons Child's Ribbed Classics, and it was a perfectly simple one to start with. (Ravelry link here.) The smallest size fits my 4 year old with room to spare.

I am really happy with how they turned out! And the best test ever is when he put them on today and said "They are soft and cozy!" Success, indeed!

February 15, 2011

Goodbye, Mothering

It's just a magazine, but it's also a little bit like an old friend.

I remember the day I first saw Mothering on the shelf at a bookstore. My first child was just a few months old, and I was still reveling in the miracle of his birth and taking in all that came along with being a new mother.

I remember reading an article by a father about his wife giving birth to their child at home, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. Though my first son's birth was unmedicated, and not surgical, the hospital experience was far from the "natural" birth I wanted. But without anyone close to me who had given birth naturally, I lacked the support or information to make better choices at that time. I read that article and knew that was what I wanted for my future childrens' births, and immediately subscribed to the magazine. I set off to read every book about birth that I could, and 2 years later gave birth to my second son in our living room.

From when I first subscribed as a new mother in 2006, until now, I have looked forward to Mothering arriving in the mail every 60 days. I usually read it in bed, and always learn something new. Most importantly, I always feel connected to a greater community of mothers who are a lot like me, often making choices that mainstream society does not understand or agree with.

A couple of years ago, my husband submitted an essay he wrote that was published in the Nov/Dec 2009 Mothering. It was such an exciting day to see our names and our son's photos (that I had taken) right there in the pages of this magazine I loved so much.

So it is a sad day today, as I learned that Mothering will not be printing any more issues. I am thankful for the insight and guidance I came to expect in each issue, and the online community that I have been a part of for the past 4 years also. I hope that Mothering's online presence will still offer some of the same things to new parents, like what it offered me when I first picked it up 4 years ago.

Goodbye, Mothering. You will be missed.

January 23, 2011

Simple Abundance

I had never heard of this book until a friend mentioned it recently. I checked it out from the library and started reading it shortly after the new year. There is a short essay for each day of the year, with the purpose to guide you to a life of contentment and simplicity. It sounded like just what I needed.

I like that each day's reading is very short - I've had no problem finding a few minutes to read it as part of my morning routine. While nothing I've read so far has been especially earth-shattering, it has been nice to start each day with something to think about and keep me focused on what is important. It can be a little cheesy at times, but I'm ok with that because it does seem to be making a difference for me. I look forward to reading it every morning, and I think it is playing a part in helping me stay calm and focused throughout the day.

Quite ironically, we found out some news last week that has drastically changed all of our plans for 2011. The routine of this simple little book has helped me stay positive and embrace what is to come.

January 14, 2011

{ this moment }

Cookies in our "cave".

{ this moment } - Inspired by Soulemama, a Friday ritual. A single photo, capturing a moment from the week. A moment to savor and remember.

January 13, 2011

Things we love: Mama K's Play Clay

We've finally had a chance to break out the Play Clay my kids got for Christmas. Oh my, this stuff is just downright awesome!

Mama K's is no ordinary play dough. It is Gluten Free, and made with Organic essential oils to give it the beautiful scents of Lavendar, Bergamot, Lemongrass, Geranium, Sweet Orange (my favorite!), Cardamom, and Chamomile.

It has the wonderfully smooth texture of homemade play clay, with vibrant colors and exotic scents that made our hands and kitchen smell wonderful while we played with it. Oh yes, I played too. I promise if your kids have this out, you won't be able to resist.

We all enjoyed smelling each flavor and trying to decide which was our favorite. Playing with these felt like an indulgence of the senses, and I love the little storage containers they come in too.

MamaK was an Etsy featured seller recently, and you can read more about her here. Check out her shop for individual tubs of clay, sets, and these adorable Mini Clays, which my 4 year old thinks are awesome - and are perfect for using in the car or in a waiting room somewhere.

Thank you MamaK, for making such an amazing product!

(And no, this is not a sponsored post in any way. I just wanted to share since I think these are so great!)

January 12, 2011

Put it on the calendar

The end of 2010 was busy and stressful. So naturally, I've been pondering how to make sure 2011 is more peaceful and organized. We got off to a bumpy start, but now I'm feeling better about where we're headed for 2011.

Magnetic Chalkboard by NameDrop on Etsy.

On a friend's recommendation, I signed up for the free site cozi.com, which is an easy to use family calendar site - you can color code things for each family member, make grocery lists, send things to your phone, and I set it up to email my husband and I our weekly calendar each Sunday. (No I'm not being paid to mention their site - Ha! I wish! - I just really like it.) For some reason, Google Calendar just wasn't doing it for us. But this is working great.

Instead of muddling through the weeks, struggling to find time for everything (and each other), I've made us a weekly schedule that has specific time allotted for our work, family time, and even time for my husband and I to have one-on-one time with each child (and each other). This is already helping us feel more productive and at ease with our weekly routine.

Mini Goals Chalkboard by MaryKateMcDevitt on Etsy.

I've also scheduled time at the end of each month to organize our business receipts, etc. for the month using Outright. So hopefully next year's taxes will be easier (compared to the scary huge pile of receipts and papers I have been shoving into a binder all of last year.)

Of course, as important as the schedules and calendar themselves, is the flexibility to make changes as needed - and know when to throw the day's schedule out the window too ;)

Even though it took me until mid-January for the inspiration of a new year sink in, I'm feeling pretty good now about the next 11 months!