Thursday, December 24, 2009

Art of the Month: Yule

Last year one of my projects was to finish this stocking for Ky. My mom made each of her three kids a stocking and the whole stocking experience is big in our family. I decided to honour the day as Ky's birthday as much as I could since in some ways he will miss out on having the 25th be only his day, the way other kids are able to have with the other 364 days a year. This will mark the second year of using this stocking and I am happy with how it turned out.

Christmas morning 2008

I wish you all a happy evening as you hang up your stockings tonight. Ours are eagerly awaiting Santa's goodness. Blessings to you and yours.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Poem of the Month: Solstice

Whenever I find little gems of holiday spirit that present an alternate to the traditional songs I grew up with I like to share. So here is this month's offering: Ring out, Solstice Bells by Jethro Tull. I thought I'd post both the lyrics and the song itself since it's a very entertaining video (check out their Robin Hood style boots, love them!)

Ring Out, Solstice Bells

by Ian Anderson

Now is the solstice of the year,
winter is the glad song that you hear.
Seven maids move in seven time.
Have the lads up ready in a line.

Ring out these bells.
Ring out, ring solstice bells.
Ring solstice bells.

Join together beneath the mistletoe.
by the holy oak whereon it grows.
Seven druids dance in seven time.
Sing the song the bells call, loudly chiming.

Ring out these bells.
Ring out, ring solstice bells.
Ring solstice bells.

Praise be to the distant sister sun,
joyful as the silver planets run.
Seven maids move in seven time.
Sing the song the bells call, loudly chiming.
Ring out those bells.
Ring out, ring solstice bells.
Ring solstice bells.
Ring on, ring out.
Ring on, ring out.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A little reminder

I wanted to re-post my Yule gift wrap post from last season just as a little reminder to try and cut down on wrapping paper. Have a look around your house for gently used gift bags, boxes, fabric and such instead of running back to the store for another roll of paper. The Earth will thank you and you'll save the hassle of dealing with the crowds.

Happy wrapping!

Green Yule Wrapping 101

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Heading out....

As this posts we are on our way to the airport. I wanted to wish you all a happy Yule/Christmas/Chanuka/Kwanzaa season full of love, peace and good food.
I have set up some posts to post every few days and I hope to be able to pop in here and there to share some pictures of our family time in Quebec. I can't guarantee that I'll do that tons but I don't want to leave you all in the lurch.

I have some fun things to share in January when all the holiday stuff settles down again.

Blessings to you and yours and a happy calendar new year to everyone.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

For the Senses: Holiday

Here is a sampling of products that I have tried or would love to have/share. It is nice to think of gift giving or purchasing things in general in relation to our senses. Which of the five senses will this gift honour? Making a new memory with a smell, delighting your fingers with something soft, a soothing voice to calm a hectic day, all these things and more can be part of your holiday shopping whether you are at the mall, online or at a craft fair.

Taste ::

Marks and Spencer Organic Camomile, Limeflower and Lavender Infusion Tea
This tea was a gift from my mother-in-law. Dave and I are both obsessed with it. It tastes great, and relaxes you and it is perfect before bed or while you sit curled up in front of a fire.

Sound ::

Melissa Etheridge's holiday cd A New Thought for Christmas. She rocks out to most songs and definitely puts her own spin on some traditional holiday songs. But my favorite is her reworking of O Night Divine, she puts a pagan/secular spin on it that is refreshing.

Touch ::

The holidays would not be complete without a cuddle or two and there are some perfect afghans to cuddle under on Etsy. My favorite is this one by AVintageObsession. The colour is called Bright Holly...need I say more?

Sight ::

There is so much to be said for the artwork in tarot decks. They thrill our sense of sight while giving us insight into questions inside our souls. Animals Divine Tarot Deck is the first deck that I have wanted since purchasing my first deck many moons ago. The artwork is just stunning. The description of this card, the 3 of cups Polar Bear is: overflowing happiness, feeling celebratory and copious creativity.

Smell ::

This candle scent from Partylite is such a wonderful holiday smell. Sweet but spicy and not too overpowering. I would have it burning in every room to bring in the cheer.
Iced Snowberries even the name is heavenly.

I hope you've enjoyed this little journey through our senses. I have not received any free products etc. for this feature. I simply wanted to share some gems that I've found/enjoyed and find yet another way to evoke seasonal sensations in blogland. I will make this feature a seasonal one so visit again in the Spring for a host of new products.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Holiday Tag

Rue at Rue and Hyssop passed this little holiday tag onto me. Thanks Rue. It was a fun one. I'm not going to tag anyone just because I doubt I'll get to reading the answers before the holidays but feel free to tag yourself if you want to participate.

Here are the rules:

- Copy and paste the questions to your blog.
- Then Tag 5 or more of your favourite blogs and leave them a comment telling them they have been tagged.
- When you post your blog, please spread some Holiday Cheer, and leave a link back to Heather's Blog as well as the one who tagged you.

Here are the questions:

1. Have you started your Christmas shopping?
I had to be done by now since we leave in two days. Earliest ever for me.

2. Tell me about one of your special traditions.
Our little family of three is still in the foundation building part of making traditions. But one of my favorites from childhood was waiting upstairs with my sister and brother on Christmas morning until my father came into the house from the barn. Once he came into view we would rush down the stairs to see what Santa brought for us.

3. Are you a Black Friday Shopper?
No. And you could not pay me to shop in such a frenzy. It would be a nightmare to me.

4. When do you put up your Tree?
We will help my parents put up theirs, probably this weekend sometime.

5. Do you Travel at Christmas or Stay home?
Travel this year which will be the first time in 8 years.

6. What is your funniest Christmas memory?
The year my sister and I got skis and she cried dramatically until my parents agreed to take them off of her (not before some hilarious photos were taken though). I don't think we even made it to the hill beside the house before she fell 3 or 4 times and well, you just have to know my sister to know how funny that was. (sorry Jess!)

7. What is your favorite Christmas Movie of All time?
"It's a Wonderful Life." It has the essence of what the season is about for me.

8. Do you do your own Christmas Baking, what’s your favorite treat?
I have begun to make new things each year to develop a tradition but so far I make cookies as gifts and vegetarian tortiere (french for meat pie) which is a traditional food that my Mom makes each year. I love too many things to count that my mom makes but tortiere always says Yule to me.

9. Fake or Real Tree?
Real all the way. From a charitable source and chopped up for mulch afterward.

10. What day (as a mom) does the actual panic set in to get it all done?
Just about now....yesterday.....luckily Ky is still not too aware of it all so I don't have to panic per se...only

11. Are you still wrapping presents on Christmas Eve?
Probably not this year.

12. What is your favorite family fun time at Christmas?
This year it will be just being with my family for the day, and celebrating Ky's second birthday.

13. What Christmas craft do you like the best?
Making ornaments is fun and I also like to make wreaths.

14. Christmas music. Yes or No, and if yes What is your favorite song?
Yes. Absolutely. "Deck the Halls" is a good classic. I'm also partial to "Jingle Bells".

15. When do you plan to finish all your shopping?
Planned and did finish last week. This was a benchmark helped to have such an early deadline.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Little Gifts to Me

Each Yule I try and pick out one small item, usually a decor item that I can add to my collection. I visited 2 local craft fairs this year that were held at the Scandinavian Cultural Centre. One was put on by the Danish community and the other by the Swedish community. I had so much fun at both and found some wonderful deals and I found my Yule gift to me.

Here he is: The Yule Goat.

I saw these lovely wheat woven goats flanking the huge fireplace in the Centre and just loved them. I came across a lady who makes them as well as other lovely little ornaments in red thread and Swedish wheat. The Yule Goat is on of the oldest Scandinavian and Northern European Christmas symbols and traditions. A goat was slaughtered at Yule and this little guy represents that but has came to be associated with singing carols door-to-door and as the giver of Christmas gifts. The Norse God Thor's chariot was drawn by two goats which could attribute to why a goat was given this significance.

In Sweden the Yule Sacrifice was dramatized by a man dressed as the goat being slaughtered by a group of men and then resurrecting. It is amazing how the sacrifice and rebirth theme permeates customs at this time of year. The cycle continues.
So even though I'm not decorating full force this year because we are leaving soon, I have my Yule Goat on my little kitchen altar to preside over our travel preparations.

And the other little gift I got for myself was these white-tailed deer antler buttons. The gentleman that made these had beautiful rune engravings on rune sets, charms, and necklaces. I would have bought much more but used my utmost restraint since it was not time for me to overindulge. He told me that he makes his rune sets in sacred space in the Viking tradition and well, I just may have to get me a set one day. These buttons do not have a specific purpose yet but they contain so much magic to me that right now I want to just admire them as they are.
I hope you all get yourselves just a little something this year to make your season bright and magical as well.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

My Button

My smart and handsome husband helped me make a button. Link at your leisure.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Book of the Month: December

A dream of mine for many years before becoming pregnant was to read A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens out loud to my growing baby. Kyan was due to be born on January 15th and so I thought I had tons of time to do this and I was so excited as December approached in 2007. I bought this edition which also has other Christmas writings by Dickens and began reading the story around the Solstice, planning to finish by Christmas day. Dave listened in some nights as well. Well, as you may or may not have read here, the boy arrived at 7:17am Christmas morning and well...I didn't feel much like finishing the story while breathing through contractions.

I love the way Dickens wrote, the way the words moved across the page and brought you concretely into another time. This story is so insightful. A man who thinks he has all the answers, who believes that he has no hope or goodness left breaks out of his self imposed darkness and is reborn. There is a reason that this story is a staple of this holiday and that it is loved by so many. Rue over at Rue and Hyssop wrote of her tradition of reading this classic.

I hope that the pregnancy for baby #2 will offer up a chance to accomplish my goal, whenever that may be. But regardless someday I hope to read it out loud each year to the family and let us all be steeped in the magic of transformation.


I wanted to share a wonderful new e-zine that has just been published. Rhythm of the Home is a warm and brilliant place to spend some time with a cup of coffee or tea. The articles are written with care and are full of ideas for celebrating, crafting and loving. Check it out you won't be disappointed.
And I wanted to also mention that the new issue of PaganPages is up and my article for this month is full of ideas for connecting as a family post-Yule. It is called The Wintertime Family. Back with more soon. I've got to get on this festive bandwagon, this is my favorite time of year.

Friday, December 4, 2009

In the Home stretch...

Wow, there is lots of goodness going on in the blogisphere right now. I feel a bit behind in terms of getting the holiday cheer feeling emanating from here but I'll get it happening very soon. We are having a respite from the typical rain in this rain forest of ours and so I've been out and about and getting some much needed cleaning done around here before we leave.

While visions of sugarplums are dancing in my head I am also very aware that Kyan is almost two and that my breasts are feeling the burn. Yes everyone, this post is going to be about breastfeeding a toddler, a teething toddler, a toddler who really likes to nurse and is showing little sign of weaning anytime soon. At this point if I'm honestly counting he nurses about 6 or 7 times in a 24 hour period. My feelings about breastfeeding are jumbled. I love it, I resent it, I'm so happy that I've done it for almost two years, I love that it is a special bond that I have with Ky, but man my nipples are overworked and underpaid.

I had always had plenty of milk until this summer. My body has decided before Kyan has that it is done. It wants to stop but Ky is having none of it. It makes me sad when he cries for milk and I know there isn't any. I try to explain it to him and he is starting to understand that he is reaching "big boy" territory in which Mama no longer provides the milk. I have never read or heard much about other women going through this. As far as I know most Moms have weaned their children because they were done, or the child decides they are done. But not having the milk for the appetite? I'm sure someone out there has dealt with this but I feel a bit alone on this road at present.
Ky breastfeeds more when he is teething and his second year molars are in on the bottom and the top ones must not be close behind from his behaviour today. My goal before he was born was to be close to finished nursing by 2 years old. We are close....but at this point the pace is a bit much. After this nursing process began I began to see the benefit of letting a child decide when he or she is ready to stop. That being said I'm not going to nurse until he's four, or nurse through a second pregnancy whenever that may be. I need a break. Seriously. As rewarding as this is, as important for his health as it has been, the factory needs shutting down.
And then....I look down at him and it makes me sad. The emotional component of weaning is much more powerful than the rational side for me. All he has known for 2 years is that having milk from Mama is comfort, food, love, warmth, sleep........the list is infinite. The transition away from this is harder than I could have expected. He has never taken a bottle so I hesitate to try and introduce it as a go between. Perhaps I am making it into a bigger deal than he will. Perhaps after we return from our holidays and I begin the complete night-nursing weaning it will be way easier than I thought and he will be ready to let it go. After nighttime feeding is over he'll slowly loose interest more and more until he goes a whole day without mentioning it.
Part of me longs for that day, part of me is sad about it, and part of me is bewildered. Our Mama-son bond will change after that day. I am excited to see how that change will manifest but also sad that I will have proof that the baby time is over for him, never to return.