Dear Santa

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pinterest

Dear Santa,

This year brought many blessings into my life and many fond memories. All I want this year is to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas with my family and friends. I’d like to bless the life of someone else who may be in need. Finally, I’d like a few extra days this week to catch up so that I might balance my time with my energy in order to share the best of myself with others.

Wishing you a very, merry Christmas!

Baisli

Snowflakes

It snowed today. Not a dusting, but actual snowfall. It made me think of a remarkable man known as “Snowflake Bentley.”

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amazon

Snowflake Bentley tells the true story of Wilson Bentley (1865-1931) who grew up in Vermont. He loved snowflakes and was determined to capture them on film.

Imagephotograph by Wilson Bentley via snowflakeblentley

A self educated farmer, Bentley’s vision and determination led to being the first person to ever capture a snow crystal (snowflake) on film in 1885. During his lifetime, he captured 500 photomicrograph snowflakes.

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photograph by Wilson Bentley via snowflakebentley

“Under the microscope, I found that snowflakes were miracles of beauty; and it seemed a shame that this beauty should not be seen and appreciated by others. Every crystal was a masterpiece of design and no one design was ever repeated., When a snowflake melted, that design was forever lost. Just that much beauty was gone, without leaving any record behind.” — Wilson “Snowflake” Bentley 1925

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photograph by Wilson Bentley via snowflakebentley

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photograph by Wilson Bentley via snowflakebentley

To learn more about this scientist/artist, visit the Jericho Historical Society in Vermont or view the Snowflake Bentley Online Exhibit.

In honor of this remarkable artist, I have added a snowflake pattern from usefuldiy.

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photograph via usefuldiy

Keep in mind, this is just to get you started. Remember, no two snowflakes are alike. Try making your own design.

Sounds of the Season

Each year, I look forward to adding new Christmas music to my collection.  Here are the seven songs I added this year.

1. Jim Brickman’s FaLaLa sung by Genevieve Bellamare was first on my list.

Followed by…

2. Michael Bublé’s Cold December Night

3. Mary J Blige, Barbra Streisand & Chris Botti’s When You Wish Upon a Star

4. Christina Perri’s Something About December

5. Matt Wertz’s Snow Globe

6. Mindy Gledhill’s Winter Moon

7. Tyrone Wells’ Christmas at Home

I hope you enjoyed these sounds of the season!

What are you listening to this December?

Nutty About Nutcrackers

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photograph by Robert Shomier via sfgate

Ever since my daughter was little, she has loved the Nutcracker Ballet. She continues to enjoy watching this seasonal ballet with delight.

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photograph via christmasspirit

My son also loves nutcrackers. His collection has grown over the years and they adorn our house during the holiday season.

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photograph via thepaleomom

Snacking on nuts, enjoying a ballet, or decorating with nutcrackers remain a part of our holiday celebration.  This year, nuts will also be enjoyed in a new way.

Recently, I started the Paleo diet. Actually, I feel so good eating this way, that I do not consider this a “diet.” It is more like a lifestyle change.

This recent dietary change came up in a conversation with a co-worker as our office prepared for their annual Thanksgiving potluck. One friend mentioned they were bringing a Paleo-friendly recipe they discovered on detoxinista.  Once I tried it, I was hooked.

Image photograph via detoxinista

Megan’s Grain-Free Pumpkin Bars via detoxinista

Ingredients
½ cup pumpkin puree
½ cup almond butter
⅓ cup honey
2 eggs
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
Instructions
Preheat oven to 350F and grease an 8″ x 8″ pan generously with coconut oil or butter. Combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl, and mix well until a smooth batter forms. Transfer the batter to the greased pan, and bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown and the center is firm. Allow to cool completely in the pan, then cut and serve! Glaze these bars with Megan’s Maple Pecan Glaze.

 

I was surprised that this recipe did not contain any flour or butter. The key ingredient was almonds! Surprise! Almond butter works as both the flour and the butter.

Image photograph via thehealthyfamilyandhome

Although you can find a great almond butter recipe on detoxinista, here is another great Paleo almond butter recipe posted on thehealthyfamilyandhome.

Karielyn’s Homemade Almond Butter via thehealthyfamilyandhome

Ingredients
3 cups organic raw almonds (soaked overnight and dehydrated)
1 tablespoon organic coconut oil

Instructions
Soak almonds overnight. In the morning, rinse and dehydrate 24 hours (or until completely dry. Put almonds and coconut oil in food processor. Process. It will go through different stages–flour, ball-shaped, smooth. Stop periodically to scrape the sides. Once the butter is creamy, store in an airtight container.

Although nuts should be eaten sparingly on the Paleo diet, I love that occasional treats are still an option.

I hope you go a little “nutty” too this holiday season!

Holiday Advent

It’s hard to believe, but there is only one week until Thanksgiving. Typically, we begin our Christmas decorating the next day so I thought it would be fun to share a project to help count down the days of December. This charming advent calendar was created by Lucy Atkins at Craftberry Bush.

Image     craftberrybush

To begin, I’d head over to the creative team at Boxwood Clippings to learn how to create a padded frame. Sarah and Emily provide directions here.

Once the frame is prepared, the rest of this project is quite simple. To make Lucy’s clay tags, you will need the following:

Materials:

Air dry clay or Sculpey

Paper tag

Straw

Rolling pin

Sharp craft knife

Fine grit sand paper

Pins

 howtomakeclaytagstutorialcraftberrybush

craftberrybush

Directions:

1. Roll out air dry clay or Sculpey over parchment paper. Roll the clay at least 5 mm.

2. Place a paper pattern over the clay. Using the rolling pin, roll over the tag so it leaves an indented outline on the clay.

3. With a sharp craft knife, cut around the edge of the tag.

4. With a straw, poke a hole at one end.

5. Remove any unwanted clay around the edges.  Smooth any rough edges and set it aside.

6. With a pin or toothpick, draw or stamp the number.

7. Allow to dry or cure as per the package instructions.

8. Once dry, gently sand edges and/or any imperfections on the tags.

9. With a thin brush, paint inside the numbers (optional).

claytags131415closeupcraftberrybush

craftberrybush

I like the simplicity of this advent calendar.  Each tag could list an activity to be performed rather than a treat or toy.

Perhaps the tags could include:

a helpful service, to be rendered

a scripture reference, to be read

a song, to be sung

an activity, to be enjoyed together

Ken Scott

photograph by Ken Scott, via pinterest

As the beginning of the season approaches, how will you count the days until Christmas?