Monday, July 15, 2013

And the winner is....

Thank you everyone who entered! It was a small, but fun giveaway! Thank you Emily for making these sweet little sets!

The winner is:
True Random Number Generator  1#Powered by RANDOM.ORG
#1: Andrea G"A lovely set!  Would be great for the kiddo's to play with. . ."
Congrats Andrea! Please send me an email at and I will get your set out to you this week! 
Come back later today to check out my next giveaway for this week :) It's from one of my favorite places, Nova Natural!

Friday, July 12, 2013

{this moment}

{this moment}
A Friday ritual birthed by Soulemama. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
. . . . . . . . . .

Also Our $75 Nova Natural giveaway is still going on until 7/19!
Don't forget to enter!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Blueberries for Sal :: July Circle Time

I hope you all had a lovely weekend. We sure did! The kids and I headed down to Virginia Beach, my hometown, to spend some time with my mother and brother at the beach. We all had a great time and came home happy and tired! I however got too much sun, but that's old news. I'm casper and my kids well they're well bronzed year round. Oy! 

 I digress though... (the sun must have gotten to me). Today we started back up with circle time after a week long break while Craig's grandparents were in town for the 4th. Like I mentioned in my last post, our monthly theme is berry picking and our main book is Peter in Blueberryland. Last month's theme was oceans and Curious Fish was our main book. However I also like to add in a few related stories. Sometimes I read them, other times I act them out with puppets of dolls. For this story I blended in Sal, form the book Blueberries for Sal, with the blueberry and blackberry gnomes we have. 

Our Sal was the little blue peg person. 
When Sal first got to the berry patch all but one bush was hidden. The berry gnomes had hidden it with their magic to see if she would gently pick the bush gently and be kind to it. After the gnomes saw that Sal was a kind hearted girl, all the other bushes magically appeared! Sal was able to pick as many berries as her basket would hold.

After we finished that little play I then read 'Blueberries for Sal'. I think my favorite part was when we got to the end and Sal and her mother were canning, Jonas cried out "WE DO THAT MOMMY". Yes Jonas, yes we do. 

Ah I love our little lives, even on the tired grumpy days. This is why I blog. This is why I keep this place positive. Because my dear friends today was overall not the best of our days. But thinking back to our sweet circle time. To Brynna's first painting. To Jonas' sweet and excited outburst. Well it really puts everything into perspective. It affirms why we do this. It keeps me focused on the larger work at hand rather than the rough patches on the way. 

Well dear friends, I hope your Mondays were lovely!! I will be back tomorrow with a giveaway. 

What are you up to this month? Do you have any favorite berry books? how do you do circle time? Also why do you blog, if you do?

Love and light,

Also Our $75 Nova Natural giveaway is still going on until 7/19!
Don't forget to enter!

Linking up this week with Frontier DreamsMagic OnionsNatural Suburbia, and Crafty Moms Share and a few others! Please check out my 'where I party' page! 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Weekending :: Yorktown Beach

I am really enjoying my new camera!

We're off to Virginia Beach this weekend to visiting my mother and brother. I am so excited to see them and to work in some beach and hopefully surfing time. 

I wanted to leave you with some photos of our recent weekend adventure to Yorktown beach. We try to spend lots of time outdoors when we're all together. That night was one of those nights that I just didn't want to end. It was idyllic and beautiful. It is in those moment I try to slow down and remembering how fleeting this ages is and our kids. 

Craig and I will, God willing, spend the rest of our lives together and for most of those years the kids will not be young and in our home as they are now. I find myself on hard days slipping into the 'I want this stage to be over' but I have to quickly remind myself that the hard moments are just that 'moments'. I will not remember them when they're grown. I know myself well enough to know that I will miss them. So being in the present and enjoying all of it has been a new tenant of mine as of late. 

If you have any moments like this, please share! How do you draw yourself out of them? How do you spend family time together? I'm truly interested! 

Until next time, 

Also Our $75 Nova Natural giveaway is still going on until 7/19!
Don't forget to enter!

Deirdre lost her first tooth!

Linking up this week with Frontier DreamsMagic OnionsNatural Suburbia, and Crafty Moms Share and a few others! Please check out my 'where I party' page! 

Friday, July 5, 2013

And the winner is...

True Random Number Generator  68Powered by RANDOM.ORG

The Winner Is: #68 :: Anonymous 
I'm a new follower! I've been a lurker for awhile. Thanks for the chance. I love your sharks.

Thank you everyone who entered!! Please email me in 48 hours so I can get your figures out to you! If not, I will pass it along to someone else to be fair!

Next week I will announce another one of my favorite things giveaway. This tiem it will be from Nova Natural! If you're interested in sponsoring a giveaway on my blog please email me at nicoleandcraigkleemann at gmail dot com. 

Love and Light,

Don't forget to enter our fairy garden giveaway going on until 7/14!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

July, July and Blueberry Cream Pie!

Hello sweet friends and welcome new ones! I have wanted to comment on each and every new follower on my giveaway post- but I don't want to mess with the random number generator! So welcome to you all. I really truly mean it when I say that you all are my online village. I have made many true and dear friendships with wonderful Mamas across the globe through this blog. And for that I am so thankful. 

Part of me can't believe that it's July already. Midsummer almost for us. We celebrate our season's change that the beginning of the month. It simplifies my planning and is easier for the children to grasp at their ages. So all of June was summer for us, making July smack dab the middle of summer. 

These middle season months are fun for us. They really embody the season. The transition is over and all the truisms of summer are present in July. And let me tell you, here in Virginia it feels like summer. Hot, humid, bug-filled summer. But with that are also so many things we love. 

The kids are getting used to sweating again. Late afternoons lightning shows. Firefly catching. Ice cream eating. Swimming, swimming, and more swimming. Oh, I do love summer. 

Most of all I love the fruit! Deirdre tracks, and has tracked, our summer procession by what fruit is coming into season. Here in Virginia it's, strawberries, cherries, blackberries, peaches, plums, blueberries, raspberries, pears, and to begin autumn- Apples! 

So for our circle time this July our theme will be U-Pick! Our main book will be Peter in Blueberry Land!

We will read it the whole month and do various puppet plays (just like we did with Curious Fish last month here- we do this every month throughout the year with one linchpin seasonal book and verse.) Then each week I will cycle in other books for just that week like Jamberry,
  and Blackberry Mouse
We will keep our summer verse that we have here until September, since that way the kids will learn it well and have a good seasonal continuity. 

We also in lieu of doing extra crafts this month will spend more time berry picking, canning, freezing, and baking. Oh the baking I do in the summer! I miss canning as well. We were pretty low on preserves until strawberry season. As for cherry season, I just baked 2 pies and then froze the rest- and well let's be honest we *ahem* I ate my weight in cherries! No wonder that season is so quick here!

So dear friends I am going to leave you with two recipes, one for my blueberry preserves that I make and the other for blueberry cream pie. I sub in other berries in the pie too and that seems to work just fine as long as you keep it to only 3 cups of berries. No one likes a messy oven from a pie overflowing! 

So what are you all planning this month? Do you like picking berries? What kind of stories do you read to your kids in the summer?

Love and Light, 

Also Our $75 Nova Natural giveaway is still going on until 7/19!
Don't forget to enter!

Blueberry Preserves

Adapted from Against All Grain

(fills one 8 ounce jar)

3 cups blueberries (thawed or fresh)

3/4 cup local honey (you can use more or less depending on how tart your berries are)

3 tablespoons lemon juice


Place the blueberries in a medium sized sauce pan and use a food mill to mash them

Add the honey, lemon juice, and lemon zest, then bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir frequently while the mixture boils for 15-20 minutes and it starts to thicken. The best way to test if it’s done is to put a spoonful in the freezer for 5 minutes. If it won’t easily pour off of the spoon when you remove it from the freezer, then it’s done.

Skim off any foam, then ladle the jam into a sterilized jar. Then you can either can and seal them or store them tightly covered in the fridge for a couple of weeks or freezer. If you freeze them then leave extra head room in the jars. They expand when you freeze them!


Blueberry Cream Pie

Adapted from Gingerbread Bagels

Pie Crust (from America’s Test Kitchen)

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out the dough

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons vegetable shortening, cut into 1/4-inch

pieces and chilled
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
and chilled
4-6 tablespoons ice water
1 large egg mixed with 1 Tablespoon water (for egg wash)

3 cups blueberries
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup all purpose flour
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream or yogurt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Crumb Topping
4 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/2  cup rolled oats
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup plus 2 1/2 Tablespoons all purpose flour

Process flour, sugar, and salt in food processor until combined. Add chilled shortening and pulse until coarsely ground. Add chilled butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Transfer to large bowl.

Sprinkle 4 tablespoons water over flour mixture. Using rubber spatula, stir mixture until dough forms. If dough remains crumbly, add remaining 1 tablespoon water. Form dough into 4-inch disk, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days. (Dough can be frozen, wrapped tightly in plastic and aluminum foil, for up to 2 months. Thaw completely at room temperature before using.)

Let chilled dough soften slightly at room temperature, about 10 minutes. Working on lightly floured work surface, roll dough into 12-inch circle. Transfer dough to pie plate. Trim, fold, and crimp edges. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 30 minutes.

While crust is firming up, work on the filling. In a bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix together the sugar and flour. Add in the sour cream, eggs and vanilla extract and mix until combined. Take the pie out of the freezer and put the blueberries on the bottom of the crust. Pour the filling over the blueberries and spread it out.

Now make the crumb topping. Mix together the sugar, brown sugar, ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg. Pour the melted unsalted butter into the bowl and mix everything together. Add in the flour and mix until the ingredients form a crumble topping. Crumble the crumb topping over the pie.

Bale pie for 30-40 minutes at 400. Place in refrigerator to cool for 30 minutes after it's done baking until set. 


Linking up this week with Frontier DreamsMagic OnionsNatural Suburbia, and Crafty Moms Share and a few others! Please check out my 'where I party' page! 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Bringing Nature In:: Part II :: Our Waldorf Woodland Bedroom

We have had a BUSY weekend over here. My house is a mess- but a huge productive work in progress. After the move this past December, I sorta just wrote off a few rooms in the house. Mainly the children's bedroom that Deirdre and Jonas share as well as our bedroom. It was functional but not pretty. Since I feel like we spend very little time in those rooms, I focused on getting the playroom, family room, dining room, and kitchen in order. But now we've been in the house for six months, the state of our rooms started to bother me. While they weren't terrible, I just did not like being in them. They felt disorganized to me. They took longer to clean. They just felt off. 
Since I have been working on bringing more nature into the children's play and our lives when we're indoors, I thought that bringing it into their bedroom might be a good idea too. During the first seven years of a child's life, they are extremely sensitive to their environments. They consciously and unconsciously imitate their surroundings. This is one reason why in Waldorf, it is recommended that children have beautiful and natural toys. It's not just for the developmental benefit of open ended playthings, but also for the way in which they, our home, ourselves, impact our children as they unfold during these critical first years. Another reason for working on their bedroom was to improve their sleep. While I am blessed with children who do and have generally slept well and for 12 hours at a time- plus naps- I wanted to continue to make sure that their room was conducive for good and restorative sleep (which is paramount to their development as well). 

So here is my little room project. I am very very pleased with the finished product. Most of the decor in this room was re-purposed!!! I got the gnome print from an old book we already had. The fabric and paint I used on the logs I already had on hand. I brought in logs and branches which were free and just added to them. I also reused a lot of decor I had on hand from the kid's old bedroom and the baby's nursery. 

I lazured the walls yellow. The base coat is a light blue and the top veil was made with Stockmar lemon and gold yellow. The lazure was in the end not hard. I was nervous about it but it was fairly simple- just labor intensive. I did this alone, it is a small room, but I recommend having a helper. 

We added bunk beds since the kids are a bit older. So far it is working well. before we had floor beds, which is common with Montessori. I liked the floor beds, but it was time for a change. I hung our two Kinderkram mobiles up in to corners of the room. We got them from Bella Luna Toys and I cannot recommend them or Sarah's store enough. Just lovely. 

I made a branch tree with felt leaves for the corner near the window. I added on some decorative birds and butterflies as well as a nest we found on a walk. The tree was spray painted with gold glitter and sealed with shellac. I also picked up a white ceramic mushroom that I paint red with glitter to set near the tree. 
The kids also requested two gnome and tomten doors for their magical friends David and Timmy. They were worried about them having trouble getting in and out of their rooms. If you're new to the blog, I tell the children nightly stories about David and Timmy's adventures and have been doing so since January 2011. I make them up and they're simple- but boy do they love them! 

To complete the woodland room, I farmed some of their favorite gnome prints in the window frame. I love home rustic it looks. Lastly in the far corner near the door I made some stump mushrooms with fabric and one painted. I also made a burlap 'dream' banner in Waldorf lettering to hang over the stump mushrooms. 

I think that covers it all. Phew. Like I said it was a BUSY weekend, but oh so worth it. The kids love their new room. They are sleeping better and seem to be more peaceful. I am just finishing up Rahima Dancy Baldwin's book, You Are Your Child's First Teacher, for the second time. If you have children under seven, I highly recommend it. 

How did you do your child's room? Did you see a difference in their sleep? Have you incorporated more natural surroundings into their bedrooms? If so, how?

Until next time!
Blessings, Nicole

Also Our $75 Nova Natural giveaway is still going on until 7/19!
Don't forget to enter!

Also please check out my blog hops tab to see all the lovely blogs I visit and am linking up to this week! 

Linking up this week with Frontier DreamsMagic OnionsNatural Suburbia, and Crafty Moms Share and a few others! Please check out my 'where I party' page!