Today, I wanted to share the Advent Calendar I have been working on the last few weeks, as it is finally complete! I went back and forth about many different ideas, but felt super inspired by the tags, fabric, and textures in this little project by Jones Design Company and all of a sudden I was ready to go for it.
I went to the craft store at a perfect time, too. All of their holiday fabrics were on sale (not that I needed much, anyway), and I got the holiday fabric and burlap for a total of $5.00. Woohoo! I had the doilies from some of the projects we used at our wedding, and they were ready to be re-purposed into snowflakes! (Another doily project here from our wedding). The large tags were just a couple dollars, and the wooden dowel was $1.00. So, not only was this project a fun and useful Christmas decoration, it was SUPER inexpensive!
I cut the holiday fabric into little squares and sewed them onto the paper tags. I am still learning to sew, and this was a great project for practicing straight lines, which from the close-ups photos you can tell I still have a lot to work on! Then we stamped the tags with numbers for each day, 1-24. For the burlap, I just folded the edges over to get clean looking sides and used a hot glue gun to secure it. I also used hot glue to attach the doilies. Finally, I cut down a wooden dowel, slipped it through the top of the fabric, and used some hemp twine to hang the whole thing. The tags were fastened using little pins through the burlap. I debated using an actual bulletin board behind, but I chose to go without so the whole thing can be disassembled and rolled up for easy storage!
Last year, a friend and I came up with advent activities, so I printed those out, selected the ones we would do this year, folded up the papers, and put each activity in a fabric pocket. I realized we definitely need more adult-friendly ones, as most of the activities we came up with were more aimed toward kids. Any activity ideas you can share would be much appreciated!
Day 1 of our advent activity this year will be setting up the Christmas tree, and I am just so excited to get started!
Posted by Shaleesa Mize on 11/19/2014
I cannot begin to explain how excited I am to have my hometown traditions back, including one of my all-time favorites for Autumn…Green Bluff farms! Maybe you remember last year’s search for a pumpkin patch while living in Denver. It didn’t go so well, and I was left without a pumpkin or caramel apple and really without any kind of experience at all. Since moving back, I have been looking forward to this day to revisit my favorite farms on the bluff, Siemer’s and Harvest House. How I missed the expansive rolling hills that look out to the mountains and over the valleys, the live music and people-watching, the sweet smells of warm pumpkin donuts and caramel apples. Autumn never feels complete without a trip to Green Bluff with out family. In fact, I feel like our family photos taken there each year show our growth the best from little kids to adults.
Soon we will be carving our pumpkins and this year we will be trying to use the pumpkin seeds to bake and eat as a snack! It seems crazy that we have never tried that, but it will be a new and fun experience to actually use all of those pumpkin guts. :)
Posted by Shaleesa Mize on 10/15/2014
It’s been a long long time since I last went huckleberry picking, I mean, at least five, maybe ten years! The other weekend we went to our cabin at Priest Lake with some family and friends and picking huckleberries was pretty much our main goal for the time we spent there. We went two different mornings, for 3-4 hours each time, running from berry patch to berry patch and filling our buckets. By the end of the weekend, each person had a gallon (considering there were 7 of us, that is a lot of berries we found)!
I decided to use Connor and my two gallons for a couple different treats, including several mason jars full of huckleberry sauce (some which we gave out as gifts but plan to use on ice cream and cheesecake), huckleberry lemonade (which I drank all myself), and still have a ton left over, which I have yet to decide what to use for. Suggestions or recipes, anyone? Send them my way! Here are a few pictures from when we cleaned all the berries and boiled them into sauce.
Posted by Shaleesa Mize on 08/06/2014
I was super excited when one of my best friends asked me if I wanted to go on a hike and have a picnic at the Bowl and Pitcher, a popular spot along the Spokane river for camping and trails for walking and biking. It is a place I have visited many times before, but never really explored the paths to realize how large it is. We started wandering just around lunchtime, and after choosing some random paths, we were on our way. There were large rock mountains everywhere, and we got curious about how high they went and what was up before. So, we started climbing. At the top, we ran across an open space and a road that we saw a couple bikers riding along.
We figured we should follow them and see what they were heading toward. But, it turned out that the road they were traveling was a bit long and we had no idea where we were. We kept walking at this point because there were no signs or trails to navigate. After walking further up hill for a few more miles, we came across a scenic viewpoint, looking over the river, the forests, and the city in the distance.
Here, at the viewpoint, was a map. It appeared that we had walked several miles already, and the next closest thing was an equestrian center, a mile away. I remember my mother-in-law telling me about the paths of the Bowl and Pitcher — the one on the right (which we took) went into the woods, and the one on the left took you to the equestrian center. I figured, then, we must be close. So we continued down the road to the equestrian center, catching up on life and talking about future events. It felt like we were walking forever, but we saw a lot of pretty areas along the way.
When we finally reached the equestrian center, we were starving, but we found another map. We thought we had to be getting close back to the wooden bridge that would get us across the river and to the parking lot (where our food was waiting for us in the car). But after viewing the map, we had totally overshot the bridge and had a long hike back to the park. We memorized the trail we would need to take — two intersections where we would turn left on both — and headed off back into the woods. The trails seemed hardly used, and it turns out, there was more than just the two intersections the map had shown. We kept taking lefts anyway, and we got lucky enough to end back up on the right path, following the curves of the river. By the time we got back to the wood bridge, we had probably walked a total of at least 6 miles (which was more than either of us had anticipated), but it was a fun adventure nevertheless. We had built up an appetite and enjoyed the rest of our afternoon dipping our feet in the river and munching on picnic-y snacks.
How I love taking adventures and chatting with good friends! And how I love being back within nature’s reach!
Posted by Shaleesa Mize on 07/16/2014
This last weekend’s weather was absolutely beautiful and gave me a bit of spring fever. We have been doing lots of work on our home, and the weekend gave us enough time to paint the whole main floor of our house, have a lazy day, and have an adventure. I was looking on google maps one day and realized there was a reservoir maybe 10 minutes from our house. Reservoirs are sort of a new thing to us since coming to Colorado, so we wanted to check it out. Some are big and some are small, this one was right in the middle. It had a small beach and play area. The water was almost completely frozen over, and so of course Connor wanted to play on it. He didn’t go out too far, and good thing, because 5 minutes into the fun and games he found himself ankle-deep in ice cold water.
Being outside and in “nature” made me so ready for some adventure and outdoors in my life. We had the whole place to ourselves and it was pretty nice hearing nothing but the birds and the cracks of Connor throwing rocks onto the ice. I seem to miss out on these things, being so close to the city. But sometimes we find going out so overwhelming, not knowing where to go or where we are; nothing is familiar. It’s time to find our courage. It’s time to find what we are looking for and get out there. It’s time to find our oasis from the big city.
Posted by Shaleesa Mize on 01/22/2014