Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Day After Christmas

My favorite part of the holiday season is the day after Christmas...

when the floors are still covered in boxes and wrapping paper
when there's nowhere we've got to be
when there's nothing to do but snuggle and play.

So with a white day-after-Christmas this year, we cuddled by the fire and got into the groove.

While my hub and I opted to stay cozy in jams, the girls spent a majority of the day twirling in princess gowns. Fancy that.

Cities, constructed with countless Lincoln Logs and building blocks, were inhabited by a unique blend of nativity and Disney figurines.

Experimenting with color and design, we got swirly with our new Spirograph set.

These silly straw/glasses brought giggles galore to our lunch intermission.

And while the smocks were out, we created magnificent spin-art paintings to deck the halls with color.

Some people favor the build-up of Christmas—the shopping, decorating, planning.

Some favor Christmas Day—gathering by the tree with family, opening gifts and getting stuffed with love.

But for me, the real magic happens on the day after Christmas—when the whirlwind slows, the sparkles settle and the day is delightfully designated for comfort and play.

For me, THAT'S where it's at.

What's your favorite part of the holiday season?
I hope your days have been brimming with beauty, sweet friends.
Happy New Year's Eve! Cheers to ya!
XOXO From My Hearth to Yours

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Red Wine. Purple Teeth? 5 Toast-Worthy Solutions, Friends!

Holiday parties are popping up everywhere, and I'd bet a few folks wouldn't mind getting toasted toasting in the merriment with some fine wine.
how to remove red wine stains on teeth
Mmmm...reds go so well with Sweet Dutchess!
Although my palate sings over dry reds, I find myself sticking to white wines at social gatherings to avoid the stained smile that accompanies a savory Syrah.

Oh how can I continue to turn my back to my reds, whose full-bodied richness beckons to me over the lighter whites?

So I made the move and researched how to practically avoid dreaded purple teeth when enjoying a fine red—without carrying a straw, a whitening pen or peroxide mouthwash in my purse. Because really.
Here are 5 convenient ways to beat the bummer...

1. Plaque on the surface of your teeth will absorb the color, so brush your teeth before (but not immediately before, to avoid tainting your palate) sipping reds.

2. Slap some petroleum-based lip gloss/balm on before you get into the goods. Inevitably, the coating will transfer to your teeth, acting as a light barrier to prevent the wine's color from sticking.

3. Swish some water around in your mouth (sparkling is ideal) between glasses to rinse residuals off your pearly whites.

4. Excuse yourself and give your chompers a quick scrub with some tissue or cloth. Rub that red outta there.

5. Hit up the vegetable tray. Those healthy goodies will scrub your teeth and produce extra saliva to wash tannins right outta town. For a double whammy, chow down on some hard cheese which will coat your teeth with calcium and prevent staining.
red wine
And there you have it! 
Smile away.
I will, most definitely, toast to that!

If you have any other tips for preventing red wine stains on teeth, please send them our way!

Salute, sweet friends! Here's to us all.

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Learning to Love by Loving Lovies

I was a child addict...
a thumb-sucking, blankie-sniffin' addict.

I'd watch the clock in preschool, fidgeting with withdrawal, eagerly counting the minutes till I could get my blankie fix.

Oh, I loved that blankie to pieces. 
Want proof?
I still have it.
See?
blankie
Yup. That's my lovey right there—a ball of string tied into knots.

I assure you that it used to be an actual blanket, but this is what years of cuh-raise-zee affection does to a lovey.

Eventually, with encouragement and support from my family, I kicked the blankie habit and graduated to THIS addiction (which I promise I've almost kicked).

Nowadays, I help my darlings round up "Ladue Baby" and "Kitty Cat" before bedtime, and their doting love is met with understanding.
Sometimes, it's easier to relax with a lovey by your side—be it a stuffed teddy bear, a family pet, a fella or a favorite pillow.

These objects of our affection feel like a warm hug, smell like the sweetness of home, remind us of the security and comfort of unconditional love.

So I'm okay with lovies and everything they represent.

I watch my girls have tea parties with their snuggle buddies, brush their fur, even wisely suggest their pals get an occasional "bath" in the washing machine, and I'm proud of the thoughtfulness they exhibit.

Kids learn to love by loving lovies...
and I couldn't love that more.

For smiles today, check out this amazing story of how social media helped reconnect a little girl with her lost teddy.

*And for more info on the psychology behind lovies, check out this article from Parents.com

May you love your loves to pieces, sweet friends!
XOXO From My Hearth to Yours

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Monday, December 9, 2013

How to Avoid Static Shocks: Zap Attack!

Is it happening to you?

I mean DAY-UM!

Seems like, every time I get movin' these days, I get shocked (NOT electrocuted! Catch up on the difference in this previous post) at first contact.
static shock
You know me.
I spent an evening learning about static electricity and researched how to thwart the zap.

If you're a science nerd at heart :::high fives::: and would like to learn the hows and whys on static electricity, check out this post from Electrostatics.net and get in the know.

But here are some short answers to stopping the shock.

1. Watch yo' feet!
Shoes with rubber soles often generate a static charge when passing over carpeting. Try leather-soled slippers or shoes (my girls rock these), or walk barefoot or in cotton socks instead.

2. Rethink your socks/clothing/carpet materials. Wool, nylon, polyester and silk have a more positive triboelectric charge than cotton and are more likely to cause a shock.

3. Raise the air humidity in your environment. Plants, a humidifier, even boiling water on the stove will help add moisture to the air.

4. Dry or rub your clothes/hair with a dryer sheet to neutralize electric charge.

5. Rub some lotion, a barrier to prevent a static build, into your skin. Run your hands (with residual lotion) over your hair and clothes as well.

6. Condition your hair thoroughly to add moisture that will reduce static. Brush with boar's hair bristles (not nylon or synthetics) to tame flyaways.

7. Get rid of your charge by touching a grounded metal object with the (less sensitive) back of your hand. You can try to lessen your static by touching something made of wood before touching a light switch or metal object.

(I've had much success with this tip, especially before touching/hugging other people or hitting the light switches that tend to give me a jolt!)

8. Lastly, to get rid of the charge built from rubbing against the seat of your vehicle, touch and HOLD a metal part of the door frame as you leave your seat. Don't let go until your feet have touched the ground.

Also, try placing your hand against the glass window to diminish charge before touching the door.

Or, while holding your keys, touch the metal key to the metal of the doorframe to painlessly discharge the electricity.

Ditch the jolt, friends, and have a grounded season!
Any other tips or idea for beating static shock? Send 'em my way!
XOXO From My Hearth to Yours
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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Little Girls

I've never been much of a girly girl.
At the breakfast bar
I don't get my hair highlighted
don't have my nails done
high heels hurt me, 
and pink is just not my color.

But I do have daughters...
Lunch please, mom.
who want accessories on everything,
who can't get enough purple sparkle nail polish,
and who clop around the house, unfazed, in my brutal stilettos.
And you know what?
Having these crazy cats as daughters is just beyond best!

How could I not be inspired by their creativity
their dazzling whimsy
their uber-funky wackadoo?!?

Now there's a balance, for sure...a compromise.
I managed to convince them to get down with yard work though! See?

I mean, even the dog has to get into glam.
Because it's just easier when you don't fight it, right?
Right.
Oh, thank heaven for little girls...
Off to accessorize, friends.
XOXO From My Hearth to Yours

P.S. I'm also a realist, so check back with me in about 10 years to see how I feel about having two teenaged little girls. Think my tone will change? 
:::sigh
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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Thanks Board

As the holidays approach, I've been brainstorming ways to teach my daughters (and myself) greater humility. 

'Tis the season for overindulgence,  and the "Whaddya want for Christmas" attacks have already begun. 

As I toss a pile of stuffed animals back onto my daughters' snuggly warm beds, I've been finding myself thinking about those who have less...
those who face incredible hardships every day.

Man.
We often forget how truly blessed we are, huh?
So this month, we're focusing on gratitude.

My girls have a white board next to the table where they dine. 
Every morning, I ask them to think of something they are thankful for, and we add it the board. 
I love their responses. 

Our pillows seem softer this month, our showers more exhilarating.
Our wonky Internet connection is less irritating, and shots at the doctor's office seemed less of a battle this year. 

We have so very much to be grateful for every day.

It's important to change perspective from time to time— to switch from wishing for things we don't have in order to better appreciate all that we do

This little "Thanks Board" has had a big, positive effect on our family this month, and for that, I'm truly grateful.

What's your strategy for embracing the true meaning of Thanksgiving this year? Send us new ideas!

"Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world." 
-John Milton

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Dorm Room Art of Yesteryear

Back in those rowdy undergrad days, let's just say...
things used to happen in my dorm room. 

Oh, so many things.

Never one for awkward silences, I used to conjure up "activities" to make my guests feel at home. 
A doodler by nature, I'd whip out art supplies, flip over a laundry basket to use as a makeshift table, and my buddies and I would get into art and conversation. 

And what art we created!
With each visitor expressing his/her own unique style, the cinderblock walls of my dorm room were adorned with original masterpieces that I will forever treasure.

Each piece represents so much to me—

the colorful expression of our young adult beginnings,
the perception of a world that was ours for the taking,
the blending of our now and then lives.

Amazing what some paper and color can pull out of a person, huh?

Special thanks to the unforgettable friends who came and went in ol' Johnson Hall—
who hooted in the stairwell
giggled in the elevators 
and colored all my memories with YES.

The pages of that history will always have a place in my home and in my heart.
Much love to you all...
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Monday, November 18, 2013

Use Leftover Paint for Furniture Makeovers

Got some old furniture in desperate need of a fresh makeover?
Before
After
I think this bookshelf has been hanging around since I was a tot, and the chipping white paint was starting to look awfully shoddy. 

To spruce this shelf up for a new look, leftover paint from one of our recent projects gave it an updated, neutral gray color that will better compliment our current style. 

I'm keepin' it! 

Leftover paint is ideal for revamping outdated furniture that might otherwise end up getting tossed. 
Now that I'm into it, I have about 4 more pieces in the lineup for a makeover. 

Loved this quick, easy and fun rejuvenation project!
P.S. Here's a cool trick my fella taught me to make clean up a breeze.

Instead of pouring paint directly into a tray, wrap the tray in a plastic bag first.

When your job is complete, simply remove the bag and throw it away instead of scrubbing paint out of the tray. Easy peasy!

Get creative, friends!
XOXO From My Hearth to Yours
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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

How to Keep Leather Laces Tied

I LIVE in my Minnetonka slippers...

so much so that I keep a spare pair over at my folks' house so's I's gots me slips when I come a' knockin' over there. 

But the dang leather laces!
Always coming untied on me. 
Can't be having that. 

Gotta love the interwebs.
With a little research, and some gabbing with my girls, I found solutions to keep us from trippin' on loose laces. 
how to keep Minnetonka laces tied
According to the Minnetonka Product Care page:
The natural oils and attributes of leather causes laces to easily untie. Tips to keep them laced:
  • Slip into your footwear and adjust the laces to a comfortable fit. Soak the bow (not the whole shoe) in water; this will shrink the leather slightly. Let the bow dry naturally and your laces will remain tied.
  • You can also apply a small drop of superglue underneath your bow’s knot for extra security.
I also found this YouTube video, "The Ultimate Knot for Minnetonka Moccasins," if you're looking to get all Eagle Scout on the job. 

Several sites recommend dabbing clear nail polish or white glue (which will dry clear) on the tied knot if you don't have superglue handy.

Preferring milder remedies, I soaked my laces last night and they've stayed perfectly put. Will report if I need to up the ante to try a more aggressive solution in the future. 

Any other solutions I've missed? Add tips to the comment list.
Keep 'em nice and neat, friends!
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Monday, November 11, 2013

Frame THIS

This idea couldn't be easier for quick, festive decor for any occasion.

Really!
Grab some fancy wrapping paper (find AMAZING styles here) and cut it to fit inside frames of your choice. 

For our daughter's "Rock Star Party" this weekend, we used framed guitar wrapping paper to add a bit of edge to the groove. 
LOVED it!
Try this with beautiful greeting cards as well.

Or take wrapping paper even further with these creative ideas from Lemon Drop Shop.
Lemon Drop Shop has great ideas for wrapping paper art.
Get artsy, sweet friends, and have an amazing week!

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Monday, November 4, 2013

GIVEAWAY: A Car

When my fella and I graduated from college, we decided to spend the summer driving across the country. We needed a vehicle with some serious muscle.

Enter "Andy Capp," our brawny Jeep Cherokee—aptly named for its trademark red visor and well-suited for our nearly 6000-mile adventure.
donate car to charity
Only some bagonzo off-roading to Gold Bluff's Beach in California took him out of the game for repairs. 
Andy Capp, driving through some Redwoods
Up and running again in no time, Capp was a strong road warrior indeed...
eager enough to keep on truckin' for countless adventures beyond our X-Country trek.

But as ten venturous years passed, like any poor aging sap, Capp started getting a little... rusty.

You know.
Things stopped working.
Like a lot of things.
Nearly EVERYthing.

It was time to let Capp go. 
donate car to charity
But how to do it?

Sell him? 
Junk him?
Trade him?

:::LIGHTBULB:::
Donate him!
donate car to charity
After much consideration, and a little research, we learned that you can donate vehicles to many charities.

We contacted our local Autos-4-MS chapter at the National MS Society here and arranged a pick-up.

A few days later, Capp was towed away for auction.
Once sold, the profits will be donated to "help drive MS away."
YAY!

The MS Society will send us a letter to inform us of the Jeep's auction worth which we will file as a donation in our annual tax report.

Everybody wins!
donate car for charity
Goodbye, old friend!
If you have a "beater" that has met its end (and a little love in your heart), consider donating your vehicle to a charity of your choice.

If money is tight but you still feel like giving, research other options this season.

Check out previous posts Three Reasons to Donate Your Hair, BIKE MS, and The Best Gifts We Gave This Year to learn more about how we've worked to "give back" in 2013.

Let me know if you make any thoughtful donations. I'll happily spread the word about your awesomeness!

Giving feels good. Get into it, friends!
XOXO From My Hearth to Yours

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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds...with a KICK!

Don't throw away those pumpkin seeds!

This Halloween, try my easy, spicy concoction for roasted seeds with some serious KICK!
After you've gutted your pumpkins, toss the innards into a bowl with water to encourage separation. 
Let it sit for a half hour or so and then remove the seeds from the goop.

Lay the clean pumpkin seeds on a towel to dry for an hour or so.
Preheat your oven to 275 degrees F.

Once dry, toss 2 cups of pumpkin seeds into a bowl and mix with-
1 1/2 tablespoons of melted butter
1/2 teaspoon of garlic salt
2 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce

and if you're awesome and brave, add...

1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
a teaspoon of Sriracha sauce
a teaspoon of tabasco sauce

Once thoroughly mixed, spread the seeds on a baking sheet and place in the oven for 30 minutes.

When the time has elapsed, stir the seeds well and continue to bake for another 30 minutes- total bake time should be about one hour, till the seeds are slightly browned.
Then sit down by the light of your jack-o-lantern and enjoy the fruits of your labor!

Happy chompin', friends. I can't get enough of this devilishly delicious snack.
HAPPY HALLOWEEN!
XOXO From My Hearth to Yours

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

At the Horror Show


My students used to be surprised to learn that I'm a total horror movie buff. 

With countless Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween and Stephen King movies burned into my memory, I can definitely roll with the big dogs when it comes to enduring a good scare. 

Seen 'em all.
But, during my first pregnancy, my thought process changed.

Suddenly, that wasn't a promiscuous twit getting chased through the woods...
it was somebody's kid
somebody's sister
somebody's friend.

That's a lot more horror than I can handle these days.

I realized it was time to cool out on the creepy scene. 
And I really have.

But at Halloween...
I fall right back into old habits,
especially when my sister is around.

Horror movies are kind of our thing
Spookin' it out with my homegirl
So last night, we snuggled up with some candles and candy to watch The Conjuring—which was everything it needed to be.

Maybe I had to walk her to her car when it was over. 
Maybe I jolted BAGONZO style when my fella took a trip to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
Maybe we should stop watching these tension-builiding movies.
The Exorcist
Really though. In late October, who can resist a good scare?
Something about that electric thrill reminds us how ALIVE we really are.
And three cheers for that, huh?

It's amazing how alert a person can become when they're on edge.
Just ask my sister, who maybe patrolled her house brandishing hedge cutters the other night...

What's your favorite scary movie? 
This Halloween, I recommend A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors for an incredible blend of horror and bad humor. OH, the one liners...

Happy hauntings, friends!
XOXO From My Hearth to Yours

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Pumpkin Carvin' Time

Over the past few years, I've had requests to share my pumpkin-carving process.
Ask and ye shall receive.
Harry Potter pumpkin design
Harry Potter
We begin by searching the Internet for ideas.

Once we find an exciting design, I either freehand a pencil sketch on the pumpkin—or if the image is intricate, I print out the design to scratch/copy onto the surface.
This year was a scratch/copy year.

Holding the print against the pumpkin, I use a sharp needle to firmly scratch the outline onto the surface. 
When the scratching is complete, I use a ball point pen to fill in the lines for greater visibility during the carve.
Once the lines are clearly drawn, using a serrated knife, I open the lid and remove out the innards with an ice cream scoop or large spoon.
 Save and dry out those seeds! Delicious recipe coming later this week!
And then it's down to biz.
I use a sturdy, serrated steak knife to do all my carving.
I have tried using "pumpkin carving kits" but I find the strength of a solid knife is more reliable.
Once the design has been penetrated, I slowly extract the knife. Then, using a controlled stabbing motion, I slowly trace the pattern with the knife.

I use very little quick sawing motion when I carve. My method is slower and more controlled.

After I've stabbed around a shape, I press against the inside of the pumpkin to determine if the piece is ready to come out.

Often, I need to gently repeat insertions around the segment before it is loose enough to push out—like a puzzle piece. Be gentle and patient.
Slice around a section until it is loose enough to slip out with minimal pressure
I find the stab technique effective to avoid breaking pieces of the design.
Slow and steady.

Once you pop out your final segment, light your pumpkin's candle and bring your design to life. VOILA!

We've really been having fun with our carvings over the past few years, and I can't wait to attempt new, more challenging designs.

Any great carving tips or tools?
Send ideas our way!

Happy HALLOWEEN, boils and ghouls!
XOXO From My Hearth to Yours
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Monday, October 28, 2013

On Adult Temper Tantrums

As a peanut, I'd wail and cry—sometimes with my face pressed under my bedroom door
to be extra sure my mom would hear me tweakin'.

In my teenage years, I'd scream into a pillow with all my angst and rage
then cry...
far away from the door
to be extra sure no one would hear me.
It's adult time now.

I like to think I've currently got a handle on my emotions, but hey. Two X chromosomes. So...

Personal spazziness aside (cough), as a former teacher, a mom and a student of life, I've witnessed plenty of temper tantrums—
and man.

They should teach a class on handling this biz.
Image Credit
Adult temper tantrums are never cute.

In my desperate valiant effort to maintain composure as a role-model to my wee ones, I've been studying up on adult trips to the zoo.

If you saw this viral YouTube video of an adult woman's temper tantrum...
you feel my concern.
Just can't let that be happening ova hey-a.
Or to people I love.
Because yeesh.
Homegirl needs some shiraz.
Quick.

Then there's this clip, of a mom who lost her marbles after a let down in her local Apple store. It's short and self explanatory. Mama needs service STAT. The hand stomp slays me every time. I'm there with you, sista. Come ON!
                                          
While these current examples are undoubtedly hysterical, don't let this happen to you.
In order to grow with positive change, we've just gotta get adult freak-outs under control.

Whether you have 'em, deal with 'em, or are working on preventing adult temper tantrums, 
here's my favorite piece of advice from Wall Street Journal article This Loved One Will Explode in Five...Four

"Psychologists agree on the importance of remaining calm when the other person blows up. This isn't your tantrum. Don't withdraw completely, but limit what you say to validating the person's feelings—that you understand why he is upset—not the bad behavior.

"It's unlikely you'll have a constructive conversation when someone is in the red zone," says Susan Orenstein, a Cary, N.C., psychologist who specializes in anger management. "But I think it's important to say something like, 'I can't really listen to you when you are throwing things. But I would be glad to listen when you calm down.' "
After everyone has quieted down, explain calmly why the meltdown upset you. Ask your loved one how the tantrum made him feel and what might really have sparked the anger."
I think that's good advice, don't you?
Definitely gonna try to remember this.

I learned that it's a bad idea to engage someone who is tweaking. Make a clear statement of acknowledgement and take a step back to avoid worsening a volatile episode. 
Higher road, friends. 

Another CBS article suggests that backing off is crucial when a person is losing it. Gotta give the tantrum-er space to blow off the edge before they say or do something they'll regret. 

Let's work together, people—so that no one we love ends up tantrum-ing on YouTube, 'kay?
And if you know any good tips on handling adult freak outs, send them our way!

Here's to Zen...

P.S. Know a repeat offender blow-er up-per?
Another great resource in dealing with adult tweak times.
More on the psychology of adult temper tantrums.


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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Repurposing Onesies and Burp Cloths

Lil' peanuts sure do grow up fast, huh?

Seems like, by the time the first birthday candles are blown out, there are BINS of outgrown clothing, burp cloths and blankies taking up space everywhere. 

We hand down and donate tons of used baby gear, but I've found a wonderful way to repurpose oldies but goodies!

Grab those outgrown onesies, use scissors to remove the snaps and then open by cutting up the side.  
Voila!
Create perfectly sized, super soft dust rags...
and hold on to the memories of those newborn days just a teensy bit longer.

Don't dump those ultra-soft burp cloths either!
Old burp cloths are ideal for household cleanup!
Slice 'em up and reuse as dust cloths, eye compresses or under counter rags for cleaning up spills in the kitchen or bathroom. 

It's the 21st century. Let's cut back on the paper towels and napkins and try to be resourceful. 
Old baby cottons are perfect for around-the-house use. 
Old socks turned into LEG WARMERS!
Same-sies with old socks. Catch up on my previous post about repurposing them for cleaning or to make a groovy fashion statement here

Reduce, reuse, recycle, sweet friends!
XOXO From My Hearth to Yours

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Mercy Kill That Would've Been Murder

While eating breakfast yesterday, we heard a nasty THUD.

Looking out onto the deck, the girls screeched at the sight of a beautiful robin writhing in pain, poop and feathers. 

Poor darlin' hit our window hard, and as his companion robin pranced hopefully by his side, the victim bird twitched in agony.
Image Credit
With ruined appetites, we watched the tragic scene unfold.

The companion hopped to and fro, waiting for her friend to revive, and we scrambled to figure out how to end victim bird's misery.

What to do?
As we tossed around ideas for a humane mercy killing, I shuddered and cringed. 
I honestly didn't think I could do it. 
But the scene on the deck was so desperate, so grim—I grappled.

Fifteen minutes later, when I figured that both the bird and I had suffered enough, I was about to make a move when...
BOI-YOY-YOING!
Homeboy sprung up and shook his head, took another massive poop, and began to teeter over to the side of the deck.

A recovery like no other!
And in the nick of time...
To think of what almost transpired!

After some research, I learned that birds often go into a state of shock after hitting windows that can last anywhere from 15 minutes to over an hour. 

This poor robin hung around on the deck for about an hour before hopping down onto a beam, where he sat to regain his bearings for another hour before flying back into the mix.
Lesson after research? Three steps.

1. When a bird collides with a window, gently place it in a shoebox (with a lid with holes poked in it) to protect it from predators while it recovers.

2. Keep the box in a warm, dark, quiet place to keep the bird calm during revival.

3. After about an hour, open the lid and hope the bird flies off into the wild.

Put the mercy kill on hold and keep your fingers crossed, friends.
That was a close one.

XOXO From My Hearth to Yours
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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Legendary Sacred Oak of Oley: The Real Giving Tree

We've just discovered that the Giving Tree is real, and it stands tall in Oley, PA. 
Follow the edge of the corn field until you spot the majestic tree. 
With riveting stories of the Lenape Indians' reverence for "The Sacred Oak," (currently estimated to be 500-700-years-old) and the powers they believed it to possess, we studied up on the tree's history and ventured out this weekend. 

Have a gander at the legendary story of the Lenape chief whose love was spared by the Great Spirit of the massive Chinkapin oak here. What an astounding tale!
People gather here,
marry here,
pray,
meditate,
remember,
scatter the ashes of loved ones.

Talk about energy...

After a treasure hunt to find the location, we spotted the sprawling oak and our jaws dropped. 
It's that wow.

No photo could ever do it justice.

A plaque at the base claims that the 84-foot-tall tree is the largest yellow oak in the United States. 
And we believe it. 
Yow-za!

Not only is this tree massive in size, but there is truly a hugely positive, welcome energy surrounding the site.
You can't resist the urge to caress the bark
to wrap your arms around the trunk (it took SIX of us, holding hands to make a ring around the base!)
to sit in the nooks formed by the roots.

And emotion intensifies as you notice the "gifts" left in the Sacred Oak's care.
Each item most certainly holds a story—holds heart.

Imagine the meaning behind the treasures propped at the base, hung from the bark, tucked into the roots and crevices—incredibly moving.

These trinkets remind us of how vulnerable and human we really are compared to this sturdy oak.
Whistle and feather hanging on the bark- and, on left, unique silver trinket laying on a knot
Now I'm not a super hokey person,
but something about this tree really got to me.

I connected
deeply.

Mesmerized, I dreamed of visiting the tree alone sometime
on quiet and still afternoon.
I got lost in a reverie of curling up in a nook against the tree—with a pillow, blanket and sketchbook.

The idea is strangely alluring
strangely calming
strangely familiar
like there's incredible strength and safety there.

It's weird
but real
and awesome.

There is love in this tree.
Ballet shoe and stick sculptures
Wanna see for yourselves?

There is a sign stating that the path to the tree is open to the public only from dawn till dusk. This, most recent article, addresses the new landowner's plans for allowing future access to the great oak.

To keep up with the haps at this famed site, "like" the Sacred Oak community page here and be reminded of the magic that stands, deeply rooted down the cornfield's path. 
How many "heads up" pennies can you find embedded in the trunk?
Go there.
You'll feel it, too.

But be sure to behave when you visit...
Legend states that anyone who desecrates this site will be forever cursed. 
Don't mess with The Great Spirit of the Sacred Oak.

This might be my new favorite place on the planet, so treat it with the utmost respect.
Here's to the mighty tree...

P.S. If you're as captivated by these stories as we are, check out these local Sacred Oak articles from Oct 2, 1927 and March 1, 1952.

This article has more information about the Sacred Oak's history and future in Oley.

Or backtrack to the previous landowner's efforts to preserve this magical tree by reading this beautiful story about The Sacred Oak's allure.


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