Oh, where do you come from you little flakes of snow? Falling softly, softly falling, on the earth below. On the trees and on the bushes on the mountains afar. Tell me snowflake do you come from where the angels are?

- Winter Verse from Ms. Donna


Some rounds from the peach tree branch Sasha gave the boys several months ago have been transformed into candle holders for the slender hand-dipped beeswax candles we made at the school’s Winter Faire. We plan to light them during our Christmas Eve dinner.

The gnome on the card tree was made by the very talented Monica Ashley.

Lego Winter Village in action & transformation


In November, in the very early stages –  the snowflake fabric makes me happy


Also in November

The beautiful (and often infuriating) thing about our Winter Village is that it is not a static display, it is regularly taken down and played with. It also grows and changes daily with new additions from the Lego Advent Calendar.


Patrick with all of the Winter Village (before the Advent Calender) on the building board that Gavin built

The boys enjoy playing with it, and on occasion, the Advent Gnomes get ambitious and set up scenes on a shelf in the dining room.


the “Advent Gnomes” got a little ambitious the other night and made a scene on a shelf in the dining room, complete with blue LEDs (Dec. 5th)

Shortly after the last photo was taken, the Winter Village had an encounter with an Abominable Three Year Old. He is still learning to use his “gentle hands” and learning the meaning of “leave it alone” and sadly the Village sustained extensive damage. The Advent Gnomes’ feelings were very hurt by the incident so now the Village is “resting” until it can be mended.

the Pineapple Express & Peanut Butter Play dough

A weather system nicknamed the Pineapple Express hit the west coast Wednesday night. School was canceled Thursday, and my cell phone pinged about a dozen times with flash flood, high wind, and pouring rain warnings. Sometime Wednesday night the power went out and stayed out for about 10 hours (?) possibly longer, coming back around noon on Thursday.

Breakfast at 6 am by candle light.

Breakfast by candle light at 6:00 in the morning.

Thankfully, we had some notice of the impending deluge. Our part of Sebastopol regularly gets stuck without power, so Wednesday morning while the boys were at school, I gathered candles, double checked the batteries in the lanterns and flashlights. To help pass the time as we waited out the worst of the downpour, I found some edible play-dough recipes — why edible? Why not?

The honey got cold so it took longer to pour.

All the things

I wasn’t totally thrilled with any of the recipes I came across, so I took the two most common variations and made my own.

Peanut Butter Play-dough

  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 1/4 cup powdered milk
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

What to do:

  • Dump in bowl, mix with wooden spoon until it has a play-dough like consistency.

IMG_0369The play dough kept them occupied on-and-off between bursts of creative play (train building in the living room), and getting out of the house for lunch (thankfully some parts of town had power).

Patrick consumed most of his play dough — the rest was thrown out after he dunked it in his water. Oliver’s was played with to bits that ended up all over the table, chairs and floor.

High fun factor, great flavor, pain in the back to scrape out of tile grout. I’ll keep this recipe on hand, but it’ll take another deluge to convince me to make it again.

The Advent Gnomes

The boys have two advent calendars this year, one from Lego, and one from the local fabric/craft store (on sale, plus a coupon) with pockets that can be filled. The Lego one, without fail, has so far something exciting each and every morning, the one that needs to be filled has had the occasional let-down.

The first four days of December the calendar to be filled was filled with care, peppermint bark squares, or mini-candy canes were discreetly tucked in to the pockets once they were snugly tucked into their beds, and then one morning, the pockets were empty.

How did this happen? Oliver looked at me in disbelief. I get enough grief for enough things so I passed the blame onto the Advent Gnomes. They’re the Gnomes responsible for filling the Advent calender (everyone knows this).

IMG_0320Sometimes I think the talk of gnomes and fairies in the early childhood at school is a bit crazy, and sometimes I’m really glad I’ve got gnomes to blame for one night of slacking off.

Oliver told me that he was “very sad the gnomes forgot, then he went over to the nature table where the Gnomes reside. He gave them a very stern talking to. He explained that the Nature Table Gnomes should tell them (the Advent Gnomes) they will bring chocolate tomorrow!

So far the gnomes have not forgotten again. 

IMG_0275The Advent Gnomes also took full credit for St. Nicolas’ visit. They left the boys clementines, chocolate, candy canes and carved wooden ornaments of their first initials to hang on the tree (when we eventually put it up).


our Lego Winter Village – Santa’s Workshop

Up until now, our Lego Winter Village has been made entirely out of parts we already had on hand — yes, we have a wide variety of part, and largely built without the aid of directions or building guides.

On the afternoon before Thanksgiving, Grandma and Oliver built the Christmas Tree Lot Truck. On Thanksgiving afternoon, Grandma and Oliver built the Giant Snowman. It was a lot of building, and Oliver was really excited to be able to do so much of it all on his own!

On Thanksgiving eve, Dulce, Gavin and I added Santa’s Workshop to our Christmas Village.The boys were thrilled to have a real Santa (not just Mommy’s found-parts “Santa”), and a real sleigh with the most adorable reindeer.

IMG_0235 IMG_0236 IMG_0238

our Lego Winter Village – Mall Santa & Renaissance Carousel

No Christmas Village would be complete with out Santa, as we didn’t have an “official” Santa, I put one together, I’ve nicknamed him “Mall Santa.” Mall Santa wears a pirate hat, a wizard beard, a costume borrowed from knights, and white “gloves” from a waiter. Mall Santa needs elves, so I found some mid-90s forest folk (think Robin Hood), confiscated their bows and arrows and set them to work as elves.

Mall Santa

Mall Santa

Winter Villages often have a gimmicky element, so Gavin built a Renaissance Carousel — it actually spins.


Renaissance Carousel