Our Year Of Living (Beautifully) Without WalMart

Wednesday, December 30, 2009



Sunday, December 20, 2009

Festival of Solstice......

We are here at the coming of the Sun. What a lovely four weeks it has been.

Tonight we Moonstones celebrate the Midwinter Solstice. We will have a lovely meal followed by our Solstice ceremony (which bella will be able to stay up for, this time) and then our Moonstone Gift Exchange of gifts to each other which we have handmade.

I have made up the Solstice Table for our Advent Spiral. I wanted to have a stark white tablecloth with silver stars, but hey, there's always next year. I think this one will do just beautifully for a first time.

Our reading is an Iroquois Thanksgiving Blessing that I thought was absolutely perfect for the culmination of our Advent Festivals. We will read it in turn as we light the candlelights around our Advent Spiral. Here is the reading in its entirety.....

All Together:
Greetings to the Natural World!

The People

Bastian: (lights the candle of Humankind)
Today we have gathered and we see that the cycles of life continue. We have been given the duty to live in balance and harmony with each other and all living things. So now, we bring our minds together as one as we give greetings and thanks to each other as people.
Now our minds are one.


The Earth Mother

Momma: (lighting the candle of Stones)
We are all thankful to our Mother, the Earth, for she gives us all that we need for life. She supports our feet as we walk about upon her. It gives us joy that she continues to care for us as she has from the beginning of time. To our mother, we send greetings and thanks.

Now our minds are one.

The Waters

We give thanks to all the waters of the world for quenching our thirst and providing us with strength. Water is life. We know its power in many forms-waterfalls and rain, mists and streams, rivers and oceans. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to the spirit of Water.
Now our minds are one.

The Fish

We turn our minds to the all the Fish life in the water. They were instructed to cleanse and purify the water. They also give themselves to us as food. We are grateful that we can still find pure water. So, we turn now to the Fish and send our greetings and thanks

Now our minds are one.

The Plants

Bastian: (lighting the candle of Plants)
Now we turn toward the vast fields of Plant life. As far as the eye can see, the Plants grow, working many wonders. They sustain many life forms. With our minds gathered together, we give thanks and look forward to seeing Plant life for many generations to come.
Now our minds are one.

The Food Plants

With one mind, we turn to honor and thank all the Food Plants we harvest from the garden. Since the beginning of time, the grains, vegetables, beans and berries have helped the people survive. Many other living things draw strength from them too. We gather all the Plant Foods together as one and send them a greeting of thanks.

Now our minds are one.

The Medicine Herbs

Now we turn to all the Medicine herbs of the world. From the beginning they were instructed to take away sickness. They are always waiting and ready to heal us. We are happy there are still among us those special few who remember how to use these plants for healing. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to the Medicines and to the keepers of the Medicines.

Now our minds are one.

The Animals

Bastian: (lighting the candle of Animals)
We gather our minds together to send greetings and thanks to all the Animal life in the world. They have many things to teach us as people. We are honored by them when they give up their lives so we may use their bodies as food for our people. We see them near our homes and in the deep forests. We are glad they are still here and we hope that it will always be so.

Now our minds are one.

The Trees

We now turn our thoughts to the Trees. The Earth has many families of Trees who have their own instructions and uses. Some provide us with shelter and shade, others with fruit, beauty and other useful things. Many people of the world use a Tree as a symbol of peace and strength. With one mind, we greet and thank the Tree life.
Now our minds are one.

The Birds

We put our minds together as one and thank all the Birds who move and fly about over our heads. The Creator gave them beautiful songs. Each day they remind us to enjoy and appreciate life. The Eagle was chosen to be their leader. To all the Birds-from the smallest to the largest-we send our joyful greetings and thanks.
Now our minds are one.

The Four Winds

We are all thankful to the powers we know as the Four Winds. We hear their voices in the moving air as they refresh us and purify the air we breathe. They help us to bring the change of seasons. From the four directions they come, bringing us messages and giving us strength. With one mind, we send our greetings and thanks to the Four Winds
Now our minds are one.

The Thunderers

Now we turn to the west where our grandfathers, the Thunder Beings, live. With lightning and thundering voices, they bring with them the water that renews life. We are thankful that they keep those evil things made by Okwiseres underground. We bring our minds together as one to send greetings and thanks to our Grandfathers, the Thunderers.

Now our minds are one.

The Sun

We now send greetings and thanks to our eldest Brother, the Sun. Each day without fail he travels the sky from east to west, bringing the light of a new day. He is the source of all the fires of life. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to our Brother, the Sun.

Now our minds are one.

Grandmother Moon

We put our minds together to give thanks to our oldest Grandmother, the Moon, who lights the night-time sky. She is the leader of woman all over the world, and she governs the movement of the ocean tides. By her changing face we measure time, and it is the Moon who watches over the arrival of children here on Earth. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to our Grandmother, the Moon.

Now our minds are one.

The Stars

We give thanks to the Stars who are spread across the sky like jewelry. We see them in the night, helping the Moon to light the darkness and bringing dew to the gardens and growing things. When we travel at night, they guide us home. With our minds gathered together as one, we send greetings and thanks to the Stars.

Now our minds are one.

The Enlightened Teachers

We gather our minds to greet and thank the enlightened Teachers who have come to help throughout the ages. When we forget how to live in harmony, they remind us of the way we were instructed to live as people. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to these caring teachers.

Now our minds are one.

The Creator

Now we turn our thoughts to the creator, or Great Spirit, and send greetings and thanks for all the gifts of Creation. Everything we need to live a good life is here on this Mother Earth. For all the love that is still around us, we gather our minds together as one and send our choicest words of greetings and thanks to the Creator.

Now our minds are one.
Bastian: (Lighting the candle of Solstice)
We have now arrived at the place where we end our words. Of all the things we have named, it was not our intention to leave anything out. If something was forgotten, we leave it to each individual to send such greetings and thanks in their own way.
Now our minds are one.

ohenton kariwahtekwen - iroquois thanksgiving address

Well, we have made it to the end of our Advent calendar. Our gnome has traveled East to West With the Sun. Thank you so much for sharing our family's Advent. We hope that the coming of the light envelopes you with warmth and Light to guide you through the winter and the coming new year.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Festival of Humankind

Festival of Humankind
The Fourth Light of Advent Is the Light of Humankind...
The Light of Love, of Thought, to Give, and to Understand...
...At this week's ceremony we will light the Blue Candle of Humankind....
We will place on our altar representations of we Moonstones as we Honor our place in the Universe, our World and in our Home as we await the return of the Light that Comes at Solstice.
This week we will take time to go inward to reflect on how we can bring Our Lights into the world of Darkness...
How we can be more Giving, Thankful, Thoughtful, Loving and Understanding to all the other Human Beings in the World and to ourselves in our own Home....
As we begin this Darkest Week of The year, Let us honor the ways that we bring light to the world....
This week we will be celebrating ourselves as people as well as being introspective about what our roles as people are and can be.....
I set aside this week apart from the flurry of activity that normally surrounds the holiday. All crafting is to be done or set aside, all gifts mailed. I will be putting the house to rights for solstice/yule week, but otherwise just spending time loving on my family and thinking about how to better myself and humankind in the new year.
This week's verses:

This week's reflections:

Monday: What are the best things you have ever given other people?
What are the best things that have been done for you?
What are the best things you have ever received?
What are the best things others have done for you?

Tuesday: Name five historical people that you admire. Tell us why.What can other people learn from these people?

Wednesday:If you could give anything to any people in the world, to whom would you give? What would you give them and why?

Thursday: Make a list of REAL things you will DO to help and give to others in the coming year.

Friday: Name three things you would like to better UNDERSTAND than you do now.....Next to each one, write down ideas of who to ask or what resources to look up to LEARN about them and get more of an understanding...
Saturday:Write three Letters of Gratitude to people you are grateful for. Put a stamp on them and mail them.

Friday, December 11, 2009

the pagan census....

on a lark, i participated in The Pagan Census....i found question #49 to be of particular sweetness....

*= things i checked...

49. Do you consider yourself to be(check all that are relevant):
Do you consider yourself to be(check all that are relevant):
*Ceremonial magician
*Eclectic Pagan
*Goddess worshipper
Hellenic Pagan
*New Age
*Spiritual, but dislike labels
*Witch (not Wiccan)
Other (please specify).
Also, if you checked more than one of the above options, indicated which is/are the most important.

My answer in THAT box......

"Spiritual, dislike labels"


Monday, December 7, 2009

Festival of Animals.....

Festival of Animals

The Third Light of Advent is the Light of Beasts...
Animals of Farm, Field, Forest, Air, and Seas
Await the birth of the light, the greatest and the least...

...At this week's ceremony we light the Yellow light of Animalkind....

We will place on the altar representations of the animal life which shares our world and marvel at the different kinds of animal lives that enrich our world....

This week we will honor our place in the animal kingdom and expand our understanding of the majesty that other species of animals possess and reflect on how we can better serve the animals who share our world....

This week we are celebrating the Festival of Animals. We began to night by placing on the altar different representations of animals. Earlier I had added the Yellow Stars to the table...We read our verse for the week as well as shared a story called The Story of Ellah-Jah from the Tales of Tiptoes Lightly about the creation of animals....
We also Laid out acorns for the squirrels, and sometime this week we will be making pinecone bird feeders which we will hang from our tree....
We will be donating funds to buy a flock of chickens for a family in a third world nation, to help their family have food and a livelihood.
We also welcomed into our home Merlin Moonstone....

This week's stocking verses........... (as ever, click to enlarge on any picture. thank you.)

This week's Advent Guide Questions for Discussion...

Much Love till next week....

Sunday, December 6, 2009

twas the night before solstice....

'Twas the Night Before SolsticeBy Kristie Burns

'Twas the night before Solstice and all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even our pet mouse

Knitted wool stockings were hung with care

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there

The children were tucked in organic cotton sheets,

The air filter blocking pollution from the streets.

While mama stayed up to make handmade gifts

I co-slept with the kids and watched auras shift.

When out in the herb garden arose such a clatter

I sprung out of our futon to see what was the matter!

Away to the solar panels I flew like a flash.

They took me hours to install, I hoped they hadn't crashed.

The crystals we'd laid out to absorb the moonlight

Sparkled like fairydust and blocked my sight.

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a miniature sleigh without any reindeer.

At that moment I knew that the little old man

Had received my last letter so bold and so grand

Could you stop using reindeer?

Last year I wrote him,

And enclosed with the note a PETA pin.

As he neared the house in his all-wooden sleigh

I noticed it was powered by wheatgrass and hay.

Ostheimer! Kinderkram! Stockmar! Fair Trade!

Don't bother landing if the toys aren't handmade!

"Hey Arriana," I called to my wife with chagrin,

"With that body mass do you think he's vegetarian?"

She paused only a moment from her crafting and said,

"One moment dear! I'm shaping this gol-darn Waldorf doll's head!"

On our roof I strained to hear the ole boy

But I'd recently insulated it with soy.

So I drew in my hand and was turning around,

When in through the front door came St. Nick with a bound.

The Advent wreath had caught in his hairAs I said,

"Why in the world did you enter from THERE?"

The soot in your chimney contains poisons galore.

You should consider the environment more.

But he was dressed in fur from his head to his foot

So I said, "Look whose talking about my soot!"

A bundle of felt he had flung on his back.

"I hope you like handiwork," he said with a laugh.

His eyes - how they twinkled!

His dimples were treats!

His cheeks reminded me of when I dye silk with beets.

He must be of the choleric type I mused.

It's a good thing with lavender the stockings I infused.

With his fur boots he slipped on the bamboo wood floor.

I offered him Arnica and then closed the front door.

After all that I'd paid to the energy company this year

I didn't want one bit of that cold air in here.

He had a broad face and a little round bellyI asked him,

"Have you seen your naturopath lately?"

He was so chubby and plump I worried for his health

But I laughed when I saw him in spite of myself.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to task,

Needle-felting dragons and weaving a mask.

He knitted a pure cotton sweater and two pairs of mittens,

Then picked up a knife and carved 2 wood kittens.

He finger-knitted an entire nativity scene,

With the most amazing skill I'd ever seen!

When he sprang from his seat on the floor and arose

I yelled, "Arianna - watch - there he goes!"

With the unfinished doll she was struggling to sew,

Arriana went to watch him out the window.

And I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight!

"Arriana, my dear, the stiches are too tight!"

Thursday, December 3, 2009

this is your brain.....literally

This is a human brain cell. I mourn for the ones that are snuffed out by small mindedness and deadened by the drone of the media and the diffraction of the Ego of the outside world.

I pray for the ignition of the brain cell. I hope for the Lights of Humankind to radiate, pulsate, and glow, leaving every human being in the Light of Love so that we can evolve past the enslaved, darkened, and deadened state we are being placed in by those who are able to control the dampening of HumanLight.....

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Festival of Plants

Today begins the Festival of Plants....Very exciting, and so far the Advent idea is going over VERY well, especially with Sebastian (who is kinda the whole point)....He is really enjoying it as are we all. Last week Fred attended the ceremony with us before bed and enjoyed that very much. We kinda "fell behind" in both the daily pages as well as the verses/gnomestockings....I don't know whether it was because Thanksgiving was this week, or what the reason, but it's ok. This is all very try and enjoy....(as opposed to trial and error)...
But things are going gorgeously and this is very exciting and thought-provoking. I am glad Sebastian is enjoying it so much. I am glad I am enjoying it so much. When I get the chance to sit and think of ideas, the possibilities really are endless....
This week, as our special activity we will be planting our spring bulbs, putting up and decorating the tree in Sebastian's room... as well as doing our daily sheets, green prayer flags and whatever other fun activities i can conjur up.
To deck out the altar table this week i added our houseplant, Phyllis (short for "fill-us-with-water")...she was a gift at Bobby's funeral and I have kept her alive...a miracle! She is our only houseplant....hopefully that will change....
as well as the green stars for the week and some flowers I made from felt....I would really like us to add real flowers this evening....We shall see....

I am not going to type out the entire page thingies this week....mostly it is "what is your favorite flower/fruit/vegatable", etc. But here are the verses in the stockings...(as ever, click to enlarge)

Much love till next week!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Festival of Stones....

Festival of Stones

The First Light of Advent is the Festival of Stones...
Stones hat live in crystals, seashells, and bones....

....At this first ceremony we will light the red candle of stones
We will place our stones we have chosen on the altar as well as shells we have gathered in our travels

This week we will reflect on stones which are the bones of our Mother Earth.

Tonight begins Advent here at our Home. We begin with the Festival of Stones. Here is the emblem of the Week, the Moonstone Mandala:

This is what the Seasonal Table looks like this morning (the children haven't seen it yet, as they have yet to go to the kitchen).....

There is my personal collection of stones: Kyanite, Rose Quartz, Rainbow Moonstone, White Moonstone, Agate, Blue heart rock, Shiva Linga, Petrified Wood, a Geode, Ohio Pink Granite, My Butterfly Stone (remind me to show you a pretty picture of my butterfly stone sometime), and I am sure I am missing some....

There are also Seashells from The Gulf of Mexico, The Atlantic Ocean, and the Pacific Ocean, as well as from here in Ohio and from Colorado...

And a wishbone i have been saving :)

The Four Advent Candles are there: Red=Stones, Green= Plants, Yellow/brown= Animals, Blue= Humankind and White=Soul/Yule/Solstice (i have a candle that belonged to my father, who died on Winter Solstice 1996 that I burn a little every year and at "occasions" such as births and deaths. It is the one which will be lit on Solstice Night itself)

Tonight as part of our ceremony, We will add to the altar favorite stones of our own (jonathan and sebastian) as well as stones that we all picked the other evening in Yellow Springs at the Craft Store....the Littles even picked their own....
(pardon the picture, it is a scan. i couldn't take a picture that was any better...it is a new year's resolution to learn the camera, i promise)

Jonathan- Citrine (he hasn't made the Sacral Connection, yet. I wonder if he will...
Steffani-Kyanite, a Stone Rose, and the Harry Potter Moonstone i saw a few weeks ago but was still at the shop...
Sebastian-Green Obsidian and Copper (wise of him to choose a metal too, and I draw the connection with Bobby and Copper, but he hasn't yet)
BellaLuna- Rose Quartz....

Through the week, we have Advent Guides that ask a question for discussion that day, prompt activities and thought, and which I look very foreward to....I hope Jonathan and Bastian enjoy it....
I scanned pictures of the actual sheets and then will type what the questions are, but, to enlarge, click on the pictures...

Monday: What are your favorite stones and gems? Why are they your favorite? What do they mean to you?
Tuesday: The three different types of Rocks are Igneous (created by fire) Sedimentary (created from layers of sediment) and Metamorphic (Igneous and Sedimentary rocks that have changed forms into metamorphic rocks).... Tell how each of these stones have meaning to your life. For example What sorts of igneous things have made you who you are, sedimentary, and how have those things Metomorphosized you?

Wednesday: Find the meanings of 8 gemstones you want to learn about...
Thursday: What does being a MoonSTONE mean to you? What does the STONE in moonstone mean to you? How can we better live up to our name?

Friday:Find out all our family's Gemstones. What do they symbolize? Do the Stones fit the people? How are they Like the stone? Different?
Saturday: Create a Moonstone Art Project out of Stones, Shells, etc. WIth a "stone" Theme....To share at tomorrow's ceremony and keep for future advents :)

Then through the week we will have different verses in the Advent Stockings for each theme. I have four that I have found so far, will fill in the rest before we get there :)....
I feel the stone
and through the stone the earth
and my past
and my future
as i am grounded to my present...
In the ridges and hollows,
are the rise and fall of my heart,
as I live out my destiny
to tell of the stone
to tell of the earth
to tell of the journey....
My journey on the surface of the stone.
I am but a dust mote
pitched from place to place
on the whim of the wind.
I scatter the seeds of some poerms
to be carried on the beaks of birds
to be mixed in the whispers of the wind
for the ones who hear my message
and come bearing me treasure.
The treasure of Truth
in that one line
of Love.....
Stone rough and jagged
Tumbles down the hill,
Falls into a river,
There lies calm and still.
River's ever-flowing,
Water sparkling bright,
Curving, twirling, slip and slide
In the Summer light.
Years flow by like water-
water on the move....
At last the stone once jagged,
is polished, round and smooth
The rocks are hard
and we stumble.
The rocks are sharp
and we bleed
The rocks are heavy, jagged and dense
crushing and dark indeed....
But the rocks bear the weight of the world
They bear up our steps with might
And deep within, like stars on earth
Their jewels glisten bright....
Deep in the kingdom there spreads a great forest
Deep in the forest a mountain soars high
Deep in the mountain a high vaulted cavern
Secret and Solemn where fools may not pry....
Deep in the cavern there stands a great granite
Solid and silent and strong as the earth
Deep in the granite there glistens and gleams
A radiant jewel of wondrous worth....

Each week we will also write our intentions/manifestations/gratitudes on our prayer flags for the week, and each week i will add the colored stars for the weeks that the Littles and I glittered until at Solstice, i will place on the altar a white cloth with silver and gold stars....

sooooo excited! :)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Our Advent calendar came in the mail today! yay!

Marci made this for our family. It is our advent calendar forever and always and we will cherish it greatly.

This year is the first time I have been able to prepare in advance to have a full celebration of Advent. Many activities are planned for each week. A special gathering each Sunday night (where we will learn about the festivals and share thoughts from the week prior, as well as work on our prayer flags we will be making, and time for reflection and sharing about each element as we learn about them and honor them....among many other ideas....i will of course share with everyone.... i am soooooooo excited to be doing this)

The Verse the idea comes from is:

The first light of Advent is the light of stones.
Stones that live in crystals, seashells, and bones.

The second light of Advent is the light of plants.
Roots, stem, leaf, flower, and fruit by whom we live and grow.

The third light of Advent is the light of beasts.
Animals of farm, field, forest, air, and seas.
All await the birth in greatest and in least.

The fourth light of Advent is the light of humankind.
The light of love, the light of thought, to give and to understand.

Each night of advent Sebastian will draw a verse pertaining to that week's festival from the stocking and will read it and we will share our thoughts on the topic....

We will begin our advent next Sunday evening beginning with the Festival of Stones....

The first Week of our Advent is the Festival of Stones.... During this week we honor the stones of the Earth and how they help build our lives. How buried deep in the cold ground they are the bones of the Mother Earth.....

The color of our prayer flag for that week will be Red and the symbol is a moonstone mandala....

The Second week of Advent is the Festival of Plants.

During this week we honor the place of plants in our lives and the life of the earth. We will do activities and have verses that reflect on our dependence on plants and green things....

(during this week we will plant our bulbs for next spring, among other things)

The prayer flag color for this week is Green (of course) and the Symbol is the Tree of Life...

The Third week of Advent is the Festival of Beasts (animals). During this week we honor the spirits of the animals of the world and their wisdom and ways of being.

If all goes to plan, this will be the week we will receive our new moonstone animal family member. We are looking to get a cat or kitten so that we can extend our lives to a pet.

We will also go meat-free during this week and much more again after.

Other activites will include feeding our yard squirrels some acorns we gathered on a picnic in yellow springs, as well as making pine cone bird feeders to hang from our tree....and reading animal stories....

The color of the prayer flag for the week is Yellow and the symbol is Ta, the Wind Horse....

The fourth week of Advent is the Festival of Humankind . In this week we will honor our fellow human beings and learn to more peacefully coexist with each other and all people.....

Activities will include Charity, Helpfulness, Giving, and Kindess ........

The prayer flag color for the week is Blue and the symbol is Om.

The Fifth and final bit of our Advent will be (something i kinda made up) the Festival of Soul....There are a few days between the last Sunday of Advent and Solstice itself, which is on Tuesday....And still a few more days between Solstice (the 22nd) and Yule (the 25th)....So on this week, we will learn about the Yule festival and what it means (Yule literally means "Wheel" as in the turn of the Wheel of the Year.)....

Activities will include the Decorating and Lighting of our tree on Solstice, and all the yummy lovely goodnesses of the Yule celebration, with presents, music, movies, good food and treats, and of course Santa's visit!

Following Yule, we will hang our Prayer Flags we have made in order to set our intentions for Good Fortune in the coming year....

I am excited about the Season this year. I feel I am doing a great thing in honoring this time of year and its significance as well as creating memories, gifts, magic, and knowledge for the children to remember, cherish, and enjoy for the rest of their lives.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Art Cabinet

I LOVE the art cabinet. It is one of my proudest Mothering thingies. I first read about this in the book (that i LOVE) Mrs. Sharp's Traditions by Sarah Ban Breathnach. (Someday I will blog about the book. Till then, you'll have to find it on your own. Its card catalog number is: 646.78) SHe called it a "Rainy Day Cabinet" filled with things to amuse the children on a rainy day.

The idea is to make a cabinet where your kids can always find what they need to create art-type projects and crafts. One centralized location for all their fanciful needs. And as they grow it is more and more invaluable. I have had mine since Sebastian was very small, I would say three, if I remember correctly.

It is pretty uniform at this point. Sometimes I add new things that I didn't have before. But normally I just stock up on things during Back To School and at Tax Time when we have a bit of extra money. But the possibilities are endless, and the value is immeasurable.

The cabinet itself was Sebastian's Great-Great Grandparents'. When they passed, it is the thing I picked for our family (without knowing about the art cabinet quite yet)....I started it then, when Bastian was three....Not even knowing I was doing it. It sat by My desk in the old kitchen and i put my envelopes in it and stuff and Bastian's coloring books, and odd stuff. I have always kinda had a school/office supply jones....

I decoupaged it and really started the Art Cabinet in earnest in the fall of 2006 when we moved to the Basement Apartment in Greeley. When we went for Bastian's School supplies i resolved that that weekend was THE weekend and the art cabinet would be born.

I would encourage every mother and other to make one. Even for yourself, as a creativity haven. It is amazing to have everything in one place. And, I believe, it is an INCREDIBLE parenting tool, for the littles. I know that Bastian feels pleased to've had one his whole life. It really is a special thing.

Here is what is in ours....(and on ours....and yes, i just cleaned it out and organized everything...it is NOT always like THIS....)

On the top are containers for:

  • Pens

  • Pencils

  • Colored Pencils

  • Sharpie Markers

  • coins/money

  • one small container for "Stuff"

The camera also resides on top (we had a time this afternoon when we thought the camera was gone! yikes!) normally. As do wallets, and all sorts of junkola...but not this day :) on closer inspection i also see the HOTSAUCE for cursewords....(which are almost nonexistent now, thanks to the HOSSOSS)

On the Top Shelf inside are:
  • Index Cards/Post-It notes (for scribbling, mostly ha...and at back to school time you can get the packs of index cards for a quarter or less...)
  • crayola markers
  • beads
  • glue gun/glue sticks
  • stampers and stamp pads
  • stapler and staples
  • watercolors
  • oil pastels
  • modeling clay
  • The TAPE (having the tape in one place is incredible in itself)

Normally I also have Elmer's school glue and Rubber Cement, but at the moment it appears that we are out....( i think i might i remember a cataclysm with the glue-all....)

On the second shelf are Mostly my stationary and things. What a great thing, eh? To have all this in one place. Mostly I have bought vintage cards and stationary at thrifts and yardsales, etc. VERY cheaply. For pennies, really, at the most. By the bag for a buck or less, preferably.

On This shelf are:

  • Envelopes (Normally Long AND short, but only short today....i think maybe it might have something to do with glue-all)
  • Extra Index cards (looks like I need to stock up....I had, but gave some to charity with a stack of school supplies)
  • Packs of Recycled Looseleaf paper (watched it go from $3.29 to .63 cents...yay)
  • cards, cards, stationary, cards, stationary....Sorted by different occasions (in another fit of organization, of course)
  • my BIRTHDAY BOOK....one of my favorite things....It is sorted by month and then has a page of numbered "days" of the month where you write the birthdays in it. It helps, because I really do aspire to send cards. It's something that makes me happy.
  • the multitudinous address labels aforementioned....

Third shelf down is The Children's Shelf.... Can you imagine having something like this when you were little??? Did you? Lucky duck!...

  • The tin is my FAVORITE mucha...The Zodiac...this is maybe my favorite tin of them all. Inside it is full of Crayola (only! and the extras from when we go to Frisches) Crayons...Bliss!
  • Coloring books
  • The white box holds a project I have been working on since I was pregnant with Sebastian, that I will complete, I HOPE before Fred's Birthday next year...It is an Alphabet/Color Book.....I am sure I will blog more about it soon...
  • Construction paper (lots! always!)
  • The brown box is full of stickers (see earlier blog "frugal hack: FREE STICKERS") and in the ziplock baggie are even more stickers that wouldn't fit in the box for size.

Fourth Shelf holds the box i created to hold my beatiful magazine clippings in. The plan is to get another box for the littles with pictures they love in it someday..... Under it is the "fancy paper". I like to stock up on "scrapbooking paper" at the craft stores when they are on sale. I won't pay over 10 cents/ sheet, though. I am cool like that. The other thing on the shelf is a HUGE box of old printer paper that our old neighbors were throwing away a couple years (!) ago when we lived in the basement apartment. A couple years and we haven't even made a Dent in it.

The bottom shelf (which is broken and sure, yeah sure, i am gonna fix it...) is loaded with Highlights magazines from when Bastian had a subscription from grandma mae for a couple/few years and some that Jonathan's grandma had held onto since he was little and others we have found at yard sales, etc. Also a Big stack of Humpty Dumpty and Jack and Jill magazines from the 1960's....awesome!

I imagine we can only branch out in our new home. (the manifestation is a craft ROOM with LOTS of closet/cabinet space) To fabric crafts/knitting/sewing/painting for ALL :)

Thank you for sharing...Go forth and make your own Art Cabinet, mothers and others!

***BONUS picture....the side of my fridge that sits next to the art cabinet***

frugal hack of the day---***FREE STICKERS!!!***

I have collected Frugal/Helpful Hints every since I have been a Mother/housewife. Sometimes I magically get the wherewithall to use them. Today was one of those days, so I am passing on my experience/idea to you just in time for the holidays....We are all too poor to be ashamed of homemade, ingenious, sweet gifts, aren't we???

Start of 2009, we Moonstones dedicated ourselves to contributing more of our (not much) money to charity. So we scoped out our favorite charites and started saving mailers of who we wanted to give to. I have even more ideas of how to do this, but after our experience in this, we have taken a break from mailing money to charity, and just contribute when we are asked in person, and things like that.

We gave (pretty tiny amounts, really, but what we could) to perhaps five charities in the first couple months. (I won't name them i guess....) Environmental charities, a couple animal charities and a couple diseases....

THEN THE FLOOD OF MAIL..... I don't have to tell you if you've been through this. But I was SHOCKED at the amount of mail that has poured into this house DAILY from this. And especially infuriating are the ENVIRONMENTAL charities....I wish I had the gumption to make a stack to photograph....One day I did take a picture when the stack for that DAY was especially high....

I was just flabbergasted and astounded. It was really bad that the charities we had JUST sent (a TINY amount of) money too, IMMEDIATELY sent mailers asking for MORE money and for RENEWALS....

Then millions of other charities started in. A deluge. Deluge is not too dramatic a word for this.

And they sent STUFF....Paper stuff mostly. Notepads, Greeting Cards, Calendars, all sorts of ephemera. We COULDN'T give more. And we certainly couldn't give to all of the charities that sent us STUFF. The amount of address labels alone could wall paper our kitchen!

Most of all of it ended up in the recycling bin. I just WONDER about the multitudes who do not recycle. This charity mailer thing has to get pared down!

But the reason we are here, is my frugal hack. STICKERS!!!!

Some of the address label sheets had stickers embedded in them. And some just had the little pictures before the name/information. These made perfect FREE stickers for fred and bella (and bastian if he wants!) to play with!!! yay!

We are renting this house, we are planning to move in a year and half. I will NEVER mail 85,342,609 letters to use the address labels. So i kept a FEW (maybe a hundred ha) of my favorites (the exception being the Peta Labels that say "Steffani Moonstone" :)

Cut out all the rest of the little pictures and stickers, recycled the slough, and Viola! Free Stickers for littles!

I don't know about you, but I would not be in the least offended if someone gave my children these stickers for a gift. They are an ingenious present. Nor would I in the slightest ashamed to put them in a cute little box and give them to any other child.

We are all too broke for shame and offense, are we not???? These stickers are a WIN WIN WIN :)

Remember when we were young children? The THRILL of STICKERS!!!! Unmatched. As bribing tools, collectables, etc. etc. etc. Remember sticker books?!!! You could easily make a quick "Sticker Book" out of construction or other paper.... :)

There are stickers in this box of animals, flowers, all different holidays and times of year, fruits and vegetables....all sorts of things...Hundreds of stickers!

Enjoy! :)

(People who say "I don't have time to cut out stickers".......Think of the time, even slight that you are working to PAY for anytime you would ever buy stickers....)

The (million---no exaggeration) Address Labels that i still have left.........plenty!