One Little Egg...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011
I found an egg in the coop today. An egg!! We have six chickens (only three are mature enough to lay) and haven't seen any eggs in a few months. I about flipped when I saw this baby and of course had to run inside and take a picture of it. (Crazy chicken lady, I know). 

The hens all molted at the end of summer and with the shortened day light hours, they just haven't been producing. Hens generally need 12-14 hours of light to produce and lay eggs and they are only getting about 10 or so. We'll be putting a light in their coop this weekend set on a timer to turn on at 4am. Hopefully that will entice the girls to start getting back to business. It's either that or we'll be having some really good chicken dinners soon. Totally kidding.

 Egg Watch 2012 will be starting soon as the newest additions will be getting ready to start laying in just a couple of months. Thank goodness - we need some eggs here, chickens!

This is new to us as our hens were in their egg laying prime last fall and barely decreased in their production. Those of you with chickens, do you notice a huge decrease in egg production during winter/fall? If so, do you let the girls rest or supplement with light? Would love to hear your experiences and how you handle things.

Renegade Road Trip

Wednesday, December 7, 2011
My friend Erica (of Parkside Harmony) and I are hitting the road bright and early on Friday for the Renegade LA Holiday Craft Fair.

From the Renegade folks: The 2nd Annual Renegade Craft Fair Holiday Market in Los Angeles returns to Los Angeles State Park on December 10 + 11, from 10am – 5pm, to supply all your handmade holiday shopping needs! Always free-to-attend and featuring over 200 artists, shoppers are sure to find something for everybody on their lists or can craft a special gift themselves at one of our terrific hands-on crafting workshops! A handful of LA’s best independent food trucks will be on site serving up delicious dishes and our bar will have many holiday libations!

At the Renegade Craft Fair you can expect to find only the best indie-craft and DIY artisans! Featuring both local and national talent, shoppers can anticipate a vast arrayof independently designed jewelry, clothing, paper goods, home + garden goods, posters, artwork, plush objects, bath + body products, and so much more!!

I'll be working at the Parkside Harmony booth with Erica. Stop by, say "hi," pick up some of her gorgeous handmade books - they make the perfect gift! 

Full list of vendors here

Little Snowy Getaway

Tuesday, December 6, 2011
We took the boys up to Prescott this past weekend so they could have some fun in the snow. The timing was perfect as a storm rolled in just before we got in to town. I'm not sure why we haven't taken them before - it only took us an hour and a half to get there.

The second we checked in to the hotel the boys were begging to go outside and throw snowballs. I don't like being cold and having snowballs hurled at my head so I volunteered to take pictures (no throwing snowballs at the person with the camera).

Finley was so stoked to be in the snow. He had this excited little grin on his face the. entire. time. 

Unfortunately, Oliver came down with a fever shortly after we arrived so he spent all afternoon in Jason's arms. 

He perked up the next morning.

And managed to tag Jason with a snowball.

Jason tagged him right back and Oliver was not a happy camper.

The sun was shining and the snow was melting fast so we went back to the town square to try and scrape together some little snowmen.

Clearly we are not experienced snowmen builders.

It was a quick trip but we had a blast (despite the fact that I am a cold weather idiot and had the kids in their Vans and Converse the entire time. I'm lucky they still have their toes. ;)

Slowly but Surely...

Monday, December 5, 2011
it's beginning to look a *bit* like Christmas. I have been sick the past two weeks (boo!) and am super behind on my holiday preparations but I have managed to whip out some new Christmas decor to give the house a festive feel.

I had a million grand ideas for a new advent calendar this year. On November 30th and nothing done, I ran to Target to buy one. Oh my - so ugly and overpriced. Ran back home, busted out my felt stash and an old bulletin board I had laying around to create this one. Inside each little stocking are two treats for the boys and a Christmas related activity to do for each day. It has been a blast so far and the boys love to peek inside each morning to see what we get to do.

Do you see these adorable trees?!?! I found them on the Anthropologie website (pictured on left) and pinned them a few weeks ago. However, we are really cutting back this year and they are totally out of my budget. Bless my sweet mom for figuring out how to make something similar and helping me with them! I think they turned out great and cost us just $17 to make six of them. 

Speaking of my awesome mom, she put together these little *globes* from some trees, mason jars, and salt. Love them.

Again, keeping the budget in mind I made this little peace banner for the fireplace out of linen and some leftover felt. It cost me a a few dollars and I love it.

Since we used mellow neutrals to decorate the family room, I figured the boys needed new stockings to match. These are nothing fancy and I was able to use fabric and felt that I had on hand.

(Please ignore the ugly black TV). We kept the decor simple and understated this year but I really like it.

And of course it wouldn't be the holidays without our cheeky little elf, Cooper. This is Cooper's third year with us but thanks to Pinterest and some creative bloggers, Cooper is far more clever than before.

Although I'm feeling frazzled and behind, my little guys are enjoying every bit of this joyous season. I hope you are too!

(I'm a little too scattered to come up with proper tutorials on these right now but if you have any questions as to how I made anything, please message me at - I'd love to help.)

Frances & Smeeks Crafeteria

Monday, November 28, 2011
It's almost here!! The best indie craft show in the valley, Crafeteria, is this Friday, December 2nd starting at 6pm. I have attended and sold at numerous craft shows/boutiques and this my absolute favorite. Crazy talented vendors, live music, super fun crowd, and an overall awesome vibe.

Sadly, I won't be able to attend this year. I am seeing Iron and Wine with Marketa Irglova at the Crescent Ballroom. (It's okay to be jealous - I would be too). Just because I have to miss out doesn't mean you have to. Bust out your Christmas list and plan on some picking up some unique, handmade gifts for friends and family. What better way is there to support small business and our amazing local talent?

Our Yearly Photos...

Monday, November 21, 2011
We had our annual family shoot last month with my dear friend Laura of Laura Winslow Photography and it was a blast! Many of you are familiar with her incredible work but if you haven't had the chance to meet her in person, I have to tell you that she absolutely rules. We met a few years back and became fast friends. She is one of the most genuine, loyal, and selfless women I've ever met.

I received the photos a few days ago and was blown away. As usual, Laura absolutely nailed it. Here are some of my favorites that we will definitely treasure for years to come.

Speaking of Laura, she is hosting an amazing giveaway valued at over $10,000 (!!!) on her blog starting today. Crazy awesome. Pop on over to check it out.

Laura Winslow Photography

Arizona Balloon Classic

Sunday, November 20, 2011
We spent the better part of the weekend at the inaugural Arizona Balloon Classic and it was amazing!

My nephew and I arrived early Saturday morning armed with our cameras hoping to get up close and get some fun shots. We weren't disappointed.

My nephew and I had so much fun that I decided to drag Jason and the boys out of bed at the crack of dawn and do it all over again on Sunday morning. Totally worth it.

Definitely a new yearly tradition for us.

Update: I just got back from dropping Finley off at school and heard that his teacher and several of my mom friends were angry at how this event was pulled off - like letter writing and phone call angry. They all went on Saturday night, and like the commenter below, were super disappointed at the lack of fulfilled promises from the Arizona Balloon Classic website. They had to wait in crazy long lines just to see five balloons. Their facebook page reflects the same feedback from those who went on Saturday night. Although there were definitely some glitches (which I expect from a first year event), we had the opposite experience by going early in the morning. Hopefully, the ABC folks will take a serious listen to the feedback so they can improve and make this a more successful event for *all* attendees next year.

Update on the New Girls

Friday, November 18, 2011
I have some sad news. We lost one of the new chickens a couple weeks ago. Lottie (the buff orpington) got underneath the fence and into the front yard. Our neighbor's dog spotted her, ran over, and killed her. I was devastated and our poor neighbor felt terrible. Ultimately, it was my fault for not securing the fence better (which has since been rectified by Jason).

The other chicks are doing great. They are now free ranging during the day with the bigger girls and for the most part, they all get along nicely. Flo continues to be a bit of a bully but they know to steer clear of her.  Anytime she comes within 10 feet of them, they panic and run away.

Francie, our naked neck, is still awkward looking but in the cutest way possible, right? (I don't want to give her a complex.)

The big girls love the chick feed and are forever trying to figure out a way to get into the pullets' coop. We use a plastic boat to prop the door open just enough for the little ones to fit in and keep the others out. Speaking of the coop, this crazy old coop we bought is such a nightmare - I spend at least 30 minutes a day trying to help the doves get out of it. And I'll be honest, the doves scare the hell out of me when they're flying around in a mad panic and going straight for my hair and face. When the girls are bigger and on layer feed with the rest of the chickens, we will move them into the big coop and use this coop for new chickens.

Lucy has just finished molting and loves to show off her bright white tail feathers. She was looking super ragged so we are happy that she's back to her lovely self.

Our fall/winter garden is amazing this year!!  There is nothing better than fresh produce straight from the garden (and this is coming from a girl who is not a huge fan of veggies).  A bonus is that we've managed to keep all chickens and dogs out of the garden so far.

With the gorgeous weather we've been having in the desert, we've been spending a ton of time outdoors.  I love this little moment that I captured between Finley and sock monkey...

and Oliver, piggy, and his "old lady."

Enjoy the weekend!