Dancing in kimono,
clothing and tea ceremonies,
martial arts,
delicate watercolor and intricate paper crafts—
the Japanese people have such a colorful,
and very symbolic,
We learned how to dress in kimono
and listened to giant drums with heads of hide.
It was a long journey there,
but such a worthwhile experience.
It is enriching to the spirit
to appreciate the positive culture
of countries worldwide.
One day I will go and appreciate their
beautiful, nature-centered culture in person.

This post is part of a series! Check out the collection here.

A Saturday Tale

It was a chilly, winter Saturday morning, and I wanted nothing more than to follow my New Year’s resolution and chase adventure!

My family decided to take a stroll through our local farmer’s market to visit an old friend (who sells thebest salsain the whole world) and grab a hot breakfast cooked to order. We enjoyed her quail egg breakfast sandwiches, as well as some baked cinnamon donuts by the most exquisite baker in town. Is your mouth watering yet?

We also tried some spicy BBQ sauce made with cane sugar, and warmed our frigid fingers to a blend of freshly ground coffee, made from a local couple. I’m SO grabbing a bag of that Sumatra next time! Pop that into the French press and steam away…

A couple of other goodies we found was a homemade king cake by the talented Mrs. Francis (who’s basically everyone’s grandmother), some chips created by a guy who was in the high school band with me, some divine pastries from yet another baker, and a bottle of herbal root beer kefir soda. I have to admit…I really dig this soda! It’s fermented with yeast, and the lady who makes them in town has so many flavors to choose from! When I visit her tent, it’s like going to a juice bar. She even has little fountains so you can taste a few different flavors to find your favorite. Be warned–these are considered probiotics! (And make you feel GREAT!) [Insert Thumbs-Up Here]

I’ll take this time to mention I also pet the most adorable boxer I’ve ever met. She’s chocolate brown with a satin coat, and the sweetest smile and tail wag! I made her extra excited, so she almost knocked her owner to the ground… She looked like this, just a darker brown.

I apologize for the lack of photographs, I seem to have been too concerned with keeping my hands warm that I neglected my phone! You can see a few of our buys here, though:

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Can you spot hard-boiled Mardi Gras quail eggs?

The Farmer’s Market was only the beginning of Saturday adventures, though. After running a few errands and resting for a couple of hours, it was time to get ready for the Polyester Power Hour PartyIt was a night filled with disco music by a local band, Krossfyre, and boogie shoes all around. The band was phenomenal! No one even needed a chair, because everyone wanted to dance. If you want to hear some clips, visit my Instagram post and swipe past the photos.

I’ve never really been “out,” as people call it, because I don’t drink, and I don’t prefer to be around a bunch of people who drink too much. It’s not usually how I have fun, so it was a new experience for me. But…this party was a riot, and my beau and I had a blast!

The main reason I had a blast was due to two people whom I’ve been dying to meet–the hosts of the morning show on our local radio station! I have been listening to them for nearly 15 years now, and it was an honor to meet them. It MADE. MY. YEAR. Thank you, C.J. and Debbie Ray, for being so kind to take a photo with me.

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-beaming with pure happiness-

What new experiences do you look forward to on the weekend? Once you have the chance to unwind and have time to do what you love?

❤ Michelle

Of Friday, 8th December 2017

A Prose Poem

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“Sneaux” – if you look closely, you can see the snowflakes falling. ❄️

I saw frost first, sprinkled on the tips of the rigid grass blades through the glass pane of my bedroom window; there was a blur of white under a grey sky, and I was drawn toward the door in my too-soft socks and winter flannel, but no jacket or shoes. The door whined open to prickly air that bit my nose and sent my body into its first shock. The second shock—cotton piles on the Grand Marquis and on the Ford; on the wooden birdhouse littered with sunflower seeds; and floating on the wind’s breath—its descent nearly slowing time’s steady hand. My too-soft socks failed to comfort my too-frigid toes, so quickly I dressed to run about the wonderland for which I felt so blessed; never do we see Monsieur d’Hiver avec sa perruque en poudre.

Fresh snowflakes performed pirouettes and leapt past each other in a race to the warm earth. Crystals rested on my hair in perfect mountain-peak fashion. A rabbit hopped quickly through the slushy yard toward the fluffy squirrel digging furiously for his pecan buried under the ice—the hare bounded so quickly that her cotton ball tail and ski-like thumpers were all that I could spy. But the most beautiful scene was the husband cardinal, who donned his finest, brightest crimson suit, waiting patiently on the bird feeder to gather breakfast. He fluttered up into the silver maple, whose leaves were only a summer dream, as my shoes crunched and slopped through the frozen grass and sloshy puddles.

I wished to stay home from work to kindle my Christmas Spirit like a fireplace, to spend special time with my family in such a breath-taking, rarely-witnessed phenomenon. The snowfall grew so heavy that it forced my eyes closed—then the sleet returned to ruin the snow’s ballet. Before long, my hands became so cold, and warm coffee lured me back inside to leave this powdery paradise forever in memory.

❤ Michelle

Photos of the Season

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Welcome back to the halfway-point of the Autumn Lovin’ Series! I take lots of photos (as my phone told me this morning I have run out of storage), and this season especially encourages me to capture every special moment. Mostly I’ve taken pictures of the sunset, but I love taking photos with my family and at events like festivals or other outings that I enjoy particularly in the fall.

There are so many opportunities to take pictures at home. Our back yard is beautiful, and our neighbors’ cat blends right in.

When I’m away from home, I get even more inspiration! We don’t get a huge view of the sky where I live, so when I see a huge sky, it makes me want to take as many shots as possible so I can remember it.

What inspires your creativity? Photography, art, writing, or otherwise? 🍁📷🍂

❤ Michelle

Crafty Parents = Crafty Kids

Autumn Lovin' Series Banner

The end of another week—and it couldn’t have come fast enough!

Thanks for checking back in for week 2 of the Autumn Lovin’ Series! If you’d like to start the journey from the beginning, check out this post.

Today’s topic is a little activity for the kiddos! One of my favorite ways to pass the time as a young girl was to take nature walks. We would bring a paper grocery bag along to fill with anything interesting we found along the way: pretty leaves of all colors, sticks, stones, and even bird eggshells.

A brief guide:

Take your child to gather their special supplies. For this particular, no-glue project, tell them to look for sticks and any leaves they may be interested in.

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I had to cut my branches down to size. If one way doesn’t work….pull out the big guns! *Parents attempt only*

Once there are a plethora of leaves available and they have chosen some sticks, find a vase or flower pot to arrange the sticks. What you are trying to create is a tree-like form, from which multiple leaves can hang.

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I tied a piece of thread around each leaf stem to make a make-shift (very crunchy) ornament. *If you cut these ahead of time, your child can do this on their own, even though it can be tedious!

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From here, it’s pretty obvious—hang your sweet ornaments from Mother Nature on your autumn tree. When hanging them by the stems, it mimics leaves falling. I loved how the leaves seemed to dance when the air conditioner blew on them!

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I wrapped my vase in an old peanut bag we had lying around. It made for a soft, autumn touch, don’t you think?

You can hang so many other things from the branches, as well, such as feathers, photos, or even leaves that your child drew instead of delicate ones from outside. My branches are pretty sparse, so you have lots of freedom here!

The best part about doing this really simple, adventure-filled project with your child is how much they can learn about the season. Some questions that might guide this learning activity could be:

  1. Why do leaves fall off of the trees?
  2. What kind of leaves am I picking up/which tree did they come from?
  3. What kind of animals use leaves as camouflage?
  4. What is camouflage?

When I was growing up, I also used to glue all of my crispy leaves to my paper bag to make a fabulous seasonal tote for all of my toys! Though this “tree” isn’t too in-depth a craft project, it provides a wonderful opportunity to go outside and enjoy the fall air. Being outside, picking up pretty leaves, and watching all of the animals in our yard is still probably my favorite thing to do in autumn. Now you can share this joy with the young ones, too!

Happy crafting,

❤ Michelle

P.S. Parents: I know it may seem a bit dirty to keep on your dining table, but how about a patio table? I mean, they made it after all! 😉