Thursday, December 24, 2009

Lee Family Holiday E-News!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Thanks for a yummy, wholesome breakfast!

Here was the Lee family breakfast menu on December 22nd...Yummalicious!!

Our scrumptious pancake breakfast smothered in Vermont Maple Syrup and fresh cut apple slices gave us just the energy we needed to ransack the house repeatedly and create lots of wonder in the meantime!

Anna added a couple of Ghiradelli dark chocolate chips in hers to finish them off...can you blame her??

Happy Solstice!

What a fun day we had at Chez Lee! The Lee girls and Mama worked on handmade holiday gifts from unused 2x2 travertine tiles left over after our home renovation. The girls created two coaster sets: one for Papa's birthday tomorrow and one to send to Grandma Lois and Grandpa George in Maryland. We also worked on painting paper bags we have saved to use as wrapping paper this year! We enjoyed an hour of artmaking together! What joy!

For this year's solstice celebration, we purchased 4 Florida Native plants to plant in pots on our porch that we used to grow herbs and tomatoes this summer. This week, in honor of Solstice, we will plant coral honeysuckle and Jessamine and watch them grow.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Good morning,

As promised, here is a photo of our trees!
I plan to use a large, plastic tray to catch water when watering and wrap our tree skirt around pot. The tree stands about 6 ft+ tall and Anna and Cora Jane's little tree is about 2 ft. See CJ in the window in her pink pajamas?!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Green Holiday Ornament ideas!

As I said before, we are a family of four who celebrates Hanukkah, Winter Solstice and Christmas, so when I write that we purchased a Holiday Tree, we truly mean a tree that can symbolize all of the good joy and wisdom and light imbued in these traditions. For the last five years, our family has had a few small tree traditions, including red ribbon wishes and simple tree decorations that we have hand made.

In 2004, when Anna was born, I gathered with a woman friend of mine and her baby and we made claydough handprints and footprints of the babies as holiday gifts. I decorated my tree with them and have done the same every year since. We also started our red ribbon wishes in 2003, when we were expecting Anna. In the years that have followed, Anna has begun creating decorations at her Temple school as a tiny girl. It seemed important to me that our tree be a place that is full of wonder and welcoming of little hands and hearts. So I try to make it as safe and interactive a place as possible.

In 2007 and 2008, Anna and I have worked to design and craft star ornaments from self-hardening clay which we painted cobalt blue and silver for Hanukkah. She requested today during our Holiday tree adventure to make more with her little sister, Cora Jane. I will dig out our supplies in hopes of not needing to make any purchases!!

In 2009, we will use our LED lights, which use about 90% less energy than regular Holiday lights and one strand can be re-used for up to 50,000 hours worth of use. We will also make more Hanukkah stars with self-hardening clay, acrylic paints, various sizes of star cookie cutters, and glitter, of course! To add some new life to our tree, we will also gather pine cones and acorns from our backyard to make birds and reindeer with simple glue, paint and again, glitter, of course! I hope to add Cora Jane's hand and foot prints to this year's tree as well. I have some casting supplies from former pregnant belly casting projects so will likely employ that as well!

We will most definitely keep you posted!

We are in love with our Holiday Tree/s!!!

Image of a Southern Redcedar tree
(we'll post ours once uploaded!)

We did it! Anna and I visited the farm we mentioned earlier today and after learning that the trees we chose were not treated with pesticides, we selected two, one tiny and one 5-6 ft, Southern Redcedars, the original, old-fashioned Holiday Tree native to our region in Florida. We are most excited to take good care of these trees and plant them in our backyard. For those who don't know, we lost a beloved 50 plus year-old Laurel Oak earlier this fall that filled our entire backyard with cool shade. We are delighted to have invited two new Southern Redcedars to live in our backyard.

Upon purchasing them, I called our friend Bill Bilodeau of Earthsong Gardens, Florida native plant expert, landscape designer and permaculture guide who has also parented our gardens and planted them with almost entirely Florida natives in November 2007 (More on Bill's good work at Bill came right over to our place to help us receive the Southern Redcedars and also for his yearly visit to our place to plan a garden grooming day. He helped to find a great spot for our New Year's planting of these two sweet trees; and taught me that they will grow in a large, tear drop shape and provide great wind screens as well as being salt tolerant making it a great tree for our seaside city. We will post some photos as soon as I upload them!

Here is some factual info I found on the Southern Redcedar:

The dense growth and attractive foliage make
Southern Redcedar a favorite for windbreaks, screens,
and wildlife-cover for large-scale landscapes. Its high
salt-tolerance makes it ideal for seaside locations.
Redcedar can make a nice Christmas tree, and the
fragrant wood is popular for repelling insects. Cedar
Key, Florida, once had extensive redcedar forests
before the lumber was extensively harvested and the
wood used for chests and pencils. Although not
currently used often as a street tree, its wood is strong,
the foliage is clean, and the fruit is small making it a
suitable candidate. There are some nice examples of
street tree use in southern cities. With proper pruning
to remove lower branches, it should adapt well to
Forest Service - Dept of Agriculture Fact Sheet - Nov. 1993

Well, I have researched some holiday tree options in and around St. Petersburg and I found a farm in Ruskin, FL, about 36 miles from home. I am getting ready to load up the car and head over to see what I can find out about eco-friendly practices and holiday trees. I imagine that I will use extra fuel this year figuring it out, so by next year, I will have a good plan and won't have to do so much leg work. I tried calling to speak to John, the farmer, but he was out on the farm.

I figure the worst that will happen is I will get to pick some fresh strawberries to bring home. I am really on the fence about whether to pick Anna, 5, up from Kindergarten early to ride along...

Will post details of our day later!!