Tuesday, December 30, 2008

In search of...

Have you seen this dollhouse?

If so, please tell me where! I want it, I really, really want it and haven't been able to find it in stock anywhere in the US. Carey, the wonderful proprietor from my favorite online toy shop, Quiet Hours Toys, tempted me with it last Fall. I put myself on the waiting list for the first shipment and waited... and waited... and waited*. Turns out Drewart, the Polish maker of this dollhouse has shipping issues. They haven't shipped them to Quiet Hours Toys and while I did find a Waldorf toy store locally that carried Drewart, all the 2 story dollhouses they received were damaged in shipping and needed repairs (which I'm still waiting to hear from them if they ever got done). I contacted a site in the UK which had it and it would cost an additional 100 euros to ship it to me- that's sooo not happening.

My poor Evi dollhouse dolls sit homeless, living out of an RV that my mother in law had made for the boys (while the gorgeous Spiel und Holz furniture sits in storage waiting for a permanent home).

So, if you happen to come across this dollhouse in the US, please drop me a line... I'm having flashbacks to when I was seven and really, really wanted a Holly Hobby playhouse for Christmas and never got either :(.

*oh, and please let me add- Quiet Hours Toys truly has the best customer service. Carey has kept me updated on the status of the dollhouse this entire time. I'm surprised she hasn't made emails from me go straight to her spam folder by now, though she was probably thinking "I'm sure that woman has better things to worry about (
like having a baby!) than this dollhouse!" :).

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Sure Shot

Here is Matteo, taking pictures with his favorite camera :)

Ivan's big gift to the family this Christmas was a new digital SLR camera. For you photography buffs, specifically it's a Canon EOS 50D and it is one super bad mamma jamma of a camera :}. I've spent the past few days playing with it, taking a gazillion and one pictures of the kids in action. I'm not quite ready to show those works in progress (what is that aperture thing anyway?)~ but still life pictures of beloved wooden toys are a bit easier (they're usually not busy jumping off the couch).

Our new gnome friend and his house by Bill Bluhm at Heartwood Arts

Buntspechte deer, doe and double fir tree

Buntspechte shepherd boy, mountain dog, sheep family and birch tree

Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from A Small Tribe!

Christmas Eve Flurries

Ivan and Matteo rolling marzipan

Not the snow kind of flurries, but an activity flurry. I have the amazing good fortune to be married to a man who is an incredible cook and baker. Ivan is a wonderful man, the kind of man who makes brownies as comfort food (an act much appreciated during my pregnancy). On Christmas Eve, he was busy making his family's linze torte recipe, chocolate almond toffee and marzipan.

The boys helped me make a few last minute gifts...

a playsilk for cousin Elodie

wool felted soaps for Aunt Karina and Grammie

and I finally finished the recycled sweater lap quilt I made for Grandpa Ed.

I don't think Santa's elves could have been any busier :)

Monday, December 22, 2008


On Solstice yesterday, Matteo and I decorated beeswax candles as gifts for his teachers at schoolThe material list was pretty simple, votive beeswax candles, colored modeling beeswax sticks and pattern cutters for the wax.
We heated the wax in the toaster oven for about a minute and a half to make it a little softer to work with. Then put it between two sheets of wax paper and rolled it to thin out the wax sheet.
Matteo used the pattern cutters to cut out shapes. Since it was a little cold indoors, we heated the shapes for a second above a tea candle before pressing them on the votives.

That evening we made Solstice soup and shared a meal with the wonderful Aunt Karina and the boys cousin, Elodie.

The view from the top of Indian Rock

This was also a special solstice for us as five years ago, Ivan proposed to me on the top of Indian Rock here in Berkeley. It's a little cloudy but when it's clear, there's a gorgeous view of San Francisco across the Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. I love the fact that Ivan chose Winter Solstice, the date marking the entrance of light, as the starting point for our life together.

Thanks Ivan for an incredible and full (!!!) five years together. A house, minivan and 3 kids later, it's still even better than I imagined.

Your Loving Wife,

Monday, December 15, 2008

Scenes From Our Home

I love candlelight

The tree that sat undecorated for a week finally is dressed

Assembling granola and chocolate covered nuts for gifts

Matteo looks adoringly at a slightly uncomfortable Luca while Nico says "CHEESE!"

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Ivan teaching the boys how to skip rocks last weekend

We've been working at re-establishing our rhythms here at home. Understandably, the boys have been going through a transition of learning to live with another little one in the house. Both Matteo and Nico have been fantastic with Luca, but I know that they've had a few struggles. Ivan and I have been focusing mostly on just getting them a lot of outside time in the mornings before lunch and trying to get a second outing (a walk or playing in the yard) following naps. I've also been really working at giving the older boys my full attention while Luca naps. Luca Bean has been quite accommodating by sleeping happily on me while we're out in the mornings and in the early evenings he sleeps in his moses basket so I can concentrate on his big brothers bedtime routine.

It's been a lot of fun going out as a family of 5. A few days ago we went to the Berkeley waterfront where the temperature was mild enough for the boys to wade into the water. I love this picture of Nico below, it looks like he's dancing on stars.

Matteo was being coy and wanted to wear his hood up, which was fine because he reminds me of an adorable little elf.

The boys seem to be happy and thriving with our new schedule. Once we get this established, it'll be nice to work on our day to day rhythms.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Time of Preparation

This is the first year that we are formally celebrating the season of Advent. We lit our first candle on Sunday (with the birthday ring that doubles as an Advent Ring :) ) and I've started to decorate the house.

This is the holly that goes on our dining room chandelier every year

And the stockings that are hung on the stairwell with care (for lack of a fireplace). These were made by my very lovely and talented sister in law, Natasha.

On a deeper level, I was reading that Advent is a time of meditation to go into oneself and reflect upon the years end. Walking has always been meditative for me, so it was nice to go for a long walk with Luca wrapped on me just thinking about the season. Of course my thoughts began with the laundry list of things I need to do this holiday season, but they turned to thinking about all the blessings we've had this year... and there have been quite a few! With this feeling of gratitude, I feel like Advent is such a special time and all the things that need to be done for the holidays are infused now with a special joy.

Wishing a Joyful Advent Season to everyone!