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Popsicle Stick Christmas Ornaments

It's November, which to many over-enthusiastic holiday lovers means CHRISTMAS! Yes, I love Thanksgiving as well—it's just one big holiday celebration for me from now to the end of the year. So far, I've refrained from putting up my Christmas tree, but that doesn't mean I can't prepare, right? This past weekend, I spent some time making some ornaments. I love to create handmade ornaments to add to my little tree each year. 
Lately I've been interested in popsicle stick crafts. I found some super cute ideas on Pinterest (see the links to my Holiday Crafts and Food board and specific posts below). I like that such a simple material can have so many possibilities. Just add paint and glue!
I was able to get my kids involved for part of my craft day. They are ages 2 and 3, so they didn't do much beyond just paint a few popsicle sticks. I turned these painted sticks into little Santa Claus ornaments—two for each daughter as they're bound to ruin some of them …

Settling In

As I mentioned in my last post, I have had a lot of changes in the works lately—a big cross-country move, a new career path, and a new baby. And things are coming along. I've since relocated from New Hampshire to Utah with my little family; I left my office job and have slowly started finding a balance as a stay-at-home mom and freelancer; and I'm almost into the third trimester of my second pregnancy (BTW, it's a girl!). It hasn't been easy, but I think I'm finally settling in.

A view of Utah, my new home

I'll admit, I had a pretty hard time when I first came to Utah. Leaving my family, friends, and job was not easy. I also miss my New England home, especially at this time of year when it's at its prime. I miss the endless views of colorful leaves. I miss apple picking, one of my favorite autumn traditions. (Just try to find a decent pick-your-own apple orchard in central Utah. It's depressing.) Not only that, but the town I moved to is quite small, so that was an adjustment as well. Not that Keene, NH is such a huge city, but it certainly seems that way compared to Ephraim, Utah. We have also had our share of challenges with our apartment. We weren't able to visit apartments before we moved since we were on the other side of the country, so we had to take a leap of faith when finding a place to live. Options were few as well. When we arrived, the first thing we noticed was that the real-estate website pretty much lied outright on the size of the apartment. Our place is TINY—basically a kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom. No living room, no laundry facilities, and not much storage space. Huge bummer. In addition, in the few months we've lived here, we've had our Internet, cable, and hot water all stop working for a week at a time. So, yeah, fun times.

The kitchen of our tiny apartment

And then there was the transition from full-time office worker to working from home while taking care of a baby at the same time. It has been a challenge not only to find work, but also to find the time to do said work while keeping up with housework and giving my daughter the attention she needs. There have been times where I've been close to losing my sanity when Adelaide is crying or getting into things, and I'm trying to get five other things done.

I am finding that I really need to focus on the good things these changes have brought on. The town is small, but that made it less scary and easier to become familiar with the area. We are no more than a few hours away from some beautiful sites around Utah, which we've been having fun exploring. 

Adelaide in Temple Square and Arches National Park (with her Opa during a visit)

I am starting to land some steady jobs that have been fitting in pretty well with my new home life as a mom. I am enjoying being independent and having the ability to work a flexible schedule and branch out into areas I am more interested in. And as annoying and frustrating as it can be to deal with a whiny baby sometimes, I am still very grateful that I am now able to spend my days with her and care for her full-time. For every bad day, there are many more happy ones filled with joyful moments.

Adelaide is growing up and enjoying her new home.

Baking also helps with the sanity part. Even in a tiny kitchen.

Celebrating autumn with some baking—pumpkin pie pop tarts and peach pie

All in all, it is looking up. Now that I'm figuring things out, I hope to be able to dive into some personal projects as well, including this blog, of course. I have a few things in the works that I'll be unveiling soon, so stay tuned!

Happy Autumn!

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**UPDATE - 2015** The miniature sweater knitting pattern has been revised.  View/Download the new pattern here:
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