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    Chiropractor Mama Dr. Dolly and professional photographer Elisa B. share about adventures in intentional and natural parenting while living in Virginia's beautiful Blue Ridge.
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He is Risen!

Easter traditions really vary from one family to another, I’ve found – although I do think either a ham or lamb supper unites us all. This year we celebrated the resurrection of our Savior and baby’s first easter together with my family. We had an Easter egg hunt, but we always include a few numbered eggs … a dozen to be exact. Those eggs have special meaning as they’re resurrection eggs! It brings meaning to the traditional egg hunt since it tells the story of Christ dying on the cross to save us from our sins, and then rising again. The kids aren’t disappointed about not having a candy filled egg – they’re thrilled to be able to participate in the story.

Your turn: What are your Easter traditions?

Snail’s Pace

In case you didn’t hear, we got a lot of snow in central Virginia over the weekend.  There are still 4,000 homes without power, and there’s still stranded cars on the roads.

Yet in our home, we’ve been warm, safe, and snug.


The pace of life slowed significantly.  I was bustling about balancing work, family, and home, and suddenly…we’re stuck inside all weekend long (and today!).

I’m actually caught up on Christmas cards, although I’m lacking updated addresses for three families.  I’ve been cooking a ton (meaning, I’ve also been washing a lot of dishes), and doing several loads of laundry.

We have power and internet, so it’s been fun watching Discovery channel shows on sharks, mammals, and dinosaurs via Netflix.

I’ve even got most of the gifts for my nieces and nephews prepared to ship for Christmas.  Hey, the mail carriers weren’t exactly out and about in central Virginia this weekend, but they may start getting caught up by tomorrow.


I don’t feel behind, rather, I feel relaxed and rejuvenated.  I enjoyed a wonderful weekend with my family, and it’s extending into Monday.

What matters most are here with me under this roof…my two guys.

After a morning filled with indoor Tonka truck races and LOTS of books read, my son came up to me and asked to take a nap…2 hours earlier than usual.  Before I could even put a clean diaper on him, he’d crawled into his bed and asked us to turn out the light.  Oh yes, I like age two very much!

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Homemade Gifts for Christmas

I’m finishing up gifts for my nieces and nephews…many of these are homemade.  I haven’t embroidered anything since I was 11 years-old, but some how I got an urge to whip up some fabric creations from scratch.

I think I was inspired by all the beautiful creativity available on Etsy or cute shops like JasperHeartsWren who made my all-time favorite hoodie worn by Calvin.

I asked friends and family to use their fabric scraps.  I used embroidery floss, scraps of felt, unused spare buttons…and then, I let my imagination run wild.

Here’s what I made for one of my nieces (she’s only 8 months-old, so even though I posted this, I think she’ll still be surprised).

I also made a shirt for her brother with cowboy boot shapes I cut out of red “bandanna” fabric.

When I showed the two shirts to Calvin, I asked him what he thought.

Me: Do you like this shirt for your cousin? [when referring to the royal blue t-shirt with red bandanna cowboy boots].

Calvin: Nooo!

Me: Okay, how about this one? [referring to the flower shirt in the photo above]

Calvin: On, please [while he tried to pull it on].

It was a two-year-old’s feedback, but it WAS feedback.  So, I added a little more to the cowboy boot shirt…some extra embroidery to look like red and white swirls dancing forth from the boots with buttons on the top of the boots.

I’d show you a photo, but I mailed the darn thing to my nephew before I remembered to snap a photo.

End result, Calvin thought it was MUCH better, and he wanted to wear that one, too.

So, I have another plain blue shirt…and I want to make something sweet for Calvin, but I’m fresh out of creative ideas.  Although a turtle-shaped cookie cutter could definitely come in handy as a stencil!

YOUR TURN: Are you making homemade gifts for Christmas?  What’s your favorite homemade gift project?

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Eat Pancakes – Help a Widow and Her Children

You may have heard about the University of Virginia medical student, John Jones, who recently died in a spelunking accident in Utah over Thanksgiving.

John Jones passed away at the tender age of 26, leaving behind his young widow Emily who’s now the sole parent for their 14-month-old daughter Elizabeth.  Emily is also expecting her second baby in June.

Friends to this family are rallying together for a memorial fundraiser to help this family continue.  Visit www.johnjonesmemorial.com for information on how you can donate to help this family.

If you live in Charlottesville, join the Pancake Fundraiser this Saturday, December 19th at the Applebees on 29 North to eat your fill of breakfast and donate to the memorial fund.  During this Christmas season, let’s shower this family with love and support from the people in their community.

Breakfast Pancake Fundraiser for the John Jones Memorial

When: Saturday, December 19th, 2009 from 7:30 AM – 9:30 AM

Where: Applebees on 29 North (next to Toys R Us); 571 Branchlands Boulevard, Charlottesville, Virginia 22901

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For Kids: Memory-Making Gifts

I’m not really into giving small kids impractical gifts for Christmas.  In fact, I’ve almost always made a point to give my nieces and nephews great books or something else that’s practical and useful and perhaps educational.

My fondest Christmas memory from childhood was the first year I made Christmas cookies with my grandmother.  On my 6th birthday, we made petit coat tails (a shortbread cookie with delicate icing flours), Russian tea cakes, sugar cookies, and Esses (“S”-shaped).

I felt so grown-up wearing an apron and using the icing bag on the delicate cookies.

Child to Cherish, a company that is excellent at creating innovative memory-making keepsakes, created a new “Little Baker” suitcase collection designed by Patricia Lowe. There’s 6 suitcases available: 3 that are perfect gifts from parents or aunts and uncles (boy, girl, Christmas), and 3 that are specifically designed as gifts from grandmas (boy, girl, Christmas).

We got to try their adorable red Christmas-themed suitcase with tree, gingerbread man, and star cookie cutter shapes, a toddler-sized wooden rolling pin, and a toddler-sized wooden spoon.  The suitcase also includes a red apron with the sweet embroidery “Little Baker,” and 4 cookie recipes for Christmastime.

The day before we baked cookies, I let Calvin use flour and water to make dough with the Little Baker set.

The wooden spoon and rolling pin were the perfect size for a toddler’s small hands.  My son loved measuring, pouring, and stirring dry ingredients.

We made whole-wheat flour chocolate chip cookies with sukenot over the weekend.  Calvin Mommy insisted that he wore his red apron while he baked, because it is just too adorable.

Calvin enjoyed tasting the result of his labor.  I let him have one very small cookie, and he washed it down with raw milk.

I’m looking forward to trying some tasty gluten-free cookie recipes with the tools in the Little Baker Suitcase later this month, and every year around Christmas.

This is a wonderful gift to enrich lasting memories around the holidays with your child.  The Child to Cherish Little Baker Suitcase retails for $42.99.

Child to Cherish not only creates wonderful gifts to capture memories, but they have gift options to help make the earth a little greener: Plant a Christmas Tree for Me.  Their mini greenhouse is complete with a Christmas tree pellet and instructions.  All you need to add is water and sunlight.  Simple, right?

At 3 and 1/4inches tall with a red-ribbon topper, it’s perfect to hang on the tree the night before Christmas.  The Plant a Christmas Tree for Me retails for $6.99.


One winner  will receive a Plant a Tree for Me, (retail value $6.99).  Stay in the know and win a Nest Egg by becoming a Child to Cherish fan on Facebook.

To enter, leave a comment relevant to this post prior to December 21st at 11:59 p.m.  Please follow the contest rules and avoid any generalized comments, or you will be disqualified.

FOR A SECOND ENTRY: complete a quick 10-question reader demographic survey. Then, leave a second comment telling me that you did.

FOR A THIRD ENTRY: Blog or Tweet about the Holiday Gift Guide (or about this giveaway), then leave a second comment telling me that you tweeted or blogged with a link to your tweet/post.

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A Little Baker Suitcase and a Plant a Christmas Tree for Me were provided for the purpose of this review.  Read Traveling with Baby’s complete disclosure policy.


Congrats to the winner, #1 Leslie!

For Her: Bamboo Gardening Gloves by Ethel

Back in January, Ethel’s gardening gloves were featured on Traveling with Baby.  I’ve enjoyed wearing my Signature pair while driving.  I’ve also worn them while planting of tomatoes and herbs in our backyard in the spring and summer.

Just when you think a company has reached a high tier in forms of function and design in creating a great product–they suddenly surpass greatness and arrive at something even better and more eco-friendly.

Ethel’s latest additions include two styles of gloves made from bamboo with synthetic leather (NOT suede) palms.

These beauties are available in black with a caramel palm ($26) and off-white ($16) with new colors for spring and fall in the design-works.  The gloves are available in small, medium, and large.

Ordering from Ethel means you don’t even have to bother with gift wrap–truly, Ethel’s got packaging down to an artful science.  Look at the inside of the box of gloves (the outside was equally pretty): full color photographs on the box flaps, beautiful cards next to gorgeous gloves.If you (or your gift recipient) joins the Ethel master gardener program, you’ll receive a sneak preview on any newly released products.

As a “thank you for reviewing,” Ethel sent me a beautiful trowel with a wood handle designed by DeWitt.  Just look at how stunning this looks…I can’t wait to try it out in the spring!

Ethel gloves are a wonderful gift for the green-thumb gal.  Go eco-friendly by choosing the bamboo designs.  But, if those aren’t your thing, check out the numerous styles of gloves for women (and kids!).


One winner  will receive a pair of black Bamboo gloves by Ethel (retail value $26).  For the latest news and product releases from Ethel, follow them on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook.

To enter, leave a comment relevant to this post prior to Friday, November 27th at 11:59 p.m.  Please follow the contest rules and avoid any generalized comments, or you will be disqualified.

FOR A SECOND ENTRY: complete a quick 10-question reader demographic survey. Then, leave a second comment telling me that you did.

FOR A THIRD ENTRY: Blog or Tweet about the Holiday Gift Guide (or about this giveaway), then leave a second comment telling me that you tweeted or blogged with a link to your tweet/post.

A pair of bamboo Ethel gloves and DeWitt trowel were provided for the purpose of this review and giveaway.  Read Traveling with Baby’s complete disclosure policy.

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UPDATE: Congratulations to the winner, #20 Julie L.

Holiday Happiness

Autumn is my favorite season of the year: jewel-toned leaves, crisp breezes, and crackling fires.  It’s also the change in the foiliage and weather that beckons in the holiday season.

To me, holidays are about time with family, cherishing fellowship over meals, and remembering what matters most.

I love giving a heartfelt gift to my loved ones at Christmas–not because I HAVE to, but because it’s symbolic and wonderful.  Homemade gifts, framed family photos, or a thoughtful poem–they may not be material wonders that are IN for 2008, but they are definitely gifts to cherish throughout the decades.

Marilyn at Grandparents.com recently introduced me to their memory-making Ultimate Holiday Guide.  Whether you’re grand or great, there are some wonderful ideas for sharing the holidays with little ones.

This week, I was blessed with some gifts that I won on blog giveaways.

I won a bento box set for my son on Petit Tableau.  Now, I can pack snacks and lunches for him in a fun and creative way for the days he’s at work with me or while we’re traveling.  I had a bento box when I was in elementary school, and I loved it!  I hope my son grows up with fond memories of the love and care that are packed into his lunch.

On Everything Up Close, I won a Forever in My Heart necklace from Sima’s Fine Art Jewelry.  Not only is the hammered gold heart and encircling hoop delicate and beautiful, but it came in a metal, heart-shaped box with a clear lid, and the box was filled with dried lavendar and rosebuds.  It was so feminine and delightful. . . just perfect for me!

The designer and artist, Sima Gilady is kind enough to share a discount to her fab etsy store with all of you.  Get 10 percent off on any jewelry purchase when you mention the code DOLLY.  Her hammered and hand-stamped jewelry makes the perfect heartfelt gift for your best friend, mother, grandmother, or daughter.

As you prepare for the upcoming holiday season, may I wish you warmth, friendship, and wonderful memories for many holidays to come.

Many blessings,

Dr. Dolly

Merry Christmas!