Tag Archives: tradition

Christmas in the Woods

Standard

shakerwoods

The first time we went we were pulling a wagon filled with toddlers.

Fast forward 15 years and Christmas in the Woods is a completely different experience!

Shakerwoods and Christmas in the Woods are two festivals that occur 40 minutes away from our home in August and October. They are, in essence, “craft fairs,” but labeling them as such is an unjust representation of all that they are.

Both these festivals take place in a patch of woods in eastern Ohio. The forest is filled with meandering paths and festive booths selling charming, unique, one-of-a-kind creations. There are hand carved ornaments, hand painted signs, homemade soaps and hand stitched pillows and towels. Each booth is run by a different artisan selling their own unique wares which makes Shakerwoods a thrilling treasure hunt, as you never know what special find you will stumble across next.

IMG_2650 (2)

Shakerwoods Festival tends to have a more distinctly autumn atmosphere, whereas Christmas in the Woods is themed for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Both are a lot of fun and in the past they have restricted vendors to one festival or the other, which allows visitors two completely different shopping experiences if they choose to attend both festivals.

I am not much of a shopper, although I do appreciate the unique, creative, artisan style crafts for sale there more than I would enjoy going to the mall, but the real reason I love Shakerwoods and Christmas in the Woods and the reason we keep returning is for the experience. It truly is a feast for the senses. Walking through the woods, soaking in the visual beauty of many creative hands, all while enjoying the folk music of local musicians, the smells of peach cobbler and roasted nuts is what brings us back year after year.

IMG_2652 (2)

It is now a long standing tradition…a tradition that hold many sweet memories as I look back on the years of Shakerwoods with babies in tow, shopping with my parents and sister, finding treasures with Toby, and enjoying the company of out of state relatives that have flown in over the years for the festival.

This year was different. Rather than attending with the whole family, I just had my three big kids with me. Toby offered to take Tyler to his riding lessons so we could attend.

IMG_2647 (2)

My girls LOVE Christmas in the Woods! Grace, my lover of all things Christmas, goes for the ambiance. Molly enjoys the shopping.

IMG_2654 (2)

Even Rusty enjoys it. He claims he goes for all the free samples!

He was a huge help this year as he took on the role of “pack mule” for us girls. I was able to get some Christmas shopping done and Rusty graciously carried our packages as we walked from booth to booth. He said he learned everything he knows from Pop Pop Real. ­čÖé

IMG_2664 (2)

And he works cheap!

IMG_2655

I just had to buy him some roasted nuts and he was content. We stayed until our feet were screaming for relief. The crowds were crazy. In all our years off attending we had never seen it so busy…

Just look at the parking!!

IMG_2643 (2)

But despite the crowds we managed to do a little shopping, make some special memories, and have A LOT of fun…just my big kids and me.

IMG_2661 (2)

Easter at the Homestead

Standard
Last weekend we headed to Ohio.
IMG_3880 (2)
Since we had spent Easter day┬áwith Toby’s family, this was our second Easter celebration…this time with my parents.
We could not have asked for more beautiful weather. It was a perfect spring day. Between the bright blue sky, kelly green grass, and purple violets, the Homestead was alive with color.
IMG_3826
Much of the day was spent outside enjoying this ideal spring day.
IMG_3857 (2)
For lunch we enjoyed a picnic lunch of subs, potato salad, deviled eggs, and pickled watermelon rinds.
IMG_3836 (2)IMG_3842 (2)IMG_3851 (2)
The animals gathered at the fence to watch us eat. Perhaps they were hoping someone might toss them a roll. ­čÖé
IMG_3874 (2)
It is funny to see how alive and engaged the critters become when they see the kids arrive.
IMG_3875 (2)
After lunch we participated in a new Easter tradition, something we had never heard of before. This Easter tradition was introduced to us by my soon-to-be sister from Texas. Upon hearing that my poor, Pennsylvania children had never experienced cascarones before (a Easter tradition in Texas) she sent a package as a gift. “What are cascarones,” you ask:
cascarones
“A cascar├│n is a hollowed-out chicken egg filled with confetti. Cascarones are common through Mexico and are similar to the Easter eggs popular in many other countries. They are mostly used in Mexico during Carnival, but in US and Mexico border towns the cultures combined making them a popular Easter tradition.

Popular for generations as an Easter tradition in the Southwest, they are now making a splash elsewhere in the United States.”

IMG_3878 (2)

She explained to my mom how they work and that getting hit with a cascarone is supposed to bring good luck.

IMG_3834

So we tapped into our very shallow, pretty much non-existent Latin roots and grabbed an egg.

IMG_3881 (2)

What fun they were!!

IMG_3887 (2)IMG_3882 (2)IMG_3889 (2)

I think we have established a new Easter tradition, although Tyler suggested that next year we just use regular eggs.

IMG_3893.JPG

It could be fun. Messy, but fun. ­čśë

After our cascarones battle it was time to switch gears from Easter to birthdays, as we planned to take advantage of having everyone gathered, so as to celebrate Ozzie’s and Molly’s birthdays.

IMG_3852 (2)

Life has gotten busier in recent years and the added distance between our homes (2 1/2 hours as opposed to 1) makes getting together a bit tougher, so we have begun clumping birthdays and celebrating 3 months of birthdays in one sitting.

IMG_3828 (2)

Both kids were tickled pink to receive such perfect, thoughtful, creative gifts from my parents.

Ozzie received two new puzzles and a deck of John Deere playing cards. They couldn’t have picked a better gift for my puzzle loving boy!

IMG_3901 (2)

Molly received a Ukulele…an adorable Ukulele! She has been talking about wanting to learn to play the Ukulele and┬áMimi and Pop Pop heard her wish and granted it.

IMG_3907 (2)

Mom even had special Easter treats for Toby and I.

IMG_3833 (2)IMG_3864 (2)

It was very thoughtful!

The remainder of the day was spent soaking up the sunshine, enjoying birthday root beer floats, and playing Frisbee as a family.

How blessed we are!