Survivors of the Worst Snowstorm in 40 Years

carrotsHere in Portland we’re just coming out of two weeks of a royal snow and ice dumping. Our home saw at least two feet of snow and freezing temperatures. Today the snow is almost gone and our traditional Christmas rain is back.  This afternoon I ventured outside with two week’s worth of compost to dump in our bin. While in the backyard I discovered this pretty bunch of carrots still alive and well in the ground between our blueberry bushes. They weathered the storm well and will make a delicious addition to tonight’s pot of bean soup.

Merry Christmas From Snowed-In Oregon

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I really, really love snow. Snow makes the world seem magically Narnian, quiet and beautiful. It creates an other-worldly appearance to everything and is so peaceful. But snow has its drawbacks and today I’m an expert in that area.

We’ve been snowed in our home just outside Portland for the better part of 10 days now, and it’s beginning to wear on us. We have over a foot and a half in our driveway and street right now (the picture above was taken when we only had a few inches). Portland seems to have no snowplows so, beyond the major freeways, the roads are slick and full of drifts. Thankfully we have four-wheel drive on our Outback so we’ve been able to get to the grocery store when needed. All our planned Christmas parties were canceled though and we haven’t had church for two weeks. I admit to some major grumpiness, mostly directed at my husband. So in an effort to get myself in more of the Christmas spirit, I’ve decided to list why I’m THANKFUL for being snowed-in. Here goes:

  1. Being forced to slow down. The usual hustle-and-bustle of Christmas time has been replaced with family time. Lots of family time.
  2. Planned gatherings replaced with impromptu ones. We had a spontaneous Christmas potluck with our neighbors last weekend when the snow started. We all brought what we had on hand and enjoyed an evening of laughter and stories. This afternoon we’ll walk two houses down so Grace can play with her little friend Braylon and us moms can catch up.
  3. Snowshoeing! Yesterday we dug out our snowshoes and trekked to the grocery store more than a mile away. Many pedestrians in sneakers were quite envious.
  4. Potty-training. It wasn’t really on our radar yet but, with all this time stuck inside, we decided to give it a try. 22-month old Grace pooped in the potty for the first time today. That’s a reason to celebrate!
  5. A reminder of the true meaning of Christmas. The first Christmas wasn’t comfortable or convenient. It was messy, probably cold and definitely uncomfortable. Mary had Baby Jesus in a barn. My inconveniences and boredom are nothing compared to what she and Joseph endured. I vow right here and now to stop complaining and to focus instead on the gift of being warm, comfortable and with the people I love most in the world.

Merry Christmas to you and your family!

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Grace is mystified by all the white stuff everywhere

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Making Your Dollar Go Further In Troubling Times

Like a lot of people my husband and I are more aware of what we are buying, and we’re definitely cutting back even though our day-to-day income hasn’t been impacted at this point (investments certainly have been).  As the owner of a local small business myself, I’m trying to be more intentional with the dollars I do spend to make sure my purchases are purposeful and as local as possible.  It’s the little guys who are going to be most impacted by this downturn. The hairdressers whose clients come in every 6 months instead of every 6 weeks. The local restaurants who no longer see families coming in for dinner. The small retailers who can’t compete with big-box store prices when everyone is looking for deep discounts.  The local farmers whose produce consumers no longer wish to purchase for more than the cheap imported food.

Here are a few ways we’re spending our money to make sure the impact is felt as strongly and close to home as possible:

  • I’m still going to my hairdresser, Melody Oliver of J and J Hair Studio once every six weeks. I know she needs it as she’s had other clients have to cut back. My hair appreciates it too!
  • We’re buying our eggs from our neighbors who raise chickens.
  • We bought our Christmas tree from the farm across the street, Century Farm at 10050 SW Hazelbrook Road. We got a great deal too with a pre-cut for only $15!
  • We’ll be picking up some of Grace’s Christmas presents at Mudpuddles in Sherwood, a wonderful local toy store.
  • Although I don’t have to buy a lot of clothes for Grace, thanks to hand-me-downs from her cousin Sophia, when I do shop I like to go to Baby and Me or Katelyn’s Closet consignment stores. I know I’m supporting local businesses and shopping in an eco-friendly way.
  • We use Tidee-Didee diaper service, which means we’re keeping diapers out of landfills plus our diaper dollars are going to local jobs instead of multi-national diaper companies.

How about you? Do you have a favorite local business you are going out of your way to support? It’s not always the cheapest or most convenient option, but being intentional about how we each spend our money may help some of our local businesses weather this economic storm.

Bambootique Featured in Oregonian’s Local Gifts Guide

for_pmiThe Oregonian chose Bambootique as Day 9 in their 12 Days of Local Gifts Guide!  Here’s an excerpt:

Almost all of us are watching our wallets closely this gift-giving season. We’re focusing on shopping local & keeping the money here at home. But here’s a way that you can shop local AND support women in developing countries all at the same time.  Read more…

Thanks Oregonian, and thanks Marlynn Schotland of Mamapreneurs Inc who wrote the guide.

Home From Honduras

Last week I had the honor of visiting ACTA de Honduras, a non-profit in Tegucigalpa, Honduras doing economic development among indigenous Lencan people.  I’ve been carrying ACTA’s jewelry at Bambootique since the company’s inception over two years ago but had not yet met the artisans themselves. The visit was inspiring plus I came home with a suitcase full of beautiful new designs. Today I’ll introduce you to the bead artisans, next time to the designer and the jewelry maker.

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Meet Delia. She’s a single mother of two young children. Trying to raise two children alone in rural Honduras is a bleak outlook for many women. For Delia though, it’s a task to which she has risen. She earns enough through her involvement with the ceramics cooperative for her children to attend school, which means hope for their futures.

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The workshop in the small village of El Porvenir, Honduras is cooperatively owned by six ceramic artisans, all women and all single mothers. It’s humble but it’s theirs.

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The women make ceramic plates, bowls, vases and beads. They use techniques handed down to them from generations. For many of their pieces they use different varieties of clay and an open fire, rather than paint, to create beautiful colors and designs.

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The pieces are first formed by hand, then dried for days in the sun. Once dried by the sun, the pieces are fired in one of two wood-burning kilns.

fire1The pieces are finished over a scorching hot fire, which blackens the pottery or adds color, depending on the type of clay used.

finishedbeadsFinished beads. The blue/ green colors are glaze, the reds, blacks and whites are formed through an incredible combination of various clays and heat.

Next time…meet Aurora, who turns these beads into bold fashion-forward jewelry.

Free Shipping from Bambootique Through December 10th

This holiday season we are all tightening our belts a little. That’s why I’m offering FREE SHIPPING on all orders of $25 or more to blog readers through Wednesday December 10th. Just enter promo code giftguide at checkout to receive this offer.   Now get shopping!

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