A Few Things

February 10, 2012

Hello, Friends! How are you? My kids have a two-week school break starting today, so we are hatching plans to make the most of it. I think we’ll hang out locally for the first week — do things like visit the indoor tennis courts and swimming pool. Then hit the road during week two. We’d love to see Stonehenge. Or more of the Loire Valley. Or maybe both! What are your plans for the weekend? Will you be making Valentines?

While we fill out our calendar, here are a few things I’ve been wanting to share with you:
- A gorgeous berry heart. Is it cold enough to make one where you live?
- A little essay about hand-written valentines — and it’s fun to see all those LOVE stamps from my childhood!
- This week I’m digging patterns in the nursery.
- DIY mugs with romantic quotes.
- This video will make you smile. And feel valentines-y. Via Mara.
- Cute (and cheap!) printables for Valentine’s Day.
- Happy rainbow heart banner.

I also write for Babble. Here are this week’s posts:
- Bring on the patterns!
- This is what I want for Valentine’s Day.
- Designed in Finland. Coveted by me.
- For the next birthday party.
- Baby June wears these every day.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Stay warm! I’ll meet you back here on Monday. I miss you already.

kisses,
Gabrielle

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kat February 10, 2012 at 8:00 am

Ah Stonehenge!! Loved it – but we got a warm day. I am not sure if you are going to still be in Europe in the summer but I would highly recommend you try to get Stone Circle access if you can wait…

http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/stonehenge/stone-circle-access/

You have to reserve really far in advance (we did 9 months). If you don’t have access you have to stay behind the rope really far from the stones. We had access at sundown and have photos of the kids touching (gently) the stones…

Also… this is where we ate nearby…based on recommendation..

http://www.wiltshiretouristguide.com/Devizes/The_Wiltshire_Yeoman_-_Traditional_English_Pub_offering_Bar_Food_902.asp

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2 UK lass in US February 10, 2012 at 8:05 am

Stonehenge is nice, but it is pretty much how it looks in pictures and doen’t take long to see around. One of the oldest white horses on the hillside is not too far from there. Also within an hour or two are the Cotswolds (lots of old fashioned villages – some are a little touristy these days, but many un-touched); Wales is good for castles and rugged terrain and the Peak District is one of my favourite areas in England (Dovedale and Stanage Edge are both beautiful walks, while Haddon Hall and Chatsworth House are beautiful old houses if you like the period drama settings).

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3 Christa the BabbyMama February 10, 2012 at 8:27 am

We’re going to make Valentines for the Babby’s daycare friends and other friends, but we’re not going nuts since we also have her birthday party to prep for. I just got a stack of index cards and will stamp or draw pictures on them with Sharpie, then I’ll let the Babby paint them. Washable paints look neat over Sharpie drawings and the Valentines will have some of her art and some of my art!

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4 Cathy February 10, 2012 at 8:30 am

Stonehenge in late April 2006 was bitterly cold – so cold that my teeth were chattering and I could barely hear the headphone informational spiel. The tourist info doesn’t say anything about sacrifices, but the tour guide did say human sacrifice was done there.

Semi – nearby is Glastonbury Tor and the World Peace Garden. Near the Chalice Well (in the Garden) is the Holy Thorn Tree (interesting legend about it). Ruins of the Glastonbury Abbey display an earlier sign: “Grandly constructed to entice the dullest minds to prayer.” Also on the Abbey grounds is the site of King Arthur’s tomb (and Guinevere’s). No longer there because of the dissolution of the abbey in 1539. But a sign marks the spot.

My favorite castle in the Loire Valley is Chenonceaux, as it straddles a river. The funniest castle, IMO, is Chambord. The rooftop looks like it was designed by a committee – everyone did it his own way, each one different!

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5 gina vide February 10, 2012 at 8:59 am

The ice makes my heart beat faster!! Love it! And, I promise, these are just beautiful in real life! We were -20 this morning.. so ice art continues! I am digging the love letters (such beautiful calligraphy) and the Finland post — it has your name all over it! Enjoy the beginning of you break! Warmest/ gina

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6 Rebecca Grace February 10, 2012 at 9:21 am

You always find the coolest things, Gabrielle! I’m off to find me some porcelain paint markers to make my sweetie a special Valentine’s mug for his morning coffee. Have fun at Stonehenge, and please write a post about it — I’ve never been there. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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7 Shannon @ A Mom's Year February 10, 2012 at 11:07 am

I love the mugs! Wonderful for anyone, but my English major heart is swooning. I have all the equipment on hand to make these because I planned to have the kids make your mugs last Christmas but then ran out of time!

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8 Deborah February 10, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Those mugs are a great idea! Thank you for sharing! I love her whole blog too! The berry heart is beautiful as well! Happy Valentines Day!

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9 Danelle February 10, 2012 at 1:49 pm

Love the frozen berry heart. And yes, it is definitely cold enough here to make one. :)

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10 T@www.teacupmoments.com February 10, 2012 at 2:30 pm

I visited Stonehenge in late fall and it was freezing! But not too far away (an hour or so) is Bath and if you’re into roman baths and Jane Austen, it’s worth the trip. The Loire Valley is beautiful. If you’re kids love Tintin, Chateau de Cheverny is a must-see. Chenonceau, as another commenter mentioned, is my favorite castle in the Loire – very feminine with lovely flower and vegetable gardens.

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11 heidi February 10, 2012 at 3:24 pm

I loved the video. I also loved that they were drinking schwepps better lemon. My FAVORITE drink when I lived in germany. You can get it in the states at specialty stores but it costs a lot. Oh, how I wish I could have a case of it. Please tell me you are drinking your share of Schwepps bitter lemon while in Europe. If you have not had it then please try it! LOVE it!

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12 Cathryn Ramsden February 10, 2012 at 4:16 pm

I grew up about a mile from Stonehenge…I now live in San Francisco, so it’s been quite a move. But you should definitely go, it’s wonderful. Stay in Salisbury, which has the loveliest old cathedral with an amazing graceful spire. Then visit Stonehenge (one hour, tops). If you are driving, take the Woodford Valley road from Salisbury to Amesbury as it’s the prettiest drive in England! And then from Stonehenge go to Bath, stopping in Devizes for lunch as it’s a really pretty town.

I am a little jealous…I would love to be home at the moment.

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13 Krystle @ Color Tansformed Family February 10, 2012 at 9:44 pm

I loved Stonehenge! Your kids are so fortunate to do so much traveling.

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14 Amy @ Sometimes Creative February 10, 2012 at 10:23 pm

Love the Signs video.

We made some sun catchers out of ice last February in my heart shaped cake pans. We hing them in the trees and they were beautiful. http://sometimescreative.blogspot.com/2011/02/valentine-sun-catchers.html

We got fresh snow today so we will be sipping hot cocoa and finishing up our Valentines this weekend. Enjoy your travels.

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15 Jessie February 11, 2012 at 4:52 pm

Hello! I live in London and just went to Stonehenge two weeks ago. You have to go Salisbury and the cathedral as well. It was gorgeous (think Pillars of the Earth amazing). It is cold here, but it is supposed to warm up this week, I think. Keep us posted about your travels!

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16 Justine February 11, 2012 at 5:51 pm

We lived in the UK for a while, and from what I know of you from your posts, you will LOVE a road trip through England. I agree with Cathryn’s comment about where to travel (ah, Bath! To die for), as well as those who said expectations of Stonehenge should be managed. Since I know you love Downton Abbey, you simply must squeeze in a tour of Blenheim Palace if you go in the direction of Oxford instead of Bath. Or better yet, do both!

I wrote a post about our travels around the countryside near Stonehenge: http://www.lonehomeranger.com/2008/03/touring-countryside.html

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17 Justine February 11, 2012 at 7:47 pm

I was just realizing it sounds like I was saying Downton Abbey is filmed in Blenheim Palace. It’s actually filmed in Yorkshire, but this palace has amazing grounds reminiscent of the show. The inside is a bit like a ride at Disneyland, but the gardens make it well worth the trip.

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18 Kris March 31, 2012 at 2:05 am

Downton Abbey was actually filmed at Highclere Castle near Newbury, in Berkshire (which happens to be not far from Stonehenge)
http://www.highclerecastle.co.uk/downton-abbey.html

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19 Justine March 31, 2012 at 11:30 am

Thanks Kris! I wish we’d known about that castle when we lived over there. I miss our weekend castle trips.

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20 Jillian in Italy February 12, 2012 at 7:26 am

In Italy (and I think in Europe in general) kids don’t take Valentine’s cards or gifts into their classmates. But we’ve been carrying on the tradition just the same and the kids in my children’s classes love it. They actually lookd forward to it every year now. So yes we have also been busy preparing our Valentine’s treats this week-end!

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21 Melissa Walsh February 12, 2012 at 2:02 pm

Love the ice sculpture!

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22 Sherri February 14, 2012 at 6:20 am

Yes – Stonehenge was odd – driving and driving…. and, suddenly, there it was – off the two lane highway we were on – sheep across the way. Our visit there was short. The Loire Valley was fun. I lived in Europe for a number of years and don’t think I ever saw the snow or experienced the cold that you have this year, so…. it might be a little chilly for the trip – fun nonetheless, I’m sure.

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