From the category archives:

Olive Us

By Gabrielle.

Hey all you Spring Breakers. Looking for some rainy day fun? Have I got an Olive Us episode for you! It’s called Shadow Puppets, and yep, it’s exactly what the name implies — lots of fun shadow puppets for you and your kids to try. And I’m betting that after they watch it, that’s exactly what they’ll want to do.

Shadow Puppets. A little movie from OliveUs.Tv - perfect idea for a rainy day!

In fact, Ben Blair sent out the Olive Us Newsletter last week (you can subscribe here), and in it he shared this episode. Then all weekend long, we saw tweets and instagrams and emails of Olive Us viewers who were trying their own shadow puppets too! Really, really fun. Made us all grin like crazy.

I hope you enjoy the episode. And if you’re having trouble viewing it here, try it on Vimeo.

P.S. — Happy April Fool’s Day! In France, it’s Poisson d’Avril — children stick paper fishes on their friends’ backs today. Hah!

Shadow Puppets. A little movie from OliveUs.Tv - perfect idea for a rainy day!

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Text and image by Gabrielle.

Exciting news: Olive Us is hosting a video contest! Make a video of your family, inspired by an Olive Us episode, and you could win fame and fortune! Well. Maybe not fame and fortune. But the top videos will be featured on the Olive Us newsletter and website. And the grand prize is a Kindle Fire HD!

The contest was announced last week and there have already been some excellent entries. The panel of judges is definitely going to have their work cut out for them. Entries are due April 30th, and you can find all the contest details here.

If you’re intimidated by making your own video, don’t be. The judges aren’t expecting a professional production. But they hope you’ll capture some footage that will be a great treasure for your family for decades to come. To get you inspired, here’s a video that 15-year-old Ralph shot and edited about a family outing — it’s called Blackberries.

Isn’t that great? I hope it inspires you to make a video and enter the contest. For movie-making tips, be sure to subscribe to the Olive Us newsletter — for the next several weeks, it will be filled with helpful steps that will get you in the movie-making mood.

P.S. — Craving more blackberries?

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By Gabrielle.

Hooray! A new Olive Us episode has arrived. The concept of this episode might be the simplest one we’ve ever conceived: Follow 2-year-old Flora June Blair around for a day and capture it on video.

Two year olds have a reputation for being terrible, and as a mother of six, I’m no stranger to flat-on-the-floor-of-the-grocery store meltdowns, or frankly, playground/grandma’s house/preschool/playdate/library/car/sidewalk meltdowns either. Here is a shot of June taken this last weekend during a 20-minute stand off at the hotel pool — she refused to get out:

At the same time, I know that 2 years old is also one of the sweetest ages. There is so much discovery. So much growth. Huge jumps in vocabulary and communication. Huge jumps in independence. Lots and lots of opinions. Lots and lots of giggles. Here’s another photo of June on the day we filmed Cider Farm:

And here’s another from last August (complete with drool bubbles):

And just one more where she’s wearing the same darling dress from the video. You may remember the dress from this post, too — it was made by the talented Katy of No Big Dill:

First time parents will see their 2 year old as all grown up. Second-time-around parents will see that their 2 year old is really still a baby. I think both are right.

I hope you enjoy the video! It’s a sweet one. (And there’s a happy little bit after the credits, too.)

P.S. — Subscribe to Olive Us to be the first to know about new videos. Find more episodes and behind the scenes sneak peeks at OliveUs.TV, and hey, if this episode doesn’t show up for you here, try viewing it on Vimeo.

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By Gabrielle.

Here’s another fun episode from Olive Us! Take a visit to a Normandy Cider Farm with Ralph, Maude, Olive, Oscar, Betty & June. See how the apples are harvested and the juice is bottled, and get a glimpse of the beautiful countryside.



Fun fact: Normandy is the only region of France that doesn’t produce wine. Instead, apples and pears are so abundant here that ciders and juices are the local drink (and calvados, for those seeking something a bit harder). Apple tarts are also famous in this region. And they are hands down delicious.

We filmed this episode at La Galotiere, the most picturesque little farm you’ve ever seen. We buy their apple juice by the crate!

P.S. — Subscribe to Olive Us to be the first to know about new videos. In fact, a behind-the-scenes video about the Cider Farm will be posted later today. And hey, if the Cider Farm episode doesn’t show up for you here, try viewing it on Vimeo.

Click here to find more images from the cider farm visit.

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By Gabrielle.

A new Olive Us episode! And it’s a charmer. Do you have a wood-burning fireplace at your house? This little episode shows how our firewood is delivered and stacked — an event we have found delightful since this is the first house we’ve lived in with a working fireplace. And hey, if you consider yourself part of the Oscar Fan Club, this episode is especially for you! (Be sure to watch till the end of the credits for a little treat.)

Have you seen Moonrise Kingdom? We really loved it and thought the matter-of-fact narrator was an especially cool aspect of the story. So we thought it would be fun to make an Olive Us episode with a narrator, too. And Oscar was picked for the job!

A bit of trivia: You wouldn’t know it by watching the episode, but it was actually really challenging for Oscar to deliver his lines while looking directly into the camera. So hard! It took lots of practice and many, many (many!) takes. And ultimately, he had to concentrate so hard while doing it, that he is very, very serious throughout the episode. Which happily, turned out to be pretty darn charming (at least, in my opinion).

As usual, you can find more Olive Us episodes, and fun behind-the-scenes info at the Olive Us website. Be sure to subscribe to stay in the loop on Olive Us contests and video releases.

Find more photos from the video shoot when you click through.

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By Gabrielle.

I’ve got a really beautiful new Olive Us episode to share with you today. It’s sweet and whimsical, and if you’re stuck inside with winter weather, it will be just the trick to get you up and making.

The recipe is one my family has been making for decades and it comes with the misspelling of snoball. We’ve chosen to keep the misspelling because we don’t want to jinx the recipe in any way! It’s so simple and yummy — I think these are my very favorite cookie.

For those of you ready to try it out, take note of the marble reference — with these cookies, bite-size is key! Find the full written recipe here.

Big thanks to Tiger in a Jar for their extra-dose of creativity on this one. And thanks to Tea Collection as well — they sent Betty’s sweet outfit!

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By Gabrielle. Instagram shot by Ben Blair.

Oh my goodness you guys. This one is for all the Paris lovers and dreamers out there. I can not wait for you to see this episode! It feels magical to me. I could just watch it forever. I love seeing such a magnificent place through a child’s eyes.

When we move back to the U.S., I’m positive we’ll watch this movie every time we get homesick for France. (Try it on vimeo if it’s not playing for you here.)

You can find out a little backstory about this episode here, and for those who are curious, Betty’s pom pom hat and over-the-knee socks are from Tea Collection. Please tell me you love the video as much as I do!

P.S. — Huge thanks to Tiger in a Jar for the gorgeous footage, to Merrilee Liddiard for the beautiful title illustration, and to our friend Caroline for helping out the entire time!

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Hooray! Here’s the trailer for Olive Us Season 3. We filmed most of the upcoming episodes in early November and we’re excited to share them with you. We tried some new-to-us formats plus new locations, and once again, we had a great time working with the talented Tiger in a Jar. I hope you enjoy the little sneak peek!

But here’s the really big news: To celebrate Season 3, we’re hosting our first ever Olive Us Contest — and you could win an iPad Mini!! It’s really easy to enter, find out all the details here.

 

P.S. — If the video isn’t showing up for you, try watching it here. And be sure to subscribe to the Olive Us newsletter so you don’t miss any behind the scenes fun!

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By Gabrielle.

In episode 15, inspired by last year’s family photo shoot, the whole bundle of Blair kids go on a hunt for the loveliest Christmas tree they can find. Consider it a little video greeting card just for you. : )

Happy Holidays from All of Us at Olive Us!

For those who are curious about the clothing sources, most items were sourced from our own closets or here in our village, but if you like Oscar’s handsome outfit (see it in full after the jump), you’re in luck! It’s from Tea Collectionsweater, pants, boots.

P.S. — You’ll have to read this post for some funny behind-the-scenes info about the trees. : ) 

Click through to see more photos I took during the shoot.

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By Gabrielle.

Come make hand cookies! No cookie cutter required.

I loved working on this episode. Making hand cookies was a family tradition when I grew up and I remember it fondly. I loved the feel of the butter knife moving around my fingers, and I loved seeing my very own cookie — that was just my size (with my initials carved in!) —emerging from the oven. And most of all I loved decorating the hand with rings and bracelets made of sprinkles and candy pearls.

If you have a favorite cut-out cookie recipe, it will probably work just fine for these cookies. Or you can find my mother’s recipe here.

Some fun facts about this episode: The Grandma is my mother, Donna. She no longer owns the home I grew up in, but that recipe box? metal rolling pin? Those are the very same I grew up with. Seeing them makes me so nostalgic! And seeing the actual recipe card we used, in my mother’s fantastic hand-writing, is my favorite part.

Enjoy the video. Three cheers for baking with Grandma!

P.S. — For aprons in a pinch, we grabbed dish towels and tied them on with ribbon and twill tape. Easy (and cute!).

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By Gabrielle.

The latest Olive Us episode features a pottery lesson from Master Potter, Joe Bennion in his studio at Horseshoe Mountain Pottery.

Friends, I have to tell you what a treat it was to make this episode. Joe is simply a delight and we couldn’t believe how lucky we were to get to spend an afternoon with him.

I didn’t have my big camera with me that day, but I took about a million photos with my phone. The pottery is so beautiful! While we were in his shop, we picked out a pie plate to take home as a souvenir. I wish I could get to his shop right now! His pottery would be wonderful as holiday gifts.


If you’d like to see the kids’ finished pottery, Joe posted a photo of the fired pieces on his blog. We can’t wait to visit again next summer to pick up our pottery and spend more time in Joe’s shop.

P.S. — Joe’s wife makes the salve I’m so crazy about. Also, be sure to subscribe to the Olive Us Newsletter so you don’t miss out on any of the Olive Us fun!

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By Gabrielle.

A new Olive Us episode is ready to share!

Have you ever rock-climbed? Our kids love to. (Especially Maude — she scrambles up the mountain like she was born doing it.) As parents, it’s really satisfying to watch our kids challenge themselves, work hard, take risks, and encourage each other to reach the top. I hope you enjoy the episode!

Fun fact: We were scheduled to film this episode in the red rocks of Southern Utah with rock-climbing guidance from my brother. But we were rained out! So we rescheduled and filmed in Provo’s famous Rock Canyon instead. Special thanks goes to Audrey Moore for assisting on this episode, and to Rich Barrett for being the climbing teacher/guide.

P.S. — Video won’t show up for you? Try viewing it on Vimeo.

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By Gabrielle.

This week’s episode is a special Halloween edition of Olive Us. Featuring a visit to a spooo-oo-ooky Ghost Town!

Fun fact: it was filmed in the real-life ghost town of Grafton, Utah. Which is near the entrance to Zion National Park. Have you ever been?

Enjoy the episode. And Happy Halloween from all of us at Olive us!

P.S. — If you’re an Olive Us fan, I recommend subscribing to the Olive Us newsletter. You’ll be the first to know about new episodes, behind the scenes commentary, and trivia about the show!

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Carwash. A fun little video by OliveUs.TV

This post is brought to you by Volkswagen. It’s not the miles, it’s how you live them. Read our stories or share your own at whyvw.com.
Oh man! I’m so excited for you to see this video because we had such an amazing time filming it. We started by borrowing this insanely charming, perfectly restored VW Bus from friends in St. George, Utah.

Growing up, my family always drove Volkswagen vans and as an adult, they’ve been my car of choice as well. (Here’s the VW Transporter we drive now.) So you can imagine I was feeling nostalgic that day!

Want more behind the scenes? Here you go:

Carwash. A fun little video by http://OliveUs.TV

Once we had the van, we scouted a location. We knew the gorgeous VW would look great against the local red rocks. So we drove around until we found a potential spot, then we’d knock on the door of the house and inquire about shooting a video in their back yard. Hah! We ended up shooting at Cottam Farm (fun fact: my family used to buy milk from the some of Cottam cousins).

Click here for lots more behind-the-scenes images.

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By Gabrielle.

A new Olive Us episode just went live! That always makes for a happy day at our house. Little June likes nothing better than to climb into our bed as soon as she wakes up, then snuggle in with Mom and Dad and watch Olive Us episodes on repeat. : )

In this new episode, you can follow along as the children go on a picnic in the mountains. We filmed it at Kotter Trail in Mendon, Utah when we were there in July. Being in the mountains really is one of my favorite things in the world!

Have you ever spent time in the mountains? There’s nothing quite like it.

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Olive Us: Kitchen Cleanup

September 19, 2012

Who has dinner clean up duties at your house? When I was growing up, each sister or brother was assigned a night of dish duties. Mine was Thursday nights and I remember frantically trying to finish up so I could watch The Cosby Show with my family. (Someone was always sure to help me so I didn’t get left out.)

Since we moved here, our dinner time has been pushed back and we’ve found we’re all pretty worn out by the time we finish up with our meal. To get through that final leg of the day, and tidy up the kitchen, we turn on something loud (the older kids will pick a playlist from one of their iPods) and we’ll have a clean up dance party.

It usually only takes a few songs and keeps everyone in a happy mood as we head in to our bedtime routines. And as an extra bonus, it keeps me and Ben Blair up on what our kids are listening to these days.

When Tiger in a Jar was here last April, they filmed one of the cleanup parties. It was a one-shot deal! And we loved how they edited it together. We don’t count this as a full Olive Us episode, but we thought you might enjoy a little behind-the-scenes peek at our family life.

P.S. — You may notice a 7th child. That’s my wonderful niece Roxcy who was staying with us at the time.

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Just in time for back-to-school season, here’s the latest episode of Olive Us: How To Set Up a Study Space. It’s a really cute one!

We filmed this episode at my mom’s house in Mendon, Utah. We actually filmed it as we were packing up and getting ready to drive back to Colorado. It was a busy morning!

Matt and Julie of Tiger in a Jar had such a great vision of how to make it charming. I love the music they found! And a big part of the charm is definitely the fantastic illustrations of Merrilee Liddiard. (Do you know her work? Her excellent blog is called Mer Mag.)

I hope you enjoy the show!

P.S. — Want to see the illustration that didn’t make it in? Go here. And be sure to sign up for the Olive Us newsletter to be the first to see new episodes.

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Here’s the latest from Olive Us! Join Betty, Olive & Maude as they visit our French neighbor to buy eggs.

Bonjour hens and roosters!

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Please enjoy this 30 second video featuring Oscar wearing sweat bands. : ) As always, you can find more OliveUs videos at OliveUs.TV.

P.S. — We had a fantastic time in London yesterday and we’ll be home soon. I’ll be sure to share a little Olympic report tomorrow.

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It’s been several weeks since we shared an Olive Us episode, and we’re so happy to have a new one today! In this episode, titled Spring Cleaning, Ralph, Maude and Olive work together to prep their bikes for a ride on a sunny day. Isn’t it lovely to work hard, then enjoy the benefits of your hard work? We love it!

Friends. They are not wearing helmets. Yikes! (If you saw the original trailer, you may remember this.) I wish I had a good excuse, but honestly, it didn’t even cross my mind. In the barn at La Cressonnière, where we filmed this, there are a dozen bikes and not a single helmet. Wearing helmets for casual bike riding doesn’t seem to be a big thing in France. If I’d been thinking, I would have stopped at the sporting goods store to pick some up. But clearly, I wasn’t thinking. My apologies in advance! That said, I hope you enjoy the show anyway. : )

For those of you who’ve emailed, asking how many episodes to expect, here’s the plan: we have one more Season 1 episode to share, and a possible bonus episode (or two!) as well. We share those over the next couple of weeks. For Season 2, earlier this month, we filmed 8 awesome episodes! They’ll start airing in late August or early September. We’re excited!

P.S. — Want to stay up to date on all things Olive Us? Go ahead and subscribe to the newsletter.

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