The Creative Mama » inspiring art, encouraging women

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Living in New England, the days tend to revolve around the shifting seasons, the variable weather, and the fluctuating availability of local produce. The arrival of cooler temperatures and brilliant hued leaves means it’s time to start transitioning towards winter. I think most New Englanders see the end of summer as the start of the countdown to the freezing temperatures and mountains of snow that define winter around here, but thankfully we do get a few perks in the fall that gift us happiness and good food: bushels of squash, filled-to-the-brim apple trees, roasted vegetables and flannel sheets. Yes, flannel sheets. I am the first to admit that flannel brings me joy and happiness, especially when I am sadly longing for the over-too-quickly summer days.

Tuning in with the natural rhythm of the seasons feels right to our family. As the light fades, we gravitate to earlier bedtimes, heartier meals at dinner (hello stew!) and playing board games by candlelight after dinner. By accepting the transitions, rather than pushing against them, I feel closer to what is happening both outside my door and in my home. I feel more rooted to the Earth and able to enjoy each moment. I treasure the gift of a hot pan of roasted delicata squash, the taste of freshly made apple crisp, and of course, those super soft flannel sheets when I slide into bed at night. My days, while they seem shorter by daylight standards, feel fuller somehow. Once I settle into the shifting season, I begin to think of all the good things around the corner – the holidays, craft fairs and hot mugs of tea. As I grow older, I am finding myself to be ever more grateful for these seasonal transitions, teaching me that life is to be cherished one moment at a time.

This article was written by Kimberly Peck.

Easy Apple Thanksgiving Centerpiece

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love planning and cooking a huge meal for my family and friends. I love how my house smells when the turkey is roasting, and I love the days leading up to this holiday. Grocery shopping, prepping, cooking – all of it. I have cooked this meal for 5. And for 35. It can seem overwhelming and stressful, but I’m here to tell you that it is completely doable. All you need is a plan.

I recently wrote The Thanksgiving Game Plan to help you have a stress and anxiety-free holiday. Everything is broken into small pieces and done over the course of a few days. On Thanksgiving Day you can kick back, watch some football, and hang out with your guests. 

I like to keep it as simple as I can. And that includes the centerpiece. This apple and herb centerpiece could not be any easier, but is so fresh and pretty on the table. I use some greenery that I buy in the floral section of the grocery store and the same herbs that I use to cook the meal. Rosemary, thyme, and sage all look beautiful. Not to mention, they smell amazing. 

  • apples (I like to use different colors, varieties, and sizes)
  • Candle Carver
  • tea lights
  • greenery
  • herbs (thyme and rosemary)
  • platter

Line a platter with greenery.

Core the apples with a candle carver. (You can also use a knife.)

Add tea lights. Arrange greenery and add herbs. Light and enjoy!

Click here to purchase The Thanksgiving Game Plan

Loved It! (24th edition)

documenting everyday youth sports

image by Carrie Owens Photography in Salt Lake City, Utah


 Happy Saturday, everyone!  Are you loving the shift to fall as much as I am?  

After having spent the spring documenting my sons’ baseball games… and then doing it all over again for Fall league baseball… this amazing article by Carrie Owens Photography (YOUTH SPORTS | DOCUMENTING EVERYDAY) absolutely caught my eye. It is part of a series she’s posting right now called Thirty One Days of Documenting Everyday Life. I’ve always loved the photos she has captured of her children’s swim meets… but the points she makes in this article about how to combat the photography rut of shooting the same things over and over again when documenting your children’s sporting activities are just gold. What do you think you’ll do differently at the next game?


October will come to a close before we know it. Are you ready for DINOVEMBER? I learned about this last year and was completely smitten. It is kind of like Elf on the Shelf but with toy dinosaurs. Read a little more about it here. My chilldhood-magic-loving, creative self thinks this is the bomb. Creators Refe and Susan Tuma say

“Why do we do this? Because in the age of iPads and Netflix, we don’t want our kids to lose their sense of wonder and imagination. In a time when the answers to all the world’s questions are a web-search away, we want our kids to experience a little mystery. All it takes is some time and energy, creativity, and a few plastic dinosaurs.

Childhood is fleeting, so let’s make sure it’s fun while it lasts.” (bolding mine)

I could not possibly agree more!!! I learned about it too late last year but I absolutely plan to enjoy a hearty month of Dinovember this go-round! Which of Tuma’s images made you laugh out loud? For me, it was the dinosaur heads through the muscle man cutouts.  


While we are on the topic of imagination, I must tell you about the awesome new project called The Green Ember. It is the first children’s book being published by a group very dear to my heart:  Story Warren. Author S. D. Smith wrote the novel after telling the stories of a pair of adventuresome rabbits to his children over the years. The story is about two young rabbits who get caught up in a great adventure. In his video where he describes the project, Smith says

“it begins when their own world comes undone. It’s unmade. Their journey shows them how upside down the wider world really is, and how much their own story is linked to the calamity in that wider world. And we’ll see if they can find their way through it to become characters who are shaped by pain but not destroyed by it. We’ll see if they’ll become overcomers.”  

C. S. Lewis said “Since it is so likely that (children) will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage.” I have a feeling that The Green Ember is going to meet that need most perfectly. I cannot wait to read this as a family.  #rabbitswithswords


Fostering creativity and imagination is of the utmost important to me and I imagine it is to you, as well.  Have you read Zina Harrington’s piece about raising creative thinkers, Knowledge is Not Enough For Our Kids to Succeed in Tomorrow’s World, on Let’s Lasso the Moon?  In it she states 

“Information today is prevalent, almost overwhelming at times. Our children will reside in a world where knowledge is simply not enough to succeed. In tomorrow’s job market, the people who succeed are the ones who are able to take the information available and color outside the lines. Raising creative thinkers starts now, when our kids are young.”

How utterly true!  I had never considered this before, but she is so right. Zina goes on to share seven ways we can approach our children to instill a sense of creativity inside them.  Which of the seven tips is one you hadn’t considered before?


We just returned from a Fall Break week at the beach at the amazing Topsail Island, North Carolina, so vacation meal planning and execution was certainly on my mind as we trekked home. I came across this on Pinterest and fell in love! 12 FRESH RECIPES FOR YOUR SUMMER VACATION by Pinch of Yum.   How much do I love it? Let me count the ways! If you are a foodie like me who just enjoys good, fresh foods, this is for you. If you are someone who can just drool over amazing food photography, this is for you. (I thought I’d tell you which of the images was my favorite, but I simply can’t choose. Every single one is fabulous. They even make the all brown pork adobo with black beans look incredible, which is really hard to do! So if you can choose a ‘best’ image, let me know! I just can’t decide!) If you are someone who wants to spend minimal time in the kitchen on vacation, this is for you. If you are someone who enjoys witty commentary on your food blogs, this is for you. It’s like the vacation food jackpot, I tell ya!


This article was written by Carey Pace.

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