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Hibernate :: Self-Paced Online Retreat


Hibernate 2-2

Hibernate is a place to celebrate the pause that wintertime brings. A place to linger through darkness and revel in quiet, to welcome stillness, and allow for time to enjoy home and hearth.

Over the years Hibernate has become a wintertime standby for so many of us. A time that feels set apart, sacred, and wonderfully inspirational and restorative. This winter I will be taking a break from creating a new session, but today I am happy to release a "best of" self-paced version for those who have not had the chance to participate - in any or some sessions - before, but would like to. I've pulled some of the most popular elements from the archives and wrapped it all up in a permanently accessible self-paced format. I hope you enjoy this quiet time of year, however you choose to spend it.  

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Each "lesson" will follow the themes Nourish, Gather, Refresh, Create, and Rest. Content is accessed through a private website and beautiful mini e-books. You will find the lessons thread together with projects and ideas that compliment each other. Starting where you are, and working with what you have, you will pick and choose projects, prompts, recipes and inspiration that speak to you. Immediately upon purchase you will have full access to twenty beautifully presented lessons, meant to be enjoyed at your own pace throughout the wintry days ahead.
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Sugar Woods Collage

Hibernate is filled with ideas to help you revel in the beauty of the season. As our bodies slow down,  leaving the activity of warmer months behind, our hands welcome meaningful activity and our hearts open to the beauty of home.  While this retreat may seem plentiful in its offerings, by no means should you feel compelled to do each little thing. Hibernate shares a variety of activities (or non-activities), to meet the interest and schedule of many people. 

Remedies blog

Hibernate Menu

If you feel ready for the warmth and peace found during this cozy time of year, Hibernate may be perfect for you. 

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(Please note: Hibernate log-in will be sent to the email associated with your PayPal registration.)
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"Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire."
- Edith Sitwell
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No Time to Waste

Tree farm

At some point last week I suggested to Adam that if we didn’t get our tree now, I’m not sure we’d be able to get one at all. He agreed. It’s just the nature of family life right now. The days feel uncertain in a way that is promised, as opposed to the uncertainty of all days, that mostly pass with an illusory veil of control. There are no illusions right now. There’s no time to waste. 

We headed out in the early moments of the year’s first snow, making our way to the tree farm we’ve been visiting for at least a decade. This time, no kid in the backseat. Are we really doing this without her? I told myself it’ll be fine, that it might even be nice for her to walk into a glittery home, already decked to the gills.

So there we were, just the two of us at the farm. Excited children ran in every direction as parents attempted to corral them, but quickly relinquished their efforts to the freedom and thrill of the day. Friendly, organized attendants ushered everyone in this direction or that, depending on a family’s preferred tree variety. Passing by one of these attendants on our way to grab a saw from the stand, he asked what kind of tree we were looking for. “Balsam fir,” we answered. “Oh, we’ve got thousands of those! I’m glad you weren’t hoping for a Fraser fir, not too many full size this year, but next year we’ll have plenty. Head over to that wagon and Felix will take you down to the balsams.”

Wagon? Tractor? But we’re huff it and haul it kind of people! Not once have we ridden on a wagon to find our tree. Riding along in a cloud of diesel exhaust doesn’t exactly evoke the Currier & Ives experience. Adam and I both froze momentarily, knowing exactly what the other was thinking (“How do we graciously decline?”), but in the next moment felt swept up in the kind instructions we were given, and Felix looked like a friendly guy who was pleased with his job of driving a John Deere around a Christmas tree farm all day. We had the wagon to ourselves on the ride down to this year’s balsams, which happened to be a field located in the far reaches of the 300+ acre farm, a corner that us huff-it-and-haul-it people had never ventured to before. It wound up being a solid five minute downhill ride into the valley. Probably would have been a 20 minute return had we been on foot. Uphill. Hauling a tree. We’d already sensed Felix was a good guy, maybe riding the wagon was alright, too. 

We found our perfect tree and on freshly snow-covered back roads, made our way home. Adam put the snow blower on the tractor and I put together a pot of venison stew. Later we watched It Happened on 5th Avenue and set up our tree, loading her with warm incandescent lights. We did not add ornaments that day, and still have not. Maybe it will happen with Emily.



Today I wanted to stop in and go over a few end of the year blog housekeeping notes, take stock of this small corner on the interweb, and daydream a little about where to go from here. 

These days, I’m lucky to post here once a week, but I think that’s okay given how much content and information we all have to contend with these days. One post followed by many days of silence is probably good for all of us. When I do write here, I tend to share stories and random musings that don’t necessarily feel very blog-like, which works for me, but there are moments when I miss sharing typical blog topics such as recipes, tips, tutorials, etc., especially as they relate to my work. Lately I’ve been wanting to share more snapshots of that sort of thing, give a better sense of what my classes are like, and if online workshops aren’t for you, just a little something to sink your homemaking, earth inhabiting, teeth into. 

I’d like to start sending out a monthly newsletter to anyone who is interested. It will feel sort of like my Instagram feed, but expanded upon. I’ll share monthly photos and highlights from the kitchen, garden, sewing room and beyond that won’t be found elsewhere, with more detail and text than is reasonable to share on Instagram. I promise to do my very best to create a publication that is not only beautiful to peruse, but also contains content worthy of your inbox. My hope is this monthly newsletter will be of value to you, and might even feel reminiscent of the blogging days of yesteryear. I think the monthly newsletter could be fun! I’m willing to give it a try and see. (Though I don’t really care for the term “newsletter,” I hope it feels much warmer than that.)

Cookie trio

The first issue is nearly finished and will be going out next week. I’ll be sharing the story of our annual cookie delivery tradition, as well as some of our cookie recipes with you! I guarantee the recipes contain all the gluten, butter, and sugar a proper Christmas cookie requires. 'Tis the season! I’ll also share some more thoughts on a recent Instagram post about sending Adam off on a road trip with a cooler of prepared food. Believe me, I love my husband, but there is nothing miraculous about my wifely ways; my efforts regarding that cooler were mostly rooted in practicality and I promise did not take as much time and effort as it might appear. In the newsletter I break down the how and why of planning road food for our family. Hint: It's not about working longer hours in the kitchen, it's about entering the kitchen with a decent plan. 

If you’re interested in this monthly mailing, go ahead and sign up via the link on this blog’s sidebar. It should go without saying, but please know I’m very protective of my list and never share your personal information. (If you already receive announcements regarding workshops, you are signed up.)

I’d also like to share a few workshop related updates: The winter session for Country Kitchen is in the works and registration will open later in December  (or early January - not sure just yet). I love this one. It is the perfect fit for where I’m at right now, both in the kitchen and in life. Coming up soon you will be able to purchase past sessions of Country Kitchen; they are fast-coming at this point and some of you have asked for access to sessions you missed. Stay tuned, that option is currently in the works. 

To my surprise, I will take a break from Hibernate this winter. Normally Hibernate is outlined and mostly produced by early October, but this year my notebook remained relatively empty. The ideas simply weren’t there. Instead of forcing it, I’ve taken the hint that perhaps (my) hibernation is destined to be a quieter experience this year, which sounds just right to me. For those who’ve missed previous sessions, I’m putting together a beautiful self-paced Hibernate program, a “best of” from the three original years I’ve produced so far. I’ll be releasing that next week so you’ll be able to dip into it during these intimate December days, and carry it into the winter months ahead. 

One goal I have for this space in 2018 is to organize the heck out of it for you. I did a bit of that in 2017 but not nearly enough. I don't even know what happened to my archive index but I'd like to get that posted again. I'd also like to organize my workshops in one central location. Not exactly sure how that will look just yet, or if it's even necessary, but I've been feeling the nudge to do it for some time, so I'd like to tackle that.

For now, beauty that moves remains this blog's name, even though I wanted to retire it five years ago (in all that time I've had zero replacement ideas spend more than 24 hours in consideration).

As for writing here, I guess we can expect more of the same, for better or worse.  

And finally, I've got a couple of projects in the works with Ben (and his wife, Penny!); we'll be sharing more about these two home education and garden related offerings in the new year. We're pretty excited!

That about does it. Thanks for allowing me this year-end work related post... next week, we'll be back to small talk and motorcycle riding priests. 


It’s hard to believe I’ve been writing here for over decade, a commitment in my life whose duration is surpassed only by my marriage and being a parent. I’m not sure what it is about this blog that’s such a good fit for me, but I keep showing up, and to my surprise, many of you do, too. This is something I’m incredibly grateful for.

The Prettiest Thing


I was raised in a Catholic church, though I resigned upon receiving the sacrament of confirmation at age 15. Inside the church I felt more confused than convicted, there were too many questions that went unanswered, and quite honestly, for me, a palpable absence of God. The church we attended was in the next town over, given that our small farm town did not have a Catholic church of its own. A few years after my departure, rumblings began in our community about building a church right here. At the time, the town was experiencing rapid growth with subdivisions replacing farm land and new roads running through old sugar bushes. The population could now support a parish of its own. 

No longer part of the church community, I do not recall the inception of the new church, but I do remember how modern it seemed in comparison to what most Catholics are accustomed to in their churches. It felt almost Methodist in its simplicity: clean functional lines with little fanfare, nothing ornate, gilded, or even a drop of stained glass in the place. At least, to my recollection. The south side of the building encased in a stunning amount of glass, allowing for God’s light to flood the pews. I remember appreciating that detail. Why bother with a gilded crucifix when you can fill the church with golden sun. 

Recalling this time, I would be remiss not to share that the greatest bit of excitement in the community came not from the construction of a new church, but from the announcement of the new priest who would lead it. I’m going to try and describe this as tactfully as I can, and hopefully will not feel the need to attend confession when I’m done. The women of our town were very pleased with the new priest. He was young and friendly and ruggedly handsome and rode a Harley and was known to indulge in the occasional cold one. Think Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing. (But less dancing and more praying.) Yeah. Women who long abandoned their church going ways now had their families at mass every Sunday morning, and sometimes on Saturday evening as well. There was even a not-so-secret but respectfully affectionate nickname for him: Father What-a-Waste. I probably don’t have to explain what that means. (Now I definitely feel the need to say five Hail Mary's and an Act of Contrition.)

I don’t know if he still resides as priest, but I do know he had the reputation of being a good one. Maybe it’s true that many of the women in town initially showed up for his rugged good looks, but it is also true that they stayed for his genuine faith, kind behavior, and charitable generosity. 

Last night we drove past the church and noticed through the southern wall of glass that the inside was filled with candlelight. Hundreds of warm glowing candles. On the altar, in the parishioners hands, they were everywhere. It was an overwhelming sight in the best possible way. A quick to pass moment as we drove down the road that caused me to gasp aloud at its beauty. Adam asked if I wanted him to turn around and go back; of course I did. We pulled into the parking lot and backed the truck into one of the few empty spots, facing the glassed church. We sat quietly and watched for a couple of minutes. Then I remembered... Advent. It was the prettiest, most magical thing.