Archive for December, 2008

merry christmas!

Thursday, December 25th, 2008

tree

You can follow our holiday updates in the sidebar or over here. Hope you are having a wonderful day!

donuts!

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

That word means different things to different people. If you ask T about donuts, he’ll think you are talking about spinning the car around in the ice and snow. It’s an event, as in, “I’m going to an empty parking lot to do donuts.” (In Nebraska, they call them cookies. Weird, huh?)

Let’s talk about the other kind of donut, though. The tasty kind. Over the weekend we were killing time while waiting to pick up a pizza. I decided to dive in to the closest thrift store while T and M hung out in the warm car. I usually do a quick loop to check fabric, yarn and craft stuff, and then breeze through kitchen and household items before heading out. This trip I found something really cool in the kitchen section: donut pans! They looked brand new and were $4 for the set. Ever since I got Jessica Seinfeld’s book, I’ve thought about making donuts, but never really took the time to investigate the molds. I snatched them up and made donuts the very next morning.

donuts

They are baked, not fried, so they are more like cake donuts. The only modification I made was to use all pumpkin puree instead of half pumpkin/half sweet potato. The first batch turned out a little small. I didn’t know how much they would rise, so I didn’t want to fill them too high. We got a bunch of little, skinny donuts. I used a lot more batter for the second batch and they turned out great. Better than great, actually. My family inhaled them. I’m surprised they left any sugar on the plate!

donut

getting serious with santa

Sunday, December 21st, 2008

Yesterday we went to visit Santa. He hangs out in a little house at the outdoor mall. We didn’t say anything to M because if there was a line, we were going to try again another time. (We’re in the single digits out here in Nebraska!) There was no line, so we just whisked her inside. She didn’t even realize Santa was around the corner until it was her time to sit on his lap.

When she saw him, her eyes got so big! Her jaw might have even dropped a little. She didn’t have any problem sitting on his lap, but she was speechless. (If you spend any time with my daughter these days, you know just how amazing that is!) We told Santa that she wanted a drum for Christmas. He gave her a little goodie bag of stuff. We tried to get her to smile for their picture: Say cheese! Say Thomas! Say George! Say Elmo! Smile for the camera! All we got was this look of shock and awe.

bella and santa

She did manage to get up enough courage to ask about the big stuffed polar bear in the corner. One of the elves brought it over for her. “Soft!” That’s all she said the whole time we were there. Soft! Then T took her to the car while I paid for our photo. She hasn’t mentioned her visit with the big man in the red suit since, but she reminded me today that she gave the polar bear a high five.

unexpected quiet time

Saturday, December 20th, 2008

I’m sitting in a quiet house. T took Bella out for some fun in the snow. It was an unexpected excursion and now I find myself all alone and I’m not sure what to do. Usually I have a list of things ready for when I get an unexpected break, but right now I’m all caught up. Can you believe it?

This is the first year ever that I am ready for the holidays so early. Part of the reason is because most of our gifts have to be shipped to the east coast. I learned the hard way in the past that you can’t count on them getting there in time if you wait until the last “cut off” day for shipping. There were a lot of late nights and bleary-eyed mornings the past few weeks, but it was worth it. I just have one little gift left to sew.

The only thing that got me through the crunch was imagining myself knitting downstairs in front of the fire with a glass of wine. Last night, I did just that. It was lovely! The only thing I’d like to finish before the holidays is a blanket for M. I’m not stressing about it, though. If it doesn’t get done, the world won’t end. She’s going to have so much fun this Christmas, the blanket really isn’t going to make much of a difference, I’m sure.

And, of course, Christmas wouldn’t be complete without having to buy at least one gift twice. I went through all of the brown boxes that arrived last week to make sure everything was ok and Barnes and Noble had shipped the wrong Thomas gift. We ordered a small figure eight track with a bridge and water tower. We received just a water tower. The packing slip said we were sent a set. The label on the box says it’s a set. You know what’s coming next, don’t you? When I called them, they said it’s out of stock. I went on the Internet. It’s out of stock everywhere. I started calling around locally and found one. One! I’m really glad I didn’t wait until Christmas Eve to open everything up. Hopefully that will be it for this year.

Today I’m off to our knitting guild’s holiday party and ornament exchange. The rest of the weekend is pretty open. Mostly we’re just going to hang out together. We hope to see the fat man in a red suit so M can ask for her drum. Other than that, I plan on sitting by the fire with my knitting. And maybe some hot cocoa. Or maybe some more wine. It is the holidays, after all!

decking the halls and all that jazz

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

Last night I finished all of the out-of-town holiday gifts. They are packaged up and ready to be picked up by the mail lady. At the beginning of the year I took the Handmade Pledge, but pledged to make as many gift as I could this year. I think I did a pretty good job. All birthday, baby and holiday gifts had at least one thing handmade by me. Some things you just can’t make, though, like books or Thomas the Tank Engine. I think I had a pretty good mix and plan to do the same next year.

We’ve been in full holiday mode around here. Last week M helped me decorate the tree so our house was properly decked out for our Swedish Christmas. What’s that, you ask? In our family, we have a tradition. If someone can’t be with you for your birthday or a holiday, you just reschedule it as a Swedish holiday. (Why Swedish? It was my mom’s idea, and she’s Swedish.) Our friends Christina and Sean are moving to Indiana this week. We had planned on spending Christmas together, so we just rescheduled a Swedish Christmas for last weekend. It was really nice. Lauren has posted some great pictures.

Swedish Christmas was a great way to start the holidays. M and I have been listening to lots of Christmas music, she’s helped me with gifts, and we’ve watched A Charlie Brown Christmas too many times to count. All of our gifts for her have been ordered and are on their way. I’ve even started wrapping a few in the evenings. (Well, if you consider putting them in reusable felt gift bags “wrapping” gifts.)

Today we are going to do lots of baking. I’ve got some Amish Friendship bread starter and I’m going to make some loaves for friends and neighbors. I designed our holiday card, which will be printed by nobrainer, of course, but need to finalize the list. (People, please stop moving around so much!)

This weekend I have my knitting guild holiday party. We’re also planning to go visit Santa. M is asking for a drum. (She’s been pushing around the box that has her drum all week, but has never asked what’s inside!) I’ve got a few little things to sew, and I’m going to keep knitting on M’s blanket. Some day it will be finished. Not sure about next week though. We’ll see.

All in all, we’re finally settling down into the holiday groove. It takes us awhile. We’re just not the kind of people who pull out the tree the day after Thanksgiving, which makes me feel a little behind. But now we have a whole week of relaxing and enjoying the holiday spirit. I’m looking forward to it. And the snow. And hot cocoa. And watching A Charlie Brown Christmas, again.

o christmas tree

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

On Sunday we went to pick out our Christmas tree. Every year gets more and more fun as M gets older. This year she spent a lot of time running around through all the trees. She also had hot cocoa for the first time (and wouldn’t stop talking about it for the rest of the day!)

The tree is up and most of our decorations are out. We still need to put lights and ornaments on the tree. We’re having some friends over on Saturday. If I don’t have it finished by then, I’m putting everyone to work!

Here’s a pic of M just after she ripped off her hat and mittens. (Then she realized how cold it was, and promptly asked us to put them back on!)

tree farm

Here she is running around. (Hat and mittens on!)

tree farm

Here’s our little tree. Seriously. It’s the smallest tree we’ve had in a long time. Timber!



’tis the season…

Friday, December 5th, 2008

…for playing in cardboard boxes.

This particular box is a boat (just in case it wasn’t obvious).

bella in a box

patchwork scarves :: wool and denim

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008

patchwork quilt scarves

Last summer I bought a cute little patchwork quilt that I’ve been planning to make into a tote bag. When I started deconstructing it, I realized it was made up of long, skinny rectangles. Perfect for scarves! Two scarves, actually: one backed with wool, the other backed with denim.

I think I am officially addicted to making scarves this season. If you are on my holiday gift list, you should probably expect to receive one!

four days with my two favorite people

Monday, December 1st, 2008

bella and dad

Thanksgiving is my favorite time of year. We had a lovely dinner over the Masts. I made pies. We watched the parade. T bought some electronics on Black Friday and spent the rest of the weekend fiddling with them. I sewed. I knitted. I made muffins. We spent some time outside in the snow flurries. Mostly, though, we spent the weekend hanging out and goofing off. It was perfect.

Thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes. I hope everyone had a nice holiday!