Saturday, December 31, 2011
On December 18th, you turned 3 years old. This has been quite a year for you. You started school two days a week, and are thriving in the social aspect, learning new things about friends as well as your shapes and colors and letters.
Showing off our decorated pumpkin display for autumn (the sparkle pumpkin is the one you made in your class at school)
On the days that you do not have school, you have been learning (very slowly) to make your own fun and keep yourself occupied when you are at home with me.
Eating breakfast together.
You are my little buddy. You help me cook and bake and clean, and love nothing better than to be glued to my side, shadowing my every move.
Coffee date on our historic city square
This year you've started to establish some of your own friendships -- nearly every day you ask if you can play with your two little best girlfriends, A and M, and it's fun to see you growing in your ability to play with other children rather than just next to them.
With A on your way home from school
Playing dress-up with M
I love you, and I love discovering who you are as you grow and your personality continues to unfold. You are a challenge, you are a handful, and you are one of the most hilarious little people I've ever had the privilege of knowing. I'm so glad you're mine.
I love you always and forever,
Thursday, December 29, 2011
I then packed the treats into tiny jars for friends, neighbors and teachers, and was done! Two days of cooking/packing vs. 7 days of baking/packing. Perfect! On top of that, no one was saddled with a billion-calorie-Faith-induced-overload, because...Christmas comes but once a year, but no one wants to work for the next 6 months trying to get all that business off the hips.
For my children, instead of coming up with all kinds of last minute handmade gifts, I stuck to my original plan: five little 6x6 photo books (one for each of my children, one for my 3-year-old nephew). I didn't write a story line for the books, I didn't put any captions in them, and for the most part didn't use any special paper -- just plain and simple photographic memories from the past year, tailored to each child.
(It's obviously not possible to find all of the books at the same time to take a group shot, so here are two of them...)
Today I am working on a little pair of mittens for Daisy and watching my current favorite guilty TV pleasure: The Vampire Diaries (thank you, Netflix), while the children take their afternoon nap.
Tomorrow we are having friends over for dinner, and then on New Year's Eve we intend to stay in, eat a simple dinner followed by Cinnamon Brown Butter Puffs, watch some silly family videos from the past year, play a few board games, and gather around a little campfire in our backyard with mugs of hot chocolate (or perhaps some milk punch or hot buttered rum for the grown-ups). Greg and I will then tuck our children into bed well before midnight, and spend the rest of the evening together, just the two of us. We began dating on a New Year's Eve 11 years ago, and have never managed to celebrate our little mini-versary on our own until this year. I'm excited!
How are you spending the last few days of 2011? Here's a list of some fun ideas if you're stumped for plans to ring in the new year.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
And some of my favorite out-takes....
We wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year!
Monday, December 26, 2011
Every year, the children and I have a tradition of making and decorating sugar cookies, and also making a gingerbread village. This year, I bought a gingerbread house kit, so I did most of the decorating, but we used Dorie Greenspan's sugar cookie recipe (with lemon zest rubbed into the sugar -- yummy!) from this book, of course.
The whole proccess takes a while, as does anything with small children, so by the time we finished stamping out the shapes, Daisy had just had enough. A good long nap followed shortly after this shot.
Some superfun sprinkles that I found at Target.
By the time that we got around to the decorating, both of the little guys were solidly asleep for their afternoon naps, so Max helped them out after dinner to fully sprinkle their own cookies.
I used my favorite vintage biscuit cutter to stamp out circles with the re-rolled scraps of dough left over, and gave them a simple (and slightly more grown-up) apricot glaze.
Friday, December 23, 2011
With Daisy at her Pre-K class Christmas Party.
A pair of socks that I knit for my mom's Christmas gift.
3 lbs of Jalapenos to make Cowboy Candy.
A little pot of fresh potpourri on the stove (cranberries, an orange, a cinnamon stick, a few cloves, and half of a cracked nutmeg pod).
Mason Jar Lid Ornament for Billy's school gift exchange. So simple and so fun -- I plan to make a bunch with the children tomorrow as a Christmas Eve project. (It's pretty intuitive, but if you want a Set Of Instruction, check here.)
A lemon curd tart with fresh berries, brushed with apricot glaze ("sweet tart" dough recipe for the crust found here.)
Making little 6x6 photo books for the children for Christmas gifts.
Used this to turn my hair a super fun shade of red again.
Thursday, December 22, 2011
I'm currently growing out my pixie-cut, which leads to a lot of Awkward Hair Days, and so I've been getting a heck of a lot of use out if my two knit slouchy hats. Last week I decided I should probably have another one, and suddenly thought of that green skein, tucked away at the back if my stash...a quick search through the pattern library of Ravelry, one afternoon of knitting, needles flying....
Star Crossed Slouchy Beret. My project details here.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
I've always liked the idea of starting off the day with a green shake. All of those nutrients and vitamins coming together in an energizing fresh drink. The problem is, I figured that I'd need a superpowered blender to really churn all of those greens up...plus, wouldn't it just taste really gross? Last week I found a green shake recipe on the Greenling blog and decided to give it a try. With a few tweaks I ended up with something that even Billy could enjoy. (The fact that the berries turn the shake dark purple instead if green helps with the appeal.) Success!
Get Your Greens Shake
Makes 1 very large serving or 2 medium sized servings
2 cups kale, roughly torn
1/2 cup strawberries
1/2 cup blackberries
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds (Golden Flax Seeds, with their mild nutty flavor are my favorite)
1 tablespoon maple syrup (or to taste)
1 cup cold water
Combine all in a blender and process at the highest speed until fully combined and south with no green bits remaining.