Early New Year

I love homemade traditions, don't you?  For about 6 or 7 years, I've rung in the new year with Tina.  Over two days we eat good food, drink tea and cocoa (and the occasional adult beverage), we craft or make art, we talk about the year's accomplishments, we make big plans for the new year and we get outside for a snowy hike.  Occasionally we add a good movie or a yoga session to the mix.  Traditions can be flexible.

Well, last year Tina was in London, and I really missed our standing New Year's gig.  This year our family is going to California (do you hear Joni Mitchell in your head when you read that?) for the holiday.  So, in the spirit of yoga and flexibility, our New Year's holiday was December 29th and 30th.  Yup.  Today is already 2010 for me and it has been since yesterday.  Tasty things were baked, good meals eaten, beverages drunk, there was laughing and merriment and what not, big plans were made, a baby was tickled, new earrings were crafted (photo pending) and to cap it all off....


There is nothing like ringing in the new year with all of the best things in life!  I hope you get to enjoy a holiday filled with good food, good company and good fresh air!

Happy Christmas

Is it too late in the season to post pictures of a sweet boy enjoying his 1st Christmas?  I hope not, because after I finish this post, we pack to go to California to see more grandparents and Henry gets to do it all over again.

First, cousin Haille had to pile every single stuffed animal and dolly on him and he sat there patiently while she showed him all the rest of her toys.

Then Henry had a blast in Grammy's sink taking a bath.  The shiny metal fixtures were fascinating and he learned how to pull himself up to near standing in the sink.

(don't those blue eyes just kill you?)

Then there was the wrapping paper and ribbons and bows and trees and ornaments.  He gazed, he touched and he tasted.

Speaking of tasting, don't forget Christmas dinner!  Henry loved his first turkey dinner with squash and kept flapping his arms and growling for more.

We all had fabulous holiday, especially seeing it through Henry's eyes.  Soon we will be off to warmer climates and a different kind of Christmas--one with palm trees and beach visits!

Winter Solstice

The Winter Solstice is the shortest day on the calendar, and where we live, the day was 9 hours and 3 minutes long and we packed a lot of winter fun into it.

There were blueberry pancakes for breakfast and a crossword puzzle followed by a decadent family nap time.  Then one of us participated in the traditional shaking of the presents and the not-so-traditional tasting of the wrapping.  (He's getting his two front teeth for Christmas.)

Then we took advantage of the last hours of daylight for a family winter hike in the Turtle Creek Floodplain as well as Henry's first sled ride.

Henry had some lovely sweet potatoes, avocado and blueberry applesauce for dinner and then opened gifts and played until bedtime.

Then Ben and I ate squash soup and mushroom stroganoff and opened gifts by candlelight followed by a tired game of Yahtzee.

I hope your winter holidays are filled with joy.


Girls just wanna have fun

On Saturday, I had a little case of the nerves while I left my baby in the care of a 14-year-old who wouldn't make eye contact with me (Ben was out for the morning for the Christmas Bird Count).  It was the first non-family, non-friend babysitter.  Henry was fine and was left napping, but I was a mess.  Anyway, it was all very worth it because my Saturday with Tina rocked!

We met up in Schaumburg, Illinois--known for malls and many shopping centers and the IKEA.  Tina and I like thrifting and antiquing and crafting, but not shopping.  BUT, we haven't had a day to hang out together in a long time, so we indulged in 3 hours of walking around and playing in the IKEA living rooms, bedrooms and kitchens.  We rearranged the dishes and wondered why other people thought that they could invite themselves in.  We snacked on cookies and talked about setting up great studio spaces.

Then we had to get food because the IKEA kitchens didn't have any. We ate at this place, whose name I won't repeat because I don't really recommend the service or the food, but they do have inappropriate things shellacked to the tabletops.

We followed food with a trip to the Blick art store.  I love the smell of art stores and I love touching all of the supplies.  Mmmm....

Then we went to a chain coffee shop and stayed very late and drank doctored up cocoa and mocha (and tea) and made a cue alien together (sorry for the blurry photo).  

I can't say enough how much I recommend the meet up.  No one has to clean the house or cook the food or plan the activities.  And it is good to stay in the present moment and have fun where ever you find yourself.

More Cookies!

If you feel a little behind in your holiday baking, don't try this recipe:

Actually, I'm not up for trying any recipes that require an entire pound of cinnamon.

It sure makes for cute pictures, though.

This was taken at the Hilldale Mall in Madison.  Somebody is getting some cute stuff from the fancy toy store there. 

Cookies, me like cookies.

I have it on good authority that Cookie Monster now says that "cookies are a sometimes food."  I'm disappointed to hear this, especially after having so much fun this week hosting a cookie baking day at my house.  Here are some snapshots:

I hope your holiday baking is as well-received.

Meet up!

As previously mentioned, Henry and I went to La Crosse over the weekend to meet the lovely Melissa in person.  We first met on ravelry in spring of 2008.  Since then, she's become an encouraging force in my life and one can't have enough friends like that.

We stayed at a unique motel.  I have to show the other side of the marquee (in case you've already seen Melissa's post):

Henry was a big fan of the lady with the active eyebrows:

Weekend highlights included knitting with Melissa, the most delicious Eggs Benedict I've ever had, and three new tubes of lip balm (yes, lip balm is that exciting).  Better yet, Henry continues to be a portable little dude, so more overnight visits may be in our future.

If you are thinking of resolutions for the new year, I highly recommend the halfway meet up with new and old friends alike.  Henry and I met this year with my parents in Milwaukee, with Tina in Milwaukee, and this weekend I get to rendezvous with Tina in Schaumburg and I'll be baby-free (picture happy dance here)!  Who knows what adventures next year will bring.


No theme today, just a bunch of miscellaneous photos.

Yesterday I finished knitting a hat to match Ben's scarf from last year.  Turn a Square hat by Jared Flood.

Perfect  for the foot of snow we got over the last two days.  It was a good sticky snow that hung on all of the tree branches and now is frozen there with our 7 degree weather today.  I saw some fantastic snowmen in the neighborhood, but I didn't have my camera with me.  Maybe tomorrow.

I've been busy taking pictures of Henry indoors instead.  First a glamour shot on the blankie I made early this year.

And, lastly, some food photos.  Henry had his first banana yesterday so we had to put the monkey bib on.  He also got his first two teeth in right before Thanksgiving (did I mention that?) and he likes gnawing on this Kristen-grown carrot.

I hope you all have a great weekend. I know I will. Henry and I are meeting up in La Crosse with Melissa from the Knitting Sandwich.  I'm so excited!

Six Months!

This guy is getting so big.  I know that is a cliche, but the surprise of a momma is very sincere.  When Henry's first two teeth came in I just looked at him in amazement and told Ben, "We made one that can grow and make things like teeth."  Ben said, "You mean we didn't make a dud?"

P.S.--Yes, that is a momma handknit.  Started in May before he was born but finished just in time for winter wearing and before he grows out of it.


At Thanksgiving I was frequently part of a kid sandwich.

My niece, Haille, is a big Henry fan and she likes holding him.  Here we are making a Haille sandwich.  Henry and I are the bread and Haille said that she is the ham.

Turkey Leftovers

For those into vintage finds, here is a postcard from 1910 that I found at an antique store.

This is a page from a vintage children's book from 1964.  The title of the book is Never Tease a Weasel and we adore reading the book aloud as much as we enjoy the illustrations.

And, lastly, Henry and I did some turkey crafting last Wednesday.  I think it turned out rather well.

I hope your Thanksgiving was grand.  I, for one, am thankful for my new guy, my new blogging friends and all of the crafting inspiration that I find on the web.  Thank you.