Monday, December 31, 2007

We are switching the office and the kiddos' room, so our computer, and therefore our internet, have been down since yesterday afternoon. It's amazing how cut off I feel from the rest of the world without internet access! Anyway, we are at my mom's again and will be leaving from here tomorrow to go skiing for a few days, so I will not be able to update for a bit. Hopefully we'll get the computer back up as soon as possible when we get home.

Tonight I hope you enjoy the beginning to a very happy and fun-filled 2008!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Whew! What a busy bunch of days! We were at my mom's house until Wednesday, and Steve has been off work all week, so even the non-routine that we usually have going around here is thrown off. Still, I'm determined to update today so no one thinks I've dropped off the face of the earth or something else equally catastrophic.

Christmas with my family was lots of fun. Noah, who has always been a pretty friendly guy, suddenly morphed into a big time mama's boy and is only happy in my arms. He will grin and flirt like crazy, but as soon as someone tries to take him from me, he looks like this:I think my mom and grandmas especially were disappointed that, due to his recent personality change, they were only able to coo and smile at him from afar.

Emma received a ridiculous amount of fancy dresses, and of course loves them all. All her oodles of dress-up clothes are in a (very large) basket in her room, and that basket is currently stacked on top of a bunch of other stuff because Steve is painting in her room today. As soon as she noticed that the basket was out of reach, she slumped to the floor and said very dramatically, "Oh, no! I'll never be able to be fancy again!"I've been looking forward to showing all the Christmas crafting I did, but now after uploading pictures I realized that I can't show some pictures because certain gifts haven't been given yet, and other gifts were finished in such a frenzy at the end that I forgot to take pictures. Rats. So for now, this is all I've got - a wonderfully exciting oven mitt and pot holder that I made for my grandma (who loves cardinals).It seems that almost every morning we wake up with a little more snow than we had the day before. I'm not super fond of bundling everyone up and going out to play in the snow, so Emma was really excited to have a chance to play outside yesterday while Steve was shoveling the walk. So much fun, in fact, that I'm thinking I should probably get over it and take the poor kid out to play sometimes. Brrr!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

I've been feeling really tired the past few days so I've gone to bed early, which leaves me not only with no time to update my blog, but also no time to work on Christmas presents. I am seriously running out of time here, and I've realized that when I'm working under a deadline, sewing becomes much less enjoyable and much more of a chore. I'm actually almost done, which is good, but I can't seem to motivate myself to finish the last little bit.

Emma's favorite thing to do these days is wrap presents. She'll pick out something of hers, stick it in between two pieces of paper, and then proceed to wrap it with no less than 27 yards of tape. She made a little ornament for her dance teacher, and insisted on putting her swimming suit and one of her skirts in the box along with the ornament. When her teacher opened it, she asked if she was supposed to keep the swimming suit and the skirt too. Emma told her she was, then said, "Well...maybe I should get the swimming suit back because I do like to swim." Her teacher handed it back and a moment later, after some serious thought, Emma said, "I should probably also have the skirt back because it fits me so well." So much for the spirit of giving!

A few random pictures -

another ornament,

a cute little ball I made for Noah,

and Emma getting ready to go somewhere. She can't leave the house anymore without first "brushing her eyelashes".

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Apparently it wasn't enough for me to do online swaps, now I've started doing swaps with my local friends too. Last week I met up with my friend Allison to swap some Christmas goodies. I brought her these items, along with a bag of cookies,and she gave me TONS of great stuff in return. Fabric, ribbon, chocolate, ornaments, a cookbook, and a whole slew of other fun things - what could be better!?!
Then today I met with my friend Shawn and brought her a lot of the same stuff I gave Allison. I didn't, however, finish everything I wanted to so I will have to owe her.
In return, she gave me a bag filled with a bunch of adorable embellished goodness. Cards, gift tags, a journal, fabric, chocolate, and more - wow!Thanks, ladies! You rock!

Three marvelous things for today...

Two ornaments...
(How incredibly cute is this one???)

...and this delicious soup!

Steve is supposed to be writing our Christmas letter tonight. I am anxious to hear it when he is finished, and hope it turns out better than last year's letter. If I have to nix this one, I am certain that he will never again attempt to write another letter. On that topic, are Christmas letters lame? I've heard people complain about them, but personally, I love holiday cards that come with letters. What do you think?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Remember all those pizzas I made? The package I received in return came the other day, but I'm saving it for Christmas so I didn't get a chance to lay it all out and photograph it until today. I think Emma will love it! I also signed up for another play food swap that will be in February. What to make for that one? Donuts? Knitted veggies? I'm not sure yet.

Not much else to say today, so here's a little ornament eye candy for you. These all came in today's mail.
This one is made with coffee beans. It smells so wonderfully delicious!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Tonight I wrote the names of everyone who commented on the giveaway post on little slips of paper and mixed them around in a bowl.
Emma was very excited about her job of drawing the winner. She said, "Can I pick three? How about four? Maybe seven?" Finally she just picked one, and the winner is... my mom! I thought about picking someone else, just so it would seem a little more fair, but then I realized that she has been my longest and most reliable reader so it's fitting that she should win. Congratulations, Mom!And now, if you can possibly handle anymore excitement from me, I have some amazing and wonderful news. For the last two weeks, I've been feeling cautiously excited, but now that I actually have something concrete to announce, I am positively ecstatic! Steve was offered a new job with a different company, and yesterday morning, he accepted! He has resigned from his current firm, and his last day there will be January 15th. This new job is going to be great for so many reasons - it's a wonderful opportunity for him, it's more money, and most importantly he will finally be able to achieve some sort of work-life balance! No more traveling, no more 100+ hour weeks, no more busy season! It's sort of hard for me to grasp how much our life is going to change once he begins the new job. I really have no idea what it's like to have a husband who is home for dinner at night, and doesn't work on the weekends, but I expect to LOVE it! Just think of the changes - remodeling projects will get finished, our grass will always be mowed, I might be able to take a bath by myself every once in awhile! Oh, the possibilities!

Friday, December 14, 2007

At last!

After dreaming about it for days, and visiting multiple stores in search of the necessary ingredients, yesterday we were finally able to make some peppermint bark. Oh, is it heavenly! I brought some to a homeschool activity today and gave away some more for a cookie swap so now I am left with very little to actually eat. There may be more peppermint bark in the very near future, especially now that I know for sure where I can get a super big bag of white chocolate. (World Market, I love you.)
Shockingly, everyone in my family is asleep. I am going to put on an Arrested Development DVD, pour a glass of wine, and work on some Christmas presents. Don't think I won't be munching on some peppermint bark as well. Could there be a more perfect evening? Highly unlikely.
A note about the above ornament: it smells so wonderful and Christmasy, and included in the package is a little vial of pine essential to add to it when the smell starts to wear off. Isn't that a wonderful idea?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

We have ornaments coming in the mail just about every day now. I LOVE opening all these ornaments and hanging them on our tree. Up until now, I've resisted taking pictures of each one. I figured my lovely readers might get bored with all the ornament pictures so I was just going to wait until the end and take one picture of all of them. But you know? This is my blog and I can post whatever I want, so prepare yourself for an overload of ornament pictures!
Today marks the third anniversary of this little old blog, so I believe a celebration is in order. Other bloggers are always having fun little giveaways, so I'm going to join in on the fun and have a giveaway of my own to celebrate the occasion. To enter, leave a comment on this post, and on Saturday I'll randomly choose a person to win, uh... something. I'm not sure what that something is yet, but it will be made by me, and I hope it will be something you'll like.
Steve got home from Chicago tonight! I am so happy to have him home early this week.

You know what else makes me happy?
A baby with a mohawk.

So today we started to make the peppermint bark, but soon realized that I didn't get enough white chocolate at the store last night! ARGH! We did end up making these Chocolate Mint Cookies instead, and they are pretty darn tasty. Imagine a chewy Girl Scout Thin Mint - delicious, right? The peppermint bark will have to wait until tomorrow.Both kids are asleep and I really should go work on some Christmas presents, but I am too tired. Good night.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The coolest ornament came in the mail today! It's a little wooden frame with a 3D paper cut-out winter scene. I love it! Isn't it cute?Last week at Williams-Sonoma, Emma and I received free samples of their peppermint bark. I don't really like white chocolate and I'm not a huge fan of candy canes, but this stuff was so astoundingly delicious that I have been thinking about it ever since. I found a recipe online that is supposed to be just like theirs, and planned to make it today so I could finally eat some more of it and then move on. I ran into trouble at Target because their white chocolate was on sale and, consequently, sold out. They had plenty of "vanilla flavored baking morsels" but who wants those? Not me. I planned to run into a different store on the way home, but once I realized both kids had fallen asleep, I decided to push back the making of the peppermint bark and just go to the store tomorrow. After a couple hours of being home and cozy and in our pajamas, I remembered the impending ice storm. Since I am not someone who loves digging her car out from under thick sheets of ice in the bitter cold, I decided to bundle everyone up and go to the store before the storm hit. Due to a combination of it being rush hour and everyone feeling freaked about the weather and who knows what else, it took us forever to get to the store that is normally about five minutes away. The place was packed, but we made our way through all the last-minute, pre-storm crowds only to discover that they didn't have any white chocolate! After all this I wasn't going to go home empty-handed, so we went to another store and finally, finally found some. About bloody time! Now we are all set for a day of hiding out inside, baking, and eating lots of peppermint bark. It better be good.

Emma is ALWAYS trying to hold Noah's hand and sometimes it drives me crazy because I think maybe the poor guy just wants to be left alone for once. There are other times, like today when I opened the car door to find them holding hands while they slept, that I don't find it annoying at all. "Heartwarming" is a much better word.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

The Goods:
Milk - Cow's milk would probably be better, but I didn't have any on hand so I made do with the soy.
Flavor syrup - I went to Starbuck's to make sure they really don't sell their pumpkin spice syrup. They don't, so I bought vanilla instead.
Espresso maker - delivered on Friday! Yay!
illy espresso - This is supposedly the best kind to use with my particular espresso maker. It's more expensive than what I would usually buy, but if I'm going to do this I want to do it right.
Milk frother - bought from Williams-Sonoma this week because it did not qualify for Super Saver Shipping, and I wasn't going to pay $7 to have it shipped.

The Verdict:Meh.

My first attempt wasn't the best. You're not supposed to heat the water over 175 degrees or the espresso will be bitter, and my meat thermometer recently broke, so I had no way to measure the temperature of the water. I completely underestimated the water temperature, and also failed to sufficiently warm the milk, so my first latte was lukewarm at best. I also wasn't sure about the ratio of milk to espresso to syrup, and I think I guessed poorly on those as well. After drinking this tepid concoction, I was thinking that possibly this whole latte making idea was a lot more trouble than it was worth.

I attempted another one later yesterday afternoon, and it was much better.This morning, I attempted a third time. Wow. It was good. Really, really good. It tasted just like the real thing and was perfectly hot and absolutely delicious. Definitely worth the trouble. I am so looking forward to tomorrow morning so I can have another one!

Friday, December 07, 2007

The ornaments have been pouring in. I got these from an ornament swap with my local friends. I love them all!How awesome is the one with the yarn and knitting needles?

These are the ones I've received in the mail so far.Every day for the past week we've gotten either a card or an ornament in the mail. It's so much fun opening everything!

Tomorrow is the day my kiddos are going to my friend's house for a couple of hours and I can't wait!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

I thought it would be fun to make our Christmas cards this year, and I've been working on them here and there for the past few weeks. They are nothing fancy, but I like the idea of sending handmade cards. That is, until I ordered the pictures to include in the cards. They are too big by almost an inch all the way around! I can't cut that much off the pictures, so I'm probably going to end up ditching the handmade card idea and just buying some cards. Bah.

One of my least favorite chores is cleaning the bathtub/shower, so when I saw a commercial for this nifty gadget, my interest was piqued. Tonight at Target I went to check it out. There's that old saying about something that sounds too good to be true, so I was definitely skeptical. However, I asked myself if something that even had the possibility of enabling me to never clean the shower again was worth twenty bucks to me, and the answer is yes. Absolutely, one hundred percent YES. I'll let you know if it really works.

I am growing very weary of Steve's being out of town week after week. Just a few more weeks left though, thankfully. After days of not being able to even turn on my sewing machine, last night I finally had a chance to work on some presents. After waking up and needing to be nursed back to sleep about 271 times, Noah finally slept for a decent, and very welcome, chunk of time.
Today was a long day and I really wanted to get out of the house for awhile tonight. I took the kids to Chipotle for dinner, and then made a couple other stops to pick up some provisions for the evening. I tried to forget about sewing and dishes and laundry and all that other stuff, and you know? My night improved drastically when I just let those things go.I haven't posted too many pictures of the kids lately, so here you go.

My precious boy, who is now really truly crawlingand my sweet girl, who makes this faceor does thiswhenever she sees me get out the camera.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Tonight I was trying to take a picture of our Christmas tree, and do you have any idea how fun it is taking pictures of those little lights? Judging by the amount of pictures I took, way too much fun for me.Emma says cute and funny things all the time, and I keep meaning to write them down so I don't forget. In this post, I am going to do just that.
She often tries to use words that she has heard, but doesn't quite understand what they mean. Today when we left the house, I sternly told Jose (who has a bit of an issue with taking ornaments off the tree and chewing them) not to chew up any of our stuff. Emma looked at Jose and said in her bossiest voice, "Yeah, Jose! Stop being such a hypocrite!"One day I was in the office trying to nurse Noah to sleep and I realized I hadn't heard Emma in awhile. I called her a couple times and finally she was like, "...yeah?" I asked her what she was doing and she said nothing (in a very I'm-definitely-doing-something-I-shouldn't type of voice). I called back to her and told her to come in the office. A good minute later, after I called her a couple more times, she walked into the office with a bag of colored mini-marshmallows in her hand. The bag was very loosely twist-tied, and Emma's entire mouth was encircled by a gooey ring of colorful marshmallowy stickiness. She held up the bag and said nonchalantly, "Do you think it would be okay if I had some of these?"The kids and I were at Joann's one day while Steve was out of town. The lady who cut our fabric asked Emma what her brother's name was. As always, Emma answered with his entire first, middle, and last name. Recognizing our last name, the lady said, "Did your daddy go to Southwest High School?" Emma said, "No. He went to Chicago."On Halloween, Emma had, of course, been eating a lot of candy. I finally told her that she couldn't have anymore, and she begged and begged to have another piece. "Please? Just one more? One more piece, pleeeeeease? Can't I have just one more piece? Please? Just one?" And on and on. Finally I said, "Do not ask me again for one more piece of candy." "Okay," she grumbled, and then after thinking about it for a second, "How about two pieces?"