Monday, December 22, 2008

One more hat finished, although it's a little late. The weather here has been crazy cold the past few days, but I think tomorrow it's supposed to get all the way up to a balmy 35 degrees. Ah well, she still looks cute wearing it, even if she doesn't really need it. I started Emma's already, and my sad goal is to finish it before Spring.There has been a flurry of last minute crafting around here because Emma keeps thinking of more presents she wants to give. The entire top bunk is covered with various items she has either made, purchased, or found around the house, all to be given to various family members. So, any family members who may be reading this, you might want to make space on your shelves for the influx of trinkets you will soon be receiving!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I made a batch of gingersnaps to bring along when we went to the lake for Thanksgiving, and at least once a day since then, my brain begs me to make them again. Twice I've given in, and then been somewhat regretful because once they are here I lose all control over myself and I can't stop eating them. I think part of the problem is that I use whole wheat pastry flour to make them, and then convince myself that they aren't really so bad because it least they are whole wheat. Never mind the three sticks of butter and two cups of sugar thrown in as well. I was planning to make some for a cookie swap tomorrow, but since we have been running around nonstop for the last two days, I've decided to stay home instead. But don't think I won't still be making the gingersnaps!I did meet up with some friends for two swaps yesterday - another ornament swap and a holiday swap. I made more houses for the ornament swap, and in case you are getting tired of looking at these little houses, I promise that this is the last picture of them. For the other swap, we were just supposed to make some random item, and I made embellished towels. I was planning to do patchwork, but I waited too long and had to take the easy way out. I wanted to use kitchen-y type fabrics, and I found all of these food related prints in my stash. I actually had even more food prints so I had to narrow it down. I think having so many fabrics about food alone means I might have a little bit of a fabric hoarding problem. A couple people couldn't make it yesterday so I don't have all the swap items yet, but when I get them all I'll post a picture. The things I did receive were lovely.
One more thing - I just got some jumbo muffin pans in the mail from my friends at and I love them. The only thing in the world better than a chocolate chip pumpkin muffin is a huge chocolate chip pumpkin muffin. Okay, or maybe a gingersnap.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I have spent most of the morning today and the first part of the afternoon trying to decide if we should go out or not. I have errands to run, but is it worth digging my van out from under the snow and taking the little ones out in the freezing cold? We need groceries and although I could scrounge around and find stuff for us to eat, we have no cream, half and half, or milk, and I need at least one of those for my coffee. This morning I tried to drink it black, and blech! All day I've been missing my coffee, which means the real question is, is it worth braving the elements so I can have a good cup of coffee? I've waited long enough that the decision has basically made itself for me, because I have to pick Emma up at 3:00 anyway. Oh Starbucks, here I come!Our Christmas tree is struggling. Since we put it up, it's been knocked over several times. Yesterday, while rolling around on the birth ball, Emma grabbed the tree to steady herself and down it went. Some part of the base must have bent when it fell because I couldn't get the tree to stand up quite right after that. While I was making dinner the kids knocked it over three more times, and I finally threatened that if it fell one more time I was taking it down. Of course, about thirty seconds later Noah pulled it down on top of himself so I removed all the ornaments and promised to take down the tree all together after dinner. Steve came home and called me a Scrooge, then stood the tree up again and fixed the base so that it would be sturdier. I ended up not taking it down, but now it has no ornaments, some of the lights have been pulled off, and one side is all smashed in from hitting the floor so many times. Very festive, let me tell you.
These photos, which have absolutely nothing to do with this post, were all taken in the last two days. I like them because they all seem to show off the kids' blue eyes.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

One more ornament swap down, one more to go. I sent off these little houses yesterday. Hopefully their recipients like them. I think they are pretty cute and I wish I would have made one for myself, but I have no desire to sew any more house ornaments. I can only handle so much repetition, which is a small downside of ornament swaps.Since I had Allie, I have been amazed at the friendliness and helpfulness of strangers. Whenever I go anywhere, I generally have Allie in the sling and Noah on my hip and I can pretty much do anything I need to do while carrying both of them. Still, I must look like I need help because people are always going out of their way to be helpful. The other day we were at Panera and I was carrying a high chair to our table while also carrying Noah and Allie, and on the short trip from the stack of high chairs to our table, three different people came over and offered to carry the high chair for me. During the snow storm on Tuesday, we were walking out of HyVee and a man who was walking in turned around when he saw us, then helped me by pushing my cart all the way to my van and unloading all my groceries while I buckled in the kids. Today we were walking into Target and I was carrying both kids and a picture frame that I wanted to return, and a lady who was loading up her own car came over and offered to carry the frame inside for me. Even though I don't think I really need the help, it's nice and I appreciate the offers. Someday I won't always have my arms full of little kids, and when that time comes I hope I remember to offer help to those who do.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

We get a ton of toy catalogs in the mail and Emma likes to look through them and point out the things she likes. For the past couple months, I've been taking note and planning to try to recreate the things that she likes - specifically this and this. Unfortunately, a few weeks ago she came across this Star Performance Theater and now it's all she talks about. Whenever anyone, even a complete stranger, brings up Christmas, she goes on and on about the stage and the microphone that she will be getting. It seems like most of her sentences anymore start with, "When I get my stage..." I do not think this stage sounds like a good present at all, nor do I want it taking up valuable limited space in my house. Still, I can see her opening all her handmade gifts, then tossing them aside and going, "Where's the stage?", which I will definitely not appreciate. In order to avoid that scenario, and also because she really really has her heart set on the darn thing, this morning I begrudgingly ordered her both the stage and the microphone. The silver lining, however, is that now I can give her the other stuff for her birthday and I will have two additional months in which to make it.
Another Christmas present that might not work out so well is a Bumbo Seat that I purchased for Allie. I have always thought they looked cool, but the short time for which they could be used was probably not worth the price. I was excited to find a good deal on one at a resale shop and rushed home to have Allie try it out. I figured she would probably have forgotten about it by Christmas and therefore I was not worried about spoiling the surprise. She hated it. She sat there long enough for me to take this one picture, then she wanted out, immediately. Hopefully she'll like it a little more in a few weeks when I try to stuff her in there again.Over the weekend we purchased some wine to bring to a party and decided to buy some for ourselves as well. We used to have wine at home much more often but have gotten out of the habit (which might have something to do with the fact that I have spent much of the last two years being pregnant). After we agreed that we'd both like to start having wine with dinner more often, I decided to perform a little experiment. Steve picked a $22 bottle of cabernet, and then I noticed the World Market brand of the same kind of wine, which was only $4.99. I decided to get both and do a little taste test to see if we could tell the difference. Steve was certain that we would, because we've both heard that it's hard to get good red wine for cheap. When we got home, we immediately conducted the experiment. The verdict? The more expensive wine looked a little darker in the glass, but there was absolutely no difference in the taste. Either that, or we know absolutely nothing about wine and probably deserve to be drinking the cheapo stuff anyway. Isn't that interesting?

Friday, December 05, 2008

My local AP group met for lunch and had our annual ornament swap today. There were eighteen people participating this year, and if I had to do it over I'd probably make something a little less time consuming. Cutting out the 144 little pieces of fabric wasn't so bad, but trying to divide each styrofoam ball into eight even sections, then cutting all those sections, then stuffing the fabric down into the crevices was definitely getting a little old by the end. Still, I am glad I made them because I really liked the end result.I got a slew of great ornaments from everyone else, which makes me excited to set up our tree this weekend. Aren't these cute!?I'm also participating in a couple other ornament swaps this year, and have started receiving some ornaments in the mail. Yay! We already had a ton of ornaments before last year, but now, because of my ridiculous obsession with ornament swaps, I have way more ornaments than could ever fit on any one tree. I need to find some cute (out of the reach of little hands) way to display them all.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

I've been wanting to post about Allie, but I can't seem to get a picture of her that makes her look as adorable as she really is. Still, I want to talk about her so these pictures will just have to do for now.When I found out we were expecting Allie, Noah was only seven months old and I basically thought it was a disaster. I planned to have all my kids three years apart and I wanted nothing to do with having two babies at the same time. Of course, what was done was done, so I tried to look forward to the new baby with something other than complete dread.Fast forward to now: I am SO happy we have this baby. So, so thrilled that she is in our family. I found out that instead of causing more stress, she brings me nothing but joy. Allie has completely brightened my life, which is saying quite a bit because my life was already pretty decent before she was born.
She loves to gurgle and coo and will continue a "conversation" for as long as anyone is willing to listen. When she smiles, which is often, her whole body shakes with happiness. I thought my other two kids were easy babies, but I'm pretty sure Allie really IS the most easy-going baby ever. I really cannot imagine a more wonderful surprise.