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....

SLEDDING!!!!























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.

Potpourri

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.

Sandwiches

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.

Applesauce


applesauce, originally uploaded by quirky granola girl.
We started tiny bits of solids this week. Oh, and I'm having too much fun with iMovie this week, too :)

sitting, kind of


sitting, kind of, originally uploaded by quirky granola girl.

Gator Wrastlin'

I met our nephew, Noah, when he was a little over a year old and he taught me all about gator wrastlin'.  The trunk strength and flexibility of an infant can be tremendous.  I can't capture any pictures of myself with Henry, but here is one of Tina trying to contain him when he's really excited to eat his own toes:



Tina lives in Chicago, so she took the bus up to Milwaukee last week and Henry and I drove over to meet her for the day.  We had a great time at Broadway Paper, Milwaukee Ale House for lunch, Ruhama's Yarn and Alterra Coffee.  I have to take advantage of Henry's willingness to hang out at craft stores now.  I'm sure gator wrastlin' is easier than toddler corralling.

Status Quo

I don't have a great reason for not posting lately, except that I don't have much to say or to show.  I'm still working on the wall quilt sewing and it is coming along nicely.  I have some gift sewing and knitting in the works, but can't share pictures, and Henry is still just as cute as ever.

The only notable news is that my thermometer shows 58 degrees and it is the 22nd of November. in Wisconsin. I'm not kidding.  Henry was barefoot and without a hat when we sat outside today.  That's just wild.

So I'm going to enjoy this gorgeous day with my two guys and I'll be back next week.  In the meantime, here is my favorite fall picture of Henry.


Sewing

I've been busy with the sewing machine most evenings (when not knitting).  I've been having fun with figuring out the geometry of sewing something flat into something 3D.  Here is a rag bag experiment:




Here is a flat project that will stay flat.  Two quilted towels for under the dishrack.





















And here is the start of a wall quilt for my living room.  It is important for all sewing projects to be taste tested :)

Freedom

I went for a bike ride the other day.  Just 10 minutes with the baby at home with Daddy, and I felt so free and alive.  Legs and heart pumping and the breeze blowing on my skin.  I used to do fun rides of 15 miles on any given day, charity bike rides of up to 100 miles, and Ben and I went bicycle camping and hauled all of our gear to a state park.
This year I was on my bike 3 times.  Once at 7 and a half months pregnant--a horrible idea, once about 3 weeks after giving birth--an equally horrible idea, and then this ride.  The most glorious 10 minutes all week.  I can't recommend it enough.
What little escapes make you feel free?

Chuckle


Chuckle
Originally uploaded by quirky granola girl

Henry has only truly laughed for me once. He has done a couple of laughs for Ben, though. I finally got one on video. I've watched this about a dozen times today :)

Seed Update and the Best Organic Baby Toy Ever

Melissa (she's one third of the Knitting Sandwich) made a good point in her comment to my last post: "i need them to come with good directions, i know next to nothing about planting flowers!"

So, my gardening disclaimer is this:  I am not a great gardener.  Growing pretty stuff is deceptively easy.  It is the weeding and mulching that gets hard.  Some stuff won't grow in your soil, or with your amount of sunlight or moisture, but that's okay.  Every year my spinach is pitiful and my snap peas are poor producers, and I gave up on growing ranunculus bulbs.  But, I still try it out and if it doesn't come up, I try again in the case of veggies and I try something else in the case of flowers.  So, be brave, try some seeds, and I'll send the best directions I can :)



In other garden news, our weather is still holding out, so I put the veggie garden to bed for the year.  Henry got fussy while I was mulching the leaves (I totally heart my new electric leaf vacuum/mulcher),






so I distracted him with a Swiss chard leaf.  He loved the springy, squeaky texture and enjoyed mouthing it and tearing it up.  And it composts in about a week.  What "green" toys do your kids love best?

Garden Post

Last weekend we had GORGEOUS weather for November in Wisconsin.  60's to low 70's, sunny, light breeze.  We spent a half day putting the yard and the garden to bed for the year, and I spent some time harvesting seeds.  I have lots of this:



purple poppies, full/part sun, sow anytime between now and the first snow









some of this:


    wild columbine, part sun/shade, May blooms,
    sow now



and this is a new one to harvest this year:



butterfly weed, sun, sow now or in the spring, may not establish and flower until the following year, mid to late summer blooms









I'm happy to send out an envelope of seeds to anyone that requests some.





Also, if you are local or willing to pay shipping for small bulb/tubers, you can have some of these:

mini irises (Siberian?), sun/part sun, early blooming (April), will multiply so you can share with your neighbors in a few years.



I hope all of the gardeners out there get a few lovely weather days left to poke around in the dirt before the snow flies.