Wednesday, December 29, 2010

four year anniversary

Four years ago today, Husband and I got married. Then we boarded a plane for Alaska. We had a fabulous snow filled honeymoon.

Playing in the snow at the Alyeska. We stayed there 3 of our 5 nights (including New Year's Eve) It was pretty fabulous.

We saw this moose/elk/whatever when we were driving our rented Malibu (YES, a Malibu in snowy Alaska. It was scary) down the coast to Seward. We stopped the car and got out to take its picture. We weren't convinced he wasn't a fake until I got too close and he galloped away.
We took thousands of pictures (mostly on the train ride through the Denali National Park) but these two were the only pictures I had on the computer.

Happy Anniversary, Love. Here's to at least four more years. ;-)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

YAY for a yarn trade!

I traded yarn with Tiffany, my favorite knitter, recently.

I have no idea what I'm going to do with most of it yet. But the red has a very specific purpose.

I'm making a red scarf for the Red Scarf Project for the Orphan Foundation of America. learn more.

Monday, December 20, 2010

our 2011 calendar

I love Vista Print. Once you start doing business with them, they send you loads and loads of free/discounted offers. That's where I got my postcrossing postcards. Last year I racked up, free totes with our pictures on them, free mouse pad, pens, stationary, note cards, address labels. sure, there's a shipping charge. but it's not much.

Last year, I made 4 2010 calendars. 1 for our house, 1 for Husband to take to work for his office and one for both of our mothers. I think I got those buy one get one free. But I was so excited about them. Mainly because I got to sort through all the year's pictures to find ONE for each month. April is Son's birth month and September is Daughter's so they "got" those months. And the rest, Husband and I narrowed it down as best we could.

It was nice looking at the 2010 calendar all year with last year's memories. So of course I wanted to do it again this year. ESPECIALLY when I saw the deal Vista Print has running on Facebook right now. (click on the Holiday Deals tab and you'll see "new calendar")

I got FIVE photo collage calendars for $19.98 (plus shipping) I panicked and paid for 2 week shipping to get it in time for Christmas and it arrived 4 days after I placed the order. They are always REALLY fast with shipping.

I couldn't narrow it down to just one photo per month so I opted to do the photo collage option and chose 6 pictures per month. And even that was hard!

So here is the tiniest sneak preview of our 2011 calendar:

This is the front of the calendar. It's also our Holiday Card photo.
(I took over 300 pictures with my tripod and camera timer to get this one shot. And it's not even a spectacular shot. insanity)

NOTE: all the pictures below are actually printed in black and white in the calendar, but less the first one, I posted the color shot for the blog. And these were all taken Saturday.

Daughter running around the yard playing chase, about 30 minutes before we went to pick out our Christmas tree.

Son before going outside to play in the yard before going to pick out the Christmas tree. He looks so grown up here. Not like the 21 month old he actually is!

Husband took this one while we were playing around later that night. There were some really silly ones where we're making funny faces but for the calendar, this is it.

Husband and Son playing outside before picking out the Christmas tree.

We definitely don't take very many of these anymore. There's usually a kid in the way!
Husband says he's had this sweater for over a decade and I promise I have ZERO recollection of ever seeing it before Saturday!
The sixth picture is our family picture with Santa and Mrs. Claus at Palisades Park.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

the 2010 mantel

This is the half of the mantel that has the stockings on it.

(side note: I find it a little weird that Husband and I still have stockings up. I mean, my parents didn't have stockings when I was growing up.)

Anyway, Husband's is the green one with the pewter nutcracker holder. Mine is the red one with the pewter angels holder. I got our stockings at World Market for our first Christmas (5 years ago)

Daughter's stocking is the red one with a Santa and a reindeer on the Santa holder.

Son's stocking is the green one with a snowman and a polar bear on the snowman holder.

I got their stockings at Wal-mart 3 years ago (yes, I bought Son's before he was ever born. Actually there is another green one just in case. I didn't want a big family with non-matching stockings. oh the horrorz) I found the matching stocking holders on ebay for $2 each. (there is no third stocking holder)

I asked Husband to choose a few nativity scenes to put on the other side of the mantel.
I love the way he put Baby Jesus in the middle but then had no regard for the placement of the other characters.

other than the advent wreath on the buffet and the wreath on the dining room door, that is all the decorating we did. There's another wreath for the front of the house, but it's still not up yet. It's chances are decreasing by the day!

Friday, December 17, 2010

the little trees

I'm not at all picky about the trees for the kids' rooms. fake it is.

I had a little tree in my room when I was little. Smurf ornaments all over it. So, I decided this was the year Daughter and Son got a tree in their rooms. Bad choice? not entirely. But I probably had higher than realistic expectations, that they would, ya know, not pull every ornament off. silly me.

Daughter decorating her tree. She was so meticulous and would often change the placement of ornaments and even a day later was still declaring that her tree wasn't finished quite yet.

Husband helped her put in the ornaments she picked out. including pink butterflies.

Son's tree. He helped too.

He found a thick spot in the branches and that where he put all the silver and red balls. just placed them in like a nest.

hanging a snowflake

Yesterday Daughter and I strung cheerio garland (much faster than the popcorn that I originally thought of) for her tree and Son's tree. She did great with her fat embroidery needle.

Showing off her cheerio garland. She did a fantastic job, but don't be fooled. She only strung about 30 cheerios. I did the rest.

This is Son's tree. Notice that bare shiny spot of yarn? The shiny is spit. Yes, Son has been eating his garland!

"It goo-ddd," he says.

the big tree.

We have 10 feet high ceilings through most of the house. So you would assume that we get a big, full 8 ft tree every year (or we have a prelit artificial 8ft tree). nay.

First, I don't like artificial trees. We have hard wood floors, so the minimal shedding isn't a big deal and I love the smell of fresh. And we don't have to store our fresh tree year round.

Second, we go to Marvin's down the street and pay $17.99 for a perfectly wonderful 6 ft Scotch Pine. Really, my only criteria in choosing a tree is that the trunk is straight. Sure, to an adult, our tree looks like a baby in the big room, but to the kids it is fantastic. And to the cat it is the outdoors she so desperately craves.

Plus, Daughter thinks that for the last 2 years she was the one to choose the tree. That's an important thing to a toddler.

Daughter, at Marvins inspecting the trees
she decided this one was too bare on the bottom and we'd have to cut some of the limbs

THIS IS IT. Our tree. Thanks, Daughter.

At home we put it in the stand and watered it amply. After the kids went to bed, Husband strung the lights and I went through all the ornaments and separated all the breakable ones out. Maybe I'll see them on my tree sometime around 2015. Until then, I'm not taking any chances!

the kids putting up the plastic balls I got at Sam's Club 3 or 4 years ago.

fyi, most of these balls have already been removed and I'm collecting them in a box. I decided I'm dealing with the aggravation of having to keep putting ornaments back on the tree 3 times a day!

This is what it looks like today. (6 days after purchase) The skirt has been pushed to the side. The lights have been pulled from their original position and the bottom 3 feet look ridiculously bare.
And even though the cat has been climbing in it everyday, there's been VERY little cleanup.

no ribbons. no bows. no beautiful color scheme and matching ornaments. HECK, there's not even a tree topper this year.
I love it!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

2010 nativity scene 4

this is an ornament that Husband and his mom picked out for me back in September when they were having lunch at the Greek Food Festival. (Husband usually eats there about twice and I get to go once. On a date. With Husband. It's a favorite)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

thursday morning play

I'm not going to mince words: I dislike extreme cold as much as I dislike extreme heat.

maybe I was meant to be a Buddhist because of my extreme views of all things in moderation. (I think the "extreme" part and my belief in Jesus Christ just canceled out that idea) ;-)

I digress. It's been cold. Too cold to go outside and play for hours like we were doing less than a month ago. Cooped up in the house.

Here's what we did today:

the kids went to their rooms, emptied out their toy buckets and played in them for HOURS. seriously. well, it was only about an hour and a half.
They also insisted on blankets. to cover their heads, of course.
those toy buckets: $3 each at Walmart this summer. We got 3. fabulous investment.

blocks in the window.
Daughter insisted that these blocks didn't want to be a part of the tower. They just wanted to watch.

Son's baby doll. and the baby doll's bear. The bear used to be Daughter's and she sometimes reclaims it briefly, but Son likes to keep bear with baby.

2010 nativity scene 3

This was another Jo-ann sale. It's small (about 4 inches, I'd guess) and it's not incredibly unique, but I like it. It's all one piece and after the sale was less than $2.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

My newest scarf

The same night Daughter picked out the orange yarn and Husband picked out the cotton yarn, I picked out this white shimmery yarn. It's definitely the softest Red Heart I've ever touched. I loved working with it. I bought two balls, and used 1.5 to make the scarf. I toyed with the idea of using the rest to make a small wrap, but because I have a pattern for a wrap I'm trying soon, I decided just to tie it off at scarf size. I'm definitely saving the rest for another yet to be determined project!

It actually ended up being much longer than I intended. I really like it.

I made it the same way I did Husband's - working the width instead of the length. I like this picture the best because you can actually see the shimmer!

Friday, December 3, 2010

food day friday: trail mix

A few weeks ago, we stopped by Palisades Park for a little hiking (as much hiking as you can do with two toddlers anyway)

We all had so much fun, the kids didn't want to leave. SO as part of my "let's leave as happily as possibly" (ie no screaming crying toddler tantrums because these two kids have the meanest parents in the world) I started talking about our trip back for more hiking. I told them we'd bring healthy snacks. Daughter mentioned water. I brought up trail mix. And started talking about all the healthy things that are in trail mix, and the yummy treats we could add to it.

Of course, this meant Daughter talked nonstop about trail mix until we made it!

the stuff
I used pretzels (Daughter's favorite)
goldfish (Son's favorite)
walmart brand cheerios
dried blueberries
banana chips
dried apples
chocolate chips
(I would have added more unsalted nuts, but at the time the only nut that we KNEW for sure wouldn't kill Son was peanuts (which aren't nuts at all))

All mixed up.
it's been a big hit. I made 5 quart sized zip top bags worth and we're slowly working our way through it all. I'll admit, we have some pickers and the chocolate chips are usually the first to get eaten.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

2010 nativity scene 2

I picked this up at Jo-ann for 40% off a couple of weeks ago. It was $3-something I think. It's an ornament. And I like that it doesn't look like anything I have.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Husband's scarf 2010

Husband doesn't ask for much. Maybe for me to cook a certain favorite meal of his every few weeks, but on the main, he's pretty negative maintenance. Which is nice, but it means that I have to try extra hard to be thoughtful because he never makes statements like, "I'd like so-and-so" or "I wish I had this-and-that" or "such-and-such is pretty cool." It also means that when he does ask for something, I almost always oblige.

His latest request was a few weeks ago at Hobby Lobby. He picked out this yarn and asked me to make him a scarf: my first thought? "really? it's kind of ugly."
This yarn is VERY similar to the yarn I use to make dish clothes. it's 100% cotton and easy to work with but not something I make scarves with a lot. In fact, I've only made a scarf for me, a scarf for a friend's daughter and a baby blanket out of it. (peaches 'n cream is what I used for those, this is a little different)

But, it was on sale and he doesn't ask for much. I'll admit I picked out a few yarns I'd rather work with but he stuck to his original idea. ok, ok. fine. I'll make you a dish cloth/baby blanket scarf) I *do* like mine after all. and it just gets softer and softer with age. My main hangup was the color.

The problem I had was I didn't know how many balls I needed. There was a pattern for a dishcloth included that used 2 balls. hmm. So in the spirit of wanting too much instead of not enough, we got 8 balls. excessive? yes.

this is Husband with the finished scarf and the 4.5 balls I had leftover!
He really likes it and I think the color goes well with his ginger beard. I'll admit, I like the finished product much more than the balls of yarn!

I did a very standard double crochet, but instead of working it length wise like I do for every other scarf I've ever made, I worked it width wise. (I got the idea from the recent baby blanket and the kids' Christmas blankets) I really like the unique look it gives the scarf. It definitely makes it look harder than it was.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Food Day Friday: Thanksgiving dessert

We had a great Thanksgiving yesterday. Husband and I spent the morning cooking, the afternoon eating and the evening visiting.

We (I say "we" loosely because I had very little to do with the desserts) made two desserts. A Chocolate Truffle Cheesecake (thank you, December issue of Southern Living) and a pecan pie (from pecans from our tree!)

This is the cheesecake
Husband made the crust (chocolate graham - the one deviation from the recipe) and the filling.
I made the ganache and the snow flake (both were really easy and fun)
I definitely didn't follow the stencil exactly. I was rushing and not being patient enough to trace it exactly. Next time, I'll be more confident and take my time so it doesn't look so rushed.
btw, it is rich and so amazingly delicious.

The pecan pie.
Husband makes the best pecan pie I've ever had. ever.
It's the crust. But I have no idea how he makes it besides butter and flour.

Shelling our pecans.
This really was a fantastic year for our pecan tree. In the four years that I've lived here we've never been able to collect more than a couple of pocketfuls of pecans each season. This year we shelled over EIGHT CUPS. That's a lot of pecan pies and four really sore hands! I was joking that all of our squirrels must have moved away and that was the reason we'd been able to collect so many.

This was after our first hour of shelling. Husband is saving the shells for some grilling purpose.

This our pecans after the first hour. Not even a little dent in the huge Aldi bag of pecans we collected. We had a long way to go.

It was definitely neat to have a dessert made from food we've grown (not that we grow or tend to the pecan tree, but it is in our yard! Mainly we're just glad it shades our house and hope it never falls on our house during a bad storm!)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

2010 nativity scene 1

As soon as walmart starting putting their Christmas stuff out (around Halloween) I was there. walking around, wishing, planning, etc. I found this:

and bought it.

baby Jesus.
My criteria for adding to my collection myself is pretty simple:
  1. it must be cheap (less than $15)
  2. it must not look like a set I already have.
Since Jennifer mentioned that her family has a ceramic bisque set that they painted, I've been on the look out for a set for us. Especially since Daughter is loving that new craft genre. In 30 years I would love to have a set that we worked on together. I'd even let the fellas help so it could be a family project. ;-) I haven't found an entire set on ebay yet. I definitely have not found any at the big box craft stores. I have found some reasonably priced ones on a website, but I'm waiting until I can search more before I commit to one.

Daughter's first college football game

Thursday, Husband and Daughter headed west to Tuscaloosa for her first college football game. She had a blast!

I talked up Big Al a lot like I talked up The Gopher for her first high school game. I even showed her a picture I had made with Big Al when Husband and I went to our first Bama game together in 2006. I didn't want her to be afraid of him like I was afraid of a GIGANTIC Papa Smurf when I was three. Seriously, that guy was only supposed to be three apples high. And he wasn't!

Husband said she was on the lookout for Big Al the minute they stepped into the stadium!

watching the warmups from her seat

FINALLY she found him down with the cheerleaders.
Down the steps they went and soon she was sitting on the fence with Big Al's big elephant paw wrapped around her.
She said he was "friendly and cool."

Back to their seats for some football and self portraits.

the pregame show

She had a shaker with her but when I asked her if she used it, she said, "not very much. I just used my hands."

french fry break

before halftime she announced she was cold and needed her hat and scarf and jacket (she also had gloves but decided she'd just put her hand in her pockets.
heading down the stairs at halftime. (Husband said if she made it to halftime then the night was a success)

walking around at the quad

wow, I love this kid.

another self portrait

this picture reminded me of a fun day Brooke and I had taking pictures on the Gorgas steps

Husband said she hugged, kissed and professed her love for the fire hydrant. seriously.
We're both so glad she had a great time and she's still talking about her friend the elephant (who she calls "big owl."