Tag Archives: Christmas

Daily, 12/20

We are sitting down for breakfast, Stephen explains that he is going to work for a little bit today and then he will be home all week. I chime in that in a couple days we are going to Auntie Linda’s house for Christmas.

To which Bean says, “I need some new toys.”

Completely unprompted by me. We have said nothing of the sort about getting new toys for Christmas or Auntie Linda getting her new toys. Seriously, how did she figure this out?

This kid is getting too smart for her own good!

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Christmas presents for one of my favorite little families

Finally, I can blog about and reveal some of the things I’ve been working on.

I definitely overcommited myself on the handmade gift list this year. So, a lot of it got scrapped. I gave first priority to people that I knew would actually appreciate handmade gifts. The second priority is keeping it real and knowing what I’ll actually be able to finish in time.

Anyway, last night one of our favorite little families held a Christmas gathering for all our friends and I gave away their gifts. Yesterday kind of turned into the day from H-E-double hockey sticks though so I was completely lame and showed up with my gifts in a slightly tangled pile in my arms, not even wrapped. Life happens. And a lot of life happening has been happening around here lately. It’s just that way. I know Cara understands and that is why we can be friends.

Oh, and I forgot to take photos of these gifts. So, Cara had to do that for me too. Here goes…


Here is sweet William, the cutest Beatles fan ever and one of Bean’s best friends, sporting his new airplane shirt. It is just a simple thermal from Old Navy that I added the vinyl airplane and script to. Actually, Sprout has the same shirt, sans embroidery.


This scarf I made with fleece for Cara’s husband John. I got the basic idea for it from Scandinavian Needlecraft and had actually planned to go in a slightly different direction with it, but Stephen helped me out with a concept and I went with it instead. Oh and John, Stephen says if you do not want your scarf, he will gladly take it off your hands.


Then for Cara I made these embroidered dish towels. I bought the towels at Target and the embroidery templates are from Doodle Stitching: The Motif Collection. There are so many cute ideas in that book that are all so very Cara that it was hard to narrow down what I was going to do. I decided to make her some dish towels because she was very much in love with the woodland animals onesies that I made for a few friends. I told her that I would make some for her next babe, but that could be awhile. She needed some cuteness now.

Alright, hi-ho, hi-ho, back to Santa’s workshop I go…

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Merry Christmas from the coastlands



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It’s Christmas time once more

Since having dogs and then kids, my husband has been kind of anti-tree. I finally got him to cave this weekend though. We got a nice tabletop tree last night. I actually kind of like it better for a number of reasons. One being that I don’t have to crawl in awkwardly to water the tree. I also was able to decorate all around the tree.

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Sweater skirt

For a few weeks now I have had my eye on a pretty little red cable knit sweater skirt at babyGAP that I wanted to get for Bean.

However, there were a few problems with said skirt: a) The price. Maybe I’m just cheap, but $25 is about how much I’d expect to spend on a skirt for myself and even then I’d probably hem and haw about it before bolting towards the sale racks to see if I could find something just as cute for any cheaper. When you only have $100 in your personal monthly budget to cover clothes, eating out and craft supplies, $25 is a lot. b) They didn’t have her size. Every single time I would go into our babyGAP they only had size 0-3 months. It was frustrating. And I didn’t want to order online because that would cause problem “a” to go up even more. c) I am a knitter and baby items are particularly easy and cheap to knit because they use so little yarn and are so small.

I had some yarn in the perfect shade leftover from Christmas knitting so I cast on earlier this week. It took a few rip backs to come up with my pattern, but I came up with one and I totally love it. The yarn I used was a different gauge than what was found in the GAP skirt, so I did have to take that into consideration. Also, while I am perfectly capable of the intricate cabling midway down on the skirt, I decided that I really didn’t want to tackle it or make my skirt EXACTLY the same as theirs.

So here is what I came up with:

Bean now has the perfect Christmas piece. She won’t get to show it off much though which is why I decided some photo documentation was in order:

Oh and nothing really to report on for Baby Watch 2009. I’ve had exactly zero activity since false alarm #5.

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Projects.

You are never supposed to do this, but I am going to. I want to preface this post by saying that most of these photos are not great. I should retake them, adjust white balance and all that. But I’m over eight months pregnant. The thought of going to that effort tires me out.

Anyway, here are some of the projects I’ve managed to complete… Also, Ruth, if you are reading this, this is the post you want to read when “Lizzie” isn’t around. ūüôā

First up, some for-hire knitting. I recently reconnected with one of my high school teachers on Facebook. She was pretty influential in my life during a time when my family life was somewhat of a wreck and so was some of my personal life (And yes, family, I am saying that, in public. If you are offended and want to pretend that life is always perfect, I really don’t want to hear about it via your complaining to someone else or you telling me directly that I need to change what I say on my blog. This is MY blog). She was my debate/speech (aka forensics, but most people get confused by that word thanks to CSI) coach so I spent a lot more time around her than I did most of my other teachers. Hence the level of influence she had.

Anyway, she’s been watching some of the stuff I knit up and asked if I knew how to create my own patterns. I told her I’d done a few. She told me about this hat she’d been wanting, but was ridiculously priced. I took a look at the pictures and came up with this:

Here is what the original looked like, if you want to know.

The next two projects are Christmas knitting.

Because Stephen’s family is getting so huge (28 and counting, and that doesn’t include all the extra in-laws, friends and other people that usually join us), each generation does a “Secret Santa” exchange. This will be the third year our generation has participated in our own exchange, though Stephen’s parents’ generation has had one going for some time now. This is my gift for my secret recipient this year:

It’s the My So Called Scarf pattern from ImagiKnit. There is a bit of a story to this scarf and pattern. Almost three years ago now, Cara knit up this scarf. Ruth and I were so amazed and thought it was just the cutest scarf ever. We decided that we too wanted to knit this scarf.

Soon after Cara knit the scarf, I was in town and we all made a pilgrimage to Ventura’s own Anacapa Fine Yarns where we each picked out a couple skeins of our favorite Manos colorway. And having already completed the scarf, Cara decided to go next door to the quilt shop and procure some fabric instead. Ruth and I cast on for the scarf and tried to work on it diligently during our very fun and relaxing vacation to Park City, UT. For some reason our brains just could not “get” the pattern though. We kept losing stitches and having to rip back. I ripped back at least 10 times before throwing in the towel and deciding to turn the yarn into a sweet little hoodie for my niece, “Half-pint”. Ruth’s scarf sat for some time and was recently ripped out at one of our girls’ knit nights.

Anyway, for some reason I decided to try this pattern again. I went to the same yarn shop a couple weeks ago and found that Manos now has a super soft silk/wool blend. It took several rip backs and I almost gave up three or four times, but my brain finally gets this pattern and I was finally able to complete it.

Next up is another version of the same doll that I’ve now knit for Bean twice. This one is for my niece, “Lizzie,” though. She’s a bit older than Bean and I decided her doll needed some extra fun stuff. So I made a couple of additional outfits to go with her.

The original dress pattern, in green:

A sewn dress made of leftover quilt squares from Bean’s yet-to-be-finished big-girl quilt:

And a fairy costume, because “Lizzie” is really into fairies right now:

I eventually hope to make some additional outfits and accessories for Bean’s doll too, but she’s still a little young to really be into that sort of thing. For now she just enjoys dragging her dolly around.

I have more projects in the works. As long as I have to stay down, and as long as this little guy doesn’t decide to make an early appearance, I just might finish them in time for Christmas.

I am trying to be realistic about handmaking all my Christmas presents this year in light of everything though. Instead of buying a whole bunch of yarn and other stuff up front I’ve been only buying for one or two projects at a time and not buying more until I finish what I’ve started. That way I won’t end up with a deluge of projects just sitting there after the baby is born.

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Week thirteen, month three and Christmas Eve

Dear Bean,

Today three months, thirteen weeks and Christmas Eve all came on the same day.

Last year at this time Papa and I were cleaning our house in preparation for a huge family feast with 25 people. I didn’t even know I was pregnant with you yet, but I was already so very tired. Papa kept getting frustrated with me because I was sitting down on the job every 10 minutes. As I watched your cousins open presents the next day I remember feeling kind of sad because I thought I’d never get to see kids of my own excitedly tearing into wrapping paper. We didn’t find out for another month that you were already growing in my tummy.

You got ridiculous amounts of presents from us, stuff I’ve been buying basically all year long. The funny thing is you aren’t going to remember this Christmas or what you got. I’ll also probably be the one to open back up the presents I spent hours wrapping last night. Oh well, it is your first Christmas and there won’t be another one like it.

 

The past week you’ve been quite the grump. Every day from about 4:30pm until we put you to bed for the night you are pretty much inconsolable unless you are sleeping. I guess this is what is known as the “witching hour”. I have to admit that all the fussing has me pretty frazzled feeling lately. I don’t know how people with even fussier babies do it. I think I would go insane.

You are still teething and have your hands in your mouth almost all the time. There doesn’t seem to be much progress on the teeth though. Still just a bulge on your right bottom and bulge on the bottom left with tiny bit of white peeking through. I’m really ready for the whole teething thing to be over with, but I know it is going to last awhile. I just hate to see you uncomfortable and upset.

With the holiday upon us, that means we are going to be out of town for the rest of the week to be with family. As a result, I’ve got you in disposable diapers so that we don’t have to commandeer Aunt Ruth’s washing machine and so we can pack a little lighter as your diapers take up quite a bit of space.

I have to say that I still don’t know how people use these diapers¬†regularly. Aunt Andrea said that Huggies are better and thicker than Pampers, but I can’t tell the difference. I think they both suck.¬†You’ve had diaper¬†leakage problems maybe three times in your BumGenius diapers. Two of those times¬†could have been averted if I had changed your diaper a little¬†sooner. You are rarely in disposables, but you’ve had at least 10 blowouts when you have been in them.

It seems like whenever I put one on you I am just asking for¬†it. So while we won’t be packing our entire stash of massive diapers to take with us, we will be packing plenty of outfit changes.

In a few hours my family will be here to hold you and love on you. Hopefully you won’t get overwhelmed like you have been around lots of people lately.

Standing has become one of your favorite things to do. Sometimes it is the only¬†way to make you happy. You’re probably going to be an early walker so I guess I’d better get to childproofing this house soon. ¬†¬†

You are getting so big! I did your monthly measurements this morning and this is what I found:


You are about 23 inches long.


Your head is 16.25 inches around.


And your chest is 15.75 inches around.

I haven’t weighed you, but you definitely feel more chunky. Your cute little baby fat rolls on your arms and legs seem to indicate this as well. Something funny I noticed today is that you have elbow skin. I’m not sure when that showed up, but it definitely used to be smooth right there.

Overall you are still a really sweet and happy baby. You also like to sleep in late in the mornings which is very nice for me. When you do wake up we have lots of cuddle time too. That’s one of my favorite things.

Love you baby girl,

Mama

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Gourmet Lisa: Cheese Raviolis and Meat Sauce

Just kidding dad, I won’t be sharing the secret family ravioli and sauce recipe with the world here on the Internet. ūüôā

I will say that ravioli making is how I got my “Gourmet Lisa” start. Growing up each year I watched my dad not really use a recipe, but put it together based on the taste until the right amount of salt, pepper, basil, parsley, etc. blended together for the sauce, dough, and cheese filling. Oh, and calls to his mom each year also helped.

So for me, nothing quite says “holiday” like ravioli or lasagna making. It was definitely just the thing I needed to put me into the Christmas spirit this year too.

Oh and John or Cara, if you are reading this, the raviolis we owe you for those keyboard tracks are finally coming your way.

Ravioli making is pretty much an all day process and yeilds hundreds of the scrumptious little cheese packages at the end. So here’s a photo essay to show what goes on:


First up is sauce. We got to my dad’s house after church and it was already simmering on the stove. So we walked in and were pleasantly greeted by the aroma. Mmmm. This sauce is like the meat sauce of all meat sauces. There is ground beef, meat balls and Italian sausages in it. Plus various veggies. It is pretty chunky. My dad always starts it in the morning and slow cooks it all day long. We¬† take “breaks” throughout the day to stop and snack on sauce and bread.

The next step is to make the filling. We usually do a pretty simple Ricotta cheese filling, but last time we made raviolis my dad said he wanted us to experiment with a spinach filling. So this year a small portion of the batch has this new spinach filling I came up with. Purely an experiment.


New spinach filling.


Plain filling. The little green specks are herbs.

Next up is to make the dough. I don’t actually have pictures of this process because Bean decided to be a little fussy at that point and so I had to tend to her needs. Once the dough is made, my dad pulls off chunks of it and rolls it out really thin. He spoons the filling onto the dough and then starts cuting out the raviolis.

And then that’s when the rest of us get in on the action using forks to seal them all up. It becomes this flurry of hands cutting, forking, reaching, grabbing, and handing off.

As each one is finished we put it on a plate. When the plate is full I take it into the house.

We have a¬†clean¬†sheet spread out on one of the beds and we start laying out the raviolis. I’m not really sure what purpose laying them out serves other than it is a place to put them while we work on the rest and so we can count them all. This year we made 83 spinach and 198 plain cheese.

After we’re all done making them, we divy them up into foil packages to be passed out and shared with various friends and family members. We also are sure to enjoy the fruits of our labor.


Cooked spinach raviolis.


With sauce.

So the spinach filling was pretty good. Not much different from the plain cheese though. You can kind of taste the spinach, but the Ricotta is pretty overpowering. Definitely needs a little more experimentation to bring out the flavor, I think. I was satisfied with the first round of experimentation though.

Anyway, mostly the day is about being with family. My dad and his friend (pictured above) did the raviolis one year all by themselves and it only took about 2 or 3 hours. Somehow when we all get together and are talking and hanging out it takes a bit longer. I think it is probably more fun that way though.


Bean and her grandpa on her first ravioli making day.

This is definitely a tradition I hope to keep alive. While I won’t share it here, I actually do have the basics of the recipe written down and tucked away in my recipe box. Hopefully I can pass the tradition along to our kids and they will do the same.

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Eye Candy Friday: It’s Christmas once more…

First of all, thank you blog buddies for helping me in my Christmas card decision. We did wind up going with the “First Christmas” design. I did change the wording around a bit though and I discovered a grammatical dilema in the process. I was trying to figure out what the correct plural form of “Wuertz” is. The Internet was of no help. Tons of debate on the subject. Apparently some people think it is Wuertz’ and some people thing it is Wuertzes. And basically what I gathered is that it is a matter of preference though most people prefer the “es” because the apostrophe makes you think it is possessive. Well, we went with the apostrophe. And I’ve been fretting about it ever since because I’m like an actual¬†writer and was an editor and stuff, so I should know this. (Way to show off my grammatical skillz with that last sentence, eh?) Yeah, when I showed Stephen the card he actually gasped because he thought that the apostrophe was wrong and that made me fret even more. Oh well, cards are printed, paid for, and sealed in their envelopes now so there’s nothing much we can do about it.

I’m proud of myself because I got all my Christmas shopping done in one day. Go me! Things were a little crazy yesterday, but I got it all done even if we did wind up eating Carl’s for dinner instead of the pizza I had planned to make.

Things are looking very much like Christmas around here now and it smells heavenly thanks to the rosemary “tree” I bought yesterday. We’d been planning to put one in our backyard anyway so I figured it was the perfect solution.

This reminds me of a little tangent story. So a few years ago when I was working at the news station someone sent our news director a rosemary tree for Christmas.¬†I watched for weeks as the thing sat in his office dying a slow death because he didn’t water it. Just when it was at the brink of being able to be brought back to life with a little water I contemplated going in there and saying, “Sir, if you don’t want the rosemary tree, I’d love to have it for my garden. I use fresh rosemary in my cooking all the time.” But I was too chicken (with good reason) and I didn’t. My friend Megan and I were so sad about it.

Anyway, I now am the proud owner of my very own rosemary tree. It was on sale at Target ($10, normally $20) too. Stephen thought it was funny when he saw it and laughed when I told him I was going to decorate it.

It has the most lights per square inch of any tree we’ve ever owned because I had to use up a whole strand on just that one tree. I have about a billion mini white snowflake ornaments and so I used some of them as the only ornaments. Then I topped it with one of my fancy snowflake ornaments. It’s the perfect addition to the fireplace.

Oh and look at this sweet little stocking I found for Bean yesterday which totally goes with our whole snowflake theme while also being a little fun and childish:

And just for fun, this is what happens when you have your camera set on the micro setting but you aren’t actually taking a picture of something small:

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Bah Humbug!

OK, that’s not totally how I feel, but just a little.

It just seems like nothing Christmas related is going the way I planned at this point.

First is our Christmas lights. We tried to put them up last weekend and they wouldn’t turn on. We couldn’t figure it out. Stephen fiddled and fiddled. We replaced bulbs and tried and tried to get them to work. We spent the whole day on it. Well turns out we had too many strands on the same circuit (you’re only supposed to have 3 strung together, not 11 plus three tree things).

So our Christmas lights are still not coming on at this point. This weekend we’re going to take down a majority of what we put up and go with the simple line with three tree things that we had last year:

Speaking of trees, we’re not getting one this year. Growing up I always had real trees and we’ve had one every year we’ve been married. But we decided last year was the last time we’d have a real tree.

Why? It’s always a pain getting our tree because we have to borrow someone’s truck to go get it and then borrow someone’s truck to take it away. It gets needles everywhere. You have to water it every day. AND last year after we got our tree home we realized that it reeked of feline pee. Our house stunk for a whole week. I went through two cans of Febreeze air stuff trying to make the smell go away. Our theory is that some large cat species (Mountain Lion, Cougar, Bob Cat, etc.) got it. Also we decided that they are just too expensive to buy year after year.

The plan was to get a very nice fake tree this year, something that would be a good investment to use for many years to come. Well, I’m of the mindset that if I am going to have a fake tree it better be something I want to look at year after year. The trees that fulfill that for me are WAY too expensive. So we’re not getting a tree this year. We’ll put the presents by the fireplace that never gets used.

I can see my dad cringing as he reads this.

Another bah humbug thing? My Christmas knitting projects. I have been working on sweater #1 FOR.EV.ER. There is no way it is going to be done in time for Christmas, let alone the other two that I had planned on making.

I think I’m losing my knitting mojo, y’all. Seriously.

I was working 9-6pm last year at this time (during which I did no knitting) and I still managed to complete quite the long list of knitted items. I’m home all the time now. I knit when she’s nursing, sleeping, playing etc. I feel like I am knitting all.the.time. Yet progress remains slow.

Plus Sweater #1 is too big. It isn’t actually bigger than the size it is intended to be, I just know that the recipient of this sweater and the others like to wear tight clothing and this isn’t going to jive with that style. The sweaters will be lovely when they are done, just not something they would wear.

So I’m keeping them for myself and the $72 I spent on yarn for them will now come out of my clothing budget. Which is OK, but I actually wanted to spend my clothing budget on pants not tops. Oh well.

Anyway, I’m now left trying to come up with new present ideas for these peeps. I’ve got two of them figured out, I think. I hope. I’m finally allowed to go Christmas shopping next week (budgetary constraints prevented earlier shopping).

And yes, shopping this late is definitely something I am NOT looking forward to. At all. Not one bit. I hate crowds. I hate lines. And this year I have a baby to add into the mix of shopping craziness. I’m getting stressed out just thinking about it.

So anyway that pretty much sums up why I say bah humbug! Thanksgiving is just so much more fun and easier. Way less pressure. Just cooking, eating and hanging out with the fam. That is MY kind of holiday.

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