Fun of the Season...Quick pics edition

We visited Santa...our traditional spot with our favorite guy.  Best was that I finally got another great Santa pic to replace this one that has been on our mantle for the last couple Christmas season (yes, EJ is wearing Jack's old shirt & Liv is wearing EJ's...whatever works).

Best part of the visit was when Jack tried to talk to Santa while standing next to him.  Santa was having none of that action.  He pulled Jack onto his lap and told him he was not too old for that!  I love this guy!

We have seen awesome holiday choir, orchestra, and band performances at Jack's and EJ's school

Some performances even inspired dancing in the aisles by little sis...

This is the one nicely wrapped gift I did this season.  Bending over/reaching to wrap (and doing dishes) is torture on my back, so I haven't been to good about it this year.  Matt's graduation present was my one exception!

And I've spent the last two days baking (and then doing dishes) like a madwoman.  I've been super thankful for both my KitchenAid and my new & improved kitchen (last year at on this date I am pretty sure they were installing my cabinets).  On the agenda for the weekend is baking with the kids (I saved the decorating and more kid-friendly candies and cookies for them).

Chevron Blanket

I've had this chevron blanket pattern from All Things Bright and Beautiful pinned forever because I knew it would be the perfect gift for my friend Cyndi...I mean, the perfect thing!  So in preparation for this Christmas, I got to work early (I didn't finish until recently, but I started early) and then I found out Cyndi was moving to a much warmer climate.  I'm hoping there are still some chilly times that she might need a cozy blanket!

This was a really fun project to work's a simple pattern, but one you need to keep track of counting-wise so your peaks and valleys stay on track.  I also loved working on a blanket pattern that I grew up with as we had a similar (much bigger) blanket on our couch when I was a kid.  I loved the colors I chose for Cyndi and the wide-stripe, but you could do this pattern anyway you'd like.  These are all different patterns, but show how different you could make this blanket look by changing the stripe pattern (all via Pinterest): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

One more thing...I would like to thank Liz from Crochet in Color for writing about my Sock Monkey Hat that I made using her pattern for a friend's 3rd birthday.  Her post is here, my original post is here.  I am so thankful for her featuring my work and also her kind words about my version.  I'm also extremely thankful that she shares her awesome patterns.  I just finished my fourth Soft Stitch Cowl for EJ's teacher gifts.  Thanks so much Liz!

He Did It!

Matt graduated with his MBA yesterday (although he still has one more class/exam to make it through this week, but then he is DONE) and we are so proud of him!  My husband works so hard, is a great Dad, and then on top off all of that, he has been pursuing his degree for the last 3 years.  He has always been the most dedicated student I've ever met, but I'm amazed by how he juggled everything with 3 small kids (he started when Liv was a baby).  He's pretty awesome!!

The ceremony took a couple hours and I was really proud of the kids for hanging in there.  The payoff was big though and they were so proud to watch their Daddy cross the stage and get his diploma.  We sat in a great spot too so could wave and make silly faces at Matt too to pass the time.  After the ceremony, we went out to dinner and did our traditional family "Cheers" toast to the new graduate and our favorite guy!

Holiday on your Stovetop

We've had a lot of people helping us out with driving the girls to and from school these past few weeks and I needed to say a big thanks (in a small way).  I had thought about making cookies, but wasn't sure that was the best idea due to dietary restrictions, etc.  Then I saw this photo on my friend Tracie's instagram feed (my instagram page is here if you're interested in following) and was inspired to do some internet searching for a recipe I might be able to gift.

I combined a few recipes I found and came up with this:
1 orange (with a note to quarter it before use), 1/2 cup cranberries, 3 cinnamon sticks and 1T of whole cloves.  The instructions couldn't be simpler...put everything in a saucepan, add water (1/4-1/2 full), and heat on the lowest setting (add more water as needed).

I'm not sure how it will smell when it is cooking but the cinnamon and cloves made my kitchen smell amazing while I assembled them.  I added a hand-written recipe/thank you note and we were all set to deliver a little dose of holiday cheer.


It all started with a photo.  Gorgeous crochet slippers in bright colors with color-blocked toes that I loved!  But...the etsy listing (which I cannot find to show you now) was only for the finished work and I really wanted to hook up my own.

So, I got to work searching for a pattern that might work.  I liked this slipper from 2 Create in Color and started with her edits to this pattern from Zoom Yummy.  I like the results, but it still wasn't quite right.  And so, I went searching again and incorporated some things from this pattern from Goodknits.

I really like how they came out (although my inspiration pic was in single crochet and I really like the look of the smaller stitch) and I love that I kept the main body of the slippers in the same color.  They are gifts for Olivia's teachers and so I love that they are similar but still individual.  I hope they are a hit!

Did you notice the tiny pair?  One of Liv's teachers has small feet, so I had to make a couple more edits on the black pair (and use Jack's feet as my tester).

Sugar Trees

We've never had much luck with gingerbread houses (even the "easy" kits), so when I saw this easy idea for edible Christmas trees, I immediately put it on our to do list.  We've been kind of cooped up lately, so when we absolutely had to do a grocery run this weekend, I added cones, frosting and candy to our list.

We may have had some issues with tipping cones, "dripping" M & Ms, falling frosting cups & broken spreaders, but the kids worked super hard and the project was a bit hit (even in Mom's eyes)!

Of course, given that this was an edible project, the kids were most happy when they finished the project and started eating lots of treats!  Only Livie had the sense to quit before she ate the entire tree!

Come on weekend!

Staying up much to late to watch some (every single episode) of this...

has made dealing with this....

and this...

a lot less fun this morning!  Come on weekend!!!!

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like...

The holiday season is here!  We've braved (warm) temperatures to see a holiday lights show, we've decorated our tree & home, the elf is back & St. Nick came a day early with some goodies!  So far...lots of fun!

Get Happy

Sometimes you wake up and the day takes a turn you never could have imagined.  And on a day like that, sometimes it can be good therapy to troll your Pinterest boards for things to make you smile.

Source: via heather on Pinterest

Source: via heather on Pinterest