28 December 2008

Gingerbread House

Gingerbread House

Better late than never on the Gingerbread House, right?

It's the Martha Stewart kit from Macy's (from Nana). Bella and I had a blast putting it together. Definitely a new tradition! And very fun to have lots of time to spend on it. How clever of me to have waited until after the holiday bustle. (ha!)

27 December 2008


Christmas 2008

What a wonderful Christmas! I hope you all enjoyed your holidays. We loved reading all the cards and blogs of family and friends that recapped their year. Thank you so much for including us in your lives!

Bella was such fun to watch at Christmas. All excitement and sweetness. She had requested Santa bring her cookies, and he did (big frosty fancy ones), and she began eating them directly--not even noticing the other presents!

This year's gifting included a few handmade items, always my favorite part of Christmas.
  • Felted bowls, 2 for my mom and 1 for my boss
  • Felted nest for my aunt (this is my favorite gift ever!)
  • Cupcake Purse for my niece
  • Car Organizers for my niece and nephew (I was too dumb to take a picture, but they turned out super cute)
  • Mushroom Rattle for a co-worker's Christmas baby
I ended up being quite sick for Christmas. My usual ulcerative colitis problems are presumably being complicated by a huge peanut squishing up all my important internal parts and a couple of the winter viruses that are going around. But I was so thankful that other family members had offered to host this year and so all I had to do was drag myself over to their couches and be waited on while other people entertained my kid. I was also very thankful that my local clinic, Mayo Clinic, and Walgreen's are all open on Christmas Eve! What a lifesaver.

I also was made to feel better by a number of incredibly awesome gifts. Because I'm shallow like that. Shall I bullet those out too? Why yes, I shall!
  • Sock blockers (which I think Brent gave me just so he could make a lot of cock blocker jokes)
  • A laptop lunch bento box
  • Stiched in Time (from Posie gets Cozy, my favorite blog)
  • The Stitch-It Kit (in all its out-of-print goodness)
  • A handmade felted snowman (!)
  • An Itty Bitty Booklight--which I have used every night since for increased marital bliss
  • Some great looking cookbooks, including Martha's latest tome and The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper.
  • A carton full of fresh Auracana eggs, OMG JUST LIKE MARTHA!
  • A tripod to take awesomer pictures for the blog!
There, I think that's it for the Christmas recap bulletfest. I hope the end of 2008 finds you well, happy, and rested up for a new year.

Daddy's helper

Shoveling the Driveway Shoveling the driveway

Bella was so excited to use her new snow shovel to help Daddy clear the driveway! I personally would have just fired up the snowblower, but Brent prefers the old-fashioned way. Bella did a few good passes and then wanted to go inside. Once inside, she wanted much praise for being "SUCH A GOOD HELPER!"

19 December 2008

Holiday Show

Today was Bella's big holiday show at preschool! She's been singing the songs and talking about it for weeks!

The real performance is another thing altogether.

After this, we had to leave. I was pretty disappointed to miss cookies and punch afterwards. BAH HUMBUG!

17 December 2008


When it's this cold out, there's not much to do but cozy up inside and make some holiday cheer! Oh, and go out to the Dr. and get diagnosed with preliminary pneumonia. (But that's just if you're Bella. And really she doesn't seem that bad. I only took her in because she had a bad cough and daycare sent home a sheet that one of her classmates has whooping cough and I freaked out.)

Anyway, back to getting cozy. We decided to make our friends, teachers, etc. some hot cocoa mix. After I had confirmed that we wouldn't be putting whooping cough germs into each batch (Merry Coughmas!), we got out all the ingredients. Bella is beside herself at this point: mini chocolate chips! mini marshmallows!

Hot Cocoa Gifts

Hot Cocoa Gifts

I did this part (the tags) while Bella was resting in front of the TV. Bella's marker skills wouldn't have led to the Martha Stewart look I was going for. Also it was kind of repetitive and even I got bored.

Hot Cocoa in a Jar

Tah dah! We were quite proud of ourselves at how cute they turned out.

07 December 2008

Saint Nicholas

Brent's holiday traditions from childhood include a visit from Saint Nicholas on December 5. I never did this as a kid so I was trying to pry the details out of him, but he was of little to no use. Apparently his version included a bag of treats. He wasn't sure but he thought there was a shoe involved. So I turned to a more reliable source, the trusty internet!

Bella and I made the traditional cookies, Speculaas. Which technically you're supposed to have little molds for, but we just used cookie cutters. Brent did not recall cookies as part of his tradition, but then revised that by saying they "tasted familiar." 

Cutting Speculaas
Sugaring the Speculaas
Speculaas Ready to Bake

Then we put out the shoe, stuffed with bunny hay, onto the front porch. Bella selected her croc. 

Shoe is all ready

When she woke up in the morning, Saint Nicholas had brought peppermint patties, candy canes, and a princess ornament. 

Treats from St. Nicholas

What a very cute tradition!

03 December 2008

Thanksgiving Traditions

This is what 40 lbs of turkey looks like

I am thankful for:
  • Brent, Bella, and Peanut*
  • A feast with family all together
  • Hot coffee
  • Fresh bread
  • Bunnies
  • Yarn
  • A warm house
  • Babysitters
  • Basement storage
  • The web
  • Traditions
*Bella named the baby.

I became overwhelmed with this thankfulness list. However, I'm just going to leave it lie. You can over think these things.

Thanksgiving this year was a beautiful gathering at my cousin's house. I, unfortunately, was sick and left after just a couple hours. I went home and got straight into bed. Luckily, Brent was slightly less sick than me so Bella still had someone to boss around and provide her snacks.

We were feeling a little better by Friday afternoon, so we decided to try to go downtown for the annual Black Friday trip to Macy's and Holidazzle. We got to the hotel and laid around and had some chicken noodle soup, and I was feeling better. We managed to fine a lot of fountains for Bella to throw pennies into. (And, mortifyingly, to fish pennies out of.)

Throwing Pennies

Fountain Family

After happy hour in our hotel rooms, we bundled up for Holidazzle.

Holidazzle Parade

Although it was about 35 degrees so we didn't really need to dress for arctic ice fishing. Then it was dinner and bedtime for the little one.

Time for bedtime stories!

Nana is reading the new book that Bella got that day, "Dora Saves the Snow Princess." Because watching the movie by the same name a gazillion times is just not enough Dora!!

In the morning, we slept in, then sent Bella into Nana and G'pa's room, then slept in a little more. Then we headed over to the Macy's 8th floor show, "A Day in the Life of an Elf." So sweet!

A Day in the Life of an Elf My kind of schedule Mom and Bella Polar Bear and Penguin Walrus trimming the tree Watching for Santa to peek out A glimpse of Santa Gingerbread Man

Bella sat on Santa's lap and told him she'd like him to bring her candy and cookies for Christmas. Then they sang jingle bells. Afterward, she told me she had to talk loud because he had a hat covering his ears. Then we got a cookie. It was all very cute and a wonderful tradition for kicking off the season. Now, let the frantic craziness begin!

26 November 2008


Nine Inch Nails concert

Yeah, we're just cool like that. We hire sitters and go out to dinner DOWNTOWN. We sit in a trendy restaurant and talk about Bella the entire time. We wait in line at the Target Center to get patted down. We rock out to Boris (opener) and NIN.

Kind of surreal after my morning spent at Madagascar 2. And Bella throwing up in the van on the way home.

20 November 2008



Bella picked out "Double Scoop" from the Softies book I got last Christmas. I was very excited that she was showing interest in crafting! We must immediately go buy the supplies!

Bella hung out in the craft room while Scoopy came together and now that he's done, he appears to have been integrated into the softie click in the house. He was told to be "Bear's Mommy" shortly after entering the playroom.

The pattern was pretty easy (although it is marked as challenging). The ruffle pattern piece is wrong--too short by about 50%. But that was an easy fix.

Yay for Scoopy!

Scoopy Love

19 November 2008

Toadstool Rattle

How cute is this little guy? He jingles too.

Toadstool Baby Rattle

Not the quietest knitting project, since you insert the bell after the cap but before knitting the stem. But I had a great time picking out mushroom-y colors and then having Bella help me ball them up (a breeze with my swift/winder).

Toadstool Baby Rattle

I was going to do duplicate-stitch spots on the top, but then I wasn't sure how to start/stop the thread so that a baby wouldn't be able to snag it and pull it out.

I also finished this gorgeous little thing.

Woolly Nest

It's completely out of season, but so pretty. A little felted nest and needle-felted robin eggs. Sooooo cute.

Today I'm home sick with The Crud that is going around work. Brent convinced me that staying home really does everyone a favor, which is what I tell everyone else but never do myself. It is certainly weird here, staying home without Bella. So far, it has been quite expensive, since Christmas shopping is pretty fun in your pajamas from the couch. I also googled best bunny pellets and ended up buying a new 2-level bunny condo. Whoops. Maybe I should step away from the computer now.

14 November 2008

Wildflower Sweater

What is that noise? Is that the heavenly angels singing? I believe so. Because I have finally finished a beast of a project, the Wildflower Sweater (Lucinda Guy).

Wildflower Sweater

I started this sweater back in April because I wanted to challenge myself.

Wildflower Sweater

I can't even describe how relieved I am that I'm done. I'd go so far as to say I'm SUPER RELIEVED.

Wildflower Sweater

It is much too big for Bella. So my big planned holiday photo shoot in it needs to be put on hold for, oh say, 2 years. But in the meantime, I am quite excited to make her this. Which I can probably complete in a couple evenings instead of half a year.

Wildflower Sweater

07 November 2008

Wanna play with me?

Bella is so cute and I love this age and blah blah blah.... But honestly, when it's 10 am and I've already heard, "Will you play with me?" like 4,000 times, I have to remind myself: "Do not freak out. Look how cute she is. Calm the fuck down." And she's still talking, "You be Dora and I'll be Boots. You be Bear being Dora and I'll be Blankie being Boots. K?" Me: "Um, have you seen mommy's coffee?" Bella: "You be Bear being Dora being Diego RESCUING your coffee, and I'll be Elmo being Boots being Baby Jaguar! Let's get Pandy's doctor toys! I'LL BE DR. PEARSON!!"

And I know, in six years she won't want to be caught dead playing with me. Blah blah BLAHBIDDY BLAH. That's what I say to all you experienced parents out there. You know who you are, you "it all goes so fast" women who walk by on the bike path as I'm chasing Bella around the park and birthing myself out of some little tunnel slide for the hundredth time. "These are the best days of your life!" one dewy-eyed g'ma told me.


Oh excuse me. I know they are just trying to give me some perspective. Which is why I invented the Bella Activity WheelTM!

Activity Wheel

It is chock full of 12 activities that Bella enjoys doing. (Except for putting on clothes, she doesn't enjoy that one, but I snuck it in there anyway). And look, only ONE of them is sitting on the floor playing with mommy [being Bear being Dora having cupcakes made by Dr. Pearson who is really Zoe]!

Bella was very excited about it.

Activity Wheel

And she immediately pointed the arrow at her and mommy sitting on the floor playing with Bear and Blankie.

Activity Wheel

And that is where she always points it. And now, she has proof that it is time for us to sit and play. "Look at THE ARROW! It's pointing at us playing!!"

Must.... remember... best... days... of... life....

26 October 2008

Halloween Parade

We had a big day on Saturday. It was the open house for my friend Jennifer's wedding, and I must say, I'm a big fan of the open house concept. Very kid-friendly. Then we suited up the little monkey for the Anoka Halloween Parade.

Spiderweb Cookie

This is a parade in a class of it's own. It is 2.5 hours long and every float, one after the other, is elaborately, ridiculously, over-the-top decorated for Halloween. All those princess floats from summer parades? They're now the Jackson 5, garden gnomes, pirates, and hockey players. There are dogs in costumes, mayors in costumes, bands in costume, shriners in costumes. Not to mention every kid on the sidelines is decked out.

Anoka Halloween Parade

Bella enjoyed waving ("Hold my cookie. I need to wave!") and pointing out jack-o-lanterns. Which were the most mundane of the things that went by--a full Price Is Right float with Bob Barker and lovely ladies, and Bella's going, "Look look! A jack-o-lantern!!"

Anoka Halloween Parade

After the parade, we dropped Bella off for the Halloween Party at daycare. There was a haunted house and everything! That's great, whatever, see you later kid. SCREECH VROOM!! Date Night! We decided to do something fancy and went to Lindey's Steak House. Then saw a movie. It was very romantic.

Lindey's Steak House

Ahhhhh! We can relax and have a nice glass of... DAMMIT!

Lindey's Steak House Menu

The menu: Steak Steak Steak and Shrimp.



I was kind of dreading Saturday since I don't like having too much scheduled stuff, and here was THREE events to attend, with maniac inbetween driving and costume changes. I prefer to sit on the couch. But it is over and we had fun and today we can just sit on the couch. Oh damn, today is clean up the house day. Well isn't that just a kick in the pants.

07 October 2008

First Haircut

Look who got her first haircut!

First Haircut

She was getting very grumpy about all the tangles after bath each night, so I said, let's chop it off. I made an appointment at Kids Hair in Roseville, which was great. Bella watched Dora, colored, got a sucker and a sticker, and ended up having to have a time-out because, 15 minutes after her haircut, she still wouldn't leave. To be honest, I was right there with her, since there was free Caribou Coffee. But it just seemed weird to loiter.

She couldn't wait to tell daddy about her trip to the "Beauty Parlor."

First Haircut

The finished look, they even gave her a little braid:

First Haircut

We got an envelope, with chunks of her hair for the scrapbook, which explains why they ask on the phone if it is her first cut. Very cute. Now if only they could set this up so I could get my haircut at the same time--now that would be perfect! Juut/Kids Hair... am I the only one who thinks this stuff up??

05 October 2008

Jennifer: My kind of bride

Jennifer, one of the long-time Stitch'n'Bitchers, is getting married. She awesomely chose to have her bachelorette party be a camping trip. Which I would totally do too if I had it to do over again. (Not surprising to anyone who was at my bachelorette.)

Jennifer, the Camping Bride

We met down at lovely campsite #55 in Frontenac State Park. It was a gorgeous, GORGEOUS day out. Crisp and clear, the leaves changing, Lake Pepin sparkling.

Our campsite was canopied but cleared. Just perfect.

The canopy of our campsite

We declared happy hour almost immediately.

Bachelorette Camping

Katri and Beanie, busting out happy hour

Kelly made these cupcakes

A new experience for me, camping with a dog. Oscar, the pathetically friendly dog.


We went on a glorious, bluff-y, easy-going hike, but I forgot to bring my camera. We got back just as the sun was setting and Kelly built us a cozy, roaring fire. We toasted up some pizzas, nachos, and s'mores--believe me, a winner of a menu. I stayed as long as I could (about 11) and then I headed back home, having decided I could not lose a night of sleep right before a big day of toddler fun on Sunday with Laurie Berkner.

I can't wait to visit this park again, it is definitely a keeper. And Brent is very excited about the idea of "going camping" and then being allowed to return home at 11 pm and sleep in his own bed. Hmmmm... I'll have to think about that. If it lures him out camping more often, it might be worth it. A camping-free camping compromise?

Oh, and Happy Anniversary, cutie pie!