Category Archives: holiday

Christmas Picture-Happy Post

What a sweet Christmas we had today. I hope it was just as sweet for you! Seeing little man wake up and find his gifts under the tree this morning made me so happy. Maybe happier than him?
Here’s a wrap up of our day in pictures. Warning…there are A LOT of them.
His barn and Santa hat were waiting for him on his new chair from his grandma and grandpa. I was so excited for him to find his new felt farm animals that were hidden inside!
He made a bee line for the barn. It had been hidden in another room for a few days. I think he was excited to see it again. I wonder what’s inside?
I see a pig!
What else is in there??
And the chicken and the puppy gave each other kisses too.
The boy and his new dump truck. Rocks were ready to be loaded in. He understood what to do right away.
Ooey gooey cinnamon rolls. 
Playing with his dump truck, and two wool balls that his mama made for him.
Time for a late lunch. Crab and Cauliflower Salad (didn’t get a picture before it was all gone!) and Chocolate and Pear Charlotte. So delicious!

How was your Christmas? What was your kiddo’s favorite gift?

Knit Santa Hat with FREE Pattern

Last Saturday was small business Saturday and Amex was running this pretty sweet promotion where if you signed up and spent $25 at a small business, they would give you a $25 credit. I immediately thought, “free yarn!” Yipee!! On top of that, my local yarn store had a “make your own sale” that day. Basically, you got to pick a poker chip out of a pot and get the equivalent discount off your purchase (including clearance items). So I set out to the yarn store with a list of yarn I needed to make this cardigan I’ve had my eye on for ages. I did end up finding the yarn I needed for that project (which I wont start until after Christmas), but I also wound up checking out the clearance bin and found some super soft red and white Alpaca and Merino blend yarn. It was a steal with both discounts, so I decided I’d make little man a Santa hat with it.
I looked around on Ravelry for a pattern I liked but didn’t really find anything just right in his size. So, for the first time ever, I went rogue and made my own knitting pattern. I based my decreases off of this hat pattern from Apartment Full of Fur, Fuss, and Fiber because she also started off with 60 stitches, but I adjusted the number of rows in between decreases. Here’s how it turned out:
In case anybody out there needs a Santa hat pattern that will fit a toddler (18-24 months…maybe beyond that given how stretchy it is), I’m posting the pattern here for you to use and enjoy too. Please bear with me if there are differences from how patterns are normally written. I’m new to this, and also just learning how to read patterns in English (I have always used French patterns until recently).
Toddler Santa Hat (18-24 mo)
Yarn: Aran weight. Approximately 110 yards MC (red) and 50 yards CC (white or ecru)
Recommended Yarn: Cascade Yarns “Cloud 9”
Gauge: 4 sts= 1 inch in stockinette
Needles: Size 9 US DPNs or 40″ (or longer) circular for “Magic Loop” method
CO 60 sts in CC. Place marker and join the round.
Stitch in garter stitch (Knit a round, purl a round)
Continue until 1.5 inches is reached
Switch to MC. Continue in stockinette until you reach 3.5 inches total
Begin decreases:
K4, K2tog, repeat around (50 sts remain)
K around for 6 rows
K3, K2tog, repeat around (40 sts remain)
K around for 6 rows
K2, K2tog, repeat around (30 sts remain)
K around for 4 rows
K1, K2tog, repeat around (20 sts remain)
K around for 6 rows
K2 tog around (10 sts remain)
K2tog 4 times, then K2

6 sts remain. Tie off by using a tapestry needle to thread through remaining sts. Attach pom pom.
IMG_3490

Thanksgiving catch-up

Last week was a busy week. Little man, my mom and I went to gather chestnuts, I got the house ready to host Thanksgiving dinner, cooked (and enjoyed) said Thanksgiving dinner, and then enjoyed the long weekend as a family. I promise to post pictures of the chestnut excursion soon, but for now, here is a synopsis of our Thanksgiving (Little man’s first as a solid-food-eating child!).
I made roasted brussel sprouts, based on this recipe by Ina Garten. Since I only have one oven and I didn’t want the turkey to rest for 45 minutes and get cold while the brussel sprouts were roasting, I par boiled them for about 3 minutes and then plunged them in ice water before roasting them. Here they are on the jelly roll pan, tossed with olive oil and salt. Ready to be roasted.
My mom made the chestnuts, freshly gathered, then boiled and peeled. She also made the cranberry sauce because it’s her specialty. I made the mashed potatoes, below.
I didn’t get a picture of the yams on their own, but they turned out really good! I peeled and sliced them. Then in a small saucepan I combined 2/3 c. chicken stock, 2/3 c. apple cider, 2 Tbsp brown sugar, 4 cloves of garlic (minced), and some salt and pepper. Then I brought all these to a boil until the sugar had dissolved and poured it over the yams, arranged in a baking dish. I baked them at 375 for about 30 minutes, covered in foil. Then I set them aside until after the turkey was cooked and put them back in the oven for 20 minutes of so with the brussel sprouts.
Everything turned out as I’d hoped. Yay!

 

Of course, dessert was involved. I made an apple pie and a pumpkin pie. Unfortunately, no picture of the apple pie was taken before cutting into it and now it’s long gone. It was tasty though, thanks to my North Carolina uncle who shared his recipe with me.

I used a new recipe for the pumpkin pie and was kind of disappointed. I usually use the Classic Pumpkin Pie recipe from Martha Stewart and it’s always turned out great. I’m not sure why I decided to change it up, but I’ll be going back to my tried and true one next year.

Felt Chicken Ornament

When I was young, my parents started a lovely tradition of giving me a new ornament every year to commemorate something special or memorable about that year. One year, it was a ballerina another year a piano. When I turned 16 it was a car and when I turned 21 it was a bottle of wine and so on a so forth. I think it’s such a sweet tradition and I plan to continue it for our family. So, one of the big things that happened this year for us was getting our chickens. Raising chickens for eggs is something I’ve wanted to do for years and I’m so so excited to have them! What better way to commemorate this year than with a chicken ornament?
I found the pattern over at Down East Thunder Farm. The pattern is free, along with many other patterns for felt bird ornaments. They’re beautiful and I plan on making some more felt birds to decorate our tree and to give as gifts. Be sure to check out this blog if you’re into making felt ornaments.

Happy Halloween!

We had so much fun yesterday! It was crazy and thus I didn’t have time to write up a blog post, but it was totally worth the crazy. We started off with music class, then went straight to our downtown for toddler/preschooler trick or treating, then came home for lunch and a late nap. I made some Jack-O-Lantern soup for dinner and we had an early dinner followed by trick or treating on our street. Little man had so much fun. Initially he hated wearing his costume, but he quickly forgot about it and kept it on. He loved going up to knock on our neighbors’ doors, sign “please,” take a piece of candy and put it in his bag and then sign “thank you.” We loved chatting with and meeting neighbors. We bought our house over a year ago, but still hadn’t met everyone. Halloween gave us a great opportunity to knock on peoples’ doors and chat with them.
About the costume- The pattern I used was Butterick 6695. He was supposed to be a tiger, but the only fabric I could find was this half tiger-half leopard print. Whatever. We went with it. Besides, if he had truly been a tiger, I would have gotten even more comments from my local Giants fans like “Why isn’t he a panda instead of a tiger, huh?” How could I have known over a month ago when I sewed this that the Giants would end up winning the World Series against the Tigers?
Luckily for little man, the heat wave we had last week broke and we got some cool weather for Halloween. We would have had to figure something else out at the last minute if it had been in the 80s like last weekend.

I hope everyone had a happy and safe Halloween! Did you dress up? Did your kiddo dress up? Share or link your costume in the comments! I want to see 🙂

Quick Valentine’s Day Recap

I have a feeling the little one will be waking up from his nap any minute now, but I’ve been wanting to do a recap of our lovely Valentine’s Day, courtesy of Trevor, and I’m already 4 days late. In the interest of time, I’ll do a picture recap.

First, Quentin and I had a little fun with finger paints. We needed to make daddy a Valentine, so we got to work.

Here is the before picture
Aaaand after. It was a mess (obviously, 7 month old + fingerpaints=big mess), but it was fun!

Happy boy!

It’s all fun and games until you decide to suck your thumb with paint on your hand. That ended the project. Good thing we were done with daddy’s Valentine.

Trevor said he would make a Valentine’s Day dinner. A few years ago, he made this delicious Crab Salad with Pears and Hazelnuts from Simply Recipes. We loved it and decided we wanted to have it again. Maybe it will be a Valentine’s day tradition.

Butter leaf lettuce cups for the salad

Delicious crab and pear salad. Unfortunately, Whole Foods was out of hazelnuts. Instead, we added a little hazelnut oil. It wasn’t the same, but at least there was some nuttiness.

Serving it up.

Add a drizzle of olive oil.

Ready!

For dessert, I made some chocolate-covered strawberries.

As a bonus, we had some macarons from Cocola that a friend gave me as a thank you for the onesie I made for her daughter. Sweet!

I’d say it was a success! What did you do for Valentine’s Day? Or am I already too late to still be thinking about this at all?

Chocolate & Peppermint Meringue Hearts + more chocolate creations


Yesterday was Valentine’s Day, which meant my theme for the day was chocolate. I don’t usually need an excuse to cook with chocolate, but since I had one, I figured I may as well take advantage. My hubby and I were going to go for a bike ride yesterday, but ended up staying in and relaxing at home since the weather was a bit iffy. I took full advantage of the rainy day to make some Valentine’s-themed desserts. So, here are a few chocoholic creations for you.

Spicy Hot Chocolate

This one is pretty simple, but definitely delicious. You need some milk, unsweetened cocoa powder, sugar and cayenne pepper (but just a tiny bit…a little goes a long way, so be careful!). You can also top your mug with a few mini marshmallows, if you are feeling extra-indulgent.

For 2 servings of hot chocolate:

2 cups 2% milk
2 Tbsp sugar
4 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
~2 tsp water
tiny pinch cayenne pepper
Handful mini marshmallows

Warm the milk over medium-low heat, stirring frequently to make sure not to let the milk boil over. Add the sugar. In a small bowl, combine the cocoa powder and water. Stir to make a paste and add this to the milk. Mix well. Add the cayenne pepper. I recommend tasting as you go to make sure the levels of sweetness, chocolatiness and hotness are to your liking. Serve immediately and top with mini marshmallows.

Chocolate & Peppermint Meringue Hearts


For the meringue:
270 g superfine sugar
4 egg whites
2-3 drops red food coloring
2 tsp peppermint extract

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare cookie sheets by covering with parchment paper. Place your egg whites in a clean bowl. Beat them on high speed using a stand mixer or egg beaters. Once you begin seeing lines forming in the egg whites (from the whisk), begin slowly adding sugar. Once all of the sugar is incorporated, you should have a stiff meringue. Add the peppermint extract and food coloring. Mix until the food coloring is fully incorporated.

Transfer the meringue to a pastry bag with a #10 tip. Pipe the meringue onto the prepared cookie sheets into heart shapes. Place the cookie sheet in the oven for about 45 minutes to an hour. They need to cook just long enough for them to be dry, but not so long to become golden. You want them to retain their pink color.

Take the meringue out of the oven and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes. Then transfer them to a cooling rack so that they can cool completely. Once the meringues are cool, warm up some good quality chocolate in a small saucepan. Once it’s completely melted, dip the meringues in so that half of it is covered with chocolate. Set the chocolate-covered meringues on a cookie sheet covered with wax paper. Put the cookie sheet in the fridge for about 30 minutes, or until the chocolate has cooled completely. Remove the meringues from the wax paper and store them in tupperware in the fridge.

Finally, I’ll just post a few pictures of a chocolate heart cake I made earlier in the week, served with a creme anglaise. The concept of the cake was good, but something was off about the recipe and it was just okay. It’s pretty though, so I’ll post a picture and try to refine the recipe to post later!

Before going into the oven:


Slice of chocolate cake with creme anglaise: