Friday, December 19, 2008

Company Girl Coffee

Good Morning Girls!
It's been a rather long week here, we've been super busy getting ready for Christmas and Madelyn seems to have developed a distaste for naptime and discovered a fun new way to keep herself awake rather than nap - high pitched screaming. Luckily it isn't the same sort of "I'm mad!" or "I'm hurt!" sort of scream - it's a happy scream, just incredibly high pitched. So now the only way to get her to take a nap is to lay her down and let her do that for about three minutes, which totally wears her out, and then she'll konk out...for about ten minutes. I barely have any time to do anything - for the second day in a row when Ben got home yesterday I was still in my pajamas and unshowered.

We have overnight guests next week from Monday through Saturday, so I'm also trying to get three guest bedrooms tidied up and ready. I'm almost there; I think by the time everyone arrives I should be pretty much finished. Today I'm hoping to at least get all the guest beds made up.

I'm not even close to finished with all the Christmas gift crafts I was supposed to have finished by now, and I have yet to wrap a single gift! I did finish one of the four scrapbook calendars, one pair of socks for Ben, and I've partially finished some of the ornaments for my grandmothers. At least I still have a few more days to finish! Here are some of my favorite pages from the first scrap-calendar:

Three more to go! I also need to finish another pair of socks and put the final touches on the ornaments. And I still have holiday baking to do! I'm hoping to get some of that done tomorrow. I'm trying not to take on too much this season so I can really enjoy it with Maddie, so my parents will be bringing our traditional Christmas breakfast - homemade cinnamon rolls (usually burnt by my dad). And we're having fairly simple dinners for the holidays - New England Clam Chowder for Christmas Eve, and Prime Rib for Christmas Day. Simple and yummy!

I'm also really looking forward to after-Christmas knitting! I have a couple projects I want to start for myself that I can't get to with all the Christmas gift knitting!

Hope you're all having fun this season!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Bailey's Truffle Fudge recipe

As requested from last Friday's post, my recipe for Bailey's Irish Cream Truffle fudge. I can't eat more than one square or I get a tummy ache - so make sure you have lots of people to share with!

4 cups chocolate chips (or any combination of chocolate and vanilla chips, depending on your taste)
3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 cup Bailey's Irish Cream
- Some people add nuts to this, I don't. I just don't think nuts go well with Bailey's. Add about a half cup if you like them

Melt the chocolate chips and butter together - I use a double boiler or a bowl set over steaming water so as not to overheat. Once melted, add the sugar and Bailey's and stir until it's smooth. (Add the nuts here if you want them, and mix well). Line an 8" pan with plastic wrap and lightly spray with cooking spray (or you can spray the pan directly, I like to lift the plastic wrap out after, either way works). Pour (or spoon) the fudge into the pan. Smooth out the top - I use another piece of plastic wrap and just press until the fudge is even and smooth.

For extra special fudge you can make this topping:
1.5 cups chocolate chips (or any combination of chocolate/vanilla)
2 Tbsp butter
4 Tbsp Bailey's

Melt the chocolate chips as you did for the fudge. Stir in butter and Bailey's until smooth. Spread over the top of fudge. You can smooth this layer with a piece of plastic wrap too.

Refrigerate for 1-2 hours while you lick the bowl.

Monday, December 15, 2008

How long could you survive?

I could survive for 1 minute, 6 seconds chained to a bunk bed with a velociraptor

Created by Bunk

Of course this doesn't exactly explain why I'm chained to a bunk bed, or why there's a velociraptor in there with me...but at least I could survive for a minute and six seconds.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday Coffee with My Company Girls!

Come on in for some hot chocolate and Bailey's truffle fudge! Mmm! It's freezing cold here today! I hope everybody had a great week. I'm starting to enjoy getting ready for the holidays. I start preparing for Christmas right after my birthday (mid-October) because it's my favorite time of year, but it was a little more difficult this year because Maddie was only a month old at that time - so she's still a lot of work every day. So I tried to do at least one little holiday task every day - put up the lights, decorate the tree, bake some cookies, put the decorations up around the house.
Tuesday's Small Thing was by far my favorite - I spent some extra snuggly time with Maddie, which was just wonderful. I had made a comment the night before to Ben, about how I was sort of jealous (not really jealous but...well that's the best word I can think of) because he gets to come home from work and he gets to spend the evening cuddling with her, while my day is generally spent in a whirlwind of cleaning, feedings, diaper changes, playtime...and by the time he gets home she's sleepy and snuggly. But, you know, when I think about it - I'm really lucky to be able to spend (almost) every day with her. I may have other things to take care of during the day, but we have a good amount of snuggle time and play time during the day. I've been able to see her first smile, and her first giggle, and the first time she started "talking" to me. I wouldn't give that up for anything.

We're definitely cutting back this Christmas, with the economy the way it is, and the fact that we're essentially living on one income (I'm only at work one day a week, so it gives us a little extra, but not a whole lot). So I've been making gifts for a lot of people - mostly knitted things (socks, gloves, hats, one special person is getting a sweater), and a couple quilts. For my parents and Ben's parents I took blank calendars and made the pages scrapbook style with pictures of Madelyn's first three months. It's small, but I think it's sentimental - and quite a lot of work to do a total of 24 scrapbook pages in three months! I've also made ornaments for some of our friends. I think the only people getting store bought gifts this year are my immediate family, and they're getting things they really need. The things at Christmas that matter most to me are all non-present-related. I love setting up the tree and decorating it. In years past we've always had friends over for this activity, and we've had cocoa and I've told stories about where all the ornaments are from. This year it was just the three of us, which was still special since it's Madelyn's first Christmas. I love having "Craft Day" before Christmas to work on all the Christmas gifts that need to be finished up - although many times this turns into a bunch of us girls watching Christmas movies, drinking cocoa, and just catching up. And I'm very excited for next year when I think Maddie will be old enough to help bake Christmas cookies, and we can make some ornaments together.

Today Maddie and I are most definitely spending the day inside where it's warm! Ben called a few minutes ago to let me know he had made it to work - in an hour! His office is only about 5 miles down the road! On top of the roads being icy, there are trees down, roads closed, and some cars off the road. Yikes. I took the photo above this morning, up near one of the streams that flows through our property. So I think today looks like a good day to do a little work from home, and then work on some Christmas projects! I hope everybody has a great weekend and stays warm!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Witnessed Last Evening & Knitting Update

I got up from knitting last night and found everbody zonked out:

Maddie and Daddy


Dozie (who really was sleeping and then I woke him up with the flashing camera)

In knitting news...I have a large variety of unfinished items. Three pairs of socks are awaiting mates. I'm making Madelyn a cardigan - the back is finished, and that's it so far. And, as usual, I'm working on "The Blankie":

Each of those squares is about 2" - I have to make like 800 of them to finish the blankie. I'm not joking. 800. I might finish by the time Maddie's a teenager. Maybe. It's all sock yarn and knit on Size 2 needles. Any sock knitters out there who care to part with their leftovers? The squares are little so I'm always looking for new little bits of sock yarn to incorporate. Plus I love that each of the different squares has a different story. The square way on the left (it's cut off in the picture) is from the very first pair of socks I knit - a gift for Baby Owen (he's almost 2 now) and his mom. The stripey blue/red/green/blue/white one is from the second pair I knit - a gift for my Aunt Laura a couple years ago. The blue one was a pair I knit for her for her birthday. And the big purple one and the stripey green/purple/pink one are from yarn that I dyed with some help from Karen when Ben was deployed. There's another bunch that came from my mom, and some that came from swaps I did with people on Ravelry. If you have extra you're willing to part with let me know! I'm always on the lookout for more!!

A New Christmas Carrot

The original Christmas Carrot. Originally part of my mobile when I was a baby, "Carroty" eventually found his calling as a Christmas ornament. Always the first ornament on the tree, in a place of honor and surrounded by his friends Christmas Dog (seen here laying down on the tree) and Christmas Whale, he was always our favorite and most sentimental Christmas ornament. Now that Allen and I have both moved to our own homes, Carroty still lives with my parents. He made the trek to NH last year when my parents and Allen came down from Maine to have Christmas at our new house. I think he'll do the same thing this year, but I felt the need to have a little carrot on my own tree. Unfortunately...I'm not sure the carrot I made even compares to the original carroty:

New carrot:

Carroty Jr. is much chubbier than original Carroty. He's also missing the pink cheeks, a nose, and green sprouts on the top. All things I can fix. I think maybe I need to either make a knitted carrot and felt it, or actually make one out of felt. For now, Carroty Jr. will live happily on our tree next to Madelyn's first Christmas ornament.

A Visit with Santa

You can't tell in this photo but our photos with Santa Claus were taken at the local Harley dealership! The kids got to sit on Santa's Harley (which isn't in any of our pictures since Maddie's too little to sit on it) and get their pictures taken. Maddie did so well in line while we waited, looking around, smiling, giggling...right up until it was our turn and then she had a little mini-meltdown. So most of the photos of her with Santa this year are...not so great. This was probably the best one we got. The Harley dealership was great though - they had a photographer there and the photos are free! We have to go back on Saturday to pick it up; hopefully the photographer got a better photo than we did.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Company Girl Coffee!

Good Morning Girls!

I hope you all had a great week! Our week was busy, but good. I managed to keep up with my Small Things - on top of going back to work. I'm back in the office for one day a week, which is perfect. I get to see everyone that I missed while I was out on maternity leave, but since I'm home the rest of the week I don't have to worry too much about childcare, and I get to spend lots of time with Maddie. We also got our Christmas tree - chopped down in the woods! Yesterday was Ben's birthday, so we had a "special" dinner (KFC - his choice...) and he opened his presents and spent some snuggly time with Maddie.

How cute are these little socks? They're Smartwools for babies! I just think they're the cutest. I also love that they have the non-slip stuff on the bottoms, even though she isn't even close to walking yet. They're just so cute and little!!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Holy Sheets!

So, for the past few months I've been following Rachel Anne's "Sanctuary in the Small Things" assignments in an attempt to regain some control over my house. This worked up until Maddie was born at which point I no longer have time to do ANYTHING except baby stuff. Not that I'd have it any other way - I'm totally enjoying baby time, even if it does mean that sometimes we have no clean dishes. Or clothes. But, now that Maddie's almost three months old and we've somewhat settled into a schedule, I'm going to try to follow them again and actually have the house look somewhat presentable on a daily basis (hey! stop laughing!).

We had two guest rooms used over Thanksgiving, and then one again on Sunday night when my aunt stayed over so she could babysit for me on Monday. So this amounts to five sets of sheets that need washing (if you count my sheets and the Maddie's crib and bassinett.) My small thing today? Wash them ALL and put them away. Neatly.

Oh good luck to me...all I want to do is play with Maddie!

A Christmas Tree

A new family holiday tradition!! This was so exciting. A combination of holiday traditions (one of my favorite things) and me thinking that I'm outdoorsy (another of my favorite things.)! Let's just take note that this says "thinking" I'm outdoorsy. Because, dudes, I am so not outdoorsy. I own one pair of jeans, and I didn't even wear them out in the woods. I think I wore gray pants. And black boots with fluffy insides. That were most definitely not designed for use hiking through the woods in search of Christmas trees. I waded through several rivers (yeah okay, they weren't exactly rivers. But they were bigger than streams! Give me some credit here.), and walked through branches and brush and...found a Christmas tree! How fun.

We drove up to Rachel and Steve's on Sunday morning, hiked out in the woods with them (they are totally outdoorsy. Rachel wore a Carhardtt jacket and Sorel boots. This does not compare to my Columbia jacket and boots from Target.) and we found the most perfect Christmas tree! Ben and Steve sawed it down and carried it back to the house. My favorite part was making them stop mid-"river" so that I could take a picture of them being outdoorsy. Ben wouldn't let me wear Maddie in the Snugli carrier on the way back because he was afraid I'd fall into a river or something, which is probably an accurate assumption. So Rachel hiked back with Maddie strapped on, and then we got back and we had a lovely lunch of grilled cheese and soup and Maddie had a little nap! PLUS we got to go visit the farm and I got to pet lots of sheep!

I do love the holidays!!

Can anyone explain why I look 4 feet tall here?

Happy Thanksgiving! (a little late...)

Happy Thanksgiving! Yeah, I'm posting a little usual. We had my parents, my brother, and my aunt down for Thanksgiving. I think this was the first year I finally decided I didn't need to go all Martha Stewart-esque. There was the year where I made everything - including the crackers that we had set out before dinner. We had seven guests. I made nine pies. And then I fell asleep at the dinner table. This year...cranberry sauce from a can, and potluck style everything else. My only responsibility was the turkey...which I bought and then got so busy Thanksgiving morning that I forgot to put it in the oven until somewhere around 11. And even dad did it. Whatever - I was relaxed and enjoyed the time with my family, and as far as I'm concerned that's worth a whole lot more than the homemade cranberry sauce (which, honestly, I'll probably make next year).

The little munchkin enjoyed her first Thanksgiving and even wore a particularly festive little outfit. She even sat at the table with Daddy while we all ate. Ben decided that evening that we should get a Christmas tree as soon as possible. I think my attempt to convert him from Scrooge to Elf is almost complete. I'm thinking the baby helped.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Happy Girl!

She's "talking" a blue streak now! Granted, I have no idea what she's saying, but she'll "talk" back to me in what I can only describe as baby conversation. :) I think she's trying to say "Mama."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I'm Back!!

So it took me a couple months to get back into the swing of things. I have a two month old! I find it impressive when I manage to take a shower before dinner. I'm desperately trying to get back into somewhat of a routine and get the house cleaned up. I managed to move my craft furniture upstairs yesterday with Ben, so now it's just a matter of collecting the yarn/fabric/scrapbooking supplies and hauling them upstairs and putting them away. Yay! Look - Halloween pictures!

Time to go pick up the house!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Moved Here!

Yes, I know there are only like three people who actually read this - but I moved it over to this new address! It was becoming increasingly annoying to have to sign out of google and into yahoo every time I wanted to update the old site, and then sign back into google after I was finished. This way I'm always logged in and it'll be much easier to update! And with so much going on in my life lately, I'm going to try really hard to update more often!! For now...I'm off to help Ben build the new patio. Hot tub here I come!