It’s a rather minimalist Christmas this year, but we did manage a few decorations…
and some yummy treats…
We made mini cupcakes using the Cook’s Country gingerbread recipe – only baked them for 10 minutes or so and frosted them with a powdered sugar and milk glaze and crushed candy canes. Next time we’ll up the ginger and cinnamon.
and little giftees for Liam’s teachers.
Eight dozen cookies for the 10 teachers at Liam’s school. He spends time with most of them at one point or another during his day, so we made a little treat for everyone. Again, the recipes were from Cook’s Country. Everybody got 2 chocolate chip/coconut and 2 Heath Bar chip cookies (too big! Next time we’ll adjust the baking time and make more reasonably sized cookies) and 4 molasses spice cookies (like the gingerbread, needs more spice). I really love using dish towels to wrap gifts. Who doesn’t need more dish towels? A little sprig of pine from the trimmed boughs of the tree tied on with kitchen twine was an easy and cute way to close each parcel.
That’s about it this year. A far cry from Christmases B.C. (before children)
Here at the nut house, we’re getting ready for the fat man. Liam is sooo excited. I don’t think he knows why he’s excited, but, heck, there’s a tree in the living room so it’s gotta be something good. Plus, there’s a train – a very, very cool old Lionel (Thanks Pop-Pop. We miss you much). Liam is beside himself, to the point that B had to hide the train in the laundry closet. Otherwise, the boy would have it running all day.
As you can see, we have a small platform this year. B built it from plywood and 2x4s, and we covered it in green felt. It’s perfect for the little space we have available for our tree. We upgraded to Lionel’s Fastrack, which is a dream to work with compared to the old, old O27 track that Pop-Pop used. Also, we made the switch to the C7 ceramic lights on the tree. I love them.
This Christmas business is an awful lot of work…
We still haven’t taken our Christmas card photos, because, well the yarn for Liam’s Santa hat brim and Kellan’s elf hat hasn’t arrived yet. It should be in today, so hopefully we’ll have a photo shoot by Wednesday. That said, don’t be surprised if your Christmas card arrives in January. I don’t hold much hope for a decent shot though. The big boy is too fast these days. Worst case, we’ll run with the Christmas in Hollis shot.
Now the little man is a different story. He just can’t take a bad photo.
I mean really, how cute is this kid?
Both boys had doctor well checks last week and both got the thumbs up. They are each hovering around the 75 percentile in size. Kellan weighed in at just over 16 pounds. He’s starting to get fun. He laughs at his big brother’s antics and enjoys sitting up in bumbo and in the jumperoo. Sleep is still all over the place, but we’ll deal with that in January. He likes holding things and bringing them to his mouth and gives the biggest smile when you kiss his cheeks.
Liam is a regular chatterbox. He talks and talks and talks. It’s great. It’s so fun to see him excited for the holidays, even if he doesn’t know why. Christmas morning should be a blast. A very, very early morning party.
BTW, all of these are cell phone shots (Oh my, how I do love my Droid X!). I haven’t had the energy to even try the good camera.
Liam is 2 years old today. Wow. It feels like forever and yesterday. He’s such a big boy. He’s talking in sentences and knows most letters by sight and can sing some of the alphabet song and is starting to count and can recognize some numbers by sight and knows many shapes and colors and is a demon on the rock wall and aren’t you tired just reading this stuff?
Just a little bit of fanfare this year, a new birthday hat* and some cupcakes** for school.
* The hat was made from a fat quarter, some scrap blue fabric and Wrights blanket binding. I cut the fat quarter, some batting and backing muslin using the lining pattern from hat A, Butterick 3805 (oop) and machine quilted straight lines radiating from the top, cut a freehand “2” which was fused and raw edge appliqued with a tight zig-zag, seamed the hat up the back then added the single fold blanket binding with tight zig-zag. It was a 2 hour project that took all day working in 15 minute spurts.
**The cupcakes were a modified version of classic yellow cupcakes from America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. I made a batch of yellow batter, divided it into two bowls and added to one about 1/4 cup of sifted cocoa powder and 4 oz of Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate (melted in the microwave with a little milk). I spooned some chocolate batter and then some vanilla into each cupcake paper and swirled them together with a toothpick. Also tried baking m&m’s on top for decoration, but they were absorbed into the cupcake during baking. Now it’s a little surprise for the kiddies. In order to keep the mess to a minimum, there’s no frosting, just a dusting of powdered sugar. We sent in 24 mini-cupcakes for the kids and a dozen big ones for the teachers.
Mix cheddar, cream cheese, mayo, onion, cayenne, and jalepeno (if using) on medium speed using a paddle beater until well blended. Add pimento and mix to incorporated, being careful not to overdo it and mash up the pimentos. Cover and refrigerate, preferably overnight.
Allow it to warm up a bit before serving. It’s a thick dip, so serve it with something sturdy. We like it on pita chips. It also makes a terrific sandwhich spread and is yummy on toasted bagels. Can you tell that I love this stuff?