ho, ho, holiday spirit

It’s a rather minimalist Christmas this year, but we did manage a few decorations…

pleased with what $15 in walmart ornaments can do

and some yummy treats…

gingerbread mini cupcakes

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.

dish towels - my favorite way to wrap

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)

christmas 2007
christmas 2007

sing it with me

liam and kellan
we wish you a merry christmas.
liam and kellan
we wish you a merry christmas.
kellan robert
we wish you a merry christmas,
liam gregor
and a happy...
liam gregor
liam gregor

Surprisingly, I did get a few passable shots for the cards and therefore did not cancel Christmas. But it was a close call.

Fashion Notes

  • Liam’s hat is the Santa Hat from Handknit Holidays by Melanie Falick. It’s made with Knit Picks Gloss HW in wine and Cascade Magnum in ecru. The child’s size used about 1/2 ball of each on US 8 and 15, respectively. The bobble band ended up too big after washing, so I frogged back to remove the last bobble and crocheted a slip stitch on the inside at the join of the band to the crown to tighten it up.
  • Kellan’s elf hat is a simple hat knit with Adrienne Vittadini Mia in soft olive  on US 10.5 (ribbing) and 11s. I’ll try to write up the pattern and post a pdf.
  • Liam’s sweater is vintage (ha!). It is the first sweater that I ever knit and was originally made for my godson Aydan 12 or so years ago. It thrills me to no end that it’s still around and being worn.

ramping up

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.

liam and daddy
Pop-Pop's train is getting a workout.

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.

liam gregor
chillin' and coolin' just like a snowman

Now the little man is a different story. He just can’t take a bad photo.

kellan robert
visions of sugarplums

I mean really, how cute is this kid?

kellan robert
all smiles


kellan robert
a laugh a minute

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.

Ho, ho, ho.

Liam 2.0

liam gregor
it's my birthday!
liam gregor
birthday breakfast
liam gregor
the birthday boy

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?

liam gregor liam gregor liam gregor liam gregor

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.

marbled cupcakes**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.marbled cupcakes 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.

paté of the south

A quick and yummy dip for the holidays.

pate of the south

Paté of the South (aka, Pimento Cheese)

  • 6 cups finely shredded cheddar cheese
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 TBSP minced onion
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • minced jalepeno (optional)
  • 7 oz jar of pimentos, coarsely chopped

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?