Reposting this for Margaret. I wrote it, published, the pulled it for no good reason but that I am feeling a bit quiet and shy around here still.
The weather forced us inside for a few days. I was unusually on top of things the day before the storm hit and stocked up on ingredients for cozy, hearty meals. I made this pot roast, Ina's Tortilla Soup, honey bread, salads, and potato soup ... We've eaten well this past week. We've spent hours by the fire, played board games, and read. We didn't make Mass this week and it has thrown me off but there was no helping it. I also didn't get to plan or execute our typical second Sunday of Advent tea time. I am working on rectifying that today. We've decorated the wreath with fresh greenery and I just rolled out gingerbread dough. The children rummaged through the cookie cutter basket and chose their shapes.
We're just picking up steam now and honestly, this holiday business is not for me. I endure December in a Merle Haggard sort of way. It's too bright, too costly, too busy, too much for me. But there are some little things that I love; birch branches, fresh flowers around the Advent wreath, bulbs chilling in the refrigerator. And right now, I'm reading Bubo, the Great Horned Owl by Jean Craighead George to my son. I love disappearing into those woods every evening.
I have to run now. The chidlren have waited long enough for gingerbread. I'll be back soon.
I had a list of the most important things to do through the holidays. One by one, I had to let almost all of it go. The big turkey dinner was called off. The cookie list shrank to a few treasured favorites. There were no hand knit toys for our baby's first Christmas. I was, and am, too busy holding her to mess with much else. Christmas Eve arrived and I held on to only the hope of some pom-pom booties, which were finished after one in the morning while I watched The Christmas Story repeats on TBS - and then worn for her first white Christmas.
Today, I decided to go all out and make a Buche Stump de Noel complete with meringue mushrooms and tuile leaves. It took too much time and was entirely impractical, but my children were delighted and that makes it all worth it.
Meringue Bracket Fungi! I'm so amused and charmed by them.
I'm not quite ready to be done with the holidays. I hoped to have lesson plans completed for the rest of the school year, but I didn't even come close. I struggle with frustration over how little I accomplish each day, but our baby girl is determined that I shan't miss a moment of her babyhood. For this, I am grateful.
That being said, I have to wrap this up and get back to my three little angels and 'The Children of Noisy Village'.
A white Christmas. Oh, how my children hoped and prayed. The rain turned to snow on the drive out to my brother's house on Christmas morning. It brought tears to my eyes. What a magical day.
My children woke up to a little stack of gifts on our doorstep last week. Among them, the most charming garden journal from my most charming friend who brought a little wonder to our family that day. This, along with a small but elaborate indoor growing system from my husband (who possibly took seriously my joke about growing marijuana?), have me dreaming big for the spring. Today, I'm planting microgreens and parsley.
And look, friends! I picked nine large tomatoes that had been growing on the world's ugliest plant in our dining room. These are Cherokee Purple. Fresh tomatoes in January!
Winter projects: New books for the winter term, squishy new yarn, and a read aloud for all.
A delightful surprise in the mail from Elisa - new stitch markers! Aren't they lovely? They even coordinate with my knitting.
Slow cooked oatmeal. I ate the little paper packets of flavored oatmeal as a child and didn't like it much so I never revisited oatmeal as an adult. Slow cooked oatmeal is nothing like the little paper packets. I made mine with cranberries, walnuts, ground flax seeds, and about a half teaspoon of maple syrup. I'm a little under the weather right now and it is all I want to eat.
It was a lovely, if frantic and overwhelming, Christmas season. My husband returned to work today and it's time I get everything back in order to start the new year.
All the children wore red-and-white spotted caps. If strangers came into the forest, they curled up, still as stone, for all the world like four red-and-white spotted mushrooms. - Elsa Beskow, Children of the Forest
Baby's First Halloween
Dress: Traditional Mabel Dress from Simple Knits for Cherished Babies. This is the second time I've knit this dress. First, here. It is knit in Haneke Exotics Linen/Merino blend, frogged from those epic socks. I love everything about this dress.
Hat: No pattern, just knit top down and regularly increased until it fit. Knit on US 9 with Elsebeth Lavod Silky Wool held double and embroidered with leftover white yarn.
Alton Brown's Soft Pretzels. These are such a hit. We made them for the first time last year and they are now very much expected on Halloween (with a big bowl of chili or just on their own if you think chili is gross).
"A smile with just a hint of tragedy. Inside: hollow, yet deep." I wish I could think of a prize for anyone who recognizes that quote because it's one of my all time favorites.
I'd really like to be able to 'accio' my spool of black thread and then I could be done with this costume already. But there was a tragic accident this summer. I organized all my sewing supplies in a little box placed high on a closet shelf. Upon retrieving this box, my hand slipped and buttons, thread, needles, and presser feet scattered into all the little corners. Now, my closet is not dirty or unorganized but it is fairly full of stuff. Living in a smallish house, there aren't a whole lot of other options. I hate to go and buy thread I already own, but I'm seriously not up for a hunt.
I'm using (modified) McCall's M6421 (which was on sale for 99 cents this weekend and maybe still) for the cloak and it's going fairly well, but I do hope a nice neat top stitch will bring it all together. I love top stitching. The patch was found on Ebay.
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