Deck the Halls with Too-Small Sweaters

Dear Erin,

Christmas is coming, and I at least will be interested to see what we as a family do to decorate this year. Last year, as you know, it took awhile to get into the Christmas spirit, and I went light on the decorating. Although I couldn’t say it at the time, a big part of that ennui was probably because I was pregnant. So what with that not being the case this year, having Captain Wiggles around, and suspecting that Little Mister will really enjoy it – I’m seriously contemplating a real tree this year.

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Not just this.

Hey, I’ve got something new to show you.

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Here Little Mister experiences the wonder of eating an egg he’s helped to hard-boil.

Look at the sweater I finished! It only took, um, seven months. And it really shouldn’t have taken that long; it’s not big and it’s not complicated. But I started about 3 weeks before the Captain came along, and then the bottom dropped out of life for awhile.

Pattern is Harvester in size 4; yarn is Ella Rae Lace Merino in “Royal Blue.” Had some issues with gauge on this one (don’t I always), but I more or less got it worked out. The sweater still came out small, though, and I’m hoping if I ever do get a chance to block this that it will loosen up a bit more and give us a tad more wear out of it. But it’s so convenient to just throw on him that I don’t want to take it out of rotation, even for a pretty necessary bath (it’s been on the playground and through several meals; neither left it unscathed) and repair job (you can already see some damage just above the waistband in the picture).

It’s light and warm, and a good layering piece. Also, I think it looks pretty good on him (although the sleeves are a little short and the waistband currently poofs out oddly), so I’m a big fan of this sweater and will make it again in the future. In fact, the Captain is supposed to be getting one soon in an orange yarn his brother picked out and “helped” me wind into a ball the other day (by which I mean he wound it into a huge knot).

So anyway, keep your eyes peeled for decked halls over here on the left coast over the next month. There might actually be something to see.

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The Mildly Interesting Adventures of a Distracted Baker

Dear Erin,

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope your day was filled with family, fun, and (really good) food. Little Mister kept asking if we were going to have our Givings today. And we did have “givings” with good friends, which made my holiday unexpectedly easy (relatively speaking). See, I had expected that we would have our own little meal with our own little family, but what with one thing and another, I only made dessert (my favorite course of food to make) instead of turkey, potatoes and all the trimmings.

This was a good thing because just making two desserts took me most of the day. The first choice was apple pie bars – an easy version of apple pie, and a pretty sure thing because I’ve made it several times and use labor-saving devices like pre-made crust and the food processor.

For the second choice, I wanted to try something new. Another pie, because I had heard the words “There can never be too much pie” from someone we would be dining with. And chocolate seemed like the logical choice, as it would balance the fruit and bring a different set of flavors to the table. However, none of the chocolate pie recipes I found struck me. What I normally would have done is made Grandma’s Southern peanut butter pie, but it’s been so long since I made it that I didn’t even think about that.

Let’s play a game. Can you guess what kind of pie I made? Here are some clues.

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Got it yet?

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How about if I told you I heard about this pie from you? On this blog? This year?

And it’s not chocolate or fruity or peanut butter or nutty.

Give up?

It was Crack Pie (although from a different bakery than the one you mentioned in the post that made me decide to try it). I thought, if Erin likes it, it’s probably pretty good.

It was pretty good. (I tasted it before we left, just to make sure.)

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Not to worry: the recipe made two pies. This one was crooked in the oven so not pretty so not going with us. So used for quality control. (Yummy yummy.)

I used the recipe I linked to above, and it was easy enough to do. But there was just one little problem – baking the things. I followed the directions. Set the oven to 350, bake the pies for 15 minutes, open the door and drop the oven to 325, and when it hits that temperature, cook for another 5 minutes or so.

Except my version of that directions continues. “Then cook for another 5 minutes.

And another 5 minutes.

And another 5 minutes.

And another 5 minutes. Pies may be starting to brown on top.

And another 5 minutes. Remove the one that is disturbingly dark but still not set.

Cook the last one for another 5 minutes and hope for the best.”

Anyway, I guess they came out more or less right. No one eating them copped to having heard of crack pie before, so hopefully no one knew any better. They still tasted good to me, but they were too sweet for Charles, so I probably won’t keep the recipe.

How about something completely different? We went to the museum on Monday, where Little Mister got to try on his Halloween costume from an alternate reality

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and Captain Wiggles got to spend some quality time with his favorite person in the world

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Talk to you in December!

Just Daily Life

Dear Erin,

It’s Thanksgiving this week, and I’m not exactly sure how that’s possible. I seem to have lost most of the year, which I’m aware plenty of people would say is not much of a loss. But Captain Wiggles (and a lot of other babies I know!) was born this year, so it hasn’t been all bad.

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Six months already!

And Little Mister is turning into quite the little boy. Going to the movies (!!! We took him to see a special Mickey Mouse event – two episodes of a TV show, not a full movie. And he had a complete meltdown later in the day. Worse than I’ve gotten from him in a long time. I blame overstimulation, so I don’t know that we’ll be repeating this any time soon.):

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Requesting macaroni and cheese for breakfast:

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Playing on the big kids’ playground:

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(Mine’s the one in the red hat.) And doing the odd bit of motorcycle maintenance:

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And, hey, I finished a project! Put it on the boy before taking any pictures, so now it has to be cleaned and repaired before I share it here, but hopefully on Friday.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Share and Share Alike

Dear Erin,

Thanks for the book ideas; Little Mister loves the last three you mentioned, and I’m sure he’ll enjoy the others.

Here are our Halloween costumes, all finished:

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A t-shirt I colored, and a Tigger costume without its hat (I lost it somewhere in the last two months, but I know it didn’t fit anyway). Meh… Good thing the kids are so cute. Here is Little Mister’s costume more fully:

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I’d claim he posed, but I really just got lucky. And here is the inspiration:

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Charles’s request, and MUCH less work than my choice last year:

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I figure next time, Little Mister will want to have some input, but at least we got some geeky stuff in for ourselves while we could.

Captain Wiggles was more or less just along for the ride, but he didn’t seem to mind much that he was wearing a hand-me-down costume with a big piece missing. He slept through all Halloween festivities. He came out better in the photo shoot at the pumpkin patch. Babies and gourds, right?

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I put him in the outfit that his brother wore the last time we were there (again, hand-me-downs).

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But Captain Wiggles does have his very own hat, so he got his very own, non-hand-me-down elf pictures, too.

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No gourds, maybe, but I do like this one a lot.

So it’s basically all about sharing around here – like it or not. I guess I’m lucky that I’m the only girl – I don’t have to share anything!

What We’re Reading

Dear Kristen,

Procrastination looks good on Little Mister!  I loved his costume! Simple. Clever. And unique!

We weren’t so clever or unique – but simple was the name of the game.  Batman and Tweak.

Costume Recipes:

Batman: pajamas with a homemade cape attached with safety pins to the shirt. Perfect for Little Man.

Tweak: Found it on the internet, bought it, and it arrived at our doorstep.  It doesn’t get much easier than that!  What do you do when your daughter insists she wants to be a green bunny engineer from her favorite TV show (Octonauts)?  Well, you don’t try to make a light green sweatsuit with bunny ears, that’s for sure!

So people thought she was the Easter Bunny or weren’t sure what to think.  But she was happy.

And reading is making her happy, too, so I thought I’d share what we’ve been reading of recent.  Munchkin is entering the world of reading all on her own (little squeal of delight!) and so we’ve been working to have fresh, exciting library books available and fun things to explore!

Munckin’s Recent Reads

  1. Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems.  51olbjkb2bel-_sx363_bo1204203200_I think I’ve mentioned these before – but there are a variety of them and she can make out many of the words all on her own.  She also has a quick memory, so she can usually recite it after the second reading…so then I’m not positive how much reading is being done….
  2. Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein.  51o8luyt2il-_sx378_bo1204203200_Silliness and rhyming out the wazoo – all good things!
  3. Hop on Pop by Dr. Suess.  51clhaltlfl-_sx355_bo1204203200_We got this as a listening book at the library.  God bless audio books!  But seriously, if I had to read Hop on Pop as often as she listened to it, I might go slightly nuts.
  4. The Christmas Tale of Peter Rabbit by Emma Thompson.  51gthz-af4l-_sx385_bo1204203200_Another audio book, but since Halloween is over, Christmas books can come out!  And her brother likes this, too.

Little Man’s Recent Reads

  1. Little Blue Truck (any of them) by Schertle and McElmurry. 51m07baimtl-_sy448_bo1204203200_“Boo Truck!” is how he asks and its adorable.
  2. Frankenstein by Adams and Oliver. 519fcmyv-ll-_sy498_bo1204203200_“Monster!”
  3. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Martin and Archambault. 51hsu2qlyhl-_sx378_bo1204203200_“Boom! Booooommmm!”  He likes singing the alphabet song at the end, which is awesome with his gibberish.
  4. Anything his sister is reading……which makes for epic fallouts….. Is it better that they are fighting over books?

So there you have it!  Reading with the 5 and 2 year olds is bringing delight and smiles.  Today, I’m giving thanks for those moments of joy. (And for coffee.  I’m giving thanks for that, too.)