Thursday, December 23, 2010

Holly Jolly

We're gearing up for an action-packed holiday, including time with both families, several work shifts for Karl (boo), and a little trip to Cedarburg. We're going back to the place where we stayed on our minimoon (isn't that what you call a two-night honeymoon?)... we even have the same room. We went last Christmas, too, and it was so nice to get away together. Cedarburg is a really small town, but it's got a winery, a charming little movie theater, and lots of antique shops. Mostly I just love being with Karl and having the time to chat over cups of coffee with nowhere to rush off to.

It's strange that this is our third Christmas as a married couple. How does time go so fast? I'm definitely getting lazier... our first Christmas, I knit stockings for us (and a set for my entire family... how on earth did I have the time?), and last year I knit an Advent calendar for our mantel. This year, I made absolutely nothing except a few batches of cookies which I had to give away because I was eating them like there was no tomorrow. I didn't even fill up the Advent calendar. I did, however, manage to find Karl the router table and cast iron Dutch oven he requested. At least we'll have those to commemorate this Christmas.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wednesday Goings-On

We had a Mad Hatter's Tea Party at the library today. I got out my costume box and invited the kids to put on anything they liked for the party.... I thought they would think dress-up was babyish, but they loved it! So fun. My poor neglected costume box was pretty happy, too.

I pulled a pair of Alice-in-Wonderland-y stripey tights out of the Goodwill pile in our basement this morning to wear for the party. Good thing we always forget to put that pile in the car!

Today I booked a ticket from Rome to Athens on a regional airline. The price was in Euros. I've never done anything in Euros before. I'm a little nervous.

Tomorrow is my last day of work before a nice, long vacation! Love it.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Pomp and Circumstance

What do you call a toilet paper tube after commencement? A graduated cylinder!

My little sister, Hanna, graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee over the weekend. My mom and I drove in from Madison, and my brother came all the way from Washington DC to be there. We were all very, very proud.

For graduation, my mom gave Hanna a really nice slow cooker. I gave her my favorite slow cooker cookbook (by the way, there's a sequel coming out next week!!!). It was originally going to be her Christmas present, so it was already wrapped up all Christmassy. In an attempt to make it look more graduation-appropriate, I gave Santa his own little graduation cap. Don't worry, Hanna, there's another surprise for you under the tree.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

I'm so happy to report...

You might know that I've always wanted to go to Italy. But you might not know that I just booked tickets for Karl and I to go this spring! I cannot wait. I'm so excited, it's all I can think about.

We're going to Italy!!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Just Hear Those Sleigh Bells Jingling

Five girls + song sheets + bells + a red bucket + a Wal-Mart parking lot = complete and utter joy. It was freezing cold, but seriously it was the most fun. And we sounded awesome, according to many shoppers.

True confession: I almost ditched at the last minute. So glad I didn't... I needed some Christmas songs and time with friends.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Remember when I showed you that little reversible bird/egg? It's got a nest now. And a little friend...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Scenes from a Snow Day

On Sunday morning, we woke up to this on the front lawn:

and this in the back yard:

I grabbed my skis and took a spin around the neighborhood before the plows got here.

Then I cleaned up my latest vintage find... a set of six matching little Santa mugs. I love them. And they were 25 cents apiece. Love.

We fired up the Kitchen-Aid and made four different kinds of cookies... which are now on their way to Karl's grandmothers' houses.

Between batches, we napped and read and watched Christmas movies.

It was so nice to just have time at home to be cozy. I loved every second of it. In the evening, we wrapped presents and thought about getting started on Christmas cards... but that didn't happen. Maybe next weekend.

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Little More Christmas

Here are two Christmas lovelies that have especially been making me smile...

I made this one in kindergarten. Can you believe it's still intact?

My mom scored this one at a thrift store recently, and she gave it to me! What a great mom! I just love it...

Friday, December 10, 2010

Snug as a Bug

Remember back in October, when I showed you Karl's sad cell phone charging situation? Well, that has all changed, thanks to a special delivery from my brother, Elsworth. That blue piece of plastic has really made a difference in the quality of Karl's cell phone's life.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas on Hillside Terrace

Just a little peek at our decorations...

I got matching cheerleader for my friend Amanda and I when we ran our marathon in 2009 :: Fisher Price Little People stained glass ornaments... limited edition by yours truly :: Angel tree topper who looks like she has a banana on her head, also by yours truly :: Fireplace... busy enough for ya? :: Bird chosen by Karl and I on a trip last year :: Sweet vintage angel who has taken the place of the Precious Moments pin on our nativity.

Monday, December 6, 2010

This is a true story.

Last year was the first winter Karl and I spent in our house, and it was the first chance we really had to decorate for Christmas. We put up a tree, hung a wreath out front, decorated the mantel, and made a cheery paper chain out of scrapbook paper. Then, out of some Rubbermaid tub in some dark corner of the basement, Karl produced a box marked "Nativity." He unpacked what has got to be the saddest looking wooden nativity set ever. It's totally falling apart and has several exposed nails. Baby Jesus looks like an old man (seriously- I think he even has a beard). The shepherd's crook is gone, and in its place someone had thoughtfully inserted a thin dowel with a dangerously jagged broken-off end. By far, though, the best part is the angel, sitting on top of the stable. It's a Precious Moments angel pin. The pin part is pretty practical, because we can poke the pointy part right in and it stays put. Because goodness knows, we don't want that Precious Moments angel going anywhere.

The next item I will be knitting is a nativity set for us. I already have a pattern.

The good people at tell me that a random number between 1 and 6 is... 2! Congratulations, Anna! I'll get you the puppy puppet in plenty of time for holiday giving.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Glom Inte!

That's Swedish for "Don't Forget!" (but imangine some fancy vowel decoration for the letter O).

Just a teensy reminder that today is the last day to enter our puppy puppet give-away.

Karl and I got a tree yesterday and spent last night putting it up, decorating it, and listening to Christmas music. I wish we could do that every night. This morning we woke up to a couple of inches of snow... finally! I love the Christmas-y look of the tree right in front of the windows, with snow outside.

Have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Baby Shower by Mail

Some college friends and I have been working on a super-secret project for wonderful Mara, who is expecting her first baby. Mara lives in Chicago, and I live in Wisconsin, Caitrin lives in Denver, Jenny lives in Wyoming, Lindsay lives in San Diego, and Jen lives in Seattle. Getting together for a baby shower just wasn't going to happen. So...

we sneakily created...

a baby shower by mail in five easy steps!

We all planned to mail our packages on the same day. I wrote on the outside "Package #1 of 5... open when all 5 have arrived!"

Step 1: Decorate!

Step 2: Have a snack (Belly Bars)

Step 3 was wrapped in the sweetest little red Chinese take-out box... The instructions were to get out a cute plate for these

Step 4: Make treats (can you tell what my priorities are? Three out of five steps include food)... I could not resist this adorable cupcake kit!

I texted Mara when I was shopping to see what her favorite flavor was... she texted back "Lemon. Or maybe Pumpkin." She's getting both. It's kind of perfect because each mix makes 12 cupcakes, and the kit has enough materials for 24 cupcakes...

Step 5: Open presents! This is when she opens up all of the packages... Here's what I sent:

Sweater and pumpkin hat (we don't know if she's having a boy or a girl)

Personalized onesie and sweatshirt... hopefully someday I'll need one that says "Struckmeyer Jr." Seriously, baby stuff is so cute I can hardly handle it.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Would you like to see what I've been making lately?

Here are the cookies I made for our knitting finale yesterday:

And here is my current personal knitting project:

It's an egg! No, wait...

It's a bird! No, wait...

It's both! An egg that turns inside-out to become a bird... genius. Thanks to Susan B. Anderson for the pattern!

You've still got a few days to sign up for our puppet give-away! Happy December!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Day 30

Today I am thankful for:

  • Our knitting finale at the library! We invited families of 'tween knitters, as well as the Library Board and library staff, to come have snacks and check out the handiwork of these amazing kiddos. I hope it all turns out... and I hope the kids remember to bring their projects!

  • The confidence that I will find my lost favorite scarf

  • The fact that none of you were at our house this morning to witness the goings-on when I realized my scarf was missing

  • Knitting

  • Puppets

  • Those easy-to-peel little satsumas

  • Wrapping Christmas presents! I know I said that yesterday, but I'm thankful for it again.

  • Dinner simmering away in the Crock Pot... turkey enchiladas!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Day 29

Today I am thankful for:
  • A mid-day nap before heading to work for the evening
  • A peppermint mocha while waiting for the bus on a rainy afternoon
  • Wrapping Christmas presents! I love doing this. I could wrap Christmas presents all year long and be perfectly happy.
  • A nice long walk outside this morning (before the rain started)
  • Plans of getting a Christmas tree this weekend
  • A spur-of-the-moment date with Karl at our favorite Thai place last night (our three favorite restaurants are all Thai... hmmm... I wonder if the Struckmeyers like curry?)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Day 28

Today is lovely and sunny, and I'm thankful for a long walk outside this morning. I'm also thankful for a husband who makes up songs and laughs with me and fixes me afternoon snacks. I think I got a good one.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Day 27

Today I'm working, and I'm especially thankful for:
  • A good job
  • Flexibility in program planning... this afternoon we're having a Wimpy Kid party. So fun.
  • A wonderful husband who helped me carry in all of my Wimpy Kid supplies this morning
  • Friendly co-workers who I look forward to seeing every day
  • The opportunity to work in a library... I love libraries.
  • Tons and tons of good books
  • The people who come through the library door, looking for help with all kinds of things

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Give-Away Edition

I'm thankful that I'm cuddled up at home today, not at the mall with 857,000 people. I made some Tuscan Turkey Soup for Karl and I for lunch... mmmm.
I'm thankful that I decided to give up on the extra-weird book I was reading. It was bringing me down, so it's going back to the library.
And I'm thankful to offer you a little give-away, just in time for Christmas. It's the Folkmanis shaggy dog puppet. I recently got one for work, and it is so adorable, I thought you should have one too.

A word of caution: The picture of this puppet makes it look very neat and orderly. It's actually more wild and could possibly be described as "mangy" (in a good way, of course). I just don't want to mislead anyone...
To enter the give-away, just leave a comment or send me an email telling me your favorite animal. I'll draw a name on Saturday, December 4, and the puppet will be at your house in time to be wrapped up and placed under the tree.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Day 24

Today I am thankful for:

  • A day off! I took a vacation today (and I am very stingy with my vacation days), and it was so nice. I finished reading a book, had breakfast with Karl, did some shopping, and went to yoga in the middle of the day. During yoga, I kept thinking, "This is so great!" It just felt really luxurious to not be at work on a weekday.
  • Several Christmas presents crossed off my list... one even went in the mail today
  • A supersmart husband who studies a lot
  • Thanksgiving tomorrow! We're having some friends over, and all Karl and I have to do is make the turkey. Easy peasy... at least I hope so. I've never cooked a turkey before. Luckily, Mark Bittman and Betty Crocker are here to help.
  • A Harry Potter date with my sweetie tonight!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Day 23

Even though it's super cold out today, I'm thankful for the sun shining in through my office window.

I'm thankful for the little girl whose grandpa didn't know that there are no storytimes this week... they came at 9:30 (our usual toddler storytime), and they were surprised to find an empty storytime room. Empty except for me; I was in there organizing some things. So we read a few books, just me and the little girl and her grandpa. And we played with a few puppets. Short and sweet. I think she loved it.

I'm thankful for a good night's sleep and a date with the pool today.

And I'm thankful for 3 days off, starting tomorrow! Hooray for holidays!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Day 22

Today I am thankful for:
  • Fun memories of the weekend (playing board games, making jam, crafting)
  • Kind words
  • No tornado or snow today... both were very possible.
  • Lots of kids signing up for my Diary of a Wimpy Kid party this Saturday

Speaking of Wimpy Kid, I've been trying to find a rubber piece of cheese, about the size of a large potato. I know these exist. Imagine one of those cheese head hats people wear at Packer games, but maybe one-tenth of the size. And without a hole for someone's head. I needed the rubber cheese for a game we're playing at the Wimpy Kid party, but I couldn't find it anywhere. I tried every place I could think of, and finally I just gave up and made my own cheese out of a piece of styrofoam and some orange felt. And you know what? It looks pretty darn cute.

I'm thankful for cute homemade styrofoam cheese.

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Weekend Edition

I'm thankful for a weekend of creating.

On Saturday, I went to my mom's house and we made cherry-almond jam...

And on Sunday, a few friends came over and we made Advent calendars using library book pockets.

So fun... just stick 24 pockets to a piece of tagboard, decorate, and fill each pocket with a note or treat. Then the lucky recipient opens one pocket each day in December until Christmas.

My friend Laurie made these gorgeous ornaments... just off the top of her head, free-hand. So amazing.

And Karl is home safe and sound (and sleepy!) from deer hunting. I'm for sure thankful for that!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Day 19

Today I am thankful for...
  • Rummage sales and thrift stores... I recently scored a pair of wooden clogs for $2 at a church sale. Don't worry; I'm not wearing them. They are props for next summer's library program (the theme is "Around the World"... what could be more around the worldy than wooden clogs?).
  • A post office within walking distance of work
  • Lots of fun plans this weekend! While Karl is sitting in a tree for hours upon hours waiting for an unsuspecting animal to walk by, I'll be making cherry jam, going to yoga, playing board games, making Christmas countdown calendars, and hopefully starting to decorate a little bit.
  • A special sneaky surprise! I can't tell you what it is now, but you'll see soon... Oh gosh I am so excited.
  • Being excited and having fun and having something to think about besides the regular old same boring stuff like the what to make for dinner

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Day 18

Today I am thankful for:
  • Cherry pie
  • Thanksgiving around the corner
  • A few Christmas decorations I might put up this weekend (sneakily... while Karl is deer hunting)
  • Honeycrisp apples
  • Office supplies (cute ones; I don't mean staples)
  • Bus #74

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Day 17

One day last week, I went swimming and there was a water exercise class going on at the same time as my lap swim. The class was made up of mainly older women, and as they exercised, they were singing all of these great old-timey songs. The one that sticks in my mind is Bicycle Built for Two. Just imagine a group of 25 grandmotherly ladies in bathing suits and aqua-sox, treading water with foam noodles, singing that song. It was adorable. I'm thankful for those ladies and their voices that have made me smile and smile and smile every time I've thought of them for the past week.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Day 16

Today I am really thankful for the sweet potato burritos I made last month and put in the freezer. It's just nice to have a hot lunch some days, you know?

I'm also thankful that my wonderful mother had the foresight to buy Door County cherries and freeze them so we can make cherry jam this weekend! It's really delicious if you put a little amaretto in, so it's cherry-almond flavored. We might try out my new boiling water canner.

Besides freezers and frozen items, I'm also thankful for a friend who gave me a great idea yesterday. I've been worried about my 'tween knitting group at the library; I have 14 kids who come, and another 14 on a waiting list. In January, I'm starting up a new knitting session, and I'm opening it up to the kids on the waiting list first. Which means the kids who are currently in my knitting group will be high and dry. So my friend suggested that I post something at the UW library school to see if any librarians-in-training would want to run a knitting group with the kids who already know how. It would be a great volunteer opportunity, plus we could accommodate all of our knitters. Perfect! Why didn't I think of that? So I sent an email off right away... we'll see what happens!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Day 15

The sun is shining today! And the new co-op just opened this morning, within walking distance of the library. I'd say there's lots to be thankful for!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Weekend Edition

Is it Sunday night already?! How does that happen so fast? We've had a full weekend with plenty go be thankful for, including:
  • A newly-painted green living room. Good-bye, whitest of white walls... hello, color!
  • A chance to spend all day with Karl on Saturday. We taped, we painted, we went out for a drink... so fun to just be together.
  • A visit from Lia, and a delicious brunch (which included German chocolate cupcakes) with her and my mom this morning
  • A box of clementines on the kitchen counter
  • NPR
  • Good books
  • Hilarious friends
  • Projects involving scrapbooking supplies. I'm not a scrapbooker, but I love love love all of those adorable stickers and stamps and die-cut shapes. And I got to use them today... pictures to come later this week.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Day 12

Today I am thankful for:
  • My friend Lindsay visiting! It's so nice to spend time with a bestie like her. She lives in San Diego, but her parents moved here not long ago, so it's super fun to see her when she comes to see her family. Tonight we went out to for brick-oven pizza... yum.
  • A big librarian meeting today where we talked about the 2011 summer reading program. We're already getting jazzed even though it's still months away.
  • A new thick, warm winter hat. It's wooly on the outside and fleecey in the inside.
  • Green paint waiting to go on our living room walls
  • Two finished knitting projects
  • Pink things
  • Apples

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Ten on Ten :: November

A favorite little glimpse

My "take to work" pile (except it was facing the other way... just tilt your head for the full effect)

Construction is coming along...
They're building a new Target, right by our house! I'm not shopping at Target right now, but hopefully in the future I will, because this is going to be really convenient.
Hello, cubicle.

Carts and carts of Halloween books in the Youth Services office, making their way back down to storage

In my cubicle, I have two little shelves. This is the top one...
And this is the bottom one.

Here is a close-up of part of the bottom shelf. That metal thing is something I found in a cookie in the staff lounge. I almost cracked a tooth on it. I keep it because it's a good conversation piece. And good motivation for me to stay out of the lounge. I'd like to keep my teeth, thank you very much.

View from the bus on the way home (at 5pm! It's so dark!)... that's a new co-op going up within walking distance to the library! Hooray!