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!