We got a fun package yesterday! I had ordered a few things from Amazon — some Stockmar modeling beeswax, a candle-making kit, and a book about honeybees. We’re loving it all! We haven’t played with the modeling wax TOO much yet — I made that little bee in the photo, and that’s about it. But M asked to read the book last night and again tonight. She’s in a bit of a non-fiction phase! This book (along with her other current favorites, some books about body systems) are a little above her level, but I read the most interesting parts, and she’s just fascinated by it.
The beeswax candles have been a huge hit. I’m going to need to order more, soon! She’s the creative director (i.e., picks the colors), and I cut the wax and wick, get it started, and then she rolls them up. We made a bunch after breakfast today, and she kept thinking of more and more people whom she needed to make candles for. She’s also enjoyed watching the flame. (Or as she says, “We have to put the thing on top.”) The first candles we made weren’t very tall, so we got to see what happened when the wick ran out. Such a great reminder that so much is new to a little kid — and so much of it is fun!
F turned seven months old almost a week ago, and a few days before that, it was like she set out on a mission to Grow Up. Her two bottom teeth poked through, first. Then she went from refusing purées to eating, like, meals of table food. She often eats more than M did when M was a year old and surviving on real food alone. F’s interest in food quickly turned into a determination to master the pincer grasp. She’s still trying to perfect it, but she’s come a long way. It’s been amazing to see the idea pop into her head and to watch her actively work to make it happen.
She’s also been focussed on crawling, though she hasn’t quite gotten it yet. It’s hard to leave her sitting anywhere, because she immediately flips to her hands and knees to try to crawl away. And then winds up flopping around on her tummy. Soon, though. Then we’d better watch out!
I have a new (public) Instagram account, which will be mainly doodles, with the odd photo thrown in. I’m trying to get back into the habit of drawing regularly and also trying to learn Adobe Illustrator and Draw. So if you want to see my silly sketches, hop on over. My user name is twelve22org.
It’s really winter for real, isn’t it? We had a string of Very Cold days, the kind that, when it returns to “just freezing” outside, makes you think, “Ah, it feels pretty good out here!” I’m so glad that I got the big coop in the barn built this year. The chickens are staying warmer (they have a huge, south-facing window to let in the warm sunlight), and they have much more room to mill around. They’ve had no interest in going out into the snow, which to me is a sign that they’re content indoors. The worst of the hens’ molting seems to be over, and now I’ve got two hens laying again. Last year, I had enough eggs to make myself a big angel food cake for my birthday — not so much, this year! Luckily, I still have a few quiches in the freezer from this spring. M won’t eat them (too delicious?), but I thawed one recently and had it for several breakfasts (and one lunch) in a row.
The girls have been sick for over a week and a half, and we’ve been house-bound almost that long. Out of boredom, I went through a box of my personal ephemera — mostly pretty things that I’ve had up on bulletin boards at various points of my life. I found my animal drawings from several years ago, though, when I was planning to make a little book titled (something like) Animal Facts (and/or Lies). I hadn’t seen them in quite a while, and I was happy that I still found most of them funny. I think I might have to do something with these, after all.
Earlier this week, M got a surprise package from the delivery man. Puzzles! Her great-uncle (and my godfather) had sent them to her, saving another dull day just in the nick of time. These were her biggest puzzles to date — two 60-piece jigsaws and one 48-piece. I had to help her a little with one, as there was a lot of similar-looking greenery, but otherwise she did them all herself. It was the first time where I got a little spooked by her uncanny ability to know where pieces go, since the puzzles were brand new to her, and they weren’t familiar characters (ie, Paw Patrol). Lots of fun for my little puzzler!
M loves puzzles. She has… a LOT of puzzles. I actually put them all away for a while because I’d gotten tired of there being puzzles everywhere, but she’s gone back to her puzzlin’ ways recently. The little 24-piece puzzle she’s doing above came in an ornament that we got yesterday — she got it put together pretty quickly. The girl’s pattern recognition skills are on point. (She put together the seven puzzles in the second photo in the time it took me to put F down for a nap one day.)
I haven’t been able to find very many 48-piece puzzles at the same price point as 24-piece ones. I think we might have to skip to looking for 100-piece puzzles at the thrift store, and we can work on them together for now. I really like doing jigsaws, too, but it’s one of those past times that’s fallen by the wayside since I had babies. But soon we’ll just make it a family activity!
It’s cookie season! We’re making sugar cookies today, with my friend Julie, but I made peanut butter blossoms and these walnut cookies yesterday. The recipe for the latter came from an old Martha Stewart Christmas Cookie magazine, but I also found it here! It’s definitely a keeper. I made half a batch but followed the recipe exactly, otherwise. I made the dough Sunday evening, put it in the freezer overnight, and baked them the next morning. (I found that it was easier to slice the cookies and roll the edges of each in walnuts vs trying to get them to stick to the entire log.) It’s basically a shortbread type of cookie, but the walnuts and cream cheese give it a much more interesting flavor.
We had snow on Sunday and then more — unexpectedly — yesterday. Big, fat flakes at one point. So M and I spent the day doing quality control on the cookies and taking turns saying, “Look at all that snow! Wow!”
Taking care of her puppy.
Here they are! I made M’s stocking before she was born — finishing F’s when she was out in the world took quite a bit longer! But I love how they look, and I hope the girls will grow up loving them, too.
I just used a regular 72-stitch sock pattern with worsted weight yarn (Red Heart acrylic, so I won’t have to worry about moths when the stockings are in storage). I found charts I liked rather than following a set pattern. I’m so happy to be DONE with these! Although I suppose it’s inevitable that I’ll eventually want to make one for myself… and for Rob… and, and, and…
It’s holiday time, everybody! Ever since M was born, I’ve really enjoyed the coziness of the shorter days during the winter. And I love decorating for Christmas. I took the girls to the tree farm this weekend. I picked out a pre-cut balsam, but we still went on the horse-drawn hay ride they use to bring people out to the cut-your-own lots. When we started moving, M said, “I don’t like this!” — but she wanted to know when we could go back on as soon as we were done. She actually picked out our tree (though it was also the one I liked best!), and she picked out our new ornament, too.
I remember having real trees when I was younger, and then we switched to a fake tree at some point — maybe when I was a young teenager? So even though climbing under the tree to water it is annoying, just the smell of a real tree makes me feel nicely nostalgic. And I want the girls to have those memories, too. We have several young firs that the previous owners of our land planted, and they’re way too close together (I’m sure they seemed miles apart when the trees were tiny!). They’re nice trees — in the 4-6′ range now, I’d say — but since digging them up to space them farther apart is pretty unfeasible, maybe a few of them will become Christmas trees in the future.
I’m happy to say that I finished knitting F’s stocking in time for the holidays! It was slow progress for a while, but I finally got to the end. Now I just need to sew a fleece lining for it (which should only take ten minutes, tops, but F has been more limpet than baby lately), and it’ll be done-done. I can’t wait to share photos of it!
Everybody around here agrees that it’s been a terrible year for mice. Well, great for the mice, terrible for us humans. There are just so many of them, and they all want to live indoors! We had mice (and the occasional baby shrew) when we first moved into the house, as it had been vacant for quite a while. But then (ignoring the weeks when M was in the hospital as a newborn and the cats weren’t in the house) mouse sightings/catchings have been pretty few and far between. Until this year.
The cats have dispatched about half a dozen mice and helped me catch about that many again. A few days ago, Bear-Bear cornered the mouse above, trapped it behind a trash can. It seemed almost relieved to scurry into my little “holding pen” cage. The cats had obviously been playing with it — it has only about a third of its tail, and one eye was swollen shut. Because I am a SUCKER, I made it a home in the spare 10gal aquarium I had. The eye has made a full recovery, but now it’s cold and really snowy outside, so I feel bad dumping it in the middle of a field. (My parents over-wintered a mouse they caught last year, so I come by my bleeding heart honestly.) If you were a mouse, would you rather have the freedom to run wherever you please but be out in the cold (or run the risk of being killed if you go indoors) — or trapped in a cage but warm and supplied with food? I wish I could get an answer about that, straight from the mouse.
Oh, and I’ve got a second mouse tenant, too. This one came out of the garage while the girls and I were playing outside. It walked straight over to us (over the snow), almost purposefully, and let me scoop him up with my mittened hands. If you’ve ever tried to catch a wild mouse, you know how odd that is. Maybe word had spread that I’m offering warm beds and fresh produce.