Friday, December 31, 2010

2011 Resolutions

It's that time of year again when you look at the year behind you -- the fun times, the tough times, the changes, etc etc.
But most fun of all, is think about the year ahead.
As you already know, I just love New Year Resolutions. I love looking at where I am, and thinking of where I could be -- not only physically, but spiritually and mentally.
Below are the Resolutions I made for 2010 and how I fared with them:

[ ] stretch every morning
[ ] establish food garden
[ ] establish Corvallis Freecycle
[ ] take Tak'e to off-leash area once a week
[ ] explore the state of Oregon
[ ] do Wii Fit every day
[ ] give blood regularly
[ ] volunteer every month
[x] knit something every month (minimum)
[ ] eat less sugar
[x] potty train Ella

I didn't stick to my Resolutions very well at all. ;_;
But that's okay! Because this year...will be different!
Ha! Bet that's not the first time you've heard that one.

But really, I am feeling a kind of energy in me that I really think will last.
Maybe it's because Ella Rose is a smidge older and so just a smidge more independent. I can have her help in a few of my Resolutions this year, for sure!
And though I loved Oregon a bunch last year, I feel like I've figured out how to work with its wet weather more and not wuss out just because it's cold and whatnot.

So! Without further ado, here are my Resolutions for 2011:

[ ] jog every other day
[ ] raise chickens in the backyard
[ ] knit at least one thing a month
[ ] get involved in the local community more (volunteering, etc)
[ ] insulate the house
[ ] establish a thriving worm bin
[ ] reduce waste in our lives more
[ ] create a stained glass masterpiece
[ ] try a new recipe at least once a week
[ ] only eat dessert/drink alcohol for special occasions
[ ] get Ella to sleep in her own bed, on her own

Wish me luck, guys!
And until then, Happy Resolutions and a Happy New Year!!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Mantel - Christmas/Winter ver.

A Belated Merry Christmas to all, and Happy New Year!!
I hope everybody had a warm and beautiful Christmas last weekend.
At our own Home, we had a lovely visit from my mom-in-law, June, as well as my twin sister, Kathy, and her significant other.

There were homemade donuts on Christmas morning (courtesy of Daddy) and most bustling exchange of gifts.
I think Kathy enjoyed the legwarmers I made her (photos coming soon!), and I hope Ella Rose gets a lot of use out of the child-size broom I scored her from Goodwill. Since she's absolutely smitten with Kiki's Delivery Service, she loves to hold the broom between her legs like a witch. Though, she'll also occasionally "help" Mama out with the sweeping chores. Heh!

Here are some snapshots Daddy took of our "Christmas Corner" where most of the celebrating took place:

There's a little cameo by our tree from last year too:

Nothing says Christmas, like Chili Lights, eh?

As for some gifts I received, I am most excited about the retro stained glass grinder Daddy got me. Hopefully, you'll start seeing some stained glass-related posts coming up in the new year.
Speaking of which, I gotta get on with those New Year's Resolutions and 2010 Reflection!

Until then, Happy New Year once again and much love to all my family and friends out there.
Ta-ta for now!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

DIY Christmas Card & Envelopes

Time for another DIY-oriented post. :)
In line with our make-or-own-Christmas-Tree tradition, it is becoming a tradition here to design our own Christmas Cards from the ground up too.

Some of you will be receiving this in its physical form already, but for those of you who don't, please enjoy the following and our sincerest Holiday Wishes!

Hurray for having a Graphic Artist for a hubby :)
Since Ella's favorite spot in the house is the bed, we figured we ought to incorporate it into the shot if we wanna get a smiling baby for the card. And tickling her feet off-screen helped too ;)

I was also happy that I was able to use some plain old envelopes we had hanging around and simply spice them up with a gentle hint of Christmas:

Everyone got a unique little design unique to them.
Well, with all the cards shipped off, all that's left is to receive some company, party down, and exchange gifts on Christmas Day!

Until then, take care and Happy Christmas Carding~!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Yarn Tree Reinvented

Hey, everybody!
Do you remember that Yarn Tree my lovely hubby made for me back in March?

Well, ever since we moved to our new Home, it's function as a yarn-storage device ceased (due to space issues) and it was relocated to our backyard as a plastic-bag dryer (for when we've washed plastic bags for reuse).

But I'm happy to say that our lovely little Yarn Tree will be filling an even greater purpose from now on.
Behold, the Yarn Tree Reinvented:

What my ever-so creative hubby decided to do was:
- stain the wood darker to look like a real trunk
- remove the dowel branches and insert real clusters of fir tree boughs into the holes
- festoon with old Chili lights and new popcorn garlands!

The whole thing cost us $0 and perfectly fits our space needs and our matches our newfound Christmas tradition of always creating our tree from scratch.
You can see 2009's tree in this post.

Definitely an upgrade, if I do say so myself. ;)

And it's so funny, how every year I insist "no gifts this year!" and yet look at all those packages under the tree already... Oy ve~!
Granted some are from other folks, but with a great used bookstore downtown, how can I resist??
Also, you'll be seeing some more knitted presents in posts after Christmas ;)

Until then, Happy Little Trees!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Baby Legwarmers Take...7!

You've all seen them before.
At least a couple times on this blog before.
Baby Legwarmers.

This time, with the addition of little pom-poms at the top (or bottom, depending on how the recipient chooses to wear them ;)

I'd like to take this time to go over all the baby legwarmers I've made over the past year...

1) Ella's first multicolor set
2) White-and-purple striped set for Ella
3) White-and-purple striped set for Maia!
4) Turquoise/purple meld set for Ella
5) Brown-and-red striped set for Douzen (photos coming soon??)
6) Art-deco rainbow set for Ella (I gotta take photos of them, they are fun)
7) Christmas Pom-Pom set for _____

I am only leaving the name blank here, just in case the Mama of the baby for whom these legwarmers are meant happens to read this post before I gift them tomorrow ;)
Hopefully she'll take some photos of the happy girl in them so we can see how they look with some chubby baby legs in them.

Well! Happy Knitting to all and to all a good night! ♡

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Cookies

Hey, all.
How has your month been going?
Knee-deep in that Holiday energy yet? :)

I'm really excited, because I just partook in a activity that is commonplace for many of you, I'm sure, but was a first for me.
Decorating Christmas cookies!

I can't boast as to any "fine craftsmanship" -- after all, most of these were "designed" by three toddlers and their parents who were trying to juggle their kids in one hand and sprinkle cookies with the other.

I also can't claim credit for coming up with the idea. It's all thanks to my lovely friend, Tracy, and her beautiful family who so generously invited us to what turned out to be the most fun-filled evening of the season so far! :)

They may not have that store-bought picture-perfect look, but where else do you get to find a gingerbread cookie with a big ol' Hershey Kiss plopped right in the center?

It's interesting how as of having Ella Rose and staying home more as a freelancer, activities like this have become so precious -- for the moments they create for us, the memories I hope to instill in Ella, and the DIY aspect in general!
I never considered myself as having a "deprived childhood" or anything like that...but as I raise my own daughter and cultivate a more solid grasp on the kind of home I want to create, I realize how much I might have actually missed out on! The simple traditions of making popcorn garlands for the tree...decorating Christmas cookies...heck, creating anything for that matter. What's so common for many of the folks I've come to meet, was completely nonexistent in my own childhood. I think that's why the DIY movement appeals to me so much. I felt so hopeless when I left home -- I didn't even know how to cook spaghetti!
So, finally 10 years later, I am adamant to learn as much as I can to make myself more self-reliant and pass on that knowledge to Ella Rose, little by little.

Cookie decorating may not be crucial for survival or anything, but it's nice knowing how to fix a truly unique batch of cookies that you'd never find the supermarket. ;)

Well, Happy Cookie Decorating (and eating!!)
I'll be seeing you again soon, I'm sure~ ;)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Protein Patties

The above photo may not look appetizing, but trust me, you will want to read on.

This is a recipe introduced to me by a good friend, which has become a staple in our home.
The perfect alternative to some sugary treat as a snack, these protein-packed patties are a toddler's best friend! Read below to see how it's done~

Brown Rice Power Patties
(makes 12 patties)
  • 2 C cooked brown rice
  • 1 1/2 C grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 C grated carrot
  • 1/2 C raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 C sesame seeds, raw or toasted (optional)

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 1/2 C peanuts (or toasted slivered almonds)

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mist a baking sheet with non-stick spray.

2) In a mixing bowl, combine rice, cheese, carrots and seeds.

3) Combine the eggs and seasonings in the food processor and blend for about 5 seconds. Add nuts and process another 5 sec. Don't over process the nuts, their texture is important.

4) Add to rice mixture and mix thoroughly.
5) Scoop mixture onto baking sheet, and form into plump patties

6) Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, then turn patties over and bake 10 min. more.

7) Transfer patties to rack to cool, flipping them so their toastier side shows.
If you're not eating them the same day, keep in the refrigerator. They will easily last at least a week if kept cold and stored in an airtight container.

You can also add/substitute for lots of the ingredients above. For example, zucchini is a popular addition, while peanuts can be substituted with almonds or some other hard nut.
Let your imagination fly with this one!

That's all for now.
Happy snacking, everyone!!

[NOTE: My friend, Rachel, has pinpointed the original source to this recipe which is from "Good Food, Great Medicine" by Mea and Miles Hassell. Check it out for other great recipes!!]

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Hi, all!
Time for a rare photo-free post~! :)

I've been meaning to post more about Ella Rose's milestones in development for the benefit of keeping relatives up-to-date as to her going-ons. I know I've missed a lot, but before I forget this quasi-milestone, I want to record here that...

...Ella's first two-word combo was on November 26th: red balloon

...and her first three-word combo was on December 6th: hi, baby dinosaur

And then today, she said "shark eat pink" when she stuffed her mini pink dolphin into the mouth of the shark she plays with on the potty. Hee ^_^

She's really sailing with the two-word combos now with lotsa color-noun statements and her top favorite has to be "pink socks".

I don't think this is particularly early (or late?) in the way of speech development, but again, I just wanted to record this somewhere.
I remember her first word was "bye" at 9 months in the airport out of Cancun, and her first sign-language word was "light"...though I don't quite remember when that was...

They say the time between 18-months and 2 years can be one of a lot of change, so very soon these little two- and three-word combo statements will lose their esteem. But for now, they are music to my ears!! <3

That's all for now. So see you again soon and until then, happy talking!