Apron

My little boy loves to cook! He sits on the kitchen counter when we make dinner, peeling onions, eating vegetables pieces, mixing and pouring stuff, and participating in whatever he can… Sometimes it’s more of a nuisance but you know how it goes with toddlers.

We got J his own little pots and pans for Christmas. He’s already got bowls and wooden spoons so that he would leave mine alone… :)

Hubby also loves to cook. He tends to be quite messy at it… So a little while ago he bought an apron. And soon after that J started to ask for his own apron!

Last week I finally made him one. It’s a fat quarter cut into shape, and edged with bias tape.

little boy's apron

There was enough fabric left on the edges to make a pocket too! And the apron should be big enough to last for a couple of years. :)

This was my Kid’s Clothes Week achievement this time around… I also cut a hoodie for J but didn’t find the time to sew it up. That seems to be the trend for me. Maybe one year I’ll have more time…

One more photo – like father, like son!

like father like son

Heart Attack, part 2

I’ve completely forgotten to tell you the story behind the little hearts from the previous post! Well, here it is, finally…

My friend V. was getting married in February. She lives in the States, and like me, is part of the most amazing online mama group ever. There are about 50 of us, talking daily, supporting each other through what life may bring. We met online when we were all pregnant, over 3 years ago, and have been through a lot since. And have become friends.

So V. was getting married, and none of us could go to her wedding. We decided to suprise her with hearts instead! Many of us knitted or crocheted colourful hearts of all sizes. Then we packed them up and mailed them to V! Not all the packages made it there before the wedding but she has lots and lots of hearts now… I believe she’s going to sew them into a blanket.

This is just one of those amazing things our group has done.

Heart Attack!

Valentine’s Day is coming up, and while I’ve never been a big fan of the holiday, this year I’ve been doing something… The whole project is a surprise to someone who may or may not be reading my blog so I can’t reveal the details until in a couple of weeks. But I’ve been knitting hearts!

It’s really easy to find crochet heart patterns but I had a hard time finding a nice knitted heart pattern. And then, when I started knitting one night, hubby was using the computer so I couldn’t get on Ravelry… So I made up a pattern, and it turned out nice. I have both garter stitch and stockinette stitch variations. I wanted to share it with you, so here goes:

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Heart Attack Hearts 

Gauge is not important here. I made hearts with worsted and DK yarns, using 5mm needles with worsted (18 sts / 4″) and 4mm needles with DK (24 sts / 4″). With that gauge, the small DK hearts measure 3.5″ across, and the large worsted hearts measure 4.5″ across.

Small garter stitch heart:

CO 25 sts
Row 1 (wrong side) and all odd rows: Knit
Row 2: k1, m1, k 10, sk2togp, k 10, m1, k1
Row 4: like row 2
Row 6: k11, sk2togp, k 11
Row 8: ssk, k 8, sk2togp, k8, k2tog
Row 10:  ssk, k 6, sk2togp, k6, k2tog
Row 12: Bind off while continuing to work the decreases. Ssk, BO 4 leaving the last st on the right needle, work the centre decrease (sk2togp), continue BO until last 2 sts, k2tog, BO to end.

Large garter stitch heart: 

CO 29 sts
Row 1 (wrong side) and all odd rows: Knit
Row 2: k1, m1, k 12, sk2togp, k 12, m1, k1
Rows 4 and 6: like row 2
Row 8: k13, sk2togp, k 13
Row 10: ssk, k 10, sk2togp, k 10, k2tog
Row 12: ssk, k 8, sk2togp, k8, k2tog
Row 14:  ssk, k 6, sk2togp, k6, k2tog

Row 16: Bind off while continuing to work the decreases as in the small heart pattern.

For stockinette stitch hearts, knit as above, replacing all the wrong side rows EXCEPT the first and the last one with the following:

K 3, p until the last 3 sts, k 3.

The first and the last wrong side row are knitted.

I hope this makes sense… If it doesn’t, please let me know. :) And I’ll reveal the actual project in a couple of weeks…

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Kids’ Clothing Fun

This week is the semi-annual Kid’s Clothes Sewing Week, a popular event among many moms. I’ve participated once before, and I always keep thinking about it but don’t seem to find the time. I missed the sign-up again but decided to sew nevertheless…

Here’s a hoodie I made for our three-year-old godson who loves construction machines…

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And unfortunately that’s all I’ve got to show, as far as finished products go. I’m making a pair of pants for J but I managed to get one of the front pleats facing the wrong way (that’s what I get for sewing at 11 pm) and I can’t find my seam ripper to take it apart. I’m blaming one of the cats for the missing ripper, he’s got a thing for cylindrical objects that roll around on the floor… I should check under the fridge.

I’m excited about the hoodie, though. I’ve been making some really colourful kids’ hoodies lately, for J and friends’ kids, and it’s just a lot of fun. Here’s J’s plane hoodie that started it all…

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And here are some more. Enjoy. :)

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And the same one on the back:

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Musings on Motherhood, Year 2

The second year of motherhood was quite a ride. Definitely not good for my blogging… I’m sorry I’ve been away, and especially I’m sorry I haven’t responded to the questions left to me in the comments. I just haven’t been checking in at all.

J’s sleep patterns got all messed up at 9 months old. He used to sleep for 45 min, wake up for 15 min, rinse and repeat, through the night, for weeks and weeks… It got gradually better but at 18 months he was up every three hours, still. It was only when he was almost two that he started to sleep through the night every now and then. Now, at 2 years and almost 3 months, he still wakes up once a night on most nights.

It’s been a heavy road. I never knew I could be so tired (and I know I said this in my one-year-motherhood post but even then I didn’t know how tired I really could be…) After some weeks of waking up every 45 min, it was really hard to go to bed at night because, well, what’s the point? You’re going to be up soon anyway… Since then I’ve been having a hard time falling asleep. Apparently there’s something called parental insomnia. It’s slowly getting better but I was tossing and turning past 1 am again last night.

Last year September our friends invited me for a baby-free sleepover. I left J with daddy and spent a night in a house with no kids. I told my mom about it a few days before, and she said “don’t be surprised if you can’t sleep. You’ll miss him.” Wrong. I slept like a log for 9 hours straight, and I really did NOT want to go back home the next day. I would have gladly stayed for a week.

I’ve had really, really low moment in my tiredness. I’ve been rocking J back to sleep the 17th time at 5 am, thinking, if I only knock his head against the wall hard enough to knock him out I might get some more sleep…

I’ve shaken my child in frustration when he was taking an hour or two to fall asleep for a nap – he’s always been a good napper, and that’s been my source of sanity, so on the days when the naps didn’t happen or took forever were the hardest.

I’ve been standing at the platform, looking at the approaching train, thinking, just one good push on the stroller, and I’d be able to sleep…

I know, in the sensible side of my brain, that I would never be able to sleep again if I did any harm to my child. And I would never, ever do such a thing. But I did want to be honest about this, just in case there’s another mom out there, struggling with the lack of sleep and the sometimes violent thoughts that come with it. You’re not alone. And we are not alone. These thoughts are surprisingly common. (I recommend a book called What Mothers Do, it’s a great read for any mom, it helps to put many things in perspective.)

Last year in July I started working. I work part time from home, and it’s taking up more and more of my hours during J’s naps and early evenings when he’s gone to bed. I don’t get to nap anymore, and that was really hard at times.

And last fall J and I went to visit my parents for two weeks. My mom asked me to come, she knew how tired I was and wanted to help. She knows what it’s like – I was a lousy sleeper as a child, and learned to sleep through the night on my own when I turned 5… The plan was for her to take care of J so I could sleep.

Great plan. But things don’t always go as planned… We were all sick during the visit, and J wouldn’t let go of me. That, plus the jet lag, and I was more tired when we came back.

I’m so very glad I’ve had friends nearby when my parents are so far. Channing, you’ve kept me sane… And Joanna and Jenny, thank you for always having the time to talk in the phone even if I haven’t seen you as often as I would have liked. And then there’s my most awesome group of online mama friends – you know who you are. <3

There are many positive memories from the second year as well. I still love my son more than anything else in the world. I’m constantly amazed at how much more love fits in me, and it seems to grow each day. Sometimes I look at him and just want to hug him forever… And most of the time he doesn’t mind. :)

As precious as the first year was, the second was better. I’ve never been a baby person, and that hasn’t changed. I enjoy J’s company more now that we can do things together. We can play, build, and run, and it’s so much fun! He’s a curious child who wants to know what everything is and how it works. He’s obsessed with trains, planes and musical instruments. He speaks two languages and knows when to switch. And he likes to joke and tickle me and daddy, and make us laugh.

J loves to help around the house. He helps with the dishes, vacuums, mops floors and hangs the laundry out to dry with me. Tidying up his toys is another matter altogether – that only gets done if the vacuum cleaner is coming out next.

J loves hugs and kisses, and needs lots of cuddles when he wakes up. He loves carrots, apples and blueberries, and the beef stew daddy makes. He could probably live days on peanut butter and yoghurt. He won’t touch eggs, rice, potatoes or chicken. Or anything green – it’s his favourite colour so he won’t eat it, I guess…

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So that’s how it’s been, and I’m sorry I really haven’t had the time or the energy to write, ever… I have recipes I want to share, and some craft projects I’ve been making, but those can wait for another post. Which I’ll try to write in the next little while, really.

Orange Butterscotch Muffins

Shortly after J was born a lady from our church brought us a bag of lovely orange and date muffins. She shared the recipe with me. Couple of weeks ago I really wanted to make some muffins but I didn’t have all the ingredients at home. I played around with the recipe a little, and here is the result.

Orange Butterscotch Muffins

1/2 cup orange juice (preferably fresh)
1 orange, peeled and cut into pieces
1 egg
1/2 butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup butterscotch chips

Preheat the oven to 200C / 400F.

Puree the orange juice and pieces in a food processor or blender. Add egg and butter, and blend until smooth. Add sugar and blend to combine.

Mix flours, baking soda and baking powder in a bowl, and make a well in the middle. Pour in the orange mixture, and stir until just combined. Fold in butterscotch chips.

Scoop the batter into lined or greased muffin tin. Bake for 15-20 min until golden on top, and thoroughly done (use the toothpick test). Cool on a wire rack.

This batch makes 12 muffins – unless you’re baking with a toddler, in which case it makes 11. And in that case you’ll also have to wash the kitchen floors and walls afterward.

If you’re not a fan of butterscotch chips I think chocolate chips or chopped pecans might be nice. But I haven’t actually tried the recipe with those… If you do, please let me know the results.

Orange butterscotch muffins

The Best Gingerbread Cookies

Sorry I’ve been so silent. Life has been busy, and I just haven’t had much to say.

Here’s something, though… My friend and I have spent two days this week baking cookies. This gingerbread cookie recipe is my mom’s, and it’s the best I’ve ever tasted. It’s a bit of work but so worth it!

Gingies

Gingies

150 ml molasses
200 g sugar (approx. 250 ml)
250 g butter
2 tsp each, cinnamon, cloves and ginger
1 tbsp powdered orange peel (I haven’t been able to find this anywhere! The recipe works well without)
2 eggs
500 g all-purpose flour
3 tsp baking soda

Melt the butter in a kettle. Add in molasses, sugar, and spices, and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and let cool down for 10 min.

Add eggs, one by one, beating well after each addition. Stir in the flour and baking soda. Let the dough chill until the next day.

Cut the dough in four or five parts (depending on your counter space). Roll it out to approx. 2 mm for crispy, thin cookies or 5 mm for thicker, chewier cookies. Cut out shapes and bake them in 175C / 350F for 5-8 min, depending on the thickness.

Decorate the cooled down cookies with royal icing (blend of icing sugar and water, with food colouring if desired). This recipe makes about 100 thin cookies. You can also use the dough for a gingerbread house – in that case roll the dough thicker.

Enjoy! Merry Christmas to you and yours.