Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Chocolate Granola

One of our favorite things, our meaning Elizabeth, Paul and I, to eat is Bear Naked's Chocolate Granola.  It's becoming scarcer at our local grocery store, and I've never seen that flavor at the Whole Foods, so Elizabeth and I are attempting to create our own recipe of something similar.  This one, while not exactly like Bear Naked's, was pretty tasty.

Chocolate Granola

6 cups organic quick oats (Elizabeth doesn't like "those big oats")
1/3 cup organic flax seeds
1/3 cup raw organic sunflower seeds
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cups slivered nuts (we used  organic almonds this time)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup raw cocoa powder
1/2 cup organic vegan chocolate chips
1/3 cup raw honey (local, if possible)
3/4 stick organic butter

Heat oven to 300 degrees. Mix together all dry ingredients.  Heat butter and honey together over low heat until blended.  Pour wet ingredients over dry and mix well.  Spread mixture out in large rectangle baking dish or cookie sheet.  Bake for 15 min, stir, bake for 10 more, stir, bake for 10 more or until oats start to look slightly brown (which might be hard to tell with the chocolate).  Let rest in pan until granola is cool.  Store in tightly covered container.

Finn approves!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Scarf from Santa

A little birdie must have informed Santa that Elizabeth is forever pilfering my scarves.  Her favorites are my dyed silk scarves, despite the fact we have about a hundred playsilks in various colors, weights and textures.  Santa deposited into her stocking 1 ready-to-dye scarf, and she's been most anxious to make it wearable.

She chose a pink, purple, blue dye combination.

And she was thrilled with the result.

Here you have a shot of not only the texture of the scarf
but also the fabulous wool ring Santa threw in as a bonus:

Monday, December 29, 2008

New Nephew

A certain wee little one decided that he didn't want to miss out on the Christmas celebration, and despite the fact he wasn't expected until mid-January, Aren decided to join our family on Christmas Eve instead.  Finn wasn't the least bit perturbed to share his Christmas spotlight so now we have 2 Christmas babies in our family!  We spent Saturday visiting my brother and his family.  Isn't Aren the sweetest little addition?

Elizabeth particularly took to her new little cousin.

Elizabeth also enjoyed cozying up to Aunt Michelle, the new mommy.
(Doesn't she look great at 3 days postpartum?!)

We also shared in a bit of Christmas merry-making
with my brother and Aren's older brother, Aidan,
since the merry-making was a bit scarce at the hospital on Christmas day.

Welcome to the world and our family, Aren!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Time with Elizabeth

Elizabeth and I decided to make the most out of the time Finn was napping this afternoon.  Having not spent much quality time alone together for a while, we first decided to read Snowflake Bentley, a present she received since she is the resident queen of paper snowflakes.

After she finished reading the Snowflake Bentley book together, we decided to flip through another Christmas present book Elizabeth received, 
Snowflakes in Photographs, a book by W A Bentley featuring many of his snowflake photographs.  We selected snowflakes from each page that was our favorite and wondered how each flake could be so unique and intricate.

When we were finished pouring over the snowflake pictures, we played a rousing game of Battleship, then selected another recipe from my Apples for Jam cookbook.  Elizabeth decided on the Chocolate and Vanilla Cookies.  

They were great fun to twist together.

And even more fun to sample, warm from the oven.

Elizabeth thinks every time Finn naps we should enjoy some special time together.  I think she's right.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas to all...

After a frenetic, family-filled Christmas day, Paul and I decided to sit down, after settling the kids in bed, to a dinner for two.  We ate Winter Squash Pizza, out of the new Apples for Jam book Paul gave me for Christmas. (He really DOES listen when I profusely admire my fellow bloggers, Soulemama, in this instance.)  And a Christmas salad of mixed greens, avocado and dried cranberries.

Did you notice the fabulous new stainless steel glasses?  My hubby has taste!  (Ok, I'm done raving about his gift-giving prowess for this year.)

...and to all a good night!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

A special Christmas Eve dinner

A few early presents from out-of-town relatives

The stockings are propped by the chimney with care
(because they are too full to hang from the holders)

The bags are tied with the Christmas joys.

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Countdown to Christmas, part 2

Christmas movie in the morning
(namely, Santa Claus is Coming to Town)

Games by candle and Christmas light in the evening

The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.
- Burton Hillis

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Countdown to Christmas

Yesterday unfolded casually, cozy in the house.  We spent time with friends from DC; the kids scampering around enjoying their vacation.  Highlights from yesterday included:

Paulie and Judah cuddling

Playing with Finn's new toys

Spending time with Charlie

Getting fresh air (and trying not to freeze)

Playing with the Christmas toys that Dolly sent

Together.  Family.  Friends.  Christmas spirit.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Celebrating Finn

The age-old question, when you're privileged to be the parent of a Christmas baby, is when to celebrate his birthday.  This year, we decided to celebrate yesterday.  With frosted banana muffins and plenty of wooden toys, Finn turned 2 in style.

Finn hasn't quite been convinced of the merit of napkins.

One of the favorites:  a wooden plane to go with the Plan City
that Finn might (or might not) be getting from Santa.

The biggest hit with the whole crowd:
50 glass marbles and a wooden marble run

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Ornaments by Paul, Elizabeth & Philip

Each year the kids decorate their own personal trees to sit on the dresser in their bedrooms.  (Well, Paul and Philip share a slightly larger tree since they share a room.)  This year, we decided to form ornaments out of sculpey and poke wires into the top before baking.  After painting, the ornaments were complete.  They turned out quite festive.

Elizabeth's tree

Paul and Philip's tree

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Naughty thief

What Finn does when Mommy says
no more crackers":

What Daddy does when Finn is naughty:

take pictures

Friday, December 19, 2008


One of the favorite cookies in this house is snickerdoodles.  Elizabeth and I, particularly, enjoy making them.  So with a few free minutes on our hands last night, we decided to make a batch to enjoy with dinner tonight in celebration of the beginning of winter break from school.  The recipe we whipped up is not an original (you can find it here), although I do substitute organic ingredients where I can.  (Has anyone EVER seen organic cream of tartar?)

Our favorite step:
Mommy forming balls, Elizabeth rolling them in cinna-sugar
(we were even careful to save a tsp of her cinna-sugar 
for Elizabeth to make cinnamon toast this morning)


How Finn spends his time being ignored while Mommy and "Sissa" bake:

Thursday, December 18, 2008

"Mo wights?!"

The best thing in Finn's life right now:  

Christmas lights

He begins demanding "mo wights?!" 
as soon as we hit the road every morning.  
Fortunately the last thing he sees every night
is the view from his window.

Somehow we must have known
that a Christmas baby
would need a room with a view of the

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas in NYC, part 2

The Union Square Greenmarket!  My absolutely favorite place in NYC to waste time is Union Square Park.  The farmer's market is always a fun stroll.  Anywhere that you can find organic Christmas Trees, fresh apple cider that tastes like it's been stirred with cinnamon bark, and a community compost heap, is definitely my kind of place.  This time of year also brings the Union Square Holiday Market, in addition to the Greenmarket.  Woohoo!  I managed to find 2 handmade ornaments for next year.  (It's a secret still, but Elizabeth's getting a cloissoné ornament that looks something like one of these and Finn's getting a wooden puzzle snowman ornament.)

We stayed near Madison Sqare Park, which I hadn't been to prior to this trip.  A fascinating art installation of tree houses (with no access, still scratching my head on that one) all over the park.  You can see one of the houses in the upper right corner in the photo below. 

I managed to drag Paul along for just a bit of shopping, Anthropologie (orange latte
 bowls for 50% off! If you're a NieNie reader, you'll be able to appreciate that. :), Enchanted (a wonderful Waldorf toy store), and my favorite NYC bookstore, The Strand (18 miles of books in a rather tight space; I could get lost forever).  Paul was even so generous as to carry the bags!

As we were heading up toward Rockefeller Center with Paul's aunt and uncle, who live in Queens, Uncle Joe stopped the car to switch keys to a valet key for parking, and the car wouldn't restart!   As Paul, Uncle Joe and random parking garage attendant were pushing the car out of the street, random parking garage attendant #2 didn't break the car fast enough and it rolled over Uncle Joe's foot.  See tire-print on shoe below:

As frustrating as it was to be stuck in the middle of 48th street with an uncooperative vehicle, at least we had 3+ hours until the Christmas Spectacular which we had intended to fill with shopping nearby.   The fortunate thing about breaking down on a NYC street, is that given the compactness of the city, there's bound to be something interesting nearby.  Aunt Karen and I decided that there are worse places to break down...

than directly in front of a Irish Pub.

When 1 hour hedged closer to 2 without a tow truck in sight, it began to look like Uncle Joe and Aunt Karen would miss the Christmas Spectacular, which is exactly what happened although they did make it back in time to dine with us after the show.  Another quite fascinating NYC sight: the traffic stopped while a tow truck loads Uncle Joe's car.

The rest of the trip was, fortunately, less eventful.  We dined at some fabulous NYC vegetarian restaurants.  (Quantum Leap, we miss you already!)  Then, of course, I was stricken on my last day in NYC with a death-cold that has finally begun to dissipate.  (Thanks for the get well wishes!)