Browsing the archives for the new years eve tag.

Happy New Year 2014

California, Kids

I hope you all had a wonderful New Years Eve full of whatever makes you happy. Over the years we have always either celebrated with my family, my husband’s family or just our little family at home. Since we’ve been living away from our families, we have been adding to and changing our traditions a little, and this year we added to something new we started last year. Last year we made all the kid’s favorite finger foods and got some miniature fancy glasses and had a cute party. The kids counted down to midnight on the East coast and were tucked in bed sleeping long before midnight local time. This year the two littlest wanted to stay up to midnight, so we came up with hourly activities to keep them busy. It was easily the best New Years Eve yet!

We started our countdown activities at 5pm and did something different every hour until midnight!

At 5, we made these countdown cupcakes with Twix clock hands. We used the Stir and Bake Chocolate Cake recipe that we all love so much (especially me because it’s so easy and always comes out right), and just some plain buttercream frosting.
At 6, we made a glittery photobooth and took about a zillion pictures. Then the girls got their American Girl dolls out and took a zillion more – I think it’s fair our son quit with the pictures as soon as the dolls came out!

7 was time for making (and breaking) the New Years crackers. All you do is wrap a cardboard tube with tissue paper, toss a few treats inside and tie the ends with curing ribbon. Each cracker maaaaybe takes 2 minutes to make and when you pull on the ends to open them the candy goes flying. They were a serious hit!

8 was party hat time! To make sure they were sturdier than the construction paper party hats of our past, we taped white paper on top of dollar store birthday party hats! Then the girls attacked them with pom poms and metallic sharpies. We attached them to cute F21 hair bands to keep them in place.

At 9, we made the traditional Greek New Years Eve cake Vasilopita. Growing up, I knew that most Greek families did this tradition because all of our extended Greek family did, but I didn’t know that who the pieces were cut for was up to the family matriarch. I cut the cake similarly to the way my mother does it, starting with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Then it’s for all the impoverished, the suffering and then it starts with the oldest in our family (my husband’s grandmother) and down to the littlest. Since Chris’ family is really big, we cut for the ‘houses’ so his cousin, her husband and their new baby got a single piece. Once you’ve cut for all your family you move on to close friends. Last year, the impoverished got the coin in our cake and this year Jesus got it! My husband wants to keep this coin and always use it as the cake coin. Another new tradition!

We set out the dessert spread at 10, most of which the girls helped me make. We had the Vasilopita, mint chocolate pudding, vanilla pudding and really serious Oreo truffles. The truffles were big, covered in milk chocolate and sprinkled with edible golden glitter.

Not pictured was the 11pm picture of the kids tearing open their Christmas presents from their grandparents, delayed over a week by storms on the East coast and customs wanted to have a little look as well, but it worked out nicely for them to have a second little present opening session, these cute nightgowns are from Grandma and Grandpa! Midnight itself was toasted with ginger ale in plastic champagne glasses and honestly? It was perfect. Happy New Year!

Stuff from this post: Gold Curling Ribbon, 11″ Gold Balloons, Gold Metallic Fringe Curtain, Gold Foil Baking Cups, Tiny Pom Poms, Metallic Sharpies aaaaand I read them this book for a week before New Years and they got really into it (The Night Before New Year’s)

No Comments

Here’s to 2013!

California, Domestic

I love New Years Eve! We never really do anything epic, but it’s the traditions that make it epic for us. As a kid and teenager, I always spent it with my parents, my sister and my grandparents. My granny would make her tuna, salmon, egg and sometimes chicken bouchees. My mother always made a bunt cake and stuck a coin in it. Then she’d cut pieces and name them for people in a very specific order, whoever gets the coin is supposed to have great luck that year! Instead of a bunt cake, the traditional Greek New Year’s cake to slip a coin into is called the Vasiliopita. Interesting that the tradition itself comes from the name day (Greeks celebrate name days almost as seriously as we celebrate birthdays) that lands on Jan 1 (Saint Vasili the Great). This saint would distribute cakes with coins hidden inside them to the poor people in his parish. Ha! Snuck in a random history lesson! We always cut a piece for all the poor people in the world, and this year that’s who got the coin!

Here’s the recipe I used this year! Wee One #2 helped, it was pretty simple and despite having six eggs in it, we tried it and it was really good!!

vasilopita - green new years eve cake
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
3 cups flour
6 eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup warm milk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped almonds
1/4 cup white sugar

I had a three year old ‘helper’ making this with me and it still came together quickly!

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 10″ cake pan. Cream the butter and the sugar, then stir in the flour until the mixture looks like almond meal. Add the eggs. One. At. A. Time. Mix the baking powder and milk and then add that to the egg mixture. Now mix the lemon juice and baking soda and add that to the mixture as well. Pour into your cake pan and bake for 20 minutes. Sprinkle the top of the (half baked) cake with the chopped almonds and sugar and bake for another 45 minutes. Mine baked up so tall and grand the almond and sugar on top looked so pretty!

vasilopita - green new years eve cake
vasilopita - green new years eve cake
vasilopita - green new years eve cake

Anyhoo, the first couple of years after my husband and I got together we celebrated just as I had done as a kid, with my folks and after the little ones started coming, we started rotating where we’d spend Christmas and New Years. It was either laid back with my folks or his. There was one year when a few of my girlfriends came over and we knitted through the countdown. Since then I try to do that where ever I happen to be celebrating. This year we are thankful to be able to say we have made a lot of great friends here already, but when it comes to New Years they are generally divided into two groups. Those with kids that celebrate with family, and those without kids that celebrate with shots.

Both are equally fun, but we have decided to start a new tradition – settling in with fun treats for the littles, and savory treats for us. A kid’s countdown at 9pm PST was perfect because that’s midnight in Ontario, and gave me time to get the littles to bed before the actual countdown at midnight!

happy new years 2013
happy new years 2013
happy new years 2013
happy new years 2013
happy new years 2013

*I think the teeny nerds-encrusted martini glasses with dark chocolate almond milk helped make this NYE a little different, and special, for the little ones.

We had a lovely New Years Eve and plan to spend our entire New Years Day playing board games and watching Dinosaur Train. I love me some resolutions and I’ve been getting better at sticking to them so here’s my official list for 2013.

1) read 52 books

2) sew a dress for myself

3) send everyone a card for their birthday

4) make candles

5) hand write and mail (at least) 52 letters

6) knit this quilt (202/400 puffs)

7) knit 12 pairs of socks

8 ) bake one new cookie recipe every week – and blog about it

9) make a small quilt

10) start a ‘What I did today’ daily journal project (I really like the index card one)

11) participate in Craftster’s Monthly Challenge

12) go on at least one epic road trip and as many smaller ones as possible

Let’s recap how I did with my to-do of 2012, shaaaall we?
1) read 52 books (24/52) – So I fell 28 books shy of my goal. Instead of lowering it, I’m going to aim for 52 again in 2013.

2) sew a dress for myself – No excuse. I even bought a new sewing machine after leaving mine in Canada! Back on the list for 2013.

3) send everyone a card for their birthday – I came reeeeally close but I can’t cross it off because I did overlook a few and some were crazy late. Hoping to manage it in 2013 better!

4) learn to play chess – I’m not exactly losing hope on this one, but I would really rather knit than learn chess. Not adding it to the 2013 list, but if it comes up, I’m all over it.

5) make candles – This will totally happen in 2013

6) hand write & mail letters (76/52)I nailed this one! Plan to do it again in 2013

7) learn some fashion historyI did hours of online research, poured over old Vogues from the library and read The Beautiful Fall on the recommendation of my girl Mutant Supermodel. So good!

8) watch these movies (14/100) – I totally abandoned this list in April when we moved down to LA, I have watched at least 50+ movies this year but not from that list! In 2013 I will just keep a list of what I have watched!

9) make (& use) a worm bin – We moved from our house before the ground thawed and into a garden apartment so no worm bin this year! I also don’t know if I care enough about it for it to make the 2013 list haha.

10) make soapI did this with my friend Vanessa, her boyfriend Steve and my husband. It’s like magic! So fun too!!

11) knit this quitI got halfway there!! It’s defo going on the 2013 list.
puff count = 202/400

12) knit 12 pairs of socks (14/12) – I rocked this challenge too! Doing it again in 2013!


Resolutions?! Ok, Here We Go…

Crafty, Domestic, Healthy, Kids, Marriage, Naughty, Nerdy, Pretty

Just a few days ago, I proclaimed to one of my best friends that I will not be making resolutions this year. Actually, it went more like this.

May: Did you see my new boots on Facebook?
Talea: I did, way to upload pics right away.
May: I know, right?! That’s my only resolution.
Talea: That’s it?! That’s your only resolution?! I’m sitting here racking my brain for more things to list!
May: I’m going to keep up my healthier eating, I’m going to work hard on my blog, but uploading pics quickly is my only actual reaolution.
Talea: Pfft.

Pfft indeed, Talea. Pfft indeed. So after thinking about it a little, I realize it is pretty lame of me to not make resolutions. Not because the idea of not making resolutions in itself is lame, but I always make resolutions and most of the time I do ok. One or two fail before spring – always. A couple more make it to summer/fall, and there are usually at least 1 or 2 that make it all the way into the following year and become a regular part of life.

Last year I didn’t make any public resolutions but privately I resolved to save as much money as humanly possible and be well on the road to buying a house in 2011. We ended up saving more than I ever thought could be humanly possible and we bought our first house on August 2, 2011!! Mission accomplished!

I’m feeling really ambitious about 2012, because so many exciting things about my husband’s job and his goals are really coming together and as much as I would looooove to go on and on about them here, it’s not really my place to talk about it all. I will say however, that I am incredibly proud of him and it makes me want to work so much harder on my own goals – especially goals I have come close to touching in the past but for whatever reason allowed myself to back away from. Some of my resolutions are to keep up past resolutions I’ve succeeded at, because if they fall off the list, I may stop being mindful of them! So first, things that need changing, followed by changes to keep up.

1. Maintain a vegetarian diet and take steps toward cutting out as much dairy as possible. I have said so many times that I could never be a vegetarian because I love certain foods too much to give them up or because there are some foods that are so ingrained in my life and our family’s traditions that I just can’t imagine what those traditions would look like without those foods. However, I have also said so many times that it’s just not possible to un-know stuff, you know? I’m not at all out to turn anyone else into a vegetarian – at all. My husband and kids eat meat and I will still prepare meals with meat for them and I will still blog about those meals, so while I am going veg, this blog/website is not.

2. Get down to my goal weight. Sadly this is one of those goals I’ve come close to hitting! I lost 50lbs last year and fell off the wagon when my Granny passed away. Once my emotions leveled out, I never got back into positive eating habits. I’ve been limping along again for the past two months and have lost some of that weight again. It looks like there is a very exciting move happening for our family in the nearish future that will keep me on track. More about that as details unfold here.

3. Blog, blog, blog!. There are hundreds of photos waiting to be posted about – really hundreds! Decadent desserts, healthy mains, super fun crafty projects, heaps of makeup photos and random tutorials. Partly it’s about finding the time to post about it all, but I have no doubt that I have that time, I just need to take it from somewhere less productive! I also have a pretty intimidating/impressive idea list of things that will end up being blogged about too. Even though this is technically #5 on my list, it’s defo one of the most important resolutions this year.

4. Keep up positive parenting. By this I mean keeping the kid’s feelings and hopes in mind when making decisions as well as the obvious not screaming and yelling and generally lashing out at them when they are, let’s say, difficult. I think it’s fair to say I have been developing this skill for the last 11 years but of course I can always get better. I’ve been being really mindful since I read How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk and even more so since I went to the workshop. Yes, I dig parenting classes. Anyhoo, treating our kids with respect is an ongoing resolution.

5. Keep up the domestic goddess habits. This is a goal I achieved a couple of years ago, where I have manged to keep cleaning and kitchen routines going – regardless of vacations and babies and visitors and moving and head colds and all the things that I used to allow to derail me. It’s an ongoing process though because messes happen every day and meals need to be prepared everyday. So I’m keeping it on the list!

6. Keep up the hair and makeup everyday. I know people think it’s funny (or maybe a little crazy) that I wear some pretty alarming makeup, including gorgeous lashes, out in the woods in my town of 300 people (maaaaaybe, probably less). On an average day, I see one other mom and two other dads at the school bus stop. I see my next door neighbor when he waits for his kids to get off the other school bus and 3 other people who walk their dogs past my kitchen window. That’s it. But they are not why I take the time to get snazzy everyday, I do it for my husband and kids. They claim I look adorable even without doing my hair and makeup and that’s incredibly sweet of them to say, but we all know how much more adorable I look with effort.

7. Help my husband with his goals. This goes without saying really, and my husband has said this shouldn’t be a resolution because I’m always supportive of his goals BUT, just like with the kids and the house, there is always room for improvement and I think it should always be on the list. He’s also way more supportive of my hilariously big dreams than pretty much any other husband I’ve ever met, so I think that calls for above and beyond, right? Right. <3 I feel like I should have 3 more for a rounded out list of 10, but 7 is where I'm at this year. I honestly wish everyone success in 2012 so that when we all sit down to write out our 2013 lists we are full of optimism and have a nice list of completed goals under our belts! Onward!!

No Comments