I'm Becky... I have a wonderful husband of 9 years, a daughter who is 8, a son who is 5, 2 dogs, a cat, and an ever-lengthening list of interests and hobbies including knitting, gardening, cooking and baking from real foods, and sewing. I'm allergic to dairy but my family isn't so you'll see some recipes that include non-dairy modifications.
I do daycare from my home during the day so I can stay home with my children while helping to pay the bills.
The kids got up at 7:15. Look at Charlotte's sleepy eyes.
Both kids got bikes from Santa. They were so excited!
The kids and I got Hippity Hops from Santa. Santa must have known how much I loved these as a kid and included one for me.
I don't remember when I've had so much fun! I was hopping all over the living room. I had Jon try it but he kept falling off.
Nana and Grandpa came over to help celebrate the day. Why does it seem Evan is missing pants in half of the pictures I take of him?
Jon had fun working on several of the new puzzles he got for Christmas.
Gravy is almost ready.
It was cold and rainy yesterday and soggy today. Jon had the great idea to take the kids to his school to be able to ride their bikes up and down the hallways. They had a great time.
I'm sad that Christmas Day is over. I love the anticipation of it. I love the wrapping, shopping, baking.... then in one short day it's over. I'm so happy that my siblings are coming to visit this week. It'll make it seem like Christmas is lasting that much longer.
Pumpkin Cheesecake was baked then put in the fridge. (Note: Wearing a comfortable and unbelievably huge, flannel nightgown is imperative when baking for the holidays)
Cookies were set out for Santa.
See the cookie in Evan's hand that he stole from Santa's plate?
Carrot for Rudolf, Cheerios for the other reindeer, Cookies and milk for Santa, and Charlotte wanted to see what kind of candy cane he liked better so she put out one of each so he could choose one to take. I wonder if Santa likes cherry or peppermint better.
We were taking our Christmas trip to visit Jon's family in PA early this year because we had finally been able to get tickets to see our much beloved Steeler's play the Packers on Sunday at 4:15pm. The tickets were going to be our Christmas presents to each other.
We knew the storm was coming but we figured that we'd be able to get ahead of it since it we were able to get on the road going north at 1pm on Friday(since schools closed early). It was snowing hard when we left home. The roads were instantly covered and traffic never moved above 30 miles per hour. (we'd later come to see 30 mph as super fast!)
I tried to knit to take my mind off of the slick roads and the slow moving traffic. Luckily since Jon is from snowy PA, he's great with driving in these conditions. The snow was coming down so fast and within a couple hours, there were several inches on the ground and the road were untreated. We started seeing cars on the sides of the road that had lost control. This made me nervous but Jon stayed steady and calm.
By the time the sun went down, we knew we needed to find a hotel. We had only driven about 80 miles since leaving home at 1pm. We were at a near standstill and when we did move, it was Jon's outstanding driving talents that made sure we didn't slide into the car next to us.
Most of the back ups had to do with big rigs. They couldn't make it up the slight inclines without sliding sideways. At one point I had to zigzag between 4 or 5 trucks that were stuck on a hill and not able to drive any further. I was so glad to hand driving back over to Jon after that!
Fast forward to 8pm. We had been stopped in traffic for about 2 hours and I was starting to get panicky that we were going to be stranded on the interstate all night. It's times like these that I really feel the weight of being a grown up and a parent.
My mom got on the phone calling around to nearby hotels. So many of them were already full due to all the travelers that also wanted to get off the roads. Thank goodness my mom found us a room... the only problem was it was 5 miles away. It may as well have been 1,000 miles away since we were stopped.
At 9:00 Jon made the brave decision to go onto the shoulder and try to make it to the next exit so we could travel a back road to get to our hotel.
I don't have any pictures of this phase of our adventure. I think Jon would have thrown the camera out into the snow if I had taken it out.
The back road was snow covered but at least we were moving.
Jon got us safely to the hotel around 9:30. We had been in the car for over 8 hours without getting out. We had only gone about 90 miles.... out of a 400 mile trip.
We carried the sleeping children into the hotel. Charlotte woke up for a little while and was excited about our adventure in a hotel.
I folded a comforter and put it on the floor for Evan. After I rubbed his back for a minute, he was out like a light.
I have never been so happy to be in a hotel. I had my family under one roof and we were safe and warm.
We found out the next morning that the people on the same stretch of interstate spent the night on the road and had to be rescued the next morning and taken to shelters. If Jon hadn't driven on the shoulder, we would have been with them.
When we woke up, Jon surveyed the snow that had fallen over night.
10 inches of snow had fallen over night adding up to a total of 16 inches.
I pulled a chair up to the window so the kids could look out. They have never seen so much snow. I don't remember when I've seen that much snow!
Nothing like waking up and eating animal crackers in bed.
We had the challenge of entertaining two busy kids in a hotel room all day. I made bath toys with styrofoam and plastic cups. Add in an ice bucket and you have enough for an hour of bath tub fun!
I had my knitting bag so I was happy.
Charlotte and Jon got all bundled up and headed out to dig our van out since we weren't sure when we'd be able to get back on the road.
At lunch time we hiked down the road to the Denny's. They had a limited menu and only a few people working there but we were just thankful to be eating warm food and food that wasn't granola bars or crackers.
The kids were so great. They were patient and happy the whole trip. They really helped Jon and I find the fun in our adventure and stay focused on playing with them and not stressing about being stuck in a hotel.
It was naptime after we hiked back from Denny's.
We decided to stay another night since the roads were still a mess. If we got going early enough the next morning (Sunday) then surely we'd get to PA with plenty of time to make it to the Steeler's game, right?
Jon woke me up at 4:30 the next morning, much to my dismay, and after a quick shower we all got on the road. The road looked great at first.....
Then we stopped...... for 2 hours... Turns out they closed the road up ahead because of a jack knifed big rig and then kept it closed until they could improve the road conditions.
Around 9 or 10 am, Jon realized we weren't going to make it to the Steeler's Game. I'm calling this photo, "The moment the dream died".
The kids again were patient and happy. They had their DVD player, snacks, and books.
I had my knitting... now having moved on to a second project. I was getting very tired of being in the car and starting to feel like we were never going to get there.
When we finally got moving again, we could see the problem. There was only 1 lane open and the other side was several inches of compacted snow and ice. At times the 1 lane open was also covered in chunks of unplowed snow. But we were just glad to be moving... even at a snails pace.
Click to enlarge the panoramic picture above. (I did a poor job of lining up the shot on the truck)
We finally got moving around the half way point in our trip. At that point we could look around and appreciate the gorgeous scenery. The Blue Ridge Mountains after a heavy snow. Just gorgeous.
So, to sum things up... it took us 20 hours and 2 1/2 days to make it the 400 miles to Jon's parents house... a trip that usually takes us 8 1/2 hours.
We missed the Steeler's game. Something that Jon is still working to get over.
We had a wonderful visit with Jon's family. I'll post pictures soon.
We're back home now. We didn't have any trouble on the roads on the way home thank goodness. Now we can get ready for Santa to come tonight!!!! I better go so I can bake cookies and we can get this house cleaned up.
**I'm posting this blog post that I prepared last week. We're in PA visiting my in-laws for the next few days. It was quite a trip and after 20 hours in the car and two days stranded in a hotel room off interstate 81, we're very happy to be here. I'll post about our big blizzard adventure in a few days**
I knit the daycare kiddos hats and mittens for Christmas but I gave them the sets last month so they could be wearing them. I wanted to make them each something small with the leftover yarn.
I found this really easy pattern. This little gnome is only about 6 inches tall. It hardly used any yarn at all. I used a worsted weight, natural cotton yarn for the face and some of the worsted weight pink wool leftover from the hat/mitten set.
I didn't make any adjustments to the pattern but I did add eyes and mouth though I'm not thrilled with how they came out. I need to learn some embroidery stitches.
Charlotte has very thick, straight hair that luckily doesn't usually tangle. But with her hair getting so long, she'd get the occasional tangle that would in some cases leave her in tears. I told her that if I cut her hair a bit shorter then it wouldn't tangle as much. That's all I needed to say. She wanted me to cut it right then. I took about 3 inches off the back and trimmed her bangs.
I think she looks adorable with her new hair cut. She loves it. It makes mornings around here that much smoother.
I love to give handmade gifts for Christmas. Not only does it save a lot of money but it gives me a chance to be creative.
For my daycare family this year, I took black and white photos of their girls. I found two collage frames at Walmart that had three 4x6 openings for only $3 a frame. The frame itself was black so I thought that would look really great with the black and white pictures.
I printed the pictures out at home on photo paper.
So, in each collage frame there was a pictures of each girl's feet, hands, and one of their face.