Monday, January 16, 2012

We Found Snow!

My son just loves snow; yes winter is cold, but there is fun to be had!  Except this winter it has just been cold.  And gray.  No snow.  We have spent our time at the ice skating rink and swimming pool, and have gone to the movies some, but a kid should have snow in the winter too.  So this Saturday we took a day trip bus outside of the city of Graz to a small mountain region nearby.  Yup, we found snow!  It was really fun because one of his friend's was able to come too, plus her Mom and her 2 little sisters.  So, there were 6 of us total.  Plus all our "stuff". I always seem to be lugging around extra "stuff" with me, but it all comes in so handy!  As soon as we got there I said to my son - your snow pants are in the bag under the bus.  He jumped out with the other kids before me and proceeded to get entirely covered in snow within 3 minutes.  Yes, his pants and socks were soaking wet!  In the first 3 minutes!  Good thing I had my "stuff" because I had dry clothes for him to change into and then quick, quick - get those snow pants on!  DH has an awful cold so couldn't come, but he packed ham sandwiches, oranges, ice tea, hot chocolate, plain bread and peanut butter and we had chocolate bars!  
Almenland.  It was supposed to take us about an hour to get there, but it was really snowing on the way up.  The bus crawled up all the hairpin turns with stunning drop-offs (no guard rails).  Then we had to stop and the driver put snow chains on the tires - that took time too.  The trip took us 2 1/2 hours, but once we got there, the weather was absolutely perfect!  Beautiful!  Ahhhh.
There are lots of things to do here - cross country skiing, downhill skiing, ice skating (except the lake wasn't really frozen), a big indoor pool, carriage rides.  We came to go sledding and brought lots of different slides with us, plus rented one for $2.50.  No charge to use the hill - but it is a bit of a walk UP there  Phew!  But the walk was worth the fun!

Really, we had the hill to ourselves except for later in the afternoon when some other people came, but by then the weather had closed in and we headed to a small restaurant for a hot meal before the bus was scheduled to leave at 5 pm!
Here we are!  After I took this photo I pulled a sled with one of the little ones because it was a bit of a distance to the restaurant.  It was the perfect time to take a little break.

When we got out of the restaurant, the weather had cleared and my son wanted to have a few final runs before boarding the bus.  He had a wonderful day!  I am so happy that I was able to give him at least 1 day of snow fun this winter!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Fun Baby Booties to Knit!

These baby booties were so quick and fun to knit!  I got the pattern here:
Scroll down for the English version.  I  made the small size and there is a small error - at the decrease for the footsole you need to knit 33 before turning (not 31).  I would assume you would need to knit 35 (not 33) for the large size.  Still, it is a small issue and you really don't notice.  The pattern says you can use straight needles but that was difficult at the heel/foot part so I added some DPN's into the mix.  Size 2.  This is a great pattern for left-over sock yarn because it really only used a little tiny bit of yarn!  I grafted the heel and then ladder stitched up the back - next time around I think I will just knit it in the round.  I know a few people with babies due and these are a fun, quick, easy gift to pair with a baby blanket.  Ummm - make that a store bought (gasp) blanket.  I am opting for quick and easy projects these days!

Speaking of babies - here is a photo of a very funny baby seat/windshield combination I saw the other day while walking the streets of Graz.  I almost always have my little camera in my coat pocket because I never know what I will see.
Graz is a beautiful city...

Monday, January 02, 2012

The December Crafts

I had dreams of crocheting a "blizzard" of snowflakes this year.  No matter that I had no idea on how to make a snowflake - I have access to You Tube!  So, here are the 3 I did make - out of "regular" weight yarn with a "regular" sized crochet hook.  Can't tell you the exact size because my son needed the hook for some school project so I ended up sending it to school with him and it hasn't come home yet!  I figure if I do 3 a year for the rest of my life - some day I will have a "blizzard"!  And please don't ask my why the 1st one looks so different, I really do think that I used the same video for all 3.  I think so anyway - I honestly can't remember anymore!

Always on the look-out for fun "kid friendly" crafts, I stumbled across a little template for a Christmas tree garland at - go visit!  What a wonderful blog!  I enlarged 1/2 of our trees so we had some variety.  We decorated our trees with glitter, sequins and various do-dads from a sort-ov craft store in the area.  I got card-stock weight green paper for the trees - we used a pizza box to trace our initial template onto.

Here is what ONE of our garlands looks like.  We made 3 altogether; one for the front door, one for over the tv (this one) and one over another entry way door.  I like them.  I would say it was a successful kids craft project!  When my son's friends came over they would go over to the craft table and make their own tree out of the blank green trees we had over there.  

I mustered up the nerve to invite my son's best friend AND her little sisters (who are terrors!) over one night to make cookies.  DH and I made the dough ahead of time.  2 colors of dough make great spiral cookies (sorry - didn't get a photo of one).  I like the taste of spirals. The kids had fun making all sorts of designs, including faces.  Of course, we made lots of "traditional" cookies too.  We "decorated" said cookies with a thin frosting and sprinkles.  Actually, the cookie decorating party is sort-ov a family tradition for me, so I have a good idea of how to "run" it.  It is good to be "fast".  That butter dough cookie gets soft fast so you have to keep it in the fridge and bring it out in little balls.  Gingerbread dough is very durable!  If the kids are rolling out their own dough (of course!) they each need their own rolling pin.  Also, we roll out between TWO sheets of baking paper which prevents all that sticking.  My niece did one better than me this year and pre-baked TONS of cookies for her party so they could get right to the decorating part - but the kids also had the opportunity to roll out their dough.  What you do is ask each parent to bring some dough if you have a BIG group (with baking temperatures/times).  I just made my own dough this year because it was a small group.  Good thing too because my grumpy neighbor downstairs was knocking on my door at 7:30 PM (on a Friday night, no less) to complain about the noise.  I guess I spoil him with how quiet we usually are!

Any my son and I managed to cut out 2 paper snowflakes before he lost interest and meandered off to do something else.  Still, 2 is 2, and I did forget how fun they were so make.  I think maybe next year I might make more!
Our tree this year with all our presents!  My son likes the chocolate umbrellas that we put on the tree.  No lights - people in Austria usually put candles on their trees, but paranoid me, I don't like that idea!
Well, I am not Martha Stuart, that is for sure.  But we have had a fun December.  I try my hardest to create fun memories for my son. You can see - presents don't play a main role of Christmas in my family (although one of my sisters did send my son a present which did not arrive in time to be under the tree for the photo).  We tend to concentrate on special meals, baking and crafts for Christmas.  And of course, the MAIN present was my airplane ticket to Austria so we all could be together for Christmas this year.  
Got to run - we are headed out to the swimming pool now!  Time to get motivated and create new memories.  Life goes so fast!
Happy New Year to everyone!