Valentines Day is for the birds

Making the birdseed hearts

Making the birdseed hearts

It still looks just like this a week later.

In the tree

Last weekend Maia and I made some birdseed hearts to put in our trees for the birds. They were easy to make and were pretty enough to give her friends at Chaos night. Maia loved stirring the sticky birdseed and mashing it into the heart-shaped cookie cutters. The only bummer–the birds have not touched either of the hearts since we hang them last week. I hope the discover them soon!

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USA Cross Country Championships

Putting his number on before the race.

Greg putting his number on before the race.

This morning we biked out to Forest Park so Greg could run the Fleet Feet 4K and to watch the USA Cross Country Championships. Greg finished the hilly course in 17:31, coming in 13th in his age group! I think this is amazing, since he’s a long-distance runner and usually doesn’t even feel warmed up until mile 5 or 6. We stayed to watch the women’s Masters 6K race but had to head home to get MJ warmed back up–it was pretty cold and a cup of hot chocolate didn’t do the trick. Later Greg went back and saw Deena Kastor and other Olympians competing for a chance to go to the World Championships in Poland. Amazing to see these elite athletes running in our own Forest Park (and amazing to see how little they wore to race in such cold weather!).

Women's 8K Leaders

Women’s 8K Leaders

In the finishing chute!

Greg in the finishing chute!

Valentine’s Day Decor

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Potato heart stamp

We have not done much to celebrate Valentine’s Day in the past, short of going out to dinner, but Maia is really into the holidays this year and is already talking about valentines and hearts. Last weekend we did a little it of crafting, making some holiday banners Maya style for the house from newspapers, a potato and some old red acrylic paint. The hardest part was sewing the hearts together on the sewing machine. I need some practice on that one. I’m also working on a this set of sewing boxes made from heart-shaped chocolate boxes (I wonder how many times I can mess up the boxes so badly that we’ll need to buy another box and eat the chocolates, so that I can start again?). I’m thinking we might have fun making these Valentines for the birds next weekend, maybe when Maia’s friends come over for Chaos Night.

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Stitching for heart boxes

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Big newspaper hearts on the landing. Can you guess which one M painted?

O the Humanity

Maia sleeping in the car after an aborted visit to Innsbrook

Maia sleeping in the car after an aborted visit to Innsbrook

We’ve been sick with a stomach virus all up in here. Maia rebounded within 24 hours, Greg was sick for a few days, and I am still feeling queasy since participating in some undignified regurgitation on the side of I-70 on Monday. I did get a flu shot. It turns out that I have been using the term “flu” a bit loosely, and there are many kinds of stomach viruses that are not influenza. See Web MD for more info.

Maia’s Third Birthday

Pin the nose on the snowman

Pin the Nose on the Snowman

Maia turned three last Saturday, and we had a wonderful time celebrating with Grandma Judy and a crowd of MJ’s friends. We planned the party on a snowy winter day, when a snowman theme made sense, but unfortunately on the actual day it was pretty warm. We had brunch featuring Greg’s famous Companion Egg Loaf, sausage of the veggie and the piggie kind, fruit salad, and some disappointing pumpkin muffins. We played pin-the-nose on the snowman and made snow-people and snow-animals out of marshmallows and edible pens.

Winter Birthday Cupcakes

Winter Birthday Cupcakes

The best part of the morning was watching Maia laugh with delight as everyone sang “Happy Birthday”.  She needed some help from Elliot to blow out her last candle. The cupcakes were chocolate (made by Grandma Judy) and decorated with frosting I tinted blue with food coloring and decorated with snowflakes and other shapes I made with icing and left to dry overnight on waxed paper. They were inspired by this post.

All in all, it was a great birthday and I’m already looking forward to planning next year’s celebration.

Homemade marshmallows

Peppermint marshmallows

Peppermint marshmallows

I made marshmallows!

Inspired by the new standing mixer that Santa brought me for Christmas, I made peppermint marshmallows to put in goody bags for Maia’s birthday party. I followed these directions, based on an Alton Brown recipe. They were almost as easy as advertised, though I did have trouble spreading the mixture out for cooling. (This might be because I used a spatula instead of a spatula for the task.) They are delicious, only faintly resembling the leathery cylinders from the grocery store. I’d like to try other flavors now, like butterscotch? or spiced chai?