blogs can be so misleading

I finally got my terrific twosome in a photo together.  They look so darn SERENE in this photo.  Have no fear. Minutes later, she spit up all over him.  He screamed  “PUKE!” directly in her left ear and proceeded to let go of her.  She survived, but the photoshoot was over.  

Thanks VERY MUCH for taking the time to vote for Island Auntie’s proposal.  The top dog is putting up a good fight, but my little sister is close behind in second place.  If you have another vote in you, please feel free to have another click. I failed to mention that folks are able to vote once a day until the voting closes on March 31.   And if you are a family member, you’d better be going back to that site each and every day to vote, or the next time we see you, I’ll get my little girl to puke on you too.

Happy St. Pat’s to you.  Hope everyone is having a great week!


for prosperity’s sake

This is likely the last photo this blog will see of our Little Guy as an only child.  And yes,  I will likely be prompted to come up with a new, ingenious nickname for him.

Christmas morning 2008.  The year that Thomas (pronounced “hummus”) the Tank Engine and his numerous friends took over our home.  Cheers!


Last weekend, we had a small birthday party for our little guy with family and a handful of his wee pals at our home.

It was a simple affair. Chicken pot pie for dinner and chocolate cake with ice cream for dessert. We did a little crafting–the kids decorated shrinky dinks, which are still waiting to be shrunk. Mostly though, they just played and danced and batted balloons around the dining room, laughing all the while.

Originally I had planned to bake some sugar cookies and let the kids frost and sprinkle them. But then I considered the mess, and decided that shrinky dinks would be more manageable. For the goodie bags, I kept with the cookie baking theme. I made little aprons and stuffed them in a bag with some cookie cutters and sprinkles. The aprons were based on this pattern.  The ticking fabric was supposed to become a tree skirt, but I just couldn’t get those little red and white striped aprons out of my head.  Our tree goes naked for one more year. Such is life.

This weekend, our little family of three will celebrate the “real” birthday with lunch and Italian pastry in Boston’s North End. It will be a nice, quiet way to celebrate the fantastic first two years of the life of our sweet little boy.

good intentions

I had this brilliant idea to get our Christmas card picture all wrapped up while we were on vacation this summer on Cape Cod.  My plan was to “dress up” the Little Guy in his Christmas pajamas, let him run loose on the beach in the morning, and snap away.  I like to have a front and a back to our Christmas card, so I needed a shot of his face and his back.  Morning is normally his most chipper time, so I thought this would be a easy.  No such luck.  He woke up very grumpy that day, and I never got that perfect shot.  So, just for fun, I thought I’d show you bits of the beach photo shoot that will not grace our Christmas card this year.  And in the meantime, will blather about a few things that have been on my mind.

Actually, I like this one and would have used it for the back of the card.

A few words about my favorite little guy who is almost two.  I know this is going to sound ridiculous, but I feel like he is maturing.  We haven’t had many pre-dinner meltdowns lately, and in the morning he can wait the five minutes that it takes to make oatmeal rather than freak out and demand cold cereal.  Our Little Guy has made a fairly smooth transition to sleeping in his “big boy” bed.  His favorite words lately are “home”, “wee wee” (his nickname for a beloved auntie), and “baby no!”–which I translate to mean “that baby that is still in your belly cannot touch my [train, truck, doggie] when s/he comes out!”  Yeah, pretty awesome.  A sign of good things to come, for sure. Almost every evening he requests that we turn on the radio in the kitchen and have a family dance party.  Two years old is a very good time!

His second birthday party is less than two weeks away, so I am putting aside some of the Christmas crafting to focus on that.  If anyone has any good ideas for a simple craft or activity that can be done with 4 two-year-olds, I’d love to hear your ideas.  I know what I am doing for the goodie bags and that will involve some crafting.  The cake will be pretty simple–a train theme–since choo choos are his most favorite thing ever these days.

On the Christmas crafting front, I am making good progress.  I am dying to post some pictures of three special little gifts that my mom (Grandmama) and I worked on together, but I can’t because the mom’s of the recipients check in with this blog all too frequently.  I have made some things that I can post before Christmas and will do that soon.  Just have to get around to taking photos.

I have been having a lot of fun trying to sew things that I have never tried before.  I keep wanting to add to my list, but I really have to curb that inclination.  I’m not getting stressed out about my to-do list and am just enjoying the process.  I figure I could always give some late gifts if I don’t finish.  I have the week after Christmas off from work so there will be plenty of time for sewing during naps.

Yeah.  So.  I definitely have to get back to work on that Christmas card.  Plan B is to take a close up of his (hopefully smiling) face so that I don’t have to worry about the outfit.  Will let you know how that works out.  And if I get stuck, I will definitely take Anna up on her offer to help.


I am knee-deep in top secret Christmas gift projects.  Two of the projects will be made from this stack of fabrics.  It’s Cake Rock Beach by Joelle Hoverson for Moda.  I have also made some good progress on my Little Guy’s hexagon quilt, though I still have a long way to go.  My plan is to finish up all of my other Christmas sewing in November, and then focus only on his quilt starting December 1.  It will be all hand pieced, so it will be nice to sit by the tree and stitch without having to listen to the whir of the machine.  That project does not have to be kept a secret, since the Little Guy has little interest in what I write in this space.  I hope to do a few progress reports along the way.  It is slow going, so I will need the cheer leading!

Speaking of the Little Guy, he has been up to some serious structure building with the blocks that Architect Uncle made for him last Christmas.  I love his big, booming smile in this photo.  He has been talking a lot more these days.  “Get UP!” – first thing in the morning.  “Hurry!” – when we are trying to get out the door.  “Trick or Treat!” – when he wants candy from his Halloween stash.  You get the idea.  It’s adorable.

Thanks to everyone who said hello during my little cookbook giveaway.  I have to say I was astonished to receive so many kind comments.  People beyond my circle of family and friends really do follow this little blog–wow! There were a good number of questions about the cookbook that I will address in a future post.  The winner of the cookbook, fabric, and bird ornament was Vanessa.  Vanessa, please let me know your mailing address and preference in fabric so that I can mail that package off to you.  My email is acyder at gmail dot com.


Halloween was a great fun. First stop was Grandmama’s where we were greeted by a live scarecrow. Grandmama was nowhere to be found, but the scarecrow was very welcoming and gave our panda a special little Halloween package of treats. Then we went to Grammy and Grandpa’s to pick up the Little Panda’s sidekick, Kungfu Panda, also known as Adventure Auntie.

The Little Guy was intrigued by Kungfu Panda’s black nose.

We set out to trick-or-treat around the block, stopping at jack-o-lantern’s on the way so that our Little Panda could feed them candy. He came up with that idea all by himself. Clever little bear.

Our Little Panda loved everything about the whole evening. He wouldn’t let us skip a house and insisted on carrying his bucket of treats, which was filled to the brim, all on his own. When we got home, he dumped his loot on the floor and played with it. Then he figured out what was inside those shiny packages and had a taste. Four M&M’s and a half a Hershey’s miniature later, we had ourselves one satisfied little trick-or-treater.

The Cydermaker and I had a blast, too. Hope your holiday was as fun as ours!

P.S. I did make his costume. It is made of fleece; I didn’t use a pattern. It has its share of raw edges and goof ups, but it’s just a costume so that was just fine with me. The detached hood and paws (which I forgot to have him wear) were based on this excellent pattern. Oh, and here he is last year as a monkey:

why this blog is called apple cyder

You may have already figured this out, because I tend to call my husband the Cydermaker in this space, but I will spell it out for you just in case. The reason why this blog is called Apple Cyder is because my husband presses his own apple cyder. There you have it. Mystery revealed.

The Cydermaker’s grandparents used to own a cyder mill in our mutual hometown (where we live now) and he worked there when he was young. The mill is gone, but my husband carries on the tradition, albeit in much smaller scale, during the fall and winter months in our backyard.

I gave him the cyder press for Christmas four years ago. I could not have come up with a more self-serving gift because the cyder that he makes is simply the best tasting ever.

Our little guy agrees. We let him have the inaugural mug of the season this year and he gulped down the whole thing in no time.

Isn’t fall the best?

back from the beach

We are just back from a great week-long vacation on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. The best part of the trip was watching two cousins meet for the first time. Our little guy and Alpine Baby got along just fine. The kisses (him) and face pats (her) were plentiful. I know he is missing his little cousin as much as I am missing her mom because he giggled and grabbed for the computer monitor any time Alpine Baby’s sweet little face made an appearance as we looked over the vacation photos this morning. Sigh… Good thing my BFF and her girls will be in town tomorrow to help fill the void.

an apron for roxy and some melon for my kid

Another apron.  This one was a birthday gift for my running friend Roxy.  We met a few years ago through work, though she jumped shipped a while ago.  She now works for a college that is a lot closer to her home, though I really think she should ditch the day job and start work as a stand-up comedian.   She is a funny girl.  We still stay in touch and since we first met, she has run a gazillion road races.  (We have a plan to transform all of those road race tshirts of hers into a quilt at some point this fall.)   The main fabric used to make the apron is more Freshcut by Heather Bailey.  This time I used a little grosgrain ribbon as trim.  I’m not sure about the name of the fabric I used for the little pocket.  This was a fun little number to make.  Happy Birthday Roxy!

What’s up with the unrelated photo below?  Nothing really.  My kid likes watermelon, gets very messy while he chomps on it, and takes a mean photo.  He’s super happy because he gets to meet his little cousin Alpine Baby in two short days!

from where i sit

Sometimes when our family goes on a road trip we take my husband’s pick-up truck in lieu of my four door hatchback.  The only time we really do this is when we need extra cargo space to lug a small fishing boat, for example.  The Cydermaker’s truck is a two-door/two-seater with a small area behind the front seats that has two smaller “seats” that pull down from the side of the vehicle.  Since there is no safe way to accommodate a car seat in the “jump seat” area, the little guy gets to sit up front with dad while I squeeze into the back area.

Most would think of this as a downgrade in seating arrangements for me, but the truth is that it makes for a much smoother ride.  Smoother in the sense that, while mom is certainly less comfortable than normal, the kiddo is waaaay happier because he has a front row view of all the action.  He oohs and ahhhs at the big trucks and is entertained the entire way.  I snapped these two shots while we were sitting in traffic on the way home from a weekend in Maine.  It won’t be long before we will probably have to trade the smaller pickup for a more family friendly one, so it was nice to get a few shots that will serve as a reminder of my time in the back seat.

P.S.  Family members:  My flickr account is updated, so if you’d like to see photos of the little guy in Maine and wherever else we visited in July, click in.  (I have to designate you as “family” or “friend” so that you can view all of the family photos.  Otherwise, only a few of the shots will show up. All of the crafty stuff is public.)