Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Buzzing

Last week was very busy with a Christmas dinner, a youth group meeting, a Cantata and a Homeschool Parent night for our co-op. Whew! It was fun, but I'm glad all those things are checked off and done.

Sumo thong: machine felted and stretched over a box.

Between piano lessons, math and language arts, buying and cooking food for 90 women, I did manage to squeeze in another step for my mom's gift - felting. And after a trip to a local yarn store to check my knitting pattern (I was doing something wrong and couldn't figure out what. Thankfully they were a great help!), I ripped out what I had begun and restarted the next step.

We also had a moment of quiet to enjoy some cookie-making with the kids. I was thankful that this year's dough event went smoothly, and everyone enjoyed themselves.

In past years, I either:
a. made the cookies myself
b. didn't make cookies
c. ended up in a foul mood while making cookies

You know... having to listen to bickering about who gets the rolling pin first, which cookie cutter is better, 'he made more than I did', etc etc etc. Sort of squelches the festive mood!

This year there was none of that! We only made 1 type ~ Cocoa Spice ~ our favorite. Sometimes we decorate them with marbled icing but mostly they remain simple and unadorned. Their appeal is more their taste than their prettiness. Very good with coffee. Full and spicy!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Sumo Thong?

I started a Christmas project during the springtime for my mom. I can't tell you what it is because that would give away the surprise. But I can share with you a step in the process: I knit the first portion and stitched it together. Oddly enough it reminded me of something.

Part of a sumo wrestler's outfit?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Need for a Hand Model


I finished my first pair of fingerless mitts using double-pointed needles! The first one took me many many hours to complete. I had to get accustomed to holding the needles and making sure my 'corners' were nice and tight. It was ridiculously slow. But the second one was so easy I wondered why it had taken me so long to even attempt dpns. Now that it's done, I'll be making a second pair for me and then a pair for my daughter with some size adjustments.


I do have to say however, where are the hand models with the beautiful photogenic hands? You know... the ones used for Palmolive ads? Or the ones showing off diamond rings? My hands are slightly wide, need a good dose of lotion (my kids say I have 'snake skin' hands), and I've never liked my fingernails, so don't look at that part of the photo, okay? I knit a 2/2 rib on size 7 dpns with half a skein of Berroco Ultra Alpaca in #6275 "Pea Soup Mix". Apropos name, I think.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Knitting Bug


My daughter has caught the knitting bug, but unfortunately her ability is behind her good intentions. However, she has just mastered purling. I told her that now a whole new world has opened up to her. We recently visited a yarn shop and purchased several hanks or skeins of various colors for some Christmas projects she has in mind. Hopefully they'll be finished in time or else a little knitting elf (or in my case a large elf) will be helping her along.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Snow Day!

We woke early this morning to this:

Yippee! No homeschooling today. No sirree!

The first snowfall of the season (in this part of the world). It's barely three inches, but the kids wolfed down breakfast, donned themselves in full anti-snow apparel and stayed out 'til lunch.

Grilled cheese sandwiches!

Then after warming and drying their snow gear, wolfing down their lunches and using the bathroom BEFORE redressing, they returned to a 2nd round of snow play and I was left to:

... Trying my 1st attempt at knitting in the round using double-pointed needles. It will hopefully be a pair of fingerless mitts.

...Using my swift to wind the recycled sweater yarn. I bought a thrift store sweater over a year ago, unraveled it while watching LOST season 1 on dvd, tied it off so that the yarn would not get tangled and let it wait in a pile (with many other yarn balls from recycled sweaters) 'til it could get a proper washing. Needless to say, it sat and sat and sat. Until a few days ago when I gently handwashed it, let it drip dry over my tub and wound it into a usable ball of 'new' yarn. Now, what to do with it...

...Cleaning the house a bit.

...Listening to Beethoven for my composer class.

...Chopping veggies and onions for Moroccan Lentil Soup for dinner from this cookbook.

...Admiring our almost-finished kitchen. Notice the pantry still needs doors and the molding needs touch-up painting.

...Hoping for another snow day soon.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Re-connecting


I had two nice surprises recently. A call from a friend I haven't seen in a year and an email from a long-lost friend I haven't seen in ? years. Can't quite remember. That's how long it's been. Unfortunately.

But oh, the beauty (at least in this case) of the internet! I've searched from time to time for this friend of mine, and last night, decided I'd give it another stab. She's been on my mind for the past few years. Actually, she never left, but her memories were fading, weaving in and out of the grind of daily life.

Now I just have an enormous giddy smile on my face. I feel it's the beginning of a possible new and welcomed season in our lives. At least in mine. And I think in hers too.

Monday, October 22, 2007

A Walk in the Woods







Yesterday we took a walk in a nearby park. I realized that we must do this more often. It was a small park with some hiking/walking trails, and it was wooded! It had trees! Something I've missed since our move. The weather was perfect: breezy, sunny, no humidity. The kids traipsed through the very-dry stream, jumping or hopping from rock to rock, collecting fossils and stirring up the muck in the bottom of the riverbed. I could have spent hours searching, with head bent, for those bits and pieces of fossils. Fascinating.

It was just so good to be outdoors and breathing in fresh air and not sweating. We found a hollowed-out tree - very Lord of the Ringish. Can't you just imagine Arwen or Frodo hiding in there?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Rain

It's been raining on and off for the past few days. I actually like it now; we so much needed it. Our grass is brown and the leaves are curled from lack of rain. Don't know if the lack of rain has anything to do with lack of vibrancy of changing leaves this year. Or perhaps this area of the country just has a later and different type of autumn.

Either way, I do appreciate the rain; it makes everything glisten and glow a bit more.

And the color of the sky is more than just gray; if you look carefully, it has bits of blue and aqua in it too.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

A Blur


Do you ever feel that your life is like a blur?

Mine does. Many times. The past few weeks meld together with this week, and I find it difficult to distinguish one week from another. I forget the day we're participating in... sometimes I forget to participate in it, enjoy it. Sometimes things are very clear and focused, and I can get a lot done, feel satisfied. And then there are other days when I feel that I'm both doing and watching someone else be me - it's surreal. Then of course there are other days that I end up so busy that I'm not really accomplishing anything.


But enough of that moping...


What we have been doing the past few weeks:
Trying to stay sane while schooling, schooling while not sane, visiting a corn maze, picking pumpkins, replacing windows in the house, attempting to reorganize, enjoying (finally) this cooler weather, piano lessons, co-op classes, not following recipes and being surprised with the results, (not necessarily good surprises, mind you)... the list goes on.

Mystery Cards Giveaway (look below) is closed. Although I only received 2 comments, I managed to give all the cards away (that was my intent wasn't it?). So, if you've left a comment, you will get a pack of cards in the mail (sorry for the delay)... just leave your name & where you'd like it sent.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Mystery Cards Giveaway

No, it's not my 100th post and no, it's not my blog's 1 yr anniversary. It's cleaning out time. Yes, I admit that it is a little odd right now to 'clean out' being that we're entering fall and not spring, but I say... no better time than the present. (As a queen of procrastinators, do I really say that?)

Anyway, I thought I'd start small and give a few cards from my card collection away. I've always had a penchant for paper and have collected cards throughout the years. Some with the intention of actually using and some with the sole purpose of collecting. Every once in a while I'd take them out to admire them, place them in new piles, shove them back in their containers and return them to their shelf or under-bed storage. A few days ago, I took them out, looked at them yet again and realized:

a. my tastes have changed
b. I have too much 'stuff'
c. maybe someone else could actually use them?

So, if you'd like a mystery cards packet
(think Let's Make a Deal's mystery curtains)
send me a comment. I'll keep the giveaway open a few days and then pull names out of a hat. I have 10 packets to give away, each with roughly 10-12 cards in them. Have fun!

P.S. - There are no inappropriate cards - don't worry.

P.P.S. - Sorry the pictures are so gloomy. It's raining here today, which in many many ways is a good thing (we've needed the rain), but it's not so good for photographs.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Goodies & Bananas

Some goodies that came in the mail:


:: fabric scraps from my Scrap Swap partner

Thank you, Jen!


:: a subscription to Victoria and a copy of this book. Thanks, Mom!


Some things I made from brown bananas:

Banana Oat Chocolate Chip Muffins from Foster's Market Cookbook

Or should I say I attempted to make? For some reason (blame it on my husband talking to me or perhaps my own forgetfulness of recent?) I completely forgot to add the 3 sticks of butter (don't gasp - I doubled the quantities of everything) to the recipe. The 3 sticks, which dutifully melted in the microwave, sat in the microwave untouched while the muffins gleefully baked in the hot oven. The recipe tasted good, but was a little dry. I'll try it again but will have to give the muffins my undivided attention next time. The recipe was from Foster's Market Cookbook.

Bananas Foster

I also made Bananas Foster (hmmm... do I detect a theme?) and served it over ice cream. This batch didn't have any rum in it. I was too lazy to add it in and ignite it. My family enjoyed it nonetheless, and it was gone in one sitting, bowls licked clean.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Do Not Disturb


Until 8 years ago, I had never really heard of Weetabix, believe it or not. I suppose it's just not as 'American' as Fruit Loops (ugh). It was our friends from New Zealand who turned us (me, at least) onto this wonderful cereal, full of vitamins & minerals & fiber. It was also our New Zealand friends who described the method of eating Weetabix. According to them, all children, pets, phone calls, doorbells and other responsibilities need to be quieted or put away/go away. Put into bowl, 2 or 3 biscuits of Weetabix. Then with spoon ready in one hand, carefully pour the desired amount of milk into the bowl. (Not with 'American-style' milk mind you, which is "like water", but 'Kiwi-style' milk which apparently is like heavy cream.) Then break up and eat immediately. Do not look to the right or the left, do not wait to ponder, but eat lest it get soggy.

Well, I have adopted this method hence the cereal with no milk. Didn't want to waste precious time with photography while my Weetabix got soggy. I added craisins and nuts this morning ... a cup of coffee ... ahhh... just do not disturb.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Autumn

Happy 1st Day of Fall! 2 Days Early!

Living in New England for the past 16 years has made me really appreciate Autumn. I've always enjoyed this time of year. Definitely my favorite season.

I suppose it's the cooler weather, the crispness to the mornings and evenings, the apples, the pumpkins, the warm cider, the necessity for sweaters, the change in the leaves: from greens to glorious golds, reds, oranges, mustards. Wonderful.

Moving to the Midwest last year has not afforded me the same type of Autumn. Today for instance, it reached into the 80s. Not exactly Fall weather in my book. But, I'm hopeful. Last week the weather cooperated, and we could sleep with the windows wide open. I'm sure this hotter weather will soon be something of the past and my favorite season will begin.

Today, the kids finished their Viking ships for class. I burned several fingers in the process while hot-gluing the ships together. The kids however, were fine.

They made what is known as Drakkar boats (warships).

For some odd reason (ha!) the boys wanted to make these and not Knaar boats (cargo vessels). Hmmm... go figure!


Note added: Yes, like an idiot, I posted this 2 days early. Autumn really begins on Sunday. Oops!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Trying

I'm still attempting to return to a rhythm:
of school, of chores, of piano, of reading, of crafting, of writing, of blogging...

Things that I want to add to the rhythm: photography, baking, soup-making, deep breaths, knitting, tag-sales, dates with my husband, more deep breaths, letters, one-on-one time with my children, dreaming about next year's garden, listening to music, family time... (the list is endless).

Things that I need to add to the rhythm: organizing, cleaning, finishing the kitchen, meal-planning... all those things that are not necessarily fun but could bring the want list to fruition?

Trying to save some basil for the long winter ahead.

Today was busy and time was short. My husband is sick with a head cold. The kids were inundated with lessons and I was getting 4 Viking ships ready and listening to lots of Baroque music for my homeschool classes tomorrow, so I made a comfort-food dish tonight: shepherd's pie.

This one has ground beef and 'dump spices' (aka LOTS of herbs and spices thrown in for taste with no measuring at all).