Sunday, November 29, 2009

Must. Keep. Shopping.

Though I have no clue how we're going to get anything home. I am the packing queen however, the only problem is we have to be able to actually *lift* the suitcases.

Here are the promised pictures of productive knitting.
Vine and Lace Beret:

Since I took the picture yesterday this has actually been completed and is blocking as we speak.

Peaks Island Hood:

Since I took this picture yesterday I have completed a total of 22 inches. I have to get to 28 to begin the increases for the hood.

Dad's Socks:

Haven't worked on them in two days but that's okay, they're really car or airplane knitting.

Now I have to get to bed, we have another shopping marathon scheduled for tomorrow. Larry's mom could possibly out shop my mom. I'm hoping to never test that. Then again as long as I'm not paying who cares!


Thursday, November 26, 2009


Today I am grateful for family and friends. I am grateful for the people in my life who give me opportunities every day show my love and appreciation. I am grateful to have children who are growing up to be amazing people. I am grateful to my parents who have raised me to care about others and have helped me become the person I am. I am grateful to my step-parents who love my parents and who enrich my life with their love. I am grateful to Larry who puts up with my shtuss and my knitting and fiber obsession (and my heathen children.) But I am most of all grateful to the Almighty who formed me in His image and gave me the intelligence, talent and skills so that I can help create a better world.

Speaking of skills, I have had an amazing 3 days of productive knitting!

I will post pictures tomorrow. For some reason my computer is not letting me upload images today.

Tomorrow we shop.

What are you grateful for?


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Flight of Fancy

I mean to write last night. By the time I remembered Larry told me to go to bed, it was late. He was right, as usual.

The flight to Chicago was fine. Everything went smoothly from packing,

to the airport taxi, to check-in, (I love love love curbside luggage check, I love printing my own boarding pass.) to a quick line through security. Even Larry didn't seem to suffer too much anxiety, though I know he had a few rough patches.

I started a project in the terminal while waiting for our boarding call, this is how much I got done during our travels:

It's a pair of socks for dad. I'm using KnitPicks 4" sock needles. Aren't they cute?? The yarn is Dream in Color Smooshy. It's just like the name says, smooshy. It's a superwash merino and is knitting up nicely on US#2's.

We landed on time, baggage came down the chute in one piece, the shuttle to the train arrived not three minutes from stepping outside the terminal, we waited about an hour for the train which was on time and Larry's folks were waiting for us with smiles on their faces. We had a lovely evening and dinner and relaxed and caught up with family news.

Tuesday we hijacked Larry's mom, Tanya, and took the car into Wisconsin to that cheese place we had visited when I visited last spring. Yay Mars Cheese Castle!

They had EVERYTHING Wisconsin.

They're calling me to dinner. More later.


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Chicago Blogging Take Two

That is a picture of an incredible package I won from posting a comment on another blog. Larkin of The Lady Knits held a contest last month and I won! Unfortunately I did not get a picture of everything in the package before my heathen children got hold of it. Aside from the three magazines and the orange Blue Sky Alpaca Melange and the cranberry Malabrigo Merino Lace, there were some candies and cookies, and a small candy corn candle and a pencil with an orange troll like thing at the top, some orange bath salts and some amazing orange stitch markers. The contest's theme was 'Orange and Other Fall Colors,' can you tell? Thank you Larkin!!

Tomorrow we fly out to Chicago for a whole week. I'm really excited. Larry is a nervous wreck. He doesn't fly well. It's endearing in an anxious kind of way. If that makes sense. Me, I like adventure, I like to travel, see new things and meet new people. Larry is a self proclaimed cave dweller. I think the only thing making this trip possible is the fact that we'll be staying with his folks where he already has built his pseudo cave. Meanwhile I'm doing my best to curb my enthusiasm and just do what he says and avoid conflict. The man does not need any more stress.

So we had already decided not to take Rachel with us, a week with absolutely no kids, bliss. Late last week he told me how worried he was about me being away from Rachel for 8 days, the longest I've ever been away from her. He was really concerned about how I would handle it. We both know that Rachel won't even know I'm gone, she'll be having way too much fun with Bubby and Zaidy. He was worried enough to actually check flight prices for her. You didn't hear it from me but I'm thinkin' it's he who is going to miss Rachel more.

We haven't hammered out our visiting agenda yet, we figure we'll play it by ear. But I have planned my own personal down time agenda, knitting and more knitting. I'm going to make Ysolda's Peaks Island Hood for Chana. She will love it and it is knit up in heavy worsted weight on fairly large needles so it should be a pretty quick knit. I'm also taking along yarn for a hat and mittens for Nachman. For the plane I'm taking another pair of socks. Why? Because I finished my Monkey Socks!

They're mine, all mine. And soooo comfey.

So what's left for holiday knitting? I have to finish Miriam's Snapdragon Mitts, the Tam is done. Chana gets the hood/scarf thing. Nachman gets a hat and mittens from yarn he picked out. Rachel has the Cupcake Purse filled with knitted foods that I have to work on when we get back. Nosson wants an earflap hat. I have some really nice charcoal gray yarn I just haven't found a pattern I like yet. I'll take ideas, I'm open to color work but he's a teenage boy and doesn't want anything 'fussy.' I was going to try this skull pattern that I thought was really cool. He looked at it and said no way. I may make it for myself. I'd use only one row of skulls though.

I'm not knitting for Larry. The man hates socks, doesn't wear hats or scarves and only sometimes wears a sweater. Forget about it.

I'm already planning knitting and crafts for after the holidays. I'm insane. Here's a hint at what I've got in store:

Can you guess??

Tomorrow I'll blog from Chicago!


Thursday, November 19, 2009


I have to tell you this whole time changing thing knocked me flat on my arse. It's been about three weeks and I still can't fathom why it's dark at supper time. Okay, I KNOW why, I just can't convince my brain to process it. Whatever, I'll get over it, or not.

Holiday knitting is taking over my world right now. I've got something for each of the kids with two mostly finished and one going on the needles to knit while in Chicago. You've all seen the Snapdragon Tam and the Mitts to go with it. I just have to knit up the second mitt and get the finger flaps on both of them. There's also the Cupcake Purse which I'm filling with knitted and crocheted foods.

One mini cupcake down.

Meanwhile in a fit of whimsy I made this:

No, it's not a salad, it's a scarf.Yes, I have nothing better to do with my time so stop asking. I'll sell it to the highest bidder. It's 100% wool, hand wash, hand knit/crocheted, about 5' long and 6" wide and some of the yarns I dyed myself. Bidding ends December 15.

On another note, I've got three close friends who have been trying to conceive for a while now. One has had two misses. I would like to make them a 'Mommy Blanket.' I am collecting 8"x8" knit or crocheted squares from mommys and grandmothers to seam together to send to my friends. Hopefully the love and prayers from other mothers all knit into a blanket will bring them comfort and, G-d, willing their own little soul to take care of and love. If you would like to participate please email me.

We're off to Chicago next week!


Friday, October 23, 2009

For Your Viewing Pleasure

Me and my Bar Mitzvah boychick.

All of us.
My beautiful girls.

Have a great Shabbos.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

How'd I Do?

Not too bad, thank you for asking.

Didn't quite cut my food budget in half, but was within $20 of the mark.

I only filled three of those reusable bags that Giant and Safeway sell. That's a first. I own seven and almost always fill all of them.

Final grocery list looked like this:

Chicken bones
Chuck roast, small
String cheese
Pizza cheese
Sliced cheese
Gallon milk
Pizza sauce

Things I bought that were not on the list:

Eggs-we can never run out...
Panko-fancy breadcrumbs for the eggplant, impulse purchase, I know
Avacado-was on sale and vegetables are never a bad thing, I just have to remember to use them
Organic sliced cheese-I'll save my organic kosher rant for another time
Leben-not yogurt, slightly more expensive, yum
Crazins-when my kids ask for healthy snacks I can't say no

All in all I only went down two aisles, the canned goods aisle and the baking aisle. The rest of my shopping was along the perimeter of the store. Half an hour, in and out, ahhhh bliss. Leaves more time for knitting, right?

This week's recipe:

Chickpea, rice and spinach casserole

1C raw chickpeas/2C cooked chickpeas
1C raw brown rice/2C cooked brown rice
1 large onion, diced
2tsp oil
1/2 lb chopped spinach

I use my pressure cooker to make the rice and chickpeas. (Actually I use two pressure cookers, I own three. I'm already planning a 'I love my pressure cooker' blog post.) A 19 oz can of chickpeas is fine, rinse well. In large pot, or pressure cooker, saute onion in oil, add salt, pepper and garlic to taste. Add rice and 3 1/2 C water, cover and bring to pressure. Cook for 15 minutes. If not using pressure cooker, follow package directions for cooking rice. Stir in chickpeas and spinach. Serve hot. This is not only vegan but macrobiotic too. All the flavor is in the seasoning. Tons of onions and garlic are awesome. I've also added cumin for a Moroccan flavor.

I am going to rant now. Just a warning.

Before Yom Tov I bought a box of instant oatmeal. It was Quaker Maple and Brown Sugar, yum, right? Usually I use regular flavored oatmeal and we just add our own flavors, I find the packaged stuff way too sweet. So why did I buy this? Because it said 'Half the Sugar.' Let's try it, I thought. Might not be too bad. Happily I read the box before I opened it. I was suspicious, how did they get it to half the sugar and still meet most American's need for super, sickeningly sweet crap?


I am just beside myself. How is this any better? When I brought the box back to the store I took a closer look at other products in that aisle. Every product listed as 'healthier' in some way, had an artificial sweetner. I cannot express how completely full of rage, irritated, and upset I am and still keep this blog PG.

I am of the opinion that artificial sweetners are the leading cause of most health problems in America, including obesity and diabetes and depression. Pretty broad statement, I know, but it's how I feel. And I beleive in 50 years when science and the people who have been consuming this garbage, finally catches up with the FDA, on this I will be proven right. They've already proven that Nutrasweet, when consumed in quantity by pregnant women, can attach itself to the spinal cord of the fetus and cause permanent damage. What do I mean by quantity? One 2 liter bottle a day of diet soda. (While most folks don't drink that much soda they do drink coffee and tea to which they add their sweetner.)

And now that they're putting artificial sweetners in everyday food without telling you with HUGE LETTERS, who knows how much we'll be consuming. NOWHERE on that oatmeal box did it say ARTIFICIAL SWEETNER, nowhere. How did I find it? The ingredient list had sucralose listed right after caramel color.

Who is the FDA serving?

One teaspoon of sugar has 16 calories. I put three in my coffee. I drink two cups of coffee a day. That's 96 calories a day. I'll live.

I'm done ranting. Today.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Here's What I've Got So Far

(Edited for format)

Thursday dinner: Chickpea, rice and spinach casserole, don't have to buy a thing.

Friday/Shabbos dinner: Challah, Matzah ball soup, Chicken, broccoli, potato kugel, carrot kugel, chocolate chip cookies, apple cake. I need flour, chicken bones and a chicken.

Shabbos lunch: Challah, cholent, salad, kugels, cookies & cake. I need cholent meat and salad veggies.

Melave Malka: Pizza and board games with the kids. I need pizza sauce and pizza cheese

Sunday brunch: French toast from leftover challah. Don't have to buy a thing.

Sunday dinner: We will probably be at Renn Faire so I will pack tuna and PB&J sandwiches
I need potato chips, bread, and a few snack treats to nosh on during the day. We will buy drinks there.

Monday dinner: Eggplant parmesean, salad. I will set aside a bit of cheese from the pizza, otherwise don't have to buy a thing.

Tuesday dinner: Cheesy polenta, fried onions, eggs over easy or scrambled. Don't have to buy a thing.

Wednesday dinner: Leftover night and sometimes pasta, depends on what's got to be eaten

Shopping list:

lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, grapes, mushrooms, dill, baby carrots, celery

chicken bones, chicken, chuck roast

pizza cheese, parmesean cheese, milk, string cheese, yogurts, sliced cheese

Non perishables:
potato chips, bread, maybe another snack or two that transports easily

That's what I've got. How about you?

Now for the fun stuff. I've got one mitt mostly done. I have to knit on the flip top. These will go with the Snapdragon Tam.

Now I have to actually get something done today.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Challenge

Yom Tov is over even though the Sukkah is still standing. We didn't get it down before the rain hit us. Yesterday was the first full day without rain, today it is supposed to be sunny and in the 70's. Tomorrow is supposed to be the same. Everything should be dry by then, so tomorrow we raize the Sukkah. Raize, reminds me of Clinton and his whole 'it takes a village to raise a child.' I used to say, "It takes my children to raize a village." I crack myself up.

So here's the challenge, it's called 'Pantry Shopping.' For the next two weeks I am challenging myself to live from my pantry, freezer and fridge. My goal is to cut my grocery budget in half by planning meals from what I already have. Can she do it? 'Yes she can!' Wednesday is my day to make my meal plans and shopping list. I also usually rummage around in the fridge and get rid of Shabbos leftovers and the like. So, tomorrow I will give you all my menu for the week and my proposed shopping list. As always ideas are welcome and everyone is invited to join the fun. Leave me a comment and let me know how you're doing.

Okay, business done, now for the fun. You have to see this. I made it Sunday.

It's for Rachel for Channukah. If I have time I'm going to fill it with crocheted sweets like ice cream cones, cookies and donuts. If I don't have time I'm going to the dollar store for pony tail holders, barretts and the like.

I'm off to do some laundry and of course more knitting.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Chicago Again

My four older children will be with their father this year for Thanksgiving. For a while it looked like it was just going to be Rachel, Larry and I at mom's for turkey. Until Larry's brother called. He's got the whole week off and invited us to come to Chicago. So after much discussion, about five minutes, and much angst, more than five minutes, for my mother who won't have her kids or grandkids this year we decided to go to Chicago and gift my mother with Rachel for the week.

Clever solution no? I love my mom.

While the prospect of November in Chicago does not really appeal to me, I am excited to go and see the Windy City again and visit my brother. Larry's family is very nice and his brother is pretty cool. We should have a grand time. We're going for 8 days, not the 4 we had last time. Plenty of time to visit family, friends and yarn shops. Plus I've got a little over a month to plan as opposed to two weeks like last spring.

What am I knitting you ask? Tons of stuff. I'm on a Ysolda Teague kick right now spurred on by one of the ladies I talk with in a Ravelry group I belong to. Last week I knitted up her Snapdragon Tam in a yarn I dyed myself.

I love the way the cables wander over the hat and the flames just shoot out of the junction of crossing cables. It is a very well written and designed pattern.

I started on the flip top mitts that go with the tam this week. These will be a Channuka gift for someone who likes orange. I also started another pattern of hers, Ishbel. It's a lovely little shawl that I'm knitting with the yarn leftover from my 'Those Purple Socks.'

It's a quick knit, or would be if I hadn't made a counting mistake causing much cursing and frogging. I had to rip back to where the lace begins. It's irritating because the lace is an easy pattern and it's organic, it grows in an obvious way from each row. I wouldn't have made the mistake if I'd been paying attention to the previous row.

I'm almost done with my Monkey Socks. Just the foot and toe of the second sock to go. These will also be a Channuka gift.


Monday, October 5, 2009

Up and Down

It's been an up and down last two weeks. Had a lot of fun. Had a lot of stress. Shepped a lot of nachas.Weird face on the Bar Mitzvah boy. I'll put up a better picture when I get them.Me, three of my children and a friend and her baby. That's baby Eden of the Eden's Bonnet fame. I can't stop knitting for her. I made her a sweater using the 5 Hour Baby Sweater pattern. Took me a little over 6 hours so it's about a close to instant gratification as you get.
I've got a head cold. I'll write more later.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Dear G-d

Dear G-d,

Your sense of humor is not appreciated. Hiding the lid to my coffee grinder behind the knife block and making me think it fell behind the refrigerator was just not kosher. Having to move the fridge twice because I trapped a cat behind it was just untenable.

I'm sure you're aware that after shul on Shabbos I've got close to 30 people coming over for lunch. I still have a ton of cooking to do and even more cleaning. At this point I need your help not your practical jokes. I know it was you who moved the coffee, made me search the kitchen for 5 minutes while you put it back where I had set it.

Thirteen years ago, yesterday, I had my third child smack dab in the middle of the busiest time of the year. I know that was your doing. The whole pregnancy was one of your practical jokes really. I found out I was pregnant during one of the worst snow storms Baltimore had seen in years. I was stuck in a tiny apartment with morning sickness and two toddlers for days. I was sure I had strep throat but couldn't get to a doctor for a test. I finally called my midwife who, after a series of questions on the phone decided I needed antibiotics and she called in the prescription. It took another 24 hours for me to get hold of the pills and by then I couldn't swallow a thing. I almost dehydrated.

In my eighth month we moved into a larger apartment. In August. In August in Baltimore. Miriam had just turned 3 and Chana was 16 months. Did I mention it was August? My midwife decided I needed to be on bedrest. Now really G-d, was that necessary? I had to unpack and cook for Rosh HaShana. I had two toddlers to take care of and the laundry was down two flights.

About the only thing that went smoothly was my labor and delivery. It went so quickly that I almost had him in the parking lot of the hospital. It went so quickly that my midwife was still putting her gloves on while I caught his head.

So G-d, I would appreciate it if you would refrain from any more practical jokes until after Shabbos. Thank you.

Your servant,

Monday, September 14, 2009

Photo Op

Spent a lovely day at Renn Faire yesterday. Could not have asked for better weather! Gotta love Rachel, she'll never miss a photo op.

Face painting for the princess? Something in pink please. Oh, and make it a butterfly.

Wait! Pony ride too, every princess needs a pony!

"I'll never be your beast of burden..." Ummm, can I take that back? Gotta love a man who'll tote a five year old around, especially one that's not his, and one that proclaims she doesn't like him.
Next year we'll all be in garb. This year was a tough one and I didn't get my sewing machines out. Plus I've been on a yarn kick not a fabric kick. Not sure which is more expensive really, yarn or fabric. I will have to do a comparison one day. Hmmm...

Got little knitting done this weekend. Ah, well.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

So, You Ask

Why didn't I write yesterday after adamantly proclaiming I was going to start writing every day to rebuild my writing habit?

I was busy. Really.

Today was the deadline for numbers to get to the accountant for the fellow I work for.

I do have some good news. Remember when I said in about a week I was going to start walking at 7:00 so we didn't have to drag HRH with us? Well we decided to start yesterday. We walked our normal route and what took us almost 40 minutes with a five year old took us a little over 20 without her.

After that I sat at my computer most of the day arguing with Quick Books and fighting with a slow connection to the server so I could get stuff done. I didn't get up until right before dinner time. I made dinner, cleaned up from dinner, bathed a 5 year old, put a 5 year old to bed and sat back down at my computer. We had everything as cleaned up as it was going to get at about 9:00 last night and off it went this morning to the accountant. I hate doing shoddy work but there was a lot to go through. I did my best in the time allotted.

Larry and I watched Devil's Advocate last night. Creepy movie. Fun but creepy.

We walked again today. Two days in a row. And I spent money today. Not on fun stuff. I bought paper goods for the Bar Mitzvah at BJ's then I went to the market and bought all my meats for Rosh HaShana and the Bar Mitzvah.

I wanna buy yarn not chicken!

This weeks recipe:

Yakira's Challah

7+ C flour
2 1/4 C warm water
2 packets yeast
1/2 C sugar
2 Tbs salt
3 eggs
1/4 C oil

I use my stand mixer for this recipe. My mixer has a 4qt. bowl. Pour yeast sugar and water into bowl. Let sit for a minute or three while it bubbles. Add 6 C flour, salt, eggs and oil. Turn mixer on low. Slowly add 7th C flour. Keep more ready in case the dough needs more flour. Depending on humidity you may need to add up to a whole C of flour. The dough will be sticky but will hold it's shape. Let the mixer run on low for about 4 minutes to knead the dough. Move dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a towel to rise for about 2 hours. Divide in thirds and braid loaves. Let rise another half hour. Brush with egg and sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Habits Revisited

It's been 7 weeks today since I hurt my shoulder. They said it would take 6 to 8 weeks to heal. They were right. Who'd a thunk it? I still have a twinge now and again when I move my arm in certain directions but other than that I'm really doing well. I've started doing some upper body strengthening and am now walking every day for half an hour with my neighbor. We take HRH with us so we're not out for speed yet as she walks at a snail's pace. I'm hoping in the next week to move our walking time to 7:00 so I can sneak out before Rachel and Larry are awake. My neighbor and I haven't decided yet what we'll do when the weather goes south but hopefully by then the habit of walking every day will be established and we'll keep moving. Hopefully.

Speaking of habits, I've been really terrible with my writing habit. I think it's time to reestablish my writing goals and just get writing. I will start writing every day again.

I've done a lot of knitting in the last few weeks. Some good, some I'm not going to talk about.

Remember the knitted purse? I finally sewed it up today and got it on a giant pickle jar blocking. It's a giant CLEAN pickle jar mind you. Inigo is inspecting my work. I put in a flexible blocking wire to give the points more definition. I have to make a drawstring and a lining and it's done. I hope it doesn't take me another two months to get to that. This is going to be a Channukah gift so I really do want to finish it before then.
I also finished one half of a pair of socks for a Channuka gift. I got the second one cast on before I got bit with Second Sock Syndrome. Phew...
I am making myself another bag. It's a French Market Bag, knitted then felted(fulled.) I'm making it with Noro Iro. It's not my first choice for this yarn as it's expensive and has silk in it that won't felt well but I've had the yarn in my stash for over a year, I don't have enough to make a garment for myself, and I love the colors. So I might as well use it and make something I'll love and use often, no? As for the silk not felting, I'm not too worried. The bag is knitting up into a nice tight fabric and will be pretty sturdy with only a little fulling. However what I didn't take into account is the size. It's going to be larger simply because it won't shrink as much during it's round in the washing machine. But that's okay, everyone needs a large bag in which to carry things.

AND after the success of my knitted purse, above, I decided to have a go at knitting a larger lace project. It's a Revontuli shawl. Yes, the link takes you to a blog in Finnish. Eat your hearts out Kim and Jason. Revontuli in Finnish means Northern Lights. I'm knitting this up with Noro Kureyon Sock. I still think it looks like cat vomit but other experienced lace knitters keep telling me that it looks like it's supposed to, just keep knitting. The blocking will cure everything they tell me. The jury is still out but I'll take that first step in faith, thank you Dr. MLK Jr. This too will probably end up as a Channukah gift as I can't ever see myself wearing it and with kids and cats in the house, using as a lap shawl and leaving it on the sofa is completely out.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Size and Scope

I'm feeling much better now. A huge relatively pain free hug to all my well wishers. Thank you.

Having spent two weeks with only one functional arm, that being my left and me being right handed, and then another week and a half with fairly limited use of said right arm, I learned a few things. Some of the things I learned were akin to the lessons I learned when I was busy having babies and taking care of toddlers; prioritization, lowering expectations, dealing with what is and not what I want it to be. And some things I learned were new; prioritization, lowering expectations, dealing with what is and not what I want it to be, and it's not as bad as I think it is, really.

I call it the Shrinky Dink theory. As a child I would take that magical polystyrene sheet and color and cut and bake and watch it shrink about 35%. I would stare through the oven window and watch it go through bizarre contortions as it writhed on the cookie sheet. There was always this fear that it would fold over on itself and be ruined forever. And sometimes it would require a second baking with a metal spatula pressing down on it to remove the last of the wrinkles. Oh, the anticipation, the awe, the agony! Finally the contortions would stop. Our shrunken piece of plastic could be attached to the key ring, neclace or zipper pull for which is was destined.

And so, it's not as bad as I think it is, really. It only took me a few days to get the kitchen back to normal and the laundry caught up. A few minutes of straightening up and a good sweeping and everything was back to it's relatively neat normal.

During my convalesence I spent time going through my stash (yarn weighs next to nothing,) organizing my patterns (binder and page protectors, and some .pdf files on the computer,) and putting my queue of holiday gifts together on Ravelry. I was able to do some knitting provided I only moved my wrist. A good thing too because I needed those endorphins!

I also read some books that I had aquired and wanted to look at. One of them was a cookbook on canning and preserving food. This is a skill that I wanted to learn one day. I decided that this was the figurtive day. The local fruit stands are selling peaches, cherries, plums, apricots, blueberries, strawberries and every other summer fruit at very reasonable prices. June Cleaver I am not, but I made a yummy mango raspberry jam and a cherry orange marmalade, both of which went into jars and into a water bath yesterday. Tomorrow I am going to make apple pie filling and peach butter. I would publish pictures but my oldest took my camera to document the last week of summer camp and her horrible five year old male charges. Also on my list is cherry berry jam, the berries being blue and straw, and apple butter. Yum.

Well at least I'll have a default Channuka gift if I don't get my knitting done.

Yay me.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Just an update. I probably won't be writing for a few days. In the spirit of no good deed goes unpunished, in the process of doing some volunteer work for Girl Scouts I did something to my shoulder. I either sprained it badly, tore the ligaments, or tore my rotator cuff in my right shoulder. The x-ray showed that there was nothing wrong with my bones so I need an MRI and have to see an orthopedic specialist. Meanwhile percocet is your friend.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Nothing beats fresh green beans! We harvested about three times this. We were eating them right off the vine. These are the only three that made it into the kitchen.

Yummy scallions. This is the last of that patch. I will trim these and throw them in omelets or something. If I don't eat them first. I've got one more harvest from the loose leaf lettuce and I'll dig that bed up and plant beets and collard greens.

Our fist zucchini! There are two more green ones that will be ready in a day or two. There are also three yellow ones that will be ready in two or three days. The acorn and spaghetti squash vines have started flowering and I expect to see fruit growing on those vines soon.

Look how well two of the tomato plants are doing. One vine has at least 4 tomatoes and the other has 5 that I could see with plenty more flowers on both. Amazing how well they do when planted next to the compost pile.

My only real disappointment is my romaine lettuce. It is supposed to form heads. It didn't. They decided to bolt. I think they got too much sun, because it hasn't been that hot yet here in Baltimore. Next year I will plant the romaine in a shadier spot in the garden. Truth is it's not too late to try that now. I will have to think about that. Meanwhile I am going to dig them up, salvage the leaves that aren't too bitter and harvest the rest of the loose leaf lettuce next to them.
This week's recipe is Mushroom Barley Soup.

1lb white mushrooms, sliced
1lb baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 large onion, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 C barley
8 C vegetable broth, I like Trader Joe's
2Tbs olive oil
2Tbs butter
Salt and pepper to taste

In large soup kettle or stock pot saute onions and garlic in olive oil and butter until clear. Add mushrooms and cook for about 10 minutes or until mushrooms are cooked through. Pour in broth, add carrots and barley. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Stir occasionally and season to taste. I like to add a pinch of fresh chopped dill right before serving.

Soup in the summer you say? Try it, it's refreshingly light. This recipe is good for the crock pot too. I would suggest sauteing the onions and mushrooms first though.

Heading to the basement now. If you don't hear from me tomorrow, send a search team.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Playing Tourist

Okay, so maybe his parents don't think I'm certifiable. We had a blast, and I was having too much fun to drag my knitting out. The funny thing is I shlepped it with me, I had a sock and a scarf in my little canvas bag. I tucked my wallet, phone and keys inside and off we went. I didn't pull it out once. Weird, I know.

And yes, that is the Stellar Bamboo Lace Scarf on the right. I did a few more inches and had too many mistakes to keep going. I frogged it and started over. It's a quick and easy knit so I'm not worried about finishing it.

The left is a sock I started a month ago, almost finished it and then frogged it. It's my first attempt at a toe-up sock. I realized a few weeks later that I had made a mistake on the heel wraps. I couldn't understand why I had to YO while I was bringing the old YO and stitch pairs back into the sock. It didn't make sense to increase stitches while I was trying to decrease. Had I read the pattern all the way through... And so, I didn't follow the advice of another knitter. At any rate I kept going and almost got to the cuff (it was supposed to be a knee-high) when I realized that I had forgot to increase needle size (twice) in the lace pattern to accomodate my chunky calves. And neither of my older daughters have stick-like calves so I couldn't even give the finished socks to them.

Larry and I were watching some show about alternate and parallel universes on the History Channel when I started ripping the sock. He stared dumbfounded as I tucked the toe of the sock under my hip and started winding it back into a ball. I told him my alternate, and evil self made me do it. I just happen to agree with the advice of Grumperina and her five favorite techniques. As funny as it sounds, unabashed ripping can feel good. I know when I start that pattern again, or find a different pattern for that yarn that it will turn out better than expected.

So what did we do in the lovey city of Baltimore with Larry's folks? We wandered around Inner Harbor and then took the Water Taxi to Fort McHenry. For those of you who don't know Fort McHenry is where Francis Scott Key wrote the National Anthem.

We got lucky on our timing too. It was a fee free weekend and we could not have ordered better weather!

I think the really exciting part was the fact that they had reenactors in the uniforms of soldiers of the war of 1812. I love that geeky kind of stuff. They even fired the cannons, well one anyway.

Only two of my kids came with us. After looking at the pictures the other three wish they had come too.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Visitors From the Windy City

Larry's folks arrive today. We're picking them up at the airport this afternoon. So of course we spent the last two days cleaning like mad. Housework is not my forte. I keep telling Larry I want my own housecleaning slave. His response is, "Yeah, I'll get right on that." Then he tells me, "It's not that you're bad at housework, you're really good as a matter of fact. You just don't do it often enough." I'm still trying to sort that one out. Anyway, the first floor is neat and tidy, and the upstairs bathroom is clean. We will shut the bedrooms' and basement doors.

Which brings me to my next project, the basement. I've got a Bar Mitzvah coming up this fall and I need to have a place to put people. On top of that I just want my living room back. Right now it's the office, playroom and TV central. I've been in the house three years and the only thing I've used the basement for is storage. Which is a shame because it's a nice sized, finished room. There is this path from the stairs to the laundry room, which reminds me of my bedroom growing up. Nuff said.

My goal is to turn the basement into a nice place to hang out. I want to bring the computers down there and set up an office space. I want to bring the TV and video game stuff down there too. There is a large area covered in linoleum. I want to set that up for crafts. It would be nice to have a dedicated area in this house for crafts and sewing. It would also be nice to have a place to play boardgames. So, for the sake of accountability I am going to document my progress here.

I started this Reversible cable and eyelet scarf from Luxury One Skein Wonders. I am less than thrilled. Usually cables aren't reversible, but they make the cables out of a 1x1 rib. Rather clever I thought, but at least to my eyes, not quite what I thought it would be. Now you should know that I did not use the yarn they suggested so that could play into it, but I'm still not impressed. Just for grins I did a few more inches and two more cable twists. Meh. I frogged it.

Instead I started the Stellar Bamboo Lace Scarf, from the same book. Again, I'm not using the yarn called for, and I added an extra repeat in the lace pattern. I'm liking this a lot more.

I wanted these pictures horizontal. I've no clue why Blogger turned them vertical. Blech.

Okay, quick run to the grocery store and off to the airport. Rachel has a date with Bubby to go swimming this afternoon, she'll be here in a few minutes to pick HRH up. And this evening Larry's folks are taking us out to dinner.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Knitting With Kittens

That's MY yarn. Do you see how they're looking at me??

They're on crack.

Here are some new pictures of the garden. It's growing wonderfully. I can't wait to harvest! I'm already planning next year's garden. I should write a book, Gardening with ADD, or Learn to Wait Darnit!

So here is my squash bed. Back row is yellow and green zucchini. Two center mounds are spaghetti squash and the front three mounds are acorn squash.

Here is the lettuce and onion bed. The Romaine is forming nice heads. We've already had at least four harvests of the leaf lettuce. It's almost expired. Once the leaf lettuce and scallions on the left are done I will plant beets on that side of the plot.

This is one of the items I made from the yarn I purchased from Wendy Bernard of Knit and Tonic when she was having her grand destashing sale. The Rowan Damask in colorway Molasses, oh lovely green and gold/brown is a rayon, linen, acrylic blend. It is a It's a shame it's discontinued, it's a lovely yarn to work with. I still have 8 complete balls to work with, about 920 yards. I could make a lovely shawl, or a scarf or two, or a shell/tank top.... What to do, what to do.

The pattern is from Knitting Little Luxuries. It's a pretty little drawstring purse. I have some pale teal silk I dyed a few years ago that I will use to line the purse. It's about 6"x9". It's also my first attempt at lace. Not too shabby I say.

I also made a bonnet for Eden, my friend's new baby. She is adorable, and I don't often say that about newborns. This is the first time I've ever crocheted anything other than granny squares. Yay me.

There are a bunch more items going on needles in the next few weeks. However, I'm in a quandary. I want to show off my work but some of what I'm knitting are going to be holiday gifts. So here is what I'm going to do, I'm going to show the items, and talk about them but I'm not going to say if it's a gift, and I'm certainly not going to say for whom I'm making it.

Now about the The Scarlet Letter contest. My pattern is lovely but I think I overestimated my willingness to knit a garment in fingering weight yarn. To the non-knitters who read this blog, I'm knitting angel hair pasta on toothpicks. I like the pattern I've designed so I'm going to keep it but use a heavier yarn. Meanwhile I'm going to start over with my TSL pattern. I think I will go for fingerless gloves instead of a full hood with short cape attached. There are still a few weeks left so we will see.