Friday, August 31, 2012

{ This Moment }

Joining Amanda Soule of Soulemama, for a Friday ritual. A single photograph from the week, a moment I wish to pause, savor and remember.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Yarn Along

shawl complete

pebble vest for nephew

hat for nephew

what i have been reading

who i have been reading to
I have to admit I am completely happy (over the moon really) with my shawl. I have not actually knitted anything for myself yet, and I just love this. I am just itching to have the right weather to wear it. The colors striped so well, going from larger blocks of colors to thinner stripes of colors at the end. It reminds me of fall in Maine, so I am calling it my Autumn in Maine shawl. :)

I am almost finished with the pebble vest for my soon to be nephew. It was so much fun to knit and I learned what SSK meant! Now all I have left to do is learn how to do the kitchener stitch to close up the one shoulder. I am going to do that with the hat as well. I am calling the hat a itty bitty kitty hat. LOL  I hope to get to Tempe Yarn and Fiber on Friday so they can show me how to do it.

My next project is to make a big version on the pebble vest for Fiona. I am planning on using the Panda silk yarn. It is in a DK, but I am hoping using two strands and increasing the cast on and the length will make it big enough for her. My plan is to use the green and add in the pink and the blue (that I made into a vest for my nephew, but I am going to rip it and reuse the yarn) alternately. If I have enough yarn I will make a hat for her as well. I am also going to tackle the knitting of two socks at once. I found a tutorial for it. I am really excited about those as well. I have a weakness for baby items, they knit up so quickly! LOL

I really haven't been reading much. I did get a voice recording of Walden which I have listened to while I knit at night when the house is finally quiet. Otherwise I am reading Fiona "Each Peach Pear Plum", a Barefoot book of nursery rhymes, "Grandfather Twilight", and "Piggies" about 100 times a day. She just loves her books. That is why I put them in a wee basket for her to carry around. LOL

Oh quick question: where to get sweet wooden wee tiny buttons??

Joining Ginny for the weekly Wednesday Yarn Along!

Done with summer

I am so totally over this whole summer thing. Here it is the end of August and it is 109 degrees out. My brain is refusing to believe that fall is not just around the corner, but literally MONTHS away. I have these overwhelming urges to knit with wool, bake things, and make hearty meals like spicy corn and potato chowder.

While a large group of my friends are all starting the "Whole30" diet, I am eating double chocolate peanutbutter bar cookies, because dang it fall is coming!!! I am going to need that extra layer of chub to make it through the cold, dark winter. Maybe it was my youth growing up in the northwest, or that almost two years in Maine (two whole winters!!), or the fact that my ancestry is from northern climates... but I am just biologically programmed for fall. It is my most favorite season, and although I truly feel blessed to be back in Arizona, and when everyone else is up to their armpits in snow I will be tending a lovely garden with a light hoodie on... still I wish I could have a full on, in your face, kick butt Autumn.

But since that can't happen, I guess I will just continue to make cookie bars and knit with wool and have my air conditioning on for another 3 months.

~ Recipe Tuesday ~

I love granola. I love it with yogurt and fruit, I love it sprinkled on top of vanilla ice cream, I love it with milk. But, dang if it isn't really expensive. I have trolled the internet looking and looking at recipes. It isn't really that hard to make. I mean you need oats, some nuts, maybe dried fruit, some sort of fat, some sort of moisture, some kind of sweetener, and maybe flour of some kind.
My biggest issue with making granola is I tend to over cook it. So you end up with this sorta nasty burned taste which, well, isn't nice for breakfast.
I really liked Soulemama's recipe for granola, but I don't always have all those nuts at home at once. So I came up with my own recipe:

The good granola:

~ 1 1/2 cups of old fashioned rolled oats (not quick oats)
~ 1 cup of mixed nuts (what ever you have on hand. I use Trader Joe's "Raw Trail mix" it has 4 types of nuts and some raisins)
~ 1/2 of flour (I use a multigrain mix I made up, BUT whole wheat flour works well too)
~ a wee bit of salt
~ 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
~ 1/2 tsp of cinnamon
~ 1/4 cup coconut oil (or whatever oil you have around, personally I like the coconut flavor)
~ 1/4  cup real maple syrup
~ 1 tsp vanilla
~ 1/4 cup water

Preheat oven to 300 degrees

Mix the oats, nuts, flour, salt, coconut flakes, cinnamon in a large bowl.
In a smaller bowl mix oil, syrup, vanilla and water.
Add the wet to the dry. Mix well, to coat everything.
Place in a 9 X 13 baking dish. Place in oven. Stir every 10 minutes, until slightly browned and dry. about 30 minutes or so. DO NOT OVER COOK!!
Let cool completely and store in a container with a lid.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Above all, be kind

I have had a few experiences the last few days with internet  horribleness. And it has left a really bad taste in my mouth. One of the reason I got off Facebook (other then my obsessive checking and rechecking statuses) was the fact that people can be down right nasty and rude on there. But is this also very common in blogland. Yes, when someone opens themselves up and posts things on the internet they are vulnerable to nasty comments, rude remarks and just plain ugliness. But this has me thinking... why? Why do we act this way towards each other? Why do we cut people down, say hurtful things and get, at times, just nasty as all get out? Just because someone has shared doesn't mean they want you down their throat.
Recently when Fiona Rosie goes down for her afternoon nap, the boys and I have taken to watching nature documentaries on Netflix. One we watched recently was on how man came out of the African rift valley, and some of the things that had to happen to make us what we are today... homo sapien sapien. One of the things was communal eating. The gathering together to prepare, cook and eat meat that was hunted. We no longer depend on each other in that same way. Even in some households there is no communal eating, no gathering together. We have forgotten what it is that makes us human. We toss aside the idea that we are interconnected, that we are interdependent, that we need each other. Since we don't actually know most people on the internet we don't care if we cut them deep with our comments. We don't care if we say hurtful things, shame them, make them feel bad. We are not face to face with them saying those things, watching their face fall, seeing the tears come, watching what we say and how we say it, how it affects someone. And because it is someone we don't know, we don't seem to care that they too are a human, that they have feelings and need to be handled with kindness.
I like to think about what Thumper's dad said in Bambie "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." Think before you speak, give that person the befit of your compassion. We are all in this journey together, this human experience. We all need each other. Please the next time you decide to comment, remember... above all, be kind.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Garden Journal

i know i posted this picture before... but i am excited!
Well, I have the seeds, I have the ideas, I just need the raised bed material and the dirt! I am going to do the "Square foot" garden thing this fall. The soil at this house is just very unlife sustaining. We are composting and I have plans to start composting with worms as soon as the temps drop. From what I have read worms won't do great in the still 100 degree temperatures we have been having here.
This blog has a neat sort of graphic for square foot gardening, although his soil amounts are very off. It should be 1:1:1 but I do know that you could do well with more compost. I want maybe three large-ish beds and one smaller one for herbs. I am starting with seeds, but I do want to hit the farmer's market and see if I can get a few baby plants so, there is something in there. LOL
I have been doing a lot of chicken coop research, man am I ever impatient for a chicken coop. Hopefully we can get that in by some point next month. I do love chickens. :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Yarn Along

legwarmers completed
 I started out planning on making Ginny's wee legwarmers, but then I got creative. I did two inches of k2 p2 ribbing, 4 rows of stockinette, 3 rows of garter stitch, then stockinette until one inch of the end. I ended with 1 inch k2 p2 ribbing. They are about 8 inches long. Such wee tiny legs. I have added a little red owl button on each legwarmer since I took this picture.

yummy panda silk yarn 
love the rainbow
i just love this colorway
my lovely yarn for my shawl
 I went to Tempe Yarn and Fiber and picked up some goodness. Man, it would be so easy to spend sooo much money there. I got some more of the DK weight Panda silk yarn (it is being discontinued... such a shame). I love the silk, bamboo, wool blend it feels like butter. I am thinking of making something for Fiona with it, something green with the lovely pink highlights thrown in.
And I just had to get some of that Moshi bulky rainbow goodness.  I am thinking I might just do an I-cord with it for the Yule tree this year.
The purple and brown yarn just made me catch my breath. The picture does not do it justice. It is so fuzzy soft and the colors are so amazing. There is enough yarn to make a wee tiny Milo vest or maybe a pebble vest for my soon to be born nephew. It would be perfect for this winter.
And finally, I just got  totally frustrated with the whole bits of yarn shawl I was planning on making. Too many different yarn sizes. Just looked bad. While at the yarn store I kept passing that big huge skein of yarn in all those fabulous fall colors. I was hesitant to buy it because it was 100% acrylic, but the colors! Oh those colors and it was fuzzy and super soft. I started the shawl with that yarn and it is just flying off the needles. I am so pleased with it. I hope to have it done in a few days.

my reading
In the knitting basket I have these two books, the parents handbook for ASU and Walden. I would like to say I have read alot of both of these, but really I have just recently stopped my obsessive cleaning and I have not yet mastered knitting and reading. I still need to pay close attention to what I am doing, even with the easiest of patterns... some day though, some day.

Joining Ginny for the Wednesday Yarn Along!

~ Recipe Tuesday ~

I just love a theme. I love doing the Yarn Along with Ginny on Wednesdays, This Moment with Soulemama on Fridays, and Saturday's artist with Ordinary Life Magic (OR possibly do the Saturday Garden thing with Ginny). I love to blog, but sometimes I just don't have much going on, which is surprising seeing as I homeschool a gaggle of children and do all sorts of things and stuffs.
So anyway, I thought I would start sharing a recipe once a week. Something that we like and that turns out yummy almost every time. If you like you can post a comment with a link to your recipe. :)


The Yummy Fritatta
~ 4 slices of bacon
~ 10 eggs
~ 1/2 heavy cream
~ 1 cup grated cheese
~ 1/2 pound fresh spinach (or a box of frozen that is thawed and drained well)
~ 1 leek sliced
~ salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
In the cast iron skillet cook the bacon. When done, drain and crumble up. Remove all but about 1 TBSP of bacon fat from skillet. Add leek, cook a bit, add spinach and cook down until nice and wilted. Take off heat.
Beat 10 eggs, 1/2 cup heavy cream, and salt and pepper. Pour the eggs into the skillet, add grated cheese and bacon. Give it all a good stir.
Pop the skillet into the oven and cook until eggs are set, about 15 minutes.
Serve with a yummy salad.

What I love about this recipe, is that I always have this stuff in the house and it takes just minutes to prepare. I am not sure why I don't make this all the time. So much better than pizza.

Monday, August 20, 2012

the weekend

 I finished up Fiona's winter set of goodness with a pair of sweet little leg warmers. I was going to make Ginny's "wee legwarmers" but I decided to make up my own pattern. It was so easy and so much fun to knit.

We went to Tempe Market Place for dinner one evening so the kids could run about in the fountain splash pad. It was such a lovely evening, a coolish breeze, water, yummy food, and frozen yogurt for dessert.

My seeds came! I am really excited about getting a fall garden in the ground. Fingers crossed that we can get on it this coming weekend. We are going to put in garden boxes as the soil here is just nasty. I am planning on doing a "Squarefoot garden", we did that in Tucson and it worked really well.

Much reading of books. Fiona just loves books. I am not sure any of our children loved books this much at only 18 months.

And then there was this... the last minute packing, the "do I have everything" looks, the jar of kisses, hugs and love from mama and daddy (peanut butter cups are love in food you know), the unloading at the dorm, and the hugs and long last looks as we leave our oldest at ASU. All I can say is that I am so glad she wanted to stay in state. I am not sure I could have handled it if she had wanted to go off back east or something.

We made the music room. Yes, it is a wee bit quick after a child leaves home to transform their old space into a new space, but honestly when we got home all we did was mope around the house. I told Mike, clean out the room, let's get this music room going. The drums were moved in, along with all the guitars, basses, and amps. Logan moved his computer in there so recording could happen easily. And then they got to it. Those blurs? Fiona and Rowan dancing to daddy's drumming!

And I finished the house. I wish I had taken "before" pictures so you could tell how much work was actually done here. Still after two weeks, I am feeling very done with this decluttering, cleaning frenzy I had going on.

To help with my sadness of Audrey leaving, and as a reward for all the stuff I got rid of... I went to Tempe Yarn and Fiber to get some more yummy yarny goodness. I really did restrain myself. Waaaaay under $100.00. LOL I got myself some lovely autumn colored yarn to make a shawl with. And got on it right away. Fun fun!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

59 hours

A childhoods worth of goodies. Books, posters, dolls, music, bits and bobs, all being boxed up. Some going with her, some staying here, lots of it being given away. Treasures of her youth, piling up in her room. In just over 2 day... 59 hours to be exact our daughter will be moving in to dorms at ASU. Yes, it is just down the street from us, but it is also out of this space. Out into the wide world. In less then two weeks she will be going to school full time, working a part time job, making new friends, exploring herself, exploring what it means to be Audrey Jane, what it means to be herself with out us.
I am so proud of her, so excited for her, jealous of her being at that beginning point. That jumping off point into the unknown and off on adventure. And I am so, so sad for me. My baby girl, my heart, out there out in the world. 
Elizabeth Stone said it best: "Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body." What will I do with a piece of my heart no longer even in my own home? How do you survive this? I am going between weeping and laughter, between confidence in her abilities and being scared out of my mind for her.
My amazing Audrey Jane. I love you so much, have an amazingly awesome adventure.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Yarn Along

i just need to sew up the sides
 I finished the sweater and have blocked it, but for some reason I have not made a point of sewing up the sides. I have been watching videos on how to do the mattress stitch. I am hoping to get it all closed up this week and get the buttons on as well.
fiona in the hat
 I decided to make Fiona a whole winter outfit set. I knitted up this hat designed by Soulemama. I made a couple of these hats as gifts last year for Yule, I really like the way this hat looks. Although you can not see it I sewed a button onto the top of the hat. It matches the buttons that will go on the sweater.
the wee leg warmer #1
And finally I am making Fiona leg warmers using Ginny's wee leg warmer pattern. I had to decrease the amount of stitches as they were a bit too big for her wee legs. I am planning on sewing a red owl button onto the top of each leg warmer as well. I am really excited to have this set all together and to finally maybe in 3 months to have weather cool enough for Fiona to wear it all. LOL
heaping mess of yarn bits
Now for this mess. I have been collecting all the end pieces of the yarn I have been using for some time now. I am not sure why, because I have yet to figure out what to do with it all. Not enough of any one style to actually knit anything... that is until I found this pattern! I am so excited to get started on this. The pattern is so simple and the design is really plain in a lot of ways, so the wildness of all the different yarns will shine, I hope anyways. I have been wanting to make a shawl, but nothing as really inspired me, that is until the bag'o' yarn bits showed itself!

Again I haven't been reading much as I have either been knitting, or cleaning, or breaking my toes, so nothing to report in the book area. I have read a few old National Geo's, those are always good.

Joining Ginny in the weekly Wednesday Yarn Along!