Monday, December 31, 2007
I wish for you that you will conquer a knitting dragon and make a project that you now find daunting, whether that be socks, sweaters or entrelac.
I wish for you that you find at least three new knitting friends, virtual or land line, to inspire and encourage you.
And finally - keeping in mind that troubles with projects are often learning opportunities - I wish for you that you are able to accomplish at least three complicated projects without any annoying frustrations.
May you always have the right needles on hand, pick the best pattern for the yarn and be on gauge.
Happy, happy New Year!
Friday, December 28, 2007
Christmas was a little lonely when I was growing up. My immediate family was my parents, my brother and me. In high school, my brother was off doing his own thing so it was just me, mom and dad. We opened our gifts on Christmas Eve so Christmas Day was generally pretty quiet. I'm making up for it now with the ginormous family I've collected, as well as the one I married into. There are numerous houses to be visited over multiple days and Christmas morning is a glorious pandemonium. Five children multiplied by at least five presents each equals a room full of presents and at least a few smiles from each one. I shocked and delighted the 15yo with a Hollister sweatshirt - she had no idea I even knew the store existed.
My other great joy this season has been helping my mom knit a hat. She was crocheting and she enjoyed it a great deal but took knitting lessons anyway. When I asked her why, she said, "because I love you." We found her a pattern for a top down hat and I helped her cast on using the Magic Loop method. She watched me fumbling with those needles and said, "Honey, I can't do that." Of course, I knew better. Pretty soon she was knitting around like pro.
My husband says I have a knitting problem because I was critiquing the knitting of one of the chickens in Chicken Run - she was knitting a noose in the round on straight needles. Impossible. I'm perfectly willing to suspend disbelief for a movie - but don't you think that's pushing it?
I hope y'all had a great Christmas and that your New Year's celebration is wonderful
Friday, December 21, 2007
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Friday, December 14, 2007
I've named the day in honor of my grandmother, Celia Nash, who was the best cookie maker and one of the most loving people I've ever met. She passed away a number of years ago, but when I bake, I feel a connection to her. I know there are others who've had people like that in their lives - hopefully this day will be a way of reconnecting and enjoying the holidays in a special way.
On another note, we got socked with snow last night - so much so that everyone is still digging out. As a result, the start of school was delayed for two hours. With a little bit of extra time on our hands and a need to entertain and feed the children, I came up with a new pancake recipe. This could be adapted for use with a mix - just use the mix instead of all the dry ingredients.
3/4 cup of milk (more if needed)
One flavored instant oatmeal packet (We used Maple and Brown Sugar. You could add 2 for a stronger flavor, but then omit sugar)
1 cup of flower
1 tablespoon of sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Butter for cooking
Heat milk and add instant oatmeal. Let sit for a couple of minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients. If the mix is too thick, add some more milk.
Coat pan with butter and heat. Pour a spoonful of pancake mix into pan. Let sit until bubbly, turn and cook other side.
It was so good, I ate it without syrup. Now I'm ready to go get more instant oatmeal to try out some of the other flavors.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Sunday, December 09, 2007
Saturday, December 08, 2007
Friday, December 07, 2007
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons oil
2 cloves of garlic chopped
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes or to taste
1 pound chicken breasts or thighs cut into cubes
1 can diced tomatoes with juice
1 cup chicken stock
¾ cup peanut butter (or more to thicken)
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large sauce pan, cook chicken in butter and oil with garlic and pepper flakes until it starts to turn white.
Add the tomatoes and chicken stock and heat about 10 minutes until chicken is cooked through. If frozen vegetables, add them when you put in the tomatoes and chicken stock. (Add fresh vegetables after about five minutes so they will be cooked but not get soggy) Once the chicken is thoroughly cooked, add peanut butter and cook while stirring until sauce is thick. Do not add a splash of lemon juice. I tried that and it made the oil separate from the sauce. It was still tasted fine, but didn't look so good.
Serve over rice or noodles.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Here is what I really want this year – a good joke that I can share with my friends who need a good laugh and friends to share it with.
Friday, November 30, 2007
OK Knitterly friends - I got this from Brooke - my SP9 fabulous upstream pal and copied is Terri who was her pal in another exchange. Jennifer, Bonnie and Janice I have met through the international tote exchange and now we can all know one another!
Welcome to the 'Christmas Edition' of getting to know your friends.Okay, here's what you're supposed to do and try not to be a SCROOGE!!!Just copy this entire email and paste into a new blank e-mail that youcan send. Change all the answers so they apply to you. Then, send this to a whole bunch of people you know, INCLUDING the person who sent it to you. It's the season to be cheerful!!! :-)
1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Gift bags – I have 5 kids after all
2. Real or Artificial tree ? Real, we’re hoping to cut our own
3. When do you put up the tree This weekend if all goes well
4. When do you take the tree down? You’re supposed to take it down?.
5. Do you like Eggnog? Too much so.
6. Favorite Gift you received as a child? A doll that if you moved it’s head one way it smiled and the other way it frowned and shed real tears.
7. Do you have a nativity scene?
8. Hardest person to buy for? My cousin Cathy, who always picks great gifts for us.
9. Easiest person to buy for? My mom – I know what she likes.
10. Worst Christmas gift ever received? Can’t think of one.
11. Christmas Cards...Snail mail or E-mail? Snail mail
12. Favorite Christmas Movie? The original Grinch and Scrooged, the Bill Murray classic.
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I’ve already started window shopping
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Not that I know of
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Cookies!
6. Clear lights or colored on the tree? white, very classy although my children are pushing for colored
17. Favorite Christmas Song? What Child is This
18. Travel at Christmas or Stay Home? travel for Christmas Eve, stay home on Christmas.
19. Can you name Santa's Reindeer? Dasher, Dancer, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, Grumpy, Sleepy, Doc
20. Do you have an Angel or a Star on top of your tree? Star – I’ve never found an angel I like enough
21. Open the Presents Christmas Eve or Morning? Christmas stockings when the kids first get up, presents after breakfast..
22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Parking at the mall.
23. Shopping...mall or online? increasingly on line.
24. Do you decorate outside for Christmas or just inside (or at all?) Both
25. Favorite Christmas cookie? The green wreaths made out of cornflakes and decorated with cinnamon balls.
26. Do you own Christmassy clothing or jewelry? Just pins – I finally ditched the sweater after 10 years.
27. Do you believe in Santa? But of course, I am now him.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
To make the scarf self-fringing, cut the yarn after each row leaving a tail of 8 inches or so. The tails will have to be tied together to keep them from unraveling.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Friday, November 16, 2007
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
I've finished clue 2 on my Secrets of the Stole and I'm 20 rows into clue 3. It's keeping my attention, but it's very slow going - I'm lucky if I can get six rows in during one episode of Heros. It doesn't help that the show sometimes has subtitles!
Saturday, November 10, 2007
At the end of the day, we called for our Chariot, a giant white van driven by dad. Though the train can be fun - part of it was closed down and the only way to get home would have been by bus and the stop was more blocks away than a tired 2yo, or the mother who would have had to carry her, could handle. The happy dance for daddy was almost as enthusiastic as the one for the train.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
We found something almost healthy to do with the Halloween candy: baked apples. Preheat oven to 375. Take an apple, cut out the core about 3/4 of the way down (don't cut through the bottom). Peel a thin strip of skin off around the middle, which will keep the skin from getting all shrively. Fill with some assortment of Halloween Candy and/or brown sugar and cinnamon. We used brown sugar and cinnamon, chopped peanuts and Milk Duds. Top with a small pat of butter. Put in a baking pan. Pour a small amount of water around the bottom of the apples. Cover with tinfoil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 10 minutes until the apples are soft. Some would serve this with ice cream, but we found it sweet enough on its own.
This is also a great activity for children. I'm on playdate duty today for my Z and a friend of hers from kindergarten. They are both sweet, joyful headstrong little girls. Both having an alpha personality, they are having a hard time deciding who should be the follower. The apples were a good distraction.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Chicken Quesadillas ala Jen
Makes 6-8 full sized quesadillas. Can be used as an appetizer or served with rice as a meal.
You will need:
1 pound of chicken cut into bite sized pieces
2 teaspoons of garlic
2 tablespons butter and 1 tablespoon oil
For the Sauce:
1 cup chicken broth
2 teaspoons cumin (or to taste)
A dash of pepper
1 tablespoon of cornstarch dissolved in two tablespoons of cold water (powdered corn starch has to be mixed with cool water - not hot - to work the way it should. I learned this once the hard way)
A teaspoon of lemon juice (optional)
1 can of refried beans
2 cups of shredded cheese (I like cheddar and pepper jack, the kids prefer American)
Optional: salsa and sour cream
Saute chicken and garlic in butter and oil until chicken is cooked thoroughly. (I combine them because butter has a nice flavor, but the oil doesn’t burn as easily)
Meanwhile, combine sauce ingredients: chicken broth, cornstarch, cumin, pepper and lemon juice.
Once chicken is cooked, add sauce and simmer until thickened.
To make the quesadilla:
Heat a half a tablespoon of butter in a frying pan (I add butter before starting each quesadilla as needed) Place a tortilla in the pan. Spread a spoonful of refried beans on the tortilla. Add a spoonful or two of the chicken mixture. Sprinkle cheese over the the top and cover with another tortilla. Heat for a minute or two until the bottom tortilla is firm and a little crispy. Turn over and cook for a minute or two until the bottom tortilla is firm and a little crispy.
Serve as is or with salsa and sour cream.
Monday, November 05, 2007
Friday, November 02, 2007
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Monday, October 29, 2007
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Sunday, October 21, 2007
My grandmother worked on the floor of a shoe factory as long as my dad can remember. She would get up at 6 a.m. and go to the basement to shovel coal in the furnace to heat the house. Then she'd make oatmeal before leaving for work. All grandpa had to do was wake up the kids and get them to school.
The kids got home from school around 3 p.m. Grandma was there by 4. There was no nanny and no after school programs.
After many years of the factory work, grandma helped start a credit union for the workers. She got it up and running and then became the president and chief executive, a position she held for about 20 years.
Throughout her career, she carried the responsibility for keeping the house clean and the household running all without a dishwasher or a microwave. She had a washing machine, but she had to boil water for it and then run the clothes through a ringer. The clothes were hung outside to dry.
In high school grandma was on a championship women's hockey team and the volley ball team. And in 1981, she won an award for getting a perfect Cribbage hand during a state tournament.
I am even more in awe of this lady. And I'm much more appreciative of my gas heat that comes on automatically before I wake up, my dishwasher, my quick-cooking microwave, and my washing machine and drier. I will no longer complain that it takes almost 70 minutes to get the clothes dry.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
My grandma had dozens of grandchildren and great grandchildren and even a few great-great grandchildren, and yet she made me feel as special as if I were her only one. She did that for all of us. She always remembered our birthdays. She picked out Christmas presents for each one of us as long as she could. She kept our pictures all over her walls even as the space grew smaller when she moved from her home into assisted living and finally to a nursing home. She was always interested in everything we did. She'd collect stories about cute things this one said or did and pass them on to anyone who would listen. She had a great sense of humor and she was incredibly generous. I don't think she ever met a Democrat she didn't like, or at least she wouldn't admit it if she did. For as along as I remember, she collected donkeys. It started when she needed one for a fund raiser and grew from there. Her grandchildren kept a sharp eye out for them whenever they shopped. If she ever got sick of getting them, she never let on to us.
Her home was always open to us. I spent two summers with her while working at the local cannery during college. Those were precious days when I got to hear about what things were like when she was young and how she started teaching before getting married. Mostly though, she listened to me over dinner at the Pizza Hut or ice cream at the Dairy Queen.
She was strong willed and opinionated. I didn't always like that when I was young because her ideas on child rearing were different from my mom's and I liked my mom's better. Now that I have more children (5) then grandma had (4) I agree with her more than my mom, who had just 2.
Although I am sad to have to say good bye, I thank God for giving her to me for so many years. I am blessed to be the granddaughter of Dorothy Heldt.
These are a few of the things I learned from her:
- If you want to have friends, be a friend.
- Your community is what you make of it, get involved.
- If you believe something is important, support it.
- Cribbage is a game of strategy but it can't be won without a little luck.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
I remember as a new skier looking at double black diamond slopes that dropped straight down and thinking I had no interest. I thought people who did that were slightly off their rocker. But it turns out that I'm an adrenaline junky. It seems that once I've figured out how to do something, I need to to move on to something harder to keep my interest. The green slopes that once felt so high and steep to me eventually felt flat. The Blues kept my interest for awhile but then I conquered them. The black diamonds weren't far behind, which is how I found myself one day standing at the top of a cliff scared out of my mind but nearly certain that once I leaped off I would be able to stay upright. I didn't, at least not right away.
I find these lessons to hold true to knitting. It's not quite the adrenaline rush of skiing, but it's as much of a mind challenge. This stole on which I'm working - it's probably a black diamond. I'm falling down a lot. But, I'm learning a lot and I'm having a blast with it. It certainly has my attention!
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Thursday, October 11, 2007
We knitted to the end and then we kitchnered! We did it! We did it!
Following the good advice of my friend and veteran sock knitter Lisa over at Saratoga Knits, I immediately cast on for the next one of the pair. I need to get these done - it's getting cold outside.
I thought I was being good and putting everything back when I was done with it. I thought I was keeping projects together neatly in their own bags. Maybe some gremlins came in at night and had a party, right?