Thursday, December 27, 2012

New Recipes

While I had free time the other night I opened up my Google Currents app and began reading Saveur magazine.  I found a delicious looking recipe for hot cocoa and an even more delicious looking recipe for scones.

First the cocoa recipe. 
It was incredibly rich,  since the majority of it is melted chocolate.  Next time I make it I might use half the chocolate,  a little extra wine (maybe) and definitely some extra milk. Despite the richness,  it was delicious and I will definitely make it again.
Oh.  So.  Good. 

And the scone recipe?
It makes a lot... my blender could barely handle it. It requires a ton of flour to roll it out.  I added 1cup of frozen (store bought ) raspberries to the original recipe,  since the alternative recipes all involved adding cheese I didn't have on hand.
The result?  A bit crunchy for the first pan and bready tasting but still very good. If you aren't big on sugary foods this is a great recipe for you.  Coupled with a large glass of milk or coffee and you'll be set till lunchtime.
The first pan. 
For my second pan I only baked them for 20 minutes instead of 30 and they came out a lot better.  I also adjusted the rack lower so it was better centered in the oven. Hope you all enjoy these recipes as much as I did!
They're more golden than brown like the first pan was.
I realize it is a but difficult to tell the difference from the photos.
You'll just have to trust me. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Next on my to-knit list...

So,  I am almost done with my gift knitting.  The projects I have waiting to be made after my gifts are done are:

Devan Sweater
With this yarn. Chocolate brown will be the edging. 

With this yarn and buttons.


Fisherman's Wife 
With same yarn and buttons matching my Bräcken project

Also, the best Christmas gift I got?  A gift card to a yarn store.  I am planning on getting Marigold colored yarn to make a sweater for myself so any of your pattern suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  I have been searching through sweater and cardigan patterns but nothing has really wowed me yet. 

Happy knitting! 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

No Loose Ends

I have an FO and a finished book this week! I've woven in my loose ends and already have the scarf wrapped.

Close up on the details

The flowers were so small! 

Better view of the scarf.  It is ten flowers long,  but this is folded over so you only see four.

I used 100% Peruvian highland wool for both yarns and I REALLY wish I wasn't giving it away! But that is what makes a good gift.
Who is it for?  My husband's close friend wanted to do something nice for us for Christmas since we have helped him out quite a bit this year,  so naturally my husband wanted to turn it into a gift exchange.  He found some awesome Nerf shotguns for our boys (they're the same age) but was at a loss when came to his friend's girlfriend.  So,  I volunteered my talents. She's not into frills so after omitting the Picot edge and the bead work I think it will be perfect for her personality.  I will definitely make this pattern again, as written! 

Reading for me:  finished House of Mirth and loved it.  Still reading a snippet of the Catechism every day and I am going to start The Black Tulip by Alexandre Dumas as soon as I hit publish. I've decided to explore his writing more since Count of Monte Cristo is my all time favorite book. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Connecticut Tragedy

I'm pretty late in plastering my opinion on this tragedy across the internet, although with my page devoted to 2nd Amendment rights you can probably already guess what I have to say.

However, I think that a statement Morgan Freeman made is along the same thought process as my own, so I will share that part of it with you.

"You can help by forgetting you ever read this man's name, and remembering the name of at least one victim. You can help by donating to mental health research instead of pointing to gun control as the problem. You can help by turning off the news."
As an employee on a geriatric psychiatric unit, I really think he hit the nail on the head. So many people come through our doors desperate for validation. I had a bipolar patient tell me last year that her family avoids her, and essentially abandoned her because they are afraid of her disorder. Her own family! Can you imagine what that must be like? I don't know what Friday's shooter had going on in his life, but people with mental disorders definitely need more help than what they are getting. I have so many patients, regardless of their diagnosis, who will break down in tears and say they just want someone to love them and accept them, including their own family members. One of my patients burst into tears saying,  "I just want my children to hug me again. "
Friday's tragedy had nothing to do with gun laws. The shooter used a weapon that is already illegal in a state with incredibly strict gun laws. Criminals will not follow the law. It's what makes someone a  criminal in the first place. No, this was about a man with a mental health issue. Whether it was for the notoriety, for people to finally care (regardless of the positive or negative attention), if he had auditory hallucinations telling him to do it, or if he was actually sincere in trying to inflict as much pain on young children and families as he possibly could, I will never know.
We need to reach out to troubled individuals and get them the help they need.
Please pray for the victims and their families:
Charlotte Bacon, 6
Daniel Barden, 7
Rachel Davino, 29
Olivia Engel, 6
Josephine Gay, 7
Ana Marquez-Greene, 6
Dylan Hockley, 6
Dawn Hocksprung, 47
Madeline Hsu, 6
Catherine Hubbard, 6
Chase Kowalski, 7
Jesse Lewis, 6
James Mattioli, 6
Grace McDonnell, 7
Anne Marie Murphy, 52
Emilie Parker, 6
Jack Pinto, 6
Noah Pozner, 6
Caroline Previdi, 6
Jessica Rekos, 6
Avielle Richman, 6
Lauren Rousseau, 30
Mary Sherlach, 56
Victoria Soto, 27
Benjamin Wheeler, 6
Allison Wyatt, 6

Apologies for the screwy formatting. I can't figure out how to fix it.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Air Travel & Infants

As promised, I finally have time to write about traveling with an infant. I would like to begin by letting you know that because my littlest is very good natured and isn't usually too fussy, my experience was probably easier than others. It doesn't take much to keep him happy.

Security does not make you go through the body scanners if you have a baby with you. That being said, I missed my first flight anyway and spent four hours in the airport waiting for the next flight out. My son was unfazed at spending all that time in the airport (so thankful I didn't do this with my two year old!) since I laid out my coat on the floor and let him stretch and play while waiting so long.

Once we got on the plane we had to wait for them to de-ice the plane and he started getting fussy. I tried to make him hold out so I could feed him during take off but it was pretty clear he wouldn't last, and I didn't want to disturb the other people on the plane. I fed him and then popped a pacifier in his mouth, and he fell asleep. For the entire flight. Since he was sucking on something the pressure changes didn't even wake him up.

The trip back was different. He did fine for the first flight since he took a pacifier for me but I had a connection that I pretty much had to run to make on time. By the time we got to our seat, my little one and I were overheated and we had a middle seat in a group of three so we were really cramped. Then he had a screaming panic attack.

I was stuck between a young man and a heavier middle aged man and they had pretty nervous looks for me when I arrived late and with a baby. And then he started screaming. I was horrified. He wouldn't nurse or take a pacifier. I tried singing since that helped during the first flight. He wouldn't have any of it. He was screaming inconsolably. Then I stripped him down to his diaper, turned on the fan above us, held him tight, and he calmed down enough to take a pacifier. He didn't nurse until half way through the flight. He was awake for take off, sleeping for landing.

I was very impressed with how my 4 month old handled all that stress. I can say pretty confidently that if he was a fussy baby I would never want to attempt air travel with a baby. The key though was to give him something to suck on and stay calm. If you panic, the other passengers probably will too.

I did get a lot of compliments from my fellow passengers at how well he (and I) handled everything. This could have been a very stressful experience and I am very grateful my little one handled it so well.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Nina and Lily part 2

Another week working on the Nina scarf, House of Mirth, and the Catechism. I finished the hat/head band set as well. My friend loved the gift.
I added some embroidered flowers last minute.
Not sure if it really added to it how I envisioned or not.

Before embroidery.

Since I was flying with the baby last weekend I will be writing about that whole experience before this weekend. Stay tuned.

And the Nina scarf for your viewing pleasure. I have the first half done, the second half 1/2 done, plus I need to make the flowers. I'm basically almost done.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Loving the Crisp Cold Weather

I've been working on the ear warmer for my friend to match the hat I made for her daughter. This is how far I am:

I would be done already if I didn't work over the weekend. I can't decide if it would look too juvenile if I added a knit daisy to it somewhere, if an extra flower would be overkill. I like to think I'm a less-is-more kind of girl, and that it will look fine with just the buttons it already has for embellishment. Thoughts?

Still reading House of Mirth. Still enjoying it a lot. Still reading the Catechism as well. I think it is more of a learning experience than anything else for a convert like me.

I love the cold weather. I would live in the North Pole if I could. I went winter camping for a week back in high school and we didn't use tents. Or stoves. That is how much I love cold weather. I've been taking the boys on many long walks and I think they like it too. I throw them in the stroller with a fleece blanket and a quilt and they keep each other very warm. Sometimes they fall asleep, like what happened yesterday evening with the baby:

Conversation I had with my son on our walk:
"How come you won't take a nap today? Aren't you tired?"
"You didn't drink my coffee this morning did you?" (Joking with him of course.)
*He turns around and smiles at me mischievously*
"You didn't steal my coffee this morning when I wasn't looking, did you?"
Well that would explain a lot, although he does tell us what he thinks we want to hear sometimes so I can't be too sure how accurate this response was. At any rate, he cracked me up.

Happy yarn-ing and have a wonderful week!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Patterns Posted

I finally posted the pattern for overalls and I also added the blossom hat pattern. However, you can still get the hat pattern for free here until I make the ear warmer to go with it.

Both pattern can be found in my Craftsy Store.

Thank you for your support!

Little Blossom Hat

I've taken a break from the Nina scarf to make a gift for a friend I will be staying with on a girl's-only mini vacation I will be going on next weekend.
I made her daughter this hat:

The pairs of small flowers are on equal levels.
 The large ones are on their own level.
The hat was dented in when the photo was taken but
those two little flowers are knit into the same row.

The flowers sort of grow as you rotate the hat. 

And I will be making her a matching ear warmer/headband. I'm really pleased with how the hat turned out so I'm hoping the ear warmer will be just as nice.
I am going to sell the pattern on my Craftsy account but until I do it will be available for FREE in this post. It will be available here until I get the matching mom ear warmer done.
Still working on The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton. I enjoy it more and more as I get further along in the book. Also still reading the Catechism a little each day, but sometimes I let it slide and now I have a lot of reading to catch up on.

This pattern is now available in my Craftsy store.  You can buy the pattern for the set or just the baby hat. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Nina and Lily

I have been focusing my knitting efforts on my Nina scarf this week:
Anyone familiar with the pattern will notice that I am omitting the picot edging and all those beads.

I have also been reading The House of Mirth quite a bit this past week. I have been enjoying it more than the other romance classics I read over the summer because unlike her high society friends, Lily has no money but also does not seem to be entirely obsessed with getting married. It is more of a convenience for her...I'm interested to see where this leads now that she's figured out a way to pay her debts.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Our New Roof!

As promised, this is the post with the before and after pictures of our roof. We weren't planning on getting it done so soon and we were definitely planning to shop around'll understand why we didn't though:  

  • The price was right, 
  • Their warranty sounded very reliable. They guarantee their asphalt roofs for 50 years not only for the roof but the work done on it as well. Since the manufacturer trains their employees, both the company and the manufacturer guarantee the longevity of the roof.  
  • They gave us discounts to get it done before the cold weather came to stay, and for us to do a little free advertising with a sign in the yard and a word or two on our Facebook pages. 
  • They secure all the building permits required so you don't have to do any extra work.
So, all these factors plus being within budget made it an easy decision for us not to wait till Spring.

They arrived 8AM on Tuesday morning, asked permission to start, and had set up and were working by 8:30. The old roof was completely cleared off by 9:45.
They had to wait for their supplies and the dumpster after that but it only took about an hour before they resumed. The roof plus the roof on our shed was finished by 3:00. The roof looks fantastic and all the men that worked on it were so polite and courteous.

Here are our results:
Front, before
Back of house, before

Garage and breezeway, before

Back of garage and breezeway, in progress

Front yard, during

Garage, after the old shingles were removed

View through front screen door. They protect the bushes from damage and falling debris.

Front, finished!

Back, finished

Garage and breezeway, finished

The shed, also with a new roof, although we didn't know they were going to do this too.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Getting the Garden Ready for Winter

I realize I'm pretty late at doing this, but since my son woke up from our nap after only an hour I decided we better fill our afternoon cleaning up the garden instead of letting him watch cartoons while I snooze on the couch (I worked last night...I don't usually do that).

We had a tomato and raspberry garden this year, despite our best efforts to grow onions and garlic. Well, I guess the jalapenos were successful too.  The crows ate our bulbs before the man of the house shot the crows. After he did, we didn't have problems the rest of the summer. We also didn't have onions the rest of the summer... At any rate, crows are very smart birds.

Getting the tomato cages stacked for storage.

After cleaning out the tomato vines.

The waste pile of tomato vines.

All the onions I could find

3-bulb cluster of the biggest onions. Pathetic!

The only garlic I found after the three rows we planted.
I'm going to try planting the onions inside and see if they do better in a weed-free, crow-free environment. I might try the same thing with the garlic since the aforementioned bulbs were planted last summer.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Distraction Projects

I've been busy knitting this week although not on projects that are priorities. Well, my first son is in desperate need of mittens so I did get that done.
I also began some overalls for baby gifts for a couple friends of mine expecting a boy at the end of the month and one with a girl the same age (to the day!) as my second son.
Right mitten on left and left mitten on right. Cabled pattern on back of the hands.

Taken in good light. True to original yarn colors.

Finished...all I need are buttons!

Still reading The House of Mirth, although very slowly. I am enjoying it though.
Went to a Reagan dinner on Sunday in honor of the former president and Veteran's Day. A man who defected from communist Czechoslovakia told the story of his family escaping during the Cold War. It was very moving and it gave me chills. My husband bought his book about their journey to America so I will share the book with you once I start reading it. If you want a sneak preview it is called Journey for Freedom by Peter Vodenka.

Also, we hired a contractor yesterday (Tuesday) morning to replace our roof. Due to the season, it will be getting done  by the end of the week so check back Sunday or Monday for before and after photos.

Have a wonderful week! Happy knitting!


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Patterns in the Works

Since opening a Craftsy account, I decided I might as well make the most of it and try to capitalize on what I already do: Lots and lots of knitting as of late.

The patterns I am currently working to sell are the baby overalls I am making for a couple good friends and the mittens I made for my son.

I have the car mittens I posted very early on available for free at my Craftsy store for those of you who prefer pdf patterns to the online versions.

I also have the Finn the Human backpack for toddlers available for a small cost.

I will announce when the mitten and overalls patterns are officially posted and for sale later this month. The mitten pattern will most likely be available before the weekend.

See you tomorrow for Yarn Along!
Happy knitting!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Post-election Yarn Along

So as I mentioned in a post over the weekend, I am officially done with the sweater for my husband! You can see its metamorphosis since I started this blog here!

With some of the leftover yarn I made my first son an Aviatrix hat this evening since he keeps trying to steal the baby's and stretch it over his head. I seriously love this pattern for the design, speed at which I can knit it, and the versatility for boys or girls.

I also worked on that baby girl dress set and cast on a scarf for a gift exchange we're doing with our friends.
A front view plus the beginning of the scarf.

The back with the buttons.

I'm still working on House of Mirth by Edith Wharton.
May I just say that we have a very interesting future ahead of us here in the 57 United States? (See what I did there?) I am not looking forward to four more years of religious persecution, and attempts to slowly take away basic freedoms (1st & 2nd Amendments), but America has decided and while I am obviously not happy about the results, I am certainly trying not to be a bad sport about it since this is how democracy works, how it must work in order to live in a peaceful society. For my readers who are of like mind as me, please pray, speak up, make your voice heard so that together we can secure a better future for our children and ourselves in 2016.