Wednesday, March 25, 2009

It's official, I'm a Queen

Because now I have a crown. Well, it's temporary, but it will be all shiny and gold soon. 

I'm talking teeth here folks, and I'm really not pleased. I spent 3 hours at the dentist today. Three! I went in knowing I had a filling that was disintegrating and needed repair, and that I had a small cavity between 2 lower teeth. *ahem* Six shots and 3 hours later, I had a temporary crown and a bigger cavity than they originally thought. All for the low low price of $500. Dang! And, OW! My jaw hinges are broken. :( I never had lots of cavities--had fillings to fill in deep pits in my teeth, but it was never like this. Don't like it!

On a happier note, I finished my section of the Stitch-It! Podcast Midwest charity blanket for 3/09 called "Waves". It's using the Chinese Wave stitch, which makes a lovely, dense, flat fabric that I think looks really cool. 

Waves 3/09
Waves 3/09 (a)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

We've Just Been Busy!

Well, I blew the month-long blogging challenge put up by Homegrownrose, but man, we were just busy! Not doing anything, really. Dealing with sinuses (my turn now, it seems) and trying to keep the girls busy and happy. :) Yesterday I took the day off from being "mom" and just did fun stuff. We did have to run to Costco, but I let them eat all the snacks they had there, bought a 6-pack of Ghirardelli Chocolate brownies. Then we had lunch out, then we came home, made the brownies, brought the tent inside and played princess, prince and dragon. (You know, slay the dragon, save the princess) ;) Then we napped (or maybe just I did. The girls were quiet, but rustled around a lot in the tent) and then we ate brownies. 

Then we went to our neighbor's house and played for a while. I planned dinner, but we ordered pizza instead. Goosie is just starting to eat again, it's been over a year, but she won't do pepperoni and green olive. So it was a Hawaiian pizza and it was tasty :) 

Today, then, was all make up for all the play yesterday. Tons of dishes, laundry, vacuuming, dusting, cleaning the bathrooms. I even moved the furniture-but put it back. Can't decide how I want it! So there, interesting stuff huh? :)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Happy First Day of Spring!

Ah, Spring in Michigan, complete with snow. :) BUT! I was part of a "Say Goodbye to Winter Swap" organized in the High Fiber Diet Podcast Listeners Group on Ravelry and we all got to open our boxes today/last night/earlier if we just couldn't stand it. I waited until midnight last night :) Kelli/kae1217 had my name and she just spoiled me so very well! I'm absolutely thrilled with the box she gave me. She showed incredible stalking skills and thoughtfulness. She put together a complete package for me, included everything I needed to do several projects, things that were specifically chosen for me.

I had mentioned we went to see butterflies, she sent butterfly plant seeds. I have a cat, she sent catnip. I'd mentioned how my crochet skills are sub-par, she put together an instructional booklet and included knit and crochet patterns that are adorable, and a Crochet Today mag! And hooks to do the projects! And yarn to do the projects! And treats to eat while doing the projects! And she sent a knitting booklet to keep track of needles/hooks and has the sock/foot sizes, amounts for sweaters, etc. Malabrigo lace in a scrumptious orange color and a beautiful shawl pattern for it (love!) and a beautiful little bag to keep it all in! And, when I say this package was complete for all the projects, she even used plastic shopping bags for packaging that doubles as the to-be yarn for a recycled shopping bag pattern that she included.

Thank you so so much Kelli. I love it all and it's truly and inspiring package. *contented sigh here* I feel so lucky and spoiled!
Overview Overall view

Catnip and butterfly-loving plants! Magazine, patterns and how-to's! Yarn for patterns MmmmMalabrigo Lace Weight Lessons for me! Plastic bags for recycled bag pattern

Friday, March 20, 2009


I ran across this recipe from the Restaurant Widow and loved it. My family did too and I thought I'd share. I did some modifications, which I'll list here, but for the original, please see the above link. 

Italian Sausage with Swiss Chard and White Beans-serves 4-6

1/2 pound Italian sausage, crumbled
1 can cannellini beans, juice reserved
1 small onion, medium dice
1 clove garlic, sliced thin
3 large leaves swiss chard, chopped roughly (stems smaller) - I used Rainbow Chard, pretty
1 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp. salt or to taste
freshly ground cracked black pepper
1/2 Tbls. red pepper flakes
parmesan cheese

Combine stock, vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes in a small pot. Bring to a boil. (This is the gastrique! Yummy good)

In a large pan, brown sausage. Remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Add onions and garlic, saute until translucent. (I also added the chard stems here to have them soften). Add beans, chard, sausage and gastrique back to the pan. Cook until chard wilts and sauce thickens. Add reserved bean juice 2 Tablespoons at a time as desired to help thicken the sauce.  Serve in bowls with grated parmesan and sea salt. 

So yummy. The original recipe calls for Italian sausage in links, with casing removed, so I just went for bulk. I could have easily used the whole pound of sausage, but I'm trying to cut back on that. The original also calls for kale, which I forgot to grab, and beef broth, which I didn't have. It calls for 2 cans of white beans (or the equivalent), but I like cannellini. So there. :) It also calls for a whole Tablespoon of the red pepper flakes. It was spicy enough with the 1/2 Tablespoon, and even the girls could tolerate it (with milk and bread and butter!) But they ate the whole thing. 

Sorry no pic, I was too hungry :) Follow the link for a pic! haha! Let me know if you try it. I loved it.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Eek! Steek!

All these challenges get me outside my comfort zone and routine. Glad someone pushes me! Meghan, of Stitch-It! Podcast fame put up a challenge to steek a swatch. So I did it. 

First, I used acrylic baby yarn. Read: no self-grabbing properties and tiny! 

Second, as I was doing the crochet style of steeking (because I don't feel I could hand sew well enough and have no machine), I kept fumbling to make sure I had the correct sides of the correct stitches. After having to rescue a teething child, I returned and promptly slapped my forehead, as I could just fold the fabric where I needed to crochet. (Not so hard! Suppose I was a little nervous!)

Third, I worried about the cast on/off edge, as I should have, apparently. :/ Kind of missed that first and last stitch and have loose stitches there. Luckily, this was not an awesome sweater that I had knitted, but rather a tiny swatch destined to become a stuffed dog's cape. :)
Crochet steek
Edge post-cutting
Edge post cutting
It was fun to do, I can so see the benefit of doing this for garments in the round and really, the cutting isn't that bad (she says of a swatch). For a full sweater, I foresee much anxiety. Calming tea during the process, lots of wine after. :)

P.S.-my hands/cuticles are really gross. Housework is evil.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Nope, not bugs. Just ready for Spring! It's been tempting me with some gorgeous weather lately, though today slapped me back a bit, and I understand that tomorrow will too. But I received these in the mail 2 days ago. (click pic to read better)

I received them from Deb of the At The Kitchen Table Podcast who talks of lovely animals and food, fiber and gardening and just gets me all excited about planting and reaping the rewards. She offered up some seeds and I jumped on it. Look at the lovely variety! Now, I just want to get planting, but I know that it can freeze here in May. Ugh! I want the warm wonderfulness of Spring, and I want it to be real. But it's not time yet. 

I could start the seeds and transplant, but I don't have as much success doing that as I do when I just wait longer. So, I wait. Not patiently, but I wait. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Ah, St. Patrick's Day, the day when we're all a little Irish, right? Are you wearing green? If not, consider yourself pinched. Here's what we made to celebrate the day: Leprechaun Catchers!

Peanut's Leprechaun Catcher!
Goosie's Leprechaun Catcher!
There's the ladder there to have the leprechaun to climb to the top (and the sign telling him not to as a taunt!) and then some golden nuggets on top. When he steps on top, there's a trap door to catch him! He'll fall to the bottom of the hat and we'll have ourselves our very own leprechaun to take us to our pot of gold! Wahooie! (Haven't caught one yet, but we're waiting...) And look how well Goosie wrote her sign! I was impressed, and loved her shamrock. ~note: leprechaun catcher idea courtesy of

Corned beef and cabbage for dinner too along with some Irish Soda Bread. Hope it turns out well. 

Today is also our kitty's birthday. She is 15 years old today. :) Here she is playing in the stash.  
Birthday Romp
Happy Birthday Hawkins! (Look at that face!)

Birthday Kitty

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Is it wrong???

Is it wrong for a knitter to love lamb? I don't just mean their cute faces and wonderful fuzziness. I mean, ya know, the other part of "lamb". I certainly don't mean to offend anyone here, so if you see where I'm heading and don't want to think about it, move on to the next blog! ;) 

Ok, think I can go on now. Tonight, for dinner, I made the most fantastic Lamb and Stout Stew! It was a culmination of several recipes and I just made it my own and it turned out so yummy. I didn't have any Guinness on hand (gasp!) so I used some excellent Double Cream Stout from Bell's Brewery in Comstock, MI. Fabulous stuff. Yum!

Lamb and stout stew
Lamb and stout stew

Friday, March 13, 2009

Little Cozy

Went to the dentist today and my little Goosie did so well! I haven't seen her get her teeth cleaned the last 2 times because they whisk her off to different area while I get my teeth done. She's such a big girl. She said they didn't  do Xrays because it was hard to "bite the things". (They've gone to these digital bite plates for the Xrays and it made me tear up today! Those things don't have any give at all and it cut into my mouth! owie!) 

Anyway, no cavities for her, she looked great. I knew I had a filling that was breaking down, and I still have to get that done, but they said they found a little cavity between two of my teeth. Dang it. They were trying to show me on the Xrays, "See? Right there?" Uh--no. 

Then we came home, had lunch and caught a nap. Even I passed out on the couch for a bit. Next thing I know, Peanut is downstairs, playing near me, and I wake up and see that she had given me her kitty to sleep with. She's such a sweet baby. She then laid down with me, snuggled in really good and said "little cozy". Sigh~good day. :)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

It's getting better...

I started out feeling pretty "bleh" today. I was tired. Foggy-in-the-head-eyes-still-heavy-and-burning tired. But, I had stuff to do. Make a menu, make a grocery list, go get the groceries. That sort of stuff. After last night's dinner fiasco, nothing was sounding good to me. But I searched around in my stash of recipes and decided on some lunches and dinners. Hit the store, had lunch and got the girls to rest. I was going to rest too but something caught my eye, made me laugh and I felt a little better. 

Then we made cookies and I marveled at how much longer and how much messier it is when I make cookies with the girls! But we had fun doing it, and they wore their little aprons and hats. So cute. 

Derek brought home a roasted chicken for dinner since I was so bummed about last night, and with it fruit and veggies and fries and deep fried cauliflower. I love all cauliflower I think! 

Then, then we tucked girls in (several, several times). And I exercised. I rode the bike for 20 minutes and did some weights for arms/shoulders/back. And you know what? I am proud of what I can do now. 

Before, not so long ago, I couldn't look at the bike without feeling worn out. I couldn't ride it for more than 2 minutes without breathing hard and hurting! But I've been up to 36 minutes on it and I don't hurt, can move the next day...what a huge HUGE difference for me from last fall. I'm realizing more and more how I was not so good in the fall. Things are looking up for me, physically. And I'm so grateful. I'm more apt to get up and do something rather than let it go until the next day. I used to be too wiped out from cooking dinner to do the dishes afterwards. I just couldn't do it. 

But tonight, after I exercised, I actually went downstairs and ironed! This is something I really (really) don't like to do. But it felt good to have the energy to do it, have the discipline to do it, and then to have it done. I'm so pleased. I'm looking forward to being able to do more and more, and that alone makes me feel better. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Ohhh! Oooh! Ahhh! Mmmm! Uh-oh...

Here's the "Ohhh!" As in "ohhh, cute!" At least I hope it will be. This is the bunny I'm knitting for the girls, this one for Peanut in the yarn she dyed. It will be felted and it's supposed to have huge, ridiculously cute ears, but that just looks a little wonky to me. But, then again, I sort of like big funky floppy bunny ears, so we're going to let it go. :)

Here's the "Oooh!" as is "Oooh yum!" I've been just craving a roasted chicken with yummy crispy skin with rosemary and salt and pepper, and today, since it dropped 25+ degrees from yesterday and is snowing, I thought it would be perfect!

And with it I decided on roasted potatoes, carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes and onions with thyme, rosemary and salt and pepper. I had more veggies here than I thought! (That's the Ahhh!" Part.)

Then I thought I'd make some popovers too. It's cold out baby! Break out the carbs and bready goodness! "Mmmm!"
(The popovers tasted good, but didn't look as pretty as I hoped, but then, I made them in muffin tins...make do with what you have!)

So, what, you ask, was the "Uh-Oh?" Everything looked tasty, smelled great, everyone was hungry so I knew they'd what happened? This happened...

No folks, that's not some fancy red wine sauce I decided to throw on at the last minute. That is what happened when I went to pick up the chicken to move it to the cutting board. What the heck?!?!  I cooked the chicken to the right temp. It was completely thawed. I took out the innards that they tuck in there, I rinsed, I what went wrong?! 

I was so, SO disappointed I about cried. I've been wanting this chicken for so long! I was in the kitchen for almost 2 hours chopping and mixing, rinsing and patting, salting and peppering and massaging the chicken skin with rosemary goodness. Sigh. I couldn't take the risk and feed us that.

So, we ended up with salmon sandwiches (canned salmon, prepared like tuna). I was completely deflated. Nothing tasted good to me. I didn't care if the girls ate their veggies. "Have a donut hole!", I wanted to shout out. Luckily, Derek came to the rescue and had them finish the veggies before the donut. But I was/am still bummed. 

Think I'll eat some cookies or something. Or tea and donut holes!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Lazy, Lazy Day

Well, I knitted, does that count? I fed the kids several times. I got dressed. Ummm...later, I got the girls ready enough so that we could go get Derek's car with him (oil change, new filter, something else). Yeah. That's about it. :) It was nice though. 

Ahem, Apologies

I posted quickly yesterday and forgot the picture of the girls with their yarn. Sorry!

The girls' yarn

Monday, March 9, 2009

Happy Anniversary to Us!

Today is our wedding anniversary. :) It's been 11 years and I have to say I truly feel so so very lucky. I have a great husband and a great life-I'm very happy. Thank you honey. 
Happy Anniversary! 

And, I wanted to (finally) show the yarn the girls and I dyed last week. Each picked their color, one went in the crock pot (the purple) and the pink went into the microwave, for 2 minutes, all day long. Then I let them both sit and cool down all night long, rinsed, hung to dry. The actual dyes are Cushing's lavender and rose. :) I think it's a little darker than that, but beautiful! They are very excited. 

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Hello, lazy

Nothing. That's what I did today. Well, I emptied the dishwasher, reloaded and ran it, but that was out of necessity. I needed the pot and dishes out of it. We watched movies, listened to the rain, played, eventually I showered, I rode the bike twice for a total of 36 minutes. That's all. :) Didn't even make dinner. 

It felt great. I'm really going to have to have a sunny day again though so I can show the yarn we dyed this past week, as I forgot to do it when the sun was shining. It's entirely possible I'll have it knitted up by the time the sun shines here again though. Looks like a holding pattern of weather in the 40s and rain for the next few days. 

Exciting here, huh?

Saturday, March 7, 2009


"Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself." Leo Tolstoy

And in other news, dad did great with the surgery, felt great today, though he said he couldn't extend his knee at all, and that was weird. He had a Reiki massage last night and was to get another one today, and was due to have aromatherapy too! What a recovery! His pain, as of this morning, Pre-PT was zero! He said his hands felt great too. Ah, the wonders of pain meds. :) yay dad. 

Friday, March 6, 2009


I hope my dad doesn't mind that I post about this. He had knee surgery today and I was worried all day, just a little. Enough to give me pause a few times. I called him this morning to wish him good luck, but he must have gotten called in a little sooner that originally planned. So I called my brother who texted me that dad was still in surgery and he'd call me after. The last word was that the surgery went well and he was still in recovery, that he'd get to go home Monday or Tuesday. I sure hope he does ok. I've seen the other side of recovery, from a Rehab Director's view, and it can be so painful. I'm hoping it's not too bad for him, that this gives him more mobility and lots less aggravation. Even when he was here to visit in January, he was on his knees to play with the girls. :) Such a good grandpa. 

I'm planning on making him some oatmeal raisin cookies, and possibly plan a day trip with the girls to go see him soon. (That will be an interesting day though-ugh! 2-3 hour drive, one way, then back again? We'll see...) ;) 

I just hope he's resting well, the traction machine isn't hurting him too much and he sees a benefit to this sooner rather than later! 

Thursday, March 5, 2009

"Sumpin' Else"

My little Peanut is 2 1/2. Right around the time when she turned 2, she started to try to stall when it was bedtime. She'd say, "Mommy!" I'd respond, "Yes?" And she would say, "Ummmm, sumpin' else!" :) It was very funny. She'd say it when we offered her a choice of food, drink, clothing, books, toys, whatever. "Sumpin' else." 

She has moved on in her little phrases, and the current one is, said in this tone of great wonder/surprise, "oohh! Cutieful!" Cute + Beautiful = Cutieful. Another current one is "actually, ..." She uses it appropriately and it slays me. 

Goosie has always used "actually" as well. She also said "Lasterday", "I can't think about it" (for "I can't remember") and she uses the word "how" in place of the word "while". For example: "I want to have chocolate milk how we watch a show." She actually made fun of Peanut today for using the word "while" in the right way! 

I just had to get these down on paper. It's a sweet, funny little kid thing that you have to remember. My mom tells me that I used to say "cattoos" for "tattoos" and while I was saying the "Hail Mary" I'd say "a young woman" instead of "among women". :) 

So, do your kids have sweet little ways of saying things? Keep track of them, they're here and gone so fast. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

"Totally Me!"

So totally me! :) Yesterday we stopped and got Goosie a knitting machine-the "Totally Me Knitting Machine" for $11 (deal!). She was so excited to get home and try it. Lunch came first because the headache was starting. Then I tried setting it up...and the headache got worse. 
"Totally me!" knitting machine
didn't help. There were 3 little tangles of yarn that had to be completely unknotted. What the heck man?! I finally got the pink one done and balled it up and put the whole thing away until today. After rests/nottanaps, it was too late to get the thing started. 

So, tonight, we did. Got it going, after much difficulty. I'm convinced I could have taught her to actually knit with needles in less time. :) The directions were not very helpful to me, but we got there. She had a blast turning the crank and seeing the progress. And she ended up with this:

Goosie's first FO!

She was so thrilled! And my little peanut? She turned the crank a couple times and then...

Look at that sweet, sleepy baby
It was only 6:40! Sweet sleepy baby. We've never had this happen! Nottanaps make bedtime easier tonight! Yippee!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Migraine. More tomorrow. (This counts, right?) ;)

Monday, March 2, 2009

Happy Birthday, Docka Seuss!

That's how my Peanut says "doctor"--docka. I love it. :) Didn't remember it was his birthday until someone mentioned it on the Stitch-It Podcast group in Ravelry though, so no green eggs and ham for breakfast today. We did read the book though, and Goosie thinks it's a "good thing he tried it or he would still think he didn't like it!" Ah Dr. Seuss, you genius you. Happy Birthday!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Preparing the Soul

As we approach Easter, during this Lenten season, we think about preparing our hearts, minds, souls for accepting Jesus into our lives. I have a relationship with Jesus and God that I enjoy. Then, out of the blue, comes envy and jealousy, and I was instantly overwhelmed, saddened and really felt beat down. 

Our neighbors put their house up for sale this week. They packed and moved out yesterday. I was surprised to see them go so soon! We chatted quickly, and they said they had not sold their house yet, but they had it paid off for a while now. (!) They said they couldn't pass up a deal for a house with a view of Lake Michigan. (!) 

How wonderful for them! I said that to them, congratulated them and wished them well, told them I was sad to see them go, as they had been nice neighbors. But inside, all I could do was be sad that our house was not paid off. That we couldn't move to a house that was bigger, or had a better view. Then I looked at my garden area and instead of seeing the beauty that was there in the chives, zinnias and day lillies poking through, and the pussy willows trying to open, I saw all the work ahead of me that would have to be done as Spring approaches (whenever that will be!). 

I went inside and told Derek how sad and beat down I felt. And I was able to rationalize through it all, but needed to hear it from him too. We've paid off lots of school loan money. (Lots.) We were completely credit card debt free for a while there. I don't have to be working to keep this lovely roof over our head right now, I can be home with the girls doing all the fun and wonderful things we do. 

My physical capabilities are improving every day. (I can ride the bike for 26 minutes now without my legs falling off! I started at 2 minutes.) So I'll be able to better attack the work that has to be done out in the garden/yard. I've whipped the bedroom into shape, and only have a tiny bit more to do in the basement. 

I need to see the good. I need to appreciate what we have. I need to realize that a little hard work and suffering for a great outcome is preparing myself, my heart, my mind, my soul. Envy and jealousy felt horrible. After an apology and a prayer for strength and a "thank you", I'm feeling better now. It was only a moment, but the affects will be long lasting. 

In this time in our nation, I hope others can feel some hope, can see that the suffering can lead to wonderfulness. Can see the good that has happened so far and can be strong enough to say "I don't want to feel that awfulness anymore" and then have the support to improve and more on. 

There are many people who help me everyday with spirituality, frugality, craftiness, inspiration. It helps to feed my soul and is helping me prepare myself in this Lenten season. Thank you all for your support and encouragement.