Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Week two of the stash buster/ no cast on rule

I made a bet with myself.
I would not cast on until everything was bound off.
And only one thing can be cast on at a time.
And I am keeping up with this rule.
I also made another rule.
No buying new yarn until I have used up my current supply.
From when I first started knitting again a few years ago, I had a bunch of cotton.

Now I have this:

The pattern is so simple
Cast on an even number of stitches
Row 1+2 Knit
Row 3+4 K2, *K1,P1* until the last 2 stitches, K2 (repeat between the *)
Repeat knitting the set of four rows until you get it the size you want.
Bind off and weave in the ends.

I have another on the sticks in black which I plan to make into a dishtowel with a loop.

I found this on ravelry, but have no idea where...I just kind of memorized the pattern (which isn't too hard.)

I love the texture, I think it will be very scrubby.

I also have been reading more about cable knitting and color work...trying it out on scraps, but not really doing anything big yet.  It mostly is a lot of frogging and redoing until I feel I have the concept down.

In the meantime, I've been listening to lots of reading.
I mentioned that bedtime has changed for my boy.
Instead of tucking him in, he tucks me in my bed, reads me a story, gives me a hug and kiss, and then goes to his room to read until he falls asleep.  I find this one of the many benefits of homeschooling.  If he stays up late, he can sleep in, in the morning.  He doesn't need to get up in the morning, he just needs to get his work done during the day.

He has gotten into the authors Wood and Wood.  His favorites include the Napping House, Heckedy Peg, and King Bidgood's in the Bathtub.  The dark artistry of the latter two especially have interested me since I was little, and I'm glad he's found it interesting too.

linking with ginny and nicole

Monday, November 26, 2012


That magic moment when a child's reading turns from choppy and without comprehension to fluent and stimulating. 

When he goes to the library he asks for more books by "Wood and know they wrote King Bidgood's in the Bathtub."

That moment when he can't stop reading everything he can get his hands on.

That moment when you realize that bedtime is never going to be the same.


When your baby picks up a (non curriculum leveled reader) book and begins sounding out a few words here and there...

And finds a stack of flash cards and announces "hhuh awww ppp...hop...that's a verb!"

What's a verb?

"That's something you can me verb!"

And she hops across the room.

And you know that they are on their ways to being really big kids.

Did I mention that bedtime is never going to be the same?
I can't bear to turn off the lights and tell him to put the book down.
After all, my parents never did.
Thank you mom and dad...Thanks for encouraging me to read.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Dishwasher Blues

Our dishwasher hasn't been cleaning well lately.  It felt like dishes were being washed before putting them in for a wash cycle, which defeats the purpose of having a dishwasher to begin with, right?  Imagine the frustration when they still had leftovers on them after going through two cycles.

Time for an intervention!!!

I decided to peruse through one of my favorite sites for some inspiration (Pinterest of course) and came across a bunch of homemade cleaning product recipes.  Initially, I was a huge skeptic when it came to homemade cleaning products.  Uneducated, really.  Then, I started using a vinegar/water/essential oil spray for all purpose cleaning.  It works great, so I wanted to at least give the dishwasher soap a try, but I really didn't think it was going to work.
It felt like being in 6th grade science class again.  I was presented with a problem and needed to do a scientific experiment and find the best conclusion!  Going into it, I expected to be disappointed.  There was going to be a powdery substance left all over the dishes!  There was no way the glasses would be sparkling!

The dishwasher was full, so here was my chance!  I put in 4 Tablespoons of the Borax mix, filled my rinse cycle compartment with vinegar and hit "start"! 

Here is what the dishes looked like before the cycle.  I picked the perfect dinner dishes for my little experiment.  Eggplant Parmesan! 
Here is the finished product!
Beautiful!  IT WORKED!

If you are interested, you can find the recipe I used here.  The recipe is perfect, but I used a little bit more of the Borax mixture (4-5 Tbsp) and don't measure the vinegar out.  Initially, I filled the rinse aid compartment with vinegar, and now I just refill the compartment each time I run it.  It does the job just fine.  Each refill seems to require only 2 additional Tbsp of vinegar.

It does a beautiful job!  It is also septic safe, which is a huge bonus for us!   

Happy washing! 

Monday, November 19, 2012


On election day Tuesday, I got a lot accomplished before 9:00 am.

I got a shower.
I visited the dentist (with a good report.)
I exercised my civil duty.
I announced  to my husband what I was getting him for Christmas.

For about 6 months my husband has been dragging his copy of Cider around the house (found on the sidebar...he really digs is which says a lot for a boy who never liked math or chemistry and this book contains both.)  He reads it during commercial breaks during the news, or during sporting events.  He took it on warm summer evenings to the side porch to read while grilling or watching the kids play.  He curled up with it at night during family reading time.  In other words, it fascinates him.

So imagine my excitement when I drove by a brew supply store just down the street from one of my clients.  Usually that kid is my first in the morning...early early morning...with many kids scheduled back to back to back after.  But over the past few weeks, our scheduled appointment changed to last thing in the day...a perfect opportunity.

My first time in the shop, the guy led me around showing me the necessities of cider.  No pressure...just helping me get my numbers together.  I also got down the process in a very simple way.   Basically, mix cider, sweetener, and yeast in a container and let sit with an airlock on top.  In a few days put in a carboy and let sit some more with the airlock on top.  Maybe at this point add a little sweetener if you want sparkling cider.  Then put in containers and chill/enjoy.

I made my husband space in the canning cupboard by rearranging the pantry and putting empty jars in the garage for next season.

I scheduled the client for the evening again and bought the supplies.
Honey, a bucket, a carboy, some sanitizer...I think I need to go back and get some bottles and tubing.
I called around to find preservative free cider in the quantities we needed.
The husband picked them up on his way home from work.

Last weekend he mixed up his first batch.  It took a few days but all the sudden, the cupboard started to smell of apples and the airlock started to bubble...first just a little one here and there, and now it's several times a minute.

Now he's talking beer.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Binding off

I did it.
I promised myself no more casting on until I finish all my projects...and last 11:30 pm...I did it.  I finished another pebble vest...this one for C.  I also finished the oaklet shawl that I have been working on FOREVER!

So now I have decided to just cast on a mindless project in order to be able to carry it around and knit when I have a minute or two here and there, as that is all I have time for this time of year.  I'm thinking washcloths.

I also have been trying to learn a few new techniques.
I figure if I have a few small projects, maybe I can add a few little tricks in.
So, I picked up a few books at the library, will watch a few you tube videos and will attempt to educate myself.  I love being a lifetime learner.
Oh...and by the way...citysister designs is having a giveaway here...and there's a discount code.
joining in with yarn along and craft on

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A tinkerbell/giraffe, a witch and a chicken

Halloween is such a fun time!

We have found that #2 is the most creative with her costume choices.  Last year, we asked her what she wanted to be for Halloween.  She wasn't quite sure, so my mom and I took her to a store to pick something out.  The giraffe made the cut!   She has a thing for giraffe's.  She also has a thing for Tinkerbell and in her dress up basket, has a Tinkerbell costume.  A few days before Halloween, she decided to go dressed as "Tinkerbell-Giraffe"!  She was the ONLY one out with that costume!  She liked it so much and decided to dress like that again this year!  She cracks me up!

#1 wanted to be a scary witch again!  This year, she worked on improving the scariness with a witchy growl!  She took her role very seriously!  That is, until she saw her new buddy from school out trick-or-treating.  Then the silly kid came out.

#3 cracks me up!  We went to a consignment shop to pick out his costume and he chose a "foggy" (froggy).  He was proud of this costume.  He wore it to the bus stop, preschool drop off and even to the supermarket with me!  As the night got closer, people would ask him what he was going to dress up as.  Up to that point, his choices were 1: a pumpkin, or 2: the "foggy" he picked out.  What does he come back with?  "A chicken"!  Buddy, that wasn't even in the running!  I refused to buy him a chicken costume.  It would be impossible to find something like that locally and even if I found it online, it would have never made it in time.  BUT, I did happen to find a duck costume at a consignment shop, and that did just fine!  The little hat didn't stay on his head, but the rest fit just fine.  Most people thought he looked like a candy corn.  Nobody thought he was a chicken.  He did though.  It's all that counts!

I can't wait to see what they want to be next year.

Do you have any creative costume stories from your little ones?  Do any of you dress up with your kids? 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Beware the pumpkin spice

Pumpkins are wonderful...
And they taste pretty good too.
Well the husband has become addicted to pumpkin spice coffee...only problem is that they only sell it at the store around halloween...and they are all out.
I love bringing a smile to that boy's face so I decided to work some magic with the leftover squash from dinner last night.

I saw some recipies on line, but they all had canned pumpkin...and I like the real here's my version. The real stuff needs to be blended well so don't skip the immersion blender (or a big blender if you don't have one.) The brown sugar gives it the caramel flavor of fall in a special kind of way.

1 c. mashed pumpkin/orange squash
1c. brown sugar/succant
1.5 cups water
1.5 tsp cinnemon
.5 tsp nutmeg
.25 tsp ginger
.25 tsp allspice

Mix all ingredients in a small pot and blend with an immersion blender.  Bring to a boil over medium heat for about 5 minutes and blend again (since you are using real squashes, you need to get all the fiber broken up.)  Pour into a mason jar and refrigerate.  Mix with coffee/milk and coffee and enjoy.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

100 year old boards in a new house

There is this great blog I stumbled upon where a woman uses old materials from around her house (or from the trash) and creates new things with them.  Her objective is to give new spaces an old rustic look.  She has done things like paint words on old boards, scratched them out a little and made them look like old antique signs.  She attached a few together, stuck some painted legs on them and made side tables.  So inspiring.

There is one project I tried to replicate.  She took 5-6 old boards about 5 feet long and attached them in the back.  She then took a bunch of picture frames, arranged and attached them to this new background and hung it over her mantle as a focal point.  She even attached a little vase to the boards and stuck some fake flowers in there too.  It is beautiful!  

So, I was lucky enough to find someone locally that just tore up a floor in their 100 year old house.  SCORE!  Getting rid of the boards before winter had been on her to-do list for the entire summer!  Finding someone willing to get rid of old boards was on mine for just a few weeks.  She helped me and I helped her!  

The boards were PERFECT!  They were in a pile outside for a few months so they had a bunch of dirt, leaves and junk on them.  J washed and attached them together for me. 

This is my final product!  I just have to add pictures to the frames and maybe a little sign on it with our last name etched on it.
It's kind of blurry, but you get the gist. 

When J assembled the boards, there was little to no space in between them.  They must have swelled from being out in the elements.  The heat from our wood stove sucked the moisture right out of them and left spaces between each board.

I am going to try getting more boards from my new friend.  J is thinking of creating a work station for the girls to put right under this.

So there you have it... 100 year old old boards in our 4 year old house. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Carving a rotten pumpkin

Mistake #1:  We waited too long to go pick out our pumpkins.
Mistake #2:   We let too much time go by before we decided to carve the pumpkins.  #3's rot spot got huge and we couldn't salvage it. 
After J cut out the rot spot, all we had left was a little half circle pumpkin with no top or side.  So, we decided to make it sound cool and told #3 it was a bat cave!!!  We used part of another pumpkin and made a bat (terrible looking bat) and here we have it!  #3 loved it! 
#1 took a permanent marker and drew out her face!  I think she was more excited about the fact that I let her use a permanent marker than she was about doing pumpkins!  She felt extra grown up too because she was the only one that could at least make an attempt to cut her own (with supervision, and of course, with one of those dull pumpkin-carving-kit "knives").  Although she felt like a big kid, she quickly gave up and had Daddy finish for her!  Have you ever tried carving with one of those knives?  Most of the time, they snap in half after the first insertion!
Here is her Mr. Pumpkin with his silly little smirk! 

#2 drew all over hers with the same marker!  She didn't want us to cut anything out.  She just wanted to put the silly eyes on.  This was just perfect!  She loved it! 
Here is our little family of pumpkins waiting for treat seekers on Halloween night!  We didn't get any.
Note to self:  Get pumpkins earlier next year so that #3 can have a better chance at having a cool looking pumpkin!  It would also be nice to carve them at least week or two before the actual holiday.  Not the night before.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Hurricane talk

Last year, Hurricane Irene didn't cause us any problems directly, but it wiped out a large portion of communities just 30 minutes north of us.  Bridges, homes and businesses were flooded and some washed away.  Some communities were left with no way to go in/go out, etc.  The rebuilding efforts took a good 8 months and some places are still rebuilding.  When we saw another hurricane making it's way up here again, we began to brace ourselves and prepare!  

I have to admit, I wasn't that worried for our area.  The weather teams usually hype these things up and it seemed to be on the path towards NY and NJ, not where we are.  I was worried for them! 

Sandy was gentle with our region.  We only lost power for a few days.  We are very fortunate!

When we moved into our current home, we learned to expect power outages at least 3-4 times a year.  In the summer, it's not a big deal (yes, we lose power in the summer, with not a wind in the sky or a rain drop in sight), but when it's as cold and raw as it has been, having no heat makes for a miserable time.  Especially for the kids.  They only thing they don't complain about are the endless amounts of PB&J's that fill their bellies!  

We decided to buy a backup generator to supply us with what minimal electricity we need to "survive" (we have a well so we need electricity for running water), and saved up to buy a wood stove.  They were the best investments we have ever made!  

Sandy may have took our power away for a few days, but we were able to carry on.  Business as usual!  

Nice try Sandy!  Nice try!   

(Mother Nature:  please don't take this as an invitation to try and create something larger to wipe us out.  I was merely trying to be funny!)