Sunday, November 30, 2008

Shelter Me

Hop over to Knitty Reviews to read the review I'm posting about the book, Shelter Me by Juliette Fay, of which I received an advanced copy through Avon's First Look program.

I can't remember the last book that really made me reflect on my life as this one did. The Kite Runner made me bawl, but it was such a foreign (obviously) culture and story that it was sad in the way that epics are, but Shelter Me made me think about my life and I identified with the character in the way that she talked about her children and how she interacted with them.

Even us prickly, sarcastic people take in the small, private intimate details of our kids....

Bubble-Yum

I just bought my first official skein of 'nice' yarn. While I've purchased from KnitPicks and love their affordability, I wanted the project for Sherri's impending baby A to go one step further. I was contributing to the message board for the Lion KAL on Ravelry and one thing led to another...pretty soon, I was ogling this yarn on NoTwoSnowflakes' Esty shop, hand-dyed a luscious pink, described as being "reminiscent of tiny, soft baby lips or petals, this squooshy superwash is the best bootie yarn!" I was s.o.l.d.

I see a Superwash Merino Layette in your future, Baby Girl! (What can I say, I've been itching to knit for a little girl!)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Black Friday

I took H and C to Munchkinland today in order to burn off some energy and have a little (or a lot of) fun. I immediately noticed something was amiss; there was an abundance of dads present with their children. Yep, stuck doin' time at Munchkinland while their wives went shopping or did whatever else it is you do the day after Thanksgiving.

Last year, because I was buying gifts for everyone, I went out in the mad frenzy that is the mall, Wal-Mart and other retail outlets in order to get the good deals. I have to say, I was really disappointed with the 'deals' at the mall, but went to Wal-Mart because they always have several advertised specials and I had PS2 games to buy for my nieces and nephew. Yes, it was busy, but it wasn't out of control.

I was reading Milly V's blog today and read about this incident at a Long Island Wal-Mart in which an employee died as a crowd of customers trampled him during a stampede when the doors were opened. Are you kidding me?! What could possibly be worth ramming yourself into a store so hard and fast that people die?! In addition, a woman's miscarriage is attributed to this incident. This isn't the running of the bulls, folks. There's not a fire. Your life will not end if your child doesn't get the newest gadget at 50% off. But apparently somebody else's will.

"Roughly 2,000 people gathered outside the Wal-Mart's doors in the predawn darkness.
Chanting "push the doors in," the crowd pressed against the glass as the clock ticked down to the 5 a.m. opening.

Sensing catastrophe, nervous employees formed a human chain inside the entrance to slow down the mass of shoppers.

It didn't work.

The mob barreled in and overwhelmed workers.

"They were jumping over the barricades and breaking down the door," said Pat Alexander, 53, of Crown Heights, Brooklyn. "Everyone was screaming. You just had to keep walking on your toes to keep from falling over."

After the throng toppled Damour, his fellow employees had to fight through the crowd to help him, police said.

Witness Kimberly Cribbs said shoppers acted like "savages."

"When they were saying they had to leave, that an employee got killed, people were yelling, 'I've been on line since Friday morning!'" Cribbs said. "They kept shopping.""


My thoughts are with the family and friends of that employee, and I hope that everyone takes this as a very hard-won lesson about what the holidays are supposed to be; a time to slow down and appreciate each other and what we already have.

Urine It To Win It

I awoke to C's cries at 3:30am to find H sprawled sideways in my bed. After feeding C and putting back in his own bed, I returned to place H in a normal sleeping position and did a cursory check of his diaper to ensure that it wasn't indicative of a pending accident.

With the all-clear granted, I drifted back to blissful sleep for what I hoped would be more than an hour...what felt like about five minutes later but was really 3 hours H exclaimed "Oh no! I peed!"
This didn't seem like a big deal as he had a diaper on, but it seems that you get what you pay for in the leak department and the generic diapers are not the Hoover Dam that is Huggies Overnights. My fingers crept over to find a lovely wetness and I hustled H out of bed to strip the sheets, dab dab dab, cover in baking soda and wait for it to dry.
Wait...a cursory glance at the clock informed me that J's 24-hour shift officially ended an hour ago, so with sign-out and travel time he'd be home in about 10 minutes. Awesome. Definitely not enough drying time. Luckily H's external alarm caught the flow fairly quickly and the mattress was not terribly wet.
About a week ago, I'd told J that since I was cloth diapering, I may as well give up diapers completely and just surrender to the piles of laundry that potty training would create. Turns out, the laundry isn't what will be the road block, it's the absolute tedium of trekking to the bathroom every 30 20 10 minutes, stripping down (because why would you leave your pants and underwear on to go to the bathroom?) and sitting on the toilet. And sitting on the toilet. Aaaaaaaaand sitting on the toilet.
Because I realized that I'm supremely unmotivated in this area, I talked with a friend whose son was potty trained (day and night) over the course of 3 days. And she's not kidding. If your child is indicating that they're ready, it's best to go whole hog and just get rid of the diapers altogether, I was told, as they are generally used as a crutch by the parents. Great. I'm not only unmotivated, I'm also a cripple.
So, since I didn't have any plans today anyway, I decided to be serious and H is in his Thomas the Train briefs as we speak. I've got hand lotion at the ready (because if I wash my hands one more time without applying moisture afterward, they're going to crack off) and I'm trying to prep my emotional reserves to be Zen mother.
I can't wait for the power struggle to ensue.

Friday, November 28, 2008

My Virtual Awning

Well, since I can't seem to stop putting yarn on my needles, and I'm making more than I know what to do with, I decided to set up an Etsy shop. I'd love to have you stop on in! I only have a few items listed so far, but if you see something you like, or want to place a custom order, you can leave a comment here, or contact me by the email on my profile.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I've got about 6 of the 16 row repeats done for the yoke cables. The part that's curling in on both edges gets used to pick up stitches as the yoke is horizontal and stitches are picked up to knit down for the body and up for the neck. I'm getting excited as I see progress. Once you get the flow of the cables, it's really pretty simple.

We'll see how making the arms goes, I'm more nervous about that.
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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Purl One, Knit Two

It's Here! It's Here! It's Here! I got my kit in the mail today, along with two skeins of yarn for hats for my nieces for Christmas...

After looking over the pattern again, rest assured, there will be tears worked into this sweater o' mine.

Speaking of knit two...head over to Knitty Reviews to check out my review of the new Friday Night Knitting Club novel Knit Two by Kate Jacobs.

Monday, November 24, 2008

I Spy, With My Little Eye...

A Hypocrite! You may remember back in April when I wrote this post about the commercialism surrounding Earth Day, along with the perceived inability by me, the girl on a budget, to 'go green'.

Fast forward 5 months and there I was, on diapers.com clicking away to get my starter packs of gDiapers. I ordered three kits in order to have 6 of the pants, and my best friend kindly offered to pass two more on to me. This was even after she'd read my post...yes, she's a very good friend! I had to chuckle when I opened the package and noted that one of the pants she sent was the very one I'd bagged on. Yep, the "I Love the Earth" gDiaper.

While I'm known to be incredibly outspoken, I'm also able to take big bites of my slice of humble pie. After several months of using both the g flushable inserts and stuffing the bad boys with cotton pre-folds, I am sold. While I know that were I working outside the home, I may never have ventured to use cloth or a disposable alternative (why? sheer laziness, fear of laundering them, etc) I am so happy I did.

I have saved so much money by using the cloth diapers inside the g pants and it has allowed me to put my money toward other eco-friendly things that I may not otherwise have justified. Likewise, using vinegar and baking soda as supplement to my eco-friendly line of cleaners has allowed those to stretch further so I'm not feeling the pinch.

J and I walked in the house the other day after I'd cleaned the counters, floors and bathrooms with nothing more than Earth Friendly Orange Plus and we looked at each other, inhaling a big lungful, noting that the house smelled, well, clean. I can usually tell when I've scrubbed the bathroom for days with the tell-tale harsh chemical smells, but this just smelled not-like-a-diaper-pail.

On that note, my fears of the cloth diaper pail stinking have been allayed, and I don't even have a good system yet. The bucket in the bathroom that houses the disposables used on H and C at night smells exponentially worse, and I think it's because I use a dry bucket and do laundry every other, if not every, day eliminating a funk from developing. I'm so sold on cloth diapering that I am considering the BumGenius 3.0 for the days I use only cloth, saving the g's for the days I use their flushable inserts (or not at all?). The up-front investment on the g's has already been paid back by using cloth inserts sometimes, so I can only imagine what using cloth all the time would do for the ole pocketbook.

I'll still love my Clorox anywhere bleach spray, but other than that, I feel like each day I'm heading over to the dark side. Dark Green that is.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

SeatSnug

Head on over to Knitty Reviews to read my review of SeatSnug, a seat belt stabilizer to be used with booster seats.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Momversation









Have you been to the site Momversation? It's a great space filled with video conversations between a group of well-established bloggers, including the 'mother' of all bloggers Heather Armstrong (of Dooce fame), on topics that affect us on a daily basis. From talking to our kids about the economy to choices in child-birth methods, all the bases are covered for a great conversation.

Gauging a Reaction

When I first started knitting, making scarf after scarf, I always skipped the gauge swatch section. It was time consuming enough just getting the stitches from needle to needle and seemed like a terrible waste to knit a bunch of rows that wouldn't even contribute to the end result! (Spoken by the girl who doesn't believe in basting either).

Even when I ventured forth to baby garments...how much difference would it really make, I argued with myself before surging forward; resulting once in a super cute sweater vest that wouldn't fit over H's toddler melon.

So, while I'm waiting for the right color of Wool-Ease to arrive from LionBrand.com, I decided that it would be a good use of nervous energy to make my very first gauge swatch. I was pretty pleased with myself to see that I was spot on...with needles one size larger. I always thought I knit pretty loosely, but I guess not. Good to know. Can you imagine the tantrum that would result from finishing that knit-along only to find that the yolk I started too small would subsequently effect the rest of the entire sweater...and then not fit over my melon?

Oh, and time 'wasted'? About fifteen minutes. Now, I'm off to practice the cable pattern so I can begin in earnest when the real deal arrives.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Get Sprung!

My High School cheerleading squad was so cool, we were going to dance to Baby Got Back at the Homecoming Pep Rally my Freshman year, of course changing the word prostitute to 'Watermelon' because prostitute just wouldn't be appropriate coming from a bunch of innocent Eastern Oregon girls.

Well, aparrently the mothers, like they will, had to ruin it all. One mom got ahold of the lyrics and it was soon the hotline of mom-dom, with a recitation of the implications of 'wanna pull up the gun' and we were left scrambling to dance to something a little more 'age-appropriate.' But I digress...


I am currently part of the beta testing group for a new organizational site called SpringPad. It has everything from a spot to save recipes that you like (including a way to pull them from a website by entering the URL), to creating a packing list for your next trip.

Instead of having 5 million sticky notes all over, you can have a central location for all of your wants, needs and ideas, printing only those that you need to take with you at the time.

While it is currently in the testing phase, I'll be using it in some of my posts, particularly those with recipes, so that shopping lists and meal plans can be created from one list.

There is so much to learn about this site, so I'll be posting more information as I become better versed with the functions. For now, when you see something like this Spring the shopping list! you can click on it, and the recipe or supply list for the food or craft I just posted about will be made available to you. It will not only save me time in typing (because I'm lazy) but it will remove some of the tedium from reading the blog for people who don't really care how I made my socks, or what I made them from...not that there's anybody out there who fits that description. Please feel free to leave comments on how the links work for you, as any feedback they get can only make it a better, more user friendly service.


What can I say? You say sprung, and my product-of-the-90's brain answers 'Sir MixALot!'

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Home(made) For the Holidays

Today, my Lion Notebook email had the following content: "What is a positive action you can take in a climate where so much is negative? When you become part of a movement that supports making and giving handmade gifts you support activities that are frugal, sustainable, heartfelt, down-to-earth and meaningful. Make a pledge to give and request handmade gifts for the holiday season."
My sisters and I had already promised each other that we'd be having a Homemade Christmas, so this was an easy pledge to take.



If you're not crafty, you can still committ to this effort by buying handmade gifts from sites such as Etsy (where I'm starting a store under SallyHP!), which is basically a huge online craft fair with both ready-to-order and made-to-order items of all crafting varieties. I am very excited to see that something positive to come from the economic downturn could be that people are taking more time to pick gifts that are meaningful and personal. (Note that I didn't advocate the nixing of gift-giving...gifts are definitely one of my love languages.)



If you want a fun bag or nice fabric, you can shop at Karlee's Kreations , beautiful fabric, quilts, funky hair ties and more can be found at Heather Bailey's Store. For the knitter in your life, you could purchase patterns for original Lisa Shobhana Mason designs (hint, hint).



More than anything, something homemade challenges us to spend time thinking about what we're giving. Hopefully it will turn out as planned, but like last year's quilt debacle, there will be bumps in the road.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

TokBox


Today I wrote about a great communcations tool, TokBox, on Knitty Reviews

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Holiday Wishes

I am a big fan of having your holiday shopping and crafting done well ahead of time. I said I was a fan, I didn't say I was a practitioner.

Last year, if you remember, I shocked everyone by having all items packaged and ready to go well before the shipping cut-offs and felt rather smug. This year, I'll be happy just to get myself to the airport in time. I did, however, wish to purchase J's gift in advance so that I could have it shipped to my parent's house in Oregon, where we'll be celebrating Festivus Christmas.

I was browsing through the random gathering of obscure 80's music and triple b movies that is J's Amazon Wishlist when I came upon this gem...

That's right folks. My husband wants a machete for Christmas. Ralphie may have held a child-like naivete in hoping for a Red Ryder BB gun, but J is off his rocker if he thinks that a machete will ever be in my home, sheathed or not. I can only guess which wall in our apartment he thought it would grace. Probably the same one he proposed to use as the host of our tiny (read: gargantuan) Yakima Skybox.

Did he watch Indiana Jones too recently? I just can't wrap my brain around this. According to Charles Lummus, who reviewed it on Amazon "You will never find a tool that does as much as the "Woodsman's Pal". It functions as an axe, hatchet, machete, draw knife, spoke shave,camp knife, and hammer. You can fell trees, split kindling, or chop onions, it does it all!"

Just when I think I've got him figured out, he throws in another wrench. Kind of like the time he revealed to me, as we were preparing to move away from my family for the first time so that he could attend medical school, that he would like to become a certified locksmith because "everybody needs a trade to fall back on."

Maybe he's just trying to ensure job security by bringing a machete into a household with a pre-school boy who likes to court disaster. Here's the photo in case you didn't click on the link.

Insane in the Membrane

For a little insight into my kooky family, read my sister's hillarious post from yesterday.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Butternut Squash Enchiladas with Peanut Sauce

I made the Butternut Squash Enchiladas that I found on Late Nite Kitchen, as adapted from the recipe by Chez Jose. They were very tasty! I was pleasantly surprised that these weren't as sweet or rich as I was fearing they would be. All of the spices, particularly the pepper, really helped to balance things. Also, I was dubious about the apple, since it doesn't get heated except in the oven, it added a nice texture with being crispy, but you didn't taste that it was an apple. These are great, and I will definitely make them again!

On Late Nite Kitchen, it says that they are a lot of work, but worth it. I drastically cut down on the work by using a shortcut and bought pre-cut butternut squash from Roche Brothers, steaming it in the microwave until tender (nine minutes) instead of roasing a whole one in the oven (one hour). Also, and this didn't save any time, I used Fat Free Organic Vegetable Stock instead of using Veggie Bouloin and water, left out the jicama (love it, but forgot to buy it) and I used EVOO instead of Vegetable Oil.


Filling for the Enchiladas



The sauce after adding the peanut butter...I eyeballed the peanut butter...won't do that again as I got a little too much...not bad, just made the sauce a little thick.





Mmmm...nothin' says lovin' like hot and fresh from the oven.

Dig in! (I made it lasagna-style by layering the tortillas...yep, I'm that lazy!)

Food for Thought

It seems that Late Nite Kitchen and 101 Cookbooks are going to be responsible for the expansion of my experimentation in the kitchen. I was even more excited that I'm a fan of 101 Cookbooks when I read her post about spending the weekend in Portland and all the fun restaurants she visited...made me so homesick! To date, I've felt fairly comfortable throwing together a meal and being creative in the I-don't-have-a-recipe-but-can-make-Shepherd's-pie-without-it way, but I'm takin' it to the next level folks.

Not only have I kept my newly purchased little kitchen table cleared off, we've actually been eating our meals at it regularly. No more sitting on the couch and balancing a plate for me.

Fall and winter are my favorite times for cooking and baking because the warmth of the kitchen and the ensuing warmth of the food in your belly just isn't the same when it's hot outside. Summer is the time for watermelon and gazpacho, not Butternut Squash Enchiladas with Peanut Sauce or Chocoloate Zucchini Cupcakes. Sound wonderful? They are! And they're just a couple of the recipes I've used since becoming, what some people may consider, a little bit obsessed with reading food blogs.

The recipe for the Enchiladas was From Chez Jose restaurant, Portland, Oregon. Published in Oregonian FoodDay 2/23/99 (also 1994). Recipe by: Chez Jose restaurant, Portland, Oregon.

Next up, Caramel Apples a la Heidi Swanson; I just need to get a candy thermometer.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

You've Been Saved


So far, I've made three of the Save the Children hats, and my stash of baby yarn is not starting to look depleted...I'm starting to think it's the yarn that never ends!
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Got Talent?

Today, I got to leave the kids with J while I attended Mass alone. This means that I basically heard the homily for the first time. The parable of the talents was used, and the church came up with a plan to help encourage the use of ours. Each family that wishes to participate was given $50 to invest in their talents for three months; be it the purchase of rakes and bags to rake leaves for a donation or purchasing the ingredients to whip up a batch of yummy desserts for a bake sale, the intention is to make that $50 grow so it can be used for donation to charity. If people decide to make something with their 'seed money', they have the option to participate in a group bazaar on March 1st.

I have decided to participate with trepidation. Obviously I intend to do something with knitting, but also thought about offering to make desserts to order. With the busy holiday season coming soon and parties galore to attend. People don't want to go empty-handed, and how nice would it be to have a home-made dessert in the same time it takes to dash into the store? We'll see how it goes. I'll just be happy as long as I have the $50 to give back!

On another note, I've decided that it's time to jump into the pool of making adult garments with both feet. This summer I sewed the two shirts that didn't fall apart when I washed them. I've made several baby sweaters and hats, inched forward to the completed pair of socks, and then decided to just do it already when I got the LionBrand notebook email announcing that the sweater I've been wanting to knit for quite awhile is their new knit along. Before I could let my insecurities take over, I pushed the 'purchase' button on the cart that held the yarn that my first little sweater (Cable Luxe Tunic to be exact) will make. Why, you might ask, would she not choose an easy pull-over for her first attempt? Oh, silly, what would be the fun in that?!

Knowing the curse of making a sweater for someone else, I've decided to make this sweater for myself. Hopefully, I can get my head and arms through the appropriate holes and that it provides more than humorous anecdotes for this blog.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Book Giveaway

My Sister, Milly, is giving away a signed copy of Brooke Taylor's Undone. If you'd like your chance to win, simply leave a comment on her post!

Cold Shoulder

Fall has definitely given way to winter, as we haven't seen temperatures much higher than 40 degrees over the last few days. Along with winter comes the leaky windows in our slapped-together apartment that cause astronomical heating bills. But, despite feeling a little blah when it's dark out so soon, last night the lightbulb clicked, and I remember why I LOVE winter. Snow? Toasty Fires? Sledding? Skiing? Steaming Hot Cocoa? Nope. None of the above.

Winter means that it's dark at about 4pm, so the kids are deceived into bed by 6, leaving me with a few hours of free time and it's till only 9 o'clock! No wonder I've been exhausted (besides that whole newborn and sleep-interrupted toddler thing), I've been getting less than 5 hours of sleep (cumulative, not consecutive) every night.

I'm starting to see the downside of having a husband who works in hospitals. H and I have been blessed with yet another lovely cold of the congestion variety. Seriously, I used to work with kids every day and I got sick less times than I do now that I'm at home with my own. I was disappointed mostly because I was supposed to drive with the kids to Delaware to see a friend who lives in Alaska that I haven't seen in over two years. Well, it was just one more reason to cry like the big bawl bag I am.

On a brighter note, last night I sat down and completed one (and a half) of the hats that I'm making for Warm Up! America and they were so simple! If you are a knitter that can cast on, knit and purl, and have an extra two hours, you should most definitely make at least one of these little hats. So simple, and so gratifying to be completely done with a project in under two hours from the time of cast-on. I would probably be faster, but the first row always takes awhile because I cast-on kind of wonky.

I finished Case Histories, and the replacement hardback version came in the mail. Luckily, it's a really nice copy with the exact cover art, so i won't get any guff from the snarky librarians. I'll be posting a review of it on Knitty Reviews, along with reviews for the other five that I'm reading for the New Classics Challenge. I also received in the mail advanced copies of two books, one of which I'm really excited to read, as it's the follow-up to Friday Night Knitting Club. I also just finished The Abstinence Teacher which is the new novel by Tom Perotta (author of Little Children), and my pick for the next book club I host.

It's been a busy week, and I've had a lot of ideas to post about, but none of them have materialized. Tonight I'll be dedicating some time to posting since J has a 24-hour shift.
This week, I had the parental heart attack that was bound to happen with the amount of sleep I get, and the adjustment to having two kids to load and unload each time a car is required. I was driving the looooong way home after leaving McDonald's PlaySpace where we'd met some friends, and H was driving me crazy with his new Happy Meal Toy; Madagascar 2 animals that 'talk when you move'. I'm pretty sure they're intended to just talk as you are going with the flow of life, but H was shaking and banging the thing against his carseat so that there was not a single break in the string of "I'm Alex. The Alex." "Let's go wild!"
At a stoplight, I politely and gently requested that he hand me the toy, lest he want it disposed of when we got home. To my surprised, he was able to hand me the toy with ease because I FORGOT TO BUCKLE HIS CARSEAT! I felt like vomitting as the littany of possible crash scenarios ran through my head. I told H that he had to sit very still, and I pulled straight into a parking lot, apologizing profusely for forgetting, while the realization that I am a shitty, shitty parent kept running through my head. Seriously, who forgets to buckle their kid's carseat?! I called two of my friends for reassurance that I was not the only one to have this happen. Crisis averted, on to the next part of the day.
Oh, and aparrently this Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout will take the garbage out. That's okay. Quite frankly my hands feel virtually empty when I'm leaving the house. I can certainly add three very full garbage bags because without them I only have to carry an infant seat, a diaper bag, whatever lunch or snack we pack that usually doesn't fit into said bag, and the hand of a squirming toddler who can now successfully repeat "Because they'll squish me like a bug" when I ask him why he has to be careful of cars. No. Really. Let me get that for you.

Gosh, I make being married to me sound like such a glamorous and rewarding proposition.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Bookie

Today, I received notification that Chasing Harry Winston was available for pick-up at the library. As I had just finished the beloved bedraggled book, I decided to return it at the same time.

I felt a sense of triumph as they scanned the rumpled tome without fanfare. However, because I have Tourette's of the Catholic Guilt variety, the whole sordid tale came tumbling out and before long there was a conference of librarians, shaking heads and clucking tongues whereupon it was decided that they could not possibly circulate a book in this condition. When I asked why, I was returned with a 'WHY?!' As if I were the most simple of plebes. Apparently a lack of missing or torn pages, a cover that is unscathed (the wrinkles are only on the clear plastic cover applied by the library) and intact and a bibliophilic dedication to book retrieval (aka risking my life in traffic) are not the only requirements for circulation.

She happily informed me that I would now be the proud owner of Case Histories by Kate Atkinson, and that I would be blessed with the honor of donating a copy of said book, valued at $24. I asked if I could purchase it myself and they said that was fine as long as it was in good condition...'better than this one, you mean?'

Driving home I had the brilliant plan to write a gushy and witty letter to the author, in hopes that she would find me and my plight so charming that she'd send a complimentary copy. Unfornutaley, a quick search of the internet did not show direct contacts for her...seriously, why don't all award-winning authors have, if not a blog, then at least a personal webpage with contact information? Maybe to ward off stalkers like me.
Alas, I found a copy of the hardbound book in "very good" condition on Amazon for $12.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

(Pumpkin) Patch It Together

Spring the shopping list!


J's current schedule this month has him working all night and sleeping all day, leaving about an hour that we can spend together. Tonight when he got up, I realized I hadn't really planned anything for dinner, what with the multi-hour trip to the park and the second losing of the book (I swear, that thing is going to be the death of me....don't worry, I found it under the seat in my car where it had fallen out of the diaper bag on the way to said park.) Following a night of very little sleep with a morning of a three year-old who doesn't care about lack of sleep made meal-planning very low on my list of priorities
I remembered that I'd printed off the recipe for Maple-Pumpkin Pancakes from my friend Portlandia's blog Late Night Kitchen. A-ha! Breakfast for dinner it is. They turned out to be really tasty, because the oatmeal in the batter really makes for a great texture, while they aren't too sweet or cloying like some pumpkin dishes can be (too much allspice or something?)
I liked that the batter didn't have any sugar...3 T of Maple Syrup, of course, but no white sugar. I did cheat and used quick oats instead of Old-Fashioned. In my defense, I started them at 5 and J had to leave for work at 5:30, so the whole soaking the oats for 30 minutes wouldn't have worked in this case. Other than that, these can't be more simple and probably the best pumpkin pancakes I've tried. I love Fall flavors, so have looked for a good great pumpkin recipe and this is it!
These are definitely hearty and dense, so three was plenty (and I can eat pancakes). The recipe made enough that I was able to freeze some for later.


Mmmm. Warm, pumpkin goodness in just about 10 minutes. H even ate two of them, and he's the king of picky lately.

As I was looking at Late Night Kitchen just now, I realized that I completely missed the post about Chocolate-Covered Bacon...hold the phone, I could have had that bacon with the...no, wait, that would have been way too much. There will be no Homer Simpson bacon-wrapped sausage dinners, but I will be trying that bacon recipe as a fun party food...maybe Thanksgiving since we're entertaining only one other family?

AAGL Blog Tour

Today I posted on Knitty Reviews about AAGL, which is a not-for-profit group dedicated to educating women about minimally invasive gynecology. From Obama to Ob-gyn in one fell swoop; because I'm wicked awesome.

From the Peanut Gallery...

Even the little ones know how great this country can be with the right leadership. I broke the news to H first thing this morning. (We need to work on the pronunciation, but...)

video

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Happy Days Are Here Again...


"Because of what we did on this day, in this election, in this defining moment, change has come to America," -Barack Obama

As I sat on the couch, with a pile of warm laundry surrounding me, I couldn't help it. It was 10:30pm and I drifted off to sleep. I had promised myself earlier that I wouldn't give up and go to bed early, as it had been unsettling enough waking to find that the Patriots had lost the SuperBowl when I thought they were a sure thing.


Imagine my incredible delight when I awoke to C's feeding frenzy cry a little over an hour later and saw a smiling Obama standing at the podium as his wife and children left the stage. I can't say enough how excited I am about the prospects for our nation with Obama and Biden leading the way.


In watching John McCain's admission of defeat, I thought it was very classy...although he kept saying how 'special' the significance of the win was.

Now, I need to head to bed, because H and C won't care that it was election night. It's times like these that I really miss home...it would be nice to be on Pacific Time right now.

What a Pair...


My first pair of socks completed. I used Felici self-stiping sock yarn from my new favorite website, KnitPicks, whose tagline is "Passionately committed to affordable luxury knitting." The pattern is Basic Socks from LionBrand.com.

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Playground Mittens

Blurry picture. Oh well, I made my first pair of Playground Mittens for Alex's OS per the pattern in the round on DPNs. I started the second pair for YS that way as well, but it was just too tedious, so I switched to the free Two Needle pattern on LionBrand.com and completed this pair in just under three hours. It had been suggested on Crossroad Knits that any mitten pattern would do, just placing the flap as directed, so I did. I used worsted weight Swish from KnitPicks, which is a 100% Superwash Merino

The funky stitching on the palm is actually a little flap so that they can stick their fingers out.
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Lost And Found

After H woke up from his nap, I was determined to find my book. I loaded the boys into the car, with the pep talk to H that we were going to pull into the lot at the park, but we weren't going to stay...actually, it went better than expected.


After several U-Turn inducing false alarms upon my 'retrace your steps home' route, I came to the point that my logical brain told me would be the only point at which the angle of my car would have caused a hard-bound book to fly of the roof of a car with a rack on it...and an open sun-roof.


Yep, it was at the point that you go from one route to another, curving to merge. I got the finger from an irate man that was following too closely, but I also got this...








Spine up and run over several times, there were no torn pages and my book mark was still securely in its place! The affected pages now just look 'beloved'.




As I opened my door and quickly reached out in a point of traffic that may not be kind and bent to get the book the thought ran through my head 'this would be a really crappy way to die...but it is a good book so far...'

Vote of Confidence

Today while I was preparing a PB and J to take along with us to the park, H asked for his copy of the daily agenda.

I told him that we were going to go to the Fire Station first so that I could vote. After he donned his fire helmet and Dalmatian rain boots, he asked about the concept of voting. I know that it all went right over his head, but I thought it was a great chance to start our very first dialogue about civic duty. Yes, my three year old and I had a conversation about civic duty. I am definitely a person that needs daily adult contact.


I remembered accompanying my dad to the Music Room at my school (our voting location), and the curtain-covered booths always seemed very mysterious. I couldn't WAIT until I was old enough to stand behind that curtain. By the time I turned 18, mail-in ballots were prevalent in Oregon, so this was my first time participating in an in-person voting situation and it was kind of exciting. (I know, giant dork.)

Voting complete, I met friends for coffee and then we went to the park and that part of my fantasy where I read my book and H plays gently with others was fulfilled. The part that wasn't in my fantasy was when I reached home with two sleeping children, deposited them in bed and then went to read more of my latest library find only to realize that I'd LEFT IT ON TOP OF MY CAR when putting H in his car seat at the park.

I'll be going back to search for it when naps are over, but I hope someone will fulfill their civic duty and return my book to the library if they find it on the ground! Dissapointing for more than just the money I'll have to spend, but also because it was a really good book that I was half-way through and it was on my New Classics Challenge list.
Just and FYI...today, if you vote, you can get a free drip coffee at Starbucks!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Today C turns five months old...I can't believe how fast this time is going. It's hard for me to believe that at this point with H, J was gone for a month-long away rotation and H was starting full-time daycare. I'd already been back to work for well over a month, and life was just truckin' along.

I don't know if it's because I knew I didn't have to go back to work this time, but there was much less of a sense of urgency to get him on a schedule, which incidentally never happened with H anyway. I have really enjoyed my time with C and sometimes find myself with the thought, usually when H is on his last set of "That's 1!", that C has the short end of the stick. While we had less with H, he got what we had. With each child it will be divided more and more, but I guess that's just the way it goes...

As much as I am sarcastic and get frustrated over the daily grind of being at home, I do appreciate that we've been able to make the decision and according budgetary sacrifices for me to stay home. Now I just hope the boys will concur.

Way to go, Ida-ho!

As I was reading my sister's blog post about the end of the school quarter, I was very impressed to see that her school (a small school in rural Oregon) is using technology to not only help kids become savvy and aware users, but to help reduce the amount of paper that schools as a whole crank out. (okay, so the school's not in Idaho, but it's close enough and the writer's at Disney are better with little quips than I...hope you've seen Toy Story.)

Their assignments are on a central server, and each child is able to complete the majority of their assignments on their own lap top, provided by the school, saving it to the teacher's files where that teacher can grade it without ever having to print off, or physically be handed anything. I asked about internet access, and they don't have access on those laptops outside of the school, so it stems the issue of MySpace and other sites of concern at home.

What a great way to teach kids not only about accountability (the teacher can see where the student is, progress-wise) on their assignments, but also about being more conservative and globally conscious. Not to mention, it was always a big job to lug around and empty the recylce bins at school. I can't stress how important I think it is for college-bound kids to be computer savvy, and comfortable on the Internet.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

WWJD?

Hey J, What is the kind, nurturing translation for "H, if I see your face out of your bed again tonight, it will not be a happy occasion"? Hmmm...I'm stumped, too.

Not-So-Green Thumb

In my inbox this morning I found the following tip from Clorox's 30 Days to Natural;

"Get a green thumb and breathe easier. Enhance indoor air quality with houseplants, which convert carbon dioxide to oxygen. Some plants, like the spider plant, remove some air pollutants."

Can they smell the funk of a diaper pail from a three year-old from there?! I've been looking into houseplants because I know that I need/want a few. My mom always had houseplants and they were always glorious looking, dusted regularly and perfectly potted. I have had several attempts with geraniums and other spring/summer flowering plants and they are always lovely for the amount of time that they can sustain themselves and then it's Sayonara, Sister!

I have to be careful, because with the lasseiz-faire tactics I employ for most things in life, I would most likely end in a poisonous plant being placed within reach of curious hands. Good thing there are websites that help weed out (ha ha, pardon the pun) the baddies. In looking at the list I'm pretty sure I would have deduced that Devils Backbone, Crown of Thorns and Dumb Cane would not good choices make. But Angels' Wings and Angel's Trumpet? Are they trying to make us have that conversation with Child Welfare workers?

I have one plant that is being plant-sat in Oregon, which I managed to keep alive for just over four years, before abandoning it to head to the "right" coast, as they call it here. Granted it's really tall for it's girth and was placed in a much larger pot far before its time, but thrive it has. I've been told my my old cubie buddies that it's doing quite well, and I'll be visiting it when I go home to visit.

My mom and two of my girlfriends at home have the most beautiful yards and are a big factor in me wanting to move back to Portland when residency is over. Who needs a landscape architect when you have friends that are passionate about an aesthetically pleasing, yet practical and balanced flora arrangement? But for now, here I go again on my own...yes, I'm full of 'em tonight.