30 October 2006

According to my thermometer...

Mom and Dad should be almost back to Oregon by now. Today is sunny and 66°! It was mostly overcast and chilly during their trip, so if it is warming up again, they must be almost home. We had a wonderful visit with them and I promise to get back to blogging and catching up soon. A sneak peak of what I need to catch up on (and post pictures of):

  • Open house at the local fire station (10/14)
  • A Kite Festival (10/15)
  • Grandma and Grandpa visiting (10/20 - 10/27)
  • Trick or Treating at the Zoo (10/21)
  • A very Beanie birthday (10/21, party 10/22)
  • Geology museum (10/26)
I also need to get back to knit blogging. I finally have some finished objects that I need to get blogging on!

13 October 2006

WIP Friday

One new project on the needles...

I had been scanning some knitting blogs and Bug saw a pumpkin hat and booties that the blogger had made and decided that he absolutely, without a doubt needed a pumpkin hat. Since we are already quite clear that Halloween is his favorite holiday, I figured that at least he might be likely to wear a pumpkin hat (like obsessively, forever). So yesterday we made a trip to Hobby Lobby to find some cheap yarn so I could start right away. Bug immediately bonded with a shade of orange from a camoflage line (basically hunter safety orange). I showed him a couple more pumpkiny shades, but his mind was made up! As it turns out, as I get into the hat, I really like this color for a pumpkin! I guess I need to appoint Bug my color consultant when I go yarn shopping. I would also like to make some little stuffed pumpkins as decoration, unless I am completely sick of knitting with acrylic by the time I finish this.

The candle flame lace continues on. I am about two rows from being finished with the second time around of the 36 row repeat. The sock continues. I am getting pretty close to being ready for the heel and I have decided that I am going to do a peasant heel instead of the short rows I had planned to see if that works better with self-striping yarn. The scarflet is moving ahead and the ball of yarn is getting noticably smaller. And we're not going to talk about the bloomers. I still haven't found or bought elastic.

12 October 2006

Creative dishwashing

Yesterday, Bean decided that she didn't need a nap. Whereas Bug gets increasingly cranky as time passes after missing a nap, Bean stays her chipper self until she completely melts down and crashes. So while I did my usual nap chores and puttered around, Bean was delighted to entertain herself. After a while, things were sounding a *bit* too quiet so I went to investigate. When I walked into the kitchen, she was bent over with her head in the sink. Of course, since I am a mom, I had to ask the obvious, "What are you doing?!?" She stands upright and announces, "Hair" (actually, the r sounds more like a "w"). I replied, "Yes, I see your hair," to which she proudly responded, "Wet!"

Since I am (occasionally) a wise mama, I know a losing battle when I see one, so I just let her keep playing in the sink. Later, after Bug got up and she was back playing in the sink again, she came out to the living room sopping wet. I said, "Oh my, what a soggy girl!" She answered, "No, wet!" So I backed up and amended, "What a wet girl!" Her reply (with a can-you-believe-how-slow-this-lady-is look on her face) was "No, wet hair." Duh, mom!

Ghostly cupcakes

When we got the fixings for Halloween cookies a couple of weeks ago, we also got a box of cake mix, a can of frosting, and ghost shaped aluminum cupcake cups. We managed to save the cupcakes for a while. Bug and I mixed up the cupcakes and I filled the cups and baked them on Tuesday evening. Then, on Wednesday morning, the three of us worked on decorating them:

Bug's approach was on the process-oriented end. He spread frosting, sprinkled sprinkles, and then ate the top off the cupcake and started over again. I think he spent the whole time on one or two cupcakes!

Bean was definitely more product oriented. She was very dedicated to spreading frosting and sprinkling sprinkles and then requesting a new cupcake.

Here are two of Bean's finished products. She did a total of four or five before she decided that she would rather spread the sprinkles all over the dining room.

And the final view of a piece of the mess. Actually, all things considered, it wasn't too bad. Kind of sticky, but definitely worth it!

11 October 2006

Ball Band Dishcloth

Fine, I confess. I stepped out on my current knitting projects last weekend and made myself a Ball Band Dishcloth from Mason-Dixon Knitting. I checked the book out from the library after waiting for my hold to come up since the end of July! In anticipation of climbing up the hold list, I bought some cotton yarn and finally got to use it. It was a very quick knit and I'm thrilled with how it came out. I'm afraid that MDK has been added to my list of must acquire knitting books.

This dishcloth used pink and pink/yellow/orange verigated. The border/slipped stitch color takes about a half of an ounce of yarn and the block color takes about an ounce. So that means there is about 2 oz. of the pink left, and about 1.5 oz. of the verigated. I also have a full ball (2.5 oz.) of orange, as well as three others in green, turquoise, and verigated green/turquoise/yellow, so there are more dishcloths in the future!

Let there be GABA

Okay, folks, file this information under "knitting is good." I learned that the reason that collapsing into the rocking chair and knitting for a while when the kiddos go down for a nap feels so good is because the repetitious nature of knitting causes GABA to be released in the brain.

GABA stands for Gamma-aminobutyric acid, which was an unfortunate discovery as the sock I am knitting have a four-stitch repeat (k3p1), so I can chant Gamma (knit), amino (knit), butyric (knit), acid (purl) as I knit. How cool is that?

Anyhoo, according to Wikipedia, "[increasing] the available amount of GABA typically [has] relaxing, anti-anxiety and anti-convulsive effects."

10 October 2006

I have angered the Kitchen Gods

Okay, silly me, I thought I could try and get organized and make getting dinner ready less traumatic. I sat down Saturday morning and made a list of meals including both entree and sides, with a separate column for what needed to be done ahead of time (e.g., defrost meat night before). From this I made my grocery list and the kids and I went and got groceries. Saturday night supper went without a snag and I made the mistake of feeling proud of my industriousness. Well...they do say "Pride goeth before the fall"

Sunday: Chili and corn bread. Right there on my list: "put beans to soak night before." Found that one Sunday morning, so I ended up doing a quick soak instead, no harm, no foul. Fine, put chili together and the first instruction is to brown hamburger with green pepper, onion, jalapenos and garlic. The hamburger is just about brown and I think to myself, "Hmm, I wonder why those jalapenos and garlic are sitting on the counter." I had put the first three ingredients in and totally spaced the last two off. Fine, better late than never. I continue on with the chili and get far enough along to start the corn muffins. Dump the mix in a bowl, look at the instructions, swear creatively when I discover I have no eggs. Put mix in a sealed bowl with the instructions and put the darn stuff back on the pantry shelf. Forget the stupid muffins.

Monday: Chicken and Rice. I assemble the ingredients and start combining. I discovered that I had gotten Split Pea soup instead of Cream of Mushroom. How the heck does that happen? I had the right thing on the list. I have made chicken and rice many times, so I knew what I needed even without the list. I had absolutely no intention of getting anything resembling Split Pea soup. Yet after standing in the grocery aisle, searching for cream of mushroom, putting it in my cart, checking out, taking groceries home, and putting them away, here was a can of Split Pea. I even tore the pantry apart thinking maybe one of the kids liberated a can of Split Pea and the mushroom was just hiding behind. No way! Fine, I just made the dang chicken and rice using what I had. Tasted kind of weird and looked funny with peas and carrots in the rice, but...

All-in-all, no complete disasters, just the Kitchen Gods mocking me for thinking I could possibly get organized.

09 October 2006

Note to self:

Blogging while kids are eating spicy mustard on anything = Not a good idea.

I don't wanna talk about it...suffice to say that carpet was involved. *sigh*

ETA: Oops...sofa, too. *double sigh*


In the last twelve hours, we have had an outbreak of near-death experiences. As we were trying to fall asleep last night, Bug discovered a chipped fingernail that was sharp and deadly dangerous. We turned on the light, got out a nail file and smoothed it out. Bean then found a fingernail that she couldn't live with and had to have filed as well. In the process of Bug's manicure, we discovered a hangnail. We got that tidied up, too, but there was some red at the base of the hangnail (probably just skin irritation from fiddling). Bug announced that he was bleeding and needed a band aid. So we found one and got that taken care of. Of course, that meant that Bean needed a band aid, too.

Then, this morning--when the fingers were declared all better--Bug discovered a scab on his forehead from beaning himself three or four days ago. Again, death was imminent if he didn't get a band aid. Which...wait for it...meant Bean needed one too. Here is a picture of Bug's trophy this morning:

I'm not sure what the supermodel pouty lips and intense gaze is all about.

In other news, the kids designed the breakfast menu this morning: slices of salami and pretzels dipped in spicy mustard. Yep, it's clearly shaping up to be "one of those" days!


Since Bug has been insisting that he needs pumpkin pie for Halloween (not sure where that one came from...probably morphed jack-o-lanterns into pie. Oh well, we can have pie for Halloween AND Thanksgiving.), we found a nice little sugar pumpkin at Farmer's Market last Thursday. Then, on Saturday, Mama took the stem off, cut the pumpkin in half, scraped out the seeds (a grapefruit spoon was a godsend), put the halves cut side down on a cookie sheet, baked them until they were soft at 350°F (an hour or so), scraped the pumpkin out of the shell, and pureed it in a blender.

Meanwhile, while the pumpkin baked, we worked on extracting the seeds from the pulp so we could roast them. I had help...very enthusiastic...for about the first dozen seeds or so.

After the little lost interests, Mom finished sorting seeds. Once the pumpkin was out of the oven, I tossed the seeds with 2 tsp. olive oil, a little salt, and some chili powder, spread them on a baking sheet and roasted them for 45 minutes at 300°F. The end result was this:

Five cups of pumpkin puree in five Ziploc baggies destined for the freezer to become pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, or whatever we fancy. There was a little over a cup left, but we decided to season it with a little brown sugar, a little cinnamon, some freshly ground nutmeg, and a bit of ginger and had it for a bedtime snack while the seeds roasted. Also a delicious bowl of roasted pumpkin seeds that we have been snacking on since then!

06 October 2006

WIP Friday

My candle flame lace is continuing on nicely. I have finished one repeat and am about a third of the way through the second. I pinned it on a corkboard to show off the lace pattern. Except for a couple of details, I am really enjoying my first "real" lace. The details I'm not enjoying so much are (1) the rows take a certain amount of concentration, which is sometimes difficult with little ones underfoot and (2) I am using a pdf of the pattern on my lap top because I don't have our office space organized enough to have the printer hooked up to print it out, so I'm not terribly mobile with my lace.

This is my new purse sock in progress. With the gorgeous weather, we can go to the park and mama can get knitting done (unless the wee urchins want to swing), so it is moving along. The first two repeats of the yarn pattern are k1p1 ribbing and from there I switched to k3p1 ribbing. My plan is to try Japanese short rows for the heel, first switching to rib on the instep and stockinette on the sole. Also, I'll note it here so I don't have to count before casting on the next sock: 84 stitches.

In other WIP news, the scarflet looks a lot like it did last week. There has been progress, but it doesn't look much difference. I had to rewind the yarn ball yesterday and counted five repeats of the colorway left. I have done a few more rows since then, so it may leave the UFO column before too long.

I also got the crotch of the bloomers kitchenered, but I still need to put elastic in the waist. I bought some elastic before we moved, but it hasn't surfaced yet. I'll have to decide whether to go out and buy some more elastic or wait for the dedicated elastic to surface. We'll see.

I'm itching to start some new projects, but I'm trying to restrain myself for a while. I have enough big projects around the house that I am trying to minimize distractions for now. In other knitting news, my mom let slip that my sister-in-law is taking a knitting class with a friend. Rumor has it that she is intimidated to show her project to a more experienced knitter. The truth is, there is nothing an experienced knitter likes better than enabling encouraging an new knitter.

05 October 2006

Witness relocation program

For those of you that keep track, Bug is currently insisting that he is Cleo:

Bean is T-Bone:

Mom is Clifford the Big Red Dog:

And Dad is Mac:

We are having glorious fall weather! Cool, crisp air and warm sunshine. We went to play at the park to enjoy the beautiful day. The leaves have started turning, so it looks as lovely as it feels.

04 October 2006

The missing link

Much more smiley than the other girls, but she fits in the series! When I opened the email from Mom with this picture, Bug asked, "What's my sister doing?"

If we had any pictures of Grandma O at this age, she would probably fit well too as everyone told Mom how much she looked like her when she was growing up!

So, what do you think?

Are they related? On the right, the divine Miss Bean, on the left, her maternal
grandmother. What a couple of cute two-year-olds (or almost)! Such somber little girls!

I'm betting that there is a third picture out there that could go in the middle
chronologically and match up just as well, but add blue eyes to the green and brown eyes!

We have sockage

A finished object for a change! I finished them earlier in the week and have started wearing them. Very cozy! They are made from Regia Norweger Ringel Color #5160. I did one on #2 dpns (a combination of Brittany wood and some other brand of bamboo), but kept snapping and bending the silly little sticks. Thus, I bought myself a 40" Addi Turbo circular in size 2 and did the second with Magic loop. The only problem is that the #2 wood and bamboo needles are 2.75 mm and the Addi Turbos are 3.0 mm, so the socks aren't exactly the same size. Fortunately, they came out closer than I expected. Unfortunately, they are both on the largish size and the picot edge rolls. I'll have to see how they look after they have been washed and then I might put some elastic thread in the picot cuffs to see if that helps.

However, even with foibles...handknit socks ROCK!!!

I immediately cast on my other color of Regia sock yarn (red, black, white, and grays). This time I am using a #1 KnitPicks circular and I LOVE it. Even though everyone I know sings praises for Addi Turbos, I like the KnitPicks better. The Addis aren't as sharply pointed and I didn't like that.

Adventures in Lighting

We had a Medusa-style floor lamp with five fixtures that we bought when we moved into our old apartment last year. Well, a year's worth of bouncy kidlings and other abuses led to screw in connections that didn't stay put where the vertical tube meets the base of the lamp and where the two vertical tube sections meet. Also, one of the lights worked intermittently, so there were still four reliable bulbs. It was a cheap lamp...you get what you pay for.

Then it moved across town and the layout of the living room changed and there was no longer a good place to wedge it to make it stay upright. It tipped over once and went from four bulbs that worked to one. I don't know whether it was dead bulbs or bad connections, but this poor lamp was so far past its prime that I didn't investigate. Then, yesterday afternoon, Bean climbed behind the rocker and knocked it over again and the poor lone bulb was doomed. Thus, last night I did what we should have done a month ago and replaced the poor thing.

Anyway, after the new lamp was hooked up, the kids were playing in the living room and big brother was (surprise, surprise) harassing little sister and the following conversation took place:

Me: Bug, no more roughhousing; be gentle with your sister.
Bug: She's not my sister.
Me: Oh, really?
Bug: She broke the lamp, she's not my sister anymore.

02 October 2006

Hey there little red riding hood....

You sure are looking good.
You're everything a big bad wolf could want.
(Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs)