31 August 2008

Trying to find our groove again...

We are gradually working our way back to something resembling normal (mind you, a VERY relative term in our case). On Friday, we walked to our new Farmers' Market and came home with yummy tomatoes (which became salsa with stuff from last week's CSA box), corn on the cob, cantaloupe, some local sausage, local honey, and several cookies (actually, those traveled home in our stomachs). In the afternoon, we went to the library and got set up with new cards. It was easy as pie...let's hear it for the South Central Library System! We just had to show proof of our new address, fill out the form to apply for a card, turn in our new card, and we were switched over, holds, checked out books and everything transferred to the new card! Very slick.

Saturday, we took a somewhat lazy day, just trying to recover a little from the last two weeks. I went to Last Saturday Knitting and had the usual great time. I was a bit more zoned out than normal, but still enjoyed seeing everyone. When I got home, a big surprise met me. I drove up to our new place and saw this kid loitering on our porch. I wondered if Bug had met someone his own age or a neighbor kid had come to check out our crew. I got closer and realized that the kid was wearing a Fitchburg Fire Department t-shirt, just like all of our kids have. I spent a few moments of great confusion before realizing that it was my very own Bug, sans about 98% of his hair. He had been asking me for a haircut for about three weeks, but I just couldn't find the time with all the moving, so he finally got fed up and asked Daddy for a haircut. He looks very cute with his new buzz cut, but I do feel a little sad to see his thick, longish hair go. Last night, he 'fessed up that he missed his longer hair, too. I assured him that his new 'do was very handsome and that hair always grows back. Here he is posing with Hin the tomato plant (who has delivered close to a dozen orange cherry tomatoes already, with many, many more coming):

Hin is huge and survived the move with most of its branches and all but about four immature tomatoes intact. Bug is also showing off his new bat house:

Daddy brought home a bat house kit for Bug and a treasure box kit for Bean (pictures of that to come) that we put together Saturday morning. Bug decorated his with markers and from the top, it says "Fruit bats bug bats" (actually the bug and the second bat got transposed) and then there is a picture of a fruit bat and a bug bat and finally an arrow to show the bats how to get into the house. Bug helped with hammering the nails in and did a fine job. It was slow, but quite good for a new hammerer. I vividly remember the frustration of having to trade off between power and aim.

Today, we went back to organizing and putting away. We got quite a bit done, but there is still a lot to do. At least it is mostly livable, just not very organized and we spend a lot of time playing the "Did you see where I set ____?" game. The new place is starting to feel homey and things are getting better all the time.

28 August 2008

Stick a fork in me...

...I am done. Done as in "done in," but fortunately also done as in we only have one apartment and no external storage shed. My feet and I are no longer on speaking terms, my arms are pretty much cooked spaghetti, my shoulder has declared its intention to secede from my body if I even look at a carpet shampooer, and my bruises have their own bruises. There is still a LOT of putting away and organizing left, but we turned in our keys to the old place this afternoon, so at least the deadlines have been met. More to come...

14 August 2008

Mad Skillz. We haz em!!??!!

Ummmm...anyone besides me thinking that the timing for this might not be completely optimal?

12 August 2008

I beet my yarn

The results of my quick and dirty beet-boiling water dying experiment is in:

Based on my (pretty minimal) reading on the subject of natural dying, I didn't expect the lovely hot pink hue that gets all over the everloving kitchen occurs when you cut raw or boiled beets. But I am quite happy with what I got. It's a light orange shade, with a little pinkish and brownish thrown in. Think peach or salmon that is on the rusty side.

We get the keys for our new apartment Thursday, but the kids are already decidedly sick of the moving process. I have been rushing around trying to get regular stuff done in addition to getting organized/packed/cleaned up. Either Bug or Bean has the following conversation with my every 15 minutes:

B: I want to _____
M: No, that requires too much ______ (supervision, clean-up, assistance, etc.)
B throws conniption fit
M: I'm sorry you're so disappointed, but I have a lot to do right now, but once we are done moving and settled, we'll have lots of time for fun projects.
Sigh. I know it isn't much fun for them and I do try to involve them in as much as I can without having to run away screaming and lock myself in the bathroom. Fortunately, their local adopted grandma is visiting tomorrow, so maybe we can get her set up with some of the projects I can't tackle with them right now! And once the time-sensitive part of moving (getting things physically relocated, enough stuff put away that we can function semi-normally, and the old place spic and span), we will have more time for fun stuff again. Meanwhile, we are still doing our regular Farmers' Market, library (though shorter visits!), and a few other (shorter) outings. The irony of all this is that if I am available (not necessarily involved, just available) they are perfectly capable of amusing themselves for hours at a time, while I do my own thing.

11 August 2008

Just Beet It!

We have been getting bunches of beautiful beets in our CSA box. The first time we tried a recipe that was in our newsletter...I'm too lazy to look up the name, but it was basically hash browns made with beets instead of taters. Yummy, but messy to make and fried, which kind of defeats the whole wholesome veggie thing if you do it every time. The second time we got beets, we also got a cabbage, so I added a couple of shredded beets to a half of the cabbage to make coleslaw (twice). I call my masterpiece "Pink Coleslaw." I thought it was tasty...a bit of earthy beetiness without being overwhelming. The color however was another thing. It made Pepto-Bismal look positively subtle. That didn't bother me either, but by the second batch, I realized I was the only one eating it.

So we needed a new beet strategy. This time I tried Norma's Pickled Beets. Beets, getting ready to roll:

The syrup, put together, but not yet boiled:

How I dealt with the fact that I KNOW I have a tea ball for the pickling spice, but I couldn't put my hands on it to save my life. I boiled everything together first, then put the prepped beets in a larger saucepan and poured the syrup through a strainer over the beets. Then put the strainer with lemons and spices in the pan too to let a little more flavor out.

It wasn't particularly elegant, but it worked! And the finished product:

Yup, just two pints of beets. Neither Kitty Daddy nor I know if we even like pickled beets, so I thought this would be just about right. We used the bunch of beets in this week's CSA box plus a couple of little ones left over from the coleslaw batch and a half a batch of syrup. We'll give these bad boys a couple of weeks to cure and then we'll see.

Oh and the fiber person in me just couldn't bear to see all that lovely colored beet boiling water go to waste, so a small experiment was in order. I snipped a couple of yards of KnitPicks Bare laceweight off the ball, soaked it in vinegar, then put a splosh of vinegar in a little jar, filled it with beet water and plopped in the yarn. It sat in the sun for the rest of the afternoon and I have it back out in the sun this morning. I will report results when I know!

And a postscript for Stephany and anyone else interested in my ratatouille. I followed this recipe, instruction-wise, but played fast and loose with ingredients based on several other recipes. For the layered part, I think I used a monstrous summer squash, a normal sized zucchini, a half of a humongous sweet onion, a green pepper, and a good-sized tomato. It filled a 9x13 Pyrex dish. My biggest complaint was that there was too much summer squash compared to the other ingredients, which was a bit on the bland side. Next time, I would scale back on the monster squash and maybe add some fresh herbs (basil, oregano?) interspersed in the layers.

10 August 2008

Rats, rats, rats!

A few days ago, Bug was watching Ratatouille on DVD for the ten gazillionth time (Oh, do we *HEART* Pixar!!). When they got to the part where Remy is putting together the ratatouille for food critic Anton Ego, my attention is piqued. Hmmm, that stuff that Remy and Collette are slicing looks an awful lot like zucchini (we got that from our CSA!) and summer squash (we got that from Kitty Daddy's coworker's garden!!) and, ooooo, that looks tomatoish (we got that from our CSA!!). I dug around on the interwebs a bit to see what all goes in ratatouille, got some green peppers from Farmers' Market, dug out an onion and some fresh garlic from our CSA box and picked up an eggplant from (*gasp* the horrors) the grocery store and... Viola! (pronouced VYE-ola) Ratatouille for dinner! Considering that I combined, picking and choosing from, about three recipes, it turned out durned tasty. Bug was convinced that he wouldn't like it (he was quoting Linguini from the movie: "Ratatouille. It's like a stew, right? Why do they call it that? If you're gonna name a food, you should give it a name that sounds delicious. Ratatouille doesn't sound delicious. It sounds like "rat" and "patootie." Rat-patootie, which does not sound delicious. "), so he was quite tickled to find it edible! All three kids managed pick out a couple of components that weren't completely pee-yuck in amongst all those veggies (tomatoes for Bean, zucchini and squash for Bug, some mushed up eggplant for Beeb). So an entirely successful dinner and a movie! Well, not on the same night, but still!

08 August 2008

Some random oddness

Since I have too few unoccupied braincells for anything coherent, I thought I would offer a few random bits.

  • File under "Only Kitty Daddy": We picked up his holds when we were at the library. Who else could have only three books and have fun words like "whore" and "pestilence" in the titles? (Should lead to some fun search hits on the ol' blog, eh?)

  • File under "Well-Earned Cynicism": As fed up as I am with our current (but not for long) apartment, I was pleasantly surprised this week to see them repairing the huge gaping holes in the concrete around the storm sewer inlet in the parking lot in front of our building. It has only been that way for a year and a half. And, in the same week, the occupancy of our usually crammed parking lot (with very few actual tenant permits) was down and we could actually park in the same time zone as our apartment. The amazement actually lasted a day and a half until we got our weekly local 'burb newspaper with a huge write up about the poor management and indifferent ownership of the property. Coincidence? Yeah, sure, and I have a bridge that I would love to sell to you for a really great price.

  • File under "Snappy Comebacks Always Occur to You Too Late": At Farmers' Market, I was waiting for Bean to finish her big transaction and lost my balance, took a step backwards to catch myself and the market bag over my shoulder nudged the lady standing about six inches behind me. I expressed surprise and dismay and apologized immediately. Her response: A fairly impressive "harumph" and a look severe enough to use on someone torturing kittens. I stammered and tried apologizing again and just got her in a bigger snit. Driving home, I realized what I should have said: "Ma'am, I don't know who took a whiz in your Wheaties this morning, but we'd all appreciate it if you didn't feel the need to share the joy."

  • File under "Actual Knitting Content": I am binding off my Laminaria and expect that I will be binding off for the next several months. Seriously. I have bound off about a quarter and I swear that that much has taken longer than knitting the last row.

06 August 2008

Makin' Babies

In spite of recent evidence to the contrary, this activity wasn't nearly as "educational" as you might think! Over the summer, our library has a teen "librarian" who does activities with the kids that come into the library. Bug and Bean love doing things with her as she has different and interesting supplies that we don't always have at home. Last Friday, they made "babies" with wooden bead and yarn. The kids were completely taken, so the teen librarian told us we could make more and asked (using the voice teenagers who are working with small children), "Do you have any yarn at home?" Once my riotous laughter died down, she said that we just needed to get some wooden beads, so we used this weeks Jo-Ann coupon to buy a bag of wooden beads and Bug and Bean each made a baby this morning:

Also, before I forget, gotta report my spindle spinning for July:

Spin My Spindle
July 2008
Activity: SpinningPlying
Fiber: ViscoseViscose
Spindle: TurkishAshfordSchacht
Amount: 4 grams
30 grams
78 yards
24 grams30 grams
9 grams

I haven't been spinning for the last week and a half or so. Ever since I hit the edging charts on the Laminaria, I have been completely taken over by it. I have two rows left and then just binding off and blocking!!! So between Laminaria and trying to get the apartment ready to move, spinning has been suffering. I HAVE to keep at least a little knitting and/or spinning in the agenda to keep myself sane, but I'm afraid progress may be hit and miss for a while!

01 August 2008


I just saw a link to this on another blog and had to share.