Friday, November 30, 2007

Conversations with Samuel

My favorite of his latest mispronunciations:

"Calipitter" for caterpillar

It took me a few moments to catch it, which is why I'm charmed by it.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Harvest Fruits Dessert

I baked two of our pumpkins yesterday (for those who garden, they did turn orange off of the vine - I was worried that they wouldn't) and they were very good.I got the idea for this baked dessert from the internet, but I can't remember where. The fancy name is all me.
Directions: Cut the lid off of the pumpkin and clean it out. Rinse and salt lightly. In a bowl, combine cut apples, pears, and raisins. (I left the skin on the fruit and cut into bite sized pieces.) I also added dried cranberries. Add brown sugar and toss to coat; add other spices if desired. (Cinnamon and nutmeg are good.) Fill the pumpkin with the fruit mixture, place it on a jelly roll pan (or other pan with sides) and into a 350 oven for one hour to one and a half hours. Remove fruit with a big spoon, scraping the sides of the pumpkin as you go. Serve with vanilla bean ice cream.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Knit Bit: Log Cabin Technique

For the knitters out there: After doing a lot of searching on the internet about how to properly pick up stitches on the log cabin blanket, I came up with a few assorted gems that I put together to get the look I wanted. Here's the front: And here's the lovely, pretty much flat, back:
Here's how I did it: First off, watch this video on picking up stitches (scroll down the page to find it). The only thing I do differently is that I only pick up one strand of yarn to pull the new yarn through, not two strands. Start with the front side facing up, with the edge that you are going to knit at the top. Pick up the first edge stitch on the far right corner with your needle, wrap the yarn around to knit, and pull it through. Now there is one stitch on your needle. Here's a picture of the needle in the fourth stitch - I'll wrap the yarn around (as to knit) and pull it through.
After you pick up the stitches across the row, then you knit back (which will be a wrong side row) and voila! A pretty (and pretty flat) seam!And here's what it looks like on the back:
It looks like I just changed colors in a row, instead of what I actually did, which was: bind off, turn the work, pick up stitches, and knit in a different direction.

A note on the numbers: For this blanket, I cast on 20 stitches and knit enough rows so that one side had 20 ridges and the other had 19 ridges. I then bound off, making the 20th ridge on the back side. I picked up 20 stitches (some people like to pick up 21 - it's a matter of preference and how tight you knit) and knit 10 ridges. The next time I picked up 30 stitches, and knit 10 ridges. I'm liking the look.

And one piece of advice: weave in the ends as you go. You'll be happier when you are done. Trust me.

Knit Bit: Baby Blankets

I am finishing up a baby blanket for a friend who had a boy in October. I'm almost done sewing on the backing. (Back fabric is a cotton quilting fabric; yarn is Bernat Cotton Tots)

And for my sister, who wanted to see a picture of the back, this is the girl blanket that I made last month. I don't have a baby girl to give it to yet - I'm waiting to see who arrives first (I have five pregnant women in my life!). (Back fabric is a thick fleece fabric; yarn is Bernat Cotton Tots)

For the knitters: these are knit in the log cabin style, a la Mason Dixon Log Cabin. I started with the pattern for the Moderne Baby Blanket and adjusted it to my size preference. I am not very happy with the way I picked up the stitches, which is why I put a backing on them. I did some research and experimenting, and now I'm working on another one with Cotton-Ease yarn. I'll put up a post about how I figured out how to pick up the stitches for a smooth back to the blanket. I'm way loving the log cabin blankets.

Thanksgiving Pies

My husband did all of the cooking for Thanksgiving (except the potatoes, which I did, but I used his new recipe for it). Here are the pies he made. They were delicious.That's two pumpkin and one blueberry (click for the recipes). The blueberry pie was for Samuel, who saw a recent episode of his favorite cooking show, Good Eats, and wanted to have some blueberry pie. (Mom, it was really good and not runny at all. He used fresh blueberries and we baked it the day before we ate it, so it had lots of time to cool down. It was so so good.)

A Keeper


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thank You

I left for my doctor appointment this morning wearing my lucky self-knit socks, thinking a happy thought, and in the company of my best friend/designated driver (who had been instructed to say Nice Things like "it will be fine" and "you're doing great").

I sat in the doctor's chair while the assistant gave me two rounds of numbing drops (two!) and tried to keep calm while my dear friend made funny small talk with me.

When my doctor came in and looked at my eye and said, "It looks really good - much better than last time - I'm really surprised" I just held my breath because I couldn't breathe. When he said that he didn't think it was necessary to do the debridement today, I opened and closed my mouth, and then my friend did the nicest thing - she said out loud the thing I was thinking.

Prayers have been answered!

I go back in one month. I'm so so thankful. Thank you, Dr. K. To everyone sending prayers my way, thank you. To my husband and kids who prayed over me this morning, I love you guys. To the God who keeps me in His hands, thank you for your work in my eye and my life.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Recommended Website


If you like to buy stuff on the internet, and you drink coffee, you should try CoffeeForLess. I have a Melitte One:One (which, by the by, I love it and would recommend it - it's a pod coffee machine that makes one cup at a time) and I get our coffee pods at this website. Anyway, I was ordering up a new batch of coffee and noticed that on my account information, there was a section called "Loyalty Program". Turns out, I've been racking up points everytime I order. I used my points to order myself a gift card (you can send them to other people, too) and I got $20 off my order. I love stuff like that.

This is not an endorsement for money or profit. I was excited about saving so much money on something that I found at a low price and I would have ordered anyway. Happy coffe drinking. (They have teas, too.)

Monday, November 19, 2007

How many?

I just deleted 972 old emails from my inbox. Seriously, how did I let that happen? 972!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Is that the time?

This week is Thanksgiving. Seriously? It seems like Halloween was just yesterday. Today Sally and I started prepariations for the exterior illumination festivities that will take place on Friday. We got down the lights that we got on sale last year and the polar bear (with red bow and moving head). He required assembly, and we have named him Buttons. We figured out where we will put the spiral light tree and the mini forest (three two-foot trees). I crafted up our mini pond (with rope lights and cardboard and tinfoil) while Sally drew some schematics (color coded, of course). We are excited. The breakfast menu is still under debate, as I will probably be having some eye recovery issues because I have an appointment on Wednesday and my doctor told me to expect to have my eye debridement done that day. As in, bring a driver because you'll need one. I am attempting to deal with my unnecessary panic regarding this event by telling everyone I know about it and saying out loud that it probably won't be so bad and that I'll get good drugs, and by knitting myself a comfy "my eyes hurt but as least I have this blanket" blanket. These two things seem to be working. Stuart is busy prepairing for the Thanksgiving Feast (he always cooks the big meals) so if I can't see out of the one eye for the holiday, I think we'll get through it fine.

The kids and I watched Mission: Impossible tonight and I was trying to explain to them who the bad guys are and who is really a good guy but everyone thinks he's a bad guy and who is a bad guy but is pretending to be a good guy . . . it's all very confusing. Sally kept trying to figure it out, but Samuel just wanted more action scenes.

Now I'm off to bed. I'm going to try to have everything in order here before Wednesday morning so if I'm unable to deal with life for a few days, my family won't suffer too much because of it. Considering the normal state of things, putting everything in order is going to take alot of work. However, I have to keep my mind busy so I don't have time to be worried about my doctor gently scraping my eye cells off. (See? Now I'm telling random people in yet another attempt to calm myself. Sad, isn't it?) If I don't get back here before Thursday, have a Happy Thanksgiving. Put some extra cool whip on your pumpkin pie and think of me!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Good Mail

I had a busy day. Dropped Samuel at school, went to Sally's teacher conference, took Sally to IKEA where we happily picked out and measured furniture for her room (no purchases yet - planning continues), picked up Samuel, drove to ToysRUs only to remember that that one is closed, drove to the other ToysRUS . . . and that's the highlights! So on the way home, I was feeling very tired and said out loud that I hoped that I had some good mail waiting at home. I didn't. My kids ran off to play, only to come out awhile later to hand me two folded notes. On the front: "Good mail" Inside: "Dear Mom, Want mail? Well, here is good mail. I love you and you are a good mom. Love Sally." Aaawwww! The other one said: "Dear Mom, I hope your eye feels better. Love Samuel." That one had the letters dotted by Sally and then written over by Samuel, except for his name, which he did all by himself. The best mail I've ever had!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Knit Bit: Hat!

Here's what happens when knitting is your method of self-soothing - you finish stuff pretty fast. :) I had most of this hat finished last night while I was watching The Bourne Idenity on TV, but left the last decreases at the top for today. (I don't trust myself with the double-pointed needles late at night.)It's the Coronet pattern from knitty. I used Lion Cotton-Ease yarn in taupe and berry. I am planning on making a sweater (Alice) with this yarn, so I wanted to do a smaller project to make sure I like it. Here is a picture of the swatches I made to figure out which colors I liked together. I really like the lime and purple, but those colors just don't work with my coloring.

I'll have to make something for Sally with them, because I love the way they look together. But first I'm making a sweater for Sally with some other cotton yarn that I have, and I'm also making some slippers that have to be felted in the washing machine (that means that I wash them in hot to shrink them on purpose. Doesn't that sound like fun? The kids are planning on watching me do it. I'll have lots of pictures!). I'm also almost done with a blanket for a baby boy that was born last month (congratulations to J & T!).
Thanks to everyone for all your nice comments and good wishes for my eye. It doesn't hurt at all today, which is a huge relief to me and everyone who lives with me. Have a great day, everyone!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Updates

So I went back to the doctor today because the pain in my eye is back. It's actually gotten worse, which I think is not a good sign, so I went in and he took the contact out. Thankfully he numbed up my eye (all the best of God's blessings on the person who invented those numbing eye drops - seriously great stuff) and then he tried to move it, only to discover that it was a little stuck on my eye, and oh yeah, I could still feel his finger on my eye. More numbing drops and out it came - SUCH a relief. I'm on to other drops (they are salt based) because the small injury is getting better - slowly - and he's hoping he doesn't have to do a procedure called "debris-ment" which involves (stop reading if you are squemish) gently scraping the topmost layer of my eye off. I'm hoping the more times I say that out loud, the easier it will be for me to face it. (So far, no luck. I'm now thinking good thoughts about my cornea and talking to my eye in hopes that it will keep healing all by itself. Good cornea, you are looking so nice and healthy today. Yes, I'm grasping at straws. I know this.) I'm just so thankful that for tonight, I am pain free.

What with all this eye drama, I haven't been to the library to get a new book. So I'm reading Little Women. Can you believe that I have never read it? Me neither. It's such a sweet book. I'm enjoying it alot.

In other news, the kids are fine. Samuel went ice skating for the first time on Saturday. He's not very good, but he had fun. Sally is a fair skater. They were surprised that I knew how to skate. The husband is fine, too. My dad is doing really well and is feeling better and better all the time. The mice that were living in our back yard left and never came back. (I don't count the stuffed mouse that my best friend left for me to find, OR the candy mice that she lovingly gave me last week. They don't count, but they made me laugh.) So, if it weren't for the bad eye, things would be pretty great around here.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Coping

So today was a bummer. I stumbled through the morning, my eye feeling between mildly irritated to moderately painful. It is still better than the blinding pain that I was having on some mornings, so that is good, but three or four hours of varying levels of pain can really wear you down. (Highlight of the day was lunch with my friend Vivian. Thanks for listening to me!) I realized that my body was tense and that my breathing was irregular, so I put in some more drops and decided to knit. (It was that or hit the ice cream or look for something stronger. Since I took an Aleve - and it was early afternoon - I thought knitting was the best choice.) I've been working on this hat - I started it yesterday because I needed something to get my mind off the whole eroding eye issue. Anyway, today I took a look at my progress and noticed two mistakes. Two. I tried to convince myself that nobody would notice but me, but I stared at the thing for a few minutes, then I lied down and closed my eyes for a few minutes, then I quickly ripped the whole thing out. Quickly so I couldn't change my mind. I knew it would bother me every time I'd wear that hat, and I needed more distraction today anyway. So I've been working on it while making dinner, helping Sally with her homework, and watching some akito reality show with Stuart. I'm back to where I was before I ripped it out - and no mistakes!
If you see a mistake, DO NOT TELL ME. My eye is feeling much much better tonight, and it's not necessary to distract me because I need a good night's sleep. (Knitters, it's Lion Cotton Ease yarn in Taupe on US7 needles.)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

RCE

Remember that I said you shouldn't use the internet to self-diagnose?

Remember this?

Well, I have it. I went to the opthamologist today and he gave me a contact lens to wear for a week while my cornea heals and some drops so it doesn't get infected.

This totally messes up my practical wise advice. I'm kinda bummed about that.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Conversations with Samuel

frequently overheard at our house

Samuel: "Mommy, I love you forty two."
Me: "I love you forty five!"
Samuel: "I love you a hundred and a googolen*."

*One day I explained to the kids that there is no such thing as the biggest number, but a very large number is called a googol (which is a '1' with 100 zeros behind it). They frequently throw around this knowledge, but almost never get the word 'googol' right.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Favorite Foto Friday


Happy Day

While running some errands, I stopped at Staples and picked up the 2008 calendar pages for my organizer. It makes me so happy.

In other news, I was walking in a parking lot this morning and some guy had on Eternity cologne. That always makes me think of this guy from college - he wore way too much of the stuff every single day, but he was a good guy - and it got me to thinking how smell is so closely linked to certain memories for me. I think I've mused on this before - vinegar reminds me of Easter, chocolate chip cookies of my mom, and playdough of my uncle (we used to play playdough whenever he would come over for a visit). Today, I was thinking about what smell will make my kids think of me. (My guess is vanilla. Samuel always asks to smell the vanilla when we bake, and my perfume is a vanilla scent.)

I'm off. I have some laundry to fold, some bills to pay, and some yarn to knit. Have a great weekend, Internet!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Three Things Thursday

(1) I like the first day of the month because I like organizing my calendar. (ok, calendarS)

(2) I don't like the first day of the month because the bills are due. (hate those bills)

(3) Since I live in crazy southern California, I will spend part of this first day of November replanting my morning glories into the ground. They are growing like crazy and totally too big for the pot I planted them in. We are STILL getting tomatoes, and there are a few pumpkins that I am holding out hope for them to turn orange. I want to try this recipe I found for a baked pumpkin dessert - you clean out the pumpkin, put in some cut fruit and brown sugar and spices, and pop the lid back on and bake it for 1-2 hours. Sounds yummy and fun, right? I'll let you know.

Ready for Treats!

Here they are! We went to a local church that hosted a Trunk or Treat and had a blast! We didn't even make it around to all the cars before the kids told me they were done - their buckets were full and heavy. (Samuel is Scooby Doo - his costume from the past two years. He loves it. Sally wanted to be a Chinese girl (which she is . . . .) but we couldn't find a red high necked dress like she wanted, so we found this and went for Asian girl. (I know it's Japanese, but she doesn't. The red hair chopsticks were included with the dress.) )