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Friday, November 30, 2007

How chocolate milk can help with the aids crisis...

chocolate milk aids ribbonThe teens were in the front room. I could hear them killing headless pigs on Runescape.....I made my way through the room to check on them, aggravate them a bit, and pick up in there. Next to the middle guys laptop, was a red ribbon. Perfectly twisted and pierced with a pin.

Boys don't generally have ribbons. "What's the ribbon from?" Ready for whatever random answer was about to come.... wondering if a cute girl was involved and somewhat irritated by it and the bowl with ramen noodle residue and assorted wrappers also being left on the coffee table.

Without so much as a glance up from wood chopping (another runescape thing- which I absolutely do not find fun in the slightest....) he answered "Oh- I didn't buy chocolate milk today- instead- I bought that- they were selling those for Aids research at lunch......."

I had to leave the room. (ok- in full disclosure- it is getting close to my period---- but- my boy sacrificed his beloved chocolate milk for others. *sniff* I love that kid.)

That boy drinks chocolate milk for lunch every single day. He loves it. And- If there is world championship for "getting the most for teenage dollars" This kid would be the champ. He budgets and plans his lunch money spending for the week......and instead- he donated it to Aids research.

For once- I didn't nag about the ramen noodle bowl.

I want to be like my kid when I grow up. (well- except for the whole killing headless pig things- and virtual wood chopping.....not so much wiht that)

In honor of chocolate milk giving---- I'm going to check into getting involved with this the global P.E.A.C.E. plan... what are you doing about aids?

Dear Lord- I pray that you'd continue to grow my guys in compassion and generosity, I love you Lord- and thank you for them all. amen-

knitting update- Flower Basket shawl- is on pattern repeat 5:

flower basket shawl update

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Freecycle Method of Holiday Preparation.....

The holidays will be here in no time... I don't mean the season of the holidays... I mean the holiday party!
I mean Christmas Eve. It will be HERE. At my house. In no time.
For me- this equates to a month of furious cleaning- and touching up and wishing my kitchen floor would renew itself over night. (That good old cheap vinyl flooring--- so shiny nice until the dirt gets ground in and no manner of cleaning will improve it. You have no idea how dirty a kitchen floor can get when 3 men in hunting boots repeatedly tromp through it- regardless of a Mother's tormented screams! ) Is there a limit as to how many throw rungs one can have in any given room???? (Currently the solution to my worn flooring- is to cover spots with throw rugs;)
So- I'm cleaning. And clearing. And de-cluttering. Too much yarn. It must go. Baby items? Ummmm, I'm 39, my oldest is going to college in the fall, and the youngest will be entering first grade. I don't exactly have a need for baby items, cute as they may be. In addition- my tubes are tied (TMI- but true) ...I think it's safe to give away the "baby stuff" ;) There are boxes from when we moved 8 years ago- that haven't been opened.....I'm sure there are things in there that I no longer need. (Or, have a clue what they could be;)
To be honest- I've also had a bag of clothes in my bedroom ready to be given away for months. I also have a box of books, ready to go. In my bedroom. Now- as I daily focus on an area to clean... I'm finding all kinds of useful (for others- not so much for us) stuff. Coats out-grown, shoes (who BUYS all these shoes, anyways?) too small, past season, stuff never opened- and no longer needed- or won't be missed.
Thus far- I've done pretty well at getting things ready to give away---but actually doing it? Well- that's another story. (See the box of books and the bag of clothes mentioned above. ) Until now. I've found Free-cycle signed up for a local group, and now, all I have to do is send an e-mail - see who can use what I have- set up a time for pick-up and put it on the porch.** Voila. What once was clutter- is now someone's treasure.
I'll admit- it's much easier than loading up the truck- toting stuff all over trying to find a place to donate it, and ending up at an undisclosed shopping location with new stuff in bags to bring home.....(that's a bit counter productive, wouldn't you say?)
Free-cycle is a mom's best friend- eliminates the waste of tossing usable items, meets the needs of those locally, and provides an easy OUT for the stuff that needs to go gracefully from our homes.
I'll admit- however- that my first pick-up has been a little stressful. I was flooded with requests for the offer, and hated to have to say it was already spoken for. There are also some pretty serious needs posted- and I could see one being quickly overwhelmed or feeling like you have to help everyone.....which is just plain not possible.
The key will be remembering the legend of the starfish, and knowing that you make a difference to each one you help.
Are you cleaning like a maniac? As you get tready for the holiday season- do you recognize how blessed you are- and want an avenue to help others? Do yu have the "mom-rule" of cleaning out - giving away old toys before new ones can come in? I highly recommend Freecycle as a way to bless others with what you no longer need, or, with whatever you can cheerfully and generously give.
** if preferred- you can arrange other methods of delivery- I just like the ease of porch pick up.
For me- generosity and giving- is all about Jesus and loving His people. Each one.
Dear Jesus- As we go through our holidays- and everyday- help us to find ways to make a difference one person at a time. I love you Lord- amen-
EDITED- To add- Wordpress is being stubborn and weird today-(like not allowing spacing between paragraphs and putting EVEYRYTHING in italics) I apologize about the formatting issues- Will try to fix later- I have meetings this afternoon;)

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Cleaning the silver- a holiday tradition... 'Cause I only do it once a year;)

tarnishOK. So- it's actually, mostly cheap silver-plate. (With the exception of a couple of awards that my Husband has won for work... ;) But- it still has to be cleaned. Eventually.

Funny. The silver really gets disgusting. Most things that get this disgusting at my house- are simply thrown out. (Hence, the great pile o crap for my kids to haul to the curb each week;) But the silver? I clean it every year. It's too valuable to toss. (Even if it's only "real" value is sentimental.)

So, once a year- I bring out the "toot" (our favorite euphemism for gaseous expulsions) scented cleaning products, soft cloths and freshly update I-Pod, and I set to work.

Buff- scrub, polish and shine. Eventually, the bronze patina gives way to the luster of the silver below. What looked ready for the trash pile- is now (mostly-as you can see- I'm not a perfectionsit about this) ready for holiday display. What was too disgusting to hold my own afternoon tea-let alone offer to company- is now ready for service.

Some days- I feel like disgusting silver. Tarnished with my own gunk- and with my responses to the gunk and offenses of others. Sometimes, everyday living seems to leave a tarnish on my life. I feel ready for the trash heap. Definitely, not ready for service, let alone display.

True- sometimes I am a mess. (no-one who reads here regularly- is surprised by this) But, does that mean I'm ready for the weekly trash pile-o'crap? Nope. There is someone who values me enough to do the hard work of cleaning up my gunk. He sees past the tarnish- and knows I am valuable. He knows just how much buffing and scrubbing I need- and is ready to help. Even if there is a stench involved;)

Not- just once a year. Not once a month or even- just once a day. But, constantly.

Why? It has nothing to do with me- I'll tell you that. It has everything to do with Him. The silversmith who created me for a purpose- and lovingly tends to me- banging out dents- clearing off tarnish- or melting me down for a total re-make. His name is Jesus.

He says- His love is for all who accept it. A gift for the taking- for simply- believing.

Today- I'm cleaning the silver. And asking God to clean up my tarnish.

Dear Lord- I just can't seem to keep- tarnish-free- I ask- once again- that you'd do the work of cleaning my heart- let me be a reflection- of you- I love you Lord- and thank you for the gift of your love- amen

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

In which the microwave dies- and with it my ability to cook....

molly and her cohortsIt's just one of the many things I am culinarilary (just made that word up- I like it) dependant on.

It takes up my counter space and requires constant cleaning. (Why can't ANYONE put paper-towel or a napkin over what they are cooking???? Including me:()

Like a magic black box- (sometimes considerably brighter than me) it heats everything from spaghettios to cold coffee-it has faithfullyu served.

In addition- as a SAHM- it is one of my few and much trusted friends/co-workers. The microwave- has just been so close to me- being in the kitchen and all--- where I spend so much of my waking LIFE!) (along of- course, with the washer-dryer, the stove, dishwasher and fridge- we also chat- but they tend to be more reserved.)

At least- it was. Until Sunday night.

When my microwave gave up the ghost.

We (ok- maybe it was just me) quickly went through all the phases of grief:

Shock- (WHAT? Something is wrong with my microwave?)

Denial- (It's just a fuse- it'll be fine)

Bargaining- (Maybe, if I clean it- it will work...)

Guilt- (maybe I worked it too hard...I should have cleaned the vent more often.. it's all my fault.)

Anger- (I can't believe I ever bought such a piece of crap!)

Depression- (I have no microwave. *sniff* )

Acceptance/hope- (I can get another microwave... maybe it will even be better! I CAN live without a microwave!)

By Monday night- I could stand it no more. There was no popcorn... I am incapable of cooking vegetables on the stove-top and I had a pile of pans with burnt spaghettios begging to be cleaned (that part isn't true- I swear FlyLady!- but sounded funny) ...so I trudged off to Walmart- in search of a replacement.

I stood in the microwave aisle like a deer caught in the headlights of oncoming traffic. I had no idea there would be so many demands on me so soon after my grief. Overwhelmed, I looked from shiny microwave to shiny microwave.

There were: White ones. Black ones. Stainless steel ones. Microwaves the size of my first car. Microwaves barely big enough to make a bag of popcorn. Microwaves with grilling capabilities and microwaves with more buttons and options and computer memory than my laptop.

I settled on a (cheap) stainless/black model with a grilling capability. (Which I will probably never use- but- my kids (probably to bring green army men to a painfilled, melting doom) will.

As you can see in the pic above- she now proudly sits on the countertop. Maybe, a little too proudly. Although, she's already proved competent in the cooking of last nights green beans, I have a concern. She seems to be glaring at the toaster and cavorting with the coffeepot. I think she is unhappy with the cultural diversity on the countertop.

Apparently the toaster is not of their "ethnicity". White plastic is frowned upon by the much prejudiced stainless crew. Too bad. It's my house.

I like cultural diversity.

I think I need to get out more.

Instead- I'll distract you with my shiny pretty current knit:

flowerbasket shawl zephyr wool/silkIn a fit of unoriginal hat overload rebellion- I cast on a new piece of lace that I plan on wering for Christmas.

It's the Flower Basket Shawl- from Fibertrends/ interweave press. A very simple 10 row repeat. I love the yarn- Zephyr silk/wool laceweight- 2 strands held together- Ruby and Garnet. I'm knitting on US size 5 Addi Turbo Lace Needles.

Maybe this will calm my Christmas cleaning- shopping nerves.... more pics are on flickr.

Personally- I think it's mis-named. To me- it looks like angels with their wings raised over their heads.... like this- but then- I think I need to get out more--- or maybe use less fumey cleaning supplies;)

And now- to work on painting the trim where the bad cat has scratched away the wood AND the paint....

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

Wii, wii, wii all the way home... or not- looks like a better chance of a coyote in the backyard, than a wii under the tree!

wiiRefresh.

Refresh.

Refresh.

I keep clicking and checking to see if anyone has it in stock. They don't.

But, the internet is not my only world----

In the real world- my alarm (internal) has been set early- -so I can go out stalking stores....

Friday Morning I was out at 5:00 a.m. (Got a decent start on my Christmas shopping)

Saturday Morning I was up at 5:30. Nada.

Sunday morning- 6:00. Nothin.

Shopping started- but, as far as the Wii of the boys dreams????? No luck. The small one has been wanting a Nintendo Wii- since they came out last year. It's at the top of his Santa list. As hyper and jumping like a jumping bean he is--- it really would be a good system for him. He wants- the High school musical game (he's my rock star) and Mario something or other- and of course- Sponge Bob Squarepantis........

The problem is- they are out of stock everywhere! Oh sure- theoretically they come in- and out of stock.... but thus far- not while I've been online- or in store.

I've posted a request on Ravelry- to trade my Ashford Joy Dt with bag and extras for a wii bundle..... Have had a few sweet people say they are interested and looking... but so far- no Wii. Wahhhhh :(

It won't be the end of the world if we can't get a Wii. Christmas has little to do with Wiis or other expensive toys.... And I refuse to overspend on a unit through ebay- (though it is tempting...) or other secondary market vendors...(the amazon ones have crazy prices) but there is that very normal mom-desire to see Christmas wishes come true...... so for now- I'll keep trying;)

A few Wii search tips-

(Lots of sweet people have shared their experiences)

1) Watch the ads for Sunday sales- then head out before everyone but God is up. Wait in line- you might get lucky.

2) Keep. Clicking "refresh" (Amazon is going to cancel my prime- membership)

3) Use a web-based wii- tracker- they'll do the clickin for you and you can subscribe to the rss for instant updates.

4) Make friends with your local game store employees.....they can give you an idea of when shipments sometimes may come in.....(maybe I should bake a pie? No- better yet- brownies?)

5) Just keep shopping- eventually you'll accidently find one.... or not;)

It's still early in the Christmas season.....not time to panic. Yet.

I've cast on a Flowerbasket shawl in Ruby and garnet Zephyr for pretty shiny holiday cheer knitting.....pics tomorrow.

Hmmmm... just a random side not-

Seriously- if you live here- you have a better chance of having A coyote in your backyard than you do of finding a Wii....

No lie- this morning, we had a visitor- a coyote in the neighborhood! (I'm sure. I checked. It wasn't a dog. It was one of these . I ran upstairs to tell my mad hunters--- (to come kill it and save all the children, and small pets) but they rolled over without much regard.

It ran back and forth along the edge of the swamp- I mean pond-- plenty of time to make sure what I saw- but-no time for a pic.

I called the police. They said and I quote "They are part of nature" I said- "Yes- but not part of my neighborhood".

I'm telling the president of the association... she's pretty tough;)

Actually- the whole coyote thing creeped me out. We live in a small sub. No street lights. The kids leave early in the morning for the bus stop. (Not just my kids- all the neighborhood kids) I don't like the idea of a coyote running around.

Will check into a private animal control service. Maybe they could trap it or something......since my in-house animal controllers- seem to only be obsessed with killing deer.

Dear Jesus- I pray for safety of the kids at the bus stop- keep that coyote away--- help him find some nice rural place to play---amen ps- Lord- a wii would be nice--- but you know--- it's not like food or anything;)

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Welcome to the Pie Hole---Apple pie Tutorial- Thanksgiving 101;)

4:05 a.m. Thanksgiving morning- 2007

To do list:

1) Coffee. Check.

2) Make old fashioned oatmeal with almond slices and dried cherries- topped with fat-free half and half and brown sugar- Check.

2) Make one bowl instant apple cinnamon oatmeal. Check.

3) Heat a plate of cinnamon toast sticks and serve with warm syrup and french vanilla hot cocoa. Check.

4) Locate- handwarmers- hats, boots, attach handwarmers to various un-reachable body parts with double sided tape- Check.

5) Wave goodbye to the hunters by 6:00 a.m.

6) Update Ipod- load for cooking. ;)

7) Begin the Great Apple Pie Caper of '07.

And so begins Thanksgiving 2007. Don't be impressed. (I didn't think you were;) I typically manage to mumble "good luck, be careful" to my guys - before rolling over and going back to sleep... but today is special. It's Thanksgiving. And- I am thankful to be My husband's wife- and my boys Mom. So, I made their favorites- and sent them off warm and cozy.

I'm not cooking this year- (well- officially- I'm not- but I will be tucking a turkey into the oven before we leave to go to dinner---we GOTTA have turkey leftovers!) Yesterday- I made the Cranberry relish- and today- it's a tutorial for :apple pie tutorial

(mostly) homemade apple pie.

The pics are in my sidebar or here if you need to see them larger;)

Preheat oven to 350-

Ingredients:

3lbs Granny Smith Apples- washed

1 1/2 -to- 2 cups sugar

1/4 -to-1/2 cup flour

pinch of salt

cinnamon

Pat of butter

Pillsbury Prepared pie crust )told- it's almost homemade;)

2 Tblsp milk

cinnamon sugar to sprinkle

Directions:

Remove pie crust from box- let sit at room temp until pliable.

Peel, core and then thinly slice (about 1/4-1/2 inch thick) the apples. In a bowl, combine with flour, sugar cinnamon and salt. Mix or toss to coat apples.

Sprinkle pie pan (I prefer the Pampered Chef Pie plate stone) with 1 Tbl flour and a sprinkle of sugar. (helps to avoid soggy bototm crust)

Unroll and press bottom pie crust into pan.

Fill pan with apple sugar mixture. (Pack 'em in there- make em fit. Plan on cleaning the oven later if it runs over;) )

top with a pat of butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Unroll second pie crust, place over apples. "Crimp" Top crust to bottom using a fork. Trim excess crust with a knife. (reserve)

Roll put the dough and cut into holiday themed shapes- (I like leaves and pumpkins-)

Use a pastry brush to brush pie top with milk. Place "cut outs" onto pie top by brushing bottoms with milk.

Sprinkle pie with cinnamon sugar. Use sharp knife to cut "vents" into pie top.

Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Receive the praise;)

Thanksgiving... A day to be thankful.

I am thankful that God is patient and kind and loving- that that he not only puts up with me- but loves me- issues and all.

I'm thankful to be surrounded by family and friends- (crazy or otherwise)

I'm thankful to have enough to be able to give. (I'm thankful that I know the secret is you always have something you can give- no matter how little)

I'm thankful that you stopped by today;)

I'm thankful for warm slippers and hot coffee.

I'm thankful for turkey and stuffing. (and loose waisted pants;)

Happy Thanksgiving- to you and yours-

ps- oh sorry to "Pushing Daisies's" for stealing the Pie-hole reference;) Not that I watch it online every week or anything.....;)

finoshed pieI will now distract you with apple-y goodness! Pies done!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Cranberry Relish tutorial....

crqanberry relish

Ingredients:

2 - 12 oz bags fresh cranberries

1 1/2 Cups sugar

1 giant (Christmas stocking type) Navel orange- zested- then pith removed and cut into large chunks

1) Wash- pick over cranberries (It's our traqdition to have the kids do this part)

2) Zest orange (I use a very sharp peeler- make sure you there is no pith- it's nasty-bitter)

3) In Food processor- pulse the sugar and orange zest together

4) Add your cranberries- pulse to a coarse chop

5) Add the orange chunks- pulse till your preferred consistency.

Caution- my oldest has been known to eat this by the bowlful. (SO has my step-dad) Also great with pork- and chicken. My FIL requests it.... He's diabetic- and I've subbed in splenda for him- it works- but isn't quite the same.

I will be making 3 huge batches.

Refrigerate over night. Serve with turkey n trimmings;) & a side of handknits if you got em;)

At the bottom of the mosaic you can see 2 more Yarn Harlot's Unoriginal Hats- one in Ironstone Orange yarn and one in Malabrigo Chunky- Snowbird... the CHristmas knits continue;)

Tomorrow I'll be baking my "famous" apple pie- want a tutorial? *** my guys call my simple apple pie famous- what can I say;)

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Secret Pal 11 Revealed!

sp pkgSomedays, I just LOVE my Mail person. Yesterday was one of them. (Too bad I scared him with the whole swollen eyes and blotchy face thing) No worries- It wasn't personal. It was SP 11 package-related.

I received my reveal package from My SP 11 - Carly! Inside this pretty package were goodies galore!

the goods

There were 2 gorgeous hanks of Ultra Alpaca- these will be mittens for ME;) A beautiful skein of Silk from The Natural Dye Studio. There are also adorable sheeptastic stitch-markers from Sunneshine!

You can also see in this pic- the reason for Sami's extreme interest in this package. Newnman's Own Doggy treats--- Sami is a cookie eating Dog after my own heart- ;) She says thank you as well.

cappucino has nip issues

Here, we see what could only be evidence of the addictive nature of catnip. Cappucino has been sniffing and cuddling and whacking the daylights out of his (No. He is NOT sharing with Truffles. And, if Sami comes within toy snatching distance- he promptly slaps her in the nose- good thing he's de-clawed!) new cat nip toy. 'Cino meows his thanks, and wonders if you may know of a 12 step program that would include his keeping his nip.

sami sniffs out her treats

ohhh shiny

stitchmarkers and alpaca closeup


 


Thanks so much again- to Carly- for being such a remarkable SP11!


 


Monday, November 19, 2007

Hazards of Clearance Shopping. A Cautionary tale.

"Mommy- your eyes look fat" At least this time he wasn't talking about my butt being boinky.

The boy is right. I have to squint to see the screen as I type. (OK- I have to squint to see my fingers... since I'm the queen of hunt and peck typing;) It's not a problem with my glasses. My prescription hasn't changed in years. It's not a problem with the computer. It's a problem with my eyes. They are swollen, burning, itchy and puffy. Not a good look. (I am however- amazed at the body's ability to shape shift beyond recognition.)

This weekend I succombed to yet another clearance shopping hazard. This time it was way discounted make-up. Discounted enough to make me try a brand that I haven't bought before. Hence the allergic reaction that has left me with more bags around my eyes than I have in my closet... (I tend to collect bags- what can I say?) Bring on the hydrocortisone/ benadryl cocktail. Could I get that in an IV drip, please?

This would be fine, if it were a first offense of poor clearance- risk management. Alas- it was not. I am a repeat offender.

Other hazards I've encountered:

1) Clearance hairdye that resulted in purple hair. (Fine if that's what you want- but let's just say my kids wanted to take me in for show n tell- the purple haired mom- a classic) Also clearance hairdye that resulted in jet black hair- but I kind of like the snow-white thing;)

2) Clearance Christmas gifts- OOPS- two left gloves. Not good unless you're family has a birth defect of this type. Gift recipients are rarely impressed with my skill at getting more for my gift budget.

3) Countless pair of clearance shoes that are either- "not quite" the right size- two different sizes or two left- or two right shoes.... The worst part? These are most often purchased for the mister.....which means my shame is public. EVERY time! (One would think I could learn to double check... but I tend to be blinded not just by allergy swollen eyes- but also by the words "Clearance" and "final Markdown"

4) Clearance clothes that I MIGHT fit into... (this could go either way- too big or too small. When I went to MOPS convention- I had to wear black dress pants- I found a pair I liked- ON CLEARANCE and bought without trying on---they were 3 sizes bigger than I normally wear- I thought they'd work. They did not. They were clown pants.)

5) Clearance name brand bags in colors that are pretty in nature- but not so much in clothing. (In other words- I cannot bring my matchy-matchy self to carry them- even IF they were a GREAT deal.)

We will not discuss my many sins of clearance purchases for my kids clothes. Suffice to say teenaged boys do not like "past season" .

Safe clearance items?

Yarn.

thats' about it;)

Oh my word. I just thought of something- what if it wasn't the new makeup- what if I'm allergic to knitting?

hydrocortisone infused candles to burn? Benadryl laced chocolate? Coffee benadryl martini? (I don't actually drink-(Dad's a recovering addict) that's as close as I'd get to a martini;) Mask gloves and goggles?

I better go lay down. I think I'll ice my face.

Sister clearance shoppers- be careful out there. Those deals can be brutal.

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Friday, November 16, 2007

Does Harlot's Unoriginal Hat Fit in the Woods?

hats for hunters;)It's that time of year. When the men of my home and heart- leave each weekend (though this week for most of the week) and become one with the woods. It's weird.

It starts in October. With "archery season". For which- our yard is graced with a 3-d deer target. The neighbors probably think it is some strange very early Christmas decoration. Until- the arrows fly. My guys then stand on the patio- and proceed to shoot Rudolph. Which- is probably payback for the whole "santa" thing. (ummm will refrain from explanation- but suffice to say- they finally figured it out;)

Arrows often also land in the pond/swamp behind our yard. Once convinced they are "on target"- they drive an hour and a half before dawn to sit in the dark in a tree and wait to see if a deer comes out. They sometimes fall asleep, but don't admit to it. (One can only wonder how one falls asleep in a TREE... but will I not ask.) After dark again- they drive home- eat the chili that has been cooking all day- a fall into a stinky deer riddled sleep.

They have survived Archery season. And- at least in regards my hunting men- so have the deer.

However- archery is not the end of the "season." November 15 started "gun season."

This is counter intuitive to everything that is within a mother. A mother is wired to protect her babies- never mind the fact they they may be the size of a full grown grizzly bear. (Have I mentioned that my oldest is a rather big boy?) A mother is wired to teach her children to stay clean, not to touch hot stoves, or play with dangerous things. We teach them to be kind to animals- not to pull the dogs tail chase the cat or burn ants with your glasses or magnifying lens.

Then-in November out come the guns. Not toy guns. REAL guns. (No target practice in the yard for this one- the neighborhood association would frown on that idea;) They sit in the kitchen, cleaning them. Every "ch ch" of the empty guns being cocked, makes me cringe. "Don't point it towards ANYTHING!" I yell. They shrug. They are well trained in gun safety. I am not. They know it.

They look at me as if I am - both crazy and lame. (Including the Daddy) I keep the youngest in the livingroom. I knit. FAST. A LOT. The youngest proceeds to turn the dog into a deer and make every toy he owns into a gun. He stalks her. He shoots her. She licks him. I finish hunt hats.

They prepare to leave for the "hunt trip." Packing who knows what. For hours. I put their hats on their heads. I tell them the hats are my protective, warm (trying not to be smothering) love- following (stalking) them into the woods. They acknowledge my craziness. They leave.

I knit. I clean. Two of my favorite coping skills. Along with prayer and cin'ocolate. During deer season- I combine them all. I knit more hat's from The Yarn Harlot's Unoriginal Hat pattern. I knit LOTS of hats. 8 so far.

I remind myself that God is sovereign- even in the woods. I remind myself that this time together with their Dad is good for them. I remind myself that knitting is just as crazy to them. I remind myself that they will mess up the house when they get home. I remind myself of the hunt camp stinkin laundry about to arrive in my laundry room.

I savor a few days of eating off of "zoopals" with the little guy. We watch Shrek the Third - 497 times. We eat popcorn, drink cocoa and use FIRELOGS. (the men around here think wood is much better.) We stay in our jammies. ALL DAY. WE play with the tangrams for homeschool. We try not to miss the big guys. We pray they get a deer- and we pray the deer escape;)

Conveniently coinciding with deer season-The Christmas knit season of 07 has begun. Aside from the ocassional accidental falling asleep with a cable needle in my cleavage.... (ummm... it happens to be a rather convenient place to stow it between cables.....) it is considerably safer than deer season. At least in theory.

To answer the question- "Does Harlot's Unoriginal hat fit in the woods?" The answer is yes. In orange. The oldest called me to say his hat was "Perfect" And toasty. And awesome.

Score. ;)

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Monday, November 12, 2007

Unoriginal hats for all!

unoriginal hats My I present the first set of "Unoriginal Hats"

In my artistic series- titled "unoriginal hats for all."

Sounds so much better than admitting to my OCD like tendancies are once again running free... but count them- 6 hats done! (bring on the Christmas knits!)

Clockwise from the top- Malabrigo Chunky in Olive for my middle son. (US size 10.5)

Malabrigo Worsted held doubled for my niece. (US 10.5)

Berroco Ultra alpaca haled doubled for hubby.

Paton's classic merino camoflage for my oldest. (size 11 he has a pumpkin sized head;)

Jaeger Natural fleece- for my FIL- us 11 should have gone down a size on this one.

And Lion brand chenille- size 11 should have gone down a size here too.

More hats in the queue- Malabrigo chunky in teal for my step dad....etc....these are quick and simple- but cute- sorry no one would model for me-- and well- I look like a dork in hat;) (hair too short- none sitcks out- makes me look bald;) which would be fine if I WERE bald... but I'm not and I have too much invested in hair dye to not let it be seen;)

Can you do me a favor- I have a few friends (a bunch actually) with health issues that could use prayer -- a young woman, a new mom, a dad, a pastor.. my SIL and well my hubby too--- seems like when it hist the fan--- it really hits the fan and spreads. thnx

ps the boy's face is still healing- looks like he's a foot ball player now- down to dark marks under his eyes a aross his nose.... what a month!

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Friday, November 09, 2007

Secret Pal Box of Amazon Goodness!

sp 11 box of amazon goodnessAmazon boxes on my porch are.. ummm.. not exactly a rare occurance. With one exception- I USUALLY know they are coming- and WHAT will be in them. Not this time!

A great surprise was inside! My SP 11 sent me 3- count them 3 knitterly surprises! 2 Debbie Macomber books- AND The First Book of Modern Lace knitting;) YES!

Thanks Sp 11- for rockin my day!

Hmmm what to knit what to knit.......;) Will keep you posted-

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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Furious over Aquadots- and Walmart.

Alright. I mostly do not post rants. But today- I'm furious. I went to a local store, WalMart. To pick up a few things. Since it's Christmas time -(sheesh- can you believe that?) I checked the toy aisle to see if I could pick up a few things. On the shelves I found AquaDots. They've been on the news ALL DAY. RECALLED.

These have been recalled for being extremely dangerous. I spoke with a store employee who said "Oh yeah- we know we're in the process of pulling them." There had been no one in the aisle pulling them. Afterwards- I (stealthy sleuth Mom that I am) circled back. No One. Still on the shelves. I asked to speak with a store manager before leaving. Manager was busy but employee took note of the issue. They are probably still on the shelves. Hence- the fury of a mother scorned.

I could have pulled the items off the shelves and into a basket in about 30 seconds. (Now that I think of it- I should have)

How long do stores have to remove dangerous products? When confronted with a dangerous item- WHY on earth would an employee answer "oh yeah we know"- and not DO something about it?

Is it the big-box store mentality? Too much red-tape to pull an item? What if kids (teens) go in purposefully hunting for this item? I'm furious. Will put a follow up call in to the store. Already called a local news team.

I am sure this bothered me so much because it is an item the little guy has been wanting, desperately. Last week we spotted them at another store- and had them in the cart. But they were missing the "pen" part. So we decided not to purchase. Good thing we didn't- as the little guys has a history of putting things in his mouth. But, we could have.

So- Moms who stop buy here- PLEASE don't purchase or allow your child to use Aquadots. If YOU see them on the shelves- say something. I'm sure all the recalls lately are making it difficult to keep up. But- unless they want lawsuits- they better.

PS- it will be a while before I step back in a Walmart. Service- prices blah blah blah--- but flagrant risking of the safety of kids? THAT WILL KEEP ME OUT.

Hope you don't find any.... But if you do- speak up.

sheesh I think I'll be knitting toys this year! Maybe with cat hair- we have plenty of that around here- and I know it's not contaminated with anything- but cat spit.

Edited to add:

At 6:30 My Hubby went back to the Walmart- to see if the Aquadots were still on the shelves. The ones on the pegged rack were gone- but 4 pkgs were left on the shelf below. He took them to the manager. Ridiculous. Still furious- but at least they are off the shelves. (we hope)

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Fade to... green? Yarn Harlot's Un-original Hat pattern

fade to... green?This boy is just a fount of knitting inspiration. Please note- the nicely matching hat I've made for his big brother from "The Yarn Harlot's" "Unoriginal" Hat Pattern. (Actually- It just happened to match- I swear!)

I used Berrocco's Ultra Alpaca in some randomly stashed green color. I held the yarn doubled and used a set of five US size 10.5 DPN's. This could very well be, the Hat of Christmas 07 around here. It's a nice knit (not boring- but still easy) and FAST..... Have I mentioned I like FAST? Will be trying to work out a matching scarf pattern later. Then- I need to find a pattern for THIS. That would be perfect for the middle boy.

I'm experimenting with Jaeger Natural Fleece on a size 11 for my potato headed, oldest son. (boy has a huge head... just like his Dad;) It's a very marled look- totally different than middle son's hat. Which is both good, and necessaary as they do not "Do"-matchy- matchy.

I'll also be working up a smaller version for the youngest... he DOES do matchy matchy;)

More pics later. BTW... my down stream sp reently received a pkg and posted about it- she likey she likey. Whew. Let's just say our tastes are not exactly the same so I was REALLY glad she liked her goodies;)

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Pancakes, pity and Knitty.......

pancake magicThe boy's face is healing. Unfortunately- the bruises look worse before they get better. It doesn't show well in the pic--- but let's just say, that in the battle with the coffee table- my little warrior was not triumphant.

No worries- he's certainly workin' the pity factor. I can barely look at him without feeling bad and like I should fix this boo-boo face- he is assured of pretty much whatever he wants. And he knows it.

Today- it was pancakes. "'N butter and syrup". He also wanted them to be "famous" and put on the blog. Hence the pancake post.

Yes- it made him feel better. He admits his face doesn't actually HURT, unless he pokes it. Stinker. Cute stinker, but stinker, just the same. chevron

As we are currently awaiting diminished bruising and swelling- a lot of knitting is getting done. I "Accidently" cast on another chevron scarf from Last Minute Knitted Gifts.

It's an experiment in yellow. I don't like yellow. But- I do like black..... so we're workin a bee/tiger thing here. It's a special gift for someone;) I'm using the Debbie Mumm Traditions Yarn available at Joann's. Using a US size 6 needle on this. Turning out quite nice.

More soon;) After the swelling goes down.

And the pity factor wears off. ;)

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Monday, November 05, 2007

Oh my word- what a weekend.... Mitered square blanket - blackeyes and bad dogs...

bad dog SamiMy SP 11 has requested to have visual confirmation of the bad beagle who resides within our hallowed walls.

Bad Beagle? Only kind of I suppose. Let's just say Beagle have "issues".

1) Beagles chew. (apparently only expensive DPNS, and Cracker Barrel Rockers...and shoes, and toys...) Though- honestly- she's not a pup anymore- so there are fewer and less frequent chew-tastrophes... just the occasional head or appendage chewed off of an action figure..

2) Beagles Bark. At the dark. At the deer target in the backyard. At critters- real and imagined. At people they know- at people they don't know. They also bay/bugle but not too often;) (on a side note- I can mimic a psycho beagle bark quite well. )

3) Beagles run. Away- after things. To things... to no where. And- if when you run off to get her- and your children accidently leave the patio door open... then upon returning- they let her run into the house--- she will promptly run back out the backdoor- laughing all the way.

4) Beagle chase. Rabbits. Cats. Kids. Bugs. If it moves- it's game.

5) Beagles sniff/snort and beg for- food. Enough said- SOMEONE around here shares his food with her quite willingly. When confronted about germs--- his reply is "She doesn't mind".

Beagles are also- sweet, loving, tender with a little guy and GREAT foot warmers....not to mention cutests dogs evah. A little beagle tip: If you fatten them up quite a bit... they can't run as fast;)

beagle kisses

Beagles also make wonderful buddies for little guys, though sometimes they believe little guys to be edible.

As for our weekend.... well- Friday night was date night... which ended in my husband's cell phone disappearing... which led to a furious hunt which resulted in nada- which led to an insurance claim and much aggravation.

Saturday- was a well planned day. In theory. The older guys all went hunting. The little guy and mommy had a jammie/ movie night. Everything was wonderful (including 2 sundaes for the little guy) until his head mysteriously met with the edge of the coffee table. (dancing and or karate were involved...) black-eyed boy

This led to frantic dressing, (can't go to the ER in my jammes) icing and finally yet another set of "head injury" cautions posted on the fridge. (there were no stitches... just a rather large "goose-egg" right between the eyes and a small cut. Looks like the world's cutest boxer. Also- as the swelling is right between the eyes- so he has a bit of a black eye thing going on and looks a little cross-eyed. Poor kid. However- it didn't actually make him blurry- that was my camera;)

Told ya. It was quite a weekend.

On the upside- a detective called- they had a lead on my Hubby's missing tom-tom.... some pawn-shop.... they'll call back if they found it. (fingers crossed and prayers offered) New phone should arrive today. We won't be responsible for calls made while it was missing. (and he couldn't be interrupted on the phone all weekend... it wasn't entirely bad ;)

As for knitting.......well- still working on the mitered squares blanket. I made a quick chart on graph paper and figured out a pattern for the squares and a count for how many squares I'll need. I'm pretty visual- so I used colored pencils- and a pattern typically used in quilting.

I'm getting 3 squares per skein of Debbie Mumm Traditions Yarn. So I'll use 16 (17 of one) squares of each of three colors. Red, Green and Brown. I'm also using the Brown for the mitered garter stitch border. mitered square update

And that. is the weekend in review. Looking forward to a better week;)

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Friday, November 02, 2007

DPN Holder To beat all!

Knitzi I take knitting with me EVERYWHERE. In the car- to the store...the mall... everywhere.

Knitters know, the best travel knitting is small, portable and with a pattern that can be memorized. Socks, are perfect. Except for the DPN's poking through your bag and getting snapped in transit.

No more. This morning, on Ravelry- I found a new product made right here, in Michigan. The Knitzi. It's handmade from Great Lakes hardwood. each end simply screws on and off- a slit in the side keeps the knitting and the DPNs perfectly safe inside. No more snapped needles. I also ordered the Knitzi bag- which perfectly holds my knit in progress and knitzi- perfect for putting in my purse or knitting bag.

I have used other types of DPN holders. Elastic one with plastic caps- fine, but, I've also had them pop off while in my bag- resulting in lost and broken needles. The elastic has also lost it's stretch....

My new knitzi is quality. Hand finished- smooth and light. Available in loads of sizes and more styles are in the works.... I'll be popping in their site to pick up a few more- I have an SP who'll be needing one of these in her reveal pkg;)!

OK- I'm not affiliated or anything..... I'm just happy as could be with a new and innovative product- produced right here in Michigan! Besides- they kindly upgraded me to "pony express": shipping and a few hours after placing the order- my Knitzi was delivered to my front door! Turns out they are located within just a few miles of my house;)

I'm always impressed when an order I place online arrives within a week... this was remarkable;)

Go ahead- pop over for a visit--- you'll love them;)

And here's a bonus- a beautiful FREE sock pattern! Twinkleberries It's your gift for stopping by their site!

I'm sensing Twinkleberrry socks for Christmas!

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Thursday, November 01, 2007

Boo!

punkin gridHalloween is a bit controversial- I know- if you want to read a bit of my persepctive on it- you can visit my last post at Laced with Grace .

Although things are festive- they don't get too scary around here- with the exception of my personal re-enactment of the prom scene from "Carrie".

I died my roots. As you may have guessed by now- I am not exactly a natural redhead. EVERY single time I am in the shower rinsing out the burgundy goopy dye--- I think about the prom scene......gross.

That was random- sorry- too much sugar.

Wonder if I can balance that out with caffeine?

For dinner- The older men had Sushi- that's too scary for me. I passed and had grocery store middleastern food;) Tabbouleh, hummous, pita and falafel. ;)

Noah was his traditional "Spiderman" I asked him if he was sure he wanted to be spiderman AGAIN this year- and he said - "Mom, I AM Spiderman." Enough said.

The second most scary thing about Halloween around here- is Pumpkin carving. Mostly because of the smell. An interesting (or not so much) tid-bit about me- is that since a nose job at 16- I don't really have much of a sense of smell.... but Pumpkin guts? That, I can smell. AND I HATE IT. Instead of actually carving- I read this book aloud- The Pumpkin Gospel. It glows in the dark- So we also read it in the bathroom, with the door closed. (darkest place we could find) Umm- I suppose the boys/men around here- start their bathroom reading habits young.

I thought about wearing a clothespin on my nose- but that seemed a bit un-festive. So I was in charge of pictures. Daddy really came thru- Noah desperately wanted the "Pirate ship" Pumpkin... Which is usually WAY beyond our pumpkin skill set--- but Daddy took his time- and actually DID IT! Score another one for Dad.

The older two did finally get off of "Runescape" long enough to go out- (hey there is free candy involved- they aren't too old for that...) The oldest- wore his full camo hunt suit. ANd the Middle- was "The Guitar Hero" Complete with guitar.... because he IS the Guitar hero- Matt is unbelievable on that game. I, however- stink. BTW- Guitar Hero III? It well- it rocks.

While the rest play- Noah and I dance. That, we can do.

Noah has a bit of croup- so he didn'yt hit as many houses as he normally would... but he seems to be quite happy with his "haul."

Tomorrow I plan to post a tutoriAL FOR PLAnning your Mitered Square blanket--- stay tuned!

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