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Merry Craftmas and Fleece Navidad

December 24, 2009

What do you do when you discover that ALL of your Christmas decorations are buried in the storage facility??? Why… craft up what you need of course!

This year’s tree is smaller than in years past… we were able to borrow a tree stand from a friend fortunately and crafted our decorations!  The star is cardboard and glitter of course (such easy kid-friendly crafting there)… and why not get in touch with our history by creating a cranberry and popcorn garland… The kids all made ornaments at school, and here at the house out of simple paper and tape in most cases!

For stockings I had a bag of fleece leftovers from various sewing projects and quickly whipped up a unique stocking for each of us…

I’m certain that this is the Christmas the kids will look back on and remember for years and years to come…

Dear Blog, do you miss me? I miss you…

December 10, 2009

I miss blogging.. I really do.  

I recently told a friend that I wish there was one extra day of the week where NOTHING else existed but me… so I could spend an uninterrupted day getting all the things DONE in my life that I lately never have time for… 

laundry

dishes

blogging

There was one glorious year… where I blogged incessantly… had tons of time to bake for my kids and family, craft like a banshee and do all sorts of things that today I feel I hardly have time for… that was the first year we were in PA.. and I was miserable, lonely, and depressed.. so I really WOULDN’T go back to that even if it meant I could blog to my hearts content… bake up a storm and knit like a looney… (well, we all know I still knit like a looney, I just don’t blog about it)…

I miss reading blogs, and chatting with blog friends…  I feel a bit disconnected from my blog friends at the moment, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think of you… I really do.. often…

My mom once told me that as your kids get older, the chaos gets bigger… and I always thought she was so wrong… I mean seriously as the kids get older, they get more responsible and can do more things for themselves… but..as they get older, they get busier and so do you…  we have 2 in scouts, one in gymnastics and all fall on different days each week…  school, activities, holidays, family, life… 

Its keeping me happily busy… but sadly away from my sweet blog and sweeter blogging friends!

I do hope you all have a fantastic holiday season… hugs and holiday wishes for you and yours!

Oh the shame….

October 29, 2009

main_graphic_coffee_break1So… my children’s school system went with this county wide early release for every Wednesday afternoon … 1 hour early EVERY WEEK… they make up for it with extra time each of the remaining four days of school… and then hold their faculty/staff meetings on Wednesday…

 

I keep forgetting about this…  I mean.. I don’t know why… seriously… what’s so hard about remembering the bus is coming 1 hour earlier on Wednesday… on every SINGLE Wednesday!

 

This morning, I will meet the bus with a $10 gift card and 25 pack of munchin’s from Dunkin Donuts… because yesterday when I forgot… I wasn’t HOME…

 

The bus driver brought my kids to our home, and I WASN’T HERE!!!  I was at the post office…

 

… he had to drive the kids all the way back to the school.. and the school called the house and I still didn’t even know that I was late…it wasn’t yet time for them to be off the bus when they called (at least in my little bubble!)

OH MY WORD… what is wrong with me!?!?!?!

I blame stress…

25 WIPs? For real??

October 18, 2009

Ok.. I started the year of with GOOD intentions to decrease significantly my knitting WIPs… and well.. I did do a great job for a while there.. had some reasonable rules to abide and was doing great… and then I joined the HPKCHC group (Harry Potter Knitting and Crochet House Cup)… well… I kinda let go of my rules then and there.. and knit to my hearts content on all sorts of new and fun projects… but now I’m back to looking at my WIP basket and thinking I need to get back on track…

Ok… so… let’s review my list of projects.. with a few alterations to the list to keep it simple… (removed all the completed projects and added notes regarding each project)

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Taking a nap? Not any longer I hope!

1. Reader’s Wrap for Bella aka ME ** More than half done, but ran out of yarn, need to find where I can order it, either I have the color name incorrect (lost the ball band) or the discontinued this color as I can’t even find it on Ravelry.
2. Hamster for Emmett – Need to frog, found a better pattern and already knit it for him.
3. Kitchen Bag for Me – probably should frog and just pick a good pattern that’s out there to make a few grocery bags.
4. I Love Edward socks – just have the duplicate stitch left.. why do I let that nasty stitch bother me so much!
5. My Eskimo – now that the weather has turned colder here I should really pull this out and move it to the top of my list…
6. Esme’s Crest Bag (Design) – began knitting but really need to get more practice with stranded color work before I give this another try.
7. Rosalie’s Harry Potter afghan – will be a project soon
8. Alice’s Dishcloth Afghan – not much progress here.. should go back to this…
9. Alien Hat – too big, need to frog
10. Odessa for Me – I do so love this pattern.. should pull it out and get to work on it
11. Hemlock Ring Blanket – see above
12. Pomatomus Socks – 1 sock complete.. come on.. let’s not let second sock syndrome take over!
13. Swallowtail (new 2009) – I want to finish this soon
14. My Reading Mitts-remix (2009) – 1 mitt done…
15. Easter Bunnies x3 (2009) – 2 of 3 complete, will use for Easter next year.
16. The inevitable Sock Leftover blanket (2009) – this will be a long ongoing project…
17. Croc Socs (2009) – too big for JJ, should knit for John rather than frogging… It’s toe up and am doing the foot right now…what’s a little more length at this point?
18. Janet’s Cancer socks – on the toe of sock #1, need to be finished with these soon
19. Quiddy Hat – #3 of the quidditch preemie hats.. more like a newborn size. Needs seeming…
20. JJ’s Mario blanket – Christmas gift, nearly 30% complete
21. Chan’s heel huggers – 1 sock complete.. easy quick knit.. should get that other one cranked out asap!
22. Mermaid Towel – just a long process.. needed a break.. but it’s coming along nicely
23. Goblet of Fire cowl – barely cast on…
24. Invisiblity cloak, want this done for me to wear for Christmas
25. Runs with Wolves mitts – need pattern finished by Tuesday if possible? Not looking good…

Let’s also mention here that I have 8 projects I want to knit for Christmas gifts …. I dont’ know that I can institute my old rules and get those projects completed as well… but I’m going to try… I’m sure I can at least get those froggable ones taken care of quickly!

Butterflies and Rainbows

October 10, 2009

Almost as soon as we realized we were moving back to Raleigh we got excited for the fact that we could have our favorite clown for Alice’s birthday! Mimi performed at Rosalie and Emmett’s parties in the past…and we weren’t going to let the opportunity to see her again pass us by!

As always any party for my children involves some sort of baking and decorating extravagance… I have many baking books that the kids pour through as their birthdays approach… and they get ideas from their current ‘favorite’ activities and come up with some plan that I must figure out how to DO… This birthday was EASY PEASY though! Butterflies and Rainbows could be considered Alice’s theme.

As a participant in the HPKCHC challenge on Ravelry I saw another participant’s fun and yummy looking Rainbow cupcakes. I asked her how she’d made them and she linked me to her blog for a tutorial… and off I went. The only changes I think I’d make if I were to repeat this in the future would be to use a white cake mix rather than yellow to get more pure colors… the yellow cake made tinting red and blue difficult… , and to divide the batter unevenly… meaning… more Red, and slightly decreasing volumes for each of the remaining colors.

As always I took loads of photos… of the cupcakes and of the party..

First the cupcakes.

For a batch of 24 cupcakes, use a single boxed cake mix, slightly under mixed as recommended by Needlesnswiffers, and divided it evenly into bowls for coloring the 6 colors of the rainbow (standard colors.. nothing fancy here.. the party was for 5 year olds 😉 )

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*excuse the terrible lighting in this pic.. the lighting is EXACTLY the same in our kitchen.. it was unavoidable*

Add batter by spoonful to the cupcake tin (wrapper lined or silicone mold) beginning with Red… and moving through each color being careful to add just enough to not fill the mold too full (*I did a few in the reverse rainbow just because).

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As Needlesnswiffers had cautioned, it was easiest to practice on ONE cupcake through all the colors to be sure that I was using the correct amounts of each color before moving onto ‘factory line’ style… As I was adding the colors progressively I noticed that they’d spread out more as they sat so I tried to add more red to start so it wouldn’t be overtaken by the remaining colors over time…

I baked them according to the box directions and cooled completely before frosting.

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Of course.. I taste tested one… to be sure it was suitable for 5 year olds 😉

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and yes… they were suitable!

Next.. I moved onto the ‘decorating’… Alice wanted butterfly cupcakes… and picked them from one of my cake books… so a butterfly catching we went…

First I drew a template for the wings, and then taped it (covered with a piece of wax paper) to the table

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Then I melted my chocolate wafers…

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and finally.. piped the melted chocolate over the template… (it’s HOT people… so I had to work quickly… I made way more than I needed and still in the end ended up with 1 pair of wings short what I needed)…

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I let them cool and harden and stored them between wax paper sheets in the fridge in an airtight container until I was ready to put the cupcakes together.

I placed the wings onto the cupcakes with an M&M on each side to ‘prop’ the wings open. I then piped the butterfly body with chocolate frosting. I think they came out cute!

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Finally it was time for the party , and for our friend Mimi to arrive… she always does such an amazing job at entertaining the kids.. they all laughed heartily and had a great time…

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And.. then.. finally our favorite part… the facepainting!

Our Birthday Princess
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Darth Vader (without his mask)
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The butterfly princess
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Marty ‘aka Mommy’ the Zebra
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Thanks Mimi for another awesome party!!!
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Happy happy Birthday Baby!

October 1, 2009

Murphy is my very first baby… and today he’s 15!!!

Happy birthday my sweet sweet boy!

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Moving right along

September 20, 2009

We’ve been in our rental for almost a month… just a few days shy of our month date actually.. and things are moving right along…

Rosalie and Emmett both love their new school even though it wasn’t the one that I wanted for them.. no problemo really. The schools in our county are all fabulous.. so there’s no real ‘wrong’ school. I was rather disappointed that they didn’t get in on the Appeal we filed, but, all things happen for a reason… and I’m certain the reasons for us being at this new school will be obvious soon enough. In fact… one really good thing has come from the new school already… Rosalie tried out for and got accepted into Chorus. She’s so excited (I’m still floored that they required a 4th grader to try out… she had to sing some scales for the teacher nothing too stressful but still… try outs?)… Both Rosalie and Emmett have made great friends, and are happy with their teachers. They both still argue over which teacher is prettiest 😉 at dinner each night.
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Alice had to warm up to her transition kindergarten class for a few days before she announced she’s glad she isn’t going back to her old school. Not that she didn’t like it.. but I think it was all or nothing with her… at first she wanted nothing to do with the new school.. because it wasn’t her old one… and now… it’s the opposite. I’m just happy that she likes it so much! I will be assisting with the catechism classes on Wednesdays… I’m sure I’ll enjoy it too.. they have a really interesting and unique (I think) lesson plan setup for their teachings…
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I signed up for (and have already had 2 classes) cake decorating. It’s the Wilton 1 class, which I already know most of the material from. I really wanted to learn about flowers and making them, and have learned more than I expected already… Last week we had to bring a cake to decorate to the class. I baked the household (minus Mommy) favorite… chocolate. The kids enjoyed the cake, as did Carlisle… I had a piece, and it was ok.. but I’m just NOT a big chocolate fan. The point of the decorating of this cake was to learn pattern transfers, and to practice using the start tip.

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For this weeks class I need to bring cupcakes. I’m making a coconut cupcake recipe that got rave reviews from Bon Appetit magazine, and I may also make the icing from the Barefoot Contessa’s recipe. I have to only bring 8 cupcakes to class… and the Bread Chick’s blog made me want to try both recipes, and both icings… so I will give them a go (at least the icings anyway… The 8 cupcakes I bring to class need to be frosted with a buttercream frosting that is acceptable for decorating in class… so the cream cheese frosting will be used on the extra cupcakes… I’ll definitely take pictures of everything once it’s all completed 🙂

While I’m talking about cakes… and decorating.. two things are coming up.. first.. there’s an amateur division to a cake decorating contest going on in Fuquay Varina as part of their ‘Taste of Fuquay’ event next weekend. I have until Tuesday to sign up if I want to enter a cake.. and I’m actually considering it. I figure I can use it as practice for Alice’s birthday cake for her party on Oct. 9th… 🙂 You know there’ll be photos to follow ….

In the knit world… y’all know I”m always keeping busy. I’ve knit a lot of fun things this month as part of my participating in the HPKCHC group on Ravelry
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I’ve got to tell you.. it feels so good to be back here in NC.  It seriously feels almost like we had never left… I feel like I’m at home again!

Survivor?

September 12, 2009

Ok, those who know me well know how much I have LOVED the show Survivor… I’ve watched every season since it began… and even sent in an audition tape once to be on the show…

I still would love to do it…

Today I got to do a ‘Survivor-esqe’ activity that I’d never really figured I’d do…

I ate bugs!

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Why on earth would I do this??? Well.. in the spirit of Bugfest 2009, in downtown Raleigh at the Science Museum… and of course to teach my kids that you should always try something… at least once…

I ate all three items… the chocolate chip grasshopper cookie, the meal worm fritter, and the sweet nutty bugs… the easiest was the cookie.. it had just a tiny bit of crunch in the one bite (in the center) that had the grasshopper… the hardest were the sweet bugs… in spite of the sweet flavoring, and the nuts.. there still was an overwhelming BUGGY flavor…

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The fritter was actually NOT that bad… assuming I didn’t LOOK at it between bites…

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Ok.. do that little ‘ewwwww’ quivver.. I just did!

We had a blast though at Bugfest…

In the knitting world, I finished a pair of slippers for Aunt Karen today…

IMG_7387to keep her tootsies nice and warm… Uncle Eddie puts her sneakers on every day, but I think slippers will just be that much more comfortable for Aunt Karen don’t you!?!?!

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In other knitting news… I finished my Ginny socks, and Sparky’s bed… 🙂 Sparky has yet to investigate the now dry felted Kitty Pi… but I know he will in time…

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Have I done it…

September 7, 2009

We just returned from a lovely weekend away at our Aunt and Uncles home in Cookeville Tennessee… what a relaxing and wonderful weekend … I did a ton of knitting had lots of engaging conversation and loved our time with family! I’ll have pictures up soon…

now I found this comment on a thread in Ravelry and wanted to note it for my own purposes.. so ignore if you aren’t interested in the knitting portion of this blog…

Knitting wise… have I done this? BOLD is yes…

This really is just for ME… to keep track of various knitting skills and have ideas for those I haven’t yet done…

Afghan
I-cord
Garter stitch
Knitting with metal wire
Shawl
Stockinette stitch
Socks: top-down
Socks: toe-up
Knitting with camel yarn
Mittens: Cuff-up
Mittens: Tip-down
Hat
Knitting with silk
Moebius band knitting
Participating in a KAL
Sweater
Drop stitch patterns
Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn
Slip stitch patterns
Knitting with bananafiber yarn
Domino knitting (=modular knitting)
Twisted stitch patterns
Knitting with bamboo yarn
Two end knitting
Charity knitting
Knitting with soy yarn
Cardigan
Toy/doll clothing
Knitting with circular needles
Baby items
Knitting with your own handspun yarn
Slippers
Graffitti knitting: knitting items on, or to be left on the street
Continental knitting
Designing knitted garments
Cable stitch patterns
Lace patterns
Publishing a knitting book
Scarf
Teaching a child to knit
Knitting to make money
Button holes
Knitting with alpaca
Fair Isle knitting
Norwegian knitting
Household items: dishcloths, washcloths, tea cosies
knitting socks- or other small tubular items- on two circulars
Dying with plant colours
Knitting items for a wedding
Olympic knitting
Knitting with someone else’s handspun yarn
Knitting with dpns
Holiday related knitting
Teaching a male how to knit
Bobbles
Knitting for a living
Knitting with cotton
Knitting smocking
Dying yarn
Steeks
Knitting art
Fulling/felting
Knitting with wool
Textured knitting
Kitchener BO
Purses/bags
Knitting with beads
Swatching
Long Tail CO
Entrelac Knitting and purling backwards
Machine knitting*
Knitting with selfpatterning/selfstriping/variegating yarn
Stuffed toys
Knitting with cashmere
Darning
JewelryKnitting with synthetic yarn
Writing a pattern
Gloves
Intarsia
Knitting with linen
Knitting for preemies
Tubular CO
Freeform knitting
Short rows
Cuffs/fingerless mitts/armwarmers
Pillows
Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine
Rug
Knitting on a loom
Thrummed knitting
Knitting a gift
Knitting for pets
Shrug/bolero/poncho
Knitting with dog/cat hair (my kitties hair slips in :-))
Hair accessories
Knitting in public

Seems as though there’s not much I’ve MISSED… shocker huh!

Sept 1. Now what?

September 1, 2009

So… I thought I’d be starting my Pantry challenge today.. however.. I’m still (gasp) NOT finished unpacking.. and honestly.. the Pantry isn’t nearly as full as I’d thought originally… so I’m rethinking my challenge… we have NO meat in the freezer, nothing to speak of in our fridge either (other than some fresh fruits and Milk)…

I think I need to come up with another plan …

Anyone have any suggestions?

The only that come to mind is that I could:

1. Buy ONLY items for meal that can be supplemented with sides already in the pantry

2. Buy only meats in family packs and do not replenish until only ONE meal is left for a given meat.

3. Buy fresh fruits and veggies for snacks and meals on a weekly basis so as NOT to have waste

4. Start my weekly meal preps on the weekends (I used to follow this regularly)…which means… on the weekend I plan and prep all the meals for the week … ie purchase and prep veggies if needed, if the meats are freshly purchased, freezer bag them by meal, and in marinade if needed. Sounds more complex than it really is… it makes it super easy really… to be able to pull out that chicken breast that was frozen in it’s marinade and thaw it the night before needed and have the veggies ready so that prep is so minimal… all that needs to happen is the cooking…

5. Go back to the weekend schedule… need to review this with Carlisle.. but we used to follow:
Monday- mexican
Tuesday – Italian
Wednesday – American
Thursday – Leftovers
Friday – Pizza/Fish
Saturday/Sunday flexible

Having that schedule always makes prep that much easier 🙂

Well.. off to get working on some knitting for my Harry Potter group… The Fall Term began today.. I’m so excited… 🙂