Thursday, November 29, 2007

Cooking...

For those of you who read my earlier post today, you know that I am hosting the Women's Ministry Christmas party. So of course today should have been filled with cleaning, organizing and decorating. After all it is D-Day minus 9. But is that what I did? Well certainly not!

I love to cook. Absolutely love to cook. Try new recipes, the harder the better. Interesting ingredients, you name it. Rachel Ray, Martha Stewart, Paula Deen and Southern Living were some of my favorite cooks/recipes to peruse. Then came Weight Watchers. Now on Flex, I have learned that there are no foods that are taboo. I just have to count the points, some are too hard to figure and some foods just cost too much. It is a very workable plan, but it caused me to turn my back on my foodie favs. The effort and temptation were too much.

The other day I was searching for something to do with some of the 285 pounds of pork that I brought back from Oklahoma. Yes, I typed that correctly 285 pounds! I pulled out Rachel. There on page 84 of 365: No Repeats was a tempting menu and it didn't sound too bad from a WW perspective. Rosemary-Orange Pork Chops and Lemon-Butter Broccolini. Now I am going to admit my denseness, I thought Broccolini was a Rachelism kind of like EVOO. But there in the recipe it called for 3 bunches of Broccolini. Thank goodness for the internet. Sure enough it is a real item a cross between broccoli and Chinese Kale. I thought well there goes that recipe, I won't find it in my neck of the woods. I will have to wait until I make a trip to Central Market. Imagine my surprise when I actually found it at my local grocers, now I bought all they had...but they did carry it!

Today, began with good intentions. I was in the kitchen cleaning and saw some pie pumpkins that needed to be cooked, so today became cooking day. Ahh, heaven. I cleaned (yuck, pumpkin guts), baked and pureed the pumpkins. I then figured since I was already in the kitchen I would fix my special dinner...these don't happen much with our baseball schedule. I did alter the menu slightly. Rachel suggested crusty bread to go along with...I know my weakness. I didn't dare. So I made a couscous dish instead. Thanks to my friend, Glenda, I cooked it in chicken broth with a touch of poultry seasoning and added some fresh cranberries. Yum!

Now at 10:45 p.m. I have two loaves of banana bread in the oven...well I did have some bananas that needed to be used or thrown away. So I am cleaning off a counter top! I am not one step closer to ready for the party, but I sure did enjoy my day.

Ack! Parties on the Horizon

I don't know what I was thinking! Back in July it really seemed like a good idea to offer my home for the Women's Ministry Christmas party. I really do enjoy having people over and we have been blessed with our home and soooo I would like to bless others.

But evidently I didn't think of the logistics of having between 50 and 75 women here for dinner and gift exchange. I have not even begun to decorate...I can't keep the regular "mess" under control right now, thus I don't want to add trees and such. I better figure out something, the party is on December 8...9 days away.

Then as soon as the Women's party is over I must plan something for Smoda's 6th birthday. He typically wants to go to Chuckie Cheese. Works for me. This year he is wanting to have a "Spiderman Jedi" party. What is that you might ask? If you find out, please let me know! All he will say is that he definitely wants a "pie in his face, chocolate please". A pie in his face?? Like in the Three Stooges? No, like they did to Brother Richard at VBS this summer. The joys of motherhood.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Weekly Weigh-in

Well, I didn't make my goal of 1.8 this week. I actually only lost .2. I will admit I was VERY upset with myself when I got off the scale. This is the first time in this journey that I have felt failure. Even the week that I gained a pound wasn't this bad. Reflecting back on the week, I am sure the reason I am so upset is because I did everything right. As I said last week, I had gotten sloppy on journaling and lackadaisical on exercise. This week, I did everything I know to do and lost less weight than last week!

I am done with my pity party. Most people in my meeting gained weight, they were even afraid to look at their weight diary. I did have a loss. A new week has begun and a good attitude will take me a long way!

Loss this week: -0.2
Total weight loss: -48.4

Saturday, November 24, 2007

On the Home Front

When we moved into this house, I knew I wanted to paint (or have painted) the foyer. It was a massive expanse of white walls. I loved the fact that it was big and open, but when you see walls that go up for 20 feet, white can become a bit cold. And I did not want my home to seem cold and uninviting. But as with all home improvements, you have to wait for the right time, money, etc. And in this case, RacerDad was daunted by the height and I needed help. Barb from the baseball team came to my rescue. She was needing some auto work done and was willing to barter her painting expertise for the work. YEA for me!!!

Now the foyer is a lovely shade from Sherwin Williams called Camelback. The art niches became a beautiful shade of red. I think this niche (between the formal dining and family room) is one of my favorite spots in the house.


Unfortunately in the following picture the wall color becomes a bit washed out. It is not near as brown as it appears here. It is actually more in the light golden family. The mirror is one of the great things that RacerDad brought into the marriage. I saved it, he was going to get rid of "the old thing". His mother always wants to "touch it up" with gold paint (ugh!). I love the patina of the frame, it is perfect for me. I picked up the table at our church garage sale. We had the church remodeled and the ladies in charge of the new furniture wanted everything to match. Lucky for me I bought a great table with no nicks or scratches for $25.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Christmas Music

mws banner

Have you heard that Michael W. Smith has a new Christmas album?? The songs I have heard are absolutely lovely. I will definitely be adding this one to the Christmas music this year.

What Christmas music can you not live without? I am always looking for something new to add. We like it all here...carols, traditional choirs, funky and funny.

Finished Objects - November

I have actually completed two major projects this month. Fall was SOOO busy with baseball that I had lots of knitting time. I decided have knit long enough, it was time to try a garment other than socks. Obviously, I didn't have much confidence in myself I made a vest - no sleeves and very little shaping. Things went well knitting from the bottom up, until I got to the armholes. All of a sudden I developed a hole. If it hadn't been for Tasha and Lise, I would have ripped the whole thing out. Tasha ripped back and picked up the live stitches for me. Then Lise was able to figure out it wasn't me, but a fallacy with the moss stitch pattern. I was able to finish it in time to wear it for Thanksgiving. It was warm (which I needed with the cold front that came through!) and I did actually receive some compliments on it.

The yarn is Brown Sheep Serendipity Tweed in Ivy. It is a 60/40 wool/cotton blend, very cushy. The pattern was from Patternworks.

The project I am especially proud of is my Lady Eleanor Entrelac Stole. I had seen Liz working on hers this summer and I am such a copycat I wanted it exactly like hers. So I ordered the same yarn (Jojoland - rhythm), in the same color way and ended up with a totally different look. Her stole was cooler- more blues and greens. Mine still has a lot of greens, but I have more reds.

This was a fun knit and great to do during baseball, it required very little thinking. At first I was intimidated by the fringe, but I am so glad I bit the bullet and completed it. I think the fringe really makes the project.


Hunting Season

I had never experienced Black Friday until last year. I know, I know...how can a girl skip the biggest shopping day of the year?? Well to begin with, I didn't grow up shopping the day after Thanksgiving. My mother had usually already completed her gift purchasing by that time and my grandmother hated crowds. Holiday travel plans as an adult put me in either Wichita Falls, Texas or Coweta, Oklahoma...neither a shopping mecca.

Then came Black Friday 2006. A sweet friend knew that we would be in town for Thanksgiving and asked what my shopping plans were. I could literally hear her jaw drop over the phone line. "Honey, don't you know this is a woman's equivalent to deer season?" Who knew? I figured why not give it a try, I had nothing better to do. Marie then began giving me lessons, target practice, getting the deer lease and setting up the blind. In other words, I needed to get the ads, figure out my purchases, and then scope out the store opening times. I never knew shopping could be so complicated. She picked me up at 4:30 that morning. I believe I heard RacerDad chuckle as he rolled over, in his defense he does snore....maybe that was it.

We began at Target. The line was unbelievable. Most of the crowd was very pleasant passing the time chatting, until they saw people cutting in line. The nerve! As the doors opened all congeniality ceased. The hunt was on! People literally ran, elbows out pushing to get to the best "deals". This type of shopping is definitely not for the faint of heart. I scored on some of the biggest game, MP3 players. Pure beginner's luck I am sure. Many more stores followed, none with quite the hysteria, purchases completed ...Marie had me home at 7:46 a.m. She deemed it a success and I now knew what all the hype was about.

This year, there was only one item that could lure me out into the pandemonium again. I saw the object at the top of Speedy B's list was on sale as a "door buster" at Kohl's. Their doors opened at 4:00 a.m. I had a brief lapse of sanity, I thought I can leave my house at 3:30 make my purchase and be home by 4:30...what a deal. Off to Kohl's I went, same line scene as last year. Only this time, being alone I brought my faithful ipod with my current book in progress (an Elizabeth Peters mystery, absolutely delightful!). I went in the doors as they opened...someone in the back of the line actually bleated like a sheep, how true! I searched the store, my item was not there. It had never been there, can you say false advertising? Now I knew I had seen the same thing at Bed Bath and Beyond in Denton so I figured I would just go ahead and pick it up there. Did I mention I was in Lewisville? Just a 20 minute drive, no big deal. Off to Denton, to find that the store did not open until 6:00. What am I going to do? An hour and a half, go home? No because I wouldn't be able get back out without the boys. So I went to Penney's. Half of Denton must have been there. I don't think I have ever seen their parking lot so full. I picked up a few things I didn't know I needed and stood in a LONG line. Back to BBB, disappointment again. I hadn't seen it at BBB but at Linens and Things....in LEWISVILLE! What's a hunter to do? I had it in my target I wasn't about to let it escape. So I drove back to Lewisville. Sure enough, there was my trophy. The store coupon, my reward for being there early was for 20% bringing the total to almost $20 less than the sale price at Kohl's.

Success! But will I do this again next year? I don't plan on it. I really don't get a thrill from getting there before sunrise and I can't say there is any sale price worth it. Now maybe if I enjoyed shopping. But I will be real honest, if it doesn't involve yarn or books I would just rather not shop.

For those of you who enjoy shopping....Happy Hunting!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Little Engine

The boys and I went on a bike ride today. The weather is about to change for the worst and I wanted the boys to burn as much energy as possible. We were at the end of a three mile ride headed up a long, steep hill...Speedy B in front, then Cowodie, Smoda and I brought up the rear. I could hear Smoda muttering something, but I couldn't quite make out the words. I pulled up alongside him and plainly heard...."I think I can, I think I can".

He made it, but at the end of the ride he said "I think that ride is too long for a 5 year old!"

Halloween Costumes

I know it is Thanksgiving, but I haven't shown pictures of the boys Halloween costumes that I made. Yes, you read that right, I made them....pins, pattern, sewing machine the whole shebang. Speedy B and Cowodie were penguins. Smoda wanted to be a rabbit. It wasn't too bad. It was actually kind of fun, just sayin'.



Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Weekly Weigh-in

My weight loss is slowing down, but as RacerDad so kindly put it...it is still going down. I have consistently lost weight since the end of May but where I was losing 2 1/2 to 3 pounds a week, I am now losing .6 to 1 pound.

I think the main problem is I have not been journaling as faithfully. I would "remember" point value and keep a tally in my head. This week I have been journaling and have stepped up the exercise. I am so close to the 50 pound mark and I would really like to hit it Thanksgiving and all.

Saturday's weight loss: -1
Total since May 26: -48.2

Monday, November 19, 2007

Holiday Gift Mixes

Here are two drink mixes I shared at our Women's Ministry Taste of the Holidays gathering on Saturday. One is for hot cocoa, it is a little different than ones I have seen in the past. The other is a family favorite...Russian Tea. I put individual servings of the cocoa in clear disposable cake decorating bags. The bags are cone shaped, we topped the cocoa mix with 1/4 cup mini marshmallows and 1 Tablespoon of mini chocolate chips. Tied the bag with a holiday ribbon and had a pretty cute inexpensive gift... much better price than Linens and Things had for the same item, I believe they were charging $4.99 per bag.

The Russian Tea I put in clear party bags, topped with a square of scrapbook paper and curling ribbon. Again a nice inexpensive gift for teachers, neighbors, etc.

Hot Cocoa

1 box Carnation instant milk (9 5/8 oz box)
1 10 oz jar coffee creamer
1 1lb box Nesquik
1 large box of instant vanilla pudding
1 cup powder sugar

Mix all. Store in airtight container. To make, add 1/3 cup mix to 1 cup hot water.

Russian Tea

3 cups sugar
2 cups Tang (or instant orange breakfast drink)
1 cup unsweetened instant tea mix
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
1 envelope kool-aide lemonade mix

Put 1 1/2 to 2 rounded spoonfuls into 1 cup boiling water.

You can use Splenda for this recipe, also be aware that the orange drink mix does not hold up well. The mix needs to be used within 3 months.

I enjoyed a Mexican Dip that one of the other ladies brought. It was a big hit! So if you are looking for an easy savory dish to take to a buffet you won't go wrong with this one.

Mexican Dip

2 cans of Mexicorn
4 oz. chopped jalapenos
2 cups mayo
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Mix and bake in an 8x8 pan at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Serve with Frito chips.

This recipe can be prepared the night before and kept in the refrigerator to bake the next day.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

What a Beautiful Morning

I woke up this morning to cool temperatures. It was 68 degrees! Wow, fall like temperatures this early, I'll take it. Even better...the high today will be in the low 80's. I have my windows up and a delightful cup of Whittard's English Breakfast tea from Britt. Such a nice start to the day.

We will have guests today. My friend, Angie, is attending a conference and needed a place for her two youngest to stay. My boys can hardly contain their excitement. It should be a fun day.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Finished Objects

Believe it or not I actually have some finished items to show. Woo Hoo! It feels good to have accomplished something! The first is a calorimetry. It was a fun , quick knit. I loved doing the short rows and it really gave me confidence to try them later in a garment. I actually did a gauge swatch and followed the pattern precisely...but I think it is too big. I am going to take it and show it to Dawn, she is the expert in our knit group on these. Maybe she can see what I did wrong. I used a heavyweight Socks That Rock in the Christmas Balls colorway. I love the bright colors.My second item is one with which I am pretty tickled. I needed something to keep my ipod in when I exercised. I knew I had seen some free patterns for ipod cozies on the web, so I went searching. While many were cute, they were also more involved than what I wanted, making me go out on the edge and design my own. Nothing exciting or special...but just what I wanted. Speedy B decided since it looked like a sock when I was knitting it, I needed to call it an I-sock. I was especially pleased with the little pocket to hold the earphones when not in use. I used another Socks That Rock, this one was Christmas Rock.
My last finished item is this sweet ruffled scarf. My friend Ellen bought the kit for me when she took her daughter back to college. The colors are perfect for fall. There are two yarns in the scarf, koigu and a mohair. I had never knit with mohair before...kinda fun to try something new.
So there you are...actual knitting content. Finished objects no less, not just stash enhancement!

Ravelry Swaps

Last week was such a lousy week...it was such a nice blessing when I received not one, but two swap packages! The first was from Britt off of the Ravelry "Cup of Tea" group. The group did a tea swap and Britt did a wonderful job. She sent four wonderful varieties of tea, some lemon cookies, the darling pot and cup for one. The yarn was a beautiful shade of blue in an alpaca blend. I think it will make a lovely scarf for this winter.

The second swap was also from Ravelry. Baseball Knitter set up a summer camp themed swap. My partner was Lixie from the Lixie Knits It Podcast. I received a great package from "home" including chocolates (they didn't last long!), a notepad from the underground, various pens and pencils, a cute cupcake candle, a knitting journal and some great Stroud Wool in shades of blue and green. Gotta find the right sock pattern for that luscious yarn!

Thank you ladies!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Exhausted, but home

It is well after midnight as I type this...but it is soooo good to be home. The two younger boys and I came home this evening. RacerDad and SpeedyB will be home tomorrow.

The funeral was a fitting tribute to a lovely man. Unfortunately the weekend brought up many memories of mom's funeral. So it made for a long, emotionally draining five days.

Glad to be home.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Hectic Weekend

The boys and I leave today to go be with my mother-in-law. RacerDad went last night but had to leave early this morning in order to be at work. The funeral will be on Tuesday afternoon.

Speedy B has a baseball tournament this weekend. RacerDad feels that it is best to let him participate. It will help him to stay busy and make things a little less chaotic at MIL's. So I am dropping him at a friend's house on my way out of town. RacerDad will pick him up this evening and then take him to a baseball friend's house in the morning. One of us will need to come back home Sunday to pick him up.

I am taking school work for the boys to do while we are gone. They might not get anything done, but at least if they get "bored" they will have something to work on.

Until next week....I really did have some knitting I wanted to blog about....finished objects even...but no pictures. There is always next time.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Ores Watson

Today our family lost a wonderful man. My father-in-law, Ores, went home to be with the Lord.

A more interesting person I have never met. He loved words...poetry, jokes, crossword puzzles, the Bible, singing. Ores loved to hear the boys recite scripture and read. Whenever we came to visit he would always have a new joke to share.

How many men would think to cut your wedding announcement out of the paper and have it laminated? Ores did. He also sent me flowers when I gave birth to my boys and would periodically send me a subscription to a magazine he thought I might enjoy. Just plain thoughtful.

My favorite memory is a relatively new one. At 91, Ores knew his time on earth was running its course. About 9 months ago, he and my MIL came for a visit. After the boys had gone to bed Ores asked my husband to lay down on the couch. Then this sweet old man knelt beside him and gave him a father's blessing. It was such a touching moment...there was not a dry eye in the living room.

Ores will be missed.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Weekly Weigh-in

This week I lost another 3 pounds!!! I am now down 30.2 pounds. My goal for the MayDay challenge had been 20 pounds and with another few weeks to go I am excited to see where I will be.

I bought a new outfit this weekend to wear to church. It is 4 sizes smaller than what I was wearing in May. Happy dance happening here. What was even better? I was able to bless two women from church with clothes I no longer need. I told RacerDad to be prepared to see me in the same few outfits over and over. I can't see buying a bunch of new clothes since I don't plan on staying this size for long.

Challenges for me...it is hard to journal every meal. I have the journal sitting right on my counter, but invariably I get busy and forget to jot it down. I am also feeling a little water logged. Water has never been my favorite beverage and at times I just don't want to drink it. I know I should and force myself but I would like hints on making water more "fun" to drink.

Need encouragement in your weight loss journey? Check out Tales from the Scales.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Vacation Swap to the Beach

My local knitting group hosted a Vacation Swap. The idea was to send your partner to a vacation locale and put theme based goodies in the package. My partner was my very dear friend Blogless Ellen. She went way above and beyond on my package. It was simply unbelievable.

It was all packaged in the darling polka dot bag. The bag is great for the beach (or to carry my knitting in). There is a separate zippered waterproof compartment and another zippered compartment inside, as well as pockets on the outside. I love the colors, so bright and cheery.

Inside was a fun note explaining each object and its significance to my vacation. There was a chart holder from KnitPicks (one I have had my eye on forever), to keep my pattern from blowing away. She included a great sock pattern that I think will be fun to try.

A handmade, just for me, needle roll was the next item. It is beautifully tie-dyed in aquas, blues and greens then lined with a sand colored fabric. I filled it as soon as I got home. I was so excited that it holds my large needles as well as all my dpns.

Ellen provided me with a book to read, what is a beach vacation without a book?? This one is special because it is from a local author with whom she used to work. Based in Texas at the turn of the century, I can't wait to read it. It is next in my stack on the nightstand.

Last, but definitely not least, was the yarn goodness. Ellen gave me Socks That Rock and not one skein, but two!!! That is right people...two skeins of STR. Both skeins are lovely shades of ocean blue. Ellen said she couldn't decide which one to give me, so she did both! The first is Lucy in the Sky and the other is Blue Moonstone. Just lovely!

Thank you so much dear friend. It was a wonderful vacation!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Smiling

I am very happy to say the dentist was able to fix RacerDad's teeth today. He built them up with resin. It took less than two hours and they look very natural. RacerDad asked if this process was what people referred to as "bonded" and the dentist said no. We are just hopeful that they will hold up well.

Poor RacerDad, no more bagels, corn-on-the-cob, or apples. A small price to pay.

Thanks for all your prayers!

Schooling Again

It is so nice to be back in the swing of things with school. We are trying a new curriculum this year, using Sonlight. It is a lot of reading aloud for me, especially since we are doing two programs. I can put the older boys together, but Smoda is on his own. The boys are loving the books. It has been forever since I have heard them ask me to continue when the day's reading is done.

Smoda is LOVING math. I am using Saxon 1 with him. He has anticipated school for so long I could probably give him anything and he would be excited. His reading (recognizing letters and sounds) is coming along as well. I have been pleasantly surprised that he will sit for his read alouds. This is a child who normally, if I am reading, will begin to inch away, slide to the floor, inch away and then scamper as soon as he thinks I am not paying attention. This morning he asked if we were only reading one chapter of The Boxcar Children, he really wanted to do more. Yea!

Not only did I change our main curriculum, I have added in writing. We have always done something with writing...but this year I wanted more structure. I listened to a friend and have gone with Institute for Excellence in Writing. Quite a program. The boys are enjoying it and I have to say that I am already seeing improvements in their progress.

So glad to be back to "normal".

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Dentist Anyone??

I got a phone call from RacerDad today. A hammer that he was using to break loose a gasket, something he does quite frequently, had slipped. Unfortunately, when it slipped from his grasp, it hit his mouth breaking his two front teeth. This is not news you want to hear over the phone. My thoughts began to race wondering how extensive was the damage and when I can't see something, I imagine the worse. Of course in my mind it was compounded because my husband, who NEVER wants to go to the doctor, was requesting the name of a dentist.

Remember this was the man who "hung" himself through the eyelid with a drop light and didn't go immediately to have it checked out!

Fortunately, he was able to get to the dentist right before they closed. X-rays were taken and the damage assessed. The dentist is going to be able to "fill" the missing parts, this is not a cap but a build up. This should last four to five years if RacerDad is careful. I am just so thankful the repairs did not involve root canals and caps!

Monday, August 13, 2007

World Series Socks

Can you believe it? I am actually posting a finished object!! I began these socks during Speedy B's World Series. I needed a plain vanilla sock to work on. I knew the games would be too exciting for a pattern or for anything that would require concentration.

I used OnLine Supersocke 100 in the Summer colorway. I love the feel of the yarn, it is cool being made of cotton, wool and nylon. Knitting with it was another story, it did not split or unravel. My complaint is with the ball itself. It pulled out of the middle in a tangle more than once. Then when I got to the toe of the second sock, there was a knot...ugh!

Off to work on my Loopy Ewe Summer sock club sock while I am on a knitting roll. I promised myself I could not begin the fall sock until the summer pair was complete. So hard!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Daddy Discouragement

We sure could use your prayers here At My Hearth. Discouragement is hitting our family hard in many different ways. This morning's Sunday School lesson was on this very topic, but RacerDad is having a difficult time applying the lesson.

As many of you know, RacerDad decided to quit his job back in February. He was without work for almost 6 weeks before he began looking for a new job, then it was right at 8 weeks before he started with the new company. His current company truly does not need three technicians. There is not enough work to keep everyone busy. Since RacerDad makes the furthest drive, he is given priority on hours...doesn't sit well with the other techs. RacerDad believes God has placed him in this position for a reason. His years of experience have allowed him to help the owners make some profitable changes. He is gaining management experience that he has been lacking. All of this will help him in October when he goes to work for a man opening a brand new service shop. I think knowing this job is short term is affecting him. He doesn't feel settled. As we all know if a man is not feeling successful at work it begins to play on his temperament. Can I say we are feeling it at home?

The boys are being boys. Not practicing up to his expectations in their baseball. Not listening. Being slobs. Any one of these would normally just roll off his back, but now...oh boy, can you say tense?

Oh, well, enough of our saga. But if you would pray for peace in our family and encouragement for RacerDad I would appreciate it.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Saturday

This has been one successful Saturday...

I began at my Weight Watchers meeting (-.2), not real happy with my meager loss, but as it has been pointed out, it is a LOSS. I weighed in for my 12th week today and haven't had a week yet where I have gained.

Today I pretended to be a domestic goddess. My house was filthy....amazing what happens when you are either out of town or running continually for a whole month. Almost all my laundry is done, and folded and put up (did you faint Mrs. M???) I cleaned my bathroom top to bottom, not an easy feat considering RacerDad had to do tile work in there last week. It always amazes me how a small, easy job can create such a mess. I even found tile/grout dust inside the cabinets. ugh!

I planned my meals for the next week and went to the store to purchase any necessary items...like I said domestic goddess!

Speedy B is suffering from allergies/asthma, so he has had to stay inside. RacerDad had promised racing this evening, but that had to be put on hold. To stave off boredom (a night with mom is not near as fun as the races) I declared tonight movie night. We went to Blockbuster and I let the boys pick out movies, of course I HAD to get some of my own. They enjoyed their movies and are now quietly tucked in bed. RacerDad will not be home until the wee hours, so I am enjoying the movie, Miss Potter, and knitting on a pair of socks. Sheer bliss!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Knit 1 Tea 2 Swap




Do you like loose tea or bags, or both – something you want to try? I prefer loose tea. Though I am not opposed to tea bags.


What is your favorite kind of tea (Brand, flavor, variety, etc)? Teavana is a brand I keep on hand. I love their Earl Grey Creme and Lady Earl Grey. I also enjoy fruit flavored teas in the afternoon...ginger peach, apricot, etc.


Favorite color in regards to tea or one you would like to try? (black, green, red, and white) (keeping in mind that this is how this swap is set up). Black would probably be my preference. I love the color red, but rooibos teas give me a headache.


Would you say you were a tea pot kind of person or just a hot water heater kind? Oh, definitely a tea pot gal.


What tea accessories would you like but have never purchases for yourself? I would love a tea cozy, I have many patterns but have never knit one. A tea wand is also something that intrigues me.

How do you prefer to be pampered? (examples: mani/pedi, bubble bath, yummy treat, etc). A bubble bath and a good book.


If you were a kind of yarn what would you be and why? Bright colored sock yarn. Pampers the feet with softness, practical with a touch of the unexpected. My socks are so different from the rest of my wardrobe which is fairly conservative.

If you had to knit/crochet baby booties, a fun fur scarf, or a fair isle sweater, which would you choose and why? I would knit baby booties. I am not a fun fur kind of girl and I still find fair isle a bit daunting.


What other event would make you skip a tea party? (A garden party? A book club meeting? A yoga class? Opening night for a new action thriller? etc?) A book club meeting.


What treat would you consider essential at your tea party? (Sweet? Salty? Scones? Those petite pastry trays with a couple of all sorts of things? Little crust less sandwiches?) Scones and creme are a must have. Then some delicate little pastries that are a feast for your eyes!


When buying yarn for a project how do you choose - do you buy the one called for or do you substitute? I try to find the yarn called for, but I am not above substitutions especially if I find a color I like better!


What do you carry your knitting/crocheting in when on the go? Love my little Loopy Ewe bag with the handle. Next would be my Sockapalooza bag.


Favorite movie to watch while knitting/crocheting? Any Jane Austen, especially Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth. (mmmm)


Are you a traditional tea cup kind of person or a mug type of person? Tea Cup, I love to feel like a lady, since I am surrounded by all men. Do you care if they match? Not really. I enjoy mixing and matching patterns.


Favorite childhood birthday party? A slumber party with all the girls from the 4th grade. My mom didn't realize that would equate to 35 girls and that all of them would come. ;-)

Favorite type of scone and jam? Tart cherry scone, lemon curd. Not necessarily together.

If you use candles, what is your favorite scent? Cooking scents...apple pie, buttercream frosting, spiced pumpkin

If you could choose 3 people to have 'tea' with, who would they be and why? (famous or not, living or dead). My mom and my granny. I miss having these two wonderful ladies to share their wisdom with me. Then Katherine Hepburn, she has led a fascinating life.

You've been invited to a tea party, what 'props' will you wear (formal or casual)? A tea length "flowy" dress and a hat. Similar to the one that Julia Roberts wore to the polo match in the movie Pretty Woman. Love that outfit!

Any allergies/preferences you have or are willing to admit to? Cats and smoke otherwise I am good.

Anything we missed that you want your pal to know? Looking forward to a tea party!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Socks That Rock - Silkie

By Jove I have found it! Thanks to Jennifer.

I am a member of the Rockin Sock club this year and I was beginning to feel like a heretic. The first two installments did not rock my socks, as a matter of fact I found them to be utterly forgetable. Especially the Silkie colorway (ducking behind a rock). I am a bright, vibrant color kind of gal...pastels and muddy colors do not do anything for me. Before I get totally booed, please understand I love the gals at Blue Moon, I even have several of their yarns that I absolutely love. My favorite pair of "Christmas Socks" is a STR colorway. Anyway...

My Silkie will become a pair of socks...a pair of Monkey socks. Jennifer sent me to ChemGirl's blog and she is doing a pair of Wild Monkeys. Go check them out!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Tales from the Scales

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Official weigh in at Weight Watcher meeting on Saturday. Down another 1.6 for an official total of 27 pounds! This was even after the cruise.

Tip that is keeping me on track...drinking my water (with lemon of course). According to the Hungry Girl Newsletter, current research in Europe shows that drinking your water increases your metabolism and keeps it elevated for 30-40 minutes. Woo Hoo!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Yarn Goodness

Over the summer I have added some wonderful yarn to my stash. Such beautiful colors and soft smooshy yarn! I have been adding pictures to my Ravelry account, but neglecting the blog. So today I thought I would update here. Many of the yarns I purchased from my knitting group pal, Jennifer, when she destashed. What a boon for me that she likes the same colorways that I do!This first one is Fearless Fibers in Lime Kiwi. It is wonderfully soft. I am also glad it is fairly monochromatic. I am finding that I don't like pooling with my yarns and so many beautiful yarns pool horribly.
This one is a self striping yarn. Trekking XXL in 100. Little did I know that it was a very popular colorway. Lucky for me! I love the blues and greens with just a hint of red. Liz, another knitting sistah, has a beautiful Lady Eleanor shawl that she is knitting from JoJoland Rhythm M26 and it looks fabulous with this yarn. She is thinking of doing a pair of socks to go with her shawl. I loved it so much that I came home from knit night and ordered some of the JoJoland myself!
Here is my beautiful Wollmeise. I was fortunate to catch Sheri's Sneak-up at The Loopy Ewe in its early stage and so I had my choice of colors. This peacock blue/green called my name so Tiefer See came to live at my house. I am not sure what pattern I am going to use for this yarn, but I know I want it to be special. Any suggestions???

Liz, has begun a yarn dying venture. She calls her Etsy shop Knit Clinic and has quite a knack for dying some beautiful colors. When she brought her latest colors to knit night everyone was snatching them up. I loved this Bartlett Pear. I am thinking it will be a great fall sock. Tasha had a pattern she was doing that I think would be perfect...not sure if it was Monkey, I don't think so. Anyway, I am going to do the same for this yarn.

This last yarn is also from Jennifer. It is Claudia Handpainted in Ocean Depth. Looking back with all the yarns having blues and or greens, I guess I am hoping for cooler weather! Have you knit with any of these yarns? What do you think of them?

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

What a Mess!

How can something this cute......


Make such a mess??????

This yarn was evidently not meant to be anything. It is Crystal Palace Cotton Chenille. I have attempted the same face cloth three times. It was not a difficult pattern, I just got distracted and had to start over and over and... Things were going well this morning when I had to put it down. I left my yarn alone for about 30 minutes and came back into a room that was reminiscent of the scene in The Ugly Dachshund where the Dachsies had destroyed the knitting and then hid so the blame was placed on the Great Dane. Only Muttley wasn't smart enough to hide and blame it on Trixie. He was too busy chewing yarn like it was bubble gum. I am just hoping he didn't swallow too much!

Home Again


This beautiful sunrise photo was taken from the balcony of my stateroom on the cruise. Yes, I said BALCONY. I just figured when my mother-in-law booked the cruise we would be in interior rooms down below the water. Needless to say I was shocked when we took the elevator up to the sixth floor and I opened my cabin door. I think dear old MIL was shocked as well. Good daughter-in-law that I am I offered to switch cabins with her, but I pointed out she would have to have two of the boys rather than just one (my cabin was bigger). She didn't want to change...oh, well!
For the most part the cruise was wonderful. I have to say it was hard going on such a long vacation without RacerDad. MIL was not much (read that NO) help. So if the boys were in the pool, I was in the pool. If they wanted to go get something to eat, I headed to Lido deck with them. Now there were lots of parents that let their children roam. I just couldn't do that, especially when I thought about the number of people on the cruise....3600 passengers and another 1200 crew members. Call me paranoid, but were there background checks on all those people??? I'll keep my boys close, thank you. Now Camp Carnival was wonderful. Smoda especially enjoyed it. There were activities scheduled from early in the morning until 10:00 at night. Unfortunately for me, if Smoda liked the activity that was scheduled for 9-11, the older boys would not want to go to their group at that time...they would want to go from 2-3 p.m.
The boys and I agreed that as much fun as we had, home is definitely best. Now if I just had the cabin steward to clean the house, the chef to prepare meals, Mel to be our server and the Camp Carnival staff to watch the boys....

Friday, July 20, 2007

Cruise....2 More Days, Oh, My!

I have been thinking of this cruise since May, hard to believe it is here! I still have so much to accomplish before we leave for Galveston tomorrow.

Packing for the boys and myself has not even begun, need to finish laundry first. I need to make sure RacerDad has things to eat while we are away. I would like to clean the house....with the biggest mess makers gone for a week I could actually come home to a clean house. Need to pay bills. Cowodie has one more day of music camp, with the performance this evening. WW tomorrow morning. Oh it might be nice if I look up where we are going. I know Galveston, but where in Galveston??

But the most important thing?? I need to decide what knitting I am taking! I figure there are 4 full days that we are at sea, major knitting should be able to happen. Cooking, cleaning, and laundry are all the responsibilities of someone else. There is a "club" for the boys to attend and my MIL is not one that wants constant entertaining. So there should be plenty of "me" time. I have two single socks that desperately need a mate, Smoda's blanket that I haven't touched in over a month and MS3 that could go. Currently the socks are winning...my thoughts... it is the tropics so it would be way too hot to work on a blanket and there would probably be too many distractions to attempt lacework (it is my first lace project).

In other news....

I am so excited. I have been chosen as Loser of the Week! The girls at Tales from the Scales have put together a great motivational site for anyone attempting to lose weight. Wanting to make a change?? Check them out.

For those of you wanting to see my "new" hair....

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

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Week 10 of the May Day Weight Loss Challenge. The challenge was two weeks old when I began and I didn't want to share with all of you that I was doing it. So many times in my life I have begun a diet, exercise program, etc and then gone down in flames days later. This time I figured if I kept it under my hat maybe I would have better success.

I must say, after 8 weeks on Weight Watchers I am truly excited about my lifestyle change. As of Saturday I had officially lost 20.6 pounds. My goal for the entire challenge was 20 pounds. I am looking forward to seeing where I am in September when the challenge ends.

I have been amazed at the differences I can already see in my body. I have lost six inches in my waist and eight in my hips! Woo Hoo!! I am down three sizes in pants. And best of all, tonight as my middle son gave me a bedtime hug, he looked up at me with a big smile and said "I can put my arms all the way around you and clasp my hands. I used to only be able to touch my fingers." Who wants a brownie after a compliment like that??? NOT ME!!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

AAYBA World Series

We are in the middle of some SERIOUS baseball. My oldest son's team is competing in a World Series tournament against 39 other teams. It has been a lot of fun so far. We are seeing teams that we haven't played before which is always more entertaining. After pool play, they were ranked (seeded) number 6, which put them in the Platinum/Diamond division. Yesterday, as the coach said, they had their worst win ever. For 5 innings we were losing and losing badly. Then in the sixth the boys decided to play ball and ended up winning the game....that's why we call them the Cardiac Kids! That win put them in the top 8 for the overall tournament.

Today's game will be quite a bit more challenging. I am a bit nervous because there is a good chance B will be pitching. Oh well, I am nervous just about every game...if he is not pitching then he is catching. He does well under pressure. Mom doesn't!

I am knitting a pair of socks while watching the games. Just a plain vanilla pattern, no counting or chart required. I am using Online Supersocke in the Summer colorway. Everyone has been so impressed with the stripes. I just have to laugh because I have had people ask where the other balls of yarn are...they only see one and can't believe that the yarn stripes on its own.

I will probably only get one sock completed before the end of the tournament, but at least this is mindless knitting I can get done quickly!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Shorter, Lighter and Overwhelmed

I know, I know it has been awhile. If anyone is still out there and interested in what is going on At my Hearth..thanks for hanging around!



Shorter....on a quick note I cut my hair. May not be a big deal for some, but the back of my neck hasn't seen daylight in over 15 years, unless you count ponytails. I used to let my hair grow long and cut it short on a regular basis...then I met RacerDad and I met him in a long hair phase. What is it with men and their obsession with long hair??? He always told me that my hair was one of his favorite things about me. How could I cut it off with that thought? Well lately I have been in major "Mama overhaul" and the hair had to be redone. So it is now in a "stacked bob". Rather cute if I do say so myself. I have received several compliments on the cut...makes you look younger (gotta love that one). I also had a visit with the color artist. Unfortunately she translated my "I'd like it light brown with natural red highlights" to "copper penny". It was definitely shocking at first. RacerDad likes it and most of my friends that have seen it like it as well. It is beginning to grow on me. One of the things I have a hard time with is looking in the mirror and seeing my grandmother. This is the exact color her hair was.



Lighter...I began Weight Watchers on Saturday, May 26. A very big deal for me. I like to eat. I love chocolate, breads and comfort food. Of course these items to not lend themselves to a thin, svelte form. I saw a picture taken of me on Mother's Day and needless to say it was the impetus to begin. It has also been the motivation to continue. As of Saturday, June 30th I have lost 17.2 pounds. Not too shabby...people are beginning to notice. My clothes are fitting better and the double chin is going away. I have a long way to go, but I didn't put this weight on overnight...I also want to keep it off, so slow and steady is the way to go. I am also doing Leslie Sansone's Walk away the Pounds. These are two major changes in my life diet and exercise which leads me to....



Overwhelmed....the rest of my family is very proud of me for sticking with the changes, but they do not necessarily want to change the way they eat. So I am having to come up with two dinners, two lunches, etc. Double the work! Exercise has taken up a lot of my computer time. But I figure if I am moving my whole body as opposed to just my fingers, I have to be burning more calories...right??



Then again there is the sweet new puppy. I am not sure why I didn't remember that a puppy is a lot of work. I guess for the same reason moms don't remember childbirth. If we had strong memories of these things the popluation would be much smaller and little boys would not grow up with puppies! Actually, Muttley (RacerDad won) is a very sweet dog and he has also encouraged me to move more. Someone has to make sure he goes to the bathroom outside and I KNOW that I actually watch and verify the procedure, unlike my dear sons.



I have been doing (read that attempting) alot with my mother's embroidery sewing machines. I have learned quite abit. But for everything I learn there is SOOO much more. It is fun, and you can definitely complete a project much faster than knitting, but it is not my passion. RacerDad is chomping at the bit for me to be able to turn projects into profit....just not sure I want to do that.



I have been knitting up a storm. I have finished some Mason Dixon bibs, a Baby Genius burpcloth, begun a purse and MS#3, and worked on socks.

I would love to post pictures of all these things, but I am working on my desktop and do not have the capabilities to publish pictures! I will try to be better about posting. Things are beginning to settle into a more normal routine. But then again...I am headed to Wichita Falls to help my MIL after her cosmetic surgery and then my son is playing in his division of the World Series and finally the cruise the end of July.

Monday, June 04, 2007

DFW Chicks Swap


Look at how my lovely buddy spoiled me! Three absolutely gorgeous facecloths. The one that looks blue is actually a beautiful shade of purple. Drat my picture taking abilities!

There were also some of the cutest little stitch markers. The picture of them didn't do them justice at all. They are some she got from www.hideandsheep.etsy.com. Little tiny beads that are perfect for small needles and nothing dangling to catch on your yarn.

All these wonderful things were in a Rangers Stitch and Pitch bag...how perfect! It is my new baseball project bag! That is if I can keep it out of my youngest son's hands. There were also some great knitting magazines to look through. Thank you so much sweet pal...

Our new Addition


Muttley
Originally uploaded by baseballmom_66
We have added a sweet new puppy to our family. He is a black cairn terrier. There was a great debate over his name. The boys started throwing out "Star Wars" names....how about Luke? No. Yoda? No. Darth? NO. Cowodie offered up Clone Trooper. I was okay with Trooper, just not Clone Trooper. It was agreed upon Trooper was his name..... Until RacerDad got home. He refused to live with a Star Wars character for the next 15 years.

RacerDad took one good look at him and declared the puppy looked like Muttley from Wacky Racers. Personally, I feel we spent good money on a purebred dog why would we want to call him a mutt? But Muttley it is.

The boys and I still mess up and call him Trooper occasionally...though Smoda almost made me cry. He was sitting in the floor holding the puppy and he very softly said ...you will always be Trooper in my heart.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Knitting Projects

I am going to attempt this post again. Blogger is not being very friendly today and is giving me fits with the pictures. Thus the reason they are all jammed against the side!

Here are my Koigu socks that were done in the simple toe up pattern. I love these socks. The Koigu was a dream to knit with. I did not have any issues with splitting and the stitch definition is great.

The pattern was very easy to understand. I loved the Middle Eastern cast on for the toes. It took a little practice, but the finished result is quite nice. I did have a few problems with the short row heels, but once it was explained to my rather dense self I found them to be fun to do. Now I could not do them in the family room yet (must be by myself...in a quiet room), but the heel went together quickly. The only thing I will need to work on with regards to toe up socks is the bind off. I went up three needle sizes, but with my tendency to be a tight knitter it still doesn't have much stretch.


My local knitting group hosted a dishcloth (facecloth) and stitch marker swap. This is the pattern I used, Half Linen Stitch. It is from the current issue of Creative Knitting. I LOVED this pattern. The cloths went quickly and the pattern was definitely mindless. Perfect for baseball! The pattern does NOT work for variegated yarn. Ask me how I know?? I have two new cloths for my drawer. The first one I attempted had minor pooling, I figured if I just started the yarn in a different place it would take care of itself. But noooo the second cloth I began calling the "Two Faces of Eve". It was like I drew a line down the center of the cloth and said beige over here, green over there. Oh well, I needed some new dishcloths!

I decided I wanted to learn to knit lace. Not like I don't have enough projects already on the needle. I began this Scotch Thistle Lace Stole. I am using Perchance to Knit lace weight in the Peacock's Harlot colorway. The overall color is black, but in the light you see shades of purple and green. It is beautiful. I have only done 4 rows this will probably be a LONG term project.

What I did Today


Embroidered Ball cap
Originally uploaded by baseballmom_66
I took a machine embroidery class to learn how to embroider on ball caps. RacerDad has the misguided thought that I could actually make money with Mom's sewing machines. He truly believes that with this one class I could take orders from the boys' ball teams and instead of paying for their uniforms, WE could make money off of them. It is kind of sweet that he has so much faith in my productivity...it is a shame I don't have the same desires!

But I did enjoy the class and I do see the potential to make a lot of really cute hats.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Passports Needed

When I posted last week about needing passports I wasn't sure where we were going. My mother-in-law just told me to get them. We typically go on vacation with her each year.

Well it turns out we are going on a Caribbean cruise. I am probably more excited than the boys. I have never been on a cruise but from what I hear they are lots of fun. We will have ports of call in Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Mexico...a full seven nights on board ship.

The only problem?? RacerDad will not be able to go. He doesn't have the time off from work.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Meanwhile 13 days later...

The past two weeks have been rather crazy, grab a cuppa your favorite beverage and settle in...

It all started Mother's Day weekend.

That Friday I had to take one of our dogs, Thumper, into the vet. Thumper, a 12 year old basset hound, was having difficulty breathing and not eating. RacerDad and I had a conversation before I went to the vet to discuss just how much we were willing to spend and what measures we wanted to take. I am glad we had talked about it. When I got to the vet, they wanted to begin running several tests to determine his condition. Any option they gave me started at $200 and that would not be conclusive nor include any treatment.

Lest you think we are uncaring pet owners, we had been down this road years ago with a poodle I brought into the marriage, $2000 later we still had to put the poor dog down. Basset hounds have a life expectancy of 10-12 years and though we loved Thumper we could not justify spending huge amounts of money on a dog that had lived a long wonderful life.

When I explained our position to the vet you would have thought I sprouted horns. She told me she could not conclusively give me a diagnosis and thus could not effectively treat the dog. I asked her to give her best guess and make Thumper comfortable. She then let me know that she felt he had a systemic infection, very common in older dogs...usually not curable. I left the vet with a strong antibiotic and an anti-inflammatory drug.

We had baseball games that Friday evening. My MIL came Saturday so that meant a day full of shopping plus baseball games. Mother's Day we went to church and more baseball games. Are you with me people??? Three days and we had seven games, it was not a tournament and it was Mother's Day weekend! I guess it is a good thing I enjoy baseball. Speedy B pitched in one of the Mother's Day games. He was on the mound for 4 innings and only threw 32 balls. He told me that was one of my presents. Gotta love him.

The rain we have had this spring postponed the majority of our games. The league needed to get the rain-outs played before this week's city championship and before the official start of tournament season. So for the most part I have been at baseball the last two weeks. I honestly lost count after I figured out we played 13 games in 5 days. That's what I get for having two boys that play ball...I have no idea what I will do when Smoda starts.

We did end up having to put Thumper down in the midst of all this. The boys took it hard, but then they are realists as well. We had adopted Thumper when he was 10 so his playful puppy days were past. When he came into the family I became "his person" he would follow me from room to room and if I stayed in one place for long he would plop down where he could see me and go to sleep. About the only "playing" he would do for the boys was howl. And boy could he howl! Smoda could make one howling noise and Thumper would join in, nose to the air baying at the top of his lungs. Smoda called the baying sound ha-rooing and named him "Captain Haroo". The boys have requested that the next dog be one they can play with...one that will run and chase balls. I guess my lapdog Trixie doesn't count, she is a miniature dachshund and really can't be bothered to play. As long as the boys pet her she will stay with them, but then as soon as they quit touching her, she is off.

What have I been doing when not at baseball??? Well....I got passports for the whole family (talk about MAJOR sticker shock!!!) All I can say is if you think you might need passports get them early! It cost an extra $300 dollars just to get them expedited. We have also wrapped up all our extra curricular activities (except baseball!), gotten in our new curriculum, cleaned out the boys rooms and mowed the jungle. I was afraid after all the rain Speedy B was going to need a machete to cut the backyard. Oh, and I joined Weight Watchers.

Knitting wise...all this baseball has been awesome for my sticks and string. I finished my green toe up socks, I really enjoyed doing toe up and will plan on doing more. I finished numerous dishcloths and made some tribbles. I also began my Summer Sock Kit from The Loopy Ewe. I love the colors! The pattern is great and I am finding it easy to remember. I did have to put it aside though, size 0 needles and a pattern did not go well with intense competitive ball!

My life should be getting back to normal. Only one son is playing ball now. Cowodie finished his season last night. His team played in the city championship. The teams were very evenly matched, it was a fun game to watch. Cowodie is a catcher and he made a diving catch for a foul ball...he got the out. He also hit in the game winning run. His grin was from ear to ear. But what warmed my heart? After the game, he looked at me very seriously and said "I think this game was my birthday present from God". I LOVE the fact that he recognizes that God deserves the glory in all things.

Well that is about it from my hearth, I have missed you all!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Homeschool Day at Six Flags

Went to Six Flags yesterday with the boys, it was Homeschool Day. We all had a great time. I am still tired today! The older two were able to ride the "big" roller coasters together, good thing since my feet don't get on roller coasters! Batman and Aquaman were the favorites....Aquaman drenched them both.

Smoda was my buddy. His favorite ride as usual was the Tea Cups. Normally my stomach is just fine on rides like that. Yesterday we went with a family that has a 16 year old boy. Let me tell you he could make the teacup spin. I have never spun so fast! Everything was a blur, so I had to close my eyes. When the ride was over I had to sit a minute and get my legs. Needless to say when Smoda said "I want to do that one again!", I let Ben take him alone.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Short Row Heels - revisited

Thanks to two wonderful ladies, Jennifer and Manda, in my local knitting group I was able to master the short row heel. I was so delighted to finish my first toe up sock. It was not as bad as I thought, but I never would have figured out the "picking up of live stitches" on my own.


The yarn I am using is Koigu KPPPM. It is a wonderfully soft yarn, as with each new sock yarn I try...this is my favorite! I have also been pleased with the color variation. There has not been the irritating pooling that I have had with some of the other varigated sock yarns.

Don't you love my setting....bricks?? I was trying to find good lighting so that the yarn colors would show well. The stack of bricks had the best sunlight. And yes that is a Loopy Ewe bag in the background. I love the way I can see at a glance what project is in the bag.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Grown Women Should Not Fall Down

As most of you know this has been a VERY wet spring in Texas, after several years of drought I guess I have forgotten how to walk on soggy ground.

Saturday, Cowodie had an early ball game...needed to be at the field at 8:00 a.m. We were walking from the parking lot to the field not on the sidewalk like the parks department would prefer but down the back trail. It is much closer to the fields, everyone else does it, the sidewalks are too far...how many other excuses would you like??

Anyway dear RacerDad, in a hurry to get to the batting cages and begin warming up was quite a ways ahead of me. The rest of us were strung along the path much like pack mules (remember we are going to a LONG day at the ballfield, so we have chairs, snack basket, cooler, ball bags, breakfast sack, my extremely necessary Dr. Pepper, etc.) I was walking along, on the steepest point, reminding Smoda to be careful when my sandal hit a slick patch of mud (think slimy clay). Down I fell, very gracefully I might add, on my hiney. One foot and sandal totally covered in goo, backside in a soggy patch, Dr. Pepper flying through the air and splashing on my clean foot. Fortunately for me one of the other team dads was right behind me. He graciously helped me up only to watch me take one step and do it all again, minus the DP spray!

I was soooo embarrassed! Did any of my family notice this you ask? Only Speedy B, ever the considerate older son..."Didn't you watch where you were going, Mom??" I was so thankful that the fields were fairly empty at this time of day. I went up to the bathrooms, via the SIDEWALK, and cleaned my foot and leg up. I was wearing navy blue capris, so most of the mud didn't show up. When I got back down to the field, my sweet husband, ignorant of the fall and consequent mess asked where I had been....oblivious to all but the game about to be played!

Today I am so sore. My shoulder and neck are extememly tender, to the point if I move I feel like I am going to throw up. I know it will be fine, but where is a good massage when you need one!

Monday Recipe - Chicken Salad

Warmer weather is hitting here in Texas and so I am starting to bring out my "summer" recipes. The following is a recipe that I received my RacerDad's step-mother several years ago. It is one that they enjoyed on a regular basis and it sounded good so I brought it home. The only problem, RacerDad is not a meat salad kinda guy!

For years this has been a salad I have made to take to "ladies" brunches, I am always asked for the recipe. But my family had never tasted it...until last week. We were off to a baseball double header, which meant I needed to pack dinner and RacerDad said "please, no sandwiches." Oh the dilemma!! I decided to try this salad out on everyone. What was the worst that could happen? I would be buying hot dogs from the concession stand.

Everyone loved the salad. My sweet husband even asked "Why haven't you made this before?" MEN!! Gotta love them.

Chicken Salad

4 cooked chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces (you can bake, I typically grill)
2 cups sliced grapes
3/4 cups sliced almonds
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream

Combine mayo and sour cream. Pour over remaining ingredients and stir to combine.

I usually serve this with homemade rolls or croissants, not as a sandwich.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

And the Winner is....

Lori from Lori's Light Extemporenea. She is the proud winner of some sock yarn and needles. I would post pictures and may still be able to, but my camera is not working properly today.

I am sending her a skein of J. Knits sock yarn in beautiful shades of gray and pink this yarn came from my favorite online yarn store The Loopy Ewe. Her prize also includes two skeins of Simple Stripes from Knitpicks and Crystal Palace bamboo dpns size one.

Lest you think I was only prepared for "knitters" to comment, I had a different prize set aside for my non-knitting readers.

Thank you so much to those of you that commented. While I truly blog for myself, more as an online diary, it is so nice to see comments!

Lori, if you will email me your address I will send you your prize package!

Friday, May 04, 2007

Scent Memory

Is it just me or do you have scents that automatically bring to mind certain people, places or events? This morning I was hit with one of those moments.

They say that a baby can recognize its mother's scent in a very short time after birth. I would say that holds true throughout a child's lifetime.

I have several tee shirts that belonged to my mother. She donated blood on a regular basis and seems to have had a shirt for each time! The one I pulled out today says "Give blood (front) ...Get cookies (back). The letter o on front and back are mock oreo cookies. It is a very cute shirt. As I said, mom probably had over 60 shirts from the blood banks so I went through and culled the ones that were worn or on the plain side. Which still left me with probably 25. I folded several and put them in a drawer for "some day" and hung the rest up. Today I decided to take one of the shirts out to wear and as I pulled it over my head, the scent of my mother flooded over me. Such a bittersweet feeling. Over a year and this shirt still smells like mom. Of course it hasn't been washed over and over to remove that scent, but it amazes me that it can still linger.

It is not a particular perfume, she wore several througout the years...nor is it laundry detergent, we used the same brand. But it is such a pleasant smell. It is mom. I hope my boys will have as fond a memory of me someday.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Knitting Fun

Dawn sent this little ditty to an email loop we belong too and it just seemed like fun. Who knew there were SOOO many things related to knitting?? I found one that was not on the list that I am so proud I completed...mosaic knitting!

Make bold all the items you have done; italic ones you plan on doing some day. If you take on the list challenge please comment, I would love to see your knitting accomplishments (especially you Ellen!!)

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 (never heard of this one!)
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 (incl. Aran)
Lace patterns
Publishing a knitting book
Scarf
Teaching a child to knit
American/English knitting (as opposed to continental)
Knitting to make money
Button holes
Knitting with alpaca
Fair Isle knitting
Norwegian knitting
Dying with plant colours
Knitting items for a wedding
Household items (dishcloths, washcloths, tea cosies...)
Knitting socks (or other small tubular items) on two circulars
Olympic knitting
Knitting with someone elses 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
Knitting two socks (or other small tubular items) on two circulars simultaneously
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
Baby items
Knitting with cashmere
Darning
Jewelry
Knitting with synthetic yarn
Writing a pattern
Gloves
Intarsia
Knitting with linen
Knitting for preemies
Tubular CO
Freeform knitting
Short rows
Cuffs/fingerless mits/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 (GROSS, not intentionally!)
Hair accessories
Knitting in public

Quite a list accomplished. but so many more things to learn. I will be a gray haired granny sitting and knitting to accomplish all I desire!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

200th Post...Oh My!!

I can't believe this is my 200th post. I guess I am full of ramblings!

This past weekend was gloriously relaxing. We only had ballgames on Friday evening (2 for B, they won both) and one game for Cowodie on Saturday...they won as well. Rain may end our baseball plans for this whole week. The weatherman is forecasting heavy rain starting late this afternoon continuing through Friday...which would mean no ball!

Sunday, after church, we went to lunch with friends. Then had a quiet day at home. I don't think anyone even went out to the batting cage. Are they sick??? (No, actually everyone is better! We are calling Smoda "snake man" , he is shedding on his hands and feet now.)

We did have a wonderful family movie time. I guess we are a little behind the times, we just saw "Facing the Giants". Absolutely wonderful film!! It is one I will be purchasing. If you haven't seen it yet, it does a beautiful job of glorifying God.

Smoda has lost two teeth! It is funny, I cried when I found out they were loose...but when he actually lost them nary a tear. At first he didn't want me to pull the first one. He was afraid he wouldn't be able to whistle. Now he is so proud to tell everyone that he has "two gone teeth".


Knitting news...I did complete a tribble and have another one ready to show the ladies at our knitting group how to sew them up. I worked on my garter square for my Learn to Knit afghan. I know it would go quite bit faster if I would just knit, but I am using this to teach myself how to knit continental... a little slow going!


Last week my stash was enhanced oh so delightfully...

First I received my next shipment of the Rockin Sock Club. It is a tweedy/heather combination in purples, greens and grays silk/merino blend. It is by far better than the first color we received....but I am still not sure. Whenever I go to their site there are so many yarns that speak to me. I must be honest if I had seen the club colors on the website I wouldn't have given them a second glance.

I also received my Summer drink and knitting swap. My partner outdid herself! I love the two hanks of Lorna's Laces she sent...they are pink (a bright tulip pink) that she dyed herself. She actually works at LL. Now this is a yarn I can LOVE!



I also had a delightful birthday treat with my friend Ellen. She took me to lunch at the Macaroni Grill (yummm!!) and gave me a wonderful present of Yarn Pirate October (that she bought from Manda's stash!), a fun orange floral tea cup (shaped like a flower pot) and some scissor jewelry. Just wonderful!


Well, I am not above begging for comments this being my 200th blog and all. Sooooo, I am going to host a drawing. What do you need to win??? Submit a comment. I will draw from all entered comments on Friday, May 4th. Good luck!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Loser Mama Award

Well, I just got home from the doctor's office. My youngest (5) has had a persistant rash for the last 12 days. It got better, then came back a bit, got better, etc. I had called the doc when the rash first presented and we both thought it was some type of allergic reaction. Today I thought, hmm just might want to go in.

While she was weighing him, I mentioned she might want to look at his hands as well, the palms were peeling terribly...like burst blisters. She told me he MIGHT have strep, the peeling hands could be an indication but it probably wasn't strep since he had never run a fever.

Well she did a culture and it came back that he has SCARLET FEVER!! Which is a form of strep, usually becasue the strep was left untreated. She asked how my oldest was feeling since he had had the asthma attack last weekend and I told her he had recovered but it was the oddest thing he had thrown up from all the meds he took. She calmly said "well, you know, throwing up could be a symptom of strep. Let' s check him as well." While she was at it she might as well check the middle one who has NO symptoms.

The oldest two both came back positive for strep! So my happy little family, that has NEVER had a strep throat or strep infection of any kind, has strep at the same time. No fevers, no sore throats, no headaches....just peeling hands and vomiting! Who knew???

Please pray for Smoda, it is unlikely but there is a slight chance that he could develop rheumatic fever. The doctor feels like the strep infection has been in his body at least three weeks, since he would have had the infection prior to breaking out in the rash from scarlet fever. So we need the antibiotics to take a hold quickly.

Oh the thousands we have contaminated....like I said I am the loser mama!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Knitting gifts - Spa Bag set

I am always looking for easy, inexpensive gift ideas for RacerDad's coworker's wives (not sure if that is gramatically correct, but not sure how else to do it). I got the brilliant idea in January to make them all washcloth/headband spa sets. But I wanted it to be a little more special, I also wanted them to know what it was. I have made dishcloths for people before and they thought they were great...potholders, coasters etc.

I found a machine embroidery design that I thought fit the idea perfectly, so I decided to make sacks to put the gift in. Here is a finished example:

Then inside I put the cloth, headband, a bar of soap and a candle. What do you think?


So while I haven't been posting much knitting progress....I have been crafty!

Sweet Goodness Spring Swap


Look what my wonderful parter in the Sweet Goodness Spring Swap sent me! It was full of pink and green surprises. The green sack is full of "Now or Later" candies...the boys thought that was cool. The letter "J" she made from scrapbook supplies is just too cute.
Swaps can be soooo much fun!

Spa and Storms

Unbelievable!! This word best describes yesterday.

Mrs. M and I went to the Cooper Spa in Frisco. It is an absolutely beautiful facility - calm restful colors, dim lighting, candles, music (new age...could have done without that) and natural stone just about everywhere. When we first arrived, they had us fill out a health form and select our lunch from the menu. We were then taken to the locker room and given a plush white terry robe and slippers. The locker room was carpeted and had wood lockers, simply gorgeous. After changing, we were to go to the "transition room", we would be picked up there for each of our services. The transition room had one wall that was a water feature...slate stones with water sheeting down, dim lights, contour chairs (with headphones), coffee, tea, anything you would need to make you comfortable.

My first service was a massage. I was led down a dimly lit hallway where a discreet sign proclaimed this a "whisper zone" to a massage room that was equipped with a heated massage table. Of course the massage was wonderful.

Back to the transition room, where I drank a bottle of water while waiting for my facial. I was just getting ready to go to the bathroom when the lady came to give me my facial, I made the decision to just go with her. Bad decision! ... more about that later. I had never had a facial before, it won't be my last! The process was very relaxing....except for the extractions. The technician calmly said after cleansing my face, "Now I will examine your face and do any necessary extractions." She then put some wet cotton balls on my eyes to shield them from a bright light she used to examine my skin. Next she began the extractions, now I may be a little slow on the uptake, remember I had just had a relaxing massage I don't know what I expected extractions to be. I was not expecting "pain". My eyes were still closed under the cotton balls when there was a little sting in my nose region. Then another, then a sharp one. Finally dawned on me that "extractions" was a dignified way of saying "popping pimples" or in my case "squeezing blackheads". Fortunately I didn't have many that needed taking care of, unfortunately they were in that sensitive crease of my nose!! The "pain" brought back to my mind that I needed to go to the bathroom. I began to wonder how much longer the treatment would be and was very thankful I have a strong bladder, things were working against me nice warm towels, relaxing hand massage, wave sounds in the new age music. I made it just fine, but it brought to mind how I remind the children to "go to the bathroom before we leave, whether you need to or not".

After the facial, Mrs. M and I met back in the transition room for lunch. Delicious food..I had a Thai wrap, fresh fruit and a berry smoothie. We finished our day with pedicures and manicures. We had delightful nail technicians, it was a fun time together. I had my first french manicure...now I know the technique has been around for a long time. I just had never had one. I really like it.

When we got back in the car, I checked my phone....8 missed calls from my husband. Can I say he was not happy with me. Evidently, storms had moved into the area while we were being pampered and there was a tornado warning in my town. I called my friend who had the boys and things were fine, heavy rain...nothing to worry about. She lives a few blocks from my home so I wasn't to concerned. I went home as quickly as I could. When we got to our house, I found my bedroom door to the patio blown open. The carpet right inside the door was wet, but other than that the house was fine. These pictures show how much water was in my backyard after 4 hours of rain.


We eventually had 8 inches of rain at our house. By the time RacerDad and I went to bed the water covered 3/4 of the backyard, the front yard wasn't much better. The water in the drainage culvert by the street was about 10 feet from the front door. I also lost my peach tree, straight line winds simply blew it down.

Like I said, yesterday was unbelievable!