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 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 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 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!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Spa Day

My sweet friend, Mrs. M, is taking me to a spa today to celebrate our birthdays. I can't wait to experience the fun and relaxation that is ahead. We will have a facial, massage, pedicure and manicure.....oh, my!

What, you may ask, am I doing with my boys during this decadent day??? Another friend is graciously keeping them today. Woo Hoo!!

I'll let you know how it goes.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Monday Recipe

Do you have an abundance of zucchini? Are you trying to get your children (or husband) to eat more veggies? Then I have the recipe for you.

Hamburger Zucchini Pie

Brown one pound of hamburger. Drain then add one diced zucchini to the skillet. Season with your favorite seasonings. I use seasoned salt, garlic powder, onion powder and Montreal steak seasoning. Cook until zucchini is tender.

Spray 9" pie pan with non-stick spray. Place hamburger mixture in pan top with one cup of shredded cheese.

Mix the following:

1/2 cup Bisquick
2 eggs
1 cup milk

Pour over hamburger mixture. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

This is a big hit with my whole family. I typically make two.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Short Row Heels

I have come to the conclusion that short row heels are pure torture, designed to frustrate me. I began my first pair of toe up socks not too long ago. They are a beautiful green Koigu. I had no problems with the toe, of course the foot was mindless knitting. Today I began the short row heel. I read, reread and reread the directions and began. I had no problem with the slip/wrap process. Things were looking good. Then began the "reviving the wraps" rows. At first all was well. Until I began noticing a hole on one side, oh wait, it wasn't one hole it was a series of rather big holes....more like a spiderweb than a hole in a sock.

I have put the sock away. Hopefully tomorrow I will be able to go by the yarn shop and have someone show me the error of my ways. I am just afraid I won't know where to stop unraveling!

Birthday Surprise

Click to enlarge.

What a blessing. My mother's friend Tonja forwarded this collage of my mother to me today. It was just like getting a smile from my mom on my birthday. She looks so happy in these pictures...she was in her element among friends and co-workers. Sure do miss her...I wonder when I can see "new" pictures of her without crying.
Didn't she have pretty hair? I wouldn't mind turning grey if it would look like that!

Friday Musings

Well another week of not much posting...I have just had too much on my plate.

Time to make decisions on curriculum for next year. I have decided on Sonlight. The boys and I will be using Core 3, the focus is on American History up to 1850. I have to admit I am looking forward to the books we will be studying. The shipment should be here on Saturday, that will give me plenty of time to plan before we begin in June. It is so hot here in the summer we might as well school, that way I don't feel so bad if we take time off in October! We will continue to use Saxon Math. The boys will be in 1, 6/5, and 7/6. Should be an interesting year!

It is true what they say about death and taxes. I just had no idea you still paid taxes when you were dead. Actually, I could not believe how much I had to pay for mother's final tax return. The attorney's lack of follow through cost several thousand dollars. It was so disappointing, if he had filed one form I would not have had to pay income tax in Oklahoma and saved quite a bit.

The new Viking software has hit the stores and I have received my upgrade. I went to pick it up at the store and was informed that "you get the software as a free upgrade, but if you want the manuals...that will be $129". Now tell me, why on earth would I want new software WITHOUT the manuals??? How am I supposed to learn the program? So of course I ordered the manuals, they will be delivered in approxiamately two weeks. I wonder how much I can figure out on my own?

I have been knitting...would love to post pictures but I don't have any space left on my camera. I need to figure out how to send the pictures from my computer to be developed. Then I will have camera space.

Of course baseball is fairly consuming our lives. Speedy B is in a tournament this weekend on the far east side of the metroplex. Cowodie has a game at the same time Saturday morning, different city. We will be on the divide and conquer plan. Of course Smoda will be with me. Thank goodness for the video ipod I got for my birthday. It keeps him happy and busy when Cowodie isn't there to play with him.

Speaking of birthdays, today is mine. 41 years young.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Monday Recipe - Applesauce Muffins

I am always looking for something new for breakfast. Two of my boys think you have killed them if you offer cereal. One HATES oatmeal. One would rather not have pancakes (or anything sweet). Something they all agree on, they would really prefer a hot breakfast. Occasionally I make muffins, ignoring the protests of "no sweets" boy, the rest of the family loves muffins.

The other day I tried a new muffin recipe. I found it in Lunches and Snacks by Sue Gregg. I decided if I was going to hear the muffin protest I was going all out and using fresh ground whole wheat as well. "No Sweets" boy is also resistant to my attempts to incorporate whole wheat into our diet.

These muffins were a big hit. All the boys loved them, my critic eating THREE of them. The cold leftovers even met the approval of RacerDad. I have made them since without fresh ground flour and they were just as delicious.

Applesauce Muffins

Melt butter and place in a large mixing bowl. Thoroughly beat in remaining liquid ingredients with wire whisk, one at a time in the order listed:

1/4 cup melted butter, unsalted preferred
1 egg
3/4 cup honey
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Place flour and nuts in a medium mixing bowl. Thoroughly blend in remaining ingredients with a mixing spoon:

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup chopped walnuts, optional (I used pecans)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

If you have any suggestions for my picky breakfast crew...any comments would be greatly appreciated!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Pleasant Disciplining

"If you can't discipline and be pleasant, then just be pleasant"
Michael Pearl
I checked a book out from our local library the other day. I was needing encouragement for homeschooling and this particular book caught my eye...Just Around the Corner by Steven and Teri Maxwell. It is a collection of newsletter articles they have written over the years designed to encourage and challenge homeschooling families. It always amazes me how God leads me to exactly what I need.
I began reading the book last night, each article is a very quick read. Some made me ponder, some were irrelevant, but the quote above got my attention. I am going to admit something here...the last few months I have not enjoyed homeschooling. I lack patience with my children. I lose my temper on a regular basis and I have developed, oh the shame of it, a habit of yelling at my boys. The tension in the house has been unbearable. I have found myself with a permanent scowl and more than once a day Cowodie saying "what's wrong Mom?" The boys have begun yelling and picking on one another as well (I wonder why...great example from me??)
The Lord wanted to make sure I was paying attention for the next article was on cherishing your children...the story recounted a mother ministering to her son as he died of a brain tumor. Would you treat your child the same way if you knew his time on earth was limited? So the first article tapped me on the shoulder and this one hit me over the head. I was so ashamed. I sat in my chair near tears following the scripture references and repenting of my hard heart, bad attitude and neglect of the precious lives He has placed in my care.
Today has been a new day. I have prayed and asked continually for God to help me be pleasant to my children. I have not raised my voice, silently pleading to have a guarded tongue. I know I cannot change my attitude alone, nor will it change without daily (hourly, minute by minute) prayer for a new outlook and disposition. We have had a wonderful day. When tempers have flared between the boys I have gone to them and spoken with them calmly about how they could have handled it differently.
Verses that have helped me today are Proverbs 16:21b "pleasant words promote instruction" and Proverbs 16: 24 "Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." I don't want to be known as a foolish woman who tears down her own house, (Proverbs 14:1). That is exactly what I was allowing my harsh words to do.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Works for Me - Listening Pleasure

Like most families today, we spend a lot of time in our car....various lessons, field trips, baseball, etc. The thing that saves our (my) sanity is audio books or radio theater. The rule is the story we are listening to MUST stay in the car. That way there is anticipation whenever we get in the car and the cd is always there.

Adventures in Odyssey are some of our favorites for short trips. I bought a "complete" set (10 cd sets) from Christian Book Distributors several years ago, best money I ever spent.

For longer trips or weeks that I know we will have alot of car time we get an audiobook from the library. We just finished The Moffats yesterday and my five year old was "sure we missed a cd" because he didn't want the story to be finished!

Audio stories --Works for Me. Visit Rocks in My Dryer for other tips.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Tackle it Tuesday - Bathroom Curtains

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

At the first of the year I made a list of goals I hoped to accomplish this year. One of the items was making bathroom curtains. I was able to get them done after two attempts at purchasing fabric. The first fabric my mil bought, and it was a gauzy sheer metallic fabric. Now, not only was it a bear to sew, it was so sheer I might as well have not put anything up! This fabric unfortunately did not photograph well. It is sheer with faint gold and green stripes that match the colors in my wallpaper beautifully. There is still an arch of window above the curtain. I would like to find a stained glass piece to place there. The flowers under the curtain are african violets.

(Yes, it is a really big tub and yes I do use it frequently!)

Go to 5 Minutes for Mom to see how others are tackling their organization, cleaning and decorating projects one week at a time!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Go Rangers!!

Tonight is opening night for the Rangers against the Angels. Woo Hoo!! Time for some ball.

***Update: It was a sad night. Rangers lost 1 -4. Once again the Rangers can get runners on base, but they strand them there. Not a very impressive beginning for Sammy Sosa.

Stash Enhancement

I love getting packages from the Loopy Ewe. Sheri has such a nice selection of sock yarns, it is hard to make a decision! Today when we got home from the zoo, there was a package containing this lovely yarn...

The green is Sprite Green Panda Cotton, the other two are Claudia Handpainted. The one with orange is Sherbet and the light pink and yellow is Jill's Pink. Of course, between the time of ordering this yarn and receiving it I came to the conclusion that I really need more solid yarns. But I am thinking Jill's Pink is light enough a sock pattern will show.

I had also gone by a quilt store in Ft. Worth that sells yarn. They had all their yarn 50% off. I have always wanted to try Classic Elite and for $6 a skein...why not? I think I have enough for a vest, at least I hope so!

Monday Recipe

This morning I can't decide which recipe to post so I guess I will give you both that are floating around my brain.

The first is for comfort food...Chicken Pot Pie. This one comes from my friend Marie. She had brought the pie to my family on two different occassions, when I had pneumonia and then again when Mother passed away. Both times my husband loved it and asked me if I got the recipe. I finally remembered to ask her for it and made it this past week. It is delicious!

Chicken Pot Pie

1 1/2 cups cooked cubed chicken
2 cans cream of potato soup
1 can Veg-all drained
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
2 pie crusts (either store bought or homemade, I made a 10" double crust recipe)

Press half the pie crust into a 9x13 pan. Combine remaining ingredients, pour into pan, top with the rest of the crust. Brush with one beaten egg. Bake 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until golden brown.

The next recipe is a variation of one I saw on Rachel Ray. I don't get to watch her show often, but every time I do I find something I want to try. This was a hit with RacerDad and I. Speedy B loved it, it was a little hot for Cowodie and Smoda. So if your family doesn't like spicy heat you might want to pass this one by.

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

4 Chicken breasts, sliced into cutlets (cut the breasts in half so they are not so thick)
Grill seasoning ( I used McCormick Grill Mates - spicy Montreal Steak)
Olive oil
1/2 stick butter
2 Tablespoons Tabasco
Tomato sauce
Feta Cheese
Monterey Jack cheese (shredded), last minute I realized I didn't have Jack so I used Marble Cheddar
Pizza Crust (recipe follows)

Season chicken breasts with grill seasoning. Heat grill pan, sprinkle chicken with olive oil. Cook chicken until done, slice into thin strips. Meanwhile, melt butter in a pan add Tabasco and about 1/4 cup of tomato sauce. Toss chicken in sauce. Top pizza blanks with chicken, feta cheese and Jack cheese. Bake until bubbly.

Pizza crust

2 packages dry yeast
pinch of sugar
1 1/4 cup luke warm water
3 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil

Proof yeast in 1/4 cup water with a pinch of sugar. Combine flour and salt. Add yeast, water and olive oil. Knead until smooth and elastic. Let rise until double. This is enough dough for 2 medium pizzas. Place on pans and cook in 500 degree oven until lightly browned.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Project Spectrum for February/March

My creation
Originally uploaded by baseballmom_66.
These are the items that I completed for the first round of Project Spectrum. I could have sworn that I completed more blue/gray/white projects but I guess not. I do have one Dublin Bay sock in a lovely shade of blue but since it is not a complete pair, I don't count it.

Looking forward to the next color group - pink, yellow and green!

Blog Button - HELP!!

I would really like to add links to the buttons in my sidebar. Does anybody out there know how to put a link with my Spring Fling button or my Project Spectrum button? I would like for people to be able to click on the button and get taken to the blog that talks about the topic.

For instance if you click on Project Spectrum it would take you to Lolly's blog.

I know it can be done...that is how I find out about various KALs and Swaps. I just don't know how to do it on my own.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! I have read the directions at but it doesn't do what I want. It will put the picture in the sidebar but not the link.


Knitterly Things

This weekend was quite the weekend for me. I received two new knitting books in the mail. So far I have been impressed with both of them. The first book that came was the new Interweave Favorite Socks. The socks featured in the book are simply gorgeous. I must admit that many of them seem out of my knitting league...but I am going to perservere. I am finding that I need to begin collecting solid or semi-solid sock yarn. So many patterns get lost in colorways and if I spend the time to do an intricate lace or cable pattern, I want the knitting to show. I have learned this the hard way with some of the patterns my Easy Sock group has done. My problem is I love COLORS, especially beautifully blended colors. I have a hard time knowing if a yarn will work with a pattern or not and I hate to frog a sock because the pattern doesn't show up.

The other book I received is A Treasury of Knitting Patterns. Stitch patterns fascinate me and I love learning new things. This one is by Barbara Walker, the same author of the Knit Along Afghan book I am working on. There is a wonderful group that is attempting to put the patterns from Walker's various books in a usable format. The Walker Treasury Project is compiling color pictures of each of the patterns. When the books were originally published all artwork was done in black and white and you know how hard it is to see some stitch patterns without color.

The Walker Treasury Project is hosting some wonderful contests in April. Head over to the blog and check out how easy it is to win a prize!

Final March Projects

Smoda's Kindermusik teacher had seen my "Popcorn Purse" and fallen in love with it. She asked me if I would be willing to knit one for her if she paid me for my labor. I have followed with interest various discussions on "what is our knitting labor worth" and realized that no matter what I charged I would be working for pennies, but I was willing to do it for someone who truly valued handmade items. We agreed on a price and she let me know what colors she would like. Much to my dismay she was a pastel kind of girl...she chose baby blue popcorn yarn and white for the body of the purse. Even when I tried to point out that this purse would not be washable and would show dirt very easily she would not change her mind. I finished knitting the purse today and have already felted it. The purse is sitting on the dryer waiting for delivery on Tuesday.

Heidi's Purse before felting.

A project I have been wanting to work on all month is this cute bunny pattern from Lion Yarn. The Lion Brand Yarn that the project called for was ridculously expensive, especially considering the entire project wasn't much bigger than a washcloth! I found a comparable yarn from KnitPicks (Twirl) that was mainly alpaca. The finished project is so soft. This was a fun and quick to just find a baby to enjoy it! I have enough yarn leftover that I could knit one more, I am thinking I may take them to a nearby hospital to hopefully brighten Easter for someone.

I need to work on the directions for the head on the next one. The process is double knitting and though I followed the directions exactly, there are some slight holes that can be seen in the face.

These projects complete my February/March Project Spectrum items. I must say I am very glad to get blue and white behind me. I am ready for bright and cheerful. I do still need to complete my other Dublin Bay sock, hopefully it will go quickly.