Sunday, August 28, 2011

Progress (finally)

I'm finally getting somewhere with my two knitting projects that are ongoing. On the baby blanket I'm now on row 185, which means only 16 more rows until I decrease. I hope that will be the kick I need to keep moving on it. Honestly the garter stitch has moved past tedious and into mind numbing territory. But it really is quite pretty for as simple as it is.

I'm also getting somewhere with the Teddy bear. I'm ready to begin decreasing on the body. This is the biggest piece of the bear so the rest will probably move a lot faster. At least I hope so - I'm beginning to get nervous about finishing my Christmas knitting even though I have four months to go.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Homemade Ice Cream

I was looking for something interesting to do with C and I had heard about a recipe for homemade ice cream without an ice cream maker. So we decided to give it a try this afternoon. The recipe is really easy. You need sugar, half and half (we used milk instead), vanilla, ice, salt and a sandwich bag and gallon sized bag.

2 tablespoons of sugar, a cup of half and half and a teaspoon of vanilla are added to the sandwich bag and the bag is sealed tight. Then the gallon is filled halfway with ice and 1/2 cup salt is added. Then the other bag goes inside and everything is shaken for about five minutes.

C and I took turns shaking the mixture until it was ready. The best thing is it doesn't even need to be put in a bowl when you are done - just eat it straight out of the bag!

C went for plain vanilla (personally I don't understand how a child of mine prefers vanilla over chocolate!) and I added in chocolate and caramel syrups into mine. Yummy!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

One of those days

Today was one of those days with the kids. You know the kind, where they just won't listen or cooperate. It started out innocently enough. J was actually sleeping in and C was content to play so I got to sleep in. But once they were both up it became a struggle. The two boys just wouldn't leave each other alone. They kept taking things from each other and fighting. Plus C was really hyper today, which just seemed to add to the stress.

Days like this are hard. I love my boys so much but there are times when I'm relieved to put the day behind me!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Knitting progress

I have discovered that when I am doing garter stitch with nothing fancy going, I can do about 950 stitches in an hour. How did I discover this? Well I'm still working on my garter stitch baby blanket and it's sort of tedious. Twice this week I've had a solid hour to knit uninterrupted and both time I came up with close to that number. I have no idea if that is fast or slow but I do know that it means I have about 26 more hours to go on the blanket. Actually the blanket has gotten quite sizable. It doesn't travel as well as it used to either. I'm only 40 rows away from decreasing! And I still love the way it looks and feels, even if I have to do miles and miles of garter stitch.

I've also made some progress on the bear. Since it's more portable, it gets to come to lunch with me. Today I got back to where I was when I ripped it out (epic mistake on my part before). I have one more row of increases for the base of the body and then it's just ordinary knitting for a few inches. I need to get some stitch markers to make sure I keep my place - what kind of knitter doesn't have stitch markers?!

Monday, August 15, 2011

New School Year

Today was the first day of the new school year for C. He is going into his second year of preschool. Last year he went two days a week; now he is up to three days. I was kind of sad today because by this time next year he'll be off to Kindergarten at a new school. It seems like he's growing up so fast!

Isn't he handsome?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Peanut Butter Cookie Bars

This week while I was web surfing I came across a recipe for peanut butter chocolate chip cookie bars from Brown Eyed Baker. I absolutely love peanut butter and chocolate together so I knew I wanted to make these. My parents invited my family and my sisters an their families over for a barbecue tonight so this seemed like the perfect opportunity, rather than E, the kids and me trying to finish a whole pan by ourselves.

The recipe is very similar to regular chocolate chip cookies, but with a few modifications for the peanut butter. First I mixed my brown sugar, sugar, butter and peanut butter together. C wanted to help so you'll see glimpses of him in the photos (and please ignore any messy counters - I was running short on time today)

Next came the vanilla and egg.

After that I added flour, baking soda and salt.

Then the chips were added and the mixture was pressed into a pan. I found this great bag of half semi sweet chips and half peanut butter chips the store today so I used those in the recipe.

I baked it for 18 minutes at 325 in my convection oven and they came out perfectly golden.

My family totally loved them, especially my mom. She couldn't top raving about them. You can get the whole recipe at Brown Eyed Baker's website

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Golfing and knitting

Yesterday I got to go to an indoor golfing place. My total experience with golfing to date had been hitting range balls a few times. So this was neat because it simulated a real game without me chasing my ball all over the free world. Basically the ball is hit into a screen while three cameras record your movements. They have different areas that you hit from to simulate teeing off, hitting out of the rough and sand traps, fairways and putting. Pretty neat. Here's me attempting to get out of the rough (sorry the lighting isn't very good for picture taking there.)

I've also got an update on the progress of the baby blanket. I'm now 20% of the way done. I've increased up to row 132 - I need to get to row 201 before decreasing.

E calls my big ball of yarn my kitty. Well the kitty is finally starting to look a little smaller! I do feel like I'm never going to reach the end though!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Family Blessings

Wow it's already Monday again! Every Monday Gretchen at He Sows and She Sews reminds everyone to count their blessings in life. The biggest blessing in my life this week was my family.

It was an adventurous week for me. I was crazy busy at work, working lots of extra hours. Since I was running late I went straight to my knitting group meeting on Wednesday. It was storming outside and the lights flickered a few times while I was there. What I didn't realize was that the power poles on the street leading to my neighborhood had toppled and my house was without power. My parents were such a blessing to me - they let us stay at their house that night. My mom says any parent would have done the same thing but I still really appreciate it! She also watched the boys when I got stuck really late at work on Thursday. (It was crazy - I left for work at 7:30 Wednesday morning and got home Thursday night at 10 since I went straight to my mom's house from knit night.)

E was also a big blessing on Wednesday. Since I was at knit night and oblivious to everything happening outside, he coordinated everything with my mom. He even picked out clothes for me to wear to work on Thursday (and it was a cute outfit!)

Another blessing was I also got to spend some time with my dad on Saturday. We had a chance to go up to Cardinals training camp. I hardly ever get to hang with my dad anymore so this was awesome! Lots of great conversation on the way to Flagstaff plus some football fun.

I have been really blessed with the family God gave me! They bring me immeasurable joy. For other blessings hop on over to He Sows and She Sews.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Roasted Red Potatoes

I've been doing pretty good on my New Years Resolution list, except for one area - the new dishes. So far I've only hit three of seven months. So I was very excited to try something new tonight.

Every couple of months E and I have sausage and red potatoes for dinner. I boil both items, which is all well and good, but it's a tad boring. Tonight I decided to try roasting the potatoes. I really wish I had tried this sooner. This was a hit with the entire family, an amazing accomplishment! Even C had some (he thinks they are French fries). Originally he told me he didn't want to eat them because they were red potatoes but he eventually had some. I also decided to throw some baby carrots on the pan with them.

These were super easy to make. First I cut the potatoes into quarters - the bigger ones were then sliced again. Next I dumped in a 1/4 cup of olive oil into a gallon sized zip lock bag and then added pepper and salt. Then came the potatoes and the whole bag was shaken and the contents were dumped back on the pan. Then i added the carrots to the bag and shook them up. Everything was roasted in the oven at 400 for 25 minutes. (I have a convection oven - standard would be 425 for half an hour). They turned out great. I'm already thinking of other seasonings I can add. Hmmm what should I try next?

It's time for Football!

I'm so glad the NFL lockout is over! There will be football this year! My favorite team, the Arizona Cardinals, opened up training last week and my dad and I were fortunate enough to get to go up yesterday. (My mom was nice enough to watch the boys until E got off of work.) Boy was it crowded! It was autograph day plus a scrimmage in addition to the regular practice. We barely found a seat. I did get a few good pictures though.

Defensive drills


And the scrimmage (we were quite a distance from this part)

Lots of fun! But next time I'll avoid Red and White day!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A trip down memory lane

I just discovered that one of the channels we get is showing old shows from Nickelodeon! The only thing that bothers me about this is the shows were from the 90s. I'm not ready for shows I grew up watching to be considered retro. It's actually quite hard for me to believe that the 90s started more than 20 years ago. But I have been enjoying Doug and All That tonight. It's amazing how much I remember of them. I'd love to do a girls night with my sisters sometime and enjoy them together like when we were kids!

Monday, August 1, 2011

More Knitting fun

I finished J's android yesterday. I had originally thought he was coming out worse than the other two, but I think in the end he came out just fine. I tried backstitching his mouth this time instead of attaching the mouth with thread and I think I liked it better. I also managed to successfully pick up stitches to make his ears - picking up stitches has always been a weakness of mine so I usually just seam things together. All of my droids would look better if I could figure out how to pick up stitches for the bottom.

I then started in on the bear from Itty Bitty Toys. Since I'm using a worsted weight, I'm doing it on size 5 needles versus the size 3 called for in the book. However I am not focusing on it fully because I'm starting on a baby blanket for a friend! I only have a couple of weeks to finish it so I wanted to do an easy pattern. I picked the Baby Love Diagonal Blanket. It's basically granny's favorite dishcloth done to a width of 30". I picked up some denim colored Pound of Love and I'm going to run a white and blue checkered ribbon through it. They are doing a surfing theme so I hope the blue matches! If I finish in time, I'll add some of the extra ribbon to some cloth diapers to make coordinating burp cloths. I am so excited for my friend!