Saturday, December 27, 2014

Loaded Peanut Butter Cookies

So for our cookie recipe contest this year with my family I decided to make peanut butter chocolate chip pretzel cookies. That's a mouthful so I think I'm just going to call them Loaded Peanut Butter cookies. I was looking for a chewy cookie not a crunchy one and found this one from the Novice Chef to use as my base.

One of the requirements for the contest was to use whiskey as an ingredient so I made a whiskey vanilla extract in place of one made with a vodka base. I also added pretzels and chocolate chips to the recipe. Good enough to for third place!

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 egg
1 tsp whiskey vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup pretzel sticks, broken into pieces
Cream the butter, sugars and peanut butter until mixed. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix. Then add the flour, baking soda and salt. Once everything is fully combined, add in the chocolate chips and pretzels.
Drop rounded tablespoons onto a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 11 minutes (I have a convection oven so I actually did 340 for 10 minutes)


Friday, December 26, 2014


We had quite a busy December around here. Lots of activities and time with the family.
We started out the month by participating in a parade. I haven't been in a parade since high school and my kids have never had this chance before. Lots of fun for us!
That same night we participated in a fundraising walk for Phoenix Childrens Hospital (a cause near and dear to my heart). We walk along one of the major roads with (fake) candles until we get to the hospital and then hold the lights up so the kids stuck in the hospital at Christmastime can see. A few carols are sung and a short concert is held.
Santa visited J's school this year
And we got a chance to go see some pretty lights. (J kept making faces instead of smiling for the picture.) The boys got to go to a petting zoo and have caramel apples while we were there.
We also went to a carnival at my parents' church. In addition to some bouncies and games, they had a snow hill for sledding. This was my kiddos first time sledding (being Arizona kids). Yes, C is sledding in a tshirt and sandals.

On Christmas Eve we went to church and then came home and put up Luminarias. Our whole neighborhood lines the streets with them - it's an amazing sight to see!

I also finished the boys sweaters as part of of their Christmas gifts

(Pattern is Alec in Cottonish. The one with the tan buttons is a size 5 and the one with the black buttons is size 7 but both have about an extra inch added to the length - I have tall kids)
We had our annual food contest at my mom and dad's house on Christmas Eve. This year we had to make cookies. The twist was they had to include peanut butter and Seagrams whiskey. I only came in third but I was really happy how they turned out. We also had breakfast with the inlaws. I think everybody was really happy with their presents too.
Merry Christmas!


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Busy days

Man the weekend really goes fast when you're busy. I felt like I was constantly on the go. I did a little bit of Christmas shopping yesterday - in fact, aside from stocking stuffers and a book, I'm pretty much done shopping for my kids. I'm knitting sweaters for each of them but I'm not really counting that since I don't have to buy anything more for them.
I also finally got around to hanging a few picture frames. It was fun to go through my photos and decide which to print and where to put them. I made liberal use of sticky notes in my planning (why yes I may be a wee bit compulsive.) They're slightly visible in the background of the last picture.
Plus I did some baking. My family is once again doing our Christmas Eve contest - this year we are doing cookies, but with a twist. We all wrote down an ingredient on a piece of paper and drew out two of them. We ended up with peanut butter and Seagrams (gee thanks to whoever suggested that). So I decided to make a few test batches this weekend to see if I could come up with a recipe that works. I have definitely found my recipe!





Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Another Sweater

While I was working on Serina my boys kept asking if I would make sweaters for them. I had to explain that as fast as they thought I was, I couldn't just whip up a sweater in just a few days (oh how I wish, though). However that got me thinking and led me to the idea of sweaters as Christmas gifts for them. A few days is not doable, a few months however...

I had two main criteria when starting this project. One, the sweater had to be dk or worsted weight. Any lighter weight would take too long (see Serina above). Any heavier and well, it's Arizona. It wouldn't get worn more than 1-2 days a year. Based on the first criteria, I picked Alec. I can do top down or bottom up sweaters but prefer top down. It's knitted in the round for the most part, which is good for me in terms of speed and tension. And as a bonus, it's got the most darling pattern on the front, with buttons too!

Two, the yarn had to be machine washable and good for this weather. The second criteria led me to Cottonish, a fairly inexpensive cotton acrylic blend. When I purchased it, I had the boys with me and subtley asked them about their favorite colors. They both ended up picking Royal Denim, a nice dark blue with purplish undertones.

It took me a couple of weeks and a couple of false starts to get through the pattern on the front but now I'm just cruising along. In the last week I've managed nine inches. I will probably have the body done by this weekend. This has been a super easy to understand pattern.And once I finish this one, the next sweater will be just like it, but two sizes bigger.

For more WIPs, check out Tamis Amis



Monday, October 13, 2014

It's about time!

My Serina cardigan is finally finished! After being on the needles for 25 months, I completed it a few weeks ago - I began swatching August 24, 2012 and cast off Septmeber 14, 2014. Granted I wasn't knitting on it the whole time; it sat in hibernation for a while. In fact it looks like I went five months between swatches on two different sized needle. I didn't even blog about it until I had been working on it for four months and it was sort of just an off handed comment.

With that said, I couldn't be happier with the final result. Much to my surprise and delight I have an item of clothing, made by me, that can go to work or be casual.

This photo was taken after wearing it to work for the first time (I've actually worn it once more since then). I love this picture - the color is not quite true to life but I can't wipe the smile off my face!

This is a little more true to color - the blue is brighter in person but this picture shows the color variation. The amazing detail in the pattern also shows better here.

Okay one last time on the details. The yarn is Bernat Sox multi in Wooded Denim, bought on clearance at Joann's. I used a Size 2 needle for the body and collar and Size 3 for the sleeves. The pattern is Serina. My Ravelry project page is here. I also talked about it on the blog here, here, here, here, and here.

Now onto to the next project!



Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Work in Progress Wednesday - the home stretch

I am still plugging away at my cardigan, however with any luck, this will be the final time the cardigan shows up on the blog as a work in progress! Since the last time I posted, I have finished the sleeves and have begun working on the collar.

This is actually attempt number two on the collar. The first time I was about six or seven rows in when I decided it wasn't turning out right - I hadn't picked up nearly enough stitches. So I redid it, picking up about 100 more stitches than the first time. This time around, I'm much happier with the way it looks and I'm now past the point where I ripped it out before. I have a mere eleven rows to go and then this will finally be 100% done!

For more WIPs, check out Tami's Amis!


Monday, September 8, 2014

Rainy, rainy day

Today was absolutely bonkers in terms of weather here. We got multiple inches of rain in just seven hours. In fact it set the all time record for rain at the airport and closed parts of five different freeways and highways. Totally not expected in the desert! J's preschool actually closed for the day - never thought I'd see a weather related school closure

He definitely took advantage of it though!


Wednesday, August 27, 2014


I'm still working on my cardigan but now I have sleeves (yes plural). I finished the first sleeve earlier this week and am about halfway done with the second one. I'm in the home stretch now with only the collar to go!

For more projects, check out Tami's Amis!


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Work in Progress Wednesday

My cardigan has really come along since I posted about it two weeks ago. I finished the body and have now started on one of the sleeves.

The sweater is supposed to be three quarter length so I'm about halfway done with the first one. I had to switch to size 3 needles for the sleeves. I knit significantly tighter in the round than I do straight. I think my purls are looser than my knits. The sleeves are going really quickly since I much prefer knitting in the round. I'll definitely finish this to wear this winter.

I also managed to finish my washcloth this week but more on that later.

For more works in progress, check out Tami's Amis


Friday, August 8, 2014

Frozen inspired bows

My niece is a big fan of Frozen so for her birthday I thought it would be fun to do a Frozen themed gift. My friend has an etsy shop selling decorated mirrors and had some that were decorated in colors similar to what Anna and Elsa wear in the movie. When I saw that I decided to order one from her and based my whole gift around it.

So what goes great with a mirror? Hair accessories of course! I love making barrettes but with two boys, there is no one to wear them. So this was a good opportunity. I searched the web and Pinterest for ideas and found a couple of great ones: for Elsa and for Anna.

I made a few modifications, however. Hers were a little more intricate than I was looking for - I wanted something a little more everyday wear. So I followed the instructions for the basis of the bow and embellished them on my own for the rest of it. I also used sheer ribbon (except for the black which was more silky) for the whole thing instead of using grosgrain. And I didn't use alligator clips, I used the ones that fasten on one end. I love how they turned out!

This is my Elsa bow:

And my Anna one:

I also found some Frozen themed nail polish at Its Sugar to go with it as well. I couldn't wait to give her the present and I think she loved it! I know she has worn the Elsa bow a few times already.

And the great thing is my other niece has already requested bows for her birthday - coming up, Minion bows...



Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Work in Progress Wednesday

I have been a bad knitter! I am participating in a WIP down (finishing up languishing WIPs) on Ravelry and have been diligently working on my cardigan and also finishing up a few smaller projects that have been sitting around. But...

...I started something new. I've got another pair of vanilla socks on the needles. In my defense I had to travel for work this week (hence the super crappy picture) and a cardigan is just not portable for my carry on. Let's ignore the fact that the washcloth I am working on is just as small.
I am using the August 2013 monthly colorway from Candy Skein - Blue Hawaiian. It may be the most beautiful yarn I've ever worked with. Seriously, crappy hotel pic does NOT do this justice!
And I promise I'll be good and work on the cardigan when I get home!
For more works in progress, visit Tami's Amis!


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Work in Progress Wednesday

For Christmas my plan is to give bottles of homemade vanilla extract wrapped in a knitted washcloth and coordinating towel. I decided to start on the washcloths early so I wouldn't be rushing to finish them. I actually find them slightly tedious at times - I am gung-ho to start them, then it drags in the middle before I get excited to finish them (like my recent duck cloth). Hopefully starting early will allow me to not stress about that.

This is the first one so far. It looks green in the pic but in real life it's more of an electric blue. I'm doing what I think is a basketweave pattern on my size 6 needles with some Sugar and Creme yarn.

I'm really excited about my other WIP, my Serina cardigan. According to Ravelry I started this two years ago but the end is finally in sight.

I'm to the ribbing on the bottom - I have about 20 more rows to go on the body. I still have to pick up and knit the neck and knit the sleeves but I think there is a chance this could make an appearance this winter!

For other WIPs check out Tami's Amis!


Saturday, July 26, 2014

San Diego Vacation

Last week we took a vacation to San Diego. My MIL and FIL and my SIL and her family go every summer; last year we went for a long weekend but this year we wanted to take a little more time there. My BIL and his wife were able to get up there too so for a few days we had the whole family there.

Our first day was a travel day so we didn't get to do much but we did get there in time to see fireworks. My in laws were close enough to Seaworld that we were able to see the nightly fireworks. C used my phone and took a few pictures (okay a lot of pictures).


Day 2 was a trip to Pacific beach with most of the family. The boys and I had a great time, although I did take a tumble and scraped up my knee (still messed up a week later!)

The boys also learned how to fish - sort of. My mother in law tried to teach them but it mostly resulted in squeals over worms and tangled lines, no fish.

Day 3 was our Legoland visit. One of the new features is a behind the scenes feature of the Lego Movie, including the actual set. Plus the boys got to meet Wyld Style.

We also found a cool Mexican food restaurant to eat at in Carlsbad after we left the park.

The next day we took a tour of the USS Midway, then hopped aboard the Coronado Island ferry. Plus that evening we grabbed some froyo!

Our last full day was another day back at the beach with family and friends. After we got cleaned up the boys went to hang with my mother in law while E and I got to go out. E was nice enough to stop in a yarn store with me (the Grove) while I picked up some locally dyed yarn - my souvenir! Then we headed to Gaslamp. It was a bit nutty as Comicon started the next day but we still managed to find a good Italian food place and then a pub afterwards for drinks. Plus we stopped by the Ghiradelli store and got some chocolate.

Unfortunately we had to head back to Phoenix and the 116 degree temps the next day. But I had so much fun while we were there!


Friday, July 25, 2014

Finished Object Friday

Yay I actually finished a project this month!

I started this washcloth way back in February and finally cast off about a week ago. I wasn't actually knitting on it the whole time; most of the time it was sitting off to the side, waiting for me to get around to it. Nothing about the pattern is hard - it's actually a very well written pattern. I just wasn't motivated to work on it. However, once I finished it, I was very glad I did.

The pattern is Quacking Up and I knit it on Size 6 needles with Sugar and Creme yarn. Personally I'm a big fan of this yarn for washcloths. Cotton is kind of hard on my hands but for something as small as a washcloth, it's doable.

I'll actually be working on more washcloths in the coming months as part of my plans for Christmas too


Friday, June 27, 2014

What a Month

And I don't mean that in a good way. I've been MIA and not keeping up with this as much as I wanted to. But frankly June has been a rough month; I'm kind of holding my breath for the next three days.

The month didn't start too bad - J got his cast off and E and I celebrated our 13th anniversary. But they went downhill from there. I got a staph infection and ended up in urgent care to have it drained. A month later and I'm still being treated, although the end is in sight. Five days after the urgent care visit we had to say goodbye to our dog. Jack had a good long life - he would have been 14 this week - but I still miss him. He was such a good dog! I never thought we would survive those puppy years, but he grew up and became one of my most beloved dogs ever.

A week or so after that a stomach bug hit our house, taking us each down one at a time. At first I thought I was lucky, because C had it on Saturday and I was fine. But then Thursday afternoon I got knocked down for the count. This week has been fairly tame (knock on wood), just insanely busy.

Hopefully July is a little friendlier than June.


Sunday, May 18, 2014

Looking Back, Looking Forward - 5KCBWDAY7

Last year I was not so good at keeping up with Knit and Crochet blog week on Eskimimi Makes so I don't have a Looking Forward post from that time to reference. I do however try to assess my knitting goals at the beginning of each year so I will use that as my starting point.

In this past year I didn't really add much in the way of new skills - the only new thing i tried was making clothes. I finished a cardigan but I wasn't super happy. My gauge was off (I even did a swatch!) so it ended up too big. I tried another item of clothing again, a shirt for my niece, which was a little more successful but I still think I have work to do in this area.

However looking back through my old projects I found that I actually improved my knitting in a few areas I had already learned. For one thing I became a bit of a sock knitting machine. Last year at this time I was on my second pair of socks. Since then I have completed those (bottom left), plus made some for my kids (middle and bottom right), a pair for hubby (top left) and another for me (top right).
I also got much better at stranded knitting - making hats for (clockwise from top left) my son, aunt and niece.

Looking forward to the coming year there are a few things I would really like to learn. I'd like to learn entrelac. I've downloaded a Craftsy class on the subject but haven't taken it yet. The other thing is Intarsia. My plan is to conquer that after the entrelac. Unless I need to sooner (there is a really cute Elsa and Anna doll set that involves intarsia that would be super adorable for my niece). I would also like to start crocheting. I know the fundamentals but my brain goes squirrelly when I see a pattern and I'd like to change that.

Search for 5kcbwday7 to see what other knitters and crocheters have to look back on and forward to.


Friday, May 16, 2014

Something a little bit different - 5kcbwday5

The challenge day 5 of Knit and Crochet Blog Week with Eskimimi Makes is to do something a little different. This is absolutely the hardest one for me - to shake things up in my blog. Last year I managed to come up with an infographic. This year I thought I'd do a Top 5 list.

So here are my five favorite knitterly things:

  • My Hiya Hiya needles, especially my interchangeables. Best money I've ever spent on needles. I'm allergic to nickel but prefer metal needles so my options are sort of limited. These fit my needs perfectly!
  • Sock yarn! (I may or may not have a problem with buying too much)
  • Being able to make things for people. This blog is well populated with things I have knitted for people over the last four years.
  • My knitting needle holder. I'm super proud of this since I sewed it myself. I was looking for a project to work on my sewing skills and this was great because it was all straight lines. Plus it's useful too!
  • The fact that knitting relaxes me. Picking up my yarn and needles is the fastest way to get rid of stress.
So that's the top five, on day 5. For other creative posts search 5kcbwday5.