Sunday, November 28, 2010

A good afternoon

Well! Forty-six of you voted "no-belt" for my last "Boots Project" outfit, so no-belt it is!  I moved the shirring down a few inches, and I'm really enjoying the fit now.  Plus, it's a heck of a lot more comfortable with just the gentle shaping in the back than a tight restriction around my middle.  Sorry, no pictures, because I'm already in my lounge pants for the night, and I don't intend to get back into any sort of Outfit.  Speaking of which, here's my Boots Project outfit that I was wearing earlier today:


Greg decided to make handkerchief parachutes today with the boys, and they went out to the playground to launch their stuffed animals off of things.


The two little ones are down for their afternoon nap, and I've got some good mindless knitting in my hands.  It's a good day.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

What In The World Has Greg Been Up To?

It's been a while since I've posted about my adventures here on our family blog so here's a summary of what I've been up to for the past five months or so.

In July I saw the band Edward Sharpe And The Magnetic Zeros play a sold out show at La Zona Rosa in Austin.

Witnessed the Texas Roller Derby championships where the Cherry Bombs beat the Hellcats for the first time and the crown went wild...

Competed in the Terra Firma Promo adventure race at Rock Hill Ranch in Smithville, TX and placed 7th in my age category.

Went camping with two of my favorite little people and some great friends.

Saw the wonderfully eclectic David Eugene Edwards play in his band Wovenhand at Mohawk, Austin.

Saw Del Castillo for the third time. Awesome as ever!

Saw Sufjan Stevens play a sold out show on my birthday (sorry, it was a photo-restricted show). My first time seeing him since he played with the Danielson Famile. It was a show I'll never forget.

And...just this past weekend I took Andrew and Elijah on their first mountain bike trail ride at Muleshoe Bend, TX.

Life is good here in Tejas!

Friday, November 26, 2010


Now that I've cooked  few Thanksgiving dinner's myself, I've learned a few important things.  For me, the very most important step in a complicated multi-dish dinner, is the backwards-planning-list.  I write out all of the dishes to be made, and then determine the order that they need to be made through the day, so that there are no surprises when dinner time draws near.  ("Oh no!  I still need to get ___ in the oven, but ___ is still in there for another 45 minutes and needs to be baked at a completely different temperature!  Agghh!!"  etc.)

On Wednesday night I created that all important list, and also set up a crock pot with Irish oats (also known as steel-cut oats) so that the children would have something wholesome to start their day with (might not sound all that exciting, but they LOVE it).

I have made it a family tradition for Thanksgiving and Christmas to have something very special for a late breakfast/brunch, and we all eat it together.  While the children ate their 1st breakfast, I took the pan of Brandy Vanilla Bread Pudding out of the refrigerator that had been soaking overnight, and got it in the oven.  I also started a pan of sauteed caramel apple slices going on the stove.


While waiting for all of that to finish up, I put together the dough for a loaf of my Honey Whole Wheat bread, as well as a batch of Parker House Rolls. Since the oven was already on, I put some sweet potatoes in the oven to get that started, and made a pie crust so that it would have time to chill.
 Once the bread pudding and apples were done, we all sat down together -- by then, the children were ready to eat again -- and had a leisurely break in the action.


I love eating breakfast with Greg. It only happens about twice a year (Thanksgiving and Christmas), so I don't take for granted that little bit of extra time spent together at the beginning of a day.

We gave Andrew the camera and set him loose in the kitchen; he is responsible for most of the following shots.


It was much more fun to work together on dinner throughout the day (and doing dishes as they happen), rather than trying to do it all myself, as I have some other years.  Pre-planning pays off!



Making Cranberry Jalapeno Salsa.


My favorite part of this picture is Lavella's arms punching as she races by.  It will be a sad day when she no longer punches when she runs.




"Twofer Pie" (pumpkin-pecan).


Clockwise from mid-left: canned cranberry sauce (I can't help it -- I just love it), Roast-Garlic Smashed Potatoes (Greg riffed off of this recipe), Broiled Quail with rosemary from the neighbor's hedge, Parker House Rolls (brushed with butter and sprinkled with Fleur de Sel), Aunt Nancy's Sausage Apple Stuffing, Cranberry Jalapeno Salsa (this was Greg's plate, and he didn't have any of the Twice Baked Chipotle Sweet Potatoes, but they were OHSOGOOD.)  We had a Cesar Salad as well -- I followed this recipe with just a few changes -- I'll post it soon.


We had a new idea for our dinner this year.  I consistently make rolls for Thanksgiving, so at the start of our meal, as each person took their roll, that person would say what they were thankful for.  The children were excited about doing it, and it was a special family moment.  A new idea + something our family already does = a tradition is born.


I hope this Thanksgiving -- whether spent with family, friends, or in solitude -- that you were able to take a moment to reflect on the things, great and small, that you have to be thankful for in your life.


Happy Thanksgiving!

As usual, we have way more pictures than belong in a blog post, so click through to the Flickr set here.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A pompom hat, and another way to wear The Boots

I was looking for the perfect hat pattern for my 2-year-old nephew.  It's already cold in upstate NY, so even though this is actually his Christmas gift, I've decided that it would be nicer to give him his wooly warmers early.  Because no nephew of mine is going to be walking about with a cold head -- or worse still -- with a STOREBOUGHT HAT.  (Hannah, if you choose to put a storebought hat on him, I'll try not to hold it against you.  But it won't be easy.)  :-)  Knowing how surly 2-year-olds can be, I decided that both earflaps (to block out the cold wind), and ties (to keep surly toddler from yanking hat off), were both in order.  'Cause ear infections brought on by cold winds are no joke, and toddlers seem to possess no reason.  But we love them anyway!  MAN, it's a good thing that tiny people are so cute.

Isaiah's head is rather larger than Jonah's (as is the rest of him), so I knit this to be just a little large on Lavella, so he'll have something to grow into.


She was kind of unhappy about modeling a "boy's" hat, but by the time I was done taking pictures, she didn't want to take it off.  Success!  Hopefully Isaiah feels the same way.  I can always hope.




The pattern is the frighteningly named "Cabled and Fringed Hat" (thus the nearly complete lack of interest on Ravelry), but once the fringe has been taken away, and a giant pom-pom put in it's place, I'm pretty crazy about it!

The pattern was well written, although I found a tiny bit of errata.  Check my project notes.  Stitch counts are included on any rows where the count changes, so using common sense will get you far.

Day 4 of boots inspired wear, and my favorite outfit yet:


The shirt-dress and jean-print leggings are from Old Navy. (OK, I know what that kind of leggings are called, but I REFUSE to use the word.  It feels vile in my mouth.)  (Woah, sometimes I come on a bit strong, even for me!)  (Haha.)

I shortened the dress to a tunic length (my legs are so short, so this sort of drowned me), and put a little bit of elastic shirring into the back.


Hmm, maybe the shirring should be moved a bit lower.


I'm not sure if I like it better with belt or without.  What do you think?  (If you're reading this from a blog feed aggregator, click through for a silly pole to vote your answer!)


Monday, November 22, 2010

A roller coaster sort of day

Today, there has been much fussing and whining, a lot of hair-pulling and slap-fights, and it seems that my little ones have literally snacked their way through their waking hours.   Every time that I start to accomplish something....THEY'RE HUNGRY AGAIN.  And again.


However, today has also included peaceful moments of newmade playdough (top recipe -- cook slowly on med/low heat for until it comes together for a smooth dough), books, coloring, bike rides with neighbors, and a refreshing morningtime playdate with good friends.


Without the bitter, how could I truly appreciate the sweet?


This afternoon, I finished an adorable, "manly" little earflap ski-hat with a giant pompom on top for my nephew.  I'll get Jonah to model it tomorrow; he's just been tucked into bed for the night.

Tonight, I made Smitten Kitchen's Mushroom Lasagna for dinner, and oh my, it was good.  This is the second time I've made it this month, and it certainly won't be the last.  I highly recommend it!  Sadly though, all 4 of my children are convinced that mushrooms are among the greatest evils. I figure that if I just keep putting it on their plates from time to time, they'll just adapt.  I'll let you know how that works out for me.  (Not even a glimmer of hope at the moment.)

Day 3 of the Boots Project.


Handmade dress (Mendocino pattern), and handknit Black Friday sweater.  Yes, I realize that the boots and black sweater don't really work together in this outfit, but...YAY I'M WEARING IT ANYWAY!  I seriously need some black boots.  Or I need to knit a cream colored sweater.  Probably both.