Friday, April 29, 2011

:: This Moment ::

{this moment}

A Friday ritual.
A single photo  – capturing a moment from the week.   
A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you’re inspired to do the same,
leave a link to your ‘moment’ over at SouleMama for all to find and see.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Shalom Knit-Along

Ok, I said I wouldn't be back this week - but here I am.

I decided to join a knit-along yesterday, which is something I have never done before with Linda at Natural Suburbia.   In the past I have always heard about patterns and knit-alongs LONG after the "moment" had passed - but this one I happened to catch right at the beginning.

I will be knitting the Shalom cardigan, which you can find on Meghan's blog for free, and I will be knitting it along with a group of knitters from all over the world.  I queued this simple and lovely pattern in my "to be knit" line up a long time ago and then never started it, so I'm looking forward to knitting it now.   We will each blog about our Shalom's on Wednesdays, and check in on each other for advice, modifications... and just to see each other's progress.

I will be making mine in a softer than butter organic cotton from BlueSky Alpacas, in the color "spearmint".  It's a lovely variegated light blue/green, that I can tell already is going to be darn near impossible to capture in a photograph.

I started last night after the kids were asleep and before I knew it I was on the second repeat of the yoke, so I think this is going to be a quick knit-along!

I thought I would also share a little about the books we've been reading this week too, as part of Ginny's Yarn Along, since that's what I normally do on Wednesday's.    We just got Sarah O'Leary's book "Where You Came From" and we all love it.  It is such a cute story - we love to look at the pictures of Henry and giggle.

And I just got the book "Above All Be Kind: Raising a Humane Child in Challenging Times" by Zoe Weil.   I've seen this one on some suggested reading lists and wanted to read it myself.  I ALSO finally started Oh Pioneers, and now I cannot put it down!  I was enrapted in the tale from the first pages.

So that's all for today - and now you probably won't see me back here until Monday.  But I could turn up tomorrow - I never know what I'll do.  I am a mystery unto myself.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Taking a Spring Break

We are taking a bit of a Spring Break together this week.  I'll be back maybe on Friday, but definitely will be here on Monday.  Until then, I'll be enjoying a week at home with the kiddos, doing kiddo stuff.   Modeling clay - mud walks - muffin baking - tents with sheets, etc...  no time for blogging :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A little sewing... Dish drying mat

Well, I don't have terribly much to show or tell today.  Over the weekend, I had about 15 minutes to tuck away into my room and shut the door and do a little bit of sewing at my machine.    So: this is what I came back out with -

a new dish drying towel to leave beside my sink for "overflow" when washing... cups and big pots and pans...etc.  As you can see - I couldn't be bothered to iron my fabric first... I just started pulling out fabrics and cutting.  Sewn together inside out, flipped right side out, and then I went a bit crazy with the red thread on top...  Oh well.  Amazingly, with very little to NO accurate measuring what-so-ever, it turned out  about 14 x 20 and close enough to a rectangle that I'm not embarassed to have it out there on the counter.

The back is recycled from an XXXL terry cloth robe I was given at the hospital (after delivering G) and never wore.  Before, I had always just thrown an old dish towel beside the sink when I do dishes, but this is much lovelier.  :)  I got the idea a while ago from this post, and then again from seeing my sister's during my visit.    Eventually I said to myself  - "you should probably just make one of these instead of using a dingy old dish cloth"

so i did.
now - i'm going to make another.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A new dinner recipe: Salmon in Parchment

I have always wanted to try to bake fish in parchment, and finally did last week for Wednesday's dinner.   I wish I had tried this sooner, because I loved it!  And it was so easy and quick -

You basically cut up some veggies, (I've seen this basic recipe done with radishes, asparagus (that's what we used this time), with sliced zucchinis, squash, green beans... ) and lay them on the parchment paper.  Then you lay on your fish (we made salmon) and you season it with salt and pepper, and drizzle on a simple dressing (this one used lemon rind and juice, onion, vinegar), wrap them up in their little parchment pouches, and bake in the oven for 11 minutes.

Whalah!  Dinner!  And no clean up  - Super Whalah!!

That's all I've got today for you - but really - go out and buy some Wild Sockeye tonight and have yourself a nice dinner :)

Here's the recipe we used:

Monday, April 18, 2011

Gratitude Monday

It helps to count your blessings on a Monday morning -  some Monday's in particular sort of require it (like LAST Monday), but then there are some beautifully sunny Monday's where it's sort of easy..

1.   I'm thankful for a restful, restorative weekend at home.  We were all healthy, all outside enjoying the days.  We got dirty, we got sandy, we got sweaty... we cut down trees and stacked wood (well - Mike did), we made a bon fire and burnt the scraps.  We checked the compost, we took long bike rides...  It was good to be OUT.
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2.  I'm thankful for the first sunny Wash Monday ... on which I hung out the first whites on the line.   Missed my washline this winter, and I'm remembering today how much I love the smell of our lavender wash soap :)   Love spinning the pulley and hanging each piece up while I listen to my lovely windchimes and the nearby birds.

3.   I'm thankful for 2 growing boys - one grew an inch and a half in less than a year (!?).   G was SO proud of himself - wizzing by me on his bike without ANY help this year.   He was going so fast sometimes around corners he was up, completely off of one trike wheel.  He was a happy kid this weekend.

4.   I'm thankful for a young man who will come to me while his brother is napping and ask if it's craft time?  Yesterday he wanted to do embroideroy (rhymes with corderoy), so we got out our wooden frames and thread and sat in the sunny dining room together quietly sewing up and down and chatting about school, and friends, and robots (always robots!).

5.  I'm thankful to see the clearing grow between our house and the water... thanks to Mike's tireless efforts this weekend and last.   I now have a pretty lovely view from my craft room upstairs of our neighboring pond, and the geese, and the occasional beaver.  

6.  I'm thankful for a welcome invitation to go away for a bit next weekend, and have dinner with friends!!!  And coincidentally thankful that my teacher gave us an unexpected week off next weekend for the holiday, even though we were scheduled to have class! 

7.  Lastly, I'm thankful for the big basketload of sock yarn I'm expecting to arrive any day now from Happy Knits.... LOVE Happy Knits.  If you find you need more yarn (and who doesn't) go shop - they're wonderful!!  And so is their yarn selection - Delicious!

Happy Monday to you :)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Breakfast Time: Puffy Oven Apple Pancakes

Good morning!  I don't usually show up here on Saturdays, but I wanted to share with you a favorite breakfast treat.

A few weekends ago, I had a lovely morning with my sister baking puffy oven pancakes and drinking coffee, and  chatting in her sunny kitchen.  It was such a great morning!  I wish I could sit in her kitchen every weekend and have coffee and talk.  :(    Mom would take us out for breakfast at least once a week when we were young: the three of us would wake up early and hurry out the door to get to the breakfast place before we headed off to school and mom headed off to work.   Of all the things I miss, having moved so far from my family, the simple morning breakfasts together are what I miss most of all...

But every now and then, I get to enjoy a morning with them again!

This particular morning, Cori and I decided to make Puffy Oven Pancakes.  Some people call these Dutch Babies.  We both use the recipe from Betty Crocker's New Cookbook.  If you don't have that cookbook, the recipe is on-line here.

These are the perfect breakfast, easy to whip together, and made with ingredients that are in everyone's kitchen all the time.  The only drawback is that you have to wait 25 minutes or so for them to cook, and that tries my patience a bit.  

We discovered that she typically makes hers in a cast iron skillet, beginning on the stove top and then transferring to the oven.  I usually bake mine in my glass pie dish, with no stove top part involved.  We decided to try both pans side by side to see which we like best.  Of course cast iron won, --- cast iron always wins, so from now on I'll be trading my glass dish for my cast iron one.  However, we decided to skip the stove top part and go right to the oven.

We made ours by:

1. melting butter in our pans in the oven while it preheated.

2. layering thinly sliced apples, and then sprinkling with 1/4 c. brown sugar and cinnamon,

3. pouring the pancake mix on top of the apple/sugar layer

4.  and baking in the oven for 25 - 30 minutes while it got all puffed up and golden brown and delicious !

When they're done, you flip them over onto a plate so the caramel-y sugar-y, apple-y side is on top and slice them up.  Top with powdered sugar, pour some coffee and sit down to enjoy.

The recipe says "serves six", so be sure to make 2 if you'll be eating with your sister.   Six servings is just about right for me.  You may find you can eat more or less than that.

Happy Weekend!!

Friday, April 15, 2011

:: This Moment ::

{this moment}

A Friday ritual.
A single photo  – capturing a moment from the week.   
A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

my favorite breakfast: dutch babies and coffee : visit tomorrow and we'll make one together!

If you’re inspired to do the same,
leave a link to your ‘moment’ over at SouleMama for all to find and see.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Yarn Along: My Many Colored Vests

Joining Ginny's Yarn Along again today... although I may be ready to admit publicly that I've crossed over into that kind of knitter the Yarn Harlot speaks of who likes the idea of reading books, but actually never does it anymore.  After seeing this one on a lot of other reading lists lately, I checked Oh Pioneer's out of the library this weekend, but I haven't cracked it open yet.  Instead, the only kind of reading I've been fully immersed in so far this week is intensely pouring over lace patterns and lace stitch ideas for a new project idea I have.  Ah well... I'll try to start it this week.  I'm sure it's a good read :)

And the boys checked out My Many Colored Days... which is also a favorite of mine, given the many many moods these younguns (and I) can move through in any given week (or day). 

To go along with our many colored days and moods, I have been busy knitting up some many colored vests for these young gentlemen of mine.  George wanted to wear his right away (he loves a good vest!) and went outside to help his dad with the yardwork.  His job was picking up all of the many pinecones laying about in the yard.

When J saw G's vest, he wanted one too... so I've begun a larger version in a variegated green.  I hadn't intended on making him one too, but it's a good thing to try out my pattern on a larger size... helps me work out the pattern more clearly each time I re-knit it.

That's all for us this week, it's been too nice outside to read, I guess. Today's a nice rainy day, so maybe I'll finally start my book this evening.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

In the Kitchen

Well - yesterday was a bust.   The first bright, shiny properly Spring day, and yet - I wasn't in the mood to face it with the same bright, shiny optimism.  I was pretty crabby all day, and then finally I just gave up all together and crawled into bed at 8:30. 

The end. 

Goodbye Monday. 

And now it's Tuesday, and I am feeling ever so much better about that.  I have no idea why.  What was my beef with Monday exactly?  I can't say for sure, except to say that I just wasn't able to adjust my dark mood to fit the beautiful day, and that made me feel even worse.  So I rode the trip to the bottom and now I'm beginning fresh with today.  :)

And to help this day along, I've donned my best dress and I brushed and put up my hair in the prettiest way I know how (which believe me, isn't saying much) - I even started this morning with a pair of pretty heels but they didn't make it out the door... I've got my flats on instead.   I'm a creature of comfort. 

Now - on to the "kitchen" post I have planned for today -

This weekend marked the second in a new series in my home called "CLEANING OUT ALL OF THE EXTRA JUNK"

This is no ordinary Spring Cleaning, this is a full-on confrontation with EXTRA STUFF.  I started in the kid's toy shelves and closets last week and took a couple of full loads to the Goodwill, and this week it was on to the kitchen.  Be warned - LAUNDRY ROOM, and BASEMENT, because I'm coming for YOU next!!!

It suddenly dawned on me that my sink was ALWAYS full of dishes, the counter tops were NOT VISIBLE ever, and the cupboards had WAY TOO MANY THINGS in them.

For instance, WHY did we have a place setting for 12, plus another place setting for 8 in our dish cupboard for a family of 4?   I have ALWAYS had this many dishes, for NO reason that I can identify, except that I bought a set when we were married, and it came with 8 settings, 8 bowls, 8 plates, 8 smaller plates... and then another set was given to us: 12 bowls, 12 plates, 12 smaller plates... and I just kept them there.  And we USED them until there were no more clean ones to grab, and by then the dishwasher was full - so I would run a load, and put ALL of them back. 

Also - we had an untold number of drinking glasses, tall and small, wide, and narrow, I could have served juice to a party of 40 - 50 people at a time.  Also - probably 10 coffee mugs.  Now - we've never had a gathering of 10 people for coffee in the morning.  Maybe things are different in your house, but we don't even have that many friends.  So the situation was beyond ridiculous.  Plus I discovered a couple of sets of Christmas mugs in the back of the cupboard for those special Christmas coffee times, that I had NEVER opened. 


So, everything but a place setting of 4, some extra ice cream bowls, my favorite mug, Mike's favorite mug, and 4 - 6 glasses went AWAY.  And now -

the cupboard looks like this

and I feel so much better when I open it.  (we could still get rid of more I think) -

and I'm doing dishes as we use them, and drying them and putting them away - so the counters are CLEAR, and the SINK is clear, and the DRYING RACK is clear, and my MIND is... well - better.  Not clear.  But clear-ER.

The rest of the cupboards got the same treatment, the same clearing away...

I think if you had seen the "before" you would be able to appreciate this the way I am appreciating it, but I have some small amount of self-respect so I didn't take any "before" pictures :)

No - I obviously didn't do the pantry - but that's next...

After a third trip to Goodwill in the same number of weeks, it was back into the kitchen for some cooking.

I tried to use what needed to be used in the fridge - so what I came up with was this:

A nice big pot of my FAVORITE soup:  SouleMama's Carrot Tomato with Basil and Cream.

Oh so good. 

And I made a Quiche, which is sort of standard fair around here.  This time it had mushrooms, left-over broccoli, half a ham steak, cheddar, leeks and shallots.  Very tasty.  That's my lunch for the remainder of the week.

 And finally some snails, as my great Grandmother called them, made from the leftover pie crust dough: which is just rolled thin, spread with melted butter, sprinkled with sugar, cinnamon, and walnuts, and baked for 10 - 15 minutes alongside the quiche.

***  A yummy weekend.  ***

There were also a couple of strange characters in the kitchen from time to time.

Mike the Lumberjack, came by, after clearing out a space in the woods for our chicken coop.
and Super G showed up for a bit, looking for a snack.

Happy Tuesday to you.  Sorry - this was a long post!!  That makes up for yesterday I guess.

Friday, April 8, 2011

:: this moment ::

{this moment}

A Friday ritual.
A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week.   
A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you’re inspired to do the same,
leave a link to your ‘moment’ over at SouleMama for all to find and see.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Showering the bride

The event: THE Shower

The place: my mother's

The day: last Saturday

The theme: Sugar  
(see below)


Yessir, we like our sugar and baked goods in Pennsylvania Dutch Country! 

 the bride arrives!

we gave her a minute to read over the questions she'll have to answer in front of everyone...

 and then D fired questions at her in her version of the Newlywed Game.  She's trying to remember simple things like: what kind of music she likes, and what movie she saw last.
So far - she's not doing so good.  (she was nervous)

lovely ladies :)

more lovely ladies :)

and the lovely Aunts.
(aren't their tops so perfectly Spring colored?)

opening gifts

 ze "poofs" 

see this link if you want to make some too - 

 and lastly, my fellow bridesmaids getting silly with ribbon and bows.


  Boy was it fun to get away for a weekend!
(oh!  the un-interrupted sleeping I did!!  a little luxury!)

And, you know, I LOVE my guy.  But here's a little chuckle for you.

He told me on the car ride home that he had cleaned the whole house.

I got excited.

and then

I opened the front door and walked into the dining room.


but in his defense - it looked like this when I left too

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