Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Alphabet Meme

Bonnie tagged me with this Alphabet Meme, so here goes:

The Alphabet Meme:

A - Available or Taken: Taken

B - Best Friend: Steve! (I am lucky to be married to my best friend!)

C -Cake or Pie: Cake from Retha and Sandy's Sweet Shop in Coon Rapids Minnesota! I can't wait for Kirstin's graduation open house when I get to have it again!!

D - Drink of Choice: Diet Pepsi with lemon

E - Essential item you use everyday: Computer

F - Favorite Color: Red

G - Gummy Bears or Worms: I don't really care for either. Give me a Sour Patch Kid!!

H - Hometown: Cedar Falls, Iowa now; grew up in Minneapolis Minnesota

I - Indulgence: Venti Sugar Free Vanilla Nonfat Caramel Macchiato from Starbucks.

J - January or February: January – because it's my half birthday month

K - Kids & ages: 3 Kids: Ryan 21; Aaron 19; Kirstin 17

L - Life is incomplete without: Jesus :-)

M - Marriage Date or Most Memorable Date ( and why): Wedding Date 5/27/83

N - Number of Siblings: 4 brothers

O - Oranges or Apples: Honey Crisp Apple (wrapped in caramel is good.....)

P - Phobias or Fears: Sharks. Flying in Airplanes. Crashing in shark infested waters in an airplane. Surving the crash only to get eaten by a shark.

Q - Fave Quote: Wesley: I told you I would always come for you. Why didn't you wait for me? Buttercup: Well, you were dead. Wesley: But death cannot stop true love...All it can do is delay it for a while.”
(Or anything from The Princess Bride)

R - Reason to Smile: My cell phone! (Thanks to my fun phone cover from Aaron!!)

S - Season: Spring

T - Tag 3 or 4 People: Shelley, Hakucho, Kristin, Robin *

U - Unknown fact about me: I can wiggle my ears quite well!

V - Vegetable you don't like: Peas. Ick.

W - Worst Habit: Diet Pepsi

X - X-rays: Lots.

Y - Your Fave Food: Pad Thai noodles at Big Bowl.

Z - Zodiac Sign: Leo

* I think that all of you should consider yourself tagged and play along!!

Until next time.....

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Changed My Mind....

I've changed my mind. No, not about sock knitting; I've changed my mind about what button to use for my last purse! I bought an amazing sterling silver heart clasp when I was in St. Louis and decided to try it on my Sophie bag. It's perfect.

As far as sock knitting goes, I am still determined to give it my best shot. I nervously wound my skein of Speed Demon Yarn into two balls yesterday; unpacked my new circular needles; studied my Socks Soar On 2 Circular Needles book and then... CAST ON!! And so far it is going pretty well.

Here it is shortly after starting...

And here is where I am now... It is really starting to take shape!! I have a few more rows to knit before I start 'turning the heel' and then 'picking up the Gusset Stitches' (whatever that is.....) One step at a time, I keep telling myself. I may need to throw out a life line... but for now I seem to be doing ok!!

One thing I LOVE about knitting is that it is a great form of stress relief. It is very calming to curl up in my comfy chair; pick up my knitting and just take a few moments out of a sometimes chaotic day. Ice Age 1 and 2 are also a great form of stress relief. When Steve and I need a little break and to have a good laugh, we turn to Sid the Sloth (and his side kicks Manny and Diego). We watched the Meltdown Friday night and the original Saturday night. Gotta love Sid!! (And of course Scrat!!)

Kirstin has another Blood Drive that she is organizing for this coming Saturday. Aaron is coming home from Iowa State (yippee!) to support her and to watch the Super Bowl with his favorite mom! (Right, Aaron???) He's bringing his roommate Kevin, and says he has already 'warned him' about us. Hmmmm, what does that mean??? Anyways, with all that is going on, I will be mixing up a double batch of Monster Cookies. I realized that I have mentioned them several times, but never shared the recipe. Here it is. I've been making these for years and years. They are a staple at our house and a real crowd pleaser.

Monster Cookies

2 cups sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 pound (2 1/4 cups) brown sugar
1 1/2 pounds Skippy* creamy peanut butter
6 eggs
1/2 tablespoon vanilla
4 teaspoons baking soda
10 cups regular oatmeal
1 pound M&M’s candies
12 ounces chocolate chips

1. Combine first 7 ingredients.
2. Mix very well.
3. Add M&M’s and chocolate chips.
4. Add oatmeal 1 cup at a time.
5. Store in refrigerator for several hours.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes, depending on size of the cookie.
7. Dough freezes well and keeps well in refrigerator.

Note: I found Skippy to be the peanut butter of choice. Others seem to have too much oil.

Sumo looked so sad today laying by the door looking out. It's just way too cold outside.
(15 degrees below 0 with the windchill!!)

I gave him a really good tummy rub and I think that helped.

Until next time......

Thursday, January 25, 2007


Yes, that's right. Today is my 1/2 birthday. Now I know that most people don't celebrate half birthdays. I do. I do because my very good friend Caroline wishes me a 'Happy Half-Birthday' each year. Some years it's with a card. Sometimes a phone call. There have even been half-birthday lunches!!! Today, there was a message on my answering machine of Caroline and her sweet daughter singing 'Happy Half-Birthday To You'. My husband heard it and offered to take me to a movie to 'celebrate'. I accepted. A movie with popcorn and pop. It has been a good half-birthday. (If you must know...this all goes back to my childhood and the trauma of having a summer birthday and not being able to bring Tootsie Roll Pops to my classroom as a treat. But I guess that's a whole nother post!) Anyways, thank you Caroline for always making me feel special!!

On to knitting. I finished another purse and just have to add the button. It's a modified Sophie bag knit with 2 strands of Paton's SWS wool in Natural Navy. It came out HUGE and I LOVE IT!!!

Here it is before felting:

And after SEVERAL trips through the washing machine!!

The button is just resting on there right now, but I think it's made for it. I can't wait to carry this purse... hopefully in the next day or two (if it ever dries!!!)

I have one more purse on my needles. It is a RunAmok KnotSoHobo bag. It will be my last purse for awhile. No, not because of Tax Season being here. Not because I am tired of knitting purses after a mere 30+ bags in 7 months. (I'm NOT tired of it, by the way!) But because I have committed myself to the earnest pursuit of sock-knitting. I have learned from a VERY reliable source that sock knitters are very fun, somewhat crazy bunch of people. And, well, I just want to be one of them!!

And, well, I also have to start knitting some of the yummy yarn that I have been buying from my friend Sheri at the Loopy Ewe. Another box came today! (Yes, just in time for my half-birthday!!) Here are most of the fun contents that were in the box. I say most, because if you look close there is a small EMPTY bag in the very front. This use to hold M&M's. They are gone. No questions please. They are just gone. Back to the yarn. The top yarn is Schaefer Lola yarn: Royal Heritage. The lower yarn is Posh yarn: Passionate. Both feel very yummy on my toes...and that is before being made into socks. The other items are some of the fun 'extras' that Sheri adds to your package. (That are obviously not chocolate or they'd be empty bags as well....)

My last photo to share is one of Ryan and Mallory. They called the other night to see if I had made dinner yet. I pretended to have a plan. (In reality I was sitting and knitting and watching Gilmore Girls with Kirstin debating if I wanted a bowl of cereal or not....). They offered to come make dinner for us!! I was inclined to acquiesce to their request. What a treat. Look at this yummy HOMEMADE lasagna they cooked up. It tasted like a little bit of Heaven.

It has been a wonderful 45 1/2 years..... Looking forward to many many more.

Until next time.....

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Guac This Way.....

As promised, here is the 'secret' recipe for the guacamole that Ryan and his friends have been working on for some time. At first Ryan was not going to let me share his recipe...but I made a bargain with him: Share your recipe and I will continue paying for your college education. He acquiesced to my request.


7 Avocados
2 10 oz cans Rotel Mexican Festival Diced tomatoes (with Lime juice and Cilantro)
1/4 cup jalapenos, finely chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp granulated garlic
1 tsp chili powder
5 TBSP lime juice
1/2 onion, finely chopped

Mix all together. Scoop up a large portion with a tostito chip and share it with a friend!

Kirstin and I had some felting fun this weekend and got several things finished. The first is her Ball Band bag. She is so excited for this to be ready to use. (I just need to add a snap!)

Also finished a 'Kirstin Bag' using some of the Lopi Yarn I bought when in St. Louis for the weekend. It has a very hairy look to it when felted, but it is growing on me. (I mean I'm starting to like it, not that the hair is actually growing on me....)

And, lastly, my bowl and business card holder for my office desk at work. I can't wait to fill the bowl with mini chocolate candy bars!!

It started snowing last night pretty good and I think we have gotten another 6 inches to go on top of our other 6 inches. Definitely Winter now!!! Kirstin, Ryan and Mallory took off on the 4-wheeler to go to a near-by hill to do some sledding. My back is acting up or I would have loved to have gone with them. I have always loved to sled!

Of course, Nikko and Sumo wanted to follow them and join in the fun. It's just too much on their arthritic joints! We literally have to hold them back!!

Poor Sumo!! He just wants to have fun with the kids!!

Maybe he can come in and keep me company while I knit and watch my second football game of the day. (Did I ever tell you I LOVE football??)

Until next time.....

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Pizza Bread

Today I decided to make a couple of loafs of pizza bread. This is a favorite food around our house... especially with the kids and their friends. I hope you enjoy!!

Pizza Bread

1 cup scalded milk
4 Tbsp. butter or margarine
l egg
3 1/2 cups flour
4 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 1/2 cloves garlic
1 pkg. yeast

1. Add ingredients in order given into your bread maker.

2. Use your dough and first rise cycles.

3. Remove dough. Cut in half.

4. Roll each half into a rectangle
approximately 8 inches wide by 16 inches long.

5. Sprinkle shredded mozzarella/pizza cheese on top of dough.Layer pepperoni over cheese. Sprinkle another layer of cheese over pepperoni.

6. Roll the dough up and pinch well at seam and both ends.

4. Let rise 1 hour.

5. Bake at 375 for 20 - 25 minutes.

6. Dip in marinara sauce.

As it turns out, Ryan called to say that there was a group coming over tonight to make a big batch of homemade guacamole (they are 'perfecting' their recipe!) I was glad to have the pizza bread on hand for them as well. Here you see them with their fresh batch of guac! I will share their recipe in a future post!!

Working on another 'Kirstin' Bag to sell at our Luba table the first Sunday in February. This one is made with some Lopi wool I picked up in St. Louis. I hope to have it ready to felt when I go to Galena Friday.

I also came home with yummy yarn from our trip to St. Louis this past weekend and the Loopy Ewe. I am planning on making some yummy mittens with this yarn... Sweetgeorgia Speed demon sock yarn in Kissed; and Lorna's Lace Sheperd Sport yarn in Jeans. I also had to pick up Sheri's latest size of her Loopy Ewe clear totes. I'm so proud to carry them and be able to call her my friend. Not just my friend... My VERY GOOD friend :-)!!

Still haven't felted the ballband bag or bowl. Going to drive to Galena Friday and do it there. I'll have a few more items to felt as well. This Special Companion that will hold business cards on my desk next to my candy bowl:

Sumo tried to take the candy bowl as a hat. I just don't think it works. I may need to be thinking about knitting him a sweater or something. He is my most faithful knitting companion....

Until next time......

Monday, January 15, 2007

A Loopy Weekend.....

Well, it is a snowy Monday morning and we are back from St. Louis. We had a GREAT weekend, as I knew we would. I was able to do LOTS of knitting, and , drumroll please, finished my very first sock. (And have the second one cast on....) It was not hard to finish with the enthusiastic support of Sheri, my dear friend, from The Loopy Ewe. Here you see her and I and her knitting daughter hard at work on our projects. (And my first sock conveniently located on my leg for show!!)

This was not, however, where I spent most of my weekend. Here you see me where I 'parked' myself for most of the time. A comfy recliner with Zoe, her Loopy cat, nestled on my lap. I REALLY need to get a cat to keep me company while I knit!! (Sumo and Nikko would LOVE to sit on my lap while I knit, but their size makes it a little uncomfortable!!!!) Too bad Ryan and Kirstin are so alergic to cats or I'd be out looking at kittens instead of writing this blog!

Zoe is in line for my next Kitty Pi bed, which I plan on making with all my leftover felting yarns. I know that she is a little impatient in waiting for me to get it knit, and decided that this purse I made would do just fine in the interim.

The most exciting part of the weekend was being able to see The Loopy room! WOW! Sheri does an amazing job with her business and it was fun to be a part of it for a few days. I got to help pack orders and was even there when a yarn shipment came and got to experience the fun of unpacking all those fun yarns.

I'm still not exactly sure how the guys passed the time (since they are 'muggles' (non-knitters) according to the Yarn Harlot). They are both Mac guys, and did spend some time on their computers as well as at Sheri's WH's shop. My husband had a wonderful weekend despite not knitting.....

On the knitting front, I did start and almost finish the ballband bag for Kirstin. It is huge! I can't wait to felt it. I have 6 or 7 inches left to knit on the handle and it will be ready to felt. I knit it with Paton's wool double stranded on size 15 needles.

At one of the yarn stores we visited, I came across some Lopi wool that I have been wanting to felt with. Bought a few skeins and made one into a bowl during the drive home. It is ready for a trip to the washing machine!!

The drive home took a little longer with the ice storms that were going through the area, but it was not as bad as we had thought. Not until we got 10 miles from home. Then the snow started and the roads were covered and slippery. We've gotten 6 inches so far, and it keeps coimng.

Ok, NOW it feels like winter has arrived!!

Sumo loves the snow. Loves to eat it and roll in it and run around. When he was younger, we would hook he and Nikko up to a dogsled and they would pull the kids all over. He LOVED it. At 11 years old, he is now retired from the dogsled, and has been replaced by the 4-wheeler. (The kids still enjoy riding on the sled behind the 4-wheeler!!)

For my last photo, I will return to my finished sock on one of the Loopy Ewe's sock blockers. This sock took me 6 1/2 months to knit. I do hope to speed up the process on my next one. I'll keep you all posted on my progress!!

Until next time.....

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Meet Me In St. Louis.....

My bags are packed and I am impatiently awaiting Steve to come home from work so we can head to St. Louis for a fun-filled weekend with dear friends. In fact, we will be visiting the friend who taught me how to knit :-) All us girls plan on doing is knitting. Lots and lots of knitting. So the dilemna today has been what yarn; needles; patterns etc.. to take. It's a fine art: packing knitting supplies for a knitting get-away. You want to pack enough... but not so much that you have no 'need' to visit every LYS that you can find!! I think I finally have the knitting stuff ready
Oh, maybe I should bring some clean clothes as well.......

A SURPRISE package arrived in the mail today. I love surprises and this one was completely unexpected!! Bonnie sent me some of her homemade granola! I LOVE granola! Especially mixed in with some yogurt and fresh fruit. It's a staple around here. I am taking it with us to snack on for the car ride (and because I'm afraid if I leave it here it will get eaten!) Thank you, Bonnie, for this special treat. I am so thankful for the wonderful group of online friends that I have made since I started knitting and blogging last summer!!

Another bowl to show you. I love these quick projects. I have been having a hard time deciding what bag to cast on next, so I just keep making more bowls.....

I've decided to cast on a large ballband bag (like the one I made Mallory) for Kirstin in brown and blue. Will start it this weekend.

And now for a little craziness. Ryan and Mallory decided to have a little photo shoot this past weekend "American Gothic" style. They took this lovely picture and made matching t-shirts which they proudly wore this past weekend in Galena. It was very fun :-) They both have a tremendous sense of humor and love to laugh.

And now they each have another point. Don't say I never did anything for you guys!!!!

Well, Steve should be home soon.

Until next time.....

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

To Luba With Love.....

Let me introduce Luba. Luba is a woman living in Russia who works with young women ages 14-25 who have found themselves alone and/or orphaned and in difficult living situations. She helps teach them basic living skills as well as helping them obtain good nutrition during the long cold winters. When the young women are starting out on their own, Luba helps purchase clothes and other essential items they will need.

You may wonder why I am introducing Luba. I wanted to be involved in helping Luba in her work. That's when I decided to donate all profit (everything above the yarn cost) from the sale of my purses to Luba and her girls. It has been exciting to hear of coats purchased; hats and warm gloves given; etc.. as the purses have been sold and the money sent.

Just this past week I got the sweetest email from a young girl at my church letting me know that she had finally saved enough money to buy my blue fuzzy purse for Luba and could I bring it to church Sunday. I told her that every penny that she had saved would go to Russia to help Luba!

Now you know where the dozens of purses I have knit have gone. (I know some of you have been wondering!) I am hoping that I can knit dozens more to be sold and sent to Luba with Love...

Until next time.....

Monday, January 08, 2007

The Calm Before....

The Storm!! Yes, there is a storm brewing around here and I have just a few days left before life as I know it changes for 3 months. The storm, of course, is tax season. To add to the craziness of tax season and the long hours that it entails... I took on co-director of the children's Wednesday night program (AWANA) that we are starting at our church in 2 weeks. So, for awhile, my knitting and blogging will be limited, at best. I will get on when I can and hope to sneak some knitting in here and there over lunch breaks. (Oh, wait, I don't get lunch breaks, hmmmmm...) I will figure out something.

Oh, and tomorrow I have to report for Jury Duty. I have heard that it is against the law to bring knitting needles into the courthouse, which really bums me out. Kirstin and I are thinking of ways I could smuggle some in, but I am not sure I want to risk going to jail. I'll just have to bring some exciting reading material with me... like all of the new tax law changes!! (Maybe they will see me reading them AND enjoying it, and think I'm unfit to be a juror.......)

Anyways, precious little knitting to report. I finished another bowl over the weekend. I think this is my favorite one so far. Made with WOTA Bulky varigated. The blues go perfect in the family room; so I think I'll keep it :-)

Also finished a Sebastian Coin purse. I have very little left of spun Sebastian wool... maybe enough for one more of these. I keep my Ipod in the one I have. Works great and is great protection for it when I am carrying it around.

Spent Saturday in Galena with Ryan and Mallory and had a very fun day. We ate lunch at Fried Green Tomatoes... which Galena is famous for. We then walked around all of the shops and headed back to the condo, where we let Ryan beat us at a game of Phase 10!!

Kirstin and Aaron stayed home for the day. Kirstin was up early and volunteered at Habitat for Humanity (which she often does on Saturdays). She sanded mud spots on the ceiling for 3+ hours! Aaron finished packing up and getting ready to head back to ISU. Thought I would include this picture, as I have learned, from a somewhat reliable source, that there is a little point system going on for the number of pictures one gets on my blog. Sigh. It's a mother's never ending job to keep all things equal. Never thought it would make it's way to my blog!!!

Sumo News:

Well, here you see Sumo in his dog house in the garage. But, in reality, he is not the one in the dog house. I am. Yes, me. I took him to the vet last week to have her look at a growth on his gum. (He HATES to go to the vet...) Anyways, they ended up keeping him for the day and removing the growth and 2 teeth!! Needless to say, he was not very happy with me. (I mean, he didn 't get to eat that whole day!!!) Of course, he has already forgiven and forgotten everything and is back to his lovable self, without a bit of a grudge. We can learn alot from our dogs!!

Until next time...

Monday, January 01, 2007

Felting Frenzy.....

Happy New Year!! Can you believe that it is 2007?? I can't! I spent the final weekend of 2006 knitting and felting up a storm! Thought I would share some of what I did with you.

I felted the orange bowl along with 3 others that I knit up over the weekend. They are a quick knit and come out so cute.

Cast on Ryan's pink and brown clogs and got those off of my 'to knit' list. They actually came out kind of fun!! Here they are pre-felted:

And then after a couple of cycles in my washing machine:

He hasn't tried them on yet because he is still at work. I hope he is still wanting pink and brown clogs......

I gave away my first 'Baby's Got A Brand New Big Bag' to a dear friend for Christmas and decided I wanted one for myself, so I got busy and cast on another. (when you click the link the pattern can be found to the left under bag patterns... having trouble with link)

Here it is pre-felted:

And again after a trip into the washing machine.....

It is large, but makes a GREAT book tote. I know that I am going to love this bag.

I knit it with Paton's wool double stranded on size 15 needles.

Also felted the purple purse using 'Kirstin's Bag' pattern. I found the perfect button at the knitting store in Galena and will put that on later tonight and it will be done. Not sure what to cast on next..... Maybe a hat!

Came home to just a dusting of snow on the ground. Still doesn't seem like January, but it does help a little!

Nikko and Sumo were happy to see us! Sumo agreed to try on Ryan's clogs, but once again, Nikko seems to find my knitting extremely boring???? Whatever.

Until next time....