Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Another nasty ice storm has been predicted for this evening. It hasn't come yet.. but the wind is blowing like crazy and it looks ominous! I hate to admit it, but I prayed all day for activities to be cancelled tonight so I could spend a night at home getting caught up with life! And they are!!! (Happy dance). So I'm going to put on some comfy clothes and get to work.

First I thought that I would let you know that I did some felting yesterday and am excited for everything to dry. Here is the tote I made for the International Tote Exchange. It's kind of fun. I also made a small cell phone holder to attach to it with some of the bright colored yarn. I hope to fill it with goodies and get it in the mail next week. Sure hope my swap partner likes it!!

Next I finished my RunAmokKnotSewHobo bag (which is a pattern I got from my Bagaholics group) and got that felted as well. This is a great pattern and a wonderful size for a purse. Once it dries, I'll do a little embroidery and add a button. I have to say, that Paton's wool is my favorite for felting! It makes such a wonderful fabric.

Also got the bowl done for my mom. I have a few other things to send her way, so I will put it all in a box next week as well. Hmmm, maybe I'll have to add a little chocolate......

I have a VERY DEAR friend celebrating a BIRTHDAY today!! It is Sheri's birthday from The Loopy Ewe! If you haven't been to her blog today, stop over and wish her a happy birthday. And if you have never visited her sock yarn shop before do that as well!!

Here is a photo of the two of us from when we went to St. Louis last month to visit.

Sumo got over his fear of the skating rink yard and is enjoying being able to get a good back scratch courtesy of the frozen snow!!

He's such a funny fellow!!

Until Next Time.......

Sunday, February 25, 2007


We’ve had quite a weather weekend. It started Friday with layers of ice; turned to snow Saturday; into rain early Sunday and they predict more snow later today (Sunday afternoon). Needless to say, we decided to delay our trip to Galena and prepared for a weekend at home. Unfortunately the storm has taken out our internet, so I’ve been unable to update my blog and visit the many blogs I love to read. I’m typing this on our laptop and hoping to head into Panera later to tap into their wireless internet and upload. Here is just a glimpse of some of the ice.

Ryan and Mallory were both without power at their places, so they packed a bag and came out for the weekend. It’s been fun. Watching movies; playing games; and dressing up. Ryan is in the middle with Mallory and Kirstin on either side.

Steve braved the roads on Saturday to go to Applebees to pick up lunch. They have carside service, so I called in the order and they brought it out to his car. Unfortunately they brought him the wrong order!! He got all the way home, and I realized he had the wrong food! Called Applebees, and they told him to keep this food and come back for our order. So back he went. They gave him the right food and a gift certificate for the mix up. Needless to say, we ended up with a TON of food for less than $25.00!! Here is Kirstin, Ryan and Mallory enjoying a ‘mistake’ Veggie Patch Pizza!

I’ve been able to pick up my knitting needles and have great hopes of getting quite a bit done this weekend. My tote for the exchange is done, and ready for a date with the washing machine! I’m going to make a matching cell phone case to go with it as well.

Got the bowl knit for my mom and also ready to be felted. Hoping the color matches, but if not, we’ll find something that works. These bowls are a quick and easy knit and are fun to have out.

Plugging away on my RunAmokKnotSewHobo bag that I am making for one of the Missionaries in Russia. Once it’s felted, I plan on doing a little embroidery on it. Heidi does some AMAZING work on her bags and is such an inspiration! I won’t do anything as indricate as she does, but hopefully a few lazy daisy stitches like I’ve done on previous bags.

Also did a little baking!! Mallory was commenting how much she LOVES rhubarb and we just so happened to have rhubarb in our freezer that Kirstin froze this past fall, so they made our Tried and True Rhubarb Cake. This is a recipe I got from my mom and remember her making many times when I was growing up. It is especially good warm with a dollop of whipped cream!

Rhubarb Cake

1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1 egg
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup milk mixed with 1 tsp soda
2 cups chopped rhubarb
1/2 cup sugar mixed with 1 tsp cinnamon

1. Mix sugar, shortening and egg
2. Add flour, salt, vanilla and milk mixture. Mix well.
3. Stir in Rhubarb.
4. Pour into 9 X 13 pan. Top with sugar mixture.
5. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.
Justify Full
Sumo has been doing ok throughout the weekend. The first time I let him out Friday he looked like Thumper on ice in the movie Bambi! He couldn’t navigate the skating rink that our yard had become. It’s gotten better for him, but he still limits his visits outside, and prefers the comfort inside. Here he is on the back deck looking in.... (and is now comfortably sleeping at my feet!)

Until Next Time......

Saturday, February 17, 2007


And trying to do a little knitting!! I am finding that 50+ hour work weeks seriously cuts into ones knitting time!! I was able to leave work at noon today and decided that I would spend a good part of the afternoon knitting. (Thanks to my family really pitching in this week and keeping cleaning and laundry up to date!!) I was able to finish the Ball band bag, except to knit the handle and felt it. I should be able to have it done by next weekend when we head to Galena for an overnight.

I also hope to have a bowl made for my mom from the One Skein book by next weekend. She is trying to match a green in her living room and I hope this yarn matches. The bowls from this book are a quick knit and fun to do.

Most of us celebrated Valentine's Day this past week. I say 'most of us' because my son Aaron informed me that he would be 'observing' Singleness Awareness Day instead!! (How S.A.D.!!) I reminded him there is someone out there for him! He just needs to keep his eyes open!!
Ryan planned a special night for Mallory. It was fun to watch him put his heart into making the day special for her. Part of the night was spent here at our house... painting frames that he had pictures made for.

I finally took the plunge and ordered tickets to the musical WICKED. I am so excited!! We are going to see it in Chicago over Spring break. I saw the Lion King there a few years ago and it is the most amazing thing I have ever seen! I have heard amazing things about Wicked as well!

The weather continues to be so cold. I keep asking Steve to remind me why we live here. I like to be warm. Plain and simple.

Sumo spends a good amount of time by the door wanting to go out. (He has short term memory loss and forgets as soon as he comes in how cold it is outside and immediately wants back out, but then goes out and gets cold and wants back in....)

Well, you get the picture!!

We need Spring!!

Until next time.....

Sunday, February 11, 2007

A Quick Post....

Because I want to spend a bit of time knitting!!! However, I also want to give you a quick update on my bag progress! It's coming along, and I think I am liking it so far! I now am over 1/2 way done with the color band part and will add a nice thick S-Cord strap. I decided on 3 bands of solid green throughout the bag.. I can't wait until it's ready to felt.

Sumo approves...and again is my faithful companion as I sneak pockets of time here and there (often quite early in the morning...) to do a few rows.

Sumo has read quite a bit about these 'Cozy Cushions' that different cat owners seem to be raving about for their feline friends! (See Sheri's most recent blog post here). Sumo reassured me that he is quite happy with his own version of a cozy cushion that he sleeps on every night. It's not heated...but with his big fur coat he doesn't need it. (Plus, can you imagine how humiliating it would be for a big tough dog like Sumo to have a heated cushion?? )

Made a big dinner for the Sunday Night group of teens that meet at our house every week. On the menu: Tator Tot hot dish; broccoli cauliflower salad; pears; cornbread rolls and frosted sugar cookies. One teen that was here had never had a 'hotdish' before!!! Obviously not from Minnesota!! She went back for seconds......

This is a picture of one of the tables. It's a GREAT group of kids!!

The sugar cookies we made are my favorite recipe. Mainly because I don't have to roll them into shapes! (Confession....I don't like making shaped sugar cookies!!)

Kristi’s Sugar Cookies

1. Beat together:

1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup sugar
1 cup soft butter
3/4 plus 1/8 cup salad oil
2 eggs
1 Tbsp. vanilla

Then add:

4 1/2 cups flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cream of tartar

3. Roll into balls
4. Press with glass dipped in sugar.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.
6. Frost with powdered sugar frosting.


Until Next Time.....

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Knitless Days and Knitless Nights.....

That's what is seems like these days!! I need to figure out a way to sneak in a least a small amount of knitting in! Needless to say, I have little to show for the past few days. (At least in the knitting or cooking realm....) I am in the middle of trying to decide what pattern and yarn to use for the International Tote Exchange III. I was involved in the ITE II last fall and really enjoyed making the bag and getting to know others in the exchange (Hi TeAntae, Bonnie, Allison and Tora....) I can't believe how much I have been agonizing over this decision. I think I have settled on making a double stranded ball band bag with these yarns. I'll keep you updated on my progress! I'm hoping to do a little each day. I was able to knit the bottom before work this morning and hope to start knitting in the round tonight. Not sure if I'll do all the bands with the fun variegated yarn or have a few bands of solid green or pink.....

Kirstin has been our caffeine supplier these past weeks with this cappuccino machine she got for Christmas. She's 'perfecting' her latte making before she heads to college in the fall, and I am happy to accommodate her need for sampling!!

Here is Kirstin and her good friend with one of her concoctions.

Make mine a double please......

Aaron headed back to Iowa State this week and wanted his picture on the blog, with, of course, Sumo. (Who as you can see is getting downright bored with the whole picture thing!!)

Well, the evening is free and Steve has offered to take Kirstin and I out to dinner. (I think he may be a little tired of leftovers???) Nikko and Sumo would like to go as well. It's so hard to turn down such cute little faces.....

Until Next Time...

Monday, February 05, 2007

What? Monday Again?

This past weekend has been a blur of activity! And suddenly it is Monday again. How does that happen? It was a very good weekend, just very busy! Friday night we spent baking cookies and getting ready for Kirstin's 2nd Blood Drive that she organized for Saturday. We had trays of yummy homemade cookies for those who donated (and those who couldn't donate!)

She had a good turnout in spite of the crazy cold weather!! (The high today was zero degrees!!) Who wants to give blood when it's THAT cold out? 36 people came, which was great. Both of her brothers did a great job recruiting their friends to come give. Aaron even came home from college and brought his roommate with him! I was able to give, but barely. It took 3 attempts at my blood pressure to get one that was above the requirement. (I have very low blood pressure). I spent a little time in the 'recovery chair' afterwards when I mentioned being a little dizzy.....

Sunday was filled with church, dinner, a LONG game of Phase 10 and, of course, the SUPERBOWL!

Had a small group in for the game. Half Bears fans; half Colt fans just to keep thing even!!

I had no real vested interest in the game...but decided to cheer for the Bears. (Steve chose the Colts). He was right.

Sumo didn't really care who won... he just loves being a part of the action!

Lots of time in the kitchen this weekend. For Sunday dinner I made a family favorite:

Penne with Tomatoes and 2 Cheeses

6 Tbsp Olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 tsp minced garlic
3 28 oz cans Italian Plum Tomatoes, drained*
(*I use regular Italian style tomatoes with basil. I chop them in a food processor first.)
2 tsp. dried basil
1 -1 1/2 tsp. dried crushed red pepper
2 cans low-salt chicken broth
1 lb. penne or rigatoni
2 1/2 cups packed grated Havarti Cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil

1. Heat 3 tbsp oil in heavy large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic. Saute until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
2. Mix in tomatoes, dried basil and red pepper. Bring to a boil.
3. Add broth. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium. Simmer until mixture thickens to chunky sauce and is reduced to 6 cups - stirring occasionally. (@ 1 hour 10 minutes). Season with salt and pepper to taste.
4. Cook pasta. Return to pot and toss with 3 tbsp oil.
5. Pour sauce over and toss. Mix in Havarti. Transfer to 13 X 9 dish. Sprinkle with Parmesan.
6. Bake for 30 minutes at 375 degrees. Sprinkle with fresh basil, if desired.

Not much on the knitting front. I only knit about 4 rounds on a purse I am working on. That's it! Hopefully this week I can cast on my next pair of socks. Speaking of socks, I am now an official 'LOOPY GROUPIE'!!! This is an exclusive club for people who have ordered 6 times from the Loopy Ewe. I wanted to share all of the fun goodies that Sheri sends... but didn't want to spoil the surprise for anyone who has not yet achieved this fun status. I can show you the fun items I ordered tho. The first is some yummy yarn from All Things Heather. (Phlox). But it is the stitch markers of Sister Louise and Brother Black Bart that I am really excited about. Aren't they the cutest? Sheri can't keep them in stock, so I snatched them up as soon as I saw she had them again! Yep. I really need to squeeze some more knitting time in!!

Thursday, February 01, 2007


That's right! I'm ahead of schedule. Our evening freed up tonight and I curled up on the couch and went to town on my sock and it is finished!!! I love the colors and the way it feels. I do wish I would have used one size smaller needles or cast on a few less stitches, but they will be GREAT! (Notice the 'they'...yes, I will get the second one made!)

I now have a pair of socks! They don't exactly match..... But it's a pair. I think that I will cast on the other purple sock tomorrow and do that one next. Hopefully then I'll be able to adapt the blue sock pattern to go onto my circulars.... Then I can get it's mate done as well...probably in less time than it took to do the first one. (I guess 6 1/2 months is a fairly easy time to beat!)

I thought Sumo might be interested in my accomplishment. He was already on his landing for the night, and had a hard time mustering up any sort of excitement.

So, I made him try them on. I thought for sure that would get him really excited.

I was wrong. Humiliations galore! He may be getting just a little tired of being the blog star! Or it could be just because it was past his bedtime. But his bedtime runs into his morning nap time which runs into his afternoon nap time which goes right back into his I can't win!!

Ok, Sheri. I'm a sock knitter. You were right. (Like always!) It is fun!!

Until next time.....

My Gusset...

I did it! I picked up my first sock gusset. Thanks to Arleta for telling me about Grumperina's helpful tips on picking up the gusset. Between that and my Socks Soar on 2 Circulars book I think I did it!! Now just to finish knitting the foot; stitch up the toes and cast on sock #2.

Here is a picture. It may not look a whole lot different than the last one, but trust me.. it is. The gusset is picked up for goodness sakes!! I hope to have this sock finished by Monday. That is my goal. (It would be sooner but work is REALLY cutting into my knitting time!!!)

Went downstairs the other night to watch '24' with Steve and Kirstin and this is what I found. They each had a spoon and were dipping into my bowl of Monster Cookie dough.

They cannot be trusted!!

And now for my cooking. Can you say "disaster"?

I decided to make some yummy bran muffins (because they are good for you and all) and disobeyed the #1 cooking rule that I learned in 7th grade: MAKE SURE YOU HAVE ALL OF THE INGREDIENTS BEFORE YOU BEGIN COOKING. This really is good advice. I started the recipe and kept coming to ingredients that I didn't have. I started the substitution game. One substitution in a recipe you can usually get away with. Two, sometimes.... But by the 4th substitution I knew I was in trouble. Even sprinkling extra sugar on the top before baking couldn't save these muffins. They tasted like, well, llama food. So, out to the barn I go....
(Ok, not really. They ended up in the trash!)

Maybe I'll grab a spoon and join Steve and Kirstin!

Until next time...