Wednesday, March 28, 2007

We're Back....

from our weekend in Minnesota. It was a great time connecting with dear friends. We talked ALOT; ate ALOT; and did some scrapbooking and knitting in between. I was not as productive as I have been on other weekends, but I was a bit distracted by what was going on at home. I'll come back to that in a minute....

Kirstin was much more productive than I. She was able to finish the jean quilt that we had started for her dorm room next year. It turned out very cute. It is one of those that you sew and then clip all of the seams so that they fray. Rag quilting or something like that. There wasn't a washing machine where we were staying, so she had to wait until we got home to really see the final outcome.

Kirstin also finished her Paton's varigated scarf, as well as another scarf in light blue. Like I said, she was very productive!!

I plugged away at my Noro scarf in between scrapbooking and visiting with friends. I made some progress.. but not like Kirstin!! I love the way Noro self stripes and the beautiful colors... but I am not crazy about the thick/thin aspects... especially when making a scarf. I think I would like to try this pattern again.. maybe in some yummy alpaca!

I also worked a little on a vintage bubble bag. I am using Paton's gray and then the Noro that Anita sent in my ITEIII tote box. I think the combination of colors will felt together well.

While I was gone things got a little crazy on the home front. While talking on the phone with Aaron on Friday over at college, I realized that his lower back pain that he has been having had gone from bad to worse. (It had seemed to be getting a bit better over Spring break). He wasn't even able to walk to class. Steve canceled his plans for the weekend (chaperoning a youth retreat) and went over and picked him up. A MRI Saturday morning showed some disc issues that will most likely need to treated surgically in the next month or so. He has another appointment in two weeks and we will know more after that. We also got a call Friday evening that Steve's dad was in the ER with heart problems. After the weekend in the hospital, he is home and doing well. It was a hard weekend to be away knowing all that was going on here at home. I was ready to hop in the car at a moment's notice to head home. My concentration level was a bit lacking to say the least!

There is always Sumo to brighten any day. He loved all the scarves and was willing to model one for you. (I think he would have preferred the light blue one.. or even brown maybe... but I chose this one!!)

Until Next Time....

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Yes, the car is packed and ready for an early morning departure. Where am I off to now? It is time for my yearly Spring Crop Get-Away with my friends. We have rented a house in Owatonna Minnesota (Preserving Memories Retreat) and will be there through Monday. Kirstin will join us Friday evening for the weekend. I have brought along the sewing machine and materials we need to work on her quilt for her dorm room next year. I also have my knitting along.. and threw in my cropping stuff for good measure.

Kirstin found a great scarf pattern over Spring break and is already well into her second scarf. It's an easy pattern and they look and feel wonderful!! I have started one out of Noro yarn.. but work keeps cutting into my knitting time!!!

The brown scarf is Paton's Wool Merino, Taupe. The middle one is Paton's Varigated Wool Merino and the little one is my Noro one. (Hope to show my progress after the weekend is over!!)

It's hard to see the pattern real well... but it's really nice. The pattern is called Rafaela's Twisted Brioche Scarf by Jane Marino. (Click on picture to get an enlarged photo)

Of course the weekend would not be complete without food!! We team up for meals and each team takes one meal start to finish. Kirstin and I have Saturday lunch. We are going to make 3 different salads and have bread sticks. One of the salads is a must at every crop. I mixed up the dressing tonight to take along. I don't have a great picture, but here is the recipe.

Spicy Chicken Salad

1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts
1 whole green onion, cut in half
1 Tbsp dry sherry
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
2 cups water

1. Place in saucepan.
2. Simmer 20 minutes.
3. Cool. Shred Chicken.


Stir together until blended:
1 1/2 Tbsp creamy peanut butter
2 1/2 Tbsp salad oil

Stir in:
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp white vinegar
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/4 to 1/2 tsp ground red (cayenne) pepper
1 Tbsp minced green onion
1 Tbsp minced fresh cilantro.

Blend well.

To assemble salad, place shredded lettuce on plate, top with chicken and then add dressing.
(I usually triple the dressing... mixes great in the Pampered Chef Salad dressing mixer)

I wanted to show the finished purses that I sent with the team to Russia. I heard the team arrived safely, with smooth flights; good connections and zero lost luggage. It will be wonderful to hear of their time there.

Well, everyone have a wonderful weekend!!

Until next time....

Friday, March 16, 2007


We are back from our wonderful week over in Galena. I thought that I would do a quick update of what we did. Before I do that, however, I have to share the WONDERFUL tote that came to me from Anita who lives in Canada as part of the International Tote Exchange!!

I was so overwhelmed by the bag and all of the wonderful goodies that she included in the package..... A knitting book; 2 boxes of Canadian chocolate; Noro yarn; Salt Spring French Roast coffee...and of course the wonderful tote that I know I am going to LOVE... and because it is a gift for me, I will not be tempted to give it away!

Thank You Thank You Anita!!!

I’ve been doing much less knitting this break than I had planned, but am very very ok with that. Because instead of knitting, I have been enjoying family and friends....including some new friends that we just made this week. (Which I will get to in a bit!) But, back to knitting. I finished and felted the bag that will be heading to Russia Monday. It’s a Sophie bag, knit double stranded with Paton’s Wool and Andes wool held together. I made the S-cord handle, which is one of my favorites. Now to just add the button and it will be ready for it’s trip around the world!

Back to our new friends; Mallory’s family came and joined us in Galena for a visit. It was so great to meet them and spend some time with them. As Kirstin said “It seems like we’ve known them for years”.

We had several birthday’s to celebrate this week, and so Kirstin baked a cake. It is the Snickerdoodle cake recipe from ‘The Cake Mix Doctor’ book. Kirstin has two of these books and every cake she has made has been a winner. With this cake, she added pirouette cookies around the edge...and also used little pieces of them as candle holders. It was a great cake.

Tim, (Mallory’s dad), Mallory and Aaron, the 3 celebrating birthdays, made wishes and blew out the candles. Hurray for birthdays! It’s a GREAT excuse to eat cake!!

Aaron taught us a new game this week... Settlers of Catan. It is a very fun game. Very interactive with every player taking part of every turn. I will admit that I am now addicted and can hardly wait to play my next game!!

And then we were off to CHICAGO!! We drove in Wednesday to finally see WICKED! (Kirstin and I have been trying to go since last summer!!). The first stop was BIG BOWL... Ok, I admit, this is my favorite restaurant, and I think I swayed the decision making to have this be top choice. I just LOVE the Chicken Pad Thai. The kids enjoyed it, although I know that it is a little different food than what Mallory is used to.

Before we left Galena, Ryan and Mallory made up sack lunches that they carried with them as we walked the streets of Chicago. When we met up with someone asking for help, they offered them a lunch. It humbled me to see them reaching out in such a way, when my biggest concern of the day was whether I would be able to safely drive in and out of downtown Chicago (It’s a big city!!!) .

And then it was on to WICKED! It was INCREDIBLE!! If you ever have the opportunity to see it, I would definitely recommend it! I was thankful that we had been listening to the CD since last summer and knew all of the music. My only regret is that Steve was not able to come with us (He couldn’t get all of Spring break off, and had to work W-F).

Ok Aaron, What are you telling Elphaba????

We ended up staying over Thursday and coming home this afternoon (Friday). It was a great week. Now unpacking and laundry and possible a nap are calling out! So....

Until next time.......

Friday, March 09, 2007


Yippee!! It is Spring Break. I took the week off work and can't wait for some 'down' time with family and friends!! (Oh, and some knitting time as well!!!) I am spending tonight packing up and doing some 'pre-cooking' and then we will head to Galena in the morning. Aaron got home from Iowa State this evening. It is SO good to have him home!! Sunday, Mallory's parents are going to join us all in Galena for a visit. It will be the first time we meet them. We are really looking forward to getting to know them. And then Wednesday we will be 'defying gravity' in Chicago when we go see WICKED!!

I'm having a hard time deciding what knitting to bring. Decisions, decisions!! I'm going to throw in some fun yarn and a few patterns and then grab my needle bag. This is one of the best purchases I made when I started knitting. (Sheri told me I HAD to have this bag!!) And I do love it. It has ALL of my needles in it... the straight and double points around the outside and the circulars in a holder in the inside.. along with my 'knitting help' books (Yes, books!!) Now I know that no matter what I decide to start, I'll have the right needles with me! (Because I might go to a yarn store or two and find some new fun yarn or patterns!!)

This is another of my favorite knitting 'accessories'. It was a Christmas gift. It sits in my family room and holds lots of fun yarn waiting to be cast on. The yarn is all being very patient during this bit of a knitting hiatus I am on due to tax season. April 17th is just 39 days away......

Kirstin has been my cooking angel lately. She found the most amazing recipe for a Warm Asparagus Spinach Salad. I've been taking it for lunch every day and start looking at the clock around 10 to see how much longer until I get to eat it!! (We don't add the cashews or Parmesan cheese and put the dressing on each single serving after we have zapped it in the microwave for 45 - 60 seconds.)

Here was my lunch today. Yum Yum!

Well, I best keep packing. Steve and Kirstin went to see the movie 'Amazing Grace'. If you have not seen this movie, I HIGHLY recommend it!! It is AMAZING!! (This is the second time to it for both Steve and Kirstin!)

Well, Sumo's not talking to me since I broke it to him that he is not going with us tomorrow, so no Sumo picture. Maybe next time!! I hope to have some WICKED pictures next time I post!!

Until Then.....

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


Yes, it was Sumo's birthday just a few days ago. He is 11. And starting to show his age. I was actually there when he was born. In fact, his umbilical cord wouldn't stop bleeding so I had to apply pressure for quite some time. It was then that we bonded for life!!! We already had one puppy at home (Nikko...who happens to be a full sibling...just a different litter!) and I knew it would be hard to talk Steve into another dog. But how could he not love Sumo??? We have LOVED having two dogs and will probably never have just one again. And Sumo... he' something special!!

We actually have lots of birthdays coming up! Both Mallory's and Aaron's birthdays come over Spring break next week! And Ryan's is just a few weeks after that. I see some serious cake action in the near future!!!

Annie wrote to let me know that her package had arrived and that she loved the tote I made and all the goodies. :-) It was a fun exchange to be a part of. My pal emailed today as well to say she mailed my package Saturday and it should arrive soon. I'll post a picture when it comes!!

In the meantime, I am trying to finish the last bag I am making to send to Russia with the team from our church that is leaving March 19th. This is actually yarn I originally purchased to make a pair 0f fiber trend clogs that matched mine for Steve... but he decided he would prefer gray and black ones like Aaron. I think it will make a pretty purse. I'm using the Sophie pattern and will probably add a flap and an S-cord handle. Just need more knitting time!!

I will leave you with a picture looking out my neighbor's llama barn at some of the wonderful icicles that have formed. She called me last night to tell me what a beautiful sight they are. Many had fallen today when the sun came out.. but they were still beautiful!

But they may go now...I am ready for Spring!!! I often visit Allison's blog and she always has wonderful pictures of flowers that always remind me of the hope of Spring. I love seeing my first Robin; watching the daffodils and tulips come up and the apple trees blossom. I guess I'd have to say that Spring is my favorite season.

Until Next Time...

Saturday, March 03, 2007

On It's Way....

What a glorious Saturday this has been. I have had a day dedicated to running errands and tying up all the loose ends that have been hanging over my head. It has been wonderful!! I am now going to spend a few hours cleaning out the storage room. It has gotten downright scary in there!!! When that is done, I'm going to curl up and do some knitting. Steve and Kirstin left last night (during the bad weather!!) for Galena and spent today skiing at Chestnut Mountain. They are going on a Daddy-date tonight to Vinny Vanucchis and coming home in the morning. They are having a wonderful day as well!!

The big accomplishment of the day is getting my two boxes mailed. One to my mom with her felted bowl filled with yummy chocolate; and the other to my International Tote Exchange partner. Here is what I ended up sending her: (click on photo for a larger image)

I sure hope she likes it! She likes gardening; tea; chocolate and cats, so I tried to find a little something fun to throw in for each of them. I will let you know her name once she receives the package. I don't think she reads my blog...but just in case.

Well, this is a short post. Off to tackle the storage room. I hope I win!!

Until Next Time.....