Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Home From Antartica!

Well, A made it home safe and sound from Antartica!!!! We had an incredible slide show last night and heard lots of stories. Just thought I would give you a little 'teaser' photo! This is a Leopard Seal that A saw up close and personal. He was close enough to even touch the ice that this seal was sleeping on!! As soon as he can narrow down a few pictures I'll have him post more!

Until Next Time...

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Family Christmas

We spent this past weekend in Minneapolis at my brothers to celebrate Christmas with my family. I have to say I look forward to this day every year. I love my family and love having the opportunity to get together for a day and enjoy being together.

This year it was hosted by my brother Dean and his wife Robin. It was their first time hosting the day and they did a spectacular job! Thanks guys!!

They made a great team and had everything ready for us when we got there. It is an all day event starting with our traditional breakfast and ending with my brother Greg's pies at the end of the day. Lots of food and games in between. Our family is expanding every year (number wise!) so we have to change a few things up here and there, but it is always wonderful.

One thing that is a constant is the job jar where all of the jobs for the day are put on slips of paper and everyone draws to see what their responsibility for the day will be. There are some easy jobs; some loafs; and then the dreaded wash and dry dinner dishes. This year R drew dry dinner dishes and my nephew J drew wash. The only perk for drawing these is you get to sign the apron after you get the job done and have immunity for the next year.

The main lefse meal is a highlight (I can't even imagine changing that tradition!!) and this year was no exception. In fact, the lefse was rolled out fresh that morning and I don't think ever tasted so good.

One thing that is fun is the addition of little ones to the day. Dean and Robin now have two adorable grandsons and my niece was there with her baby girl, who many met for the first time. My dad enjoyed time with his great grand daughter and kept her giggling while her mom ate.

My mom also enjoyed her time with her great grand daughter. She is such a good baby!

After the day we crashed at my brother Gary's house. The kids enjoyed some Rock Band and made such beautiful music. (ha ha). Actually there were some scary sounds coming from the basement!!

Well, there is so much more I could add, but I need to get going with my day. A final shot of my brother's cat Cougar who looks exactly like the cat I had growing up. Isn't he a gorgeous Siamese?

Lots of excitement around here today as A should be landing in Des Moines in just a few minutes after his adventure in Antartica. It will be so fun to have him home and hear about his trip. Stay tuned for his guest posts.....

Until Next Time...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Winter Romp....

We just got in from a romp in the snow. I don't remember the last time that we have had this much snow on Christmas. It's beautiful. And when seen through the eyes of a puppy.. actually FUN!!

Sophie loves to retrieve the frisbee....

And play tug-of-war with Sumo!

I played against both of them for a bit, but that is a lot of lab to pull against!!

Sumo is doing pretty well trudging through the snow. He has some trouble with some of the deeper drifts, but for the most part does great.

We have a very quiet Christmas planned. With A in Antartica and R & M at her folks', it's just Steve, K and I. Christmas Day Steve's dad and his wife will join us for dinner. We will celebrate with my extended family on Saturday in Minneapolis. On Tuesday A will be home from his trip and we will open our gifts then.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas. Praying you are surrounded by family and friends and truly celebrate the Reason for the Season.

Until Next Time....

Monday, December 22, 2008

Sad Monday....

Mondays after company are always sad for me. To go from a house full of fun and fellowship to just me and the dogs... well, it's just not fun. Just have to get busy planning more fun weekends with friends and family!!!

We started out the weekend with SNOW! (Here is Steve trying to get to work Friday morning!) We got over 13 inches from Thursday night into Friday, which delayed our friends a day. (They came Saturday to Monday instead of Friday to Sunday). Worked out well, as the weather yesterday would NOT have been good to travel in. In fact everything was canceled because of the horrible cold and windchill!

Needless to say, we spent most of the weekend inside as it was just too cold to be outside. We did some knitting; played some games and ate. And ate.We knit on the couch....

And we knit at the kitchen table.... All the girls were knitting! M is just learning and once she feels comfortable I'm going to start her on a fun scarf to match her new coat. Everyone was into scarves this weekend!!

Sheri was working on a Noro scarf, so of course I had to start one! I had some Noro Kureyon in my yarn stash, so grabbed some and cast on. You knit/purl for two rows with a yarn and then switch to the other skein. (Knit into the knit stitches and purl into the purl stitches...) I LOVE how it is turning out and it is a fun knit watching all of the colors change etc... I see more of these in my future!! Sheri was using Noro Silk Garden for hers which felt a little softer.

K is working on the yummiest scarf EVER!!! It is Alpaca with a Twist Baby Twist knit in the round, so it will be double thick! When she is done, she will seam the ends shut and add fringe. As you can see, she transitioned from gray to green with a fun striping pattern. I cannot even tell you how yummy this feels!!!
(Pattern for K's scarf: Cast on 70 stitches in color A onto a size six 16" circular needle . Connect and knit in the round until you would like to transition to second color. Then knit 1 row Color B; 10 rows Color A; 2 rows color B; 9 rows Color A; 3 rows color B; 8 rows color A etc.. until you do 10 rows color B; 1 row color A and then finish the scarf with color B. Fringe each side with the color it is knit in.) I will have the finished scarf to show you after tomorrow... she finished and gave it to SC and I forgot to get a picture.

Sophie and Sumo LOVED all of the company. Sophie especially loves a full house! She had a little more energy than normal as we just couldn't get in our field walks with the cold weather. She more than once weaseled her way onto peoples' laps on the couch!

Well, that's about it. I think I will head to the store for a few last minute gifts I need to pick up. I leave you with my Little Loopy guys that are now on my kitchen table. Aren't they cute??

Until Next Time....

Thursday, December 18, 2008

All We Need Are Some Penguins.....

And we would have our own Antartica, I think!! We have lots of snow on the ground and are bracing for a big snow storm tonight and later this weekend. I'm banking on the fact that the weatherpeople are wrong as we have friends who are suppose to be coming tomorrow.....

Sophie ADORES the snow. She loves to bury her face in it and dig for hidden treasures. She often eats these treasures which totally grosses me out. But I won't talk about that.....

Sumo likes the snow as well, but maybe not quite as much as Sophie. He's not quite as sure footed and has slipped on occasion... Especially when his back legs are being attacked by a pesky little puppy!!

I do have to admit that the snow makes it quite pretty outside. Here is a view from the back field looking towards our house. This is where we take our walks several times a day and where Sophie finds all of those treasures....

We weren't going to put up a tree this year so as not to tempt Sophie, but decided a little one on a coffee table would be safe.
Haven't got the popcorn and cranberries on it yet. Probably won't need to do as much this year!

In the knitting department (You can skip this part Michael!) I've been getting some items done. Here are several bowls that I've felted in the last week. These are such a quick knit and I love how they turn out. I picked up some inexpensive glass bowls to put them around so they can be used as candy dishes etc..

I also finished this BallBand bag. I will be giving this to A's girlfriend today for her birthday. The strap had gotten too long, so I cut it and added a few buttons. This way we can make it whatever length she likes. Hope she likes it!

Also working on a pair of fetching gloves out of Crystal Palace Merino 5 from TLE. I LOVE the feel of this yarn. The cables show up better once you put it on your wrist, so I think that I will really like how they come out.

We've gotten a couple of emails from A so far. He is currently in Ushuaia, Argentina and will board the ship tomorrow. He writes: 'I can't wait to share what I've seen with you all, and I haven't even gotten on the ship yet!' He's taking lots of pictures and keeping a daily journal. I can't even wrap my mind around what he is experiencing and can't wait to hear all about it when he comes home.

Off to mail our Christmas letter and run a few errands before the snow and ice hit.

Until Next Time....

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Antartica Bound

It is hard to believe that tomorrow at this time A will be on his way to Antartica!!! We have been pretty busy around here getting everything lined up and packed. And I decided Thursday that I really wanted to knit him a nice wool hat(pattern here) to take along. I am very happy with how it came out and I think he liked it as well. He will be flying to Ushuaia, Argentina where he will board the expedition cruise ship, The Antartic Dream. What an adventure!! I told him he would be doing a few guest posts here on my blog when he gets home and will share some of his photos. He happily agreed!! So stay tuned......

Besides the hat I have been doing other knitting as well, but all of it Christmas gifts so I'm unable to show it until after Christmas. Been doing some baking as well. K reminded me of these yummy cookies the other day, which I haven't made in several years. They are easy to make and so yummy!!

Almond Frosties

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup butter, softened
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. almond extract

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 to 3 Tbsp. HOT water
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted (or sprinkles)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine flour, and salt in medium bowl.
3. Beat butter, sugar and almond extract in separate bowl with mixer until light and fluffy.
4. At low speed, beat in dry ingredients until blended.
5. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.
6. Flatten slightly to 3/4 inch thick.
7. Bake 15 to 17 minutes, until golden. Cool on wire racks.
8. Frosting: Combine powdered sugar, cocoa and vanilla in bowl.
9. Stir in water until spreadable. Frost cookies. Top each with 2-3 almonds (or sprinkles)

Makes 3 dozen.

Sophie finds the packing; knitting and baking really cuts into her attention getting and she opts to go take yet another nap. Someday we will get our priorities right and spend the day just playing with her! Wouldn't that be nice?

Until Next Time.....

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Open House

This past weekend we had our 'Distinctive Design' open house at my neighbors and it was a HUGE success!! And so much fun! Here is just a little glimpse into our day.

It started out in the morning with a lefse stick duo with my neighbor Alice, who was hosting the event. Would love to say that I won, but I think it was a tie!

The open house started at noon, but of course there were a few early birds that came and we let them in. From noon to one it was incredibly busy and kept my dad and R quite busy at the cashiers table!

Our neighbor Peggy had a table full of the most wonderful handmade soaps and soy candles. I could have taken the whole lot home! (I bought my fair share!!) They all make wonderful Christmas gifts!!

My mom brought down her wheat weaving and not only had it all set up, but was working on some weaving while people mingled around shopping.

She had a very nice display set up and was in the perfect corner of the house.. very close to all of the yummy treats!! (Which I visited often!!!)

M was there with her jewelry and did very well! She had a great spot right next to the cashiers table, so people got extra looking time at her things while standing in line!! As you can see, all of the workers and vendors had beautiful red scarves on that were woven by Alice.

Alice had quite the selection of hand woven scarves out, along with a few other woven items. Her scarves literally flew out the door!! I think there will be many happy recipients of her scarves Christmas morning!!

K was home for the event and rolled out lefse and provided samples for everyone that came. It also made the house smell really yummy when you walked in! I had made almost 50 packages of lefse before the open house and it all sold! It does mean that I will have to roll out more in the next few weeks!

There were other artists there as well that somehow I didn't capture on film. There were some amazing leaf castings; photographs and drawings and another jeweler. All I can say is the cashiers were kept quite busy all day and everyone did very well.

What I really wish I had a picture of was Steve outside directing parking and/or valet parking. The man stood out there for the whole 5 hours! He was quite bundled up and claimed he stayed warm enough!

We are already talking about next year, so I'm sure it will happen again. I did sell quite a few of my felted purses and already am thinking of some things I can have ready for the next time. It was such a wonderful day. And so fun to have my parents down and involved with it as well as the kids. A special thank you to our wonderful neighbor and friend Alice who did an incredible amount of work to make this happen!!!

Although I don't have a picture, I thought I would share one of the recipes that I took over and that were a huge hit!

Oreo Bon Bons

1 pkg regular Oreo Cookies
1 - 8oz Mascarpone cheese (or cream cheese) softened
1 pkg chocolate Almond Bark (I used the white chocolate ghiradelli from Sam's)

Place all cookies in a food processor and process into fine cookies crumbs. Add the softened cheese and mix well. Place in bowl and cover with plastic wrap for about 1/2 hour. Take small cookie scoop and make into balls. (I froze mine at this point to make the dipping easier) Dip in melted almond bark/chocolate and place on foil to dry. Place in airtight container in cool place.


Until Next Time....

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Catching Up

It is the week after Thanksgiving and the kids are back to school after a wonderful week at home. Why do those weeks seem to go by so much faster than other weeks???

Sophie was so happy to have all of the kids home and took advantage of them whenever she could, always trying to weasel into a lap. I don't think she gets it that she is a 'labrador' not a 'laprador'.....

We did lots of cooking, baking and eating. One of the first things we needed to do was to roll out some lefse. I have to say that K has become a much better roller than I!!!!

I am not sure that her mind was always on rolling lefse, however!!! Do you think she was missing someone?

A's girlfriend, CB, was here for part of the week and had her first experience eating lefse at our Thanksgiving meal. She caught on quite quickly!!

R & M were around most of the week, which was nice as well. They went out taking Christmas photos on one of the sunny days. Can you believe their one year anniversary is coming up? Wow! Has that year flown!

K also had her friend F from Thailand visit for part of break. She has really enjoyed getting to know several International students down where she goes to school.

Now on to Miss Sophie who as I said before, is growing like a weed!! It's hard to believe that I used to scoop her up with one arm to move her from place to place. Now I can barely lift her!! I guess that's what 6 scoops of dogfood a day will do!!

Her very very very favorite activity is to torture Sumo. Really. She stalks him like a cat would and then pounces!

If he doesn't give her the appropriate attention, she nips at his back legs and then zooms around him. Poor guy! He just hardly stands a chance of any peace.

She has learned to go in and out of the dog door, so even that is not an escape for Sumo! His only saving grace is that she does take some good naps throughout the day!

They were both very excited about the big snow we got Sunday. Sophie especially loves to run and dive into drifts.

And she still can pick on Sumo. So life is good.

Well, off to run some errands. A new yarn store has opened downtown and I feel it my duty to pay a visit!! (She just opened yesterday, so it's not even listed on the site yet!!)

Until Next Time.....