Thursday, May 29, 2008


Well, it is Thursday and time for an update. Unfortunately with all of the storms our internet is down and it may be a bit before they can get us back online. We are doing our training runs and just this week sent out our support letters. (We got our first one back today! Thanks Mom and Dad!!) That will be my update for today... stay tuned next Thursday for my next TNT update when life looks to have settled down a bit and hopefully our internet will be up and running. (Hopefully I'll have a regular post later this weekend. I have more knitting to show!!)

Thanks to all for the Anniversary wishes!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

25 Years!!!

Yes, today is the day. Our 25th Wedding Anniversary! Hard to believe that it has been that long. Steve had taken the day off so we could do something 'exciting', but as it turns out we spent the day driving 500+ miles to Omaha and back to move R & M into their apartment for the summer. And it was a great day. We had lots of time together to talk (and knit) and we even stopped by the mall in Des Moines and got a treat. Now to start on the adventure of the next 25 years!!!

I have a few pictures of finished items to share. The first is my Chevron scarf - finally off the needles and I love it. I immediately cast on another in Noro sock yarn. I really don't like the feel of this yarn, but I hear that it softens up when washed. I miss the feel of my Wollmeise yarn. I miss the Wollmeise for that matter. Come back to us Claudia!!!

I also finished the baby sweater already!! My first sweater! I need to add a couple of little buttons, but wa-la! I am making a matching hat and will finish it tonight and share it in my next post. I think I will even have enough yarn left to make my niece a matching hat as well. I'm going to need to order more of this yarn. It feels so yummy. I'm hoping a baby sweater counts for Sheri's DIC Kal!!

Looked out yesterday and there was K and Sebastian on the deck looking in the back door. She loves to spend time with him when she is home on break. He'll be 10 years old this August. Wow. Time sure does fly.

Thanks for those who voiced concern over the recent storms. We were very close to some serious tornados on Sunday. A town less then 10 miles from here was almost completely destroyed. (And several other towns around us had major damage as well). We had only the inconvenience of no internet for a few days but our thoughts and prayers go out to all of those who are affected. Tornado season always has me a little on edge, especially since we live in the country and can't hear any sirens.

Until Next Time.....

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Enjoying LIfe

Things have been busy around here with everyone home, but I've been enjoying every minute with the kids around. And we've been keeping pretty busy! It's very different parenting grown children... I have no responsibility for them really, and just get to enjoy the wonderful young adults that they have become. One of the many perks is that they have been very willing to help with the cooking. R & M treated us to 'Raclette' the other night. Yum!

Here is the Raclette grill.... One puts vegies, meats etc.. on top and then melts a variety of cheeses in the tray below and then puts it all over a cooked red potato. (Or at least that is what we have done!) It is a nice meal for lingering at the table and having conversation.

Thursday evening I got a call that a good friend of mine was on the way to the hospital to have baby #5. Two hours later she called to say that they had a little boy. Two hours. That's it. Life is not fair. Anyways, I don't know if I had kids when I was really really young or if my friends are just having them when they are old, but many of my friends here have very young children. Me? I'm waiting for the grandbabies!

My niece is expecting a baby in a few weeks and I got the yarn and started a sweater for her. (She knows that it is a little girl). I can see why so many people are making sweaters out of this Dream in Color Classy yarn.. it is wonderful. My gauge is a little off, so it is going to be a little bigger than I thought, but that's ok. She'll grow into it!

I've been enjoying the cool spring that we've been having and have spent a few days knitting in the sun. Sumo loves to be at my feet wherever I am, inside or out. My family may think otherwise, but I think Sumo loves me best. (And, no, it's not because I give him treats, although I'm sure that doesn't hurt....) It's because I'm always here.

We're having a fairly lazy weekend. Playing some games, going to graduation open houses, knitting and starting to think about packing up the kids as 3 of them leave the nest again this week. Gotta soak them up while I can!!

Until Next Time....

Friday, May 23, 2008

TNT Thursday

Ok, ok, I know that it is Friday, but it has just been one of those weeks. (Have you ever had one of those weeks?) But I still wanted to give you an update on things. Today I thought I would share a little more about Team in Training.

Team in Training is first and foremost a fundraising program. The primary objective is to raise funds for blood-related cancer research. They work hand in hand with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society whose mission is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma and to improve the quality of life of patients and their families.

Since it's establishment in 1949, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society has awarded over $550 million dollars in research grants. And great strides have been made. One of the most incredible research advances has been the increasing cure rate for children with acute lymphocytic leukmia (ALL). In 1960, less than 5 percent of the children with ALL survived. Today, over 80 percent of the children diagnosed with ALL are surviving! That is AMAZING! And that has been in my lifetime.

The heart of the Team in Training program is the patient that those who are training and raising funds train in honor of. An Honored Patient is someone who has been diagnosed with leukemia or a related cancer and has agreed to be a Team's inspiration. As I mentioned in a previous post, Jared is our Honored Patient that our team is running for.

And now to my training. When I signed the dotted line to run this marathon I was not exercising at all. Nada. So I have a long way to go. Team in Training provides a coach who comes up with a training plan and helps in every way he can to ensure that you will cross the finish line. Slowly but surely I am getting stronger. Tomorrow will be my 'long run' of the week and I'll be going 5 miles. Each week my long run increases. During the week I do shorter runs with some cross training on off days. It feels good to be exercising again and to be doing it for such a great cause.

Next week I'll 'introduce' another one of the special people that Steve and I are running in memory of.

Until Next Time...

(If you are interested in donating to my Team In Training efforts, please click on the Team in Training logo to the left of this post. And thank you in advance for helping in the race to find a cure!!)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Knitting and Shopping

These are two things that I enjoy. I haven't been able to do much of either recently, but yesterday I got a little of each in. I'm still plugging away on my Chevron scarf.

Wollmeise yarn has so much yardage that it seems to be going on forever. (Which is a good thing....) I think I am nearing the end, however, and may finish it today if I can squeeze in some knitting time here and there. Here is all that is left of my large skein that I started out with. Pretty exciting.

K has also cast on a chevron scarf out of yarn from The Knittery. The colors are beautiful. It has a very different look and feel than the one that I am doing which is one of the fun elements of knitting.

I have decided to make a baby sweater for my niece who is expecting a little girl next month. I ordered some Dream In Color Classy in the Wisterious colorway. I think it will be beautiful. I am going to do the Child's Placket Neck Sweater pattern by Joelle Hoverson from her Last-Minute Knitted Gifts book. Here is a small sample picture of the sweater. I hope to cast that on as soon as the yarn gets here and have it done by the baby shower we're having in July.

I went to a new fun store yesterday. They carry bags by Anne Taintor. Very fun. This is one I picked up for a tattooed friend of mine. I hope to give it to her tonight. There were several I would like to have bought.

Well, off to the grocery store and then to do some cooking. Today is a big day for M as she has an interview for a 5th grade teaching job next year at the elementary school our kids went to. It would be the perfect job.

Until Next Time...

Sunday, May 18, 2008

To Plant Or Not To Plant

That is the question I ask myself each year. I am not a gardener by nature. I have a black thumb to be sure. But there is something rewarding about a garden. And K really wanted to plant one this year, so I called the 'Killer Tiller' guy to come till up the garden.

We went out and bought all kinds of fun plants. Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, squash etc.. and got it all planted. (Mmmmm, I can just about taste my first tomatoe/potato chip sandwich of the summer....) Sumo LOVES days like this when we are outside all day and he can just lay around and watch us work.

Of course, after the work is done, we do our own share of laying around! The hammock is especially wonderful on a day like today!

Today Steve and K worked on a new flowerbed. They rode their bikes up to Farm and Fleet and picked up all kinds of beautiful flowers. (Steve fitted K's bike with a crate yesterday and she was itching to try it out!)

They both love to work outside in the garden and flowerbeds. I have to admit that it is not something I necessarily enjoy. I'm just glad that they do!

I was tagged by Cheryl and Annie97 to play in a it is. (I'm following MOST of the rules... I've decided that instead of choosing 6 to tag, I will challenge those who haven't been tagged yet to play along....)

1. What was I doing 10 years ago? Well, let's see. The kids were 8, 11 and 13 so I was in the very busy time of life of driving to school, soccer games, etc.. and cooking and doing laundry and trying to keep up.

  • 2. What are 5 things on my to-do list today- not in any particular order?
    Knit, take a nap, calibrate my new running watch, play a game and go see the new Narnia movie.

    3. Snacks I enjoy. KettleKorn; chips and salsa; M&M's; scones; just about anything that is not good for me!

    4. Places I've lived- Minnesota; New York; Tokyo, Japan; Iowa

    5. Things I would do if I were a billionare: pay off the mortgage; give to charity; buy a fun convertible 2-seater sports car

    6. Peeps I want to know more about: Everyone who reads my blog should consider yourself tagged!! Feel free to answer these in the comments section or on your own blog!
  • Thursday, May 15, 2008

    TNT Thursday

    I have designated Thursdays as 'TNT-Thursdays' in hopes to update you on the marathon we are training for with Team in Training. We are running in honor of 3 people who were affected by Leukemia and Lymphoma and were very close to us. I hope in doing this that I can raise awareness (and funds) to help fight these diseases. Medicine has come a long way, but there is still a long way to go!!

    Leukemia. It’s a word that didn’t conjure up many emotions 10 years ago. I knew it was a form of cancer, but beyond that I really didn’t know much.

    That all changed on Wednesday September 22, 1999 when we got the call to let us know that Lindsay had leukemia. Lindsay? Not Lindsay! I was in shock - speechless for a few moments while Steve tried to figure out what news I had received that had caused such a reaction. As I told him the news that Lindsay, the beautiful 16 year old daughter of our dear friends Steve and Cheryl, had leukemia I could see his medical mind racing. His first question was what kind of leukemia (I didn't even really know there were different kinds!) I asked. "AML" I said. The look on Steve's face said it all. If there was a 'good' and 'bad' leukemia. This was the 'bad'.

    A bit about leukemia:

    Leukemia is a cancer of the bone marrow and blood. It is characterized by the uncontrolled accumulation of blood cells. The major categories of leukemia are myelogenous and lymphocytic, each of which can be acute (A.M.L. and A.L.L.) or chronic (C.M.L. and C.L.L.).

    Acute leukemia progresses rapidly, resulting in the accumulation of immature cells that are unable to function in the blood and marrow. This results in anemia (shortage of normal numbers red blood cells), impaired ability to fight infection (shortage of normal numbers of white blood cells) and easy bruising and bleeding (shortage of normal numbers of platelets).

    Chronic leukemia progresses more slowly and allows a greater number of more mature, functional cells to be made.

    So, Lindsay had AML - Acute Myelogenous Leukemia. She was admitted immediately to the Children's Hospital and started treatment. The next 3 months were spent waging war on the bad cells and trying desperately to put the leukemia into remission so that Lindsay could receive a bone marrow transplant. Steve and Cheryl had a steep learning curve as they spent hours in the hospital trying to understand and make sense of every test; procedure etc.. that Lindsay was having to undergo. They started a page on Caring Bridge to journal about their experience and to keep friends and family updated. One can not even imagine what it is like to watch one's child go through something like this, but through her journal Cheryl gave us all a glimpse. (I will be sharing some excerpts from her journal in future TNT-Thursday posts). Strengthened by their faith in God, they walked through this dark valley as we all prayed for Lindsay to be cured. She was 'cured', but not in the way that we had prayed. Lindsay passed away on December 20, 1999, having fought the good fight. No more pain. No more sorrow. And we will see her again.

    We are so blessed to have had Lindsay in our lives for as long as we did. Here is an early picture of our oldest son R with Lindsay at the Minnesota State Fair. I can look at this picture and then close my eyes and hear their little voices and their squeals of delight as they 'flew' on this ride. I'm pretty sure the next picture in the sequence was R giving Lindsay a big ole kiss on the cheek!

    Our families are close. Together with our friends Renae and Mike, we form the Triple-R Gang. (All of our last names begin with R.) We often went camping in the fall; to the cabin in the summer and have rung in many a New Year's together. And when we get together we can still feel Lindsay's quiet presence because I think a little piece of her lives in all of us. And we are blessed.

    Lindsay is one of the reasons that we are running. It may be too late to find a cure for Lindsay, but we also race for all of those whose lives will be turned upside down this year by the diagnosis of leukemia. We race to find a cure.

    Until Next Time

    Wednesday, May 14, 2008

    Fun With Fiber

    Llamas. I have come to take for granted looking out each day to the pasture full of these beautiful animals. They are looking particularly beautiful these days with their new haircuts! (Not that you can see it in this picture). The 'llama girls' have gotten almost all of the shearing done for the summer. The llamas sure appreciate having that wool taken off when the Iowa summer heat and humidity hit!

    I have taken four of the fleeces and have it boxed and ready to send to a fiber mill to be prepared to spin. It will probably take 4-5 months before they have it back to me, but it will be fun to play with when it does come back.

    Sumo is spending a little more time outdoors with the nice weather, but still seems to prefer to be where we are. He also loves to spend time in the doghouse that is built in to the corner of the garage. He can go in and out as he pleases through his dog door. I can still remember trying to show him how to use the door. It was comical.

    His favorite spot is on his bed on the front porch. From here he can keep an eye out for squirrels; dogs walking down the road; UPS trucks etc.. Occasionally he still will get up and bark for whatever reason. For the most part, however, I think he's retired and just enjoying a lazy life. And that's ok.

    Until Next Time....

    Sunday, May 11, 2008

    Happy Mothers' Day!

    Well, it is Mother's Day today, so I wish all mother's a very wonderful day. Especially my own mom!! Happy Mother's Day, Mom!! I think we have a quiet day planned around here. Steve said he and the kids would be cooking dinner and I could curl up and knit and not have to do a thing. Twist my arm!!!

    We've been getting the kids moved back home and settled. Our son A moved back Thursday; R & M moved in on Friday and yesterday we went and picked up all of K's things. (She has finals this week and will be home Friday). It's been quite nice when we've gone to pick up the kids - they've had their stuff boxed and ready to load. Within a half hour we've been done and ready to go out for a quick bite to eat or something.

    Like maybe Coldstone. Steve and K each got a creation with Cake Batter Ice Cream. Now I know that lots of people are crazy for this flavor but I find it quite disgusting. Sorry. That's just me. I skipped the ice cream and went for a Raspberry/Mango Smoothie at the House of Aromas. Yum!

    Steve has been working hard in the yard, and it's been nice for him having the kids home to help.
    He also gets a lot of help from his 4-wheeler which he uses for everything. It is quite the work horse, but very fun on the side.

    I've been busy getting the bird feeders cleaned out and filled. Saw our first Orioles the other day and so that feed is out and has already had many visits. I just LOVE Orioles! I also enjoy the Gold Finches and have a wonderful feeder that can hold tons of finches at one time, and is often full!! Many had flown away when I went to take this picture. Usually every perch has a finch and there are some waiting on top and on a nearby feeder etc.. Let's just say I go through lots of thistle!!

    I did get the black and gray Lucy bag felted the other day and am quite happy with how it turned out. I need to find a button for the front and it will be ready. Slow progress on my scarf, but hope to have some knitting time today while I smell the wonderful aromas of dinner being cooked in the kitchen and the beautiful sound of dishes being done from afar.

    Steve and I continue to train for the marathon. I am starting out very slow... just ramping up and building my endurance. (If you didn't read my previous post, we are training to run the San Antonio Marathon with Team in Training.) I am sad that Sumo is too old to train with me, but he always welcomes us back after a run. (And I take him for a short walk for a cool down). There was a day he would have joined me!!

    Have a Wonderful Day!!

    Until Next Time....

    Wednesday, May 07, 2008


    26.2 may not mean much to you, unless you're a runner. Then you probably know that 26.2 is the number of miles in a marathon. And that is exactly what I have begun training for. It won't be my first one (I 'ran' the Twin Cities Marathon in 2001) and said then if I ever did another one it would have to be for a good cause!

    Well, a few weeks ago Steve and I both joined a Team in Training team to train for the San Antonio marathon on November 16, 2008. Now for those not familiar with Team in Training, it is a team of people raising not only money, but also awareness for the Leukemia and Lymphoma society and are coming together to Race for a Cure!! Here is a picture with just a few of the team's members. I have decided to make Thursdays my 'Team in Training' blog day. I'll be sharing about the special people that we are running in memory of; the details of our training; etc... If I figure out how to knit and run at the same time, I'll be sharing about that as well!! If you would like to be a part of my 'team', I am looking to raise over $4100. It's easy to donate by clicking here and checking out my Team in Training website. For every $25.00 donated, your name will be entered into a drawing for a variety of items.. some yet to be determined!! If you would prefer to donate by check, just email me at with your address and I'd be happy to send you our support letter and donation form with a self-addressed stamp envelope for you to return it in.

    Our family has been personally affected by these diseases in the loss of 3 very special people, who I will share about in future posts, and who we are running in memory of. We also run in honor of a local 'hero' who we got to meet tonight.

    Jared is a 6 year old, extremely energetic boy who was diagnosed with AML (Acute Myelogenous Leukemia) in August of 2007. He has been in the hospital most of these past 8 months receiving intensive chemotherapy. He is in remission now, and is home with his family planning on going fishing and camping this summer. You see him here with his 304 'bravery' beads that he got for every test; procedure; stick; poke; ambulance ride etc.. that he has been through since his diagnosis. (He is VERY proud of his beads!!) There is even a little bald head bead for when he lost his hair. (Click on the picture to enlarge it and get a closer look at Jared's beads....there are a lot of them!!)

    As the front of our team t-shirts say "If you think training for a marathon is hard - try chemotherapy!". I hope that you will join me by stopping by every Thursday for my TNT Update, and by donating on my donation page if you feel so led. We can all join the race to cure cancer.

    Until Next Time.....

    Monday, May 05, 2008

    Kids Move Out...

    but they come back again! And we will be welcoming them all back home in the next few days. This week is finals week for R and A and then they will be moving back home... for a few weeks that is, until their summer jobs start. (R & M have sublet their apartment, so they will moving in as well... we will be a full household!!) K has finals next week and will be home next Friday. We are all looking forward to our time of 'togetherness'! :-)

    I've been busy trying to get rooms ready and storage places set for all of the 'stuff' that they will be bringing home with them. Steve and I will head out this afternoon to bring back most of A's stuff for him. I'll get a little knitting time in on the car ride there and back, but other than that, there hasn't been much time for knitting these days.

    I did manage to bake a bunch of Monster Cookies yesterday for a meeting we had at church last night. They did a good job at polishing them off!!

    The weather is really warming up and it feels heavenly. In fact, I'm just geting ready to head out for a run. Hopefully there will be more to write about later this week.

    Until Next Time....

    Thursday, May 01, 2008

    Happy May Day!

    Well, May has come and I am hopeful that warm weather won't be too far behind. It has just seemed a long time coming this year! I know the llamas enjoy the cooler weather, but it won't be long until the shearing will need to start so that they won't be as bothered by the heat, when it does come. I am thinking of saving a few fleeces to send away and have prepared to spin. I know that I will save Sebastian's wool for sure, and maybe one or two more.

    We have been trying to take Sumo on a daily walk, which is the highlight of his day. He gets so excited when he sees his collar and leash. We usually walk as far as he wants to go. After about a half mile, he does an abrubt U-Turn and starts pulling towards home. (He seems to know his limit!) I think a mile walk is pretty good for a 12+ year old lab!

    I've been trying to do a little knitting everyday on my scarf and am making progress. I'm also working on a secret project for my Loopy Ewe Swap partner (Hi Trish!). That needs to be mailed by June 15th, and if May goes as fast as April did, June 15th will be here before I know it!

    Steve had Tuesday afternoon off and volunteered to cook dinner so I could curl up and knit. What a treat! And dinner was fantastic! (Steak; grean beans; new potatoes) and my favorite dessert..... Pinwheel cookies. (I know you're jealous Nae!) It obviously looks like I was quite desperate to get into the package the way it was torn open. I assure you that it is just a defect in the packaging materials......

    We are having our Thursday night group over tonight for dinner, so I am spending the day cooking and getting ready. I have taken a few recipes from Sheri's blog and am making her Grandma's Spaghetti and Susan's Winter Fruit Salad.

    For dessert I am making crepes. Thought I would share the recipe with you. They are easy to make and are so versatile with what you can do with them. I prefer to mix the crepe mixture the night before and make them in the morning.


    4 eggs
    3/4 cup milk
    3/4 cup water
    1/4 tsp. salt
    3 Tbsp oil
    1 cup plus 2 Tbsp flour

    3 Tbsp butter or oil (for baking)

    1. Mix first six ingredients together and beat until smooth
    2. Refrigerate for 2 hours (or overnight)
    3. Heat crepe pan over medium heat. Butter or oil bottom.
    4. Put @ 1/4 cup mixture on pan and turn pan to coat evenly.
    5. Cook until edges start to curl, turn over and cook until done.
    6. Stack cooked crepes until you need to use them.

    Fillings: Fill crepes with tuna or chicken mixture for dinner entree; or with fruit/ pudding and whipped cream mixture for dessert.

    Here is a prototype of what I will be serving tonight. I put a small amount of ice cream and some fresh strawberries in the crepe and roll up. Then I put a layer of whip cream and fresh strawberries on top and drizzle with Ghirardelli chocolate. Yum. And for those who are wondering, the prototype is no more. Somehow it vanished. Crazy.

    Until Next Time....