Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goodbye 2009! Hello 2010!

My husband looked at me over dinner tonight and told me it had been almost a month since I updated my blog. It made me smile. I think he has missed reading what we've been up to!

I do admit that I spend very little time on the computer these days and it seldom occurs to me that I should be looking for things to blog about. I've just been enjoying time with family and friends and looking forward to a new year. Let's see.... here is a brief recap of the last few weeks....

We hosted the main meal for a progressive dinner with some students from the university here in town. What a FUN bunch of young women. There were several international students who came as well. I LOVE connecting with students from other countries and hearing about how they came to study here.

Snow has been a major factor in our lives in the past weeks, and has led to the cancellations of many key events. Christmas Eve service was cancelled; Steve had his first 'snow day' from the office in the 14 years we have been here; and the most devastating for me, is that it prevented us from making the trip to Minnesota to spend Christmas with my family when they celebrated. That day is always such a highlight for me and it saddens me to think I have to wait another year for it to roll around again!! Sumo is somehow managing to make the pilgrimage around the back field each day, but it is pretty slow and go.

Steve and K took a surprise trip to New York City one weekend and even took a helicopter ride over Manhattan! They had quite the view!! They packed a lot into their weekend and have lots of fun memories. I'm excited to get there someday...

They did go to M&M world and brought me back this fun sweatshirt for Christmas! It is my new favorite!!! The really fun thing about this picture is that I took it with my phone and just learned how to transfer it to the computer via bluetooth. :-) I LOVE learning new (well, at least new to me) technology!

I loved having time with everyone home over the weekend! We played lots of games; ate lots of yummy food; laughed a bunch and just enjoyed being together! I just happen to be blessed with the best kids on the planet.

I did get the fingerless mitts done in time for the girls and they loved them. The next pair I knit will be for myself. I just can't decide which yarn I want!

K made this photo frame for R & M with pictures she took in and around our house. They were really excited about it. They may have to keep an eye on it when I come to visit because I have the PERFECT spot for it to hang in my house!!!

I will leave you with a final recipe for the year ..... Strawberry and Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast. I made it for the kids for breakfast this morning; and for Steve when he got home from work. Everyone gave it two thumbs up!

Strawberry and Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast

2 slices Texas Toast per serving
fresh strawberries, sliced
cream cheese frosting*

1. Beat eggs (1-2 per serving) with a splash of milk until well mixed.

2. Melt 1 tsp or so of butter in fry pan over medium heat.

3. Spread one piece of Texas Toast with cream cheese frosting.

4. Layer with fresh strawberries and top with second slice of Texas Toast.

5. Dip in egg mixture and coat each side really well.

6. Place in fry pan and cook until each side is golden brown.

7. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and ENJOY!!!

Cream Cheese Frosting:
(This can be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before making French Toast)

8 oz Cream Cheese
1 cup butter
1 pound powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon juice

1. Allow cream cheese and butter to get to room temperature

2. Beat butter and cream cheese together in a large bowl with mixer

3. Slowly add in the powdered sugar.

4. After all the powdered sugar is added, mix for 12 minutes. (Do not mix less than that)

5. When almost done, add in the vanilla and lemon juice

Happy New Years to all of you! May God richly bless you in the coming year!

Until Next Time....

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Snow Day!!!

It started yesterday. The predictions were for lots of snow. I hoped they were wrong. But it was not to be. 15 inches at last report. We kept a close watch on this happy garden guy in the front of the house, watching as the snow accumulated up all around him. Poor guy!!

Sophie has been pouting all day because she didn't get to go on either of her field walks. She won't even look at me. Maybe tomorrow Sophie......

Sumo loves to go out and eat the snow. I have been thankful for his sake that the snow has held off as long as it has. It is going to be hard for him to navigate these deep drifts. I think it is safe to say that his walks in the back field have come to a halt, at least for now.

K took this picture of our winter wonderland out the back window. It is pretty and certainly does get one in the Christmas spirit!! For Steve, it was his first SNOW DAY that he has had since we moved here 14+ years ago!!! Pretty crazy!! It was fun to have him around all day.

Since it has been a few weeks since my last post, I will do a quick 'catch up' of what we have been up to. We had a great Thanksgiving day. K invited some good friends to spend a few days with us, which was so fun. I love these two!!! And am happy to be their American 'mom' while they are studying here in the U.S.

We played games; ate turkey; went 'Black Friday' shopping; and played more games!! R & M were around Thanksgiving day, but A & CB were at her folks. We'll get to see more of them over the Christmas break.

This past weekend, K and I made a quick trip to Chicago for a 'girls weekend' with Sheri and her knitting daughter. Shopping; knitting; catching up and eating at fun restaurants are all important components of a girls weekend. We found a GREAT pizza place to have Chicago style pizza. Very yummy! They even ship over 250,000 pizzas a year all over the states!!!

Breakfast is one of my favorite meals to eat out, and we found a GREAT breakfast place just a stone's throw from our hotel. These are my yummy yummy crepes that I had. I think I may have to make crepes some time this weekend!

We stayed right by the IKEA store and took K there for the first time. I LOVE this store and made many very fun purchases! Several things for our living room which we are in the process of redoing. Sure would love to have an IKEA store closer to home!!!!

In knitting news, I have finished the first of CB's mitt and hope to cast on the second one later this week. I just can't say enough about this pattern. My friend Sheri has mentioned it so much on her blog that the gal who wrote the pattern made it available on a blog post as well as on ravelry. You can get the free pattern here.

I also started an alpaca tubular scarf with some yarn that Sheri gave me when we were in Chicago. These are probably the warmest scarves on the planet!!!! You cast on 70 stitches onto a size 5 - 16" circular needle and then just knit away. I am striping mine, changing colors every 5 rows. When it is as long as you want, you seam the ends; add some fringe and enjoy it's incredible warmth!!!!

Until Next Time....

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling......

It is lefse season here at our house!! Today I have 6 batches that I am going to try and get rolled out and packaged for our Distinctive Design Open House this Sunday! I LOVE the way this makes the house smell. Smells like Christmas..... (For my recipe and step by step instructions on how to make lefse, see this post.)

There is nothing yummier than a piece of lefse hot off the grill with a little butter on it. I confess that sometimes I even have dreams about it. Today that dream will probably come true several times! Yum!!

K will be at the Open House selling cupcakes from her 'As You Wish' Bakery. This order went out this morning and looked so good. I wonder if they would have noticed one missing.....

I am happy to report that Sumo no longer has bad breath. We are all thankful. I had suspected it was because his teeth needed to be cleaned, but was afraid to have him put under general anesthetic at his age.... They had to keep him at the vet for quite awhile as he had a very hard time coming around - but all is well now and he has minty fresh breath!! (Well, not minty maybe, but better than it was!!!) He got a thumbs up from the vet for being in pretty good shape for an old man, and I was told it is probably the 2x daily walks in the back field that are keeping him going. He is down 30 pounds from when he was in his prime, but it is probably better for him with his arthritis.

Sophie hated having him gone and kept looking for him in his usual sleeping spots. What a happy reunion when he returned!! (Happy for her, anyways. I think Sumo rather enjoyed a little time away from her enthusiasm!)

I finished another pair of 100% cotton fingerless gloves for K. They turned out so soft, which is nice. (The other cotton ones I have made for her are just a little stiff...) I used this yarn from KnitPicks. One skein was all it took, so they are very reasonable to make. I am totally addicted to this pattern and have a gazillion more I want to make!

I have already cast on another pair. I want to make a pair for both M and CB. I wonder if they can guess who these are for? The purple will give it away, I am sure!!!

Time to roll out more lefse.

Until Next Time....

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Knitting and Chocolate Dipping....

I enjoy both...knitting and chocolate dipping!! And today has already had a little of both!!! We started with big marshmallows to make snowmen on a stick. (We dipped the two bottom layers and put a plain marshmallow on top for the head...)

Still working on the best ways to decorate the little guys. I think a red licorice scarf would be cute and maybe some pretzel arms. We have also tried dipping the head marshmallow in white chocolate which also works well.

And, of course, one needs to dip mini-marshmallows to create snowman poop. These are very dangerous to have laying around however. They are so yummy!!!!!

If you haven't tried this chocolate yet for dipping, I HIGHLY recommend it!! It is THE BEST dipping chocolate ever. It is a available now for a limited time at Sam's Club. Definitely worth stocking up on! (I bought 85 pounds worth if that gives you any idea how much we like it!!)

I won't tell you how much of the snowman poop I have already consumed today. It's just not something I want to confess to!

In knitting news, I am still working on the fingerless mitts. I finished the yummy blue ones and I LOVE how they turned out. And although these will soon be on their way to China, I have enough to make myself a matching pair!!! (Steve just wanted reassurance that I won't need a new coat to go with them..... hmmmm, do you suppose I have a bit of a coat issue???) Some of asked what yarn this is, it is Fiesta Boomerang.

As it turns out, my friends daughter in China has two teammates that she is there with, so I am knitting fast and furious to get 3 pair ready to send by this Thursday. Here is the first mitt of the 3rd pair. (I am half way done with the second mitt as well, so I should be able to have them ready!!) I am totally addicted to this pattern. Totally. (This is also Fiesta Boomerang)

I felt bad about the condition of Sophie's toys after my last post, so I broke down and bought her a couple of new ones. I don't know why. This one already has rips in it and stuffing is laying all over the house. Not sure I will ever learn.

Oh, and the fresh breath rinse and mints are doing NOTHING for Sumo's bad breath. Sigh. It was worth a shot.

Until Next Time....

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Four Things....

that make me laugh, when they should probably make me cry....

1. Our current Loopy Ewe water bottle situation. These are by far my favorite water bottles and I used them all the time. My sweet husband, however, was too efficient in doing the dishes the other day and put the two blue ones in the dishwasher. NOT a good idea. I probably should throw them away (and I will be ordering more when they are back in stock) but it makes me laugh to look at them. Not sure why......

2. The concrete evidence of mice in the house. Yes, these dissected cupcakes clearly indicate the presence of mice. Mice in the form of humans who decide it's ok to eat just the part of an existing cupcake that sounds good at the moment...... So sad. (Note: the piece of chocolate and remaining buttercream disappeared shortly after this photo was taken. I don't think the fact that I am the only one home necessarily implies that I am guilty.....)

3. The items that I had to purchase yesterday for Sumo. Yes you see correctly. Doggy breath mints and mouth wash to add to his water. The reality is Sumo's breath smells like dead fish. No kidding!!! And when he starts to pant, it about knocks you out. It's suppose to take a few days for these items to take effect. I will keep you posted!!! In the meantime, I am just thankful that Sumo has never been one to lick!!

4. The state of Sophie's toys. Yes, these are her toys. At one time they were new and cute and many of them had squeakers that actually worked!! Now it is just a collection of strings; monkey limbs; duck heads etc... She still seems to like them, so I guess that is all that matters.

In knitting news, I finished K's mitts and am very happy how they turned out. They are 100% cotton and not quite as soft as some of the others I have made, but they will be kinder to her skin. I have to say that I am in love with this pattern!! (Link takes you to Ravelry, where the pattern is)

In fact, I have already started another pair!! This one is for a friend's daughter who is currently living in China. I'm loving the feel and color of this yarn and am glad there is enough to make at least 2 pair, as I have a feeling I will want some for myself!!!

Oh, and Sophie wants to show you her 1 toy that still looks pretty much like it did when we gave it to her. A raggedy rope that she loves to play tug-of-war and keep-away with. It definitely has signs of 'Sophie-wear', but it is hanging in there!!!

Until Next Time....

Saturday, October 31, 2009

So Long October....

Wow! Last day of October. I can't say that I am sorry to see it leave. It was a cold, rainy month. I am hoping that November is going to be nicer!!! It did make for a few nice days to curl up and do a little knitting, however. I got these mitts done and I LOVE them!!

I decided that a scarf would go well with the, so decided to finally tackle the Irish Hiking Scarf which I have wanted to do since I started knitting. It's hard to see the cables in the yarn, but there are three of them across the scarf. I thought it would match the above mitts nicely. Hopefully I will get it done in a few weeks.

I also have swapped a knitting project with K. I am very excited. I purchased this yummy Baby Twist Alpaca from The Loopy Ewe and K is going to knit me one of those tubular scarfs that transition from one color to the other. I think it is my favorite scarf of all time. I thought the light purple/charcoal gray would be a beautiful combination!

In exchange, I am knitting her a pair of fingerless mitts like the ones I just finished out of 100% cotton. (Wool is not kind to her sensitive skin!!) I have had to restart these a couple of times, but I think I finally got it right. It will be a good project to work on during the Vikings - Packers game tomorrow!!! (GO VIKINGS!!!)

I have been doing some large group cooking these past few weeks. We host a Marriage Course at our church and we provide a candlelit meal for the couples before the session. Tonight was Week 4 of 7. Penne was the main dish. I tried something new and cooked it (4 batches) totally in my roaster. It worked great!!!! I love my roaster.

I had some fun shopping on Etsy a few weeks ago. I found someone who did custom aprons and hats. I couldn't resist and ordered K some aprons and a hat for her business. She was thrilled. Now I want a hat for myself!!!!

I will leave you with this picture of her chocolate-dipped peanut butter cookie. (Just to be kind of mean!!) They are very very yummy. If you are in the neighborhood stop on by and we'll give you a sample!!

Here's to a sunny, warm November!!! We can only hope!

Until Next Time...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Knitting again.....

It's true. I actually have been doing some knitting. I won't say that my knitting mojo is back, exactly... but I have been doing a little each day and am enjoying seeing some progress...even if they are little things!!!! The one I am most excited about is this fingerless glove that Sheri mentioned on her blog. It was exactly what I was looking for. I still have to finish the thumb (oh, and the second glove), but I will be starting that today. The yarn is some I got at The Fold. There is enough to do several pairs and a scarf and maybe a fun hat....

I also cast on a felted bowl out of some wool I had in my stash. I am hoping to get several of these knit up for an upcoming event at my neighbors house... we will see. My mind is thinking of all the fun fingerless gloves I want to make for Christmas gifts...

And I have some felted coasters on the needles and a lot of additional colors I want to make up into coasters for a fun set. Like I said, nothing to amazing, but all fun.

Sophie continues to grow and keep us laughing with her quirky ways. Definitely the weirdest lab I have ever known.. but in a good way. She INSISTS on her morning and evening field walks, which are a good thing. I think the best thing they do is keep Sumo moving.....

Sumo is moving slow, but he is moving! He does at least one lap around the field both morning and night and even makes attempts at running. Thanks for hanging in there, old man!

I'm pretty sure that Sophie would be lost without him!!! She is very protective of him on the one hand, but can bowl him over with her enthusiasm on the other.

Cakes, cupcakes, cake balls and cookies are still being produced by the dozens in our kitchen. Makes for a yummy smelling house! Here are a couple of cakes that K took to a tailgating party last weekend. As a Hawkeye fan, it kind of killed her to make these, but you do what you have to do!!!!

She also made some fun cake balls that surrounded the football cake. I think it was enjoyed by all. I'm pretty sure the next ones she makes will be black and gold though!

It's another cloudy day. We have had lots of those lately!!! Sunshine seems to be in short supply. At least it's warm out. And hey, there are cupcakes on the counter... how bad can life be?

Until Next Time....