Wednesday, May 27, 2009

May 27th.....

This is an important date for me! It's our anniversary! So I want to thank Steve for 26 wonderful years. (Well, most of them have been wonderful... some were harder than others!!!) But life is good and I am looking forward to the next 26 years, Lord willing!!

We had a very fun weekend in Chicago! One of the first stops we made was to The Fold. I have heard so much about this place that I just had to check it out for myself! I'm so glad I did!

I didn't buy much. A few skeins of Blue Mountain Socks that Rock and a skein of Twisted. I wish I had been ready to purchase some fun roving because there was a TON, but I need some more time behind the wheel to appreciate different fibers, I think. Next Time!

In the car I kept plugging away on my lengthwise Feather and Fan Scarf. I LOVE doing this scarf lengthwise!! 418 stitches is a long row, but the 3 plain rows are great mindless knitting. The pattern row takes a little concentration and I have to say, every time I do it and come out right I feel like doing a little dance. I see lots of these scarves in my future!!

The highlight of the weekend was picking up A and CB at the airport! So fun to hear all of their stories in the car as we drove to Peoria to meet up with her family. But per your requests, I am going to have them do a guest post on their trip when they get back to our house! (A did such a great job on his Antartica post so I think you'll enjoy his post on this trip as well!)

A fun surprise at the airport was a quick visit from Sheri's son who was leaving in a few hours for a backpacking trip around Europe. Lucky guy! To say I was jealous is an understatement! Good thing I didn't have my passport on me or I might have been tempted to tag along!

And I did some baking!! I was shocked when I checked my recipe blog and realized that I had never posted the recipe for our favorite caramel bars. I almost feel the need to apologize for not having done this sooner!!!! These are so yummy and are always a hit! Enjoy!

Caramel Bars

3/4 cup melted butter
1/3 cup evaporated milk
German chocolate cake mix
50 caramels
1/3 cup evaporated milk
12 ounce bag chocolate chips

1. Mix first 3 ingredients together.
2. Pat 1/2 of the mixture into a 9 X 13 pan.
3. Unwrap caramels. Melt with 1/3 cup evaporated milk.
4. Pour caramel mixture over top of cake mix in pan.
5. Sprinkle with 12 oz. of chocolate chips.
6. Spread remained cake mix over top of chocolate chips. *
7. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
8. Cool on the counter and then in the fridge to help the chocolate and caramel set.

* This is easier said then done. It won't exactly 'spread'. I find it easiest to take a small handful and flatten in out in my palms and then lay it on top of the chocolate chips.

Until Next Time...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

World Travelers.....

Those are two words that describe our kids these days!!! I am so amazed at the incredible opportunities our kids have had to see the world. My only wish is that I could go with them on their adventures!!!

Right now this is the view that A has!! That's right!! He's in Paris! He left Sunday for Spain to visit his girlfriend CB (who has been studying there all semester). They spent a few days in Spain and then flew to Paris for a few days. They will then head back to Spain, pack up CB's things and come home together! I LOVED Paris when we were there a few years ago and hope to go back someday.

K and her fiance are in the Middle East on a group trip. I got an email from her today and they actually floated in the Dead Sea today. It's hard for me to even wrap my mind around the amazing things that they are seeing and experiencing. I'm hoping they are taking LOTS of pictures. I've asked her to do a guest blog post when she comes home!!

In just a few short weeks, R and M will take off for the summer in Africa!! They are going with Africa Inland Mission as team leaders to work in an orphanage to relieve the regular orphanage workers for awhile. M has been there a couple of times before and is excited to share her love of the country and the people with R. Again, I so wish I was going with, but will be happy to live vicariously through their experiences.

Steve and I do have a trip to Wisconsin planned for mid-July which is pretty exciting. Won't need our passports, however....

Not much new on the knitting or baking front. I have my garden in and have been busy working on computer projects. I hope to sneak some knitting and cooking time over the weekend, so hopefully will have more to share next week.

Until Next Time....

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Master R.....

Well, it is official! On Saturday R graduated with his Master's of Accounting! He now would like to be addressed as 'Master R'... Yeah. I don't think so! But we are VERY proud of him!!

It was neat to be there and see him walk across the stage to get his diploma. Wow. I can still remember his first day of kindergarten, and here he is - married and graduating from college.

We celebrated with dinner afterwards and then cupcakes at their house. Steve had snuck over earlier and hung up the sign our friend Paul had made for his high school graduation 6 years ago!! We changed the year.. but the sentiment is still the same! TA DA... I DID IT!

Lots of family to help celebrate the day! Of course M was very proud and happy to have him done with school!!

M's mom and sister came to help celebrate! (Her dad is recovering from surgery and was unable to come! We sure missed you Tim!!)

Brother A was on hand! Next year will be his turn to walk the stage!!

Steve's dad and step mom were there as well celebrating with us!!

And lastly, some very proud parents!!!! Way to go son!!!!

After all the festivities, I did have a little time for knitting as well. I finished the striped tote that I had been working on and got it felted. I really like how it came out and have the next one ready to cast on after I find a stripe pattern I like from the random stripe generator.....

Also finally finished my Noro two toned scarf. Just in time for the heat of summer. Sigh. At least it will be ready to wear in the Fall. Not that I am thinking about it. I so prefer the warmth of summer!!

With the help of K who is home for a few days, we made a tray of Cake Balls to take into the teacher's lounge at M's school. These are very addicting to make, as well as it. Plus, you HAVE to check out Bakerella's website. Click on the April posts and scroll down to see some amazing cake balls. But don't blame me if you spend LOTS of time on her blog. It's not my fault. It's my friend Renae's fault who told ME about it! Blame her!

Until Next Time.....

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Spinning and Cake Balls and Fiber, Oh My!

Yes, I have finished spinning my last roving and I think I am getting closer to actually having a more consistent yarn. It's highly addictive and I am just itching to get my next roving on the wheel!!

A friend told me that some of her favorite roving to spin is Creatively Dyed seacel/merino and I just happen to have some in my stash, so I think it will be the next fiber I try. It's 8 ounces, which is twice as much as I've spun before, so that should be fun. Hopefully I'll get some good yardage out of it!

My drink holder came, so I have that on my wheel and ready to use. It holds my new Loopy Ewe water bottle that I got when I was at the Spring Fling. I LOVE this water bottle and the locking flip top. Even if you are not a knitter or a spinner, you may just want one of these!!

The cup holder arrived this week safe and sound. That's right. I think I have gotten the message across to both UPS and USPS and my packages are now being placed safely inside the container. Sophie is a bit disappointed, but she has found other things to destroy! (Like my cute little garden flag!). Good thing she's cute!!!

I also cast on a new scarf. It's Wendy's Feather and Fan pattern done lengthwise. I cast on 418 stitches (using a crochet cast on) and have knit one row. Phew. It's a lot of stiches. My new friend Dani from Germany (Dany on Ravelry) taught me the new cast on and has been a great encourager. She's even going to helping me with some advanced German! (Well, advanced for me!)

My new fun baking project has been Cake Balls. These are so easy to make and very delicious. These are very simple white cake/white frosting dipped in chocolate. I've also tried red velvet cake/cream cheese frosting dipped in white chocolate. The sky is really the limit with what you could do!! If you check them out, read the reviews.. there are lots of good comments and suggestions!

My tip for making these is the dipping chocolate that I have found to be the absolute best for dipping anything. It's a seasonal item that Ghirardelli puts out in the Fall (so probably not much help now!) I usually get it at Sam's Club. Has anyone else found a GREAT chocolate to dip with that is available all of the time? I'd love to know about it!

Well, big day around here!!! R is graduating today with his Master's of Accounting! He then leaves pretty much right away to take the first part (of 4) of his CPA exam. I'm so pround of him! Congratulations son!!

Until Next Time....

Saturday, May 02, 2009

I Don't Get It.......

So, as many of you may remember, Sophie destroyed my swap package that came in the mail. While I was at the Spring Fling, she destroyed two packages that were delivered during that time. I decided to make a 'safe haven' for packages by putting a note on the front door and an enclosed plastic container on the front step for packages to be put in. The note asks that any package that DOES NOT fit inside the container NOT be left on the front step........

Well, yesterday we were going to be gone and I was expecting a package from UPS of a new knitting bag that I was told I 'needed' to have after the Fling! I was a little nervous, so I asked the neighbor girl if she would mind stopping by if she saw the UPS truck go by. It did; and she did; and this is what she found... the package sitting on TOP of the plastic container.....(It WOULD have fit inside.....) Fortunately she got here right away and saved it from the jaws of destruction. (i.e. Sophie)

She is a lucky puppy. I truly may have sold her had she destroyed my new knitting bag. (Pictured here with my striped tote I am still working on....) It was amazing how many things I came home from the Fling 'needing'. In fact, I may or may not have a drink holder that fits on my spinning wheel arriving any day......

I did finish spinning my fiber that I was working on at the Fling. Here it is. It's about 200 yards so I am looking for a fun project to make with it.

I immediately started spinning up another roving and am very excited about this one. I'm really starting to get the feel of the wheel. I have one more small section to spin and then to ply it together. I think I will try some alpaca next....

I mentioned that I would show a few of the items that came home with me from the Fling. I have to tell you that there are some of the most wonderful, thoughtful people there at the Fling. Here is just some of the presents that I was given over the course of the weekend. (Some chocolate may not be pictured as it may no longer exist......)

Sophie even got a package of her own which included treats; bubbles and this fun toy which she immediately de-faced. At least now it matches all of her other toys.....

Sumo has no need for toys. Just give him a skein of homespun yarn to rest his head on and he's good...... (And Sophie is suppose to share the treats with him. PatQ said so!!)

Until Next Time....