Thursday, November 29, 2007

I think that I may be in over my head

I am a member of the enrichment committee, which is a fancy word for me being a person who helps plan activities for the women in my church. We have a monthly meeting to plan activities in the far future and in the nearer future. January was a bit bare, so somehow I ended up being put in charge of starting up a twice a month knitting lesson. I have been thinking a lot about it since I got home and if I want to do this right it will be a bit more time consuming than I had really thought at first (hand outs and what not). I am also starting to feel a bit inadequate about my knitting skills. I don't want to overwhelm the women and I want this to be fun so that they can enjoy knitting as much as I do. Our first project will be cotton washrags, something simple and easy so they can get the hang of knitting and purling.

On the upside, I finally got the scarf done and it may even make it over to Germany in time for Christmas. We also got the photo calenders that I am giving out this year. The boys had a blast looking at the pictures of them. I am so glad that I ordered one for us this year. I also made my first batch of apple butter.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Busy woman

I have been knitting like a mad woman. I am trying to get some Christmas knitting done in short order. I should have started ages ago but well here I am. Here are some pictures of my projects to help keep my blog warm.

Here is a flat shot of the pants that I finished over my Thanksgiving break. The reason that the second leg looks so different from the first is that the yarns came for different dye lots. In my haste to buy the yarn I forgot to check to make sure that both skeins were the same dye lot. I did not think it would be a huge deal since there were so many different colors on the yarn. I failed to take into account that the patterns would be different. I still think that the spiral is pretty neat, I just wish that the legs matched a tiny bit better.

I wish you could feel these. They are made from a wool alpaca blend and are super soft. I finished them just last night and am only waiting for them to dry from their lanolin dunk before you get some action pictures of them on Harry. It was a treat knitting with this yarn and I would love to get my hands on some more.

Here is the scarf that is consuming all my attention at the moment. My husband has a sister that lives in Germany and it is our year to send her a gift. I thought that it would be a nice thing to send and it would also be nice a light to help keep shipping costs down. I love how the yarn is making a nice zig zag pattern. I fell in love with this yarn and bought it with no thought of what I was going to make with it. It reminds me of a raspberry cream from See's candy. I am also going to make some more cotton dish rags and a pair of mittens for both boys. I have a few other possible things I would like to make, but am not going to ruin the surprise.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Gift List

My least favorite question in the whole world is "So what would you like for (insert gift giving occasion)?" I hate being put on the spot like that and can never think of an answer to the question. I have painstakingly compiled a list of gifts for me, my husband and the boys so that all my relatives can read it and quit harassing me already.

The boys
  • I am sure that they would love someone to crochet them a couple of these ultra adorable guinea pigs
  • The boys always love books, books and more books. They might even want a few more books. And there is always the option of getting them more books and more books and more books. Hey, they don't have lead paint on them and they take up a lot less space than most toys.
The Husband (I had to pry these out of him, he is such a hard person to shop for and get a gift list from)
  • Both seasons of My Hero
  • The RM
  • This list would not be complete with out a computer game and Oblivion is the one he has been drooling over for quite some time.
  • He also needs a new watch
  • Yarn is always a nice gift
  • This scarf is the cutest ever! I love the dark green dragon.
  • I hate having to keep digging up my instructions on how to do the Kitchener.
  • I would love it if someone knit up a pair of these for me.
  • A set of pretty stitch markers would also be very handy as I have been using bits of yarn that I keep loosing.
So there you go. I don't want to hear that awful question again until my birthday.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

We are back!

We are back and I got a ton of knitting done while I was gone. I was brave and tried knitting while riding in the car and it worked out. I get car sick pretty easily, so I took some medication as a preventative measure. During the long weekend I managed to mostly finish a second pair of longies, so I was a knitting dynamo. The knitting helped keep me occupied so that I could pretend to be listening to my husband's grandmother. She has dementia, so she repeats stories over and over again.

We hit some black Friday sales. I got Harry some really cute shirts to help replace the ones that he has grown out of. The crowds were not too bad since we went later in the morning.

The boys had a lot of fun at Grandma and Grandpa's house. There was lots of running around and getting into things. Evan started crying after we told him that we were not going back to grandma's house, but that we were going home.

We came home with four large boxes of apples and a lot of honey. I am going to be very busy putting those apples up although they will keep a lot longer than the peaches I took home this summer. There was a box of apples between the boys and they both decided to have a snack on the ride home. Harry was not content with just one apple and took nibbles out of three different ones. It was funny watching him eat them.

Pictures from the trip

Evan was very eager to get a piece of Harry's birthday pie.

Harry blowing out the candles. We had been practicing the whole blowing out of candles and all the practice payed off. Harry managed to blow both candles out.

Harry opening out his presents.

My husband's mother blew up some balloons for the boys to play with. Harry is wearing the pants I had been knitting. I finished them on Wednesday and they fit perfectly so my next pair is going to have some growing room. The leg that I ripped out turned out great and it spiraled nicely.

We went on a hike in the redwoods before we left for home on Saturday. Harry was quite impressed with the trees.

Evan and me in a tree. It was very cold and Evan was shivering. I had forgotten to to pack a hat for Evan poor kid. Luckily the walking warmed him up.

Evan checking out one of the fallen trees.

This is Harry playing in another tree cave. He was a bit chicken to go in at first, but once we carried him in he would not leave.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Happy Turkey Day

We are heading out for our Thanksgiving festivities. We will also be celebrating Harry's second birthday (How on earth did he get so big so quickly?) since this year they are both on the same day. Here are some highlights about Harry: my first post after his birth, his birth story, an important baby milestone, his first blog entry and my extreme enjoyment of this wonderful toddler stage.

Here are some fun links to enjoy while I am gone.

Works For Me Wednesday

This is a tip that I discovered quite by accident. The massive number of pictures I had taken of the boys had clogged up our hard drive. We got an external hard drive that we then transfered all of our picture to. That left our screen saver blank as it was set to show pictures from my My Pictures file. I then decided to search Google images for animal pictures an other kid friendly pictures.

The boys love watching the pictures as they flash by. They have also learned the names of some more exotic animals that do not normally show up in kid's books. Just make sure that you remember the names of all the animals. I put an Ibex in there just for fun and almost forgot what the animal was when it popped up on the screen. Evan also knows the name of all the planets and several different kinds of celestial bodies.

You can check out more hints and tips over at Rocks in my Dryer.

Nature abhors a vacuum, but I love this one: Product Review

I am going to tell you about a super exciting product that will change your life. It will make your kids less whiny. It will do your laundry for you, folding included. It will pick up your house leaving you with lots of time to sit on the couch and eat bon bons (what ever those are). Actually this product is a bit more humble in it's claims.

The Reynolds Handi-vac will not clean your house, but it will help prevent freezer burn and keep your refrigerated foods fresher longer. We shop at Costco which makes our chest freezer a integral part of our food storage. My husband and I had been toying with the idea of getting a vacuum food storage device, but had been put off by the cost of the vacuum sealer, the amount of space the sealer takes up and the cost of the bags. According to the information included with my Handi-vac Reynolds spent years (I can just imagine scores of scientists dressed in lab coats and goggles intently researching this puzzling problem) coming up with a design for this product.

However long it took them to invent this they sure came up with a winner. The starter set is under ten bucks which includes the Handi-vac and three quart bags. You will quickly find that those three bags will only whet your appetite, so I recommend getting more bags when you buy the Handi-vac. The bags are reusable, another thing that the other sealers really can't claim. They are just like regular plastic zipper storage bags, so you can take a portion of the food out and immediately reseal the bag all with out having to cut away part of the bag to reseal it.

The most exciting thing about the Handi-vac is that it is teeny tiny compared to the other sealers. We are able to store ours in the kitchen utensil drawer with no problem. No need to use up any precious counter space. When you are using it you do have to move it around a bit to find the right position to get the air out of the bags. Over all this is one impressive product, one that I would have bought even if I had not been given one to try.

Some less domestically inclined folk may be wondering why I am so excited about removing the air from the bags in which I store my food. Well first off there is nothing cooler than seeing air being sucked out of something. I am a huge fan of space bags too. I guess it is the science nerd in me. Air is the enemy of food. It contains oxygen, which while it is great to breath it is also a very destructive element. If you look below you will see a picture of a pear that is cut up. Normally after a few days in the fridge that pear would be brown and slimy thanks to it's reaction with the air. Remove the air and it stays as nice as the moment it was cut. The same thing goes for freezing. The air in the bag will cause the frozen food to get freezer burn which changes the flavor of the food.

I highly recommend this product. Even if you decide that you hate or that is does not work well for your family you are only out a little bit of money. Go give it a try!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Your opinions requested

I have almost completed my first pair of longies. However I am having issues with the second leg. Apparently I have been more relaxed and the tension for the second leg has not been as tight so the leg is wider than the first one. My question to you is do I go back to the start of the first leg and do it over, or do I just finish and have odd legs?

Here are some pictures to help you decide.

Here is a closeup of the legs.

Here is a picture of the whole project. I am not all that thrilled with how the second leg is looking color wise either. The first leg striped up nicely but the second is just looking funky to me.

Can you see the sort rows? I have a hard time seeing them and I know where to look. This time around I actually read the directions closely, so they are all where they need to be and nicely centered.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sunday cuteness

Oy! This week has been filled with a lot of whining. Harry because of his teeth and Evan..... well I am not entirely sure why he has so many dramatic sobbing fits. Apparently it is very sad and horrible when your own beloved mother wants you to pick up the toys that you have scattered all over the living room.

We have also been fighting vermin in the house. No, I am not calling my kids vermin. We have been having issues with mice. One especially cheeky mouse has been spotted multiple times running around from the kitchen to the closet where the furnace is. That is where we think they are sneaking into the house as it has a ventilation shaft that runs outside. We have managed to trap two cheeky little buggers and are hoping that those two are the only ones that have discovered our house.

Ok now for the cuteness. Both boys love to play on my bed. One of their favorite things to do while on the bed is twirl around while I sing Ring Around the Rosies. They take great joy in collapsing onto the bed, although they generally fall long before I singe the falling part of the song.

Our attempts to nerd up Evan are working. Thanks to Netflix we got out hands on the third season of Dr Who. Evan now asks to watch the Police Box movie. Hee hee!

Check it out!

TeenyManolo is having an awesome contest. The grand prize is a $150 gift certificate to I happen to be a huge fan of Teeny Manolo since Glinda is a long time blog friend of mine. Go check it out, they have a lot of fun stuff there.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Where is the time going?

I can't believe that Thanksgiving is next week. Not only is it Thanksgiving but it is also Harry's birthday. My little boy is going to be two!!! The time is going too fast.

Valerie got the closest with her guess of $280. My total ticket (which includes the fee for traffic school so that my insurance company does not find out about my lead foot) came to a whopping $300! Even though she did not guess the exact amount, I am going to give her a prize any way since I really like her. I am going to make her a set of these.

One of the many reasons I like Valerie so much is that she has started up a support group for parents of kids with heart defects. I wish we lived a little closer so it was easier to attend the meetings. I think it would be neat to meet other heart parents face to face. She has also helped several kids from South America get the surgery that they need to live a long and healthy life. She is one amazing woman!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Oh my!

This fall has turned out to be a heck of a lot more expensive that I had really anticipated and we have not yet even purchased our Christmas presents for family. I just found out today how much my speeding ticket cost. I am lucky that I was not drinking anything a the time or there would have been a spit take.

I have decided to be better with the money than I have of late. I am vowing to not step foot into a craft store for three months. I am also not going to purchase any more yarn until my stash is knitted up. Of course a glaring loophole is that I can enter a yarn store before my three month ban on craft stores is up but I just can't not have a knitting outlet available to me.

The commenter that guesses the exact amount of my speeding ticket will get a small prize.

Works For Me Wednesday

I have been wanting to do this for some time but have always forgotten until it was too late. Well, here I am finally with a tip.

Because of the way Evan holds his left arm (the one affected by his stroke) often the sleeve on that side will look huge on him and cover his hand. I tried rolling it, but it would often come undone and if he was wearing a sweater the sleeve roll would look hugely bulky. One Sunday I saw one of my hair elastics sitting on the floor which gave me an idea. I tied a small knot in it so that it would be tight enough that it would hold but not so tight that it would cut off circulation. I then put it on the sleeve right above the cuff and then folded the cuff over the hair elastic. The sleeve stayed the perfect length all day.

This could be applied any time you need to keep sleeves out of the way like at meal times. It is also helpful when your child has just changed sizes and sleeves are too long.

You can check out more hints and tips over at Rocks in my Dryer.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

More Knitting Talk

Sorry if this blog seems to be turning into a knitting blog, but I want to keep track of the patterns I am trying and what I like or dislike about them. To help some people feel less bored I am including action shots at the end of the post. I don't think there is anything cuter than Harry running around in something that I knit for him.

This time around I decided to try a pattern that cost money. I was confident in my knitting skills and wanted to try some longies for the winter. After a bit of research at Diaper Swappers I found the Sheepy Pants pattern. It came with a lot of glowing recommendations and they were spot on. The pattern came with 20 pages, but that included a ton of different ways to customize your pants (or shorts) and also an appendix that explains and shows pictures of all the terms used in the pattern. It was very easy to use and I am very pleased with how they came out. I did have issues with my short rows but I am giving myself a break on that since it was my first time doing them. They also did not end up in the center of the pants where they should have been, instead I did them to one side where they are not all that useful. My leg gusset turned out great and I am thrilled that I did it so well on my first try.

As an FIY yeah I know they are purple but I wanted to try the pattern out with yarn that I did not really care about. Somehow I had a skien of purple in my stash so I used it up. If I have a reader that has a girl about Harry's size that cloth diapers they are more than welcome to email me if they want it. I don't think that my husband really wants me dressing my son in purple from some odd reason.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Sunday cuteness addendum

I forgot this fun little tidbit in the original post.

Evan's physical therapist has been working on getting him to crawl. It s a great way to get him to use his left hand and it is beneficial for his brain wiring too. She used to have to hold his legs so that he could not turn into his butt scoot, but now he is getting what she wants. Even though he gets what she wants he is often a stinker and needs bribing on occasion.

During one session she was having trouble figuring out a way to motivate him to crawl. The usual food offerings were being snubbed but he had been showing some interest in the box that we keep all the small matchbox type cars in. The therapist announced out loud that if the car box was to be opened that crawling was needed. Harry immediately gets on all fours and crawls right to the therapist who is laughing by now. You can tell which one of the boys is th better listener right now.

Harry has been a clingy little boy of late and I have figured out why. His second set of molars is coming in. Now that I know this and am giving him medication for the pain he is much happier and so am I.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sunday cuteness

I was cleaning out our third bedroom which is our guest room, Harry's nap room (when Evan is also napping which he actually does about every three days despite my premature thoughts about it's demise), the library and my craft room. As I was organizing the scrapbooking stuff I decided to show the boys all my hard work. They were entranced and loved listening to me tell about what was going on in the pictures. They even recognized some of the people in the pictures. It was a bit strange showing Evan the pictures of him in the hospital after his surgeries and telling him about it. It was the first time that I had really talked about it in depth with him and I am sure it will not be the last time either.

The bedspread on my bed is one of my super cool thrift store finds. I got the bedspread and the pillow cases for $24. It is in awesome condition and I adore the colors. It was nice to get a room update with out having to spend an arm and a leg.

Remember the wool that I dyed with Kool-aid? Well here is the soaker I made with it. I am pretty pleased with how it turned out. The wool started to felt a tiny bit so the stitches are not quite as perfectly even as I would have liked, but it is going to be covered most of the time so no biggie. I also need to work on my Kitchener stitching, but I am sure that practice will help that. That was only the second time I had attempted it and it is a whole lot less ugly than my first attempt. Harry has a soaker that is made from brown and green variegated yarn. With the addition of this orange one he is ready for bow hunting and rifle hunting. He is the perfectly accessorized child.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


Three-year-olds can be the most frustrating creatures. Evan is going through this phase where no matter what I am telling him to do (even if it is something that he has asked to do) he will suggest a multitude of alternative activities. Breakfast time is greeted with a request to go lay on the couch, a request for a hug and possibly even a demand for his nose to be wiped (even though his cold is long gone). He had a sobbing fit tonight at dinner when he was faced with being cruelly asked to eat his favorite meal of all times (dinosaur chicken nuggets, if you were wondering).

When we were rummaging around in the freezer to find an item for dinner last night a Costco sized package of them was left out of the freezer accidentally. My lovely husband had offered to find the dinner item after I had started the hunt by pulling some things out, but in the process he forgot to replace what I had pulled out. So now we have a large bag of thawed nuggets that need to be used up before too long or they will go bad. Normally I would rather poke my eyes out than serve chicken nuggets for dinner. It is usually my nicest meal of the day and I like to make it something more adult.

Yet, the boy can be so persuasive it is amazing. I told that the local quilting store was now also selling yarn, so I decided to have a look around. You know, just to look, no buying at all honest. My husband was off work early so I was able to go while Harry was napping. In a crazy fit of madness I decided to take Evan with me. After purchasing some super yummy yarn (I got some soft Alpaca/wool blend and some amazing hand dyed super wash merino, in case you were interested) I took Evan to look at the fish tank that is in the mall where the store was located. One thing led to another and suddenly I was in the toy store that has a cool train table. Next thing I know I am buying Evan a toy car.

I am not sure how that kid does it. He can go from making me want to tear my hair out to a super persuasive and cute little boy. When he really wants something it is so hard to not give in sometimes. His eyes emit a hypnotizing ray that turns my brain off. He even used those powers to get me to allow him to take the car to bed with him. Harry took advantage of my lapse in judgment and went to bed with two cars (I guess he needed one for each hand). I am going to have to work on my mental defenses or I am toast when they get to be teenagers.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Addiction anyone?

You know you shop at Target too much when your bored three-year-old tries to get out of the house by asking to go shopping at Target.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

I tried

I tried, I really did. I wanted to like it but it just did not compare. The new Kiera Knightly version of Pride and Prejudice just did not measure up to the perfection that is the A&E miniseries of Pride and Prejudice.

One of the things that bothered me the most was the pace of the movie. I enjoy the slower pace of the miniseries, it fits with the slower pace of the book. You are allowed to get to know the characters a lot better. The miniseries was also a lot truer to the book. Some of the edits seemed just too contrived for my taste.

Matthew Macfadyen is can't hold a candle to Colin Firth's portrayal of Mr. Darcy. Colin Firth has a wonderful range as an actor and can show many layers of emotion all at once. I heart Colin Firth, I even watched Bridget Jones' Diary just to see him. Matthew Macfadyen merely looked sullen and grouchy for most of the movie. My heart did not pitter patter at all, there was no moment of joy when Mr Darcey and Elizabeth finally declare their love for each other.

The movie version was not all bad. Some of the other characters were not all that horridly portrayed, so it was not torture to watch the movie version. The sisters were better in the movie than in the miniseries. The time was not entirely wasted as I got to do a lot of knitting and annoy my husband by watching a chick flick.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Sunday, oh wait Tuesday Cuteness

We were trying out a homemade fajita recipe for dinner last night. Evan was doing his normal playing around with his food because it looks strange and different routine. Suddenly he picked up one of the red bell pepper slices and exclaimed "Three!" The peppers had been cut such that they appeared to be in the shape of a three. Sadly that did not entice him to eat them. We had to enforce the one bite rule so that he could have Family Home Evening treat.

Harry is such a busy little guy. He always seems to have some important business that he is attending to. One of his greatest joys is putting things in the right place. This is often hit and miss, as my floor can attest, but when Harry is on a roll he is amazing.

Yesterday we had a quick appointment with the pediatrician to get some booster shots for the boys. I brought a piece of Halloween candy for the boys to help curtail the post shot hysterics. It worked like a charm, nary a tear was seen. While I was getting Evan's pants back on, Harry found an infinitesimal part of the wrapper that I had torn off the candy wrapper to open it. He then picked it up and went right to the trash can. It was one of those step cans, but he used both hands to lift the lid and get that piece of trash into the can.

Later that same morning I was changing the boy's diapers. I noticed that Evan's was bone dry so I dropped the clean one I had in my hand and the one he had been wearing on the floor and got that boy on the toilet, hoping that he would use that instead. While Evan was on the potty I went to the kitchen to put the dinosaur chicken nuggets (which are the only kind worth eating apparently) in. When I came back Harry had put all the diapers and every bit of stray clothing into the diaper pail in the bathroom. I really hope that his zeal for cleaning and putting things to right continues to strengthen, but I am not going to hold my breath.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Round and round we go

It seems that my experience with Evan and all of his issues has been very cyclical in nature. Some issue will be there driving me bonkers. I will worry and obsess about it while trying to just wait and see how it goes with out overreacting. Then suddenly when I am finally thinking about giving up on it things will suddenly improve.

I think that now we have hit an improvement stage in something that has been worrying me off and on for awhile now, Evan's speech. I have been holding off on pushing speech therapy for some time now(I have various reasons for holding off but I will not go into that now). Evan was a late talker which was due to his brain not receiving the oxygen it needed thanks to his heart defect. After his last surgery his vocabulary exploded and he added word after word to it. He is still behind his peers although he is starting to catch up.

Being the secret worrier than I am (thanks mom!) I have been second guessing my decision lately. I was just about to act on my worries when Evan asked me "What's that noise?" last night. He had never used a complete and clear phrase like that before. Maybe a two word phrase when he really meant something a bit more complex. It was great to hear him express a full thought in a full sentence. It was reassuring to hear evidence of his verbal progress at a time when I was questioning my choices as a mom.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

We have a winner!

The winner of my giveaway is LindaSS. From reading her profile she sounds like a really neat lady and I am sad that she does not have a blog that I can read.

Lady Luck has been smiling down on me lately. In the mail today I received a prize that I had won a little while ago from Damselfly at Growing A Life. It was a new Little Einsteins movie. Evan was (and still is to a lesser extent) a huge fan of the Baby Einstein so I was excited to get this. He has one of the Little Einsteins show that a friend of mine *cough cough* burned on a DVD for us. She had found out that Evan was really into planets so she used her DVR to get us a copy of the show on planets which Evan really enjoyed. He could hardly wait to get through lunch so that he could watch the "rocket movie". I am glad that we have another fine addition to our video library since the ones we have I have already memorized a long time ago. Thanks Damselfly!!

I was also very lucky in the Fall Y'all giveaway. I have won three prizes!!! I won a gift certificate to a cute kid's store called Apples'n'Oranges. I won a mini retreat spa kit from Monkey Giggles to help me get nice an relaxed while all the craziness of the holidays swirls around me. I also won a beautiful sculpture of two elephants made in India from AnneK (Just About Anything). Our pediatrician is from India, so it will be a nice reminder of all the help he has provided during our time here in California. Thanks everyone!!

When the winter giveaway comes around I am planning on coming up with something super cool and really neat, stay tuned!!

Friday, November 02, 2007

It's Fall y'all

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I was bummed when I thought I would miss out on being able to participate in the huge Fall giveaway going on. If I had realized it would have started so soon after my knit dishrag giveaway I would have just saved it for the big giveaway. When I checked the mail this evening I found a surprise that has allowed me to participate. I was sent an extra set of the Febreze To Go Fabric Refresher. You will get a 2.8 ounce bottle and a super nifty insulated travel mug. All you have to do is comment and tell me how awesome and beautiful I am or how amazingly cute my kids are to win. I am not sure about shipping regulations for liquids overseas, so I will have to restrict this to the US only. I will choose a winner on Sunday November 4th.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

More Halloween please!

This morning Evan wanted to go Halloween shopping again. After dinner he got excited thinking that it was time to go trick or treating again. I think that we should do this more often, I know Evan would like that.