Thursday, October 31, 2013

Knitting updates!

    I have been knitting more often since the baby shower is over, here's how the blanket looks now!

    It's coming along, as I said. Almost half done. Here's the shot from another perspective.

    It gives a better view of how big it really will be, and how much I've actually gotten done. Next is a photo of the Camo sweater complete with buttons, thanks to my friend Bonny.

    Lastly for today, I wish to acknowledge my youngest child, and celebrate his  birthday. He's 24 today, and in case he doesn't know it, I could not be prouder of the man he has turned out to be. I love you, Jesse.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Now that it's over....

    I can show you the photos I took of what I made!! This first set, I started right after we found out that Sara was expecting, at Hubs' request. I waited until we knew the baby's sex for absolute sure before I completely finished it. If the baby was a girl, everything was going to be trimmed in pink, and the sweater buttons were going to be pink too.

    This one is the Harley Davidson receiving blanket. There was also a black Harley onesie, and black Harley booties too. I didn't get photos of them for some reason. I think the bootie box was too shiny.

    It was funny, but after I found boxes for everything and got them wrapped, I sort of forgot what was in which box. I guess I got them all right, since there were no surprises at the shower.

    As for the knitting, I did quite a bit today, as I went to visit my good friend Bonny, so I sort of got caught up. I was too involved in the shower thing, being nervous about it and all, to get any knitting done in the week before the shower. Now that it's all over, I can relax.

    Oops, I almost forgot, that sweater in the top photo? I didn't make it, my friend Bonny made it for me. I was supposed to sew the buttons on, but that didn't work out. I did one, but it was in the wrong place, so I got mad and took it off. Bonny sewed the buttons on for me too. She's the best.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Baby Shower

    It's all over now, and I'd say it was a success. There were mounds and mounds of gifts, and Sara got to open them all. There was a time concern, but we pulled it off.


    The food was really good, and it seems like everyone had a good time. We played some games, and prizes were handed out. Special kudos go out to Sara's mother-in-law Sue and sister-in-law Kelly, they were on decorations, and did a great job!

    Here are some photos of the attendees!


     And lastly, here are a few shots of Sara opening gifts... The last one is her showing everyone the blanket I made for her.

     Over the years, she has watched me make quite a few of these for friends and family, and it's finally her turn to get one. I think she was looking forward to getting it. It's a favorite of mine to make, and even Hubs loves it.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Shower Preparations

    I am spending the day finding boxes for baby gifts, packing them, and wrapping them for the baby shower tomorrow. I have taken photos but won't show them to you until after the shower.

    There are, however, a few that I can show you! This first one is all the presents on the table, covered by a towel because Sara was here and I didn't want her to see them.

    The next one is with the towel taken off. I guess she wouldn't have been able to see very much after all!

    And finally here is the monkey butt pants and two onesies it came with. Sara has seen these already, so it's OK to show them to you.

     It's hard to believe that she's already 7 months along, but on the other hand it feels like it's taking forever.... I just hope the shower goes well. I'm not very good at hostessing.

     I also have other things to do today, believe it or not! I have about three days worth of dishes to do, and laundry too. The dishes are nearly done, and I am about to start the laundry. Then I can wrap the last three boxes. I hope she appreciates that none of the boxes are taped shut. I figured I'd make it as easy to open them as possible.

Friday, October 25, 2013

A Cold Weather Favorite

   Last week, my Hubs mentioned that I haven't made stew in a while. He was right, so when we went shopping we bought some stew beef. It was in the freezer, so I had to take it out yesterday to thaw for this morning.

    I also had to find my big crock pot. I hadn't seen it since we went to live in Fishkill three years ago. After some more digging, I finally found it under the kitchen sink. I got it out and washed it all up, so it was ready for this morning.

    I learned how to make this stew from my late mother-in-law. My Hubs loves it. It's done in the crock pot, so you start it in the morning and it's ready for dinner. Of course you can put in whatever veggies you want, but my Hubs is just a meat and potatoes kind of guy.

    I cut up the potatoes, peeling is optional. They go in the bottom of the crock pot. The hardest part is the meat. I like to cut it up into smaller pieces. I put some flour into a bowl, and season it with salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder. Mix it up well. Heat a frying pan up with a little oil. Put the meat pieces into the flour to coat, then shake off excess flour. The meat gets browned, you don't cook it all the way through. Then the meat goes on top of the potatoes.

    After that, I open up a bag of baby carrots and put them on the top. I then use some hot water and bring the level up to about the middle of the meat, or the bottom of the carrots. Put the lid on, and turn the crock pot on HIGH for about three hours, then turn it to low. I imagine if no one was going to be home, you could just leave it on low for the whole day.

    Don't discard all the seasoned flour, because to finish it off, you take some of the flour, maybe a tablespoon or two, and mix it with hot water or liquid from the stew, then add some Gravy Master. Mix this into the stew and let to thicken some more. The last thing I do is take some frozen peas and stir them in.

    Tonight I plan to make some biscuits to go with the stew. Hubs is really looking forward to this meal!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Errands and such

    Today I spent the day running errands, most of which I could do right from my chair. I finalized the baby shower by calling the restaurant and giving them the final guest count and menu choices.

    I took a call from my pulmonary specialist's assistant, and made appointments for a CAT scan and a follow-up visit. I also made more laundry sauce today.

    As I re-read the recipe, to make sure I do it right, I read some of the comments on the original post. If you really read the entire thing, it tells you explicitly that you cannot make substitutions in ingredients, or mason jar size, or anything. You have to do it exactly as written. Yet there are yahoos out there who don't follow the directions, and ask why it didn't turn out right. It's not like it's that complicated, it has only three ingredients, besides the water. I shake my head. It just boggles the mind.

    Anyway, I also went out today, to visit with a friend while she was at karate with her daughter. That didn't last long, as she ended up leaving, with the intention of picking said daughter up later. She didn't feel like sitting there for three hours today. I don't blame her. When I do it, it's strictly on a volunteer basis. I've already put in my time there.

    Before she left, we went to the supermarket. And as long as I was there, I thought I would order the cake for this weekends baby shower. So, the cake is now ordered. I hope everyone enjoys it! I'm really looking forward to this shower, and meeting some of my daughter's in-laws that I haven't met yet.

    At one point this morning, I remembered to call my mom, since today is her 81st birthday. I couldn't make dinner with her and Sara, but I am going to spend the day with her soon, and we'll do lunch.

    In between phone calls and errands, I got some knitting done as well. I also plan on doing more after dinner while watching TV with the Hubs. This blanket is never going to get done. I still have shower gifts to wrap, and edgings to crochet, and buttons to sew on too!

    Sometimes I feel that it never ends. I just can't wait for this baby to come!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Countdown Begins

    This weekend is the NYS Sheep and Wool Festival, held in world famous Rhinebeck, NY. My best knitting buddy and I aren't attending. I believe I mentioned this in an earlier post.

    But now the countdown to next year has begun. I found in my cupboard an old container of macaroons that were no good any more, so I threw them away. I kept the container since it seemed perfect for my Rhinebeck Fund Jar. I cut a hole in the lid, although it's off center, the money that goes in it won't care.

    Next I printed a label for my jar of hopes and dreams. I cut it down to size, and it looks awesome. I printed an extra one for my knitting buddy in case she wants to match mine.

    Now all I need is some extra money to start stuffing in there. Come to think of it, Hubs owes me $5 for signing for the pizza last night.....

Saturday, October 19, 2013

It could've gone either way

    My Hubs and I have, over the last few months, taken a liking to our pizza with extra cheese and bacon. It's really good. But after a while, it gets old. We then switched to garlic as a topping. Both with extra cheese and without.

    That was really good too. Tonight, we dared to try a totally new pizza topping combination. Extra cheese, bacon AND garlic. It was a bold choice, and we discussed the fact that it could be either really good or really, epically bad. We decided to chance it, and placed the order.

    After sampling our first slices, we both thought that it wasn't bad. In fact, the more we ate, the better it was.

    I have no idea if we will ever order that particular combination of toppings again, but it worked this time. But we are aware that it could've gone either way...

Friday, October 18, 2013

Sad Face....

    I have one of those on. See, my best knitting buddy and I have decided we aren't going to Rhinebeck this year for the Sheep and Wool Festival. We just have no money with which to splurge on fibery goodness.

    But we have pinky sworn to get a "Rhinebeck Wish Jar" and every time we get even just a little extra money, we promise to put it in the jar. In the course of the next year, we should have saved enough to be able to go.

    It's a shame really, because we only live about 10 miles away from there, so travel money isn't an issue. It'll all be spending money for us.

    I get all excited reading about Clara Parkes and The Yarn Harlot going to Rhinebeck, and it's kind of surreal. It makes me want to go stand out on Rte 9 here in town and watch to see if I can spot them driving by. I'd even get a sign that says "Honk if you're going to Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool!"

    I just hope that they will all be there again next year. The festival is kind of a big deal in the knitting world, so I imagine they will be there.

    On the plus side, I've been knitting on the garter stitch baby blanket today while watching TV. I feel that I should mention again that it was designed by Elizabeth Zimmermann, and is in one of her books.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Feeling a bit better today!

    I noticed as soon as I got up, I feel better today! I slept almost all the way through the night. I usually wake up at 5 am so I can start the coffee for Hubs on the days he has to work. I even wake up on the days he's not working.

    Today, his alarm woke me up, so that's when I turned the coffee on for him. I then went back to sleep, and woke up again when he came in to get dressed. Then I heard him leave and lock the door. I finally got up for good at 8 am.

    I made myself some coffee, and sat and savored it for a long time. I watched some shows On Demand, that I was interested in and had missed. In between shows, I went downstairs and did some laundry. I didn't take any cold meds until almost noon!

    This afternoon, I got some real energy, and took two bags of bottles and cans back to the store for recycling. I also took my change bag to the bank for counting and deposit. Since it's all in the same plaza, I took my son his karate uniform top from yesterday.

    I had hoped to time my visit to the plaza correctly so I could see my best knitting buddy Kim H. and her Cherub. Unfortunately I picked the wrong day and they didn't come. I am bummed, but at least I got a few things done. I go and sit and keep Kim company when I can, I know how boring it is to sit there for hours a day while your kid does karate, and helps teach the under belts.

    Right now I have to go get my last load of laundry out of the dryer. I washed my house hat, and I need it. My head is getting cold. It's gorgeous out today, and I have the windows open. I will close them before Hubs gets home. The breeze is making my head cold. Fresh air is a good thing.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

At least I'm knitting!

    I'm still under the weather today, but I did get out for Stitch n Bitch this morning. Since I got home, I've been in my house clothes, all wrapped up in my chair, sipping herbal teas with honey and knitting. I'm also watching the series Revolution on Netflix.

    Not much else will be going on today. I didn't even take anything out of the freezer for dinner. Later on I will be catching up on a few shows On Demand that I've missed, and maybe even take a nap. I had trouble sleeping last night.    

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Four little things on my mind today

    The first being that I am coming down with something. It started right after I woke up from my nap early this afternoon. I took a nap because I didn't get much sleep last night. So after my nap, Hubs ran some errands, and I settled in to watch some telly.

   Shortly afterwards, my nose began to tickle, and then my throat joined in. I noticed that mucus production had begun in earnest. By 2:30, I took some of my favorite cold medicine. It's beginning to wear off at this point.

    I'm starting to really feel like crap. I'm going to go to Stitch n Bitch tomorrow anyway. I may not stay as long as usual, it will depend on how I'm feeling at the time.

    Second: Last Friday night I babysat for my grandkids so my son and daughter-in-law could have a date night. It was fun! Knowing my grandson Mason is fascinated my motorcycles, I had my Hubs ride his over when I went. Mason was so excited! I think Grandpa Mike is one of his favorite people now. He got to sit on it, and even start it and rev the engine a little.

    Third, even though I feel like crap, I got some knitting done today. Yay for me.

    And finally, I realized today that another Summer has passed that I didn't get to drive my Jeep down to Lake Peekskill and have a look around. I lived there until 1969, the Summer I turned 13. Ever since my kids were in high school, I wanted to take them there and show them where I lived for my formative years. I would like to see what's changed and what's the same, although after all these years there's probably nothing left I'd recognize.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Another childhood memory / knitting update

    This one goes back a ways. The remembering happened when daughter Sara was here the other day, and I got a cup out of the cupboard for her to have some coffee. Like a flash, I remembered.

    I was little, maybe 7 or 8 years old, and I had stayed home from school because I was sick.  Mom brought me a cup of apple juice in bed. I drank it, and as I did, I tasted dish soap. To this day, I can't drink apple juice because of that.

    My mom was a great housewife, but as for rinsing the dishes, not so much. To this day, when I take a glass out of her cupboard, I still sniff the inside of it. I started doing that after the apple juice incident. The other day, I asked Sara if she sniffed the glasses at grandma's too. She said that yes she did. We both grew up with that woman, and she marked us both in many ways.

    It makes me wonder if she thought I was insane, or if she knows why I sniff. I don't remember whether I ever mentioned to her why I always sniff her glassware.

    As for the knitting report, I am pleased to announce that I have turned the second corner, and have begun the 4th eighth of the blanket. After I get further along, I will take more photos.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

No more secret

    I caved and showed Sara the super secret knitted project. I feel good that she likes it. Since it's secret no more, I can show you photos! Here's what the whole thing looks like so far:

    I'm well into the 3rd eighth. Here is the one corner I have so far:

    And a closer shot of the top where I'm currently working:

    Each row gets one stitch shorter, then I come to the corner, and then each row gets one stitch longer till this half is done. The finished blanket will be plenty big, and that made Sara happy.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Is it just me?

    When we brought home the Harley Davidson, it looked like this:

    And the first thing I thought of was this:

    Now tell me it isn't just me....

Friday, October 11, 2013

Funny Friday

    I found this on facebook, and it made me laugh. Sometimes that's just what the doctor ordered!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

My handsome grandson has a birthday

    That's right, and it was his third. Birthday, that is. He is such a cutie. His big sister is also gorgeous, but this one isn't about her. Here's Mason in his birthday shirt:

    Such a handsome young man! And here he is in the present that his Grandpa Mike and I got for him, front view:

    And back view:

    He wasn't so excited until I told him that sometime Grandpa Mike will ride his motorcycle over so he can see it! He can even sit on it! I know the jacket is a bit big, but the great thing about kids is that they grow so fast. And to think I was worried that it would be too small....

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Baby and knitting updates

    It amazes me that there is such a technology these days as 3-D sonograms. With this, we can get a preview of what my newest grandbaby actually looks like.

     I am blown away by this. When I saw it, my eyes leaked. Unbelievable. And here's what he looks like from the outside!

    She looks so lovely, and is feeling great. I don't care what anybody tries to tell you, it's just different when your daughter has a baby. It could be the whole mother-daughter bonding thing.

    I am still plugging away on the super secret knitting project. It is truly a yarn sucker of a project. To all the knitters out there, that's a clue. It means it's done in garter stitch. It's very easy, but it takes forever and sucks up unbelievable amounts of yarn. But I shall persevere, never fear. This child will be awash in hand knitted and crocheted goodness for many years to come.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Memories of my Italian Grandparents

    I randomly heard or saw something the other day about Anise flavored Italian cookies. That brought back some memories for me about my Italian grandparents. They were my dad's parents. I have such great memories of them and their house from when I was a kid.

   There was always a houseful of people, especially at mealtimes. My grandmother, who we called Nanny, spent much of the day in the kitchen she had in the basement. To explain a little, her basement wasn't like the basements of today. It seemed to have stone walls, like it was cut into the earth. There was only a single bare light bulb hanging from the ceiling. Yet there were appliances down there, a stove and a refrigerator.  There were some cupboards and a big, well worn kitchen table as well.

    I believe she used that kitchen so as not to make her "good" kitchen dirty... Yet she did use the upstairs kitchen. I don't know the reasoning behind it. It seemed like she used the basement kitchen to make things that took a long time, like her homemade spaghetti sauce. I also saw her bring up from down there a big tray of fried dough. Yes, she made her own, and it was better than at the county fair.

    Anyway, there were always people in the house. As soon a dinner was done, more wine was poured and the instruments came out. Neighbors and other family members would stop by. My grandfather, who we called Poppy, played the mandolin and the accordion. My mom still has his mandolin. I would love to have it someday. There was always music being played.

    So my Nanny would make all the Italian cookies that you get on the platters. Usually one or two was anise flavored. I didn't like anise, it tastes like black licorice. Yuck. I think that as she got older, she forgot which cookies got the anise flavoring added to them. More and more of the cookies tasted icky. Eventually, all her cookies tasted like anise. She used it in all of them. That was when I stopped eating her cookies.

    Thinking and remembering about this really warms my heart. They are all gone now. I don't think families are like that anymore.  

Saturday, October 5, 2013

A spider story

    A few days ago, my Hubs took his motorcycle over to Woodstock Harley Davidson for its 1,000 mile service. He rode, and I drove my Jeep over. It was going to take several hours, and I wanted to keep him company.

   After we got there and he got all signed in, I took his helmet and walked to the Jeep to put in there. As I was setting it down on the seat, I noticed what looked like a stink bug nestled inside, between layers of padding right next to his temple. I was surprised that he had ridden all that way with a stink bug in there! I figured it was dead, so I used my finger to brush it out. It wasn't a stink bug, and it wasn't dead! It was a BIG spider, and I was very glad it didn't bite my Hubs while he was riding! As I sit here now thinking about it, I'm not entirely sure that stupid spider fell OUT of my Jeep. It could still be inside....

Friday, October 4, 2013

A Literary Rant

    I am a pretty easy going gal, almost always with a smile on my face for everyone. There are a few things that just plain piss me off. One of these is a bad book. Of course it's just my judgement that it's bad, after all someone somewhere (mistakenly)  thought it was worthy of publishing.

    So far in my life there have been four books that I have deemed totally unworthy of my money and time. The first three I don't remember the names of, but one was written by a best selling author. I read that one while on vacation in the late 70's. I remember we were camping, and when I finally finished reading that awful book, I took the walk down to the lake and threw it in. It was a paperback, so not a huge monetary investment. But I had to force myself to read it, hoping against hope that it would get better. It didn't.

    The second one was about an old German lady who told her life story. That one was awful as well. I remember that when I finished that one, I literally tore it up and threw it away. I was at work, and I remember the looks I got from other people in the break room at the time. It was also a paperback, if that makes any difference.

    The third book I have written about before, the one about the werewolves that was so badly written that I thought it was either written by a child or (very) badly translated from its original language. I never even finished reading that book. In fact I'd like to find it and try reading it again, this time with a highlighter so I can mark all the horrible grammar and literary offenses.

    Those three books were actual paper books, purchased at stores. This newest bad book is on my nook. I thought the cover looked interesting, and the story blurb sounded like it might be as well. I was wrong. I am once again forcing myself to read a book . But when I'm done, I won't be able to have the satisfaction of ripping it up, or throwing it in a lake. The name of this book is The Cambodian Book of the Dead. It's author is a man named Tom Vater. I am currently on page 202 of 259, so I'm nearly finished with it. I did have a thought that maybe my Hubs would like it, so it wouldn't be a total waste. If he does read it, I'll let you know what he thinks of it. 

    I am still knitting on the knitted super secret project. As long as I remember to stretch my shoulder out I remain pain free. YAY!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

And now for some knitting news

    I know I haven't talked about it much lately, but I have been knitting again. The super secret project is coming along. It's been driving me nuts because I was having to do it on 60" circulars, which was cumbersome to say the least. I haven't been able to find any of my other, right size, shorter ones.

    So when I was out with my friend Bonny yesterday, we stopped at Michaels craft store and I picked up a 29" circular, which is just the right size. It's one of the cheapo Boyd ones and when I got it home I prepared to heat some water up to straighten it. When I took it out of the package, lo and behold, it wasn't made with the same old plastic that they used to use. It straightened out all on its own. Huzzah!

    I am going to take some photos of my projects that I've been working on, but I can't post them until after the baby shower next month. You see, my beloved daughter reads this blog. I don't want to give anything away. The shower is on October 27th, so look for the photos that night or the next day.

    Speaking of secret projects, I have some buttons to sew on. I was waiting for the baby's sex to be positively determined. Now that it has, I don't need the pink buttons or pink yarn that was to be used to trim some items. Trust me, they would've looked pretty cool with pink trim and buttons.