Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Moving Forward

Life has been getting in the way of blogging the last few weeks.  I've been doing a lot of knitting.  I'm on my 3rd large project in the last 5 weeks or so.  I'm making myself another Quaker Yarn Stretcher out of Malabrigo worsted.  It's lovely!  I'm about 2/3rds of the way through with it.  I'm keeping this one for myself.  I'm eager to get it done and blocked now that cold weather has arrived 

The kids require a lot of attention too.  I do school with R every day now that we're doing Kindergarten level work.  Some days it's a struggle to get him to cooperate.  But we've been on a good run the last week or so.  I broke down and bought the kids a paid subscription to Starfall.  If he can do his written work, he can do the stuff on Starfall, which is mostly math and reading and music.  Its been good leverage so far.  He actually does really well with all his school work, but he likes to fight with me about getting started.  I'm trying to be very routine about doing it at the same time every day.  B is learning a lot too by watching her brother. Sometimes I do the preschool level activities with her.  She knows colors fairly well, and letters, and some shapes.  Her vocabulary and conversation skills are superb, as are her fine motor skills.  

B doesn't like for me to get on the computer much, or knit, she's very needy of my attention and physical space right now.  It takes forever to type up emails (or blog entries).  I do most of my knitting in the evening when she's in bed.  It's a magnet to her.  Doesn't matter what I am doing, she is right there in my face, often climbing up me, demanding all my attention.  She's full on with the 2.5 year old attitude.  

J. came home last week and we've all been reacclimating to his presence.  I went to visit him the weekend of the 25th.  My parents came down and staid with the kids and I went alone.  It was an amazing weekend.  We so rarely get to do things as a couple, and we had a whole 3.5 days without any distractions.  Now that he's home we're trying to spend a lot of time just being together and paying attention to each other.  The kids are adjusting to having him home.  R is mega pissed that J has to go to work every day.  Every morning it's been whine, whine, whine, why can't daddy stay home all day?  They'll get used to it though.  Having him home gives life a sense of moving forward again.  Towards what I am not sure yet.  

Monday, September 30, 2013

WIP this week

A couple weeks ago I took a commission for another baby sweater set.  I'm more than half way done with the sweater.  I like the way it's knitting up.  I am a little nervous about the size, because it's going to be a gift, and I have no measurements to work from.  So I am going by a size chart, and making it the size the customer asked for.  I really hope it fits.  The cuffs of the sleeves and the hem around the bottom will be yellow, and there will be a hat to match, in blue and yellow also.  

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Because Cuteness

 Wedding reception in Virginia 

 B's first ice cream cone (strawberry sorbet)

 And just monkeying around in our own back yard 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The end of an era

5 years, 11 days.  That's how long I've been a nursing mother. And now, for the first time since R was born, I do not have a nursling.  B weaned herself gradually over the last two months.  She hasn't nursed in a week, or even asked about 'mokies' in 4 days.

That's ALSO how long I have had a child in diapers, and we're also pretty much done with those except at night.  We did pull ups for about a week during the day, and now we're switching over to regular underwear.  No babies at this house.  

I've looked forward to this day for a long time, but it's a little sad too.  I don't know for sure if we'll have any other kids, even though J really wants more.  I am very undecided.  It is liberating though.  J and I are planning a weekend together next month without the kids.  We've never done that before.  I suspect it will be harder for me than it will be for them.

Monday, September 2, 2013

And now it's September

J was here this weekend.  He left a little while ago.  It hurts so much to say goodbye.  Every time.  He's promised to come back in two weeks on his next 3 day weekend.  That helps a little.  It's as hard on him as is it is on me.  He's stronger though and doesn't cry.  We have a little over 2 months left til school is over and he can move back home.  I'm just so exhausted.  Physically, emotionally.  

The kids and I have a wedding to travel to in the mean time.  It will be a really long drive, and the whole thing feels completely overwhelming right now.  Somehow in the next few days I have to put on my big girl panties and my super mom cape and get shit done.  Right now all I want is to crawl into my bed and cry.  I can't though, kids need me.  

Monday, August 12, 2013

August Already?

July is always a miserably long month.  And I was glad to see it end.  August isn't exactly shaping up any better though.  Last week was a doozy.  The AC went out for the 3rd time in less than a month, and I ended up buying 4 new tires for the van, plus some other routine maintenance work.  It's driving a lot better, but it was a big bite in the ass.  But I have two market bags finished and up on Etsy now.  I think they turned out really well.  Now to see if anyone will buy them.  I need to start on some hats or button scarves for this fall.

This week we are looking forward to another trip to the beach to see J.  And next week, next week is R's 5th birthday.  Wow.  5 years.  We're going to have birthday with daddy on our trip.  J's actually been shopping.  The following weekend we're going to have cake and a play date with his friends.  We are officially past the half way mark with J's training course.  In October we can really start counting down the days.

We're starting Kindergarten level work with R this fall.  We don't have to submit a 'declaration of intent' until he's 6 though.  So next year.  He's working on addition and sight words, plus anything else that strikes our fancy right now.  Insects, planets, the solar system.  Money is on the agenda too.  His handwriting is really improving.

B is a crazy 2 year old.  She's potty training and doing pretty well as long as we are at home.  Going out is more of a challenge.  She's incredibly smart.  Her fine motor skills are amazing for someone her age.

Friday, July 26, 2013

FO Friday

Finished this last week actually.  I am very in love with this pattern and this yarn

Monday, July 22, 2013

Market Day Bag

This was a surprisingly quick project, I think I will make more and add them to the etsy site.  

Monday, July 15, 2013


So I decided this summer I would venture into the world of canning.  My neighbor is letting me pick his huge blueberry bushes, and the best peaches on the planet are grown about 3 miles from my house.  They are incredibly cheap right now.  So I've been making jam and preserves.



Sterilizing the jars and lids

mmmmm, the best peaches on the planet come from Sledge Farm!

cut up, then commence with the mashing

 cook on medium heat and continue to mash

Jars and utensils and pectin

cooked down to a pulpy liquid and boiling

filling the jars and putting the seals on

everyone in the water bath, getting ready to boil

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

in the stillness

Normally my day goes something roughly like this: Kids get up early, go hard all day, bed for them at 7, talk to J online all evening until bed, when he calls, sleep.  Tonight he's busy with other stuff.  I've had a whole 3 hours of complete quiet and solitude.  No one needing my attention or requiring anything of me at all.  It's been strangely pleasant.  As much as I do miss him, tonight I am feeling sort of... content maybe?  It's hard to put my finger on exactly what it is.  I think I'm enjoying just being myself for a few hours.  Not mommy, not wife.  Just me.  Very often I forget what that is like.  That person I was before wife, and before mommy.  It's sort of like, "oh, hello stranger.  are you still in there?"  In the quiet stillness, I heard her whispered answer.  I've been struggling a bit lately with some feelings of identity loss.  It's nice to know she's still with me.

Monday, July 1, 2013


I bought this Katia Bombay back in March, thinking I would use it for a baby set of some sort.  I finally cast it on as a  baby hat, planning to make booties or something to go with it.  I just wasn't in love with the way the color stripes were working up.  So I ripped it all back and prowled around on Ravelry for project ideas. I'm doing a Lacy Baktus shawlette, and I am so happy with the color variegation!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Emma's Blanket

Friend of mine had a baby girl about a month ago, I made this patchwork baby blanket for her.  it has 48 4x4 crochet squares, sewn into strips, then sewn together.  Finally a boarder was added around the entire outside edge.  I'm really happy with the finished product, but it was sort of a struggle getting it done.  

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Baby Blanket

My first completed crochet baby blanket.  It is a memorial blanket for a very sweet woman who is losing her unborn son at 25 weeks gestation.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wonder what will happen next...

Since J left, my lawn mower battery died, my van got a flat tire (which I changed by myself, despite having never done it before), R's room got invaded by ants, Tricare denied my request to keep B at her current pediatrician that we really like, and now today B has been running a lowish fever off and on since this morning.  And that's just been the big stuff.  I really hope tomorrow is uneventful, but we've got errands to run, so something is bound to be difficult.

I've started several posts over the last week, but for one reason or another didn't get them finished.  Sunday was a really hard day, I was very weepy and emotional.  R has been more agitated so far about J's absence than B has, which surprises me, I thought she would have a harder time with him leaving.  And she may yet, I dunno.  We still have a very long way to go until he is home.

R's doing so great right now with school stuff.  He's totally mastered phonics, and is learning to sound out words.  His writing has gotten much better.  I let him practice on a Magnadoodle and he LOVES it.  He's adding and subtracting small sums in his head.  He helps me read when we have bedtime stories.  He's gaining lots of sight words.  B has also learned to recognize nearly all the letters, which is pretty amazing to me.  She learns the words to songs and sings all the time now.  They are such super kids.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

End of a long month

Little squish turned 2 last week.  She is a wonderfully bright child, and I have been blessed every day since she entered my life.  

We had a nice little party for her, I'm glad I went through with it.  She had 4 friends over.  The cake was a huge success.  Sadly, I did not get a good picture of it before we cut into it.  The frosting turned out perfect.  I did 1/3c coconut oil 2/3c Earth Balance Soy Free Spread, cocoa powder, goat milk, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar.  After it was all blended, I let it sit and get very soft, then whipped it a 2nd time and added more sugar.  That helped with the grainy texture of the coconut oil.  It tasted just like butter cream frosting.  Very rich and delicious.   

This month has been so up and down with J's ANG stuff.  We were told our insurance coverage would be seamless, and it hasn't been.  We still can't get signed up for TRS.  And now it almost doesn't matter at this point.  J will be going active on the 13th of May and we'll be enrolled back in TriCare Standard.  He's going to be gone for 6 months :(  He's got to go to tech school to retrain into a new job specialty.  He's leaving very, very soon.  He'll be about 6-6.5 hours away.  Because of the length of the course, it is counting as a PCS, and the housing is very much up in the air.  It's very likely that he'll have to rent an apartment while he's down there.  The kids and I can't really just up and go with him.  We're hoping we can visit every 6 weeks or so, but we'll have to see.  The upside to all this will be that he'll be PAID while he's there.  Which is better than sitting at home unemployed, burning through our tax refund.  He'll get the first half of his sign on bonus when he's done with his training, which will give us another chunk of money in Nov. or Dec. to help offset future unemployment.  I'm worried about how B will cope with daddy being gone, more than anything else.  She is very much daddy's girl, and she's entering such a difficult age anyway.  We've all gotten so used to having him home all day with us, this will be a huge change.  We've been fortunate to not have any long separations since the kids came along.  Once, he was gone for 6 weeks, about 3 years ago.  This is gonna be hard.  

Monday, April 15, 2013

One Week

In one week my baby will turn 2.  It is amazing how quickly she has gone from being a baby, to being a little girl.  She's incredibly conversational now.  And has lots of toddler drama.  Drama of a different sort than her brother usually had, too.  She has a melt down any time she falls, or gets a bump, hates to get her hands dirty.  That stuff  never phased R.  She LOVES to go places.  "Go car, go car!  Pants, shoes, go car!  OK!"  She's wicked smart, already counting and learning colors and recognizing a couple of letters.  She picks up so much from her brother.

I've invited a few of our new friends(!!!) over for a party on Sunday afternoon.  I'm excited about that.  For quite a while I was really bummed, because we had such a nice party for R's 2nd, and just didn't anyone at all to invite for B's.  But in the last month we've finally made some friends that I felt confident enough to invite over.  I'm hoping to be able to have the party outside and let the kids play in our back yard.  We have such a nice screened in back porch and deck, it would be awesome to be able to entertain out there.  She's getting some good birthday loot too.  And I've already done a test run on her allergen free cake, and it was fairly successful.  The frosting may need some tweaking, but she loved it and that's really all that matters.  I did a vanilla cake with chocolate frosting.  Since Easter she has developed a real love for chocolate.

Friday we went back to the GI for B's test results... they all came back normal.  Which is great and a relief, but we're still sorta scratching our heads about what might be causing her issues.  She had gained a whole pound in 3 weeks, which was also great, and the GI said he didn't feel like there was anything medically wrong with her and that she seemed really healthy.  We've had a lot of trouble with the Miralax and trying to find a good dosage.  He did tell me that if we wanted to stop the Miralax and try just juice, we could see if that wasn't easier on her system.  And unless we had any other problems come up, we didn't have to come back for any other tests or follow ups.  Sooooo, I dunno.  She does love juice now, so I've been letting her drink several ounces a day.  This really grates against my grain, because I was very, very anti juice when R was a toddler.  But she could use the extra calories as well as the laxative effect.  It's hard for me to let go of the worry that there is something wrong though.  We go for her 2yr WCV one day later next week, so I can discuss everything with her pediatrician.

We also got released from the allergist for 6 months.  The Clairitin is working to prevent the hives, and I seem to have gotten a hang on how to cook for her to avoid her top allergens.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Pink Cherry Fluff

Warning, this recipe may be NSFL
(really, you've been warned)

Pink Cherry Fluff:

1 8oz tub of cool whip
1 15oz can of cherry pie filling
1 20 can of crushed pineapple, drained
1c chopped pecans
1/2 can of sweetened condensed milk
2-3c mini marshmellows

Combine, stir, refrigerate.  This is the type of dessert you may find on the buffet table at Methodist potlucks, and at Thanksgiving dinners.  It's quick and dirty and delicious.   It has no redeeming healthy qualities.  It may induce sugar comas.  Be warned, serve it to a crowd, it makes a washtub.

Filing this here so I can find it again later

I might make this for J to take to the Easter Breakfast at church Sunday.  

Cherry Cheese Coffee Cake

Cake & filling
2 (8 oz. each) pkgs. refrigerated crescent rolls
8 oz. cream cheese
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla or almond extract
21 oz. can cherry pie filling

.1/2 cup powdered sugar
2-3 teaspoons milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Unroll crescent dough and arrange 12 of the triangles in a circle with wide ends toward the outside edge of the Large Round Stone - the points will not meet in the center. Lightly flour and roll out the seams making a 14" circle with a 3" hole in the center. Combine the cream cheese, powdered sugar, egg & vanilla and spread over dough. Top with pie filling. Cut each of the 4 remaining triangles into thirds (starting at the wide end opposite the point and cutting lengthwise to the point). Arrange over filling evenly in spoke-like pattern. Press ends to seal at center and outer edges. Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly. Mix powdered sugar and milk until glaze consistency and drizzle over coffee cake

Monday, March 25, 2013

Newborn sweater set

My uncle's stepdaughter is having her first baby in about a month, my aunt had me make this little sweater set for the impending arrival.  

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars

I needed to make a sweet treat that B could eat, to take to a party this afternoon.  These are what I whipped up in my kitchen last night:

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars

Egg replacer for 2 eggs
1/2c softened coconut oil
1/2c white sugar
1/2c brown sugar
1/2tsp vanilla extract
2-2.5c coarsely ground oat meal
1c Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips

preheat oven to 350, grease a 9x9 pan.  Blend the egg replacer with the coconut oil and the vanilla, and then add the sugar and flour, fold in the chip last.  Bake about 30mins, or until no longer doughy in the middle.  let cool completely before cutting.

If I had had some applesauce, I think that would have been good to add.  These were very good, but a little hard.  Much more like a granola bar than a cookie bar.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Marching Right Along

Not sure where the last month has gone.  I guess life has been busy.  We had B's appointment with the pediatric GI yesterday though.  It went well enough.  We're doing a battery of tests to try to determine what's going on.  They are going to test for Cystic Fibrosis (sweat chloride test).  They are doing a bunch of blood word, checking her pancreas and thyroid.  An in depth stool study (doesn't THAT sound exciting?!) to find out what sort of proteins aren't being absorbed, among other things.  Yes, I had to collect more poop in a jar and carry it back to the lab.  Aren't you jealous?  At least this time they gave me a brown paper bag to carry it in.  So, maybe by our next visit in 3 weeks, we'll begin to have a clearer picture of what we're dealing with.  Her GI (Dr. I) was very nice.  He seemed so genuinely concerned, and understanding, and eager to help us find out what is happening with B.  I never get that feeling from Dr.V, the allergist, even though he has helped us a lot so far.  Good bedside manner can make such a difference.  I'm very nervous about it all, especially the CF testing.  I had no idea her symptoms might mean CF.  I don't know yet when that test is going to take place.  I *thought* it was on our lab orders yesterday, but when we got to the lab, they didn't say anything about it at all.  Just took blood and gave me the poop jars.  So I guess we'll have to wait and see.  He also wants us to start her on Miralax and see if that helps her at all.  We tried a children's laxative once before without much success, but I'm willing to give it a try.

Other than that, I guess we're all doing ok.  J is still looking for a job.  I'm getting increasingly anxious about that situation as well.  Our tax refund can carry us for about 3 months if we're very frugal with it.  And it's possible that he'll be gone for 4-5 months of Air National Guard training, which would pay full time during the duration of the course.  We don't know yet when that will happen though.  I'm not even letting myself think about that right now.  My brain just shuts down.

We spent last week in TN visiting my fam.  It was a busy trip, but both my sisters were home on Spring Break, and it was good to see everyone.  R had a lot of fun.  He really loves going to visit my parents.

I'm working on a newborn sweater, which I have almost finished.  And I've been working up a sock pattern to make my dad some custom fitted socks for his severely deformed feet.  I got the measurements and got the right sock cast on but didn't get much past the beginning of the cuff.  I guess those will be my next project.

I had my birthday earlier in the month.  J MADE ME A CAKE.  Yes, you read that correctly.  My husband actually baked me a cake, and made homemade frosting.  It was fabulous.  And he spent all day cleaning the house and let me sleep in really late.  He got me a card.  He hasn't gotten me a card for any sort of occasion since we were dating.  It was a really sweet one too.  A couple of nights later we had a sitter come and got to go out to dinner (Indian, mmmmmm!) all by ourselves like real grown ups.  It was a pretty great birthday.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Casting on Spring

Lots of beautiful new yarns for a new season of knitting and crochet

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Baked Apple Pork Chops

I used to make a version of this recipe that was not quite as healthy, called Caramel Apple Pork Chops, which can be found here.  This version is not nearly so syrupy.  Much lighter and healthier.

Baked Apple Pork Chops:

4 thin to medium sliced pork chops
1 large granny smith apple
salt, pepper, cinnamon
about a 1tbs butter, divided, (or in our case dairy free, soy free butter substitute)
about 2 tbs brown sugar
drizzle of olive oil

Preheat the over to 400.  coat a 9x9 baker with a little bit of olive oil.  arrange your meat in the pan so that it doesn't over lap.  sprinkle salt and pepper to taste and about half the brown sugar.  Slice the apple up thin, and layer the apples on top of the pork chops, it's ok if they overlap a bit.  Add another sprinkle of salt, the rest of the brown sugar, and some cinnamon.  divide up the butter evenly on top of the apples.  cover with foil and bake for about 20 minutes.  take the foil off and let it continue to bake until the liquid is *almost* gone, probably another 10 minutes.  You don't want to let them get too dried out, there needs to be a little liquid left in the bottom of the pan.
Serve with whatever side dishes you desire.  I paired these with my 'dirty rice' and some green peas.  They would also be really good with mashed potatoes.

Monday, February 25, 2013