Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Knitting All the Time

In the spare free time I have, which isn't much, I have been knitting up a storm.  I like to knit all year and store up what I have for Christmas gifts.  Of course, I do keep a couple of items for myself.  Below are some projects I have completed over the past few months.  I will do my best to remember which yarn I used!

Yarn Credit: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Mediumweight (can't find the color name online)

I knit these mittens at the request of my mom.  She specifically asked for one without a thumb due to her arthritis.  Yarn credit:  Lamb's Pride

Convertible mittens that I kept for myself.  They were a huge pain to knit since the pattern wasn't well written.  Yarn credit:  Berroco Vintage

This cabled headband was also for my mom to match her mittens.  Yarn credit:  Lamb's Pride

Sockhead hat.  Yarn credit:  Knit Picks Chroma (the color is discontinued)

The Honey Cowl.  This yarn was a gift and I cannot remember the brand or color at all.  Maybe Plymouth Yarns in Gina?  Maybe?

Yarn Credit:  Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Lightweight (I cannot find this colorway online)

Yarn Credit:  Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Lightweight (I also can't find this color online)

Baby cardigan.  This was a gift for a friend.  I added red ladybug buttons.  Yarn credit:  Quince & Co. DK weight

Yarn credit:  Regia

Yarn credit:  White Birch Fiber Arts

Yarn Credit:  Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Lightweight in Jewels

I love these ankel so

I love these ankle socks!  This yarn was a gift and didn't come with tags.

The Hitchhiker shawl.  Yarn credit: Manos del Uruguay Alegria in Atlantico

Yarn credit: Nerd Girl Yarns in Blue Box Exploding

Yarn credit: Republic of Wool Twist Fingering (I can't find the colorway online)

Yarn Credit:  Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Lightweight in Count Cluckula

Yarn Credit: Fiber Nymph

I'm Baaaaack!

I apologize for the long blog hiatus but life has been crazy.  I started a new job and my work hours have been insane.  I have very little free time and posting has taken a back seat.

Let's see, what is new around here?  Jack is starting Kindergarten in about 2 weeks.  Cal is staring preschool in about 2 weeks.  I started a new job back in January.  I am on call 24/7 and I am exhausted.  I dropped out of Weight Watchers but started back.  Jason got his hair cut for the first time in 4 years.

There is a ton more, but that is the short summary.

Here are a couple of my favorite pictures from the past couple of months.

We have spent a ton of time at the park and splash pad this summer.  Cal really enjoys the swings.

My kids and their donuts.  I take them grocery shopping and they always beg for a donut.  This was taken this winter.

At the library's Creature Feature. They thought it was so cool that they cold hold a snake.  Also notice Cal's lovely black eye.

I took a precious week of vacation in May and we spent time doing things as a family.  This picture is of me and my buddy at the AC Gilbert House in Salem.  It's the coolest children's museum we have ever been to.

Summer calls for ice cream right?

My main squeeze with his haircut.  And a Hydroflask full of beer.  

Jack had 3 weeks of Kindergarten Transition, a program to get the kids ready to attend school every day.  He absolutely LOVED it and I have no worries that he will enjoy Kindergarten.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Recent Recipes

One of my favorite things to do is meal plan (weirdo).  I love choosing new recipes to make and plan the shopping list.  Since I am on Weight Watchers, this is a time consuming process.  I have to scour the internet for suggestions and blogs that contain Weight Watcher-friendly meals.

Here are some recent meals that I have made along with the links.

Pork Chops with Hoisin-Molasses Barbecue Sauce

Yum!  Very easy as a weeknight meal.

Bubble Up Enchilada Casserole

EmilyBites has a Bubble Up Pizza Casserole that is on my meal list for the upcoming week.  We really loved this.

Bacon, Onion, and Brown Lentil Skillet

Jason raved about this, which was surprising.  He doesn't strike me as being a lentil lover.  See the bread in that picture above?  That is homemade based on this blog entry.  It is the easiest recipe ever and produces a dense, flavorful bread.  I used 3 cups of whole wheat flour, 2 cups of white flour, 1 cup of old fashioned oats and a bit of molasses.  Amazing!

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

This soup is so good that I have made it several times.  The lemon really makes the soup taste fresh.  I again served this with homemade bread.

Cornmeal and Spice-Crusted Scallops

I wish these had been more crunchy on the outside, but they were still very good!

Ropa Vieja

I loved that this recipe made a lot. Jason ate most of the leftovers for lunch.

Three-Cheese Baked Penne

The addition of goat cheese to this pasta made it so tangy and creamy.  Yum!

Jamaican-Spiced Chicken Thighs

These were good, but I wish they had been spicier.  We love spicy things in my house.  Also, the rice was made with a sazon seasoning packet mixed in, hence the orange color.

Hamburger Stroganoff

This was such a low Point meal, it surprised me.  I had enough Points left to splurge on some salad dressing.  I usually eat my salad plain.

Garlic-Rubbed Flank Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

This was a special meal.  My kids were at my in-laws' house this weekend so I made a dinner that Jason and I could enjoy without hearing "I don't like that".  Yummmmm!  It was delicious. Flank steak at my grocery store was spendy so I used a flat iron steak instead.

If you make any of these recipes, please let me know what you think!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Calvin is Three!

Calvin turned 3 back on January 10th.  He is still my "baby" and always will be but he is very much a big boy now.  Here are some things about my (little) big guy:

* Cal is super affectionate.  He is going through a stage right now where he wants you to carry him or give him hugs.  This is usually not a problem, except when you are doing something like the dishes or cooking around a hot stove.

* His favorite toy is anything that sings or makes music.  He got to pick out a toy for his birthday from Mamo and he chose the ugliest pink Dora guitar, but hey, it plays music!  He sits around and pretends to play.  It's adorable.  His other favorite thing is puzzles.  He got puzzles for Christmas and he does them all the time.  

* He still adores Yo Gabba Gabba (I actually brought him to YGG Live back in November and he was AMAZED), Dora the Explorer and Baby Einstein videos.  The Baby Einstein ones because, again, music!

* Cal isn't a super big eater, but that's okay.  He is still 50th percentile for both height and weight so we are not concerned at all.  Some of his favorite foods are:  Toasted bagels with butter, peanut butter and Nutella sandwiches, raisins, any and all fruit, cheese, and bread.  Of course, no vegetables at all.  Typical toddler.

* We just started swim class and I was pleasantly surprised how much he likes it.  He is not a huge fan of getting his head wet and he can be timid when it comes to new surroundings, but on the first day, he got right into the pool.  I think it helps that Jack is also in the class.

* Cal goes to school two days a week.  It's playschool and he really enjoys it.  The first week, he cried when I would drop him off, but now, he practically RUNS to class.  The artwork he brings home is adorable.  I really feel like this helps him be more social and comfortable being around other kids and challenging himself.

* Someone mentioned the other day "Oh, you have a threenager?".  I had to laugh, because age 3 is exactly like that.  Mood swings, tantrums and very sporadic happiness.  Cal is generally a very happy kid but man.......If he doesn't get what he wants, he will be very dramatic and throw quite the fit.  I think he gets that from me.

* Cal still wakes up about once a night, but that is almost always because his legs hurt.  Both my boys get terrible growing pains in their feet and shins.  This just started with Cal so I guess that means he is due for a growth spurt.  I also need to mention that I am so grateful that he still naps.  THANK GOODNESS.

* Cal brings us so much joy and he is incredibly hysterical.  He will randomly throw a "thumbs up" with the funniest grin on his face.  Cracks me up, every time.  He will also say "!!!!!!!" when something is funny to him.

3 years has flown right by.  I swear, it goes so lightning fast and I am always so surprised by it.  We love you Calvin Wyatt.  Continue to be hysterical and affectionate.  WE LOVE YOU!

Enjoy some pictures from Cal's birthday below.  We had his favorite meal (sandwiches, lol) per his request and some great strawberry cupcakes.

Monday, January 19, 2015

I Made It - Holiday Edition

This post is also a catch up from over the holidays.  Just like last year, I did a ton of homemade gifts and treats.  Enjoy!

Lego Table

As I mentioned in another post about Christmas, I made a Lego table for the kids for Christmas.  I have seen the Ikea Hack post all over Pinterest and thought I would try my hand at an easy craft.

This table cost under $40 total.  The table was $8 (Ikea Lack), the 4 Lego plates were $23.96 and the glue I used was $4.69.  Total cost was $36.65.  The assembly couldn't have been easier.  The table legs just screwed in, no tools necessary.  The plates were glued on with an epoxy glue.  To be honest, I didn't even measure.  I eyeballed where the plates should go, put the epoxy on, let it sit for the instructed 5 minutes and pressed down.  Easiest project ever.

Felt Christmas Tree

This project was also very easy.  I had seen these felt Christmas trees at Target and decided to make something similar.  I bought the felt and the double-sided tape at my local fabric store.  The bonus was that they were having a 30% off sale so in total, I want to say I spent less than $10 for this project, and the boys can use it for several years.

I freehand drew the tree using a white crayon and simply cut it out.  I made ball, bell, heart and star ornaments.  I also drew those with a white crayon and cut them out.  Using double-sided tape, it all got hung up on the wall. The tape was light enough that the ornaments could be moved around many times.  The boys really enjoyed "decorating" their own tree.

Ribbed Socks

I made several knitted gifts this year for Christmas.  These are just the ones I hadn't posted about yet.  This was a last minute gift for my mother-in-law.  I had the yarn and she raves about the other socks I made her so I made another pair.  Again, she loved them.  

Yarn Credit:  Hazel Knits Artisan Sock yarn in Splish Splash


My mom requested a sweater for Christmas so I found a pattern I liked at my local yarn shop and then picked out the yarn.  I ordered the yarn online since I could get acrylic for a very good price.  It's hard to knit up a sweater and it ends up costing $80 just in yarn costs plus the many, many hours of work.  I was able to purchase the yarn needed on KnitPicks for $30. Score!

The yarn is more of a plum color.  It was hard to photograph.  It's a very simple v-neck pullover with a split bottom.  That way, it fits nicely over the hips. It turns out that my mom loved it!

Yarn Credit:  KnitPicks Brava Worsted in Mullberry

Bow Hat

You guys, I think this makes 8 of these hats that I have knitted.  If anyone else asks, the answer is NO!

This hat was for my sister.  She asked and she is an exception to the "NO" rule.  She requested the hat in black so here it is!  I used something other than my standard black yarn.  I used black, but in something a little nicer since it was a gift.  The yarn itself is so soft!

Yarn Credit:  Malabrigo Rios in Black

Fisher Cable Hat

I couldn't leave my brother-in-law out so I knitted him a hat as well.  The yarn was more navy than black like the picture shows.  

Yarn Credit:  Imperial Yarn Erin Worsted in Navy

Chocolate Pie

For Christmas Eve, I offered to bring dessert.  I love baking and hadn't done a lot of baking over the holidays.  My Aunt makes the best chocolate pie every Thanksgiving and she was so gracious and gave me the recipe.  It's actually a recipe from a really old Hershey's cookbook for Banana Chocolate Cream pie.  I don't have the recipe handy, but this one is pretty close.

My Aunt's trick is when the crust comes out of the oven, sprinkle some chocolate chips in the bottom of the pan, let them melt and spread with a pastry brush.  This keeps the crust from getting soggy.

I topped the pie with some sweetened whipped cream mixed with a touch of peppermint extract.  It really made it taste festive!

Christmas Appetizers

Every year when celebrating over at my Aunt's house, we have something called a grazing table.  No formal Christmas dinner, just a bunch of snack type foods and treats.  My contributions this year were goat cheese stuffed dates and sausage balls.  

I didn't use a recipe for the dates.  I just pitted them, halved them and put a bit of herbed goat cheese in the middle.  Very simple and very tasty!

The sausage balls were also very easy.  You use a pound of hot sausage (I used Jimmy Dean), 12 ounces of sharp cheddar cheese, shredded, and 3 cups of Bisquick.  You mix all that together (this was not very easy or fun - I just used my hands) and form into golf ball sized balls.  Bake in the oven at 350 for about 15 minutes.

I assembled and rolled these the night before so all I had to do was bake them off.  Such a good idea!

Christmas Cookies

I was on vacation from work the week of Christmas and we had no plans.  The only plans the boys and I had were crafts, baking and playing games.  I did make one batch of cookies and they are always my favorite:  Peanut Butter Blossoms

I had the boys unwrap the Hershey kisses and when I checked on them, a few had bites taken out of them.  LOL.

There are a few things that I am sure I am omitting.  Like the beaded pipe cleaners that my kids did.  Or the peppermint ornaments we made.  Or the no-bake peanut butter oatmeal cookies that Jason requested.  

I have done a few more knitted items since Christmas, so that post is sure to come soon!