Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Field Trip!

The kindergarten went to Huber's Orchard, my favorite field trip spot!

It was COLD! (OK, maybe not COLD, but much colder than predicted. Wish I had worn socks!) Whitney, our lovely guide, showed the kids this special ladder and picking bag.Learning about how the apples are washed, sorted, packaged

Pumpkin patch
Great Pumpkins!

The petting zoo

Of course, we all went to the farm store -- the best farm store ever! Besides apples, I bought the most delicious caramel apple bread, raisin bread, apple butter, cherry preserves, black raspberry jam for Clay, B&B pickles. And, 3 bottles of spiced apple wine from the winery -- one for us, one for wine-loving Jen and one for Sharon, who didn't even threaten to open it on the way home!


Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Last week was "P" week in kindergarten, so I made purple pancakes with powdered sugar for their treat. They all think I am a genius.
These don't look very beautiful, but they were delicious.

And, I started a pair of socks! Our Knit Night friend Linda taught us toe-up socks a few months ago, and I promised myself I would give socks another try (my first attempt at socks was the top down IU red and white pair for Grandpa Dale, which I abandoned after he died. I might have even thrown them out.)

So far, so good. It took me about an hour to conquer that crazy figure-8 cast on, but once I did and finished the increases for the toe, it was smooth sailing. But I just kept thinking that all these stitches would have already added up to a scarf or a good portion of a baby sweater on #7's or 8's. I'm trying to keep a good attitude about this, but I don't know if I will ever love socks the way so many knitters do. I'm about ready to tackle the heel, but I probably won't get to that until Friday, then I'll have to decide whether to work the leg of the sock straight, or in a rib or little cable.
If all goes well (in more ways than one!) these will be my lucky wrestling socks; the season is right around the corner . . .

Monday, September 28, 2009

Happy Birthday, Little Bulldozer

After a week of rain, it turned out to be a beautiful day! We had quite a crowd, and a wonderful time.

The bouncy house was a good idea -- Griffin had it at his pirate party the evening before; the guys had to take it down quickly when the rain rolled in. Again.

Opening gifts:

Paul's cake
Blowing out his candle:

His own little cake. He wasn't sure about the whole thing, slapped the cake a few times, then got very upset by the mess.
After a bath, playing the guitar. I knit this little hat.


Monday, September 21, 2009

Tommy's 5th Birthday!

You can clean your house, scrub the deck, fill a pinata and bake a cake, but you can't make the sun shine. After a beautiful week, I woke up Sunday to the sound of thunder (cue Bob Seger). But we still had a great party. Here's a few pictures:

Pinata in the garage:

Tommy and I Googled "Cars Cake" and found a million images -- luckily, he chose one that wasn't too hard to figure out. And, when you watch every episode of Ace of Cakes, you pick up a few tips! (Although I know Duff and crew would have made those cars out of fondant -- I bought these at Target!)

Along with Cars and Super Heroes, Tommy loves the Ninja Turtles, so I worked up this hat and mittens for him.

I guess you could say I designed this hat; I looked for a pattern all over, but could only find a crocheted TMNT hat. I worked the hat flat; I know you can work intarsia in the round, but I thought I would save learning that skill for another day. I had planned to duplicate stitch the black of the eyes, but it looked goofy, so I went to mom's miraculous button box and found two perfect buttons for the eyes -- much easier.

If anyone would be interested in this pattern, I would be glad to post it here.

Peace, love and Ninjas.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Butterflies are free . . . Turtles are delicious!

One of the boys in Kindergarten brought in some caterpillars in a butterfly house, and we watched as they made they pupae. Then, on Friday, they hatched! It was an exciting day.

Miss P with the butterfly on her finger
The butterfly flittered around the kids for a moment, then took off across the street to Potty and Mary Ann's house while we all cheered!
Then, for the Letter T, we had Turtles, the easiest cookie to make in the waffle iron!


Monday, September 14, 2009


A plate of delicious hamburgers?

Or, hamburger cookies for the Letter H last week?

Spiderman web cookies for Tommy's pre-school class today:

When I was in kindergarten, my grandma made Indian chief cookies for my class -- she painted every feather in his headdress a different color. In first grade, she did the same thing, but with a turkey. She was amazing.

I have used the same sugar cookie recipe for years, but this time I tried a new one, from the America's Test Kitchen cookbook, and I must say, it is a good one. Wish my webs were a little more uniform, but no two spiderwebs are alike, are they? (or is that just for snowflakes?)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Bird Murder

This is no mystery to this murder.

I saw it happen.
I know how it happened.
I made it happen.

This summer, there has been a flock of beautiful little finches in our fence rows. I think this is because my brother has not mowed the pasture surrounding our house, and it is full of thistles, which the finches like.

We've been watching them through the binoculars, and they are so cute, so I had the genius idea of setting some feeders near the house so we could enjoy them up close. When I was buying the feeders, I found a contraption you can hook to your deck. More genius! I put the feeders right outside the french doors off the family room. I put out saucers for water and two planter boxes for color to attract the birds, just like I read on the Internet.

The weather has cooled, the doors are open, the birds sing, I'm knitting. It is perfect.

Then, there is a ruckus on the deck, and I turn to see Toulouse at the screen door with a mouth full of feathers.

I screamed, of course, then cried, then took the feeders down, because they had gone from a beautiful little project to bait for our cat.

Yesterday, finches came and perched on the deck. I know they were looking for the bird seed, but part of me is wondering if they weren't mourning their fallen friend . . .


Friday, September 4, 2009

Adding whittling to my crafty skills set

I wanted to make this Breast Cancer Support scarf (free pattern download here from Knitting Daily; pattern and gorgeous yarn here from Jimmy Bean's), but I didn't have and couldn't find the ginormous needles you need to knit with 4 or 5 yarns at one time.

So, I made them! This really isn't a tutorial, but if you were interested in making some yourself, here's what I did:

First, get a wide dowel rod -- the widest one I could find was 7/8". Measure and mark two 12-14" lengths, then cut the rod with a saw you find in your garage. (I'm not sure of the original purpose for the saw I found, but it worked great for dowel cutting.)
Then, use the Leatherman's Tool you gave your husband many Christmases ago, (but which you use more than he does), and whittle pointy ends on both of your dowel sections.
I would advise going slowly on this part -- smooth even strokes with the knife seems to work best. Take your time. It is good entertainment for the cat.
At first, my points were so pointy that I could have knit lace with these babies, but I rounded off the point a bit with sandpaper.
So, sand the points, and the entire needle. The smoother the wood, the more luck you will have knitting with these.
Go to your mother's button boxes, and find two big buttons, wider than the diameter of the dowel, and glue those onto the ends of your needles. Then, hammer little nails throught the holes in the button. Actually, this step should come before the whittling, as I messed up the end of one needle while pounding the nail in. But a little more whittling, a little more sanding, and it was good as new.
I think you could do something fancier, but I just used some wax paper and gave them a good rubdown, gathered 4 purple yarns and made this in about two hours. I didn't even ball up the yarns, I just laid them on the floor in front of the couch, got a cup of coffee and watched Grey Gardens while I knit this.
But there was a tragedy. . . more on that tomorrow.