Archive for October, 2007

Little Happy Pants

Tuesday, October 30th, 2007

Guess What?! I feel like a knitting machine. Only a hand knitting machine, not an actual knitting machine. I mean, I’m being all metaphorical and stuff, not talking about the two knitting machines stored under the bed a few feet away. Can you tell that it is late and I should be headed to bed right now? Oh, but it is, and I should.

But down to business. Look what is blocking on the bed behind me just a few feet away:

Some of the cutest, happiest little pants that anyone ever did see, that’s what. I can’t believe how fast these knit up or how cute they turned out. They would be even cuter on a new baby, but instead they will be going to live at the Yarnery in a few days. I hope lots of other people think they are cute and buy the pattern. I think I am going to go ahead and make it available this week. Don’t worry, dear test knitters, the offer still stands – but after having knit one pair in almost every size, I think I have my math right, and I’ve revised the wording a few times so I’m pretty happy with that. I’ll still be able to swap out the copies at the store if someone has great suggestions on the instructions, but I feel pretty good about this one. Yay!

Everything else here is going well. I cast on about a million socks before that sock class on Saturday, which went smashingly well. I love my classes at the store lately – I’ve been so lucky with awesome students knockonwood. So now I’m knitting away on some little socks for Julie in an attempt to keep up with my class and have a sample ready for a heel flap and one for a turning for the next class. Julie’s been asking for more socks and who am I to say no?

I’m also staring down some of the UFOs scattered around the room and trying to decide which one gets some attention soonest. The charity blankie that we all worked on up at Unistar this summer is making the strongest case, and it wouldn’t take all that much to finish it up and ship it out to some family who could really use it. I think I’m going to make some time for that this week. The sock yarn blankie – you know – THE blankie – is still at the store on display, but when it comes home, it’s getting center stage now that the weather is cooler and I’ve had a nice little break from it. I’m going to finish that sucker this winter.

Anyway, there’s one other thing I’ve been wanting to mention, and while I’m looking around the room, I’m staring it down too, so here goes. And update on the yarn dyeing business…So far, I’ve sold quite a bit of that giant pile of hand dye I worked on all summer. I appreciate every order, and I’ve been running to the post office pretty much within 24 hours of getting the e-mail saying someone has clicked the checkout button. It’s so much fun sending my little skeins of fuzzy joy off to new homes!

One thing continues to puzzle me every time I glance at the pile, though. Remember when I was test-dyeing little skeins and I knit up that messy sample and everybody loved the orange and brown yarn that I said I didn’t “get”? I swear at least five people said “make that yarn and I’ll buy it!”

So I did. I made a pile of what ended up being called “Brick House”. And it’s all still sitting right here. I sure hope someone decides they really want it, because I feel kind of sorry for it. You can still go visit it and its friends over at my etsy shop.

I Couldn’t Be More Proud…

Saturday, October 27th, 2007

Every once in a while I remember that such a thing as web server statistics exist, and I go check mine out. It’s much more interesting and fun for me if I do this on a sporadic basis, because then I’m much more likely to get a fun new surprise. Tonight’s fun new surprise was that five people have recently reached my site by typing “Heathen Housewife loves poop” into their favorite search engine. I thought this was funny, so I went and typed it into Google myself just for kicks. Turns out that two different entries from my blog are the top two hits for this search. Followed closely by two entries from Blackbird’s blog (she has me in her link list). I don’t know what I was hoping for when I started this blog, but surely I couldn’t have aspired to honors greater than this. [Please note sarcasm]

Moving on to today’s camera downloads…

I put the sweater I knit for Sophie last year on her one last time yesterday, just because I *needed* to squeeze one last wearing out of this little work of art (clumsy folk art though it may be). It fit her just fine horizontally, but was a little short in the arms and body length. Trying to get her to stand still and let me take a picture is not easy these days. She wants to see the picture on the little screen, so before I can even snap a shot, she’s running over to me giggling and pointing. Which means I get a lot of shots like this:

and this:

But at least you can see the stitch definition pretty well. And eventually I did get this one. Notice Julie’s giant tower in the background.

Sophie was pretty impressed by it, and really wanted to participate, but Julie kept shooing her off.

Those of you who have been around for a while (all five of you) may remember that there was a companion to this little pink sweater – a cream colored one that was supposed to fit Julie and was going to be in our family holiday card photo. It’s still languishing 2/3 done in a basket less than an arm’s length from where I sit at my desk. I haven’t pulled it out in almost a year, and I don’t even have the heart to own up to it in Ravelry. I’ve been thinking about it lately, though – I’ve been doing a bit of clean-up and reorganizing in my office, and thinking about all the various projects that I should get back to “when I have the time”. The window of opportunity for that little cream sweater is slowly closing, though – Sophie could probably wear it this year if I were to finish it. I probably ought to dig it out and take a look at it…when I have time [smirk].

changing subjects,

The other day Sophie and I were at Jo-Anne’s buying elastic for the waistband of the latest pair of leggings – the sample ones for the store – and I can’t leave that place without wandering the aisles for a bit, looking for a crafty project or two that the girls can participate in. I ended up coming home with a packet of shrinky-dink materials. Turns out Julie’s not quite ready to do shrinky-dinks, but I managed to complete a little project while we sat there, her coloring with new colored pencils on paper, me with my stinky permanent markers, and Sophie in the high chair throwing broken crayons all over the floor.

Before shrinking, with a piece of letter-sized paper for scale:

And after. It was supposed to be a picture frame, which I could glue a photo behind and then stick a magnet on the back to go on the fridge.

It’s a little small, and a little warped, but it just might still do for a cute way to display a picture of the girls in their costumes. I may do a couple more little things just for fun, and if I do, I’m sure I’ll share them here.

We met our friends this morning at Westwood Nature Center for a little play and a walk, and I got a few good shots while we were down by the water. This is out on a floating dock by the little lake. Total gratuitous cute-kid stuff coming up, I’m afraid.

It was taco night at our house tonight, and for some reason watching the girls pick up their tacos and try to eat them struck me as funny, so I grabbed the camera. She doesn’t look it in this picture, but Julie was actually quite excited and happy for once about what I’d cooked for dinner. She’s been all about the hating my cooking lately, but apparently still loves my tacos at least.

Sophie too…although hers ended up on the floor halfway through the meal. The thing was almost as big as her head!

That’s it. I’m off to watch some more episodes of Dexter on DVD and gather up my materials for the sock class I’m starting tomorrow at the Yarnery. Something about socks on whatever kind of needles you want to use, and it’s sold out so I feel like I better know what I’m talking about and have samples to back myself up. No problem!

Not Manna

Wednesday, October 24th, 2007

I made bread today. Gluten-free bread from this recipe.

I’ve been reading Gluten-Free Girl, a blog by a lady in Seattle with celiac disease who happens to have a new book out at the moment. I think one of my readers here suggested it, and it’s a pretty
good blog sometimes, although occasionally (and I hope she’ll forgive me if she reads this) a little too high on life for my taste, a little too flowery. Don’t get me wrong – she’s in a good place in her life, and she’s enjoying it, so more power to her. It’s just not always what I want to read, but I’ve been sticking with her because she writes these gluten (and therefore wheat)-free recipes that Julie could eat as long as they don’t happen to contain soy.

Anyway, I read that post about the bread when she wrote it and thought to myself that I really should try it since she made it sound so amazingly good, and poor Julie is mostly stuck eating store-bought rice-based bread that leaves quite a bit to be desired. As in, if we were out of wheat bread, I would choose to have just meat and cheese instead of putting it in a sandwich of her bread. But it’s edible toasted, and it’s all she knows, so it’s not the end of the world. Except anyone who has ever experienced fresh-baked bread warm from the oven would want that experience for their child, too.

I should note that I do bake for Julie sometimes, and some of what I bake for her is good enough to pass for the whole family and even for company. There are cookies, cakes, brownies, really good corn bread, even pizza and pie. The trouble with most of it is that you pretty much have to eat it the same day, or the texture goes all wonky, and the inside dries out and the outside gets soggy in the blink of an eye. But that’s okay. We deal with that. If I could bake passable bread that would be good for only one sitting, I’d do it on a regular basis.

So that was my motivation with the bread. I had high hopes. The recipe declared itself fabulous, and I’m quite good at following recipes, especially when it comes to baking. Julie and I had fun mixing it up while Sophie was napping, and the excitement was palpable as it rose, then went into the oven. I was hungry for homemade bread.

It came out, and it looked mostly like the picture on the recipe:

I couldn’t wait the ten minutes I was supposed to let it cool. I made it to five, then I had to slice into the sucker. I made an exception to the diet rules and slathered it in butter.

Then I topped that with some of my homemade grape jelly. I did tell y’all about the grape jelly, right? This is the very last jar that is left, and it’s too bad because the neighbor kids loved it and were hinting around for more.

Anyway, this little snack should have been awesome. I was so excited to try it. The girls were excited to try it, too. So we all hung out in the kitchen and ate the bread. They chowed it down, but then again, they will chow on anything that full of carbs. I ate my slice too, but it was a disheartening experience. It was incredibly dry and dense, with none of the chewy bread mouthfeel one hopes for. I know I got the ingredients right, I know I added enough liquid – about twice what the recipe calls for – I just think maybe…oh, and it hurts to suggest this – maybe the recipe just wasn’t that good.

I’m going to check out some gluten-free cookbooks from the library and try again. In the mean time, the bread went well enough with the soup I made for dinner, at least as far as the girls were concerned. But Joe pointed out to me that the lid of our Le Crueset dutch oven is now a brownish color that won’t scrub off. Totally not worth it. meh.

I’m off to watch Heroes Season 1 on Netflix and knit on the little leggings. I’m trying so hard to keep my blinders on and get these finished. There are so many projects in the list of “must finish this NOW,” yet today I ran into this pattern on Ravelry and am oh-so-tempted to cast on a pair.

Monday Ramble

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007

All day long, I’ve been thinking of stuff I wanted to mention in the blog. Let’s see how much of it I can remember…

First, the freshest in my mind – a bit of a rant. I just had another angry-making interaction with a doctor’s office! This time it was an appointment for myself. I’d met with a nurse practitioner at this office about a month ago, and on her recommendation had scheduled an appointment with a doctor to consult about having a certain procedure. Then, Joe takes off work and comes home early so I can go to the appointment, I get to suffer through the humiliation of an exam, and then the doctor tells me that she doesn’t *d0* the procedure, and proceeded to tell me that I should do XYZ instead. X being quit nursing Sophie, Y being put up with the problem, and Z being take a drug every day (and pay the $30 copay every month) until menopause. And that may or may not solve the problem, but at least we’ll know we tried. I left the room feeling humiliated and angry.

I should not have been scheduled with that doctor. Thankfully, we ran into the nurse practitioner on the way out, she saw the look on my face and got me to tell her what was wrong, and has now scheduled an appointment with a doc who *does* do the procedure, and she swears is her favorite. Still, that will probably mean another day leaving work early for Joe (I’m not going to explain this problem to my MIL – I’d rather tell the whole Internet about it than try to explain it to her – so I’m not going to ask her to watch the girls for this one.)

Okay, and without going into details in public, anyone out there had or considered having an ablation? If so and you’re willing to discuss it via e-mail, that’d be great. shellyk at shellykang dot com.

And now let’s talk about something nice. Brownies! mmmm….brooowwwnies….

I made them (obviously) in my new Bakers Edge pan. See how all the pieces have lots of crust? That’s the point. Mmmmm! I’ve been coveting this pan for well over a year now, and finally I just broke down and bought it. We had dinner guests on Friday, and they were a good excuse to bake. I immediately gave away the leftovers to my awesome neighbors so that I wouldn’t be tempted to eat them. Good thing, too, because I thought about those brownies All.Weekend.Long. I’m still thinking about them, actually.

I also spent the weekend thinking about Rhinebeck and wishing I were there. Joe says once I’m done nursing Sophie, I can take a knitting vacation of my choice. This might be it next year. For those of you who were there and blogged about it this year? I am so jealous! I would have loved to be at that Ravelry party. I would have totally crashed it.

But instead of oogling all things fiber in upstate New York, I got to buy a new minivan (still loving it!) – and to answer a couple of questions – no, no stickers on the new vehicle. I put them on the Civic because I figured it couldn’t look any worse than it already did, all covered in hail damage, so that was my chance to express myself in the particular medium. The van color is dark pearlized gray. Yes, I got the automatic doors, and they so totally rock.

Yesterday we spent some time in the yard raking leaves, a chore that I actually look forward to with the girls. Julie loves jumping and playing in the piles, and I see my job when we’re out there as 80% entertaining them, 20% getting the leaves raked.

Oh, yeah, she’s wearing the leggings and the tiger hat I knit for her last year. Sophie got in on the leaf-lovin’ action too.

I finished the little mittens for the Mitten Fairy last night, and threw them in the washer today. Before:

And After:

And to sum up that quickie project, they are Malabrigo leftovers from the hat and mittens I made for Julie last winter, knit in the Felted Gauntlet Mittens pattern by Jean Christensen available at the Yarnery.

Alright, I promised a ramble, and you sure are getting it. Another little thing I’ve been up to is entering some of my stash in Ravelry. I kind of want to clean out my yarn closet, so I’m combining some bins into bigger ones so that I can store them in my upstairs (clothes) closet. I just finished entering my collection of Brunswick Pomfret, a yarn that hasn’t been made for at least 20 years, and with which I have something of an obsession. Looking at it all the last couple of days, I am a little scared of just how much of an obsession I seem to have. I love this yarn to death, but it’s frustrating to knit with it because when I design something, it needs to be in a yarn that’s currently available. Still, I will get around to knitting with it. Really.

Those are just two of the 24 colors in my collection, totaling almost 20,000 yards. And that’s not including the little bin of scraps! Ack!

Tonight Sophie tried on a couple of hats I pulled out of the FO stash – more hand-me-downs from Julie. The green one is cute, but a little tight.

This rainbow one is also cute, and a little loose, but serviceable.

I’m still clicking away at the little leggings. I think the legs will be done before bedtime tonight.

Ah, and finally, speaking of bedtime, that leads us into some utterly gratuitous cute-kid pics.
Bed time has evolved into a little wild goofy time the last week or so. Sophie thinks it’s hilarious to hide under the covers on our bed and play peekaboo.

These photos are grainy because they came off the Sidekick, and because Sophie was moving so fast.

Julie gets in on the action, too. A moment before I took this one, both girls were climbing all over poor Joe.

Believe it or not, there are about ten other things I was going to mention, but I think we’ve all had enough for one night!

Odyssey

Sunday, October 21st, 2007

A newer car has been long overdue in the Kang household. I bought a Honda Civic in 1993, and Joe bought his Volkswagen Jetta in 1995. My car is older, but in better condition – many fewer miles and much less rust. And it’s a little ironic because Joe has always been borderline anal-retentive about maintenance on his car, and I am, well, a little more laid back about it.

We have been planning and saving for a new vehicle for a long time, and in the end it is Joe who will give up his first new car – it had the additional disadvantage of being a standard transmission, which I just haven’t managed to master. In the end, it just so happened that we had the money we needed, and Joe’s car was due for a major maintenance, and the stars and the moon aligned just so. We did our research, we plotted and planned. We arranged for Joe’s parents to watch the girls, and we headed off to meet our new car.

Originally, we were going to buy a Kia Sedona, but because most used Sedonas currently available in our market were coming out of rental companies, and the generous warranty Kia offers is voided when one of their cars is put into commercial use, we changed our minds and picked out a Honda Odyssey. We narrowed our search down on Cars.com, and it just so happened that the one we wanted was at a dealership quite close by.

We picked it up, and we spent several hours test driving it – we drove it on the highway, we took it to a nice parking lot and checked it all around, we drove it through a car wash to check for leaks. We found a few little things to be concerned about.

And then we went back to the dealer, and we negotiated. They promised to fix the little things. We talked about the price a bit, then we promised to give them cash and take it off their lot today, and then we talked about price a little more. There was some waiting, there was quite a bit of paperwork, and then there were keys and we were driving home.

I love the power sliding doors. Julie seems to love pretty much everything about it.

Sophie had just woken up from a nap, so she was a little dazed, but she seemed to enjoy checking out the third row of seats.

Now, Joe will inherit my Honda. A few months ago, when we started planning our purchase, I was feeling a little guilty about me getting the newer vehicle while Joe would be not only stuck with the older car, but perhaps worse, stuck with *my* older car, which I know he doesn’t particularly love. So, I said in a conciliatory voice “You know, we can take off the bumper stickers if you want.” and he retorted “What, you thought I was going to leave those on there? Ha!”

So we’ll be saying goodbye to these in the next few days.

And we’ll be saying goodbye to this – donating it -

just as soon as Joe can straighten out the title, which apparently he never took care of after he paid it off.

And I- wheee! I get a new ride.

Oh, and Joe’s parents not only watched the girls all day, but they also made a giant pile of kim bahp while they were here, so we all got to eat a delicious, homemade dinner that I didn’t have to cook. Gotta love that.

Pants! Finished! New Projects! Started!

Thursday, October 18th, 2007

It is such a relief to finally be done with these little pants. I finished Julie’s pair Monday night.

That’s a heck of a lot of mindless stockinette stitch! If you look closely at the top of the bigger pair, you can see the wider, brighter blue stripes that I used to stretch out the remaining self-striping yarn I’d dyed. And it worked out pretty well.

Tuesday morning it was plenty cool weather for wool leggings, and the girls were excited to put them on. Too bad Julie had an “accident” about two minutes after she got dressed. It was freaky – she hasn’t done that in months. Still, there was one very cute, very willing model all dressed up with no place to go…

This particular moment just about burst my heart. She was taking my picture while I took hers! It worked out well to keep her standing across the room far enough away for me to get a full-length picture.

In non-knitting news, Julie decided it was time for a major image change.

So far it’s been much easier to comb out in the mornings, and that was pretty much the whole point of the exercise.

Back to the knitting for a moment. Almost as soon as I finished Julie’s pants, I hurried up and cast on two more little legs for that shop sample pair.

I’m still trying to decide whether I like the magic loop enough to keep doing it. Luckily, I’m making the newborn size, so they’re knitting up fast. I’ve already whipped up several more inches since the picture was taken this morning.

I also cast on for a new little pair of mittens. This pair is not for Julie or Sophie. It’s for some child in St. Paul that I’ll never meet. The Yarnery is sponsoring “The Mitten Fairy” by collecting mittens through November 16. Then they will donate the mittens to St. Paul public schools to be distributed to kids who come to school without mittens.

When I heard about this effort, it appealed to me enough to actually follow through. Dropping off and picking up Julie at pre-school last year, I saw a lot of little kids with naked hands even on the coldest of days. Every time I saw that, I thought about how I’d like to make those kids some mittens like Julie’s, but of course you can’t do that mom-to-mom. This way, I get to fulfill that fantasy, but in a much better way. So I’m knitting up a pair of mittens, and I’ll drop ‘em off at the store when I’m there next week. You can look for them on the display next time you’re at the store, and feel free to knit a pair of any size to donate too.

And back to the kids…here’s what Sophie wore today.

I put this little sweater, a hand-me-down from Julie, on her for the first time, and it just happened to perfectly match some jeans I bought last year at a garage sale. I’m so lucky to have two girls so I can get more use out of the super-cute hand knits.

And finally, the girls had their first appointment with the dentist this morning. They have the most awesome waiting room I’ve ever seen…

The girls loved this little play house, and on top of that, they had halfway decent books for us to read too. The ladies in the back room were really nice, too. Sophie had a great time sitting in the big chair, checking out the equipment, and having her teeth counted. Julie – well, Julie had a more difficult time. But we were all patient, and eventually, she agreed to open her mouth for a peek when I sat her down in my lap. Maybe we’ll get to the x-rays and the cleaning next time.

Shop Hop!

Sunday, October 14th, 2007

Oh, how I had a hard time falling asleep last night. It was that night-before-Christmas feeling again, all the pent-up excitement of knowing that I had a day of surprises and fun ahead of me, and that I’d better get some sleep so I could darn well enjoy it. But I did fall asleep last night, and then it was this morning and we were rushing around to get ready and out the door so I could go meet my bus for the shop hop.

Joe and the girls dropped me off so they could use my car for the day – it’s kind of a PITA to move the car seats around, and I can’t drive Joe’s car because it’s a manual transmission, and this way we could all go out to dinner after they picked me up. So they dropped me off, and even though we were there with plenty of time to spare, about half of the other knitters were there already, and pretty soon we were on the road to seven lovely yarn shops.

And, for those of you who are non-knitters, or even who are slightly less obsessed with knitting than *I* am, yes, I know that it is a very geeky thing to spend a day riding around on a bus going to a bunch of yarn shops. But those of us who were on the bus and many of you who *are* as obsessed as I am with knitting know that it was a very cool thing to get to do. So neener neener neener. Ha!

First stop was A Sheepy Yarn Shoppe in White Bear Lake. I’d been there only once before, and that was some time ago. We swarmed on in – all twenty of us – and did our little thing, collecting our shop hop stamps and complimentary knitting tools – I think it was darning needles at this stop. It was early still, and my defenses were still strong, so I managed to refrain from opening my wallet. My main goal for the day was to find a copy of Cat Bordhi’s new sock book, as I’d put off buying it too long and the Yarnery had sold out of copies before I got one. Sheepy didn’t have it in stock, so I simply enjoyed checking out their other stuff and watching everyone else shop, then counted heads as we all climbed back on board the bus.

Second stop was the Yarnery, where we had to double-park the bus to get off, and Sarah came out to snap our picture for their blog. There’s no entry up about it yet as I write this, but maybe there will be in the next couple of days. Again, I managed to resist the powerful fumes of yarn and held my wallet firm, mostly I have to admit because I am there all the time and already own most of the stuff that calls me so loudly. But they did have my blankie hanging up by the register, and several of my bus-hopping compatriots picked up some yummy goodies, including copies of my baby hat pattern. Which made me feel really good to see. Oh, and the freebie was a handful of stitch markers, a type that I’ve never tried before and am glad to add to my ever-growing collection. They look sort of like paper clips!

We were off again, and jaunted over to Three Kittens. I hadn’t been in there since they changed ownership, and I was impressed with some of the changes. I had to fight to resist the desire to buy some of the Artyarns beaded cashmere they had hanging out by the cash register. I was assisted in my valiant fight by the fact that each tiny skein costs $50, and I would have needed at least two of them for a lace scarf I could be happy with. Still, they were lovely to pet. At least at this store I did manage to put my paws on a copy of the new Cat Bordhi book and I bought it without hesitation.

I’ve only gotten to flip through it briefly since then, but it looks quite promising. The freebie at this store was a little card of yardage estimates for how much to buy for various garments.

By this time, my tummy was rumblin’, and I think we were all ready for lunch. We headed down to Burnsville and found a Jimmy John’s sandwich shop on the way to Zandy’s. The original plan had been to stop at Panera, but our lovely driver Frank couldn’t find it right away, and this was a perfectly acceptable substitute. A quick, yummy sandwich and a potty break (shh…don’t tell anyone that I snuck into the men’s bathroom – a single-person one – instead of waiting in line for the women’s.) and we were on our way again.

I hadn’t been to Zandy’s for quite some time, but was glad to check it out again. I have to say that it is a huge treat to get to visit *any* yarn store without my children to worry about, and to have enough time to really browse around. It was even better with nineteen other knitting maniacs, with whom I felt like I was bonding quickly into a sort of sisterhood of shopping fools. I know, it’s a little cheezy, but I felt like I was friends with these women after only a couple of hours on the bus with them. They were fun! They showed off their knitting and paid attention and asked questions when everyone else showed of their stuff. It was an amazing group.

I’m having trouble remembering the tool from Zandy’s – maybe they had the tape measure? But I did admire several things they had there, including an amazing shawl kit. Somehow, I managed to keep my wallet shut once more and we were on our way again.

Oh, my let me just say that the best part of the day was getting back on the bus and checking out what everyone else had gotten! The vicarious buying was awesome because there was so much of it and because it was entirely guilt-free! But our heroine did not retreat entirely unscathed. The day was getting longer, there were still two shops left, and her defenses were growing weak…

At Needlework Unlimited, there were a host of temptations. They have all kinds of crazy, wonderful yarns (including that darned Artyarns Beaded Cashmere which would make such a lovely scarf if I were willing to throw down $100 for a couple of skeins…hint hint JoJo Christmas, Birthday, don’t wait till it’s out of stock, get it and hide it for a few months or maybe not). But even still I almost managed to make it out the door without buying. Almost, that is, until I was standing by the register waiting for the last couple stragglers to come on out to the bus, and I saw this:

It’s a tape measure that looks like a chicken sitting on an egg. I love these funny little spring-loaded gadgets, and unfortunately so do my girls. They killed the Pinocchio one I had, and my plain pink one is all stretched out at the end from their attentions as well. Eventually, I’m sure they’ll get their hands on this one too, but until then it’s mine and it’s hilarious.

On to Excelsior, and Coldwater Collaborative where I had something of a falling down…one of the shop ladies was wearing this awesome felted scarf – as in made out of raw fiber and felted, and it looked so cool and fun to make that I found myself picking out a kit. Supposedly there is enough in here to make several scarves, and I convinced myself it might make good Christmas gifts. The only bad thing is that there was supposed to be a DVD in there, and it wasn’t in there. I’m going to have to go back to the shop in the next few days and plead for help!

But while I had my wallet out, I remembered that I’ve been meaning to buy a copy of the newly-released Interweave Knits Holiday edition (memory assisted by the people who had bought the magazine at previous stores on the tour and pointed out all the awesome projects inside during our show-and-tell sessions on the bus). Go get this – it’s nice!

Anyway, I don’t know why I haven’t spent more time at Coldwater – it’s on my side of town and it is a lovely, lovely shop. Three thumbs up!

So then we were on to our last stop, and I had really thought I’d be tired of yarn shopping at this point, but apparently I still had some oomph in me because when we hit Amazing Threads, I was all over the place, digging in and checking out. It didn’t hurt that they had hot coffee and fresh cookies set out for us.

I ended up buying yarn for two pairs of socks – I was picking out just one skein, and had decided on the Opal in pink and blues at the bottom of the picture, when someone pointed out these balls of Regia in a colorway I hadn’t seen before. Yes, the colors are nice, but they do this really interesting shooting-star patterning, at least according to the picture on the ball band. I can’t wait to try it out. Someday after it’s marinated in the stash long enough, that is.

And then, before I knew it, the day was over and we were being let off in the Cub Foods parking lot and I was saying goodbye to all my new friends and to bus driver Frank, and calling Joe and the girls to come pick me up. (I was meant to have called them when we left Amazing Threads, but I was on a coffee/cookie/yarn high and didn’t come down till I hit the parking lot and was standing in the cool October evening without a car.)

But came they did, and we all went and ate noodles at Pho 79, and I was happy to see my family again even after such a hard week because I had had a day AWAY from them and life was good.

Whew!

Yo!

Saturday, October 13th, 2007

I am so freakin’ glad it’s Friday. It has been a looooong week, and I *need* the day off from my family tomorrow. Thankfully, not only am I getting the day off from my family, but I get to go race around to seven local yarn shops on a bus with 20 other knitters. I knew there was a reason why I managed to survive the last few days.

Okay, there may have been more than one thing that kept me going the last few days. Super-cute smiles included.

And my awesome beginner class at the Yarnery that just ended. These ladies had spunk, made me laugh like crazy while they laughed with at me too. And they caught on and knit up a passel of mitts. See?

Today was our little friend M’s birthday. As a special treat, M’s mom took us out gave the girls their first manicure of sorts. Okay, it was a nail polish and glitter job at Kids’ Hair. Julie chose purple, and I think they both really enjoyed themselves.

The best part of the outing for me was the chance to catch up with my friend J as the girls behaved themselves fairly well and ate their lunches without complaint for once while we talked. I SO needed a good heart-to-heart with a mom I know and trust, and J fit the bill perfectly.

Oh, and the children’s play area at Eden Prairie Center? It still sucks. But we’ve covered that many times already.

But back to the plans for tomorrow – the directions are plotted, the roster is printed, the chocolate is stockpiled. I know what I’m going to wear, the new handbag came in the mail today, I’ve even picked out which knitting projects I’m bringing. I haven’t quite decided what my budget for tomorrow looks like. Must go do that.

Oh! and the blankie is visiting at the Yarnery for the weekend. Go say hello.

Ready for Bed

Thursday, October 11th, 2007

Sophie's had a bath, is wearing her new fuzzy footie jammies, and has
firm hold on sheepie and blankie. All set!

Corny

Tuesday, October 9th, 2007

Lately I’ve gotten a few comments from people who read here – mostly via e-mail and in person – about what an awesome mom I seem, or about how perfect my life appears through the window of the blog. In fact, most people that I end up chatting with after they’ve read the blog say something to the effect of “I don’t know how you manage to get so much done!” Well, let me share with you – it’s called five to six hours of sleep per night.

It’s not that I *mean* to get so little sleep, it’s just that I get engrossed in whatever I’m doing and before I know it, it’s after midnight, and so by the time I wrap things up, brush my teeth and whatever, I’ve missed my window of opportunity for a full night’s sleep. Joe laughs at me when I tell him I’m tired and that I’m going to go to bed early because even when I have the very best of intentions, I still end up staying up past my bed time. And even though I do get a lot done, there is always a giant list of more things I’d like to do swimming around in my brain. Hopeless, really.

But that’s a little off of the point of this post. I thought I’d share with you another reality. The main reason I end up taking my girls everywhere and doing all kinds of things with them is because otherwise, we are all horribly miserable at home. We all get bored, and we get into a downward spiral of wingeing and complaining and punishment (Go to your room!) leading to tears and sorrow on all parts. So I work hard to avoid boring days at home, and so does Joe. This past Saturday night, Joe and I looked at each other and asked the inevitable question (besides what do you want to eat this week) of what the heck are we going to do tomorrow.

We thought at first that the weather would be less than ideal, and considered going to the zoo. But Sunday morning arrived bright and clear, and I remembered the clipping I saved from some newspaper listing the fall festivals around the metro area. We picked Sever’s Corn Maze. I had been out there about ten years ago, back when it was just the field of corn cut into a maze, and remembered it as a fun little adventure. Now, it is a multi-attraction festival, and still quite a bit of fun.

We arrived just as the “wild animal show” they’re offering these days was about to start. I voted we go watch it before doing the maze, but Joe was -um- less than thrilled about the straw-bale seating given his horrendous allergies, and refused to sit down (understandable, really). Then, Julie freaked out when she saw the skunk and wanted to leave immediately. So we headed on over to the main attraction.

It’s been raining quite a bit here in Minnesota this last week, and although the ground was wet, the dirt in the maze paths was packed hard enough that even the stroller rolled pretty smoothly over it. Julie was a little trooper and walked happily through most of the maze with us. We eventually swapped Sophie into the sling and Julie into the stroller to finish up walking the paths. If you walked around and found six hidden clues among 26 lettered sign-posts throughout the maze, you could sign up for a drawing – a pitiful $200 grand prize to be drawn among all the correct responses during their fall season. I couldn’t care less about the prize, but it was a good excuse to keep us walking around longer despite the unusually humid and hot day, so we did it.

When we emerged, it was time for lunch. They had several food vendors set up, including many of my favorite fair-food downfalls like corn dogs, french fries, roasted ears of corn, and kettle corn. Happily, though, I had packed a nice little picnic lunch for us, and we all sat and ate it. I was surprised by my own willpower, and by lack of whining requests by certain other family members for junk food. Julie did ask for kettle corn, but we reminded her that she’d had some just the day before at our neighborhood’s annual fall party, and that put a stop to it.

Sophie even sat on Joe’s lap for once throughout the meal without complaining. Which meant that I got to eat using both my hands and with an empty lap. What a treat! Oh, and they had a jazz band playing, which was quite the lowest common denominator of jazz bands, but did add to the overall ambiance of fun fall festival.

They had some nice little photo-ops set up nearby…

A very nice family offered to take a picture of all of us, and we gratefully agreed. Unfortunately, however, I look like an elephant in that picture for some reason, so you don’t get to see it. I will say that I don’t feel bad about it, though – I’m down 10 pounds from when I started Weight Watchers a few weeks ago, my clothes are all fitting much looser, and I’m slowly but surely shedding pounds. I’m moving in the right direction and I have no complaints. Must write about that some time.

I know these little face cut-out scenes are cheezy corny, but I love them, and the girls didn’t seem to mind.

They also had one of those giant slide rides, and since I’d meant to take Julie on the one at the State Fair and hadn’t gotten around to it, I offered to take her on this one. The guy was really nice, and only took money for one person when I took her up to get in line, ($2) and he told me to go twice if we wanted. We climbed the long staircase and saw this view from the top:


That’s only a small portion of the corn maze.


This is another small straw-bale maze they have set up for the kids.

And here we are looking down from the top of the slide

I’d never been down one of these slides before, and had always wanted to try one. They’re fast! And by the time we got to the bump at the bottom, we were going fast enough to catch a little air. It was fun, but Julie didn’t care for it and wasn’t interested in a second go.

By then we were all hot and tired, so we decided to head home without checking out the pony ride, the camel ride, the magic show, the pig races, or the kiddie straw maze. As we drove home, Joe and I agreed that it was worth the money and way better than sitting around staring at each other at home.

Oh, and I get a lot of comments about how I’m always cooking for my family. Tonight I made an awesome chicken dish from the Saving Dinner cookbook. It’s Garlic-Lime chicken, really easy to make. Tastes great, and I made some mashed potatoes and broccoli too. Here’s what the girls’ plates looked like at the end of the meal:

Yeah, neither of them touched their food. Julie’s going through a phase where she tells me she doesn’t like what I made before she even knows what it is, and I refuse to have power struggles with food – I put healthy food on the table that I know she can eat, and she either eats it or she doesn’t. My kid loves mashed potatoes, and has been known to eat both chicken and broccoli. Tonight she didn’t eat, and that’s just the way it was. Sophie has had an upset stomach the last few days, so I wasn’t surprised that she didn’t eat much, and wasn’t too worried about her either. At least she’s still nursing so I knew she’d get a little in her at bedtime.

So anyway, perfection doesn’t really live at my house. I just usually choose to share the happy moments on the blog, and we are blessed with many of those. Thanks for reading!