My first knitting pattern

Well, I’ve had an extremely productive day today.  My hubby took the kids to the train show.  I got my nice, white desk cleaned off.  There’s just something about a clean white surface that inspires me.  More so than a clean black surface.  Our kitchen table is black, and it just doesn’t have the same effect.  Once the desk was a workable surface and there were no little voices to distract me, I got the computer, turned on some Pandora radio, and started working.

This summer, I designed and knit a pillow for a dear friend who was getting married.  She loved it.  My knitting group loved it.  Everyone said I should write it up and make it available.  Six months later, it’s finally written up!  I promise to post as soon as I can.  I may try to make it available for sale, a little extra cash never hurt a stay at home mom, or I may just make it a free Ravelry download.  In the meantime, enjoy the picture:

I also managed to vacuum the house (trust me, this is a major accomplishment!), clean the kitchen, and do the laundry.  So productive when no one else is home!

Also, made out a to-do list for the week:

1.  Get oil changed

2.  Find printer for notecards for website

3.  Donate National Geographic collection

4.  Clean out the freezer

I’ll be reporting back to you at the end of the week to see if any or, hopefully all, of these things got accomplished!


Ten on Tuesday – Health and Beauty

Well, looks like another snow day at home.  This one is self-imposed.  The schools had a 90 minute delay, but this transplanted Southern belle doesn’t drive in the snow unless absolutely necessary.  Risking life and limb to get down our driveway and up the street to a main street wasn’t worth the shortened day today.  So, while I’ve got the kids entertained, thought I would tell you about my 10 Favorite Health and Beauty Products!

1.  Water – not really a product, but totally healthy!

2.  Aquaphor – Living in the cold, cold northeast, this has been a skin saver.  Everyone in my family has their own tub.

3.  Sunscreen –  in those far away days of summer, this is essential.

4.  Sunglasses – most people tend to think sunglasses are a summer accessory.  I disagree.  Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t go outside, ever, without my sunglasses.

5.  Vitamin D – studies have shown that most women are deficient.  I’ve been taking 2000 iu/day since finding out that I was deficient.  Plus, with the lack of sunshine up here. . .

6.  Neutrogena hand cream – best. hand. cream. ever.

7.  Lubriderm lotion – I’ve been using this as my moisturizer since I was a teenager.  Now my son uses is as well since it has a neutral scent.

8.  Dashing Diva Cuticle Nectar – I won this from a contest on their website and I love it!  It’s got a citrusy scent and really does help my cuticles.  Their whole line is wonderful.  I hope to one day actually make it to a Dashing Diva salon!

9.  OPI nail polish – who doesn’t love the fun names?!?  And it’s an excellent quality polish with good cover.

10.  Bobbi Brown Beach Perfume – all it takes is one little squirt and I’m on a beach on Emerald Isle.

There seems to be a theme to my list.  Looks like about half of the items involve moisture in some form.  What can I say?  My hands take a beating, especially on these wintry days!  Looks like the snow may finally be letting up.  Guess I should get out in it and clear the driveway.  Enjoy your snowday!

So, I decided to make this blog thing a real go for all of 2011.  Up till now, I’ve been sort of toying with how involved I was going to be on the blog, but decided to take a challenge.  So, a post a week for 2011.  You know I love lists, so Ten on Tuesday will always be there, but I’m going to try to make an additional post every week, just to see if I’ve got the follow-through to do it!

It’s been a long week.  The kids only went to school for a day and a half.  Makes it hard to get much done around the house, but I try!  Almost done knitting my scarf for the Special Olympics.  When it’s finished, I’ll post a pattern and picture. Finished a Pinewood Derby Car today with my son on his day off from school. Watched lots of movies with the kids. Learned to use the snowblower, yea me!  While I’m not a huge fan of the snowblower, it definitely makes clearing the driveway easier than shoveling! Oh, and I figured out how to post a picture to the blog.

And learning to use that new camera I got for Christmas.  This picture is from the last snowstorm. A view through the woods towards our neighbor’s house. Something about the light and how the snow was coming down looked really cool so, my husband had me snap a pic.   Hope you like it!


Since moving to New England almost 4 years ago, I’ve found that I eat more soup.  I never liked soup before, with the exception of perhaps a good chowder or bisque, apparently I have a thing for cream!  So for Christmas, my sister gave me the New England Soup Factory Cookbook.  I haven’t explored all of the yumminess that it contains just yet.  Hoping to settle down on Friday and peruse it at my leisure, probably not going to happen since we are expecting another snowstorm and the kids will in all likelihood be home all day, but one can dream!

In the meantime, I came across an interesting looking recipe at  Creamy Tomato and Shrimp Chowder.  I had an abundance of shrimp in the freezer thanks to one of Big Y‘s buy 1 get 2 sales, so a good shrimp chowder sounded like just the thing.  One problem, my husband doesn’t like tomatoes.  So, just like when I need to hide veggies from the kids, I pulled out the stick blender.  It was super easy to make, quick, simple.  After I got all the ingredients except the shrimp combined in the pot, I blended it all up so there wouldn’t be any chunks of tomatoes.  And, for some reason, I feel like chowder should have corn in it, so I added a small can of corn with the shrimp.  It was delightful!  Served with a hunk of french bread and dinner was done!

Ten on Tuesday – Games

Today has been a long day.  We had a snow day, so no school.  Santa brought the kids the Martha Stewart Baking Kit and Pizza Kit for Christmas.  After a couple of weeks of putting off actually using the kits with the kids in the kitchen, today seemed like a perfect opportunity.  Got the kitchen all cleaned up and pulled them out.  First we made the pizza dough, then while it was rising made some cupcakes.  The cupcakes were a big hit, as always.  The pizza, not so much.  Turns out we burned the cheese.  Ouch!  Couldn’t fool the kids though, tried to cover the burnt cheese with fresh cheese, the kids weren’t buying it.  Oh well, looks like tomorrow might be a snow day as well, so we’ll try again.

As for 10 on Tuesday, this week’s topic is 10 Favorite Games from your Childhood.  Oh, if I could only remember them all!  Of course, a couple are still in our overflowing game closet!  So, in no particular order, here we go. . .

1.  The Jaws game I used to play with our babysitter that lived down the street.  Our parents were friends and seems like we spent a few evenings over at her house.  She had a game that involved pulling teeth, I think, out of a shark’s head. Looked for that game for years to buy for myself.  Never did find it.  If you know the name of this game, please let me know!

2.  While we’re on babysitters, another one had silver shoes.  While it wasn’t an actual game per se, we had a great time making up games based on those silver shoes.

3.  Operation – this one’s still in our game closet, as in, the original one I used to play.  Even still has all the parts, funny bone, charlie horse, you know, all the good stuff!

4.  Battleship – wish I still had this one.  Looked to buy it for the kids for Christmas but couldn’t find the original version, just some new wave version 😦

5.  Dominoes with my grandfather, out of his poker box.  It was a beautiful black marble box that held a deck of cards, poker chips, and dominoes.

6.  Trivial Pursuit – again still in the closet.

7.  Twister – We didn’t own this one, but my grandfather had hooked a rug that had lots of different colors and sizes of blocks.  Whenever all four cousins were over there, we would always play our own version of Twister.

8.  Gin Rummy – played with my dad at a very early age.

9.  Olympics – this was a game my cousins and I made up.  We were all gymnasts and would pretend to be Mary Lou Retton.  One person would do some tumbling pass and the other two would judge, always looking for that perfect 10.

10.  Marco Polo – best summertime pool game ever!

Hope this list takes you back to some of your childhood memories!

A Clean House

This past week found me cleaning my house and trying to finish unfinished home improvement projects.  We decided to refinance the house and had to have an appraisal.  While it will be interesting to know what he thinks the house is worth, for the 4 minutes he actually spent inside my house, I doubt that I needed to go to that much trouble! Fortunately, I do enjoy a good clean house and it hasn’t been this clean in quite some time.  I know that it will only take another day or two before it returns to its former cluttered self, but I’m going to try to stay on top of it this time.

And since I was in the organizing mood this week, I decided to try to plan some meals ahead of time instead of 20 minutes before putting it on the table.  I found 3 new recipes to try, purchased all the ingredients before the big snowstorm hit on Wednesday and we’ve had two of them so far.  The first was a Zesty Ginger-Tomato Chicken.  Cooked this one in the crock pot, man how I love a crock pot!  Load it up in the morning, watch the snow fall all day, before you know it, dinner’s done!  And it was good!  Probably would have had more flavor if I had used fresh ginger, but it was still very good.  Served it over brown rice, but would have been equally good on quinoa or couscous.

The second recipe was a Lemon Chicken Stir-Fry that we ate tonight.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that at least one of our kids enjoyed the meal.  Our children are horribly picky eaters and I’ve resolved to stop playing the short-order cook at dinner time.  By the same token, I want to eat more healthy, which is a problem for the kids.  So tonight’s recipe is getting an extra star for being enjoyed by 75% of the family, and consisting of 75% vegetables!

My attic sewing room also got some attention today.  My last project found me hunting for needed notions, so this afternoon I got my main work surface, my cutting table, cleared off.  It took quite some time, but I wanted to make sure that I got everything put in its proper spot.  Tomorrow’s project, the yarn closet!

Ten on Tuesday

Well, I got off to a rolling start and then life happened last week.  Haven’t had time to sit and think about anything lately, let alone try new things.  We’ve decided to refi the house, and thus a million little unfinished projects had to get finished this past week.  New doors on a closet, painted the attic door, still more stuff to do, but I’m taking a break!

This week’s Ten on Tuesday is Ten Ways to be More Organized.  Now, for anyone who knows me, you know I’m not very organized.  But, if you knew me in my younger years, you would have thought I was an organizational addict. Everything from alphabetized tapes (prior to the CD years) to color-coded notes in class.  Don’t know when I lost the organizational bug, but it’s gone!  I still WANT to be organized, just don’t have time to deal with it.  In theory, being more organized should free you up for other things, thus making more time available to you.  It’s a vicious cycle, I’ve got to learn to break it.  Maybe, if I can come up with 10 things, I just might actually take my own advice and get organized in this new year.

1.  Use the alphabet.  In high school, all my tapes were organized alphabetically.  Today, it’s my CDs (that, I have actually been able to hang on to!).  But you can use this anywhere, take out menus, DVDs, books, whatever you have a large collection of, try sorting alphabetically.

2.  Color-code.  I no longer use colored pens to make my life simpler, but I did at one point adopt a color folder system. Three folders, one red, one yellow, one green.  Red, things you need to deal with immediately, yellow, things that need to be dealt with but not immediately, and green, things to file.

3.  Shred.  Put your shredder to work.  We all have too many papers lying around.  Recycle what you can, shred anything with personal information on it.

4.  1 in 1 out rule.  For everything you bring into the house, one must be given up.  This works great for clothes!  I’m really trying to put this in to practice.

5.  Have only 1 piece of reading material in your bedroom.  This keeps the clutter down in the space that is supposed to be your end-of-the-day haven.

6.  A place for everything and everything in it’s place.  Everything should have a home.  If it doesn’t, find one or get rid of it.

7.  Date your pantry.  Anytime we open something new in our pantry, we write the date on the box or bottle.  This started out in our spice cabinet and has worked it’s way into my makeup drawer.  Great way to know when the oregano is past its prime, or your mascara has seen better days.

8.  Use it or lose it.  Picked this up off of some organizing website way back when.  You know how you have a ton of stuff lying around that you don’t use?  Some of it may be wedding presents, stuff you bought that you thought you needed, but really didn’t, the list goes on and on.  Well, regardless of what it is, if you don’t use it, you don’t need it.

9.  Make note of what you have.  For me, I have 2 lists.  Both of collectibles.  But that way, if I’m out and see a doll or record I want, I can check the list to see if I already own it.  No need having duplicates!

10.  Just do it.  Stop putting it off and just do it.  Start small, one stack of papers at a time.  Every great journey begins with a single step, right?

Ten on Tuesday

I must admit, one of the reasons I finally decided to join the blogosphere was a list that my friend Beverly always has on her blog.  I love reading her list, look forward to it each week (though I now pledge not to read hers until mine is posted!).  It’s a title sent out by Carole of Carole Knits of 10 things. Now, I’m a sucker for lists, always have a to do list going, list of books I want to read, grocery list, songs to download, you get the idea.  Perhaps I’ll share one of those lists one day, but for today, it’s Ten on Tuesday!

Today’s topic:  Ten Things You Wouldn’t Want to Live Without.

1.  Music – I love it!  Everything from The Eagles to Lady Gaga.  My collection is quite varied, though it does tend toward rock/pop.  Most recently, it’s been all about Mumford & Sons.

2.  My iPod – Not only does it play my favorite music, it has come in very handy while waiting at the doctor’s office.  I have a couple of apps on there for the kids which they get to play anytime I really need them to behave in a non-kid friendly setting, doctors’ offices, yarn stores, etc.

3.  A stereo in every room – Every room in our house has some sort of musical connection (see a theme here?).  Most rooms have an actual stereo of some sort, but we also have an intercom system that plays the radio in every room.  Not great sound quality, but works when I need it.  I would love to upgrade all the stereos to something that can connect to my iPod, or even a Bose or two!

4.  Pumpkin Pie Spice – It comes in so handy!  I use it to make my favorite breakfast, Pumpkin Oatmeal (1 serving oatmeal, 3 T canned pumpkin, 1 t Pumpkin Pie spice, 1 T real maple syrup).  Yum-O!

5.  Fresh baked bread – There’s nothing like the smell of bread baking in the oven.  The wait for it to cool is miserable, but oh so worth it.

6.  Books – I’ve always been a bookworm.  Lately, my reading seems to come more in spurts, but there’s nothing quite like curling up with a good book.  And it’s absolutely wonderful to watch my son as he falls in love with reading and books as well.

7.  My knitting – This one is all-inclusive of whatever project I’m currently working on.  Needles, yarn, notions, all of it. Today’s project is still a baby blanket.  Next up, a sailor shirt for my son’s sock monkey, he got pants for Christmas.

8.  A car – I like to be able to get out and go.  Just the thought of a snowstorm that’s going to keep me homebound is enough to make me fidgety.  I’ve only been without a car once, on our honeymoon in the Turks and Caicos.  That was easy enough, a bike got you around the island, but for real-life living, I need a car.

9.  My Mac – As much as I’ve been complaining about financial software on the Mac lately, I don’t know if I could even do without it for a week.  Let’s not find out!

10.  My down-filled coats – Maybe it’s just that it’s so cold today, but I hate the cold!  I bought a down jacket from LLBean when we first moved up here and I don’t think I could make it through the winter without it.  My husband just bought me a full-length down coat from Eddie Bauer, it’s the best for when I’ll be standing outside, soccer games, parades, whenever.  And yes, they both come out as soon as the temperature dips below 40!

So, that’s my first Ten on Tuesday list.  Hope it was worth reading and makes you think of those things you can’t do without!  As I try to pare down my belongings this year, I assure you these won’t be going anywhere!

Baked Penne

Trying to get back to cooking more, eating out less.  With that in mind, I made Baked Penne with Sun-Dried Tomatoes tonight.  Pretty good!  I think it may need a pinch or two of nutmeg, that little bit to give it a little somethin, somethin. And the next time I make it, I’ll also add some spinach or broccoli to get a few more vegetables in there.  The kids weren’t thrilled with it, but then again, they rarely like anything new!  I’m thinking Everyday Food may be my new favorite recipe source.  It’ll be leftovers tomorrow.  Salad and some homemade applesauce should round it out.

Tomorrow night will be a little more hectic.  Swim lesson after school, homework, and knitting tomorrow night.  Right now I’m really looking forward to knitting. Let’s be honest, I always look forward to knitting!  Working on a baby blanket for a friend and really need the time to work on it.  Anyone else working on a project out there?

A new year

Well, I’m a day late but the new year is here already.  It’s going to be my last year at home with the kids and I intend to use it well.  I have a friend with a blog who posted her “intentions” for the new year.  I like that idea as my “resolutions” never really get resolved!  So, what are my intentions for this, my year of leisure?  Let’s see. . .

1.  Finish unfinished projects.  I have many, many of these around the house, too many to list here.  But I’ll keep you updated when I do finish one, as well as a guess as to how long it’s been languishing in the back of a closet!

2.  Learn to take good photographs.  Striving for good here, not great, though a few great ones would be awesome.  Got a new Canon Rebel T2i for Christmas (thanks hubby!) that I have not the foggiest clue how to use.  I’ve always loved photography, but never had anything other than a little point and shoot camera.  I would love to be able to take beautiful nature photos!

3.  Eat more vegetables.  I’m sure lots of you have this on your list, but I’m serious.  We’re a member of a farm co-op up here and they do a really good job of giving us a variety of veggies.  I don’t do a very good job of eating them.  I have learned to eat new veggies in the last couple of years.  Prior to moving up here, I was a green bean kind of girl.  Green beans, carrots, salad, and potatoes.  That was about the extent of my vegetable eating.  That goes for my family as well, they need to eat more veggies, too.

4.  Learn a new craft.  I’m thinking rug hooking.  My grandfather hooked rugs, and I’d love to learn how.

5.  Get organized.  Another one I’m sure is on plenty of lists.  I used to be organized, my friends in school would laugh at my color coded system.  Somehow that all got lost after the first baby was born. . .

6.  Catalog the 45s.  This goes along with the prior “get organized”, but I think it deserves it’s own intention.  We have a jukebox that plays 45s.  We have lots of 45s.  I have no idea what.  Time to catalog all the 45s so I know where my collection is lacking.

7.  Be more present.  I’m easily distracted, whether talking on the phone to a friend or with the children.  Being more mindful of what’s going on and more present in the conversation will make me a better person.

8.  Get in shape.  Notice I didn’t say lose weight, although who couldn’t stand to lose a few pounds.  In the fall, I participated in a program at our YMCA that included nutrition seminars and hours with a personal trainer.  The nutrition seminars were tough, 8am on a Saturday morning during soccer season.  The personal training sessions, on the other hand, were fantastic.  I learned a lot of new exercises, plenty that I could do without having to go to the gym. Hadn’t really done any strength training before and I really think that makes a difference.  I’ve since fallen off the wagon, so back on tomorrow morning!

9.  Do more yoga.  Enough said.

10.  Explore more possibilities.  I want to leave this as a more open-ended intention to cover all those things I hope to uncover in the coming year!

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