Monday, December 14, 2009

Shower Time

Big I experienced his first shower the other night. He squealed with delight the whole time. Very, very cute.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Got it covered

Arbor's up. Very happy with it. We used J&G Services out of Van Alstyne, TX and I was extremely pleased with not only their workmanship but also their ethics.

See how nicely they fit it under out overhang?

Anybody have any leads on decent, affordable patio furniture?

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Yesterday, we woke up to this.

Who ever heard of snow on the Second of December?? It was 70 degrees 2 weeks ago. I still had tomatoes on the vine, peppers on the bushes and fresh blooms on the eggplant!

Fortunately, I was able to rescue most of the tomatoes and they are in a paper bag to ripen inside. What will I do with so many? Perhaps I should try frying some up green!

Monday, November 23, 2009

A new season

Get your wreaths and candles out, Advent is almost here already! It's time for a new year in the church. For many people, the past year may have been difficult, so I thought I'd share a novena I heard about on the radio this morning in the hopes that it might bring some peace and positive change in the coming year. It is said to be very powerful when said faithfully. (Remember, just reciting a prayer without thought and earnestness is useless. It's not magic!)

This novena is said 15 times a day for 25 days, starting November 30, the Feast of St. Andrew, until Christmas. It's also a wonderful way to focus our attention on the gift of Christ at Christmas rather than all of the other material 'stuff' that is going on in our culture this time of year. Perhaps you may want to say it with a special intention - selling a house, finding a job, surviving a stressful time, or say it for someone you know.

Christmas Novena

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Savior Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.

+MICHAEL AUGUSTINE, Archbishop of New York
New York, February 6, 1897

(There is a certain reader of this blog, by the way, who may want to avail himself of this prayer as it is not insignificant that it starts on the Feast of ST. ANDREW and there is a certain intention involving a house that he has been trying to get fulfilled for quite a while now. Just a suggestion.)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Getting Bigger

Big I has been very busy becoming a little boy lately.

He's had his first caramel apple. (Check Brisco out. He wants some caramel apple too.)

Actually, I made some, ate most of the caramel off but when I offered it to him, he studied it for a minute and then promptly turned to the caramel still on the end and took a huge chomp. Totally takes after his dad. How does he know??

He's been busy helping Daddy paint. On the step ladder - egad.

He helps me in the kitchen too.

Helps make a mess, that is.

But he has fun doing it.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Solar Dyeing

Remember that white yarn I spun up a few weeks ago? I decided to try solar dying it with some of my Turk's Cap. I've been wanting to try for a while now, ever since I read about using Turk's Cap in this excellent book. And goodness knows the plant has been growing like gang-busters this year, so I had plenty to spare.

I had Craig help me with the alum mordant, since I'm still nursing and you can never be too careful with the chemically stuff. Though in all honesty, alum is probably no more dangerous than most of the stuff we have in the garage, but just in case...

After the yarn was mordanted, I cut a bunch of Turk's Cap - flowers, seedheads, leaves and stems - and simmered it in the dye pot for a good while. It smelled like any other greens you might cook up, in case you are wondering.

I have read that you can eat Turk's Cap, but it didn't look too appetizing.

After that, I poured it into my trusty kimchee jar I found next to the dumpster at our old apartment. Thank goodness for multi-cultural neighbors.

Then I put it in the yard and ignored it for a few days.

After a rinse and some drying time, I now have soft, peachy yarn.

I was only ho-hum about the color (natural dyes are never as impressive as synthetic) until I noticed that it is the same color as my little bluestem seedheads in the foreground. I have a soft-spot for little blue as it's such a fine example of a prairie plant struggling to remain unpaved.

Not sure what I'll make with it yet.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

No time

You know, when Big I was really wee, I used to get really bored. It was hard going from a busy office where there was always too much going on to having very little to do. Plus when you're bone-achingly tired all day, there's no energy to do a whole lot.

But now that the little guy is not as little, we're busy. It doesn't help that it's been sunny and 70-something for the last two weeks here. Who has time to post on a blog when there are playgrounds, gardens, stores, friends, walks, libraries, dinners to cook, chalk to draw with (and eat), dogs to chase...


I will post that A. picked the flame apron, as I had suspected he would. His mom says he's worn it every day.

Funny guy!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Pleased as punch

I just finished my first two 'real' sewing projects. I've been forever intimidated by my sewing machine and hauled it out only to do simple pillows or other low-risk, straight-stitch projects.

But when I saw this pattern and read through it I thought it would be a perfect project to enhance my skills. Plus our friends' 3-year-old son, A., loves to help his mom in the kitchen and could use a little apron.

I couldn't decide between fabrics, so I made two and figure whichever one A. doesn't want, Big I can use. They aren't perfect, but they're pretty darn good for a beginner if I do say so myself.

He just woke up from his nap in that picture, that's why he looks so grumpy. He does have some more growing to do before it fits.

I even added a pocket to the second one.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Thank God

Here's something you don't see in the media everyday. (Note, I have no idea what else is on that website, it's just a link I found.)

It's a shame they don't say what exactly she saw on that ultrasound.

Oh wait...a person. Being killed. Right.

God bless her. Keep praying more good fruit will come from her situation.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Moo, Moo, Boo!

Here are a few pics of Big I in his Halloween costume. We didn't bother getting any candy, but he enjoyed walking around and seeing other folks out and about. Last weekend we went to a city Halloween event with some friends and even though there were ten bazillion people there, he was just interested in the rocks. Well, and the fire trucks. And the mini cars.

Craig suggested we put a 'Eat Mor Chikn' sign on him.


With the cooler weather, I've been baking a lot lately. Big I has learned that he can lick the mixer or spoon. So now he either pushes the chair over and declares "Up!" or he hangs around with his tongue hanging out waiting for a taste. Silly guy.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Seriously Good Cake

The Dallas Morning News frequently has excellent recipes in their Your Life section. I've found many good keepers in the past few years there. I found the one below this week and it may now rank as one of my very favorite desserts ever...but there are so many from which to choose.

Unfortunately, I can't find it listed on their website, so here it is re-typed. Hope they don't mind.

Pumpkin-Cranberry Spice Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole what flour
  • 1 T cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 15-ounce can pumpkin
  • 2 tsp grated orange zest
  • 2 T orange juice
  • 2 T water
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • powdered sugar, for dusting
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a large Bundt pan with cooking spray or brush with oil Add a small amount of granulated sugar and turn the pan to coat. Discard excess.

In a medium bowl, stir together both flours, the cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a large bowl, combine the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on high until the mixture is thick and pale, about 3 minutes. Add the pumpkin, orange zest, orange juice and water. Beat on low until smooth.

Sift the dry ingredients on top of the pumpkin mixture and stir just until combined. Stir in the cranberries.

Using a rubber spatula, scrape the better into the prepared pan, smoothingthe top. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Turn the cake out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Dust with powered sugar before serving. Makes 16 servings.


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Dead Dogs

The dogs are very lucky that they aren't dead right now - though they are in exile in the back yard. We had a very lovely day today (more on that later). But when we got home this evening, we were greated with this:

That's a big pile of candy from a Halloween event that they (Fozzie?) pulled down from the desk you see right there. And yes, most of it has been eaten. Brisco is in his sausage state. Foz is not far behind.

But wait, there's more.

Yup, that's the TABLECLOTH from the KITCHEN TABLE. One of them must have gotten a hold of the corner and pulled it until the ceramic bowl with the fruit in it - which resides in the middle of the table - came crashing down.

Who are these dogs that have replaced my mischievous-but-only-mildly-destructive puppies??? They're lucky they're not dead because I killed them. They both have cuteness working to their advantage. We'll see what the chocolate does to them.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

rANDOm sTufF

Random item #1:

HOLY COW! Run for your lives! It's the Godfather of all slugs!

It took me 3 handfulls of salt to get the slime off my fingers. First the giant grasshopper, now this. And this:

Random item #2:

I guess all the rain is pushing things out of their usual hidey-holes. This little guy is most welcome...just not on the baby gate.

Random item #3:

I made a pumpkin pie from scratch-ola today, minus the crust. Doesn't taste any better than from a can I don't think. But maybe that's because I'm just used to the canned stuff.

Roasted up the seeds too.

Random item #4:

Finished a pair of socks for Craig. I still don't know why I made these (yes I do, I cast on too many stitches for my foot but the perfect number for Craig and was too lazy to take it out again) as he doesn't wear any of the other pairs I've made for him.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Yarn stuff

This is a fiber-intensive post, so for those of you who have no interest in such stuff you might want to just move along today.

I finished a new scarf. Pink Lady Scarf from Interweave Crochet, Fall 2009. It's in KnitPicks Gloss sock yarn. Color is burgundy. It should be nice and warm without being too bulky and it's just a little feminine without being frilly.

Next on the list, I finished two big 'junk' batts. They were made up of left-overs of all sorts of stuff. They were fun to spin just 'however'...very slubby and thick and thin. There's even a little sparkle in them.

Last but definitely not least, I worked on some bulky spinning which is very difficult for me to do anymore. Spinning finer is far easier after the initial spinning learning-curve. But I had some super soft, sproingy Cormo waiting to be made into some extra-huggable yarn. The yarn's not perfect, but it is so, so, so very soft. I need to figure out if I'll dye it or not.

What color would you dye a cloud?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Cute and Cuddle to Creepy Crawly

I did a spinning demo at Nash Farm last Saturday. Craig got to hang out with Big I while I was busy, but I did get to have fun with him for a few minutes at the end. He found a some new friends.

He loved the rabbit especially; kept coming back to it. We may have to get a couple of our own!

In the garden, I turned a compost pile and found some other friends.

Big I wasn't so sure, though.

But look at this sucker. It's gotta be the biggest grasshopper I've ever seen.

I hope it's not a precursor to a locust plague.