Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Silly Poodle and A Sea Monster

After I lowered Big I's mattress the other week, someone discovered that it is a great place to hide.


He's not always very good at it, though.



I mean, really not very good.


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Big I had his first trip to the pool yesterday where we did more than stick our feet in. He liked splashing and sitting on the step, but wasn't too sure about the dunking. When I put his life jacket on, he just wouldn't move at all; he just laid there, frozen with his eyes closed while floating on his back. At least there was no crying. All in all, a fairly neutral reaction.

We encountered a bit of trouble with a sea monster's very big hood on the way home, however.

Big I handled the beast quite well single-handedly.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A brief garden tour

All sorts of things blooming. This is just a few.

The orange hibiscus.
My balloon flower. I love this plant. It's something I bought on a whim several years ago for the shady patio in our apartment. I didn't expect much from it, but it has come back bigger and better each year with almost no attention from me. Plus as it blooms it goes from this (starting out like the little guy in the back there):

to this:
My Christmas cactus, which I really got for Christmas, is doing fine. They really do prefer to be ignored.
We've harvested a few strawberries and the peas were yummy, but they're gone for the season. We have a few up-and-comers, most notably: blackberries!


All this and more, thanks to my helpful assistant.


Makes that assistantS.


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I might as well post a few pictures of the new carrier, the Kozy. Love it. The straps are a bit of a pain to have to tie and untie and keep of the ground, especially after being used to the Pikkolo - which I also still love. Once tied, however, it's very comfy and I adore the big pocket. Plus they're made in Lynchburg and a lot of the colors are named after Virginia towns. I got the Hillsdale.

Big I didn't feel like smiling when we took these, unfortunately.



Craig said Big I looks like a turtle.


And who doesn't love a little baby tummy.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Moving right along....

video


And if you liked that one, here's one from Monday. His first attempt on the tile. You can see from the video above that he improved greatly after a day or two.

video

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Indigo dyeing

Every time I think of dyeing with indigo it launches me into "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."

(If any of you had to click on that link to find out what I was talking about, shame on you.)

Now that that's out of my system: at my spinners guild meeting on Sunday, we did some dyeing with indigo. Since I'm still nursing Big I, our fearless leader, Laura, didn't allow me (or my friend, Shannon, who is also nursing) to get hands-on with any of the actual dye process just to be on the safe side...chemicals and all. Some of the other folks were kind enough to dye some things for me.

Remember that mustard yellow sweater from the thrift store?


Not any more.

Plain ol' white pre-fold dipes?


Not any more.

Mucky grey yarn from a previous botched dye job?


Not any more.

I'm told it's the coolest process. You put your material into a mucky-green colored liquid thinking it's going to look terrible and then as you pull it out of the dye bath and into the oxygen it turns the most lovely blue. Totally cool. Maybe next time I'll get to do it myself.

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It's lovely weather here. Brisco was a big help while I was getting some pictures outside.

video

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And some obligatory cuteness.


By the way, he slept through the night for the second time last night.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

May the Schwartz be with you

Today we're talking about Yogurt.


No, no, not that Yogurt. Although, Spaceballs was on tv the other day. What a wacked-out movie. I hadn't remembered most of it from when I was a kid. Very strange. But I'm talking the stuff you eat. I made some last week. Homemade yogurt. And it was good.

Here's the short version:

Homemade Yogurt
  • One quart (that's 4 cups for the conversion-challenged) whole milk, plus a couple tablespoons more
  • 1/2 cup cream if you want it richer.
  • 1-2 tablespoons active plain yogurt (Yes, you need yogurt to make yogurt. It's the 'live and active cultures' part that you need. And no, they don't sell plain yogurt in the little containers. You'll have a lot of yogurt for a while.)
Heat your milk to boiling while stirring, reduce heat and simmer ten minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and let cool.

When just warm (about 110 degrees for those with a thermometer), remove a couple of tablespoons of the milk and mix with 1-2 tablespoons of the yogurt to liquefy. Stir it back into the pot.

Pour into a clean container, cover, and leave it in warm place overnight. Put in fridge to chill and enjoy.



The more detailed version:

I put 4 cups of whole milk to boil and didn't stir it enough, so I got some sticking and browning. When I reduced the heat, I did constantly stir for 10 minutes. After it was cool enough, I used only about 1 tablespoon of yogurt as it was supposed to make a thicker product than if you use 2 tablespoons. I poured it into a reused yogurt container through a sieve to remove the sticky bits. (The stuff left over in the sieve was really good on its own by the way.)

I wrapped the container in a towel and put it into a small cooler with a jar of very warm water. In the morning, viola! Perfect yogurt. Better than store-bought I think. Next time I'll experiment with sweetener and flavors.

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I also got two new recipes from the yogurt container that were good. Since they're free to see on the container, I suppose I can post them here without the yogurt company minding. I did make a few modifications for clarity.


Melt-in-your-mouth Strawberry Muffins
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup Stonyfield Farm yogurt (Plain in my case. Vanilla might be good too.)
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped strawberries, fresh or frozen
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, mix flour, sugar and baking soda. In a second bowl, mix eggs, yogurt, butter and vanilla. Toss strawberries into the flour mixture to coat. Next, pour yogurt mixture into flour mixutre and stir. Spoon batter into greased muffin tin. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until tops are golden brown. Yields: 12 muffins.


Melissa asked about hummus a while back. I've always made it from a box but when I found this one, I liked it much better.

Yogurt Hummus
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley
  • 1 - 15oz. can garbanzo beans - drained (or do you call them chick peas?)
  • 1/2 cup Stonyfield Farm Organic Plain Yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons tahini (seasame seed paste) (I omitted this.)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon tabasco sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Place garlic and parsley in a food processor and chop until finely diced. Add remaining ingredients and process until smooth. Serve with pita chips, bagel chips, tortillas or fresh veggies. Yields: 10 servings

Monday, May 11, 2009

Ya been in a fight or somethin'?

My nephew, T, is losing his baby teeth. Big I is finally getting his.

I find them both very funny.

(Isn't he a handsome devil?)

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Pinky!

Knitting and spinning update today.

I finished spinning the Chocolate-Covered Cherries colorway that I really am not too fond of. I still don't care for it much now that it's plied; just too much pink. I decided to just go with a basic 2-ply since I was so uninspired by it. It'll probably be stashed away for now until I find a good project for it.


Speaking of pink, I also finished a baby sweater for our friend's Sarah and JR who are expecting in July. I actually made this sweater a long time ago, so I'm glad it will finally have a recipient. It's a very simple and very adaptable top-down raglan. Lots of fun to knit. I especially like that the raglan 'seams' are purled so the make a sort of ribbing that expands as the baby moves around.


I added a little "A" for some extra interest as there is reportedly a 95% chance that her name will start with that letter.


And as a bonus, it's completely reversible. A little too much spit-up to hide? No problem, just turn it inside out. The other side has a nice texture from the purl bumps. And just look at how nice and neat I wrapped the colors. Am I good or what?


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The Ham was being cute lounging away while awaiting his wardrobe change this morning.


What a goof.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Bathroom make over

We painted the hall bathroom the other week. I get so tired of white walls and half-decorated rooms, but with the little guy it's hard for me to undertake big projects during the day. I figured the small bathroom couldn't be too bad and Craig could help at night.

So here's the finished product so far.


It's a nice blue with a hint of green. Actually, when it was on my hands, I thought it made me look like a Smurf. A new shower curtain and rug help too.

(I love that rug more than a person really should love a rug. It's cotton and viscose and the bobbly parts are wool that massage your feet when you walk on it. Plus it was on sale.)

We still want to paint the cabinet white and put up wainscotting. It'll need new accessories then too. But it's already a much more refreshing room to walk into. Downright 'smurferific'.