Thursday, December 20, 2007

We're Home









Here are some after photos for you. We are really pleased with the result and compared to the before. Please note they have been edited to exclude obvious signs of the destruction inflicted on a house when two children, one dog and two adults crash into it (meaning I moved the mess off to the side). In the midst of moving, unpacking, shopping, playdates and the usual stuff I have managed to fit in some baking. I included a photo of my favourite turtle squares From the Dec 2006 issue of Fine Cooking. Fortunately it is free recipe on their site, because they are a must try.

Caramel Turtle Bars
by Nicole Rees

Yields about 4 dozen 1-1/2-inchsquare

For the crust:
Non-stick cooking spray, vegetable oil, or melted butter for the pan
7 oz. (14 Tbs.) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to just warm
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. table salt
9 oz. (2 cups) unbleached allpurpose flour
For the caramel topping:
2 cups pecan halves, toasted and coarsely chopped
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream
4 oz. (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 tsp. table salt

For the ganache:
6 Tbs. heavy cream
2 oz. good-quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)

Make the shortbread crust:
Line a straight-sided 13x9-inch metal baking pan with foil, letting the ends create an overhanging edge for easy removal. Lightly coat the sides of the foil (not the bottom) with nonstick cooking spray, oil, or melted butter to prevent the caramel from sticking.

In a medium bowl, stir together the butter, brown sugar, and salt. Stir in the flour to make a stiff dough. Press the mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Prick the dough all over with a fork. Refrigerate the pan for 30 minutes (or freeze for 5 to 7 minutes), until the dough is firm.

Meanwhile, position a rack near the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F.

Bake the dough for 20 minutes, and then decrease the oven temperature to 300°F and bake until the crust is golden all over and completely set, about 15 more minutes.
Make the topping:

Sprinkle the pecans evenly over the crust.

In a heavy medium saucepan, bring the brown sugar, cream, butter, corn syrup, and salt to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until all the ingredients are melted and smooth. Let the mixture continue to boil, without stirring, until a candy thermometer registers 240°F, about 6 more minutes. Turn off the heat and immediately (but carefully) pour the caramel evenly over the prepared crust. Let the bars cool completely, about 2 hours, before garnishing with the ganache.

Make the ganache:
Put the chocolate in a small heat proof bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate. Let sit for 3 minutes. Stir gently with a rubber spatula until combined and smooth.

Fill a plastic zip-top baggie with the ganache, snip the tip off a corner, and drizzle the ganache decoratively over the caramel bars (you don’t have to use all the ganache; keep the extra in the fridge for 5 days). Let the ganache set for 30 minutes to an hour. Carefully lift the bars from the pan using the foil sides and transfer them to a cutting board. Separate the foil from the bars by sliding a spatula between them. Cut the bars into 1-1/2-inch squares. They will keep at room temperature for 1 week.

From Fine Cooking 82, pp. 74

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Where we are going







Here are a few before shots for you. Even without all the rooms painted the house already looks very different from these photos. I haven't taken knitting pictures though I have been knitting. My recent FO is a hat for daughter one. I am making one for daughter two which will hopefully work out some of my earlier versions kinks. Hope you are all well preparing for various holidays.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy American Thanksgiving!

I have FOs to give thanks for sadly no photos yet. I have also started monkey socks with the Fleece Artist sock yarn that Fibreholic spoiled me with back in September. It is a treat to knit with it and I am loving the pattern (I think this Monkey Sock craze may really start to catch on.)

I have updated the button file so please, switch it with your old one, it will look prettier against your coloured backgrounds.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Button Up

For Yarnhog
Download the gif file here

NoKnit

I am almost ashamed to admit that I was ripping back a pair of socks I had intended for my mom for Christmas when I read about Suzanne's movement. Realistically they were not likely to be ready in time for Christmas anyway. The button is my first and I forgot to save is as a gif file for you so it will not have those unsightly white corners on your lovely coloured backgrounds.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Update

Thank you to Leslie A Friend to Knit With for her idea for casting on for the Bones backless shrug which was a total aha! I had thought about casting on from the shoulders but the splits for the arm holes had me flummoxed but now that I have had a little more sleep I can see that she is right. I will redraw the pattern, try a fabric version and swatch some choice yarn for it and keep you all posted. Nobody hold their breath mind you but I will try to keep this timely. It would be nice as a Christmas gift if I can get on it.

Thank you for all your support!

Monday, November 12, 2007

I Call It The Bones Backless Shrug



As I watched Bones (on Fox) the other night the lead character, Temperance Brennan, had on the most adorable shrug over a blue silk shirt. I have searched for a photo of it to no avail. To the best of my recollection the illustration above is the closest I could come to re-creating it. I thought, "Maybe I could knit one?" The problem? I am not so good at knitting that I can tackle knitting my version of the shrug without a few tears and maybe some hair pulling. So I am appealing to you if not just for me, but for the sake of my hair. Does anyone out there know of a pattern like this one? Maybe something I could use as a rough guide? I would even accept some advice as to how to cast on for this sucker. I was envisioning having to start working it in two parts casting on the valleys below the armpits, working the armholes sections separately increasing stitches on the right front and left front to achieve the angles I want, working the middle section with increases on the left back and left front eventually adding several stitches to connect the back section across the upper back and neck and then sewing up the to connect the shoulders. My brain has flipped over in my head. Is this even possible? Does it makes sense to anyone else? Maybe I need to start in the round at each sleeve and join it at the neck? I apologize if my thoughts read a little like Latin. Unless you read Latin in which case they read a little like Greek. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

In Remembrance



In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch, be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields


— John McCrae

On August 4, 1914, Britain declared war on Germany. Canada, as a member of the British Empire, was automatically at war, and its citizens from all across the land responded quickly. Within three weeks, 45,000 Canadians had rushed to join up. John McCrae was among them. He was appointed brigade-surgeon to the First Brigade of the Canadian Forces Artillery with the rank of Major and second-in-command.

The day before he wrote his famous poem, one of McCrae's closest friends was killed in the fighting and buried in a makeshift grave with a simple wooden cross. Wild poppies were already beginning to bloom between the crosses marking the many graves. Unable to help his friend or any of the others who had died, John McCrae gave them a voice through his poem. It was the second last poem he was to write.

In Flanders Fields was first published in England's Punch magazine in December, 1915. Within months, this poem came to symbolize the sacrifices of all who were fighting in the First World War. Today, the poem continues to be a part of Remembrance Day ceremonies in Canada and other countries.

– taken from the Veterans Affairs Canada Website

Monday, November 05, 2007

Boxing Day

Every day is boxing day around here. I have tackled packing about 12 boxes to date (35 days until the move). Today the kitchen cupboards got a little lighter. I like having my Tupperware cupboard emptied out, that's right Kristin I am operating on a limited Tupperware supply over here (gasp!). By the week's end I hope to have my kitchen down to the bare essentials. Knitting has been slow, I have tried to finish daughter number two's socks but I am stalled at three inches down on the second sock. My first daughter has been wearing the socks I knit for her to bed. This works out well since a) they are warm and b) she refuses to sleep with a blanket. Is this weird? (I say knowing full well that anything a child does is probably not unique but out of sheer frustration I will say it anyway) I have had the thought that because she used a Grobag for three years the shock of not sleeping with it anymore has driven her to this. I am thinking (hoping) that by the time the temperature drops to sixty degrees at night, inside, we will effectively freeze out the no blanket thing. I don't know how she can do it. I can't even get her to wear a sweater.

This weekend I made a little heaven on a plate. If you have never purchased Fine Cooking before and you like cow — as we say to our daughter who is reading Charlotte's Web and is now more aware of where her meat comes from — then I urge you to get the latest issue for the Fennel & Rosemary Beef Tenderloin with Creamy Mustard Sauce (there are many great recipes in it in addition to this one).



I have tasted this recipe once before (thank you Mama Mia) and it turned out delicious both times. As an aside we used yogurt instead of creme fresh both times for the sauce with great results. Mashed or roasted potatoes make ideal sides. Yum!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Colour Blind

...Elmira white, white cloud, stone house, old montreal, delaware putty, chestertown bluff, yukon sky, beacon hill damask, lemon grass, muddy york, cedar key, baby fawn, autumn leaf...I am living in a blur of colour at the moment. We are planning on painting nearly every room in the house we are moving into and the task of choosing all these colours is daunting. I have "fallen in love" with over five different shades of taupe and I am starting to wonder if that means something about my personality. Benjamin Moore is my new best friend. He has great taste, but is sure to leach my pocket of all its loose change.

With paint colours being chosen, a mover hired, and carpet cleaner booked our move is starting to feel very real. In the meantime I am busy making costumes for Halloween. Not as much of a challenge this year which should mean no late nights. I am looking forward to seeing my two beans running wild from house to house.

Has anyone else out there been watching Pushing Daisies (I am hooked)? One of the characters, Emerson, has an unexpected love for knitting.



Did you notice the knitted file holder and kleenex cozy in the photograph? I wish I had a better head for quotes but this week he said something to the effect that daddy needed some new yarn. I heard it, it made me chuckle, then I promptly forgot the quote and kept the sentiment.

Now where was I? Oh yeah, thousand islands, seaspray...

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Cooked Books




I would like to confess that I have an addiction to cookery books also that I am totally guilty of judging a book by its cover (that's the graphic design nerd in me, some of you might share this compulsion namely). Yesterday I fell in love with Apples For Jam, by Tessa Kiros (jacketed in a matte stock with a varnish over print of some sort of scrolling vine motif—yummy!). It was the title I was first attracted to (she has really great titles for all of her books). I was browsing the recipes at the book store, but ordered it online last night so haven't had the chance to try any of the recipes (though they look very appealing). The whimsical writing is impossible to resist. I am most fond of Tessa's anecdotes about her young daughters and how she wants these recipes to be a fond memory for her kids to enjoy long after she is gone. In it she muses about things like finding apples all over her house with little bites taken out of them (something that happens around here every fall). Also hard to resist is that the chapters are colour coded. For instance the "stripes" chapter includes a recipe for Chocolate Toffee Nut Squares. I will let you know how it turns out. I can't wait till the mail get here!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Snacks anyone?

Pull up a chair and have a bite. Pumpkin bar squares or banana bread? I couldn't resist throwing in the purple cauliflower, purple broccoli and brussel sprouts too. Have a great week-end. P.S. We sold our house! I may actually miss it being so tidy.

*For those of you wanting to try any of these recipes (especially Kaet) I have now included them for you. The spiced pumpkin chocolate-chip squares are from Martha Stewart's Holiday Halloween issue. The banana bread recipe comes from the Bonnie Stern Heart Smart cookbook. I have enjoyed many recipes from it especially the date squares.







Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Virtual(ly) Knitting

In the midst of buying (and selling) houses I forgot to post about my recent invitation to Ravelry (yet one more computer activity that keeps me from any real knitting). I am there as, LifeWith, me and my five little projects. I am enjoying the ease of finding projects on Ravelry and it got me thinking about a possible new past time—virtual knitting. Virtual knitting will involve finding new projects that I will one day knit. As part of this past time I will also drool over things like Alchemy Fibre Designs, because it is fabulous and who doesn't need another scarf?

Oh and I have begun a work out routine. It is at a local wellness centre that includes three half hours a week of stability ball and weight training, plus one weekly learn and burn session. If you should ever have someone offer you a learn and burn session my suggestion would be to RUN! My learn and burn involves spinning—anyone else had the pleasure?—probably I am a big wimp, but it was HARD people. Not so much the spinning but at certain intervals we have to lift our bottoms off the seat (which is a relief because let me tell you my butt was on fire after) but it totally winded me. I am looking forward to having a lot more endurance for that activity soon. This recent work out routine is part of my endeavour to be fitter at 30 than I was at 20. There is also going to be an Isagenix cleanse ( I am a bit of a skeptic). Anyone familiar with this particular process? Should I run now?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Catch Up

I am finding it hard to keep a blog so I am going to unload all that I have been up to lately in a free flow random thought kind of way because that is how my life rolls

Bought a house; signed a bunch of paperwork; "staged" our house to get it ready for sale; started a fitness program; shuttled the kids to and from various activities; cleaned the house; listed our house for sale; panicked over it selling fast; cleaned the house; nagged the family to keep the house tidy and maintain that un-lived in quality, that "ready-for-you-to-move-right-in-and-call-it-home" look; cleaned the house for pictures; listened to David Suzuki speak (AWESOME, I feel compelled to tell everyone about this!); panicked about the house selling; cleaning the house before sleeping in it and leaving it; feeling not really at home in my own home, which is usually comfortable but never this sterile—it doesn't feel like my house.

So here is where I intend to spend my summers for the next, well many, many years. It will all be worth while.

Monday, September 24, 2007

All Better

My Mac is a happy Mac again after getting a new power source. All is right with the universe again.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Offline

My intentions to catch up with all of you are falling through. My computer is in need of repair and might take a week or more. See you all in a week or so.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Just Blew In

Back from the cottage today. It may take me a while to catch up with all your posts this week (looks like you were all quite busy).

I leave you with an amazing sunset over the lake and the prize package from FibreHolic. Thank you so much Patty—my daughter has officially marked the swirly soap as hers. I love the colour and feel of the yarn, and the bracelet is really cool, and I was especially impressed by the which she made by hand!





I didn't knit a stitch, but I am halfway through Clara Callan by Richard Wright. It was too good to put down.

Oh, I am now an official member of local knitting guild. I attended the first meeting and hope to get to more if they don't coincide with my husbands basketball on Tuesday nights. There are some really experienced knitters so it should prove to be a great place for advice and learning.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

90 Degrees in the Shade

I started this post last night. This was how I felt...

It was hot today. It was grumpy, sweaty, stinkin', surrounded by a bubble of hot moisture, hot today. My mood still hasn't improved. I really want to dip into the sweet little sparkling treat I bought...



...but feel too guilty to drink it alone. Plus I didn't drink that much before I was pregnant and now I barely make it through a glass of anything.


Really cheerful, non? I would like to say that I am much better today, but I didn't sleep a wink last night and, well, I am sure you all know how well no sleep goes over when you can't take the next day to nap. Still I am nearly packed for our cottage trip this coming week, (so I will not be blogging or reading your blogs until I get back) and I am very excited to get away and enjoy the outdoors in the comforts of a cushy cottage. The weather is supposed to cool down next week so I went out and bought my oldest a new pair of slippers so my younger daughter could wear the old pair. Have you seen these before?



They are called Padraig's
and they have a super soft sheep skin insole and hand dyed yarn outside. They look really cute on their feet. I wish I had knit them, but sadly I am not that clever. I hope I will have more knitting to report after I return. Until then I hope you all stay well!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Small Change

A powerful thing happened here this weekend. My first born decided she would no longer wear a diaper at night. This came the night before visiting my parent's house and lets just say that my mom was nervous about the idea. I reluctantly put a diaper back on her the first night of our stay. She got up several times before finally falling asleep at ten and when I went to bed at eleven (why do we not have to sense to go to bed earlier?) I debated getting her up to go but decided to let her sleep instead. I had no idea how this strategy would work but wouldn't you know it she got up at three in the morning on her own. My mom got up to assist her and I came along a short while later to get her into bed and was about to put her diaper back on when my mom (who was so proud of her first grandchild) stopped me and said, "any little girl who gets up at three to pee doesn't need to wear a diaper." And with that my little girl, bolstered by her nana's confidence in her, hasn't looked back. It may take me some time to recover from this major milestone. It is like she has shed the last remnants of her babyhood. Needless to say I am very proud but also very emotional about this "small change".

I do have more knitting to report, because I finished a sock for daughter two. My favourite thing about sock knitting is just before the toe is stitched it looks as though a lone sock just magically appeared on the needles. Like Natalie would say, voodoo magic—I like that analogy.

Hope you all enjoyed a wonderful Labour Day weekend.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

What a pair!

An FO for you! A pair of socks (more or less equal in size). The second was a breeze to finish. It helped that my daughter was excited to have a pair and insisted I keep knitting.

Two size two Addi circular needles
Ocean Wind Knits, super wash merino
Started: Sometime in July finished August 27





As an aside I was doing some research into Cheingora and thought you might all get a kick out of this little feud between dog fur spinners. There are companies out there that will collect and prepare your dog's fur so you can knit with the final product. Seems there are some terms that have been copy written by one company. The battle has been a public one owing to the internet. Aw, technology, the modern day soap opera. Trademark law may never be the same. See Furever Creations for the details.

Friday, August 17, 2007

If We Could Do It All Over Again

That is my mom to the left, my sister to the right. Vic is at the far right. It is my favourite photo taken just after we were married.

We wouldn't change a thing...well maybe just a few minor things. It has been five years today since we made honest people of ourselves. We may splurge on dinner in tonight—I know seems a bit too crazy for you mild mannered folks out there. Maybe we'll even get to turn in early.

Enjoy your weekend and thank you to everyone for their sock love. I have started on the second and am into the miles long stocking stitch portion (five inches with fingering weight yarn and size two needles!) It would be really great to finish it this week-end so here's hoping.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Pick A Pear



Well I didn't actually pick them, I chose them and aren't they gorgeous? I am feeling a pang for the fact that the fruits of summer are winding down. The fruits of my labour however are just getting started. Check out my finished left sock. We love a good sock puppet in our house. It is the left sock because it doesn't have a technically perfect heel but after restarting so many times there was no way I was going to do it again. Now to cast on for the right sock—I am aiming for perfection. Wish me luck! Oh and please excuse the lint on the floor— I'll will try for perfection in house keeping, ah, later...



Sunday, August 12, 2007

I Turned My First Heel!

And as it turns out, it looks like a sock after all. I will post a pic soon but I am currently unmotivated to go to the trouble of getting the camera, uploadhttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifing the photo, and sending it to blogger—I am downright lazy. I was knitting the sock while watching Because I Said So, which turns out to be a good movie to knit to. I did look up whenever character was on. He is fine!

So stay tuned for a picture. Hope you all had a great week-end.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The Case of the Disappearing Cheese Crackers

This week-end someone in our family let a bag of cheese crackers fall to the floor (Late July crackers—YUM!) spewing cracker bits and crumbs under the kitchen table. Since I didn't actually see the crime in progress I can't assign blame, but I have my suspect based on who was last seen holding the bag. Wearily (while saying in a mildly sarcastic tone, don't worry, I'll get it, under my breath) I bent down to clean it up. My husband jokingly said using my oldest daughter's tone of voice, just leave it, mom (which sounds more like m-aaww-m), it'll just disappear. From her, er, rather his perspective this is true. A mess left is gone by the time anyone gets back to the scene of the crime. And don't I wish there was magic! But no matter how many times I have tried I couldn't fold a single piece of laundry by simply wiggling my nose, and no matter how hard I wish I still don't have a magic wand. If I did, I would banish all other clunky manual cleaning devices from the house. Sorry, I am getting lost in my own fantasy.

What is the problem here you may ask? It is just a few crumbs on the floor. Well consider this: a Mafia godfather, was discovered—after forty years on the run!—when his clean laundry was followed from his wife's house to his hideout. You would think that doing your own laundry while on the run from the polizia would be a no-brainer. But it doesn't end there. While in prison he still gets to send his laundry to his wife once a month! Don't get me wrong I don't expect my children to be organized criminals, but I do want to instill in them the importance of doing their own chores and, I guess, to never leave a paper trail?!

What I am trying to say is, crumbs do not disappear. Probably someone swept them up, or vacuumed, or maybe the dog ate them. But if it wasn't the dog it was likely me, Sarah a.k.a m-aaww-m.

**Added this morning: When I read Yarnhog's comment to this post I was reminded of this Invisible Mom commercial. Apparently it created a lot of outrage because some people thought they were invisible to their families because their hair didn't look good. We all know it doesn't matter what your hair looks like. I could wear a duck on my head while cleaning the kitchen and still they might not offer to help. So if you were offended by this commercial, please don't view it, it will only bring up past hurts. I thought it was kind of funny—although it didn't make me want to run out and buy Suave.

No Post

I am preparing a post and deliberating whether I will post it or not. So in the meantime I thought I would link to one of my favourite posts this week by Yarnhog called So Much Cooler Online. I have often had those thoughts too.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Row, Row, Row Your Boat

This past weekend I participated in a Row For Heart regatta. The regatta came at the end of eight weeks training (1 night a week). It was fun and challenging and I will miss the workout.

Hope you all had a wonderful week-end.





Saturday, July 21, 2007

Bad To The Bone

I am a bad blogger lately. The truth is I have been kept fairly busy at nap time and night again dealing with my daughter who is teething. My mother likes to say that the teething excuse can be used from infancy to adult hood (what with wisdom teeth and all) so I am cashing in on it now.

So here is what I have been doing besides reading all of your blogs because I lack anything to write about in my own.

I downloaded a really cute sometime-in-the-future project to do for the kids from Anny Purls site called Buddy Bags.

We got rid of the old fridge we had been keeping from the early eighties realizing that it is the fashion trends you hold onto, not the appliances—who knew? The newer model is a couple years old in case, by some miracle, we find and move into a house we can leave our appliances for the new owners. It is must more efficient and doesn't heat the house like our old one.

I went to see a movie, alone, I have never done this before and found it oddly liberating. I didn't have to worry about getting two seats together, I got to sit in the very back row so no one could kick my seat, and I didn't have to wait for my husband before I butted into the queue leaving the theatre—I hate waiting in a slow moving queue when there is clearly enough room to manoeuvre around. The downside to this miraculous alone time came when the woman next to me, who I had only moments before been praising for helping me find my comfy seat, turned to her partner and said "If you have any questions during the moving just ask". What the? No, this is a movie! You know quiet please!, cell phones off! So for the whole movie she kept updating him on things during the film (even though he never asked once). Then she lamented about a group of girls who had giggled at a point in the movie "chatty lady" deemed inappropriate. Hello pot, it's the kettle calling...

I have been reading a few books. First, my guilty pleasure is the Janet Evanovich, Stephanie Plum series. I love a quick read in the summer it is better than watching t.v. and I share many of the main characters theories on food and happiness and also my hair does the same thing hers does when it is cut too short. Second, a great book by Adria Vasil called, Ecoholic. Third, I am reading the latest and final HP book. So whatever time is left in my day will now go to that. I can't imagine it will last longer than the week-end which is a relief because if I take any longer my 9 year old nephew will spoil the ending.

Well, better get back to my reading. This isn't going to do anything for my lack of energy of late, but it is too good to put down.

Thank you for missing me!

Monday, July 09, 2007

The Great Food Debate

My alternative title for this post is "Help—My Daughter Won't Eat Tomatoes, or Vegetables, or Drink Milk."



I am inspired by a lot of things and, even though I don't write about it a lot, I am passionate about food (not in a romantic way—although I could be convinced to marry chocolate if I weren't already committed to someone else). What I find challenging is making meals everyday, three times a day, for three other people. Not just because of the work load but, with kids especially, it isn't always easy to get everyone geared up about the same meal. I try to offer foods that get me excited to eat dinner. Items my three year old may not eat now served along with foods she is sure to eat with the hope that one day she may appreciate a variety of foods. Yesterday I was totally inspired by these Ontario grown heirloom tomatoes. The colours are amazing, and they made an awesome salad which I ate (Vic was golfing) while the kids ate grilled chicken sandwiches and, of course, feta cheese.



My salad (in case you all eat your vegetables) was made with red leaf lettuce, thinly sliced heirloom tomatoes, with crumbled feta cheese. I made an onion vinaigrette with red onion—finely chopped, 1 part white wine vinegar to 2 parts olive oil, a splash of balsamic vinegar, some dried oregano—rubbed, a little honey, salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste. Ah, I almost feel like I travelled to Greece for dinner tonight.


My point in all of this is, when do children change from picky eaters (a.k.a. little dinner control freaks) to being a little more adventurous, try-it-just-once-before-saying-you-don't-like-it eaters?

Now I feel a little guilty for complaining. Daughter one does eat a lot of things other kids may not even touch, it isn't all bad. Still, what has she got against a cute, little, delictible tomato?

Friday, July 06, 2007

A Sock Is A Pocket for Your Toes



A Sock Is A Pocket for Your Toes is a very cute book the girls and I have been reading lately. I was inspired to start a pair of kiddie socks for the girls on two circular needles, thank you Sarah for the pattern. I have never knit socks before and the pattern is perfect for a beginner like me. I like using two circulars, there are only two visible seems, I think on dbl points I would have a ribbing pattern going on. The yarn is Ocean Wind Knits fingering in Ahoy colourway, daughter one loves blue. Daughter two will get a pair using the same yarn but in the shiraz colourway. It is a soft yarn that knits up well and the variegated pattern is really very subtle, very beautiful. I am loving it! If you check out her blog, Lori has knit two incredible shawls freshly knit.

Baby's Got Her Own Stash

I was at the LYS twice this week for circular needle buying, then exchanging. The first set were sharp at the join where cord meets needle, I am still not completely happy with the second set of Addi's because they have a bit of a noticeable join in the same spot. They don't snag the yarn so far, but the yarn does slow down when pulling it onto the needle part. Would you exchange them again if you were me?

While at the store my daughter adopted a sizable stash for her tender age. Sure the yarn is scratchy and completely un-wearable, but it is a pleasant looking purple and green stash complete with a miniature yarn basket. She is currently mastering the corking tool we bought. I envision many long cords sewn into pot holders, or necklaces. I thought it would be neat to use one cord as a flower and felt it to decorate my clutch—a collaborative effort between mother and daughter.

Hope you all enjoy a fun weekend.


Sunday, July 01, 2007

Please Pass the KD



In honour of my country's 140 birthday I thought I would post some fun canadian factoids I found—some I knew, some I had no idea about—for my friends north and south of the border. Before I go upstairs to crank up the Avril Lavene, Michel BublĂ© and Feist while I wash the kitchen floors I want to say Happy Canada Day and Happy fourth of July too!

Canadians consume more Kraft Dinner per capita than any other nationality in the world. (I did not know that.)

Canada has more donut shops per-capita than any other country in the world. (So true, I think Hamilton must have one on every corner—I don't drink coffee though.)

More than 75% of the world's supply of maple syrup comes from Canada. (Yum! Where would the beloved pancake be without us?)

Myths about Canada:

Canadians all say "eh" and "aboot".
Sure, some of us do, but Canada is a big country with many different people who speak many different languages with different dialects.

Canada's national sport is Hockey.
Not completely true. While Hockey is very popular, and considered national pastime, our national sport is Lacrosse. Oh, and we invented Baseball too. ~ with regards to the baseball tidbit, it is a hotly contested fact. I did not make it up and I don't support or deny the claim. If you are a very confirmed baseball fan and want to pour over the opinions, I found a few sites that might be of interest to you but the Beachville, Ontario Museum is a short but sweet account of an earlier game than the Cooperstown game by Dr. Ford, with a woollen ball reference worth noting on knitting blog.

Canadians policemen are all Mounties dressed in red uniforms.
Our cops are the same as American cops. The Mounties usually only dress up in red for for special occasions.

Myths taken from Canadians.ca

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Happy Anniversary

I am not great at math, but by my calculations I had my fiftieth post on the 26th. And because today is the ten year anniversary of the first day I met my husband at Edgefest in Barrie, Ontario, I am feeling especially nostalgic. He and I were at the Molson's V.I.P. beer tent—high class, non? He was impressed by my eating prowess, I am not sure what impressed me about him—probably he was a hottie—never-the-less we finally got it together to talk three months after we first met and here we are ten years, one dog and two beautiful babies later. He is my best friend and the only person I trust to tell me things straight up, to make me laugh even when I feel like screaming and crying, to still find me attractive at times when I, quite obviously, am not. Back then I couldn't have imagined how rich my life would be.

So, in addition to recalling the past, I wanted to say thank you to all of you for reading, making generously nice comments, and for sharing my day-to-day (and yours) with me.

Speaking of nostalgia, Spice Girls comeback?! Maybe ten years haven't really passed? Maybe this is all just a dream? Thankfully I don't get a chance to listen to the radio these days otherwise I am sure their annoyingly catchy tunes would be one of my new guilty pleasures.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Clutch—Pre-Felt

Thought you would all like a little proof of knitting. I will post a finished pick, maybe after I buy an embellishment for it. A hot pink clutch needs a little something to make it real purdy.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The One Thing She Asked For Her Third Birthday

And I am, of course, a slave to Her very "simple" request for a birthday present: "A regular Diego Cake." Only a one-glass-of-wine project—but I am a slow drinker. You should also note that using cocktail umbrellas to prop up the foil so it wouldn't touch the cake, is a bad idea. Think, Bridget Jones'—blue soup.







Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Whine and Cheese



We spent a lovely night out in Niagara at the Niagara New Vintages Festival with two really good friends, about 70 wineries, gourmet cheese, various little plates of food and some home grown celebrities—Anna Olsen and Rob Rainford. That is me in the picture, with Anna Olsen behind who, although lovely, has never made her own vanilla so she could not answer my question about the sediment in the bottom of my bottle and whether that is normal. Anyone out there know the answer?

It was an enjoyable night and the weather was great. I got to dress-up, wear jewellery, AND make-up—I felt so grown-up. I drove, so I had to be selective and only tasted one wine, 20 Bees and their very worthy Chardonnay, yum!

I am knitting a little felted purse (rather fulled, for Kristin) from the One Skein book. It is hot pink and almost finished, which for me means sometime before summer's end. Stay tuned.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Warning...

...This blog post contains gratuitous information about the environment and may cause some to run screaming. I realize they sound a little goodie goodie, but be assured I still do a lot of really contrary things like throwing out a container in the fridge rather than open it to see its probably hideous contents. I am sure your list could be longer than mine.

Kristin tagged me for a meme. There are no rules to follow really, just a list of your efforts to support the environment.

A few years back I worked at a botanical garden and had the pleasure to meet and work with many true naturalists, ecologists and taxonomists. In particular one of my friends, we'll call him Carl, would get the restaurant on site to use his plastic containers when packaging his take out order. I know it seems small, and maybe this is no new thing for some, but it really occurred to me then what a person can do to make a difference. He ate out at that restaurant at least once a week for the year so he saved more than 50 containers from the landfill. If we all had it would have been a much more impressive number.

I am not a real outdoors person. I remember my first camping trip with my parents was torture for me. The toilet—which wasn't nice to start—had BUGS in it. I was beside myself. This early experience aside, and even though I rarely camp anymore and still don't really care for bugs (don't even get me started on ants!!!), I would not want nature tainted for others or my children's children. I do my part—I could do more—but I try to be a steward for the environment.

What we do:

• refuse to use bug spray on the afore-mentioned ants. They seem to find their way into my house every spring. They are little ones, but VERY annoying and, though I have entertained thoughts of flame-torching them away, I have managed to keep them at bay using the least toxic methods I know—squashing, vacuuming, applying soap to the entry way (they apparently don't like hygiene), a 50/50 split of icing sugar and baking soda which is supposed to make them explode because they cannot digest baking soda—but I have my doubts as this is the least effective method, lemon rind, boiling water which is highly effective but good for outdoor use only, and talking to them in a very stern and commanding voice to "leave my house!"—did I say the icing sugar method is the least effective. I digress, onto the next thing I do;

• clean with green cleaning products, and various home-made recipes;

• we use low VOC paint, and other building materials with low environmental impact;

• I compost a lot, but should compost a lot more;

• we pick up garbage where it ought not to be, like at the park, and hope to teach my kids by example to take care of the places we derive enjoyment from;

• we try to buy local produce, but this really works best in summer. In winter I look for hothouse tomatoes and cucumbers;

• As it becomes more accessible we are buying organic whenever practical, and intend to check out this not-to-out-of-the-way organic farmer's market;

• For laundry I use hydrogen peroxide instead of chlorine bleach;

• Drying laundry on the line as much as possible;

• I try to conserve energy and water: using the dishwasher and dryer at night, recycle, turning lights off when not needed, using cold water, use compact fluorescent bulbs, have a motion light in high traffic area, try to follow these guidelines;

• the babies use un-bleached diapers, and used a cotton service for baby one. I use a recycling service for the unbleached diapers;

• make use of cloth bags for groceries and shopping, or no bags if I have forgotten to bring them to the grocer—that went over really well;

• I donate unwanted items in the house to charity;

• use rags for cleaning;

• buy 100% recycled paper towels and toilet paper (tp isn't something the husband has adjusted well to)

What I would like to do:
• I would love to own a healthy home and live off of the power grid;

• would love to have solar panels;

• would love to sign up for BullFrog power—but am, admittedly, too cheap thus far. Maybe when we move;

• would love a hybrid for trips around the city, for those times when the kids aren't in the car. For now we keep our cars well maintained;

• wish I composted more and didn't get lazy about;

• want to upgrade our aged refridgerator, and washing machine. Honestly, they could collect a pension they are so old. I am told we have to wait for our move, so keep your fingers crossed that I get a freezer bottom fridge and front load washer soon.

This was a longer-than-expected post. Thank you Kristin, for tagging me. I am surprised at how long the list is. It never really seemed like all that much effort until I wrote it all down.

Monday, June 04, 2007

The Ugly Step-Sister

I found this on a friend's blog and thought, o.k., for a laugh I'll do it. But, clearly, I am the ugly step-sister. Maybe with a little make-up...

http://www.myheritage.com

How Do You Hold Your Yarn?

I have heard much talk of toe-up knitting. Everyone who tries seems to love it, so I am jumping on the bandwagon too. All eager to get started, I sought out a little guidance on starting the technique. My KnittingHelp.com had the video guidance I was in need of.

What struck me about this video assistance is not how neat and simple the technique looks, but how she holds the string. She holds the yarn in her left hand, taught, and works the right needle into the stitch to snag the yarn and pull it through. I hold the yarn in my right hand put the right needle through the stitch then wrap the yarn around the needle and pull it through to make the stich. I have tried her way of doing and it makes sense, but it got me thinking, is that the way most knitter knit? Have I been doing it the remedial way? Help out here with an impromtu survey and let me know, how do you hold your yarn?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Fortoul, For SMF

Got some new things in the mail the other day. Here is one of the items. Pardon the really bad photos! Thank you again Sabrina.



Thursday, May 24, 2007

My Favourite Things...

If Oprah can do it, so can I. Although I am sure my list won't get as much attention as her list usually does.

I always feel very good this time of year. I get to go to the outdoor farmer's market that opens every spring and runs until the end of October. We can run out of the house without first gearing up in coats and boots. We can enjoy the park, and sunshine, and wind. There isn't a lot of humidity yet, so it is bearable outside. It seems that we get to enjoy our friends more this time of year too. There seems to be a BBQ every other week-end.

I feel that my posts have been lacking photos lately and since I appreciate a visual blog as much as the next person there are a lot today.

Here are photos of my, incomplete, list of favourite things: Clean laundry hung on the line to dry; my butternut/beechnut tree—we're not sure which; hostas under my tree; my daughter going head-first down the 'big' slide; my other daughter climbing everything; my iris bed about to burst open into a display of beautiful and sweet smelling blooms; blue and yellow pansies; finally getting to the armholes on the 'mile-long' bath robe pattern.