Now that it is officially winter we are hanging about the house in short sleeves with the windows open...
So much for a white Christmas.
Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I own three Halloween shirts, five pairs of socks, and almost as many decorations as at Christmas time.
Naturally I wanted to have a Halloween themed party for the neighbor kids. The plan was to have the kids over in two batches too correspond to the ages of my two sweet baby girls. We invited two families over for cookie decorating and dinner in a pumpkin and dancing and playing with Meredith early. We invited two other families over for round two later for the same plus a spooky kids movie and game night for the parents. The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry....
Meredith got sick the night before and has been sick since. So we canceled the parties and just did those activities as a family. It was still a pretty good Halloween weekend.
I took the girls to a Halloween activity at the Disney store tonight. Honestly, it was a bit lame. However the girls had fun in large part because they got to wear their costumes to the mall. Every one waved and said hi to Audrey as if she really was Ariel.
I love to make things myself. Food,crafts, anything. One of the big ways that I am trying to be thrifty is by making gifts for people instead of buying gifts.
I have been toying with various ideas for cousin gifts. My latest idea is ornaments with their names on them. Today I whipped up a prototype (without any colorwork) using leftover sock yarn. I love how it turned out and this may become a good way to use up the little bits of leftover sock yarn.
I decided to declare October declutter month. My challenge is to get rid of one thing each day for all 31 days. I can do more than one thing on any given day.
I am three days in and happy to be doing well so far. Today I took a load of items to a donation drop. It felt awesome to move stuff out forever.
I love chicken tortilla soup. I used to get it almost every time I went out to eat.
Now that we don't go out to eat much, this is my homemade version. No surprise, I think it is better than the soups I used to buy at restaurants.
Sauté chopped onions and red bell pepper in olive oil and salt until soft. Add chopped garlic, chopped jalapenõ, cumin, chili powder, and oregano just after the onions soften. Add: canned (or fresh) tomatoes, canned green chilies, cooked black beans, zucchini, squash, corn, cubed chicken, and chicken broth and bring to a low boil. Stir in some corn meal and simmer for at least 20 minutes. Squeeze in fresh lime juice and a generous amount of chopped cilantro just before serving.
I like to serve it over some crushed tortilla chips with avocado on top. If I want to kick up the heat, I stir a small amount of pureed chipotles in adobo sauce into my bowl. (We keep this in the fridge as a condiment. ) Seriously awesome!
I have been really into sock knitting lately. It is easy, portable, and useful. Triple win.
However there does seem to be an art to it that still eludes me. There are a couple of different heel types, lots of needle sizes and types, yarn options to make a person spend way too much and then the whole top down or toe up knitting direction debate.
This pair, with the lovely Opal yarn from my dad, was knit top down on size 1 double pointed needles, one at a time, using Susan's pattern (64 stiches) except for the heel. On the heel I used a short row heel to 10 stitches.
I like this heel just fine, but I like the depth of the heel with a heel flap slightly better. So I will stick with that for my next pair.
The colorway of this yarn may not be coming through the computer well. It is really an awesome yarn. It is a mix of various intensities and shades of denim blue. Most of it has a slight grey undertone, except the white wash. It is like wearing a pair of socks with all the good things about acid washed and white washed denim when it was really cool! These socks match blue jeans perfectly. Pb&chocolate.
I just finished Lady Susan, Jane Austen's first novel. It is written in the form of letters. A cool style until the end and it's almost as if she writes herself into a corner. At which point she just concludes the story with a conclusion. The main character Lady Susan reminded me of the leading lady in Vanity Fair. Not entirely likeable. Certainly no Elizabeth Bennett!
I also recently read Casual Vacancy by JK Rawling. She is immensely talented. It was like a condensed modern day version of Les Miserables. It dealt with the mixing of the classes and the reasons people take desperate measures. It was good and disturbing. In some places it felt a bit abridged. I for one would have enjoyed the depth in the characters and a longer timeline had the author taken a Victor Hugo approach.
Audrey started third grade this week. Third grade! Where have the years gone?
We are riding bikes to and from school every day. It is about 1.5 miles each way of nice wide side walks. However, it is all hills. Free exercise, is what I tell myself. And it sure beats sitting in the car line.
The entry to our townhouse has a slightly awkward shape to it. Because of this we have never found just the right rug for the hardwood floor. The current rug is a cheap one that has served us well beyond what we anticipated when we bought it five years ago.
I love all crafts using old denim. It seems like the perfect union of utility, thrift, and beauty. So naturally I am always collecting old jeans. I dream of making quilts and sofa covers out of them. However, my dreams are a bit ahead of my sewing skills, so naturally I decided to cut up the jeans i have into denim yarn balls and crochet myself an entry rug.
It is an easy project with almost no sewing. Incidentally, I actually really want to sew but my projects are limited to things that can be easily started and stopped for the time being, like knitting or crochet or cross stitch.
First I cut the seams out of the jeans.
Second I pick off the pockets. The perfect job for my favorite 8 years old helper.
Third i cut the pant leg into one inch ish strips of yarn and roll that yarn into a ball.
Fourth I start single crocheting an oval shaped rug. I am not following a pattern and i am not super worried about added and missed stitches. If it starts to curl I add a stitch or two. If it starts to get wavy I combine a stitch or two. Afterall it is just going to be walked on. :)
When I get to the end of one denim yarn ball as I am crocheting I can sew a new yarn ball to the ends of the denim yarn together. Or I cut a narrow slit in both ends and run them through each other. I like the look of many shades of blue so i am alternating the colors.
That is it. Easy!
|The view as you enter the front door - where's Nina?|
|Top Picture is Audrey (and Nina) in front of the water wall.|
Huge Ariel plastic panel in the living room.
|An under the sea plastic wall film - these things are great.|
|Pool noodle Seahorse - one of the party favors|
|Audrey's favorite blanket - hung over some sports stuff|
|Stairway Art Gallery - each child colored an Ariel picture for the gallery|
|Top of the stairs, transition to up on the shore|
|A couple of pink plastic grass skirts dress up the dining room light.|
|Ocean View plastic panel in the living room|
|Summer 2013 - Meredith and Audrey playing with water in the backyard.|
|Meredith and Audrey walking over the turtle pond bridge at Leesylvania State Park - June 2013|
|Audrey fishing for the first time - July 2013|
|Audrey with her first catch - a 1 ounce White Perch|
|Audrey with her 2nd place fishing trophy! The fish on top of the trophy is bigger than the one she caught to win it.|
|"Fresh off the sticks"- two new dishcloths in a tried and true basic pattern sized perfectly for my hands.|
|My drink counter - Coffee mug, Ginger Beer Starter, and a new batch of decaf iced-tea|