Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Garden Plan 2013

This will be my third year with a garden and I am excited.  Here is the plan:

Some of this plan is dictated by the carry-over growth from previous years - my thyme plant has been there from the beginning and is still growing strong.

I also have a couple of pots, one with mint, that I keep on the deck - it just keeps coming back every year (my favorite type of plants), and I have two pots with lavender on either side of the front door (another return from last year).  Then there is the dear blueberry bush and my insanely happy rose bush.  All of these are pretty much no fuss, which is a wonderful thing.  I would love to build the last part of the fence to completely enclose the backyard, but that looks like a project for another year - again. 

I would love to put down another 4x4 square, and if I do, it will mostly be a salsa garden.
However, since I have yet to keep up with just one 4x4 square, this idea will probably need to wait another year or two.

The colorful garden plans were done with whatever crayons Meredith was willing to share when we sat down to color together on Sunday. :)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Hummingbird Cake

For Easter dinner, I brought dessert.  I used it as an opportunity to try making Hummingbird cake (and to cross an item off the food bucket list).  I followed the Southern Living recipe very closely.  I doubled the cream cheese frosting, because it is always better to have extra frosting; I toasted the pecans; and I only did two layers instead of three, because I only have two cake pans.   It turned out really good.  It was a bit like a moist banana bread with cream cheese frosting.  But the pineapple and cinnamon made it a little more exciting than plain banana bread.  I will make this again, but only for a big get together, it is a lot of cake.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Easter fun

Easter morning started out with an egg hunt, opening baskets and eibleskivers - delicious!  Meredith would not try an eibleskiver - as in lips tightly closed, vigorously shaking her head against the idea.
Audrey eating an eibleskiver, Meredith coloring Sponge Bob.
This year we did a few Easter decorations.  Audrey made a beautiful Easter egg poster - it says, Easter Family and then all of our names.  I bought some pretty pink tulips for the table - fresh flowers are always so pretty.  

We went to Ryan's parents for Easter dinner and that was fun and fancy.  The girls did another round of baskets (including goodies from their generous neighbors).  We had another egg hunt and after dinner, the fabulous egg roll.  Grandma Margie has purchased a series of hardware store goodies (drainage pipes and tubes and such) and sets them up for Audrey to roll eggs, cars, and anything else she can gather.  There are races and crashes and jumps.  It is quite the amazing set up (I do realize a picture would have been good here...).

Dinner was awesome.  Margaret made a crown roast lamb - it was really good and moist and tender.  I finally made hummingbird cake from my food bucket list.  

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Socks rock

I am absolutely sold on sock knitting.  I am almost finished with my second pair and I have learned so much and am still learning and that aspect makes it so much fun to knit socks.

My first sock is a little baggy (size 1 needle), and the heel flap is rather tight (I read the pattern wrong, but didn't figure that out until I did the second sock); the second sock is less baggy and the heel flap is normal; the third sock I tried a smaller needle (size 0) and it may be just a touch too small, but I had to stick with that for the pair, so the fourth will be the same (it is nearly finished).  For my next pair of socks I am going back to a slightly larger needle (the smaller size 1 needle) and will try a gusset heel without a heel flap.

Another super exciting part of sock knitting is discovering new sock yarns to love too.  Opal is my new favorite.  It is the Volkswagon of sock yarn.  It is made in Germany, with all kinds of beautiful design and color schemes built into a super soft and functional and consistent yarn.  My dad bought me a ball of Opal cotton-wool blend sock yarn years ago when his office was right next to a local yarn shop in Kansas.  I didn't know how to knit socks then and I thought I needed two balls in order to make a pair - so I just saved it.  Turns out the Germans do sock yarn right and sell you enough for a pair in each ball.  After seeing some of the beautiful socks others have made with Opal, I found my ball of yarn and cast on.  I can see why people love this yarn, the patterns and the colorways are just absolutely beautiful.  Plus, I love the cotton-wool blend that he chose.  Well done dad! (and the nice saleswoman who I assume helped him pick it.)  :)

Monday, April 01, 2013

Bike rider

Today is the last day of Audrey's spring break and it is finally georgous weather.  I put Meredith in daycare so that I can work from home (I technically took the day off, but I have all kinds of year-end stuff to finish up, that doesn't get done during the normal work day).  This morning, I took Audrey outside for a bit of a break.  And just for fun, we (mostly me pushing her) decided to give bike riding a try.

She has practiced riding with her dad, a few times.  I read online about how kids in other countries learn to ride balance or scoot bikes first and then move onto pedal bikes.  So that is how we approached bike lessons this morning.  I just had her use her feet to scoot along down the small hill and get a feel for balancing on the bike.  Once she was comfortable with turning and balancing, I had her put her feet on the pedals.  After a few times down the hill, she started doing the pedals and then I taught her how the brakes work.  It was awesome.  She was so proud of herself, she couldn't stop smiling.  After she put it all together we practiced a few more times and called it a morning.  We will be taking a few more breaks throughout the day to keep up the good work.  I am so proud of little Audrey.