Sunday, February 27, 2011

strummin' on the ol' banjo

I think cooking would be much more interesting to me if I had live banjo music available.
Anyhow, I believe it's a well established fact that I hate to cook and would never do it if I could afford someone else cooking my meals. (T helps some but generally gets home so late that we'd be eating after bedtime. And then there was that time he made "soup" where one of the ingredients was Cheezits...) So. We have the options of feeding the family on restaurant or fast food, or I get off my lazy butt and cook.
I'd been wishing for recipes that I knew would freeze, that were not all tomato-based or cream-soup-based. Unless we're talking about the fennel family, I refuse foods based on texture, so the stuff HAD to freeze well. In passing an office mate mentioned Once you get past the icky name, you get a website with a month's worth of recipes that you cook all in one day, adjusted for size and freezability (is too a word). If you follow the menu exactly, there's even a schedule that tells you what order to chop and cook, how to package, and (if you're working with a friend) who chops what. We are a somewhat picky family, so I've been picking and choosing recipes. (For example, the White Chicken Chili was FANTASTIC as written for T and me, but was too spicy for either boy to eat. The second time I made it I adjusted appropriately and they inhaled it.) Last weekend, I took a few hours and made three meals, and we ate them throughout the week. All three were ruled "delicious" by all members of the family. One was prepped ahead of time and cooked in the crock pot on the day we ate it, two were marinated and either grilled or roasted on the day.
This week I'm getting more ambitious and prepping six eight recipes. It's a boatload of work on the day you do all the prep, but I don't actually spend more than about half an hour each night afterwards making the main dish and fixing sides.

Here's the haul for today:
Meatloaf (my recipe)
Chili (my recipe)
Chicken Orzo Skillet
Bacon Broccoli Penne
Cauliflower Mac N Cheese
Chicken with Sweet Potatoes and Butternut Squash
Slow Cooker Chicken with Pineapple and Peppers
Chicken Fried Rice


In most cases you do a double recipe and freeze two family-size servings, but I only did that with recipes we've tried already. We had the Chicken Fried Rice for dinner tonight, and next time I'll double it. I'm tempted to quadruple the white chicken chili next time.

Bug was hungry.


And a bit maniacal.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Oh sister mercy

Someone has a wild hair...

Apologies for the long absences. Mostly I knit slow and have nothing to show. Also, last week I was hit with strep (went to the ER and TOLD them it was strep but they didn't believe me until the culture came back positive TWO DAYS LATER no I'm not bitter why do you ask?) and had a miserable week. Friday I was feeling pretty good, and since it was Friday and the breezes were cool and the children were compliant, we went ouside, where they played and I flipped through the Keepsake Quilting catalog.


It may have stirred a long-dormant feeling of bed-linen-dissatisfaction.  Namely, I have no topper and shams that I love.  I don't even have one that I like much.  T was not much use in this department when he moved in, being a boy and therefore in possession of exactly one blanket and one set of sheets, the pattern of which he described ones as "slug-shaped".  (They're paisleys.)  So, here we are.  We have a day off, we have settled on a basic pattern and color scheme that is neither too girly nor too boy, and we have tossed the stash.  (You understand that I'm referring to the Royal We, here.  T is at work and blissfully unaware of my new project.)  


I had a scrap of something that would have been perfect, so I toddled off to JoAnn's in an effort to find something in a similar tone.  As luck would have it, I found the exact fabric (plus a couple others I will use instead of those from the above photo).  And (ahem) a few other little things.
I'm off to enjoy lunch with my aunts shortly, and when I return there will be ironing and cutting and arranging of fabrics, and possibly even sewing of same.  I ALWAYS underestimate how long it takes to cut perfectly good fabric and reassemble it into a blanket.  This is evidenced by the fact that I am already thinking about hand-quilting motifs in my head...
Anyway, whilst you chuckle at my startitis and my craft-fickleness, I will leave you with a couple photos of paperwhites I forced in a vase in my kitchen  Courtesy of T's mom at Christmas-time. 

0220111821 0220111820

Monday, February 07, 2011

wha? where am i?

welcome to february, my lovies. here we are, five weeks into the new year. is it just me or does that seem crazy-long and also not nearly long enough? on one hand i can't believe it's already february 7, and on the other hand new year's and christmas seem so far in the past.
incidentally, i seem to have given up capitalization for new year's.
hmm, well. life has been busy. last year my company purchased a smaller company and one group is working to bring the products in line with our way of doing things and our style, without changing their procedures (much). since i belong to all and no one at the same time, i was given the task of editing the manufacturing documentation. there are many people from all over the country involved, and we all zipped off to irvine, ca, for much of the work. i have come in on the tail end of the thing, so my travel has been much less than others'. still, it has been a bit difficult, mostly on T and the boys. T took over like he's been doing the daddy thing for a lifetime instead of less than a year, and i think the boys behaved better than when i'm around. they act like they miss me, though, so i keep coming home to loads of hugs and smiling faces, and there is nothing better. :D
the trips are getting shorter, though, and i can do most of what's left from the office in tempe, so i don't have much travel left. the first trip i took all my latvian-mitten yarn, my b-side, and a scarf. i didn't knit much that trip. the second time, i schlepped my sweater and the handspun nutkin i started a million years ago. i knitted a little on the nutkin on the plane, but not much else. this last time i took only the sock, and got a few repeats up the leg. after trying the thing on i have determined that i hate the toe i picked, and the short-row heel is about two rows too deep. i will fix those later. i expect i will take the sock along this week, and again if i have to go back next week. (in these trips i'm only really gone overnight.)
this weekend i devoted some time to b-side. when last you saw it, i'd picked up all the stitches for the sleeves and was short-rowing my way around. i hated the way it was turning out, and since i'd already knit three full sleeves i figured i'd better make darn sure this sweater was going to fit well and look good, so i ripped. i used the ratios as before for the proportion of the sleeve to short-row and just picked up the stitches as i got from side to side. i ended up with many more stitches, and many fewer decreases. i like the look of it much better, and the extra stitches ensure plenty of room for the bingo wings. i am now knitting round and round and round, decreasing my way down the sleeve. i haven't measured in a while, but i guess i'm 1/3 to 1/2 the way down. the thing that would be nifty about now would be the ability to find the paper i scribbled my sleeve notes on, so i can remember how long i intend to knit the decrease portion and/or how many stitches i'm supposed to end up with before starting the ribbing.
i still have that red scarf on the go - i didn't finish T's dad's christmas scarf in time so i appropriated the one from ofa's box, as it was the same style and color. i believe i am nearly finished with it, but truth be told, the nutkin and the sweater, both destined for me, get attention when it's cold. that's all i'm actively working on right now. i'm anxious to get them finished, both to wear them before the weather heats up, and to get out some other wips or new projects to play with.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Do you know the way to Santa Fe?

I don't, but I know what flights will get you to Irvine.
I've been here all week, and have plans to come back next week. I'm making the best of things but missing my guys like crazy. It hasn't all been bad. There's been some of this


a lot of this


a bit of this


some of this


and even one night of this


(and last time I was here I got a dinner with this))

But tomorrow, I get to go home to this


and this


and I can't wait.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


The work and the home life are both conspiring to kick me in the metaphorical hind-quarters. I am off to SoCal again this week, for the whole week, whilst I work on something I should have been involved in months ago, and dealing with old man engineers who call me sweetheart. I haven't knat in a while, though I have dutifully carried my knitting about to CA pretending that I won't be too exhausted at the end of the day to knit something.
Instead, I will point out that this current blog-tagline is actually a link to an article. I have read it multiple times and am still not sure what I think of it. If you're inclined, go forth, clickety, read, and then c'mon back and discuss.

ETA: in case it doesn't work for you, here is another place to clickety: Look at my boobs! I am very smart!

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Lynn in Tucson made me do it.

Cuz we all know the Devil has nothing on your Enabling Friends.

But first! We didn't do the whole "end as you mean to go on" thing. Unless you count the fact that I mean to continue ignoring the housework... Anyway, I finally had the fortitude to face B-Side, and picked out the sewn-in sleeve, ripped it out, googling the instructions on knitting a set-in sleeve top-down from picked-up stitches, and worked some maths. I think the maths are right, I can't be sure of the counting. I also think I don't particularly love the decreases-while-short-rowing look, and if the sleeves are otherwise satisfactory I will probably rework them to include a centered double-decrease down the "crease line" of the sleeves on future patterns. Either that or I will need to fix my wrapping techniques on the short rows cuz I think I might be wrapping in the wrong direction. In either case, I'm not fixing it on this sweater. Partly because I don't think the yarn can stand much more ripping, and partly because, renewed with hope and love of knitting as I am, another setback on this sweater might turn it to crackers, a là Cookie. I also think blocking will help a bit. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.


And so, we enter the Year of the Mitten. Or maybe a more appropriate title would be the Year of Colorwork. Primarily since my SIL has been hinting that she wants more hats like the one I crocheted for her, and I can't find any other crocheted patterns I like, and will henceforth be diving into the Land of Colorful Tams. (Appropriate, as she's Aunt Tam, no?) (As soon as I get over the Flaming Resentment of her repeated "hints" for knitwear.)
Anyway, I've been slavering for Latvian mittens. I have the book, I have the time. (Well, I have some.) I have access to my little stash and some inexpensive local or internet yarns. I was making a purchase that vaulted me over the line for free shipping, and, well, it was just financially responsible to go ahead and order a few fingering-weight solids. This year I have vowed to get my finances under control, and how better to do that than to buy enough to avoid shipping fees? It's a no-brainer, really.


Since it is not my intention to carry around the better part of a sweater, even though my new bag (squee!) allows me to, the mittens may become my lunchtime knitting after my scarf is done. (I wasn't going to finish T's dad's scarf in time for Christmas without seriously killing myself, so I appropriated the one I'd knit for OFA and am replacing it with the one (same pattern, nearly same color) I started for him.) It seems that the good thing about putting some projects in extended timeout is that after a while, they become exciting again. I have Madli and some Nutkins I'm anxious to get back to, also, though I'm pacing myself and alternating with new projects to avoid burnout. :D

Friday, December 31, 2010


Here's the obligatory new year's resolution post. Only, resolutions mean you are going to do something. (Or stop doing something.) Exercise more, eat less junk, less time on the computer, knit from stash, knit every day, knit something every month, whatever. The thing is, despite the fact that I whinge (a LOT) about not having enough time or enough laundry done or whatever, last year was a pretty damn good year. I met a new love, got a new job, moved to a new city. Ran a 5k. Survived having a kindergartener. Survived having TWO talking children. Survived combining a 5 bedroom house and a 3 bedroom condo into one three bedroom condo (plus a coupla storage units). Survived moving towns in the middle of the hottest month of the year. Lost weight, gained weight. Tried new things that I loved (helloooooo sushi) and not so much (goodbye, mushrooms). Went to a mall and neither died nor killed anyone. In short (yeah, I know, too late), I had a grand year, and I hereby resolve to keep on keepin' on. Cuz really, what else is there? Catch you on the flipside, my lovies.