Wednesday, August 16, 2017

New glasses and stuff.

Behold, my glorious new bifocals. And disregard my bad hair moment. It has been a bit of a challenge to adjust to these things. I went from occasionally needing reading glasses over the last several years to needing them pretty much whenever I sat down to do stuff that was close up. And then I started having a hard time reading road signs as I was out driving.

So, I went out and did what any other sane person trying to save money did. I procrastinated on getting new glasses. My reading glasses were a bit on the fragile side but I did my best to compensate with cheapie ones from Dollar Tree. The glasses I had gotten when I was living in the dorm was kinda the best I could do for seeing road signs that were for street names because they had some correction for the astigmatism in my left eye. (I honestly have no idea why I was told 20 yrs ago when I got them that the astigmatism was in my right eye.)  When the reading glasses came apart, I realized I couldn't put it off any longer.

So, when I got these I was astounded how much my vision improved. I could see stuff like the clock across the room and it didn't look fuzzy. And reading and close up work suddenly got an enormous amount easier. Gratitude is not a strong enough expression for how I feel about it all.

We've been working on getting ready for the start of school in a few weeks. I picked up everything that the kids needed from their lists from the teachers. I am looking around at the prodigious amount of school supplies we have leftover from last year. I have begun confiscating pencils and highlighters for myself. I have been doing a lot more writing by hand. And I've resumed doing stuff like researching things again. (I haven't busted out the notecards yet, but I am keeping notes in a notebook with references to things like page numbers, paragraphs, and line number. And noting which book, obviously.)

Looking at the piles of crayons, I am really thinking I need to do two things with this. One is to make those melted crayons that melt together into a hockey puck. Some people use cookie cutters, but I don't think mine would stand up to it well. Also, I don't want to use my cookie cutters like that. I suspect I would have a devil of a time trying to get the wax out of them. I am, however, going to use my muffin tin with some liners. (Aluminum foil generally works well if you fold it right. Like the last time we made them (which I think is just about precisely a year from sometime this week), the colors are going to have like colors with like. I will, however, do three in mixed colors from the different parts of the color wheel that are complementary.

I have no idea what we're going to do with these mixed crayons we've made. The kids just don't use them. If I had wicks, I would make a crayon based candle for a teacher or somebody else who'd enjoy it. But I don't and I have literally no idea how to make wicks.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Monday Menu & notes.

Hi there folks!

I've been somewhat all over the place the last few weeks. Some of it is because it has been really busy with the boys doing summer school and some of it is because my ability to focus right now is kinda sketchy. Hypomania means I get a lot of stuff done all the time because I can't sit still and I jump from task to task. At the same time, however, it makes it hard to sit down and work on something that is not super active. Like folding clothes, washing dishes, or scrubbing the bathroom. Right now, I am forcing myself to sit here and type this.

Why, you may ask, and the answer is because I am tired of not posting anything anywhere. I want to get back to my writing. So, when the boys are doing things like playing legos at the table, I am going to do my best to get some writing done. But, as soon as I finish this post, I'm going to go fold laundry and wash some dishes because the feeling I need to move and do something is like an itch I can't scratch.

I forget where I put down my master list for this week with the meals planned out for everyday.

Day Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Mon Pancakes Pizza leftovers Hamburgers with fixings
Tossed salad & fries
Tues Cereal Sandwiches
& Chips
Chicken fajitas &
'Mexican' rice
Wed Pop-tarts Burrito bowls Pulled pork & apple
Thurs Waffles Sandwiches
& chips
Sweet & Sour kielbasa
fried perogies
Fri Cereal Sandwiches
& chips
Chicken jalfrezi &
Sat Eggs &
Birthday party
Sun Eggs &
Leftovers Pizza

Eh, I tried using a table generator off of a random site on the internet. I'm not sure how pleased I am with this result.

The 'Mexican rice' recipe is on my Pinterest cooking page. That is also where the apple slaw recipe is bookmarked and the sweet and sour kielbasa recipe is too. I'm pretty sure that Friday's dinner is going to be a situation where I eat dinner before the guys so that I can get out to Buffalo for LARP in time.

I have been trying out this business of batch cooking food for the rest of the week. So far, I am pretty pleased with the results. Taking the time to cook up a bunch of chicken breasts and shred them last week left me with some cooked chicken to use this week. I also am using the leftover pulled pork from two weeks ago this week. (I am also going to be cooking pork roasts as well, to shred and stuff for next week.)

I think I like the fact that it opens up a little more time for doing stuff with the kids.

Friday, July 07, 2017

Tour de Fleece: Week 1

So, I am participating in Tour de Fleece again this year. I have taken the raspberry colored fiber that I was spinning a while back out of the cupboard. I dressed my distaff and am spinning singles on my Ashford student spindle. I have gotten in about four hours of spinning over the course of the week. The weather recently has been very humid and it makes spinning wool somewhat unpleasant.

When I wasn't spinning, I was plying. I have plied the two singles that I had from my drawer pull spindle - the middle weight one. I also wound the singles from the Turkish spindle into a ball for plying. I am trying out that technique I read in Spin Off a while back where you take your two singles and wind them into a ball and ply from that. If it goes well, I may just do the same with the singles I have from my French spindle. I am still trying to decide what I am going to use to ply that. I think I am going to ply the singles from the Turkish spindle on my kick wheel. I would be using the Ashford student spindle, but that is currently occupied with spinning that raspberry fiber. I finished the whole braid of the rainbow colored fiber. When I was winding balls for plying, I wound up with stuff getting tangled up. I estimate my loss on that being around two yards.

I am trying to decide what my goal for TdF is going to be this year. A part of me wants to try to spin that full mile of thread again. The rest of me looks at the pile of fiber I have and says 'I need to use some of this up.' So, I am thinking that maybe my goal will be a certain amount of time spinning every day, like an hour or something and the secondary goal would be using up the fiber I have languishing.

I have one problem, though. My fiber keeps trying to slide down the distaff. I'm not sure how to fix that. I have been doing some reading but what I find is inconclusive. I am thinking about switching over to the skinny stick that I was initially using as a distaff, but I don't think that is a great idea because it wasn't very comfortable to use.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Low Spoons.

It has been a long and tiring day for me. It has also been a day of nonstop heartburn. It started about 9 in the morning and is still a problem right now. I have no idea why. A part of me wonders if I should be concerned. The rest of me is just exasperated with it all and wants it to stop. (I vaguely wonder if it is connected to the fact that my jeans are tight on me, but I don't think that is the problem.)

I got 90% of the things I needed to do today done. Some of it is just going to have to wait until tomorrow. Because I am mentally tapped out. I feel like I am useless. I feel like I am a consummate fraud. On the whole, I feel awful mentally as well as physically. And I have an overwhelming sense of guilt for not having ALL THE THINGS done. I know this is because I am unwell. But that doesn't help anything.

I want to write. I want to make beautiful things. I want to be social. I want to take the kids off on summer adventures. I want to make money doing stuff I am good at.

And I don't right now see how to make that all happen because I am sick. And I feel an intense sense of despair over it. I try not to give into it. I try not to think about it. Denial is not the answer here. But, it was what I was taught as a coping mechanism when I was small and what I tend to default to. Not healthy, trying to change it, but it is what I do.

So, if you're looking for cheerful updates on how things are going over here, I'm just not at the mental place to do that right now. Please bear with me.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Fiber Fluff

So, I sat down and made a thing a little while back. I took the half of the packaging for a bunch of lollipops and used it to make a tabletop distaff. It had a sphere at the top and then a stick out the bottom of it. The sphere could be opened and the lollipops were inside it. I took the top half of the sphere off and then filled the lower half of the sphere with stones and put the part that the lollipops stuck into and replaced it on there. The stick that was pointing out of the bottom then was the new top and the hemisphere with the stones sat on the table.

It is nice and stable. It also works really well if I am doing supported spinning at the table. I think using the table distaff lead me to having more even yarn. It really did cut down on arm fatigue. And for reasons I can't explain, my hands did get tired quite so quickly either. I'm not sure why it worked out that way, but I am pleased. I filled up the lignim vitae french spindle twice. I was then getting bored with that. So I started spinning the rest of the fiber on my turkish spindle. (I think it is made from maple but I'm not sure.) I filled that up twice. Now I have two full runs of the colorway left. I split it in half and am spinning it up on a light drawer pull drop spindle. I don't think I can get the whole lot on there in two goes. I may have to do four.

My plan is to ply what I have on each spindle with the other stuff that came from the spindle. This way, theoretically, my plies are even. And, hopefully, the amounts on the spindles are the same. I am half tempted to try chain plying this stuff, even though it is super fine. I have decided that I am going to do my plying on my kick wheel. Just because I think it is going to go faster than using a spindle for it.

I have been making baby hats again. I am using a pastel rainbow colorway from Red Heart. The yarn is their sport weight acrylic. It is my plan to wash it with super hot water to soften up the yarn. I used a 'D' hook. I made a magic ring at the top and then did eight double crochet into it. I slip stitched the end of my round to the first stitch before chaining for the first stitch in the row. My first round was eight stitches. My second round was sixteen, with an increase in every stitch as per usual and the final stitch a slip stitch. My third round was twenty four stitches (in the pattern of one increase in the first stitch of the increase and then a single stitch, up to the last three stitches which were an  increase in the first stitch of the increase and a slip stitch into the first stitch of the round).

After my third round, I began working single crochet into every stitch. My final stitch of the round was worked as a single crochet and the remainder of the hat was done in the round in a spiral, if you would. I worked two inches in single crochet. I then slip stitched the final stitch of the final round to the first stitch of that round.  It is a really small hat, but I am making it for really small preemie babies. (The majority of the hats that the spinning guild have been donating are made for the medium sized preemies. I have been focusing on the 'micro' preemies. I am doing so because most people are not making hats that small. I am seriously considering a tiny layette set, all held together with a bit of ribbon and a note telling the recipient that I was once a high risk preemie and that there is hope that their child will grow up healthy and well.)

I am still working on that ducky scarf. It got very exasperating, so I set it aside. Illusion knitting looks cool and all that, but it is a very tedious process. I'll be honest, I am getting bored with this. I did the math, I have about 5 hours of knitting to go and it will be finished. I'm going to try to get it done next week. This way I don't have to look at it anymore. I can just finish it and hand it off to the person I am going to give it to.

I haven't written up the pattern for the sweater or the bonnet I made. It is on the list of stuff to do later. When I get the pile of other things finished but before I send it out in the mail to the recipient.

Monday, June 12, 2017


Well, I'm not behind on bills. I'm a little behind on dishes. We won't talk about laundry, except to say that 90% of it is clean due to the grace of my husband. But all of that writing stuff I've been trying to do, completely behind on that. To the point of almost a week. I am frustrated.

I finally get to where I actually have stuff organized and then poof, it all goes ass over tea kettle and I am torn between just giving up on a writing schedule and trying to cram all of that stuff in at the same time as I am doing what I had slated for today. It is awful.

I had a migraine this morning. It wasn't to the point of seeing double, but I was hiding in the darker rooms of the apartment until it abated. I think it started last night. I don't know if I am going to have another tonight. The weather conditions are right for it, I guess. I am overheated and I just feel miserable.

I want to just phone it in and hide in a hole somewhere until I feel better. (Mood stuff is still not right. I see the doctor about it in two weeks because that is when my scheduled appointment is and he literally has no openings before then.) I feel stiff and uncomfortable. I did my morning yoga but I didn't get any exercise done. I wound up using my inhaler twice this morning just doing light housework.

On the plus side, however, I think I fixed the vacuum cleaner. And I did get my plants watered this morning. I feel completely burned out right now, though. I was going to water plants before I got ready for bed, but I just don't have the spoons. So, anyone waiting for more story related stuff or witchery related stuff, please bear with me.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Monday Menu

So, I am posting this Sunday night instead of Monday morning. This is partly because it is more convenient for me to do so right now and partly because I suspect that my morning is going to be extra busy for reasons I can't really define. It is just a gut feeling.

Tonight's dinner was semi-homemade pizza. I pick up the pizza shells at Aldi's (we used the Mama Cozzi original style ones). We used some of the Prego pizza sauce that I got at Walmart last week. I honestly think it is better than what we can get at Aldi's, but I may be biased because I grew up eating Prego pasta sauce. We did use the mozzarella blend from Aldi's. It seems to melt better than what I can get at just about anywhere else. The only thing that I have found that is better is the mozzarella blend with some of the Philidelpia cream cheese shredded and added to it. (I'm planning on getting some of this cheese blend next week to see if I can make a decent artichoke dip with it.)

Tomorrow's breakfast is going to be waffles. It was going to be today's breakfast, but I decided to try to make french toast casserole. It didn't come out quite right. But, it was edible and my youngest decided that he liked it. My eldest chose to eat a banana for breakfast after trying some of what was on his plate. Lunch for myself tomorrow is going to be my leftover slices of pizza and some salad. Beloved is going to have a salami sandwich with provalone cheese, some crackers, and some cheese. I also am going to put a couple of hard boiled eggs in with it. I'm debating blending some yogurt with some fruit and adding that, but he is very particular about his yogurt, so I may just do that for myself. Dinner is going to be hamburgers, apple salad, and tater-tots. I had written down fries, but then I bought tater-tots out of habit.

Tuesday is going to be pop-tarts for breakfast. Beloved's lunch is going to be the same as it was Monday (as he did specifically request that). I and my eldest will be having lunch out. He has a dentist appointment in the morning and after that we're going to have lunch. I'm leaning towards packing something for him and I so that we can do something like stop at a park for lunch. I am anticipating Tuesday to be a challenging day because of the dentist appointment. Dinner is going to be pulled pork (cooked in the crockpot), coleslaw, and macaroni and cheese (for the kids).

Wednesday is going to be a day where we have cereal for breakfast. Lunch is going to be a sandwich with chips and stuff for Beloved. I'm leaning strongly towards making tuna salad for him and I. This way I can have it on my salad. I am going to be making spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. I'm going to make some garlic bread and a tossed salad to go with it. If I'm organized enough, maybe I can bake something like a pie too. I'm not decided, partly because I'm not sure how warm it is going to be and partly because I am pretty bad at making pie crusts.

Thursday is going to be a day where we have waffles. If I don't have enough waffles, it will be pancakes. I have a BIG package of pancakes in the freezer. (I can not make pancakes to save my life.) Lunch is going to be the sandwich stuff that Beloved told me he wanted. I am going to have leftovers for lunch. (I have stuff like macaroni and cheese sitting in the fridge to eat up. I'm considering doing something like frying it inside a sandwich because carbs.) Dinner is going to be tacos cooked in the crockpot and another salad. We're having these salads because they're inexpensive to make, cool, and I get most of my lunch for the next day done with out having to do any work.

Friday is going to be a cereal day for breakfast. I'm going to be out of the apartment most of the day. I will be packing Beloved's lunch as per usual. Then I'm going to go visit my Auntie Adrian before I go to a doctor's appointment. Dinner is going to be prepped in the crockpot and made with stuff that I have to cook. It is going to be teriyaki meatballs (in the crockpot) and pasta salad with fresh vegetables. If I can manage it, I am going to try to come up with some kind of sweet or other treat to have with the kids for the Full Moon.

Saturday is going to be a pancakes day for breakfast. We are going to be having leftovers for lunch. Dinner is going to be pork chops, mashed potatoes, and peas. If I can get the kids to help me, it will be the shake-n-bake style pork chops using a homemade recipe. If not, I may just fry them in the skillet. I'm not decided yet.

My grocery total for this weekend was a little over $200, but I also had to do things like pick up more vitamins and prescriptions. Take that out of the total and it drops down to around $150. I made a point of getting most of my groceries at Aldi's, where my total was $75. At Wegmans, I spent about $40, with a third of that being the cost of vitamins. It was Walmart where I really go dinged on the cost of vitamins. I thought it was kinda weird, because previously, Wegmans was more expensive. Maybe they're engaging in some competition? I don't know. It could also just be a fluke.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Fiber Fluff & Current Project.

Hey there,

I'm almost finished spinning the Frabjous Fibers braid of 'hand dyed opulence blend' in colorway #4 Chromatophobia Pink. It is 30% superfine merino, 30% tussah silk, 20% baby camel down, and 20% royal baby alpaca. It is super super soft and lovely to handle. It also does not like humidity that much, so it is a good thing I'm almost finished spinning this thing up. I've reached the point where I have one full pass of the colorway left to spin.

I've been using a Turkish spindle that I believe is .5 oz. I have also been using my lignum vitae wood French spindle (as a supported spindle). I'm debating plying it all together. I'm not decided on the matter. I have decided, however, the my plying will be done using that kick wheel that Jim (at True Creations ) made and my MiL bought me for Yule a few years back. I've mostly been using the thing for plying.

I have a goal this year, however, that for Tour de Fleece, I am going to spin strictly on the kick spindle. It is my hope that I will have something finished (plied and set) by the end of it all. I've been trying to decide what fiber to use. It's been a hard pick because my MiL has so generously given me a great deal of wonderful fiber over the last little while. And I still have stuff from the sheep study that the guild is doing to process and spin up. Final decision on what I'm spinning is going to be made in a little bit, though, this way what ever work to process it can be done well before I have to be spinning.

Presently, I am working on a heavy crochet blanket for C. It is in all of her favorite colors and I'm working it up with 3 strands of yarn and a 'Q' hook, as a granny square. I am about a third of the way done. I have hit the point where I am somewhat bored with the project now. So, I am alternating between that and finishing the duckie scarf that I've been knitting for R. (Life got crazy, knitting that required thought got put aside, and now his Yule gift is *very* late. But I have about 3 hours of work left to finish that, so I think I can get it done next week.)

I've been contemplating how I'm going to be making the bag that J. requested. I'm leaning towards something featuring Tunisian crochet, this way I don't have to worry too much about lining the bag. I still have to put the lining in the bag I made for Beloved and take care of resolving that problem with the buzzy bee bag I made a while back. Which I really want to turn into something more funcitonal. It's not working out too great right now with out any lining.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Monday Menu.

No picture this week because I'm just tired of trying to find good lighting for pictures and stuff. It's a bit frustrating and I have been having enough stuff making me annoyed and frustrated. I have been having a difficult couple of weeks. So, I'm just going to make this post completely simple.

Sunday was scheduled to be pizza night, but the weather was too humid and warm. I just picked up some pre-cooked pulled pork and made Cuban sandwiches for lunch. I am probably going to be using the leftover pulled pork in Beloved's lunches this week.

Monday morning is going to be French toast with fruit. Lunch is going to be sandwiches for the guys and a salad for myself. My goals is to get back into the habit of eating salads for lunch. Dinner is going to be hot dogs with potato salad and fresh veggies. I'm tempted to cook them in the crockpot with some chili sauce. I'm not decided on the matter.

Tuesday is going to be a cereal day for breakfast. Beloved is going to be having sandwiches for his lunch (he requested turkey). I am going to be having some leftovers (if there is any) and a salad. If there are no leftovers from Monday's dinner, it will just be a salad. I may possibly do the spiced eggs on a bed of kale. It depends on how motivated I feel to be cooking tomorrow afternoon. Dinner is going to be hamburgers with tater-tots and a tossed salad.

Wednesday is going to be the leftovers from the french toast or I'm going to do something with eggs and toast. Beloved is going to be having another sandwich for lunch. It may be ham or it may be turkey, it depends on what he is in the mood for. I'm out of the sandwich style cut dill pickles but I don't think he'll mind much.  I am more of a fan of pickles than he is. I will be having a salad. I am going to try to make that thai chopped salad that I have on my cooking page on pinterest. I keep meaning to make it, I think this week is going to be the time I finally make it. Dinner is going to be chicken curry with rice, naan, and saag paneer.

Thursday is going to be waffles for breakfast. I have some fruit filled ones that I'm looking forward to. Apart of me says I should have whipped cream, but I think I'll be just fine with out it. My lunch is going to be a salad, or curry leftovers. Beloved is definitely getting curry leftovers. I'm going to do my best to make sure he has an extra portion of saag paneer. Dinner tonight is going to be crockpot tacos with fresh salsa an guacamole.

Friday's breakfast is going to be pop tarts. Lunch is going to be a taco salad for myself and sandwiches for Beloved. I'd try giving him something like taco salad but I know that's not exactly his thing. I may throw some corn chips and guacamole into his lunch though. Dinner is going to be pasta salad with teriyaki meatballs. I found a recipe for how to do it in the crockpot. Though calling it a recipe may be a bit much. It's premade meatballs and teriyaki sauce cooked on low for 6-8 hours. I'm also going to have fresh veggies out to round out the meal.

Saturday is going to be another morning of scrambled eggs. The kids apparently seem to love them. Cuddle Bear was six different kinds of proud of himself for helping me cook them for breakfast yesterday. I think he's going to be real happy to help out next Saturday too. Lunch is going to be something take out when I am out doing grocery shopping. I have a feeling that there are not going to be any leftovers from dinner Friday night. Whenever I make meatball anything, it goes really fast because the guys love 'em. Dinner is going to be macaroni and cheese. I'm going to give the kids apple slices to go with it. Beloved is going to be out doing social things that evening, so I won't be worrying about dinner for him. And the kids don't get to pick out dinner things that often, so this is kinda a special little 'mom and me' kind of thing.

One thing I have to add, menu planning has cut about $50 out of my grocery bill when I first started out doing it. As I have refined it over the last several months, it has lead to the bill going down to about $100 less than what it was towards the beginning of the year. Making Beloved's lunches for work has cut down a whole lot on food waste, which made me pretty happy. It has also helped cut down on how much money gets dropped into buying lunches and food from restaurants.

My goal is to get my total food budget down to $200 for the month, on average. This requires making some changes to how I am handling somethings. I have discovered, however, that packing lunch for Beloved is not as difficult as I thought it was going to be. I am cautiously optimistic that I can apply that type of preparedness to summer meals when the boys are home from school. I also want to do some food preservation this year. While the initial investment may be requiring some planning, I think if I do it right, I can cut down on some of our winter food budget and maybe even limit how much off-season produce I buy. And, when it is winter, off-season produce is kinda expensive even at stores like Aldi's.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Word vomit, no big deal.

I found my 'hook' for an autobiographical story. I should feel well about this. I honestly don't. I feel pretty horrible to be honest. I have been told by friends and acquaintances that I should write down my memoirs. I was always thinking that I was too young to write them. Over the last several years, I have been shifting in that stance.

I find myself questioning if it would be therapeutic to write it. I haven't decided. In the meantime, I keep trying to stay on top of my journal writing (therapeutic and not) but it has been hard. Just as I found my 'hook' to start an autobiographical story, I find myself feeling like all of my writing is just vanity and that I am terrible at it. I honestly feel like I am not doing well right now on so many fronts. But I can not tell which is legitimately a problem and what is just my illness telling me is wrong. Because depression. phobias, and stuff like post-traumatic stress induced negative thinking all lie to me.

Gods help me, I hope I find a therapist who takes my insurance. I'm afraid that I can't.

In the meantime, I am doing my best not to be freaked out about everything happening in the world. And I am struggling with things like how many people in my social circle are talking about a guy who assaulted me (the guy got arrested on soliciting sex from a minor, and I suspect that human trafficking is going to come into play here). It's quieted down a little bit since the beginning of the month, but it is still very much a topic and it still bothers me, significantly.

Ah well, I will do what I can with what I have. Hopefully, I will adjust to the medication change quickly and get my life back in order.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Monday Menu

This week is not going to be as busy with my running errands about town. As such, I can put a little more time in on cooking.

Tonight was chicken nuggets, carrot sticks, and cheese puffs for dinner. The boys earned it. They worked hard today on housework (with out being prompted) and did really well at the Special Olympics on Saturday. (They won medals. Cuddle Bear won silver for the 50 yard dash and silver for the soft ball toss. Snuggle Bug won gold for the 50 yard dash and bronze for the soft ball toss. And they behaved wonderfully. It was a great day. And Beloved got to get some good laughs out of how the kids were fooling around and meet some of the awesome teachers I've been telling him about.)

Tomorrow, we're doing donuts for breakfast. My lunch is going to be the pizza leftovers from Saturday evening. I have some more of the super spicy chili in the freezer for Beloved to bring to work as lunch. I think I saw some cornbread in there I could send in with him too. Dinner is going to be hamburgers, tatertots, and carrot salad. I am thinking about making some macaroni and cheese too.

Tuesday's breakfast is going to be waffles, because we gotta eat these things up before they get freezer burn. I'm going to be having lunch while I'm on my way back from a doctor's appointment. Beloved's lunch is probably going to be related to leftovers from Monday's dinner. Dinner is going to be hot dogs with baked beans. I'm also going to make a simple salad to go with it all.

Wednesday's breakfast is going to be cereal. The boys have been talking about how they want to have Cheerios for breakfast for a little while now. I suspect they will decide to be offended by the prospect next. My lunch is definitely going to be leftovers. (I have a love for slow cooked baked beans that was instilled in me by my grandmother cooking them for every summer get together.) I'm going to be sending Beloved to work with some leftover chicken-sweet potato-chickpea curry that I made myself for dinner on Saturday. I think it will be a welcome change. Dinner is going to be pulled pork (in the crock pot) and I am going to be making a salad to go with it. I'm considering if I am going to make garlic mashed potatoes or not.

Thursday is going to be the day we finish off the donuts (if there are any left) or finish off the waffles. Lunch is going to be all about the pulled pork. I think I have everything I need for Beloved to have a cuban sandwich in his lunch. For my part, it is going to be pulled pork pizza on a wrap (or pulled pork on macaroni and cheese. It depends on how much macaroni and cheese will be left). Dinner that night is going to be ground beef stroganoff. There's several pretty good recipes on Pinterest but I am going to be using the one that is in my Campbell's cookbook.

Friday is going to be a very busy day. The kids are going to be getting a big breakfast of eggs, toast (or waffle), and milk. They've got some big activities going on at school, so I'm going to be sending them off for the day with enough of a breakfast that they don't get hungry really early. Cuddle Bear also has a field trip. I will be packing him a lunch that can stand up to being a bit warm. That means peanut butter-hazelnut spread sandwiches, chips, carrot sticks, and either a juice box or a can of soda. I'm not decided on how much I want to spoil him yet. Beloved is going to have the last of his chili for lunch Friday. Dinner Friday is planned to be pork chops with mashed potatoes and a tossed salad.

I haven't planned much for Saturday. But I'll get it figured out by the end of the week.

Friday, April 28, 2017

LARP stuff.

In the game I presently play in, I play a fae character. She is gradually going insane / regressing. When she first showed up on scene, she is more like a weird adult. That was because the 'adult' part of her brain was more in charge, but in the light of her rather ... depressing life, she is letting the 'fairy/child' out more.

I am reflecting this in a combination of things. One is that her mannerisms are moving towards those of a young child. The other is that I'm going to incorporate stuff a small child would like into my costuming and props.

Here's my hair for tonight. I'm trying to decide how I should adjust costuming. Pink t-shirt and denim jumper seems like a good idea, but I'm not sure.

Around the crown braid are a mix of flower clips, flower embellished bobby pins, and a few faux rosebuds just woven into the braid. At the approximate center of the hair style, there is a bow off of a box of Godiva chocolates that I turned into a hair bow for this character.

I also need to work on her little bag of supplies that she carries. It is goign to be a recursive bag of holding with an adjustable sized hole in the top where you could theoretically put a whole body (or a car) into this thing. but because of its magical nature, the bag doesn't get heavier and remains the size of a small child's purse.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Monday Menu 4/17/17

I don't have a pic for you because I've just been running in circles for the last several days. So, my disorganized self didn't get that done.

Sunday was scheduled to have french toast casserole, bacon, and bananas with juice. Instead, breakfast was waffles with milk and bananas. Lunch was sandwiches, as I had planned. Dinner was supposed to be roast leg of lamb, salt potatoes, and asparagus (carrots for the kids). I forgot, however, to turn on the crockpot. Which meant that the leg of lamb had to get thrown away. So I made spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. Cuddle Bear ate everything on his plate this time and told me that I had made him a 'special' dinner. Perhaps I have gone too long since the last time I made spaghetti.

Today's breakfast was cereal, I didn't have it in me to make eggs and toast which I had planned. Lunch was not mini pizzas but rather easy mac and cheese with some carrot slices. Dinner was hamburgers with pita chips and the last of the carrot slices. I am presently baking zucchini bread with chocolate chips and I am baking up a batch of homemade tatertots with spinach in them. my hope is that they will come out well and the kids will eat them with little complaint.

Tomorrow's breakfast is cereal. My plan for lunch for myself is leftovers. The lunch I am putting together for Beloved is a salami sandwich, cheese, and a bag of chips. I'm also going to add some of those peanut butter chocolate chips that the neighbors gave us yesterday. Dinner tomorrow is going to be beef fajitas with a tossed salad and some guacamole. The kids are going to be getting essentially nachos for dinner because they don't like soft tacos. Or I will make them quesadillas. I'm not fully decided on it.

Wednesday is scheduled for breakfast to be waffles with syrup and milk. I have a little bit of the strawberry jam that is more of a sauce left. I'm probably going to put that on waffles if they don't want syrup. Lunch for me is going to be a nice big taco salad. Beloved's lunch is going to be some of the leftover chicken curry that I had made for dinner Friday night last week. The stuff freezes amazingly well. I used the curry sauce from Aldi's. It came out really nicely. Wednesday is going to be tuna noodle casserole with peas. I'm pretty sure the kids are going to complain. I may just make them some chicken nuggets as I am cooking the casserole and do some plain noodles on the side.

Thursday is cereal for breakfast. Lunch is going to be leftovers. Dinner is going to be twice baked potatoes with ham and cheese, with a tossed salad. I am also going to start a pot of chicken stock simmering. I have most of what I need for it. I am going to be tossing in things like the ends of onions and what not. I am going to be simmering this stuff for a long slow while to get as much flavor out of it as I can manage. Then I am going to freeze some of it in cubes, put some into a jar in the fridge, and make a thing of homemade ramen noodles.

Friday is going to be pancakes, if I have the spoons to make them Thursday evening. If I can't get that far, I will be giving the kids cereal for breakfast. Lunch is going to be leftovers for myself and peanut noodles for Beloved with some diced chicken breast. I'm not entirely sure what sort of snack thing I'll include in there, but I'll figure something out.

I have cereal written down for breakfast on Saturday. I may just make eggs instead. Lunch is scheduled to be sandwiches. Dinner is scheduled to be meatloaf with tatertots.

Somewhere in the course of this week, I want to make a lemon meringue pie. Because I miss having them. I have some premade pie crusts and some lemon filling. All I have to do is make the topping. I'm going to think optimistic thoughts about this. I've never made this before and I remember my aunt Shawn telling me that meringue can be fussy.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Vulgar witticism in Stitches.

I was going to embroider this on the t-shirt but I decided that I was going to draw it on with a sharpie. I'm going back and forth over the idea of embroidering over it. But, for now, the rough initial work up is done.

Here's the text. There is no image to go with it.

Error: 404
Page 4655434B21 Not Found




It is in code, obviously. Hexidecimal to be precise. If you're determined enough, you'll decode it.

I like to make t-shirts for Beloved that are a sly insult at some of the more unpleasant people he works with.

I confess, I felt a great deal of disappointment with humanity at large when it became evident that people can no longer read cursive.

Monday, April 03, 2017

Monday Menu (Week of 4/2/17)

This week's menu is featuring some batch cooking. On Sunday, I'm going to make a LOT of french toast and then freeze half of it for later in the week. I'll report back on how successful this effort is.

  • Breakfast - french toast with sausage
  • Lunch - leftovers from Sat. dinner / sandwiches
  • dinner - lasagna with salad

  • breakfast - cereal
  • lunch - leftovers
  • dinner - hamburgers, fries & carrot salad

  • breakfast - french toast
  • lunch - chicken salad wrap with lettuce & fresh veggies
  • dinner - pork enchiladas with salad & rice / quesadillas for kids

  • breakfast - cereal
  • lunch - leftovers
  • dinner - moroccan beef & sweet potato stew with couscous

  • breakfast - pancakes
  • lunch - shaped sandwiches with veggies and chips w/ hummus
  • dinner - bbq pulled pork pizza w/o onion and mozzarella sticks

  • breakfast - cereal
  • lunch - leftovers
  • dinner - curry chicken with rice and cucumber yogurt salad

  • breakfast - pancakes
  • lunch - leftovers / sandwiches
  • dinner - meatloaf, garlic smashed cauliflower & squash with maple syrup

The recipes for the lasagna, enchiladas (well, the enchilada recipe calls for chicken but I have a bunch of pulled pork left), and the moroccan beef stew are on my Pinterest cooking page.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Monday Menu

Please forgive the lack of a picture. My menu was just written up as a list of dinners. I need to make new organizer sheets for the big household binder. (And little ones for this upcoming week for my daily planner, as well as reconcile all the calendars. It's a thing I do on the last weekend of the month now. It seems to help me stay on top of things.)

Sunday (today) is Pizza night. The kids wanted their pizza to be half pepperoni and half extra cheese. So, I made a pizza like that, of which they each ate only one slice and five carrot sticks for dinner. So, Beloved and I are having the remaining pizza instead of my making another one for us.

Monday's breakfast is going to be waffles. My lunch is going to be chicken salad in one of those Aldi's brand (Fit & Active) wraps that I have leftover from last week. I used something like half the package last week. I'm going to try to use the rest this week. I am also going to be having some fresh spinach with it. I'm leaning towards chopping up some tomato and throwing a little bit of shredded mozzarella together with it and some italian dressing. Dinner is going to be hamburgers, as per usual. I am going to make carrot salad to go with it.

I am starting to make lunches and snacks for Beloved to take into work. This is less a matter of cutting down on eating out and more a matter of helping him make sure he actually gets to eat something during the day. Because it has gotten really busy over there. I made him a lunch with the leftover chili from last week. I threw some pickled jalapeno peppers on top because he said I made it not spicy enough. I then put some Babybel cheese wheels in the package with half of a naan bread sliced up. I'm pretty sure that he will enjoy it. I also made him a snack for Monday that features two different kinds of nuts (honey roasted peanuts and plain cashews - two of his favorites), two different kinds of cheese, some sliced pepperoni, and some baby carrots. I kinda felt bad about not adding something 'healthy' with all of that.

Tuesday is taco day. I am making them with ground beef - even though I am half tempted to try to find some vegetarian alternative. I've seen some interesting things using lentils. Because everyone in our house prefers soft tacos or basically nachos using corn chips, I didn't bother picking up any hard shell taco shells. I have all the fixings of salsa, sour cream, cheese, and such. I may wind up making myself a taco salad for dinner. I'm not decided yet. Breakfast is going to be cereal because I'm boring like that. My lunch is going to be leftovers from the burgers Monday. Because I finally got more veggie burgers, I'll probably be having that with a salad.

For lunch on Tuesday, I put together some homemade corned beef hash and scrambled eggs for Beloved with some cheese and some horseradish on the side. His snack is pretty much the same as what I had put together for Monday. I also will be sending in a baggie of pretzel mix.

Wednesday is going to be another morning where we have waffles. I am going to be bringing lunch when I am out running errands. So, I am going to be having leftovers from Tuesday in the way of a taco salad. Because I really like taco salad. Dinner is going to be in the crock pot. I am making pulled pork. I will also be making a salad to go with it and a pot of macaroni and cheese. Part of the reason why I am making mac and cheese is because I think it is absolutely awesome with pulled pork. Also, my boys love the stuff and I know that it will be at least one part of dinner that they won't complain about.

The lunch I put together for Beloved on Wednesday is featuring chili again, with the extra jalapeno peppers. I am going to be sending in a small thing of pad thai that I made using the sweet potato noodles (or I might take it and eat it for lunch myself, I'm not decided yet). I will be sending him with basically nachos to go with it. No cheese sauce, though, because he hates the stuff. Instead, it will have the shredded cheddar dropped all over it along with some of the leftover taco beef. Maybe I'll put it on the side and let him dispense with it as he sees fit. Either way, I think he will smile at it. He loves corn chips, so it will help make his day a little better. The snack I put together for Wednesday is a combination of a pair of hard boiled eggs, nuts, and cheese.

Thursday is going to be another cereal day. I am going to be having some of the leftover pulled pork as a cuban sandwich for lunch with a salad. This is, incidentally, the same thing I will be putting together for Beloved's lunch. He kinda loves cuban sandwiches, and I can't exactly argue with him. They are pretty awesome. Dinner is going to be pad thai with chicken. I picked up some mung bean noodles when I was out shopping last week. These things are delicious and good for you. So, I will be using those. I am hoping that I can do something like make some egg drop soup to go with it. If I can't, I won't be overly crushed. The decision to add the egg drop soup was one that I made after I got groceries yesterday.

Friday is going to be a day where we have muffins for breakfast. I have some mix for apple cinnamon muffins that I really need to make. I am going to have leftovers from Thursday for lunch or maybe even make my own homemade ramen noodles. Dinner is going to be chicken cooked in the korma sauce from Aldi's. I'm going to throw some veggies in with it. I have naan to go with it all and I'm going to make some spiced lentils to serve on the side (and save for lunches next week). I haven't decided what is going to happen on the lunch front for Beloved Friday. But I anticipate he will let me know what he is interested in.

Saturday is going to be a cereal day. Dinner is going to be tatertot bake with peas. I know the boys will enjoy it and I am not going to have to fight them to get them to eat.

But, that's the menu for this week.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Fiber Fluff & Stuff.

So, my friend Jim the Odinsman has just gotten into knitting. It's been exciting to watch the stuff he has been posting. It is equally exciting to see how excited he is about this new craft in his life. He is a little self-conscious about his mistakes, but, honestly, he is doing a lot better than I was when I first started out. My rectangles and squares came out lopsided and could only be called such in the loosest of senses. He seems to have a natural knack for keeping his tension even. I'm still not good at that and I've been trying to figure out this knitting stuff for about eight years now. (Not counting the time when I was eight and my Grandma K. tried to teach me. That was just a mess and I gave up.

Somehow, things came full circle. After Grandma K. passed, I inherited some of her knitting stuff and among the fist full of knitting needles was that purple set of circular needles she gave me when I was small and I handed back in great frustration. I also discovered the sweater she had started for me when I was much younger. It is half finished and it looks like she ran out of the same style of yarn for the back. It is bitter sweet. I'm still trying to figure out how I'm going to approach the matter. A part of me says I should try to finish the thing, another part of me says that it won't fit me, and then I've got yet another part saying that it would be better to use that yarn for something like the baby hats for the NICU at Strong.)

My spinning got interrupted last week by the snow days. I wound up spending more time trying to keep the kids out of trouble than I did spinning. So, I am attempting to get more done this week. I am still using that rainbow colorway that I was before. I have switched from the turkish spindle over to the french spindle. This is not because the turkish spindle is full as much as I really want to do a 2 ply yarn from the singles off of the french spindle. Because it is tricky to work with that super fine stuff, I am going to spin up another full spindle on the french spindle. I am starting to get kinda close to that. It helps that I figured out how to make what I am calling a 'table top' distaff.

I picked up one of those silly things that look like a giant lollipop with smaller lollipops inside. Because the 'lollipop' opens up into two hemispheres, it has a very stable base when I am resting it on the open side. Inside the sphere portion, there is a plastic divider with holes that the sticks for the lollipops go. I figured out that I could pop that divider out and pull out the styrofoam block inside. I then filled it with some stones and popped the divider back in. The side with the divider is where the 'stick' of the thing attaches. So, I wound my fiber around the end of the stick pointing up in the air and secured it like I would on a larger distaff.

Wouldn't you know it, the darn thing is perfect for using a supported spindle at the table. It stands up a little bit over a foot, which means I'm not waving my arms around like a madwoman. I have found that this means that my shoulders don't bother me so much and my arms are less likely to get fatigued by it. I also found that it makes stopping spinning an easier affair as well. Instead of somehow wrapping the fiber around the spindle when I set it down, I can just wind the single up on it until I can rest the tip of the spindle in the bit of fiber where the drafting triangle is. Nothing gets unspun or tangled. It just sits there nice and tidy, waiting for me to come back and work some more. I think this was a great idea and I'm very pleased with how it is working.

I am almost on the last third of the ducky scarf. It is coming out a bit shorter than I anticipated, but I have a plan for how to compensate for that. I'm going to add some buttons and a loop for closing the two sides of the short scarf around the wearer's neck, like some kinda fancy cowl or something. I've seen a few interesting ideas that I am trying to decide which is going to work best. Still, I am going to finish this damn thing because the gift is now three months late. It is very annoying for me.

It is still the beginnings of this large shawl/cloak that I am crocheting. It has 5 points, including the two ends as one point where they meet. I'm making it up in shades of purple. I will be doing some white in this as well. The idea was inspired by looking at a chunk of amythest. I'm pretty sure that I don't have the right number of points for the crystalline structure, but I'm not going to worry about it. I am in the planning stages for Yule gifts. I am seriously thinking about making something with Pi on it, like a scarf or something. The other thing that I am considering is that I may do something needlepoint. As I was falling asleep last night, the idea hit me that I could do something cross stitch with the number 3.15 shaped to look like an apple. I may have to play around with that to figure out how to get it right. But it could be super cute.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

9 Patch Entrelac Washcloth (Crochet)

This is a really simple washcloth. If you know how to do tunisian crochet, this is probably one you could do almost in your sleep. The first square is made with a foundation row of 7 stitches. You pick up 6 stitches, plus the starting loop on your first pass. Do your return pass as per usual. Make six rows. Then do a cast off edge for the seventh row.

Turn your work 90 degrees. Pick up 6 stitches in the edge of the first square. Adding the loop from the final stitch of the earlier section, you should have 7 loops on your hook. Do your return pass as per usual. Repeat the process that made the first square. When you do your cast off edge, you have two options. You can bind off when you finish casting off or you can slip stitch down the edge to the join with the first square. Which ever you choose, when you get to the part where the new square joins the edge of the old square, start working for your 7 loops as if your were starting that second square over again.

Repeat this process for the next two squares. This should give you what looks like a plus sign. Bind off your final stitch and (if you haven't already) break your yarn. Change to your secondary color. Pick a corner. Work from the outside edge of the second square to the outside edge of the first square (that corner where everything joins). Pick up 6 stitches, including the first chain loop (which I joined with a slip stitch, it is unnoticeable in the final project). Chain one at that last stitch you picked up, then do your return pass. After this, you will pick up for your forward pass one stitch in each stitch across except for your final stitch in the row. That stitch, you will pick up going through the edge of the square beside you. Return pass is done as per usual. When you have your 6 rows done, cast off as per usual and when you get to the final stitch, cast off as if that final stitch is a single crochet through that stitch in the other square. Break off your yarn and then move to the next corner.

When you have all of the outside corners done, change yarns to main color. Single crochet around the edge of the whole work. At the edge of the outermost corners of the outside squares, work 3 single crochets into the corner. When you return to the first corner, work a single crochet and then slip stitch to the first stitch of the round. Then work a round of half double crochet. When you get to that 3 stitch corner, work one stitch into the first of the three, one stitch, a chain, and a second stitch into the second stitch of the trio, and then one stitch into the third stitch of the cluster. When you come back to your first corner where you started, work one stitch into the side you come up to, the one stitch, chain, and a second stitch into the slipped stitch, and then slip stitch into the first stitch of the round. After this, work a round of moss stitch. At the corners, you will work a 3 chain space rather than a single chain space. Slip stitch together after two chains for the final corner worked where you are joining with the beginning of the round.

I used cotton yarn for the main color. The secondary color is acrylic. I think the cotton yarn was called psychadelic from Sugar and Cream (I am not entirely sure, and I have since recycled the ball band.) and the acrylic yarn was an odd bit of the Red Heart Super Saver called neon brights. The combination of cotton and acrylic works really well on pots and pans. The acrylic is scrubby enough that it can take baked on stuff off with a bit of elbow grease but soft enough that it won't destroy your nonstick pans. (It also works really good on crock pot crocks with out scratching it up to bits.)

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Monday Menu

This week's menu is pretty simple.

Sunday is pizza night, as per usual. I was planning on making french toast casserole for breakfast but looking at my pantry, I think it is just going to be waffles.

Monday is going to be a busy day because the kids are off from school. (Superintendent's Conference day.) We're going to be having pancakes for breakfast. I picked up two small packages of mini-pancakes. Because I can't manage to make a decent pancake to save my life. We're probably going to be doing leftovers for lunch, but it may turn out to be something else entirely. I'm going to let the kids pick if they are not too much trouble in the morning. Dinner is hamburgers, as per usual. And I will be making my usual peanut butter carrot salad for dinner.

Tuesday is going to be a cereal for breakfast day because we're all going to still be adjusting to the time change. My boys have school, so I am just doing lunch for myself. I made some nice vegetable stew based off of the West African peanut stew and the West African vegetable stew on my Pinterest board. I whipped that up for lunch today and had enough left over for three days of lunches. I didn't put onion in it because the onion I had turned out to have gone bad. And I didn't add chicken to it because I wanted to keep it mostly vegetarian. Dinner this night is going to be baked chicken on root vegetables. I have parsnips, potatoes, carrots, and a squash. While the squash is not a root vegetable, I have been wanting to have squash for a little while now. So it is getting added to the mix.

Wednesday is not going to be pancakes for breakfast because I am pretty sure that the two small packages are not going to last past one morning. I may try to do something like make french toast sticks the night before for the kids to have in the morning. I am going to have oatmeal. Lunch is going to be something I grab while I'm out and about running errands. Dinner is going to be this super tasty pot roast stew that I have in this Cooking for Two cookbook that Beloved and I got as a gift from somebody years ago. The nifty thing about it is that it features a turnip. It is kinda hard to find recipes that feature turnips for some reason. I, however, may be looking in the wrong places too.

Thursday is going to be cereal for breakfast. I've got a big thing of cheerios that we really need to eat up before it goes stale. Lunch is going to be something I grab while I'm out running errands. Dinner will be lentil chili. I am having a hard time finding where I put my container of cashews. I may have to pick up another one when I am out.

Friday is going to be waffles for breakfast. Lunch is going to be that stew I made today. Dinner is going to be General Tso's chicken for Beloved and I. The kids are getting chicken nuggets. I think it will go well.

Saturday is going to be busy. In the morning, I will have to get the pork roast started in the crock pot before I go out to spinning guild with my mother in law. I am going to try to pack a lunch for her and I as I did last week. I need to talk to her to find out what she may be interested in. I want to do what I can to make stuff a delightful little moment of luxury when we're having our day out. If I can manage it, I am going to try to add something involving really awesome, high quality chocolate. Because you gotta have a little chocolate once in a while, right?

I am posting this a few days early. Life looks like it is going to be super busy over the next several days. So, I am putting this up tonight. It is my hope that I am going to get things organized enough to start posting regularly again.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

A Life of Its Own!

Simple changes often lead to bigger changes. That seems to be how it works out. I started keeping a 'Control Journal' after reading about the thing on and thinking about how it would make it easier to keep track of everything. Somehow, I have found myself at a place where that big ol' binder is not quite enough for me. I realized that lists help me but I needed a daily schedule. And I realize that the big binder was too big for that purpose.

So, I picked up a smaller binder. I put in a few sections already and I am going to be slowly adding to it as I go along. I still use the big binder but it is now where I do my weekly planning and my monthly planning. My daily stuff is in the smaller binder. The first section has my daily agenda.

The times slots are broken up by hour. I highlighted the things that go over an hour. Right now, the yellow highlighter is for my schedule on Keen. If I have to change a block, I put an 'X' through it. If the 'X' is for the whole hour, I block off both blocks of the section. If the 'X' is for a half hour,I block off one section. Less time, I note what time the other thing is happening. Right now, my schedule is in a bit of flux as I get everything ironed out. As you can see there is a lot of 'open' time. I expect this is going to change as I go ahead.

I have a section with my daily task list.That is pretty boring, so I didn't take a picture for you. After
this is a section with my Zone Cleaning lists. If you look in the bottom right hand corner of the daily page, you'll see a note 'Z1'. This indicates that I am working in Zone 1 that day. So, I would open up my binder to the Zone 1 cleaning list. I would then check off what I got done in that 15 minute cleaning session. I anticipate some things are going to be done in only one session and others are going to be done faster. I also anticipate that this is going to turn into even the stuff that takes longer going faster as I get more stuff back to a fairly clean condition most of the time.

It is as though my efforts to put my life in order has taken on a life of its own. I'm not going to complain but I am a bit bewildered. Somehow, in the midst of all of this, I have found time to get stuff like late Yule gifts finished and more time to work on my spinning. I dare say all of this is actually working out well. Despite my having migraines multiple times over the last few weeks (thanks, crazy weather) and my life getting disrupted some by the kids being on break last week, I am still getting stuff done.

Oh, here's the travel coffee mug cozy I made for Kate's dad. It was going to be all crochet but I got annoyed with it. So the bottom of it is about four rounds of double crochet before I just knit it all. When time came to cast off, I was having trouble making it stretchy enough to fit right. So, I whipped out the crochet hook I used to start. I cast off with a single crochet for each stitch and a chain stitch between them. I think it actually came out looking pretty nice. The yarn is from Red Heart. It is called Neon Lights.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Worn down, but whatever.

Today was a kinda long day. The kids are home on break. I have the lingering effects of a cold. It was not a great combination. Still, I managed to get out and get a walk in, socialize a bit, and get the kids to play at the park for a little while. The lake is not completely open water, but there is a marked decrease in the ice covering it. That wind blowing across it made my hands very uncomfortable as I was trying to do some knitting while the kids played. I guess, however, it was not a bad thing. I mean, shivering does burn calories, right?

I have made some big changes to my diet. I have dramatically cut down how much carbohydrate I have been eating and equally dramatically increased the amount of fiber and protein. This has resulted in my feeling full more of the day with out a huge difference in how much I eat. I am also making a point of cutting out things like processed foods and artificial sweeteners. I don't have much love for plain yogurt, but I am eating it anyways. I am just adding fruit to it. So far, I think the biggest challenge in that area is the fact that the kids have been eating the strawberries I picked up to put in the yogurt.

Still, it is healthy and they're getting good eating habits out of the matter. Honestly, I'll buy more fruit if it means that they are eating stuff that is better for them instead of a ton of sweets. We're still having some fighting over eating dinners that are not chicken nuggets or their favorite sandwiches (PB&J/PB&Nutella for Snuggle Bug and Ham & Cheese/Pizza for Cuddle Bear). I am finding that involving the boys in making dinner is making them more likely to consider eating some of what we make.

Dinner tonight was scalloped potatoes with ham. I used a bacon alfredo sauce in it with a lot of cheddar cheese. It came out pretty good, in my opinion. I made sure to eat only one serving. When I found I was still hungry afterwards, I had the peas left over from dinner last night. (That was hamburgers with peas.) I have been cutting down on the amount of bread that I am eating. It is not exciting. I am not entirely thrilled with having my sandwiches with out bread. I assemble the stuff for my chicken salad sandwich on the plate like a salad, put a big pile of bean sprouts on the side, and then eat the whole with a fork. It is an intermediate step between the salads I was doing last year at about this time and what I was eating for lunches up until this week.

My goal is to get myself back to eating a diet that is more heavily based in vegetables. I am not completely sure how I am going to do so. Portion control has been a big part of what I am doing right now. I am also stopping myself when I want to go get a big scoop of ice cream or something. I ask myself if I really am hungry. If the answer is yes, I then get myself some vegetables. Not as much fun as ice cream, but I want to be healthier. So, I am going to make that sacrifice.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Crafting for Charity.

I am still making preemie hats for the local NICU. (Specifically for the Golisano Children's Hospital at Strong. These people are the ones who took care of me when I was born 3 mo early.) I am excited to say that over the last few months, I managed to learn how to knit the hats.

I was having some difficulty, but after a little work and some patience, I got it so that I could make that hat with out any gaps at the top. One of the ones that I am really pleased with is in this picture. I made it yesterday.

I am excited to do this. There's two reasons for my excitement. First, I want to do something meaningful for my community. Second, I feel like this is completely something that my Grandmother K. would have wanted me to do. She was pleased that I was learning to knit. When I showed her a hat I had made at one point, she was really proud of how well I was doing. I feel like this is continuing on her love into the world at large.

This hat is really, really simple. It is essentially the same as the Umblical Cord hat that you see around on the interwebz. The only difference here is that the hat is small enough you can put it on an apple or an orange. As, that is about the size of a lot of the preemie's heads. They do need hats that are larger, and some of those babies in there are full term. So, my next goal is to start making them bigger with out mistakes. (That is still a learning process right there, but I got the tiny ones right. So there is hope for me yet, right?)

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Fiber Fluff

This week, I finished two washcloths. One was just plain single crochet square of 8 in by 8 in. The other Tunisian simple stitch square of the same diameters. I edged them with a bit of multicolored crochet cotton. I'd have posted pictures but I can't remember where I put the blasted things.

I also finished a crochet wall hanging. It was very simple. I can't really call it much of a sampler. The starting chain was crochet around a 3 foot length of wooden dowel that is 1/4 of an inch in diameter. After this, I did single crochet for two rows. Then I did double crochet for three rows. This was followed by a section about six rows wide of linen stitch. I got bored of this and did another three rows in single crochet. Then I started a different pattern with it. Using single crochet and a contrasting yarn, I worked up rows alternating between the contrast yarn and the main color base on the Fibonacci sequence. I ran out of contrast yarn by the time I hit the section that would have required thirty five rows.

So, I did a few rows in the main color to create a visual divider. At which point I did alternating rows of shell stitch with the main color and a different contrast yarn. I got bored doing the shell stitch when I was at seven rows in. So, I did another section of single crochet with the main color. Then I worked a ripple stitch for about twelve rows. By this time, the whole project measured 3 feet by 2.5 feet. I decided it was about the length I needed for the spot on the wall beside my side of the bed. So, I fastened off my yarn and wove in my ends. When I hung it up, it looked... ok. The main color was royal blue yarn I had left over from Beloved's sweater vest from the year before last. And the contrast yarns were stuff I had left over from other projects. I lean towards declaring the thing somewhat ugly, but it wasn't supposed to be pretty, just something to keep a cold draft off of me. It seems to be serving that function fairly well.

Now, there is one thing that I am pleased with. And that is the bonnet that I'm going to share below. I made this in memory of Stargazer, one of my best friends from college that died a few years ago. I made it in two of her favorite colors. And, I gave it to someone who was in need, which I knew she would have wanted.

Here's the pattern.

Use a small amount of sport weight baby yarn, a size H crochet hook, and size 3 double pointed knitting needles.

Crochet portion:
Foundation: Chain 14 stitches plus one to turn.
Row 1: Single crochet into each stitch, work three single crochet into the end stitch before working a single crochet into the back of each stitch. Chain one and turn your work. (30 Stitches.)
Row 2: Single crochet into each stitch, at the first of the three stitches at the middle of your row, work an increase of one. single crochet into the center stitch, then work an increase of one before doing single crochet into each stitch to the end of your row. Chain one and turn your work. (32 Stitches.)
Row 3 - 8: Repeat row two, increasing in the stitch immediately before the center of the row and after it. (R3: 34, R4: 36, R5: 38, R6:40, R7: 42, R8: 44)
Row 9 : Change color. Single crochet into each stitch, turn.
Row 10-15: Single crochet into each stitch, turn.
Row 16: Change color, Single crochet into each stitch, turn.
Row 17-22: Single crochet into each stitch, turn.
Row 23: Change color, single crochet into each stitch, turn.
Row 24: Single crochet into each stitch.
Row 25: Crab stitch into each stitch.

Knitted portion:
Pick up 4 loops across the edge of final colored section. This should include the working loop from the final crab stitch, the two edge loops for the section and the first edge loop of the previous colored block. Knit 4 stitches. Turn work, knit 4 more. Then proceed to knit an i-cord that is 8 inches long. Bind off knit wise. Weave yarn end in. Make a simple knot in the end of the cord.

On the opposite side, pick up 4 loops across the edge of the final color section: the first edge of the first crab stitch, the edge of the final single crochet in that row, the turning stitch of the previous row and the edge loop of the final row of the previous colored section. Using the same color as what was worked for the final colored crochet section, knit 4 stitches. Turn work, knit 4 more. Then knit an i-cord that is 8 inches long. Bind off knit wise. Weave yarn end in. Make a simple knot at the end of the cord.

I think that my total spinning time this week was a half hour. I didn't get much done. I was too busy running around and doing stuff. I am going to try to get more done over the next week. If nothing else, spinning guild is coming up soon.

Aside from a bit of mending, I really haven't done any sewing. I have, however, started work on a needle book for A. I am using up scraps of yarn from previous projects. I will post the chart for the front and back covers once I have them drawn up. Everything is very simple. I am completing it in tent stitch. While the designs do not look as polished as they would in cross stitch, it makes it easier to have the color runs of the variegated stuff I'm using for the background look nicer. I'll post a pic of the project when it is done as well. (All things considered, I think I may have it done by next Wednesday at the latest.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Friday Fiction: Reign Tenné et Or

The story I tell you now is false. It is pure fiction. An invented bit of fluff to entertain you for a moment while you pause in your viewing of the destruction of other things, unsure if said destruction is entertainment or threats. I cannot say if the destruction is either. It is not my place to do so. Nor would I wish to, for I am but the teller of simple tales. I lay before you the tale of a kingdom once known for peace but now is bedlam. No, no. This kingdom is not an analog for Nova Roma. Do not think such a thing. Nova Roma is a Republic, hale and strong. This kingdom is but the fruit of an idle mind, as all such stories would be. And it is proper, I suppose, for only idle minds would dare such a thing, yes?

Once, in a land most distant in geography and time, there lived a king. This king had a great voice that could be heard in all the halls of his land. He would speak and his servants went among the populace to spread his wisdom. Liveried in or, tenné, and argent, they were a people who were feared. They bore with them white wands tipped with gules, the ensign of the king borne upon a device of a noble cockrel, that bird of great courage in battle. What, you ask, is the ensign of the king that the gules cockrel bears? This, my dear friend, is one that indicated great humility in this king of a thousand tongues. The humble ass in argent lays lodged sinister upon the tenné field. a band of or chief upon it. The arms of this king, this famed king known in many lands, spoke of one who was humble and slow to anger. The tenné field bespoke of his storied travels through out the known world, for the color of the field was exotic to his lands where only the colors of gules, argent, and azure were known. The band of or denoted his noble head, where upon the crown of rulership rested on his glossy, brazen colored locks.

The king was a man of great wealth. As all men of great wealth, he feared that enemies would come to steal it away. Daily, he sent his servants among the people. Part of the reason for this was to make known that this king cared for his populace and part of the reason was to quell any speech that spoke against this king. Thus did the early days of his reign pass. His grand proclamations that were designed to quiet the troubled hearts of the people were spoken daily. Each day, the proclamation was greater than that of the day before. He set many to work upon ventures that he insisted would strengthen the coffers of the kingdom, that would bring prosperity to the land. He called for a great wall to be built upon the kingdom's southern border, where the lands he decried as lawless lay. He spoke of raising up the clergy to higher stature, so that they might guide the people into greater wisdom.

At the same time, however, the king raged when his servants spoke of the people who mocked him. He flew into blind wrath when he learned of troubadours who sang popular songs that disdained him. His rage was terrific to see and his servants feared him greatly. All but for one. Behind the king, there stood a man with a long, sharp knife. A blade that cut in more ways than through flesh. Even as the king sent this man hither and yon to quiet the dissent, the man plotted in the shadows. He laid quiet seeds to drive the king into greater frenzy, to push him into madness. As this man, the king's closest counselor, waged his quiet political war to undermine his benefactor only enough to allow him to keep the king as a puppet, the servants of the king feared him and did not speak against him. They hurried to do as the counselor commanded, thinking it was the word of the king himself.

The king's situation, however, was not one plagued by but one man's evil. For, the king had stolen the throne from the one who was chosen by the high council. The petty kings of the land came together to choose their overlord. This king, who held but small lands despite his vast wealth and cadre of loyal servants, fought bitterly with the petty kings. They who labored beneath the other petty kings found themselves deceived by the honeyed words of the servants. Thus, they began to rise up in protest when the other kings tried to put forth a queen to reign above them. In some of the petty kingdoms, there were those who were devoted to the queen whose arms were azure and had an argent tear upon the field. There were also those who had put their hearts behind a grey bearded king of a small land who was known for his devotion to his people. The queen, however, pointed to the wizened old king of the north and stated how his experience was only with his small kingdom, where as she had stood shield-side to the overlord who had brought great prosperity into the land.

The king that sits upon the throne contemplated banishing the azure queen. Instead, he called upon the age old mistrust that was held against women of some power. Thus, the petty kings, save the grey bearded one of the north, turned their faces towards him. The seeds of discontent, however, were sown and as the king in tenné and or tried to root out his opposition, for each one removed ten more arose. The azure queen spoke to her kinsmen and the moderate voices of the council. The grey bearded king spoke to his kinsmen and they who supported him. The king in or became progressively angrier as it became clear that his hold over the high council was not absolute.

Thus, as his chief adviser suggested increasingly outlandish things to him, the king in or followed along those paths of madness. The people of the entire land suffered. The troubadours' voices were silenced, many of the famed ones having had their tongues cut out. The small folk of the kingdoms all found themselves in greater states of distraught as the king in or's servants went about to divest them of their goods, claiming it was needed for the service of the land. As mothers cried out for their children's suffering, fathers were conscripted into his army as the king in or set to engaging they who had been staunch allies, insisting that they were enemies.

Fearful whispers suggested that the king was mad. The only thing known was that the king with his richly embroidered clothes and jeweled hands had convinced himself that all sought his ruin, thus he set out to destroy any who disagreed with him. So did it begin that the kingdom of Pax Columbia fell into ruin so great that its name was forgotten.


Something that was just rattling around in my head. Posting it early, because why not.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Monday Menu.

Sorry this is a day late. Life has thrown me a curve ball. I spent yesterday sick. Today I was out running errands and at a doctor's appointment to resolve the issue causing me to feel so unwell. And tomorrow, I have to take Cuddle Bear to a dentist appointment. One of the things I had scheduled for today got rescheduled to Thursday. So, I am just kinda doing all the things all at the same time.

I don't know how well you can read my writing here. But, as always, I am going to write up my list below.

Sunday 2/5
Breakfast: Eggs, toast, etc.
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Pizza

Monday 2/6
Breakfast: Cereal
Lunch: Soup & salad
Dinner: Hamburgers with fixings & carrot salad

Tuesday 2/7
Breakfast: Waffles
Lunch: Out
Dinner: Kielbasa, egg noodles & peas

Wednesday 2/8
Breakfast: Eggs, toast, etc.
Lunch: Out
Dinner: 1 pot pasta with meatballs & salad

Thursday 2/9
Breakfast: Cereal
Lunch: leftovers
Dinner: Beef stew with dumplings

Friday 2/10
Breakfast: Waffles
Lunch: salad
Dinner: chicken nuggets with spinach puffs (kids)/ indian chicken and rice (adults)

Saturday 2/11
Breakfast: Eggs, toast, etc.
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Tacos

I am seriously considering trying out a few recipes from the vegetarian cookbook that I won in the silent auction at the meeting of the spinning guild last month. It has some really great ones from india and inspired by indian cuisine. I am not entirely sure what I want to do yet. I will, however, post about it.

Tacos are going to be made using the crockpot method for cooking the meat. The one pot pasta is going to feature meatballs made from italian sausage. And my goal with the beef stew and dumplings is to actually get my dumplings right and have them be appetizing rather than a doughy, repulsive mass. Fortunately, I have my Aunts' cookbook. They have a great recipe in there. I may get it right this time. There is always hope, right?

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Friday Fiction: Silence.

They called me a monster. Their children screamed when my name was mentioned. Their stylized images that were but vaguely based upon my appearance were frequently waved about as indications of evil. Indeed, one place made viewing my erstaz icons a part of the punishment and torture regime they practiced.

Did I deserve this spewing of vitrol? I don't think so. I only did what was necessary for the continuance of their ... species. They were on the road to utter ruin. They lifted their hands to the skies and begged their cold, distant god for deliverance from the horrors they had created. I came to them. When I walked through their number, they did not know me. They merely thought me odd, perhaps even quaint. Some, however, did recognize that I was far older than they. Those who did so could have been divided into two camps.

One camp was filled with fear of me that reached towards some measure of holy awe. The other regarded me with fascination. Fascination is not always safe. Still, I suppose the ones who gazed on me in fascination rather than terror were perhaps the ones who were always going to be the harbingers of change. I almost pity them for their ill fate.

Let no one tell you otherwise, for it was truly fate. I may be ancient. But not even myself or my elders, or the gods in their high halls, can evade fate. It is a perverse humor that guides such things. The mad weaver throws her shuttle. The drunken spider spins her webs. And I, I walk along them with something like chaos in my wake.

They had become stagnant. They had become calcified in their destructive behaviors and their work to rend the world until it fit their strange vision of order. I had no choice but to come. I was called to them by it. That hard, brittle crystalline structure of a world they had fashioned needed to be broken. It was something that had to happen so that life may progress.

Thus, I took them into my hands. I did not snap them like twigs. Not immediately. I started with a subtle shift, a few bends and twist to it all. When things started to come apart and entropy enter into the system, they blamed the unfortunates and the people whom they hated that week. Those who saw me, they spread word that I had come as the hand of judgment or as their liberator. One camp turned into penitent ascetics who cursed the world around them with one hand even as they plucked the fruits of its labor with the other. The other camp turned into wild revels and hedonists. Some did so with merry abandon and insisting that the essence of life was vivid experience. Others did so with the keen awareness that they were witnessing the beginning of the end of all things.

I had no joy in my doing. It was work. It was work that I was fated for and hated for regardless of the necessity that drove me to it.

Still, I did the deeds required of me. I broke the fetters and bonds. I crumbled the walls and loosed raging rivers o'er the fields of squalor. In the end, they started to see me as I moved among them. Not the ones of insight, but the most mundane of them. They looked on in horror. Some tried to rise against me and strike blows to push me away. They fell as grass before the scythe. They always have and always shall.

Now? Now I rest. My work is, for a time, done. All about me lays ashes and ruin. I did not want to bring it to them. They were so beautiful in their cleverness. Charming children who had such great potential. But, they created for themselves a trap. They cried for freedom. Thus, I came and rescued them. I do not think they wanted me to liberate them. Not how I did, but to have it in some fashion where they had the comforts of their creation and the freedom as well. Silly children, I mourn your foolishness.

Who among you stands now, wise? You are scattered about the world. You have reached the stars. On other worlds, I have yet to go and do my work. But, you do not listen to your breathren when they warn you of the necessity of wild things and open spaces. That is alright, though, I shall come and teach you. I shall come and break your chains and free you.

But now, let me abide in the silence. Midgard has been abandoned. Let me sit in the silence, reaching into the earth to feel the sleeping seeds. Yggdrasil shall put forth new leaves soon. Perhaps I shall sleep in the shade of those green branches and watch the deer walk along them in search of tender leaves.

(This is what happens when a certain red headed deity says 'let's write a story.' Sorry this is a little late.)

Friday, February 03, 2017

Highlights of the Week: wut?

This has been a long week. I'm not entirely sure what about this week made it so difficult for me. Perhaps it was the two half days at the end. Perhaps it was the parent-teacher conference on Wednesday. Or, maybe it was the fact I had two migraines this week and my body just feels off because I'm due to start my menses soon. (I know this is a detail that you were all just dying to hear. Fun fact, I can never quite tell when they're going to hit by the calendar because of PCOS. But physical discomfort is a generally good indicator that it will be happening at some point over the next several days. Just not sure when. Thanks, genetics. Hate you too.)

I have a difficult time pointing at something fun I did with the kids this week. This has been a week with a lot of fussing and arguments. I am just mentally tapped out from it all. I am not really coming up with much to write in here. I don't feel well. This is partly because of what I mentioned earlier. This is also due to my clumsiness. I managed to cut my thumb this evening with a pair of scissors as I was opening up a package. (It wasn't deep enough to do serious damage. And the scissors were sharpened last week by a professional. They are *very* sharp. If you have scissors or knives that need sharpening and you're local, check out the hardware store in Honeoye Falls. Weiders Hardware does great work and their customer service is second to none.)

So, I am going to go drink some tea. I may give writing in my paper journal a shot. Who knows, maybe I will find a way to get up the energy to do something like a shower or a hot bath. First, however, is going to be a spot of tea and maybe a couple of cookies.


Days exercised: 7

Current weight: 169 lbs

(This is going to be a weekly thing. I'm going to note how many days a week I get my exercise in. And I'm going to track my weight on a weekly basis as well. Theoretically, this will help me get healthier. Who knows how this is going to work out. My confidence levels are pretty low right now.)

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Yarn stuff # 2!

I haven't gotten much spinning done this week. Or at least, not of the producing yarn variety. I have been getting a lot of things done right now. This is good, but my time for fiber arts has been reduced. I aim to rectify this as soon as I get the other projects (like putting together a budget for this month and finishing setting up my writing outlines for the month) done.

I sat down with some yarn and a crochet hook. I backwards engineered a bonnet pattern, sort of. The first attempt came out pretty cute. It is about toddler sized. I used baby sport weight yarn remnants I had kicking around in my work basket. I haven't written up the pattern yet. Or should I say, I haven't typed it up yet. I have it noted down in my notebook. It is a step farther along than what I have been doing in other projects.

I am in the search of a good (free) gnome hat pattern. I've seen a few on Ravelry. They're ok. But they're not quite what I need. I may wind up just coming up with one on my own. Who knows how that is going to work out.

In other news, have you seen this thing that is trending? If you look up 'knitter's are ...' on Google, one of the top auto-fill suggestions is 'knitter's are ruining America.' I proudly claim this title. Below is a picture of my engaged in this dastardly activity. (I'm making a baby sweater for a friend of mine. Pattern to come when completed.)

Beware of me and my pointy sticks and sturdy string.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Monday Menu

Here is the menu for week 4. Some of these things are on my Pinterest board labeled cooking. If you check it out, you can find the links there. This week is going to have me out of the house in the middle of the week. I'm also not sure if I am going to have another sick kiddo home with me for the week. As I am typing this, Snuggle Bug is asleep on the couch in his mismatched Spiderman & Cars pajamas. He woke up to play with his new Transformer for a few minutes and to have lunch (pedialyte and some chips). We thought he was over this when Monday passed with out a lot of sickness going on. We were wrong, because he got sick on Tuesday. So, he has been home all the rest of the week now (as of the time of my typing this up.)

I don't know how Monday is going to go, so I am typing this post up a little early and it will be going up as per the schedule function here on Blogger. I am finding it surprisingly useful.

In case you can not read it, here is what I have down for each day.

Sunday (1/29): Breakfast - waffles; Lunch - leftovers; Dinner - Pizza (Not noted on this whole thing is snack. This is because the kids have been all about lollipops. Nothing interesting to be made there.)

Monday (1/30): Breakfast - Cereal; Lunch - Soup & salad (I'm going to be doing something based off of a chopped Thai salad on my Pinterest board.); Dinner - hamburgers with fries (I'm probably going to add a carrot salad to this as well.)

Tuesday (1/31): Breakfast - Muffins; Lunch: Out (I will be up in the city getting some work done on the car.); Dinner - tacos (This will be using the crock pot taco meat recipe.)

Wednesday (2/1): Breakfast - Cereal; Lunch - Veggie stew; Dinner - Reuben casserole with fries

Thursday (2/2): Breakfast - Eggs & toast (or muffins, depending on how many spoons I have that day); Lunch - peanut butter and jelly (because the kids have a half day at school and they like this); Dinner - macaroni & cheese, with bacon & tossed salad (I'll be using the 1 pot pasta technique with alfredo sauce and cheddar thrown in it. And I think I am going to be making a wilted spinach salad to go with it. In all my plans, I still haven't made one yet this month and I really want to have one.)

Friday (2/3): Breakfast - Cereal; Lunch - grilled cheese with soup; Dinner - cashew chicken with rice, cucumber salad & eggrolls

Saturday (2/4): Breakfast - Muffins (or eggs & toast, I haven't decided yet. Beloved may surprise me and make us all breakfast again. He's kinda awesome like that.) Lunch - Leftovers; Dinner - Lasagna with Italian sausage, salad, and garlic bread (Like the wilted spinach salad, I have been wanting to make this and not having the opportunity over the last few weeks.)