Friday, December 31, 2010

last day of the year

 This morning Mr. Hero and I were lying in our bed piled high with our quilt and blankets, cherishing the remaining minutes of quiet before the boys would arise, reflecting on all the"firsts" we experienced this year.  We kept naming them off one by one until we hit number 34.  That's when we couldn't think of any more- which is over a month of trying something new each and every day.  No wonder 2010 is not a year that I would like to do over again.

For all of the excitement that trying new things can bring, there is a lot panic, fear, and tears that accompany change. Let's face it,  growing is painful.  Sometimes, our little Mr. Ninja still awakens in the night, crying from the growing pains in his legs.  This kind of pain requires a patient mom or dad to rub and rub those legs until they feel better- something I remember my father doing for me when I was a little girl going through the same thing.  After a few minutes or so, the pain goes away and sleep quickly returns.

Yet, those pains are important.  No one wants to remain the size of a six year old forever.  We must grow up and into the person we are meant to be.  And when we start to hurt, we can count on our friends and family to gently rub away our pain, by offering understanding, validation, laughter, and love. This, I believe, gives us courage and strength to walk through whatever circumstances required of us.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: " A man's growth is seen in the successive choirs of his friends." Here's wishing you a happy new year filled with love and friendship and all the growing pains you dare to handle.

Cheers.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

we have a winner...

Thank you to everyone who participated in the drawing for this headband.  Of course there could only be one winner.  This is how it went:
Mr. Ninja donned his ninja hat upon his head
The Lady blindfolded him with a scarf that was hangin' around 
with nothing better to do
Mr. Ninja placed his hand in the hat
and drew a name...
Lori is the winner! 


Congratulations, Lori.  Email me your address and I'll get this out to you very, very soon.

Monday, December 27, 2010

you could be a winner: update

There are 28 hours remaining for your chance to win a headband knit up by me in the yarn you choose from Eat.Sleep.Knit.  Tomorrow at 8:30 p.m., the blindfolded Mr. Ninja will be drawing the lucky winner from a hat  (I'll post the picture to let you see ). So if you're interested in entering the drawing and haven't entered yet, send me a comment with the color you would like and you'll have as good a chance as anyone to win.

Good luck!

PS.  You can look at this post for additional details.

PPS.  I have to admit that I just love this headband.  I love wearing it when I take my walks in this frigid PA weather.  It is pretty wide and keeps the head and ears warm.  Unfortunately the headband pattern is no longer available online, however, if you really want one anyways and don't win this drawing, you can purchase this headband from the author of this pattern, Neeka, at this link: Neekaknits.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

giacomo's baby hat

My good friend, L'Artista, gave birth to an adorable baby girl back in July.  I promised to knit up a little something for a baby gift and came across this pattern from Purl Bee.

This was my first attempt at fair isle knitting and I have to say that it sure was a lot of fun.  I enjoyed everything about this pattern- from the beautiful choice of colors in the divinely soft baby alpaca yarn, the ease of the pattern with the help of it's color coordinated grid, to the opportunity to make the pom pom for the top ( purl bee has an online tutorial if you need additional help).

 If you know a baby that is between the age of 6-18 months, you might want to knit this one up.  You'll be pleased with the results.

Happy Knitting.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

chocolate dipped pretzels

With Christmas arriving in just 4 days, I thought I'd share a fun sweet you can pass along to the neighbors if you're still up for some holiday baking. These chocolate dipped pretzels are quick and easy and even the youngest child in the household will want to help.


Just melt your favorite chocolate and spoon over half of the pretzel.  Lay out on wax paper to cool, and they are good to go.
You can add sprinkles on top for decoration or leave them plain.  We actually found a bag of chopped chocolate and toffee that really added a nice touch.  Have fun with it- the neighbors will love you.




photos taken by Mr. Tailor 

  • just in case you didn't know, your local craft store might carry "pretzel" bags in the cake decorating section.  We found a package of 50 bags for $1.99 and twisties to close them for another $1.99.  So for four bucks, the packaging is nice and pretty.  

Monday, December 20, 2010

pink

 My brother called to give us some good news today.  In our family, whenever someone says that they have "news", it means that they are pregnant.  Little brother had already told me the "news" a couple of weeks ago that his sweetheart was going to be having their second baby in May, that her first trimester had progressed without any complications and that she was finally feeling a bit better after those horrible first trimester months of exhaustion and fatigue.

Today's news was different.  Little Brother called to tell me that they were going to be having a little girl.

Of course I was totally thrilled.  And my first question was, "What are you going to name her?"
"Pink," was his reply.
Without any hesitancy, I responded, "Pink is a great nickname. So, what are you going to call her?"
"No, seriously, " said my brother, "say her full name out loud."
Ok.  Yes, the name sounds almost exactly like Pink Floyd, I thought.   But why would he want to go ahead with it?  And besides, Pink Floyd was a guy.
Quickly, trying to keep the disapproval out of my voice, I once again let him know how excited I was for the two of them and then we got off the phone.

But I sure wasn't happy.

My opinionated thoughts went all over the place with things like, pink is a color- NOT a name for a little girl.  What if she decided to grow up and follow into her daddy's footsteps and become some hot shot attorney or FBI agent for the government?  Who would take her seriously?  What if she became a tomboy (she will have an older brother after all) and absolutely hated the color pink.  What mental damage would this name impose on this child having to go through her whole childhood hating her name?

And then the whole color psychology studies started running through my head.   I mean, I read somewhere that colors create certain energies when you look at them.  For example, orange and red encourage the appetite; purple, blue, and green calm the nerves; and yellow is cheering.
Well, you'll never guess what I heard about the color pink.  I actually read somewhere that it causes WEAKNESS.  Yep, you read that right.  If you look at the color pink and then try to lift a 10 lb weight, you actually will not be able do as many repetitions while looking at pink than if you were looking at say, red or yellow or something.  And in this dog-eat-dog world, where weakness is completely frowned upon...well, you get the picture.

Of course, I was complaining most of these thoughts to Mr. Reporter who not so kindly had to remind me that it really wasn't up to me to decide what my brother named his little girl ( not that he wasn't telling me something I didn't already know). Then Mr. Reporter had to stick the knife in even further and tell me that he was going to name his little boy, Blue.
To which I responded with the maturity of a wise, thirty-seven year old mother, that I wasn't going to talk to him anymore because he was being mean.

Well, after a few hours, I came to my senses.  I started thinking about all those eclectically named individuals who had made a success of their lives.  People like Cokie Roberts- who had faired really well in journalism and Goldie Hawn- the actress.  Gwyneth Paltrow named her daughter Apple.  You can find a bunch of others here.  And the fact of the matter is that this will be my brother and sister- in- law's child.  Which means that she will be brilliant and beautiful like her mother and daring and vivacious like her dad.  So in the end, her name will fit her just fine.  No matter what it is.

And if not... she can always change her name legally when she turns 18.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

you could be a winner

Christmas time is here....

This little Charlie Brown t.v. special Christmas tune has been running through my head over the last few weeks finessing a smile onto my face.  It is finals week and I've already put in over fifteen hours of study time for my chemistry exam which will be happening on Thursday at 11:30 am.   Needless to say, I haven't even begun to make my way into the carnivalesque crowd of holiday shoppers.  However... not to worry.  The time will come- AFTER finals that is.

In the meantime, I just have to share... in an effort to get some of my knitting gifts made up for the holidays, I placed an order with Eat. Sleep. Knit.  and located inside my package of yarn was a little Yarn Lotto card.  All I had to do was match any three like prizes to win.  And guess what?  This time I was a winner!  A big winner, too-  a $100 dollar in store credit winner.


So here is what I am going to do.  I think that part of the fun of the holidays is receiving gifts after Dec. 25th.  When it is a surprise.  How about you?  If you are with me, then you'll want to tell me so.  I'm going to be making a headband for the lucky winner that is chosen from my "random number generator" (which will be the blindfolded Mr. Ninja drawing a name from a hat).  Just go to Eat. Sleep. Knit and select the skein of Chunky Malabrigo Merino yarn that you like and send me a comment.  Mr. Ninja will select the winner on Tuesday, December 28th at 8pm EST (his bedtime is 8:30pm) .

Merry Christmas and thanks for reading.



Saturday, December 4, 2010

raise your hand...

Ok... when I first saw this post, I was really skeptical.  The thought of making homemade deodorant seemed impractical and too complicated.  For years, our family has been using Tom's of Maine and Liquid Rock which have done an O.K. job.  However, since taking my chemistry class this semester, which always leaves me sweating bullets, I've really begun to feel sorry for the young lady I have to sit next to.  I mean, I really try to be stink- free,  but Liquid Rock really wasn't cutting it.

The reason I've been using Liquid Rock and Tom's of Maine is because they do not contain aluminum- which is an ingredient found in most deodorants and antiperspirants.   For years I had heard that aluminum  had been found to pose health risks from Alzheimer's disease to breast cancer (you can check this link to learn more).  So even though the Liquid Rock didn't work as well as antiperspirant, it did a well enough job to keep it stocked in my bathroom closet.

Then I came across this post by SewGreen back in August.  She shared this homemade deodorant recipe that only contains 3 ingredients
Coconut Oil
Baking Soda and
Corn Starch
(with bergamot oil as an optional ingredient if you choose)

Since I had the ingredients already in my kitchen cupboard, I gave it a shot. And the results were fabulous!  This deodorant not only held up to chemistry class, but it eliminated that stinky body odor you get first thing in the morning as well.  Remember the Sure deodorant commercial from the 80's which had men and women raising their hands if they were "sure"?  Well, this deodorant made me want to burst into song and raise my hand high.   I couldn't believe it!  With such a terrific success rate, why wasn't this product being marketed?  A person could get rich off this stuff.

The reason this recipe works so well is because of the coconut oil and baking soda.  Everyone knows that baking soda is a deodorizer.  But did you know that coconut oil contains antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties?  Add the corn starch to bind these two ingredients together and you have a very potent "stink-killing" pomade.  Put a little on your fingers to rub under your arms and in seconds it melts away and you're good to go.

So go ahead and whip some of this stuff up.  Maybe one day your brain and breasts will thank you.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

orange power

The weather outside was frightful today with temperatures staying in the thirties and this bitter rain that kept blowing down sideways.  My backside actually got drenched as I was trying to put some gas into my car this afternoon- not a choice time to get caught in the rain to say the least.

Well, cold weather always calls for a simmering pot of soup in our house and boy do I have the recipe for you.  I came across this recipe by shear luck.  Mr. Hero and I were out on a date and dropped into the Lancaster Brewing Co. for a bite to eat.  I had eaten a little earlier, so I didn't want much of anything, however, soup sounded nice.  The soup of the day happened to be Sweet Potato and Butternut Squash Soup.  Sounded good, so I ordered it.  And guess what?

It was divine.

Although I didn't get the exact recipe that the Lancaster Brewing Co. was selling that evening, I did come across a recipe that is pretty darn close.  And I hope you will enjoy it as much as my family did.
For those health enthusiasts out there, this soup is loaded with vitamins A and C, potassium, alpha- and beta- carotene antioxidants (which fight cancer), thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, and fiber- all of which come from the sweet potatoes and the butternut squash.  Just another reason to add this silky smooth soup to your weekly menu.


The ingredients:

1 Tbsp canola oil
1 small onion
1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 lb butternut squash, peeled and diced
1 lb sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 medium-size Yukon gold or russet potato, peeled and diced
6 cups water, chicken stock, or vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste.

The process:

1. Heat the oil in a heavy soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook, stirring, until tender, about 5 minutes.  Add the ginger and stir together until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add the squash, sweet potatoes, regular potato, and water or stock, and bring to a simmer.  Add salt to taste, reduce the heat, cover and simmer 45 minutes, or until all of the ingredients are thoroughly tender.

2.  Using an immersion blender, puree the soup (or you can put it through the fine blade of a food mill or use a regular blender, working in batches and placing a kitchen towel over the top to avoid splashing).  Return to the pot and stir with a whisk to even out the texture.  Heat through, adjust salt and add pepper to taste.

Yield: serves 6

Advance preparation:  You can make this a day ahead and refrigerate.  Reheat gently.  The soup freezes well. Once thawed, whisk well to smooth out the texture, and reheat.

Nutritional Information per Serving:  Calories: 189; Calories from Fat: 29; Total Fat 3.2 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium, 776 mg; Total Carbohydrates, 38.6 g; Dietary Fiber, 5.7 g; Sugars, 3.6 g; Protein: 3.5 g; Vitamin A 163%; Vitamin C 61%; Calcium 7%; Iron 8%.  (Approximate nutritional information provided by calorie-count.com.)

source: Martha Rose Shulman
published: November 20, 2008