Monday, June 30, 2014

Starting the Week Off Right!

2013 was a rough year.  One of the worst of my life.  We had issues with employment, with shelter, with health.  The only bad thing that didn't happen was a death because most likely it would have been mine!  After a doctor visit during my recovery I stopped off at an LYS and bought myself some ME yarn.  Not for the kids, not for extended family, not even for stash.  It was for ME!  February 1st I cast on and today I finished them off.

They are my Good Riddance to 2013!  Socks. 

And they only took me half way thru 2014 to finish them off! 

Sounds about right. 

Yarn is Alegria by Manos del Uruguay in Carnival.  I'm in love with the colors.  Very bright and cheerful, which is exactly what I needed after the past year.

Cast on 2/1/14 and cast off 6/30/14 using a basic vanilla sock recipe.  I think I started using Yarn Harlot's version and switched over to the one on the ball band of Colinette.  I make my own mods (3x1 ribbing) but like to refer to the basic numbers.

I cast on another pair in May, the second skein I bought that day.  Yep, they are for me as well.  And since I have been working them in tandem, I am almost done with one sock already!!  No picture, that will come when it is finished.  I am also casting on for some niece and nephew socks as well.  Small socks usually go pretty quick.  Lets hope they get them by Oct.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Simple Woman's Daybook

Outside my window... hot.  It is summer and it feels like that.  The house is officially a cave.
I am thinking... while I wont be on an episode of Hoarders, I am DEFINITELY a pack rat. 
I am thankful... for my a/c.  It is a MUST for Florida living.  Hard to believe I was five before we had a/c in the house.  Why yes I AM that old!!!! And for those of you who live up north and STILL don't have a/c, it's not the same thing!!
In the kitchen... my last post had all kinds of crazy things going in the kitchen.  Last week I made some banana muffins and chocolate chip cookies (I figured since I had the oven on....)  Gotta balance the bad with the good so today's dinner was frozen pizzas.  I was working in the craft room today and didn't have energy for much else.
I am wearing... baggy blue t-shirt.  I've been in jammies all day.
I am creating... I've got one sock just past the gusset and at the stage to knit round and round (nice mindless tv watching knitting) and the other sock is just past the heel flap getting ready to turn (will need to pay attention to that one or my heel will be wonky)
I am going... to a craft day with some ladies from the area.  Baby Girl wants to come too.  She enjoyed working on a cross stitch last time and she wants to pick out one of my little kits.  Glad to see her enjoying the needle arts.  (she started a project!!  A Lizzie Kate)
I am wondering... how I ended up with so. Much. FABRIC!
I am reading... the same book, Taking the Wrap.  I really need to just set aside some time for it.  It's a fun read, but I cant seem to escape into the storyline.  Reality has a way of squeaking into my subconscious and messing me up.
I am hoping... to knit later on tonight. (I never did)
I am looking forward to... theatre camp.  I really do think both kids will enjoy it.  Baby Girl is actually taking theatre camp, but #1 Son will be volunteering.  It will keep them both busy.
I am learning... to buy ONLY what I need when it comes to my stash.  Buying with a project in mind is fine, but I have WAY too many things for that *maybe* project. Sock yarn does NOT apply.
Around the house... as you can see from previous comments  I was in my craft room today.  I worked in that room a little over 3 hours and got rid of one large garbage bag full of junk.  I also have another bag of items to bring on Friday for my crafty friends to go thru.  I really don't know how I've accumulated so much stuff!!  I have SO many magazines for cross stitch and quilting and knitting.  I have plastic boxes of fabric.  I got rid of some, but there is still lots I like and I do want to eventually get back to sewing/quilting so most of it stays.  I need to plan a day of posting stuff on eBay. 
The hardest part??  Seeing patterns and pieces of fabric of outfits I was going to make Baby Girl when she was a toddler.  I have made her things in the past, but the cutesy fabric just wont fly now.  And the fabric I did buy for sleep pants won't be enough for either kid now. 
I am pondering... the abilities of my brain.  I started this post 4 hours ago, got distracted and just realized I never published it.  Hmmm, some days I really wonder what I could accomplish if I had HALF a brain!!!
A favorite quote for today...
What makes it funnier is that my Dr ACTUALLY said this to me when I had concerns about my memory!!
One of my favorite things AKA Hemi's Corner....
Is it time for our Pilates class??
A few plans for the rest of the week: household chores like laundry and cleaning.  Friday will be meeting with the girls for a craft and lunch day, and the kids want to see The Fault in Our Stars so that might be a late matinee on Friday.  (the movie is a go.  plans have been made with friends.  They will cry in one theatre and I will be laughing in another.  I am SO past the crying movie stage. 
A younger parent will sit with them.  She wants to see it too!  Life makes me cry for free, I'll take the paid laughter any day!)
There you go!  Thank you for reading this installation of my TSWD.  If you want to play, go here. And the italic comments are what I've added in the 5 hours since I originally started this post!! 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Experimental Cooking

What started out as your basic baked ziti has dramatically changed.  What I thought I had ended up being either VERY little left or had gone bad.  I didn't want to run back to the store AGAIN so I improvised.....

Everything But the Kitchen Sink Baked Ziti

Prego Italian sausage tomato sauce
Ronzoni Cavatappi (like elbows but curly)
Leftover shredded Mexican fiesta blend cheeses
Leftover provolone
Leftover mozzarella
Leftover parmesian
Leftover bbq rotisserie chicken (almost 2 cups)

I used a 9x13 glass pan and layered everything

Layer one:  one jar sauce
Layer two:  pasta and chicken (I did mix these guys together)
Layer three:  Mexican cheese blend
Layer four:  provolone cheese
Layer five:  one jar sauce
Layer six:  more Mexican cheese, mozzarella and parm

I popped it into a 375 oven for 30 min covered with foil.  Baked an additional 10 min w/o the foil.

How did it turn out??

Really good!! 

I wasn't sure how all the different cheeses would blend together or if the bbq chicken would taste weird with the sausage from the jar.  I'm really happy with the way it turned out.  The only thing I didn't care for was the sausage in the sauce.  I normally make my own sauce but I do like to keep a jar in the pantry.  I grabbed what I thought was marinara, but apparently I grabbed from the wrong section. 

Since I had a chicken carcass just sitting there, I decided to boil it instead of throwing it out.  I did the same thing again.  Filled up the pot with water and added the bones and the skin.  Threw in a head of garlic (broken apart but unpeeled because I'm lazy like that) some old celery from the last time I made soup from abt a month ago, left over chopped up onions, lots of shakes of green pepper sauce, the last of the pepper in the pepper mill and some salt.

How did it turn out??

Not bad!  It's not as flavorful as my soup, but it will work perfect as a stock.  Meanwhile Baby Girl is having a bowl of it. 

This was a win/win experiment.  Good food and cleaned out my fridge!!! 

What are you cooking tonight?

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Saturday Summer Sky

Blogging while I'm on vacation????  BAHAHAHAAHHA!!!  Impossible even though I thought abt it a few times.  Never seemed to have the time. 


Friday:  Pick up Baby Girl from Band Camp at 2:30pm and head out on the open road.  Of course EVERYBODY is hungry so we drive thru somewhere on the way up.  Get on I-95 and stop in Ormond Beach for an extra boost.

FYI,  frappuccinos do NOT have the same amt of caffeine as a regular cup of coffee.  I have filed this away for future reference.

Once we hit Yulee we stop for some geocaching.   THIS proved to be interesting!  We found two out of the five caches we looked for.  Some require stealth.  We have learned stealth is not our strong suit. 

I also got stopped by a sheriff!  I apparently was going 50 in a 35.  YIKES!!!  The ONLY reason I got out of the ticket was because the sheriff was a geocacher as well!  He even gave us some hints to some of the local ones.  It helps to be a middle aged mom who drives a van with kids in the car and has a clean driving record.  We tried doing one more cache but it was in the woods and we didn't feel like bushwacking our way to it.  It was dark, we were hungry and had had enough.  We stop at Chili's for dinner.

It is now 9:30pm and we are still in Florida.  Hint:  it does NOT take me six hours to leave the state.  We stop at the GA Welcome Center (hey kids, do you want to search for a cache in the scary dark woods??  um, NO!) to get one of those coupon booklets, travel 2 more miles to a Best Western (I think) and settle in for the night.  Still posting pictures on Instagram at 1am.  This is why night owls on road trips start so late.

Pedro says you are always a weiner at South of the Border

Thankfully the rest of the trip was uneventful other than having a great time seeing family (and stopping for essentials along the way).

Since we weren't stopping overnight on the way home I knew we couldn't do any major geocaching so we only hit ones near where we stopped for gas or ate.

The only downside to the trip was not being able to stop at the LYS that was only a couple of miles from my sil's house.  It seemed like a really nice one too.  Guess I'll have to catch it the next time around since we'll be back up in about nine months.  My BIL and his wife are pregnant and due in Feb.
When was the last time YOU saw a time machine?!? 
We came home late Tuesday night and I did nothing Wednesday!  Thursday was cleaning the car out from our road trip and on Friday we attended a religious convention at UCF. 

By the time we got home it was late.  Again. 

Today was a band car wash for #1 Son and grocery shopping for me.  It was also a very hot and sticky day where it rained in the afternoon so it must be the first day of summer!!!

Hope everybody had a nice summery day.  I'm ending mine with a load of laundry in the dryer.  Tomorrow will be another day at the convention.  And then I get a breather.  NOTHING FOR TWO WEEKS!!!!  WOOHOO!!!

Nothing but petting me that is!

This means I'll have time to get caught up on laundry and cleaning, but at least there wont be any urgency to be anywhere by a certain time.  That will be MY vacation!

Friday, June 13, 2014

The Older They Get.....

I used to have a rule, no activities scheduled the week after school ends.  I need the break and quiet after the craziness of end of year activities.  Apparently I can no longer enforce that. 

Last day of school:

If you want to see what they looked like the first day of school, go here.  What a difference a few months make!!

Graduation party:

Beginning of Summer party: 

You can't really tell in the graduation party pics, but the theme was fishing/camping and on the table were mason jars filled with goldfish.  They were meant to be taken home as party favors.  I told the kids they could take home a jar each (total of 4 fish).  I ended up with 14 fish.  There was NO way I was going to keep 14 fish and told the kids (after checking out aquariums at 3 local pet stores) that they would be released into the wild.  The IO had a different idea.

See anything different?

He built a pond to put the fish in.  While I wasn't happy abt the expense, it has made Baby Girl and the IO very happy.  This is a plus.  The bigger plus??  It's NOT my project. 

We've been having crazy storms here lately, MAJOR wind and rain, some small hail at times and thunderbolt and lightening (very very frightening!) which have been occurring on a daily basis. 

afternoon sky with storms rolling in

evening sky with calm billowy clouds

It's been doing wonders for the plants, they were frying under hot afternoon temps.  The torrential downpours have not only been watering my plants but cooling us down a bit as well. 

What am I doing now?  Getting ready to hit the road to visit NC family.  This means cleaning out the car of the party remnants and school backpacks, packing and making sure I have a couple of knitting projects.  I also have some (as in 12) books that I've checked out of the library. We also plan on doing some geocaching along the way which *should* be fun.  IF I can, I'll blog along the way, but not sure if/when I'll have time.  Nothing like planning an action packed vacation after an action packed school year.

What can I say, I'm a glutton for punishment.  I'll sleep when I'm dead, which might be sooner than later if I keep this up!!

Friday, June 06, 2014

Feline Fridays

Hemi enjoying our early morning outings.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

The Culling of the Field

One definition of culling is to gather or pick out and set aside as inferior, and there has been quite a bit of that lately.

Example 1:  a friend of mine is having that graduation party and we are going thru pictures for a video (I mentioned this in my last post), culling down 75-80 pics down to 20 pics for the year.  This is a hard thing to do, especially when you can FEEL the emotional hits as I toss pics to the side that didn't make the cut.

Example 2:  after I finished that hat (also mentioned in my last post) I started to look at what I had going on.  I decided that the Castle Mystery KAL was not going to happen and neither was a dish towel I was working on.  They have been culled from my notebooks, both virtual (Ravelry) and physical (actual notebook with paper and pen).  I have yet to rip them out, but mentally they have been weeded from the herd.

Example 3:  the garden.  I went to Lowes last week and checked out their clearance section and to ask about my tomatoes. 

not bad for $20!

This morning I attacked with abandonment!  Petunias, gone.  Tomato plant #3 & #4, GONE.  The petunias were getting thin and leggy and while the tomato plants were still alive, the blooms never got to fruit.  They are now in a pile at the end of the property. 

Tomato plants #1 & #2 are doing well.  I have abt 20 tomatoes on plant #1

and around 10 on plant #2. 

We had some major rains for three days last week which means my tomatoes cracked again,

but I've eaten the cracked ones and while they aren't store bought pretty, they sure are home grown tasty!!  I even cut up one that was cracked on top and kind of rotted out on the bottom.  Cut off the offending parts and OH YUM! 

This is what the back looks like now. 

SOO hard to capture green against green!!

I've added marigolds to the black planter now and added some pepper plants in the middle (they are from a woman the IO works with). 

They are a bit small,

but at this point it's sink or swim at Casa del Rio.  Tomorrow I put one more plant into the ground and that it the end of that for the season.  It's getting too hot to work outside past 10AM and I wont be waking up early for awhile since the last day of school it tomorrow!  Instead I will be planning my square foot garden to start in September.

Meanwhile I will enjoy the hot weather flowers enjoying the hot weather!


Have you been feeling the need to cull the weeds out lately???

Tuesday, June 03, 2014


Outside my window...It was a bit overcast and breezy, so much so that I opened the windows up for a little bit.  It ended up being a bit too warm to keep them open, but it was nice for the 45 min or so. 

I am thinking... I need to take time out to play with my yarn and fabric.  I really want to start a quilt, but I just don't see the time available for it. 

I am thankful... that the school year is almost over.

In the kitchen... mushroom cheeseburgers for dinner tonight and I have a roast in the fridge for tomorrow's dinner.  I will be using the crock pot.  I'm in the mood for chocolate chip cookies but I'm too lazy to get up and make them.  How sad is that?!?

I am wearing... an old radio station t-shirt and shorts. 

I am creating... and finishing a hat!!
The pattern is Graham and it's another version of a slouchy hat, just not as slouchy as my previous ones.  When I finished it, I wasn't thrilled with it, didn't think it turned out right.  I also found a mistake with my ribbing decreases, but once you put it on you cant really see it.  #1 Son is the recipient of this hat,
but I have been informed that he now has five hats to Baby Girl's one.
This means the next two hats will be hers.  She has specific colors in mind which means we will be going yarn shopping this wknd.  Oh the things I do for the happiness of my children!

I am going... to knit when I'm finished with this post.

I am wondering... if the school will fix the issues I've had with them.  Education seems to include many more political issues than it should.

I am reading... ALERT!  ALERT!!  I am actually still reading a book!!  It's the same book from last week, but I'm making progress.  It's Taking the Wrap by Dolores Johnson.  I also checked out 5 more books by another author.   Apparently I have high hopes to continue this streak of page turning.  I hope so. 

I am hoping... they DON'T make me Treasurer for middle school band boosters.  The current treasurer is moving on to the high school and the one who took her place is now moving out of state.  They may be switching around officers, but I apparently am a back up option.  This scares me since I have seen the amount of work the treasurer does.....

I am looking forward to... the graduation party on Saturday.  There will be some friends that I haven't seen in awhile.  It will be good to catch up.
I am hearing.......I did have a repeat of Castle on tv, but I had to mute it while I typed this post.  It's hard to concentrate on a post when I'm trying to follow dialog as well.

Around the house... one more box removed from my bedroom.  Two more projects have been added to the piles.  I also moved the books around the bookshelf to give some kind of order to them.  I'm realizing that I get interrupted too many times to make any major progress. 

I am pondering... beginnings and endings.  While I have no kids that are graduating, I've been involved with a lot of  graduations this year.  #1 Son and the band played Pomp and Circumstances for the outgoing seniors.  I was with the boosters selling water to help raise funds for next year's band so we got to see what graduation is like.  Also friends of mine who have kids the same age as #1 Son also have kids that are graduating this year.  It's really weird to see these *adults* graduate when I still remember them as little 3rd graders.  Some are going off to college, one enlisted, while another is trying to find work.  Welcome to the real world kids.

A favorite quote for today... I've been watching Murder She Wrote in the mornings before I take Baby Girl to school and it's really interesting to watch.  It's funny seeing all the old actors have guest spots on the show.  It's also funny to see the old styles in fashion (BIG HAIR!  shoulder pads!!) and in feminism (aww come on little lady, go home and leave the heaving lifting to us menfolk).   I mention all of this to explain my quote of the day.  One of the witnesses was being interviewed and when asked abt a suspect he says, "Oh Michelle couldn't have done it, she's not smart enough. 
She's not knitting with both needles." 
I had to rewind it just to hear it again.  TOO FUNNY!!

One of my favorite things AKA Hemi's Corner.....
What do you mean we're out of kitty treats???

A few plans for the rest of the week:  we have a graduation party on Saturday and I've been helping my friend out this week with her pictures.  She is putting together a video montage of her son's life in a 15 min video.  Well, it's supposed to be 15 min, but she's having a hard time paring down her pictures.  We're trying to keep it down to 20 pictures a year or 360 total.  It's been a difficult thing to do.......I'm also helping out with the 8th grade graduation tomorrow.  High school band is over until the end of July, but middle school continues on for another week or so.  Friday is the last day of school and while I was looking over my calendar, I'm seeing that lazy will not be a part of this summer's itinerary.  This is a good thing and a bad thing.  Actually all I want is some time to sleep in.  May's hectic pace has wiped me out.

A peek into my day... Reviewing 8 years of pictures, high school marching band and dinner.  No laundry done, no dishes washed, no phone calls made.  I feel myself getting cranky which means I need to put myself into a time out!  Just need to grab some needles and yarn first....
If you wanna play, go here.