Thursday, November 6, 2014

Hat season

Right now, I like to knit hats. A few of these sat on needles for weeks at a time, but the big green one took about a week, which means I'm knitting more. Tis the season for knitting in the round!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Baby carriers for sale

Since I'm technologically challenged I'm hosting my own pictures here on my blog for some baby carriers I'm needing to re-home. PM me if you're interested.

The mei tai with the country print is constructed with cotton canvas and has been lightly used. I made it back in 2005. the top straps are only very lightly padded in the upper region with 100% cotton batting. This was triple stitched. Asking $30 OBO ppd

 Our Kelty 2.0 structured carrier is also available. Some light use dust stains, is in good condition. Attached back pack means Dad can haul the kid and a lot of stuff!  Asking $50 if local pick up, but $60 if needing to be shipped.


Monday, March 10, 2014

Oat bran blueberry muffins

Mine went like this:
 12 muffins   24 muffins

3/4                 1 1/2  cup brown sugar
2                     4 eggs
3/4                  1 1/2 cup apple sauce
1                      2 small  banana
4                      8 tablespoons grown flax seed
2                      4 teaspoons baking soda
2                      4 teaspoons baking powder (aluminum free)
1/2                    1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2                3 cup all purpose flower
1 1/2                3 cup oat bran
4                      8 tablespoons coconut oil
3/4                   1 1/2 cup frozen blueberries

Bake at 400 degrees for 16-18 minutes the night before a busy day, and wake up to breakfast ready to roll.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Birthday Cake

After perusing Pinterest for ideas for a first birthday cake, all of which were overwhelming, I was struck with the notion to bake a cake with blueberries. Google to the rescue, this Lemon Blueberry Layer cake recipe by Sallys Baking Addiction jumped out at me. It's in the oven as I type. First impression; The batter is yummy! The plan is to let it cool over night and then finish it up tomorrow. Will update!

Baby's 1-3 all had carrot cakes, #4 had pumpkin cake, and #5 had chocolate (he's already pinging on warp speed, so it doesn't really make a difference to his energy level). This baby needs something different. He likes a lot of stuff, but is a big fan of blueberries, which must be why I'm being called to make this cake.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Grooming Angora Dog

We adopted a two year old Bichon Poodle (Poochon) mix a few weeks ago. Her winter coat was long and matted in many places (sides, legs, belly, and around the neck and ears). Initially I tried to comb it out since it's still winter and a long coat would be nice for the cold temperatures. However, she wouldn't let me do enough to remedy the matting, and it only seemed to get worse.
First hair cut;
cleared the matting
 This dog will require frequent grooming, an expense we going to minimize by doing the work ourselves. Perfection and mastery are fully expected to require lots of practice. Having about five years of angora rabbit grooming under my belt gives me some experience to spring from. Between cutting the boys hair (which I'm still working to improve) and now clipping the dog's hair there will be plenty of opportunities for practice this spring and summer. While a fluffy coat is lovely, it requires constant combing, and so it will be partly up to the dog as to how long we'll keep it. Now that we're starting off with a clean slate, perhaps she'll be better about allowing us to brush her feet. However, if she persist in being super sensitive about it, we'll just keep her clipped short at all times.

Scouring the reviews on amazon for advice specific to poodle type coats, I settled upon the Andis two speed clippers, which were well rated. Since I was trying to removed matting between clipper swipes, I turned them off and on frequently to prevent them from heating up. I used grooming scissors to cut out really bad matting, a steal comb to smooth out the coat, and clipper guards in an attempt to salvage some length of the coat along the back and head. However, I had to take it down much further than I'd hoped when the guards wouldn't allow for cutting through any matted parts. Since my clippers were not running non-stop, and the dog is petite, over heating didn't seem to be too much of a problem. Just in case I had picked up some Cool Care spray after reading reviews that strongly recommended it. While the Andis clippers didn't specify this, it did come with a large bottle of clipper oil, which keeps the clipper blades lubricated and running smoothly.  It was nice not to have to purchase that separately, as I did the guards and will need to do if I want different blade sizes. The clipper comes with a standard size 10 blades attached. I felt this was short enough for my purposes. Larger numbers cut even shorter, and smaller numbers cut to yield a longer length. My desired look is the teddy bear cut I've seen on Pinterest.

I never clipped any of my former angora rabbits, which could cause even more matting. I'd read the best wool care was combing it out and plucking away molting wool. Plucking was the only way to completely remove all the molted wool, as shearing left short molted pieces. While unbelievably time consuming (time I no longer have in my life...maybe one day, but not now) that was how I always took care of my rabbits. However, most angora folks, especially folks with many rabbits, sheared their rabbits, because it was simply faster. Indeed, after clipping the dog this weekend I wonder how I managed to never clip the rabbits. How much easier this will be then combing, brushing, combing, painstakingly separating matting.... what a relief to just buzz it all away. Now I feel like Scarlett O'Hare, "I will never go clipper-less again!"

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Use for old textbooks

Whenever my husband needs a weight for something, the first thing he reaches for is my old nursing school textbooks. When he needs to go on a ruck march, a few of these quickly add up to the 30-50 lbs he needs to weigh down his backpack. Unable to use a vise clamp for glue work, such as the time when he wanted to apply pressure to our t-molding strips over the newly installed kitchen floor, a couple of hand bells and my nursing text books were called up for duty. So if you're about to graduate from nursing school, unless you want to retain those books as really expensive weights, sell them back. On second thought, do they even print up these monstrosities anymore? Perhaps there's now an apps instead of textbooks.

Sump pump or swamp thing that is the question

Whether it will pump endless gallons of water away from my yard, or sit idly by as a sinister swamp creeps closer and closer towards my back door, that is the question.
Yesterday, the swamp thing immerged and showed us it's true colors.
I give this 3/4 horse power (HP) flotec a big double thumbs down!  Time to find myself a new friend named Wayne.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Skin care for knitters

It's winter, my skin is dry and cracks form on my fingertips constantly. Like a paper cut, only wider, this really hurts. As a kid my mother showed me how to use scotch tape on a paper cut, and it works wonderfully to ease the pain. While working in the E.R. I learned that plastic tape was hard on frail and sensitive skin, and I discovered paper tape. One of my pet peeves was discovering an infant or elderly patient with plastic tape all over their delicate skin. The bruises and skin tears that would occur from tape removal were horrible. I'm definitely a paper tape proponent. Sure it can wash off over time, but it doesn't damage the skin the way the plastic tape did. And when my fingers are cracked and split, I find comfort and pain relief in a bit of paper tape. Often I can wash my hands or get them wet a couple times (as it dries quickly) before I have to replace the tape. This is cheaper and more effective than a Band-Aid in my opinion.


Friday, January 31, 2014

Bad figure skating costume

Hey! Someone knit that horrendous looking headband. Back when my girls did a wee bit of figure skating, I always wanted to find a way to incorporate knitting into one of their costumes, but that is not what I had in mind.

No, my girl's aren't skating anymore, but I'm still a fan of figure skating. In their defense, bad costumes have their place, as it gives us low brow folks something to talk smack about.

knitting for profit

Saw this article online, What's it Worth? by Sam Hunter of Hunter's Design Studio and had to comment.

This is how I began to feel about knitting...there's no way anyone would pay me, even minimum wages, for the time I spent knitting my goods. For a solid year I did knit none stop trying to keep up with orders for my knit goods on Etsy, I made many, many dresses and sold them for prices that were competitive with the typical catalog. And at the end of it all, subtract materials and not even factoring cost of labor, I made a whopping $300 in profits...hardly enough to purchase a low end kitchen appliance. I love to knit, and wish I had more  hours in the day, to make things for folks, but my time away from my kids sure isn't worth such a measly price.

Gross Domestic Product

Reports that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) went up yesterday catch my attention. Indeed I patronize Lumber Liquidator, Home Depot, and the LG appliance line this month. My local contractors saw a spike in business when I hired a duct cleaner to clear my dyer vent, an appliance repairman to fix my stove, and finally my favorite local plumber to repair the leaky pipes in the kitchen. Oh I'm good at consumerism! Perhaps I have personally driven up the GDP thanks to me leaky kitchen sink pipe and the need to do some serious kitchen repairs this past week.

However, my own personal GDP as an Amazon affiliate is an absolute 0%, and I'm about to get a pink slip from the program. I am not so good at advertising.

There is no such thing as a free lunch, so if you're wondering if becoming an Amazon affiliate really pays, I'm one example of when it doesn't. It seems to me that if you already have a large web following, or have a fantastic idea that generates buzz then it certainly is a good idea to monetize your blog, but don't get your hopes up that the money is going to just start rolling in.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


While all the county schools and agencies shut down for the snow dusting, we drove on and attended all our regularly scheduled appointments. On the way home we stopped at Costco to pick up milk. A kindly older woman walked by and said, "oh you have everyone with you today," by which she likely assumed the kids had gotten out of class. One of my elder children looked at me totally confused and I reminded her that the public schools had canceled class and so everyone was out of school for the day. "But not you" I said with a bit of a chuckle.

We first saw our house while it was still covered in snow about four years ago. Snow can make everything look so quaint and charming... and hide many imperfections. Seeing the white ground and surface covering again today stirs the nostalgia of those first impression days when our home was so new (to us) and there was such a great sense of anticipation our finally getting our first home. Recently, a friend closed on a second home and this also reminded us of our big move. All these reminders are helping me to cherish what we have and be grateful.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Sacrafice is...

letting the kids have the last Costco croissants and eating the homemade rye bread instead. The thought crossed my mind that perhaps they might like the healthier rye bread option, and so I asked them all if anyone would rather have rye instead of a croissant egg sandwich. Alas, nobody chose rye over a scrumptious fluffy pastry. Once seated, my two year old devoured half his croissant, then looked at my rye slices and insisted he wanted my toast too. "Can I have your croissant then?" I asked. Of course he said no, but still wanted my rye toast. I stipulated he eat his eggs first before getting anything more, and of course by that point he'd forgot all about seconds. Tomorrow we'll all have rye.

Today was day 6 of week 7 of P90X, and I've noticed that hyper flexing my lower back in moves like cobra and upward dog correlate with pain and tightness the following day. So I'm backing off those moves and looking for alternate ways to stretch out the abs without the lumbar compression. My weight is about 128lbs (starting at 130), and my waist has lost about an inch (now 34-35 instead of 35-36). More importantly, I feel like I'm making some minor strides in getting some things accomplished. While I've read that some folks don't like Kempo X, I kind of dig it and feel so inspired "while" I'm throwing all those punches and kicks, which make me feel as if I could accomplish just about anything I put my mind to. Though it seems that might just be the endorphins kicking in, as I'm happy to ratchet back the ambitions once the workout is complete.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Foam Roller

My husband has been having some issues with his knee, and his physical therapist recommended he try foam rolling. So I got him a big piece of foam exactly like the one in the picture (from amazon) for Christmas. It looks like an over sized pool noodle, only it's harder, thicker around, and rigid. He feels it's really helping him and has been looking up all sorts of ways to roll various muscles on YouTube. When my middle back was tightening up, he was able to instruct me on some rolling points to help alleviate my discomfort. It does feel kind of nice to be honest.

While I've been doing the P90X lean schedule (currently finishing up week 6), I deviated today by joining my husband in doing the plyometric workout, which I'd never attempted before. Some of the plyometric exercises are in the core synergistic and cardio workout and if I could rename it I'd call it "Jump, jump, jump, x infinity." Tony Horton calls plyometric "the mother of all workouts." Indeed, this workout generated the greatest amount of sweat I've experienced while doing a P90X workout.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Crayon roll

Crayons are wonderful, and a bare necessity to exercise little creative minds. There are a lot of crafters out there making wonderful crayon holders, wallets, aprons, you name it. Since I had purchased several packs of Bare crayons, a non-toxic plastic crayon which I've found to be very kid and mom friendly, I needed something to house exactly 30 crayons per kid. The best thing I could find was a 15 crayon role at the blog, Chocolate on my Cranium. From her pattern I increase the front and back pieces to 13 x10" and then made two pocket strips of 13x5", and instead of ties I used my handy dandy snap pliers. Voila, a 30 Bare crayon holder.
Also, instead of using fabric stabilizer, the outer shell is vinyl, which is naturally, and perhaps overly, stiff. These crayons can go out in the rain and will probably stay dry.

After I finished this I began to think I might make a few more to list on Etsy. However, even an internet sales crafter is required to register for a sales tax number here in VA. I'm thinking about it, but it will require paperwork every single month (or a $10 fine) even if I don't own a single penny to the state in sales tax. Seriously, the time sucking bureaucracy is the most discouraging part of it. Seriously, if you can, make your own!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Week 5, day 1 P90X

Well, I've made it through the first 30 days. Good thing weight loss isn't the goal, because I haven't lost any weight. I'd like to think I've gained more muscle and burned some belly fat. I have a pair of pants I'm using as a gauge of what I'd like to get into, and while I can squeeze into them, I wouldn't wear them yet, because their still too tight for public. I might have lost an inch in the waist, but what I notice is that it varies from day to day and from the beginning of the day (when I look significantly slimmer) through the progression of the day and meals. Sometimes I tape at 34, sometimes 35, and often at the end of the day 36 inches.

As long as I'm eating and drinking enough I feel so much more energetic, and I'm able to do more and more of the exercises. So I feel stronger and more flexible.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Week 3 slow down

Working out took a bit of a back seat to the increased demands of a round of colds giving our immune systems a specialized workout. An already hectically paced week full of doctors appointments, recitals, and snow, which brought a few heaven sent cancelations, resulted in a couple necessary off days. Though, I managed to squeeze in a round of Ab ripper one day. While this week has brought gains in strength and increased ability to do even more of the exercises, I can see a little less endurance on cardio movements. Since 90% of my respirations take place through my mouth these days, decreased oxygenation is a very real excuse, so I'm taking it easy as it seems prudent.  

Today I picked up where I left off and completed yoga. This workout seems very helpful, but requires so much time. I blow off the three minutes of meditation at the end so I can get back to caring for the masses in my home. I can lay around in a fetal position some other time, or relax several times a day while nursing the baby. In fact my session was interrupted for about 10 minutes to nurse the baby in dire need. That's what the pause button is for after all. And any how, nursing a baby a workout in and of itself, requiring a lot of high quality care and nutrition to ensure success. I don't need to work very hard to feel the taxation on my body, so judicious prudence stresses that it's good to slow down when needed.

Don't be like me...
remember mozzarella!
Fuel is very important. Last night we had The Pioneer Woman's Potato Leek Pizza. I missed the part about mozzarella, and simple used goat cheese and parmesan only, which might explain why the kids weren't so thrilled with my latest experiment. However, Ree's pizza dough recipe yield much better results than the one we'd been using before, which redeemed my potato pizza enough that no slice went uneaten.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

I want more energy

This is me a couple months ago trudging up a hill while out apple picking on a glorious day with my family. But I'm tired and I would rather be at home, not hot and exhausted. Sure I have a baby on my back, but he needs to be there, and I need more energy to carry on.

So I'm more than half way through week 2 of P90X. My waist is a squishy 36" around, my weight about 130 (which is where I've been for a while). I'm tandem nursing my two youngest children, so I am NOT dieting. The only thing I'm doing new is working out. My goals are to get stronger and build endurance so I can enjoy outings again. I shouldn't dread family outings for fear of exhaustion.

Today was my legs and back workout followed by the ab ripper supplemental. Last week I hated this workout, but it was not that bad at all this week. I'm using the pull up bar as an anchor for the resistance bands, because I can't do pull ups yet. I've never done a pull up in my life, bar hang yes, but never a full pull up. 

Already, I can feel a difference in my energy level, in that I'm able to do more of the workouts, and I just feel better. This rejuvenation also inspired me to finish my spontaneous sewing project to add a sleeping hood to my Beco Gemini baby carrier. I got the idea from, Pimp my carrier page. My rendition would need some more fine tuning, but it was a good attempt that turned out well enough for my own personal use. My carrier has a hood cover now and the baby can fall asleep on my back and he won't need to hang out without head support anymore. I haven't done much sewing in this past year. It feels wonderful to get the creative juices flowing again and be productive!