Outside in February

Well of course the groundhog saw his shadow. Six more weeks of winter. That is fine with me. I really enjoy winter. I always liked it mostly because I used to love being inside and being cozy. Lots of time for reading and sewing. As I have grown older with my children I have realized that there are lots of things to do outside in winter and now I like it even more.

My girls are taking cross country ski lessons. They love it. Twice a week they are in the meadow and woods learning to ski. I take advantage of the time and go snow shoeing. It is a quiet, beautiful walk out in the woods. The trails are nicely packed down and there are many different trails to walk on. I feel at peace out there all alone.

instagramcapture_4c9870bb-1597-4200-9f8f-bd243ea3f0d6

imag00816

imag00817

On Friday we left town for a couple of days. We drove to the White Mountains in New Hampshire. We visited the Ice Castle’s in Lincoln NH. They were beautiful. I have more pictures on my camera but I seem to have misplaced it. The castles were up the road from our hotel so we were able to walk to them. We went at night when the colors were bright and we could see the stars up in the sky. It was very cold, but breathtakingly fresh.

imag00822

imag00824

These are the pictures from my phone. I have much better ones on the camera. Crossing my fingers that I find it.

Here is this week’s menu:

Monday:  Pizza or Calzones

Tuesday:  Baked chicken parts, brown rice, and cauliflower

Wednesday: Hamburger Patties, cubed potatoes, brussel sprouts

Thursday: Bean and cheese quesadillas

Friday:  Lasagna              

Saturday: Ribs, roasted sweet potato and beets

Sunday: Chicken soup

Fun with Pasta!

img_0034

Pasta! My absolute favorite food. I really could eat it every day. I love it with sauce like the above picture. I love it plain with just butter and salt. I think I would be 500 pounds if I ate it every day so I control myself.

This past Christmas I got a pasta maker. For years I had wanted a nice Kitchen Aid mixer for making bread (my second most favorite food). I saved up for the mixer and honestly it is one of the best appliances I own besides my sewing machines. I use it all the time. I use it for bread and cookies. It is great for making mash potatoes. It makes things so much easier. I mentioned to my family that there was a pasta maker attachment for the mixer. You see, they love pasta too. Kitchen Aid products are very expensive. For us we need to save up for it. Well at Christmas all my sons and husband split the cost between them and got the pasta maker attachment. I love it. I think I have said love a lot in this post.

The girls and me have made pasta by hand before. It was really fun and so, so, tasty. But it took all day. Now I can make a pot of pasta in about an hour. By the way this is not an affiliated post. Not enough people visit my blog yet for me to be getting paid to advertise. This is just my true feelings about an appliance that I really bought. 🙂

img_0032

The pasta dough recipe we use is from Serious Eats  website. So far I have just used egg, salt and flour. No semolina. I do have some and plan to try it. I wish blogs had a way to let you taste. I am not being over dramatic when I say home made pasta tastes so, so good. It is lighter than the boxed. This pasta cooks up in half the time too. Of course boxed pasta is great for a throw together meal that you need quickly.

We have had a blast playing with the one I got. The girls and I made ravioli once too. It was good, but we followed the recipe and it said to add nutmeg in the ricotta mix. We didn’t really like that part. Making the ravioli was fun. You take sheets of pasta and a wavy pastry roller and make squares, fill, and cover. You press the sides and you are done. Again the home made ravioli cooked up so much quicker.

img_0033

There are lots of pasta machines out there. Kitchen aid isn’t the only one. If you ever get the chance to use one or buy one I would recommend it. You won’t be sorry. If you do have one let me know what your favorite recipe’s are. We are looking for more.

 

Mondays

img_0036

img_0006

img_3813

I love Monday. I know that sounds opposite to what most people in this world hear. I really do though. Monday’s are a quiet, slow, back to normal kind of day for me. The weekends are usually busy. A good busy but they are action packed. I don’t think I sat down to ‘relax’ even once yesterday until after supper. Between work, chores around the house, meetings, and planning the next week there is not much relaxing to do. I was a little jealous the other day when a lady in my knitting class said that on Sunday after church all she does is sit on the couch watching football with her husband. All her kids are grown and she doesn’t work weekends. I thought about it for a bit and decided I would rather have my week go a little slower than just a weekend. So here we are Monday. And I am glad.

Not sure if I mentioned this, but I have been getting up early and teaching myself and my husband yoga. He is not very flexible and tends to get an achy back after working outside or playing basketball. I have wanted to start getting up early to exercise and having him join me is a great motivator. He is very good at keeping a routine and he has to get up early because he leaves for work at 7.  The early morning yoga is a nice start to the day.

Another great thing about getting up early is that on the weekends I tend to still get up early. My husband would prefer me to stay in bed with him and I do for a while. This is kind of funny but I will stay in bed until I get a hot flash. Yup, having many of those through out the night ;). Right now, it being winter and the house is usually very cold, it is a relief to get out of the covers as I start to heat up and sweat. On Sunday morning I got up and went down in my sewing room. The sun was shining through the windows and so I just got the urge to sew! I sewed a whole row of blocks and then sewed that row to the quilt. I felt quite accomplished.

A few weeks ago I finished the second pair of socks for my daughter. Now they both have a pair. One wanted anklets. I need to improve on my elasticity. The cuffs are a bit loose. It may be the amount of purls and knits on the cuff or maybe I need to cast on less and increase later on the leg part. The girls like them though and they wear them. They say they are warm. That is all I need to hear.

I’ve been thinking a bit about my garden. A bit. It is buried under quite a bit of snow and now ice. I have been thinking about what to plant and where. Things I will change and things I may add. I can’t wait to see how my new asparagus bed fared through the winter. I should get a few fronds to eat this year! I haven’t gone as far as drawing the garden out and ordering seeds but I will soon.

Two of my sons are renting an apartment together a couple of hours away from here. The house has been quiet. The girls do make noise, and play, and are active but when the boys are not here it is noticeably quiet. The supper table seems big. I know they will come back to visit. Having just four people here has its benefits but it is going to take some getting used to.

Here is our menu for the week. Enjoy your Monday!

Monday:  Hamburger Medley Soup

Tuesday:  Steak, potatoes, and brussel sprouts

Wednesday: Spaghetti and clam sauce

Thursday: Chicken Fajitas

Friday:  out                

Saturday: out

Sunday: Stir fry and pot stickers

 

 

 

Forced Upon Break

Last week would have been the first week that was normal since the holidays. It takes us a while to get back into our normal, what ever that is. Part of the reason is because it takes me a long time to recuperate from a full busy house. Mostly it is me that needs to recuperate. Anyway, I/we were all ready, with a new schedule to boot, to start our week. But, one of the girls got sick. Fever, very sore throat, and a bad headache that included pain behind the eyes. It seemed like she was doing better but then the fever came back. I haven’t seen her this ill in a while. I felt so bad for her. About five or so days later the second daughter followed suit. Poor things. Tea, Tylenol, lozenges, and hot water bottles were administered. It seemed to go on forever. They were tired of being sick. Finally today they are feeling better. Just about a full week of sickness.

Luckily for me, at least so far, I did not get the virus. I didn’t have to drive anywhere. I didn’t really have much to do since the girls didn’t want to do anything. We listened to our audio story quite a bit. Watched nature documentaries on Netflix. ‘The Earth’ series is really good. Of course I knit a bunch. Finished a shawl, and started a sweater.

img_0007

About this shawl. It is the ‘Truly Tasha’s Shawl’ on Ravelry. I love how it came out.

img_0018

img_0014

I also started a sweater. ‘The Sage Blouse’ also on Ravelry. I am not having a good time with it. I love the way it looks on the picture but honestly I have ripped it out because the lattice did not look right. I am hoping to go to my knitting class on Wednesday and find out what I am doing wrong. I don’t like to quit things. I really want to knit this sweater, but if it gives me much more trouble I may have to scrap it.

img_0021

It looks pretty, but the lattice pattern is wrong. Oh boy. Don’t I love a challenge? No. Not always.

Here is to what will hopefully be a normal week for us. Hope yours is too.

 

 

A Year’s Worth, Twice

img_3818

A year ago I started this blog. I have had other blogs in the past. This one seems different for me because I was able to keep it up for a year. Initially I started it thinking it would help me in my home business venture of crafting and creating. That part is slow but still important. I have realized that it will come, someday. Now blogging is more of a journal to me. I am journal-ling the things I make and cook. Things I do with my family. The things I see on my walks. I don’t stress about getting a post up. If it happens it happens. I live a busy life with a big family. Blogging is not a priority, yet. I have enjoyed coming here and putting up pictures and sharing my creativity. I plan to continue at least for another year.

I have always written down my thoughts when I am confused, or angry, or sad. I still have that journal. I call it my ‘rant’ journal. It isn’t full, thankfully. I don’t write in it every day. Only when I really need to get out some frustrations. It helps me think. Many of the entry titles are ‘Frustrations about….’.

img_2875

Last January I decided to start a daily written journal along with my blog. I had started journals before and usually I would forget a day, two, a week and then feel like I had failed. I would have a bad day or week and put in a rant or two then I would feel I had ‘ruined’ the journal with negativity. It may sound weird but that is the reason I would usually stop writing in it. So last year when I started yet again I decided that particular notebook would only be for stating what I did, what I accomplished. No big emotional entries. For example, I would write about what project I was working on and how much of it I accomplished. Say ‘five rows of my shawl’. I found it was nice to see how much I really did do outside of the normal chores of the day. I am happy to say that I did write in that journal almost every single day for a year. Except for the week we went to Canada and other days here and there that I didn’t have time to write. I am pretty proud of myself. I filled four notebooks. To any other person reading my journal it would seem pretty boring, but I enjoyed it and now that the year is up I find myself still getting it out and writing in it. I am not going to feel as though I have to do it every day but I feel like it does help me feel good about myself. There were days that I slipped and put in some ‘feelings’ but it didn’t make me want to stop the journal since there were lots and lots of positive things in it already.

img_2876

I would recommend two journals to everyone. It is nice to have a ‘positive’ journal and a ‘ranting’ one. I can look back and see that I didn’t get caught up in the ranting. I would put my negative feelings down in the one notebook and be done with it. I am happy to say I still have only one ‘rant’ journal and I am on my fifth daily journal.

img_2873

So, two journals. One written, one typed. Both for a whole year. That feels good. Do you journal? Why? I’d love to hear about yours.

 

 

Double Digits

Very cold here right now. Not double digits. Well, not for most of the day and night anyway. It should warm up a little this week. I really hope we get snow.

This past week was a blur. A birthday, a birthday party, ski club, my husband went away, two knitting classes, and well, the regular stuff on top of that. I am hopeful and glad for a regular, normal week.

So, yes a birthday. My youngest daughter and child has just turned that corner and is now double digits! 10. Wow!

img_0722

She is such a happy, serious, smart, determined and lovely person. The youngest of five children she does still seem to be the baby. Not a baby. She is not a baby. She has grown and changed so much in the last year. She really is double digits.

This little one was not so little when born. She was my biggest baby. She actually got stuck when her shoulders tried to get through. It was a little touch and go but they got her out. She was a purple baby and not breathing when she was born. They scooped her up and away from me. I didn’t get a chance to hold her right after she was born but pretty soon after. They worked on her and got her breathing. Whew!

My youngest daughter loves to read, draw, play piano, and dance. She loves stuffed animals and loves her family. She is a very physical kind of girl. She loves, loves, loves to hug and be hugged. Which is fine with me!

We celebrated her birthday on Tuesday and with a little bowling party on Saturday night. Happy Birthday my daughter! I love you.

Hope you all have a great week. Here is my Monday Menu:

 

Monday:  French Onion Soup with Crusty Bread

Tuesday:  Meatloaf with sweet pots and salad

Wednesday: Tilapia and rice and asparagus

Thursday: Bean and Cheese burritos

Friday:  Spaghetti and sauce

Saturday: Chuck roast, red potatoes and carrots

Sunday: Fried Chicken with brown rice and squash

 

A Challenging Trade

img_2883

I have promised to fix these jeans. I promised before I saw them. It is part of a trade agreement that I made. Initially I planned to pay for the onions and winter squash I received from a man down the road. Then I made him a pie for Thanksgiving. Then I knitted him a hat. When I reminded him that I need to pay for the vegetables and would like to know how much I owed he said, ‘hat, pie, plus mended jeans and we are good’. I had not heard about these jeans before. I have mended and patched lots of jeans in my day so I agreed. Then he handed me a big basket full of ripped jeans and a box of other jeans that I could use in repair job. Nice. Great. Thanks.

Well, I just don’t know where to start. These jeans are lined. Normally I undo the leg seams and patch the pants in two places, front and inside. Then I sew up the leg and I am done. With the lining I really don’t want to take out the seam.

img_2884

He also wrote out directions on how he wants it done. He said if possible keep the grain and color the same on the patches as the pants. Hmmmmm.

So I will give this a try. This week. I am really not looking forward to it.

If you have any ideas on how I should approach this I would appreciate hearing from you. Thanks!