Monday, October 30, 2006

Snowy Days and Gingerbread

Today is our first major snow event of the year – and the snow will be with us now until April – the Man-Cub is thrilled and is hoping that there is no school tomorrow so he can go to the sledding hill.

So in honor of the first big snow I made a comforting warm gingerbread – using the Man’s Mamaw’s recipe from the late 1930’s.
Mamaw's Original Recipe - Note changes below:
1/2 cup shortening - Use Earth Balance instead
1 cup sugar
2 eggs - 1/4 cup of goo for each egg
3 cups flour
2 t soda
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 t ginger
1/2 cup boing water
1/2 cup molasses
Oven 350 degrees - Cream sugar and butter - then add eggs - alternate dry ingredients with water/molasses mixture.
The only changes: the use of flax seed goo instead of the eggs – and Earth Balance for the butter - but I don’t think anyone even noticed. The huge chunk you see missing went into the Man-Cub’s tummy while I was out shoveling snow. I came in and he said “Yum – I got a slice of gingerbread” – I had left it unguarded as I thought it would be too hot for him to handle – as it turns out – he didn’t handle it – he scooped his “slice” out of the bundt pan.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Pictures – Piano Recitals – and Popcorn Parties

My super busy Thursday is over and I finally feel like I can breathe for today anyway. First – work - then Man had a dentist appointment yesterday (which of course didn’t involve me). Then some good news from Mom - Grandma is on the mend. Then we had a meeting with our FA – moving some IRA stuff around – interesting and informative – but not much fun. Then on to the Man-Cub’s Piano Recital at school – then a late lunch – then a little more actual work – then out past the lake to take a picture of one of our shutins (for the church directory) – I’m really pleased with how these are turning out – and we’ll order an 8X10 and some wallets for each of them – so they’ll feel just like everybody else who had their picture taken by Olan Mills. I painted a background mat on posterboard

and I just tape it up on the wall behind them and snap a few digi-photos – let them review them and choose their favorite pose – it makes them feel so special to be included and the ladies have gotten their hair done especially to have their photo taken and the gentlemen don a jacket and tie – it’s really sweet and so sad that they are mostly forgotten.

Anyway, then I rushed home – heated up some leftovers for the Man-Cub – so he wouldn’t have to go to the popcorn party on an empty stomach and fill up on junk – then rushed to Tae Kwon Do – then immediately to the Popcorn Party to get everything set up by 7:00 – did I mention that I love being CubMaster…

The party was over about 9:15 – and by then it was bedtime for the Man-Cub. I only completely missed out on the lefse making session at the church – I had hoped to get there in time to at least help with cleanup – but by the time I tucked the Man-Cub in and walked over to the church the last ones were turning out the lights and leaving – sort of a relief really. Don’t despair ‘though – there’s another 3 hour session of lefse on Saturday.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Super Simple Supper

With our busy schedule I needed something super quick and easy for supper – so I reached into the pantry and pulled out 3 cans – Light Red Kidney Beans – Diced Tomatoes with Green Chiles – and Juanita’s Hominy - this one reminds me of the Man’s grandmother’s hominy – we always had Bush’s Hominy down South – but this is chewier and has a little more flavor. Two pots – one for the Hominy – mixed with some Smart Balance – and one for the chili. I added about a Tablespoon of Ground Chili, a Teaspoon of Cumin, a Clove of garlic and Voila a mild and flavorful chili. I let it cook at Medium High for about 20 minutes and served it with some Saltines and that was a simple supper.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Beads and Busy Days

This week is insanely busy - we are updating the pictoral at our church and so we have to be there from about 2:00 PM until about 9:30 PM while all the pictures are being taken - we come and go, but we have to be available and I actually have to work, checking people in and helping them with their choices and picking them up and taking them home if they can't drive. So that's Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday. I still have a few more pictures of shut-ins to take this week too. The Man-Cub has auditions for the Christmas program today... I'll let you know later how that turns out. He also has a piano recital Thursday and we all have dentist appointments this week. We have a pack "popcorn party to celebrate the end of our popcorn sale on Thursday from 7-9 PM. Then we have lefse making at the church on Saturday from 9-noon - Whew!

The Man-Cub did earn his first "Bear Bead" in cub scouts this week - they're red now - so he's well on his way to earning his patch. He has not mentionned trying to do every single activity in the book this time - for which I am extremely grateful. Hopefully, we'll set a more reasonable goal and still easily complete the requirements for the patch.

Friday, October 20, 2006


I volunteered to put together resource notebooks for the Man-Cub's school. It has reinforced for me the fact that I'm not cut out for any "assembly-line" work.

But I'm glad it's done - these are the first grade binders.

Today, there was no school, so we took the Man-Cub and some of his friends to a local hotel pool for a few hours of swimming. It's quite the bargain at only $2.00 each for the 4 hour open swim.

When we got home, I went for a quick run with Jack. It was fun, but really chilly, only about 20 degrees F here today. I knitted some on my Sacha slippers while we were at the pool - picture soon. And I made some really good vegan mayonnaise - recipe here - - which I then used to make ranch dressing - Yum. We had spaghetti and salad and homemade bread for supper. The Man-Cub told his Papa that it was the best spaghetti he had ever had - I wish I had taken a picture before it was all in our tummies.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Wonder Twin Powers

I had promised the Man-Cub that his new North Country Hat would be ready Monday, and I spent some of my free time at Red Willow knitting it. The hat was ready, but alas and alack, it did not fit him. I had followed the pattern exactly, but did not swatch. I already know that my stitches are “nice and tight”, but not neurotically so, and the pattern is for an adult hat – so I thought it would be ok. It did go on his head, but it was just a little too snug. So with Christmas on it’s way – I decided not to frog – as it will make a handy gift for a smaller-headed person. But, it did sort of defeat the purpose of using up the leftover sweatshirt yarn, as I now had to go out and buy more camo yarn. So I knit another one, on size 11 needles this time, and it fits him perfectly. I was surprised that there is more than a subtle difference in the colors of the two hats ‘though. The Man-Cub loves it and wore it tonight – he even already hinted to his friend (who admired the hat) that he may get one exactly like it – funny.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Scouting is Fun!

We had our den meeting Monday night and the scouts made Christmas cards to send to soldiers in Iraq. We’re also going to include a photo of all the boys in uniform holding a sign that says Merry Christmas from Pack 28.

Then we played hurricane ball – where they tried to score a point by blowing a ball off the table – no hands.

Next it was outside in the cold-snowy-dusk to pick up trash in the churchyard.

Then back in for a warm up game of Submarine Dive – just like musical chairs – except they “dive” for a piece of paper taped to the floor when they hear the words “Submarine Dive”. Then snacks and closing.

It was all good!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Red Willow Retreat

The Red Willow Retreat was great! The kids had a great time. The Man-Cub went on the pumpkin-finding hike and found the most perfect pumpkin - now I won't even have to buy another one for him to carve.

and you simply can't beat those college-aged camp counselors for helping the kids have lots of fun! They played games in the gym -

then based on their colored name tag - they left the group to work on crafts and apple pie making...

The pie was delicous - we'll definitely do this again.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Marathon Day

Today was Fall Marathon Day at the Man-Cub’s school, so I ran about 2 miles with him – it was more of a run/walk really and it was a lot of fun – after each lap they got a popsicle stick. The Man-cub and I each got three, but the weather was so cold that they shortened the last two laps – so I’m thinking it was only about 2 miles - not the three you would expect. He had a great time. This is the class running ahead of the old women.

And this is the Man-Cub getting his popsicle stick – notice the hand-knit cap.

That’s an FO from last year – and he’s asked for a new one – so I’m using the last of the camo yarn to make the North Country Hat – pattern here –
I’m working on Sacha too – just not as quickly.

Tomorrow – we’re taking the 1st -3rd graders to a retreat at Red Willow Bible Camp. It should be a lot of fun – hiking, pumpkin picking and apple pie baking are on the agenda – and they’re supposed to bring “a great attitude and a smile” – so that should be easy for the Man-Cub – he’s very excited about it. I’ll be driving so no knitting on the way up and back – but I should have about 5 hours of uninterrupted knitting in the scenic woods of Red Willow – I’m really excited about it too!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Revised FO

I finished the Man-Cubs sweatshirt again. I added the front double pocket he wanted. He's quite happy with it and his hands are warm. Instead of knitting the pocket separately and sewing it on - I picked up the stitches from right above the ribbing:

Then I knit the pocket, then, again, I picked up the center stitches on the sweater with a double-pointed needle this time - and did a three needle bind off - the less sewing the better - right?

Then I just sewed up the two little side seams and it was finished - again!

Then of course, it's birthday time for a dear friend in England- so I whipped up one of my happy little dish cloths - and it's ready to travel.

Now on to my new slippers - these old crochet favorites are in sad need of repair.

I will take the soles off and crochet new ones - the tops are OK and they are very comfy - but I still want some new red ones - so Sacha it is...

Monday, October 09, 2006

One Finished Object and One New Project

I just finished the Man-Cub’s Camouflaged Sweatshirt.

It’s a free pattern from Lion Brand – you can get the pattern here – but you may have to register first - He’s happy with the way it turned out and it fits him well right now – I’m wishing I had made it a size larger so he could wear it longer – Oh well. He said he wants a pocket on the front so I’m going to knit that now – just this shape

and sew it on top and bottom. The yarn I used was Red Heart Camouflage – his choice and I added a strand of Caron Simply Soft in Dark Sage – I didn’t make any changes to the pattern and it was an easy knit.

Now – right after I finish the pocket – I guess I shouldn’t have posted this one as FO – I’ll be knitting the Sacha Slipper pattern from Berocco - But I’ll be making mine in Renegade Red – I just like red slippers.

Tonight is my first Cub Scout meeting as CubMaster – I got a small karaoke machine to compensate for my soft-spokeness – so we’ll see how well I can control 30 scouts.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Busy Saturday

Today started early with a work day at the church. The men worked on the soffits and fascia and the Man-Cub and I replaced all the hymnals with the new ELW’s. The sanctuary looked so nice with all the new red hymnals in the pews. We had lunch at the church and then set up our Operation Christmas Child table and got the shoe boxes labeled and ready to be picked up and filled. Go here for more information - it’s a great cause. Then the Man-Cub and I went to several stores to get the goodies for the boxes.

It’s always a lot of fun and he gets to pick the stuffed animals and toys. He’s always so generous and wants to put in way more stuff than the little box can hold.

We came back by the church and set up Communion for tomorrow, and then picked some goodies from the garden for a bit of supper

– not much and nothing fancy – Cornbread – Harvard Beets and Beet Greens – and Nanny’s sweet potatoes (they didn’t make it into the picture – but I’ll post the recipe and a picture later – they are soooo yummy). It’s funny about beet greens, because I never once had them down south – I had beets usually pickled – but we never ate the greens – it doesn’t make sense.

Harvard Beets

About 2 lbs. of beets
1/3 cup of vinegar – I use Apple Cider
2 T sugar
1 T cornstarch – I mix it in a cup with some of the liquid from the beets then pour it back into the pot to thicken slightly/
Dash of pepper

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Persephone's Downfall

A sure sign of fall is when the pomegranates appear in the grocery stores. This was the Man-Cub's first taste of pomegranate. We sat with this delicious bowl of seeds between us, reading and popping seeds in our mouths.

Right now he's reading the 4th book in Mary Pope Osborne's Odyssey series, and I'm reading Lance Armstrong's "It's not about the bike". It's really good.

This afternoon we had LYO, and it was game night, everyone played Wheel of Fortune and it was a lot of fun too.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Busy Day - but always time for CRAFTS!

It was a busy day - work, then the Man-Cub's friends came over, then Tae Kwon Do, then PTO, and then WELCA, plus all the housework in between. No running or biking today. But I did manage to do two quick scrapbook pages for the Man-Cub's 2nd grade scrapbook. These pages are for his McDonalds Birthday Party back in June - Yes - I'm that far behind - but these pages finish his 2nd grade scrapbook. I already need to get started on the 3rd grade one too.

These pages were incredibly easy - I just took two of the birthday hats and cut out these motifs and glued them to purple paper. I haven't picked which of the 200 or so pictures I took that day will make it to the scrapbook, but it will be fun to find out.

I'll knit tonight at Tae Kwon Do, and I need to post pictures of those socks too.

Monday, October 02, 2006

End of Summer

Our garden is almost done for the year - we still have the cool weather crops - beets, onions, carrots and turnips. The garden did amazingly well for such a dry year.

I'll fry the last little green ones, and the rest will make the last juicy sandwiches we'll have for a long while.

The weather is still gorgeous - I went for a run with Jack today at lunchtime - he's getting better running on the leash - he doesn't jump on me and trip me up as much - but if he's interested in smelling something I still have to drag him along.

We had our first Den meeting tonight - this is a fast and furious game of Ships & Subs - it's a ball tag game - the ships have to stay on an x on the floor and the sub can move anywhere. It was a good meeting.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

More Apple-y Goodness

I've been running the dehydrator non-stop for two days now and I have a gallon of dried apples now - It's amazing how much of an apple is just water.

The Dehydrator is an old workhorse that Mom and Daddy gave me years ago, and the little FO on the counter is another dishcloth - just stockinette stitch - so one side is smooth and the other bumpy for scrubbing. Made with Sugar and Cream - in white - and bordered with some leftover green acrylic - Mom may remember it from a sweater I knit for her years ago. I'm knitting several of these - they're simple and portable - I can pull one out of my purse and knit it while I'm waiting in line - anytime - they are completely mindless.

This afternoon I rode - by myself - on the bike path - just about 3 miles - but it was really nice - I could go just as fast as I wanted, but of course I came back and got the Man-Cub for a slower jaunt so he wouldn't feel slighted. Then we took Jack for a walk and settled in to finish homework, get baths and watch "Willow" - one of the best kids movies of all time.