Thursday, February 26, 2009

April Fool

My boss gave me a present on Tuesday.

In the form of a massive data entry project.

woman_large

What does this mean?

Bye-bye nighttime knitting (and crocheting if you look really close).

100_6817

And "I'll see you soon blogging!"

I apologize if you don't see my smiling be-curlered mug around the blogsophere until early April. I'm still sneaking quick glances at your blogs when I eat dinner with a squirmy Moochie on my lap, I just can't comment as much as I used to.

I don't mind doing all this data entry. It's just really hard to do it while I'm doing everything else my normal job entails. I also picked up another attorney to work for this week. He's an associate, so he's not too high maintenance, but it still creates more work.

So I'm secretly bringing this stuff home to work on. I estimate it's going to take me a month to do working on it every day--weekends included.

I'll blame the economy for our client going all stingy and not wanting to pay even a law clerk to crunch these numbers.

But I'll put aside the knitting and blogging at night if I means I still have a job. Even us legal weenies aren't immune to the downturn. No, that's not my firm in that article, but it's causing lots of talk in the NJ legal scene.

I might check in every now and then, but if I'm not around with much regularity, don't panic (Mom!) I'll be back again soon!

Labels:

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Cookie Crumbles

In honor of Fat Tuesday, I'm doing my part to keep y'all fat and happy.

Here's how I made yesterday's Swirly Turtle Cookies. This is sort of my own recipe.

I used Betty Crocker's Caramel Refrigerator Cookie below to make one batch of dough.

1/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar (packed)
1 egg
1/2 teas. vanilla
1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 teas. baking soda
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
Chopped (fine) pecans
6 ozs. chocolate caramel swirl chips

Cream the butter, shortening, and sugar together. Add the egg and vanilla. Lastly add the flour and baking soda. Divide the dough. Add the finely chopped pecans to one half of the dough and the cocoa powder and chocolate caramel swirl chips to the other half.

Next, take your pecan caramel dough and roll it into a large log. Divide the chocolate dough into two and roll it into two logs that are the same length as the caramel log. Sandwich them on either side of the caramel roll and then roll it into one big happy log.

100_6811

Yeah it looks like a multicolored turd.

Put it in the fridge for 30 mins. or longer.

Cut the cookies into 1/2" slices

100_6813

And bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.

You'll end up with the cookies in yesterday's post. Yum.

But what I'm really craving right now I blame on living for six years in Michigan--it's Fat Tuesday which means it's Pączki Day!

Labels:

Monday, February 23, 2009

Cookie Monday

Just a quickie--no time to post recipes. It's 6:40 a.m. and I've got to get everyone/thing ready for work/school/chillin' with Daddy all day.

100_6814

Swirly Turtle Cookies--my own creation!

Happy Monday!

Labels:

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Long Time...

...no blog.

Dr. Mad Scientist bought a new computer game (with gift certificates given to him) so he's been hogging the computer when he's not changing diapers or running off to class.

And when he's not home I've been trying to maximize my Moochietime or I'm just too damn exhausted to blog.

But it's getting better.

I took back laundry duty from Dr. Mad Scientist now that I can carry three loads laundry around without ripping anything open (never mind that seven days before Moochie was born I was still hauling laundry!). Plus we've got supplies for if Moochie gets hungry without me around now. (It didn't happen--I timed the trip to the laundromat just right between his feedings).

But where am I going with this mundane anecdote?

I needed a small knitted laundry project.

100_6809

Hee hee! More on what these will be later.

I'll leave you with some cute pictures of the Mooch--all taken by Dr. Mad Scientist. He wanted proper photo credit on these (insert eye rolling here).

100_6808
The seven-year-age difference twins.

100_6807
I also caught up with cleaning the dishes baby this weekend. This is actually his first "real" bath. I sponge bathed him and Chunky til they were both about 2 months old and had solid head control. That, and I'm lazy.

100_6805
Can you believe Moochie is almost nearly one Springs length already?!

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I Could Sleep For A Week

First day back at work today.

The Bad:

* Having to actually get dressed nice today.

* Juggling trying to milk myself at work discreetly and still do my job.

* Rushing around to get the boys ready for school (Dr. Mad Scientist goes to an early morning AA meeting that he really likes so he can get a meeting in on the days he has classes at night and thus I've got to have Chunky and Moochie packed and bundled so he can take Chunky to school. Once spring comes this won't be such a pain in the ass.)

The Good:

* Getting my Christmas bonus check finally.

* My boss giving me a "welcome back" mini-white chocolate mousse from Carlo's Bakery in Hoboken. Let's just say I more than exceeded my extra 500 calories a breastfeeding woman can eat a day.

* Getting to see all my old work peeps again.

* Knowing that they kept the girl who filled in for me on my maternity leave. (I left at the beginning of a very complicated case and am quite out of the loop--I'm glad she's still around to fill me in.)

* MOVING MY DESK TO A DIFFERENT ONE AWAY FROM CHATTY CATHY!!!

* Coming home to a little boy very happy to see me!

100_6765

Here's to tomorrow!!

Labels: , ,

Monday, February 16, 2009

Uhg.

I remember Sundays as a kid.

The Old Man would watch 60 Minutes and you knew that after that tick-tick-ticking ended--it was bedtime, and then when you woke up, it was Monday and school.

Ugh.

I hate Andy Rooney to this day because of this association.

Even though today isn't Sunday, it's one of those days.

It's the last day of my maternity leave.

I didn't think it would be that bad leaving my Moochie because I'm leaving him with Dr. Mad Scientist and all to watch during the day, but I'm really going to miss that little potatohead! (Moochie, not Dr. Mad Scientist--although I will miss seeing him so much. I think this is the most we've ever hung out as a couple since we got together!)

100_6781

He's getting to some of the best parts of babyhood--he'll "talk" back to you now, he smiles when you do silly things (he's this close to laughing!), and he'll even stick his tongue out at you when you stick yours out at him first.

Sigh. It went by so quick.

But I spent my last day making the week's lunch cookies.

100_6795

Chocolate peanut butter chip cookies. No real recipe. Just take your favorite peanut butter cookie recipe, add two or three tablespoons of cocoa powder and also add peanut butter and chocolate chips. In my case, Acme was having a killer sale on Nestle baking morsels and I used the "swirled" chocolate and peanut butter chips.

I also tended to the new plants I bought at the New Jersey Flower and Garden Show that Youngest Younger Sister and I went to on Thursday.

100_6796

I caved and bought these beautiful primroses. They need a sunny cold window--just what I have! When it warms up I'll transplant them into a bigger pot and bring them outside.

I also ripped off a thing my Oldest Younger Sister, T. does. She takes succulent plants and puts them in teacups she finds at thrift stores.

Since we don't have thrift stores in northern New Jersey, I used a mug that T. gave me and planted a Kalanchoe succulent in it.

100_6800

The mug features Rasputin her rat. She takes him on her cross-country adventures everytime she moves posing him at major landmarks/points of interest. You can see the St. Louis Arch in the background. He's like the Travelling Gnome, if he had bubonic plague.

I think I'll name the plant (because Youngest Younger Sister asked me what I was going to name it) Colin.

Finally, I caught up on some blogsurfing and discovered Miss T (not to be confused with my sister T.) nominated me for the Kreativ Blogger Award.

ktive

Flattering as it is, they normally die with me--I break the chain. But I've been meaning to highlight some of the nifty blogs I've been into reading lately, so what the hell. I'll do it this once.

But before I do--go check out Miss T's latest post where she interviews the author of a knitting comicbook--how wonderfully geeky!

So here's who I nominate for the Kreativ (spelling of the word Creative) Blogger Award:

1. Alisha's Photo A Day 2009
I follow her knitblog, but also enjoy this commitment she's taken on for 2009. I love how some of the most mundane photos are simply the best ones.

2. what you think on grows
Donna Lee's another knit-blogger and I love the calm serenity she exudes on her posts--even if she's wrist-deep in dental issues, she's always got a great outlook.

3. Stash Amassed Beyond Life Expectancy
When I grow up, I wanna be just like Elizabeth. I love her designs (even if I can't knit colorwork to save my life). And creepily enough I realize I have a lot in common with her--scientist PhD husband, two boys with a decent gap between them...

4. Mom's knitting...again
I love Sarah's blog because she's not just a knitter--she's a real artist that has all ten of her toes in various artistic mediums.

5. Home is...
Wendy's not a knitter, but she's a homesteading thinker. When the apocalypse comes, I want to live next door to her! Plus she inspired me a couple years ago to plant my container potato.

6. Hey It's Free!
Ok, not a crafty or knit blog, but a great resource for free stuff. I've scored about five bags of free catfood just be keeping an eye on this site.

7. Knit Me a River
I simply love Sgeddes's handspun yarn. She's an inspiration for newbie spinners (although I don't think she qualifies as a newbie anymore). She's also got a pair of the most adorable pups with the best names! (I'm a sucker for themes!)

So there you go. Technically I'm supposed to go tell these people I've highlighted them, but I'm lazy. The fact I've done this much is amazing.

Wish me luck tomorrow!

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sorry

I've let nearly a week go by without blogging.

Youngest Younger Sister was in town visiting.

100_6760

She left today. Chunky was heartbroken. He waited to get home from the airport before he cried.

Awww!

100_6789
Taken a few hours before she left--you can tell Chunky's not in 100% good spirits!

We had a good time! We meandered around New Jersey, took in the NJ Garden and Flower Show, took her to do a quick and dirty visit of NYC, and even took her grocery shopping--woo!

It was a great way to spend my last week of maternity leave--Tuesday it's back to work!

And for all y'all who are going to say: "Your sister looks just like you!"

Not really. Check out the picture from the LAST time she visited us!

last birdie visit

Yikes!

Labels:

Monday, February 09, 2009

Sweet Home Alabama

For some reason I got it into my head I'd love to bake a cookie that represents each of the 50 states.

So I googled the top of the list: "Alabama Cookies" and this is what popped up.

100_6753
(Clicky for recipe)

Interesting cookie.

Not overly sweet. Crunchy on the outside, and chewy in the middle. Not too bad!

So, if you had to eat a cookie that was representative of your state--what would it have in it?

Mom already said Alaska's cookie would be a snowball. Something like a Mexican Wedding Cake/Russian Teacake I guess!

100_6756

Labels:

Sunday, February 08, 2009

I Have A Dream

Of Africa socks that is.

100_6749-1

I haven't made a pair of adult socks in nearly a year. And only two pairs last year!! It was time.

The details--

Pattern: I Dreamed of Africa socks

Yarn: Noro sock yarn (not sure what color...I don't pay attention if it's just a number).

Needles: US2

Notes: This was my first time knitting with the infamous Noro sock yarn. It's not so bad to knit with. Surprisingly enough--a size 7 sock completed a perfect repeat of the colors so that when it was time to cast on the second sock, it matched the first sock's colors.

I'm not so sure about the yarn overall. It doesn't have much spring to it. Even the 100% wool socks I've knit have more "oomph." But the colors are pretty and honestly, isn't that the only reason people knit with Noro?

The pattern was interesting too. I got it out of my 2008 Pattern A Day Calendar and it reminded me of those uber-popular Leyburns everyone is knitting. I will say picking up five slipped stitches and knitting them all together was a bitch and I'm really lucky I didn't break my needles!

100_6752

Don't let the puckeriness fool you. These socks look better on an actual foot.

Now that I've got the urge to knit a pair of socks out of my system I can focus on my urge to knit a sweater.

Just in time for spring!

Labels: ,

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Sluggish Catherine

Now, I LOVE my Fidelis spinning wheel. However, I'm not too keen on the Lazy Kate it came with (scroll to the bottom of that link to see what it looks like).

The uprightness of the bobbins during plying makes plying awkward. The singles will catch on the top of the bobbin, especially if being drawn off near the bottom of the bobbin. It makes for some stop-and-go plying which is a pain in my assmar.

I've been mulling making my own lazy kate based on those ghetto fabulous shoebox-and-knitting-needle contraptions you see all over Craftster and such.

I like those, but they're a little too chintzy even for my cheapass taste.

That and I can't remember the last time I bought a pair of shoes and I'm NOT about to repurpose my old aluminum Boye straight knitting needles. Those babies have done some heavy duty knitting for me and I love them. I'm not about to pull them out of their retirement and make them go flip burgers at McDonalds so to speak.

So when I was finishing up the last of the season's Clementine oranges, it came to me.

I always like to save these boxes anyway--and I realized they'd make a GREAT lazy kate.*

100_6734
Mmm...fungicide!

I poked a couple of holes in both long sides of the box. I just used a screwdriver as the box is made of particleboard.

100_6735

I took a couple of bamboo skewers and made a couple of polymer clay knobs for them.

Next I measured out some old scrapbook paper scraps (when Chunky was a pup, I was quite the scrapbooker. Poor Moochie will probably suffer the curse of the next child and not have as many cool things) and channeling the dark forces of Martha Stewart, I decoupaged them onto the sides of the box, taking care to re-poke the holes.

Finally, I popped in the bobbins and it looks great!

100_6736
Top view.

100_6738
Camera 1.

100_6737
Camera 2.

The decoupage job is a little wrinkly because of the staples holding the box together. However all in all, I think it's still nicer looking than a shoebox with knitting needles

*Why are these things called lazy kates? And why are those table swirl-o things/revolving cupboards called lazy susans? Why single out Kate and Susan as lazy bums??

Labels: ,

Friday, February 06, 2009

Off Da Hook!

Chunky came home jingling yesterday.

100_6733

Awwwww, shucks!!!

As Petula Clark sang--It's a sign of the times!

But not everything smells so stinky as gouge you til you drop school fundraisers.

100_6729

Baby heads smell good.

Labels:

Thursday, February 05, 2009

It Must Be Birthday Week

I've probably blogged about this before, but as a child from 1983 on, the first week of February was Birthday Week.

February 1 is Oldest Younger Brother's birthday.
February 3 is my Old Man's birthday.
And February 4 is my sister T.'s birthday.

That's a lot of freakin' birthday cake.

Every other year or sometimes every year, depending on whether or not he requested pumpkin pie on his birthday, Mom would make him birthday pretzels. It helped cut down on the birthday cake overload.

We'd always make two special pretzels for the Old Man that were the numbers of his age. And as kids we thought it was hilarious to transpose the numbers so he'd be 63 instead of 36, etc. when presenting him with his birthday pretzels.

I want to say this is my Grandma's recipe as I can recall my mom bugging her for the recipe (because she lost it? my memory is fuzzy here, I might be making all of this up) and Grandma finally writing the recipe down in a letter. The recipe was on a yellow sheet of that paper you get in those ruled rainbow colored Mead tablets. Grandma always wrote letters on those tablets. (Now she's hooked in with email and we get Grandma Email Newsletters!) That letter was shoved into the orange Betty Crocker cookbook.

Anyway, I got smart and when I left home either for college or when I got married (again, can't remember) I wrote down all my coveted childhood recipes. Pretzels being among them.

Pretzels

Spurned on by the lack of anything better to do between diaper changing and milking sessions, the time of year, and seeing some other blogger I read make them (again, I can't remember who!) I made a batch yesterday afternoon.

Here's the recipe for you to write down on your own Mead rainbow tablet.

1 cup warm water
3 packages yeast
3 cups flour
2 teasp. baking soda
1 egg
coarse salt (kosher salt, sea salt, etc.)

Put yeast into a large greased bowl and pour warm water over it. When yeast beings to proof, add the flour. The dough will be very stiff. Sprinkle a little flour on a clean counter (because why would you do this on a dirty counter? gross!) and knead the dough for five minutes. Form the dough into a ball and put it back into the bowl. Cover with a clean dishcloth and let stand in a dark warm place for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Fill a large pan 1/2 way with water and add the baking soda. Bring to a simmer.

Form the dough into pretzels. Boil the pretzels for 5 to 10 seconds. Coat with the beaten egg, add the salt, and bake for 15 minutes.

I'm thinking you could make your own ghetto bagels using this recipe. I might have to try that next time except doubling the recipe.

And before I go, I discovered this website. Oh my god. Cookie and food porn delight!!! I had to join. You can find me on there as--Bezzie.

As much as I hate The Place That Shall Not be Named, it's turned me on to some great knock-off sites like that one and Folia (that I frequent more in the spring and summer of course).

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Of Eagles and Garter Stitch Hats

Everytime I take Chunky to the library he skips right past the fiction books and heads straight to the non-fiction section.

We've read books on everything from spiders and scorpions, to the state of Michigan, to pirates and castles.

Last library trip, he picked a book about eagles. Partly to educate me apparently about eagles because when we were waiting in the car for Dr. Mad Scientist to arrive at the train station we saw a large bird soaring overhead. He said it was an eagle. I differed and said it was probably a hawk.

Anyway, after reading the book he became quite the eagle expert mother smugger.

Not to be outdone by a seven year old (aren't I just the most mature parent?) I had to drag out my photo album and show him my pictures of when I attended the 1996 Alaska Bald Eagle Festival.

We're talking stands of trees with hundreds of eagles!

I remember walking under the trees hoping that one would poop on me. How damn American would that be? The great bird of our country defecating on me! Oh the patriotism wells up in me even as I recall trying to see if it could happen.

Anyway, flipping through that photo album I found a picture of a knit relic.

100_6708

That would be me circa late 1996 modeling what I believe was just a square garter stitch knit swatch seamed on one end and gathered at the top. Oof.

And yes, my hair was that long. There was a traumatic haircutting experience eight years earlier--so what ou see there is eight years of uncut other than trimming split ends hair.

Both the hair and my knitting have come a long way!

Ok, maybe not so much the hair...

Labels: ,

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Things To Do In Jersey When You're Cold

My Youngest Younger Sister is coming to visit in a week.

She's coming to visit her boyfriend's east coast relatives (he's coming with her for that leg of the trip) and had a little extra leave so she'll come swing up to Nueva Jersey to visit us sans boyfriend. I guess he didn't have as much annual leave to burn as she did.

In addition to vacuuming the generic Coco Puffs out of the couch cushions, I kinda need ideas as to what to do with her.

Moochie is damn cute but he's only so entertaining and unfortunately Chunky will be in school for most of her visit.

Friday Chunky is off of school (President's Day Weekend) and Dr. Mad Scientist doesn't have class so we're planning a trip to NYC. But we'll have three full days of time to kill before that.

So I'm soliciting ideas from you dear readers as I know many of you:

a.) Have lived here at one point in your life;
b.) Live here currently, be it in South Jersey, Central Jersey, The Shore, or even At My Own Exit; or
c.) Have visited the lovely splendor they call the Garden State.

I've googled "fun things to do in New Jersey" and they come up with many things that are either pricey or more summer-related.

Now weather isn't a big deal for a couple of Alaskan girls.

Crazy Birdie

That would be my Youngest Younger Sister there in the bikini at the very far left.

But we'll be dragging a Moochie around with us and I felt guilty enough popping him in the Snuggli this afternoon to walk to school to pick up Chunky from school in the 49 degree weather!

I'll probably take her for a spin too Noorick (that's how you say Newark if you're Chatty Cathy) and show her the "ghetto" I work in.

Maybe we can even walk around and I can show her my favorite homeless person--I call him Friar Fuck as he's always muttering obscenities to no one in particular and he's got a large bald spot like a monk.

But above and beyond that I'm stumped. What's the "must see/do" thing you know of in New Jersey?

Labels: ,

Monday, February 02, 2009

Futbol Americano

We really didn't give two squirts who won the Super Bowl this weekend.

But we used the opportunity to take these:

100_6701

and add a little hot sauce:

100_6702

...to make crock pot hot "wings." Only drumsticks were on sale $4 for 4 pounds. I couldn't resist that. Who needs wings?

Sadly Chunky gave me a cold so even though I ate them, I didn't get to taste them. But the boys assured me they were delicious.

Moochie geared up for the game by wearing the socks Chunky bought at the school's Secret Santa Store.

100_6703

Chunky informed me (and mind you this was before Moochie made his appearance) that he figured since his favorite sport was football, he would get his little brother a pair of socks with footballs for Christmas. So damn cute.

It was a good game. I'm glad it was close as blowouts are boring.

I'm a little bummed the Cardinals didn't pull it off. But only because I like rooting for the underdog. That, and I still harbor some animosity towards the Miami University football team for cancelling a game against Colorado State we could have driven to watch while we were living in Michigan. That's back when Pittsburgh's IKEA-sounding-monikered QB Roethlisberger played there.

Yes, my heart will always belong to college football.

100_6707

Labels: , ,

Sunday, February 01, 2009

One Year

It was one year ago today that Dr. Mad Scientist committed himself to staying sober.

Ah and what a year it has been!

I know he lurks on here only piping up when I accuse him of never giving me flowers (He did on our first anniversary and when I popped Chunky out--and he thought about doing it when Moochie was born, but forgot.).

I just want to publicly say how proud I am of him for the shit he's been through this past year.

Next year I'll think about getting you flowers!!

Labels: