Monday, April 30, 2012

Overdue

I've been neglectful of showing off some beautiful hand knit items that have come from knitters far and wide to Little Miss Baby Sister.

First, this incredible pillow and baby socks from Disco:

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Seriously, how cool is that? So bright and cheery! It now resides on the rocker my Auntie Jaywalker gave us last summer and that I cushioned. A quick aside--this past week I also recovered the sofa pillows to match the rocker!

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(See the pillow in the corner there? Originally my intent had been to put the rocker in our bedroom, but alas, my eyes were bigger than my living space! That ducky fabric you see is also a little square burp cloth I made, that I believe I blogged about earlier, inspired by the burp cloths Disco made me when Moochie was born--LOVE those things!)

Next up is an amazing pinwheel blanket that my surgery-buddy Chris made Little Sister!

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How awesome is that thing? I call her my surgery-buddy because the day before I had seven pounds of human removed from me, Chris had her back re-done. Yeouch. So the fact that she had the time to finish up this blanket and send it off while dealing with the pre-surgery agony I know she was in (and the post-surgery agony as well!) means the world!

Finally, this weekend in the mail came some items from my fellow snow-lover, Zonda.

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Add this to my list of reasons I can hardly wait for fall/winter to roll back around again! 

Ok, I will admit, I squeed like a girl when I pulled out that little beret! Ha ha!

I am so touched by all the beautiful gifts sent to Baby Sister!

(There are some ones that I haven't mentioned yet on here because I think they'll be best suited to be modeled by the little lady in question--so in a few months those will be coming).

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Friday, April 27, 2012

Shock and Awe

I actually still knit.

Sporadically.  I find the only time I really have to knit is after the boys go to bed and, if I'm lucky, Baby Sister is chilling in my lap or her crib.  And even then, a few rows or rounds, and I find myself dozing off!

I did manage to get something knit in about a week though.

Ok, so normally this would take me one or two evenings tops to knit assuming I received more than three hours of continuous sleep.

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The details:

Pattern:  On The Sunny Side (Ravelry link)

Yarn:  Peaches n'Cream in "Black Cherry" purchased for a whole dollar at the Dollar Store.

Needles:  US5

Notes:  This was a cute little pattern.  I suppose I should have blocked the brim before I popped it on her head for pictures, but I couldn't wait that long!!  The only modifications I made was that I didn't knit the body of the hat 2" before I started decreasing.  I only knit about 1.5".  In retrospect, I should have knit it to the specifications.

She's going to outgrow this quick!!

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Week Five Down

I'm entering nearly the middle of my maternity leave, can you believe it?

I did laundry this weekend and have started to cull some outfits that Baby Sister no longer fits into.  And while I was feeding her this afternoon, it occurred to me that she's losing that "new baby" look!

Ah well, she's not that big--yet!

And as such, I ditched her for half an hour with Dr. Mad Scientist and Chunky and I ran up to the corner garden store (I just wasn't in the mood to deal with Home Despot!) for some more dirt.

I recycle my dirt year to year and mix it with fresh compost every spring but this year I wanted to go bigger and better with my pot potatoes.

Now, you could go out and spend a fortune on a giant pot to plant your potatoes in at your local corner home and garden store or your big box store like Home Despot, but why?  

In the home storage section of your local anti-union-Chinese-slavery-manufactured-goods-small-business-killing store you may be able to find something like this:

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This is some kind of storage tub one is supposed to use around the home.  Maybe for toys in a kids' room?  I don't know.  All I know is when I saw it, it screamed:  GIANT PLANTER!

And for a bargain price of $6 I picked it up.  (Shockingly it was made in the USA, so I'm only being anti-union and anti-small business when I bought it.)

I brought it home, and with an old steak knife that I heated over an open flame (be careful with this!) I cut drainage holes in the bottom of the "planter."

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And then I took my seed potatoes that are the fifth generation from the grocery store potato I planted back in 2007 (we've been in Jersey too long!) and planted them in a few inches of dirt at the bottom of the planter.

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The plan is every weekend I will add a new layer of  dirt/compost to the potatoes.  When you do this "stacking" method covering the potato plant as it springs up (or the creepy alien tendrils in my case) it will encourage more potato growth. 

And if it doesn't produce a lot of potatoes--well then I'm out $6 and a bag of dirt that I'll use again next year!

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

April Record High Temperatures Bring

Forget May flowers, the heat brings on dreams of early planting!

But honestly, I'm not really ahead of schedule. I usually start my seedlings every April 15 (Tax Day) and transplant them outside around Memorial Day. Makes for easy remembering when to do it.

This year I didn't use my normal empty yogurt containers for my seedlings. Truth is we just didn't eat that much yogurt this winter. Instead I made those little planters out of newspaper that you mold around something cylindrical*. We'll see how that works out.

I'm a little apprehensive because they dry out faster than the yogurt containers, obviously. So I've been watering them twice a day instead of once to keep them moist--not saturated.

I did, however start setting up the empty pots with their dirt outside early this year.

I blame Basement Neighbor for my eagerness. (And to clarify, I like Basement Neighbor. He's a nice guy. He's not always trying to pry into our lives like certain neighbors above us.)

But before I show you why I blame him, we have to look at some past pictures of my Pot Garden in our backyard.

Here's the start of my pot garden in 2010, the first year we were at our post-Squirrel Gables apartment:

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Just some pots on the ground...nothing fancy.

Last year, in 2011, Basement Neighbor made me a little bench to get my pots off the ground--nothing fancy.

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But it was nice.

Last year I also had to haul a bunch of cinder blocks we used to have helping support our bed outside due to the Great Yicky Icky Infestation of 2011. Those I stacked up and had a few pots resting on.

This year, Basement Neighbor went all out!

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He took the cinder blocks we had out there, painted them, added some more boards and some levels to the stand and some pea gravel underneath--it looks amazing!

I've got all my regular pots set up and the stand at the right in the picture (with the boys' clamshells) will be where I put my big three pots--one for my potatoes, one for cucumber pickles, and one for pumpkins.

And yes, you read that right.

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That's Chunky's memorial plaque for his shrimp, Buba. (Pronounced the same if he spelled it like the traditional "Bubba") that passed away after living in his fish tank.

Anyway, if you've made it this far, here's the list of what I'll be growing in my 2012 pot garden if everything goes according to plan:

Potatoes
Pumpkins
Cucumbers (pickle variety)
Peas
Beans (actually that's Chunky growing beans)
Sunflowers
Lavender
Dill
Oregano
Chives
Tabasco peppers
Okra
Basil
Catnip
Forget Me Nots

And probably some kind of flowers and herbs that Chunky will pick out for me when his school does their annual herb and plant fundraiser in a few weeks.

Aside from the sweltering hot temperatures and sweating from places I didn't know I had--I can't wait for this growing season!!!



* I found the idea to do the seed pots this way on Pinterest. What a great timesuck! I don't mind it so much right now, as I'm on maternity leave and it makes for some easy one-handed browsing while I feed Baby Sister. If you're on there and don't follow me, look me up! I'd love to see what you're digging too.

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Monday, April 16, 2012

Maybe Al Gore Was Right?

It's supposed to be nearly 90 degrees today. Right now, as I type this at 10:00 a.m., it is 73 degrees outside.

Did I fall asleep and wake up in July?

Nope. It's still April.

Which is why the last recipe as my tenure as Cookie Czar for Knitcircus magazine is so appropriate.

I give you Tropical Blondies.

Tropical Blondies

You can find the recipe here.

Or better yet--why not subscribe to the incarnation of Knitcircus now--their weekly newsletter chock full o'great tips, yarn, pattern, and book reviews and other great yarn-craft related goodness? Just click here and fill in the box where it says "Subscribe to our Mailing List."

I couldn't have been more prophetic when I wrote the opener for that recipe.

Guess what I did this weekend? I worked on the pot garden while I baked these sweet delicious morsels of orange-coconutty goodness.

I'm really excited about the pot garden this year.

I'll elaborate more in another post--stay tuned!

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Friday, April 13, 2012

Yikes

So I put Baby Sister in her first handknit by me outfit today.

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Cute, right?

Then I went to add this picture to my project page at The Place That Shall Not Be Named.

I don't have a lot of stuff logged there, so a different project picture from 3 years ago caught my eye.

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That's Mooch at virtually the same age as Baby Sister (a few days shy of 1 month old) in his Koigu Baby Tulips sweater.

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Yeah there's no question these two are related!!!

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Monday, April 09, 2012

Good Old Fashioned Weekend Wrap Up!

It's like I'm working again with the once-a-week-only-on-Monday post!

To my credit though, last week was spring break and Dr. Mad Scientist and Chunky were home all week. I kept Moochie out of daycare for two of the five days last week. Daycare makes you pay even for the days you don't show up, so I wasn't about to keep him home for five full days.

I'm (and I think Baby Sister* is too) enjoying the quiet today brings. I love my boys, but man they can be loud!

This weekend was awesome though.

On Friday, we dyed our Easter eggs, as we do every year.

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Check out Dr. Mad Scientist's "vacation beard!"

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On Saturday I went crazy and made three loaves of Italian Easter Bread using this recipe. I omitted the anise oil, didn't put sprinkles on top, and put a dyed raw egg in the dough. I also halved the recipe. Look at how much I got from just the half of the recipe! Imagine if I had baked the whole thing!

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I gave one of the round loaves to Basement Neighbor (he's cool and not pushy-annoying).

Then I baked this for our Sunday Easter dessert.

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I cheated though. I used a boxed yellow cake mix and basically just added the coconut and lemon juice. It turned out delish!

Finally, I made something that a coworker turned me on to--Italian Easter Meat Pie. She, or someone else brought this in last Easter to the office. It's basically a meat and cheese pie that Italians round these parts eat on Easter to break the Lenten no-meat fast with a bang.

When I posted about this on Facebook, people asked for the recipe. Here's what I learned about this dish--there really is no recipe. My coworker brought in her mom's "recipe" for me which was basically a list of the ingredients--but no measurements.

But that's how you know you've got a great family-heirloom quality dish!!!!

So here's how I did it.

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First I gathered my meats. I use 4 oz of prosciutto, 2 of those ziploc containers of thin sliced ham, a package of hard salami and a package of cotto salami.

I diced up all the meats and mixed them together.

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Mmmm...meat!!!

Next I added 8 oz of a shredded 3 cheese blend I found at the store. You could get away with using shredded Parmesan or mozzarella instead.

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Next I added 15 ozs. of ricotta cheese (the original recipe from my coworker called for "basket cheese" which I rarely see for sale but is similar to ricotta), and two raw eggs and mixed everything together.

Now you can either make your own standard pie crust or cheat like I did and use a pre-made crust.

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Press the meat, cheese, and egg mixture into the pie crust.

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Put another pie crust on the top, slit it, and bake it for 1 hour at 325 degrees.

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Enjoy your coronary meat pie warm or even cold!

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YUM!!!


*I think Baby Sister is going to be her blog name. Moochie has dubbed her this to the point where when his teachers at school have asked what his sister's name is--he replies "Baby Sister!" Ha ha!

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