Monday, September 24, 2007

Belated Birthday

Calvin's birthday was actually at the end of August. We didn't get to have a party for him, as we were on vacation. Yesterday we finally got to have some friends over for cake.
Every year Calvin comes up with some idea for his birthday cake (last year it was a chocolate creation, the year before that a 'king' cake). This year he decided that he wanted everyone to have their own little individual cake! Originally I planned to make 8 little cakes, as he turned 8, but I ran out of frosting. So we got 6 little cakes decorated with 8 chocolate chips.

I made the Darn Good Chocolate Cake batter, and first baked 8 cupcakes (the cakes are square because I have these muffin pans). Then I took the rest of the batter and poured it into a 9x13 pan. After all the cakes were cool, I cut the sheet cake into 8 pieces, trimmed them evenly, and started frosting. It was kinda fun! I used a standard buttercream frosting. The kids enjoyed getting their very own cakes!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

I'm In!!

Whoo hoo, I got my Ravelry invite this morning! I can't remember when I requested it, but it didn't seem to be that long of a wait. Now to go play around on the site, and get my knitting organized!

(btw, I'll be going by mamafitz, like I do everywhere.)

Thursday, September 13, 2007


I've become obsessed with bento lunches, and it's all Rowena's fault. It all started innocently enough. About a year ago, I found out about Vegan Lunch Box. While we are not vegan, or even vegetarian, I enjoyed seeing the lunches she made for Schmoo, and got lots of ideas for the lunches I was making every day for Caleb. I started using containers and getting thermoses, and tried making lunches that had as little waste as possible.

About a week ago, someone asked for lunch ideas on one of my email lists. Since this year I now make two lunches a day (Calvin's school has no hot lunch program. Caleb's does, but it's expensive, and he wasn't too keen on the selections), I thought I'd play, and listed a bunch of my ideas. Then Rowena had to go and post her Sunday Morning shoutouts. I looked at BabyHopes Domesticity Flickr Album. Do you see them? Do you? The darling little cow and piggy hard boiled eggs??? Oh my, I had to try that!

Through BabyHopes, I found the Lunch In A Box blog a few days ago. Oh. My. Goodness! This site is packed (hee!) with information! Tips! Tutorials! Ideas! Recipes! Yesterday I went out to Wal-Mart to get the ice-cream molds, and they still had them! (I was afraid I had missed out, since it's now September, and it seems the stores get rid of seasonal stuff so fast). I bought 6! I got home, and had a note from Lori that our Williams-Sonoma had the same molds that were on the Lunch In A Box blog on sale! I went and got those too! I boiled eggs right away! I am obsessed!

Two piggys and two cows cooling in their ice bath, plus an extra boiled egg. I wanted to do the star mold too, but couldn't find another rubber band. Here is how you mold boiled eggs.

Aren't they cute?? The top molds are the WS ones, the bottoms are the Wal-Mart ones. Calvin is getting a cow for his snack this morning, and it's a surprise. I stuck some paprika in the eyes and mouth on his for contrast. He's going to love it.

After I unmolded them (the Wal-Mart ones unmolded a bit easier than the WS ones. Next time I will spray the faces with butter spray, or rub a bit of oil on them), Connor wanted a 'piggy-egg' right away.

Next to try: Make your own jello/fruit cups (I bought white grape/peach juice for this. Yum!).

After that: yaki onigiri

Calvin will eat just about anything, and doesn't really care for sandwiches, so I am going to have so much fun making neat little lunches for him this year. :) Connor and I will have to start having bentos too!

Monday, September 10, 2007

These Are Quick!

Thanks to a football game yesterday, I almost finished the first toe-up sock!

The sole is 4.5" long, and should fit a young toddler. I don't think I'm doing my sssp correctly, but I'll continue the same for the second sock, and figure the proper way on the next pair.

I am STILL going to have yarn left over. I'll have to figure the stitch count for newborn socks.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Blue Socks

Remember this sock? I started it earlier this year, and had made great progress on it during a Memorial Day weekend trip. Well, we tried it on Calvin and it was TOO SMALL! More accurately, too tight. I had used such a tight gauge that the sock wasn't very stretchy. ARGH! So, I cast it aside, and started over. During State Fair judging in July, I cast on the first sock of this pair. Yesterday I finished them. Calvin is thrilled. They are just a bit long (good for him to grow into), and a bit loose, but he likes his socks that way. This yarn is wool/bamboo, and feels heavenly.

The details:
Yarn: Trekking Pro Natura, color 1606
Needles/Gauge: size 2/8 sts per inch
Pattern: Classic Sock from Folk Socks
Size: Ladies S (56 sts)
Changes made: Eye of Partridge heel, worked toe to 16 sts and then grafted
Other info: worked ribbing for 4.75", then 10 rnds st st. worked foot for 4.625", then toe shaping.

I started these last night. I've never done toe-up socks before, and thought a pair of baby socks would be a good pair to learn on. I'm using the On Your Toes pattern chart and instructions from the summer '07 issue of Interweave Knits. Took me about 5 tries to get the eastern cast on right (love the IK illustrations, they really really helped), but after that it's been easy sailing. Once I finished the toe and started the patterning on the instep I switched to my customary 5 needles, instead of the 4 called for.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Preparing for the Holidays

Now that September is here, that means it's time to start getting ready for the holidays! For the past 5 or 6 years I've done the Holiday Grand Plan (technically, this begins the last week in August). If you are interested in this, there is a very busy Yahoo Group where you can get inundated with emails, recipes, and the annual religious/non religious argument. If you are just interested in the plan, there is the announcement only Yahoo Group, which sends you an email each Sunday, outlining the goals for that week. While I have never fully completed a HGP ever, it really helps me focus and not get overwhelmed.

This year, I am not going to do the HGP. I am going to do the Holiday Houseworks Plan instead. I like how it divides the house into zones instead of rooms, and I think it's going to fit with the way I think and work better. This week is planning and paperwork week, and as my family will attest, I've been trying to pin everyone down on Thanksgiving and Christmas. I've been rolling gift ideas around in my head, and will commit them to paper this weekend. Since I like to make a lot of gifts, I need to plan my time out as well. As far as I know there isn't any announcement only email group (which would be perfect for me).

Maybe this year I'll actually start sending cards again!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

First Day

Today is the first day of school. Both boys were excited and I think a bit nervous (neither had much of an appetite for breakfast, which is odd).

Caleb is at the middle school this year!

Calvin was to bring something special to tell about his summer, and he decided to bring his walking stick that he bought at the Renaissance Festival in MN.

I'll be getting good exercise walking to and from Calvin's school twice a day. Now it's just Connor and me during the day. Whatever will we do with all that time? I'm sure I'll think of lots of things!

Monday, September 03, 2007


To end our summer, we took a 5 day trip up to the Twin Cities. We had a wonderful time; it was great to be just the five of us with no one else. We left on Wednesday, and meandered our way up via LaCrosse, WI and then followed the Mississippi River on up through Red Wing, MN, and on to the Twin Cities.

We stopped in Merrick State Park so that Calvin could go fishing. He caught 2 fish! David thinks this first one was a baby small mouth bass. Then he caught a bigger fish, but I don't know what it was. Wednesday was Calvin's birthday, and even though he had to spend most of it in the car, being able to fish made his day -- heck, it made his week!

On Thursday, we went to the Minnesota State Fair. The arts and crafts were phenomenal! Gorgeous quilts, embroidery, sewing, and woodworking. The 4H stuff was incredible too. There also was an 'Eco' building, with displays of solar panels and wind turbines one could buy, information on reducing one's carbon footprint, and all sorts of info on 'green' living.

On Friday we spent most of the day at the Waterpark of America. I got to meet an online friend and her family, and we spent the day swimming and playing. Caleb tried surfing a few times, as did David. Calvin says he went once too!

Connor and I enjoyed the lazy river, and also spent time in the hot tub. :) The family raft ride was great! Ten stories tall! Fast! Scary! Connor went twice!

The main reason we decided on Minneapolis was for the Renaissance Festival. Saturday was spent there, beginning with Connor getting stung by a bee on his ear. He cried a bit, but was fine, and we got some ice from the first aid station to reduce the swelling. Caleb and Calvin fenced. We rode an elephant, played with bubbles, watched some belly dancers, played with swords and other weapons, and had a great time. Now everyone is begging me to whip up some costumes. :)

We had a really good time.