Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Trip To The Indian Grocery Store

Have you ever walked into a small, ethnic grocery store? It's one of my favorite pastimes.

Yesterday, after setting the last of my garbonzo beans to soak overnight for falafel*, I realized I have been flying through garbonzo beans (and cumin) faster than yarn. I headed for my local Indian grocery store, Rice 'n Spice.

Since, a significant portion of Indians are vegetarian, this ethnic store is one of my favorite places to visit. It inspires me to learn to try something new. It's always fun to experiment with some exotic find.

The Haul:

Four pounds of garbonzo beans (the rate I'm going they'll last a month), a half pound cumin (!)**, and fine bulgar wheat. I'm not a stranger to bulgar, but I've never seen it this finely ground.

Also, I found these little sauces: Coriander (cilantro) chutney, and spicy mango chutney.

It was a small trip today. I had my eye on some split mung beans and I always love their flat breads, but I kept it conservative today.

I think the Indian gentleman was impressed when Yummy said "Look mom, garam masala! That's what we put in curry!" And even more impressed when Vish said "I like this store. They give us lollipops."

*I've made falafel four times in the past month.
**This is the third time I've bought cumin this year. My previous bag held 1/4 pound.

What I Made:

Estes Vest, Yeah, 5.

That gaping hole is destined to be a pocket. This hexagon pattern is starting to get to me. I think if I put it outside a hive of bees will move in.

Estes Vest: Days Three And Four

So how do you feel about a knitting blog getting back to its roots?

Estes Vest, day 3

I'm a little past the armhole here. I had a typical amount of knitting time today--a few moments snatched here and there between doing my chores, running errands and maintaining my children at a level of care slightly above reptilian.

And let me tell you, those crocodile moms are a tough act to beat.

Since Ravelry is basically a huge database for knitters, I'm able to search this pattern, look at other people's projects and see what problems they may have had. Regarding this pattern, there were a couple trends I noticed:

  1. The vest seemed a little too cropped and
  2. The armhole was too tight
Both situations are easily remedied. I added an extra inch to the length of the body (1/2 inch at the waist and 1/2 inch before the armhole decreases).

And on Day 4:

I added an extra inch to the armhole length. And cast on for the left front. Day four was the day of my SnB, so I had a good couple hours of knitting time.

Are you enjoying watching the development of garment? I think I might do the vote thing more often. It's healthy for me to practice monogamy. And stash busting.

And people pleasing.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Businessman Starts A Project

I woke up Sunday morning to a terrifying thing. The Businessman had a mission.

Was there some fourteener he needed to conquor? Did he find a nice gentle twenty-five mile loop hike that could occupy a good portion of our morning. Were we out of coffee?

Nope. It's far, far worse than that. He has decided to refinish our deck.


I didn't call him The Handyman for a reason. Several reasons.

True to Businessman form, he has been researching and creating long lists for two years now. We have stain-chips in every color imaginable (who wants a pink deck?), notes on the proper procedure (Do we powerwash, sand, wash, stain? Or do we sand, powerwash, stain?), and lists of new tools to buy. There are convoluted equations about exactly how much stain we'll need because he calculated the exact square footage of not only the deck, but every railing, post, and beam.

I just wanted him to schlock on some sealant so we could get back to al fresca dining.

I'm sure it will be fine. We'll be able to use our deck again. In October.

What I Made:

Day 2 of the Estes Vest.

Not much knitting time today. TBM expected me to help move furniture, grills and plants. Then I had to run to the hardware store to get sandpaper. And face masks. And more sandpaper. I also had to cook dinner and eat it in our dining room. So much is expected of me on a Sunday.

I tried to avoid him by going around the corner of the house and pretending to work in the garden. I was actually talking to my eggplants and tomatoes.

I think my neighbor heard me.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

You Voted, I Cast On. The Estes Vest

It amazes me. With as many posts as I've written about all the garments I've made for myself, you still think I need more. Well, you have spoken and who am I to betray my loyal following? I will make the vest. For myself. And there will be enough yarn left over to make a second one. For someone else.

Oops. Did I just say that?

As for the minority votes, I will make everything on the list eventually. Especially that baby sweater. That baby's not putting himself on hold despite your wishes.

Here's the victim, Lamb's Pride Bulky in pistachio. Per the instructions (Interweave Knits, Fall, 2008) the gauge is 18 stitches to four inches. In my swatch above I have 18 stitches, plus a couple extra on each side for selvage. It's about as close to gauge as it will ever be.

Hitting gauge on the first try is very exciting for a knitter. Sort of like following a tricky recipe and having it work. Or tackling a home project and only needing to go to the hardware store once.

After all the preliminary warm-ups, it's time to cast on and knit.

Day 1. I had lots of extra knitting time today because we took the kids to a local movie theater that shows cartoons on Saturday mornings and serves unlimited bowls of cereal. Also, Vicious decided he needed a two hour nap while the Businessman took Yummy to the hardware store (they're not back yet and it scares me).

A good, strong start to a project.

I should be bored in about four minutes and 23 seconds.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Daring Bakers: Milan Cookies

The July Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Nicole at Sweet Tooth. She chose Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies and Milan Cookies from pastry chef Gale Gand of the Food Network.

This month, I opted for the Milan Cookies. I have made marshmallows before. It was fun then, but I have since stopped eating gelatin (did you know that several yogurt brands have gelatin? Sometimes it sucks to read those labels). Of course, I probably should have made the Marshmallow Cookies simply to ensure I wouldn't eat them.

Cast of characters:

Final product:

I opted to use the half-can of frosting that had been sitting in my fridge for the filling, rather than the chocolate ganache. I could act virtuous and say I did it to save time, money, and my waistline (since I'm not a fan of canned frosting, but I am a fan of ganache), but I'll be honest and say it's because I was lazy.

Stay tuned to tomorrow's post. I've started my next knitting project.

Another Knitter In The World

I met my Personal Barista when our oldest kids were nine months old. We immediately hit it off and had an attorney draw up arranged marriage contracts for our children. The world would be so much better if more parents did this sort of thing.

She's just about the best person ever. Her only flaw was she didn't knit. So I tried to fix that by helping her knit a hat for my future daughter-in-law, which she finished. Next she made another hat for herself.

Then I moved. She had about three feet of scarf languishing for three years.

Turns out, knitting's a lot like riding a bike.

Above is direct evidence that she is a better friend than I am. Not only am I posting a pic on the internet of her in her pajamas while unintentionally? flipping me off, I let her have wine. Never let friends drink and knit. Even if she escaped this time with no problems, it's a very bad idea. I won't always be there to take the corkscrew (or needles depending on the degree of unwinding needed) away from her.

Here she is totally dressed cuter than I for a lunch date. I love how she slung the scarf around her neck while she knit it. And she's still smiling. July, no A/C, wrapped in a scarf, smiling. How can you not love her?

What I She Made:

That scarf will be finished soon. Then she will start a new project, with help from a Local Yarn Store (LYS).

Right PB?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

What She Made-Weekend Edition

A college friend, who is living a beautiful bohemian life in Florida, has been cloth diapering her kiddos. She was inspired to fashion a few diaper covers and used one of her old shirts to do so.

What She Made:

Ram pride is strong with this one.

I feel an intense desire to Squishie that Tushie.

I believe she made the quilt too. And the baby. I think he was on her to-do list last spring.

Friday, July 24, 2009

An Attempt To Change Your Opinion About Walmart

Someone was ranting at me the other day about Walmart and when I asked what specifically he didn't like about them he started spouting off a bunch of crap he knew nothing about.

Okay, here's the deal.

I know you hate Walmart. They carry tons of China junk. Their products are cheaply made. Their grocery selection isn't very good (at least compared to the other stores I have around me). They're distinctly low brow.

I get that. I really do. It's not my favorite place to shop either. However...

Meet my brother (the tall one, not the short one):

He has a disability (Autism). He has been employed by Walmart for over four years. He makes a decent wage (more than I made when I worked retail). He has been given regular pay increases. He gets stock options, an employee discount and is rewarded consistently for his hard work.

He could be sitting at home doing nothing and living off of your tax dollars.

So don't lecture me about how evil Walmart is to their employees. Next time you see a hard working Walmart employee, know that they are being treated better than you may think.

And next time you see a disgruntled employee, know you only have one side of the story.

I would have said it to that guy, but I don't like direct confrontation.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Wild Blue Yonder

Today marked the annual pilgrimage to Cheyenne (as in Wyoming) with my father and brother to enjoy as much free entertainment as is humanly possible by boys who have the attention span of granola.

We went to the Thunderbird Airshow.

While my father--former Air Force and current pilot but never an Air Force Pilot--said things like "The reason those afterburners are so loud is because of... *afterburners flying overhead*...and their fuel consumption...*more afterburners*...hours of flight time."

I thought "Look at the pretty flower."

Then he said "Wow, that is a tight formation!"

I thought "Mmm Hmm!"



I'm sorry. I couldn't hear you.

What I Made:

A picnic lunch. While I managed to escape with only a few gallons of gas and some sandwiches as fiscal evidence of our excursion, my father managed to do it with a mere $2.50 in ice cream. Guess who reigned superior in my kids' eyes?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Vote For My Next Project

I'm trying to deal with some personal demons and I don't know when my usual wit and liveliness will return. Until then, I am putting something up for vote.

Which knitting project should I work on next, and remain monogamous to until completion?

  1. The Estes Vest: I have some green yarn and I could really use a warm vest. Pros: I already have the yarn and it will knit fast. Cons: I'll have a lot of yarn leftover.
  2. The Peacoat: I want to make it with same yarn as the vest above, but I'm not getting guage. Pros: The stitch would be a learning experience. Cons: The stitch would be a learning experience and I would have to buy more yarn.
  3. Design a baby sweater: In October, a highschool classmate is having a son. He good-naturedly mocked my knitting on Facebook and I want to create something incredible. Pros: It's small, and it's always healthy to knit a gift. Cons: My fellow knitters question whether he is 'knit worthy' because of the mockery.
  4. Finish a lace shawl (scroll down, it's the white one): Pros: It will be stunning. Cons: Since it's about fourteen rows to the inch, it will drive me completely insane and I will stab those darned size 0s through my eyes and out my ears.
  5. Finish another lace shawl: I'm beading this one. Pros: It's on larger needles than the previous one, and will be just as stunning. Cons: the children/seedbead combo is a disaster waiting to happen.
All of the above will be knit, it's just a matter of which one I should knit for the remainder of this month and possibly into August. I'll do it Harlot style and post pics throughout the process.

So, leave a comment indicating which one you'd like to see created. I'll tally votes on Friday, July 24th.

Aroma Therapy

Okay, the title may be misleading, but welcome Facebook and Twitter followers.

The ingredient list from the stick of deodorant I just used up:

Cyclopentasiloxane-skin softener
Stearyl alcohol-lubricant, emulsifier
C12-15 Alkyl benzoate-skin softener
sodium polyacrylate-absorbant
Hydrogenated castor oil-moisture repellant
PEG-8 distearate-pearly effect
fragrance-smells nice
Hydrolyzed corn starch-absorbant

What I Made:

The ingredient list for homemade deodorant:

Corn starch-absorbant
Baking soda-deodorant, absorbant, exfoliant
Coconut oil-binder, moisturizer
Vitamin E-skin softener
Clove oil-antibacterial, smells nice
Orange oil-smells nice
Tea tree oil-antibacterial

Here's the recipe link. I love instructables.

It will be up to the Businessman and my adoring public to determine the results. I love a good experiment.

Pearly effect? Seriously? Who needs armpits that give off a healthy glow?

Monday, July 20, 2009

My Travel Log

Good: The new Harry Potter Movie
Better: A weekend in my favorite state
Best: Spending tons of time with good friends

Good: The weather was warm and sunny
Bad: I wanted rain
Ugly: I got a sunburn

Good: Being in the birthplace of Starbucks
Better: Staying with a professional barista
Best: 12 shots of espresso on demand.

Good: I took a few pics
Bad: They are on my Personal Barista's camera
Ugly: The Businessman won my camera for the weekend in a game of scissors paper rock

Good: Visiting a yarn shop
Better: The accident I may have had with my credit card
Best: Watching my Personal Barista spend an evening knitting

Good: Trader Joes
Bad: The accident I may have had with my credit card
Ugly: Having more food in my suitcase than clothing

Good: I made falafel
Better: My Personal Barista has never had falaffel
Best: She wants more

Good: I love my Personal Barista
Bad: She lives 1100 miles away
Ugly: I cry when I think about that

Good: The flight to Seattle
Better: The flight to Denver (window seat and no delays)
Best: Seeing my boys again

Good: I love Washington
Bad: I like being from Colorado
Ugly: The economy

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Google Search Terms

I enjoy seeing the search terms people have used to find me.

Some of them are obvious. I get lots of hits for Monster Trucks: Invitations, parties, etc. I also get hits for making your own wedding dress and sewing pattern organization. These are completely understandable and even desired as I hope I can inspire if not help.

Others are cute, and I hope they eventually found what they were looking for:

Batman Cat Collar (I found ours at Petco)
Can you watch a drive in movie in the rain (yes, but be sure to start the car every 20 minutes or so)
How to pronounce boudoir (as soon as you find out can you let me know?)
Corsets to suck me in for my wedding (Oh, how I understand)

Others are understandable--I know why my blog came up--but I'm betting the searchers were disappointed (as is my outlook on society):

Monster Truck Wedding Porn
Cat Porn

And there is one I can't for the life of me figure out:


Friday, July 17, 2009

Presents For The Kids

Mountain Mama is in the Emerald city to watch Harry Potter with my BFF, consume obscene amounts of Trader Joe's goodies, chatter endlessly the way only BFFs can, visit a yarn store, and maybe drink a little wine.

These are a few of my favorite things.

Of course, if you're staying with your BFF, and effectively stealing her from her children, you should bribe them with charming little gifts.

What I Made:

For a boy, age 4:

A book about Colorado. Two Hotwheels cars (chosen by the kiddos). A CSU magnet. A reusable lunchbag for the wrapping.

And (my favorite) for a girl, age 6:

Accoutrement for a journal: Journal. Gel pens. Stickers. Tape. Glue. Hi-lighters. Post-it tabs.

In the journal I had my kids draw a picture and I wrote a letter to her. I also made 'suggestions' (tear out this page, write about your pets, glue a ticket stub here, who do you love?etc.) throughout.

I love this. I hope she likes it too.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Great Ho Race of 1997

If you've ever wondered why I'm not an outdoor girl, I give you Exhibit A:

I once dated this guy who was an animal when it came to grueling, death-march hikes. He hiked to the summit of Long's Peak in four hours (mere mortals taking six). He trekked for five days across a desert. He proposed to me and I married him.

Like I said, he enjoys a challenge.

Before our engagement, he had this splendid idea to road trip to the Grand Canyon. For some silly reason I assumed this would be a fun archaeological tour through the great Southwest.

When we got to the Grand Canyon, I found a nice little guided walk that talked of rock formations, flora and fauna, and native tribes of the area. Halfway into the walk, he pulled me aside and asked if would be okay if we just hiked in the canyon.

Sure. No problem. What do you have in mind? This was before the ring so I was a bit more accommodating at the time. Sucker.

We He decided to hike halfway down the canyon to a lookout point* and then make a decision to see if we could do the entire canyon in a day.** I was agreeable and off we went.

One of the problems with the GC, is that your hike starts with the downhill part. Another problem is the desert heat kicks in about four miles after you've started. Another problem? The remarkable wildlife we saw included two snakes, one of them a rattler, and a millipede that was at least 8 inches long. Clearly this was not the date of my dreams.

I We decided to turn around after the lookout point. It was past noon and there was no chance in hell I could climb all the way down to the bottom and back out.*** So halfway it was.

It was hot, uphill and for some stupid reason you can only rent burros at the top (totally missing a money making opportunity if you ask me). I was miserable and sweaty. The Businessman was losing patience with my stopping at every switchback and kept pushing me. Gradually, we noticed another couple in pretty much the same situation. We became instant friends, until the other girl and I realized something: The boys were racing us.

I wish it was just hallucinations from heatstroke but TBM admitted it later. The boys had made an unspoken bet that whoever got their 'ho' up the canyon fastest won the Manly award. I was so exhausted at this point there was no way I could lay the smackdown on him.

Can't say the same for the other girl. About 3/4 mile from the top, she started shrieking, sobbing and tore her man up one side and down the other. It was a beautiful thing. Beautiful enough that TBM harnessed my mood and promised me a steak dinner once we reached the top.

Another problem about the Grand Canyon: There are no steak dinners.

He still owes me big for winning him that Manly award.

*, **, ***The literature clearly indicates to never hike the entire canyon in one day. It also suggests not to attempt this lookout in one day during the summer. Don't become a ho.

ETA: The Businessman informs me that he is willing to take me out any time for that steak dinner. Convenient that I don't eat steak anymore.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Lacy Cardigan

My mom recently started a project and asked me to bring over my ball winder/swift so she could get the yarn wound up. As long as I was winding, she decided to pull all her stash out. Among the stash were 13 skeins of green yarn.

Me: Where did you get those?
Mom: Brown Sheep.

I didn't think there was any green yarn left in the store after I was done with it, but here it was, a sweater's worth of yarn, in green, a color my mom rarely if ever wears.

Of course it came home with me. The funny thing was, I had just downloaded a pattern I've had my eye on for a year or so. Interweave published it as a free download this summer. It needed a heavy worsted/chunky yarn and I had none in my stash.

Until 13 skeins of chunky green yarn jumped out of my mom's stash and into mine.

I started this July 3rd. I felt I had to finish it before my mom changed her mind.

Tailored Scallops by Pam Allen
Brown Sheep Prairie Silk in Greenback. 10%silk, 18%mohair, 72%wool

Monday, July 13, 2009

Let's Go Hiking

I'm still here. I wanted to see what it was like to not be chained to a computer for two days. I lasted one but overall it was a success.

The Businessman decided it was high time we took a family hike (he used the term 'deathmarch'). Even though I'm not an outdoor girl, I don't necessarily object to hiking. Unless it's 6:30 AM on a Sunday and I'm expected to be ready and there's a severe shortage of energy drinks:

The kids didn't seem to care for the idea either. They at least got to sleep in until 7:00.

It figures. The one day they sleep in.

TBM asked me to make sure the shoes were in the car and I find this:

This tells me he is taking this hike seriously. That's a lot of gear. That quantity of gear implies expectations. Those expectations seem to have forgotten a few things. Like the age of our children, my desire to knit, and the fact that his back is so screwed up right now he is seeing a chiropractor.

A month ago, he would have told you chiropractors are nutjobs.

But it seems the kids had a good time.

The Businessman is still trying to work out the math. 2 hours driving. 3 hours hiking. Total distance hiked: 1.8 miles.

I actually hiked 2.8 miles because Vish decided 1/2 mile in that he needed to go potty. I schlepped him back to the trailhead where he announced he didn't have to go after all. I refused to get him back on the trail until there was some action. He cried. He screamed.

He remembered daddy had the trail mix.

What I Made:

Nary a complaint, whine, or I told you so.

That's one miracle of the requisite three for sainthood.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Homemade Larabars

My favorite blog this month is Curly Top. A darling little lady who is progressing nicely toward world domination with Pbu, a super-easy concoction that has put peanut butter back on my to-do list.

Now she has gone and recreated the Larabar dubbing it the Farabar. And it's so ridiculously simple we all should have thought of it. But she did it first. What I wouldn't give to have the flexible body mind of an 18 year old again.

What I Made:

Though Larabars are my favorite form of energy bar/meal replacement, they are not the prettiest things to look at.

Real Larabar on left, my version on the right.

My dear little curlygirl encourages experimentation. My rif but her method:

1 cup raw almonds
1 cup macadamia nuts
2 oz dates
2 oz dried cherries
1/2 cup chocolate chips

I wanted to try white chocolate but there was no white chocolate that met my exacting standards, i.e. it wasn't in my pantry.

Not pretty, but so tasty. If you're a fan of the Larabar, give the Farabar a try. I know there will be significantly fewer plastic wrappers in my trash can now.

My next combo: Cranberry Walnut.

Thursday, July 09, 2009


This is so not a food blog. It really isn't. For one thing, I don't have the photography skills.

But I do cook. Everyday. So, when I knit at what most people would consider a ridiculously fast pace...

Back and two sleeves. Started July 3rd, 2009.'s not realistic to expect a new knitted item every day. Or even a new crafted item.

But I do cook. Everyday.

What I Made:

I have never met a falafel I didn't like. I've made several recipes, and they've all been good.

Then Julie over at Everyday Dish posted a falafel recipe. I had all the ingredients at hand and whipped them up (yes, they are that easy to make).

These are the best falafel I have ever made. I don't know if it's because the batter is smoother than usual. I don't know if it's the deep-frying. I don't know if it's the short time it took to make them. They are awesome.

I packed them up with some tzatziki (made with greek yogurt), tomatoes, cucumber, and pita. Then we schlepped the kids to the college campus to enjoy a free concert. We assembled our sandwiches to our liking...

And ate falafel.

The Businessman said he wouldn't mind if these made it into the weekly menu rotation. High praise for a vegetarian dish.

He might be getting tired of cereal night.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009


I have a few food related habits I cannot explain:

  • I always buy a head of lettuce when I go grocery shopping, but I rarely make the corresponding salads
  • I painstakingly store leftovers, but never eat them
  • I cut out and save every granola recipe I find, but then wing it anyway
What I Made:

My favorite weekday breakfast: Plain Greek yogurt, fresh summer fruit and granola

My basic granola:

4ish cups rolled grains (not quick cooking) oats, rye, barley, etc.
1/2 cup brown or raw sugar
1 cup unroasted nuts/seeds--if they are already roasted, add them after the baking

Melt together
1/2 cup butter, Earth balance, canola
1/4 cup liquid sweetener (honey, agave, maple syrup)

Combine everything and spread on a cookie sheet

If you want less fat or sugar, you can cut back, or add more grains. I like the browning the oil and sugars provide.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. Then check on it. If it looks toasty enough remove it. If not stir it up and check on it every couple minutes. It will be soft when you take it out of the oven. Before it can cool and harden, I remove it from the pan and toss it into my granola bin. A couple good shakes while it cools keeps it from solidifying into a huge chunk. If you want dried fruit and/or roasted nuts, add them now.

Experiments I tried:
Millet-use sparingly, lots of crunch
Flax seeds
Hemp seeds

Strangely I've never tried chocolate. Hmm. May have to rectify that.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Measuring Tape Tote

I plink around Dollar Store Crafts and a few weeks ago they inspired me to make a handbag out of measuring tape.

Trust me when I say this was a much cuter idea than making a belt out of a measuring tape. I am just not going there, no matter how much I need a belt.

What I Made:

I love using the heavy duty snaps to hold it together. I get some sort of freaky rush when I have to use hammers, power drills, or power saws for my projects.

I'm not satisfied with my handles, but these will do for now.

So the question: Is this a perfect bag for small knitting projects? Or should I use it as a gym bag? Lunch bag?

Monday, July 06, 2009

A Little More Green In The World

Green is the new neutral. It goes with everything.

I have suspected this for some time now. Given that flowers are manufactured in every color imaginable yet always have green trimmings.

Green is my favorite color. I'm especially fond of yellowy greens like olive oil, pistachios...

...and Candleglow, the color I painted my sewing room. Several months later, I popped to some html color-key website and created my blog background color. Shortly after that, I realized they were the same color.

I can only conclude green is the color of creativity for me.

What I Made:

A decision.

Given my infatuation with green, it seemed only logical I become one of the founding contributors for a new Green Webventure called Organic Girls. My role is as yet unclear, but I'm guessing I'll be the mom who tries to save the world but only manages to buy organic mac'n cheese, yarn with a recyclable ballband, and handsoap that won't lather. A stretch for me, but I think I can manage. I'll be sure to provide all appropriate linkage as it becomes available.

And, if I just happen to learn something along the way, and pass it on to you, the world might become a little greener.

And I'm all for that!

Sunday, July 05, 2009

6th Picture in the 6th Folder

I've been trying to save Sundays for a day of blog rest, but Sweet Mama Jones tagged me with a simple little assignment.

1. Go to your photo folders
2. Select the sixth file folder
3. Open it and select the sixth photo in that file folder
4. Write a story for that picture, post it

Of course, knowing that there are pictures of me doing Wii yoga in this computer, I was a little hesitant to even give this one a try.

Here goes: my pics/sixth file/sixth picture

Phew! It's a good one.

These are my boys from two years ago. I don't know what possessed them to sit in a chair and pose cheesy for the camera. I'm not a sit-for-the-camera-and-pose-cheesy kind of photographer. I'm not any sort of photographer. My Vish is still blond and blue eyed and we still have no idea how that happened. My Yummy is about a foot taller now. The Businessman looks pretty much the same.

Then there's the sixth file/sixth file/sixth file/sixth picture (I have a convoluted file system. I really need to organize).

We were trying to make a Christmas card picture. We gave up after about 2,340,978 attempts.

Feel free to join in the fun. Leave a comment if you decide to do this.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Nothing. Well...Maybe Something

My in-laws abducted my children Thursday, they will be returned in time for fireworks. Unless we forget to pay the ransom--I don't usually carry cash.

I spent the whole day with the Businessman doing nothing.

What I Made:

I made a dent in my summer reading...

...While taking a bath.

I started a project.

The Businessman did the same, except for the knitting and bath. He may have skipped bathing altogether.

But I am missing my kiddos.

Have a safe Independance Day. Regardless of what CNN and the tabloids tell you, it's still a great country.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Kettle Corn

The Businessman and I are frequent users of both Netflix and Redbox. Sometimes we even get grown-up movies. This week has been highly prolific for us.

Gran Torino: Outstanding. I had low expectations because I was in the mood for something light and frivolous. This movie is not either of those. It's possible I'm starting to get old, but I have newfound respect for Clint Eastwood now. Wow.

The Currious Case of Benjamin Button: A letdown. It's based on a short story which I had read recently. Why a 20 minute story needed 2:40 of film is beyond me. I was sipping The Best Margaritas Ever at the time and I don't pick up on symbolism in the soberest of circumstances. On the heels of Gran Torino: *pbbbbt*

What I Made:

Kettle Corn

I'm not a salty snack person. Chips languish in my pantry and movie popcorn is safe from me. But Kettle Corn? I love me a little Kettle Corn. I use the recipe from Allrecipes. I had to tweak it a little--I suspect high altitude.

Heat 1/4 cup oil in a large pot (preferably one with handles that you can easily lift and shake. Add a couple kernals of popcorn. When they pop you know your oil is ready. My stove is perfect at 3.5 (medium/medium low).

All at once, add 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 cup popcorn. Cover with a lid and shake shake shake.

Watch your sugar. It should melt and it might darken a bit but you don't want it too dark too fast. I found adding salt at this point guaranteed burnt sugar. Also, vent the lid a bit so it doesn't get too steamy in there.

Keep popping and shaking, popping and shaking until it slows. Remove from heat and sprinkle with salt to taste. Pour into a bowl and serve.

Oops. I forgot to take a picture and now it's all gone. The oldest Kettle Corn I've ever made lasted through the movie previews.

You will never spend $7.00 on kettle corn again.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Cross-Linking PolyVinyl Acetate AKA Gloop

Lots of questions about my dishwashing detergent. I'll do my best.

I started with this recipe which did not work well for me. The dishes had a cloudy film on them after the first wash. I gave up after a week. Later I learned about adding vinegar to the rinse dispenser, which did help but I never tried this recipe again. Some people have great results with it so I think it depends on your water.

Then I learned the basic recipe of 1T Borax and 1 T Super Washing Soda with vinegar in the rinse. I've been using this for a few months but there are still times when I get a film on my glass. To counteract this, people add salt and/or citric acid (which is a powder) to the Borax/Washing Soda but citric acid can be expensive and/or hard to find so you can use KoolAid (which is mostly citric acid). This is the first time I've added it. So far it's working fine. It smells nice too.

Is it "green?" Possibly. It is phosphate free but there are some concerns about the boron in Borax. It's a natural product (as are arsenic and uranium) but we're effectively removing it from an isolated location and dispersing it with unknown consequences. That said, I feel better using this than paying more for a phosphate free product. For me, cost is important too.

While researching Borax I stumbled upon an experiment I had to try.

What I Made:

Cross-Linking PolyVinyl Acetate or Gloop.

On the left: 1T borax dissolved in 1/2 cup warm water
On the right: 1/4 cup Elmer's glue (leftover from school) and 1/4 cup warm water mixed well.

Slowly pour the two together in a bowl. Ask someone to help stir.

The Borax reacts with the glue and coagulates. Pull out the slime and knead it (guess who loves that part?). There will be some fluid left over.

It's gross, and slimy, and kids love it. Please take normal precautions and don't make this if there is any chance of your kids trying to eat it. Just because something is non-toxic doesn't mean your kids shouldn't learn discretion. That's all I'm saying.

I looked up the chemistry behind this. If you still remember O-chem (and I totally understand if you're trying to forget) you might find it interesting.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Dishwasher Detergent

Today, while doing one of my favorite chores ever (it must be a favorite since I do it everyday) I realized I was out of dishwasher detergent. So I made more.

Now I can continue doing my favorite chore. My day wouldn't be complete otherwise.

I'm not 100% satisfied with my recipe, but here it is.

What I Made:

1 cup Borax
1/2 cup Super Washing Soda
1/2 cup Baking soda
2 packets lemonade flavor KoolAid
1/4 cup salt

Mix. Add 1-2T per load.

I've added the salt and KoolAid to this batch. Sometimes I get a white film on my glasswear and my Google Search recommended salt and/or KoolAid.

Lemonade flavor doesn't have enough dye in it to stain your dishwasher. Sour Apple Green is tempting though.

Do you have any other tips or suggestions?

*Even if you still decide to use brand-name detergent, try vinegar in the rinse dispenser.

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