Category Archives: Thankfulness

Off the Grid

Last week we went on a biking and camping vacation to Acadia National Park.  It was a significant trip for us for a couple of reasons.  First, we got a hitch and bike rack to put on the car so that we could take our bikes with us.  After fifteen years of waiting, we are finally a biking family!  This may seem inconsequential, but biking did not come easily to the boys (nor me, if I am honest).  We wanted it to be a fun biking trip and not torture for anyone, so we waited until everyone was comfortable biking for long stretches and found it enjoyable as well.

This is also our first camping trip since moving to New England.  Previously, we usually took a fall camping trip in October sometime to western Maryland or down to Virgina.  But, the nights get a little nippy earlier in the year up here, so we decided to go in September.

And it was glorious.

We had wonderful weather for the first three days.

The biking was not too difficult.

The views were fantastic.

All the food we ate was delicious.

We wished it would last forever.

Unfortunately, it came to a halt when our older son fell off of a rock he was walking on and injured himself on some other granite rocks.  We had to get him down the mountain, a two mile bike ride, and then to a hospital for stitches.  Fortunately, he could still bike and those two miles were all downhill.  We were very thankful it was not worse than it was.  If he had fallen in a different direction, he would fallen down a very steep ravine, littered with rocks.  As it was, he only needed a few stitches and some ice cream.

Our last morning in the park started off in a rush of breaking camp as we woke to the sounds of rain on the tent.  The rest of the morning, we spent enjoying the park through the fog and an occasional downpour, which gave the park a unique beauty.  My only regret is that we did not get to the top of Cadillac Mountain on a nice day because the views from there are truly spectacular.

Instead, with the wind buffeting us around, we pretended we were summiting a much taller mountain and tried not to get blown off.

Something that I was not expecting during our vacation was the lack of a cell phone service.  I only had service when we went into town, which we did almost everyday, but other than that, I was completely off the grid.  At first it was annoying because I missed the convenience of looking things up on my phone and posting to social media.  But, I soon forgot about it and enjoyed the time I had to focus on the things we were doing without any temptation to connect with the cyber world.

Sadly, we had to come home and get back to all that comes with a busy life.  However, it’s only a matter of time before we go back.  Promise.

 

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That was Fast

This summer is going to be recorded in our family history books as one of the busiest and fastest moving summers we have ever had.  I feel like I have barely blinked and two months have passed by.  Another thing I discovered this week as I opened up this blog for the first time in weeks is that this blog is five years old!  Amazing how the months roll by.  At the time, so many moments seem to last longer than they should, but in hindsight I wish they had lasted longer.  Oh well.  C’est la vie.  I will try not to waste my time in past regrets, just like I won’t waste your time by going on about how I did not mean to be gone from the blog so long.  The truth is, we all have to do what we need to do in the time that we have and sometimes we have time for extra things and sometimes we don’t.  My goal is just to be grateful for what I am doing right this minute, which is talking to you, and also to be grateful that you are spending your precious time listening.  Thank you.

Sunset.  #vacay #beachtime #betterthanfireworks #nofilter

Beach time.  #vacay #knittersofinstagram

One berry two berry, pick me a blackberry.  #summerfruit #berrypicking #familyfun #vacay

Last beach day.  #vacay #beachtime

Now, onward.  To kind of celebrate the five year birthday of this blog, I’ve created a new tab at the top of the page here for recipes.  Hopefully, when you click on that, you will find a nice tidy list of recipes with hyperlinkies attached that I have posted over the past five years.  They are separated into categories that I hope will be helpful if you are looking to make a particular type of food.

#lagunabeach

Really loving the rose garden in Balboa Park.  #sandiego #beautifulday

Dessert.  #creamistry #supersmooth #liquidnitrogen

Japanese fries, breakfast crepes, and tacos.  #foodtrucklove #yummy #socal #eatingourwaythroughCA

It was fun to go through all my past recipes.  There’s lots of cake and jam and cookies, lol!  It’s really amazing to think about how much sugar and butter we have gone through in the past five years as well.  People often remark that they wonder how we stay so skinny with all the goodies I make.  Well, all I can say is that we have two growing boys who are very active and they keep us active and busy enough that a piece of cake or bread treat a day isn’t going to make us fat.  Also, we try to keep our portions small and I utilize a big deep freezer for extras.  We hardly eat any packaged foods, which also means any treats we eat we usually make ourselves.  Sometimes, we share as well!

Lunch at the beach. #vacay #beachtime #yummy #justneedamargarita

The photos above were taken on our various travels lately, which included visiting both coasts of the continent.  Thankfully, for the next few weeks, we are at home and experiencing our first New England summer.  (Even though we were here last summer, it did not really count as a summer for us as we were stressed with moving and new home and job stuff.)  The first thing we did when we got back was to enjoy the local produce.

I hope to have some more inspiration and ideas to share with you soon.  In the meantime, enjoy the new tab with all the recipe links!

 

 

 

Snow Adventure

Many thanks to each and ever one of you who commented on my Ommegang sweater. I am happy to say that you all have given me the confidence to wear it, no matter what! It certainly is warm and we needed warm clothes this past week when we hit a new low for our area.

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This is one of the coldest weeks I can remember from the past 20 years that I have lived here, but I did not mind. I know how to keep myself busy indoors! I was able to finish a pair of socks for the husband.

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As well as a sock for myself.

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And, for the first time, I think I have been able to keep up with a mystery knit along and finish on time.

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My Follow Your Arrow 2 shawl got a nice bath.

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And then a good blocking.

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I used some new blocking wires that I got for Christmas.

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These will take some getting used to since they are super flexible. I had a little trouble pulling the shawl as taut as I usually do. I will give a more in depth report about these when I have had a chance to use them on a larger variety of finished objects. For now, I am just loving how this shawl turned out.

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Each clue was interesting and fun. I like how there is a mix of three dimensional textures and lace.

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Yes, looky there! We had a little snow early last week, at last! The boys were able to go sledding and it was a pretty good day for it, too. Then, on Saturday, we had a bigger snow event. Truthfully, this winter has been so lackluster that I think everyone had let their defenses down for this storm. We were up before the sun on Saturday to attend the elder son’s last swim meet an hour away.

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The sock and I tried to make some progress, but honestly, early morning and me don’t mix, so I only got a few rows done. By the time we were done at 10:30 am (thank goodness they did all the older boys at once in the morning so we didn’t have to be there all day), it was just a little cloudy. We drove to our favorite restaurant in the area for a post meet meal. It had started to snow a little by then, but we weren’t worried. A little snow can’t hurt us, right? Ha! At 11:30, we were done with our meal and pondering a trip downtown to hang out at a museum, but decided we would all rather go home and take a nap. At this point, it was snowing quite heavily and the streets were getting a bit slippery. It took us an hour to get to the on ramp of the highway and when we got there, it looked like this.

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Clearly, no plow had been by this road yet. After another hour of driving, we were halfway home and decided we needed a break from the traffic and snow.

So, we stopped for some gelato. We got there just before they closed due to the weather.

When we got back to the highway, the traffic was even worse. The first mile or two took us an hour of stop and go traffic on elevated bits of highway with no exits. The other side of the highway was no better. We passed miles of backed up traffic, including this nice line of 13 snow plows that were stuck there, unable to do their jobs.

It took us six hours to get home from a town that usually is just an hour’s drive away for us. And there is no way we would have made it without the husband’s awesome driving skills. We passed many many cars slipping and sliding away and also ones that had been abandoned because they were stuck. The storm took many people by surprise, including us. Thankfully, we made it home safely and the boys even thought that parts of the experience was fun, haha. After a day like that, I was glad to stay in all day yesterday and do some sewing and knitting. I’ll tell you about all that another time, though. In the meantime, I hope you are staying warm and comfy, wherever you are!

No No November

This fall has been whizzing by us at a breakneck speed. As our kids get older, they are becoming more independent, but they are also becoming more and more busy. Gone are the days when everyone used to take an afternoon nap (not that that always happened, but we planned for it, haha). We have a mandated rest time every afternoon when we are home, but more often than not, the boys and I are using it to catch up on reading or homework or (for me) cooking.

Halloween almost went by unnoticed by us this year. On Friday afternoon, we found ourselves costumeless, bereft of candy, and no plans to carve pumpkins. Friends, this is the first time this has happened in the last ten years or so that we have been in this house. Luckily, we had been invited to a halloween party and our friends there had extra costumes, which thrilled the boys because it was either that or go home without any candy.

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The next day, I kept exclaiming how I could not believe it was November already. I am just not ready for all the the inevitable thoughts about Thanksgiving and that major holiday that comes next month. What’s a girl to do? Why, make some cookies, of course! Yes, it is time for our annual cookie fund raiser for Samaritan’s Purse. We are a few weeks later than usual and a little more pressed for time, so things have to be condensed this year. It was tempting to take a break from all of this, but there really is such a little amount that we do to help others that it seemed stingy for us to not do it.

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So, we will be making some Awesome Trail Mix Cookies

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and Nibby Toffee Butter Cookies, and many more to help us all remember to be thankful for all our blessings. What are you doing to help yourself get into the spirit of the month?

Going Around and Around

Last week I talked about how I was avoiding double pointed needles. Well, I still am, even though I had success finishing the husband’s socks, I am still wondering if other methods of knitting small circumferences in the round will be better for my hands and perhaps faster.

On this sweater I am experimenting with super short circular needles for the narrowest parts of the sleeves. This needle is only nine inches long!

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It takes a little getting used to because you can really only hold the needles with your finger tips. I think I am really preferring these for sleeves, though, because there is no danger of getting those unsightly ladders. However, they may not be as fast as dp needles because of the fiddly factor.

On these socks, I am using the two circular needle method. It’s especially good for this pattern because it is divided into a front half and a back half. It’s easier to keep track of which half I am working on with this method and the bonus is that the needle set that is not being used can be pressed into service as a cable needle. No more hunting around for a cable needle!

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I have also tried the magic loop method and that works ok, but it still does not leave an evenly textured fabric. Can you see the uneven spiral of stitches that were left behind on this sweater sleeve from the magic loop method?

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Much of this washes out during the blocking stage, but not all the time. However, I do have one or two sweaters with ladders on the sleeves from dp needles that, despite repeated washings, still persist. I don’t notice them on socks as much or things that are ribbed, but they show up on a plain knitted background quite clearly, I think. This is because it is difficult to get the tension right when switching needles. I try to err on the side of tighter rather than looser, but that is difficult to achieve all the time, especially as your needle sizes get bigger.

Don’t get me wrong, I am still happy to use dpn, just not in all circumstances. I will probably use short circulars on sleeves from now on, and the two circulars might become my new way of knitting socks. We’ll have to see how that goes especially around the heel part. Magic loop will probably not make its appearance again unless I can be convinced otherwise. This is one thing I love about knitting. There is always more than one way to do something!