Thursday, August 30, 2007

Wordless Wednesday (er..Thursday)

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Ok, whatever you just whined about that's what we'll do.

I'm starting this post with a question to you that I probably have the answer for already: how do I stop the whining? However, I need to vent (whine?) just a wee bit about it anyway. Someone once told me she was happy to have had boys because girls whine. I'm not into putting behavior into gender roles. Our culture tends to go that way with the "boys will be boys" saying to excuse inappropriate behavior and the "I'm a princess" shirts for girls and it becomes hard to be gender neutral. With that being said, my child can whine and it is becoming like nails on a chalkboard to me.

So here's the part I know. You can't control your child's behavior, but you can control how you react to that behavior. We do the 1-2-3 Magic discipline method and it's great. I'm certain one of the issues is I need to use it more. Everything I've read states that children need to test the rules and the most important thing is to have standards that are immovable. Kids need to know they can only go so far before they're reeled in by the parent(s). While I know it's good for Buttons sometimes it's hard to do.

Today I did my job pretty well at the local grocery store by taking her out of the situation after telling her that would be the consequence if she continued to act up and it upset her but I knew that was good. Hard, but good. That was today and the behavior wasn't whining. This weekend I asked Buttons if she wanted to do this or that and she whined something and I said to Hubby "ok, whatever you just whined about that's what we'll do". The. Whining. Must. Stop. Whining is bringing my morale down folks, but it's sometimes hard to discipline her for it. I want her to have a voice in her life but I also need to be her parent not her friend.

What I believe to be the answer? I have to start tough love on the whining. I have to count her out on it and send her to time out when needed. I have to teach her how to ask for what she wants and find the words for how she feels. When her children are having a hard time, a good friend of mine will often ask them "Does that make you mad?" or "Are you feeling sad right now?" and I did start using that a while back. Today I heard Buttons asking her doll "Are you mad?" and "Do you feel sad?" and I felt good to know that it's getting through to her to search for her feelings. Whining is not just a "girl thing". I think we all have the power to whine within us. However, whining doesn't often lead to others listening to us. Are you still listening?

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Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Vermont Wrap-up

I had a list of things to blog about in regards to our trip to Vermont. Here are 10 remnants that don't seem to be making the cut to a full post. These include things I learned, things I saw and things we did.

1. I get very anxious and crabby when I lose things. Doesn't matter what it is because it's more about my sanity than the actual item. I forget so many things in my head that when I lose something tangible it's like the last straw. During this trip it was a canvas bag from a book store with "To Kill a Mockingbird" on it with reusable grocery bags in it. I know, very precious and expensive. (I also get anxious and crabby when I'm hungry or when I need to go to the bathroom and there's none in sight.)

2. Seeing wild turkeys on the way home was wonderful along with chipmunks out our back door. However, my favorite sighting was of a doe nursing a fawn in a field with the sun dancing on the grass. Such a sweet moment on our way to yarn shopping. I do wish I could have seen it again with Buttons and while I wasn't driving.

3. One of the sweetest nights we had was when Hubby, Buttons, Beth's hubby, their oldest daughter and I sat around a fire making vegan s'mores. There was a man sitting on a dock a short distance from us playing his guitar and singing wonderful magical music. It was a chilly night and we bundled together with each other and we all enjoyed the evening and lived just in that moment. (Beth was upstairs putting her youngest to sleep and fell out.)

4. If you're going to share a cabin, make sure you know exactly how many rooms there will be with actual doors. Our upstairs was basically one large room with some partial walls, curtains and saloon doors. Howdy partner!

5. Another thing to remember if you're going to share a cabin. Make sure you're sharing with good friends. It's close quarters in there and I think that's the only way it works. (It worked very well for us, but we've all agreed that when we go on vacation again together we'll rent separate neighboring cabins or a larger cabin with at least 2 bedrooms with doors.)

6. I learned that 2 girls who want the same exact toy at 8 am every morning will make a great alarm clock for anyone. (Even friends staying in another cabin 100 yards from us.)

7. At various points on the trip the theme song to "Dukes of Hazard" played in my mind (or I actually sang it aloud) and I think it's kind of clever. Maybe it's because I had such a big crush on John Schneider at age 9. Can't believe I'm admitting either of those.

8. Naked children playing in a pond with the sun beaming down on them is one of the sweetest things I've ever seen. The cuteness and innocence is unbearable.

9. Stowe, Vermont is the location of the Trapp Family Lodge. The hills were alive, but Buttons was asleep so we'll have to go back again someday to get the full experience.

10. Buttons will puke in the car for all or some of the following reasons: getting in her carseat too early in the morning, eating too many Goldfish or eggs, or reading "Strega Nona" while listening to it on cd. Not sure which one did it, but when she loses it, she does it very matter-of-factly and doesn't get too phased by it even though it rarely happens. I, on the other hand, will do just about anything to stop myself.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Chilli already?

While on vacation in Vermont, I made some chili for our household which consisted of Hubby, Buttons, Beth, her hubby, her two cuties and me. Beth told me I must post the recipe for my chili, so now that the monsoons have hit our part of the country and cool weather is here, I shall oblige.

Katie's Chili
Small amount of olive oil
1 large yellow onion
2 pounds of ground turkey (or ground veggie substitute)
About 40 oz of canned tomatoes, diced or chopped with juice
15 oz tomato sauce
12 oz tomato paste
2-15 oz cans dark red kidney beans
2 teaspoons salt
3-4 heaping teaspoons chili powder
2-3 bay leaves
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce (or Pick-A-Peppa)
Dash of tobasco

Brown onion in olive oil, add turkey/veggie substitute and brown/warm. Combine other ingredients and cook in a crock pot on low for 4 to 6 hours, or on low on the stove for about an hour, stirring frequently.

You may serve on top of rice or with shredded cheese and tortilla chips.

I also persuaded Gina to post about "Toddisms" and I recommend her post to you.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Wordless Wednesday


Saturday, August 18, 2007

Happy Engagement!

My step-brother "B" and his girlfriend "G" just became engaged. (I shall affectionately call them "The Bee Gees"). The Bee Gees each had difficult divorces and weren't sure if there would be someone out there for them. Luckily some work friends decided they should meet and obviously that went well. Bee and Gee each have 2 great kids and yes, even the 4 of them get on very well. Hurrah for happy beginnings!


Friday, August 17, 2007

Thinking of Utah

There are heartbreaking things going on every day in every part of the world. Today, I'm thinking of the families in Hungtington, Utah.


Thanks Purl!

Purl of Knitted and Purled, my dishcloth swapper, sent a fantastic package filled thoughtful surprises. It's hard to see in the pictures, but she knit a beautiful hummingbird washcloth out of Shine Sport from Knitpicks and then included two skeins for me to enjoy in a lovely buttery yellow and a sage green. Shine is so very soft and has a beautiful sheen to it and although I haven't knit with it, friends have knit with Shine Worsted and say wonderful things about it.

Purl also included a really cute coloring book for Buttons and she will jump for joy tomorrow when she sees something came in the mail from my secret pal for her. Purl sent some wonderful Numi tea and Jasmine is one of my fave flavors. The Burt's Bees body wash and lotion smells wonderful. The handmade soap is called "hand knit" and it contains bergamot, lavender and lime and is a wonderful scent. The dishcloth pattern book is great and I will definitely utilize it. You're a great spoiler Purl! Thank you!

(By the way, Purl you don't owe me any chocolate. I think summer is a difficult time to send chocolate. Plus, you've already outdone yourself.)


Thursday, August 16, 2007

Yarn for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner*

While in Vermont, my vacation buds and I did a day of yarn shopping and general merriment. We visited Kaleidoscope Yarns and may I just say what a wonderful store. It was the perfect excursion. They had very little of the novelty yarns, lots of heartier yarns like Manos, Colinette, Lamb's Pride and wonderful local stuff nestled in a cozy former house on the street of a quaint town. The people who worked there were helpful, friendly and fun. (They have a great on-line store as well.) I purchased 3 skeins of Malabrigo (mynew favorite yarn), one skein of Cherry Tree Hill's Jumbo Loop along with one ball of Lang's Mille Colori. The Malabrigo skeins are destined for gifts, but Jumbo Loop will be a scarf for me with wristers to match made from the Mille Colori (free patterns with purchase). Gina and I couldn't believe the match in colors from the two different companies for my scarf and wristers. Do you see a color theme for my purchases?

With a recommendation from the ladies at Kaleidoscope Yarns, we made our way to the Chef's Corner for lunch. What a treat! I have this blog book entitled "No One Cares What You Ate for Lunch" but I have to tell you a few of the treats. Our lunch included black bean burritos, veggie quiche and vegetable panini with goat cheese. We took home desserts and were quite happy with those as well. Stop by if you're ever in or near Williston, VT.

Next, Marsha had found local spinner Joanne Littler of the Pine Ledge Fiber Studio and set up a meeting. Her yarns were beautiful, very thick and mostly out of my yarn budget at that point. I purchased some ends to make a two tone hat for myself and a little bit of roving for Buttons. Joanne also does weaving and kindly showed us how she does it. The set up for weaving is amazing and it certainly made me appreciate woven fabrics much more. Wow! I just received (Hubby just brought in the mail) a beautiful card from Joanne Littler thanking us for visiting her studio. Thanks Joanne!

Thanks go to Marsha for organizing the outing even with all the requests for when we would go, whether to do lunch, etc. When I grow up I'd like more patience and an ability to solve problems like my friend Marsha.

*The title refers to the fact that my yarn diet officially ended on this trip as I had planned. It felt good to be on a fiber fast and I think my next purchase will be some Green Mountain Spinnery yarn for Christmas stockings for Hubby and I and then no more yarn until I do some significant damage to my stash again.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Wordless Wednesday...CSA Bounty

Ok, a few words...

Cabbage, cantelope, carrots, corn, cucumbers, eggs, eggplant, lettuce, nectarines, peppers (red & green), pepper plant, sugar snap peas, tomatoes, and zucchini.

I'll be making this soon.

Wordless Wednesday

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Buttons in Vermont

Our girl is a character. On the way home from our recent trip to Vermont, Hubby and I decided to write down bullet points of the trip so I could blog about them later. Buttons gets her own post. Are you surprised?

The trip there. Marsha had a great idea to get kids books on cd's for the girls. Cool! I can't read in the car and maybe this would save us from the last resort...our portable DVD player. We started off pretty early, Buttons had only a small breakfast and proceeded to wolf down a gi-normous amount of "hearty grain" Goldfish (who are they kidding). We began listening to "Strega Nona" by Tomie De Paola while Buttons looked at the pictures. About halfway through the book, she hands it to me and says she doesn't want it and she wants to get out. Uh-oh. She barfs. She's much better natured than I am about it and we stop at a gas station to wash her, the seat and change her clothes. We also give the passersby a scene they didn't expect called "girl on yellow potty in the green grass at the Mobil Station chatting with her mother."

Buttons and our vacation mates. This was a first for us as we vacationed with 3 other families, including sharing a cabin with Beth, her hubby and her 2 girls. Buttons was in hog heaven to have friends staying in the same house. They ate together, played together and around 8 am every morning had a break down together. Marsha and her family heard the wailing in the next cabin, which was not so close. Part of the issue was the fact that Buttons is still learning to share and is ok with being assertive. In fact, the pond proved too mucky for Buttons' feet and she would ask anyone who was willing to fill her buckets with water and bring them to her. This game was played for a while and then my daughter had to learn to forget about the "gooky stuff in (her) toes" so she could make her delicious mud pies.

Ben & Jerry's. The girl knew she wanted Chunky Monkey before we even left. She fell asleep in the car for just a few minutes and when we arrived, Hubby and I wondered if we should wait in the car for her to take a little nap. Nah, there's ice cream. So, in a soft voice towards the backseat I barely spoke "Buttons, would you like to get some ice cream?" Suddenly, her eyes opened wide, her head popped up and from her mouth came the word "yes" followed by "I slept for a little while and then when I woke up, there was ice cream. I have energy now." We took the tour and went into a dark room where they show a little movie and she told me "this isn't spooky at all mom." After the movie she told everyone she saw that she wasn't scared.

Pictures I can't show here. The three girls in our cabin were all in stages of potty training and each one of them had their own potty. At one point two of the girls were sitting on identical potties next to each other and laughing and having a great time. It made for a fun picture, but not for the world. All 4 girls on the trip were able to go skinny dipping and let me tell you that was so fun I wanted to do it myself. If only we could all stay that shame free of our bodies forever.

Out of the mouths of babes. Beth is one of those people who finds great questions to ask. She had a conversation with Buttons that went a little something like this:

Beth: Buttons, who does the dishes in your house?
Buttons: My parents.
Beth: Who cooks in your house?
Buttons: My parents.
Beth: Who vacuums in your house?
Buttons My parents.
Beth: Who's really the boss in your house?
Buttons: My mom.

Of course, in retelling this to Marsha, I asked Buttons who was the boss in our house and she told her "our cat".

The way home. The girl listens to me when I talk about knitting. Here's proof...

Buttons: I'm gonna knit a piano out of yarn.
Me: Really? How will you do that?
Buttons: First I'll pick up stitches.
Me: Er...uh...what?
Buttons: I'll pick up stitches and use some yarn. Wanna see the yarn?
Me: Yes, of course.
Buttons: (Pretending) Here's the yarn I'll use for the blue and white sweatshirt I'm gonna make.
Me: Oh, it's lovely.
Buttons: And I'm going to make a matching hat too.
Me: Wow.

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Finished Objects

While on vacation in Vermont I finished 2 washcloths and a baby hat and started another hat for Buttons in blue. Let me just say I am addicted to the Ball Band Washcloths in Mason Dixon Knitting now. BBW's are the perfect things to make because it's easy to figure out where you are in the pattern, you can easily remember the pattern and you can talk while doing them. I now have to make a hat for Calin, Button's favorite doll.

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Monday, August 13, 2007

Birthday Surprise

Buttons apparently drank a gallon of crabby juice before her nap and felt the effects upon waking. I hummed, hugged and asked her about her dreams. When that failed to bring her out of the funk, I started asking what she wants for her birthday. (A fairly cheap trick, but it worked.)

Buttons: I want a present mommy.
Me: Yes, we would love to get you a present. What would you like?
Buttons: A picture of Calin and me when I adopted her in China.
Me: That would be really nice. Maybe we should celebrate her adoption day too.
Buttons: Yeah, and I want in earring in my nose too.
Me: Huh?
Buttons: Yeah, just like that cow we saw.
Me: Mmmm. Maybe when you're older.

We saw a statue of a cow with a huge ring through its nose while we were on vacation and apparently she was quite taken with it. I'm all about kids being able to express themselves through hairstyles and clothing as long as it's not too hoochy mama or reminds me too much of a domesticated bovine.

Yes, the picture above is of a pig, but ain't it cute? Wanna make one? Click here.

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

SP 11 Questionnaire

Yes, I'm participating in another Secret Pal Swap. Here are my answers for my secret pal...

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like? I love many yarns. Cotton, soft wool, merino, alpaca, silk, bamboo, soy, cashmere, and various mixtures. While on vacation in Vermont I went yarn shopping with friends and came across a yarn called Malabrigo and fell in love. It's similar to Manos del Uruguay but is softer, cheaper, and has more yards per skein. I sometimes work with acrylic but I'm pretty picky about man made fibers. For the most part I'm not into novelty yarns.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in? I have a Lantern Moon wrap case for straight needles and I keep circulars and DPN's together in a special case (that's getting jam packed). I'd love to keep my DPN's separate if anyone has any good ideas.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced? I've been knitting for around 4 years. Hubby bought me knitting lessons from the amazing Pat and now I knit with her and a bunch of other fabulous women about once a week.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list? Yes and I will be happy to share that info upon request.

5. What's your favorite scent? Lavender vanilla, ginger, lemon verbena. I like good quality jasmine as well.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy? Who doesn't have a sweet tooth? I enjoy Belgian chocolates but a Hershey bar would be my favorite easy to purchase confection.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin? I love that others spin of course, but it's not my thing. I love taking pictures and while it's not easy to find time, I like to do simple scrapbook pages. I've been getting into sewing a wee bit and am very interested in Lotta Jansdotter's book and Amy Butler's book as well.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD) Oh, music, music, music! Yes, I am MP3 capable. I really love world music especially (but not limited to) African and Cuban music. I'm always looking for Chinese music as well. My taste varies, but I like anything from Erasure to Joan Armatrading, REM to Ella Fitzgerald, Abba to Indigo Girls, The Beatles to the Doors, movie soundtracks to Broadway soundtracks. I'm not too into country, although I think Patsy Cline is a goddess and rap ain't my thang although there have been some songs that I enjoy. I enjoy classical and opera, but unfortunately not very knowledgeable about either.

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand? I like color. My knitting buds would tell you that. I tend to like jewel tones and not-too-bright brights. I enjoy blue, greens, purples and pinks for wardrobe choices. I'd say fuschia is probably my best color and anything in the blue to teal family looks good on me. My house is decorated in butter yellows, sage greens, lavender and I have 2 very red doors. Although oatmeal, browns, taupes and putty are beautiful, they aren't for me.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets? Hubby, daughter Buttons (almost 3) and our kitty.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos? Yes!

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit? I like to be able to have several projects going at once. One large project, one project that needs concentration and one (or more) quick projects. I enjoy hats, scarves and bags. I like making sweaters, but they're still a challenge even though they're usually for Buttons. I also want to start making toys for my girl after receiving this book from my SP10.

13. What are you knitting right now? A Wallaby for my girl, socks, a hat and maybe 7 other things. Must finish some knitting.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts? YES!

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic? I love my set of Denise needles, but I now own 3 Addi Turbos (16" sizes 7 and 9, 12" size 2) and I'm diggin' them. Pretty needles like Lantern Moon make me weak in the knees, but I'm too practical to ever say I "need" them.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift? Not yet. Hope to sometime in the future.

17. How old is your oldest UFO? 3 years old and I basically just need to sew it together. I will get that shell done for the fall.

18. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas is my favorite holiday, but fall is my favorite season.

19. Is there anything that you collect? Trying to simplify, but I love recipes and patterns. I do like miniature knit items for the Christmas tree.

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have? I'm getting Interweave Knits thanks to my SP10. I would enjoy a short pair of size 7 Lantern Moon needles as a complete luxury for making washcloths. 16" Addi Turbos in size any from 4 to 15 except 7 or 9 would be a welcome addition.

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn? Domino, Entrelac, Intarsia and maybe Fair Isle knitting.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements? In the middle of my first pair and I already have yarn to do at least 3 more. So, I'm good on sock yarn right now. I want to finish this pair before that stash gets out of control. It is like a separate stash, huh? I wear a size 7 1/2 shoe on the medium to wide foot, but I don't know my measurements. Not a true sock knitter, I know.

23. When is your birthday? In November, just before Thanksgiving.

24. Are you on Ravelry? If so, what's your ID? I don't have an ID yet, but here are my stats.
  • 9786 people are ahead of you in line.
  • 6375 people are behind you in line.
  • 34% of the list has been invited so far.


Saturday, August 11, 2007

We're Home

Approximately 6 hours into our 11 hour ride home, a question is asked and our girl answers...

Hubby: Buttons, what was your favorite part of our vacation?

Buttons: Riding in the car.

Maybe she just lives in the moment or maybe she was enjoying our crazy attempts at keeping her entertained. Maybe it was the fact she took 2 naps that added up to 3 hours. Either way, she did amazingly well and only asked "are we there yet" ten times. In a row.

I love her. Hubby too. Vacations are nice.

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Saturday, August 04, 2007

Vacation...All I Ever Wanted

We're gonna go read, play, hang out, sleep, hike, dream and make s'mores.
See y'all on the flip side.


Friday, August 03, 2007

M.I.L.F. Update

15 pounds. That's the size of this Hepa filter and also the amount of weight I've lost since I began the "M.I.L.F." project. Oh, I've had some ups and downs, but this week I'm down 3.5 pounds from where I was a few weeks ago and I figured it was time to do an update. What have I been doing? My stomach has been upset for a little while and I've given up many of the foods that seem to irritate it and many of those foods just weren't good for me anyway. My friend Marsha jokingly congratulated me on having an upset stomach. So while I hope my tummy feels better soon, I'm trying to make the best of it.

I'll be away from blogging for a little while. Mmmm...vacation.


Thursday, August 02, 2007

Kids and Restaurants

Buttons is all and all a very well behaved child. However, when she is overly tired and overly hungry, she can very much (understandably) act her age. Once when she was loudly crying we were politely asked to shut-up or get a diner. We were with friends, but we left and had lunch back home. I have not been back to this diner since. I certainly understand the need for things to be quiet while people are eating, but I was embarrassed and sure that I'd leave a place far before anyone would tell me it was time to skedaddle.

We do go out to eat and in general we try to take Buttons to kid friendly places. Honestly, she really does a good job, but there is a timer that starts the minute we enter the restaurant and unless something fabulous is happening, there is a time when she needs to go. This is her favorite place along with this place. There's also an excellent local place that has wonderful Chinese food that she digs as well.

Tonight we went here and really enjoyed it. The food was very good AND they are kid friendly without being a "kid's restaurant". They had crayons and a coloring book for her and when we ordered, the waitress asked if Buttons would like her food right away. She came back with our drinks, bread, olive oil and some raw (no egg) pizza dough on a small plate. Let me tell you, our little cook was in hog heaven. She smooshed the dough, added some of the cooked bread, pretended to add a few things and then just before the food came, they asked Buttons if she wanted it cooked in the oven (oh yes). As we were finishing our meal, they brought the cooked dough back and Buttons was thrilled. Hubby and I were actually able to talk about our upcoming vacation while our girl kneaded away. If that weren't enough, our waitress was wonderful and after asking her manager, decided since it was our first time there, they would send us home with their most popular dessert. I do like to support locally grown businesses, but this place was tops in my book and I look forward to going back.


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Wordless Wednesday