Monday, January 26, 2009

RFK the Soothsayer

If we miss church, we often turn on CBS Sunday Morning and watch an hour and a half of interesting stories and usually there are at least a few that are good for the whole family. Well, this morning I learned that Robert F. Kennedy predicted the future when back in 1968 he told the world that he believed that a black man could be president in forty years. So whether he was able to see the future or if by saying it, he planted the message in the minds of people and it became part of our fabric, I don't know. It's amazing to me now though. Thanks RFK.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Happy Birthday R!

I don't post birthdays here for everyone I know, but for our Belgium family it's a great way to send birthday greetings. R. may wind up being a comedian someday. He'll do just about anything for a laugh and perhaps you can tell that from the picture.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Knitting Update

I've been knitting quite a bit lately. I've been going through my stash and trying to decide what to keep, what to give away, sell and (gasp!) pitch. My UFO's are under control for the most part, but I need to organize and decide if I want to frog any of them so that they're not hanging over my head as I turn to other, new projects. Of course, I never feel guilty about working on new projects if they will be gifts. Fancy how I work my way around that, huh?

My first project of the year is this hat and booties for my nephew J., born today! I used the baby hat pattern from The Knit Knack Kit with this Elann's Adara for the stripe and Mission Falls Cotton for the body. I used a free Bernat pattern using Elann's Adara for the baby booties. These were fun and quick and I can't wait to see them on him!
The other gift I've been working on is from a wondeful skein of alpaca that I've had in my stash for a while and just waiting for the right time to knit it. Wow, was it fabulous to knit (so soft). (Buttons is napping right now, so I'll have to update this post to give you the exact yarn information.) I used my standard hat pattern from The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns, which if you don't have you should really think about it. I know that if I have yarn with a gauge of 3 to 8 or 9 inches, I can go to this book and figure out approximately how much I will need and will give me a pattern for sized newborn to adult for hats, socks, sweaters, vests, mittens, etc.
This gift is for a courageous friend who is going through a difficult time right now. I'm hoping this brings her some warmth.

Well, I need to get these gifts packed and ready to take to the post office tomorrow. Currently, I'm finishing a vest for Buttons and working on a beautiful scarf (for me!) using 2 different colors of Patons SWS yarn with this pattern. I'd like to make matching mittens and a hat, so I'll be ordering more very soon. Buttons would also like a set as well. Time to teach her to knit!


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Ice Skating

One of my hubby's favorite memories was when his dad would take a hose to their backyard and make an ice rink. So, he's been itching to get his daughter on the ice. Buttons had her first chance this weekend and she rocked it.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

O Happy Day!

Welcome home Barack, Michele, Malia and Sasha.
What a wonderful day in the history of America.

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Friday, January 16, 2009


"When you go owling
you don't need words
or warm
or anything but hope.
That's what Pa says.
The kind of hope
that flies
on silent wings
under a shining
Owl Moon."

-Jane Yolen
Owl Moon

On January 13th, my grandpa's life ended in a peaceful way. In his life he had many losses, but he always kept above water in times when I wonder if I might have drowned. He spent his life in service, first in the military helping set up a blood bank along with a radar system in World War II. In civilian life, he dedicated his time to helping people as a city manager for 3 different cities.

His goal was to learn to do something new every year. I remember shortly after Grandma K. died he filled his house with macrame. After making a trip out west with Grandma M. he took up painting and like Georgia O'Keefe, was inspired by this trip. He and Grandma M. flew to Australia and I wouldn't doubt it if someone told me he wrestled an alligator there.

He made wine and you only needed one glass to get a really decent buzz and while strong, most of it was pretty good. Heaven help you if you had the dandelion vino though. He baked bread and made elderberry wine and jam to go with it. He was a fierce gardener and always fed the birds and watched them with such joy. (I often thought that if it was a choice to feed himself or the birds, his feathered friends would have made out like bandits.)

Grandma K. died when I was 5 and I don't think I went to her funeral. Grandma M. died almost exactly 1 year ago and neither she or Grandpa wanted a funeral service, so I'm trying to do a little closure for both of them. I'm hoping that at least our family can get together and remember my Grandpa and honor his life with stories, tears, food and a lot of wine.

Maybe I'll even learn to macrame this year, Grandpa.
I will miss your silliness, your laughter, you zest for life and your beautiful blue eyes.
Thank you for the gift of your daughter as my mom.


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Whim Soup, Take 1 (Vegetarian)

Growing up, I preferred Campbell's soup to my mom's homemade. Luckily, I've outgrown that. I started enjoying homemade soups because they tasted better and had less salt. My mom makes great soup and I'll happily choose it over any can any day. However, I thought soup was hard to make, so until about a year ago all I ever tried to make was chicken noodle soup whenever we became sick.

Then, my friend Linda gave me the recipe for what I now refer to as Whim Soup. In your crockpot, you add broth, some veggies (frozen, canned, fresh or a combination) and add a handful of herbs (most often Herbs de Provence) and cook. Easy peasy and delicious.

While we lived in Belgium, I rarely followed a recipe and soup became my go to meal. I faked it using products like this spice "boullion" and this handy gizmo. Buttons thinks I'm the greatest soup maker in the world and so I desire to make more soup. (I've also been making bread, so she's thinking I'm some sort of June Cleaver. However, I'm not vacumming in

So, the point is I made a soup we liked a couple of nights ago and I thought I'd share, just in case you wanted to try it and now I have an actual recipe for it!

Whim Soup, Take 1 (Vegetarian)
32 oz organic vegetable broth
30 oz (approximately) chopped tomatoes (with juice)
15 oz undrained canned garbanzo beans
15 oz drained canned corn
1 frozen package of spinach
1 small handful (3 tablespoons?) Herbs de Provence
3 teaspoons of garlic (Button's request)
1 1/2 cups of small alphabet pasta

Combine broth and tomatoes, puree in crockpot.
Add everything else EXCEPT pasta.
Cook on low or high depending on when you want it done.
Make sure you cook it long enough for the spices to soften.
Cook pasta, drain, add to soup and serve,
preferably with homemade bread while wearing pearls.

(Wish I had a picture, but we ate it too fast.)


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Year of the Ox (aka The Year of the Dance)

I had a better post to go with this video, but I lost it after having to change the URL for the video. The gist of it was it's been a while. I have much to say, but thought I'd come back to the blogosphere with Buttons dancing at a CNY celebration. (She's in the green.) Her legs were so tired the next day she walked around quite gingerly for a while.
"Xin [sing] Nian [nee-an] Kuai [kwai] Le [ler]"
(Happy New Year in Mandarin.)


Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Happy Birthday C!

As many of you know, we spent 2 months last year in Belgium. We stayed in an apartment above the most wonderful hosts. Luckily, we have wonderful ways (like Skype) to stay in touch. Unfortunately, the time difference makes it a little difficult to keep in contact. We've done pretty well, but I'd love ot hear how y'all stay in touch with the people who are far away.

Anyway, C. had a wonderful birthday party and sent us pictures of the party held in her home for 42 costumed guests and included a DJ. Now in August we'll be flying back to go to the wedding of their son and I am sooo looking forward to that party.

Happy Birthday C! We miss you!