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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Yarn Along: Baby Shower KAL!


The Baby Shower Knit-a-Long for both the Shower's This Weekend baby sweater and the Shower's in an Hour baby hat began today and there is still time to join! It runs from April 19 - May 3, and if you haven't joined up yet, there is plenty of time to do it. I won't close up sign ups until the last day. I decided to embellish my sweater and hat to give people an idea of one of the things that can be done with such a simple set of designs.

Now that we are in Bright Week, I'm doing more work with Amira and Nejat's hunicorn slippers. I'm fairly certain that Nejat's present will be complete well before her birthday, which should give me a chance to work on two more small designs, and a sweater for Jerome that will be too warm for him to wear by the time it is finished. I will try to make it big enough that he can wear it in the fall and winter this year.

There was no time for me to do any real reading last week, so I'm taking this week to read, knit, do some pattern editing and writing, and just relax in general.


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Sunday, April 16, 2017

Menu Plan: Bright Week


Christ is Risen! The Lord is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!


There is no fasting during the eight days of the Paschal Octave, which is both exciting and tough after fasting and abstinence during Lent! Enjoy!

What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up on Saturday.

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Saturday, April 15, 2017

Weekly Recipes: Spring Herb Soup & Tabbouleh

Spring Herb Soup
Those of you who know me will be amazed that I have listed mushroom broth at all, let alone prefer it here. I do think that mushroom broth is better than the vegetable broth. This is a simple, tasty soup that is perfect for the spring. I serve it with salad and fruit, or rolls.

3 tablespoons light oil, such as sunflower seed or safflower oil
6 medium to large leeks, washed well and thinly sliced (white and light green parts, save the tougher section for stock)
6 spring onions (or 12 scallions), cleaned and thinly sliced
2 bunches of parsley, trimmed and finely chopped, reserving about 2 tablespoons to garnish
2 bunches thyme, leaves stripped from stems
1 bunch tarragon, leaves stripped and finely chopped, reserving about 2 tablespoons to garnish
6 quarts mushroom broth or vegetable broth
1 tablespoon kosher salt, less if your broth is salty
2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
1 pound campanelle or other medium sized, pretty pasta

Heat a large soup pot over medium high heat while you prepare your ingredients. Add oil to pot and immediately add the leeks, spring onions, parsley, thyme, and tarragon to the pot and stir to soften. When the vegetables and herbs are soft, add broth, salt, pepper, and pasta, and bring to a boil. Turn to low and simmer until pasta is cooked al dente and taste for seasoning, adjusting salt and pepper as necessary.


Tabbouleh
This salad really improves with a day to blend the flavors. The traditional Lebanese style of tabbouleh has a higher ratio of parsley and mint to the bulgur, so you may wish to increase their amounts. If you wish to make it ahead, add everything except the tomatoes, and do not garnish with the lettuce until just before you serve.

3 cups medium bulgur
hot water to cover by an inch
3 bunches Italian parsley, trimmed and chopped finely
3 bunches mint, leaves removed from stems, and chopped finely
3 bunch scallions, chopped finely
4 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and finely diced
6 medium tomatoes, seeded and finely diced
1 cup good olive oil
juice of 6 lemons
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Romaine lettuce to garnish (optional)

Soak bulgur in hot water in a large bowl, for at least an hour. It should have absorbed all the water.

Mix parsley, mint, scallions, cucumbers and tomatoes into bulgur.

Whisk olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper into a vinaigrette. Pour over salad and toss together to mix thoroughly. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.

Garnish salad bowl with individual lettuce leaves stood on end, tucked around the edge of the bowl, and serve, using the lettuce as a bowl for the salad.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Yarn Along: Whatever I Knit This Week is a Bonus


Amira is still almost there, but with Holy Week, I'm not sure I'll get her finished. I made a mistake that requires me to go back two and a half rows to fix, which I am not looking forward to, either. However, I have a picture of my Sunday knitting up there. I don't work on my designs on Sundays, and I pull out other designers' work or personal designs that aren't for sale. Nejat's birthday is the next in line in the birthday season, so I'm making her these hunicorn slippers as her birthday gift. The plan is to use gold, sparkly, puffy paint to write Hunicorn on the soles of them. I had forgotten how quickly slippers for a four year old in worsted weight yarn knit up - I made the first one in a day, and if our big van wasn't at the shop, I would have had the second one finished in a day, too. Instead, I had to drive to church and back, because we had to take two vehicles, and it turns out that you are not supposed to knit and drive.

The Baby Shower Knit-a-Long for both the Shower's This Weekend baby sweater and the Shower's in an Hour baby hat begins next week! It runs from April 19 - May 3, and if you haven't joined up yet, there is plenty of time to do it. I won't close up sign ups until the last day. Please consider joining, as these are both quick, cute knits, and you could win some awesome prizes.

I do want to give you notice that during Holy Week, I will only be doing minimal business work, so please have patience with me if it takes a little while for me to reply.

My reading this week has been minimal. I have read story books from our Lenten book bin to our children, and I may have read a paragraph or two in Messenger of Truth.


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Monday, April 10, 2017

Menu Plan: Palm Sunday and Holy Week


I was down for the count with strep a couple weeks ago, so my normal grocery shopping, cooking, and planning was not done at all. Meals last week were interesting.

Fortunately, there was a teen skating night scheduled for Elijah's birthday, which meant that he could have a good time, even though I was not up to cooking and baking up a storm. Also, a sweet lady from church made five different types of cake for the coffee hour, partly because of his birthday, and since we weren't there, even delivered them to our house after liturgy.

This week, we walk the Via Dolorosa with the Lord. It is such a tough week for us, spiritually and emotionally, but one of growth. It is a week of preparation, both spiritually and physically, which is fitting, given our created nature.

I did the huge Paschal shopping trip on Friday, to try to avoid doing most of it this week. 10 hours, four counties, eight stops, and most of it is finished. That's the down side of living in a small, rural area in the middle of the state. However, I was able to find a localish chocolatier who had lambs, since the convent where we normally get ours didn't have them available this year. There is still one shopping trip necessary, but it's for a few things that would go bad if bought too early. We have our yellow onion skins to dye our blood red eggs. The eggs from the Passover meal, covered in the blood of Christ who is our true Passover. Some of the food preparation will begin on Wednesday, and we'll fit it all in between the church services this week.

Our meals are light and simple this week. We also don't restrict the youngest on dairy, though during Holy Week we try to follow the stricter Lenten guidelines more closely. Since our small ones don't do the full fast between the Maundy Thursday service and the Paschal Vigil, I do have meals planned those days for them. I'm sure our oldest kids will be participating, though, so I'm going to have to figure out how to make small enough quantities to feed them, but not fill our fridge when we need the real estate for the Paschal feast. Even though our spring break is this week and next, the schools, and therefore the kids' activities and my choir practice, are in session, so we have to work around them this week, too. We're trying to only skip what we have to, but it's a little frustrating that in an area where probably 90% of the people or more celebrate the Paschal feast (or at least dye eggs and have a big dinner with their families), that they never have spring break on either Holy Week or Bright Week. In fact, they don't even align the government schools with the local college's break. Alexander was on break two weeks ago, and the local schools were on break last week. I grew up in a college town and the schools all have spring break at the same time. We will walk with Christ just the same. We will meet Him anew and come to know and love Him deeper. Then, the joy and miracle of His resurrection, which gives us the hope of overcoming death will rise again in our hearts and lives.

May God grant you all a blessed and holy journey to the Paschal celebration.
What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up.



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Thursday, April 06, 2017

Yarn Along: So Close I Can Taste It


Amira is so close to finished. I'm really hoping it will be completed by next weekend. As it will also be Holy Week, I am not sure how reasonable that hope is, but I'll keep working at it.

This past week has been rather rough at our house. Aside from getting over strep, my allergies kicked in, and we've just been busy with work and other things in our life, like end of term exams and doing some scholarship applications with Alexander. I kind of went on strike with the kids, so I didn't plan a menu this week and made them figure it out themselves. The meals have been interesting.

I did get my first issue of 1,001 Knits out last week. If you subscribed, I hope you enjoyed my short missive. The next issue is due out in June, though I'm aiming for the first or second week of June this time.

My Baby Shower Knit-a-Long for both the Shower's This Weekend baby sweater and the Shower's in an Hour baby hat begins in the middle of Bright Week. It runs from April 19 - May 3, and if you haven't joined up yet, there is plenty of time to do it. I won't close up sign ups until the last day. There are some really lovely prizes, too. Just yesterday, Lydia from Oh Loops! offered a skein of their beautiful yarn and a pattern as prizes. I really love their literary themed colorways, especially.

Speaking of literature, the only real reading I've done this week has been pretty light, I picked up another Maisie Dobbs book, Messenger of Truth, and I'm enjoying it so far.


Linking to Crafting On.

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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Menu Along: Laetare, Strep, and Delays


I have finished my new sample for the Shower's This Weekend Baby Sweater. The ends still need weaving in, and I need to block it, but the knitting is complete. Unfortunately, because of my illness this weekend, I was just not on top of things enough to begin the KAL this week. Since Holy Week and Bright Week are right in the middle of the month, it has been pushed to April 19 - May 3. However, that gives you more of a chance to sign up, get the pattern, and be ready for the fun and prizes.

Speaking of prizes, check out the yarns Malabrigo Yarn sent for winners in the Baby Shower Knit-a-Long!


Chunky in Jacinto, Colchina, and Water Green and Twist in Applewood and Olive.

Margaret, from Happy Hands, is offering some great prizes, too! Hers will be a little more individualized, and her lotions are my absolute favorites. They do not transfer anything to your yarn or projects.

Thank you to those of you who have already subscribed to my new quarterly newsletter, 1,001 Knits. The first issue should be winging its way to you by the end of the day on Friday, with news about my most recent patterns, and those that are on the way, as well as more about the KAL, and some fun things I have found on my trips to different yarn shops.


Linking to Crafting On.



I was down for the count with strep this weekend, so my normal grocery shopping, cooking, and planning was not done at all. So meals are, interesting, here this week, and there are some repeats. I'm hoping to get to the store tomorrow so I can liven things up for us.

Fortunately, there was a teen skating night scheduled for Elijah's birthday, which meant that he could have a good time, even though I was not up to cooking and baking up a storm. Also, a sweet lady from church made five different types of cake for the coffee hour, partly because of his birthday, and since we weren't there, even delivered them to our house after liturgy.

What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up.



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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Yarn Along: Magic Carpet Edition


Rainbow Angst is finished! Sort of. I still have the ends to weave in, it needs to be blocked, and I strongly suspect that the sleeve cuff bind offs will have to be undone and added to so they will fit her unreasonably long arms (which we measured her preferred sleeve length on twice and I knit to that, and they still seem short). It wasn't ready for her to wear for her party, obviously, but she does seem to like it.

Rich had a business trip this week, and I came along for a little vacation. I did a lot of knitting on Amira's sweater, as well as making progress on Amira. Since I had a great yarn shop within walking distance of the hotel, I also picked up some great souvenir yarn.


Two skeins of Classic Elite Ava in Silver, one in Red Violet, which are destined either to be a hat and boot cuff set or a cable and color work infinity scarf, a mini-pack of Frabjous Fibers March Hare in Do You Suppose She's a Wildflower? for a doll pattern I'll have out November of next year, and some Canon Hand Dyes Oscar Sparkle Sock in Winter Wonderland for a shawl design.

I started a Shower's This Weekend baby sweater to have for the Baby Shower Knit-a-Long beginning March 27 and going through April 8. I am thrilled about the prize sponsors I have so far: Malabrigo yarn has sent several skeins of yarn, some of the Chunky and some of the Twist, and my favorite lotion shop, Happy Hands, is offering some great prizes, too!

There's a funny story that is related to my designing and to our trip and to this KAL. We've been going to this conference for more than a decade. We know the crowd and that there's almost always a baby or three there (often, they included ours, too), so I went in search of one for a photo shoot. You can read more about it in 1,001 Knits if you subscribe here. Thank you to all of you who have already signed up for my new quarterly newsletter. I'm so excited to share the first issue with you all at the end of this month!

There was precious little reading this past week. I did make a bit of progress inThe Ascetic Lives of Mothers, but haven't read much else.



This is the last official yarn along, hosted by Ginny. I'll still post weekly updates, and share on Instagram, as well as linking to Nicole's carnival. I would like to wish Ginny well, as she moves on from this. I understand, as a mother of many, how life with little children is busy, but nap times and other down times allow for some more extra work to get done, and how that goes away with their activities and other ways they need you when they are older, but not that old. In my experience, you start to get a little of that time back when the oldest are in their teens, because you have the times up talking to them as well as the time alone, as they become more independent and do things without the family more and more.

Also linking to Keep Calm and Craft On.

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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Menu Plan: Fourth Week of Lent


This is kind of a strange week for us. However, I'm still trying to keep on top of at least some planning. It's also a week with another birthday in it. Elijah is 15 this week! This is our second celebration of the birthday season in our family.

I really can't wait until we have a schedule that allows us to make and eat a little more complicated meals. There's a lot of salad this week, because we're in that in between part of the year where there isn't a lot in the freezers or jars from last summer, but there also isn't a ton that is fresh in the market (and certainly not the garden, since it's been such a miserable and long winter).

What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up.

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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Yarn Along: Patterns and Newsletters and Birthdays, Oh My!


Remember how I said I'd bought myself some more time on Amira's Rainbow Angst? Well, her party is this coming Sunday. I'm almost finished with one sleeve, which is good, but there is still the other sleeve and the entire rest of the waist shaping and working the sweater down to the hem. That's about 11 more inches on the body and another 18 inches of knitting on the second sleeve. Because this girl is taller than I am. Wish me luck!

I also finally ripped out the too loose color work on my Rosy Mittens. I wasn't happy with it, and I knew I wouldn't be happy with it later, so I just bit the bullet and ripped. If you saw my post on Instagram about this, you might remember the C.S. Lewis quotation I posted with it:
"We all want progress, but if you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive."

The other project I'm working on is her namesake: Amira. Folks, I am so excited about this. You may be sick of it, or think it's not that great, but this is my baby. This is the design idea that made me try to be a designer, and it's finally close to being published. I've been working with one technical editor to figure out some kinks with the neckline, and she is finished, and I have done my swatching and reworking, so my goal is to have the final pattern edited and ready to go to a second technical editor who will look for any things either of us missed. Then, it's going back to my patient and wonderful preview knitters, who have been waiting with an almost finished front and back to their tops for almost a year, so they can finish their versions, and I can get photographs of mine done when I am finished, so I can post the edited pattern with project pages to Ravelry. Whew! I wanted to have it ready to publish (my most recent revision to the target date) for Amira's birthday, now I'm just hoping I can have it live by the end of this month. That is cutting it pretty close, so we'll see.

You may not know that I am in the process of revising both the Shower’s in an Hour Baby Hat and Shower’s This Weekend Baby Sweater patterns to include more sizes and updated photography. To celebrate and publicize that, I'm hosting a Baby Shower Knit-a-Long beginning March 27 and going through April 8, and would love to see how you put your personality into these designs.  Please join in knitting and talking about your projects and more!  I'm available to help and cheer you on, and there should be a ton of camaraderie to be found with other KAL-ers.  If you don't already have either pattern, please use this coupon code, babyshower2017, for 25% off either or both patterns. Everyone who participates in the KAL will automatically receive the pattern upgrade with two more sizes while paying not only the lower price, but possibly an even lower price using the coupon. Once the KAL is finished, the revised pattern will be released to the public for a higher price. More details are available at the link for the KAL, and updates will be made fairly regularly. I'm hoping to announce the prize sponsors by the end of next week!

If you want to get previews of new patterns coming out, or find out more about my KALs or just learn a little bit more about my design world, please subscribe to my new quarterly newsletter, 1,001 Knits. The first issue should be going out by the end of this month!

My reading this week has been a little in A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire and mostly in The Ascetic Lives of Mothers. I picked up this book a year ago, but set it aside because I was trying to do a study/prayer group with some local moms. We just never were able to find a good time for us, so I'm reading it myself now. It is wonderful! The prayers are useful, but also instructive to me. I appreciate the words of the Fathers, as well. It's been edifying and uplifting.



Also posting to Keep Calm and Craft On.

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Sunday, March 12, 2017

Menu Plan: Third Week of Lent


We have church suppers twice a week, which actually kind of makes our lives a little simpler. I don't have to plan a meal most of those weeks (we take on one of them every month or so), and there's no cooking needed on those days. With the schedule we have right now, that is a relief. I wasn't able to find some things at our regular grocery store, so I had to move a meal from last week. Something we did find at the grocery store, though, was a huge sale on seafood, including lobster. So, we have lobster sandwiches on the menu this week as a way to make them stretch a bit.

What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up.

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Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Yarn Along: We're Back in the Game!


Amira's Rainbow Angst is my major project at the moment, since her birthday is coming up soon. I made quite a bit of progress on it while we were traveling. I've divided the body from the sleeves, worked the body down to the waist decreases, and started on one of the sleeves tonight. The good news is that, even though her birthday is this week, her party isn't for over a week after that, so I have bought myself some time to finish her sweater.

Amira also came with me and I worked on it while we were away, but I made a foolish mistake, in my own pattern, from a graph I wrote out myself, and a stitch pattern I've used a million times, so I had to put it in time out for the rest of our trip and rip it out when we got home. It is finally past where I was on the plane. It is this close to being ready for the public, which is exciting to me.

Aside from working on Amira's birthday sweater, I cast on for a pair of Rosy Mittens as part of the #lentenkal on Instagram. When I finish them, they will make a lovely set with my Ring Around the Rosy Scarf. They are also great Sunday knitting for me.

Rich and I had tickets to a local theater production and Amira's sweater was too large for me to reasonably bring, Amira requires some attention, and the mittens have a chart I need to read while knitting. I was going to just cast on something else simple to make, but Rich made a remark about how I could bring his socks, so I knit some more on his Manly Rainbow Socks and found that when you actually knit on something, you make progress. I knit another three inches on the leg of the sock while we watched the show. This sock is an act of love. It is made of a sock yarn with merino and silk, knit on size 0 needles, at 10 stitches per inch, for a man's feet.

Unfortunately, on our trip I did nearly no reading. I am still reading A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire. There is a Lenten Psalter group I've joined, too, and I'm reading through the Psalms this Lent.

If you are participating in #yarnmadness and #yarnlovechallenge on Instagram, I'd love to see what you are posting in response to the prompts. You can see what I have posted there by following me.



Also posting to Keep Calm and Craft On.

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Monday, March 06, 2017

Menu Plan: Second Week of Lent


I have so much to share about our trip and what's going on in our lives right now, but so much is going on in our lives right now that I just don't have as much time to share. Here is something sweet, though: Nejat got it in her head that the ashes on Ash Wednesday were the "Gospel" and when she got home, she had already rubbed some of them off her forehead. She looked in the mirror and exclaimed, "My Gospel fell off!"

Because of that so much going on thing, we have a few repeats this week. We also have a birthday this week, it's our first of the birthday season. Amira turns 13 this week, which is rather exciting. It also means that we will officially have four teenagers in our house.

What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up.

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Saturday, March 04, 2017

Recipe Round Up: Apple or Pear Fritters


This recipe is so easy to whip up, even on a relatively free weeknight, that it is dangerous. It is delicious. I use Ceylon cinnamon, but if you prefer to use a spicier tasting cinnamon or can't get a hold of the Ceylon, any other cinnamon will work just fine. Any apple or pear you enjoy eating will work in this recipe. We usually make double this amount.

1 heaping cup pastry flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 – 2 teaspoons cinnamon (depending on how much you love cinnamon)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1 1/2 cups peeled and chopped apple or pear, in the size of peas or corn kernels
oil for frying

Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons milk (add more by teaspoons, if necessary)

Whisk dry ingredients together, slowly add the remaining ingredients, except for the apple (or pear) and oil. Carefully mix until well combined, being careful not to overbeat. Gently fold in apple pieces. The batter should resemble cake batter.

Heat oil to medium high heat, around 350° F. Once the oil is ready, place batter into the oil by heaping tablespoonsful (I use a cookie scoop), crowding the pan slightly, but allowing room to turn the fritters. Watch carefully for the underside to turn golden brown, then gently flip over and continue frying until browned on all sides, about 45 seconds per side. Remove to a rack to drain and cool slightly. Drizzle with glaze while still warm. Serve and enjoy!

For the glaze:

Whisk the powdered sugar, cinnamon, and butter together until they resemble clay. Slowly add the milk, whisking vigorously to incorporate with the other ingredients.

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Monday, February 27, 2017

Menu Plan: First Week of Lent



We just got home (less than 24 hours ago) from a fantabulous family vacation. We were able to visit with some good friends, stay at some lovely hotels, eat amazing food, go to Legoland, take over a cooking friend's home, enjoy the sunshine and the beach and the ocean, attend church at a cathedral in our communion, commune with our brothers and sisters and visit with friends there, and then returned home after almost 11 days to the frozen north and snow and ice. Nejat has told us numerous times today that she wants to move to California because there is no snow there.

Glory to God, we did not return to a flooded basement! So, even though we hadn't planned on doing our doughnut night this year, since Shrove Tuesday was only a day after our return, we are going to throw it together, anyway. I'm not sure who will be able to make it, but our kids were rather disappointed to hear that I was skipping it this year.

Lent is upon us, and even though we follow the Western calendar, I am pleased that it coincides with the East this year. May both lungs of the Church be united in our lifetime. If you want a refresher on the Lenten fast, it is a Trinity of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving. We find it better to fast with the Church than to come up with something to give up specifically, though we have done that as well as the fast. Since we have small children, we are not as strict about the fast as we might be otherwise, we still eat dairy and egg, and occasionally fish, and we eat meat on Sundays. Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday are strict fasts, for at least 24 hours, but we have younger children who may only participate for one or two meals or none at all (in the case of Nejat, for instance), so I still plan meals for those days. We try to keep the stricter rules for Wednesdays and Fridays during Lent, but sometimes cannot do so. However, if you are looking for menu help and meal ideas for Lent, I do post meals and recipes that are meat free.

As we prepare for Lent, we must prepare for self-examination, in that frame of mind, if I have offended you or wronged you in any way, please forgive me and pray for me, a sinner. Have a blessed fast.

What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Yarn Along: Cast on Another, Why Not?


In the next few weeks, I'm going to have a chance to knit on a plane again. We're escaping our miserable winter for a little while and visiting with friends we haven't seen in a while (my friend Kim's husband and kids) and taking the kids to Legoland. We got a great deal, and this was probably going to be the last chance we had to do something like this with all of them. It's a little bittersweet. Also, flying with eight children is kind of freaking me out a little. So, to prepare, I made sure my knitting purse fit all the things I'd need for travel, including all the knitting I'm bringing on needles. Since I don't want TSA to steal my Leatherman Micra, I took that out of my notions bag already, and since I want no trouble about empty knitting needles, I cast on for Amira's Rainbow Angst, because why not? I've actually gotten a bit of knitting done this week on that, it's knit top down, and I'm through almost all the increases before separating the body from the sleeves. There's been more knitting than normal this week, with progress on Amira, Sirocco (it's missing in that photo up there), and Eve's Leaves. Anyway, I'm bringing three projects with me; Sirocco is staying at home, because it involves too many different skeins of yarn. I had to keep myself from bringing another project, because I have a sweater planned for Jerome, since he's the only person in the house who hasn't had a sweater specifically made for him.

My reading has been a bit limited, but I've done a little in both Sirach study, and A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire. I'm only planning on bringing the study book, my prayer book and a Bible with me on the trip. I don't anticipate a lot of reading time and I'm going to use our travel time for knitting as much as possible.

I forgot to ask if you were participating in the #yarnlovechallenge on Instagram. There have been a lot of neat and creative posts. You can see what I have posted there by following me.



Also posting to Keep Calm and Craft On.

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Sunday, February 12, 2017

Menu Plan: February 12 - 18


This week and next are going to be pretty busy for us. We're getting ready for a pretty big trip with the whole family, so I'll try to post on the blog next week, but I make no guarantees. There's a ton of laundry and organizing and paperwork and last minute school work and scholarship applications going on here before we can leave. Not surprisingly, I am a bit tense about all that needs to be done. Oh, and we have to try to prep a closet in our basement to withstand a leak, should the big thaw come while we are gone. I've been having the kids shovel snow and ice chunks away from our walls and roll giant ice and snow balls out of our yard into the irrigation ditch. Rich came home and saw them by the ditch line with them and asked if they were building snowmen. They told him that they were getting rid of the snow, because I'd told them to do it. Only the little kids are really still excited about the snow at all.

When I planned our menus for last week, I had forgotten that we'd scheduled our monthly dance a week early, so our Saturday dinner is being repeated this week. We're still eating our way through the citrus we bought, too, and we're repeating a few breakfasts as well.

What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up.

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Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Yarn Along: Eureka!


It still delights me that my knitting goes with my book. I'm simple that way. Do you see that up there, though? That's the neckline swatch for Amira! Eureka! This means that I am ever closer to getting the pattern released this year. I had a couple people working on the top last year, and I'm hoping they are not too weary of the project at this point, so they might finish up in time for me to push for a March publication date. However, an excellent pattern is better than a timely release date. I am trying to remember that.

I made a little progress on Eve's Leaves again this week. Still mostly while Rich drives us to and from church. I think I got one row of the lace pattern done after choir practice this week, too. Only a few rows done on Sirocco, but progress is progress.

Nobody bit last week, so I'll ask one more time: If you would answer a design question for me, I would appreciate it. Please leave your response in the comments. Sirocco is part of a two part collection I had planned for the end of 2018 and the beginning of 2019 (one focusing on texture and the other on color). It is actually going to be in the collection put out in 2019. I planned to have all of the patterns in the collections available for sale individually (maybe with one freebie in each as a bonus to those who purchase the whole set), but didn't know if I should release each pattern as it is available, or wait and release them all when their part of the collection is complete. One pattern from the first part of the collection is already available in my store, and putting out Sirocco this year would mean that one pattern from the second part of the collection would also be available ahead of time. I'm okay with that as a preview, but I'm wondering if all the rest should come out as they are ready or not. What do you think?

The girls did have strep and we had an episode of fever induced delusion this week, plus at least one son has caught it. I'm possibly in denial about having it myself. This is all to say that the Sirach study did not get touched this week, either, and I only made a slight dent in A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire. Please pray for our household, that all would rest, and especially that all would be well.



Also posting to Keep Calm and Craft On.

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Sunday, February 05, 2017

Menu Plan: February 5 - 11


The produce man came through for us this week and we have pomelos, mandarin oranges, cara cara oranges, cucumbers and dates. On top of that, we had a great deal on fish and shrimp, so those will show up in our menus over the next month or so. Especially as we count down to Lent. I'm trying to decide if I should keep them in the freezer until then, or if we should just put them in the menu as I feel led. Either way, our schedule is such that most of our meals have to be fairly quick except for weekends. There are a few repeats this week.

What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up.

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Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Yarn Along: Symphony of Red


Most of my knitting this week has matched my book. Though I did a little work on Eve's Leaves while at driving to and from church and at choir practice, mostly I worked on Sirocco. I also started a swatch to see if the method and calculations my TE came up with will work with the neckline on Amira. This means that I likely won't be able to release it on Amira's birthday, but I'd rather have a well written and clear pattern than a rush job to make a date I set.

If you would answer a design question for me, I would appreciate it. Please leave your response in the comments. Sirocco is part of a two part collection I had planned for the end of 2018 and the beginning of 2019 (one focusing on texture and the other on color). It is actually going to be in the collection put out in 2019. I planned to have all of the patterns in the collections available for sale individually (maybe with one freebie in each as a bonus to those who purchase the whole set), but didn't know if I should release each pattern as it is available, or wait and release them all when their part of the collection is complete. One pattern from the first part of the collection is already available in my store, and putting out Sirocco this year would mean that one pattern from the second part of the collection would also be available ahead of time. I'm okay with that as a preview, but I'm wondering if all the rest should come out as they are ready or not. What do you think?


I don't think I announced the release of Ziyad here. Please take a look. It is a great hat, and a simple pattern sized from infant to large adult (and I mean large, pay attention to the finished measurements). If it's still frozen where you are, you can make one for yourself, or a bunch for your whole family. Or, if you are better at planning for Christmas than I have been lately, you can get a head start (ha!) on next Christmas. Even with Nutcracker busy-ness and my exhausted life, I was able to finish the adult large in a short amount of time. The gracious knitters who previewed the pattern for me all finished in a day or three, depending on the size they chose.

My reading time has been limited over the past week and a half. Between homeschool responsibilities, household chores, and new activities for both me and the kids, it's made for less time to do something that requires that much focus. Also, Mariam may have strep, and it looks like Amira may have caught it as well, so we haven't had much sleep around here. Please keep them in your prayers. We're waiting for the results to come back. I don't think I picked up my Sirach study at all this week, which is sad, because it is so quick and short, I've just been that busy and exhausted. I've been reading A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire, which I am thoroughly enjoying, but I read it at night, so it's slow going. Again, this is too bad, as I've learned a lot from just the few pages I've managed before falling asleep. Seriously, I read a paragraph or two, then my eyes swim, and I turn out the light. It will take me a year to finish at this rate.



Also posting to Keep Calm and Craft On.

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Monday, January 30, 2017

Menu Plan: January 29 - February 4


We come again to the end of Christmas. The Christmas season officially ends on Thursday, the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin Mary and the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, also known as Candlemas. We will light all our Advent and Christmas candles and the kids will all light candles at the table and we will pray that the Light Who entered the world would enlighten us all.

Our weeks are just getting busier. I have my first community choir rehearsal this week, and our co-op started last week. Not surprisingly, I'm having to shuffle meals and menus. I'm also having to plan meals that are quicker or can be slow cooked or that can be made by the kids more easily. Really, though, I'd like them to plan a little of that, too. There are a few repeats this week, too.

What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Yarn Along: Designing Away


While we were traveling I had a bit of time to work on the lace for Eve's Leaves. Now I just have 28 inches of the lace to go! That's me holding it up in front of the window of the car on the rather long trip home (two hours longer than it ought to have been).


Last week, though, before we went on the trip, I finally sewed all the cloud borders down on Nejat's Starry, Starry Night. As I suspected, Nejat wanted it right away, so there was no washing or blocking of it before she took possession of it and it went to her bed with her. I also swatched for Matrimony, a cable and texture vest for Rich in honor of our 20th wedding anniversary. It's probably going to take the whole year for me to make it. We discussed my writing the pattern up and pitching the design to a print or online magazine, but I think I want to keep it as his, and modify it a bit for a general men's pattern.


Another thing finished before we left last week was another size of Ziyad, which won the designer challenge, by the way. If you think you can knit a child sized version of this hat in the next day or two, please contact me or leave a comment with your contact information. I'm looking for one more project in the child size. The pattern is back from the tech editor and it's knit with an aran to bulky weight yarn. More details for the preview knit can be found on my Ravelry group.


For those of you who were knitting Amira for me, my tech editors are working on the neckline as I write, and I'm hoping to have the edited and corrected pattern to you in the next two to three weeks. Thank you for your extreme patience. I started the back of my own while on our trip as well. My goal is to have the back finished, and then go back to the front when I have the new math on the pattern so I will have it ready as soon as possible. I'd really like to publish it on Amira's birthday, which only gives me a month and a half from today.

Since my yarn diet excludes souvenir yarn, I was looking forward to a little yarn shopping while we were gone. The hotel Rich booked for his work trip was just around the corner from Canvas Works in Olympia. I knew this, but when we got to our room, this was the view:


Can he pick a hotel or what? I was able to visit and only picked up yarn that I didn't have for a design I am publishing with a third party at the end of this year. Even though there were two shades of Shibui Maai I really wanted to get (tango and poppy).


The past couple weeks have been pretty good for reading around here. I read Dress Shop of Dreams, which was almost entirely predictable, and I really didn't like a lot of things about some key characters. However, it was a quick fluff read, and there was enough in there that was interesting. I wouldn't read it again, and I wouldn't recommend it, and I probably won't be reading anything else by this author. Also, I hated that either she or the editor used they and their for the singular pronoun, especially when they were used in direct reference to a woman, when if she wanted to avoid saying him/his as the singular, she/hers could have been used perfectly accurately. I've been doing a steady, simple, study in Sirach with this study and journal book. Rich and I picked up Hillbilly Elegy again, and I started Pardonable Lies.


My stack of books for this month.




Also posting to Keep Calm and Craft On.

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