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Monday, May 22, 2017

Menu Plan: May 21 - 27


We are nearing the end of the Paschal season. This is a little bittersweet. Since the girls are so tied up with ballet during the week, I'm not sure if we'll be able to do our Ascension Day picnic, but we are going to try. At least, we'll get some kite flying done.

Last week was our second annual homeschool teen dance, and we had a lot of work to do. It was so much fun, though, and the kids had a great time. I voluntold Rich to make a pineapple palm tree, since our theme was beach bash, and he did an amazing job - definitely a Pinterest win.




Because of all the necessary preparations and also a field trip that became much more complicated when Rich was called back to work for a meeting, there was a lot of meal shuffling. So there are repeats this week. Another thing we didn't realize until Thursday was that all of our babysitting kids were going to the dance. We had a quick confab and decided that Jerome and Yasmina were probably old enough and responsible enough to take care of their siblings and the house for six hours. Their older brothers and sister had done so at their ages, and there wasn't even a baby in the house now. Both Jerome and Yasmina told us they thought they could do it and wanted the chance to try. They did a fine job.

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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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Amira is Live!

Look what is for sale on Ravelry! Amira was published this morning, and is available for sale!


Go check it out, and favorite, queue, and buy it! Then make your own!

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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Yarn Along: Travel Knitting


This post was supposed to be ready last week, but I was so busy having fun on our trip, that I never got to it. I decided to be reasonable and only bring four projects for a six day trip. Because finishing a shawl, a hat, a kerchief, and a pair of slippers in less than six days is totally doable. One of the hat patterns got cut and had to stay home. Ventus, Brume, Mariam, and Nejat's hunicorn slippers came along. Amira was also there for photography. I figured I had a beach, ocean, and fancy hotel, I ought to use them.



She should be published by the end of the day tomorrow, so long as I hit no snafus with the interwebs and technology. If you want to receive the only coupon for Amira, subscribe to my newsletter, 1,001 Knits. I'm going to try to step it up and do it bi-monthly, if not once a month. My subscribers will always get the best coupons and earliest news of any of my followers.


Since I was traveling, I did visit one yarn shop. I picked up some fingering yarn, the gradient set you see there as well as two different colors of a wool and linen blend. I'm thinking of using the deep heather and the cream to make some colorwork mittens or a hat. There were two within reasonable driving distance, but this one was closer, and as I said, I was really kept busy with conference events and fun things to do with Rich and other members.


The only thing I have left to do on Nejat's slippers is do the puffy paint on the soles, but I am counting it finished aside from that. I did get a few pages into Messenger of Truth, while on the trip, but that's it.


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Monday, May 15, 2017

Menu Plan: May 14 - 20


We had a fabulous trip last week! In fact, while we were down there, we went to church at the cathedral and found out that the diocesan ladies' retreat was that weekend, rather than the weekend before, as I had thought, and they made room for me, and we changed my return flight so I could go. It was wonderful!

I love Southern California's climate and landscape. If it weren't for the tax burden, the high cost of living, the social/political environment, I'd move back. That's a lot of qualifications, but it tells you how much it tempts me. I was born in Los Angeles, and it was a return to my birthplace. It's kind of a thing for Pacific Northwesterners to despise California, and especially Southern California, but I love it. And even though it doesn't draw Rich like it does me, he told me that California looked amazing on me. The coastal air, the sun, all of it made my skin and hair very happy. Home is where my family is, though, and it was great to be back with Rich and my kids. The frost this morning on the ground made me wish I was back in California, though.

When I came home, Rich had hung up my clothes and put away most of my things from the part of our trip together. Since I had been traveling for more than a week and eating out for every meal, I didn't want to go out for Mother's Day, so Rich made me a lovely brunch (we got home from the airport around 1:00 a.m., and didn't go to the morning liturgy, just the evening one), then after church in the evening, he grilled up a ton of food (with no leftovers!) and we roasted marshmallows over the fire pit that the kids built. The kids did pretty well with the meals while we were gone. Unfortunately, more than half of our kids got sick, possibly from dehydration, while we were gone. Aside from them needing to rest and recover, there were definitely meals that weren't made, so we're making them this week. Rich made some different meals than I had planned, since I didn't come home Thursday night with him as we initially planned, and there are some of those to make, too. We also have a birthday this week. Nejat turns four! I can't believe how much she has grown and how much she can say and do now. It was such a hard beginning, and you would never know it now.

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, May 06, 2017

Menu Plan: May 7 - 13


I'm posting this a little early to give my kids and our friends staying at our house a chance to look at it ahead of time and plan what needs to be gotten out of the freezer, or prepped in advance. We are so grateful to such great friends who move into our house, look after our kids as their own, and do all the school work supervising, ferrying and schedule arranging to make sure our kids get where they need to be while we are gone.

In the meantime, Rich and I will be spending part of this week in Long Beach. He has a work conference, and I will be on vacation. We will also be close enough to Saint Michael's Cathedral to attend there, which thrills me to pieces. There are a few yarn shops I want to visit, but my schedule as a spouse on this trip is actually pretty full. I don't have to go to all the spouse events, we paid for my guest registration so I could go to the evening events, really, but I may be doing some of the site seeing stuff just to get a lot of knitting on the bus time.

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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Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Yarn Along: Big Doings


Do you buy those as unicorn ears? Rich thinks they are too small, but I was worried if I made them bigger, they would be floppy.

Amira is back from my technical editor's for the final edit, and should be published by the middle to the end of May! I just sent out a design proposal for a winter magazine also. The MadMay projects are on needles and ready for some travel knitting. If the magazine doesn't take my pattern, I will put that out in November, too, maybe with a third, related, pattern as a trio.

Rich and I have a trip coming up to Long Beach, and I am packing my knitting, of course. The shawl and hat for Mad May are coming, as is a design I've had on the back burner for some time that is almost finished, and another that I submitted to a yarn company a year ago that I'm working on for self-publication at the end of this year. Then I realized that I didn't have any knitting for Sunday, as I try not to do any work knitting (or pattern editing, newsletter writing, and so on) on Sundays. So, I decided that if I don't finish Nejat's hunicorn slippers before the end of this week, they will come with me, and if not, I have a vest I want to start for Dominic. We aren't going to be gone for more than six days, but you never know what you might finish or what might go wrong in that time. It's always better to be prepared. I'm so excited that we get to go to church at the cathedral again, and we'll be driving enough that I want my knitting ready. This time, we're going without the kids, and our wonderful friends are coming to stay with them and take care of most of the rides people need.

I actually did some reading this week! Not too much, mind you, I only finished a chapter in Messenger of Truth, but I did get to read for pleasure, which has been a rare treat lately.



Linking to Craft Love Link Party.

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Sunday, April 30, 2017

Menu Plan: April 30 - May 6


Last week's schedule, though empty of most sick kids, was full of rearranged events. So, we have some repeats this week. Also, we have an interesting week ahead of us this week so, with a couple exceptions, I'm trying to make meals that are either quick to make, or can be made ahead of time. Our fruit connection came through this weekend, so we have loads of nice fruit to be eaten with all our meals and as snacks. Our gleaning group was able to get an asparagus delivery, too, so we picked up 30 pounds of asparagus for only $18, and we're enjoying that in just about everything. There should be at least one more delivery before the season is out, 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 on Saturday.

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Saturday, April 29, 2017

Recipe Round Up: Fatayir bi Sabanich and Sambousak


I had help from the kids making these, so they aren't as neat as normal, but you will make them more neatly, I am sure.
Fatayir bi Sabanich

This yeasted pastry with spinach in it is rich and delicious. This recipe makes about 75 triangle pastries. I usually double it.

Dough:
6 cups bread flour
3 tablespoons yeast
1 tablespoon salt
2 1/2 cups whole milk yogurt
1/4 cup softened butter
1/4 cup honey

Filling:
2 - 3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound chopped spinach, fresh or frozen
6 scallions, finely chopped
1 bunch fresh dill, finely minced
5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon ground sumac
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup toasted pine nuts
semolina or corn meal for pans

To make the dough, you can use your bread machine on the dough cycle, or mix it in a stand mixer with the dough hook, or by hand.

If mixing by hand or with a mixer, combine all the dough ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly, and knead until you have a soft, slightly sticky, and pliable dough. Cover and allow to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk.

While the dough is rising, you can prepare the filling. Heat a large frying pan or skillet over medium high and add the oil. Immediately add the spinach and scallions, and cook until the greens are wilted and soft. Add the dill, garlic, sumac, and salt, and cook, stirring, a minute or two more. Remove from heat and add toasted pine nuts, mixing thoroughly. Allow to cool slightly while preparing the pans and dough for shaping.

Preheat oven to 425 F and prepare several baking sheets by sprinkling with semolina or corn meal.

Segment the dough into roughly 75 pieces. You may be able to get more rolls by making the pieces smaller, but you don't want them too small. Roll out into flat, circular discs, and place a spoonful of the spinach filling in the middle. Bring up the sides, one by one, to make the circle into a triangle, and pinch the seams tightly closed. You will want to almost enclose the spinach, because the dough will open up as it rises and bakes. You may wish to keep a bowl of cold water nearby to help "glue" the dough together. Place each roll about an inch and a half apart on the prepared pans, and bake for 15 minutes, until fully baked and slightly browned. Cool in the pan about 5 minutes, brush off the excess semolina and serve. These are equally good room temperature and cold.



Sambousak

This is a meat filled, deep fried pastry that is sort of like a deep fried empanada. The dough is a butter and egg rich pastry, and the filling is seasoned ground lamb or beef. This is a large recipe. In some ways, if you are going to go to the trouble of making it, you might as well make a lot. The unfried pastries can be frozen in a single sheet, and put in a freezer bag for cooking at a later time. Both the dough and the filling can be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator for a few days. You can also prepare these up to shaping and hold in the refrigerator up to 24 hours before frying, so if it is more convenient to make them in the morning and fry for dinner, that is possible. I honestly don't know exactly how many this makes, I think it is close to 100, because someone is always eating them as I place them on the platter.

Dough:
10 cups pastry flour
1 pound salted butter, softened
2 eggs
1 cup milk

Muffroom (filling):
3 pounds ground lamb or beef
3 onions, peeled and finely chopped
18 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
2 bunches parsley, finely minced
2 bunches fresh dill, finely minced

oil for frying

In a large bowl, mix the flour, butter, and egg. Mix in the milk, until a soft, pliable dough is formed. Set aside in a cool place, or in a bag in the refrigerator while making the muffroom.

Place the meat, onions, garlic, salt and pepper in a large skillet and fry together, breaking up the meat, until a medium fine crumble of browned meat and softened vegetables is formed. Take off the heat and taste for seasoning, adjusting as necessary. Stir in the parsley and dill.

Cut and shape the dough into 1 inch balls. Roll these out to circles, and fill with a teaspoon or so of the filling. Fold the circle in half, and crimp the edges to seal.

When you are ready to fry, heat the oil over medium high heat, and when a piece of bread sizzles immediately when placed in the oil, start carefully placing the sambousak in the oil. You want to fill the pan, but still have room to turn them over. Fry until golden on one side, and turn over until the other side is as well. This usually takes me a little more than a minute on the first side, and a little less than a minute on the second. Transfer to a rack over a pan to drain, and serve. These are also great cold from the fridge the next day.





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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Yarn Along: Amira is Almost Here!


Amira is at my technical editor's for the final edit, and should be published by May 15! She's still unblocked and needs the armbands picked up and knit before I can do the final photography, but is otherwise complete. Now, I am trying to finish Nejat's hunicorn slippers before the end of next week, and I have a design proposal to finish up for a winter magazine by then, also. After that, I can get started on a couple MadMay projects, two designs that I'd like to have out in August and November this year.

The Baby Shower Knit-a-Long is almost at the half way point, 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. It's been exciting for me to see how different people interpret my designs, and watch them having fun, learning new skills, and accomplishing some thing they haven't before. This is my first time running my own KAL by myself and it has been gratifying. If you join today, you still have time to finish the hat (or the sweater if you are really quick) and post in the FO thread for a chance at the midpoint drawing after tomorrow!

I have still not read a single word outside of my Bible and Prayer Book this past week, between trying to get Amira ready for final edits, and THREE kids down with vomiting, there hasn't been time or energy for even a light read.


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Monday, April 24, 2017

Menu Plan: April 23 - 29


We had three kids down with a stomach bug by the end of last week, so I did not get recipes posted. I will get them up by this weekend instead. There was so much left over from our feast, too, that we ended up eating that most of the week, so there are a lot of repeats this week, too. Also, I had a ton of filling left from the gatayif that I plan on making more this week. We had one more leg of lamb in the freezer, so I made up another roast lamb for our church supper on Sunday.


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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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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