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Sunday, August 25, 2019

Resuming the Blog

Hello! It has been a long time, and I have spent a lot of thought and prayer trying to determine how to move forward with my blog. I think I have found a suitable photo host for now, and have decided that I will just start fresh, rather than trying to replace all the photos in the posts I made for over 14 years. As I come to those which I refer to and can insert the photos again, I will attempt to do so.

With that said, I would like to revive this as a place to write about my faith and family, my cooking and recipes, and definitely about my designs.

My menu planning is now going to be posted on Fridays or Saturdays, and I am hoping to be able to offer my patterns for sale directly here on the blog. I look forward to sharing with you again, and hope I will still have readers.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Menu Plan July 30 - August 5

Menu Plan Monday

In case you haven't read my update, please accept my apologies about the way the blog looks. I'm working on migrating all my hosted photos so I can go through and change all the links so there are no longer spam notices and broken image links all over the blog

I'm almost finished with my sample and pattern for the magazine, and then I have a few last minute edits on the pattern I received from my tech editor this month before I can get it out to my preview knitters. There is a shawl I am close to finishing, that I'd love to have ready at the end of this month. Then, I need to help Dominic get ready for his college entrance exams so he can do his AA here while he finishes high school, like Alexander has. It's a busy time for us, and Rich is also doing his own studies and work that is taking his own time now, plus Amira's recovery. We could use your prayers. Thank you for your continued support.

We're still using up the zucchini, and found that they work nicely in my scalloped potato recipe. Also, we now have tons of red potatoes from our gleaning club. We are so grateful for this group. We can serve our community and feed our family and friends.

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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Sunday, July 23, 2017

Menu Plan: July 23 - 29

Menu Plan Monday

In case you haven't read my update, please accept my apologies about the way the blog looks. I'm working on migrating all my hosted photos so I can go through and change all the links so there are no longer spam notices and broken image links all over the blog

Actually, I haven't had much time to do any of that this past week, and don't foresee a lot of time this week, either. I have a pretty tight deadline on a design for a UK magazine coming up, which I am working on in almost every moment that I am not taking care of Amira, who had her tonsils taken out on Friday. She's doing alright, but is just in a lot of pain. Please pray for her recovery.

We have a ton of zucchini from a glean, so we're making batches and batches of zucchini bread and muffins for our freezer and to eat, plus eating it in just about every meal. Amira is still on a fruit gelatin, stock, juice, and tea diet, but we're hoping that she can move to mashed potatoes and bananas and things like that Sunday or Monday (she'll eat the gravy, regardless, and maybe some mashed potatoes). Last week, besides knitting like a fiend, I made gallons and gallons of beef stock and chicken stock and lamb stock and turkey stock. I also made two 9" X 11" pans of fruit gelatin. We're giving her colostrum powder in her food/drinks to help her immune system heal her body as well.

My birthday is also this week, though it will be more subdued. However, I have a 41% off sale on all patterns sold in my Ravelry store with the coupon code overthehill. It begins midnight of July 24 (Sunday night!) and ends at 11:59 PM PDT on July 28. Come celebrate my birthday with me!

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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Monday, July 17, 2017

Menu Plan: July 16 - 22

Menu Plan Monday

I'm still busy trying to migrate my photos and find a way to post them here again. Thank you for your patience while I sort this out. It's one of many things on my to do list this week (and month), as I have a few deadlines for designs and other tasks associated with being a knitwear designer that are looming, along with normal homemaking and parenting and family activities. It may sound awful, but I'm glad that we don't have school or ballet or baseball or driver's ed or any of that going on right now.

In case you haven't read my update, please accept my apologies about the way the blog looks. I'm working on migrating all my hosted photos so I can go through and change all the links so there are no longer ransom notes all over my blog.

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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Monday, July 10, 2017

Menu Plan: July 9 - 15

Menu Plan Monday

Our family went on our first blueberry picking trip this weekend, and strawberries were on sale at the store, plus our wild black caps are finally producing more than the birds can steal, so we're making some berry dishes this week. Rich helped me reorganize our chest freezer (he's working on our stand up freezer next), and we found a ham that needed to be cooked right away, so we are cooking and eating ham this week, too. It isn't as hot this week as it was last week, so we're doing more baking.

Also, this Saturday is the 23rd anniversary of Rich and my first meeting. So, we're celebrating that. Our kids celebrate it, too, because regardless of what they think about our romance, they wouldn't exist had we not met. It's a pretty significant date for them, too.

In case you haven't read my update, please accept my apologies about the way the blog looks. I'm working on migrating all my hosted photos so I can go through and change all the links so there are no longer ransom notes all over my blog.

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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Friday, July 07, 2017

Blog Update

I had a whole Independence Day yarn along to post, as well as other things, but the whole photobucket extortion and spam business has put the kibbosh on that. Until I can migrate all of my photos elsewhere, and then go through and change all the links on the blog, I'm just not going to have the time to blog much.

They want $400 a year to be able to post a link to my photos here. There is no tiered pricing option to permit smaller blogs/websites like mine to continue. They announced the change to the terms of service just before the holiday weekend, and then enacted it almost immediately, holding all bloggers', Amazon or e-Bay sellers', or help forum posters' pictures hostage, essentially. The only way we have access to publishing our photos is to cough up the $400. Per year. When they already have a website that was getting harder and harder to use and tons of advertising all over it. I'm not willing to pay that much, though I would be willing to pay a smaller amount. However, since I didn't even have time to absorb the information before they started spamming my own blog (rather than simply putting up something that said photo unavailable, or better, to permit the photos that had been loaded when the policy was to allow linking to stay and simply not permit new photos to be linked), I'm not in a place to think about that a lot right now. I have used .6 GB of my 2 GB allotment on their site. I am a fairly small time, low traffic blogger, so I don't think I'm using enough bandwidth to justify $400 a year, and they are neither budging on their change or answering anyone's concerns or questions. In fact, on their website, the contact us link is broken. Oh, and I checked through my e-mail and spam files, I received no notice of the change except for what I read online and seeing my photos changed to spam.

Please accept my apologies for how the blog looks and the upcoming silence. You can follow me on Instagram or on my (also low traffic) Arabian Knits Facebook Page, join the conversations on my Ravelry Group, or subscribe to 1,001 Knits, my monthly newsletter. Thank you for your understanding and support.


Sunday, July 02, 2017

Menu Plan: July 2 - 8

Last week was VBS and I underestimated how much the jet lag would affect me. We have another birthday this week, Yasmina turns nine. If it hadn't been for scheduling c-sections, she might have been born on Independence Day. However, this is our first week of summer without any school, ballet, VBS, or anything else. I'm thrilled! We might actually get some sleep.

We have a ton of cherries and asparagus this week, and since we aren't running around all week, we might even be able to make some pickled asparagus. We're having two pasta dishes two days in a row, but nobody at my house is troubled by this.

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, June 27, 2017

Yarn Along: Knitting in Beautiful Places

Even though I brought four projects to knit and two samples to write up patterns for while we traveled, I really only worked on Mariam and Rich's Manly Rainbow Socks. And the socks I only worked on briefly on the metro on the way to church one week. Our church has a parish in the ghetto in Paris, so we navigated our way there, and stepped around various bodily fluids and other such things on our way to liturgy. It was less than four blocks from the border of Paris, and obviously in a neighborhood in need of the services of a church. It was glorious worshiping with them there. Unfortunately, because of the evening events Rich and I were committed to, we had to race off after the service so we could go back to the hotel to change for the reception and dinner that evening.

After almost a year of rather minimal yarn purchases, I got to do some pretty great yarn shopping.

Here is the Passage du Grand Cerf where one of the six yarn shops I visited was. There is so much that is beautiful in Paris, but the ugliness is also there. It's like two different cities occupying the same physical space. Just around the corner, just around the corner from this lovely piece of architecture and beauty was a s3x shop. It was like that all over the city. Gorgeous museums, art, music, art, architecture, food, shopping, all surrounded by graffiti, bodily fluids (and their accompanying smells), people relieving themselves, pickpockets and crime, p0rn0gr@phy and other similar exploitative industries, poverty and homelessness, more so than I see in Los Angeles, Seattle, the Bay Area, San Antonio, even Geneva. It was so much cleaner and safer in Geneva. I will say that Paris has their metro system dialed in, and it was a breeze to navigate, which I did in French. I did almost all of my ordering, shopping, navigating, and so on in French, which was a success for me.

Here is all the yarn I bought for myself. 21 skeins of it. Some of it is already earmarked for projects, some I bought because it was beautiful and I will find a way to use it later.

I also spent some time in the fabric district in Montmartre. It was quite near our hotel, and we have dear friends who sew, who I knew would appreciate a little something from Paris. I really wanted to buy a dress length of the silk satin, but I couldn't justify it, even at this good price. Especially since I would have had to pay someone to make up the dress for me here if I wanted it in any reasonable time frame. Because otherwise, I would have to learn to sew proficiently first.

I brought four books with me, but the only one I cracked was my Stitching Up Paris book, which came in quite handy as I looked for knitting and fabric shops.

Oh! And we picked up an Herm├Ęs scarf for me that was just perfect.

Look at the knit print on it! It has a little bit of a Christmas theme to it, but all rolled or folded up, you can't tell. I am a little bit in love with this scarf. Rich insisted that I get it, which was sweet of him.

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Sunday, June 25, 2017

Menu Plan: June 25 - July 1

We are returning from Europe this week, and the kids have done a great job holding down the fort and running things while we were away. I will report more when I have a chance to upload pictures and tell the story.

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, June 24, 2017

Recipe Round Up: Slow Cooker Faux Gyros

Slow Cooker Faux Gyros

I have scaled this down, but I usually make one and a half times this amount in two crocks. It's not the same as the gyros on a spit, but it's remarkably similar and delicious.

2 pounds ground beef
2 pounds ground lamb
4 tablespoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons (regular) paprika
2 tablespoons kosher salt

3 chopped onions
14 cloves garlic, minced
juice from 4 lemons, strained

Mix together meat, oregano, paprika, and salt until thoroughly and evenly combined.

Place onions and garlic in the bottom of a crock pot. Shape meat mixture into a football type loaf. Pour lemon juice over all of it. Cover and cook on high for 3 hours. Slice and serve with onions and juices in pita bread or with rice, and salad.

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Sunday, June 18, 2017

Menu Plan: June 18 - 24

One more week of easy to make meals. There are also two birthdays, Rich's and Dominic's, and Father's Day. Pretty packed!

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, June 13, 2017

Yarn Along: Dazed and Confused

Brume is knit and written and at the tech editor's. I'm hoping to have it ready for a preview at the end of October, so it can be published in November. It will eventually become part of either a trilogy or quartet of hat patterns that are each variations on a theme. The crown decreases please me to no end, and I hope you will be equally delighted with them. I've made more progress on Winter Wonderland, but I'm still not to where I was when I had to rip back.

This past week has been so busy and chaotic! Three out of four girls had two shows for their ballet recital Saturday, and all the rehearsals that lead up to that during the week. Then, there is all the preparing for the Paris trip. All the shopping, and cleaning, and sorting, and packing. Since, of course, my knitting is the most important thing to consider in my packing, here are the projects I am bringing: Mariam, Ventus, Manly Rainbow Socks, and Boreas. I will also be bringing the notes and prototype for the third party publishing design this fall to write it up as much as possible. I am saving the rest of my knitting space for yarn that I will buy while traveling. So, today, my task is to weigh our suitcases and make sure they aren't heavier than 40 pounds. Wish me luck!

In my effort to get back into practice with my French, I am doing a lot of reading of and listening to French knitting groups and podcasts. A virtual friend recommended a free app, Duolingo, to brush up on my French. I tested out of the first two levels, but I'm still doing the practice exercises and having my robot conversations to practice. It is helping so much! Just doing it is a great reminder of the vocabulary and grammar that I used to be somewhat fluent with before. There are numerous language options for English speaking people, and they start at rank beginner, so if you are interested in either learning language or brushing up on one you used to know, I would highly recommend it. The app offers Spanish, French, German, Japanese, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Irish, Danish, Swedish, Turkish, Esperanto, Norwegian, Ukrainian, Russian, Polish, Welsh, Hebrew, Vietnamese, Hungarian, Greek, Swahili, and Romanian. They have language lessons for Arabic speaking people, but unfortunately, don't have an Arabic course for English speakers.

French English Dictionary
Hunting Unicorns
Theology of the Body in Simple Language
One Flesh: Salvation through Marriage in the Orthodox Church
Stitching Up Paris
Primal Loss: The Now-Adult Children of Divorce Speak
Sirach Bible Study and Journal

Also, the packing of the books is pretty important, so I have decided to bring these along with me. I'm still reading _Primal Loss_, though I'm saving much of it for the trip. If our bags are more than 40 pounds, _Hunting Unicorns_, _One Flesh_, and my Bible study journal are the things I'm leaving at home. I hope it does not come to that, but I'll need the dictionary occasionally, the guide book will help me find the shops I want to visit, we are still reading _Theology of the Body in Simply Language_ and haven't started _One Flesh_ yet. The kids and I have read more in The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic, and I've made a bit of progress in Messenger of Truth.

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Sunday, June 11, 2017

Menu Plan: June 11 - 17

You have no idea how thrilled I am that I do not have to cook two out of three meals Sunday. After the recital week schedule, and coming home late from the show last night, I am so glad that Rich is taking care of breakfast, and our churches are providing lunch and dinner.

I had forgotten that last week had no fasting when I planned the meals, but that meant that the craziness of our week was a little more managed. This meant that, as sad as it was, we ate hotdogs for dinner on Wednesday. As our week was so crazy, we have a repeat 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 on Saturday.

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Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Stitch Fix Number Nine!

A big thank you to everyone who has signed up using my referral link! I so appreciate the credits. If you are interested in learning more, I wrote about my first experience on the blog, and you can do a search on my Stitch Fix posts.

So, a month or so ago, I was sent an offer to try Stitch Fix again, without the styling fee. Since there was no risk to me if I hated everything, and we had the trip to Paris coming up, I took them up on it. After two or three disappointments, I was wary, and still frustrated that the blame was placed entirely on my previous stylist, when it was apparent that a big part of it was what fabrics and styles were available to her. The new stylist did fine, though she didn't spell my name right. On to the contents of the box!

Item #1 Plenty by Tracy Reese Wynona Dress - $128

I love the jewel tones and bright blues of this dress. It fit well, and is flattering. Rich loved it on me. When I saw it in the box, I was a little concerned it would look a bit too 1970s retro, but I don't think it does. It is in the running for one of our evening events while in Paris. Rich likes that the zipper is metal (he hates plastic zippers), but I'm not sure what I think about it being exposed.
If I wear my hair down, it won't show that much, though, either way. Definitely keeping this.

Items #2 Lila Ryan Melina Straight Leg Pant - $88
& #3 Market & Spruce Evella Boatneck Top - $64

My stylist did say that although these pants were not the exact color I was looking for, she thought they would work, and I think they did. I was skeptical at first, though both Rich and I were pleasantly surprised at how nicely they fit and looked. These will be great for walking around Paris. Keeping.

The top. Hmmm. Rich hated it. He wanted me to send it back with a note asking if it was a joke. I don't hate it. It is almost entirely polyester, though there is a little cotton. I wish the neck had either a trim or collar in the same fabric as the cuffs and hem. It did have sleeves, though, and I liked how the stripes looked on me. I am keeping it, but with a note about the things I didn't like. The 25% off discount on the box makes this (and the other item I wasn't in love with) only $9 more than getting just the three items I fancied the most in the box.

Items #4 Skies are Blue Brendie Lace Hem Knit Top - $54

I liked this a lot. It is a linen and rayon blend, is lined, was cut well, and I even thought the pink was nice. It looks good with the pants, and I can wear it with other clothes I have at home. It's a little pricey for the item, but considering that it is primarily linen, and I didn't have to shop for it, I'm willing to live with that. It was a little frustrating that it was sleeveless, since I asked for various styles of sleeves, as most of my summer tops and dresses do npt have sleeves. That may have been a product of the selection that Kristina, my stylist, had available to her, though. Keeping.

Items #5 Alice Blue Milliman Ruffle Detail Top - $38

This top is pretty, and neutral enough to go with just about everything, but with enough color in it to keep a neutral outfit from being monotone. I would have loved this with flutter sleeves. Instead, my bra shows. Rich had me try it without a bra, but between the fact that I am a busty woman who needs one, and the fabric is a little thin (another beef I have with the fashion industry is how thin the fabrics are for women) and unlined, it was not okay. I only could have worn it in our room. However, I tried it on with a jacket I already own and a silk knit skirt that I got on ThredUp, it looked cute, I think. It is annoying that I have to either get a strapless bra for this top (and finding one that is steel belted and industrial strength and still comfortable is pretty challenging), wear a corset, or always have a jacket or shrug to wear the top. Since, as I said above, getting this and the boatneck top with the box discount is only $9 more than getting the other three items on their own, I am keeping it, but I'm leaving a comment about the disregard of my measurements, size, and busty-ness.

Overall, I think Kristina did a good job, and with three items that I unequivocally wanted to keep, I think it is a success. I'm still frustrated at the dearth of natural fibers available in ready to wear fashion. That is not even considering how many of these were made in China. There were two sleeveless items when I specifically asked for cap to three quarter length sleeves, one of the items was mostly polyester, and there was a top that is clearly not designed for busty women. I do not know if the sleeveless items were because of what was available, or if my note was just ignored. Either way, I wish there were more items with sleeves in various styles, as well. The biggest frustration was the last top because it just is not reasonable for a busty woman to wear that on its own. If I can find a good strapless bra, it will help me with other dresses, and I can wear it without a jacket, which would be nice with a casual skirt or pants and flats, but I am not thrilled with having to look for and buy one just to do that. I was really pleased that Kristina understood my retro, feminine, casual style. There was nary a clunky, modern item, nothing boxy or masculine, no ultra stylized or industrial looking pieces. Since there was more than one item I really liked in this box, it is more than a success, and I will be packing all of these things with me on the Paris trip. It is nice to avoid the mall and stores, and fun to have the box sent directly to me to try on at home nearly risk free. Rich loves the fashion show, which is always nice, too. If you would like to try Stitch Fix, using that link will get a credit which helps me use their service more often.

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Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Yarn Along: Paris Bound!

All of my knitting this weekend was unknitting. After getting almost to the top on Brume, while waiting at the Passport Office, I realized that I still wasn't satisfied with my decreases, and decided to do them yet a different way. I picked up Mariam to continue working on that design, so I could have it ready for the tech editor next month. Nope. I realized that if I did the stitch pattern a different way that it would look better and more the way I wanted it. If I think of it as a swatch rather than the first 10% of a shawl, it's much easier to cope with the realization that I am ripping it back to the first row. Likewise, on Sunday, I pulled the stitches off the needle for Winter Wonderland, and ripped all the way back to increase the depth of the ribbing at the neck.

I received some exciting news on Friday. A magazine in the UK has accepted a design submission from me and will publish it in their magazine in November. Since they are mailing yarn out soon, I thought I'd see if they could mail it to me in Paris, which would get it to me sooner and cost them less than shipping to the US. I have another design that should be published with an online magazine in November, plus one more self-published design that month and a shawl that I hope to have out in August. There are two designs I wanted to submit for an online publication for August, and either September or October, but those are not as far along as the others. That puts me at six definite designs for the year, and two that might be released this year. Not to mention the work I'm doing for next year. I was hoping to have nine designs published this year, but if I can even get one of the maybes completed, I can be happy with seven.

Thank you to those of you who prayed, too. We have learned to always go in person for my passport, as when they have a face in front of them, they seem more likely to help. Glory to God in all His Saints, we were so blessed to have a lady helping me who also grew up in the same town I did and, in fact, graduated from high school from the same school I did 12 years after I did (Rich thought she was a teenage intern, and couldn't figure out how she had a job in a federal office). Many dear friends filled out affidavits to help establish the one name that they didn't think was documented enough, and one came in person to sign in front of them and vouch for me. We began a discussion of how we met, which led the lady at the counter to ask about where we grew up and I think that really gave her some sympathy for my cause. I brought my high school diploma, simply to show that the use of the name in question was already established by the time I was in high school Anyway, besides being much more helpful, she also pushed to have the passport produced that day so I could go home with it, which was another blessing. So, I do get to go to Paris with Rich, after all, and I'm already packing my outfits, my knitting, and my books. Rich has had me reading French Ravelry groups, and wants me to listen to French podcasts to brush up on my French, and I'm packing my French English dictionary with us, along with a copy of a guide to Paris knitting/stitching shops, Theology of the Body in Simple Language and One Flesh: Salvation through Marriage in the Orthodox Church which Rich and I have been reading together. We are also bringing Primal Loss: The Now-Adult Children of Divorce Speak, which I ordered from the author, and just received my signed copy. I just started reading a little into it. It is so powerful, and I can relate to so much in the stories of the contributors. Even if you came from an intact home and are not divorced yourself, I would recommend it. It breaks the gag order on children of divorce that is ever present to protect the feelings of the divorcing parents and prop up the divorce culture.

The kids and I are still reading The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic and I read about three more words in Messenger of Truth. Aside from that, it has been my prayer book and daily readings.

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Monday, June 05, 2017

Menu Plan: Pentecost

Blessed Pentecost to you all! We celebrated this second highest feast of the Church Year yesterday with lots of delicious food cooked over fire. Rich and I provided the grilled food and the potato salad, and the folks at the Anglican church provided all the rest. The Catholic church we attend in the morning has its church picnic this coming Sunday, which means that the beginning of church picnic season has begun!

Since we ended up going to the Seattle Passport Office, and took the entire day there, and had forgotten the time of a birthday/going away party on Saturday, a couple meals are back on the menu this week again. However, we vanquished the bureaucracy, and I came home with my passport!

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, May 31, 2017

Menu Along: May 28 - June 3

Between the holiday weekend and dealing with bureaucratic foolishness with my passport (which was applied for with more than 12 weeks before our travel and is still not issued because of their ridiculous snafus, with only a few weeks left, no I'm not frustrated and bitter about it, why do you ask?), I have not completed either the knitting or the pattern writing for Brume. I'm almost finished with the knitting, and I'm trying to get it done tonight so it will count for the MadMay event this year. Winter Wonderland is still my Sunday knitting, though I haven't posted progress pictures like I ought, and I'm doing the increases on the body right now. I wish I had done an inch of ribbing rather than the half inch in the pattern, but I don't want to go back and redo it. Rich keeps asking me about it and looking at me like he knows that it's going to drive me crazy every time I see it and that every time I see one of our children in it, I will have a look of disappointment on my face making them think that I am upset with them and then they will grow up thinking their mother didn't love them. Or something like that. So, probably it's going to stay here and I will rip it out and redo the ribbing when I get back from Paris. If I get to go.

We go to the passport office in person this week. Please pray that it goes well. Rich had to take a day off of work so he could come with me, and we're basically going to inundate them with documentation and paperwork in an effort to get my stinking passport. I'm also bringing my old passport from before I was married, which looks exactly like me now, only thinner and with much less white hair. Feh. I'm tempted to bring all of our kids into the office, too, and just hang out there until they issue my passport, while the kids eat their snacks and ask where the bathroom is.

The only reading I've done this week besides our daily Morning Prayer and Bible readings has been some read aloud time in The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic. While it is a fun story, we have detected a little bit of a modernist, secular message that is not really great. It's well coated in honey, but the bitter center is still there. We're still reading it, and we will see how it plays out in the end, but now it's a game of finding the message and pointing it out to each other. This is the danger in a lot of modern fiction. It's more about the message than the story. In this case the story is still good, but the message is intruding more and more, so it may end up being something of a regret. Though, we are having a lot of great discussions about the story, the message, and how that message is being conveyed.

Because of the government snafus and the holiday weekend, we have some repeats this week. We did get to get our hillside picnic and even flew a kite.

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, May 24, 2017

Yarn Along: Discipline (or Lack of It)

This week should have been all about finishing Ventus. I really want to get it to the editor soon. Instead, I mostly worked on Brume, and started Winter Wonderland for my Sunday knitting. The problem with Ventus is that I need to pay attention to it. Which isn't a problem, it goes pretty quickly when I have the attention to spare, but my life is full of distractions and people I need to listen to or otherwise attend to, so it's not a project I can easily work on during knit night or while I Knitflix with Rich. The good news is that I am making progress on Brume, which will get it off to the editor's sooner. It should be available in the late fall. Also, in case you missed the announcement last week, Amira was released at long last.

Aside from needing to buckle down and get my design work completed, I'm also trying to get a handle on this whole social media thing. You can keep up with me here, on Facebook where I'm trying to keep up conversation with a question each week, subscribe to my newsletter, 1,001 Knits for pattern release information, stories about my travels and finds, and the best coupons and sale information, join my Ravelry Group where I run preview KALs and contests (I'd love to see more interaction there), or follow me on Instagram to see a lot more behind the scenes images, as well as sneak previews of work to come.

This week was another light one in terms of reading. I got a few more pages in Messenger of Truth, and the younger kids and I started The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic as a fun read. We're enjoying it so far, and it is nice to sit on a blanket in the yard and read it in the fresh air now that spring has finally arrived here.

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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.

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

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.


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.

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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