For the first time in my 14 years as a mum, I feel as if I am on top of this Halloween thing. The littlest is dressed as the ghostly spirit of a young girl tragically run over by a train just like Jumbo the elephant, and candy is ready by the door. And we still have half an hour before the neighbourhood gang is gathering.
These ghost cookies may not be all that spooky but they sure tasted good. These are just plain sugar cookies with a vanilla frosting and mini chocolate chip eyes and mouth. This was a little project that I prepared tonight for the kids that I volunteer with on a monthly basis. They had a fun time decorating the sugar cookies and most of them got eaten even before the cookies were finished being decorated. Thank goodness I brought plenty of extra cookies so that each kid could take one home. Bring on the Halloween sugar high!
During the week, I am the last person home each day, and for the most part, dinner is usually being put on the table as I walk in the door. This is an absolute blessing. For the most part. Mr. J is very skilled in cooking tuna noodle casseroles (after many years of mishaps), warming up frozen dinners, and slow-cooking roasts in the crock pot. He is a lover of rice and convenience. And he is the king of the barbeque. The girls are more than pleased with what he has to offer. But every now and then, I will rush home a bit early before he wakes up, and I will start dinner from scratch. I'll root through the fridge and dig up all the vegetables and place them on the counter. I'll pull out a grapefruit-sized lump of bread dough and throw it on the stone to rise. I'll heat up the oven, and chop veggies to my heart's content. Sometimes, I'll end up with a salad. Other times, an omelette. More often than not, a soup. Today it was cheese omelettes for three of us, noodles for the littlest, a romaine salad with all the goodies above, and a potato leek soup for tomorrow's dinner. I find so much satisfaction from these impromptu cooking extravaganzas. I also appreciate that my little family doesn't rely on them happening consistently. :) 'Cause sometimes I come home pooped! Now if only getting homework completed was just as easy . . .
NOTE: Those wack-a-doodle carrots were yanked out of my friend's garden on the weekend, and they are perhaps the sweetest carrots I've ever had the pleasure of tasting. I ate half that bowl raw. I wonder if she needs me to visit this weekend coming up. Hmm . . .
Things have been pretty quiet around here on the crafting front. I've been putting off seaming up the hood on a pink Tomten for the youngest niece and there's a cowl neck sweater that's waiting patiently to be picked up again. I've been playing around on the sewing machine though, figuring out how to mitre corners for more napkins and trying to master using a rolled hem foot. My sewing nook is tucked away in one of the eaves in our attic bedroom. My husband teases me that this is the one place in the house where I can go to get away from him because he can't fit under the sloped ceiling. He's a good foot and three inches taller than me. It's kind of a Rocky and Bullwinkle arrangement that we have and we even live in Minnesota (Rocky and Bullwinkle lived in fictional Frostbite Falls, MN).
Yesterday we had some 'work' to do. While the eldest volunteered at a craft station, the littlest and I took pictures. Well, I snapped away while she played. I admit I did some colouring too. We had a lot of fun despite the Bee having a crick in her neck. When we got home, I heated up one of the ol' rice socks, and she wore it around her neck to bed. I felt so badly for her, but she didn't once complain. And that outfit? Oh boy, does she ever get lots of remarks, but she's got a 14-year old sister! We've been noticing a trend around here of some slight copying with a little 8-year old jazz sprinkled throughout. And we are big advocates of allowing our children to choose their own clothes except when they're 14 dressed like they're 18. Besides, I'm nowhere near her at school, so it's not bothering me if she wears short over leggings with several different stripes. :) And she loves scarves - this one in particular is made more special because it is El's scarf that was kindly lent to her for just the evening. The Bee also does her own hair. I love that she packs her fashion design book in her school knapsack because she's always thinking up new styles, and you never know when inspiration will strike. Y'all best keep your eye out for this one! I'm seeing snowflake tank tops and skirts made of streamers in the near future.
These socks have been sitting in my knitting pile for a while now. In fact I've probably only had to knit the toe on the second sock for two weeks. Wednesday night while at Ignite London, I finished the toe, but I set aside the grafting until I was safely at home. Well I got home, and they were set aside again until Saturday morning. They fit the oldest perfectly. Those are size 9 feet, my friends! I shall not feel too guilty when I send her off at an ungodly hour each morning to the bus stop. Her feet will be toasty. Of course she can not wear this pair every day, so I will have to get moving on another pair. If she's especially nice, I will lend her my size 8 socks in between. :)
The pattern is Wildflower by Fawn Pea, and they were very simple and mindless. Really. That one stitch is just purling 3 stitches together, leaving them on the left hand needle, bringing the yarn over, and purling the same 3 stitches together again. Oh Nelly, it was easy. I used up some unnaturally green Knit Picks Palette fingering-weight wool. The wool was super cheap, but it is not superwash nor does it have a wee bit o' nylon. Ack, it's what we get for $3 (I only used a ball and a half). Oh but they will be warm, and that's all that matters at this point. I really don't mind handwashing socks. Really.
For the second year in a row, my city has challenged itself to perform a great number of acts of kindness in the month of October. For the second year in a row, my organization for which I work is participating. In fact, I am on the Kindness Committee. Think of me as a Kindness Leader. Without the shiny cape. A very simple project that we are doing (and anyone can do this!) is keeping a Kindness journal in our staff room. Each morning I pop into the staff room, and I jot one kind act that I performed the day before. It only takes a minute or two, and I am back on my way to my desk. While eating my lunch, I read about all the acts that my co-workers are doing. I know I work with some great people, but this project really makes them shine! Today the Kindness journal pen dried up. I had a real situation on my hands, but thankfully I managed to scrounge up an old green Holiday Inn pen off the receptionist's desk. It felt oddly unkind to be stealing a pen, but tomorrow I plan to return her 'stylo' and replace it with some new pens I ordered. I'm coo' like that.
But that's not all we're doing. I contacted the Boys and Girls Club, and I asked if we could be another drop-off point for children's winter coats and accessories for the Koats for Kids program. I've already cleaned out our closets and winter hat/mitten/scarf stashes, and I've filled up two boxes! This is another easy and rewarding act that anyone can do. At the end of the month, I'll drive all the stuff we collected down the street to the Boys and Girls Club. Easy peasy.
The neat thing about being kind is it's what you're doing already. So far it hasn't cost me a dime, maybe a few minutes here and there, and the rewards are karmic. :) If you're a Londoner, go and register! It's not too late. And if you're not local, do some random acts of kindness. Pay it forward.
I'm a little late jumping on the Crack Pie bandwagon but on Monday I finally found an excuse to make it. The recipe is from Momofuku, a trendy restaurant and bar in New York City. This pie costs $44 if you want to buy one from their Milk Bar and has a major following. Earlier this year the L.A. Times published a recipe for it and it's been sweeping the blogs since. With a name like Crack Pie, it's gotta be good, right? Well, Monday was Mr. T and my two year wedding anniversary so I used it as an excuse to make the pie, which contains butter, lots of sugar, egg yolks, all in a homemade oatmeal cookie crust and weighs in at a whopping 432 calories per slice. We didn't get around to eating the pie until the next day because we had an amazing dinner at Bar La Grassa (I highly recommend the soft egg and lobster bruschetta--to die for!) and we were too stuffed to eat anything else. We finally settle in after dinner on Tuesday with a slice each of Crack Pie, although the creator of the pie recommends that you eat it "with a spoon, while it's still in the pie plate, with your favorite someone." While Mr. T quite liked it, I thought that it was just too sweet for my taste. I didn't dislike it. The filling is buttery and sweet, not unlike a pecan pie without the pecans, and the crust it crunchy and just a little bit salty. The crust is definitely the best part. I'm not saying that I won't enjoy eating the rest of the Crack Pie, I just won't be needing to go into rehab any time soon.
Yesterday while the turkey cooked all afternoon, we went for a long hike in the woods as we do every year. Despite being a third into October, the sun was shining, and it was quite hot. I wish I had worn a light cotton skirt and a t-shirt instead of jeans and a long-sleeved shirt. Thankfully I left the sweaters in the car! :) And today is just as warm again. The littlest had to run back home from the park to put her shorts on. It's all so lovely! The colours of the leaves, the leaves sprinkling the ground, the smell of turkey leftovers, sipping on cinnamon spice tea, and knitting in the sun. The girls are out playing with their friends. The house is so quiet. It's making me a bit sleepy.
It's been a while since I've posted any finished knitting! Last week I did finish another Meret beret for a gift, and I am only a handful of rows away from finishing a third Mara shawl. These are two excellent patterns that I am destined to repeat knit. After some thought, I realized that I do have some stand-by projects to which I keep coming back. I'm thinking the clapotis, anything Elizabeth Zimmermann, the purl bee cowl, the mittens from Knitting Pretty . . .
If you are my husband you would answer, "A waste of money", which would be the wrong answer. Does this picture help?
If you guessed that they are boiled egg molds, you are correct! How cute are these? I had no idea that you could mold boiled eggs into cute shapes like bunnies and bears until I saw them here and then I had to have them. These would be fun for a child's lunch box, or an adult for that matter! I brought a couple of eggs into work and although I got some confused looks, everyone thought that they were cute. Come on, wouldn't finding a bunny (shaped) egg in your lunch box make you smile?
We woke up silly early this morning, and despite the family moaning and the rain pouring down, we went to our first ever country fair. On the way, we stopped for rainboots and umbrellas as only we would do. We sat on bleachers and watched a sheep show that was out of this world, paraded through deep and muddy puddles squealing, oohed and ahhed over the handcrafted exhibits, petted handspun alpaca, ate black bean brownies, admired pumpkin twins and award-winning indian corn, and laughed at crazy clowns zooming around on motorcycles. Country fairs are where it's at. Even when it's raining cats and dogs.
I returned home itching to bake and knit and search local farms for sale. Never hurts to dream my Amish dream a little. :)