Sunday, December 30, 2007

Rasp and Blue Berry Scones


It's cold and wet outside.
It's warm and cozy inside.
Breakfast this morning had to be fresh baked.
A while back I stopped baking gluten free from scratch as it was too depressing when the finished product was virtually inedible. I bought a case full of mixes and received a free product with my purchase. I think I have had this English Scone mix for over a year and finally broke it out on Christmas morning. It was so easy and delicious. Although they aren't pretty, they taste great. This morning, I used raspberry yogurt and blueberries.
Currently, it is 1:08 P.M. and I still have my pj's on. It's going to be a great day!
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P.S. The loom has yet to be moved, time to crochet.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Ahh, the Lull


I think the days between Christmas and New Year are my favorite. Work tends to be less busy since most people take this time off, roads are less traveled since most shopping has been (over)done, and people are generally in a down swing mode - where the real relaxing happens, contrary to the word "Holiday". Christmas is such a stressful time. I was thinking back to some of my favorite times leading up the madness:
* making birdseed cookies with Sam
* listening to the audio of David Sedaris reading his SantaLand Diaries
* placing the wreath on the monkey (see November 30 post)
* watching Sam think real hard about what number we were going to put on Daddy's new shirt
* putting the kids to bed and crocheting by the lights of the Christmas trees and garlands in the living room while listening to Christmas music
* wrapping that last present
* arranging the centerpiece above (the roses are beautiful, Tom. Thank you.)
* not being able to sleep on Christmas morning
* seeing smiles on my kids' faces
* saying goodbye to that last guest and sitting in silence with my Tom
oh, and... antibiotics for little O.
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For those we missed and those we saw - we love you. Hope you all had a wonder filled celebration.
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Next up...moving the loom out of the baby's room and into a place more 'workable'.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Wonder of Christmas


Only four years ago this was Our Christmas wonder. The love of trains is still there...
May the Wonder of Christmas stay with you throughout the new year.

Merry Christmas to All!

See you in a bit.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Scraps

As much as I like to think I am one to conserve, recycle, and re-use, I am not. If I have a new project, I tend to go to the fabric store and buy three times what I really need. Stashing away the leftovers for a "rainy day". Well, the rainy, or as we call it in Buffalo, "snowy" day came.

I needed a quick wrapping for a gift I got for a very special someone. I dug into my storage and came up with an old curtain and scraps of a Halloween costume.

It was great to use materials I already had to create something special, made with my own imagination.

Merry Christmas G!



Monday, December 17, 2007

That Pickle



Some ornaments get great positioning on our tree. Some, are hung toward the back - since that is where the "really strong branches" are. And then there is that pickle. The pickle, although a favorite, gets poor billing, inside the branches hidden by other ornaments, garland, lights and branches.

When I was living in Chicago, the city puts on a "Kris Kindlemart" in front of one of the Picasso sculptures. Good German vendors come with their wooden toys, glass blown vases and bowls, homemade sausage, potato pancakes and beer. The aroma is mesmerizing, even in the frigid temperatures. There are a couple vendors selling glass ornaments and this is where I found my pickle.

That pickle story I know goes a little like this: It is a German tradition to hide a glass pickle on the tree on Christmas Eve. The first child (my husband included) to find the pickle first, gets a special gift (I never have had an extra gift, maybe that's why my tradition isn't widely anticipated). After researching the pickle story for this blog, I found out that this is not a German tradition. In fact, most German people don't even know what the pickle ornament represents. There is a story of a man fighting in the Civil War. He begged for a pickle and regained mental and physical strength after eating it. And yet another story about some guys stuffed in a pickle barrel. The best note I read was from a woman, in Chicago, that asked the vendor at the Kris Kindlemart what the tradition was behind the pickle. The vendor said, "I have no idea, but Americans buy it."

Americans will buy anything.

There hangs That Pickle. My pseudo-tradition from my German ancestors.

It is, however, one of my favorite ornaments. Second to my absolute favorite, which gets high billing, in front, on top.

I beg you to find a better ornament.
Lustig Christfest!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Brutini

Trader Joe's used to have a cookie called "Brutini: Li'l Uglies". It is fantastic GF cookie made even better with a hot cup of coffee. Very dry and light, but crunchy. Made with almonds and egg whites. To my surprise, I found a recipe for something very close. Four ingredients - naturally gluten-free. No problem. This is going to be great. I am going to get back into baking GF cookies from scratch.


Not so fast. Blanch 5 1/3 cups of almonds and 'slip' the skin off. Key word: slip.


Almonds, hazelnuts, sugar, egg whites.


Beat eggs till lightly foamy. Key word: lightly. Mix in sugar while beating to form soft peaks. Key words: soft peaks. Transfer to pot on stove and cook for 10 minutes until thick and brown. How brown? Bake 22 minutes until dry. Dry?



Brutini.

This is all I made. I gave up. They didn't have the airiness to them, nor the crunch. Had I left them in any longer, the bottoms would have blackened.

So, next step, batch of 'never-fail-easiest-peanut butter-chocolate chip' cookies. Then, maybe I'll try this again.

Just maybe.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Hungry


After four official days off from work, I thought I would be inspired to come up with an interesting blog topic. Unfortunately, I spent most of my time thinking about (see Procrasti Nation below) or working on Christmas gifts. In the spirit of my mom, I have most of our gifts wrapped, with exception to those requiring batteries, so, other than baking gluten free cookies, I am left with those last minute, handmade creations. Sam and I have been busy, but due to our small readership of this blog, I can't embellish at this moment (maybe after Captain Ho Ho comes to visit).

I have had this small, but constant, pull to get something on the loom. I was trying to remember the last project and I am ashamed to say I can't even count the years past. I will, however, never forget the project. With all good and loving intentions, it was a disaster. The woven fabric was beautiful - but what was created with it, well, I am pretty sure it hasn't seen the light of day. And that is fine by me, I learned my lesson. I am fairly sure that is why my Dad doesn't like to do commissions. I get it.

So, I have had some yarn for a project for approximately nine months. Last night, I set up in the kitchen: board and dowels, C clamps, assorted yarn, pattern counts and my favorite scissors. Working in the kitchen had a different vibe than my usual dining room set up. The first twenty passes (four yards each) was a little rough but brought on that 'feeling'. Getting back into the rhythm of sliding the yarn through my fingers from left to right and rocking my body to match the motion was utterly...nourishing.

I love this craft.
P.S. I peeled the potatoes that evening (see Procrasti Nation below). And, might I add, they were the best potatoes I have ever made. I tried to take pics for you all, but they didn't come out very appetizing with 1:30 a.m. lighting.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Procrasti Nation


Potatoes need to be peeled.
Dining Room table needs to be uncovered ('discovered' would also work).
Toys need to be picked up.
But...
This is much more fun.
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Procrastinate. It means more to me than simple letters to form a nicely scored word in Scrabble. To me, it is the thrill of the time when you finally realize that it is time to begin and the power and thought and creativity that has built up inside, while procrastinating.
My parents couldn't possibly be more opposite when it comes to procrastination. My father, is King of Procrasti Nation. He is a wildlife watercolor artist (http://www.woodswindnwater.com/) and makes plans years in advance to display at a particular show. And, never fail, Wednesday night before they are to leave, Dad is framing or sometimes even blowing on the watercolor paper to get it to dry so that he can do the framing. My mother, on the other hand, can't stand being a citizen of Procrasti Nation. She is on the other side of the world. She will get things done months, weeks ahead just so it is done. She will have been packed three days ahead for this same trip. I admire them both. They are a good match in the Nation.
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Tom only travels to Procrasti Nation occasionally. In fact, he has already washed the floors and cleaned the bathroom. I still have to peel the potatoes.
There are two main states of Procrasti Nation: Development and Disdain. My Dad is usually in the Development state, where he only waits to paint the night before the trip because he has needed that time to conceptualize the piece and work it out in his head, before the paper. And the Disdain State, is simply me not wanting to peel the potatoes.
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Time to peel the potatoes.
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* Picture Above: I made some Christmas stockings while in Chicago out of kitchen towels. We have been hanging them in our house since our first boy was born. Now that we are a family of four, (I must have procrastinated last year) I was searching for the other stockings I just didn't finish. They were in my Procrasti Nation box with a myriad of unfinished objects.
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Maybe the potatoes can wait. I am sure I'll have time.
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Tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Kernels


Candy, pretzels, cookies, crackers, ice cream, pudding - anything.

No, my little guy grunts and groans and makes me follow him to the pantry. Words are few, but that grunting is unmistakeable. He wants something.

Corn.

Canned Corn.

He holds the bowl as if it is the most coveted treat. One by one he picks up those kernels and jams them into his mouth. I can watch him eat for hours. What amazes me is how the speed changes. Slow motion when trying to pinch a kernel and as soon as he has it, warp speed to his mouth. I took about 30 pictures and laughed the whole time. He loved it. Well, until I cut up the tomatoes for taco night, then the corn had a friend.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Monkey Days


This is my favorite dust collector (as the giver/husband so fondly calls it) and when Thanksmas and Christmas decorating begins, Monkey gets a lovely - St. Lucia inspired - halo of greenery (no candles please). This tiny little ring of plastic and wire is one of my most loved decorations. I know that when monkey gets his halo, it won't be long before friends and family take a moment to relax, eat, and smile.

That sounded corny. All I really care about is the vacation from work and presents.

Cheers.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Softball Joe


There are a couple things that make working at my "real job" difficult - yarn and an unfinished project (UFO's to some). I can think of nothing better than a cup o' Joe with double cream and a couple cones of the most chocolatey softball cotton yarn, well maybe toss in a gluten-free almond scone from Whole Foods. I am finishing up the last few wash towels for the show on Saturday with my best mom. After Saturday, I am officially concentrating on Christmas and making my home a warm and welcoming haven from the cold, blustery weather that is sure to come.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Smooth Texture


This is a dish from the dollar bin at our local discount store. I never appreciated it as anything more than a flat vessel until I took this picture.
It reminds me of how one can appear so smooth and cool on the outside, but when you get up really close and see all the cracks and bumps, you realize that inside can be deeply troubled.

That said, I am sad today.

Tomorrow will be better.

And the next, even better.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Gluten Free Weaver

Thought I should elaborate on two things:
1. I am gluten free, as a result of a Celiac disease diagnosis, since January 2003 while pregnant with my first child. Gluten free food has come a long way in a short 4 years.
and
2. In college, I started weaving. I own my own loom and if I didn't have a full time job - weaving would take place. Unfortunately, the loom is dusty and lonely for the time being.

One Handed Momma


The morning after Oscar was born, he was in my arms while I was buttering my gluten free toast. I should have realized that my days of two useable arms and hands were over. Sam, now 4 and a half, wasn't the same. Although he loved to snuggle, I don't remember doing things while holding him. I guess the difference now is that I choose to still do tasks and not just sit and hold the baby.
Today, I cut a banana for Oscar and took out the garbage - all one handed.
One thing I can't do one-handed, is crochet. Crochet has become my new love. My favorite thing about my childrens' bedtime, is the hour I get after it to crochet and watch 'adult' programs on tv (reality tv included). I hope to bring you pics and more stories of my love for yarn and my two boys.

Friday, March 16, 2007

My first blog

My first blog. I am not sure what to write, in fact, I have deleted this a dozen times already. I am still drawing blanks. Hope you enjoy!