Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Little Something

Dale recently acquired a new cell phone. The old cell phone's case of course didn't fit at all. So, I took a break from my other knitting projects and made him a seamless cell phone sock. I casted on using a method from my "Two at a Time, Toe Up" sock book, and knitted in the round, using the Magic Loop method. It would have been done much quicker, but I actually had to restart 4 times. The first three were due things like getting a twist in the round (ugh) or not liking how it was going, then the last time because after knitting about 3 inches, I compared it to the cell phone and it was WAY too wide. I figured out from that how many stitches to cast on, visited the frog pond yet again, and was off and running.

I have been pushing to get the before mentioned charity quilt done, and am at the borders. Yay! There have been lots of interruptions such as potty training, gardening, pool time, and the delivery of our pig meat, freshly slaughtered and smoked, all 244 lbs. worth. I am also sporting a nasty sinus summer cold, compliments of my daughter, Elizabeth.

Thanks a lot, toots.

A Yummy Summer Dish!

Chili-Rubbed Tilapia With Asparagus and Lemon


2 pounds organic asparagus, tough ends trimmed, cut into 1" pieces
2 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1 pound fish, tilapia, Pacific sole, or other firm white-fish fillet
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice

1.Bring an inch of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Put asparagus in a steamer basket, place in the pan, cover, and steam until tender-crisp, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a large plate, spreading out to cool.

2.Combine chili powder, garlic powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt on a plate. Dredge fillets in the spice mixture to coat. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fish and cook until just opaque in the center, gently turning halfway, 5 to 7 minutes total.

3.Divide among 4 plates. Immediately add lemon juice, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and asparagus to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, until the asparagus is coated and heated through, about 2 minutes. Serve the asparagus with the fish.
Makes 4 servings.

Prep Time: 3 mins
Cook Time: 13 mins
Total Time: 16 mins

Nutrition Facts
Number of Servings: 4
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 210
Total Fat: 10 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 48 mg
Sodium: 418 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 8 g
Dietary Fiber: 4 g
Protein: 24 g


Tilapia is an inexpesive, plentiful fish. It is also a little bland. I usually prepare it with lemon and a little garlic, maybe some chives... whatever I have. This looks delicious, and I'll be trying it as soon as possible. Bon apetit!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Random Blocks

I am involved in a group charity project. It is a scrappy type quilt, and the only stipulations was the 12" block size. What a fun way to reacquaint myself with my horrendously large scrap stash.

I did these three blocks:

"Oh Susanna" Quilt Block:

"Double Pinwheel" Block:

"Butterfly" Block:

I got all these patterns for free from the McCalls Quilt Block site. There are tons of them to choose from! You could very easily do a sampler quilt or two, or three or four... you get the idea. Most of the quilt block patterns have variations for different sized blocks,too.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

"Dusty Needles..." Post Correction

It was brought to my attention by a certain grandparent that the number of days we were away was actually 5, not "4 days and 4 nights".

We left around 11 am, on a Monday morning and got back around supper time on Friday. I say potato, you say pohtahtoh.

Anyway, let the record show we were gone 5 days.

See, I may not have given you "editorial privileges" but I DID pay attention to what you said.

(Insert Teenager-like eye roll here.)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Dusty Needles... Warning, Picture Heavy!



Well done.



You're the best.

Whatever accolades you can think of insert here _____________________. It is directed to Grandma and Grandpa Van, who braved a week with the kids while Dale and I went away in honor of our 20th anniversary.

It wasn't a "week" per se, more like 4 days and 4 nights. Funny how the relativity of time works. To us it seemed to fly by and was short. I'm thinking that for Grandma and Grandpa (who missed the Bruins game ... sorry about that Dad!) it seemed longer.

A MAJOR HUGOFORTISIMO Thank You to you both!

Before our week away we had been busy finishing planting the garden, finishing up paperwork for school, and getting through the general hubbub of getting ready to go. Grandma and Grandpa arrived on a Sunday evening, and Dale and I left Monday, late morning.

Oh, our garden has many things in it. Tomato plants. Pepper plants. Cabbage. Green beans. Some herbs, etc. Rocks... LOTS and lots of rocks. Oh yeah, the newest addition... this little fellow here:

Actually, he was a decent sized snapping turtle. After a while he was successfully moved to the neighborhood pond, and no, not by the kids. :P

Here are the heroes of this post:

I can tell this picture was taken at the beginning of the week, because they are still smiling.

I had bought a special outfit for our going away, and Esther insisted on taking about a billion pictures before we left. I'll spare you the billion, and just give the highlights of the outfit:

We went to "The Quiet Place", and rented the Naples Chalet. It was beautiful! It was only a couple hours from home, overlooking Lake Canandaigua. Absolutely gorgeous. A small cabin, in the woods, overlooking the lake, with two decks, and a jacuzzi on one of those decks. It was peaceful. Quiet. Ahhhh....

The weather was a little wonky, so I had to pack a little of everything except winter wear. Ha! I'm just glad it wasn't blistering hot and we could enjoy the Jacuzzi. One day was very gray, and rained in the morning. The outside temperature never got above 58, and when I took the cover off the jacuzzi, you could see the steam coming off it. Our suits were still cold and wet from the previous evening's dip, so we didn't waste any time getting in. I like to call the time in the hot tub the "Wet Noodle Therapy". The warm water and jet streams turn you into just that. A wet noodle.

We didn't spend ALL our time in the jacuzzi. We played games for hours on end. It was fun, even if Dale killed me in Yahtzee. Pfffft. Oh, and Phase 10. Double Pfffft. I finally got him to agree (also known as guilt tripping him into) playing a game of Scrabble. I beat him, but not by enough for it to be satisfactory. Triple Pfffft.

I was very impressed with the cleanliness of the cabin, and the attention to detail. They provided basic cooking supplies, and we brought our own food. When we walked in the cabin, it was to soft music, and an awesome view. We just stood there looking out the french doors at the lake, and literally felt the tension leave our shoulders.

They also left some really delicious fresh cookies from a bakery. These were serious cookies. Big, soft, and perfect. They didn't last long.

We unpacked and put away groceries, which took about 5 minutes all together. I have long forgotten what it is like to do food for just two people. Then we gave ourselves a little tour of the place. Then we stood there wondering what to do next. It was very strange to not have to go on to the next chore, settle a squabble, run errands, etc. My "Mom Radar" was still on "high" and I was still in that state of high alert parents experience 24/7.

There was nothing to do.


Might as well do it in the Jacuzzi.

So, before dinner, we got in, and thus began our experience at The Quiet Place. If anyone is ever looking for a fantastic getaway in upstate NY, this is the place to go. They have several different cabins to choose from. I admit, I chose this one because of the view and the hot tub on the deck. But if that isn't your thing (yeah, right... "oh no, we don't like a gorgeous view") there are many to choose from.

We had one day of full sunshine so we decided to go down to the town of Naples and see what trouble we could get into.

Ummm... not much. It was a very small town, geared towards some tourist activity. There was a nice quilt shop that we visited. The proprietress saw us come in, and told Dale that if he likes pie and coffee, they served both across the street. She has obviously dealt with quilters and their husbands a lot. Dale was a champion though, and patiently waited while I made the rounds through the shop. The Carriage House Quilt Shop is in a barn, remodeled to fit its current purpose. Oh excuse me, not "barn", but in that neck of the woods and for the time when it was built, was "Carriage House" (thus the name of the shop). She also told us her house was the oldest historical home being used as a residence in the town now. I wish I had taken pictures, but I was far too busy shop talking and picking out some fabric. Dale was busy holding bolts for me. Poor guy!

Come on now, you all KNEW I had to hit at least one quilt shop while we were away, right? There was legitimate reasons for each of my purchases, truly!

We went on some trails, and picnicked at the Cumming Nature Center. We walked around their longest trail, Beaver Trail, and it had an observation deck at the far end by the little beaver lake. I have to admit I had a thing for all the tons of dragonflies landing on the lilypads all around the deck. They totally captured my attention, and for no really good reason. Maybe it was because I could actually spend time observing them, instead of paying attention to seven children.

On our way out of town Friday, we stopped at Monica's Pies. It is a local shop that I had seen advertised and mentioned many times in the journal that served as the cabin's guest book. Many comments about Monica's fabulous pies, so we stopped in and got a rhubarb-strawberry and red raspberry pie to bring home to the family.

On the way home was the Corning Glass museum, and since we several hours to kill, we stopped and walked through the museum and caught a bunch of the demonstrations. I found it all fascinating, and didn't remember half from the other times we had been there with the kids. Oh, that's why. No kids with us this time. I could actually give everything my undivided attention.

I learned something else. At home, it takes much longer to do kitchen clean up after a meal, than the actual eating of the meal takes. With just Dale and I, the eating took much longer, and the clean up about 10 minutes, and that is without using a dishwasher. We talked and talked and talked, and spent all our time together. The week was so refreshing. Grandma mentioned before we left that I would probably really miss the kids. We haven't been away from them since the twins were toddlers, when we went on a missions trip to Mexico.

Well... "miss" may be too strong of a word. We did call home every evening, and just hearing the chaos in the background was sufficient reminder of why we were enjoying the time away.

That being said, it was good to get home and sleep in our own bed. My only "complaint" would be the mattress was too hard. We woke up sore from it.

Or maybe it was from getting 7 to 8 consecuitive hours of sleep for a change?

On the way in we had noticed the windmills along one of the ridges. They were HUGE. I mean, eerily huge. I tried to get some pics, but they really don't do justice to how tall these guys were.

So, why the title to this post?

I had brought along some knitting to work on, thinking of all the free time I would have, and knew I could put it to good use.

You know what? I never once even got the knitting out of the bag. I thought that was rather strange when I thought about it after the fact, and then realized why.

When I knit it is to relieve tension. It is calming.

I guess lazing around in the Jacuzzi just didn't generate tension.

My spare time was spent with Dale playing games, relaxing, and OH! I actually read a WHOLE book from start to finish while we were gone.

Will wonders never cease?

I did finish the fronts to my Seaweed Cardigan before we left, and blocked them. What is it about cats that make them think they have to take a nap on every new quilt or blocked knitting project?

I still need to do the seaming and pick up stitches for the ribbing, but it is coming along, even if it is slow.

Since we have been home, we have gotten back into the routine of things. Yesterday we spent the day outside gardening and playing in the pool, and have the sunburns to prove it. Today is overcast, but warm. If it doesn't storm (like they say it is supposed to) we'll be out in the pool after lunch.

I'm making a concerted effort to get back into the swing of things here with my sewing pile and gardening and trying to do some decluttering. Busy summer days ahead, that is for sure!

Well, blessings upon you if you made it this far. Have a great day!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Home Remedies for Headaches and Migraines

My daughter Esther and I suffer from headaches and migraines from time to time. We both seem to be more prone to them than anyone else in the family. I detest popping Tylenol or ibuprofen in general, so a long time ago I started seeking out some home remedies. This article highlights some of what I have learned over the years.

The problem with headaches is that there are so many different causes! Allergies, tension, sleeping position, strain from holding a toddler on one hip, stress... the list goes on and on. One day you may have a headache from sleep deprivation. The next you may have one from your neck position from actually getting sleep. The next day maybe it is sinus related. Different foods can cause headaches too. If you are one who gets migraines, then that is an extra dose of pain not accompanying regular headaches, and the relief desired can't come soon enough.

The linked article is very helpful! A couple of things I might add that has helped with Esther and I are ginger oil, or ginger tea. It helps relieve pressure in the blood vessels. Also we have an all natural anti- migraine stick I got from the natural food store down town. You just apply it to your forehead. It has many of the essential oils mentioned that help alleviate migraines. For Esther the best thing has been a little lavender oil on her forehead, a cold compress over it, and sleep. If she can get into a nice deep sleep, it almost always takes care of it.

My obligatory disclaimer: I am not a physician or certified herbalist, and any concerns you have you should use your best judgement and seek professional help if deemed necessary.

Here's the link to the article:

Home Remedies for Headaches and Migraines

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Refreshing Salad

I recieved this recipe in the email, originating from Eating Well, I think. Anyway, it looks delish! I have been on the lookout for something different than just the usual veggie salad. Can't wait to try it.

Raspberry, Avocado, and Mango Salad


1 1/2 cups organic raspberries, divided
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 clove fresh garlic, coarsely chopped
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon black ground pepper
8 cups organic mixed salad greens
1 ripe organic mango, diced
1 small ripe avocado, diced
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped, or sliced almonds (optional)
Puree 1/2 cup raspberries, oil, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper in a blender until combined.

Combine greens, mango, avocado and onion in a large bowl. Pour the dressing on top and gently toss to coat.

Divide the salad among 5 salad plates. Top each with the remaining raspberries and sprinkle with nuts, if using.

Prep Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 15 mins

Nutrition Facts
Number of Servings: 5
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 215
Total Fat: 16 g
Saturated Fat: 2 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 122 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 18 g
Dietary Fiber: 7 g
Protein: 3 g