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Pumpkins One, Two, and Three (and Me)

when I started the blog...

and now...

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Maryland Sheep and Wool, 2012.


We went again this year and had a great time.  The fact that the festival is always held in early May, right before or around Mother's Day, works really well in my book.  Because it means I can pick up a few pretty skeins and save everyone an errand, right?  Okay, in truth it's a complete windfall as the boys and Charlie always pick up something sweet for me.  But we'll just go with it...

I actually still need to shoot my new-to-me skeins, but I got some new sock needles (my first Signatures!), a couple skeins of Miss Babs Yowza Monochrome in Pewter, and somehow, fell in love with--and absolutely had to have--some sparkly Tilli Tomas.  I'm still confused by this impulse buy because, really, when will I wear something sparkly?  I've warned the group to expect a blingy-y cowl at next year's Gingerbread Party

Most of the group also picked up a skein of Bijou Basin's Seraphim, a new Angora blend.  It might be the softest stuff I've ever touched.  I also scooped up some Davidson Domy Heather fingering weight yarn as it's very difficult to find (can't even find you a link!  Though here's an old blog post about it) because I have plans to knit a colorwork yoked pullover this winter.  Besides, I think it's a great and economical sub for Brooklyn Tweed Loft.  

I also got a lamb sandwich.  

And yes, it freaked me out again to buy a lamb sandwich next to the building where the lucky lambs were being revered for their beautiful fleece.   

The best part of the outing was that nearly our entire knit group made it.  I adore these gals--they are so fun, but better yet, they are great friends.  And they ooh and ahh over wool and have conflicted feelings over eating lamb sammies under such circumstances, too.  

Until next year!



Second half marathon, check.

So Charlie and I ran another half marathon.  I didn't get to train for this one very much.  Instead of doing four or five long runs to acclimate myself like a good running plan lays out, I got in one measly 9 mile run.  And it was a month before the race!  Not recommended.

Here's a race photo proof until my copy comes in the mail.  My finish time (2:10:56) was slower than my first go at this.  But I'll take it--all I have to do is remember that a couple of years ago I couldn't even run a mile without stopping (truly!).  So finishing any race makes me smile.  I am officially a runner.  Never thought I'd say that.

In fact--as further proof I'm still digging this running experiment--the day after the half, I signed up for another half marathon.  It's the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon.  And I'm so excited because I'm running it with my bestie.  She's a runner but it's her first half!  We met in 8th grade and have done so much together--from Robert Palmer and Bon Jovi concerts, permed hair, and questionable fashion choices to Maid of Honor duties, pregnancies, reunions, and play dates.  But it's our first race!  And it's right around our birthdays.  It's going to be awesome.  

Charlie is not running this one and I have visions of him bringing the boys to cheer me on.  With cute signage.  And custom shirts?  Even pennants, maybe? These are just ideas off the top of my head, mind you...  I'm usually not at all about making a fuss over me.  But every time I see a kid cheering on their mom from the race sidelines, I melt.  That's officially what I would like for my birthday.  



Tops, tanks, and tees KAL.

I'm a little late to the blogging party announcing my participation in Luvinthemommyhood's latest Knitalong.  Actually, I'm a lot late.  Because you know what?  It's over.  Yup.  Missed all the fun blogging about it too, sheesh.  Nevertheless, I wanted to mention it because if you haven't checked it out, you should.  Lots of inspiration over there from the KAL knitters.  My queue basically exploded.


As for me, I knit the popular Spring Garden Tee.  I really love the finished tee but I had a devil of a time getting gauge.  The pattern calls for DK weight, but I could not for the life of me get gauge on a reasonably sized needle using DK.  So then I swatched some sport weight--nope!  In the end, I used fingering weight.  Fingering!  AND (sorry to internet yell, but this is notable) I still had to go down one needle size and had to knit a size smaller than my usual size.  Crazy, I say.  Crazy.

Luckily, I love it to pieces so it was worth the effort.  Don't mind the rain hair in this shot...


p.s.  Do you like the color?  It's another handyed colorway of my own.  The yarn is a delicious blend of Bluefaced Leicester wool, silk, and cashmere.  Love, love, love the base.  Soft but holds up wonderfully. I likewise adore this color.    

And yes, I know I created another blueish color.  I really can (and will) dye a non blue next.  In fact, I have my first custom "order" of a gray (Caryn, are we talking gunmetal or silver?).  


Easy peasy grilled romaine salad.

A few weeks ago we headed over to my brother's and sister-in-law's for dinner.  Nothing fancy--just a few items on the grill and a few sides.  Lucky for us, they live close enough to do this often and as both families like to cook, we enjoy experimenting with recipes.

To go along with the steaks, I brought a couple heads of romaine.  The idea was to make a salad.  But instead of a traditional take, we grilled the romaine.  It was delish!  My SIL Amy tells me she's made it a few times since, as have I.  It's not a full-blown addiction, but as summer approaches, I know this salad will be in heavy rotation around here.

If you like the flavor profile of a Ceasar salad, give this a go.  It's perfect alongside a steak or grilled chicken.  Also, it works just as well indoors on a cast iron pan should a few rainy days separate you from your outdoor grill (like it has in our neck of the woods lately). 

pssst, there is no parmesan in this picture...don't forget the parmesan!

Grilled Romaine

adapted from I'm Just Here for the Food - Alton Brown

  • 4 heads romaine lettuce
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • grated parmesan cheese (for topping)

Clean then quarter or halve the romaine heads lengthwise (depending on the size of your head).  Keep the root intact to keep each piece together.  Brush lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Mix together the capers, mustard, and vinegar.  Grill the romaine on the grill, directly over the heat (indoor grill worked well for me, too).  Turn when it begins to char and wilt--total grill time is about 1 minute.  Remove to serving plates and spoon the vinegar mixture over each and sprinkle with parmesan.  Best served warm.

My notes:  FYI, the original recipe called for the above dressing amount, but for only one romaine head.  I found this dressing to greens ratio far too heavy but admittedly, like my dressing on the light side.




Ramblings (i.e. I have not slept in five days because Will's been sick, so insert a title here)...

It has been, what?, two weeks since Spring Break and I have yet to recap?  Then again, it occurred to me I have yet to recap Chicago, a beach weekend, and heck, even Disney.  I think it prudent, then, to warn that there may be an onslaught of photo heavy family posts.  There have been requests, you see.

But today I decided to post about something else--something related to home improvement.  Because it's spring and what do we do in the spring?  Why, we build shelving of course!  Yup.  Charlie's been at it again.  This time, he's building shelves and a bin system so that we might reclaim the laundry room.  (Why is it that laundry takes up so much of my life?  It is the number one thing I had no idea about--that laundry for a family is a full time job.  Or maybe it's just me).

There has also been some knitting I need to share.

(Max took this shot.  I was trying to teach him about lens flare and how sometimes it works.  I think he's getting it...)

Happy Friday.  I will try to write something substantive and possibly even coherent soon.



Littlest one still loves rainbows.

We are headed to visit family for spring break.  I believe there will be cake to celebrate our spring birthday boys.  Did I mention I made rainbow cupcakes again?  They were requested.  I can't believe he remembered from last year.  (I just clicked to see that post.  My goodness he looks young.)

I'm not sure how I'll ever catch up on all that's happened recently.  But as they are growing so fast--much too fast--I'd best try harder. 

Happy spring break.  Take pictures!  And try to eat a rainbow, if at all possible.



My color affection.

Isn't it funny how tastes change?  Especially with fashion?  I remember doing a double-take when jeans tucked into boots came back on the scene several years ago.  And now?  I went to a charity event a few weeks ago and 85% of the ladies were sporting riding boots over skinny jeans.  

I am not one of those types who likes to push a trend, especially ones that are, you know, trendy.  But I do enjoy appraising a look that's of the moment and settling into it, if it catches my fancy.  I am a girl, after all.  And I think most of us are hard-wired to care about that sort of stuff.

And this is relevant to what, exactly?  Well, shawls.  Because even though it was less than a year ago that I proclaimed I favor shawlettes--not shawls--to wear as scarves, it seems I've done an about-face.  You see, I am now firmly, and unapologetically, in the shawl camp.

Here is what I wrote on my Ravelry page:

When I re-learned to knit a year and a half ago, to be honest, I didn't "get" shawls.  But then I knit a few small shawlettes and started feeling some twinges.  Still, those were worn like scarves and I've always been a scarf girl.

But now?  Sigh.  I can't help but wonder if Color Affection will be the gateway to a shawl-y path I never expected to travel.  

That said, I'm still not a hundred percent convinced I will actually *wear* a shawl as a shawl.  I know that I want to knit them.  And that I'll daydream about wearing them--this knit in particular--looking all stylish and fabulous like so many beautiful Ravelers.  I will also undoubtedly cocoon up in it on the couch while knitting.  *But.*  Will I actually reach for it to drape around my shoulders when I leave the house?  Hmmm. 

Well, now that I've knit one (specifically, a Color Affection by Veera Välimäki in Plucky Primo), I can tell you this:  I will wear it.  And I love it to bits.  Because I can wrap it around any and all outfits--even when I'm a wreck--and leave the house looking pulled together.  It's like lipgloss for my wardrobe.  I should note that it helps greatly if I'm wearing my skinny jeans and boots.


p.s.  Max took these shots.  Isn't that something?


Be back soon.

Someone around here had a birthday.  And he made a special request for his birthday breakfast (donuts are usually a beach week treat only).

He wasn't thrilled about blowing out the candle, though.

He finally came around.  Grudgingly.

After a few salty bites, we were good.

The rest of his day was spent having fun with friends at his bowling party. 

I'll be back to share more about that soon...but first I need to get ready for a certain 8-year-old's birthday tomorrow.  He would like crepes for his birthday breakfast.

I can't believe he's turning 9.  

I'll be back in this space soon.  Because I should have a little time before Leo's birthday in a month.

So if anyone's wondered where I've been, it's nothing fancy.  Just staying busy with my boys and celebrating how long I've been lucky enough to be their momma.



Low-fat chocolate chip oatmeal cookie (yes, I said low-fat).

I know I'm not known for low-fat creations.  I blame it on a lot of things, mostly The Pioneer Woman, Smitten Kitchen, and the hereditary gift of a high-metabolism that allows me to test decadent recipes with abandon.  I keep hearing, however, that  my body has all sorts of surprises in store for me this decade.  I am warned that things will shift--both with my metabolism as well as my energy level.  And I hear that the shift will not be in my favor.  This is not happy news.

In preparation, I've come up with a two part plan as I head into the second half of my first year of my fourth decade. (didya follow that?  Because I'm also all about keeping those neurons firing...)

Part 1:  I've signed up to run the Marine Corps Historic Half Marathon again.  I didn't run a race last year and often found myself adrift, running-wise, without a goal in front of me.  Charlie is running it as well, as are several good friends.  We're also putting together a group to run the Run Amuck.  Running in mud and tackling obstacles?  Oh yes.  Yes, please.

Part 2:  Testing out some cooking blogs with a low-fat focus.  My favorite thus far is Skinny Taste.  The first recipe I tried was her low-fat chocolate chip oatmeal cookie.  I could not believe that a recipe calling for merely two tablespoons of butter could yield a satisfying cookie.  But it certainly did.

I also tried several main meal recipes from Skinny Taste and they were delicious, too.  Hopefully this will keep me focused on healthy eating.  And by the way, the fact that I ordered and recently received XX* boxes of Girl Scout Cookies is neither here nor there.  As far as I'm concerned, it simply establishes that my friends have ridiculously cute daughters.

*I will not go on record providing an actual number

Low-fat (yes low-fat) Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies


Click to read more ...



Dear Caryn. 

I know I had you on blue yarn watch.  I know I asked you to intervene and steer me away when I try to beeline for skeins with bluesy names like chambray, denim, midnight, wedgewood, cobalt, nantucket, azure, ultramarine, cornflower, and cerulean.  I could go on, and often do, but that's enough for now, right?  Because you know and I know that there is not a solitary shade of blue yarn that, once created, I won't feel compelled to stash.  I love blue yarn beyond reason. 

But guess what?  I picked up some skeins recently that weren't blue.  They were devoid of blue, in fact.  They were white.  Too white it turns out.  So they...and I...and my dyepots...well, we intersected.  And now, you guessed it, they are blue.  We blue addicts are sneaky.