Thursday, January 29, 2009

Oh Oh no coffee!!!!!

Well ,it was bound to happen. I've been so tight with the dollars trying to get that $1 a day average ,that I didn't realize just how low I was on coffee. It seems there is just enough to brew about 1/2 a pot. There are only a few days left in the month and I really want to do this,so, this morning I skipped my cup of coffee. AWWW !!! Not an easy thing but I did make it through the day.

For some strange reason I can not drink tea in the morning. It's fine in the afternoon or evening but in the am oh my God it's like morning sickness.
I don't know anyone who would do that willingly. For that reason it was hot water and lemon to accompany my banana muffins today. Thoughts of coffee crept in occasionally, I had to fight off those caffeine demons once or twice, however here I am none the worst for wear.

Started my day with packing up my soups for delivery and spent pleasant time with my customers. Came home and finally finished Aaron's sweater. Although I love this pattern I often had very naughty things to say about this sweater. It has no seams,that's a good thing it starts at the right flap and you knit around the body in a circular fashion. You add stitches for the sleeves and then join from cuff to shoulder with the Kirchener stitch. Here's the problem. The pattern has you cast on 52 stitches for the right sleeve and 59 stitches for the left. There is no way both sleeves will be the same size if you follow these directions. Another twist is that it was originally written in German and literally translated to English. It took me a few reading to figure out the private side of the sweater also known as the wrong side in English.I wish I had been as quick with the sleeve thing. The sweater was done about 5 times before I realized the reason the sleeves were not the same size was because the pattern was incorrect. Jiggy [the hubbie] would moan every time I ripped it,and say "no I can't watch you do it again" Waaa. I was sure that I had miss-counted and did several rows more then once. I'm very patience with things like that,but anyhow the sweater is done. It looks like a Chinese jacket with a front overlap. I used a river stone glued to a brad as a button to give it a tied to the earth kind of look. Because of the ripple stitching the sweater can actually grow with the child, at least that's what they say. I might try to enlarge the sweater for myself and give that a go. Right now I don't think Jiggy can take the pressure so we'll put that on hold.
This little mitten and hearts is a first attempt by one of the Tuesday night S &B girls.

Chris doesn't like to meet with us because she doesn't have a hand held project. Collage is more her medium however this year we tempted her with thought of Making her own Christmas decorations and after some deliberation we decided on felting as a new art for her.This is her first go at it and I think she may have found something that suits her needs. She is using roving cookie cutters and felting needles and learning new terms in crafting .She is one happy camper right now. Kudos to Chris. Keep up the good work. And on that note I will leave you with a quote from Heywood " Nothing is impossible to a willing heart." Ditto ........said the hobbit

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Not always sunny

Just a little insight to our lives. I wouldn't want you to think life is perfect here. Last week the Youngest had one of those sanity trying times where the bad stuff just doesn't seem to end. Some of us who have been around a little longer know everyone gets hit with this now and then.
Her car was booted[tire locked down till parking tickets are paid] she lost her job. Sign of the times lay-off,the check engine light went on in her hubbies car he himself developed an ulcer in his eye from wearing his contacts too long.Sooo as you can guess she was feeling pretty overwhelmed. One of the best cures for ones problems is to tell them to someone who is willing to listen. Someone who always will see your side of the story,and just be there.This is one of a mothers many duties. After giving it a little thought we decided to vent at the Golden Egg.After all if your going thru all this trama you should surround yourself with more pleasant things like food that you didn't have to lift a finger to prepare. As the listener I too needed to be treated in a special way.
This is the perfect place to put your mind in a good karma. Our family has a special feeling about breakfast.It's like a new beginning where what you put on your plate sets the mood for the rest of the day. Just look at that cinnamon roll,it's screaming "the good stuff is about to begin" The coffee cups were always being filled and the girls at the diner ,very attentive as usual.
A waffle with fresh fruit was ordered and this is what arrived. I know ,I know ,it's all out of season but, sometimes you just need to break the rules. You should have seen the waitress when we pulled out the camera to take this picture. It made us laugh and chuckle right to the very last dribble of syrup in the plate.My order was egg and toast.No need to photo just the same old same old. I don't need excitement just nourishment. It's 10 days later now and things are looking better. A new job has begun with BOSTON BALLET and everything that happened will soon go under the heading of "do you remember when". As a mother all of your children's problems weigh heavy on your heart but, the joy is in watching them attack these problems and come out smiling.

Now here's something that will put a smile on your face. Yes this is Aaron. It was really ,really cold out when they snapped this picture .Isn't he a cutie .............said the hobbit

Sunday, January 25, 2009

More food in the pantry!

Wow!Kudos to people who have to eat out of the pantry every day .
This is not as easy as it sounds. I look in the cupboard every few days and think,what can I make with what I have in here.Luckily I work for a farm with a year-round market and I can glean some near death veggies for roasting and soups or stews.This week I'm trying to use up all these beans I purchased for recipes that were not repeated,not to mention I jut forgot and bought more dried beans because I did not check my pantry before doing my shopping.That is also something I'm changing about my routine.You think you can save time by shopping on the way home from work,you don't have a list but, hey you know exactly what you need.You stop at the grocery store already tired from a days work and before you know it you're standing in front of the frozen food section grabbing something quick for supper because you just spent 15 min. talking to a friend [not a bad thing] and now you can't remember what you had on your mental list.So this is how I used those beans this week.It
made more then enough for 2 meals so it helped me keep my January food budget at $1.89 @ day.
Not near my goal of $1 a day but a beginning none the less. I used one of my local chickens from the freezer to make chicken pot pie with one
half and this chili with the other.

chopped onion about a cup
minced jalepeno to taste
2 minced garlic cloves
chicken broth
4 cups pre-cooked of great northern beans
1/4 cup minced parsley
juice of a lime
2 teas. cumin
meat from 1/2 chicken
cornstarch and cold water to thicken.

Saute the vegetable in olive oil,then add broth and remaining ingredients [but not cornstarch and water] let it simmer 10 minutes or 1 hr .Recipe says 10 minutes but what kind of flavor do you think that will give you. When the kitchen smells absolutely fantastic you're probable ready to thicken with the cornstarch and cold water mix. If I used about 6 cups of broth so 2 tbls. cornstarch in 1/3 cup of water gave me a good consistency.Then I simmered till I couldn't take it anymore and we grabbed our bowls and filled our tummies.

Of course I had no time to make dessert so later when we wanted just a little something more,out came the bowl of popcorn. You know you can make that a sweet or savory treat depending on your need. Popcorn can go a long way,it's a real money saver if you think you're spending too much on snacking food.

Well I best be going, today is a work day,tonight is stitch and bitch and tomorrow we are expecting a storm.8-12 inches of the fluffy stuff.Maybe I should stop by the store and pick something up.Oh right ,no need, we have a pantry full........................said the hobbit

Friday, January 16, 2009

Knitting goodness.

Once again it's time for our Tuesday night stitch and Bitch.I have to say I felt this week was quite productive. As I mentioned, we are all intent on being more local and handmade with our Christmas 2009 so there is much discussion on what is practical and pretty and will be well received. We started with showing different patterns we are considering and checking on new terms we are seeing for the first time. Patterns are now being shared all over the world and sometimes the terminology is not so easy to understand. The question here was what do they mean when they say Row 2&4 should be done in the edge stitch. I'm thinking all little more info would have been nice. After hearing every one's
interpretation I think Sharlene[hand to mouth in
this picture] was on edge.

Some of my group members are just getting out of work and not always ready to pick-up sharp objects and be creative so, this week we started a little game to warm-up our creative juices.We have these little writing pads to keep track of our brilliant ideas. One person draws something and then the pad is passed around so everyone can add to it. Not exactly earth-moving creativity but, none the less it put us in the right frame of mind. As you see we were very secretive in our efforts.

Now our Michelle didn't need any pushing to be on the right track. She started this sweater before the holidays. It's a present to herself and you know how that goes. She had a busy schedule and hadn't taken the time to read the pattern thru . That meant she kept doing the neck part incorrectly over and over till she finally had it and put it away for about a month.As you can see it was the right thing to do. She is on a roll now and I expect the next time I see this sweater she will be wearing it. Well at least have it ready to block.
Soon I'll be able to give you her blog so we can all welcome her to this community. She is also at starting an Etsy shop. I'm telling you this is quite
the group.
We did a group photo Tuesday because Stephanie[row 2 navy sweater] is moving up to Freeport Me. This was her last meeting for awhile. I hope she will continue her crafts and send us pictures that we can pass along. On her left is a new member, Renee , yes that would be my daughter.She just recently decided to pick-up the knitting needles and we are hoping we can help her with whatever it takes to keep her in the loop. That would be 'the pretzel" to her. You see Renee has her own vocab for knitting terms so, we'll all be on a learning curve. Should be fun!
3rd row is also new to the group.Kim with black hat is a student at U.N.H. and sometimes works in the garden area at Tuttle's Red Barn
Cindy also in the 3rd row just walked in on us one day. Her daughter is on the swim team in our town and she needed a place to use up about 2 hours of her time. I think we were the lucky ones she is very talented. Her choice of patterns and colors tells me she will be very helpful to all of us.
I'm still working on Aaron's' sweater so I think I best be heading downstairs to see if I can possibly get this done tonight..................said the hobbit

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Pantry muffins

So today I needed to fix something healthy and
for breakfast. I checked out the pantry and took out everything that would be good in a muffin.
Bananas are always there for the taking at work.It seems transporting them to N.E. takes its toll on their appearance and people will not purchase bananas with big dark spots. Lucky employees get to take them home or they get tossed. After making a large basic banana muffin recipe I folded in leftover chopped dates, walnuts, a handful of granola, a little oatmeal and chocolate chips. I mixed it all together sprinkled a bit of extra oatmeal on top just to give it a finishing touch,then, popped them in the oven for about 22 minutes and out came 28 beautiful very
satisfying banana /what YOU got in YOUR pantry style muffins. Believe me these are just your average size muffins but, I doubt you could eat more than two of these little chunkers. So maybe you should check out your pantry and see would you would like to bite into for breakfast. We always seem to have just the right amount for a handful type snack however, no one ever thinks of going back to the pantry to actually have that little something.
Ok so give it a try and let me know what you come up with,and how you liked it.

This is the last of the Christmas 2008 that I will mention.These are ornaments given by friends and family .Sarah's little teabag-style deer in the woodland,Betty's cross-stitched joy with snowflakes Renee 's penguin standing on an icicle,this is solid glass,I could use it as a weapon it's that heavy. Last a star and snowman pin made by my friend Sue.She is currently enjoying warmer climates. She and her husband have a mobile home and when the cold weather sets in they are out of here.
Well I should be going now it's almost time to deliver my soups......said the hobbbit

Monday, January 12, 2009

Still talking about Christmas

Ok everyone I promised to show my Christmas goodies from my children and here they are. I'm always knitting socks for other people so my son decided to give me these polar fleece socks. He's not quite ready to pick up the needles himself I think this is as close as it will get. The little book in the back is a bragging book, that's right he's Aaron's dad and he wants to make sure I have something to carry those oh so sweet pictures that he plans on showering me with. Don't worry you'll get to see them too.

Son #2 knows how I love butter so he couldn't pass up the opportunity to get me this autographed copy of Paula Deens' book I haven't started it yet but, I hope to get to it soon.
Daughter #1 has taken an interest in knitting herself and just to make sure I stayed in the knitting loop she got some gorgeous yarn and even looked up a new pattern for me to try. Tuesday night she joined us at Stitch and Bitch she added plenty to our meeting. Hope she can find time to come again. More on that later,I'm trying to catch-up here.
I was checking my reader the other day and I came across something that might be of interest to some of you. Have any of you visited thelongthread she talks about a stuffed toy exchange similar to our ornament one we just had. Sounds like fun. Well I 'll be signing off now hope to get back tomorrow and catch you up on my "eating out of the pantry" adventure. In fact I'm headed there right now to see what I can find..................said the hobbit

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Are you ready for Christmas???

This would be Sarah.Official keeper of the Christmas spirit in our family .This year she is bound and determined to get everyone on board and well on their way to having a Christmas as homemade as possible. So log on to her website to join in the fun. No forms to fill out just post your projects and let her know when they are completed so she can check them out.She's gathering lots of giveaways so I think it will be fun for all. This little bag was her gift to me.It has three zippered sections for scissors thread measuring tape and all those other things I need to carry with me to complete a project. She also included these cute little buttons she found on etsy.My camera doesn't do them justice but,if you go to the link I'm sure you can get a better look. I was going to post my other children's gifts to me however those photos keep leaving to who knows where. Perhaps this is all that needs to be said for today..............said the hobbit.

Friday, January 9, 2009

CPSC Clarifies Requirements of New Children’s Product Safety Laws Taking Effect in February

CPSC Clarifies Requirements of New Children’s Product Safety Laws Taking Effect in February I know everyone is concerned about the new law that goes into effect this week. It seems a clarification has been made due to many calls and e-mails sent to our representatives. The new change will make it possible for second-hand articles to be resold without testing giving all charitable organizations relief from this ruling.Also toys made from natural fibers such as wood and wool and cotton need not be tested. Keep up the good work people.....................said the hobbit

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Tuesday night stitch and bitch

Well here we are,ready to set the world on fire at Stitch and Bitch. Tuesday night is a nice way of getting together and sharing our highs and lows. Because of bad weather and the holidays,we have not been able to meet for 5 weeks. We had many things to share so it was a full house. This is Betty she is working an a hat here but her good news is that she is going to be a ya ya (gramme) again in February she and her quilting friends will be making a baby quilt this week to welcome the new baby. We don't work quite that fast. I hope to have a little something finish by March maybe sooner.

Donna is holding a scarf that she has been working on for the past year. As you can see she has progressed all of an inch. We try not to push our beginners too hard.She has an excuse. She has been in and out of the doctors office for the past few months. If there is a flu bug around Donna's been only too kind to give it a home.
We all agreed that this year we would like to participate in the ornament swap that was held at Swap-bot.This is such a great site to meet and exchange all kinds of crafts with people from all over the world. Everyone brought an idea for a Christmas ornament and hopefully by next week we will be able to start working on them. Sarah of course was ahead of the game and was knitting the cutest little mittens red and white my favorite colors. That girl is just crazy about Christmas.Check out her site. She has a great craft-along that everyone can participate in.

This is my offering for the week. Hard to tell but this is a baby sweater for our little Aaron. The pattern starts at the front center and then is knit sideways right to left. You have no seams as the sleeves are joined with a Kitchener stitch. I'll be sure to have more pictures as the sweater comes along.
I am still living out of the pantry and have spent a total of $17 .This is more than I wanted.I was hoping for an average of a dollar a day. We'll see what I average out for the month. But more on that later.I don't want to tell you all today...............said the hobbit

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Tea for two or maybe four

Eating out of the pantry can make a person very thirsty so I thought I'd share my special tea with you. I actually stopped buying soda for myself several years ago and got in the habit of having this in the fridge year round.It's very simple to make so here goes.
First I slice 12--15 slices of fresh ginger and put them in about 2 inches of water.When the water starts to boil I put 8 teabags in.It really doesn't matter what kind. Just old fashion regular tea bags. I use Tetley English blend. I let this simmer for 15-20 minutes.
While this is simmering I squeeze the juice out of one lemon and two limes. Limes are not always easy so I put the lime in between my tongs and give it a good squeeze to break things up. Then it's usually ready to give up any juices it might have.

As you can see this works pretty well. The lemon and 2 limes usually give me about 1/3 cup of juice.I also measure out a light cup of sugar.
When I think the tea has simmered long enough I remove the tea bags and stir in the sugar till dissolved. I fill my two 1Qt. containers with water and add that to the mix followed by the lemon lime juices.

Then I strain the mixture back into the Qt and voila I have a great tea just sweet enough to satisfy my sweet tooth. There is always 1 or 2 extra glasses depending on how much water you boiled the teabags in. Well back to planning our Eating out of the pantry.My husband is getting into it but he keeps saying out of the closet.I think that's a whole different story.....................................said the hobbit

Friday, January 2, 2009


I know cookies are probable the last thing you want to bake right now.However I started my eating out of the pantry a little sooner than expected. I had planned on this project for February ,but,when hours being cut at the farm for the next few months I figured now is as good a time as any. So I went to the closet and checked my old recipes and decided on Molasses cookies .As you can see this recipe has been around awhile. I use to have a habit of putting the year I first made something in the upper left hand corner.It says 1969. Yes I've made it since then. Getting my husband to eat what's available in the pantry is only possible if I keep it somewhat familiar,have dessert available at all times and have a big bowl of popcorn ready and waiting when he get home.

The ingredients are simple:3/4 cup of shortening [remember it's 1969]

1 cup of sugar

1/4 cup molasses

1 egg

2cups flour

2 teas baking soda

1 teas cinnamon

1/2 teas salt,ground clove,ginger

I mixed and sifted all my dry ingredients then creamed the shortening with sugar.

Then I added the molasses and the egg, mixed well ,sifted the dry into the wet ingredients and chilled the batter while I cleaned my tiny work area for the next step.

I made walnut size balls of dough and rolled them in sugar.I like dropping a few in a bowl and swirling them around till covered. Keep the hands a bit cleaner. I tend to wipe my hands on my jeans while cooking. I know I should wear an apron. I have many but, I hate to get them dirty.They look so nice hanging on the kitchen hook. That way if someone comes over while I'm cooking I can whip one on. I look like a super neat cook and it hides all the food wipes on my jeans. Works for me. Alright back to the cookies. I put them on a cookie sheet 2 inches apart and baked at 375 for 8/9 min. The recipe says on a greased cookie sheet. The first batch I sprayed the sheet with pam.The second batch I used my silk-pat to see if there was a difference. Definitely go with the silk-pat if you have one. Cookies started to stick with the pam as they cooled.Second batch just dropped off.

So there you have it . One batch of cookies and one batch of popcorn leftover chicken stew and no trip to the grocery store. Day one is now a fait accompli and I haven't spent a penny .....................said the hobbit

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year everyone

I had to let you know that all went well at the Christmas party.Forty members of my husbands family attended. Having just lost their mother, I think it was good that we made the effort to be together for this holiday. As you can see all eyes were focused on the very entertaining Yankee swap that was going on.I am not often able to go to this event,but it seems there is a honey pot that has been going around for a few years.One who should have known better had just picked it up because of it's oh so beautiful wrapping. You can always tell a blogger when you see one. That would be the youngest
ayah the one with the camera hanging from her neck. Having a great time but of course always ready to catch the perfect picture.
So much happened just before Christmas that I never had the chance to tell you about the ornament exchange. This is the second year that I participate. I signed up with swap-bot in November and received a list of 10 people that I had to send an ornament to.We had no power for 6 long days and although I sent my crafts out I failed to get photos. These are a few of the ones I received. The little white guy is called icicle man and came from Belgium his face is embroidered and his is done with meticulous stitching. The little plaid boot is called a Willie and comes by way of England.The tiny mittens,so small they may have been knit on finishing nails came from neighboring Massachusetts. The others didn't make this photo op. I thought I had squeezed them all into the shot but,I see some are not in view. Perhaps another day.
I know everyone has probably made New Years resolution. I can never seem to go there. My plan is to take everyday as it comes and make the most of it. I hope to be a little more involved in this blogging thing and to focus more on real projects instead of just constantly rambling along. Well ta ta for now, everyone put your aprons on because tomorrow we are making cookies..................said the hobbit