Saturday, November 13, 2010

New quickie recipe!

Right now, I am buried in custom orders (If you'd like to see that journey - head here -  So finding meals that are quick and easy (and not fast food) is imperative.

I found a Mac 'n Cheese recipe on the side of a soup can, messed it up by not reading the directions, and realized that my version was easier, less messy, and a heck of a lot faster... so here goes (and naturally, I forgot to take pictures.)

Easiest Mac 'n Cheese Ever (Seriously)

1 covered baking dish - I use a circular pyrex one, but an 8x8 square will work too as long as it has a cover
1 can condensed cheese soup (I use Campbells, but whatever floats your boat)
1 box pasta twists, rotinis, bowties, shells, etc.  We use whole wheat pasta, but again, whatever works for you.
2 cups frozen veggies (Your choice - peas work well)
Some form of COOKED cubed meat... chicken, turkey, hot dogs, leftover pork... or mmmmm, bacon?
Salt and pepper to taste, or if you have a fav spice - rosemary, thyme, Red Robin special seasoning... :)

Preheat oven to 400.  Mix cheese soup with 1 can of milk - just use the soup can, and 1/2 can of water.  I find a wisk usually works best for this process, and just go ahead and mix it in the dish. Pour uncooked noodles into the soup mixture, mix well, then add the frozen veggies and the meat... or leave it out and add more veggies for a vegetarian option.

Place dish (covered) in oven for about 35 minutes. Voila!  You're done. Sauce will be slightly runny. If you want it Kraft style, cut down the water to 1/4 of a can. Other ideas include: bread crumbs on top if you're into that, make it spicy mac and add some tabasco to the cheese soup mixture and a jalepeno in with the veggies.

The great thing about this recipe is that it is very easily modified in terms of add ins.  My youngest likes things sort of bland and he calls the bread crumbs "Yuckies" so we vary the veggies or the meat to accomodate him. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Changing Weather, Changing Skin

One of the downsides to fall is the changing temperatures.  Something that I've noticed is that, as the temperatures change, so does my skin.  Now, understandably, that also has to do with aging and hormonal processes.

I used to have really great skin.  REALLY great. I hardly ever broke out, even in high school, when that tends to be the norm.  When I was pregnant with both of my kids, it still looked good...

Now, however, for some reason, not so much.  I wash my brushes regularly, I switch out my makeup sponges, clean my phone and phone case, and I still break out.  My skin has gotten much more oily - and not just in the usual T-Zone area.  So.  I've been in search of a good facial... store bought, homemade, doesn't matter.

After doing some reading, initially, there were several articles that said I needed to use a clay based facial, because it would absorb the oil.  Well, wouldn't that just cause my skin to make more oil?  So, I tried a St. Ives brand clay mask.  It was okay.  Wasn't great, and my skin felt incredibly dry after doing it, and I didn't leave it on over the amount of time suggested.

Next, this evening, I decided to go the "natural" route and used a recipe that I found on  This was a simple Banana facial.  I actually found this one to be better than the St. Ives product.

Here's the recipe:

1/2 very very ripe banana (think what you would use to make banana bread
1 tbsp (or a substantial squeeze from a squeezy bear)
Squeeze of lemon, lime, or orange juice

Mix well, apply to face.  It will have a soupy consistancy, and I used cotton balls to apply it, and used several coats.  Let sit for 10-15 minutes.  Then wipe off with a really warm, wet washcloth.  It's been about 3 hours since I took it off, and so far so good.  I doubt that I'm done trying home facials, but I do like this one and will certainly do it again!

Need a recipe for another skin type, or maybe just a refresher?  Check out this site! has a bunch of different recipes for homemade facials.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

It's Recipe Day!

Okay, so in celebration of my favorite season... and that I like making winter food SO much better than making summer food, here are two recipes - one that I've had for nearly forever (cut out of The Oregonian years ago) and is my very favorite fall recipe and the other began life as a Vegan Black Bean soup recipe.

Alright, number one...

Pumpkin Banana Bread
(Makes One 9x5" loaf... trust me, double the recipe)

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup shortening (if you want a richer flavor, use the butter flavored variety)
2 eggs
2 large bananas, mashed
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (I like to do half wheat/half unbleached)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon (I usually just put a bunch in...)
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ginger
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 350, and grease and flour a 9x5 loaf pan
In a large bowl, mix sugar and shortening, then beat in eggs, bananas, pumpkin, and vanilla - mix well.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger and nuts.  Add to pumpkin mixture.
Spoon batter into pan and top with halved walnuts or pecans.  Bake for 55-65 minutes, and let cool for 10 minutes.

Notes from me... I don't usually put the nuts in.  I pop in some dried cranberries or raisins instead.  We aren't huge nut fans in breads at our house, or I will only use 1/4 cup and chop them very finely.

The next one is a Black Bean Chicken Chili... this started life as a vegan black bean soup (many thanks to Kala from for the original recipe!) and is awfully tasty as that, but my family are "meat-a-voires" as my nine year old says...

Vegan Black Bean Soup/Black Bean Chicken Chili

The basic recipe:
2 lbs dry black beans
1 bay leaf
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tbs unsweetened cocoa
1 tbs crushed chilis (I used the green ones for flavor without the spicy)
1/2 tsp black pepper (I think I used more)
1 medium bell pepper - chopped
1 large onion - chopped
4 cloved of minced garlic
3 tsp salt
9 cups water

Place in Crock Pot and cook on high for 6-7 hours.  Voila! Done!  Tips:  If you want it soupier leave out 1/2 of the black beans.

Add ons to make it into chili!
2 cooked, diced chicken breasts
1 large can of tomato sauce
1 palm of paprika
1 envelope of taco or fajita seasoning

Add into the soup near the end of the cook time, and there you go!  Top with some cheddar cheese and serve!  Also, there are members of my crew who like things extra spicy.  We usually tend to go for chipotle seasoning, so the Tabasco brand of Chipotle sauce is a great addition for a yummy, smokey flavor.

Friday, September 10, 2010

A Girl and A Game: My history with Video Games

Imagine being two or three years old... and REALLY wanting McDonalds.  You bug and bug and nag and whine until finally your parents relent (probably because your mom has a thing for quarter pounders with cheese and extra pickles).  Upon walking into the magical place that is the golden arches (remember: you're two or three - it IS magical at that age), your parents order you your happy meal with the Strawberry Shortcake or Smurf toy, and while in the lobby, they notice a drawing box.  What could it be for?  Oh yes, the Atari VCS 2600.  Not thinking much of it, they fill out the form... and get a phone call saying that they had won!!  Said Atari VCS 2600 will hereby be referred to as "Jenifer's Atari" because if I hadn't put up the fit about going to McDonalds that night, who knows if we would have won it?

This system began the love affair with video games at our house.  I remember Combat, Pong, the ill-fated Pac-Man game, and yes, even the horrible ET game.  Space Invaders, Basketball (which, I believe, was really just Pong in disguise :) )

Next up: The NES... Nintendo Entertainment System.  We had Mario, and those guys, Mike Tyson's Punch Out, and my favorite of all time - Tetris.  We also had Tetris for our Game Boys... the original grey monstrosities with the monochromatic screens... none of the Game Boy Color, Advance... and certainly not a DS.  My brother then got a Sega Genesis... welcome to the world of 32 bit games!  There was still an arcade at Meridian Mall, and, I left for college.

College (GO Michigan State Spartans!), opened up a different world of gaming to me.  We had a computer in our house - and AOL... sheesh, but the computer games I was familiar with were ones like The Oregon Trail, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?, you know, semi-educational ones.  In school, I was exposed to a whole different world of video games... at that point, PS1 was the hot thing, and a large computer hard drive was a couple of gigs.  My four year old iPod Nano has more memory than my computer did.  Pagers were the rage and kids didn't have their own cell phones.

I remember sitting and watching my boyfriend (who, like all of his friends, was a "computer guy") for hours playing everything from Myst and Riven to Starcraft (the original one, I think).  I picked up a lot, and I learned a lot about building computers too.  To this day, I can still swap hard drives and cards on a desk top with the best of 'em... although not so much on laptops.  They had random cords running from room to room, if I remember correctly, so that they could be linked and play.  I got very familiar with the store setup of Radio Shack and how to solder parts together.  Hearing now about the girls robotics teams... man, that sure would've been cool.  I also remember there was a cool arcade type deal on Grand River Ave., for those that are familiar with East Lansing, and we would go there and then go get pizza.  :) 

Then, after I moved to Texas,  I remember sitting outside of a Best Buy with some friends all night for the release of the PS2... that was the only time I have ever done that... not even for Dave Matthews tickets!  After PS1, PS2 was the coolest thing ever.  The graphics were great, it was far more realistic... and Gran Turismo was a heck of a lot easier to play on this than on the computer!  Unfortunately, being a girl, I would usually get last ups... once all the guys were tired of playing.

Pinball Lineup at Ground Kontrol
Now, living in Oregon, there are a couple cool arcade places, one being Wunderland.  This is really cool, because it charges an admission, but all the games inside are a nickle.  Yup.  A nickle.  Everything from skee-ball to motorcycle racing to shooter games (I still have yet to find Police Trainer).  There is also an arcade in downtown Portland called Ground Kontrol... they feature old games - and PINBALL!!!!, and after 5pm it is 21 and older.  Cool, huh?  We currently have in our possession: A N64, PS2, a (broken) Wii - did you know there is a mechanism on the Wii that engages if you put disks in and out too many times?  You then have to send it to Nintendo America to have them fix it... for $85!!!!  I can almost get a new one for that! 

I still have my favorite games... Tetris is still up there.  I do really like some of the new Harry Potter games (my HP obsession is a topic for another posting), and Gran Turismo is still fun.  I like a lot of the Wii stuff - especially some of the games on the Wii Fit - Hula Hoops.  Try it.  Seriously.

What brought this topic on?  I listen to a lot of podcasts while I knit.  Especially the ones from, and one of them is their Tech Stuff podcast.  Recently, they did a couple on the "Death of the Arcade" and also on "The Great Video Game Crash" and I was surprised with how much of what they were talking about I remembered.  I wouldn't consider myself a "gamer" by any stretch, but what I do find interesting is that I still have that memory of the Atari 2600 as being MINE... and did I mention my brother stole it, and apparently broks and sold it?  ARRRGGGG!  :)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

When I Grow Up
We all wanted to "be things" when we grew up... perhaps the better choice of words would have been what we wanted "to do".  I never thought I would be a mom, a wife, and especially a stay at home mom.  We all turn out to be things.  We all have attributes, whether we are kind, funny, sweet, even tempered... hot tempered, rude, obnoxious, driven, focused, lively, boring... these are the things that we ARE, not necessarily what we DO.

What we do can be in terms of a career choice - or a career that chooses us, it can be the volunteer work that we do on the weekends, it can be the stray dog that we take in, or the bachelor party that we choose to leave from to spend time with our families.

The things that I'm interested in now don't vary a whole lot from what I was interested in long ago.  I still love to read, I love to make things with my hands that are tangible - that show time, effort, preparation, I still like a clean space... and even better when someone else cleans it... :)

Image via The Daily Show - Comedy Central
I do wish I had better math skills.  Unfortunately, I'm not what you would call mathematically inclined.  Looking back, if I could "be" anything, and was all of a sudden gifted in math, I would be an astrophysicist.  The study of the stars, planets, orbiting bodies, how the distance between them is calculated, how black holes develop and what they are made of, the research they are doing with particle accelerators and the Hadron collider... it is all endlessly fascinating to me.  I guess I will have to just be content with watching NOVA and reading books by Neil deGrasse Tyson... who by the way, has an awesome collection of ties and vests, and also a great sense of humor.  Something tells me that not every scientist would play dress up at the beginning of their television shows (which my nine year old finds hilarious), or go on The Daily Show, or take the criticism about getting rid of an entire planet with grace and laughter... and for that, I appreciate and watch (and follow on Twitter) him all the time. 

More individuals need to realize that if you aren't having fun while you are at work and "being" then you probably haven't chosen to "be" the right thing.  Me, I'm still looking.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Cycling and PDX

(image from
Portland is known as an either great town for cyclists, or as a horrible town for cyclists... depending on who you ask.  We have a great number of bike lanes, connecting bike paths, racks on the fronts of the city busses, bike holders in each light rail car, bike boxes (big green painted spaces on the roads at certain intersections where the bike traffic is heavier), and a ton of really great bike shops.

So, what's the problem then?  If there are all of these totally awesome attributes, where is the issue?  Most individuals, myself included, are of the mindset that as long as the cyclists that are using the road follow the same traffic rules as vehicles, then no problem.  Unfortunately, there are those motorists that really just don't care, and will turn into cyclists at lights, swerve and cut them off, and in general, just not play fair.  Would you do that to someone on a Harley?  Probably not.

Our family is what you would consider "Recreational cyclists".  We go on the weekends for rides, and we are usually on designated bike paths ( Nine times out of ten on the "Springwater Corridor Trail" - which is fantastic).  Both my husband and I grew up using sidewalks when we rode our bikes, and even now, to me, the idea of riding on the road - even in a bike lane - seems a little like living dangerously.  That being said, Ethan, who is nine, knows the basic rules of the road in regard to cyclists.  Stay to the right, stop at stop signs, obey all of the signs that are there for cars, wear your helmet, use lights and reflective gear, etc.

Last weekend, we were again on the Springwater trail, starting at Oaks Park and looping along the Willamette River, across the Steel Bridge, and into downtown Portland - Waterfront Park.  The route then takes you back across the river on the Hawthorne bridge and back down the bike path.  One of the things that is GREAT about the path on the East side of the river is that it has lanes marked out.  Especially in areas that are more narrow than others.  Last weekend happened to be the Seattle to Portland Ride (which I really wanted to do, but missed the registration deadline).  Some of the cyclists were incredibly courteous (Special thanks to the gentleman that thought I was doing the ride and was concerned when I didn't make the correct turn - thanks, dude, that was cool.  :) )  The waterfront area was very busy.

Ordinarily, we are used to that area being congested.  BUT, usually pedestrians are pretty good about keeping to the correct sides of the road.  This was not the case this past weekend.  There were people ALL over, not caring who they were walking into, cutting off, or nearly knocking over.  I had one woman and her daughter walk right in front of me, say "Ooops" and then laugh... as I nearly fell into the river.  Trust me, you don't want to fall in the Willamette - remember the three-eyed fish from the Simpsons?

My issue is this.  How am I as a recreational rider supposed to teach my kids to be courteous and follow the "rules of the road" when others really just don't care?  It is very disheartening for me to see people so blatently saying "screw you" and being rude... and then complaining about how the cyclists are cutting people off and winding up all over the place. While, yes, there are some cyclists that do, indeed, act like they run the show, the vast majority of us are just trying to get around like everyone else.  I model good behaviours that Ethan has picked up on, going slow or walking through crowds, letting people cross, or making sure to watch out for little kids on their bikes, or those that are using recombinant bikes (flat out, you guys are just harder to see...), making sure to say "on your left" when you are coming up to pass someone... It is just hard for me to keep saying to him that this is what we need to do to be courteous riders, and if more people did it then cyclists wouldn't have such a bad reputation.  But the more I think about it, the more I'm of the mindset that no matter what we try to do, there are still going to be those out there that just make it more and more difficult.

So, riders... PLEASE obey your street signs, stop doing stupid things that you KNOW you wouldn't do in a car, and if you are on the bike paths... make sure to let people know when you are passing them!!!!  (Side note, I did Tweet Mayor Adams about getting stripes on the downtown side, so we'll see what happens!)

Friday, July 2, 2010

So, the Other thing...

The other night, I was watching the news.  First, I remember when I was little, we had these things that we had to do at school, usually due on Mondays, called "Current Events".  We had to take a news story that we found in the paper, or later on, that we found online, and had to write a short summary of the article and our reaction to it.  As I was watching the news, I tried to think about that, and which of the articles would be appropriate for my oldest son, who is 9, to take to school... shockingly, there were two stories.  I'm not bashing the media when I say this, but REALLY?  Every other story was about a rapist, or murderer, or child porn, or something of that nature.

One of the stories that was actually appropriate, relevant, and sickening to me as a parent, was a blurb about budget issues within the Portland Public Schools.  I have gone out of my way to keep Ethan in the North Clackamas school district, specifically for these reasons.  In addition to closing several High Schools and letting go multiple administrative and teaching positions, they now want to take away Physical Education for all of the Elementary and Middle school grades.  Wow.  For a country that has a higher child obesity level as compared to almost every other country in the WORLD, good plan PPS, take away gym class. 

Yes, I know that there are budget issues.  Portland, however, has a great history of huge sports companies located within city limits.  Adidas to the north, located minutes from downtown (you can see the downtown buildings from the Adidas campus), and also Nike, located a whopping 15 minutes away, in Beaverton.  Not to mention there is also Lucy sportswear - a division of the VF Corporation, and several others.  Why not ask them for grant money?  Who cares if it's (sports equipment, gym uniforms, shoes for those who need them) logo'd?  When school districts allow Coke, Pepsi, Frito-Lay, and other various corporations into the schools, their machines go in, their ads go up on the billboards... which, side note, the sodas and energy drinks aren't really helping combat the whole childhood obesity thing.

These schools looking at taking away the physical activity from the kids who need it the most, because let's face it, by the time you get to high school, your workout habits are established.  You know if you're a runner, lifter, cyclist.  You know your food groups, and what you should be eating.  In elementary school and middle school, this is the time that all of this knowledge needs to be developed.  Not to mention, high school kids have the opportunity to get up between classes and walk around, stretch legs, etc.  (Give the teachers a five minute break before the next group of rowdies...)  These younger kids, recess isn't enough.  They are cooped up in the same classroom all day - for the most part.  Plus, even at recess (and in most gym classes) they aren't allowed to play most of what we did as kids... dodgeball, kickball, tag, red rover - they've been deemed "too dangerous".  Really?  Pretty sure we all turned out okay, and are turning around as adults to find rec leagues to play those same games!  Some schools still offer music and library once a week.  If they are REALLY lucky, they might even still have art classes.  Also, these main classroom teachers need a break!  Seriously.  You try dealing with a bunch of 7, 8, and 9 year olds for 5 and a half hours straight.  Hair.  Grey.  Or gone.  :)

Sure, parents are responsible for educating their kids on good food habits, however, with the current state of the economy, more and more parents are working at least one job, and kids are spending more time in daycare.  Sad, yes, but true.  Even after school recreational sports are becoming more and more competitive and it's becoming all about the kids who are the best on the team, as opposed to being a "rec league" to go out and have fun.  In fact, I'm not even sure that those exist for kids at this point.

So, Portland Public Schools, I appreciate everything that you do for the kids in your district.  I understand that eliminating Physical Education is the easiest, most broad reaching (meaning it will affect ALL, not just some of the schools - thereby saving the most money) cut that you can make.  However, I will continue to keep my kids in the North Clackamas district, even with our budget shortfall... last I heard, we were still having gym class and library in the fall.

There is a Facebook campaign to save gym in the Portland Public Schools.  Also, this is a GREAT article about kids brains and gym class... check it out by clicking here, and you can find Michelle Obama's take on physical education at this site.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Justice System and Journalists

Alright, so it's been a while since I've written, and well, with several baseball games a week and school getting out, I think I have an excuse.  :)  That being said, we have a little boy here in the Portland area who has been missing for almost a month.  The last week of school, he disappeared, and the last person to see him was his step-mom, who dropped him off at school for a science fair... and no one heard from him again.

I'm not going to sit here and reiterate the details of the case, for that you can click here, or you can go to Facebook and join the "Missing Kyron Horman" page.  What gets me, is that Kyron's dad filed for a divorce from his wife, Terri - Kyron's step-mom, and also filed a restraining order against her with regards to their daughter, Kiara.  To me, this shows that there are major issue within this family, and chances are this situation has not been helpful to that. 

Obviously, this is a family in upheaval and turmoil.  There are things going on at their homes that we, as the public don't know about, and quite honestly, we shouldn't know about.  These people aren't celebrities, nor did they sign up for a reality show to document the struggle to find their missing child.

Part of the divorce and restraining order was sealed by the judge, for reasons that were clearly stated by him.  It was along the lines of "finding Kyron is the highest priority, and I'm sealing this so that the investigation is not harmed by the contents of the order".  Plain and simple.  The local media has now filed motions to get that court order unsealed.  Pardon my naivete, but I believe that the Judge said that leaving the order unsealed would be detrimental to the investigation of the missing child.  So, yes, fantastic plan, go ahead and unseal the order, put the kid in greater danger than he already is, and while you're at it, add to the pain of the family. 

The highest priority of all of these people should be finding this little boy, and putting the resources toward that, not spending more time in court.  I completely understand and agree with the news media having access to the information... when it is appropriate.  The judge said that he would unseal the order... when the time was right.  I was a journalism major, I completely agree with the freedom of information act, and the public having access to these types of records, but not during an investigation of a missing child.  There is information in the proceedings that was deemed unnecessary for public knowledge, and the media should be respectful of that.

I don't necessarily support Terri Moulton Horman, I don't know her side of the story.  I always found it a little odd that she was the last one to see him, and then her story didn't line up.  But, that being said, she seems to have been cooperative with police investigators, and hasn't hired a lawyer until two days ago.  To me, those aren't the actions of someone who is necessarily guilty.   

For more information on the latest developments in the case, again, click here, or you can go to the "Missing Kyron Horman" Facebook page.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Spring Came!!! and now it's gone again...

One of the things that is super nice about living in Oregon is that it rarely snows during the winter.  At least in the Portland area.  A friend commented to me recently, "There are so many more homeless people here than in Arizona!"  Well, that's because we have a fairly temperate climate...  However, one of the not so great things is that our "spring" lasts a lot longer than in a lot of places, and it consists of temperatures around 55 degrees and rain.  Lots and lots of rain.  Even more rain than we had in the winter.  Yesterday afternoon, we got almost 3/4 of an inch in one hour.  (Did I mention this was also the hour that Ethan had baseball practice? Yeah, guess who didn't go)

This past weekend was beautiful... hovering between 65 and 70 degrees and sunny.  Not kind of sunny, but sit on the deck with a book and get burnt kind of sunny!  As I sit typing right now, it is 56, overcast, and windy.  Apparently, we have a cold front moving in that is going to keep our highs around 58 for the week with rain and wind.  These are the days that I miss Texas... or even Maine for that matter!  A friend of mine has been sleeping with her windows open for two months now!!!!!

Sunshine and warm temps... please come soon! 

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Behaviour Modification

Yeah, yeah, I spelled it the European English way, so sue me... after looking at website after website with it spelled "behavior" it just looks like it's spelled wrong.

Perhaps the topic isn't so much behaviour modification as it is "Getting your kids to just freakin' listen to you when you talk".  This morning, we had a meltdown over shoes.  Yes, shoes.  By a nine year old.  Seriously.  Sometimes I wonder who is the younger of my two children. 

One of the things that I have read has to do with behaviour regression before a growth spurt... well, if that is the case, then Ethan should have been growing for the last year and should be taller than me by this point.  He's not.  I understand the notion of testing boundaries and seeing what it is that you can get away with before mom snaps and either grounds you, takes something away, or as the case was when we were kids, spanks you.  (I still believe that there is a time and a place for corporal punishment, and I think all of the 'lovey parenting' is part of what is wrong with teenagers, now, don't misinterpret that as me saying, "please, by all means, go beat your children" - sooooo not what I am saying)  I think that a lot of the things that we were punished for as children now go by the wayside.  There are certain things in our current culture that have become acceptable that really shouldn't be.

That having been said, how on earth do we make mornings easier?  How do we not argue over the shoe selection? (the issue was he wanted to wear his "skate shoes" that looked absolutely ridiculous with his shorts, instead of the brand new Asics running shoes that are a white base with a metallic blue and black logo - as far as running shoes go, they are pretty sweet) How do we get them out of bed on time and without the fights about brushing teeth, washing faces, combing hair...

I did some online searching and found some behaviour contracts that will be signed tonight, as well as some chore charts, and scheduling charts.  Hopefully a visual reminder will serve as, well, something.  I can only read so many parenting books and make so many suggestions before I seriously say, forget it, I'm done.  I'm so tired of the fighting and the arguing and the general unhappiness around here.  I try and try to combat it and stay positive, but it's really difficult.  I know that the economy is weighing on everyone's minds, including all of our kids, especially when we say things like, "nope, we can't get that, no money right now" or "it's going to have to wait until payday"...

I know that we have things better right now than our grandparents and great grandparents who lived through World Wars and the great Depression, but to our kids, it is one and the same... so, now, how do we raise kids like they did... with a sense of purpose, drive, and determination instead of a sense of entitlement, laziness, and the willingness to let others take care of things?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Favorite Product for Today...

I haven't done a "Favorite Product of the Day" in a while, and I thought I would go ahead and jump on that... there are many things that I really can't live without (and quite a few that, honestly, I could never see again and really wouldn't care).  One of the most important things in my daily/weekly regimen is ... Tide. I don't remember a time that we didn't use it at my house growing up, and even though it is a little more expensive than some of the other brands of detergent, I have found that it is TOTALLY worth it.  I have saved more clothes from the "turn into dustrags" pile using Tide than I could possibly imagine.  Not to mention, when I take the kids' clothes to the consignment shop, I always get "Wow, these are in GREAT shape!"... therefore increasing my consignment value!

The other thing that I totally love about them is their "Loads of Hope" program.  This is a fantastic idea and whomever came up with it, well, they deserve a raise.  This program has trucks of washers and dryers that head into disaster regions (right now they are in Tennessee) and sets up for days at a time for people to do laundry.  That's it, and it's really that simple.  If you are involved with a natural disaster, and manage to escape from your house with three sets of clothing, wouldn't it be nice to know that those clothes are at least clean?  They only have so many of these trucks, so they also team up with laundromats in the area as well to offer the same services.  How cool!?!?!   Not to mention, you can buy one of these groovy retro t-shirt to help support the program here.  They've been to Galveston, TX, North Dakota, Louisiana, San Diego... read more about the program and individual stories here, at Tide Loads of Hope.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Great Day of Gratitude

Since this is the first I'm hearing about this fantastic idea, I am going to have to send something along with Ethan tomorrow!  Obviously, since I'm a crafty type, I'm going to have to whip up something fairly quickly... Hmmm.  For a teacher... a book cover/tote, perhaps?  This is an idea that I've been playing around with, but haven't necessarily gotten to yet.  Yep.  I think that is what I will do.

Over the past few years that we have been at Clackamas Elementary, all of the teachers and staff have been great.  We understand that they are super busy, and yet they still take the time to answer the calls, emails, and notes that they receive on a daily basis.  Not only do they do they deal with our rugrats every day, but then they go home and have to deal with their own!!  Every grade and age presents it's own challenges, and I'm sure the individuals who teach Kindergarten say, "I don't know how those teachers deal with the high schoolers!" but then, I'm sure that the High School teachers say the same thing about the Elementary level teachers too!  Hurray for Teacher Appreciation Week.  Of course, that being said, at the same time, there are also the lunch ladies, maintenence/janitorial staff, school nurses, and perhaps most importantly - the office staff, because really, without them the schools simply wouldn't function (That means YOU, BARB CHILTON)!

I have a few teachers that I look back on fondly, and for different reasons.  There were the ones that were so incredibly sweet and kind that you couldn't wait to go to school... there were the crazy creative ones (that were let go from the Catholic school you attended for being TOO creative - shame, really, Ms. Russo was fantastic)... there were the ones that pushed and pushed and pushed you to the point where you thought you were going to strangle them and then suddenly, it clicked that they were just pushing you because they knew you had too much potential to waste...  There are also a few teachers that my oldest son, who is now in third grade, has had that have just been phenomenal, everyone at the Early Learning Center for preschool, as well as Jenni Hutteball that he had last year for second grade.

The other side of this, and perhaps these teachers are slightly less recognized, because a lot of people don't think of them as being teachers... I'm talking about the various sports coaches that were in our lives as kids, and are now in our children's lives.  Over the years, parents have become okay with yelling at umpires, refs, opposing coaches.  Perhaps instead of doing this, we need to support the coaches that the kids have, and just sit back with our hot dogs and enjoy the game...

I know that I am grateful for the teachers that I have had, and hope that my kids can look back years from now and say the same... Check out PBS Kids Supersisters and see what others are doing to participate in the Great Day of Gratitude!

The Great Day of Gratitude is May 5, 2010

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Baseball Has Begun!

After a month of practices getting rained out, today was our Opening Day! Our first, and only at this point, Saturday game. The morning started out crazy, as they still had practice in the morning before their exhibition game against another Clackamas Junior Baseball team.

Pictures, then the "Opening Ceremonies"... a bunch of grown ups chattering, but then two of the Clackamas High guys said a few words, which I thought was cute. It's really nice that the High School guys have really stepped up to the plate (no pun intended - really) to help these kiddos out. They are doing some of the umpiring, they helped coach the kids at their hitting and fielding camps earlier in April - so, should any of you read this - THANKS!

Ethan's first at bat, well, let's just say he went down swinging. He has a good swing, but needs to work on his timing a little because of his vision issues. He has been trying and had a few good hits at practice this morning, so I'm hoping for a better day tomorrow, when they have a scrimmage against one of the other (higher level) teams. His second at bat, he made it to first on a walk, but that's okay - the kid that was pitching was kind of all over the place.

So far, so good, the boys won this exhibition game 10-7, and seemed to "pull it together" in time for the game. I think it makes a huge difference once you have a uniform on and are playing on a "real field". This particular complex is brand new, and it is beautiful! Turf fields, a food stand - that has real food - not just munchies, and a big hit among the parents: REAL BATHROOMS!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Zipcar and Me

Let me start by saying that I think Zipcar is a freakin' fantastic idea. Although yet to make a profit apparently, it allows people who have either decided to give up their cars for environmental reasons or people like me who own a vehicle but it's broken and can't afford the god only knows how much it is going to fix it price tag.

We signed up with Zipcar through Groupon at Christmastime. We have used it once prior to this week - although it's cheap, it isn't free... I got a Subaru Impreza wagon the first time and loved it. Fun and zippy, even though it was obviously just the base model. (No big deal there... didn't matter - I just needed to get stuff to a craft fair).

This week I reserved a cute little blue Mini Cooper called Mahi-Mahi. Right now, Zipcar is running a deal where it is only $29 from 6pm to 8:30am. AWESOME! I got a text as we were stuck in traffic (around 8:20) from Zipcar, saying "Going to be late?CALL!" Sooo, we did. The girl on the phone said, "No problem". We returned the car to it's ridiculous parking space - there is a tree in the lot. Behind the space. You have to manuever around the tree to park the car, which winds up being at your bumper. 10 minutes late. We called.

I later get an email from one of the guys saying that as a one time courtesy, they refunded my late fee of $50. Okay, great, thanks! However, since I was late and it took me out of the overnight hours deal, I now got to pay the day rate for the car - $81. Uhhh, what? It took me 5 minutes just to park the thing... and WE CALLED. The girl on the phone never said, "okay, well, just to remind you, because you are going outside the hours, you are going to be charged the day rate, blah blah blah." Just said, "Okay, no problem". I would've understood, had there been someone waiting for the car - there wasn't.

I fought it, explaining that we had indeed called, and it had never taken us 45 minutes to get from our house to downtown (it is a 20 minute trip, tops) and we had left with 45 minutes to get the car back... traffic was THAT bad. The guy that I was dealing with was nice - I mean, via email, you can only get so much of an impression... he did refund the charges and I am still paying the $29 rate that I signed up for, so I am satisfied with the resolution of my issue. (Thanks to Jacob)
We have another Zipcar experience planned for Saturday... with another Mini... that I love. :)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Fantastic Michigan Artist

And now, a quick word about Facebook. One of the things that I love about Facebook is the ability to find people and friends that you have lost touch with over the years, including the ones that you really liked... whether you meant to lose touch, or whether it just kind of happened in the course of a decade and moves across the country.

One of these friendships that I really enjoyed was with a girl in high school who, when I previously knew her, was named Bethany. She was famous for her 'give 'em hell' attitude and I absolutely adored her for it - and was a little envious. Dark hair, gorgeous eyes, she was that rebel type that I, as the editor of the paper, yearbook, soccer player, cheerleader and really all around goody two shoes, wanted to be - or at least let that side out of me, which - trust me - is certainly there.

Now, having found the very talented Bethanne (with a new, grown up name, no less :) ) on Facebook, I have discovered that we still share that same attitude problem... hee hee... and also a love of art and mixed media art. While I knit, sew, and dabble in painting, Bethanne is a great painter and does fantastic mixed media pieces. She was recently selected to participate in a Purina (yes, the cat food people) art exhibition featuring pieces composed of and with Purina products... talk about repurposing!

You can check her out at her blog - click here, or follow her on Twitter here. She also does exhibits and shows in the East Lansing area at a gallery/show space called (SCENE) Metrospace - check them out here!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Baseball Season in Oregon

Welcome to Spring Training... in Oregon. This means that more practices get rained out than actually get completed, the majority of the practices you do have are held either under a covered area at a local elementary school or in the drizzle... and it usually doesn't get above 55 degrees.

I have decided that we need to move baseball practice to Arizona. Take these kiddos (fee free, of course, due to the extreme generosity of a random millionaire benefactor) down to where it is warm and sunny for a week or two and let them practice there. Great idea, huh? OR... we could always delay the start of the season for a month and start at the end of April instead of the end of March? Maybe finish at the end of June instead the beginning? I would be okay with that...

All of this aside, a few seasons ago, Ethan played for Clackamas Little League... as in official Little League, Williamsport, Little League World Series and all that. I hated it. I grew up in New England (Portland, Maine), where Little League - Portland North, thank you very much, is king and everyone plays, and everyone takes it SERIOUSLY. Like, scary seriously. It was so sad to see here that they really don't. Perhaps at the upper levels, but I remember it stared from the time they were 5, in T-Ball. SO, I switched him to Clackamas Junior Baseball, which, essentially is a travel league that develops players for the Clackamas High. So far, we have really enjoyed this league. There is more structure, without feeling pressure to work at the "snack shack" or do fundraisers.

In addition to that, if you have been reading this, you know that I lost my job over a year ago, and my husband lost his just before Christmas. He has since found a new position, but getting back to a good place financially after being on unemployment is difficult. Due to the type of winter we have in the Northwest, it makes off-season baseball training hard. The league has several camps that are being held over the next two or three weeks to get kids back in the game, for lack of a better way to put it. Many, many thanks to Jackie Long for allowing Ethan to participate in the camps "on scholarship".
I am looking forward to this season... hopefully we get the car fixed soon so we don't have to ride in the rain to get to practice...

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Portland Police Department and "Police Brutality"

Tonight, the Rev. Jesse Jackson flew into our fair, very liberal city. As usual, the media was there to greet him and his entourage. Why, you might ask, was the venerable Rev. Jackson (who, I freely admit, has done some great things for civil rights in this country - there is no doubt or argument about that) making his second appearance in Portland in the last few months?

Earlier this week, the police were called with a report of a man who had threatened a woman and her child at a popular recreation area - Hoyt Arboretum. This wooded hiking area, which is extremely beautiful, and is located within the vicinity of several neighborhoods, the Oregon Zoo, the Portland Rose Gardens, and Washington Park. When the responding officer arrived, he discovered an individual, covered in blood, and wielding a box knife - or a "razor knife" as the local media was calling it. When the office asked him to relinquish the weapon, the man moved toward him in a threatening manner... and the office shot him. Sad? Of course.

A few weeks ago, there was another officer involved shooting involving a man who was believed to have a weapon (it was later determined that he didn't), who again, moved toward a larger number of officers - it was a "standoff" type of situation - and was shot and killed. Again, sad? Yes, undoubtedly - especially considering this man's brother had died earlier in the day, and part of the reason officers were called was due to the domestic disturbance that had resulted from the events of the day - this particular individual was creating the issue.

People in the Portland area have been "protesting" for the last week. Some peacefully, some not. One of the great things about our country is that we, as citizens, have the freedom and right to do this. One of the other great things about our country is that we have laws that not only protect us, but that also protect our law enforcement officials. While yes, have there been what seems to be an excessive number of police shootings in and around the Portland area in the last few years; for some reason this week, people have been seeming to focus on the shooting of one individual that was deemed a threat, not only by an officer, but by a fellow citizen, instead of looking at the five or six different gang related shootings that have happened in the same time period - including one at a local shopping center.

I respect the right of every citizen to have a voice and to be heard. I also respect the rights of the police officers that are entrusted by the citizenry to enforce the laws that we, as a people, have created. Do the officers tend to over-react, perhaps by using a "kill shot" as opposed to perhaps merely disabling the individual by say, shooting them in a leg, or arm? Sure. It happens. However, my question is this: if you were that mother who called in on a beautiful sunny day, in a busy park - knowing that there were other children around you - what would you want done? If there was an individual threatening your safety and the safety of your child, how would you want that officer to react?

More importantly: If you were that officer, with all of your training and experience, knowing, that no matter what you did, someone would be there to criticize your decision, what would you do? Would you try to restrain the person threatening you with a knife, again, knowing full well that the individual could run into the woods, and possibly harm someone else?

I am all for national attention to crime, safety, police brutality. Although, I am also all for someone calling attention to gang related violence, gang recruitment, gangs retaliating against other gangs... which one really has the greater effect on a city - several shootings in a year by trained law enforcement professionals or several shootings in a week by young adults in a mall, or in a neighborhood?

For related articles head here. To visit the Portland Police Bureau, click here.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Spring Break

After my tirade in my last posting about the kids... I am ready for Spring break to be done and over with.

I had a bike accident early in the week, which kind of shot all of the plans that I had for me and the kids to do. I cut open the bottom of my chin, road rash and bruises in other spots, and I messed up my neck pretty badly.

Hopefully the week AFTER spring break will be far more productive in terms of getting spring cleaning (and cleaning out) types of things done.

Off to AT&T to pay the cell bill! Check out the other blog for pics of the latest knitting project - a gorgeous unisex baby blanket - in NON-PASTEL colors!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Let's Start by Saying...

Alright, so I love my kids, I do. I might even like them sometimes... when they are listening. I would be lying however, if I said I am not insanely jealous of my friends that don't have kids and have the time to sit down and read a book without interruption, or work on a quilt (for my friend Brooke's gorgeous stuff - go here), or do some home renovation, or painting, or hell, read a book, go for a walk, or go to a movie...

When I had Ethan, I knew what I was giving up, and I don't regret the choices that I made regarding the kids. Sometimes though, I look out the window, or watch TV or a movie, or hear a song that makes me wonder what would've been had I never moved to Texas (speaking of, JoDee Messina's "Heads Carolina, Tails California" just came on at the coffee shop).

I really think things will be better when Xavier is old enough to head to preschool for a couple hours a few days a week... I think I'm just suffering from too much mommy and me time... I think I need some time by myself and perhaps some friends to hang out with... so the cartoon to the left doesn't happen...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Yummy Carrot Oatmeal and dried fruit bars!

Super YUM! You can find the exact recipe here... however, I made a few changes.

Because my family tends to be slightly hungrier than what she said to make the size... I made mine slightly larger - about 4"x1" and when they were done, they were about 4.5x1.5". Also, her recipe calls for unsweetened applesauce. I used homemade applesauce, which has extra cinnamon and nutmeg, etc. in it, as well as extra brown sugar. This didn't do anything to the baking process... but it did add apple chunks and some extra spices. (Really, who doesn't like extra cinnamon and brown sugar?) Here is the batter...

Be aware... it looks kinda yucky...
And shaped into the bars:

The dried fruit I put in mine was cranberries, apricots, and raisins. Again, because I used the homemade applesauce, it also added some apple chunks. These also got REALLY big when they were done baking. These are great for breakfast, hiking, or car snacks! Easily portable, and super good for you. :) Enjoy!

Awesome Honey Wheat Bread

Let me start by saying that this isn't my recipe. I can't remember where I found it, but should the developer come across my little corner of the internet, please leave me a comment so I can give you credit and link back to your site. Please. :)

That being said... here is the best, easiest, no knead honey wheat bread I have tried. (it's even better when you make it yourself, because then you get the fantasticness that is the smell of freshly baked bread through your house!)

(All measurements are US, as well, I'm from the US... if someone can convert them to metric, let me know! I'm an equal opportunity baker. :))

Super Easy Honey Wheat Bread

4cups Warm Water
1 TBSP Sugar
2 TBSP Yeast
(Keep these separate)

2/3 c Sugar
2/3 c Vegetable Oil
2/3 c Honey
4 tsp Salt
6-8 c Whole Wheat Flour - if you can find it, Bob's Red Mill is fantastic
4-6 c All Purpose Flour - I prefer unbleached, personally

Add the warm water, sugar, and yeast together in a small bowl and set aside. Leave this alone for about 5 minutes.

Add the Sugar, Vegetable Oil, Salt, and Honey to your mixer bowl. Add sugar and yeast mixture, lightly blend.

Add Wheat flour 1 cup at a time. It should start to look like this...

Side Note: I have a Kitchen Aid Artisan mixer. This is a LARGE recipe for this size of mixer. It is quite possible to do the whole thing at once, however, you do have stop fairly frequently to clean your dough hook and give the motor a break... OR, half it. :)

After you have added all of the wheat flour (I usually wind up with about 7 cups), change from your paddle attachment to your dough hook.

Add Unbleached flour 1 cup at a time... and dust as needed. I let it mix for a bit as I add each cup. Now, DON'T WORRY if your mixer starts to look like this...

As I said, just take a second to scrape it down. I don't set the speed over a 2 when it gets to this point.

While this is mixing, set your oven to its LOWEST setting, whether that is Warm, 150, doesn't matter. Prep a metal or oven safe bowl with vegetable oil and pull out some plastic wrap.

After the dough is done... trust me you'll be able to tell - it will pull from the sides and stay that way. Lightly coat your hands in either flour or vegetable oil and work the dough out of the mixer bowl and into the bowl you have prepped. Cover with the plastic wrap and pop in the oven, making sure you TURN IT OFF. You just want it warm in there. Leave dough in the oven for about 45 minutes.

While this is rising... CLEAN UP! :) Also, prep 4 bread pans. I like to use glass for at least one of them so I can keep an eye on what is going on in there. At the end of 45 minutes, pull the bowl out and punch down.

Separate into 4 loaves, and while you are doing this, reheat your oven.

Place loaves back into warm oven for about 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, pull loaves out, increase heat to 365, and bake them for 25-30 minutes (here's where the glass comes in handy!)

And, Voila! Now, when you make four loaves, one of them will wind up smaller. If you want 3 perfect ones, you can do that too, but I like to have one to snack on after I've made them. These freeze really well, and defrost just like any other bread... toss them on the counter. :)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Cooking Day

Lately, I have been completely wrapped up in my art projects that I have been neglecting my other creative love: cooking. I love my Kitchen Aid, I love getting my hands yucky, and I love having a tangible product. That is the one thing that makes reading and riding difficult for me lately. Not being employed (other than as a mom), it is hard to find things to do that produce something. Sure, the laundry gets done and the dishes are clean, beds made, etc., but there is no production of something of value or of substance. Cooking and crafting at least produce something. So that being said... here's what I've done today...
Granola Bars!
This is a crazy easy recipe...

4.5cups of oats

1c Flour (I used 1/2 whole wheat and half unbleached)

1tsp Baking Soda

1tsp Vanilla

2/3c Softened Butter

1/2c Honey

1/3c Brown Sugar

Whatever fruit/nuts/chocolate you choose

Bake at 325 in a 9x13 pan for 18-22 minutes - longer if you want them a little crunchier.

This is a great basic recipe, however, I did add some cinnamon and if you look at the picture, they are a little on the crumbly side. Next time I would probably add a little extra honey and maybe an egg as a binder. Great flavor though!

Also, I decided to try some breakfast cookies... and you can find this recipe here. The only modification I made to this was instead of banana chips (which I didn't have) I added 1/2 a banana in with the wet ingredients, and omitted nuts (our family isn't crazy about them)

And now... back to my knitting... oh, and did I mention I also made spaghetti sauce too? :)

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Sheesh. That's really all I have today. I put a freebie up on Craig's and on Freecycle and immediately, I was inundated with responses. Great, right? Well, the first guy didn't email me back, making it so I moved on to the next guy... then I had ten more people I had to email back saying "Sorry...", some of which weren't happy. At All.

For whatever reason, I've noticed that people expect handouts. My theory is that people are generally good and are willing to help when they can, however, there are those that tend to take advantage of that. I don't know what I have done to irritate the gods, or if it's just their way of telling me I need to go back to being my unusually cynical self, but for some reason, these people have just been thrown in my path lately.

I wanted this year to start out optimistically - new business, new opportunities, etc. I have found it is getting harder and harder to remain positive and upbeat... I think I need to go back to meditating and yoga every day. Perhaps that will help....

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Potty Training... Round 2

This time the potty training process is going much better... we have been dry, with only one accident since LAST Wednesday - including overnight! It seems to be that he really doesn't want to get his trains or Buzz Lightyear wet. It probably doesn't hurt that he wants to be exactly like his big brother either.

One of the ideas that we have found that works really well - many thanks to a friend of a friend for this little gem, when you leave the house (or at night) you put a pull-up over their little undies. This way, they still feel wet, but without the mess!!! This was fantastic plan that has worked out wonderfully.

Now, when I say that we haven't had an accident, we also really haven't left the house in a few days, and he's been running around in a t-shirt and underoos, but hey, its working! No treats, candy, munchies, toys, anything really. This morning, he wanted breakfast, and I told him he had to go the bathroom first, and he did... I don't really think that counts though!

We have the first part pretty much down... on to the second part, which we haven't really had any success with yet, but one step at a time...

Friday, March 12, 2010

Announcement time!

I have decided to start a second blog that is dedicated strictly to knitting and other various creative projects. Doesn't mean they won't pop in here from time to time, but this is going to be a "personal" blog. :)

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Yup, I'm aware that I shouted. :) Coming up at the end of April, I have been invited to participate in the Portland State University Earth Day Festival! Check them out HERE! I am super excited about having the chance to showcase some of my sustainable projects - both the ones that I have completed and the new ones that I'm working on...

- Cool washcloth soap holders... haven't decided what to call these yet, and they are still in production. I know when Ethan was younger, he wanted to wash himself in the bathtub, but the soap would slip out of his hands. Johnson's made a kids bar soap with a scrubbie coating, but you would just throw it away when the soap was gone. This way, you just replace the soap! I will post a FREE PATTERN for them here when I get some images.

- Additional colors and patterns of washcloths and lunchbags

- Some fun slippers... these are in the prototype stage, with some test ones going out to a friend in TX for her little girl to try out for me.

- Maybe some sling backpacks? I have a cool pattern, but haven't decided how much time this is going to eat up... not sure on this yet...

I'm open to more ideas.... Check out the works in progress and some awfully cute kidlets wearing some of my stuff here.

Number One...

I have a few different things to talk about today, and I'm going to do them individually, simply because it is easier for me to organize my thoughts...

The first thing for me to bring up is Xavier's speech therapy. We have been going to Portland State University's Speech and Audiology Clinic for just over a year now. We have been exceedingly happy with the results that we have gotten, and all of the grad students we have worked with have been great (a big thanks to Lisa, Emily, Mago, Jillian, and Sally)... interested in learning more? Check them out here. I know they also welcome financial contributions. Just because they are part of a University doesn't mean that they necessarily get everything that they need or deserve!
The second thing related to PSU is SALLY! Oh my gosh... this girl is absolutely amazing. Xavier has decided that he cannot have another speech clinician. EVER. So, today I talked to Ellen Reuler (our advisor) about having her again next term if possible... we gave Sally her "end of term" present on Tuesday, so today, Sally had presents for us (which was completely unnecessary). She very offhandedly says, "oh and the beads on the necklace are from the orphanage I started in Africa" I'm sorry... WHAT!?!?!?!?!

Here are some of the kids...

Here is Sally with more of the kids...

After finding this out... I encourage anyone who might read this to check them out on their website... it really is an amazing story and well worth a looksee - either on their site or on Facebook - their group is Musana Children's Home.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Yikes, that layout was funky....

Wow, I'm not really sure what happened there, but that last posting was weird... Here is what I'm currently working on...

These fun little cuff bracelets are available here for a mere $10! They are 100% wool and felted for a sturdy feel and embellished with a variety of fun little goodies...

Also, I'm going to be trying to do some new marketing type stuff - hitting the pavement to advertise in some local shops, and doing as many shows as I can possibly afford. Exciting news on this front... I have been invited to attend the Portland State Earth Day festival as a vendor - now I just have to figure out a way to afford it - and FAST!

Hopefully, this is the start of some local recognition that I can work with and build on. I'm knitting as fast as my little fingers can take me!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Long time gone... the knit post

Alright, so it's a Dixie Chicks song title, so what? :) Over the past few months, things have been kind of crazy around here, and life has been slightly, well, 'trying' could be a word. That being said, I am trying to continue knitting as much as I can... here are some new projects that I have done...

These are my "Audrey" Bags...

The next thing that I decided to do... what does a knitter do for the summer month? Dishcloths? Towels? Yes, that is a given... but not necessarily fun. I know! How about Stuffed Animals?

I love my robot... and I have had multiple requests for additional penguins... :)

I participated in one craft show in January as a benefit for a group called Two Dollars a Day, which promotes women's literacy... really good organization. Check them out at ... also check out Urban Grind, which is who donated the space for the crafty fair... their "Fancy Grilled Cheese" is fantastical and amazing and wonderful.

Monday, January 11, 2010

A truly random thoughts kind of day

I sit right now in bed (yes, it is 1pm on a Monday), catching up on Facebook, other people's blogs, and getting ready to watch some Arrested Development on hulu and do some knitting. Although, after yesterday's fiasco, I might be willing to take a day off! (I made two different hats, and neither one turned out right the first time. Aarrg.)

As I write this, I have a lot of things on my mind. Namely, how on earth I am going to get more business for my shop, how we are going to be able to pay rent in a few weeks, why the State of Oregon hasn't called Todd back regarding his unemployment claim, the mess that is the house (I will probably deal with that tomorrow - not in the mood today), whether or not I'm going to be able to do a craft fair at the end of the month, how my coffee is getting cold right now, and also that it is almost Xavier's nap time and I might have to be vacating my bed so he can take a nap...

Too much for one brain!

On the upside, I did find out that I was accepted to do a contract gig at the Convention Center in a week working a trade show. That will at least pay for phones and our electric bill.

Having been unemployed now for a while is both liberating and degrading. Liberating in the sense that I get to spend time with the kids (both good and bad), I get to shower - or not, as after all, it saves water and electricity - and makeup - whenever I want, I can choose to do laundry today or tomorrow, and I can spend the whole day working on a project and not feel bad about it. Degrading in that no matter what jobs I apply for, I am told I am either over or under qualified... for retail. Seriously? If I'm applying for a professional position, then my experience isn't applicable, even though it could be exactly what they are looking for....

I guess it's time to dust off those typing skills and write that fictionalized memoir I keep talking about... :)

Monday, January 4, 2010

New Year, New Opportunities

This year has started off with a bang... businesswise, anyway. Nothing like three orders on the second day of the year! Hopefully it can keep up. I have some new items up, and am heading out tomorrow to get some new and fun yarn for inspiration for some new projects. Unfortunately, my fingers can't knit quite as quickly as they can type! Hopefully, I will be putting up some original patterns on here soon, as I don't create them very often, and honestly, don't really mind sharing, as long as credit is given.

Hopes for the year include new jobs all the way around our house, as well as for several others that I know of... Xavier's continued speech development, and Ethan to tone down his attitude!!!

Here's to a great year in 2010!