Sunday, January 30, 2005

Hacking My Way Through the Jungles of Turkeydom

Due to the fact that I still have both of my parents, as does my husband, and therefore always have somewhere to go on the holidays, I have never in my short life personally roasted a turkey. I've roasted chickens, Cornish game hens, ham, beef, but never a whole turkey. We received a turkey fryer from all of our friends at our campground as a wedding present, so it usually falls to my husband to cook a turkey whenever we decide to indulge in one at any other time of year besides the holidays. (sidenote: if you have never had deep fried turkey, drop everything that you are doing and run to the nearest friend that has an outdoor fryer. It is nothing like fried chicken. It is not greasy at all, and it is the juiciest turkey that you will ever eat.)

Well, my husband's company gives all of it's employees a turkey every year for Christmas, and we usually share them around with someone else who needs a little more food than we do. But this year, we couldn't find any takers, so I chucked it in the freeze for some later date. When I made up the menu for this week, I remembered the turkey in the freezer, and thought that it would be wonderful for Sunday dinner and that we would have leftovers all week. So I thawed it out and made my plans for exactly how to roast it, what seasonings and veggies to use, and whatnot. I got everything out and started today when my first problem arose. I don't own a single pan large enough to roast a turkey!

I'm not a gourmet chef, but neither am I a slump in the kitchen and I own quite a bit of cookware, specialized and general use. I can not find one single thing to put in my oven that will hold a turkey. I even entertained thoughts of using the huge pot that I use for canning jams and jellies, but had to reject it because I felt that the sides were too thin and they wouldn't hold up to four hours in the oven. So now I am down to the crock pot.

I have two crock pots but neither of them were quite adequate to the task. As it stands, I have it in my oblong crock, with a little chicken stock and some salt and pepper, there wasn't even room for some onions or celery! The poor thing is pretzeled up like it is trying to win a Twister tourney and the lid isn't quite all the way down. I'm hoping that he will cook down a little before I go to bed and let the lid settle down enough to seal. It definitely is not going to be a feast for the eyes, but hopefully it will at least be edible! And let me just say that if you are feeling down and need something to make you laugh, watch a woman try to wrestle an eleven pound turkey into a six quart crock pot; you will be rolling on the floor in no time!

Friday, January 28, 2005

Catching Up

I've been meaning to post some pictures of the knitting that I have finished. As I have admitted elsewhere in this blog, I am addicted to knitting. My only problem now is knowing what project to start next, as I have sooooo many now lined up that I want to do!


Here is my Peanut modeling the scarf I made to match my hat. Since she learned to smile when prompted, all we ever see in pictures is her chin! Posted by Hello


My first shaped knitting project, cute little slippers. Posted by Hello


These were my first slipper attempt. Misshapen and ugly as they are, I'm still proud of them. I made them for my daughter, but they were too small to fit her lovely, large feet. Posted by Hello


I adapted the pattern to a smaller size, and I am making this little white pair for a friend's baby shower next week. As you can tell, my knitting has already begun to improve from the first, Quasimodo attempt. Posted by Hello

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Thank you again for the wonderful inspiration,Thicket Dweller . Even though my daughter is only 14 months old, I too often get that "it's not enough, All of the other kids have..., If I were a good mother she would have..." mentality. As I type, there are so many toys strewn all over this house that one can barely walk. She has so many articles of clothing that many of the outfits she only wears once. She has three sets of doting grandparents and she is the only grandchild of two of those sets. We held a large family celebration for her first birthday (around 60 people) for which we had to rent a hall and needed two cars to take home all of the gifts. And just one month after that was Christmas! I actually sat down and cried Christmas Eve because she was getting so much, and there are so many out there with so little. I hate the consumerism mentality, and yet here I am, fostering it in my own home. I am taking your post as a sign tonight. I am making a commitment to lowering the unnecessary, illogical, and gratuitous spending around here. Why should I try to keep up with the Jones' when I don't want to BE like the Jones'?

Musings

My, it's cold here at my little house. Seven degrees exactly. Today was my errand day. I'm trying to accomplish all of my running in one day to save on gas and time, per my 101 things in 1001 days list. It seems to be working, except that I am exhausted by 3:00 PM. It definitely takes a lot more planning and strategizeing than I am used to. Every Wednesday night, I sit and make up my grocery list, my menu for the week (also on my 101 list), and a list of places that I have to stop (i.e.- the library, the video store, the hardware store, ect.). Sometimes I think it is a lot of work for not much payoff, but then again it's nice not to find myself at Wal-Mart for the third time in as many days. I am very glad to find my self snugly at home with a well stocked pantry and no need to go out in the cold for the rest of the weekend.

The 24 Hour Blog

One of my favorite bloggers and a very busy but creative mom, thicketdweller, is doing something very interesting on her blog today. She is posting every hour for the next 24 hours, to give everyone some insight on her life and family. I must tell you that she is one of the best bloggers that I have ever read and hers is the first one I read every morning. Everything she has ever posted has either entertained or inspired me. She is definitely worth checking out. Run right over there and take a look.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Down the Drain

My daughter has just discovered what the little handle on the side of the toilet does. She thinks that the sound of the toilet flushing is the funniest thing that she has ever heard. Here come the $400.00 water bills!

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

My Two Cents

My advice for the day is this; if you wear skirts often and live in a northern clime, make yourself some flannel slips! I know it sounds old-fashioned and maybe silly, but you would not believe the difference.

I wear a lot of skirts and dresses. Not because of religious conviction, but because I just look better in skirts than pants. But every winter here in blustery Ohio, I have to contend with those cold, sudden breezes. This year, I decided to make a flannel half slip to go under mine and my daughter's Christmas dresses. Christmas was so cold here and with all of the in and out running we do, I hoped to cut down on the warm up time at each stop that we made. I have discovered why this was such a common practice long ago. I promptly made up two or three more, and now I am blissfully warm. (Gone are the cold knees and thighs!)

I didn't do anything fancy, I just used a favorite simple skirt pattern of mine. Sewed down the side seams, hemmed the bottom and put in a simple pocket-elastic waistband. You could achieve the same effect using a tapered rectangle cut in your desired length and wide enough to gather slightly around your waist. The elastic does all of the work, so there is no need to sew in any gathers or pleats.

Anybody who regularly wears skirts in the winter will understand what I mean about the wind cutting through the fabric, no matter how heavy. This little slip will do away with that completely. It doesn't even have to be expensive, thick flannel either. I use the stuff that I get on sale for 99 cents a yard at the fabric store. And if you are feeling especially Scarlett O'Hara-ish, you can add a little ruffle around the bottom. :)

Here's to swishy skirts!

Monday, January 24, 2005

My Darling Daughter

My baby has never been one to cuddle. She has been an independent child from day one. Just a few hours after she was born, she was laying on her dad's chest and she lifted up her head and shoulders and stared around the room for about and hour. She is always on the go, moving around the house. I really treasured the times we had together while she nursed, because I could hold her close, snuggle her, and look at her lovely face. She decided last month that she was ready to be weaned, and I had my first have-to-let-go pains as a mom.

Many women that I know talk about how much trouble they have had weaning their children. The crying and sleeplessness, and trying to just get through it and teach their child to drink from a cup. We had none of this. I don't know if it is because I never forced the issue (I figured that she would know when she didn't want or need to nurse anymore) or because she is so independent.

I had plenty of backlash from family members ("You mean you are still nursing her? She has teeth for goodness sakes!")but I just ignored them. I was the first woman in my family to breastfeed in the last five generations, and I know that a lot of their comments come from ignorance. I do my best to educate each new mother of my relation and acquaintance, and to sort of be the ambassador to the general public of the uninformed for breastfeeding mothers everywhere. Frankly, I was prepared to nurse her much longer than what was necessary.

But on to my original point, what happened to my baby? She is already so grown up. I feel like I completely missed the early days of her babyhood. I just let it all fly past me, while the rest of the everyday took up my attention. She is almost 15 months old! How did that happen?

She runs and climbs and sings. She gets frustrated because her wants and actions are limited by her lack of vocabulary. Sometimes she has this look on her face as if to say "If only I could say what I want, you would get an earful.". She is stubborn and strong. She is so much like her father that I can not help but be amazed at the way God designed my womb to create this wonderful mixture of the two of us, but at the same time leave character traits and facial expressions so intact as to be instantly recognizable.

I miss my baby, but I am so excited to see the girl that she is becoming, and the woman that she will someday become.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

????

I don't know what is wrong with me today. I woke up feeling off. I don't feel sick but, strange. My thoughts are very scrambled and I can't seem to concentrate. This short post is taking me 10 minutes to write. Maybe I just need some more sleep. Then, hopefully, things will look clearer. I really wanted to post something interesting this morning, but this is all that came out.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Knit One, Purl 2, and On Into Eternity

It's decided. I am now a knitting junkie. I can't sit down for ten minutes without looking for my knitting. Every time I stop at the store, I bring home at least one ball of yarn. I have now checked out and read every book that my local library has on knitting and requested 34 more from other libraries. When I can't sleep at night, and it's too dark in our bedroom to knit, I browse the internet for free patterns. And all of this has taken place just since New Years Eve when I taught myself to knit.
I'm also learning to spin, so that I can make and dye my own yarn. I don't own a spinning wheel yet, so I'm spinning with a drop spindle. It's actually very soothing work, and very portable (you can carry it in your purse or pocket). My poor husband probably feels as if he is living with a deranged spider, what with piles of colored yarn on one side and mounds of wool roving on the other. Can you tell that when I find a new hobby, I find it all consuming? No one can say I do things by halves!

Monday, January 17, 2005

Do You Ever...?

Do you ever have those days when your life feels like it has hit a plateau? Like you are living the same day over and over again? I'm having one of those days. It will pass by tomorrow and my life will continue to amaze and amuse me, but tonight I feel like Bill Murray in the movie "Groundhog Day". Living the same day over and over until I figure out whatever it is that I need to change or improve in myself. Maybe this is God's way of telling me that there is something I should be doing that I am not. Perhaps he's giving me time for some inner reflection by putting the outside on auto-pilot. I guess I should be praying and meditating on what it is, instead of messing around with other stuff. Have a good night everyone.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Brrrrrrr!!!

Ohio is being true to reputation and giving us a nice brisk chill. Just a few days ago, it was almost 70 degrees here, and now it is 11 degrees. It's been snowing all day, but I'm sure we're not going it get more than 3 or 4 inches.

I love the winter weather. Nothing is nicer to me than to cozy up in my snug little house, (See self? There are some nice things about a small house!) and watch the weather. I definitely have a figure that is more flattered in sweaters than shorts, and when the roads are bad, I have a good excuse for staying home. Nothing is quite like snow and cold!

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Just one more?...

I really should never go near a fabric store. I can't control myself. Walking in the doors, I'm just so inspired by everything I see. This fabric would make a lovely summer skirt, and that one would look so cute on Peanut. There are so many things that I can imagine doing.

I was stopping at Jo-Ann ETC today to pick up a set of circular knitting needles, (it's official, I'm hooked. Just what I needed, another hobby :)) because I'm going to try knitting a sweater for Peanut. Little did I know that they were having a HUGE sale. Lots of yarn (insert longing moan here), lots of ribbon, and LOTS of fabric. Some of it just 50 cents a yard! I had to look, never mind that I have enough fabric lying around that I could clothe a small village. I came home with six yards to make some cute sundresses for Peanut, ten yards of cute checked grosgrain ribbon, three new patterns (hey, they were only 99 cents, you can't beat that with a stick!), and my knitting needles. I only spent twenty dollars, though. I don't think I did too bad. Now if only my inspiration will stay with me long enough to finish it all.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Gone In a Flash

Thursdays are such busy days! I do my grocery shopping and run my errands, and the day just flys by. We had Peanut's picture taken today. It's actually her Christmas photo, but the studios were so busy before Christmas, that I couldn't get her in until now. They were very cute, as always, and I wanted to buy quite a lot of them. My husband said no, though, and I've been at odds with him and pouting all day. Sometimes we lower ourselves to such childish levels. I wish I could be the grown up in these situations, but he just knows exactly how to push my buttons. And with him working so many hours right now, we probably won't make up until Sunday. Oh well.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

"Cracker, Cracker, Cracker!"

Well, Peanut has learned her first word that actually means something to her. Cracker. All I hear all day long is Cracker. She thinks anything that comes in a box, is wrapped in plastic, or looks remotely edible is a cracker. She was even under the sink in the bathroom today, trying to open the bag of cotton balls and yelling "Cracker, Cracker, Cracker!" She 'cracks' me up!

Oh, I finished my second knitting project today. It is a scarf that matches my hat. If I remember, I'll post some pictures of it. It's really very ugly, but it will do for me.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Shannon of Avonlea

My husband works nights and I often find myself staying up until he comes home, working on some craft project or another and watching old movies from our video collection. Last night was no exception, and my choices for the evening were the scarf that matches the new hat that I just knit and "Anne of Avonlea". If you have never watched this one and the movie that comes before it, "Anne of Green Gables", do yourself a favor and pick it up from the library next time you are there. These two movies do a good job of incorporating all of the exciting stuff from the first four books and they are so fun to watch. They are always good for a laugh and a tear.

I must admit though that I am a little pre-disposed to love these movies. I was a major Anne-phile in junior high and high school. In fact my family members and friends took to calling me 'Shannon of Avonlea' for awhile. I had a subscription to the newsletter, "The Avonlea Traditions Chronicle" and continually read and re-read all of L.M. Montgomery"s books and short stories. And really, the Anne stories can't be beat for good, wholesome excitement and romance; even if the prose is sometimes a bit flowery. The books are all wonderful, right up through "Rilla of Ingleside" and they follow Anne from her childhood through the maturity of her youngest daughter. They also offer an interesting perspective on World War I and some of the manners and fashions of the day.

My copy of book number five," Anne's House of Dreams" was read so many times that it actually fell apart. That is the book where she gets married and starts her family, and to my adolescent mind, it was everything that I wished for as a chubby, nerdy girl in high school. I still haven't replaced that book. Maybe I'll go looking for it this weekend and re-read it.

Saturday, January 8, 2005

Smith, Party of Three?

Just a general observation today. Did you ever notice that when you go out to dine at a sit-down restaurant, that the hungrier you are, the longer the wait is to be seated? Also, no matter how well-behaved your child normally is, she will have a Three-Mile Island meltdown if there are 20 other people watching?

Note to Self: Always remember to pack animal crackers and a sippy-cup!

Friday, January 7, 2005

Done

My list is finished. If you are interested in reading it, it's posted here. Making this list has started me thinking a lot about the things I've always wanted to do and how some things that used to seem so important are really very low on my list when it comes down to counting it all up. I guess that is the wonderful thing about being human, we are constantly changing and our personalities can evolve without any notice.

My 101 things List

Some of my favorite bloggers are starting a "101 things to do in 1001 days" list and I am going to indulge in the sincerest form of flattery and follow suit. My list is now finished and I am in the process of posting it. As soon as I am done, I'll post the link here for anyone who is interested.

Wednesday, January 5, 2005

It's About Time!

We were all sick here during the New Year's Holiday, so we weren't a very lively bunch. Both my husband and Peanut were in bed by 7:00 PM and I was left sitting up all alone. It suddenly occurs to me that this is a perfect time to get out that "learn to knit" kit that I have been meaning to get to since I recieved it for my Birthday in October. So I sat down and learned how to knit on New Year's Eve. I have crocheted for years and have tried to start knitting about a dozen times, but I never could get the hang of it. See what four or five uninterrupted hours of concentration will do? I just finished it off tonight and thought I would proudly show it off to all of you. Seeing as how only 2 or 3 people even read my blog, I figured there would be little embarassment to suffer.

Smiling Me wearing my first knitted hat. Posted by Hello


My first knitted hat. Posted by Hello

Sunday, January 2, 2005

A Quick Succession Of Busy Nothings

Here we are, a new year. What will happen? What does it hold for my family? Will I actually start exercising every day like I have resolved to? (I can already guess the answer to that one.) I am one of those people who is filled with great plans and ideas, the best of intentions, but who also finds it very easy to be distracted by everyday life. Time just slips away from me so quickly! It seems that just as I have everything lined up and in order, ready to organize and improve our lives, I find out about a new book that captures my whole interest or a new type of craft, recipe, gardening tip, ect. that needs further research and/or examination. I'm a mental butterfly. As the old saying goes, "Jack of all trades, master of none". That's me; but I must admit that my personal style certainly allows for much exploration and expansion. There is so much that I am interested in, that I never run out of things to learn or do!