Sunday, August 28, 2011

Under De-Construction

Howdy Folks!  I'm beginning to think it's about time to change things up, in many ways.  Brad and I are looking at refurbishing our living room (great room) just in time for the holidays.  We spent a good part of Friday's afternoon looking at sectionals.  Yes, I've caved in.  After 10 years I'm letting the man have his way, on this item anyway, ha!  In addition, after staring at a perfectly lovely piano (Charles R. Walter) that wasn't being played we decided to find it a new home.  In its place I will be putting book shelves, something I've wanted to do for a long time.  As some of you may know, I have little piles of books stashed here and there, just itching for a place to call their own.

It just feels like the right time to change things up a bit.  It's that in between time.  Kids are in school, but it's still summer.  Fall is approaching, with the crickets and sunflowers, but non too swiftly.  I'm preparing a Knitting As A Spiritual Practice class that I will be teaching at the church, but it doesn't get started until October.  So, it is a good time to feather the nest and make it cozier for the approaching winter (shh - can't believe I just wrote that!).

So when I don't feel like moving furniture around and dusting up what was hiding there, I will be playing with the look of this blog, hence the new banner picture.  It is rather large, but a pretty reminder of my garden.  Perhaps I will delve into the HTML code and see if I can't reduce its size a bit?  Perhaps the teenager will help me with that?

With that I wish you all a lovely Sunday.  It holds such a special place in the week doesn't it?  Even if it will be spent doing a bit more sofa shopping!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Yup, it's definitely getting to be the end of the season.  You can see it in the early morning light, can't you?  You certainly couldn't tell by the afternoon 90 degree weather we've been experiencing, but the season is winding down.  It feels just like when the sprinkler reaches it's full arc and you want to make a run for it. 

We had an incredible bean harvest, but even they are slowing down in production.  The hens are slowing down as well.  Instead of gathering 6-8 eggs a day, I'm gathering 4-5.  The weeds however still have a good head of steam.

I literally threw in the trowel (pun intended!) on the weeding when the mosquitoes got too thick and vicious.  But amidst all those bugs and jungle there is food to be enjoyed.  It does take a certain amount of courage and clothing to bring it in!

So now my dilemma is what to do with all the bounty?  I have made copious amounts of ratatouille and cucumber salad, but part of me wants to squirrel it away for a taste of summer in the winter.  I would love to find a canning recipe to use up the zucchini, squash, beans, and peppers.

Any ideas?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Do A Good Turn Daily

Hiking was the "activity du jour" yesterday, albeit the girls and boys did it seperately and in their own respective ways.  Rachel and I enjoyed a beautiful morning hiking at Chatauqua, and dining afterwards.

Meanwhile, our trusty scouts were in the high country "sky walking" (Brad's words!). 

They hiked an impressive 7 hours and 7 miles to summit 4 14ers.  For you non-Colorado folks 14ers are mountains that have an elevation of 14,000 feet.  Trust me, it's hard! 

And the excitement didn't end.  This morning on my dog walk at the Boulder Resevoir a young CU student's Lab was bitten by a rattlesnake.  Poor gal, she didn't know what to do.  Well, Mommy Chicken to the rescue.  I grabbed the girls things and made them "hustle" (is there such a thing with a LARGE dog? ~ It had to weigh more than 100 lbs.) the dog to the car, and drove them to the nearest vet.  When we got there we found out we were the second snake bite victims to show up!

I'm so glad I could be there, really be there, in a calm and present manner to help these young ladies out.  Perhaps all this scouting business is rubbing off on me as well?

Remember the Boy Scout Slogan "Do A Good Turn Daily."

Friday, August 19, 2011

Hats Off To You!

I have a day off from work today, so I thought I'd get this hat off in the mail for a friend's Mom who is undergoing Chemo.  Cancer is a bitch.  We all have our stories of loved ones and friend's loved ones who have battled, some surviving and some not.

Therefore, I feel compelled to help in anyway I can with another's journey.  This is a great little crochet project.  I enjoyed it so much last winter, especially with this yarn.  I think it will feel just right as a "chemo cap," warm, but not too much so, and SOFT.  I know my girlfriend had a hard time with itching, so hopefully this yarn will do the trick.

Here's the pattern:

Worsted Weight Yarn
Crochet Hook - G/6 4.255 mm hook

Ch 4 Join in round with sl st.
Rnd 1: Ch 3, 15 dc in ring (16 dc)
Rnd 2: Ch 3, dc in same st, 2 dc in each dc around (32 dc)
Rnd 3: Ch 3, dc in same st, * (dc in 3 dc, 2dc in next dc) repeat from * around ending dc in 3 dc, sl st to beginning (40 dc)
Rnd 4: Ch 3, dc in same st, * (dc in 4 dc, 2dc in next dc) repeat from * around ending dc in 4 dc, sl st to beginning (48 dc)
Rnd 5: Ch 3, dc in same st, * (dc in 5 dc, 2dc in next dc) repeat from * around ending dc in 5 dc, sl st to beginning (56 dc)
Rnd 6: Ch 3, dc in same st, * (dc in 6 dc, 2dc in next dc) repeat from * around ending dc in 6 dc, sl st to beginning (64 dc)
Rnd 7-11: ch 2, skip one dc *(2 dc in next dc twice, skip 2 dc) repeat from * ending with sl st in top of first dc.
Rnd 12-16: ch 1, sc in each dc(sc) around.

Here's the pattern for the Festive Flower (same materials as used in hat):

Ch 5, sl st into a ring
sc 15 into the ring
*Ch 4 work 2 tr into next 2 sc, Ch 4 sl st into next sc
Repeat from * until complete

Counting my blessings as I count my stitches!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

And They're Off

First day of school.  So much to look forward to, so much to watch out for.  It's a tricky time in our family's life.  Teenagers.  Need I say more?  I love them to pieces, yes, they make me crazy at times, and me them.  But I know one thing, I wouldn't want to live without them.  They are my pride and joy, even when they screw up.  Hey, perfect is for angels!  My parting words, "make me proud"  and "text me."  Welcome to the 21st century.

Rachel First Day of 10th Grade

Max First Day of 7th Grade

And now I'm off.  Before I think too hard on how great it was to have my kids' ears for a bit.  Before I think how much I will miss feeding them from my kitchen (even though it gets tiresome).  Before I think about how fast the time is passing.

Weren't they just learning to tie their shoelaces?

Best of luck to all you students and parents of students this school year.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

I Spy With My Little Eye

Like many of you this week, I found myself at the Mall doing some back to school shopping with my teenager.  All good fun!  Rachel and I had a good laugh because we found ourselves spending most of our time at the food court enjoying some fish tacos.  Typical!  I was surprised when rounding one familiar corner to find that Restoration Hardware was gone.  Sadness.  But seeing that my house has been furnished for many years now, not a huge loss for me.  Especially when I weigh in its replacement.  It was a store called "Cozy Cottage" and here is what greeted passing shoppers:

Oh Joy!  What incredible festiveness!

I love the spider web tablecloth on the white table and all the hanging placards, "I'd Turn Back If I Were You!"
Dear little owls with yellow eyes!

I know most of you are still relishing summer and all it's bounty.  I should be too.  But I must confess, Back to School has filled me with a certain degree of anxiety.  And looking forward to one of my favorite holidays helps with that a lot.  Is it too early to plan costumes?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

You've Got To Know When to Hold Them, Know When to Fold Them

This weekend we had the pleasure (?!) of sitting down with our teen daughter and creating a "social contract."  Oy!  Painful but necessary.  Thank goodness my husband is a very seasoned contract negotiator.  As he says, "everybody has to get something of what they want, otherwise why come to the table?"

The teen years are hard to negotiate, especially in Boulder, CO where you have a LARGE University walking distance to the High School.  Everything and more is available to our teens, and its a big job to help them navigate their way.  As some of you may remember, we had a crash course in this at the beginning of the summer.  We're hoping this "social contract" will provide just the sort of guidelines and incentives to help our gal.

Rachel has Purple Nails, I have Pink!

One thing I discovered this summer was how nice it was to get our nails done together.  We've done this in the past, but ordinarily I'm in the chair (I like pedicures) while she sits across the way.  Nice nails, but not a whole lot of connecting.  This past week we both went for manicures.  Holy Moly!  This was better than any family counseling.  I heard more about her and her friends than I ever have.  At last!  I think I'm onto something.  Therefore, as an incentive for good behaviour and following house rules, she and I will be getting monthly manicures. 

And that is about all for now.  It was a big part of our weekend, which is not over yet.  There is a Little League Barbecue to look forward to (and prepare for - Lemon Bunt Cake, Green Bean Salad), but I'm just glad to have tackled that difficult task.

BTW - I did finish painting the kids' bath and it looks amazing!  For those interested, the paint I used was Behr Celtic Gray 490E.

I wish you all a wonderful week!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Loop Da Loop

Early this morning I was lucky enough to meet a girlfriend for one of my favorite bike rides, I call it the "Farm Loop."  And here's why:

We are lucky enough to have working, organic farms all around us.  Another girlfriend referred to this area of Boulder County as "The Golden Triangle," for it is zoned for agricultrual use.  What a joy to be surrounded by nature and the results of those hardworking farmers.

Thank you Anna for a great start to my day!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Almost There

Seems like at this point in the summer there is an "almost there" feeling living in our house.  The ball games have been played and watched, swim practices and meets completed, trips taken, visits and visitors enjoyed, barbeque's, fireworks, hikes, bike rides, hammock time.  Whew, need I say more?  And yet there are all these summer projects started that are oh-so-close to completion.

Exhibit #1 - Crocheted Rag Rug

 Exhibit #2 - Refresh/Repaint Kid's Bathroom
Rachel has made me promise the bathroom will be done before school starts in 2 weeks.  It's hard enough getting ready for school at 6 am without mother's work all over!

Exhibit #3 - Mending Pile/Creative Space Sadly Neglected
I've had the best intentions, but, good Lord, need I say more?  Oy!

Exhibit #4 - Almost Full Grown Baby Chick
Yup, there she is hiding in the upper right side portion of the photo.  She has all her mature feathers, except the last little bit around the face.  Makes me think about how the frontal lobe is the last part of the brain to develop in humans (that's where all our reasoning comes from), but that's another subject for another day.  That being said, can't help but draw the correlation between that chick and our own developing teens.  Thank goodness Mother Nature is all over this particular project. I thankfully can just sit back and watch this one out!!

And there we are.  Two weeks and counting before I ship the kids back to school.  It's always such a bittersweet time for me.  For as much as I look forward to having some uninterrupted time during the day (huh - what's that?) at this point I can't quite remember what that felt like and if it felt as good as RIGHT NOW.

I have loved this summer with my children.  They are the ultimate craft project.  I love watching them grow, and it doesn't come without some prodding and support along the way.  So even though time is of the essence, I am going to enjoy all those conversations over the more leisurely breakfasts of summer.  I am going to sit down and watch a little more the shows, movies, and music videos they enjoy.  And conversely, I am going to highly encourage a few more family hikes, bike rides, swims, fireside chats, and dinners on the back porch.

For me, life is sweet.  And time with family is sweetest of all.  It doesn't come without its messes and share of spills, but the end product is oh so fine.

Exhibit #5 - Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream

A big shout out to Nanny and a bigger THANK YOU for our new ice cream maker.  This first batch was a winner!  I can't wait to mix up some Candy Cane Ice Cream over the Christmas holidays with her.

I'm hoping you all make the most of the time that's left in your summers.  Savor it, life is sweet!
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