Tuesday, November 30, 2010

And, I'm Done!

Okay, this wasn't so painful. I know that my Dad (WHO HASN'T POSTED A COMMENT THIS ENTIRE MONTH!) will probably say, "Then why don't you do this more often?"

Gah. Life gets in the way. Blogging every day in November is easy because A) it is one of my favourite times and seasons of the year, B) my birthday is smack dab in the middle, and C) it is so colourful that I can't wait to go outside and take pictures.

I do want to blog more often. I recently had to change my blogroll over from Bloglines to Google Reader, and it caused me to have to review the blogs I had been following. I came to the sad realization that many blogs I used to read and enjoy just aren't very active at all anymore - and that is if at all. I know people grow up, move on, get married, have babies, etc., etc., etc. Such is life. I'm not a big commenter on people's blogs - so maybe some of these bloggers didn't realize how much their writing affected other people.

Thanks to everyone who has left comments this month - I do get a kick out of seeing what other people have to think about what I write. I think that Odie deserves a frequent commenter award - for someone I've never met, he's left an awful lot of nice comments on my blog. Thank you - it makes blogging frequently that much more rewarding.

Monday, November 29, 2010

How Fat Is My Cat?


Well, he doesn't fit into the cat food bag...

That being said, Lucky isn't huge - he's a long tomcat and weighs about 16 pounds. We had him on diet cat food at one point and he slimmed down to 13 pounds - but then developed crystals in his bladder. At that point we had to switch to special moist food and limit his (also special) dry cat food to once a day. A fat, healthy cat is preferable to a skinnier one who pees blood (trust me, that was scary!).

Lucky snuggling A

Lucky is a lapcat by nature - if anyone sits on the sofa, he comes running up to claim the primo spot - and come to think of it, other than is 15 minute crazy freak out most nights, that is about all the exercise he gets. He loves the laser pointer, but those tend to go missing in our house. Trader Joe's paper grocery bags are great fun as well (he chases them around the kitchen and then hides in them). Does anyone have any other ideas on how to exercise your cat? I would love to hear them!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Maybe my Magic Chef bread machine isn't so dead after all. I started thinking about this last night - and when I thought it died last week, I had been trying to make pizza dough. I normally set up my bread machine in the sunroom because I really don't have the space for it in my kitchen. However, Pizza day was very chilly - I think the room was so cold, that the heat generated by the bread machine to rise the dough wasn't enough to counteract the cold in the room - so my pizza dough didn't rise.

So, I decided to experiment.

I woke up early this morning, so I lugged the bread machine into the kitchen, put it in front of a heating vent so it would warm up (it was only 29'F this morning). Once at a more temperate room temperature, I set the dough up for these Cinnamon Rolls in the machine, and plugged it into my crowded kitchen wall socket.

The dough rose! It was all the way to the top of the glass when the dinger went off.

Here's a pic of the nascent cinnamon rolls first put together:


And after the dough had proofed:


And out of the oven and glazed:


Yummy! So, maybe there is a bit of life in my machine yet. I think a new one will be on the horizon in the next year, but this one will do for now - I will just have to remember to set it up in the kitchen rather than the sunroom.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Mystery Plant - Need Some Help

My father-in-law was helping his neighbour move some bushes in his yard, and the two of them came across this bush, and no one knows what it is:


I can say with certainty that it is not an azalea - my father-in-law has over 100 azaleas in his yard, so if there is a plant he could recognize with ease, it would be an azalea. You can see that the leaves are changing colours as well.

Here's a close up of one of the leaves:


Does anyone have any idea of what this plant (ha! I wrote pattern at first!) is? If so, please let us know.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

My mother-in-law is making Thanksgiving dinner, but I offered to bring the pies for dessert. There will only be five of us, so I didn't need to make multiple pies - so I decided on two - an apple pie (because I am getting really good at making apple pies!) and a pecan pie as it is my father-in-law's favourite pie.

One problem, though - I've never made a pecan pie before. I looked on Tastespotting which really has become my go-to website whenever I want to find a recipe, searched for 'pecan pie,' and found this blog: Sugar and Spice by Celeste (her recipe is at that link). It seemed simple enough, and oddly enough, I had all the ingredients except for the pecans. Can one make an almond pie? I had a one pound bag of almonds in the pantry.

So, I whipped up my pie crust, let it chill, rolled it out for the pan, mixed my ingredients, let it bake for 70 minutes, and voila!

Pecan pie for Thanksgiving

It certainly looks like a pecan pie, doesn't it?

Pecan Pie Close Up A

The pie bounced back when I tapped the top like Celeste said it would, so I let it cool for 2 hours as per her instructions, and was happy that it solidified quite a bit in those two hours.

Pecan Pie Close Up B

I wish I had a smell-o-vision camera, because let me assure you, the pie smelled heavenly! Unfortunately, I had to put it away and keep it for our Thanksgiving meal. That, and put the cat in the basement because he was much too interested in the pie...

And just for giggles, I caught this view when I was trying to frame up the pie for the first shot - so now you know what *I* see when I look down!

Pecan Pie and belly

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I hope you are able to spend the day with friends and loved ones, have a fabulous meal, and truly be gracious and thankful for all the blessings we have in life.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

WiP It Wednesday


Sprog counts as a work in progress, right?

We had a hard time getting a clear shot of her today - Sprog's hands were up and together as if she were praying.  That dark spot near Sprog's left eye is just a cross section of her hand.  The ultrasound tech told me when they do the 4D scan they sometimes are too close to a body part, so it comes across as an empty spot on the screen.  Sprog has turned around and is currently in a breech position, so I hope that changes soon and Sprog goes back down to a head down position.  Sprog is also weighing in at 3 pounds - yay!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Finished Objects: Baby Set for Cheryl

My co-worker, Cheryl, has a baby girl arriving about a month before my baby is due - and without going into her specifics, this baby has been a long, hard time in coming. Normally for my co-workers I will just donate to the gift cards or maybe make them a baby hat - but I really felt the need to make something special for Cheryl - and even doubly so since our babies will be born so close together.

Cheryl's Baby Set:

Set for Cheryl's baby

The Cardigan Particulars:

Yarn: TLC Baby in Color 8322 Powder Yellow
Needles: Hiya Hiya bamboo 16" circulars and dpns, size 4
Pattern: Sam, Sadira, and Katie by Cabin Fever (Rav Link) - in the Sam (plain style) in size 0-3 months.
Modifications: None

Cardigan for Cheryl's baby

The Booties Particulars:

Yarn: TLC Baby in Color 8322 Powder Yellow
Needles: Size 3 Knitpicks Harmony 5" sock dpns
Pattern: One Strand Bootie by Carole Barenys (Rav Link)
Modifications: I decided to leave off the tie, and I changed up the welt pattern to make it flow better.

Booties for Cheryl's baby

The Hat Particulars:

Yarn: TLC Baby in Color 8322 Powder Yellow
Needles: Hiya Hiya bamboo 16" circulars and dpns, size 4
Pattern: Made it up. I originally was going to use a sock yarn based baby hat pattern with a rolled brim, but casting on with this yarn gave me a hat that would practically fit Willow. So, I ripped it out, cast on 80 stitches, knit for 12 rows, did 2x2 ribbing for 8 rows, then back to stockingette until the hat looked long enough, then started to decrease. I wanted Cheryl to be able to fold up the ribbed part so it fit a newborn, then unfold it to fit an older baby.
Modifications: I guess you could say the entire hat was a modification...

Hat for Cheryl's baby

Would I make these patterns again? The sweater, definitely - it was a very easy top down pattern, and the pattern comes in sizes up to 18 months, so I can see myself making this a few times over. The booties? Well, not for a newborn, despite the pattern claiming to be a newborn size - they are larger than I expected them to be, and I used yarn and needle size called for (no gauge is given for the pattern). The pattern is very easy, however, and I liked the fact that they are seamless.

Okay - now to finish something for my baby!

Monday, November 22, 2010

R.I.P., Magic Chef Bread Machine

You served me well - through the

Pumpkin bread french toast

Pumpkin bread I used to make french toast to


the Ooey Gooey Cinnamon Rolls to

Pumpkin Breakfast bun

the Pumpkin Breakfast rolls to the pizza dough to the dinner rolls - you have made so much for me in the last 12 years. And it is amazing to have an appliance last for that long now - most things seem to peter out long before then. I didn't use you for baking, only mixing and rising my dough - but you always did so with beautiful results.

Now to get another - I'm not even sure Magic Chef makes them anymore. We bought ours at Walmart back in 1998, and it only cost $40 then (the technology must have exploded or something, because I am not finding much online for under double that). I'm leaning toward having one with a horizontal loaf in case I ever do want to bake in it - but I guess I will have to see what I can find. And yes, I know I can mix bread dough without a machine, but I *like* having a machine do the work for me. Does anyone have a particular brand or style they like? Please let me know!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Some Days You've Got Nothing

And this is one of those days.

I slept in as far as my bladder would let me and woke up when it was light out for a change. Andrew washed dishes and made pancakes and coffee. I finished up the baby sweater, hat, and bootie set for my co-worker Cheryl (pictures to come after I have sewn the buttons on and washed the set). I went out and bought a waterproof mattress pad (because Andrew is afraid my water will break in the middle of the night) and braved the manic pre-Turkey Day crowds at Trader Joe's to pick up some stuff to make pizza for dinner tonight. Came home, had leftovers for lunch, then headed out to SnB with my friend, Denise. Went to Brew Ha Ha, caught up with Denise... and started yawning part way through.

Trust me, it had nothing to do with the company - but it was 1:30pm and my energy level was shot for the day. Came home and slept for the next 90 minutes. Probably could have slept much longer, but I needed to get the pizza dough started.

Whew. Where has my energy gone? I have the next week off, and right now I just foresee myself sleeping through great chunks of it.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Friday, November 19, 2010

Yarn Pron Friday (and a bonus Sprog picture!)

So... I haven't started any of my holiday knitting yet. Earlier this year I had grand inspirations of finishing one Christmas present each month, but I will pre-empt my year end recap here and say that just didn't happen. I still have hopes of knocking out one or two things before Christmas rolls around, and this yarn below will be part of that:


Ooh! Pretty, right? It's a single skein of Malabrigo Silky Merino in the 'Archangel' colourway. I'm not normally a pink person, but I love how the different shades of pink in this skein play against the yellow. The person the gift is intended for is a pink person, so this will work well for her.


What is this skein destined to become? A pair of fingerless mittens. I have sort of half-heartedly picked out a pattern - but I hope to find a pattern I like better toute de suite. I have all next week off and plan to get some serious knitting project catch up done.



I had another ultrasound yesterday afternoon, so here is an updated picture of Sprog:


For the record (and I'm only stating this because people have asked), Sprog will not be the baby's ultimate name. When I was pregnant with Willow, we called her Sprout in an attempt to keep her gender neutral for those people who didn't want to know whether the baby was a boy or a girl.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Victoria Recap (At Long Last!)

You didn't think I had forgotten, did you?

Part of the problem with vacation posts is that sometimes they get so picture heavy, you just don't know how you are going to do the trip justice. Last summer, Andrew's main request of our summer vacation was that we get to spend a day in Victoria, which I had absolutely no problem with at all. I spent five years in Victoria studying at the University of Victoria, and it is one of my favourite cities in the world.

We rented a car in Duncan, and drove into city, parking in the downtown area so we would have easy access to the touristy places and shopping. This is the view of the Parliament Buildings in the Inner Harbour. It's amazing to think that you look straight ahead and see this:


Then turn your head slightly to left and see this building: the Fairmont Empress Hotel (although, when I lived there it was just called the Empress Hotel):


Willow had never been on a horse and carriage ride before, so we decided to take a tour of the James Bay area - one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Victoria. I'm not sure why the photographer decided to cut the horse out of the picture...


Because he was a very nice horse, and stood very nicely while we all petted him.


I noticed this statue when we finished the carriage ride, so I had to go check it out - it's very interesting how she looks like she is standing on the rocks. I thought at first she was supposed to be a First Nations historical figure -


But it turns out I didn't have it quite right. Below is the plaque that was placed at her feet:


I'm still not entirely sure who she is supposed to represent, but the statue is to commemorate the Canadian volunteers who fought in the Spanish Civil War from 1936-1939.

Behind the Spanish Civil War statue was a large fountain that was surrounded by the Canadian coat of arms:


Did you know the unicorn represents Scotland? I learned that recently whilst watching the Monarchy television series on Netflix on demand. I'm not sure I understand the connection between the unicorn and Scotland - but there you have it.

Here is Willow in front of British Columbia's coat of arms:


Some random petunias. I don't normally like petunias, but the colours of these were lovely:


Another thing I love about Vancouver Island - random totem poles. It's odd, when you grow up seeing them everywhere, you don't pay them much attention. I find that I appreciate them much more now that I live far away from them.


We walked from the downtown core up to Chinatown to have lunch. We had wanted to have lunch at the Fan Tan Cafe, but there was a line up of people and a 50 minute wait for that one, so we walked around the corner to a nondescript Japanese restaurant, where we had a delicious lunch - and didn't have to wait for it. I had cold soba noodles - something I don't think I have eaten since I lived in Japan, and had forgotten how much I liked it.


Some more aboriginal art (I have to say, Victoria has a lot of fountains):


Oh! I had to make a specific stop for this... now, my friend Tara may be the only person who reads this blog who knows what this pastry is...


It's called a honeybun, and you get them at Chinese bakeries. The pastry itself sort of looks like a hot dog bun with sesame seeds on top, but it is a sweet dough and it is filled with a buttery-coconut filling. I shared this with Andrew and Willow, neither who was all that enthused. Next time I won't share and will eat it all myself!

After this, we walked back to the car and drove the Dallas Road scenic route into Oak Bay, where I took this pretty picture of Willow:


Yes, my child likes to pose.

We drove through Uplands (a ritzy, old neighbourhood where they filmed the Winona Rider "Little Women" movie), and ended up in Cadboro Bay, where Willow conquered the resident sea monster:


And I will finish with a peaceful shot of Cadboro Bay:


This bay is just down the hill from the University of Victoria dormitories, and I used to walk down here frequently to spend time on the beach. I wish I had thought to remember to take a picture of the hill back up to the university - you would have thought I was a masochist for walking down so often!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

WiP It Wednesday: The Willow Version

Willow asked if she could do the WiP it Wednesday this week, so here goes:



Hi!!!!!! Willow here! I got this idea from my B.F(B est F riend) Amanda.The first one is something  I  like to
call strip-a-dooddle.  Number two is a mix of one and "Chinese Staircase."  They are bracelets - I hope you like them.  Bye!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


If you could change one thing about your appearance, what would it be? Or would you change anything at all?

Honestly, not a whole lot. I've somewhat made peace with my size, and I know if I put effort into it I slim down and firm up easily enough - and I do feel much better when I do so. I would love to be taller - I never quite made it to five feet, and I find my lack of height to be much more of a physical detriment than being overweight. I'm cute, I've never had skin problems or needed braces, and the only plastic surgery I've really considered is breast reduction surgery - but that is more for my continued good back health as I age than any real need to look better.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Laziest Blog Post Ever

I'm so exhausted, so had to go look for a blog prompt for today - and found one here.

Name 5 Things In My Freezer

1) An apple pie I made yesterday - intended for Thanksgiving.
2) Beef and Barley stew - intended for a day I don't have time to cook.
3) Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream (Willow's)
4) Blue Bunny fudgicles (Mine!)
5) Sirloin hamburger patties from Halda's Butcher Shop

Good night - I'm going to sleep now.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Happy Birthday To Me!


Look what I woke up to! A set of blocking boards (there are 9 puzzle pieces altogether), 2 sets of size 1 Harmony needles for socks, a set of sizes 0 through 3 Harmony dpns, T-pins, and a skein of Stroll sock yarn in 'Treefort.' Thank you Andrew and Willow!

It's been a great day - went out for ramen at Takumi for lunch, had a massage in the afternoon, my mother-in-law made salmon for dinner, and Andrew and Willow ordered a cake just how I wanted (yellow cake, white buttercream icing, lemon filling, and yellow and orange flowers on top). I'm on a bit of a sugar high right now, but am looking forward to watching a movie and snuggling with Andrew on the sofa.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Yarn Pron Friday - The Canadian Edition

Whenever I travel, I like to pick up some 'souvenir' yarn, and if it comes (whether spun or dyed) from the place I am visiting, so much the better. Now, I know I am stretching this concept a bit with this yarn - but then again, Canada is a pretty big country! Fleece Artist hails from Mineville, Nova Scotia - and I bought this skein from the Beehive Yarn Shop in Victoria, BC - about as far as you can get away from Nova Scotia and still be in the same country.


The yarn? Fleece Artist Trail Socks in the 'Fatrails' colourway.


It's a very skooshy feeling - and machine washable (probably my favourite trait in sock yarn)! It's mostly light and dark teal, but where the colours transition from one to the other there are hints of a purple. What shall I make with it...?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Only 82 days to go...

Until we get to meet this beauty:

Sprog 11.11.10 B

This scan looks so much like Willow when she was a newborn! The real life print out is better than this, but it is hard to get a scan of a scan.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

WiP It Wednesday

I had hoped to have better pictures taken in daylight to show off the current WiPs, but unfortunately, with the time change, I didn't get home until it was dark out. I think I need to set up one of those light boxes I have seen on some people's blogs to take better lit pictures.

WiP #1: Willow's Mi Escuelita sweater


The only things I have left to finish here is the shawl collar on the sweater, sew up the underarms, and sew on the buttons. If you look closely, you can probably see how the two sleeves are fraternal. Let's not tell Willow about that...

WiP #2: Autumn Socks


I have to say - I haven't liked these socks from the start. I started them when I was going away on a business trip - I needed some mindless plain jane socks to knit on the airplane, so I pulled out the first skein I could find in the stash that was already wound. I'll finish the socks - it's always good to have a fallback mindless knitting project - but I will definitely be giving these ones to charity.

WiP #3: Cheryl's Baby Sweater


I'll be finishing knitting this sweater tonight - the only thing left to finish is 12 rows of 2x2 ribbing on the sleeve. I still need to get some buttons, but I won't be able to get to Hayes until Friday at the earliest. Cheryl is a co-worker of mine whose baby girl is due 12/30, so I've made some good time here. I have plenty of yarn left over, so I think I should be able to come up with matching hat and booties as well.