Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Today as I assist my husband with our first attempt at smoking a turkey on our newish smoker, I think about how lucky we are to have family, friends and a cozy house to come home to. I wish you all the best this holiday season. Hold your family close.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Madagascar Memories

Today, after intentionally taking a detour down Willamette Falls Drive to look at the American flags that lined the street and reminding the boys why today, Veterans' Day, is important to all of us, we headed to the movies. It WAS raining!

Madagascar 2 was playing so we got in line with everyone else and went to see it. It was entertaining. One of my sons actually asked when we could see it again - not until video I told him. I never understood why people would go to see the same movie in theaters more than once but that is just me. But now I am getting off subject.

Madagascar the first movie holds a special place in my heart. A special place in my heart due to a speach impediment my third son had until he was almost four years old. He could not pronounce a hard "C" or a hard "G."

This lead to some interesting situations. At age three, while we were in the grocery checkout line he asked what we were doing next. I told him "I need to get some gas." So he repeats: "You need to 'et some 'ass?" A man in line behind me practically fell on the floor laughing.

But the best was when Madagascar the first movie came out. In his speak it was - "Madamasshard." I kid you not. The big guys had a field day. "Hey, little guy, what movie did you see?"

A big thank you to all you Veterans and those that still serve - today and every day. We are free to go silly movies on a Tuesday afternoon. I will make sure my sons are thankful too.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Surprising Amount of Interest In Knitting Circle

Well, I must say that I am pleasantly surprised. I got a large amount of positive responses for the knitting circle idea. Now I need to plan it and clean my house! Downstairs at least! I am very excited but nervous.

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Knitting Circle

I have been looking to join a knitting group since I moved to Oregon. After talking to a friend in California about the group she belongs to, I've decided to start my own.

Yesterday I sent out an email to some women friends that I would like to spend more time with. I asked them if they knitted or if they would like to learn how. I offered my house for the location and I said that I would serve lunch. Then I sat back and waited.

I was not sure how this would go over. I am usually the only knitter sitting at the various baseball, basketball, football and swimming practices and games that I attend for the boys. But the responses are encouraging. I will let you know how it all unfolds. Very exciting!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Lexi's Pumpkin Farm

Yesterday I had the pleasure of heading out to Canby Oregon to a hidden gem: Lexi's Pumpkin Farm. This is a wonderful family farm full of beautiful, not your grocery store variety, pumpkins and squash. If you are looking for pony rides, hay maze and screaming children, this is not the place! If you want squash so beautiful it would make Martha Stewart cry, this is it!

My friend Celeste and I found Lexi's Farm by accident last year. We were making a drive to a more popular pumpkin farm in Canby when we came upon Lexi's. We had to return this year! Fall decorating is an event for Celeste, and she does an amazing job. I try my best.

So yesterday morning I picked up Celeste for what has become our annual pumpkin hunt. We zipped along 99W enjoying lovely river views and the autumn leaves. Towards the end of Canby we turned right on Barlow Road. The address is 23950 Barlow Road, Canby.

There we met Bill, farmer and proprietor of not only this fine farm but also a restaurant called Curry's Landing in Charboneau (his dishes sound amazing).

As Celeste and I picked our way through his fields, Bill followed us around cutting the orbs we chose right from the vines. He had Spaghetti Squash, gorgeous Blue Moon pumpkins, titan Jack o' Lantern pumpkins, mini pumpkins, yellow pumpkins, white Ghost pumpkins, dark orange Cinderella pumpkins and giant Cinderella pumpkins and more. Really, gorgeous stuff. All at excellent prices.

Bill even got his tractor out to bring us the prize giant Cinderellas that we each picked and then loaded them into my van.

I will probably make a separate trip to Lexi's with my three boys to let them pick out some jack o' lanterns to carve. This trip was all for me!

So if you want some beautiful autumn decor head out to Canby. Tell Bill that the two crazy girls in the gray van who brought aprons and rubber boots to wear in the fields sent you.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Gobblins, Gouls & a Machete

It's that time of year again! I love this time of year!

The very shelves that not long ago held back to school supplies are now bursting with Halloween stuff - full of spooky fun. We actually got an early start and got some costume things a couple weeks ago.

My boys are all beyond the cute stuff now. They want all the scary and gross stuff. The good news is that they like to mix and match with the old stuff we have in the Halloween bins making it all more economical during these tighter financial times.

So we walked the aisles in Target. Son number one chose a hockey mask and machete a la "Friday the Thirteenth" that he can wear with an old shirt. Son number two has been a mad scientist for the last three years and he will re-use his lab coat and add shackles to his ensemble. Son number three chose a "platinum" skull mask with black hair attached to wear with his old zombie costume.

I do miss the old costumes like Pooh bear, firefighter, lion, pirate and pumpkin. I miss holding my youngest while he was snug in his pumpkin costume (when he would let me - he was just learning to walk that Halloween!). My twins were a shark and a surfer one year - complete with tiny wetsuit, shark costume and surfboard. Son number one's face peeked out of the mouth of the shark costume. So cute! A picture of them dressed that way was on our Christmas card that year!

Those of you that have very young kids this Halloween, enjoy! It does not last long!

How about you? Do you have your costumes started yet, or am I crazy?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Is Cold Season Here Already?

This is the eighth day son number one has missed from school. I am starting to get a little stir crazy.

A week ago Monday he woke up with a sore throat and drippy nose. Now this son in particular is severely asthmatic so I kept him home. The next morning his ear hurt a lot so we headed to the pediatrician. They diagnosed - surprise! - an ear infection and prescribed antibiotics.

The doctor listened to his lungs. They sound wheezy but the antibiotics for the ear infection should stop an infection in his lungs. Considering son number one's history (several severe asthma flares a year and three times with pneumonia), this is somewhat comforting.

At this point he is starting to cough more and more. He continues to wheeze severely. We spend two nights administering breathing treaments every four hours around the clock. We are so tired!

Fast forward to Sunday. We had a couple of good nights and son looks a little better. Husband and I decide that son could go to flag football team pictures and then watch his team play. Well, after merely walking to the photo tent and back son was ready to go home for a breathing treatment. The short walk wiped him out. Poor guy!

Monday he looked worse so we headed to the asthma specialist. The doctor takes one listen to son number one's chest and prescribes prednisone. We start that immediately. I am aware of the side effects of this powerful drug but I want to avoid and ambulance ride and/or the hospital so he takes it.

The good news is he is finally doing a little better. I will most likely send him to school tomorrow. It is my day to help out in his little brother's class so I figure that I can check on him and bring him home if need be.

To give you an idea of how this effects him, I took him to the grocery store today because I am out of basically everything and he kept asking me to slow down while I was walking. He is ten years old!

We are not alone. I know that two kids at our bus stop were out sick a few days each and at least one mom is sick. I hope that this is not a sign of things to come this season. We are definitely getting our flu shots.

How are all of you doing this school year with sickness so far?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Batter Blaster ~ Pancakes from a Spray Can!

I was making my way through the local big grocery store when I stumbled upon the most amazing invention. Pancakes in a spray can. Wow!

I approached with caution. Surely these must be full of trans-fat and other bad stuff. I picked one up and read the label - ORGANIC (really?) Batter Blaster Original Pancake and Waffle Batter. "Just blast batter into a skillet or waffle iron and serve. No mess - no cleanup!"

It comes packaged in a can like the spray whipped cream comes in. So cool! It was sitting on the shelf near the eggs and egg substitute.

So next I read the stuff on the back: Nine servings per container, approximately 28 - 4 inch pancakes. Zero fat or transfat! 10 mg cholesterol, 95 mg sodium, 23 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 7 g sugars and 3 g protein. Would be nice if the fiber content was higher but this looks pretty good for pancakes. The only chemical that looked suspect was the propellant. And it's on sale - $3.99! I must try this! We usually have a nice big family breakfast on Sunday so I bought a can.

When I returned home I immediately showed husband and the three boys. So exciting! The kids were curious. Husband said he found it disturbing. Hmmm.

Sunday came and as soon as the first boy made his way downstairs we fired up the griddle. I peeled away the cap, gave the can a good shake and sprayed the batter on the heated griddle. It came out like whipped cream at first and then changed to more of a batter-like consistency. Really easy!

The rest was like cooking regular pancakes. How did they taste? The boys all liked the pancakes and ate several. I thought they were good - not quite as good as from scratch but very edible. Husband would not touch them. He still found it all disturbing.

So I would buy them again if they were on sale just to have around for weekday breakfast. On the weekend I would make my old standard from scratch pancakes as husband does like those. This would be great for a school function - a lot healthier than the stuff you add water to and shake. So so easy!

Try them! Let me know what you think!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

"Mason Dixon Knitting" Knitted Rug

I am proud to post that I have completed my knitted "Superfancy Potholder Rug." I got the pattern from the book "Mason-Dixon Knitting" by Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne. If you don't have this book in your knitting library, you need to get it! It is so cool - lots of wonderful patterns that you can customize for your taste or stash! And the rug is awesome. I am currently working on a "Log Cabin" blanket from this book for son number three.

For the runner, I used approximately 50 bags of cotton potholder loops from Hearthsong. I tied the potholder loops together bag by bag as I went along. I used size 35 circular needles and cast on 30 stitches then knit in popcorn stitch until it was the length I wanted.

This rug feels so good under your feet! It is thick and cushiony. It does tend to stretch a bit so I washed it on hot and dried it on high and now it is the perfect size for my kitchen along the sink and dishwasher where it can catch all the drips - it turned out to be 30 x 80 inches after washing. It was a little big at first but the hot water really tightened up the fabric. If you choose to make one of these rugs, definitely get one of those non-slip rug things for underneath so that you do not break your neck making coffee in the morning.

It took me quite a few months to complete because I do most of my knitting sitting at my sons' baseball, football, basketball and swim team practices and games. This rug gets really heavy and difficult to turn as you go along so it is not very portable. It is totally worth the time and most of us knitters have several projects going at once anyway, right?

I think I'll make another smaller one for the back door!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Fall is in the Air

My asthmatic son is home with a cold and an ear infection since Monday. Between giving him breathing treaments every few hours around the clock for his constant wheezing (poor guy!), I head out into the yard to check on things and clear my bleary head. Signs of fall are everywhere. The maples are just starting to turn, the air has a nice crispness and my pumpkins are ripening on the vines. I love fall!

Every year since relocating to Oregon I have tended a small vegetable garden in whiskey barrels and and along the hill on the side of the house. Last year it was tomatos, zucchini, peppers, cucumbers, herbs and pumpkins. This year we left out the zucchini and added a second cucumber. Last year we had more zucchini than we knew what to do with. I found myself leaving bags of them on neighbors' porches. The tomatos grew like crazy too. We had some nice pumpkins and a pepper every week.

This year was a disappointment. We have had maybe two peppers, three cucumbers and enough tomatos for our family but not enough to give away. The pumpkins are beautiful but I have maybe six growing on the eight vines I grew from seed - not a great return!

My friend's mother is a master organic farmer in Carlton and I am told that she also had a lighter crop this year so I feel a little better. Since I am lacking for sleep I have decided to show you some pictures of my veggie garden. I hope you enjoy it.

Do you grow a garden? If so, how were your "crops" this year?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Nice Cleavage

Last Thursday was curriculum night at the primary school where all three of my boys attend. It is a night for the parents to meet their childrens' teachers and find out the expectations for the school year.

We have a new principal this year so I elected to go to the assembly that kicks off this night of excitement. I wanted to hear what the new principal had to say. But before I get to hear him speak I have to sit through the the school superintendent, someone who wants to talk about a school bond, the PTA president and one other person I don't remember.

My eyes are rolling back in my head when my friend next to me whispers "crack alert." I scan the row in front of us and there it is. Peeking out of very expensive size 4 jeans - a tight little moon a-rising.

Now, I like men and only men, but my eyes kept going back to that little valley in front of me. The rest of the assembly flew by. I can only wonder about what the poor dads were thinking. To that mom - thanks for the entertainment!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Maisy Beagle

Our dog is named Maisy. If you live with a beagle you know that a better name for her would have been Electrolux or Hoover. Anything remotely edible that is not iceberg lettuce is fair game. And the girl can jump and use her paws like no other dog I have ever seen.

The boys know this. They hold their cookies high above their heads and guard breakfast plates for each other. Maisy has eaten an entire stick of butter - wrapper and all. She has stolen peanut butter sandwiches off the kitchen counter. Her internal clock is set to 7 am (breakfast) and 6 pm (dinner). If one of her boys forgets to feed her, she will let them know by loudly pushing her food bowl around the kitchen.

She is always hungry. Maisy once consumed an entire banana bread that was thawing on the counter. When her belly swelled up like a small basketball the veterinarian said we should bring her in so that they could make her throw up. No need. She threw up all over my car on the way to the clinic, then pawed her food bowl across the floor the minute we got home.

An eternally hungry dog is also very useful, however. Don't think for a minute that I don't know where those unwanted turkey meatballs went, boys!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Hello there!

In December 2005 we sold our tiny California beach house and the five of us headed north for a better life. We were able to buy a newer house twice as big for the price of a two-bedroom “tear-down” in our old neighborhood. We traded a breathtaking ocean view for a vista of the green hills, a river and trees instead. We swapped schools struggling to increase test scores for a district known for excellence. We left family and many dear friends behind but were lucky to find some wonderful people up here in Oregon to add to our circle.

The exciting news of the day is that the boys’ favorite uncle, we’ll call him Uncle JD, moved up from San Francisco two days ago for his new Job at the new “The Nines” hotel in Portland(sorry Uncle D and Uncle JB, but Uncle JD can play electric guitar making him a rock star). His wife, Auntie C is a wedding planner and will follow him up in mid-October after her last wedding in California.

Speaking of music, son number one came home from school today telling me he might want to learn to play the upright bass. Huh? The informational meeting for fourth grade students who might want to learn to play a strings instrument was YESTERDAY. When I asked him and his twin yesterday morning "are you SURE you don't want to learn to play a strings instrument?" they each said "yes, I'm sure I don't." Part of me wants to say "too bad, we missed the meeting - maybe next year" but a louder part of me wants to say "okay, we'll see what we can do." You see, the louder part of me wishes that I learned to play an instrument or read music. Tonight is curriculum night at school so I guess it wouldn't hurt to check into it.