Wednesday, June 1, 2011


I finished my first pair of socks.  Megan already wore them, so they are a little stretched out.  I learned a lot from this pair, mostly from undoing and redoing just about every part on these little buggers.  I've learned about proper knitting techniques, picking up stitches that were dropped, and living with mistakes.

This is the second pair that I've started for Sami.  They are going to be ankle socks.  What I've learned about this pair is that I can't watch TV and knit at the same time.

While my technique is getting better, I've made a couple of really stupid mistakes that I had to fix because I just wasn't paying attention.  I'm much better at listening to Dave Ramsey on the MP3 than I am at watching TV while knitting.  Because of my current "brain fog," I can't do the complicated parts while there is a lot of noise or distractions, but I can do the simple parts.  I really need quiet and concentration to do the more difficult parts.

Back at the Blog Again. I Missed You!

Wow, what a break from blogging.  I admit it.  I've become lazy about blogging, but I keep getting an itchy feeling in my brain to write something.  I'm just that way.  My husband remarked that I hadn't written in a long time and he missed it, and I had to admit that I missed it too. 

I've discovered that video games are one of my nemeses.  I love playing video games of all kinds, but they end up sucking up a lot of my time that could be used better in other ways.  I know that this is true with the girls (that's the reason we have a no TV/video game policy during the day), and I didn't play during the day, but during free time I wasted so much time just playing.  Play is important and even relaxing, but I know that I crossed that invisible line and fell into the land of obsession. 

I've also had a horrible time concentrating on anything these last couple of months.  My mind is full of mush and fog (seriously) and even reading a book has become difficult.  That's sad because I love reading books.  I've gone from reading two or three books a week to just muddling through a couple of pages a day that I can't even remember. 

Writing has become challenging as well.  Right now, as I am writing this, it is like looking through a fog while my brain is buzzing like one of those fluorescent lights that needs a new ballast.  Why is that?  I wish I knew.  I think that I'm lacking in iron right now (I'm chewing ice again and that's a symptom), plus allergies have given me a near constant head pressure despite taking allergy medication.  It's made it so that even posting on simple forums is difficult because I can't even concentrate on one or two sentences.  It's also made it near impossible to proofread my own grammar.  That's not good for a homeschool mother.   

The cats also enjoy distracting me from my computer time.  They will choose from a whole menu of distractions while I'm attempting to write.  They will meow to go out.  They will meow to come in.  They will stand in front of the monitor.  They will just meow.  They will throw up.  Or they will hide their puke until one of the children step in it while I am writing and I am forced to get up and deal with it. 

Spew Cat will wait until I am in the middle of writing on the computer and poop in his litter (which is 8 feet from the desk).  That wouldn't be so bad, except he doesn't bury his waste.  And it stinks.  A lot.  That leaves me with the choice of  A)  bury it for him  B)  scoop it up and dispose of it.  C)  don't breath.  Since C isn't usually an option, I have to touch the scooper which means that I have to get up and then wash my hands, I then I lose  my chain of thought. 

Rose Cat is creative at distractions as well.  The other day wanted out (and she is loudly insistent), so I got up from the computer and let her out.  Two minutes later she wanted out again.  Huh?  I figure the girls let her in through the back door.  Two minutes later she wanted out yet again.  After the fourth time, I discovered that she was letting herself in through the cat flap in the garage (which was open) but would not go back out through the same flap.  I think she was enjoying making me crazy.  I retaliated by getting the dust remover can next to me to "hiss" at her the next time.  It worked. 

Now lets add in the fact that the girls LOVE to play the piano (which is right next to the computer) as loudly as possible.  All.  The.  Time.  I like that they enjoy the piano, but they make it a point to sit and play loudly while I'm on the computer.  I think they like torturing me.

And then there is Megan who reads over my shoulder.  I don't know about you, but this makes me completely insane.  I don't mind anyone reading what I write, but not while I am writing it.  It destroys my creative thinking because it makes me completely self-conscious of everything I am writing.  She was doing it just now and walked off a little mad because she just read what I wrote, but I guarantee that she'll do it again the next time I'm on the computer. 

When I do get frustrated and take a break, I'll sit in my recliner and knit.  In five seconds, my pug will clickity-clack with his short, fat legs to my side and insist that he needs to sit on my lap while I knit.  He will make a pest of himself (did you know that pugs can nag?) until he gets his way, and he will want to lay on my yarn or put himself in such a position that knitting becomes uncomfortable.  He will scratch and wiggle.  I will sigh and move him and again lose my creative streak.  

I know people work and write from home all the time, even with little kids and pets.  What I want to know is HOW DO THEY DO IT?  All I can figure is that they must already be insane so the distractions don't bother them. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Morel Mushrooms

We hunt Morel Mushrooms every spring where we live here in Brown County, Indiana.  They are very hard to find because you have to look in a location that's just right.  Shade with part sun, moisture (but not wet), usually at the bottom of valleys.  It's like going on an Easter egg hunt with camouflaged eggs that might not even be there. 

We soak them in water for a little bit.  That helps keep them moist before you cook them.   

Megan is cutting them in half down the middle and cutting off any dirt at the root.  Sami didn't help because she won't eat them anymore; she gorged herself on the morels once and made herself sick.  

While still damp, we roll them in flour, salt and pepper.  Everyone does it differently, like dipping them in egg first or rolling them in corn meal.

We fry them in hot oil till crispy and lightly browned.  Some people fry them in bacon grease, but I don't want the bacon to hide the mushroom's flavor.

 Megan is gently flipping them over.  

Time to eat!  These are a local delicacy, and sell for about $25/lb.  They taste very  light and meaty at the same time, and taste nothing like button mushrooms. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

We Were Busy Again but Calming Down Now

We've had a couple of busy weeks again.  Here's what's been happening:

-My mother had pneumonia so the girls and I have been helping out by taking Mom to her doctor's appointments, getting groceries, and helping out around the house.  My sister Amy also helped out a lot in these areas.  Abby would have helped, but she had a lot to deal with because of her terminal brother-in-law. 

-My blind, special needs brother broke his ankle and was staying at Mom and Dad's, so I helped out by driving him to and from his group home and helping him around the house.  Amy, again helped a lot.   

-We managed to go to story time, play dates, and have sewing lessons in there a couple of times.  Those were fun!

-I had my own set of dental appointments and Sami had doctor's appointments. 

-My sister's brother-in-law passed away so we helped babysit her kids a tiny bit, and also helped watch my brother so that my parents and I could take turns going to the funeral home. 

On the good list? 

-We've had a couple of really beautiful weather days.

-I got to mow the lawn (yes, I like mowing)

-Our Dave Ramsey gazelle budget is rocking and rolling. 

-My tooth that has been hurting since early January is finally feeling better.

-We learned how to make onigiri.  Yum! 

-I'm learning how to make socks.  Even though I'm screwing it up, it's still fun. 

-Sami is still doing well with her OCD meds, although I can see a trend and we may have to increase her dosage a little.  We'll see if calming our schedule down helps her this week before we change any medication.  She's so brave. 

-We get to spend today at HOME.  :)

I've been remarkably optimistic even with how busy we are.  I hope I stay this way, and I hope that our schedule doesn't come up with any more emergencies.   

Monday, March 28, 2011

Happy Birthday, Sami!

Sami's 11th birthday was Sunday.  We wish her Daddy were here and not in Iraq, but she had a great time and enjoyed her time with her friends and family.

She really liked getting her Webkinz Sherbet Bunny.  She has wanted that bunny for three years now, so I finally relented and let her have it.  I had to get it on Ebay, and the prices have finally come down a little.  She understood that it would take a big chunk of her present budget, but it's been her wish to have one for so long. 

While she enjoyed all her presents, she really liked getting a cake from her Aunt Cindy that looked just like the one that Harry Potter got on his 11th birthday from Hagrid, and she and her sister have been wearing their new Hogwarts House hats that my friend Christy made for them (Sami has Griffindor and Megan has Ravenclaw).  

Sewing Lessons

I'm finally getting around to showing pictures of our quilt progress.  The girls have been taking over a lot more of the responsibilities of their quilts, and Amy and I are backing away more and more.  We just sit with them, tell them what to do, and watch their progress so that they don't do something horribly wrong.

Sami is surprisingly good at using the sewing machine.  Megan is learning patience and sticking with something, even after it gets "boring."  I'm learning to back off and let the girls do their own work, even if it means that it won't be exactly as I envisioned it.

These are pictures of the girls putting their quilt backs together.  The fabric wasn't large enough to cover the entire back, so they are piecing together four big rectangles with a plus-sign in the middle.  Our next sewing lesson will be pinning the quilt top to the batting and back.  

Friday, March 18, 2011


My sister showed me the very basics of knitting a few years ago, and a friend of mine has been knitting like crazy, so I've decided to try  knitting again. 

I'm not making anything official yet, but I've been practicing making swatches.   I've managed to make a button hole and a basket weave.  I've learned to live with the mistakes while I'm learning.  I've been learning how to correct mistakes now that I've gotten more practice.  I've also learned that there are certain yarns that are terrible to work with (at least for a beginner), and some that are more forgiving.  I wish I knew what the yarns were so that I can avoid them in the future, but they are freebies from my sister without packaging so I have no idea what I'm working with.
Basic seed stitch.

Knitting every row.  See the holes where the yarn got twisted?  This was a cotton type yarn that didn't knit very well, but I like the way that it feels. 
Alternating rows of knitting, ribbing, seed, double rib and a button hole.  This was a wool type yarn that was a little more forgiving, but I think it was blended with something so it didn't stretch well and was scratchy. 
This is a basket weave I'm trying so that I can learn how to read patterns.  It's a cheap acrylic yarn, but it stretches easily  for a beginner.