Sunday, July 20, 2014

Almost a week...

So, its been almost a week since my son left for Navy basic training. I have made some progress on his room. 3 bags of trash have been removed. The HUGE mountain of laundry is now just a butte. We officially have towels again. The first day he was gone was pretty rough. I cried every time I thought about it. Since then I hadn't cried, until today. Today I attended a memorial service for a 14 year old girl. Friday we learned one of the girls in my youngest daughters small group at church had died. Jacque was not super close to this girl, but it is still someone she interacted with weekly. She had a brain aneurysm on Tuesday and her parents made the difficult decision to take her off life support on Wednesday. Needless to say this upset her a bit. Today was the funeral. The funeral home was standing room only. It was such a beautiful service. Unfortunately this was the 2nd times in less than six months that something like this has touched our family. The first time was someone closer to my kids and it rocked their world. It was the first time they had really lost someone that wasn't a grandparent. Needless to say this death opened old wounds for my kids. For me it was hard because in some ways I feel like I have lost one of my kids. He is gone, and I can't talk to him and here I am packing up his room. I know that this is temporary, and I would never truly compare what I am going through to losing a child. It is not the same. Still, this packing is becoming more and more difficult for me. Today, I packed up most of the sports memorabilia, his books and his dress shirts. I will probably stick his ties in the same box as his shirts. Except for the rest of his clothes, and his electronics and some misc. stuff in his closet, I am pretty much done. Unfortunately I also feel stuck. There are some things in his closet that he really doesn't use, that I sort of want to get rid of, but then I think they are his and he should really be making this decision. More and more I wish we had spent time before he left doing this. One thing I haven't packed, and I really don't want to are his sports participation trophies. He has a few that are actual trophies for achievement, like the one from volleyball where they won the tournament. That I want him to keep because it means something. The others though drive me crazy. I hate that we give kids trophies for being on a team. Trophies are for winners. I hate how our society tries to make equal participating and winning. They are not the same. I truly feel that we are doing children a diservice by not teaching them how to lose and not still be rewarded. Plus, what do you do with all these dang trophies later in life? Anyhow, once again I have rambled and gone off on a tangent. Sorry, hopefully soon my posts will be more coherent and include more knitting. As for the knitting, still working on the same socks. Still not feeling inspired. I did however tell my husband that I truly wanted to "downsize" my yarn and fabric. I am hoping to knit a bunch of hats and scarfs and blankets to donate to charity. I'm sure there will be some gifts in there too. I am also planning on making some scrap quilts with all the fabric I have. I'm thinking I may sell, or raffle them off to help fund mission trips for my family as they seem to have the "bug" thanks to Gwen. That way I am killing two birds with one stone. Also, I am helping Jacque finish her girl scout silver award. She is making some fabulous floor pillows for church. They are a psuedo water color, and super awesome. The only pictures I have right now are on my phone and honestly I am too lazy to download them to post right now. Maybe soon. The dryer just dinged so I guess I will fold that last load and go to bed. TTFN, M.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

New Chapter-the day my son moved out

Today begins a new chapter in my life. One I have been preparing for 18 years for. One in which my son no longer lives with me. One that no matter how much you prepare for, you really aren't prepared for. Today, I said goodbye to him at MEPS(local military processing)so he could leave me for basic training in the Navy. Don't get me wrong I couldn't be more happier for, or proud of him. He made a well thought out choice for his life. One that I fully support. The kind of choice I have been teaching him all along he was capable of making. My house now seems lots quieter. There is no longer the sound of video games constantly running in the back ground. I have already begun to clean and pack his room. His youngest sister has claimed it as her own. He was a little put out by the concept of not having a room here, but as I explained to him, I wasn't keeping it as a shrine to him. Plus, his sisters are tired of sharing a room, and I don't blame them. Jacque wants the room empty and hers now. I tried to explain that this would not happen quickly. First the room had to be cleaned. It was a total disaster. Then I would need to thoughtfully pack it up. Some things he would want after basic, others not so much, others still he wouldn't want for a long time. She understood this, but still wants the room now. She told me she could wait a few days but wanted to be settled before she left on vacation next Wednesday. I told her not to count on it. Today she decided not to help me clean and pack, I guess this is my punishment for not giving in to her. The saddest, craziest part is I get to do much of this again next month when his sister leaves for college. Of course she will be back more often, so her room won't need to be packed up like his. Also, hers is clean, so I won't have to do that. But, she will also be leaving, and once again the house will be a little quieter, our evenings a little less busy and I will be cooking more food than we can eat. I honestly don't know how to cook for 4 people. We have been 6 teens/adults for so long I can't figure this one out, and believe me I have been trying. I remember when I was done with nursing school, or even on my summer breaks that I joked that I didn't know what I did with my time before I went to school. I think I'm heading into something similar now. Don't get me wrong, Rece and Jacque keep me plenty busy. But, with two less to worry about on a daily business, it will seem slightly uneventful. Two years ago, Craig and I joked we had a 6 year plan. We just had to get them all out of the house. Now we are four years away from it and two are gone/leaving and it's a bit overwhelming. I know that so much good will come from this, both for them and me, but still... . This Sunday at church a friend told me that even though we are married to one person, we have several marriages through our life. The marriage when we are first married, the marriage when we have young kids, the marriage when we our kids are a little older and we feel we can have a little of our life back, the marriage when we have teens, the marriage when our kids leave home, etc. I liked how he expressed this and have thought about it a lot lately. I guess in a strange way, I'm mourning the loss of the marriage I had, and beginning to embrace the one that is just starting. The one in which I have two adult kids that live mostly out of my house and where I have two kids that still live at home. I can't see what other transitions I get to go through. I hope this all makes sense, and finds whoever reads it well. I know my thoughts sort of rambled, but that is where I am today. Also I know it wasn't about knitting. Today was an other stuff sort of day. BTW, I am slowly working on a pair of socks made with some BRS yarn from Ray that I bought a long time ago. My tendonitis has been acting up a lot lately which makes knitting uncomfortable at times. Typing too, but strangely no pain yet. Almost makes me want to pick up the knitting. LOL! Ok so that is all I've got today. -M

Friday, December 21, 2012

Torani syrup review

SheSpeaks and Torani Once again the wonderful people have given me something to review at Christmas time. This year it was two full size (750mL) bottles of Torani syrup. The flavors I received were Gingerbread, and Hazelnut. Both bottles were sugar free. I have always loved Torani syrups. In the past I have used them in Italian sodas, and as a coffee flavor. In addition to the bottles I received several coupons for a dollar off my next Torani purchase, and a recipe idea pamplet. First off, I was a little unsure of what I would think. I have never tried the sugar free. Secondly, I am not a big fan of hazelnut. I'm not going to lie, I was really hoping to get a bottle of bacon. Oh well, guess I will use a dollar off coupon for that one. Anyhow, back to the syrup...because I spend what seems like most all of my time at work anymore, I brought the bottles to work to share. What a treat! Everyone loved having something to add to the coffee. The first day we all tried the hazelnut. I was surprised that I really liked it. There is an ongoing joke in our office that I am a coffee snob because I won't drink the maxwell house brand we have. I actually liked the coffee. Most everyone else in the office did too. I did have one coworker say that it tasted a bit like fake frangelico and that she felt like she was missing out on something. The second day we all tried the gingerbread. At first I was pleasantly surprised. I liked the spicy scent. And the flavor in the coffee was interesting. I will say that the colder my coffee got though, the less I liked it. The more I drank, the more I felt as if there was an aspartame aftertaste that I did not like. This flavor was not as well received by the rest of the office. They also felt like there was more of an aftertaste. I did take both home and tried in my coffee house coffee and had the same results. I had hoped to bake with the syrup before the deadline, but that did not happen. If I get around to it, I will let you all know how it turns out. The coupons were given to the people at work, and some of my patients. Can't wait to buy my bottle of bacon syrup! TTFN, Miki

Friday, January 27, 2012

Christmas project revealed-(Spoiler alert)

Yes, I know I said Christmas and spoiler alert. Remember I didn't have money to ship by gifts to the west coast. Two house payments and one income is no fun! I finally had enough money to send the Christmas presents. They were VERY late, which makes me ill. Fortunately though, my friends and family understand. My mom and best friend have already opened theirs, and I don't know if anyone else reads my blog, so I feel ok about posting pictures and such.

If you do read my blog, and you received (or are waiting to get it from my mom) a gift and have not opened it yet...SPOILER ALERT...stop reading now.

Okay that being said, drum roll please...

For the main gift this year, I made these FABULOUS "green" blue jean grocery bags. They are made with recycled/repurposed jeans from my family, and from anyone who would share with me. I had been collected jeans for awhile for another project, but when I saw this pattern I decided this made better use of them. I will say, it takes a lot of denim. I had 1 1/2 large rubbermaid tubs full. Some of them were shorts, so that does factor in. That being said, I made 16 bags. Yep 16! This is quite an accomplishment for me as I usually do something once, and then never again. It's like the thrill of seeing how it will turn out is gone and after that it becomes tedious. However, I was ready to part with all this denim and I LOVE these bags. The pattern is from Islander Sewing Systems Re-construction Zone. It is called the Double Green Shopping Bag. I did not do the exact pattern they gave. Actually there are 3 different bags. I sort of did a meld of them all. But, I will give credit where credit is due. As I think I have said in previous posts, I LOVED everyone of them, and did not want to give any of them away. I did however, and now need to make some for myself. Several people have suggested that I sell them. Because of copyright laws, I will not be doing that. My daughters have ask me to make some more like purses. I may do that, I'm still trying to figure out a pattern that will work. I may take the concept and tweak it more, not sure yet.

Another funny, not so funny thing is I actually ran out of denim. Then it was a mad dash to find more. I looked at the fabric store, but I really prefer the worn look, and the blend of different colors. I made my kids go through their drawers again, that yielded a few pairs. Finally I went to Goodwill. I wanted ones that had been donated, that they couldnt sell because of rips or stains. I can use those and just cut out the bad parts. They told me they sent all that stuff to a recycler. Darn!! I ended up buying shorts, out of the bin for 49 cents each. I bought the biggest sizes I could find. I had HUGE pairs of shorts. One pair though wasn't huge, but so 80's I had to buy it. They were white with a pink and blue floral pattern on them. LOVE! I have also recent'y bought several more pair of crazy blue and black capris to make bags. Can't wait to see how they turn out. I also bought some very large jumper dresses.

To make these, my dining room felt like a sweat shop. I had 2 sewing machines set up. Each with different color threads. Mine had the blue denim thread, and Gwen's had the gold top stitching thread. I tried a bag without top stitching trying to save a step. It looks so much better with it. I also had my cutting mat out and denim EVERYWHERE. About half way through completion I needed to change the thread in Gwen's machine. With the new thread, the tension was WAY off and I could never get it to sew right. My mom suggested it was a timing issue, either way it will need to be repaired. Bummer! So the last several bags, I had to keep switching the thread in my machine. This makes for a much slower process. If you make these and have access to 2 machines, use them.

Now for the photos. I took pictures of each side. I will group them together so you can get and idea of what each bag looked like. I like some more than others, but don't have a favorite. Just when I think I do, I see another one and rethink it.

Okay...I have messed with the photos for too long now. For me in preview they don't show together. I have tried several different things and they never move in preview. UGH! Sorry. Tomorrow, I will try to post the knit projects I worked on. TTFN

Tuesday, January 03, 2012


Okay let me start by apoligizing for not writing the last few weeks. It has been rough! I will say that since moving away from all my family and friends, November through the first of the year has been hard. I miss sharing my birthday and the holidays with my family. This year has been one of the hardest. Being in a new city, with few friends, and no money has been emotionally draining. It doesn't help that I haven't found a job, and the weeks before Christmas my friends who had just graduated were all getting jobs, and I was getting rejection letters. Then I busted my ass to get all of my Christmas presents finished only to find out that I had no money to ship them. Are you kidding me? I am not writing this for sympathy, just to vent. There have been lots of tears. Oh, and did I mention I had yet to buy anything for my kids. Merry Christmas!Needless to say, gifts to our kids were creative. There were a few I.O.U.S.(for their big gifts, and some custom knitting of their choice), and some scavenging. We gave Jacque a ring that I received when I was 13. She loved it. The other kids gifts were similar. BTW, the custom knitting was also a big hit. Gwen first thought that she wanted some socks, but she now thinks she wants an infinity scarf. The funny thing is, I was going to make her one, and the big project I was working on took too much time. Unfortunately I still haven't sent the packages. Boo! I had hoped to get them in the mail today, I may have to wait till payday on Friday. Middle of last week our best friends from Richmond came to visit. We had so much fun. I was able to give them their gifts and they loved them! Yea!!! I knew they would. I can't wait to share them with you.Yesterday was the Rose Bowl. The game was so exciting! No, that is an understatement. There were records broken and long runs, and lots of scoring, and the coach jumping up and down for joy on the sidelines. I wish there had been some better defense, but wow it was fun. The Ducks won, and for a little while I thought it was the start to a great year. Then today I went to the DMV. Before I left I checked the website just to make sure I had what I needed. We still need to license the cars. I hate to say this, but Craig's tags expired in August, and we still haven't done it. So, I got my paperwork together, made copies of his drivers license, and went to the bank (they don't take debit or out of state checks). Fortunately my wait wasn't long. The person who helped me after a few minutes of filling out paperwork told me that we couldn't complete it as I needed to have the title application notarized and that would require my husbands signature. What? Are you kidding me? So, after this, I decided to head to the police station to have my finger printing done for my RN background check so I could complete my licensing application. The form I received from the nursing board told me to go to the local courthouse or police station. When I got there, the lovely lady ( and I am not being sarcastic, she was lovely) told me they no longer did them "locally" and that they only did them in downtown Raleigh. Yea me...what a wasted day! So, tomorrow I am hoping to drive into Raleigh and get my finger printing done. Maybe tomorrow will be better. That is all I have for now.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Whats on your needles

I can't tell you. ;-) Christmas is too close. Right now my main project is not on needles. I still have some gifts that need to be knit though. Right now, I am feeling a bit overwhelmed. This is TOTALLY my fault. I have no excuses, I should have started sooner. I have had plenty of time. It will all get done, but I don't like the idea that until it is, every spare second is spent working on it. I will say that what I am working on is turning out pretty fabulous. I know some of the recipients will like them, others hard to say, but I don't really care. On an other stuff note...I had my eyes checked last week, and my new doctor disagreed with my previous doctor and said that I am able to have lasik surgery, or wear contacts. He gave me some contacts to try. I really want them to work, but I really don't know if they will. The first pair we tried didn't work at all. My vision was SUPER blurry. The second pair was better. I know that with my astigmatism, with contacts my vision will never be as crisp as with glasses. Now I need to decide if it is crisp enough. So far this is what I have learned, my eyes and contacts don't like florescent lights. For whatever reason, my eyes start freaking out in stores. My vision goes blurry and I can't focus on anything. It is totally crazy. Not sure if this will get better or not. Second thing, it is so much easier to drive at night with them in. I had anti glare on my glasses, but there is still a little glare, not with contacts. I like the freedom of putting on my favorite sunglasses. I sometimes feel like I am squinting when the contacts are in, not cool. My eyes have a hard time transitioning for far away to up close work. Sometimes I feel the contacts in my eyes, other times I don't. Sometimes it feels like my eyes are welling up with tears. I have no idea what the first contacts were (think they were Acuvue Oasys), but the second ones are Air Optix. My sister, who has never to my knowledge worn contacts, told me that I need to give them at least a week for my eyes to get used to them. She says your eyes change shape slightly to conform to the contacts. I have no idea. All I know is that I was able to wear them for about half a day yesterday and then could not get them to focus, so I took them out and put my glasses on. Today, I am wearing my glasses again, so that I can try and finish up my projects. Maybe tomorrow I will put on the contacts. The last thing I am going to blog about, I have wrestled with for a few days. I am frustrated and sad. I feel like I have no right to be, because the cause has nothing to do with me. However, I am a caring person, and I can't seem to block that. I am also feeling a bit selfish, and that makes me feel guilty. Sunday night my daughter and her boyfriend broke up. They had only been going out for a little over a month, but had been spending all of their free time together for almost 2. I got to know him and his family very well. They were kind enough to include us in their Thanksgiving and even Christmas Eve plans. For once since we moved here, I felt like I had made friends, and beginning to have a social life again. Now all of that has changed. He told her he loved her, she said she didn't feel the same and wasn't sure she ever would and she broke up with him. He is DEVASTATED. She doesn't seem to care. She says she needs space to figure out her feelings. He says he is lost without her. I feel like all I do is cry. I cry for his broken heart. I cry because I have lost friends. I cry because I feel guilty for feeling so emotional about this because all I want is for my daughter to be happy. She says she isn't sure she was happy with him. I am proud of her for having the strength to do what she thinks is right, but this sucks! I feel like I am not being the supportive mom I need to be. I know they had only been going out a short time, and that they are both young, but it still sucks! The last few days my relationship with her has felt broken. She knows I feel like she made a mistake, I have told her as much. I told her that love and relationships are not like what you see or read about in a Nicholas Sparks book/movie. Love isn't at first sight. It grows and changes as you get to know someone. She thinks her feelings will never catch up to his, and it is better to break up now than later when his feelings are even stronger. I feel like she hasn't given her feelings a chance. Maybe I am just forcing on her what I think is good for her, and honestly I know she knows best, but this sucks! So now my Christmas Eve plans have fallen apart, I have a gift to return as he doesn't want it because it will remind him to much of her, and I have lost the only friends I have made since I moved here. I really need a job to get me out of this house!

Friday, December 02, 2011

Needle Update and YUMMY recipe

After posting and looking through the house again, I finally found the missing needles. Since we moved, I have been trying to be a bit more organized. I usually know where things are, but not always. Part of this organization was to but all my straight needles in a box, all my dpn's in a box and all my circulars in a box. The boxes I am using are like the ones you see in all the craft stores. The best part is I get them for free. The grinding discs my husbands company uses come in them. They were just tossing them, so employees started taking them home. Yeah me! I wish I had more, but there are other people that one them too, so I take what I can get. I love how they have handles and latches and stack so nice and are clear so I can see what is in them. Sorry off on a tangent... So far it has worked pretty well. At one point I had them all in the same box, but was growing tired of digging through the kids of needles I didn't need for each project. This way is working better. The issue with the missing needles was, I never put them in the box, or my knitting bag, which right now has a stash of needles for the projects I am currently working on, or just finished. I bought these needles so my daughter could knit her boyfriend a beanie. I left them out for her. She then moved them, and the box they would go in into the office and then stacked a few books on top of them. I knew something was amiss when I couldn't find the box of dpn's. As soon as I found them I started on a beanie. The pattern I am using is called, "Cool Hats". It is from Better Homes and Garden Knit It, 2004, designed by Nancy Thomas. It is quick and easy. I knit it in a dark green with a pale yellow stripe in some Caron Simply Soft that I had left in my stash. Yesterday I worked in all the ends and started on one in the same green with a white stripe. I just need to work the decreases and work in the ends. Woo hoo two more hats done! I will try to have my son model one or both of them later. As promised I have a picture of Gwen in the slouchie beanie. Love it!
I am thinking I will knit this again. I may not make it quite as long, but we will see. Also, as a bonus to today's post, I am sharing a recipe. Yesterday my cousin Lisa Rangel, who shares my love for bacon posted a photo on facebook of some chocolate bacon cupcakes she had made. I immediately ask for the recipe, which she had frankensteined together for a few different recipes. Therefore, I am calling it her original creation. Here is the recipe...enjoy!
CHOCOLATE BACON CUPCAKES Ingredients ½ C Cocoa Powder 1 C Boiling hot water 1 1/3 C flour 2 tsp baking powder ? salt (the recipe she sent me said to add salt but not how much, we just added a dash. I have ask her to send me the amount. I will edit the recipe if she does.) ½ C butter, room temperature 1 C white sugar 2 eggs 2 tsp vanilla extract ½ C chopped fried bacon Directions Preheat oven to 375. Line muffin cups In a small bowl, stir hot water and cocoa powder until smooth. Let cool to room temperature. In another bowl mix together flour, baking powder and salt. Using an electric mixer, combine butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time. Beat until smooth. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Beat in vanilla. Mix in the chocolate mixture. Add the flour mixture and bacon and beat only till incorporated. Don’t over mix! Fill each muffin cup 2/3 full. Bake 18-20 min or until toothpick comes out clean. Remove and cool on a wire rack. CHOCOLATE CARAMEL FROSTING Ingredients 4 Tbsp butter ½ C packed brown sugar 2 Tbsp milk 1 ½ C powdered sugar 1 Tbsp cocoa powder 1 tsp vanilla extract Chopped bacon for garnish Directions In a saucepan, melt butter and brown sugar over medium heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved, then add milk. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Sift together cocoa and powdered sugar. Blend into butter mixture and add vanilla. If too thick, add more milk. Spread onto cooled cakes. Act fast as the frosting sets up quickly. Sprinkle crumbled bacon on top BEFORE the frosting cools… otherwise it rolls off!