Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Getting things done

I feel as if I've been getting some things done.. although they aren't things easy to show off on the blog.  It's one or a dozen... I could either slump into doing nothing or burn off extra energy in a frenzy.  Instead, I'm trying a few things that aren't exactly 'fun' to many people but they energize me more because I feel like I'm getting things accomplished and things are nicer because of it.

I've been working here and there to earn a gift card by entering in receipts and doing small programming jobs on Amazon.  I tried it at a start just for something to do after I dropped Esme off at the bus - and have found that the mathematics and patterns in it are interesting in itself.  I'm sure very few people are able to say that they see beauty and elegance in the patterns formed by shopping receipts and mean it... but my brain works that way.  I got to do a handful in Spanish and another in French the other day - and that was truly interesting.  And I do get a small (this week not so small) monetary benefit out of it besides that.  I'm about to order a lightweight dustbuster vacuum thing that I probably  would never buy outright but it feels like when you sold enough cookies as a kid to earn the bicycle instead of just the visor.  *heh*  Mark really helped me out yesterday by putting a second monitor on my screen so the receipt entry isn't switching between tabs... I think that sped me up tenfold.

So, beyond that side job - the house is looking much better organized.  Much fewer things are going bad in the fridge because I am trying to pay close attention to using almost everything I open.  And I have lost a little weight.  The laundry is keeping up... things are clean.  There are nice kitchen towels hanging up and Lucy has a clean dog bed today.  I found a melted through bottle of pine-sol in the cabinet (eek) and cleaned that up... and the bathroom floor is now quite clean using up the rest of it.  Probably tackle the kitchen a bit with the last dregs tonight.

Best of all Esme is happy in her school and although getting up in the predawn is still a challenge it is a physical one not a mental battle.  She wants to go to school.  I tell her she has to keep on her schedule with making lunch, taking a shower, going to bed - and she grumbles a second and then realizes it really is for her own good. 

We're reading My Haunted House in the Araminta Spookie series.  Esme thinks it is quite funny.

Monday, August 29, 2016


It's been a rough weekend - a very very early morning (get there when its still dark and the moon is up) meeting at work, after a late night.. and I don't think I got hardly anything done this weekend after that.  I just threw the laundry in this morning.  Mark and Esme were working on colds, and trying to get over that.  I've been giving Esme green tea with orange juice and honey, and chicken soup with garlic powder (just a little).  She seems like she is getting over it.  Esme is off to school now and I've got to get to ready to go into work in a few hours.  I've got to check for something that was supposed to come in Friday, among other things.

I am happy that I've gotten a few recognitions at work for how I work with the customers - but it also feels like it comes with a big tag of responsibility.  So now that I've been voted as the best example of this particular aspect -- I've got to focus even more on it myself.  There are several things I could do better there, but a lot of them require being more than one person and that hasn't happened yet.

I've been thinking of going through the drawers in our room and sorting out the 'little worn' stuff into an underbed container.  Then I will have more room for the things I actually wear on a regular basis.  I've got my eye on a zipup container that will keep dust out - as the storage containers I have for my sewing cloth don't do a good job on that.

I think I'm nearing the end of the fourth book in Outlander.  My Kindle was needing to be charged last night, so I didn't get much further.

The only crafting I've done is a few more rows on the purple shawl... It is getting about half as wide as it should be which means slow going from here up.

Friday, August 26, 2016

A day off while Esme is at school...

I'm using my spare time to do more than just read and knit and look up recipes.  I've started looking at a few receipt rewards and coupon sites to cushion the expenses of items for school lunch and more hair care products -- and they have paid off some already.  If I can just get in the habit.  I figured I have this free time now here and there that otherwise I'll just spend cruising around pinterest or facebook or ... and this is something that has possibility to benefit us.  And I've started another program that will reward with gift certificates to a site we use... so that is going to be cool if we can decide what we want.  I'm finding the surveys and things it asks me to do interesting and hope they will help as our household isn't very typical (that is for sure). 

Esme reports third grade is awesome!  We haven't heard anything negative from the teachers, and it is already the end of another week.  She says she loves having gym and music and all the different teachers in different classes.

I haven't played much more with the blender but I bought some apples and harvested more tomatoes today.

We watched a strange version of the Snow Queen from Netflix.  It had a very different cinema format than most movies nowadays... but it told the story (as seen from the Blue Fairy and other color books) faithfully and well. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Celery Orange Juice

I took about half a can of mandarin oranges, all the liquid that had come in the can and two chopped celery stalks and put them in the blender this morning. I had to wash the celery extra good - it comes from the store pretty dirty.  I didn't include the tops or the very bottom of the stalk and I peeled some of the fibrous outside off of each stalk.

 I didn't add any extra water or sweeteners.  The mandarin oranges were in 'light syrup' as it was.  I pulsed it until it was good and mixed.

  I used a stainless steel vegetable steamer as a strainer to get out the pulp. 
I put a cereal bowl underneath to catch the juice.

  The juice was pretty good!  I used about half of it for breakfast (with an egg and toast) and saved half to go with me to work as part of a midmorning snack.

bits:  I've been giving Esme some mandarin oranges and mlik for breakfast a few days this week - out of this can.  She really doesn't want to eat breakfast at all... even five oranges and a 1/4 cup of milk she looks at and says 'That seems like a lot.'  She just isn't ready to eat so early (before 6 am) in the morning.  But I know she doesn't get a snacktime until about 9 or 10... so I don't want her getting cranky.  I think it is working.  She packs her own lunch to go to school and eats most of it, and Mark makes sure she has a decent supper every night to make up for it.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016


It's been a week.  Oh wait, tomorrow is Wednesday.  It's been a week in three days - or it feels like that.  Everyone has had to play with the personal blender a bit - orange banana juice, and ice cream shakes etc...  I also made some celery/apple juice was surprisingly good without any honey or sugar in it at all.

Esme forgot to do her homework the other day and finished it at school in a break time.  She thought that was 'sneaky and not allowed'.  So she swore the only girl who saw her do it to secrecy.  I think it is cool that she realized she would be asked for it and instead of waiting for the punishment she kicked into gear and got it done.  Not sure if the school would think the same thing.. but anyway, she got it done.  And she remembered her folder tonight and got tomorrow's work done.

Esme and I are finishing 'Happy Birthday Kirsten'.. the last of that series that we didn't have.  Then I think I'll try to start her on the Araminta Spookie books.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Spinach pineapple banana greek yogurt smoothie

I'm trying to eat more of my vegetables, and I've bought a new personal blender.  So, there will be some recipes on KnitOwl lately as I get to trying things with it.  I saw a recipe for this when I was looking for what to do with my spinach.  And, I happened to have a can of pineapple open in the fridge.  BUT - I don't have any almond milk and I don't like the stuff enough to buy it just for this.

I wanted a smoothie recipe with no almond milk.  So, I looked around a bit and combined two recipes.

1 small to medium banana, cut up (some places say to freeze the chunks)
about 1/2 cup of spinach or mixed greens.
1/3 cup of greek yogurt
1/3 cup of pineapple chunks
1/3 cup of pineapple juice from the can.
1 tsp of chia seed

Pour the pineapple juice into the blender.  Add the greek yogurt.  Blend this up together with half of the spinach or greens.  I would reccommend taking the stems off of the leaves, they tend to leave fibers in the smoothie.  Peel and de-string the banana.  Put half of this in the blender and blend.  Put the pineapple chunks in the blender and blend.  Add the second half of the mixed greens.  Add the last half of the banana.  The smoothie will be getting thick.   Add the chia seed and blend it until it is really well mixed.  Pour it up and use right away.

I saw some sites discussing the liquid or whey that forms on the top of the Greek Yogurt.  Some places say to mix it in and others say to drain it off.  I have been noticing that my yogurt does not 'keep' as well when I drain it off.  I haven't really been mixing it in, either.  I've just been grabbing the yogurt with the spoon around the well and it has stayed good for much longer than my previous large container.

The chia seed was 98 cents for a decent size package.  I thought it wouldn't hurt to buy some and try adding it.  It claims to have Omega 3 in it.  Mark said I should try a raw egg... but even though we have our own chickens I'm not sure I want to do a raw egg.

Eggs and spinach say spinach quiche to me ;)

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Zucchini black bean almond butter 'hummus'

Zucchini 'hummus' with no tahini.  I made this tonight and it was really good.

1 small to medium zucchini
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp of black beans (canned)
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. of almond butter
tortilla shells

1 small to medium zucchini, ends cut off, sliced up and placed in a food processor.  Cut up until mostly blended but still showing some peel.  I put a pan on the stove with about 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil in the bottom and started it heating up on low heat.   

To the mixture in the food processor I added a tsp of lemon juice, and then dumped half of that product into the pan on the stove.  To the remaining mixture I added two tbsp. of black beans (which were leftover in the fridge from yesterday).  Added a tbsp. of almond butter.  The almond butter was sticky and hard to get into the processor.  Then I spun that up until the mixture was about as smooth as the zucchini had been. 

The mixture in the pan was starting to warm up now.  Mix the rest of the food processor mixture into the material in the pan and stir it all around until it had warmed up and the almond butter just began to melt a bit.  The zucchini has just barely begun to soften a little, but it was still crunchy.

Spread a few tablespoons of the mixture onto two flour fajita shells and folded them over.

It was really good and I had about a half cup or more to put back in the fridge to try cold tomorrow.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Yipe it's Friday

It's Friday... where did the week go?  I've been quite tired this week, which is part of it.  I'm knitting on a different shawl, in simple purple yarn.  Esme has had a good week at school - from what I've heard.  She got an 'A' on her math test, but was worried about a spelling test today.  We watched a few movies this week, and are almost at the exciting end of Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone.  She is going out with a friend tonight to see a movie in town.  So, she has had a pretty good week.  I still have to work tomorrow and then I get Sunday off.  I'm brewing one of those seasonal/sinus headache moments (have been since yesterday), so two more shifts of work nearly-back-to-back are a bit daunting. 

I'm still in Outlander book 4.. which is part murder mystery.  Hmm.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Esme's shrug

Here is what the shrug looks like on Esme :)

I made chicken enchiladas tonight.  I'm about to sit down to work a little more on the 'rent' type shawl and maybe read some of my book.  This morning Esme was not thrilled at all about another week of school -- but she got up and got going. 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Knitted shrugs

This first shrug is actually Esme's.  She picked out the colors for it from my collection and I tried to find a pattern that would look okay with them.  
 Hers is straight across at the back and doesn't have the 'tail' of the other one.
I do need to work at the neckline a bit if I make a third one - and figure out how to do that part neater.

This is the one I made first, and it fits me but does not fit her.  I started it with scrap yarn I had left from other projects and continued in the blue because I had a lot of that.  It goes around my arms just like hers does, but the back hangs down further because I hadn't worked out what I was going to do with it until I saw the shrugs in the Outlander series and said 'Maybe that.'

Now I'm working with the general idea of the 'Rent' shawl, with the increases in the mid center.  I tried a few online patterns and couldn't work out what they were trying to do.  So, I'm going at it mathematically and figuring it out as I go. 

Another long week of work and school for all of us.  I get next Sunday off.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

A weekend

Esme has had a week of school - and she likes it, so far.  She's dealing with the 'boring stuff to get to the fun stuff.'  That shows a good level of maturity.  We went and scouted out a dog park she wants to take her Lucy to sometime.

I'm knitting a shrug for her, after finishing one for me that was more of a 'happy accident' than a planned project.  It wouldn't fit her, so I took her measurements and am trying to make one happen on purpose now.  She picked out the colors for hers out of what we have on hand.    I might have pictures of these projects soon... Had thoughts of making myself another skirt and Mark another pair of shorts.  Not sure what we'll be up to tomorrow.. will see.

Mark and I watched the first two discs of Outlander... It was surprisingly good.  I'm into the fourth book on my Kindle. 

Another thing on my mind : chicken and spinach enchiladas.  I'm trying lots of things with spinach.

Garlic wilted spinach greens :
1 cup spinach, washed.  1 clove of garlic, chopped, red onions, tomatoes.  Mix olive oil, balsamic vinegar and 1/2 tsp of brown sugar together with 1/4 cup of water.  Heat, add vegetables, cover and steam.  Drain excess liquid.  Serve with eggs if wanted.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

collections and album bits

This is the glasstop display box I gave Esme for her geology and shell collection.  The collection was sitting on a shelf by my sewing box and it is much more enjoyable this way!  I put the shell she got from her grandparents (Grandpa Harvey and Grandma Gale) in there it had been out of sight in a jewelry box.  Then, she asked me why we didn't have any photographs of them up on our memory board.  She couldn't remember what everyone looked like!  It was near bedtime so of course she got deeply philosophical about this.  She also wanted to see more pictures of Grandma Irene and Grandpa Henry.

I printed out a batch of photos and put a few up on the board, and a set into her little album here on the display box.  The album already had a lot of pictures from when she was a little baby, but it was put away in a drawer.  It now has more recent pictures as well from our Kentucky Lake heritage center trip and her third grade photo the other day.  She can have it out and page through it.

The memory board in the kitchen is a little crowded now, but it's good!  I think she will like it.

I think I need to get a big album and start putting all of the other photos in it.  They are laying in sleeves in a drawer and I'm not even sure what is there.  It would be a good project for this fall.

Anymore sausage flavored dog food in this pan?

Gave away these kittens today at the flea market.  They went together to a good home.  I thought I had lost my ring and couldn't find it anywhere.  Then when I got home it was in a soap dish from earlier that morning after Esme's bus stop I had washed my hair.  I felt silly - but glad it wasn't lost!

Monday, August 08, 2016


The bus was on time this morning, and this afternoon.  I've had the day off, reading mostly.  Our internet is seriously having issues, isp side, cannot connect to many sites.  I would like to put some more things on Etsy but it is blocking me.  Had a meeting at the school to go to, technology awareness and authorization forms.  Saw her teacher for a moment and she said it was a good day.  Esme doesn't have much to report that's bad - except a few kids being rude on the playground.  She's dealing with that well.  She's still excited to go.  Got her to get her lunch ready and just about to put her to bed.

She did say it had been a long day..... and that was about 4 o clock.  All the days are going to be long now.  I just hope I can get enough sleep here and there!

Tomorrow I need to take the boy kittens to the flea market after she gets on the school bus.  They need homes.  We also lost our Chickenletta ... just gone, with only a feather left in the coop.  The other two chickens are still there and fine, but they aren't handleable as she was.  She was over six years old and still laying eggs... pretty amazing. 

So I have the day off tomorrow but it will be another long one!

Friday, August 05, 2016

First day of Third Grade

Back to public school, first day of third grade!

We waited for an hour at the bus stop and no bus... so we had to take her in.  Mark will have to get her this afternoon while I'm at work.  I hope she has a good day... we're on our way.

It;s so quiet in the house!  I hope she is having a good day.  I ordered a photo album for her with pics of her family, this picture and another good one I had taken last month.  She was having a little anxiety cry last night about not remembering everyone and not knowing how everyone was, getting thing mixed up etc..  I had given her my glass top display box for her rock and shell collection and she was going through the things I put in there (cleaned out from their previous home by my sewing box) and remembering who gave her what.  She really liked that I put in the geological samples she dug out for HS last year, and the iron-on patch from the planetarium, and the shells from Kentucky Lake.  The big shell her grandparents gave her last time they visited was in there, too.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

bits of school stuff and organizing

We went to meet Esme's third grade teacher this morning.  I'm optimistic... she didn't blow Esme's questions off or roll her eyes at her stutter like the last teacher did (and threw up warning signs we didn't follow through on fast enough).  I just hope Esme doesn't give her too much grief.. she will some... there are going to be a LOT of changes she will have to face the next few weeks.

Bedtime routine is one of them.  We've been going earlier and getting up at 6 every morning.  She is crabby.  She doesn't want to read her book with me at night - I can read, but she doesn't want to.  I solicited some advice, and bedtime is going to change.  And there is going to be a clearly written list of things in order.  She won't have to read, but if she acts up during the list, or during the reading I will do to finish out our book. I'm done with it then and there.  It does make sense.  I hope I can stick to it.  She has been even more of a pain than usual on the bedtime routine since I started moving it earlier - and anxiety from worrying about school is there a bit, too.

I'm working out my own anxiety a bit by organizing my huge supply of craft stuff.  Sorting out, purging some trash out of it etc...  I also started listing some of my vintage patterns on the Etsy shop again.  These are patterns too small to use for Esme now, and I would like someone else to use them before they are ruined one way or another.  I've been keeping them nice, but well... I'm not using them.  They need a better home.

There's some from the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s ... mostly sizes 2 to 6 little girls.

Simplicity 7196 and Simplicity 3316, two of the patterns I've used and am now ready to pass on.

Organized a lot in the sewing area - still have a ways to go... sat down and cut apart the skirt on one of her  old dresses and made a pair of night shorts for her.  Got everything ready for school tomorrow, lunch and snack packed, shoes and backpack located etc etc... made a list so we don't forget to get the lunch and take a picture tomorrow.

Monday, August 01, 2016

bits of vacation

I've had a busy few days off - and done most of the things I'd told myself I needed to get done.  I made two new yarn toy bags for Esme's room, found a hanger hook bar at the thrift store and put it up in her room for coats and hats (no bookends, though.. still thinking on that one -- she has some on one of her tables in her room and I might move them), went through some of my fabric and patterns, made two good new items for Esme's closet, and sorted out all of the too-small and stained things that had to go.  I cleaned a bit more, and made banana bread :) 

It feels good!

Plus, I asked Mark if he could find me one of his hard-drive platters to make a stand for my cone thread.  I saw a cone thread holder on a website for $$, and was pretty sure we could mock something up that would work in a similar fashion.  I have this big cone of thread a coworker gave me.

This is the result of one safety pin (hooked on top of machine), a size 1 knitting dpn (double pointed needle) and a hard-drive platter that spins on its own ball bearings. 

It really works, without any more adjustment than just sitting there.  The thread goes through the safety pin on the bobbin winder, through the tensioner like normal, and through the needle.  It slowly unspools itself as the machine runs.  I had to take the cone off to wind the bobbin from it, but it wasn't that much of a hassle to put it back on.

Then I drafted a shorts pattern for Mark using something from my collection and they worked out, too.  If I sit down and make a pair for Esme (out of some different fabric) I'd have made almost everything I had planned on during this vacation.

I work tomorrow, and then two 'regular' days off.. Thursday is Esme's meet-the-teacher registration day.  We bring the school supplies and get her registered in the class.  Friday is her first full day at school.