I can't believe how fast Christmas came and went!! And it was one of my more happier Christmases that I can remember for a long time! It seemed past ones were filled with worries and stresses, and now it was just a foregone conclusion that we needed to be frugal and concentrate on the other aspects of Christmas like spending time as a family and enjoying the simplicity of the holiday with its spiritual nature...makes one really think.
My daughter Kara and I spent some quality time together during her short one week visit. She was home from San Jose State and brought home my Kitchenaid mixer so that we could do a little baking. We also did a little shopping at Forever 21, which is a very reasonable, yet fashionable clothing store, and we treated ourselves to cappucinos and macchiatos at our favorite coffee place It's A Grind. Above, she's wearing the Ribs & Ruffles scarf I knitted for her out of Lion Brand Jiffy.
I also finally received the Wii Fit!!! All the kids and my husband pitched in to get me this, and I think so far, it's pretty fun to use!! I just hope I can keep it up!! I really need to lose some pounds and get my energy up again...at least it's my main New Year's resolution!!
Let's hope 2009 is a better year than being predicted...although in many ways, I think it's good to get a wake up call and realize that we're living beyond our means and that we can be happy and be appreciative with less. If we all learn this lesson, I think that would be a good thing in the coming New Year...I'll certainly try and learn it!
What's a holiday without messing in the kitchen? Especially when you have a daughter who likes to bake and is a Nutritional Science Major! In one of her classes, she learned how to cook and bake many delicious items last semester, and came away, among other things, with a simple, yet mouth watering nut brittle recipe. So today, she made Pecan brittle and Cashew brittle. Also, on board were Old-Fashioned Sugar cookies, White Chocolate Ginger Blondies, and my contribution was Applesauce Mini Bundt Cakes & Caramel Drizzle from the latest Gooseberry Patch Christmas cookbook.
What a fun afternoon we had!! Almost too full from nibbling to enjoy our latkes with sour cream and apple sauce this evening. Ah, on those, admittedly, I cheated and made from a package, yet still pretty good and tasty. We love trying as many of the seasonal goodies that we can during this time of year.
Afterwards, Kara very creatively divided up the bounty amongst four platters so that our neighbors could also enjoy our treats, and celophaned them up with ribbons and candy canes. We just came back from delivering them in the crisp, night air...so glad we did this. We sadly found out that one of our neighbors just lost their job. So I hope this brings them cheer. Another, we did the ding dong ditching technique since no one answered, but on our way back, we saw our neighbor's little boy picking up the treats which seemed so much bigger than his little head! I could have sworn I heard him say, "Look what Santa brought." So our hearts are big...another neighbor also had her pajama-ed children bring in the goodies, while with the 4th neighbor, I joked "Happy Hanukahmas!" since they celebrate both holidays.
So we had our fun...good memories...good baking...2008.
Happy Hanukkah!! The Festival of Lights...I so enjoy the tradition behind Hanukkah as shared by my Jewish friends, in particular sisters Elizabeth and Margaret. I so enjoy hearing about their traditions, but I probably only absorb the tip of the iceberg as the tradition is so rich in its history. I admire the strength they've acquired through their faith as well as their positive energy which I feel whenever I'm around them.
So I'm borrowing the Menorah and lighting my own candles. I confess, I did need to google and find out how to light them again! But every year I learn and enjoy the candles in their brilliance again! May everyone out there enjoy their own traditions and derive strength and family unity through them. The true meaning of the season.
I am so enjoying crocheting these Twister Scarves!! If you click on Wanna's World on my blog list, you can find this pattern too. Very easy and very quick...I do think the stiffness of the Malabrigo Merino wool does the best with the twisting, but I think almost any worsted weight would do...anyway, I have a couple more to do, so better get off this computer!
Where does the time go?? My youngest son Peter is a Senior in high school which means he's graduating next June. My baby a Senior. Last night was a special night after a challenging Cross Country season marked with injuries and determination. His beautiful smile, proud coach and two awards are the crowning achievements...and a proud and happy mom too who was taking the picture.
Well, it ain't over yet!!! We have Track next season to enjoy and challenge us. You bet I'll be there along for the ride probably with knitting or crocheting in hand!
As many out there can relate, we plan to spend a very simple Christmas this year. We've pared down the gift list and sent fewer Christmas cards, yet to me it seems like a far more relaxing way to spend the holidays without shopping myself ragged at the dreaded mall. Instead, we're concentrating on family and old memories.
Some of those memories came rushing back today as I decorated the Christmas tree with mostly handmade ornaments created by friends when we participated in ornament exchanges. One in particular I have such a fondness for and I keep him in my curio cabinet so that each year, he can be the first one to adorn my tree: Vella's Nut Boy.
Vella was someone very special to me and a group of special ladies. We literally hung onto her pearls of wisdom and adored her positive attitude towards life. We were all so sad when she sudden passed away. You couldn't ask for a nicer person to be in your corner...she sent this darling little Nut Boy as part of an ornament exchange that we had, and I just cherish him. So simply made with felt, fluffy wool, and nestled in a half walnut shell.
Vella was also famous amongst us for her unusual way of celebrating the season with an upsidedown Christmas tree! She'd have her husband hang this thing from the ceiling by the trunk with heavy wire so that the top of the tree would be pointing towards the floor. She did this to save space in their tiny home...before it was the trendy thing to do.
The first Christmas after she passed away, I was thinking about her while I was Christmas shopping...we were window shopping when we came upon a pure white Christmas tree...hung upsidedown!!! "Now, who would do a silly thing like that?" said the person I was with. "Vella!" Chills ran down my back since I had just been thinking of her...I took this as a definite sign that she was doing ok wherever she was...
I finished my Ribs and Ruffles scarf!! It is so soft and silky and very light to wear! It still keeps my neck very warm which came in very handy today with the colder weather! I just love it!
Kara came home last night, so today, we ventured out for our first trip to the mall in a very long time. The Thousand Oaks Mall has been renovated with a brand new Nordstrom's, so couldn't resist looking around. We also visited our favorite shop Sephora and had fun testing some new Philosophy bath fragrances.
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and now that all the family logistics has been figured out, I think I can be very thankful! I hope everyone has a wonderful day and that you get to spend it with the people you love.
I finished my lacy scarf and it turned out so nice. I did need to block it to get most of the curl out of it so that the lace pattern could be best seen. I also started a new scarf called the Misti Chunky Ribs and Ruffles Scarf with Misti Alpaca Hand Paint Chunky 100% Baby Alpaca yarn. Oh, is this stuff ever yummy and soft, and so far, the scarf is extremely easy and fun to knit. I have a feeling this will be like potato chips; can't make just one!
I'm much relieved that the weather is finally cooling off here in Southern California, although it's still very dry making hand lotion very necessary. I can't even begin to count the number of hand creams and lotions that I own!
I don't know when I'll be getting back to cross stitching again...knitting is just so much fun, but I am feeling the tug to take thread and needle in hand again very soon. I especially enjoy samplers, in particular the Quaker motifs and look forward to stitch a long that I joined for January called Beatrix Potter Sampler. Such a pretty design.
But in the meantime, I knit...finished one, and now have started another...does it ever end??
I've been spending the evenings knitting and thinking about how in the world we're going to afford Christmas this year. I've decided that the most important aspect of the holiday is that we spend it together as a family and that we do as little shopping as possible. A matter-of-fact, I'm encouraging homemade items like cookies, pumpkin bread, tea cup candles, and chex mix. And these scarves...although, I think this purple one is for me. I'm enjoying this lace pattern and the tweedy yarn with its occasional specks of colour amongst the sea of purple. I'm very happy with the results and can't believe I'm actually knitting this...it's almost as though the hands of my Oma are helping me in some way as I feel as though part of my success is through instinct, but another part is through concentration and practise. I'd like to think, though, that it's my guardian angel holding my hands.
My daughter Kara came home for the weekend and was very anxious to try out a new recipe she learned during her Nutritional Science Prep class...Mussels! When she made these the first time in class, all she could think about was how her Opa would enjoy them, so we went over to my parents with all ingredients in hand, and Kara re-created the Mussel recipe. We also made Shrimp, pasta, salad, and Brussel Sprouts to round things out. What a feast!! And as you can see, very much enjoyed by Opa!!! A very special dinner enjoyed by us all!!
I love going to our local Underwood Farms vegetable stand. Everything is so fresh, and you can really taste the difference, so for a recent potluck, I decided to make the freshest of salads with Romaine lettuce, red, yellow & orange bell peppers, white radishes, and long onions. And, oh, yes, let's not forget the heirloom tomatoes!!
But a separate stock of produce caught my eye and I had to have it...a long stock filled with brussel sprouts!! I love brussel sprouts anyway, but I just couldn't wait to taste these fresh from the stock!! And they didn't disappoint!! The stock had tons...at least two baskets that you would normally buy in the supermarket. I steamed these for about 20 minutes and then sprinkled with a bit of nutmeg and garlic powder...mmmmmmm!
Lately, knitting has been my comfort. I get nervous, I knit. I'm waiting at the doctor's office, I knit. Or I crochet. It brings me joy to create a piece of fabric...I'm actually VERY amazed and pleased. The next generation is being born, so the thought of one of my blankets somehow surviving space and time gives me a sense of perhaps being remembered in the future...hey, some unknown "aunt" made this for me. That would make me happy.
I thought to keep myself out of trouble, i.e., shopping too much, I should start my own blog. Actually, if truth be known, I started this blog so that I can be inquisitive, i.e., nosy, and look at other people's blogs.
Once I get my thoughts together, perhaps this endeavor will help me share my love of stitching, knitting, and needlework in general with everyone.
I'm an almost 56 year old woman. I'm mother of three almost grown up kids, Will, 24, Kara, 22, and Peter, 20. I've been married for over 24 years to Frank.
I love to do creative things like needlework, cross stitch in particular, knitting and crocheting.