Friday, December 26, 2008

Lessons Learned from Hosting The Big Dinner.

I hope everyone is having a great Holiday.

This year saw the most chaotic Christmas Mornings in our house to date. Once the kids got a taste for wrapping paper, they kind of went crazy. Like sharks go crazy when a bucket of chum is poured into the water. I tried to run into the fray to gather up paper and find pieces to teeny toys, but I almost lost my arm a couple of times.

Needless to say, we are very blessed and based on the stack of presents from family, very much loved.

I hosted The Big Dinner for Richard's Mom, Sister, Aunt, Uncle and Cousin. I learned that a cold turkey adds an hour to cooking time. I also learned that if you have a box of cheesy puff pastry appetizers in your freezer, no one cares if dinner is an hour late. Wine helps too.

I tried out a couple of new recipes that were hits. I even got the ultimate compliment: Richard's Aunt (a fabulous Christmas cook) asked for a recipe. Scalloped corn. Try it. You won't be disappointed! Don't even wait for Christmas. I can see this as a fantastic side to ham. Richard made a delicious apple pie from a recipe my friend Ashlee gave me. I also think that Richard will be asked to bring his Rum Cake with him to every family gathering now. That was the thing that people kept picking at over coffee, even though they were stuffed from everything else my table was groaning under.

I will share recipes soon. Right now I have a toy store to fit into Emmett and Charlotte's room.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!!!

Well, here we are on Christmas Eve. Emmett has been tracking Santa's progress via the NORAD website, (shhhh don't tell him he is learning world geography at the same time) Richard is in the kitchen making rum cake and apple pie, and I need to go dig out our stockings so they can be hung by the chimney with care.

I hope you and yours have a wonderful, safe, and happy Holiday that is full of peace and love!!!!

A scene from the movie that we will be watching tonight. My very favourite Christmas movie.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The last of the Christmas knitting.

I am in a happy place with my gifting right now. Things are wrapped and ready. My last project came home yesterday after it's bath and block at a friend's house. (I couldn't do that here because it would have been impossible to hide from the recipient)

Want to see?

Isn't the colour just smashing? The stitch definition is just incredible. So very soft too.
I love the colours here and how they gently shift from shade to shade. The yarn was a treat to work with.
Oh yes. This is a little gift for me. A project that has been languishing in my knitting basket. A woolly shawl just right for snuggling with while reading or watching a movie on a chilly evening.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

It is the most wonderful time of the year....... only have three reliable TV channels in one out-of-the-way room of your house. (and one of them is in French)

There are times that I miss having cable. I like The Food Network and programs on BBC Canada.

This time of year I am very thankful that the kids have minimal exposure to advertising. If we had cable the kids might realize that they are being left out of toy trends that are sweeping the nation and have Mommies and Daddies rushing to eBay to pay extortion prices for them.

Case in point:

The D-Rex. My brother phoned me up and asked me to look around my city for one. His boy wants one for Christmas. There are none to be found in three provinces. A quick check of eBay shows many for sale (In original packaging, gift receipt included) . Bidding starts at $50 above retail price.

In other news...

I have been tagged in a meme by Mama Bear.

The rules: Go to your Pictures folder. Find the fifth picture in the fifth folder and post it.

Here you go:
I am not tagging anyone. If you want to play, just let me know in comments and I will add a link you here.

Happy Solstice, everyone!!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Crunch Time.

So, I glanced at my calendar this morning. It seems like I am going to be very very busy this week. The kids each have parties at their schools and they need to bring goodies. I have a preschool board meeting where I need to bring an appetizer. I have the playgroup cookie exchange where I must show up with five dozen cookies. We have the Big Family Pre-Christmas get-together this weekend and I like to bring something yummy for the hostess. (Oh I hope the Archie McPhee order gets here, or the gag gift exchange will be missing a couple of items)

So, here is my baking list:

Chocolate Crinkles for cookie exchange (Done!)
Sugar Plums (make enough for home and hostess gift) (Done!)
Cupcakes for Emm's party (DONE! well, I need to frost them, but that won't take long and I will do it the night before the party)
Spiced rum nut brittle for hostess gift

I am not sure what I am taking to the board meeting, but I am leaning towards a warm dip I can assemble in my crock pot and serve with melba toast or pita chips. (edited to say I am making this cracker spread)

I also have to finish making some Christmas gifts and wrap everything.


EDIT: I can do this. I will bake today. (once I get to the store and buy a vanload of butter, sugar and flour) I can assemble my meeting munchies during Respite time on Tuesday. I can use crafty night tomorrow to assemble a gift. Char's party just requires me to pick up a couple of things while I am at the store getting supplies for baking.
I can do this.

I will worry about Christmas dinner next week.......

Friday, December 12, 2008

How to mail a package in twelve simple steps.

1. Wake up on the morning of the Domestic Package deadline for your country and curse yourself for the line up that will be waiting for you at the Post Office.

2. Try to find the wrapping paper. Fail. Instead find the stack of hand made Christmas cards you meant to mail. Realize that you may as well address them and send them off since you have to go to the PO anyway.

3. Sign and address cards, stopping several times to remove Baby from various precarious postions. eg: Pantry ,where he is dumping dog food into the flour bin, bathroom --where he is scrubbing toilet with cleaning brush...(.let him finish first), table top -where he is trying to steal your coffee, and then help him down when he can't find his step stool.

4. Go to purse to find stamps.

5. Reach into purse and find that your wallet is suspiciously damp. Search through purse and find a half-empty baby bottle without a cap on it. Discover puddles of milk in the bottom of your purse. Dump out purse and thank The Universe that there were no electronic devices in your purse (this time)

6. Wash out purse and contents. Find lost gift card (yay!)

7. Get juice for preschooler.

8. Rescue baby. (again)

9. Dig out old purse. Don't forget to find wrapping paper while in the basement.

10. Fill old purse.

11. Wrap gift. Stamp cards.

12. Pack up kids to go to the Post Office. Thank The Universe (again) that you made it before the line up was horridly long and the Postal Workers were cranky.

The End

Friday, December 5, 2008

Just Like Grandma's

Grandma and I were chatting last week and she mentioned that my Aunt put in a request for Carrot Pudding at Christmas Dinner. Grandma and my Aunt are going Up North to spend Christmas with my Mom and Dad, and I am hosting Christmas Dinner for some In Laws at my house this year. I was momentarily sad that I would miss the famous Carrot Pudding that I have recently developed a taste for (after spending a child hood turning my nose up at it).

Then I had an epiphany. I could make the Carrot Pudding! I could carry on a family tradition!!! I have the power!!!!

Thankfully, I also have Allrecipes and a Grandma who patiently put up with an afternoon of phone calls while I made this for the first time.
Don't fear the potatoes in the pudding
I didn't realize how few ingredients it takes to make a tradition.
I can always use a little help stirring. You need muscles to mix this stuff!
Now it's time for a nice two hour steam bath.
All that is left is to wait until Christmas Day when we get to pour on some delcious sauce and dig in!

Here is the recipe I used. As per Grandma's instructions, I added 1/2 cup softened butter to the pudding mixture and stirred the baking soda into some of the grated potatoes before mixing them in--she says it activates the soda and makes the pudding lighter in texture. I also cut the amount of cloves in half. It just seemed like a lot considering how strong they are. I then packed the mixture into clean pint jars (two for this recipe) topped with seals and rings, and then steamed as per the instructions. Don't forget to put a rack in the bottom of your pot.
Oh, and only fill your jars about 3/4 full so there is room for the pudding to rise.

I filled one jar a little too full so it didn't seal properly. Richard and I tested it last night. The pudding is rich, moist and sweet with just the right amount of spice.

Carrot Pudding
Submitted by: Joyce Rehagen
Rated: 5 out of 5 by 7 members
Yields: 7 servings
"Moist, dense and spicy, this steamed pudding features grated carrots and potatoes, a handful of raisins and a fragrant mixture of ground cinnamon, cloves and allspice. Top with a rich and creamy butter sauce for a truly magical dessert."
1 cup grated carrots
1 cup peeled and shredded
1 cup white sugar
1 cup raisins
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1. In a large mixing bowl, combine carrots, potatoes, sugar, raisins, flour, baking soda, ground cinnamon, all spice, and ground cloves. Transfer mixture to a clean 1 pound coffee can. Secure wax paper over the top and place the filled can in a large pot with 2 to 3 inches of water. Cover the pot and bring the water to a simmer.
2. Steam the cake for 2 hours. Serve warm.
3. Buttery sauce: In a medium-size pot, combine butter or margarine, cream, sugar, and vanilla. Heat until the mixture is liquid. Spoon mixture over the warm carrot pudding to serve.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Christmas Meme reblog.

Ami tagged me for this meme. I did it last year so here it is again, now with updates.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?

Wrapping paper--it's more fun for the kids. This year I am also going to experiment with reusable fabric wrappings for the family. The pile of garbage on my floor after Christmas is sickening to me and I want to try to make it smaller this year. I am going to use this tutorial on Furoshiki as a guide.
2. Real tree or artificial?
Artificial. We used to get real trees until I was forever traumatized by a half-dead tree lot tree that had me finding needles in my baseboards for two years afterward. I have fond child hood memories of finding a real tree every winter with my Dad's friend, the forestry teacher from our high school. (Yes, our high school had a conservation program....didn't yours??)
3. When do you put up the tree?
Whenever the mood strikes us.
4. When do you take the tree down?
See number three. I am going to set it up on the front porch this year so Matthew won't climb it, so it will probably get left up longer than if it was in the house.
5. Do you like eggnog?
I like the eggnog lattes at Starbucks--it is too thick and sweet by itself.
6. Favorite gift received as a child?
Hmmm... that would have to be my Barbie RV. I have been trying to find pictures online because mine was much bigger and cooler than the ones you can get now. My Barbies had lots of fun camping in my back yard in it.
7. Do you have a creche?
Yes. I have a cheapo plastic resin one I will use until my kids get old enough to not destroy the one my mom made in ceramics class many years ago. (Hmmm.... I may never get it!!)
8. Hardest person to buy for?
Hubby. He likes things like RAM and hard drives and lap top hinges.
9. Easiest person to buy for?
The kids.
10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
A battery charger from my then-boyfriend now-hubbie. He has been briefed on appropriate gifts since then.
11. Mail or email Christmas cards?
I don't send them.
12. Favorite Christmas Movie?
Muppet Christmas Carol

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
When the mood strikes.
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
Grandma's shortbread and lefse at hubby's aunt's annual Christmas dinner.
16. Clear lights or colored on the tree?
Coloured, but not flashing.
17. Favorite Christmas song?
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen as sung by Barenaked Ladies and Sarah MacLachlan
18. Travel for Christmas or stay home?
Stay home. How would Santa find us if we traveled?
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeers?
20. Angel on the tree top or a star?
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?
Christmas morning. We open our stockings, have breakfast, and then we do presents.
22. Most annoying thing about this time of year?
The pressure I feel to make or buy The Perfect Thing for everyone on my list. The pressure to edit that list but not leave anyone's feelings hurt. I am also going through a Spiritual Re-alignment this year so I have a lot of conflicting feelings about Christmas and how to make it meaningful this year.
23. What theme or color are you using when you decorate?
Blue and Silver. I have a large collection of Snowmen so they dominate my decorating scheme.
24. Favourite for Christmas Dinner?
This year it will be the dessert Richard is making. (His famous Rum Cake and my friend's Apple pie)
25. What do you want for Christmas this year?
Anything on my Amazon wish list, a new cordless phone....pretty boring stuff.

I am not tagging anyone...if you feel moved to do this meme, let me know in the comments and I will stop by your blog to read your answers. I do like me some good gossip!!! You can just do it in my comments too, if you want. I will be helpful and post the questions without answers at the end of this post for easy cutting and pasting. (That was a good idea, Ami!)

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?

2. Real tree or Artificial?

3. When do you put up the tree?

4. When do you take the tree down?

5. Do you like eggnog?

6. Favorite gift received as a child?

7. Hardest person to buy for?

8. Easiest person to buy for?

9. Do you have a nativity scene?

10. Mail or email Christmas cards?

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?

12. Favorite Christmas Movie?

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?

16. What decorations are on your tree?

17. Favorite Christmas song?

18. Travel at Christmas or stay at home?

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer?

20. Angel on top of tree or star?

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year?

23 What theme or color are you using when you decorate?

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner?

25. What do you want for Christmas this year?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Last winter I designed an Advent Wreath for my Sunday School Class. It is one of the many interesting posts you will find at the

Make It From Scratch Carnival

that my friend in blogging Mama Bear is hosting over at her place. Why don't you go check it out? You will find lots of delicious looking recipes and fun craft ideas just in time for the busy Holiday season.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Well, I fell off the wagon for a couple of weeks and you know what happened? Stress. Late dinners. Grumpy family. Random trips to the grocery store for random things. I also learned what was at the bottom of my freezer, which was a good thing!

So, here we go again.....

Meal 1: Lemon Chicken and Rice

Meal 2: Shepherd's Pie

Meal 3: Apple Pork Chops

Meal 4: Tuna Noodle Casserole

Meal 5: Grilled steak and Mediterranean-style potatoes

Meal 6: Sweet potato stew and Ham Sandwiches

If you want to see what other menu planners are up to check out

I also want to mention my two go-to cookbooks. They have never led me wrong and almost everything I have tried in them has been delicious. The food is healthy, ingredients easy to find. They are real gems to have in your kitchen.

Eat Shrink and Be Merry and Crazy Plates were both written by two sisters that care about healthy tasty food that will please your family. They sneak health into everything! I swear by their trick of adding broccoli slaw to tuna when making sandwiches now!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I'm a carrot.

A couple of evenings ago we were sitting around the dinner table chatting. The conversation turned to how old everyone was and how we were all related.

I explained to Charlotte that Emmett was the oldest brother, Matthew was the youngest brother and she was the middle sister. I compared them to a sandwich, with the boys bread and she the filling.

We decided the kids were a cheese sandwich, with Charlotte being the cheese. I then asked Charlotte what Daddy was. After a moment of thought she declared that Daddy was a pickle. I then asked her what I was.

"Mommy, you're a carrot!"

So there you go.


If you are Canadian and of a Certain Age, this is your childhood in four video clips:

Young kids had the gentleness of The Friendly Giant (with Gerome and Rusty) and Mister Dressup (with Casey, Finnegan and the ubiquitous Tickle Trunk) to entertain them.

When you got a little older you had to rush home from school lest you miss this:

And, if you were feeling naughty you would sneak out of your room after bedtime and turn this on (quiet! you don't want Mom and Dad to know you have the TV on!)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Squishy New Socks.

Just in time for the cold, some new woolly socks for my chilly feet. This is special yarn, impregnated with aloe and jojoba to sooth winter dry skin.

I bought it on vacation in Moncton a few summers ago. It is my first toe up sock and my first short row heel. I love the look of the short row heel with self striping yarn, I need more practice with it.

I had to fight the kids for them this morning. It turns out that hand knit wool socks are the perfect thing for sliding on our hard wood floors with!

Stats for the yarny folk out there:

Pattern: Toe-up socks with a short row heel that I cobbled together from a couple of on line sources. (Toe, and heel. The rest is K3 P1 rib with a K1 P1 cuff)
Yarn: Austermann Step in Gras colourway
Needles: 2.25 mm Clover Bamboo dpns, my old friends.

What do I cast on next??

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Pudding Therapy

As I have mentioned before I am a big fan of cookbooks. Nigella Lawson is a favourite of mine when I need a little light hearted entertainment. I love reading her books, but rarely cook from them.

That is, until a couple of days ago.

I love rice pudding. It is the ultimate comfort food for me. Rich, sweet, creamy, full of starchy is just perfect. tangent: No raisins, please. Don't even make the pudding with raisins and then tell me to pick them out. When you make rice pudding with raisins the flavour permeates the pudding so the whole thing tastes like raisins. Yuck.

So, a couple of days ago I get out my copy of Nigella Bites. There is a recipe in the book for "Rice Pudding for Emergencies." It is made on top of the stove with Arborio Rice and you cook it like you would cook risotto. About half an hour standing at the stove stirring and you get gorgeous creamy, rich rice pudding. The extra starch in the Arborio rice gives the pudding fantastic consistency. Really. I liken it to that really expensive Kozy Shack pudding you find in the refrigerator aisle at the grocery store, only the grains are bigger and more toothsome.

Really. This pudding is fantastic. It is fantastic on a few levels:
  • When the kids have been screaming and fighting for half a day and you need to hide for a while, just put on some soothing music in the kitchen. (CBC Radio 2 is my radio station of choice.) Pour a cup of coffee and plant yourself at the stove, and meditate on the soothing repetitive action that you MUST do. You must not leave the stove.
  • After the therapeutic stirring portion is complete, you get a smooth, sweet warm treat that you can either shovel in standing at the stove, or split up and share with the ungrateful rugrats who seem intent on giving you ten new grey hairs every day.
  • If you share with the rugrats, you get at least two minutes of silence while they eat their shares.
  • If you share with the rugrats you get to have a Good Mommy Moment where you can revel in the smug satisfaction that you have made something nourishing from scratch for them. Stirring for 20 minutes at the stove instead of microwaving something or throwing something out of a package at the kids gives you Bonus Points.
  • In my draughty house, stirring something at the stove for 20 minutes is sometimes the only way I can warm up now that winter has really settled in here.
Want a little pudding therapy of your own?

Heat just over two cups of milk in the microwave until scalded.
While that is cooking, melt a tablespoon of butter and a couple of spoonfuls of white sugar in a heavy saucepan. Add 4 tablespoons Arborio rice and stir to coat. Add the milk, a splash at a time, stirring all the while. Keep the mixture at a brisk simmer. The pudding is done when the rice has absorbed enough milk to be soft and creamy. That takes at least 20-30 minutes of stirring. Add a splash of vanilla extract at the end and more sugar, if desired. I like to garnish with a sprinkle from my vanilla sugar grinder.

You can take any basic risotto recipe and sub butter for olive oil, sugar for the onion and milk for the stock. Finish with a splash of vanilla extract and some cream, if you really need to guild the lily. (Hmmmm, I wonder if a splash of Bailey's would be good if the kids are in bed and you have a girl movie queued on the DVD player?)

Friday, November 21, 2008

It's my bloggyversary.

Three years ago today I started this little blog. 412 posts . 28, 219 times someone has clicked onto my little corner of the internet. I love checking my hit counter to see how Google has led some of you here. (Dora Knitting Pattern and Arachnoid Cyst are recent popular keywords)

Now, I know that some people have give aways or draws to mark their blogging anniversaries. Sorry. I don't have anything to give right now. Oh wait I do have one thing:
Thank you very much for stopping by and reading. Thank you for your comments and support during the ups and downs my life has had these past three years.

Quick question? Who the heck are you? Bloglines says I have 12 subscribers. Blogger says I have 7. Sitemeter says I get around 35-40 hits a day. I know this is not a huge following, but I do appreciate each and every one of you.

Today is the day to de-lurk. If you are a regular reader, show yourself!!! Tell me what keeps bringing you back. Tell me what you want more of. How did you end up here in the first place?

Thank you for your co-operation on this urgent matter.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Santa Musings.

Every Christmas Season it's the same. The kids say "Is Santa coming?" "Where's Santa?" Santa. Santa. Santa. My stomach clenches. I start the debate in my head. How do I feel about Santa? Is he encouraging mass consumerism in my offspring? Is he teaching about giving with love? Do I like maintaining the illusion, essentially lying to my kids?

Do I like (how do I put this?) playing the party line that he lives in an undisclosed Polar Hideout with Henchmen (er, elves) and a Magical Flying Vehicle propelled by Magical Flying Reindeer?

Wow. When you put it that way, he kind of sounds like a Supervillain. (Cool!)

There is a whole industry designed to support his case. In Canada, every letter to Santa is answered by hand. NORAD tracks him.

I know many parents use Santa as a parenting tool in November/December, bribing their kids to behave with what are probably empty threats. Have you ever known anyone who got coal in their stockings instead of presents??

I got really cynical this weekend when there were two Santa Claus Parades in relatively close proximity happening at the same time. I wondered if Santa at the mall went away while the local parade was happening.

I talk about this with Richard every year. He thinks that we are protecting the kid's innocence by letting them believe in Santa. He reminds me of the fond memory I have of talking to Santa on my Dad's Amateur Radio on Christmas Eve. He reminds me that I was not devastated when I discovered the truth. The newest issue of Chatelaine Magazine had an editorial where the author found out that finding out about Santa is harder on parents than it is on the kids.

Saint Nicholas was real. My church celebrates the feast in his name every year. I think I might let the kids pick out names from the Giving Tree at the Mall so they can play Santa themselves this year.

I gamely play along. Emmett wrote his letter. (Click on it to see it big enough to decipher his printing) I will help Charlotte write hers.

How do you deal with Santa in your home?

PS--if you want to write a letter to Santa, his address is: Santa Claus, North Pole, Canada, H0H 0H0

Friday, November 14, 2008

Putting the Knit back in to Knit Wit

My blogging has been kind of boring lately. I've been busy.
A lacey beret for me, a neckwarmer that is going to be a Christmas gift for our respite worker, , some cozy socks for Matthew, and a helmet liner for my brother to wear on the cold days on his oil rig.

I have a couple of other things on the go too, but you can't see them! If you are on Ravelry, look me up. My knitting secrets will be spilled there. I am Prairieknitwit, just like I am here.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

On the Mend.....

I am feeling a lot better. A trip to the chiropractor and some good old fashioned rest helped.

Grandma helped too. Everyone knows the about curative effect of fresh baked biscuits and a new magazine, right???

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


I am not the most graceful duck in the pond. This is a well-established fact. As a child my shins were permanently bruised and are now kind of lumpy if you run your hand over them. I stepped on a rake once. It is not as funny as it is in cartoons. I didn't see little birdies flying around my head. I will trip on a busy pattern in linoleum. Last week I sliced my finger so badly I superglued the cut closed so it could have a chance at healing. How did I do it? By washing out a freezer I was preparing to sell. There was a teeny shard of glass stuck to the bottom that I didn't see until I ran my washrag over it.

Yesterday I proved my talent for self injury is growing. I managed to fall UP my basement stairs. My basement stairs are not attached to the wall. When I tripped, I managed to wedge myself between the staircase and wall. In hindsight that was probably preferable to falling towards the side of the stairwell open to the basement. Instead of head trauma I have a hideous scrape on top of an apple-sized bruise on my left upper torso. You don't realize how often your pectoral muscles are used in day to day life until you have an apple-sized bruise on one of them. I have aches and a few random scrapes and bruises all down the left side of my body. I am pretty much in constant pain right now. Sleeping was awful. I couldn't face the water in the shower this morning.

I am feeling pretty sorry for myself right now.

Make me feel better. I need to know I am not the only total dorkwad klutz out there. What was the clumsiest thing you have ever done? Spill! (But please don't slip.)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Well, it looks like my Slow Cooker is getting a workout this week!

Meal 1: Java Roast Beef, salad

Meal 2: Sweet and Sour Chicken, brown rice

Meal 3: Slow Cooked Pork Chops

Meal 4: Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, steamed green beans

Meal 5: Sticky Chicken breasts (I didn't make it last week, we'll give it another go this week)

Meal 6: Buffet (aka: Leftovers)

Breakfasts are simple around here: Oatmeal with frozen fruit or toast and PB&J. Lunches are sometimes leftovers, sometimes sandwiches, sometimes pizzas made on pita bread.

Need more ideas? Check out what other Meal Planners have in store this week!.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


Something big happened today. I went into Matthew's room to get him after his nap. He pointed to the ceiling in his room and said: "Light".

His first word.

I let out a breath I didn't even know I was holding.

Given that hindsight is so acute, I knew from the start that Matthew wouldn't face the challenges that Emmett has. He nursed like a champ from his first moment out of my belly. He eats anything I set in front of him (well, anything except mushrooms) He has chattered and burbled and babbled like any regular baby does. He climbs on everything like a monkey. He calls me Mama sometimes. Emmett didn't call me Mom until he was three.

Now, I know what you are thinking. What about Charlotte? She has met every milestone like clockwork. Even tonight I was treated to a lovely serenade after the church fall supper. Grandma was at the piano. Char belted out Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and played the triangle like a little Diva. Apraxia usually affects boys. I have always watched Matthew a little closer. Searching for signs. Checking things off my mental list of symptoms.

I am getting to the point where I can feel blessed that Emmett and I are on the journey we are together. (I sure didn't feel that way at first!) He has made me the Mom I am today. He has brought some fantastic people into my life (Hi Sandy!!)

I am just kind of relieved that I don't have to go on this roller coaster again.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A little thing.

From Mama To Mama:

In northern Haiti:

* Just 1 in 5 women receives skilled medical care during childbirth.
* Haiti has the highest maternal mortaility ratio in the Western Hemisphere.
* 1 in 40 women will die as a result of pregnancy complications, unsafe abortion, or obstetrical emergency.
* Twelve percent of children die before the age of 5.

About Konbit Sante:

Konbit Sante is a Maine-based volunteer partnership working to save lives and improve health care in northern Haiti. In Haitian Creole, a konbit is a traditional method of working together to till your friends' and neighbors fields as well as your own - a cooperative effort. Sante means health. The name defines their committment to address the staggering health problems in northern Haiti where most lack basic care and live without running water.
One aspect of their work involves OB/GYN care . Konbit Sante is working to assemble Safe Birthing Kits to be distributed by traditional birth attendants in the desperately poor Fort St. Michel area of Cap-Haitien. These kits - consisting of plastic sheeting, hand sanitizer, a sterile piece of string and razor blade, and these newborn baby caps - have the potential to reduce infant and maternal mortality, and give babies a safer, healthier start.

My dear friend Poppins is collecting little caps to send to Maine to be added to the Safe Birth Kits that Konabit Sante is assembling. Simple little caps made from soft t-shirts that you probably have laying around your house, shrunk in the wash, oddly stained, or just not a colour you like anymore.

I raided my drawers and found four t-shirts. I cut the simple pattern out after bedtime last night and sewed eight little caps during Matthew's nap this morning. All told, I think I invested under two hours of my time to keep eight little newborn heads warm.

Babies need precious little. I think we tend to forget that in our cushy Western lifestyle. Heck, I was stunned to see what is in the safe birth kit for midwives in Hati. I can tell you that there was a lot more equipment littering my bedroom during my own homebirth last year.

One adult-sized shirt can easily make two caps
You don't even have to hem them! (I hate hemming)
One seam
Eight little heads covered.

Monday, November 3, 2008

A little something for my American readers.

Don't forget to vote tomorrow!!!

Menu Plan Monday

It's Monday. We are in the throes of Daylight Savings Time-induced jet lag. This week's menu is full of simple and easy to prepare food. I am not assigning days this week. I change my mind randomly.

Meal 1: Broccoli, bacon and roasted red pepper quiche

Meal 2: Hoagies and split pea soup

Meal 3: Home made pizza

Meal 4: Spaghetti and meat sauce

Meal 5: Sticky chicken breasts with mashed potatoes

Meal 6: Leftovers (or as we call them in my house: Buffet)

Do you need some more menu ideas? Check out who else participates in Menu Plan Monday.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Halloween 2008 in three bullet points:
  • Here are a couple of Halloween pictures for Grandma. The kids were in a hurry to start Trick or Treating so, believe it or not, the top picture was the best one I could get of everyone!
  • Richard wins the good husband award tonight. Matthew only came home with one sock. These are socks I just finished knitting for him a couple of days ago. Richard retraced the Trick or Treating route and found the missing sock. (Thankfully, it was not far from our house.) The man understands what it takes to be married to a knitter!
  • Emmett was very sweet and shared his candy with us when he got home. I even got to have a coveted peanut butter cup.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Mmmmmm Aliens.......

So, this morning I was checking out Pioneer Woman's Food blog and came across her recipe for cake balls. I thought they looked so cool, but didn't really have an excuse to try them.

Fast forward about an hour. I am sitting in a conference room at Emmett's school in a meeting with his therapy team. His teacher leans over to me and asks if I can bring a sweet treat to the Halloween party tomorrow instead of crackers and cheese, as I had planned. Yay!!! I get to make Alien Cake Balls!!!!!

I ran out to the Giant Craft Store and bought the essential supplies. I baked a gruesome looking Red Velvet Cake and then set to work. Grandma Jean helped with the decorating. I hope they go over well with Emmett's classmates!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Thank you Kitten!

Kitten has bestowed upon me this thoughtful award. She is a sweet person with a heart of gold. I am flattered and touched.

This blog invests and believes, in ‘proximity’ [meaning, that blogging makes us 'close' - being close through proxy] "They are all charming blogs, and the majority of them aim to show the marvels of friendship; there are persons who are not interested when we give them a prize, and then they help to cut these bows; do we want that they are cut, or that they propagate?" Then let’s try to give more attention to them!

So with this prize we must deliver it to eight bloggers that in turn must make the same thing and put this text.”

A lot of blogs I read have already received this award. I don't know who to pass it on to!

Ok, here is one worth noting:


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

I try to plan menus every week to maximize our grocery spending and minimize food waste. This is the first time I will be participating in Menu Plan Monday hosted over at I'm an Organizing Junkie.
If you are visiting from that site, then Hello! Nice to meet you! I hope you like what you see. If you are a regular visitor over here, then Hello! Nice to see you again!

A few notes about menu planning, Knitwit style:
  • Monday's are busy here with dance class dangerously close to dinner time. You will usually find a casserole that I can make at lunchtime or something bubbling in my crock pot on that day. (Um, except for this week, it seems.)
  • I usually only plan to cook five meals in a week as we get respite care one evening a week so I don't cook that day. (Well, does reheating chicken nuggets in the oven count as cooking?) I also plan to eat leftovers at least one night a week.
  • If you want a recipe that I don't provide a link for, let me know and I can email you.
  • Grocery shopping was done on Sunday, so Menu Plan Monday actually started a day early here!
  • Emmett and Charlotte visit with my Mother in Law most Fridays so you usually find a meal that the kids normally wouldn't eat on that day.

Sunday: Hot Pizza Dip with pita chips. Baked rice pudding for dessert.
Edited to add--if you try the rice pudding grease your pan very, very well or use a silicone liner. I think I may have to soak my dish overnight to loosen the baked on sugary milk bonded to the sides of it.

Monday: Creamy carrot soup, Tuna Melts, carrot sticks and hummus or ranch dressing to dip.

Tuesday: Crock pot roasted chicken, steamed frozen vegetables.

Wednesday: Chicken salad panini.

Thursday: Respite night.

Friday: Shrimp pomodoro pasta.

Saturday: Lasagna. (I haven't decided if this will be lazy skillet style, crock pot, or traditional.)

Last Days of Fall.

The wind is a lot colder. There is snow in the forecast. Every time we go to the park we wonder if it will be the last time there will be sand to dig in.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


Kidlet's mum wins! What? I don't know. But for those of you who are curious, the title from my previous post is a line from The Simpsons.

It is Thanksgiving weekend in my neck of the woods. My delicious No-Knead bread is minding it's own business on the counter, waiting to be baked and devoured at dinner tomorrow. My brother's hat is looking more hat-shaped, and my grey hair is now a lovely shade of magenta. I don't have much else to report, so I am leaving you with a fun meme. Please feel free to spread it around. If you comment on my blog and take it, let me know and I will be sure to comment at yours.

If you read this, if your eyes are passing over this right now,(even if we don't speak often or ever) please post a comment with a completely made up and fictional memory of you and me.

It can be anything you want - good or bad - but it has to be fake.

When you're finished, post this little paragraph in your blog(if the spirit moves you) and see what your friends come up with.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Egghead likes her booky book.

I love to read. I have loved books as long as I can remember. I love sharing books with my kids. When I had Emmett I could hardly wait to share with him a book I remember from my own childhood:

The Monster at the End of This Book. I remember my Dad reading this to me and how much fun we had together. The kids love reading it and turning the pages as Grover gets more and more agitated. Some of my other favourites are:

Cunnigham's Rooster. This is a gorgeous story about a musician Cat who has lost his inspiration to write. His creativity is renewed upon meeting a Rooster who inspires him to write his magnum opus. Unfortunately, it is now out of print. I took my copy from my Mom's house and keep it in a safe place. I read it to the kids, but it is not on the shelf of books that Matthew can reach!

Someone is Eating the Sun. I was a wee sprog during a solar eclipse (I think it was Feb 26, 1979 according to a NASA website) My parents read this book to my brother and me to help explain why the living room got suddenly dark in the middle of the day. The illustrations are different in this edition, but the story is still the same. I need to track one down for our collection.

When I was in Grade 1 my teacher kept a log of the books her student's read. Once you read 100 books, you got a book to keep. My 100th story book was Cinderella. Of course I still have it!

When I got older and could read on my own I started a longtime love affair with EB White and Laura Ingalls Wilder that lives on to this day. I guess I even named my daughter after a spider!

I could go on for days about my favourite books. I even had library cards in two towns when I was little (One at home and one in my Grandparent's town)

What are your favourite children's books?

*You get bonus points if you know where I got the title of this post.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Who made this rule?

Background information: Some nights Richard will spend the night on the couch after staying up too late playing computer games or watching TV. Last night was one of those nights.

As I am laying in bed this morning I notice three things: 1. I am alone. 2. The sun is all the way up so that means I got to sleep in. 3. Emmett is up. I snuggle under the covers and listen as he goes downstairs and then comes back up and goes into his room. I then hear him tell Charlotte that they can't go downstairs because Daddy is asleep on the couch. So, what do they do? The come into my bed and jump on me. (But not before Emmett tells Char to whisper and tiptoe because Daddy is asleep.)

Does this sound fair to you??

Thursday, October 2, 2008

I am NOT going to ignore the kids and house and read this all afternoon......

.....Emmett and Charlotte are going out with Grandma.

Click on the link and you will find the whole book. Free. Before you settle in, at least load the dishwasher and put on a pot of coffee, OK?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Bad Blogger!

Yep, that's me. I don't feel like I have much to say lately. My days come and go at the hectic pace that three kids will give you. We are busy, but not much noteworthy happens. Emmett and Charlotte get chauffered to school and dance class, Matthew packed along for the ride.

Our wedding anniversary came and went. We saw Elton John play for three hours. Fantastic concert. Richard was a good sport despite the overly enthusiastic woman sitting beside him. She got more and more enthusiastic as the concert went on and she drank more and more beer.

Emmett is adjusting to a new school routine and new therapy routine. I got a note home yesterday saying how he broke down in therapy trying to explain something to the therapist that she couldn't understand. My stomach twisted. I am reading the Well Trained Mind and several books a kind homeschooler sent me (Emmett LOVES the games you sent, Wendy!) and as I am learning more about apraxia, homeschooling is sounding better and better. As it turns out, a classroom may not be the best place for a kid with apraxia to be. When you put a child like that in a group of kids it is too easy for him to get overwhelmed and not be allowed the extra time it takes to formulate sentences and then speak. So far we are fortunate that his class is very small and he has an aid with him. I just feel in my heart that at some point I will be bringing my boy home so I can help him the way he needs to be helped. Maybe I just have a fundamental mistrust of the school system??

I am finding time to knit. I am finding I need to read again. So far there are two books I am working my way through and one on standby and a new project on my needles. (The Well Trained Mind, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Twilight on standby and a helmet liner for my little brother so he stays warm on the oil rig this winter)

So there you go. I am still here.