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.