Saturday, January 31, 2009

a dozen years!

Our baby girl turned 12 today! Happy Birthday sweet Mckenzie! We love you so much and are so excited about the wonderful young lady you are growing up to become. Continue to follow Jesus all your days and keep that sweet spirit're such a delight.

Here are a dozen tid bits about our Kenzie girl that make her so delightful:

*She is usually the first one of the kids awake in the morning and she has to eat right away!!! She's been known to power down 7 pancakes at one sitting.
*She loves babies (some call her a baby hog) and she is going to make the best babysitter!
*Mckenzie plays point guard on the Warriors (second string) and she has the best up and under pass of anyone on the team!
*She is a sewer of the highest quality! She made this dog pillow last year.
*She loves pink!

*Her heart has always been drawn to music...she's a quiet worshipper.
*Her favorite thing to do in her free time is to be on the computer playing Webkinz...she has 25 Webkinz!
*When it comes to school work she always does her reading assignments first....math usually gets saved for last.

*Kenzie always has her nails painted...often in very colorful hues.
*She might seem quiet and shy at first, but she has the wittiest sense of humor...she always has us laughing.
*I often find pajamas under her pillow....pajamas that I'd like to wash!
*She is reading through the book of John right now in her quiet time.

Oh and one more: She is the kind of daughter any mom and dad would want. We love you Z! Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

white caps

When I finished my Loden Hill Hat, my oldest daughter requested one for herself. Who can resist knitting requests? Such affirmation! She wanted her hat to be ivory though in order to match her Warrior wear (basketball team uniform and warm up). So, I made her an Ivory Hill Hat per request. She loves it! This one I knit an inch longer so that it covers her ears. Perfect! My middle daughter and I were chatting one afternoon and I asked her if she would like a hat like her sister's. "No, it's not really my style", she replied without hesitating. (I guess it's good she knows what her style is!) When I saw Leslie's Chunky Beanie, I showed it to Kenzie inquiring as to whether or not she thought that this hat was her style. "I would for sure wear that!" she said as she hurried by. So when I was at the knitting shop getting some yarn for a project for me (red!!!) I couldn't resist this: On our way to Morgantown (to watch WVU get beat by Pitt -stink!), I knit Kenzie a Chunky Beanie (took me longer than an hour, but not too much longer). I also knit this one a bit longer. She loves it! Another success! I had some yarn leftover from Kenzie's Beanie and I made myself an ear/neck warmer. I got the idea from Tiennie's post on all the ear/neck warmers that she made. John and I take walks together and this will be great for keeping my ears warm. Plus it used up my leftover yarn! You know how I love that!

So for all you knitters here's the knitty gritty:

Pattern: Rose Hill Hat, by Erin Harris
Needles: Size 7
Patons Classic Wool, Ivory
Mods: knit it 61/2 inches before decreasing

Chunky Beanie, by Leslie Friend
Needles: Size 15 (knit flat)
Yarn: Classic Elite:
Twinkle Soft Chunky, Winter White (Leslie's pattern recommends Cascade is a better value than the Twinkle Soft's over double the yardage.)
Mods: knit it to be 7 inches before decreasing

Pattern: none…you could so do this!
Needles: Size 15
Yarn: Classic Elite:
Twinkle Soft Chunky, Winter White

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


"Who's going to take the dog out?" That's a question I ask more times than I care to know in a given day. Usually the response is something like, "I took her out last time." or "It's M's turn". It gets old fast. So, John and I have been praying for some inspiration about how to handle the doggie dilemma. We want the kids to take independent responsibility for walking Molly, without continuous reminders or scheduling on our part. Not because we're lazy but because we want them to see that the dog needs to go out and then act on it...not wait to be told or asked. Anyone else out there hear me? I think that's our goal as parents, to work ourselves out of a job. To equip them to do what needs to be done and then to step back and allow them to do that task, whatever it may be. I really don't think it helps them for us to do everything for them.
So, I was reading through Family Fun and I saw the idea. They were suggesting using marbles as a training for piano practice, but we've adopted it for our doggie dilemma. I put a large jar of marbles by the front door along with three smaller jars. Whenever anyone takes Molly out, they get to take a marble out of the large jar and put it into their own individual jar. When they've collected 15 marbles, they earn an extra privilege. (extra computer time or wii time or even a blessing that John and I choose)I think that's kind of like life...when you've done what you need to do you have time for some extra privileges. I really like this so far. I like it, because it's rewarding the good behavior, it's causing them to be on the lookout for opportunities to be responsible and it's also making it their job to keep track of their good efforts (not mine).
I'll keep you posted as to it's long term success...just yesterday Jammer asked me, "Do you get two marbles if you take her for a walk and she poops?" oh boy!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

toasty about town

This is my first finished object of 2009. These are Toasty by Leslie. I started them for my mom...but then she decided to knit herself a I kept on going and decided to keep them for me. These are the best fingerless mitts. I love them because they are long enough to cover my wrists and part of my lower arms. They're great for driving or running errands around town. I wore them today as we headed to class. The church were our class was held was chilly so I actually left them on for part of class. Thanks Leslie for the great pattern. It was quick and easy and I know I'll be wearing these a lot.

Here's the scoop:
Pattern: Toasty by Leslie Friend
Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash in black
Needles: Size 7
Mods: none
John was so great to get some picture of my Toasty in our dusting of snow the other day...I know the neighbors have to be shaking their heads when they see us outside taking pictures of my hands! Oh well...

eta: Since this post, my good friend Mark and I have had some fun emailing back and forth some jokes regarding toasty...they're too fun not to share!
Mark writes: "if you made some in speckled tan yarn, you could call them cinnamon toasty! and yours could be called burnt toasty. but then again, that doesn't sound nearly as appetizing as they look."
Lisa replies: "I was thinking yellow would be nice and I could call them buttered toasty! :)"
Mark adds: "good one! or finally, alternating stripes of blue, white and red, and call them french toasty!"
Lisa, can't resist: "you crack me up....or if john samuel wore them, I could call them toasty with jam!"
(note to add understanding: John Samuels nickname is Jammer)
too much fun...feel free to add any as you think of them!

Monday, January 19, 2009


I kissed my 6 year old boy good night last night for the last he's my 7 year old boy! I can't believe it's been 7 years since I saw that sweet face for the first time. Happy Birthday to my little guy. He's such a great kid. Here are a couple random facts about him that make him so wonderfully made.

He loves to do puzzles...we call him our puzzler.
He loves anything Star Wars.
He sleeps with toys under his pillow. This is the pile from last night.
He has a favorite bear named Grahamy that he plays with daily. We just celebrated Grahamy's birthday last week.
He is playing basketball for the Red Rockets and loves it. The ball is always bouncing in our house...
He can't watch sports on TV without playing along...
He is becoming a reader!
He gives the best hugs and kisses!
He never remembers to pick up his jammies.
He loves peanut butter and bananas.
He gives the best shoulder rubs.

Happy Birthday John Samuel...we love you so much!

Thanks to the Robbs for their sweet birthday's John Samuel reading the Birthday Post.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

marketing and meals

I really don't delight in going to the grocery store. But - it's one of those things though that keeps recurring in my life. No matter how I slice it we've got to eat. Because I don't enjoy schlepping off to the store all the time, I've tried to minimize my trips and maximize my money. One of the best ways I've found is to have a plan. I meal plan for our family for two weeks at a time. This helps me to effectively think through what I have and what I need as I go grocery shopping. Another thing that has been an added benefit is that I find that I spend less because I've thought through what we're having and I'm not just picking out food that tickles my fancy while I'm in the grocery store. I also don't have to go back to the store multiple times in a week because I've listed out my meals and my ingredients and I get everything (most of the time) that I need in one trip. (cause you know every time I go back into the grocery store I come out with more than I intended) My husband will often pick up milk or bananas if we need a restock on his way home from work. But other than that, it really works to meal plan and market with my meals in mind.

Here's how I do it:
1. I sit down the day before I'm going grocery shopping with my calendar, my meal planning sheet and my market list. (I say the day before because then I have time to really plan and not just rush through the process) I look at the calendar and see when we need a meal-on-the-go or when we aren't going to be home for dinner and I mark that on my meal planning sheet. Having my calendar handy really helps me think through the days.
(I've added these lists to my side bar under downloads, feel free to print out copies for yourself or use them to start your own)

2.Then I start listing main dishes on the days that we are eating at home. Busy days get a crock pot meal or something simple like pizza or sandwiches. I also think through ingredients. If I'm having a chicken casserole on Monday, I might cook extra chicken and set some aside for chicken enchiladas on Wednesday. This saves money (buy value packs) and saves time (cook once, eat twice!)

3. After I've decided on main dishes I add sides that are simple and stretchable. Salads, veggies, and potatoes all are great sides that don't take a lot of time or energy. Fruit is another way to add a bit more to a meal with out cooking all day or spending a lot of money.
4. I'll think through my breakfast and lunch plans for the weeks and make note of any special lunches or breakfasts we need. At this point, I don't plan out our breakfasts and lunches unless they are special occasions. We usually have granola, yogurt, pancakes or bagels for breakfast so I try to keep all of those on hand. For lunches we do roll ups, leftovers, sandwiches or frozen pizzas.

5. I don't make dessert every night, but I try to keep on hand the things I would need for some of our favorite cookies. We always have ice cream in the freezer, so that's usually on my list. I will jot down any special desserts or baked things that I might want to have during the two weeks for which I'm planning.

4. After my meals are laid out, I start marking things on my market list that I need to purchase. This is where I really save time...I don't write out my list every time I'm going shopping, I use a master list and check off items that I regularly use. I also check my pantry and see what I really am out of rather than guessing and buying something I don't really need. (I'll talk about my pantry in another post)

Added Bonuses:

  • My master market list also helps me out between grocery trips as I use it to mark off things as I run out of them. Then it's already on the list for the next grocery trip. I usually have a couple of these printed off ready for use.

  • I keep my meal list in my daily notebook (or on the fridge) for easy reference. In the morning, all I have to do is look at the planned out menu and think through what still needs to be done. If my day ends up different than I planned, I just switch meals around. It's not a big issue since all the ingredients for each meal are already on hand. I also jot on my meal list things I need to remember, like thaw chicken on Monday so it will be ready for Tuesday's meal.

  • After a couple of weeks of meal planning you'll find that you've got a resource of meals to choose from. I know friends who rotate meal plans every month then they only have to meal plan occasionally, they just recycle their previous meal plans.

What's your plan for shopping and meal planning? Feel free to leave a comment letting me know what works for you!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

you haven't made it all year!

This is what my kids have been chanting at me for a couple of days now...mind you it's only January 11th. They say "you haven't made it all year!" like it's been months. But, they know how to wear me yesterday I made some of our favorite granola and I thought I'd share the recipe. It is easy and so good, and the nice thing about it is that it makes a ton so you can eat your fill and still have enough to share!

Favorite Granola

In a large bowl, mix 9 cups of oats, 1 1/2 cups of coconut (you really don't taste the coconut...honest) 1 1/2 cups of nuts (I used chopped pecans), 3 cups whole wheat flour, 1 1/2 cups wheat germ.
In a separate bowl, blend together: 3/4 cup of water, 2 cups brown sugar, 1 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 1/2 cups of oil (I used canola), 4 tsp. vanillaPour the wet ingredients over the dry and mix well to incorporate. Spread this mixture onto jelly roll pans or cookie sheets with sides. You might need more than one. Bake for 45 at 250 degrees. Stir and bake an additional 15 minutes. I usually use a flip to flip it all over. Store in airtight containers. This will keep well for quite a while.We enjoy our granola with milk for breakfast, on yogurt, as an ice cream topper or even sprinkled on baked fruit as like a cobbler! Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

thoughts and plans

I'm never short on projects that I want to do. I always have a list that I've got going, either in my mind or even possibly on paper. My projects are my therapy. They give me an outlet for all my creative energy. Like Leslie's friend says, "They keep my lid on tight." Right now though, I've got nothin'. Really. Nothing major. I think I know why...

As I started the new year, I made a list in my journal of the priorities that I needed to keep during the year. You know, the things that are non negotiable....
  • making sure that I cultivate my relationship with the Lord through my quiet time and study
  • being a good, attentive wife (which does take time you realize),
  • being a good, attentive mother
  • keeping school as a focus (ton of weekday time here!)
  • keeping the house (which includes cleaning, organizing, meals, grocery shopping, laundry...- some of this is delegated, but still one of my priorities)
  • being a good friend (daughter, aunt, sister,godmother) who takes the time to be interested and involved

I'm hoping my list will keep me accountable. That if one or more of the areas on my list starts to slide, I'll adjust my time and attention & get things back into order. See, I have a tendency to let my projects get the best of me...the best of my time and my attention and then I'm not my best for the really important things in my life, like my family and my friends. I get satisfaction in checking things off my can't check off relationships. So, as John and I were taking a walk and talking the other day I asked him to help me keep things in check. You know not get out of whack with my to do list. He's good at helping me see what I can handle and what I just need to let go of. I can say no and I can cross things off my list...I just need help sometimes in order to be able to let something go.

Now, I do have a tangible list of things that I also want to keep up with in the new year and they include, but aren't limited to: (see that loophole there...I've got to be careful)

  • blogging
  • sewing
  • knitting
  • scrap booking, card making
  • gardening
  • photography

These are my creative outlet things...but I've got to remember that they come secondary to my non-negotiable list. I just need to keep things in the right order. right?!

In the meantime, I still have this cross stitch thing I want to lose finish and I'm working on my Project 365. So I'm a bit reluctant to get myself into too many other projects. I do need to get a new knitting project going though and I mentioned this to John. He replied with, "I thought you weren't adding any new projects?" Hello. I meant, I'm not going to start spinning my own yarn and dying it. I have to have a knitting project for all these long distance basketball games we're going to be traveling to! Well, I'm off to work on dinner and look on Ravelry for a new knitting project. Here's to a great new year full of all the important things in life!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

last and first

We had a great time last night closing out 2008. A family time of playing the wii, eating take out, watching Kit Kitteredge and then welcoming 2009. While watching the movie, I finished my last project of 2008 - the Rose Hill Hat by Erin Harris. It was a fun knit.

This is my attempt at a self portrait photo...hmmm.
I can see why Leslie made so many of them. I used my leftover Ella Rae yarn to make mine. The pattern was easy to follow and worked up very quickly. Thanks Erin!

Our little guy didn't quite make it till midnight, so we tucked him in bed early and waited by the fire with the girls for 2008 to end. They wanted to see the ball drop. (not quite the excitement they thought it would be...Kenzie just said, "hmmm, that's it?")

last night around midnight So here I am this morning, and everyone else is still asleep. A brand new year! A new page in a new book. Don't you love writing in a new notebook, getting a fresh start? I am excited about this year!

the first sunrise of 2009I am excited to start a new chapter in my life. In the lives of John and myself and our family. I don’t know what lies ahead this year…I never do. Maybe if I did, I wouldn’t want to go there or I'd be in such a hurry I'd miss the little things along the way. But I do know the One who holds this year in His hands. I know the One who goes ahead of me and directs me into this New Year. I know Him so much better than I ever did and my goal is to continue to know Him and rely on Him and follow Him. Deuteronomy 11:11-12 says, “ The land you are…to take possession of is a land of mountains and valleys that drinks rain from heaven. It is a land the LORD your God cares for; the eyes of the LORD your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end.” The Lord is to be the Source of my supply. In Him are springs, fountains, and streams that will never be cut off or run dry. To those who are anxious comes the gracious promise of our heavenly Father; If He is the source of our mercies, mercy will never fail us. No heat or drought can dry the “river whose streams make glad the city of God.” (Ps. 46:4) So I head into 2009 with so much anticipation, knowing that as I knit my way through the year one stitch at a time He is my source. Happy New Year to all of you; I wish you the blessings of creativity, peace and anticipation as you journey into 2009! Wonder what my first project will be?