Saturday, September 27, 2008

easy peasy and toxin free!

we have an easy bake oven! it was actually niko's but has been packed away in the garage for probably three years. i mentioned the easy bake oven to esme' earlier in the week and she has talked about nothing else since. i told her we would bake this weekend. tuesday came, "is it the weekend yet?" wednesday came "can we bake today?" on thursday "today???" you get the point, she was very excited!
yesterday after i dropped her off at school i decided to swing by the store and pick up some easy bake oven mixes. on the way to the store i started wondering what kind of multi syllable, unpronounceable "ingredients" these mixes would contain. and just where are they packaged anyway? i was almost relieved when the store i was shopping at did not carry easy bake oven accessories. i came home and did a little internet browsing and guess what i found...easy bake oven recipes! recipes that use real ingredients from our kitchen! i don't know why i hadn't thought to look online before.
last night tony brought the big box in from the garage after esme' had gone to bed. he cleaned everything up, replaced the light bulb that would bake our goodies and left it on the table for her. there were two easy bake mixes in the box that confirmed my fears before they were tossed~ a long list of unrecognizable ingredients and they are mixed and packaged in china.

so just as soon as the breakfast dishes were cleared from the table we baked! we made chocolate cake with vanilla glaze. we are going to try brownies tomorrow! and maybe cookies if we have time. i don't think the easy bake oven will be packed back up for quite some time.

i am already thinking of ways to make the recipes we found even better, tastier, healthier. perhaps we can even create some vegan easy bake oven recipes!

harper was also very interested in the baking process. so much so that he was confined to the high chair while we finished up. don't let his innocent-i'm-just-minding-my-own-business act fool you!

and in other baking news my amish friendship bread starter became pumpkin bread this time! i added a small can of pumpkin and a teaspoon of cloves. it is really nice and moist. it would be great with walnuts or chocolate chips but we had neither.

but next time i plan to be prepared!

sweetly yours,


Friday, September 26, 2008

in the bag! is celebrating their grand opening by giving away 24 handbags in 24 hours! stop by and choose your favorite! good luck!

my baby girl... not so little anymore!

first of all THANK YOU for all the kind comments on my anniversary post. y'all are so sweet! the mister and i had a great day together. papa came over and watched the kids for three whole hours! tony and i got in the car, backed out of the driveway, looked at each other and simultaneously said "where should we go?" to be honest just simply driving around and having an uninterrupted conversation is absolute bliss! eventually we ended up downtown at our favorite music store/coffee shop where we drank coffee and looked at music and gag gifts for over an hour. then we walked to a favorite restaurant for dinner, then it was back home in time to put the kids in bed and spend the rest of the night watching a movie and eating cheesecake! it was a very nice evening indeed!

now, about my little girly-girl. today was her first picture day at school. i had decided not to purchase photos but rather take pictures of the kids at home. she nearly died when she heard of my plans. apparently she was very excited about her first school picture day. she had already picked out her background (purple) and the outfit she would wear (also purple). she wanted her hair down and curled. and she had practiced smiling in the mirror.
oh my, how could i deny her? so, this morning before kindergarten she got a shampoo, blow dry and style. at one point while we were trying to curl her long and stubbornly straight hair she looked at me and said "geez, it is a lot of work being a girl!" i just gave her a "you speak it sister" nod and a kiss on the forehead. i am just amazed at how grown she seems at times... most of the time now days!

she was a bundle of excitement when i picked her up this afternoon. picture day had lived up to all her expectations even though her hair went flat by the time we got to school and her barrette kept slipping.

and she is already planning ahead for next year~

"next time i am going to sleep in braids so my hair will be curly when i take them out!" she said to me. and all i can think is "next time?" i often forget that there will be a next year, and a year after that and so on. i forget that she is going to keep on growing and changing, that she will never again be exactly like she is right this second. it is moments like these that i am reminded to cherish each and every second with these little ones of mine. hug them tight, kiss them often, snuggle, tickle, sing and play every day. i feel like if i don't i will wake up one morning and it will have all passed me by...

yours in celebrating childhood,


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

this is our day

it was a beautiful day, the first day of autumn. we were surrounded by beautiful people.
you vowed in front of our friends and family to be by my side for the rest of our days, and me by yours.
the big kids were so tiny. we became a family that afternoon.
and with that kiss our adventure began.

eight wonderful years behind us, and many more ahead.
this is our day.

Monday, September 22, 2008

autumnal equinox

today is the the first day of autumn. this is my absolute favorite time of year! there was a crisp, autumn feel in the air outside as the kids and i played this afternoon. there have been changes in our garden as the big, leafy vines wither away leaving bright orange pumpkins and deep green acorn squash out in the open.

i posted this photo of my front window view last year. the fall trees in our neighborhood are breathtaking, but only for a short time, then they are bare until spring.

autumn brings apple bobbing,

pumpking carving,

and these colorful tights that have been tucked in the top drawer for weeks, waiting for the temperature to dip so they could come out and keep little legs warm while at play.

i am really looking forward to the season ahead. knitting projects, lattes, costumes, boots and jeans and holiday preparations.
yours this beautiful autumn afternoon,
join the welcome autumn party at the polka dot cottage!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

autumn acorn :: a pattern

this week, while creating autumn inspired crafts for our home and a swap, i looked high and low for a knit acorn pattern i had bookmarked last fall (or was it the year before??) after my search came up empty i decided to just wing it, with plenty of input from my 5 year old, and see what we could come up with.
it is with joy that i introduce you to our adorable autumn acorn!

supplies needed:
~ small amounts of yarn (approx. 1/2 oz each) in 2 colors, 1 for the body and 1 for the cap~ this is a great way to use up scraps.
~ set of 4 DPNs appropriate for your yarn. gauge is not important for this project. i used peace fleece and size 8 DPNs for the little acorn in the photos.
~ stuffing (wool roving, yarn scraps, or polyfill)
~ tapestry needle
CO- cast on
K- knit
P- purl
KFB- knit into the front and back of stitch
K2tog- knit 2 sts together
bottom of acorn
*CO 6 sts and divide between 3 needles.
*row 1: k all sts
* row 2: KFB of each st (12 sts)
* row 3: k all sts
* row 4: KFB of each st (24 sts)
* row 5: k all sts
*row 6- 18: k all sts
* row 19: *K2tog, k2* all around (18 sts)
* row 20: k all sts
*row 21: *K2tog, k1* all around (12 sts)
* row 22: k all sts
* row 23: *K2tog* all around (6 sts)
now, stuff your acorn then thread your yarn tail through the 6 sts on your needles and sew shut. weave in the ends and you are ready to knit your acorn cap!
acorn cap
* CO 24 sts and divide between 3 needles. leave an extra long yarn tail when you cast on to sew your acorn cap to your acorn body later.
* row 1: k all sts
* row 2: p all sts
* row 3: k all sts
* row 4: *KFB, K3* all around (30 sts)
* row 5: k all sts
* row 6: *KFB, K4* all around (36 sts)
* row 7- 9: k all sts
* row 10: *K2tog, K4 all around (30 sts)
* row 11: k all sts
* row 12: *K2tog, K3* all around (24 sts)
* row 13: k all sts
* row 14: *K2tog, K2* all around (18 sts)
* row 15: k all sts
* row 16: *K2tog, K1* all around (12 sts)
* row 17: k all sts
* row 18: K2tog all around (6 sts)
thread your yarn tail through the 6 sts on your needles and sew shut. you can also add a little loop at the top of the cap~ good for letting little acorns hang out all over the house!
place your cap where you would like it to sit on the acorn body and stitch it on using the yarn tail from your cast on. finally, you can add a little face to your acorn. i stitched faces on ours using sock yarn and a tapestry needle but you can use beads, fabric paint, buttons... or skip the face all together!

enjoy! i would love to see all the little acorns that come to life using this pattern!

happy crafting!

Friday, September 19, 2008

excused absence

my little blog was sadly neglected this week while we were busy experiencing life and creating fun. unfortunately life dealt us the nasties~ chest colds and sore throats. and, for me, yet another bout with mastitis. i am feeling much better now and my little ones are on the mend as well. just a couple runny noses and occasional coughs lingering around.
as for fun, the kids and i have been autumn crafting~ some for a swap and some for our nature table. i even wrote up a cute little autumn inspired knitting pattern that i hope to post here this weekend! i am also still stitching away on my 28thirty cardigan. in fact, it sits in my lap right this second. knit a row, type a line, repeat...
and since i have no photos to share quite yet of all our recent creations i will leave you with this snapshot of my wonderful little man, who plays a very big role in this mama's busy days...
but i wouldn't have it any other way!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

friendship is sweet!

my friend amy recently gave me a bag of amish friendship bread starter. someone brings friendship bread to nearly every pot luck i attend. it is delicious, and now i can finally make my own!
so here it is, our very first batch~ butterscotch cake! it disappeared very quickly so i am guessing it was a success. oh, and it is wonderful with a morning cup of coffee.

i found this website with several different variations and recipes. we might try chocolate next time! the printed instructions i received with my starter says that only the amish know the recipe so if you give all your starter away you will have to wait until someone gives you more. this, i have discovered is not true. you can easily find the recipe online, though i have to agree it is especially sweet to bake bread/cake from gifted starter!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

the unnecesarean

think you can't birth that big baby? think again! check out this great new site dedicated to educating and informing families about the myths of giving birth to large babies (babies weighing more than 8 pounds 13 ounces). you just might see a familiar birth story there!

Monday, September 08, 2008

peace full knitting

some recent finished projects knit with peace fleece, my very favorite wool yarn.
tiny wool diaper covers for two moms from our local cloth diaper group who are expecting baby boys next month. they are both knit with tundra and anna's grasshopper peace fleece.
a little bluebird duplicate stitched on the bum of the pants.

a big box of wool~ my most recent peace fleece wholesale order!

22 skeins of glastnost gold for my friend tami's autumn project~ she is knitting a cabled blanket!

and the beginning of my latest project, 28 thirty from zephyr style in grassroots peace fleece.

peacefully yours,


Sunday, September 07, 2008

swap magic!

every few months my crafty girlfriends and i plan little swaps, usually involving yarn or fabric. this time we did another magic yarn ball swap. i randomly paired everyone up and we swapped hand dyed yarn adorned with sweets and fun little items chosen especially for our recipients.
i made this MYB (okay, i acknowledge that it is not an actual "ball"... i ran out of time!) for my friend, chelsea. i included some organic hot cocoa, vanilla syrup, an organic dark chocolate bar, some cute little stitch markers, some autumn-y fabric, a travel candle and one of my little fabric button rings. it was all wrapped up with 8 ounces of hand dyed wool. this is a newly created colorway that i named freya after her sweet baby girl.

this is the gorgeous wool yarn that i received from my friend becca. it is the most beautiful autumn colors and i cannot wait to see how it knits up. i am still trying to decide what it should become. i think i have enough of it that i can knit a wool diaper cover and hat for harper. but the colors are so amazing i might just knit it up for myself...
in addition to the hand dyed wool i also received some dark chocolate, chocolate covered coffee beans, lip gloss, a couple cute little necklace kits and a $10 gift card to starbucks (cinnamon dolce latte moola!!)

and, here is what kept me busy most of the afternoon on friday. i had local orders to fill as well as a few orders to send out for the shop. diaper balms, nipple balms, foaming wipe wash, smell better butters, body butters, and foaming baby wash in all it's organic glory!

nothing left to do now but sit and knit... i love this season!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

inspired mama and daddy left the nest!

we fed everyone take out, left the house a mess and ran off to see this guy!
papa came over to watch the kids for us. i wore these cute thrifted shoes and my new mermaid eyeshadow~ very different from the flip flops and smudged mascara i am usually seen in.
the whole night out was a lot of fun, and i hope to get to do it again someday... maybe...

Monday, September 01, 2008

new season

it feels like september today. it is cool and breezy. it is starting to feel like curl up on the couch with a cup of tea and a knitting project weather and i am so ready!
speaking of knitting i did finally finish my rusted root sweater. i love this pattern! i knit the whole thing in a week and then let it sit in my knitting bag waiting for the 3 measly rows of ribbing around the sleeves! talk about procrastination.

anyway, i love the fit and am already thinking about knitting a second one for next spring in a rust color.
and my garden... oh my! pumpkins, acorn squash, zucchini, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, wildflowers... it is crazy and huge and it saddens me a little to see the vines start to turn brown and wither away. we have been busy everyday harvesting, peeling, chopping, baking, cooking and freezing so we can enjoy our gifts from the garden this winter, until the ground thaws once again...