I know. Its not September. But. Its a holiday weekend here in the states and I figured, who wouldn’t want some time to do some final stash digging and take their stuff with them if they are getting some last minute vacation time in!

Pattern #4 – September!

Anastasia Socks by MintyFresh (Rav link, Non-Rav link)

Bonus Pattern

Phineas by Rosemary Waits (Rav link, Non-Rav link)

I hope you all enjoy this month’s patterns! Can’t wait to see everyone’s progress!

Good luck!

I hope everyone is enjoying their August socks! Awesome WIPs going on in the Rav group for sure. We have some severe knitting olympics going on right now in Rav. Pop on over and join us!

September:

This is a (drum roll please)…

BONUS PATTERN MONTH!!!!

Yarn: The official pattern for the month is knit in Koigu KPPPM.

Needles: Needle size US 2.5mm, or size to get appropriate gauge of 8 stitches to 1 inch.

Yarn substitutions: Other people have used TOFUtsies, Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock Multi, Claudia Handpainted Fingering, ShibuiKnits Sock, Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock – Lightweight, Colinette Jitterbug, Knit Picks Memories, Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Merino, Crystal Palace Panda Cotton.

BONUS PATTERN!

Yarn: The bonus pattern for the month is knit in Schaefer Yarn Anne.

Needles: Needle size US 2mm (OMGoodness!), or size to get appropriate gauge of 8 stitches to 1 inch.

Yarn substitutions: Other people have used Scarlet Fleece, Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Merino, TOFUtsies, Knit Picks Essentials, Louet Gems Fingering, Zitron Trekking (XXL).

Happy hunting for next month’s yarn!! And heads up ladies and gents, we are moving forward so we will be learning “new stuff” just about every month! YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A friend on RichmondMommies recently asked where to find cheap chicken so she could prepare it in advance and put it on her salads for lunch at work.

She’s a smart cookie! Buying salads every day, while healthy and good for your hips, can become expensive especially if they are from a charge-by-the-weight-salad-bar. Substantial food items such as chicken add to the weight and drive the price up.

If you want to take your own salad, here’s an easy way to add some chicken to the mix.

After purchasing your chicken, go ahead and cut it into thin slices — the size you’d like to have on your salad. Season groups of the cut chicken as you’d like; a batch of Italian, a batch of Mexican spices, a batch of curry, etc. Cook each group either by baking in the oven or stovetop in a skillet. Once the chicken has cooled, put a single serving size in one of those handy, dandy Ziplock “snack bags”. The snack bags are smaller than the regular sandwich size baggie and it’s perfect for individual serving sizes. Write on the bags with a Sharpie so you know which seasoning you have in the bag, then toss them all in the freezer.

On your way out the door in the morning, grab a baggie of chicken from the freezer and stick it in your lunch bag with the rest of your salad fixings. By the time lunch rolls around, the chicken should be thawed, but still chilled, and ready to be added to your salad.

Save some money, trim your hips and thighs, and have a yummy salad with exactly the flavors you want!

Remember Ruthless?  Due to family vacations and a lot of hectic days, the grand unveiling of my “new” mud room/laundry room/pantry has been delayed.  I hope to be able to show Before and After pictures here next week.

It’s been harder than I thought it would be to be ruthless getting rid of things.  While I was able to let go of so many unneeded items, the attachment I have for things I’ve stored to use “someday” has surprised me.  Especially in a big box (ok, several boxes) marked “craft supplies.”  Empty milk cartons and soda bottles, egg cartons and toilet paper rolls, bottle caps and scraps of paper – all things I’ve saved since my son started to color. 

However, I realized that these bulky items I’ve saved (some for over a year now) are in ready supply in our house.  And I can recycle most of these items – or better yet, donate them to the Children’s Museum for their immediate crafting needs! 

Clearing out the spaces those boxes took up has been very freeing, and I realized that I didn’t need to save every egg carton that I emptied – another empty one will be coming soon if I’d like to use it in a craft project.

What are you holding on to that you can let go?  As I said in my first post about this – if you feel like you must keep any items for “someday,” pack them into a box and put them in the attic.  If you haven’t used them in a year, you can let them go for good!

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I am quite the It Takes A Thief junkie fan.  I love this show and the valuable information they give people. If you haven’t seen the show, the premise is that two ex-burglars case houses, get permission to “rob” the house on video, show the homeowners the video, then give them a home security makeover.

The first few weeks I watched this show, I couldn’t sleep at night because I kept hearing noises and it made me really jumpy!  Aside from adding to my personal paranoias, this show has given me a lot of info on how to make my home less attractive to a burglar.

Tonight’s show featured a man who collected …. well…. LOTS of stuff!  His entire office was totally wiped out and he really had no idea what items had been stolen.  For the police reports and insurance claims, you need to be able to give an accurate list of the missing property.

Enter Visual PackRat Pro!  If you are a collector, here’s a software program to help you track all your collectibles.  It’s so easy to let your collectibles get out of control.  Keep track of what you have – to protect your possessions and to keep your life organized!

Wow! I can’t believe it is August! We have had such a blast knitting our socks and they are looking fabulous. Some of us are even embarking on whole new adventures and loving every second of it!

Month #3 Pattern

Shannon Robalino’s Flutter-by!!  (Rav link)

This is a pretty little pattern, and I hope everyone enjoys knitting it! Can’t wait to see everyone’s progress!

Lets get knitting!

pureeing avocado in my food mill!

pureeing avocado in my food mill!

I purchased a food mill recently to help make baby food… and it has quickly become my favorite kitchen gadget!

The key thing for me was finding a way to make baby food that was quiet.  My oldest son has hated the sound of a blender since the day he was born – and I did not enjoy having to wait until he was asleep to puree anything. 

Enter the food mill: silent and very efficient!  I have pureed avocado and sweet potato it in for my youngest, and it is a whiz at making mashed potatoes and applesauce for the rest of us!  There are apparently many more uses for it as well – sauces, soups, jams, butters… I can’t wait to try them all!

I had never seen a food mill before I started having children, and now I can’t live with out it.  How about you – what’s your current favorite kitchen gadget?  Or can you share any wonderful food mill recipes that I can try out?  I love finding new gadgets and trying new recipes, so thank you for sharing!

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It’s true. For anyone who loves fried green tomatoes, you’ll be surprised at how similar this tastes. And talk about waste not, want not.

Cornmeal mix (you can buy this pre-made or make it yourself by mixing 1/2 flour and 1/2 corn meal)

1 tsp of salt

Pepper to taste

Slice the white part *only* of watermelon rind into slices similar to the size of tomato slices. Coat in the corn meal mixture, salt and pepper .

Fry in 350 degree oil for about 8 minutes or until tender and lightly brown.

We tried this tonight and I’m just amazed I didn’t know about this already. I’m in love. Honestly in love.

I made this spinach and artichoke dip recently for a baby shower, and I was reminded again how easy this was to make!  It’s also delicious… I think it’s the reason I was invited to many parties after college (“We’re having a party!  Can you come and bring your dip?”).

Easy Spinach and Artichoke Dip

  • 1-10 oz. package of frozen, chopped spinach, thawed (press all water out of spinach as well)
  • 2-14 oz. cans of quartered artichoke hearts
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese

If desired, chop quartered artichoke hearts into smaller pieces.  Combine all ingredients and spread into a baking pan (9×9 inch square or 11×7 inch pan- 13×9 inch pan will work in a pinch; just reduce cooking time).  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes or until edges are brown.  Serve with crackers or veggies, and enjoy!

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Growing up, pulling a jug of frozen milk out of the deep freeze was a fairly regular occurrence. My grandparents lived on a farm and only went grocery shopping once a month or so. When the hit the grocery store, they stocked up! My grandmother always stored her milk in the deep freeze.

Imagine my great surprise when I mentioned this on my mommy board and very few people had any idea what I was talking about! Freeze milk? And cheese? Shocking!! Shocking, I say!

It seems that every time freezing milk is mentioned, someone asks about it — how do you do it, what happens, does the milk go bad faster, etc.

So here’s the skinny!

  • Always open your milk and pour out 1/4c – 1/2c.
  • Close the milk.
  • Put it in your freezer.
  • Walk away.

That’s it! It’s that simple!

You alway want to pour off some of the milk because it will expand as it freezes and you need that extra room in the milk jug.

To defrost, set it on a plate in your fridge (if you’re willing to wait a few days for it to thaw out) or set it in your sink. Once it’s mostly thawed, give it a good shake — this will help break up the remaining ice and help the water and cream go back together — and stick it in the fridge.

I’m often asked if freezing milk changes the taste. My husband swears that it makes his whole milk taste watery, but I but 1% or skim for me and the kids and I haven’t noticed a difference. This is probably because of the lower fat content.

Does it make the milk spoil any faster once unfrozen? No. It will continue on it’s normal process and turn sour in the same amount of time as it would have if you hadn’t frozen it.

Any other questions? Leave a comment and I’ll find an answer for you!

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