I hope everyone is enjoying their July socks! Awesome WIPs going on in the Rav group for sure.

August:

Yarn: Fingering weight sock yarn (366 yards)

Needles: US 1 1/2 / 2.5 mm

Gauge: 34 stitches and 46 rows = 4 inches in stockinette

Yarn substitutions: Other people have used TOFUtsies, Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock Multi, Koigu Painter’s Palette Premium Merino (KPPPM), Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Merino, Brown Sheep Wildfoote Luxury Sock, ShibuiKnits Sock, Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock – Lightweight, Colinette Jitterbug.

Happy hunting for next month’s yarn!!

  • Ants really won’t walk across an area sprayed by white vinegar (per me and my recent ant-infestation experience).
  • Nothing fights ants better than an angry man wielding a vacuum cleaner and a can of ant spray (per me and the same experience).
  • You are supposed to get your lawn mower’s blades sharpened once a year (per my Dad).
  • If you have no grass, it really doesn’t matter how often you get your lawn mower’s blades sharpened (per my husband).
  • In the summer, it only takes one day for laundry sitting in the washer to get smelly (per me, again a recent experience).
  • A long wash with color-safe bleach will take away any mildew smells your clothes may have due to sitting a day (or more) in the washer (per me).
  • Not all children’s markers are “washable.”  Make sure you read the label well before you buy a pack of markers for your 2 year old (per me – does anyone have any good tricks for getting black marker off of khakis?).
  • If you step into quicksand, it won’t suck you down. However, your movements will cause you to dig yourself deeper into it. With quicksand, the more you struggle in it the faster you will sink. If you just relax, your body will float in it because your body is less dense than the quicksand (per How Stuff Works – I just thought this was interesting and reassuring to know).

Just some things I’ve learned lately, and I thought I’d share with you!

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I’m always trying to find new, tasty and healthy snacks for my children. I was feeling inspired to experiment today and came up with these Tablespoon Tortilla Treats. The only measuring implement you’ll need is a regular kitchen tablespoon.

2 full tablespoons sugar
1 “level” tablespoon cocoa powder
1 “level” tablespoon ground cinnamon
4 small flour tortillas

Optional:
1 full tablespoon wheat germ

** Wheat germ must be kept refrigerated. If you choose to use the wheat germ (which is what makes this sack somewhat nutritious and the whole point of this exercise), either toss out any left over sprinkle mix or store it in the fridge and use it right away.

Dump all the ingredients into one of those take and toss sippy cups that has a large opening for the liquid to come out. Cover the hole with your finger and gently shake until everything is mixed.

Place a flour tortilla on a plate or cutting board. Sprinkle with the mix. Use a pizza cutter to cut the tortilla into strips.

Place on a toaster oven tray and toast!

Although he looks nonplussed, this little scoundrel scarfed down more than his fair share of these tasty treats!

I never thought much about planning out my projects until I had children and my projects started piling up. Even when I worked outside the home, I did whatever I wanted to do or needed to do when it needed to be done. If that involved staying late at the office, so be it. At home, if I was working on a craft project and I wanted to continue working on it, I’d stay up late.  I was responsible for myself and didn’t have to concern myself with how my projects impacted others.

Enter the children – my time is no longer my own. Even after their bedtime, my time is consumed with dishes and laundry, menu planning and clutter reduction.  My craft projects have piled up alarmingly. Sewing projects — such as the curtains I promised for a friend, the curtains for my son’s room, all the mending that even my extended family brings to me — knitting projects (don’t even get me started on all the knitted things I was going to make for my youngest before he was born), crochet projects, paper cutting, home improvements… you name it and it’s probably a project waiting in the wings for me to find some time. I love doing all of these things, though, so I willingly take on new projects.

A knitter whose blog I read regularly has a wonderful method for planning her Christmas gift knitting. She has an experienced knitter who is familiar with her knitting speed and ability plan out her projects for her. Granted, she writes about knitting for a living and knitting is basically her job. But even with all of her experience, speed, and the time she is able to devote to knitting, she still needs some structure to get her projects done.

I am still working on a solution for my own projects. I don’t think I could have someone else schedule my projects, but I’ve assigned priorities to them so I know what to work on first. Otherwise, I’d work on the most fun and keep neglecting the others (those poor curtains). I do throw some fun, quick-finish projects in the mix, too – that helps me enjoy what I’m doing and gives me a sense of accomplishment.

When I do get some time to work on my projects, my priority system helps me so much. Things keep getting added to my to-do list, but I don’t feel overwhelmed by it. I keep plugging away at my high-priority projects – while I enjoy them, the fact that they have to be done brings out the procrastinator in me. But they’re getting done now. And I’ll keep adding new projects, knowing that they will get done!

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We have some pretty awesome socks from last month!  Great job, everyone! I am loving getting to know everyone and seeing all the different socks.

Ok ok, here is the pattern.  I’ll hush 😉

Month #2 pattern

Bobby Ziegler’s Thuja (Rav link, non-Rav link)

Our official “man’s” sock of the KAL.  I am making these for myself (Hubby can make his own, and will!), and I have some pretty “girlie” colors ready to go.

I finished my June socks JUST in the knick of time.  I grafted the toe last night.  And then I fell asleep wearing my new socks.

Happy knitting everyone! Can’t wait to see progress pictures and hear from everyone as they start knitting!  We have some pretty awesome stash flashing going on and people have some really great colors picked out for this month’s socks on Rav.  Come on over and join in if you haven’t joined us yet! Its a great group!!

Let’s get knitting!

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Here are some of our socks! I grabbed pictures from those who gave me permission, and here they are!! Check out the Ravelry Group for more pictures from other group members! Feel free to post links in the comments if you aren’t listed and want to show off your socks. What a great first month!

New pattern tomorrow!

I love reading women’s magazines because they are usually chock full of domestic tips and tricks. In particular, Taste of Home is a must have magazine for any domestically disabled woman.

I was flipping through Ready Made and found an interesting tip about how to deal with a broken egg mess. The author claimed that instead of making a slimy mess trying to wipe up a dropped egg, simply sprinkle salt on it, wait ten minutes and then scrape up the congealed mess.

So I decided to give it a whirl.

I cracked an egg into a small plate, liberally covered it with Kosher salt and set the timer. Then I stood there. And watched. And stared. And watched.

A watched pot never boils and I suspected that a watched and salted egg might not congeal so I headed into the living room to deal with the disaster my children left in their wake.

After ten minutes, I checked and it was still a slimy, salty mess. I pierced the yolk and let it spread, then covered the entire mess with Morton’s table salt.

Twenty minutes later, guess what I have? A big slimy mess going down the garbage disposal!

The moral of this anecdote is: Don’t believe everything you read.

And in the immortal words of my seventh grade science teacher, Mrs. Wallace, “Try it and see!”

So, if this had happened in real life, cleaning up this mess would have cost me more in salt than a few paper towels would have cost. Try the tips you read but don’t expect them all to work. But if you can get this particular tip to work, let me know!

Ok, so my mother made some brownies for a potluck at work today.  She saw this recipe (if you can call it that) in some random cookbook at some point in her life and finally decided to try it. 

To say it was a big hit would be an understatement.  These things are just white trash heaven.  So here’s what you do:

Buy your favorite chewy fudge brownie mix (the richer the better). Make the brownie batter according to directions and spread in your pan.  (We also used real butter versus stick margarine for our batter because….. well…….  we’re Southern).

Get a bunch of mini Mounds bars. (We bought 2 of the 10 pack “sheets”). Lay them out on wax paper and smash them flat with a glass.  Lay them on top of your brownie batter to make your second layer.

Pop open a can of sweetened condensed milk and drizzle the whole can over everything as evenly as possible.  Bake according to the directions on the brownie mix.

Let them set and cool because they fell apart horribly when we attacked them fresh from the oven.  However, if you’re like us and have no objection to eating brownies with a spoon, then go ahead and attack them fresh out of the oven.  You could even spoon this stuff over ice cream as a topping while it’s hot, come to think of it.  Oh my gosh, this stuff was so worth the 2.3 seconds of guilt…….

Fruit!

My children are obsessed with graham crackers right now. It vexes me to no end that they won’t eat any other snacks (translation: healthy snacks) and insist on graham crackers. Yesterday as I spread peanut butter on a graham cracker for the umpteenth time, inspiration hit me!

When I was little, my mother made peanut butter and banana sandwiches for herself. I found the concoction to be quite odious and always turned my nose up to it. But in a desperate attempt to make my children’s snack a bit healthier, I channeled my mother and got to mashing!

1 cup peanut butter
1 very ripe banana

Mash together on a plate with a fork until the banana is pulverized. Mix together well.

I mixed up enough to last for several days and stuck it in the fridge. Because the banana is exposed to the air, the mix will darken but it’s okay to eat.

I was pretty proud of myself. My daughter has started refusing bananas lately and my son wouldn’t eat a piece of fruit even if Thomas the Tank Engine delivered it personally. Then I thought, “Why stop with a banana?” Why not try it on a few other fruits?

Once our stash of pb & banana is gone, I’m going to try it with some other fruit. But which fruit? My concern is that the real juicy fruits would turn the peanut butter into soup. I will probably start out with some freeze dried strawberries we have in the cupboard.

I like to keep a clean, organized house. It’s a trait I inherited from my mom. In fact, I became a professional organizer because I like to organize so much. However, I have a confession to make…

Should you ever visit my house, please, please, please do not look into my laundry room. There is nothing clean or organized about it. In fact, it is a source of much pain in my house. There is so much mess in there, I have gated it off so my 2 year old cannot “enhance” the mess. The pain literally comes from the dozens of times I stub my toe each day stepping over the gate (did I mention my pantry is also in my laundry room?).

The sounds of disgust my poor husband makes as he tries to locate something in that mess are also quite painful. While the toe pain has not pushed me to change my ways in the laundry room, the sighs and cursing that follow my husband’s entrance into the room have.

So this is my new mantra: I must be ruthless.

The laundry room is the dumping ground for everything that doesn’t have a home yet – the piles of stuff that I’ll handle “later.” No more. I must be ruthless – if I can’t think of a home for something right away, it has to go. If it has been sitting in a pile in the laundry room for any amount of time without me needing it, it has to go. If I think I may need it “someday,” I’m boxing it up and putting it in the attic. If I haven’t gone up to the attic to get it down within the next year or so, it’s going.

In being ruthless, I’m realizing a dream. I’ve always wanted a mudroom in my home, and now with a 2 year old loving the outdoors, I need one. Moving several thing around in the laundry room will allow room for a bench with shoe storage right inside the back door to our home. Plus, I’ll be able to take down the gate to the laundry room, allowing my children free access to the room without fear of bodily harm.

It’s been a lot of fun being ruthless. We’re giving a lot of things away, packing things up, and returning things to where they belong. You should see the space it’s cleared up! It’s such a freeing feeling… I wish I had done this a long time ago!

I challenge you to be ruthless. Whether it’s a room in your house, a junk drawer, or even your over-crowded schedule, be ruthless with the things that do not belong there. Be ruthless with me – and be amazed at what happens!

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