Friday, December 31, 2010

Year-End Quick Takes

It's hard to believe that 2010 has flown by.  Does every year seem to go by faster and faster?  I know lots of people are cleaning their houses to start fresh for the new year; people are getting all introspective and making those Resolutions.  

I'm doing Neither.  Well, maybe a little.  We'll probably clean house today so that we can spend tomorrow having fun since it's a HolyDay.

I'm a little introspective, but not much more than usual.  Shouldn't we be thinking Every Day about how we can change and do better tomorrow?  I've definitely learned my lesson about waiting until Monday or, God forbid, the New Year to start a diet, because that mentality just doesn't work.  Every day, every moment is a new opportunity given by God to make the right choice.

I might write down some goals for the year, but only because Other People blogging about such things are making me think it's a good idea.  But I'd think it was a good idea if I read about it in March, too.

We don't have any big plans for tonight; we never do.  We're considering driving all the way to the Latin Mass parish for Midnight Mass.  In theory, I love the idea.  Practically, I'm not thrilled with the late return-trip with the drunks on the road.  

I think Midnight Mass is the absolute best way to ring in the New Year!  What do you like to do for New Year's Eve?


Simply stunning views in this video, and the bagpipes playing Auld Lang Syne are gorgeous, too.

(Yes, Dear, another place to add to our List.)

I had to run errands yesterday.  I was alone and had no knitting to do in the car since I've finished the gray sweater!  It was weird.  

The sweater is still upstairs drying, although I'm not sure that blocking is really doing anything for it.  We'll see.  Pictures soon!

Instead of New Year's Resolutions, I'm thinking more about knitting projects for next Christmas, because now's the time to start, aye?

2011 brings a couple of big events with it.  We're looking towards 2 graduations:  high school and college!  Our little girl has a job offer, which puts her way ahead of many of her peers.  She's looking at apartments and we're wondering where that little, fat baby went!

Thinking ahead to what the year Will bring, and what the year May bring, leads me to the One Resolution that I do make nearly Every. Single. Day.  

Pray more, so I can be prepared to meet whatever comes. So I can look ahead with Hope and not fear.

You can find more Quick Takes at Jen's.  They're probably full of New Year reflections, too!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Gray Nightmare

I took it with me to Narnia, figuring there's usually enough light to knit by and I'd be able to get a lot done.  As luck would have it, it was much darker than usual and I dropped a stitch right off which I couldn't find in the dark.  So, after only 4 stitches, I put it away.

I was mindlessly knitting away at home---at the, if you'll remember, 600 some-odd, freaking stitches----when I looked at the remaining yarn.  I measured the ruffle:  only 4 inches, depending on how you stretch it.  Although, I could have sworn it was longer yesterday!  But looking at the last of my yarn, it suddenly came to me that I have to have enough yarn with which to bind off the aforementioned stitches. And since it's never going to reach 5 inches no matter how long I knit, I might as well bind off.

As you may guess, I've been binding off for what seems like hours.  I've this huge long ruffle hanging off my sweater and needles.  As it should be.

But I ran out of yarn on that skein.  Yup.  I did.

I happened to have a little ball in my bag from another skein.  I can't remember why I hadn't used that up, but I attached it have have been binding off with it.

I still have that huge, long ruffle hanging off.  It's even bigger now---I think.  My little ball is getting littler.  And would you believe, there are still thousands of stitches gathered onto my needle waiting their turns?  Okay, maybe it's something less than "600-freaking" stitches, but there certainly don't seem to be any fewer.

I'm getting scared.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Red

There's no Yarning Along today, but I thought I would show you the socks I've been working on for months!  I mentioned them in my posts, but never showed them since they were a gift for Katie.  She said she wanted red wool socks, and here they are.  The pattern is here.

Sweet girl that she is, she is always coming up with new projects.  She reminds me of someone, can't think who!

She declared her desire for some earwarmers, which seem to be all the rage now.  In fact, I saw them in the Dollar Spot at Tar-jay yesterday!  But those were not nearly as cute as the one I whipped up out of the leftover sock yarn:

I started with a chain of 7 stitches, made a tab, and gradually increased at each end until it was the desired width.  I just used a double crochet stitch.

 It buttons in the back, in case you don't want to mess up your hair putting it off and on.  I simply substituted a "chain 1" for the "dc" to make a buttonhole.  Then, by golly, we had to find a button that would fit the buttonhole!  
 The flower is the Mother's Day Flower from Lion Brand.  I had to make that twice because it was too ruffly with 8 flower petals.  I altered the pattern to leave only 7 petals so it will lie flat.

Have you whipped up any new creations over the holidays, while ignoring the albatross around your neck another project? 

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

4th Day of Christmas Daybook

 Outside my window...
It's clear and very cold; in the 20's so far.  I imagine it will warm up as in generally does here in South Town. We still have an inch of frozen snow in our yard because the front of our house doesn't get sun in the winter; it will hang around for a while!

I am thinking...

about not much of anything.  Trying desperately NOT to think about the fact that school starts a week from today.

I am thankful for...

All my gifts---tangible Christmas gifts and intangible spiritual gifts.  I'm especially thankful that the sickness going around didn't dampen our celebrations too much.  

From the  learning rooms  kitchen table...


From the kitchen...

Yesterday, I came home from a meeting to find KT and Pete making  Maple Apple Bacon doughnuts.  Katie had seen it on The Best Thing I Ever Ate and wanted to try it.  They started with Barbara's fabulous recipe.  After frying up 6 slices of bacon, they sauteed finely chopped apple in the grease until soft.  They added the apples to the dough, although the final consensus was that there was not enough apple.  After frying they dipped the doughnuts in glaze made with powdered sugar and maple syrup and sprinkled them with very finely chopped bacon bits.

I had one this morning that had sufficient apple in it, and those bites at the end with the maple-frosted bacon were to. die. for.  Simply Scrumptious.

I am wearing...
My favorite Christmas sweater that comes out for just a couple of weeks every year.

I am creating...
My gray sweater is still going, but the end is in sight, because no matter how far it is to the end of that 5" ruffle, I'm on the last skein of yarn!

I am going...
To see Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader sometime this week!

I am hoping and praying...
...For a friend who has been out of work for about a year now and is about to lose her home

...for the repose of the soul of a friend's mother who passed away last week, and her family;

...for healing for lots of people with cancer, especially this little boy.  

 ...Fr. Kevin Peek, who became an Army Chaplain a few years ago and was re-deployed in September. 

I am hearing...
The Sounds of children finally getting up to get dressed and clean up, now that it's noon.

Around the house...
Christmas lights.  Christmas detritus---presents, bags of trash, bows.  It's beautiful.

One of my favorite things...
The soft glow of (indoor) Christmas lights and garlands in the morning.  Yup.  And I plan to enjoy them for a couple more weeks yet.  It seems like I just finished decorating the other day and I'm in no hurry to put it all away!

few plans for the rest of the week...
Not many plans---hooray!  Today was the Big Day, going to the auto mechanic first thing and then the chiropractor. So I'm pretty much done for the rest of the week.

A Picture Thought...
Maple Apple Bacon Doughnuts

The Chefs
You Can find more Daybooks Here.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Best Christmas Ever

This is how it looked when I got home from Mass at 2 a.m.  We had gone in shifts since Philip was down with the fever (handed on from Tom).  Dh had taken Meg to the children's Mass at 4 p.m. and I went on my own to have choir rehearsal before midnight and was followed there by the older 4.  So I was the last to arrive home for the opening of presents, which lasted until about 3 a.m.  Then we hit the hay!
 Because of our late bedtime, we were inclined to sleep most of the day away, which some did.  Others of us were up, but were extremely lazy, which led to a late dinner around 7:30 or so.
 By the time dinner was over, everyone was stir crazy feeling well enough to go for a walk in the beautiful snow that God graced us with.
 The snowball fight started very quickly, and lasted all the way around the neighborhood!
 Meg mostly just made snowballs for others to throw because she's nice like that!
 Katie and Pete got very physical,
 but fortunately no blood or tears were shed.
 Although they did look a little worse for the wear!
 Pip, still recuperating, didn't get as involved in the fighting and built a little snowman during that violent outburst (above).  Like that tricorn hat?
Meg had to spell out her name, with a heart, in someone else's yard.  I hope they enjoyed her gift!

It was such a lovely snow; I couldn't believe there weren't more neighbors out enjoying it!  Around here, you can't take snow for granted and wait until "later" because it'll be melted by then.
In case you didn't know, this snow was brought to you by Pip's birthday wish last January.  He had to wait almost a year for his White Christmas. 

And you thought it was Global Warming Climate Change.

Did you have a White Christmas at your house?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Cookie Exchange

Who doesn't love a Cookie Exchange?  I was involved in one every year when I had a bunch of little kids; not so much anymore.  I can't even think of the last time I did one!
Today I'm joining Catholic Cuisine's Virtual Cookie Exchange, though I'm a little late.  If you're running a little late, too, this is the perfect recipe!  I adore Coconut Macaroons, but had forgotten how easy they are to make.  You don't even need to whip egg whites to stiff peaks---which is what I had thought.  There are very few ingredients, and they don't require any mechanical devices.  You can't go wrong with these simple cookies!

Just be sure you watch yours a little more closely than we did; you don't want them quite this "golden"!

I probably won't be back for a couple of days, so I'll take this opportunity to wish you a joyous Christmas!  I hope it's filled with all the wonder of a newborn babe!

God bless us, Everyone!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Nativity

You've got to watch this video of the Christmas story:

It'll give you the Christmas spirit if you're a little lacking.

h/t: Lisa Hendey at

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Yarning Along

There's not much yarning along this week.  I get a little time each day to knit, but mostly I'm moving from one activity to another.  And I thought I wouldn't know what to do with myself this week!  It's amazing how we find stuff to do, or just plain make extra work for ourselves.  And those 2 wonderful kids who came home from college are adding to the laundry, although you wouldn't think it would be that much extra.

  The reading mostly consists of 

a.  addresses from my mailing list
b.  my to-do list.

I think I'm up to about 3 inches of that 600+ stitch ruffle. I really hope to finish by the end of the year, although even if I finish the knitting, the binding off will take


Well, off to get dinner and laundry moving and address a few more Christmas cards.

Are you in a frenzy of activity this week, too??  

You can see what everyone else is knitting here.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Advent Update

This is sort of my own little daybook...I'm breaking the rules here, which is soooo unlike me.  

It's quiet this morning.  Dh has gone to work, but he's the only one who has to continue to exist in the Real World this week.  The rest of us are all in holiday-I-can-do-whatever-I-want-and-sleep-as-late-as-I-want mode.  I got up to spend some time with him and enjoy the pre-dawn with my Christmas lights.

I actually don't know what I'm going to do with myself today.  We finished our shopping yesterday.  DH and I went out to the mall for a short trip, got a couple of things, and then I finished up with Amazon later.  Love that Amazon Prime "free" 2-day shipping.
All my kids are home.  It's wonderful to have them around.  They've been home for 3 days now, but I don't think we've had dinner altogether YET.  Someone is always out.  
Still making cookies.  We'll make a few more this week, specifically iced sugar cookies.  I've been waiting until the schedule was not so hectic, and for KT to come home so she could do it.  Shhh.  Don't tell her.  Yesterday we made Giant Ginger Cookies.  They're pretty amazing!
You want to know what I'm wearing, since that's a traditional part of The Daybook?  I'm wearing my U. of Virginia sweatshirt (not so attractive) over my new nightgown that I made.  

In a frenzy of Scots thriftiness and mad craftiness (and probably a bit of sentimentality, too), I made it out of an I-don't-know-how-old-it-is tablecloth.  Did I tell you a couple of months ago about my brother coming to visit and bringing my Dear Mother's china cabinet for KT?  Inside were 2 things:  a tablecloth she was cross-stitching (I don't know what to do with that, yet), and a white, cotton damask tablecloth.  They had been in the hutch for at least 15 years and were badly discolored (so WHY did I want to make a nightgown out of it if it wasn't suitable for a table? My husband deserves better than that!). 
Poinsettias by Mary Lou Marshall (my mom!)

After bleaching it twice, and using a simple pattern, I now have a wonderful nightgown that I love. love. love.  It's a heavy cotton that feels as soft as butter.  It's cozy, yet it's not flannel.  It's attractive, too, but I won't post pictures since that might be more than the internets can handle.

I know you're in shock and you can't believe I'd wear such a thing, but I think my husband likes it.  Right, hon?  And I know it's an improvement over flannel pants and a tshirt.
Yesterday was an adventure at Mass.  For some reason, our 2 organists and choir director all went out of town.  Poor communication there, I'd say.  So the director asked me and Capt. Jeff to cantor a capella (that's without instrumental accompaniment!) at 2 Masses.  It was fun and nerve-wracking.  We both made our share of mistakes; although, admittedly, I made more than he did.  But we recovered and soldiered on each time, and I think it was a success. 
It's quiet here, except for the occasional cough from TMax. He has the flu---fever, chills, cough.  I'm pondering how that will affect our Christmas---will it strike down everyone in the house like wildfire?  Or will the rest of us escape unscathed?  Will we make it to Midnight Mass on Friday?

Only God knows.


What are you doing for these last days of Advent?  Are you cooking?  Baking?  Tell me what you're making!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Not Yarning Along today.  I'm still knitting on my gray sweater---I might have actually finished another inch this week.  That means only 3.5 inches to go, at the rate of an inch per week.  Maybe next year it will be done!


When I sat down the other day to fold my many baskets of laundry and the kids were out playing, I discovered this BBC mini-series on my Netflix Instant Watch.

I watched nearly 2 of the 4 episodes, and then, yesterday, I managed to finish the rest of it.  (I think I knit most of that aforementioned inch while watching!)

It was wonderful!  The beautiful Miss Hale is suddenly transplanted with her parents from the south of England to the north where industry and trade is much more common.  She  has many difficulties adapting to the cultural differences between north and south (sounds like our US north and south 200 years ago!).  Elements of pride and prejudice run rampant through the story before she eventually finds her true love.  Of course, we all know what's going to happen, but it was worth watching anyway.

It might even be worth watching again.

Do you have a favorite mini-series??  Share, please!  I have a lot of knitting to do!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Advent Daybook

It's clear and very cold.  15 degrees on our drive to school, and a bit too breezy for such cold temps.  Brrrrr.

I am thinking...

about my busy week and juggling all the activities and appointments and school pick-ups.  

Lord, please get me through the next 3 2 weeks!

I'm also thinking about how we love Christmas so much around here that we add new things, and after many years it has become a burden and not a joy.  As I said yesterday in my FB status:  Christmas lights are a tool of the devil. 

He will take anything, even your prayer life, if you let him, and use it against you.  Anything that you feel compelled to do so you measure up to the Jones's, or to your own standard of perfection, can be used against you to take you away from the Good, the True, and the Beautiful.  Namely, from the Lord, Himself.

I'm learning very, very slowly to let go of my perfectionist tendencies and try to retain my Joy.  It doesn't always work, and Gaudete Sunday was, sadly, anything but joyful, but I'm learning and I think I'm quicker to figure out the trap these days.

I am thankful for...

feeling so well these days.  I'm getting a little tired of taking so many supplements, but they're really working.  My mood is so much better.  I'm not half-dead when I get up in the morning or overwhelmed by the day ahead.  And I have sufficient energy to get through my day without crashing at the end, or multiple times during the day.

From the  learning rooms  kitchen table...

We're still trying to get as much work done as possible when we're not on the road or at the theater.  We're looking forward to 2 weeks off after this!

From the kitchen...

Last night called for my famous Chili, and it was amazing.  We made yummy Butter Pecan cookies on Sunday, which we ate a few of and then froze the rest.  

The rest of this week will be simple, simple, simple.

I am wearing...

The rattiest pair of old jeans with my ratty, old, gray sweater.  I'm warm and comfy and trying to get through the days!

I am creating...
Socks and sweaters.  After I finish this sock, I'm going to bring my gray sweater in the house from the car and work on it all. the. time. to get it finished.  Hopefully, I'll be done by Christmas.  Failing that, I'd be happy with New Year's.

I am going...
to be so happy when this week of the drama production is finished!  

I am reading...
St. Francis de Sales'Introduction to the Devout Life. Slowly.
And Ten Prayers God Always Says Yes To.  A little less slowly, but not much.  In fact, it is going back to the library today after 2 renewals.  Unfinished.  It's good, but long.

I am hoping and praying...
for the repose of the soul of a friend's mother who passed away last week, and her family;

for healing for lots of people with cancer, especially this little boy.  

 Fr. Kevin Peek, who became an Army Chaplain a few years ago and was re-deployed in September. 

I am hearing...
The sounds of children reluctantly doing their math.

Around the house...
Christmas lights.  I found the strength and patience to do some more lights in the house yesterday.  They're lovely and make me happy; I turn them all on to see their soft glow as soon as I wake up in the dark before dawn.

The outside lights are another matter altogether.  They give me hives. Do you drive around looking at everyone's lights at this time of year?  Do you say, Oh, I love that!  Isn't that pretty?  or
I don't like that design.  or That house is pathetic.  

Yeah.  That last one?  That's us.  We're THAT house.  The pitiful one.  Not even good enough to be the Tackiest House.

One of my favorite things...
The soft glow of (indoor) Christmas lights and garlands in the morning.

few plans for the rest of the week...
 Driving, Drama, Drama, Drama, Drama, Post office (one more trip tomorrow should do it!), and other stuff I don't care to think about. 

My kids are coming home Saturday!

A Picture Thought..


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