Monday, November 28, 2011

My Favorite

Well, just so you know, I salvaged the chocolate pie and the dressing, which was almost as bad of a disaster, turned out pretty good also.  Whew!  I don't want to cook anything that requires a recipe for a while now.

I put our Christmas tree up on Friday, but we just got around to decorating it today.  I didn't have enough lights to reach the top, so I had to get another set to finish that up first.  I'll need to rearrange a little bit... the girls did most of it , so the ornaments stop at about 4 1/2 feet and are all grouped in about 1/4 of the circumference of the tree.  They had fun, though.  I only lost one ornament in the process, and while I'm kind of sad about it, I'm glad that was all. 

I thought I'd share a picture of my favorite ornament with you.  I'd like to introduce you to Creepy Santa...

Trust me, photographs do not do this ornament justice.  Honestly, I should hate this ornament.  Life-like things like that give me the willies, and he does too.  Every time I hold it, my tummy feels a little funny.  But for some reason, I love him.  His skin looks so real... the crepe-y texture of the bags under his eyes... the eyes themselves.. the eyelashes.  He's really disturbing.  He goes near the top of the tree so no one else can touch him and he watches over us all Christmas.  Really, it's like he's following you around the room.  My husband can't stand him.  If he goes missing, I know who did it.

I got Creepy Santa a few years ago at our Christmas Pokeno game.  We all bring an ornament and play Dirty Santa.  My sister brought Creepy Santa and it freaked everyone out.  Me included.  When I got him, I really didn't think I could handle having him close by.  But, by the end of the night, I had fallen in love with him.

I normally have an aversion to things like this.  I can't handle life-like paintings.  There was a sit-com when I was growing up, I can't remember the name but it was about this guy who drew comic strips and his wife had red hair, his two daughters lived downstairs and they had a really bizarre neighbor named Monroe.  I loved that show.  Except for this one episode where someone gives the guy this painting and it talks to him.  Scared the daylights out of little me.  To this day, if a painted portrait isn't a little abstract, get it away from me.

And dolls.  My dad has a lot of fun with my aversion to certain dolls.  I can handle most of them, but I don't like ceramic babies or the ones that just look like dead babies.  I also absolutely can't handle dolls that move.  My friend gave his daughter a doll that looked like it was breathing.  I almost had to leave the house when he showed it to me.  My parents bought Olivia a doll a few years ago that would cry and wriggle around when you played with it.  That was creepy.  What was even creepier was the night I was sitting on the couch folding laundry and the doll was on the floor next to my foot and started writhing unprovoked and touched my foot.  I came unglued.  Which reminds me of the Dora phone they gave the girls that started talking to me one night.  Oh my goodness that was awful.

Demonic toys, Stephen King novels, and Serial Killer kitties.  The things that scare me when I'm home alone....  It's a good thing I have Creepy Santa to keep away the Boogie Man for the next month.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

And here I was getting all cocky

Here's a math lesson. 

1 can of evaporated milk = 12 oz.  12 oz > 3/4 cup.

That means I have a bowl of what is basically chocolate evaporated milk on my counter instead of a chocolate pie in the oven.

This is why we can't eat nice things.

Why I shop alone...

I had to take my kids grocery shopping with me today.  Big deal, some of you would say... because you do it every week.  I do not.  I am very blessed that my husband watches them when I go, usually Saturday mornings, sometimes Sunday mornings.  I enjoy this time to myself.  Everyone hates grocery shopping, but I look forward to it.  Until I get the total, but it's good the rest of the time.  I do take the girls to the store sometimes during the week if we run out of something, but it's as quick as I can make it. 

But my husband is on call this week and didn't get home from work until 5am this morning.  So, I thought I would be nice and not wake him up at 9am so that I could get my shopping in before he had to go to work.  I couldn't wait until tomorrow, because we're going to my parents' house for our Thanksgiving dinner and I needed some ingredients for my contributions.  My only option  was to either feed everyone Stove Top instead of real dressing or take the girls to the store.  Considering that I'm the only one who really even cares about dressing, I should have gone that route.  But I really like dressing.

It's not like I think my kids are any worse than anyone else's kids at the store.  I'm sure they're not.  But I'm not used to having to deal with it for the extent of a grocery shopping experience.

Within 5 minutes they were all proclaiming the need to go to the bathroom.  I never know if I should believe them, because Isabelle and Zoe are just obsessed with public restrooms.  We cannot go anywhere without them wanting to go to the bathroom.  Even if they just went.  And sometimes they ask after I've already taken them.  And since we were at Walmart, of course - OF COURSE - the restrooms are where?  Behind the toy department.  With all the reasons there are to complain about shopping at Walmart, this is my biggest one.  They are bastards (pardon my language) for making me drag my kids through the toys to go to the bathroom.

In the bathroom, which, mind you is only about 5 minutes into the trip, I line the girls up and remind them that I will abandon our cart and take them straight home if they can't figure out how to stop running and twirling and skipping and climbing on the cart. 

About halfway through the trip, I have them lined up again by the canned foods, telling them that I will put every single food item they enjoy back on the shelf and they will have to eat saltine crackers all week.

Shortly after that, I text my husband and tell him that he owes me.  He asks why.  Why?  You can tell he's never done this.  I told him I was about to stuff the kids in the freezer case and just go home.  He said OK. 

Near the end, the girls are pretending to be ducks and mentioning that ducks don't wear clothes, which, by this point, I can't tell if they are just making an observation or plotting to be more realistic ducks and strip naked in the dairy section.  They are hanging off of my shirt - literally - and I'm standing by the wine.  I stood there for quite a while, debating.   I don't drink very often, but they had literally driven me to drink.  The only reason I didn't grab a bottle is that I remembered there is some Southern Comfort in the freezer at home. 

Pie making is going to be quite an experience tonight.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Apple Pie and Huge Trees

So, did you get out to do your Black Friday shopping today?  I didn't.  I just can't bring myself to torture myself with that many crazy people to save a few bucks.  I really hated that certain stores chose to open Black Friday while it was still Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving should be about spending time with family, not trampling people to get to the hot item.  That's just me though.... and I hate shopping and crowds in general, so you can take it for what it's worth.  =)

I have an apple pie in the oven right now for my husband.  My side of the family really doesn't care that much about apple pie... our Thanksgiving dessert menu is always pumpkin, pecan, and chocolate (and I only eat chocolate.  I can't stand pecan or pumpkin.  Gag).  And fruit salad, but for some reason that always gets served with the meal.  I never really understood that, but who am I to complain about it?  My mom makes the best fruit salad ever (actually, my sister now... the torch has been passed LOL).  Probably the most unhealthy fruit salad ever, as well, but oh well.  It has mayonnaise in it.  Sounds nasty, but, man, is it good.

I don't brag much about my cooking, but I do take pride in my apple pie.  I'm trying something a little different this time... I'm making it in a skillet.  But the filling is what matters, really.  I think there are two important keys to a good apple pie.  First, you have to use the right apples.  Granny Smith.  They have to be tart apples or it's just too sweet.  Secondly, and most important, is ground cloves.  Just 1/4 tsp is all you need, but you do need it.  Cinnamon and apple pie spice just isn't enough.

I got our tree put up today.  My husband won't let me do it any sooner.  We tried the whole real tree business last year and I vowed we would never do that again.  It was such a pain getting it home and I swear it was in the back of my husband's truck for weeks after we took it down until one of his coworkers got rid of it.  We did the real tree thing because all I had was a white artificial tree and I hated it.  So, when Christmas was over and everything was on sale, I bought a new one. 

Now, here's another handy fact about me... I am a terrible judge of measurement.  It's probably one of my downfalls in cooking, to be honest.  So, all those numbers on the box really didn't mean much to me.  I didn't care how tall it was because I couldn't tell you how tall the last tree was.  I really should have done some measuring or something...

It's a 7.5 foot tree.  Our ceiling, as I discovered today, is 7.5 feet.  The thing takes up half of the living room.  I've been trying to rearrange things to make it fit, but we have two couches and I can't move the entertainment center because the cable cord won't read anywhere else.  It's 4.5 feet wide.  My kids can stretch out beneath it.  Dude.

I also took the girls' picture for our Christmas card.  I loved the pictures I've seen of kids wrapped up in lights, so I stole the idea.  I liked this one until I realized how demented Olivia looks:

I'll probably use this one...  maybe.  Or did I upload the wrong one?  I don't know.  It's not as sharp and they had messed up my lights by then.  Uncooperative children, they are.

I didn't get too many decent shots. I have one other idea, something I wanted to do when Olivia was a baby and didn't get to do because she scratched her face something terrible the day before I put up the tree.  So we will see.  I have to decorate the beast of a tree first. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope everyone has had a wonderful day.  Ours was very quiet.  No big family get-together.  Don't be sad... it'll happen on Sunday.  One reason we are waiting is that normally Mr. Bill has to work Thursday night, regardless of whether or not it is a holiday.  But they decided to shut the shop down for a change and he ended up at home.  We threw together a mini Thanksgiving dinner, complete with a mini turkey (a cajun seasoned breast that was already fully cooked). 

Someone pea'd on the table.  ;)  Zoe called them "green corn."

I haven't had many crafty things to show lately.  Mainly because I haven't finished anything but a few sock monkey hats and a mohawk hat.  I do have a WIP - Hobbes for Isabelle - that is going way too slow.  But I finally have a couple of things to show...

Olivia's BFF has a birthday coming up soon and I know she loves Hello Kitty, so I improvised a hat for her.  Olivia wanted me to make her a doll, but I needed it to be a quicker project.

hello kitty
why, oh, why is that closet always open?

I think if I make another one, I need to make the eyes and nose smaller.  I like how the corners of the hat form ears without having to actually attach ears.

I also have part of my brother-in-law's Christmas present finished.  I'm making him a beard hat, but the beard will be detachable.  Because, while he'll get a kick out of a beard hat for sure, I don't see him getting much use out of it.  I wanted the hat to be blue and orange...  he's a big fan of the Bears.  I tried one pattern and didn't like the way it was turning out, so I decided to try the Brain Waves pattern from Playin' Hooky Designs.  I ended up adding another stripe because it fit me better that way, and there is no way his head is smaller than mine, so I figured it would fit him better that way, too.  I like this much better...

Man, that's a bad picture...

I made little loops inside to attach the beard to once I get that worked out.  I thought about just sewing buttons in the hat to attach the beard to, but I thought that wouldn't be really comfortable.

I'm actually making really good progress on all my Christmas projects.  Well, aside from Hobbes.  He's not hard, I've just been really tired this week and can only work on him after the girls go to bed.  But I have half a leg and the tail to go and then I can put him together and move on.

I think I'm going to postpone making the flower scarves for the girls.  Isabelle caught sight of some peg dolls on Pinterest (my entire family - husband included - loves that site) and wants some. 

Source: via Jennifer on Pinterest

So I've ordered some blanks and some paint and I'll make some instead of the scarves.  I can't resist... they remind me of the old school Little People that I had when I was little... before they make them less of a choking hazard.  I do believe we're past the eating of the toys around here.  Plus, at some point I'm going to need to do something other than crochet all night or I'll burn out, you know?  I'm still going to make the scarves, but it will probably be after Christmas. 

Of course, after finding this today, I kind of question why I make anything for the girls:


For once, that wasn't Isabelle's handiwork.  I don't know why Olivia impaled her doll on a knitting needle... my sister asked if she's started practicing Voodoo.  If anyone starts complaining of shoulder pain anytime soon, we'll know for sure.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

There goes my MOTY...

(that's Mother of the Year, btw...)

If I had to pick the one thing that consistently makes me feel like a bad mother, it has to be Olivia's ears.

Now, I know I'm not a bad mother, but everyone has their moments when you just feel like someone needs to stamp "FAIL" on your forehead.

Olivia has been plagued with ear infections her whole life.  Not really all that unusual, but she never complains about them.  I would take her in for just a routine check up when she was a baby and the doctor would look at me like I was nuts when I said she hadn't been fussy... because she'd have a raging ear infection.  We finally had tubes put in her ears when she was about 20 months old.  We didn't have many problems with the tubes, just some drainage when she was sick.  And let me tell you, if you've never seen snot oozing from your child's ear, you're missing out on one of the finest parenting experiences.  Gross.

In April of 2010, she had to have tubes placed again.  Her old ones had fallen out after a good, long run (most of them fall out in a year's time) and she started having ear infections again.  We were hoping she'd grow out of them by then, but it wasn't meant to be.

We have to go to the ENT doctor every six months to have her ears checked.  Now, I'm not a big fan of our ENT.  She was not my first choice, but the doctor I wanted wouldn't do the surgery where I wanted (where I work).  I got really annoyed after our last visit when I got a bill in the mail.  We paid our copay, but since she had seen the audiologist and the doctor, we were charged more.  We weren't given the option and it was totally unnecessary since her ears were perfectly fine.  So, when it came time for her check up this time, I was pretty grumpy about it.  I almost just canceled it, but she has had some drainage lately, so I thought I better keep the appointment.  Reluctantly.

Her whole office is very non-kid-friendly.  No kids' magazines or book, no TV, no toys, nothing.  Boring as can be for a 7 year old, especially when they are always at least a half-hour behind (even if you are the first appointment... )  We waited, with Olivia being antsy because she's bored, and me being cranky because I think this is just a waste of time and money and Olivia's driving me batty since she's bored.

Finally we get to the room and the audiologist won't check Olivia's hearing because of all the drainage in her ear.  She said she'd have the doctor clean it up first.  Then the doctor comes in and looks and immediately looks at me and says "well, have you had her treated for this?"  No.  The drainage didn't  hurt anything before and she has not once complained of her ears hurting.  Well, her ears are all kind of gross, tubes clogged, nasty infection going on.  Of course.  We have to treat her with antibiotics and ear drops (heaven help me... she hates ear drops almost as much as eye drops and she'd rather pluck her eyes out than have eye drops).  Then in two weeks, the doctor will decide if she can just remove the tubes right then and there and just hope for the best or if she is going to need another set of tubes, in which case means surgery.  For the third time.

I'm feeling like a moron for not taking her to the doctor when she had drainage to begin with.  We maybe could have avoided the possibility of surgery if I had.  I know the surgery is about as minor as you can get, but I still feel terrible that she's only 7 and is looking at maybe having her third surgery.

And then the icing on the cake.... Olivia and Isabelle have matching Hello Kitty sparkly shoes.  Apparently they couldn't find a complete pair today, so Olivia was wearing two left shoes.  Since she was dressed and in her jacket by the time I saw her today, I did not notice this until shortly before the doctor pointed it out. 

Yup.  I'm batting 1000 over here today.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Ugh... people

Here's a little soapbox moment from me...

I try very hard not to be judgmental towards other parents.  I try.... it doesn't always happen.  It's difficult when I see some of these parents who drag their 2 year old in for full-mouth dental work at my job not to be.  But I know that parenting styles differ as greatly as people do in general.  And it's none of my business. 

But not everyone tries to keep their opinions to themselves.  Especially on the internet.

I saw a video today about these two little boys who got into the flour and covered half the house in it.  Everyone was calling "hoax" and/or calling the mom a bad parent for being so calm about it.  "There's no way there would be such an even coating of flour."  "There's no way those kids could carry a 5lb bag of flour."  "It was up on the wall... there's no way they could have gotten it up like that.. and in clumps, even!"

A few years ago, Isabelle got a bag of powdered sugar out of the pantry and coated half my living room in it.  It looked just like that video.  There was powdered sugar on the ceiling.  And it wasn't even a full bag of sugar... a little powdered sugar (and flour) goes a long way.  Plus, my 3 year old can carry a full gallon of milk, which is heavier than a 5lb sack of flour. 

You know what my reaction was....


I was too shocked to scream or yell. 

I normally don't read comments on articles.  People are just ugly and I don't like getting worked up over how stupid people can be.  But, for some reason, I started reading the comments on this video.  They were horrible.  People just lose all sense of "being nice" when they are online sometimes. 

So, you know, I learned from all this that, according the internet population, I'm a bad mom.  Among a multitude of other reasons that I gleaned from CafeMom before I decided it was best for my mental well-being to stop dealing with that website.  Whatever.  At least on CafeMom the judgmental people were actual mothers and I would bet most of the people commenting on that article don't have kids.

Isabelle makes messes.  It's just her.  She's tried to make coffee for her Daddy using half my spice cabinet.  I found her making carrot cake in her bedroom one morning.  The powdered sugar incident.... and more.  I have had all kinds of reactions, across the board from being stunned into silence to screaming like a banshee.  She is just too curious and consequences be damned.  Am I a bad mother?  No.  I don't question that.  She's a handful, but she's hardly ever in trouble at school.  She's kind and helpful.  Do I need to find better ways of channeling that curiosity?  Absolutely.  But she's always going to be like this and, to be honest, I wouldn't change that.  I just need her to explore in ways that don't involve me renting a Rug Doctor when I don't even own a rug.

But, it did help to remind me about trying to not be so judgmental.  Yes, I can disagree with parents who give their kids so much candy and soda that their teeth rot before they are even all in, BUT they could be infinitely better at other aspects of parenting than I am.  I know there are things I do or let my kids do that people could take issue with, but I feel that I'm raising some pretty awesome kids. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Baking Tips from the Culinarily Challenged

At first, when I thought about sharing this idea I had with you, I decided it was pretty ridiculous for me... the self-professed disaster in the kitchen... to pass on cooking tips.  But then again, maybe it's not so ridiculous.  I mean, if something worked out for me, of all people, then it surely will work out for you, too.  Right? 


When Fall hits, I start craving everything apple.  I want to eat apples, stuff with apples in them, stuff in apples, smell apples... you get the idea.  And, even though I'm no great cook, I have a few things I can make well and one is apple pie.  Not that that has anything to do with the subject of this post, I just wanted to put that out there.

I found this recipe on Pinterest that I wanted to try.  Because it involves apples.  Well not really apples, but the flavor anyway:

Behold - The Stuffed Caramel Apple Cider cookie.  

I had to make something for Zoe's Thanksgiving lunch potluck at Mother's Day Out, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to try out the recipe.  And they are super yummy.  No lie.  However, there were two problems...

One... once they cool down, the center is extremely chewy.  Chewy as in you take a bite, someone comes up to talk to you and you're all like "hold on, give me 5 minutes to stop chewing this cookie."  They should be eaten warm, for sure.  Not a problem at home, but at a potluck, you just can't heat up cookies.

Two... well, let me go off on a tangent for a minute.  You remember that recipe for chocolate chip cookies that used to go around claiming to be the recipe for Neiman Marcus' cookies?  My sister and I dubbed them PITA (Pain In The....  you get where I'm going here, right?) cookies.  They are so good, but who really wants to grate chocolate bars?  These cookies are PITA Cookies - The Non-Chocolate Edition.  Seriously... you unwrap 4 dozen or so caramels, ball up the dough, flatten the dough, wrap the dough around the caramels, then the whole process of getting them off the parchment paper at just the right time so they don't stick.  They are good cookies, but come on...  I'm just not that dedicated.

I have yet another potluck tomorrow at work, and I had kind of promised more of these cookies before I really thought about how much I detest doing anything on Sunday nights.  So I wondered if there was any way around this.  I went grocery shopping this morning and I saw the answer and the sky opened up and the angels started to sing:


Instead of a caramel center, why not just spread the caramel goodness throughout with little bits?  That way, when it cools, you don't have a glob of chewy right there in the middle.  And... no stuffing the caramel into the dough.  And... you don't have to worry about the parchment paper, unless you are just really into that.  I'm not.  It makes loud crinkly noises that offend my ears.  Same awesome taste, but faster and less messy.


Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking the stuffed caramel cookies.  If I weren't so freaking lazy, I would make them like that all the time. 

One more tip:  (and you can try this with chocolate chip cookies, too)  Don't add the caramel bits after the flour.  Add them to the wet ingredients before you mix in the flour.  It's so much easier.   I used to hate making chocolate chip cookies for the simple fact that my arm was already falling off by the time all the flour was incorporated and then I still had the chips to add.  Of course, if you have a handy dandy mixer, you probably don't care.  =P  LOL

PS... To be fair, I'm not really a bad cook.  In fact, my husband thinks I'm a pretty darn good one.  If I have a good recipe and want to cook.  And, as a general rule, I don't ever want  to cook.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

I've got to move my jacket...

Today the girls and I went to a baby shower/1st birthday party.  My cousin's daughter is having a baby in a few weeks and her firstborn just turned 1.  I feel for her.  I thought having kids 19 months apart was rough... 

We had fun.  The girls adored baby Caleb and couldn't get enough of him or his toys.  Isabelle said "Mom, I'm going to miss that little baby.  I wanted to keep him."  Sweet, baby, but no.  No babies.  Sorry.

Caleb got his little boots and everything thought they were just too cute.  I had fretted over the size... I made the Baby Goshalosh boots in the biggest size (6 - 12 months) but I worried that since he was already 12 months that they'd be too small.  But he's a tiny fellow, so they were fine... even with room to spare. 

It was kind of chaotic and I missed her opening my gift for the new baby, which was diapers and the teeny tiny boots.  I was worried about the boots getting mixed up with the rest of the tissue paper, since they were so tiny.  I hadn't heard anyone say anything about them, so I really worried about it.  I didn't want to assume that people would make a fuss over them, but I didn't want the boots to be thrown out.  I kind of peeked at the list of gifts they were making for thank you cards and my gift wasn't on it at all.  I think the card got lost when the girls were dragging the present in.  Luckily, I found the boots (they did get tossed with all the tissue paper) and she thought it was really sweet that they had matching boots.

On the way home, Maroon 5 came on the radio and Olivia fell in love with the song "Moves Like Jagger."  I like Maroon 5, but the song is somewhat annoying because it just makes no sense to me and it's so catchy that I can't get it out of my head.  But I thought it was cute to hear Olivia singing along.  Of course, that was until I heard Isabelle singing.  "I've got to move my jacket, I've got to move my jacket." 

It's hard to drive when you're laughing that hard.  I don't know what cracked me up more today... that or her operatic singing bit this morning.  She's a nut.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Oh my tiny goodness!

I've been invited to a baby shower this coming weekend.  My cousin's daughter is having her second baby.  It's mostly a diaper & wipes shower, but I can't resist the opportunity to indulge in my need to make something tiny.

People, look at these little bitty things:

Noah's boots

I almost died from the cuteness.  I can't believe my kids' feet were ever that tiny.  Of course, we are a big-footed family, so they may not have ever been quite that small... 

I used this pattern.  Remember my post about the free boot pattern that made me feel like I had some head trauma that left me with no recollection of how to crochet?  Yeah.  These look 500 times better.  They're very easy, the pattern is very clear.  I'm glad I spent the money on the pattern and I'll definitely have it on hand for future baby gifts.  They are just adorable.

I have one more pair to make... a matching pair for the older brother who just turned 1. These just took me a few hours, so surely I can get the other pair finished in addition to keeping to my schedule.  Yes... schedule.  I decided that insane list over there to the side ----> was going to become a 1st class disaster if I didn't make a plan.  I think I have it under control.  If you don't hear from me in a while, I'm probably tangled up in all that yarn....

Monday, November 14, 2011

Hidy Ho!

Mr. Hankey

Would it be totally wrong of me to use Mr. Hankey as our "elf on a shelf"? 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Stick a fork in me

The South Park kids (set #1 of four) are done!

South Park!

They are about 4 1/2 inches tall, the ones with pompoms on their hats a little close to 5 inches.  Despite stuffing beans in the bottom, they are too top-heavy to stand up alone, but really, what do you expect when your head is 3 times the size of your body?

I hated buying the pattern for those guys at first, but it looks like I'm getting my money's worth out of it.

My list over there ----> is getting pretty long, but I don't feel overwhelmed.  I'm pretty excited about all of it, really.  I got the yarn to start on Hobbes today and I'm itching to start it.  But I need to work Mr. Hankey out first and I've gotten a really good start on him.  He's going with the guys and Michael Myers to Bill's aunt.  I see more of him in my future if I can find the time.  And Towelie.  I had never heard of Towelie before tonight, but one of my friends who wanted a set asked if I could make a Towelie as well.  I went to the South Park website and let's just say I got a good education on what I've missed since I haven't seen the show in years.  Wow.   

So, anyway....  I would have finished the guys up earlier this week, but I kind of took Wednesday and Thursday nights off.  This afternoon, I picked up a hat I was working on and I had crocheted exactly 4 stitches yesterday.  Maybe 2 rows Wednesday.  That was the total of my work those two days.  I made up for it today.  Lots of hooking going on... =)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I told you.

It came to me the other night.  I remembered old Michael Myers in the closet, waiting to be shipped off to Bill's aunt.  I had just finished Kenny's head...  I just couldn't help myself. 

OMG!  He killed Kenny!  You bastard!

I ended up crocheting a knife for Michael.  I didn't have any gray or brown felt, so I just sat down and it happened.  I even made it look bloody.  Who would have thought I'd ever crochet a bloody knife?  I don't put anything past me nowadays.

Don't worry... in true South Park fashion, Kenny managed to put himself together and is chilling with Cartman and Stan.  Kyle's head is finished.... just need to make his body and Set #1 is complete.  Well, after I make Mr. Hankey, that is.  Can't send off the package without some Christmas poo.

Bloody knives and poop.  I don't think there's anything more I can say about that.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Scratching my head...

I'm trying to figure out what to make the girls for Christmas.  I think I can probably finish all my commissioned work in the next week or so if I push, which gives me more time than I anticipated to work on personal stuff. 

I know that I want to make them some scarves, which probably won't ever be worn, but it's worth a try.  This is the pattern I'm thinking about...

Maybe, if I have time, a coordinating hat.  Not the usual novelty-type beanies I do, something more "grown up."  We'll see.  I'm not looking into it seriously until I know I have the time.

Zoe is into giraffes lately.  So I want to make her a giraffe.  I thought about this:

But it doesn't have a long neck.  When we were talking about giraffes today, she said they had long necks and polka dots, so I don't think a short-necked giraffe will do.  Then I saw this and I think she'd love the stuff out of it:

I've never made any of this designer's patterns, but I've adored them forever.  I think it's about time.

I've had a few ideas for Isabelle, starting with a green kangaroo (if you get that reference, I'll give you a high five), but I think I've settled on this:

She's my little Calvin, for sure.  So she needs a Hobbes, I think.  Plus, I have soft spot for C&H and need an excuse to make it anyway =)

But Olivia... I'm stumped.  I just made her a doll for her birthday.  She said she likes cats, but I haven't found a cat pattern that I like.  I thought about a mermaid, but that's more Izzy's thing.  I can come up with a bunch of Isabelle ideas, but nothing for Olivia.  I think I'm just going to have to watch her closely and see if I pick up any clues.  Or maybe I'll make this baby, because the feet make me laugh.  My child does have big feet (she gets it naturally, I wear size 11)

I've made one of her patterns before... Dotje.  And I have a half-finished Jester that I should finish one of these days.  Depending on who I end up with in our Christmas name-draw, they might end up with him. 

OK.. enough thinking.  I need to work on my South Park kiddos.  Cartman and Stan are finished.  Kenny is armless still and Kyle's hat won't fit and he has no body yet.  Before I finish Kenny, I need to stage a picture of him and Michael Myers.  I need a "Oh no! They killed Kenny!" shot.  Because I'm a dork.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Babies on the brain

I've been wishing for babies.  Not my own... that's not going to happen short of a miracle.  I do have to cop to a little, tiny bit of baby fever now that Zoe is definitely not a baby anymore.  But I just have to conjure up the memories of sleepwalking with babies, poopy diapers and washing bottles and I'm pretty much over it in no time.  I really want do a baby to borrow, though.

My children have been very effective birth control for my sister, who has sworn off ever having kids.  (That's not really the reason, but there are times I wouldn't blame her if it was)  My older sister is out of the baby-making business.  I was the last of my friends to have kids.  So it's slim pickings around here trying to find people to spawn and satisfy my desire for baby love.

Luckily, my cousin's daughter is having a baby soon.  And a good internet pal of mine is pregnant.  So I get to at least make some baby stuff, even if I may not get any good cuddle time out of these babies.  I found out that they are having a shower for my cousin's daughter next weekend, so I was looking for something to make for a little boy.  Sara at Tangled Happy has a new sponsor, The Lovely Crow, and she has the cutest little galoshes pattern.  I was all set to buy it when she posted on facebook that she was about to release a cowboy boot pattern.  Score! 

Well, before I went to buy the pattern, I found this on Pinterest:

A free cowboy boot pattern.  I don't mind buying patterns, but here was a free one.  I'm all about not having to pay for stuff.  =)

I got what I paid for.  This pattern made me feel stupid.  I know I have only been crocheting a year and a half, and I'm not trying to sound conceited or anything, but I think I can hang with the pros most of the time.  I've worked advanced patterns before.  But I don't know how anyone managed to make these blasted boots.  I hate ripping out my work and starting over.  And over.  And over.  Nothing I did could make these books look like that picture up there.  I even improvised a bit here and there to try to make it work.  It just wasn't happening.  Stupid boots.

So, when I can get to a printer, I'm going with the other pattern.  Debating between the galoshes and the cowboy boots....  They're very similar and I cold probably figure out how to adapt one to make the other.  I should have just gone with that in the first place, the pictures of the finished projects on Ravelry looked better to start with, but I was willing to sacrifice a tad for a free pattern.  But not my sanity. 

By the way, The Lovely Crow has no clue who I am or what I am saying about her pattern, I'm just running my head to avoid working on those darn South Park kids.  =)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Quickie cowl

So today, my coworker starts trying to describe a cowl/neck warmer she bought  recently and said that she had told herself, "I bet Jennifer could make this."  Then she told me that if I was interested in making some that she'd sneak them into her nephew's booth at the Memphis Flea Market to see how they would sell.  I told her I'd think about it, but that I really didn't have much free time right now.  Then curiosity got the better of me and I did a little search to see what kind of quick-looking patterns I could find. 

I saw a few that reminded me of those tshirt scarves I've seen on Pinterest.  You know, you cut a tshirt into strips and twist them together.  Voila, a scarf.  The crocheted ones are just a long chain wrapped around and around.  I thought it was really cool looking.  So when I got home, I went digging through my stash for some chunky yarn to experiment with.

I found a dark red, probably 3/4 of a skein or so.  I just sat there and made the longest chain I've ever made since I was a kid and didn't know how to make it past the chain stitch so I just chained until I ran out of yarn.  Seriously, that's it.  An hour or so later, I ran out yarn, joined it into a huge circle, looped it around and around, secured it by just wrapping the yarn ends around the bundle and tying them off.  Voila!... a cowl.

chain cowl

You don't even really have to secure it...  it would be adjustable if you didn't.  But it would just turn into a huge knot around here if I hadn't.

I may or may not have dozed off a few times doing it... I'm kind of sleepy today and it's chilly out and chain stitching is kind of monotonous.  But I think it's cute.  Comfy too.  Long enough to keep the back of my neck warm and not make me feel like I'm being strangled.  Isabelle loves it.  She wore it most of the evening. 

I'll show it to my coworker and see what she thinks.  I could probably churn out a few of these before the next flea market without making it impossible to finish the things I'm obligated to.  I don't know.  We'll see.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Warm hands

I don't know if I have ever told you this, but I am freakishly warm.  All the time.  I rarely have to wear a heavy jacket, even in the middle of winter (being in the South helps with that, too).  When I was little, my younger sister and I shared a bed and she would get so mad if my legs touched hers because they were so hot. I don't know if I just have excellent circulation or what.  The girls seem to have inherited it, though.  I have, on more than one occasion, checked their temperature when they got up in the morning because I thought they had fever.   It's not easy to get them to dress warmly.  It's funny... the one person in the house that was raised to endure the cold North Country (my husband is from upstate NY) is always the one to freeze around here. 

My hands are especially warm.  No one likes to hold hands with me for very long because I make their hands sweat in no time flat.  It's not always bad... I don't need a heating pad when Isabelle wakes up with growing pains.  In a matter of seconds, I can melt a freezer pop so that the girls can slide them up the tube without any trouble.  I would probably make a killer masseuse, if I could stand touching strangers that intimately.

But sometimes it's not so great.  There are times my hands are so warm that it's uncomfortable.  I will just sit and hold a cold soda can for a few minutes just because it feels so good to have something cold in my hands.  My fingers do get cold, but my palms are always so warm that gloves are just beyond uncomfortable.

I love fingerless gloves.  I wish like crazy I could wear them.  I might be able to get away with the more mesh-y patterns.  But I need something more like palm-less gloves.  I think that would look a little silly, but maybe I'll try it one day.  Because I'm just weird like that.  Anyway, I do love how fingerless gloves look and I jump when I get the chance to make them. 

One of my friends asked me to make her a pair, along with that silly chicken hat which wasn't supposed to look like a chicken.  Luckily she loves the hat.  I made her a pair of fingerless gloves last spring and so this time I asked if she minded if I tried another pattern.  She said she wanted them to be camouflage and the rest was up to me.  The only camouflage yarn I could find was Red Heart, aka Strings of Sandpaper.  I knew I could soften up the finished project, so I just went ahead and used it. 

I used a free pattern :  Gauntlet Style Fingerless Gloves  Now, I hate giving a not-so-great review about a pattern, because I've written a few and I know it's hard to write them.  But I wasn't crazy about the pattern.  It was slightly confusing.  Add that to the sandpaper yarn, and it took me a while to actually complete the set of gloves because I was so over it after the first one.  I finally finished them tonight. 


Now I just need to get my friend to give me her approval and I'll send them off.  I seriously need to work on my South Park amis now.... they'll need to be shipped off soon.  And 4 hats to make and ship off before Christmas.  I think I need to stop accepting requests now, if I plan on doing any crocheting for the girls for Christmas... and if I want to make any decorations.

PS... Exciting day!  My flight to get to the cruise was booked today.  Woo hoo!  Less than three months! I'm really excited and at the same time really anxious about leaving the girls for a week.  I'll be homesick before I can get seasick.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

How many more teeth does she have?

Today was Olivia's regular dental check up.  My kids adore going to the dentist.  I don't blame them.  Our hygienist and the dentist are super nice and they are great with the kids.  Isabelle and Zoe's first appointments were actually just impromptu "hey, let me up in that chair!" situations.  I'm always hearing what good little patients they are.

Well, when we went in today, Olivia's remaining front tooth was really loose.... "just hanging in there by her imagination" as the hygienist put it.  Remember, Olivia won't wiggle her loose teeth and it's high drama when it's time for the tooth to come out.  The hygienist told me that she'd just go ahead and get the tooth out for me and I felt like flying across the chair to hug her.  I was envisioning this peaceful easy tooth plucking done by someone other than me.  I got the "someone other than me" part right.

During the cleaning, Olivia bit down on "Mr. Thirsty" with her tooth and it started bleeding.  Our visit went downhill pretty fast from there.  Miss Charlotte told her she'd put some "blue medicine" (topical anesthetic) on it for her so it wouldn't hurt.  She barely got to finish the cleaning and the dentist came in to verify no cavities.  Olivia was whimpering the whole time about her tooth.

Mind you, it's numb, OK?

So Miss Charlotte put a little more blue medicine on it, grabbed the tooth and yanked.  Apparently Olivia's imagination is stronger than Miss Charlotte thought, because the tooth didn't just yank out.  She had to grab on to it again and  pull.  Olivia is screaming and bleeding everywhere.  Dental employees come flocking to see what all the fuss is about.  Olivia is in hysterics, I'm laughing because the alternative is being mortified that my "model patient" is being so ridiculous, and everyone is just looking at us like we are insane.

I'm really glad that they told me that I should leave the other two in the waiting room and they'd watch them during Olivia's appointment.  (I told you, my dentist office rocks)  The girls are super protective of each other (they're the only ones allowed to hurt each other), so I'm sure it would have been pure insanity.


On the plus side, I already have Olivia's Tooth Fairy present (we do small - like dollar store - gifts instead of money) so we're set.  And I can go around singing "All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth" to her!  Awesome.


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