About Me

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We are Familia FIG. We are a bi- lingual, blended family. Belalu was diagnosed at 9 months with hypochondroplasia.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

My oh my, we have some snow!

Two days after a long winter storm finally tapered off, we are gearing up for another one starting tonight. This is a picture from campus, and here are some action shots of Juan clearing out a path to our door. As can be imagined, Mobi is not digging the weather right now. Before we got the snow cleared out, we couldn't remove her from the top step to do her *ehem* business.

Lots of snow means lots of knitting! I have three completed projects from the past week. First up, a hat from Rowan #36 that I already have in different yarn. This one is made from two yarns I had lying around my stash- one is Lamb's Pride wool and mohair, maybe? and the other is Rowan's Kid Classic, which also has wool and mohair in it. It is a very soft, very dense and warm hat. I just need to get a cute decorative button for the overlap. Maybe my spring break wanderings will put me in contact with the perfect one.

I also used up all of the wool yarn I had bought for my dad's fishing/cigar gloves. I made two ear bands, one is smaller than the other because I ran out of yarn. I literally used it all up! (That's a great feeling) The ribbing makes it elastic, so both should fit ok.

And now, for the unveiling of our vacation location: dum de dum....... Lawrence, Kansas !!!! I know, I know, Kansas? It's the home of KU and is a very cool college town with lots of great restaruants and an amazing yarn store (yay!)

Thursday, February 22, 2007

When is Vacation, again?

Although my arm is no longer bothering me, I am still just plodding along, waiting for vacation to arrive (one more week!) We haven't yet determined what we are doing for it yet- lots of ideas, no actual plans. I won't even bother suggesting what we may do, because at this point it changes about every few hours. Let's just say, there better be some warmth and relaxation involved.

I finished a hat last night at one of my knitting groups- I'll post pictures soon. Even though Juan and I are both stressed and being pulled in ten directions at once right now, we're still trying to stay healthy and eat well. Cause once the food goes downhill, there's no telling where we'll end up. So this week's big dish is lentil soup from the original Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. I added spicy chicken sausage and some diced tomatoes, too.

The other veggies you see were put into goat cheese salad, and schezuan noodles, my substitute for lunch sandwiches, just to shake things up a bit. Both recipes are from the Contessa. She has really been working my kitchen lately.

Other thing getting me through the week: my TIVO is now filled with Anthony Bourdain, thanks to a travel channel No Reservations marathon this past Monday. Good food, good knits, and good travel tv entertainment- it'll have to do for now.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Update with recipes and whines

For some reason, I no longer have Internet connection at home, and I have been way too busy in the office to blog. On top of that, I woke up yesterday with such a sharp pain in my back that I hardly have any mobility in my right arm. I don't think it's serious- probably more like tangible effects of missing yoga for about a week, but I makes it hard to do much of anything. (Definitely NOT knitting) It's just a bummer since last week I was feeling all flu-y and now this. *sigh* Ok, whining over.

I am also trying to juggle my classes with working on my dissertation, so have been a hermit lately. Last weekend we went up to the cities to see Garrison Keillor in A Prairie Home Companion, which was incredible. Now we feel that much closer to the Minnesotans in our midst. We both sported me-made handknit sweaters to the show. Here's an action shot from the hotel:
Tomorrow is a Mardi Gras benefit gala for the Women's Resource Center. Dressing up, drinking wine and eating good food, dancing with a live band- I better get my act together and be ready for some fun!

We had some Mexican-themed dishes this week. First, a delicious dip inspired by my cooking whiz pal Amy. First Layer: mix a can of refried beans with salsa and spread into a dish/pan (Keep the wet/dry proportion pretty equal or the whole thing gets soggy) Second Layer: Homemade guacamole. I make mine with 2 avocados, half seeded tomato, half a bunch of cilantro, large garlic clove, juice from a lime, a jalapeno pepper w/ stem and seeds removed, I think that's it. Mix in a food processor to desired chunky/smoothness. Then spread on bean/salsa mixture. Third Layer: Sour Cream Fourth Layer: a mix of shredded cheeses, (I usually just use one of those blends from Kraft or Sargento or whatever). Top with diced green onions and cilantro. Juan likes this best as a light dinner. Especially good for sporting event viewing, if you're into that.

We also had Mexican Lasagna this week. I love this dish and even when we end up having it for three days in a a row, I am still disappointed when it's gone.

Ok, break over and back to work. Have a great weekend!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Felted Bowl and Joy

I finished my felted bowl over the weekend. At first, I didn't think it would ever get done, because I couldn't find size 15 double-pointed needles. But, I posted this dilemma on the Stashalong blog, and immediately Toni suggested I use the magic loop method. The circs I had were way too small for that, but I did have two pairs of 15 circs, and then remembered the technique I used to make the fishing/cigar gloves. Why this technique never occurred to me before, I do not know. So, I finished it up, threw it into the washing machine and after a couple of loads, it was the texture I wanted. This project is thanks to Secret Agent Sheep, my still mysterious Secret Pal 9.">

I have started working on Joy, from Rowan Vintage Style. It is my first bead project, so I am taking my time with it. My first challange was resetting the pattern for the beads in the back, as the one they had did not line up for my size. I managed to do all the math and figuring while watching the Daily Show and the Colbert Report, and TIVOing through the commercials. Yeah me :)

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Rowan Spring/Summer 07 is Here!

The latest issue of Rowan (#41) was waiting for me when I got home yesterday. Quite apropos, considering I've been dreaming of some (any?) white Caribbean beach for the past few days. It was MINUS 14 degrees (yes, Fahrenheit) when we woke up this morning.

This issue follows a very familiar format- the first part displays cute, feminine girly sweaters, suitable for tea time or garden frolicking. Then there's the obligatory "exotic" section (this time taking Morocco and its North-African influence as inspiration), and then the "nautical" story, inspired by early 1950s Nantucket or some other such New England locale. *YAWN* It's the same format as last year's spring/summer issue, for crying out loud. And the editorial page was just as much a snore- the editor seems to be so bored with this magazine that she can't even get up enough energy to motive us to look through it. How much am I paying for this lackluster triteness??

The only two patterns that really got my wheels turning were both in the "exotic" section, though Tulip (above left) was also featured in Garden Party in a different yarn. I love the style of this wrap-around sweater, but I'm not sure about yarn. A solid color yarn would be more versatile, and I'm not that excited about the colors. Though I may like lava- I'd have to see it in person for be sure.

I am positive,however, that I will be making this:
Bonita is gorgeous and totally something I would wear, and I love the color they did it in, especially with the shell (blue of the sea, etc.) and it would look FABulous with white pants or jeans.

There are a couple of other patterns that could grow on me, like Azalea, Lydia, and the cotton placemats and coasters. On both the sweaters I would shorten the length of the ties, though.

Meanwhile, I've got lots of gifts and stash yarn to get through first. And three more months of wool weather,too, unfortunately.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Finished!!! Hourglass Sweater

As you may recall, I had a hard time with a very simple sweater pattern: the Hourglass Sweater from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. I was working on it in the car and couldn't find the stitch key in the book (it's there, just not at the beginning or end as I had expected), so I had to fudge the ssk, which I apparently did wrong, because the raglan sleeve decreases did not come out as planned. So I stuffed it in my knitting basket, promtly left town and then the country, and didn't look at it for a month and a half. Coming back to Winona mid-January, I decided I was ready to try again. So I frogged the whole top part, re-did the ssk stithces correctly, and Voila! My completed Hourglass Sweater: I used Katia Scotch Tweed yarn, which is 65% silk, 26% wool, and 9% rayon in the smallest size with size six needles. Since many people had problems with the boatneck stretching out, I did not follow directions and keep them live, but rather bound off and folded it over, as I had done for the bottom hem and sleeves. I've been wearing this all week, and the neck has so far kept it shape well. I've been wanting to knit a sweater like this for over a year- something I can just pull over my head that would be slouchy but still femenine and shapely. The yarn makes it a year-round weight, too, as those Minnesota and Maine summer nights can get chilly.

With temps falling to 10 below today, however, I have had to layer underneath. And what is it I'm wearing? The cutest tee shirt that Lisa gave me for my birthday the year before last. It says, "Knitting is Knotty" -super cute, right?

After a little hiatus, we've gone back to the weekend pizza nights. I had been using a dough recipe from Cooking Light magazine, but this time I tried Barefoot Contessa's mini pizza recipe from Parties!. It makes six individual-sized pizzas, which we really liked, since we could add whatever we wanted- lots of cheese and meat for Juan, tomatoes and basil for me.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Birthday food

Last week was Juan's birthday, so I took the opportunity to make a cake from my Barefoot Contessa at Home cookbook. It is a chocolate buttercream cake, but should be called mocha, since it has a hint of coffee in the cake and in the frosting. If you are generally suspicious about chocolate cake for its tendency to be dry, you have to try this recipe- it is so incredibly moist and delicious. In fact, it was so moist, it was hard to keep together when stacking them on my cake stand from the pan. I had to make this after work on Thursday, so with all the cooking and cooling, (and a dinner and movie interlude) I didn't finish it until after 10 pm (as you can see with the microwave clock as my witness in the background). I put raspberry preserves between the layers on the inside, and then frosted it with the buttercream. As you can see, I had a hard time frosting it- the cake kept sticking to the frosting, and I know it was cooled sufficiently, so it was really frustrating (also could have been partly due to the hour, too). It was ugly but delicious and went down well with some extra dry Barefoot Bubbly.

On Friday, I made what was going to be the birthday dinner. (We decided that it would be easier to do cake on Thursday and then go out for dinner). I enclosed salmon in foil with the leftover bubbly, parsley, lemon slices, salt, pepper, and olive oil and then made a traditional English parsley sauce to go on top with arugula underneath. We also had mushroom/carrot risotto and warm crusty bread. The parsley sauce added a slightly creamy texture that contrasted nicely with the crisp arugula.

UP NEXT: A finished Hourglass Sweater (I've been wearing it for a week- on and off, of course)