Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Good morning!

What are you wearing there, muffin?

OK, I sorta stole that from Jim Gaffigan (OH, I love that guy!) But these butterscotch muffins are soooo good, and super-easy to make, you have to try them!

Butterscotch Muffins
adapted by me from a Better Homes and Gardens recipe

Oven: 400 degrees
Yield: 10 - 12 muffins

1 3/4 c all-purpose flour
1/3 c sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup butterscotch chips (1/2 of a 10 oz. bag)
1 beaten egg
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup cooking oil
handful of rolled oats
  1. Spray twelve 2.5" muffin cups with non-stick vegetable spray (or line with paper baking cups;) set aside.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and butterscotch chips. Make a well in the center of this dry mixture, and set aside.
  3. In another mixing bowl, (honestly, I just dump it all in the one bowl, but who am I to tell BHG how to bake) combine egg, milk, and oil. Add egg mixture all at once to the dry mixture.
  4. Stir JUST til moistened (batter will still be lumpy!) I watched Alton Brown talk about muffins once, and he said to stir it no more than 20 strokes, and then force yourself to walk away. He's right.
  5. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full.
  6. Sprinkle each muffin with some rolled oats. . . . a little sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar is amazing, too.
  7. Bake in a 400 degree oven, for 20 minutes or until golden.
  8. Cool in muffin cups for 5 minutes, then remove.
  9. Serve warm, and enjoy!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Happiness is. . . .

. . . . a pilfered brick of cheese,

on a day with new markers.

My sock solution, and finally, a new tote!

Imagine having 10 people in your household. OK, maybe that was a bit too difficult to start off with, but let's pretend for a minute.
Those 10 people have 2 feet, and wear a pair of socks at a time.

Let's assume those 10 people have a minimum of 10 pairs of socks. (That's a low guesstimate, but a nice easy number to work with.)

10 people x 20 socks = 200 socks total (again. . . minimum)

So you can also try to imagine my nightmare trying to launder said socks. Most of the time, I don't know which sock belongs to what person's foot. Owen's and my husband's are about the only distinct socks in the house. However, my teen daughters can tell by the stitch count and thread distortion on their own socks, and have a keen sense of when someone else is wearing their particular species of sock. And then cat-fights then ensue.

I refuse to sort socks any more, or be a party to the above-mentioned sock crimes. My solution?

I don't know why it took me so long to think of this. Every sock in the house goes into this really big basket (that I picked up, new, at the thrift store for $3) and every person is responsible for rooting through the basket for their own socks. It's not my problem any more. And it has worked amazingly well for us for the past 3 months.
And no, my whites are not that white. Need to work on that. Next year. Or not.

Finally, a tote!

The thrift stores have been good to me lately, and I've picked up some of the cutest fabrics I've seen in a long time. Here's my newest tote:

I'm planning to list a new tote every day this week. Tomorrow's tote involves some brown, raspberry and birdies!
Oh, a little update -- we still don't know when or where we're moving. . . . just that we will be. How frustrating!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Teeny tiny house, Part 2

Ohhh, I am such a lucky lady! I received my house from the fabulous camelama, and I am just floored by the amount of time and attention she put into this little project. She took my favorite colors, themes and addictions (you'll see what I mean) and turned them into a tiny, tangible object:

My partner indulges my fabric and button addictions, and throws in an abundance of red and cuteness!

And on the side of the house, a tiny mouse, and shutters, and. . . .

. . . . some lacy curtains! I love all the unexpected little touches she included all over this house.

A tiny flower garden in the back of the house, and its inhabitants:

And on this side of the house, camelama indulges my fondness for all things tropical, bright, and bold!

This house is full of secrets, which I had to unlock. . . .

Wait! What is this!?

This house opens up into a Dia de los Muertos Party!

Here's the main inhabitant, from all angles:

A close-up of the fabric, which is an Alexander Henry (again -- my favorite!):

Oh, and there is one more surprise. . . .

It glows in the dark!!!

Thank you so much, camelama, for this amazing tiny house! It is so me, and I truly appreciate all of the thought, time, and skill you put into creating this little item for me.

Friday, February 20, 2009

A priest comes to visit. . . .

Just when you think you've seen it all, you realize that that is a pretty dumb thought to think.

Our dear friend (who is a priest) dropped by today for little visit. We don't get to see him very often. . . . it has been about two years since we last saw him, as he lives about 250 miles from here. We were chatting in the living room, about the drawbacks of the iPhone, and the good features of a Blackberry, when my precocious 2 year old silently enters the room.

Wearing only a shirt and a smile. And I mean only.

Our visitor did not notice him, although my Monkey was prancing about, putting on a quite a show, but I was instantly mortified. My teen daughters, all lounging against walls or furniture, didn't notice the side show, either. No one noticed. . . . until I decided to end the dance show and escort my little Monkey out of the room to find his clothing.

It was bound to happen, right? Law of averages? Murphy's Law?


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Teeny tiny house, Part 1

I was a participant in the Tiny House Swap on Craftster recently. OH MY -- that was such a fun swap! I was able to revisit one of my favorite childhood pastimes -- building tiny homes and furnishings! I spent several hours (too many hours) on this project, playing with paper, glue, paint, clay and fabrics.

In my excitement to ship it to my neat partner, Camelama, I forgot to take any photos! Not a one! So, my partner has kindly allowed me to use these amazing photos that she took of the house. And here is the tiny house I created. . . .

Here's a glimpse of the interior through a window:

I made the roof removeable, and the furniture is "loose," so it can be rearranged and played with. What fun would a tiny house be, without getting to decorate and play with tinier furnishings?

Every tiny cottage needs a tiny sewing machine:

You can see more photos here, and even more here. (Thanks again, Camelama, for letting me borrow your fantastic photos!) Part 2 of this "Teeny tiny house" post will be written when MY tiny house arrives from Camelama! So excited!

And a nice blog mention. . . .

Thanks to Second Surf for mentioning my wool dryer balls in your blog! Yay!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Just jump right in. . . . and a giveaway!

I figured I'd just jump in and spare you all the details of my hellish last few weeks. I did promise an update on Monkey 4's knee, so that will come at the end of tonight's post.

In other very brief news, we don't know when or even where we are moving yet, the babies are feeling better, and I've gotten some fun crafting done. :)

So on to the fun crafting. . . .

I recently participated in an embroidered tea towel swap, with a Valentine's Day theme. I had never embroidered a towel before, so I was very nervous about attempting one. But once I got started, I was amazed at how relaxing embroidery was! My sweet partner, PerachYafeh, was so easy and fun to craft for! This is the towel I made her:

I tried this tinting technique to color the little pup. This was also my first try, so the execution left a lot to be desired. It's a neat technique, though, and its possibilities are endless!

I also made her two little pincushions -- a love letter and a birthday cake -- and you can see those here. Thanks so much for being such a great partner and organizer, PY! (Be sure to check out her blog, too!)

And how about a giveaway?!
The Spotted Box is giving away one of my little pincushions:

You can enter to win just by leaving a comment here! Good luck! :)

And finally, the Monkey 4 update. . . .

Boiled down, the news is not good.

About 3 years ago, just before his knee surgery, he had a CT scan from his hips to his ankles. It was discovered that the groove at the end of his femur was a little shallow. We were hoping that the groove would deepen as he grew.

Picture of normal femur. . . note the deep groove at the end.

The new CT scans were very revealing. Now, the groove is no longer there -- at all. And now both femurs look like this:

How Monkey 4's femurs look now.

There is basically no place for his patella to rest. So, instead of "residing" in this nice little groove like this:

. . . . it grinds atop this condyle like this:

The femurs also now have a twist to them, and that presents another stack of issues we'll have to deal with later.

What do we do now? We wait. We manage his symptoms, and buy time.

His doctor told him to go out and have the best summer ever, and to do whatever he pleased. My sweet boy was ecstatic with that news (and I think he tuned out the rest of that conversation, which involved surgeries, bone reshaping, etc.) But that's OK. I plan to help him have this fantastic summer. We'll see his doctor again at the end of it.

SO, in full disclosure, the trampoline alone did not damage his knee. He had a predisposition to knee injury. But the initial injury was still due in part to jumping on the trampoline. And I still hate trampolines.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Blessings and ramblings

I was blessed to have a pincushion on the front page of Etsy this weekend -- not once . . .

. . . but twice!

Thanks to the admin for choosing my water lily pincushion, and to Vision Quest, who chose my umbrella pincushion! (Psst -- check out Vision Quest's shop: this is so pretty!)

And ramblings. . . .

I wish I had something interesting to show you today. With all that's going on, my mind is on the fritz and a coherent thought is hard to come by. I wonder if I'm the only one. . . .?

My swap projects are all behind schedule, and my house is a mess. We have Monkey 4's CT scan results and consultation this afternoon, so I'll keep you posted on that, too.

Boy, that sounds whiny. I'm sorry -- it wasn't meant to be. I think it was more of a list of things-to-do-today. (Oh, and don't forget to stop by the library.)

I'm currently rocking baby Owen, who is now a hefty 23 pounds, and who is sweaty and sleeping soundly. I'd better go lay him down, and get some sleep for a bit. Everything else will wait 'til later. I'll talk to you later, my friends. . . .

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Swap goodies = stress relievers

What perfect timing! Such a stressful week, and then some lovely swap packages arrived in the mail!

I participated in an Embroidered Valentine Towel Swap on Craftster. I was really nervous about signing up, as I'd never embroidered a tea towel before, and these ladies really know their embroidery! (I'll show you my towel after my partner receives it.)

My new, and very, very sweet friend, Anary, made this lovely tea towel for me!

Her stitches are just beautiful! I love all of the sweet little details and fun dots and hearts:

Another requirement of the swap was one little thing, such as a pincushion or needlebook. Well, Anary made me the cutest little handbag pincushion!

Again, she has crazy-good embroidery skills. Check out that tiny pocket!

And it is weighted, too! Oh, and to top it all off, she made me this nifty notepad:

How cool is that? Thank you so much, Anary! You've been the perfect swap partner and organizer!

Oh, more goodies. . . .

I also participated in another pincushion swap, and my lovely partner, melba, sent me this adorable fishy pincushion!

Hee-heee! The little fish-pucker is just too cute! I really love the embroidery she used for the eyes -- I could never attempt that much satin stitching! It looks great.

And she's a whopper! Thank you so much, melba! I'm so happy we were partners!

And a very heartfelt thank-you....

. . . to all of you who left such kind comments about and for my son. I truly appreciate your prayers and support. I'll keep you posted.
Monkey 4 update:
CT scans tomorrow morning, 10 am. Prayers would be appreciated!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Trampolines Are the Devil: A Cautionary Tale

I hate trampolines.

As a kid, of course I loved them. Until I was at a party in junior high, and saw a kid do a face-dive onto the springs, and split (yes, split) his nose wide open. That's an image that stays with you.

So there are pads for the springs, and nets, and more padded bars. None of those things can prevent broken bones, sprained muscles or torn ligaments.

And none of those things prevented my son's injury.

I should have known better.

In 2006, my son, Monkey 4, was 7 years-old when he jumped on the trampoline twice -- as in two jumps -- and tore most of the ligaments in his knee. I heard a terrible scream, the kind no mother ever wants to hear, and saw my son trying to hop and hobble back to the house with the lower half of his leg dangling unnaturally. His knee cap was then on the outer part of his leg.

After a useless trip to the ER and a month wasted with a local orthopaedist who said he "just wasn't sure how to treat someone so young with that kind of injury," we were blessed to find a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon that could help my son regain the use of his leg. It also turned out that this doctor's special interest is knees. . . . I saw that as a bit of Providence!

In April of 2006, my son underwent arthroscopic surgery to stabilize his patella (requiring a hamstring graft and muscle realignment.) The outcome was excellent, and his recovery was swift and complete.

Knee, with leg straight. . . looks pretty good. Knee stays in place here.

But children grow, and there are those pesky growth spurts. . . . which wreak havoc on my son's knee. We always knew he would have to have at least one other knee surgery, and we were hoping we could hold off until his mid-teens. But now it doesn't look like the knee is going to hold out that long. His knee has become unstable, and light to moderate activity (like walking 9 holes of golf or going on a 10-minute bike ride) causes pain and discomfort.

When he bends his knee slightly, the knee cap starts to slide to the side and down.

Today, he saw his doctor, and the outlook is not good. Surgery is a strong possibility. One question regarding surgery is when to do the surgery. Do we wait? Do we do it now? If now, then another question arises -- how many will be required? If we don't choose surgery, his joint would degenerate faster and pain would be a huge factor. So for now, two CTs are being scheduled, and once those are completed, we'll have to look at his options more closely when we have more information.

When the knee is bent more (about 110-degrees) the knee cap is completely off track.

His injuries are permanent. This definitely affects his quality of life. No football, no soccer, no roller blading, no bounce houses at birthday parties. Not to mention the pain from the injury, surgeries and recoveries. Not to mention the tens of thousands of dollars that are spent (and will be spent) just so he can walk and not have chronic pain. Not to mention the likelihood that he will have arthritis by the time he's 20.

Please think about these things before you let your child jump on a trampoline. Be safe.

Dia de los Muertos pincushion, many thanks, and too much to do

Somehow, I found time to make a pincushion for the pincushion swap on Craftster:

Her head and bodice are the pincushion-y parts, and her apron is for storing needles. Her arms are posable, too!

There is a jar for storage underneath her skirt.

And I made my first-ever "fun" pin -- the rose in her hair! My partner really liked it -- I'm so glad. I was really nervous about it, as it is very different from most of my other pincushions. I'll be making one more for a private swap in a week or so (I'm getting an apron! YAY!) so I'll make up a tutorial for anyone that's interested, and post it then.

Many thanks. . . .

My sweet friend, Sophie, gave me this little blog award, which I do not feel I deserve. But this made my day!
"This blog invests and believes in PROXIMITY - nearness in space, time and relationships. These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes for self-aggrandizement! Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated."

Sophie, you deserved this award for sure. I look forward to reading your blog every day -- your family, your crafts, your finds, your thoughts. So beautiful and lovely to read. Thank you.

I want to pass this along. . . .

. . . to Amy, at Mia Sophia's Day, who works very hard to make her little corner of the world beautiful and happy through kind words and lovely creations.

. . . to Jenn, at Long Adventures, who lives consciously and carefully, and shares her thoughts and her sweet family's adventures with us.

. . . and to Jenn, at Barefoot in Tennessee, an amazing, strong homeschooling mom of 6, who treasures and nourishes her beautiful family and shares that journey through her blog.

Another thanks. . . .

To my crafty friend, Stacy! She recently nominated me for this cool award:

Thanks, Stacy! (And I'm sorry it took me so long to thank you!)

Too much to do. . . .

Sick monkey:
Owen is STILL sick. He only ran a low-grade fever for one afternoon, over a week ago, but he is still not sleeping, still not eating solids (much), and still cranky. I took him to the doctor yesterday, and it looks like he has a really bad sinus infection, and maybe an ear infection about to brew. Poor baby. Some antibiotics should help him feel better very soon. I hope.

Husband news:
My hubby had to go out of town again for awhile; we don't know for how long. What we do know is. . . .

. . . since he was promoted, he will have to relocate within the next 4 - 6 weeks (at the most.) Where? We don't know yet.

Guess who gets to pack?

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