Monday, July 31, 2006

Chicken and Sweet Potato Curry In A Hurry

Chicken and Sweet Potato Curry-in-a-Hurry
from Rachel Ray 365: No Repeats

1 c. white rice (I made more & it needed more! And I used Jasmine rice in my rice cooker)
2 T. vegetable oil
1 medium sweet potato, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, then thinly sliced into half moons
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 rounded T. mild curry paste or 2 T. curry powder (I used 1 T. garam masala and 1 T. hot curry from Penzey's)
2 lb. chicken tenders, cut into bite-size chunks
1 lg. yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and thinly sliced
1 T. all-purpose flour
2 1/2 c. chicken stock or broth (I only used 2 c.)
1/2 c. heavy cream or half and half (I used half and half)
1/4 c. prepared mango chutney (I used a hot one)
1 10 oz. box frozen peas
1/4 c. fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

Heat 2 c. water to a boil in a pot, then add the rice. Stir and return to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook for 18 minutes or until tender. Or cook rice according to rice cooker directions.

Preheat a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat with the vegetable oil. Add the sweet potatoes to the skillet, season with salt, pepper and curry paste or powder, and cook,
stirring frequently, for 3-4 minutes, or until lightly browned. Scoot the potatoes over to one side of the pan and add the chunks of chicken. Season with salt and pepper, and cook, browning slightly, for 3 minutes. Add the onions and bell peppers and toss to combine. Add the flour and continue to cook for one minute. Add the chicken stock, cream, and mango chutney, bring to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes, or until the chicken and potatoes are cooked
through and the sauce has thickened.

Add the peas and simmer for 1 minute to heat them through. Stir in the cilantro and serve over rice.

Supposedly makes 4 servings, but they were BIG servings.

Note: I made this vegetarian once by changing to vegetable stock and subbing mushrooms and eggplant for the chicken. I liked the mushrooms, but didn't like the eggplant. Next time I think I'd sub a can of chickpeas instead.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Some T. bragging

I've held off on posting about this because I couldn't view it, but with the new computer...

T. did a special end-of-the-year project on butterflies for his second grade teacher. She is very "into" using technology as much as possible (which is right up T's alley). So his project is available online, if you have powerpoint (which I do--on this new computer!). Go here to view it yourself!

And here is T., practicing his guitar.(that hair... oh, that hair!)

Saturday, July 29, 2006

New Computer

Not much to post about, but the kids' computer died this week and we decided to bite the bullet and get a new one. We really couldn't swing the cost of a Mac at this point, so we got this one. It's an HP Pavilion (our third pavilion in 15 years) with AMD Athlon™ 64 3800+, 200GB SATA hard drive, 1024MB of DDR SDRAM and {drum roll, please} a DVD burner! :) So I've spent the last day and a half doing all the fun set-up stuff like downloading and installing a schmillion drivers and cleaning up our "old" computer (POS eMachines) to give to the kids. They're networked and appear to be running well right now. Fingers crossed!

I did have a bit of time to knit and I've started on a tank top for myself. Our LYS, Ruhama's, had their summer sale a week ago and I found some wonderful yarn on clearance. The yarn I found is Dale's Svale in natural (0020). It's a cotton/viscose/silk blend. So far it's knitting up nicely. I'll try to post a picture so far--soon!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Blogger Categories & Menu planning

Quick post...

I just spent this afternoon/evening setting up categories and categorizing all my posts so far! RawMilkStar set up this really cool tutorial. Now I won't feel as much of a need to separate all my posts. I had to laugh as how (by far) the most posts I've written are about knitting and how there are hardly any about saving money (which is what I initially set my blog up to post about!).

Secondly, I got an idea yesterday to put something new on my blog. I was thinking of posting menus, recipes, and (sometimes) pictures of what I make for supper most nights. I know that I am often at a loss for meal ideas and I also know what a great hit some blogs like Vegan Lunchbox are. Not sure if I'll do it, but I took pictures of our last two meals just in case I do.

I {heart} gymnastics

Some of you might remember my last post about M. and gymnastics. Well, we decided to go ahead and enroll her in the second session this summer, with the four-year-olds. The first cool thing that happened was that M. realized that *all* four-year-olds wear underwear. The day she realized this, she came home and announced that she was going to be potty-trained. Now my other two were notoriously late trainers, so I wasn't sure how it would go. And let me tell you that the first week was NOT fun--at all! But then it clicked and we are (for the first time in a long time) a house without diapers! (knock wood...)

The second session of gymnastics was a bit different from the first. She had a different teacher (Miss Sarah is an elementary school teacher and I believe her second session teacher is a college student) and she went from a class of three (often only two were there) to a class of six (with all six there most days). Every day she was thrilled to go to class and she didn't miss a single one. Today (the last day of summer session) she got her certificate, which said that she should sign up for five-year-old gymnastics next session! Yikes... And she read that part herself and was very, very, very excited!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Felted Bags

Following my mission to finish some UFO's, I felted two bags this week.

C. started a booga bag several months ago. She *started* it, but Grandma did most of the body of the bag and I did most of the I-cord (C. hates I-cord). But it's still C's bag! Pre- and post-felting (click on the pics for more detail of the stitches or felting):

And here's my MDK buttonhole bag pre- and post-felting:

Two more checked off the list!

one last camp picture

(I hadn't checked for a few days)

The last day!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Favorite "bind off loosely" method???

I'm working madly on finishing some projects this week so I can start some new ones (there IS a limit to the number of projects I can comfortably have going at once!). I am all but done with a pair of socks that are knit (at this point) in K2P2 ribbing. They've been knit toe-up (of course) and I don't want to ruin the whole sock by binding off too tightly. So I'm looking for favorite/best ways to "bind off loosely".

I appreciate all input! :)


Monday, July 24, 2006

Mother-Daughter Bookclub

C. and I belong to a wonderful Mother-Daughter Book Club. Last night was our turn to host. The book chosen was "Gathering Blue" by Lois Lowry. We tried to make the snacks fit the theme, so everything we served was blue!

Clockwise from top:
Blue-frosted cake
Blue corn tortilla chips
Blue raspberry gummy bears
Blue margaritas
blue cups
Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade kool-aid
blue plates
Bleu cheese dip
Terra Blues potato chips
(in the center:)
Blue JBz

It was fun and everyone liked the book so well that we decided to do "Messenger" for next month! :)

Saturday, July 22, 2006

MDK ballband trio and nine-patch

I finished these last week, but am just posting now. Notice the trio (blue, purple, pink) of rotating colors. :)
I have been knitting like crazy, trying to finish up some UFO's (oh, and I did a buttonhole bag in there, too. As soon as I can find my zippered pillow case, I'll felt it and post pics). I want to start on a mitered square throw (or, if I get really inspired, I'll make a full-sized one for T's bed (he'll move to a full-sized bed when we re-do the upstairs next year). I have quite a bit of cheap acrylic gunk, but if I make it into a duvet to put over the down comforter, it might look really cool...

Oh, I also finished the 9-patch warshcloth featured on MDK. I made it before the revised pattern and I also had always made my SSK's by slipping stitches purlwise. At any rate, my miters don't look like Kay's, but it's kinda cool anyway, I think. More curvy miters ;) My modification was to do seed stitch for the center square, in hopes that it wouldn't have an obvious direction when done. Then I tried and tried to find someone to show me how to crochet an edge on the warshcloth (I don't seem to learn well from a book) and I finally winged it. It's not beautiful, but it'll do for my dishes! :)

Thursday, July 20, 2006

No camp pictures today

I'm assuming this is when they're away from camp--sleeping in a teepee. I'm a bit frightened, as there were supposed to be severe storms last night. ugh...

Grandma and Grandpa got a postcard from C. It said they were learning how to tip the canoe! I assume so that they knew how to get back in it, if it happened to tip! (I sure hope so--lol!)

UPDATE: we got a postcard! The contents, verbatim (well, names changed to protect the friends):

Dear Mom, Dad, T. and M.,
I have been having a great time at camp! M1 & I have alredy refound black berry trail! M2 is loving camp. K. has found out she's afrade of bugs. We had mackaroni-chese for dinner.

cranky c.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Camp, Day two

Best news is that the temps dropped into the low 70's last night. High should be only in the 70's today! :) No thunder storms yet, either.

Monday, July 17, 2006


I'm not normally skittish about bugs (heck, I hardly blinked when G. plucked a tick off himself last night after dropping C. at camp), but when G. called me to look at this thing last night, I developed an unnatural fear of ever leaving the house again. As far as we can tell, it's a stag beetle. I believe we found the larvae when re-doing the front landscaping after having the tree removed (wish I'd have smooshed them all...). From what we've read, they can reach up to four inches. Luckily this one was only about two and a half inches long. {shudder}
The funniest part of the whole story (I think...) is that I spent the better part of an hour looking online to figure out what this thing was and if it would eat my plants. I showed the picture to T. on the tiny digital camera screen and his immediate reaction was, "Whoa! Stag beetle! cool!" I hate it that my kids are so much smarter than I am.


First day of camp

Two photos:

I'm sure they'll be in the water a LOT this week!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Gone to camp

C. has gone to Girl Scout camp for her third year. She left this afternoon (Sunday) and we will pick her up on Friday at 6:00 pm. It's very strange for me because I didn't go to drop her off this year. As G. pointed out, it is silly for all five of us to drive 45 minutes in 100 degree temps, so that the younger two can be miserable in the heat when we get there and have to stand in lines to check C. in, then trek across the campground to carry her stuff, and then leave. Sound idea, but I'm sad, since that means that I don't get to see the tent where she will be living for the next five days...

G. took pictures, at least:

And if any of you want to send her mail at camp, I know she loves getting stuff. Email me for her address... It should be an "interesting" week as temps are supposed to be in the 90's and 4 of the 5 days she'll be gone are supposed to have scattered thunder storms... not the best weather for camp!

I hope to be able to snag pictures from the camp website to post, too! Here are some shots from the last two summers that she went to camp. (click to make the images bigger)

2004--Animal Adventure

2005--Horse Camp (Wrangler)

So am I a "real" knitter now?

While I was back here on the computer composing a blog post about C. and camp, M. decided to take my socks--these ones--and pull out the 40" circular needle, and then poke the needle through the socks where SHE wanted it to be. {sob} I actually (I think) succeeded in picking up all those stitches (with a size 0 needle and a crochet hook too big to work...) and I think I even got them back on the needle correctly. I guess only time will tell.

Stupid mommy to not keep all knit stuff under lock and key.

Have I mentioned how much I'm enjoying three-and-a-half?

Thursday, July 13, 2006


I used to be the kind of knitter who started a project and finished it before I picked up another project. It bugged me to have something hanging--undone. All that changed for various reasons (including not being able to work on gifts in front of people and the need to have "easy" projects to take with me when I don't know if I'll be interrupted mid-stitch). I think this is a record for me (and I realize that you hard-core knitters would laugh at me):

First, one of a series of three MDK ballband dishcloths--I want to rotate pink, purple and blue in each.

Then my socks for ME, using the yarn my dye-o-rama pal made (just turned the heels!)

Then my sock savior socks (which will go to someone else since the originals turned up!)

Parts of a Flying Spaghetti Monster tree-topper (no need for that till November):

The wee beginnings of another felted Booga Bag:

And while I'm listing everything, most of a fun fur scarf that was started over 6 months ago, when the only "easy" knitting I could handle was still scarves:

What a milestone!

We hadn't measured C. since her birthday in March, but after about the fifth person said "she looks tall!" we decided to do it. And in just over 3 months, she's grown an inch and a half (she's 4'10")! The milestone? She can finally ride in the car without a booster!

Much excitement...

However, I then did some research and realized that it's not "backseat until age 12" but actually "backseat for 12 and under". Darnit! I was hoping we'd be able to actually take the small car more often when she turned twelve... {sigh}

Monday, July 10, 2006

the MDK kimono

Finally bought the ribbon, sewed it on, finished the hat, blocked both, and got a picture taken:

Close-ups to show that the ribbon and the hat stripes really DO match! :)

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Mom and Dad have a *real* date!

And C. babysat a l-o-n-g time...

Last night G. and I went to Summerfest (without kids) for the first time in twelve years! When we were kidless, we'd go to Summerfest several times each year. We'd bike down from our cool East Side apartment and get in free with whatever promotion was going on at the time and then we'd see great bands for free! (The best was front-row for The Smithereens...) One of C's friend's moms works for Summerfest and she gave us free passes (and a free parking pass), so it was almost like a flashback to the freebie days!

We got to see Pat McCurdy (a FULL set!), Willy Porter and Guster. All three were awesome... We also got to eat our favorite 'Fest food: Saz's Appetizer Sampler (mozarella marinara, deep-fried cheese curds and sour cream and chive fries {sigh}). And we realized just how old we are! Our feet, knees and backs just can't handle that much standing on picnic tables anymore.

We left home shortly after 4:00 pm and got home a bit before 1:00 am. C. had all the kids in bed, asleep. She said that she'd laid down with M. until she fell asleep and then left her, but she was worried about leaving her alone, so she went back in and carried her into bed so she could be with C. in case she woke up. Awww... You can't ask for sisterly love like that. :)

Now, however, I'm exhausted. How did we used to do this night after night? Oh, yeah... We were 15 years younger! :)

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Friday, July 07, 2006

The SockapalOOOza socks arrived!!!

(apologies to those of you reading this twice, but I think the original post was messing up things....)

Remember these socks? The ones I posted about here when I was sure they'd disappeared forever? Well, I got an email from my sock pal Kristel saying that they arrived!!!!!

I'm so happy. Though I like the "savior socks" I'd started, they didn't compare to what I'd originally sent.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Turning 3 1/2

Today is M's Three-and-a-half birthday. I don't remember exactly when we started celebrating half birthdays (not a BIG celebration--we often go out to eat and I bake a "half cake"--one round one that's cut in half and layered to look like half a regular cake...), but the kids LOVE them. Here's the half birthday girl:

She had a big day today. NO CAVITIES at the dentist! (she'd had three in January) And her last day of her first-ever session of gymnastics (she couldn't get in in spring). Some pics from that:

In the "pit"
straddle on the bar
balance beam (her fave), walking backwards

Each of my kids has done a few summers' worth of gymnastics and never progressed very far. But they've each had a few weeks of fun. M, though, has ADORED gymnastics, and her teacher (Miss Sarah), and all the stuff they play on. She walks into the gym, starts bouncing with excitement, and doesn't stop until we're home! I though she was doing pretty well in class, but I was still surprised when she got her end-of-session "award" which stated that she should register with the four year olds--preferably in the session that starts on MONDAY! I'm torn, as things were going to wind down as far as summer activities go, but she is having SO much fun... I have to sleep on this and think about it ;) Amy, former gymnast, what do you think?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Fictional Memory Meme

(I've been reading this on Mo's blog for the last five days and waiting until I had time to post it here... it is so funny....)

If you read this, if your eyes are passing over this right now, (even if we don't speak often or ever) please post a comment with a COMPLETELY MADE UP AND FICTIONAL memory of you and me.

It can be anything you want - good or bad - BUT IT HAS TO BE FAKE.

When you're finished, post this little paragraph on your blog and see what your friends come up with.

Garden pics

Here's right after I planted in the spring.

And here's what my "garden" looks like now:

curly parsley
flat-leaf parsley
chives & thyme
and, if you look closely, some tiny little tomatoes...

(the cilantro's already been picked and used and a second round of seeds has been planted)