Wednesday, January 30, 2013

WIP Wednesday

Whew! Hard to believe it is already Wednesday, and at the same time I feel like it should be Friday already. Know what I mean? We started our crazy, back to school/starting student teaching/plus work schedule this week and while it's not bad, it's not great either. It's hard to adjust to getting up so much earlier and not having as much time at night to get stuff done. I know it will all feel "normal" soon enough, and until then we'll just keep moving along!

I worked on four of my works in progress this week! First, the one that has been on the needles the longest, the gray socks.

These are the Mr. Pitt socks and are being knit out of Lang Yarns Jawoll. Since they have been carry along knitting they didn't see much action around the holidays. Now I have a good amount of travel/away knitting time, so they got worked on yesterday between classes. My hope is to finish these in February. I really want to knit some stripey socks for me but I have to finish these first!

Next, continuing in cast-on order, is my Dark and Stormy Sweater. This is coming along nicely, but will probably only see work on the weekends. 

I'm almost to the bottom ribbing, and then the body will be done! I can't wait.

That brings us to my Ancient Runes scarf. I am still loving working on this!

This angle makes it a little hard to see the pattern, but it is the Drop Stitch Scarf. I'm worried I wont finish this in time for the KAL in the Sunshine Yarns group, but I may switch it to a circular needle and throw it in my bag next week to take to school. 

Last is the blanket I started for a friend's mom. I love the colors in this!

Its just a simple crochet blanket with 4 shades of purple and a few other colors broken up by black. This is too big to carry anywhere now, but it is so simple I can work on it at 6:30am on non-school days when the sweater is too complicated for my not-enough-coffee-yet state :)

I'm participating in Yarn Along with Ginny with this post. Check out her blog!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Weekend Recap and Menu Planning

This weekend ended up being pretty different from what I had planned! Friday night we had a great time at a friends house for a hot cocoa party. There were two different kinds of hot chocolate, complete with a dozen toppings and cookies. YUM! We played board games and watched funny You Tube videos while sipping our hot chocolate, and laughed way too hard. No pics, but trust me, it was a good time!

Saturday was a pretty quiet day. We did some boring stuff like paperwork, house cleaning, a little baking, and relaxing. Knowing this week was going to be crazy it was nice to get some of that stuff out of the way and not be busy! This kind of a day means I actually make breakfast, and I tried the Cinnamon Rolls pancakes recipe. It was pretty good, but we each only had one because they were so filling (and not exactly waistline friendly!)

I also took advantage of our lazy day to finally use one of my Christmas gifts! The hubs got me this decal and I LOVE it! I put it on my computer where I will see if often.

Why yes, I am a dork :)

Sunday ended up all over the place. We went to church like normal, and ended up going to to breakfast/brunch with the in-laws and our nieces. I had a simple breakfast of easy over eggs, hash browns, bacon, and toast (not very healthy, but good!) My mom had called and asked if I would dye her hair for her before they go on vacation, so I planned to head to my parents while the hubs was supposed to go snowmobiling with his dad and brother. Well, the snowmobiling didn't happen, but the hubs was already over at his parents, so he visited with them and his grandmother for the afternoon. My parents ended up going shopping and not getting home til later in the afternoon, so the hair dyeing got moved back until 4ish. The hubs and I both went over and he watched the Sabres game with my dad while I did mom's hair. They also brought home pizza, so it atoned for any inconvenience of scheduling :) As we were leaving we got a text from some friends to come hangout, so we headed there for a few hours and chatted, played Zombies on the xbox, and tried to get the German Shepherd to like the hubs (for some reason he barked at him all night!?)

Part of the crew trying to convince the dog to come hang out.

But he only wanted to see his mama :)

While the weekend was great, this morning rolled around nice and early at 6am for our household :/ The new crazy schedule means getting up much earlier- and also will mean packing lunches (and dinners some days). I'm trying to be more organized about planning our meals and packing them in advance. Maybe next week I will start planning lunches and dinners for the week, but this week it will have to be just dinners.

Monday: Leftovers
Tuesday: Mac and cheese with broccoli
Wednesday: Shrimp, broccoli, and cheese soup (combo of Fast Shrimp Bisque and broccoli cheese soup)
Thursday: Leftovers or help yourself!
Friday: homemade pizza

I also plan on trying out the Chunky Monkey cookie recipe. I thought these would be good to pack in lunches without all the fat and sugar of regular cookies. 

Also, this weekend I am hoping to try a few appetizers. I don't know if we will watch the Superbowl, but there are Sabres games Saturday and Sunday, so I thought some nice snacks might be appreciated! Right now I'm leaning towards Sassy Wonton Tacos. I was so excited to find this recipe- the hubs and I love the Applebees appetizer, but they definitely don't fit into my calorie budget. This recipe sounds great and is much healthier! 

I also found Jalapeño Cornbread poppers that look really good, but I'm kinda gun shy about jalapeños after the incident where my mom almost had to take me to the ER (jalapeños and eyes do NOT mix). Maybe I can convince the hubs to handle the peppers for me???

Sorry for the long post, but at least there are pictures, right?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

It's not pretty, but it's a start

In an effort to take more photos to document everyday life, this post will be pretty photo heavy.

It's still snowing here (I think we are on day 4?) but it finally seems to be letting up. Here was a photo was from this morning:
I don't know exactly how much snow has fallen, but I know we had over 8" on the untouched parts of our porch. It can stop anytime now!

Remember how I blogged about the Cheesy Taco Soup but forgot to snap a photo? Well, last night we had the leftovers served over baked potatoes. 
I know it doesn't look very appetizing here, but take my word for it, you should try this soup! We really liked it served over the baked potato, but its good on its own too :)

This has pretty much been the scene at our house after dinner:
We have turned out heat down a bit to try and save some money since it is SO cold outside. The kitty has learned that the warmest spot is on my lap (especially when I have a blanket) and since he doesn't normally bother my knitting, that's how the evening goes!

I mentioned a new project yesterday, here's a shot:
Crochet! I'm really happy with how it is turning out, and I'll have a more-encompassing shot once I get a little further.

Lastly, tonight is a Sabres game! I'm hoping they can make it 3-0, but we'll see. I decided to rock my shirt my brother got me for Christmas:
So, my hair kinda got in the way, but you get the idea :) Since its still icky outside and the hubs has an exam tomorrow, we plan to stream the live commentary tonight from the comforts of our living room. Not quite the same as being at the game or even watching it on TV, but it will do!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

WIP Wednesday

Even though I've had the same projects on the needles for a few weeks now, I'm not bored of them. The sweater is still interesting, and I'm past the waist decreases so I know the ribbing isn't far away. Here's a shot of how it looked this morning:

I'm pretty pleased with how its turning out. I want to knit on this a good amount this week since school starts next week and its my least portable project.

The drop stitch scarf I started last week got frogged on Sunday and restarted. I was knitting it on size 6 needles and just felt that the dropped stitches looked messy. Even when I tried to block it a bit they still drooped, so I frogged it and began again on size 5 needles with one more width-wise repeat. I like it SO much better now!

I continue to be amazed by the dye job of this yarn. Dani of Sunshine Yarns does an exceptional job of blending colors you wouldn't think of putting together, and doing it in a way that they aren't a striking contrast. This is her Ancient Runes colorway on the lux sock base.

I also started a new project last night, but I didn't photograph it yet. You will have to wait to see what it is!

In other news, I changed up my menu from what I posted earlier in the week. Kristin over at Iowa Girl Eats posted a yummy looking recipe that I had everything at home to make, so I made that last night. Cheesy Taco soup was definitely a win! We really like tacos and quesadillas, but sometimes I get bored making them. This was a cool way to get some of the same flavors without the same delivery. I forgot to take a photo (fail) but if you hop over to Kristin's recipe you can see it in all its cheesy taco glory!

Monday, January 21, 2013

A Little Bit of Everything

I hope you all had a great weekend! Our was nice- Saturday I worked and then we had dinner and movie/XBOX time with friends. Sunday was church, the Sabres game at Mom & Dads (GO SABRES!) and a visit to the in-laws and Grandma's. Quite a full day, but it was nice to see a lot of family and relax. I can't tell you how great it feels to not have to run home and do 2 hours of homework! The condensed J-term class was great in that it was over with in 2 weeks, but boy was it a lot of work!

I hope wherever you are you are keeping warm. Here's what the forecast looks like for us this week:

Fun times, right? NOT.

Anyway, I'm afraid my menu planning might be a little boring this week. The other day I realized we have too much stuff in our pantry and freezer. I mentioned this last week, but this week I'm going to try to make recipes that I have more than half of the ingredients for already. This might mean that we will be eating plainer than usual, but I know I'll feel better when my pantry and freezer are a little more cleaned out.

Monday: Leftovers (lasagna, quick cheesy italian bread, and tuna helper)
Tuesday:Venison and potatoes in the slow cooker?
Wednesday: Quiche with mushrooms and broccoli
Thursday: Order in- Chicken wings and a sub
Friday: Leftovers and a get together

Starting next week we will be back to school, which means packing lunches. I'm starting to amass a Pinterest board with lunch ideas but its hard finding stuff that doesn't mean buying a whole bunch of stuff we don't normally. What do you do when you pack lunch?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Taking Pictures

I am horrible at taking photos. My mom is actually a photographer, and she sells beautiful cards with her photos mounted on them, does people's senior and family portraits, and pretty much takes amazing photos. I inherited the opposite of all these qualities. First, I never remember to take photos. Its a little better now that I have a smart phone with a good camera, but still. Second, even if I do remember to take photos, its like 2, they are terrible, and I forget to do anything with them.

I came to the realization though that I don't have that great of a memory. I don't want to forget little moments, funny hair styles, spur of the moment day trips, or any of it. The best way I can think of to document those is to remember to take photos, and then save or store them somewhere.

I'm not sure if these means doing a regiment like a photo a day, or just trying to be more conscious of taking photos, or what, but I know its something I want to work on. Going along with that, here are a few random photos from the last week or so.

The family relaxing- a typical night for us.

Homework helper #1

Homework helper #2

Dinner from Tuesday.

Any suggestions for helping me remember to take photos? How do you organize/share your photos?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

First Finished Object of 2013

I finished my first knitting project a few days ago, but I hadn't had the time to soak it, block it, weave in ends, and photograph it. That finally happened, so here it is!

This is my GAP-tastic cowl out of Cascade Yarns Covington, and I'm really pleased with how it turned out. Its soft, has a good amount of drape, but still squishy (very important in cowls). I hope the recipient likes it!

My Dark and Stormy sweater is coming along nicely. Here is my most recent progress pic, though I'm a bit further than this now.

I didn't work on it at all yesterday though, because I became enamored with a new project. The Sunshine Yarns group on Ravelry is having a KAL to knit something for yourself. I thought it was high time I knit more with my Sunshine yarn, so I browsed yarn and patterns and came up with the drop stitch scarf out of my Sunshine Luxury Sock in Ancient Runes.

This project is addicting  The yarn is lovely, and I love the way the colors play on the drop stitch pattern. Its hard to put down! The KAL runs through February 15, and if yesterday was any indication, I'll have it done in time :)
This post is part of the Yarn Along, hosted over at the Small Things blog.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Monday Menu Planning

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a good weekend. Mine was pretty low key. It was a drill weekend, so the hubs was gone most the weekend. I did a lot of homework, cleaning, and even got my workouts in. Last night was a surprise party for a friend which was fun :)

So what will we be eating this week?

Monday: Leftovers
Tuesday: Slow Cooker Lasagna and salad with Cheesy Italian Quick Bread (this was a BIG win last week!)
Wednesday: Leftovers
Thursday: Pork Chops with Cheddar Broccoli Rice Cups
Friday: Date night out?

I'm in kind of a funk as far as cooking creativity goes. I don't feel terribly inspired to make anything in particular right now. I think part of it is I'm trying to shed a few pounds, so some of the things I look at definitely would not help me toward that goal. It's just a shift in what I usually make I suppose!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Pinterest Finds

With the holidays it has been a little while since I did a Pinterest Finds post, so I say we're due! All kinds of things were found recently.

Neat way to store pot and pan lids! I don't know about you but mine are always in the way.

Skinny Poolside Dip- this looks like a yummy, fairly healthy treat to enjoy in the summer (which I'm ready for anytime!)

This is Western New York- at least usually it is, not this week though!

For when you need a light healthy lunch, cucumber rolls.

 I love Jalepeno Poppers, and this is Jalapeno Popper Dip! Yes please.

Yeah, I'm one of those people ;)

Caramelized onion, bacon, and gruyere dip! This is in my "try this when hubby is away" board. I have been loving caramelized onions lately, and this seems like the ultimate solution for that craving!

Anyone else a Friends fan out there???

I saw these over at Iowa Girl Eats (if you aren't following Kristin you should be!) and these Chicken Caesar Chalupas look awesome!

Thursday, January 10, 2013


If you have been following the blog for a little while you know I went back to school this fall. I only took two classes, to kind of ease my way back into things. One of the classes I took was Critical Reading, and our textbook weighed 4 pounds.

I was just using one of my spare tote bags to carry my books in, and this book made it awkward.

It was narrower and shorter than regular paper, but about 4 inches thick. Plus, with one textbook weighing 4 pounds, you can imagine by the time I added in the rest of my books, folders, and personal items my bag was getting pretty heavy on my shoulder.

This semester, I am going full time to graduate in May! While I'm excited to graduate, I realized I needed to rethink the bag situation. First I tried to look at my schedule and see if I could leave some books in may car and make trips back and forth. That seemed a little ridiculous to me, plus I didn't want to be walking all around campus between classes in the winter weather wasting time I could be doing homework. I looked around the house to see if I had any sturdier bags I could use, but unfortunately I came up empty.

One day I did a search for college backpacks and popped up. I had heard of them before, but never shopped at their website. They seemed to have comparable prices to amazon, so I searched around and after a while I cam up with about 6 bags I could live with. I got the hubs opinion and eventually went with one of the more expensive bags, a Dakine Campus Pack.

Its been years since I owned a proper back pack, but I really like this one even if it is a little manly. The front small pocket is actually insulated, so I can pack my lunch in it and not have to carry a separate lunch container. The next pocket toward the back is an organizer for all the small stuff like electronics, pens and pencils, and whatever else I might have. The next one back is actually a fleece lined sunglasses pouch, which I'm not too sure about yet. I wear sunglasses, but I'm not sure how well they will hold up in the back pack. Lastly the large pocket against your back is roomy with a sleeve for my laptop.

The bonus? After it came in the mail, the hubs decided he liked it too. Since he will most likely be in school next fall, I told him he could use it :) So while this book bag was pricier than others, it looks like we will get a lot of use out of it.

If you haven't checked out ebags selection of book bags, purses, totes, and luggage I highly suggest you do. They have a rewards program that looks pretty useful too, so the next time I need a new bag I know where I will head first!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Quest for Cookie Dough Dip

I've heard of this idea for a while now- cookie dough MADE for eating. Sounds awesome, right? My husband is notorious for eating cookie dough out of my mixing bowl (and even known to buy a container of store bought dough just for eating) so I knew I had to try this out.

Problem was, I wasn't really finding recipes that seemed cookie dough-ish. Most of them used cream cheese as a base, and seemed more like cream cheese frosting than a dip. Afer a few weeks of randomly looking at recipes, I finally decided to try one of these cream cheese based ones. Maybe I would be wrong.

I made the dip a few days ago, and I'm happy to report that it is tasty. We left out the pecans (we aren't big nut fans) but I added in some peanut butter. However, they are pretty much cream cheese frosting with brown sugar and chocolate chips. It didn't really feel like I was eating cookie dough, which was disappointing.

So, I am on a quest. I want to find a recipe that has the texture and taste of real cookie dough. And if I can't find one? Well I might just have to make one myself :)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Crab Dip Recipe

So remember back here when I mentioned that I was going to make a crab dip recipe? Well, I did it! However it took me a week to put it up here, and I totally forgot to take a photo. Fail. Anyway, here is the recipe. If I make it again soon I will show a picture, though to be honest its not one of those dishes where the photo sells the recipe. This is a creamy, yummy thick crab dip perfect for parties and appetzers :)

Crab Dip

1 8oz package of cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup mayonaise
1/2 cup sour cream
2 6oz cans of crab meat plus 1 tbsp reserved liquid
1 pkg onion soup and dip mix
1/2 cup shredded cheese (something creamy like mozarella works great) divided
1/8 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp lemon juice

Mix the cream cheese, mayo, and sour cream together. Add the rest of the ingredients except for 1/4 cup of shredded cheese in and allow to chill in the fridge for at least an hour (I found that this left the crab flavor really develop). When ready to serve, remove from the fridge and top with remaining cheese. Bake in the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes, until bubbly and warmed through.

If desired you could sub light or fat free ingredients for the cream cheese, mayo, sour cream, and cheeses, however it may alter the final product.

I hope you guys try this great dip out! We just ended up using crackers to eat it with, but I think this would be great with veggies or bread cubes as well.

Monday, January 7, 2013

New Year, New Knits

I cast on two things right after the start of the new year. The first was a GAP-tastic cowl by Jen Geigley. This has been in my queue for a while, and I love the yarn I paired with it, which was a total surprise. I'm knitting this out of Cascade Yarns Covington which is a wool-acrylic blend. Its soft and squishy but also feels durable. Instead of knitting the cowl on us size 13 needles I went with 10.5s. I like the fabric I'm getting, and I feel that the fabric would have been too loose on 13s anyway.

The pattern is really easy, and this has been my TV knitting. If you have some bulky yarn in your stash, I highly recommend this pattern!

The second thing I cast on was the Dark and Stormy sweater by Thea Colman. This sweater has also been in my queue and favorites for a while, and I finally got motivation to cast it on when a bunch of knit alongs sprang up! My friend Kims was planning on knitting it, so we decided we would start in January. Then I found out the Knitting Samurai Plus 1 podcast decided to do a knit-along starting in January too. I swatched and discovered I needed to go up a needle size (surprise surprise) and other than a few tink backs the sweater is going pretty well.

I'm knitting this our of Cascade 220 Superwash in the purple heather colorway. I'm not a huge fan of purple, but I've been told I look good wearing it and I'm trying to branch out from neutrals for myself.

Did you start any projects with the new year?