Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Baking Cookies - Goodbye January

Those of you who know me know that I love to bake. I've been wanting to bake something out of the Chocolate from the Cake Mix Doctor book since I bought nearly a dozen cake mixes when they were about a buck a piece a while ago (and many of them had double Box Tops on them!) During Christmas I had marked a page for Chocolate Cinnamon Chip Chewies and never actually got around to baking them. I didn't have cinnamon chips, but figured that with the base for this cookie I can pretty much add what I want, or nothing at all. Monkey #1, like his mommy likes chocolate chips, but Monkey #2, for some reason, likes his cookies "with nothing in it."

It's actually a pretty easy recipe to throw together. That is, unless you melt a whole stick of butter instead of the HALF stick the recipe calls for. Yep, I put the whole melted stick in the mixer and then realized that four tablespoons is only half of a stick. Doh!

What to do?

Naturally, the solution is to double the rest of the ingredients, right? Here's what you get:
Mmmmm.... CHOCOLATE!

The first batch to go in (always!) has "nothing in it" for Monkey #2. The second batch simply had a walnut half pressed into the top of the dough. Those are Daddy's cookies. Then we add the chocolate chips! Just for fun... some sprinkles, too!
What to they taste like? You know how when you bake a batch of brownies and the edges have a gently chewy texture, and the insides are super rich and moist? These cookies are just like the edges of brownies. They taste like brownies. They're soft and moist in the middle and the outside resembles the chewy texture of the edges. A glass of milk is almost required because they're so rich!

I have a feeling some cookies will be going to work and school tomorrow. A double batch of cookies means more for SHARING.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

More Rain...

Our Pond
I always try to be optimistic. People have this idea that it rains ALL the time in Oregon and I have to argue that it really doesn't. Actually, we've gone quite a long stretch with dry weather until just recently. You know the saying, "When it rains, it pours."

I hope you're staying warm and DRY wherever you are!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Super Mario Hat: COMPLETED!

It seems like it took for-ev-er to get this hat made, and now it's finally completed. This hat was made as a birthday present for my son's best friend. LUCKY boys, huh?

(Hat model is my very own Monkey #2)

I came across this hat pattern in December when I was deciding on hats to make for the boys for winter. Each character on this hat was selected by Monkey #1. There are some really cool charts online (check them out here and here), although when you pick charts created for cross stitch they look a little scrunched on a knitted hat because the knitted stitch is NOT square. Keep this in mind when you get to making one for yourself!

The possibilities are endless... what will you make?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Angry Birds - Green Pig Pattern Notes

Angry Birds. It's a love/hate kind of thing. And those PIGS! Those pigs that laugh and taunt you just because you couldn't get that one last little piggy... You've got to try again. You MUST not let them beat you. You WILL get them. You DID IT! Then, with the next level it starts all over again. You play, you don't quite complete this level, then those nasty pigs laugh. Taunting you... You WILL get them.
My little one asked for a green pig hat this winter. But not just any pig, a KING pig. It was my Christmas present for him and BOY was he specific on the details! He's one lucky little boy that I love him so very much. I didn't have a pattern for one, nor did I want to BUY one. I didn't plan on making more than his AND I know that Rovio isn't too keen on people selling items made that resemble their characters. There's that whole "intellectual property" thing. Heck, if you were to come up with the idea, wouldn't you want to protect it, too?

What I'm going to give you are my pattern notes for making the pig details. Hey, I like to share! This is not a completed pattern for a hat. You may not put this together and SELL it as a completed pattern nor may you use these notes and pass them off as your own. That is a no-no. I have no control what you do with your completed items, but they really should be for personal use only.

Have you got your hooks ready? Skills required: (sc) single crochet; (hdc) half double crochet; (sl st) slip stitch; magic loop; invisible join. (Not sure how to do a magic loop or an invisible join? Check YouTube!)

For the hat, use your favorite crocheted hat pattern. This is your choice! If you don't have one, visit Ravelry.com or CrochetPatternCentral.com for one.

SNOUT: WW - Green yarn. Size I hook. (Make 2)
Ch 8.
(Round 1) 3 sc in 2nd st from hook. Sc in next 5 sts. 3 sc in last st. Do not join.
(Round 2) 2 sc in next 3 sts. Sc in next 5 sts. 2 sc in next 3 sts. Sc in next 5 sts.
(Round 3) Sc in next 2 sts. 2 sc in next 2 sts. Sc in next 9 sts. 2 sc in next 2 sts. Sc in next 6 sts. Finish with invisible join. Slip stitch two pieces together.

EARS: WW - Green and black yarn. Size I hook. (Make 2)
Step A.) Front of ear: Start with black. Magic loop, hdc 8 in loop. Change to green. Hdc 2 in each around. Finish with invisible join.
Step B.) Back of ear: Repeat stitch pattern for front, this time only using green. Slip stitch two pieces together. (This makes one ear.)

EYES: WW - White. Size G hook. (Make 2)
Magic loop, sc 8 in loop; 2 sc in each around. Finish with invisible join.

PUPILS: Sport weight - Black. Size E hook. (Make 2)
Magic loop, sc 8 in loop; 2 sc in each around. Finish with invisible join.

How are your sewing skills? Now grab a needle and thread and get to sewing all of your parts to the hat. ENJOY! I'd love to see your finished pig hats. Come back and post a link to your work below.

Oh, and I didn't forget about the crown. I'll have to work on those notes and post that for you as soon as possible. SQUAWK!

Sunday, January 15, 2012


Okay, don't laugh... technically it snowed but it's really nothing to brag about. It was enough, however, that the monkeys got to go out and enjoy a few minutes of the wintry weather.
"Don't try catching snowflakes on your tongue unless you are SURE all the birds have gone south for the winter."
A brother is a friend given by nature.
It's always nice to come back in for a cup of cocoa!
If it's snowing where you are, ENJOY!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Monday, January 9, 2012

Be Mine, Valentine

I know I just put a few snowflakes in the window last week, but I couldn't resist cutting and placing these little hearts in the windows, too! Valentine's Day is right around the corner but it IS still winter!
...and we haven't had any real snow yet.

Speaking of Valentine's Day, there's something new today! I managed to create another Conversation Heart Sock Monkey. I don't think there will be many more of these made this year... I'd imagine maybe one or two more? (Hurry, get yours... quickly!)
Don't forget about the GIVEAWAY at CrazySocks Crochet's Blog. There is still a sock monkey waiting to hear where her new home will be. Will you win her? Good luck to everyone who has entered!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Cookies For Lunch

Don't judge me. Some days are just like this. If it weren't for a very kind uncle I wouldn't have these delicious cookies sitting on the counter, taunting me. If we didn't already have so many yummy, sweet treats for the holidays, these would be gone already!
I spent the morning at school in the classroom of one of my boys. I do love the Kindergartners so much and think all the time of how lucky their teacher is to get to be with all of them every day. Even more important is how lucky THEY are to have her, and how they are lucky to get to be with HER every day. She's the BEST!

BOTH of my boys were awarded for creativity during the school's Pride Assembly. Along with receiving certificates, they were treated to have lunch with their Principal and students from other grades. I helped out and was so very proud of them to get to be included in this event. The kids received lunch, pencils, a book of their choice, ice cream, and then they played a game of Bingo for a chance to win a football jersey with their name and school mascot on it. They all seemed to have a lot of fun!

On my way home I stopped at the grocery store where I picked up these delicious little Clementines. It's so hard for me to buy citrus in Oregon, having grown up in Southern California. No, having grown up in the Citrus Capital of the World! NOTHING I buy here will ever compare to citrus picked fresh from a tree in Southern California. These little Clementines, though, are pretty good (and ON SALE - score!)
This box is cute, but not as cute as "Cuties" with the little zipper on the "Easy Peel" label. (Yeah... I've got a thing for labels/packaging.)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Weekly Organization Challenge - The Desk

Danyel at CrazySocks Crochet is one motivated chickie! I've decided to hop on board with her Weekly Organization Challenge and get my own house back in order. This week's challenge is the desk. Since I cleaned the office last week upon the arrival of our new printer, that shared space was already pretty tidy. What really needed attention was my sewing desk. Sewing and cutting socks creates a LOT of fiber dust!

Here are the two desks before:
They're not horrible, but they can be improved (and DUSTED!) My sewing desk has collected some things on the corner that don't belong. This one's tricky and I'll explain why...

Here they are after:
I had mentioned before that the office desk is a shared space. Some things are mine, some are not. I'll not remove/relocate the equipment that's not mine. Some day they'll find a special place of their own, but for now they will exist on the back corner of the desk. Now the sewing desk...
It may not seem organized but it is, I promise! Everything you see is exactly where it should be. The socks on the left? That's where I know I'll find them when I need the spare parts. I had a bin for scraps once. I filled it and I put it away. I never opened it again! This way they're front and center and will be used and the bits and pieces will be recycled as best as possible (think snow monkey ornaments.) The keyboard tray holds socks that are most likely to be used next. Think of it as a "stand-by" station.

For anybody keeping track: I did get a few snowflakes made today. The monkey helped by putting them in our window.
Let it snow!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Let's Talk About the Weather

Today was the boys' first day back to school and it was such a beautiful day to send them back. It was so nice this morning that I opened the windows to let some fresh air in. For the Pacific Northwest, it hardly feels like winter, but the weather quickly turned to prove to be a typical PNW day.
Cocoa, anyone?

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Littlest Monkey Gets a Haircut

Today, we were SUPPOSED to make paper snowflakes. The day isn't over yet.
Last night the littlest monkey decided he wanted his hair short. "Like Kirby, " he said. (I believe Kirby has NO hair.) Daddy was VERY on board for this idea. Mom - not so much! Part of the fun of having shorter hair is the "bathtub mohawk". This works MUCH better now than it had before, so that's a plus. Out of the tub and a little gel and, voila!
In the end I'm happy with the way it turned out. It's MUCH shorter than it was before, but not too short! Actually, looking at it here, it could maybe go just a tad shorter...

Oh, and hey! If you haven't heard yet, be sure to visit my friend at CrazySocks Crochet and check out her awesome giveaway. You can enter to win a hat, a cowl, and this sock monkey made by yours truly!

Good luck!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Another New Year!

Last night was a quiet evening spent at home with my family. We made more food than we could eat alone, but it was SO good! (Who doesn't like leftovers, anyway?) We made smokies wrapped in bacon, homemade pretzels, and cheese fondue served with cubed dark rye and french bread. (Our fondue failed, but we'll try again another time and keep trying until it's PERFECT!)
Staying up much past 10PM is not something I'm used to doing these days (though it was highly common for me about 8 years ago and even before that as a graveyard waitress.) No, anymore I'm crashed out on the couch by about 10 o'clock. Last night I DID stay up to see the fireworks. Sadly, I can't say the same for the monkeys.
I can't wait until these delicious little cookies are gone! Since all of our decorations were put away yesterday, this morning was a leisurely one.

I don't make resolutions. I pretty much suck at keeping them! Instead, I have some little goals to work for, but I'm not going to make a big deal about not following through with something if life happens to throw a curveball or two. I've learned it's best to take each day one at a time and to learn to roll with the punches.

HAPPY NEW YEAR! I'm anticipating some positive changes and I hope 2012 is great for you, too!