Monday, 31 March 2008
Saturday, 29 March 2008
I am really pleased with the fit of this sock. (My husband commented that it will be very difficult to walk in with all those spikes - ho ho - what a joker!) It is growing faster than I expected, considering how tiny the stitches are, and how infrequently I am working on it.
Are you going to turn your lights off tonight for Earth Hour? People around the world are joining together to turn their lights off between 8 and 9pm this evening to save energy. Wouldn't it be great if companies were to do it too - just think of all those office buildings that have lights burning all night long!
Friday, 28 March 2008
I just had to photograph my lunch today because it was just so damn good-looking! (OK, not as good-looking as Johnny, or Colin, or Alan, but in their absence....you know!)
It is a yellow bell pepper, nested in shredded lettuce, and filled with a pate made from soaked sunflower seeds, carrot, lemon juice, garlic and seasalt, all blitzed together in the food processor. Then I poured some home-made salad dressing over the whole thing.
All raw, and very satisfying.
I like David Wolfe's "food triangle" that he diagrams in the Sunfood Diet Success System. His raw food triangle is divided into three segments - fruits, leafy greens, and fats (such as avocados, coconuts, and cold-pressed oils). Get a balance of these every day and you're doing well. This lunch fits the bill - fruit (pepper), leafy greens, fats (sunflower seeds, olive oil). And I finished it off with a couple of fresh Medjool dates for dessert.
Thursday, 27 March 2008
Have you heard of Rejuvelac? I first read about it in a raw recipe book a few years ago but never made it until recently.
It's made very simply by soaking half a cup of wheat berries (whole wheat grains) overnight, then draining them and leaving them to sprout for two days. Then you toss them into a blender with 2 cups of water and chop them up a bit, then strain that mixture into a jug with 4 more cups of water, cover it with a tea towel and leave it for 3 days. Stir it twice a day, and at the end you get an interesting fermented liquid which looks cloudy and smells sort of lemony/sauerkrauty. You can keep it for a further few days in the fridge.
You can drink it as is, but we like it with some lemon juice and a little agave. With the slight natural carbonation, it makes a great lemonade that's excellent for your insides!
Here's what they say about it...This slightly fermented wheat berry drink is one of the most important items in the living foods lifestyle. It contains friendly bacteria that are necessary for a healthy colon and assists the body in removing toxins. Rejuvelac is filled with B complex vitamins and vitamins C and E.
Wednesday, 26 March 2008
Usually our week has a very gentle schedule. I like to only be committed to one daytime activity per week where I have to drive for any distance. Usually it's a Wednesday homeschool group get-together. That plus our Taekwondo classes is enough for weekdays.
However, this week was different. On Monday, I buzzed around getting some housework done in the morning, then we visited Katherine and her boys in the afternoon. (Even my nearly-16 year old managed to be awake at the right time for that, so he could spend time with his friend.) After we returned home, we had a quick dinner, and then K and I went out to Taekwondo.
Tuesday, the 12 year old and the 9 year old came with me to town. We dropped our Festiva (yes, the one that broke down a little while ago) at the mechanic because it hasn't been running smoothly. Feels like lumpy gas! We then walked to ToysRUs so that the boys could buy themselves a tonne of new Lego with their stash of cash. It's surprising how what is normally a ten minute drive can be an hour-long walk. After we were done in there, we realised we were pretty close to Nature's Fare, so we walked over there and sat in their deli section for a while having a drink and a snack. Then we walked back to the mechanic, stopping on the way for a play at the rec centre playground.
When I spoke to the man who'd checked my little car over, it wasn't good news. In fact, it's terminal! He says (bear in mind that my knowledge of the workings of an engine could be written on the back of a postage stamp) the pair of cylinders on one side are half the pressure than the pair on the other side and it could cost about $700 to put right and he didn't think it was worth the effort. He reckoned we might only get two more months out of the car...sniff! (When I spoke to R later that day, he thought it might still be worth fixing, though if it does snuff it, we don't have to replace it immediately...we still have the Aerostar.)
Anyway, moving on! After getting the car, I had a couple of stops to make on the way home. One to a small local store that carries foods imported from Europe (pasta, sundried tomatoes, various oils and vinegars, rooibos tea), and another to the fruit packinghouse where they sell organic apples cheaper than anywhere else in town. Back home, another quick meal, and then out again to Taekwondo.
Today I had more errands on my To Do list. Unfortunately, they were in the opposite direction to my ultimate destination, the swimming pool at the rec centre. Never mind, we got them all done - topped up my banana and lettuce supply, visited the library for some much-needed reading material, returned a DVD, popped in to my accountant to return some tax paperwork, and finally headed to the pool. Only four families showed up, but we had fun anyway. The main pool was pretty cold, so we spent some time warming up in the hot tub, and for quite a while the water feature was turned on (a huge pirate ship) so the kids played around that while we mums sat waist deep in the water and talked.
Once again, home, dinner and Taekwondo.
So that's it. I don't want to leave my house at all in the next two days. I really like being at home. Not that I'll have nothing to do....my vacuuming still hasn't been done, and I'm overdue for a weights workout, and I just turned the heel on that sock so there's more knitting to be done. But at least I won't have to drive anywhere.
knackered - very tired
snuff it - die
Tuesday, 25 March 2008
Sunday, 23 March 2008
A kind friend even designed this pretty button for her and if you publish it on your blog you get an extra entry.
Saturday, 22 March 2008
I didn't need an indoor workout today because I did an outside one instead! R and I spent a few hours outside, shovelling and tipping and spreading landscaping rocks. These rocks have been sitting in our driveway for about two years, waiting to be used. Now our driveway is looking way smarter. We took out a small cedar too, which was half dead and getting in the way of our burning bushes. At the moment, they don't have any leaves, but soon they'll be full of foliage and in the fall they turn a beautiful shade of red. (We like the colour so much we took a leaf to the hardware store to get it matched so we could paint our front door the same colour.)
I also raked up two wheelbarrows-worth of dead leaves, pine needles and cones down the other side of the drive. I have left a couple of bundles and a bin full of cuttings at the top of the drive for the next time the yardwaste truck goes by. I'll be glad when the lawn is looking green again.
R put in five rows of garlic last fall - they are already about 6 inches tall - it's just as well garlic stores well because that's a LOT!
Friday, 21 March 2008
I made a reasonable amount of progress on the leg of the sock (considering there are 8 stitches and 10 rows to the inch)! After the first couple of inches, I changed to stockinette - there was no way I was going to knit 6 inches of Knit 2, Purl 2 rib!
R and I went for a long walk this afternoon as he had the day off work. We walked down the hill from our house to a Regional Park which runs along the lake. It slopes from high above the lake down to a beach, so we walked a loop, along a high trail to one end, along the lakeside trail to the other end, then up and along another high trail to get back to where we started from. I wish I had taken the camera - the views were blogworthy! Blue sky, blue lake, clouds and rainfall visible in the distance. The wind was cold and I was glad I took a jacket, though predictably I had to shed my hoody half way around as I was too hot. It was all uphill back home.
This pie was our dessert tonight. I made pizza for the men in the family - I just had salad, but I was not bothered about missing out on pizza when I knew I had this to look forward to. The pie is 100% raw. I made it by soaking for a few hours 2 cups of raw almonds and 2 cups of raisins in separate bowls. I defrosted some frozen berries - a mixture of blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. I drained the nuts and raisins and put the almonds in the food processor first. Chopped them up as finely as I could. Added the raisins and chopped and mixed them in. Tipped the whole lot into a glass dish and pressed it down with my hands, making a depression in the centre. I mixed a little raw agave syrup in with the berries, then poured them into the centre.
Much easier than a baked pie and way healthier.
Thursday, 20 March 2008
I had a nice surprise in the mail today. Some stitch markers arrived from Vicki of Simple Knits. I won these by contributing patterns to her list of "What can I make with 285 yards or less of yarn" patterns. Great idea!
I just love getting fun things in the mail - way better than bills!
I have had my five hours of Taekwondo this week over three evenings, and this morning I fitted in some weight training. My body feels pleasantly tired. I have an interesting array of bruises up my arms from sparring. Because we partner up and then rotate partners every couple of minutes in class, I can be sparring against people of varying ages and sizes. There is one other mum in the class who's a little younger, a lot taller and very strong. There are also a number of teenage boys, and a couple of tall men in their 20s and 30s. Needless to say, I got worked over on Tuesday night! I suppose it's a good thing to learn how to take a few knocks as when I enter tournaments I will need to be able to handle it, though at least in a tournament you are placed with others of your age, sex and rank. (Having said that, I did get a nasty kick to the chin once from a woman from Prince George in a tournament.)
Since I started up the weights again, I'm using a different method. Before I took a break last year, I had a four day rotation. Each day would be a different area of the body - chest and shoulders, back, legs, arms - plus ab work every time. I had four different exercises for each area and aimed for three sets of 10 or so.
Now what I do is work the whole body each time, every other day if I can. This works better for me as if I miss a few days (or longer, ahem) then one part of the body won't have been neglected more than another. So for each area - shoulders, chest, upper and lower back, abs, biceps, triceps, forearms, quads, hamstrings and calves - I perform one exercise. I start with 10 repetitions of a low weight to warm up the muscles, then move to a medium weight for 10, and finally a weight which is heavy enough that I can't complete 10 reps. The idea is to strengthen the muscles and get them to bulk up. I'm hoping this method will have the desired effect.
Tonight, at the extra class designed to prepare us for our black belt test, we discussed board breaking. We practised the techniques we'll need by hitting and kicking pads. We're going to be chopping a lot of firewood on the day of the test, that's for sure! Knife hand strike, front kick, side kick, back kick, turning kick, 360 degree flying back kick, flying side kick over an obstacle (which will probably be people kneeling on the floor), a double kick where we're supposed to break a board with each foot at the same time in the air....
Hmmm, I hope I'll be able to walk out of the dojang after that lot!
Wednesday, 19 March 2008
Here's a reminder that I have a contest running right now - if you look at the top right of our home page, you'll see a link to click on where I'm asking for ideas for airplane knitting. I never did tell anyone what the prize was, so here's a photo of what I have collected so far. Some small chocolate squares, some flower seeds, and some earrings that I made this evening from silver wire and glass beads. I will be on the lookout for any other small items I can tuck into the padded envelope.
The contest is still open for entries and the deadline will be March 31st.
I haven't posted for over a week, I think. There just don't seem to be enough hours in the day. My head is full of thoughts of Taekwondo, trying to memorise the material I need for my test next month. I need to practise every day. I'm going to classes three nights a week.
Since Sunday, when R and I spent a lot of time in the garden, picking up and bundling fruit tree prunings and clearing out old fallen leaves from last fall, I am feeling the pull to be outside each day. The sun has been shining - it was up to 16 degrees Celsius today - and it is so calming being outside, raking up leaves, pulling up dead stalks and making things look tidier. My yard is quite low maintenance. Most of it is lawn, which I have no problem mowing during the summer (takes an hour and a half with the gas mower). It'll be a while before I have to do that. In front of my house, there's a bed with lilies and hostas and ferns which come up by themselves every year. Behind the house is a bed that always looks messy but the lavender is taking it over year by year. At the moment, there are some tulips on their way out.
Further down the yard is another large bed which will be full of shasta daisies and lilies, but I'm not sure what else will pop up in there later in the year as I have put in lots of flowers in the past but they often get strangled by weeds - I'm not a keen gardener as a rule, and weeding is usually only done in our vegetable patch by R on weekends.
I think I may take out the rocks that edge this bed and if it gets too untidy I can just mow over it! (Oooh, I can sense Heather shuddering!)
R has been ordering seeds and some arrived in the mail today. He's the one in charge of that side of things - he has enjoyed gardening since he was a child and spent a lot of time in his greenhouse (that was probably a good way to get away from his two older brothers)! So he knows what he's doing.
So I had this long list of things I would have liked to get done today but few of them actually did get done. Part of the problem may be that I was finishing off The Eagles Brood by Jack Whyte. This is the third in the Dream of Eagles series - The Skystone was first, followed by The Singing Sword. These novels were recommended to me by a friend and they are excellent, full of historical detail. Very violent though, as no doubt it was 1600 years ago in Britain. Being engrossed in a 600 page book is not conducive to getting things done either.
It's the Vernal Equinox (or the Autumnal Equinox if you're in the southern hemisphere) so we now have 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of night. We don't celebrate Easter in our house. I was brought up by parents who only went to church for weddings and funerals, so Easter to me meant chocolate Easter eggs. That's it, no egg hunts or Easter bunnies or church services.
This year I am celebrating Ostara, the pagan sabbat, in a very informal way at home. I have been interested to read that the egg hunts and the bunnies are both based in pagan lore, representing fertility. So I'm thinking I may get the boys making papier mache eggs (vegan of course) which we can paint. And we plan to make some lemon poppyseed cookies, seeds being very important at this time of year.
That's it for now - be back soon!
Tuesday, 18 March 2008
Sunday, 16 March 2008
1)What were you thinking Jane?
2) Why would you waste your time with that smarmy, arrogant wastrel Tom?
3) Is he really the inspiration for Mr. Darcy? Because we were thinking he seems more of a Willoughby, or a Wickham.
4) Why did you give him a second chance, couldn't you tell how spoiled he was immediately? (we all could)
5) And one more question - Really? Is he really, really the inspiration for Darcy? Cuz, that's kinda wrecking it for us.
*Hey guys - the guy who played Tom was Mr. Tumnus in The Chronicles of Narnia. That is why he was familiar to me.
**Next time someone bring smelling salts for Samantha during pond scenes.
Friday, 14 March 2008
I took one pair of size 10 (6mm) knitting needles and one skein of Lion Brand Homespun with me on my road trip this week. I didn't cast on right away - I wanted to pace myself over the three days so I didn't run out of knitting! After the first couple of hours of driving, I started this - a scarf for my dad's birthday.
It's a stitch from a stitch dictionary - can't remember which one - called Cartridge Belt Rib. It's not really ribbing, but it has some good texture and doesn't curl. You need a multiple of 4 stitches plus 3 - I'm using 31 stitches. It's a two-row pattern. The first row is (K3, slip 1 with yarn in front) across to the last 3 stitches, K3. The second row is K1 (slip 1 wyif, K3) to the last 2 stitches, slip 1, K1. So the slip stitches are staggered on the back and front and it looks very clever even though you're only knitting, no purling.
I completed 23 inches of the scarf by the time I arrived home. I think it really needs to be at least 36 inches but I'm not sure whether the skein will last that long. I may have to buy another.
We sidetracked to a yarn shop in the Vancouver area. It was Wool and Wicker in Stevestown, a lovely place of small stores and nice housing, right on the ocean. The shop was divided into two parts - in one, the yarns were sorted by manufacturer, and in the other the yarns were sorted by colour. If I wasn't picky about my fibres (avoiding wool/silk) it would be a great adventure choosing lots of different yarns in similar colours and making a scarf with multiple strands.
I decided on three skeins of Berroco Comfort Sock yarn, which is 50% nylon, 50% acrylic, so should make for some hardwearing socks. It's a typical sock weight, recommended needle size 3.25mm, and whilst the label indicates 7.5 stitches to the inch, my little gauge swatch gave me 8! I'm used to making socks with elann esprit on 4mm needles, casting on 48 stitches for a sock for myself. I have already cast on for a sock with the yarn in the middle, and I'm using 64 stitches.
It was so nice to sleep in my own bed last night and I was sufficiently sleep-deprived from my night on the floor at the aquarium to sleep in until 10.40 this morning! And the kids weren't up yet either.
After all, every living thing deserves its turn to shine, doesn't it?
Thursday, 13 March 2008
Here is a collection of photos...
A very colourful crab - lots of orange and purple...
Many types of jellyfish...
An ibis of some kind!
Pacific white-sided dolphins...
Snacks and drinks were provided, and we finally laid out our sleeping bags at about 12.30am in the beluga whale viewing gallery. Lights went out at 1am, when we fell asleep with the relaxing view of the whales drifting by the huge glass window. I'm not sure who was watching whom!
We were woken at 7am for a light breakfast and more wandering around the complex. We had a great time. There were many other creatures that I didn't get a photo of, such as the tree frogs, the octopus, the 6 foot long tropical fish, but I think we managed to see everything.
Wednesday, 12 March 2008
Monday, 10 March 2008
When we put in our order in September, it was our first time buying from them and although we heard nothing but rave reviews. we were still rather conservative with our order. We ordered one box to split between 3 of us. I had requested 10 lbs for myself and I thought that would last forever. I laughed when we split up the raisins because there was so much! Little did I know that these raisins were like none other raisin on this Earth. Even my non-raisin loving son ate them and loved them. But then, on a dark, grey February morning, we ran out of raisins. This was quickly followed by running out of dates and almonds too! Yikes! How would we make it to next Fall? I tried checking out the stores around us but the raisins did not compare. L ate the almonds, but said they weren't as good and he would not touch the raisins.
Happy was the day I heard that there was a March sale at Rancho Vignola! Was I going to order? Yep!!! 10 more lbs of raisins? Ha! No way! I learned my lesson and this time I would like a whole 25 lb box, please!
But then panic set in. What if everybody knows how wonderfully amazing these raisins are? What if they run out? What if the people before me get the last box?! Katherine (who was also out of raisins) and I had a long talk about the raisins - first how amazing they are and then what would we do if they ran out. She had wanted a box as well but what if there was only one box! We decided if that was the case, we would share it. But how we were both hoping for our own box!
After 5 angst-ridden days, a phone call from Rancho Vignola came and a beautiful voice informed me that our order would be shipping in full that very day and should arrive the following day! A happy dance was performed.
Sure enough the next day:
Beautiful, glorious raisins! 25 whole pounds for us (oink oink!)
And not only that but the most amazing dates (only 15 lbs of those - what was I thinking???!!!) and the almonds my son loves to snack on throughout the day.
As you may have noticed from this particular post, I enjoy food and take it very seriously. There is only so much food I can eat in a day, and it's important to me that every bite is a taste sensation. As I have to wait another 7-9 months before I can order more of this amazing food, I plan to eat it slow and savour every bite.
Sunday, 9 March 2008
A quick post about a quick scarf.....I am buzzing about doing piles of laundry and getting some stuff done in readiness for our few days away, so I really shouldn't spend too long on the computer!
I bought the yarn in the morning, made a gauge swatch on the Bond when I got home, and made the scarf in the evening. I decided to knit it at a looser gauge than usual - keyplate 3 rather than 2 for this yarn - as I liked the drape and I knew that I would be folding it double and seaming it along its length so it would be plenty warm enough.
I sewed it up with the reverse stockinette on the outside and crocheted across each end to close it up.
I went outside to photograph the scarf this morning - unfortunately it wasn't sunny but I'm sure you can still appreciate the colours in the yarn.
Now I really must go and clean bathrooms, check the dryer, wash lots of lettuce and bag it so it's easy for my husband to grab when he gets home from work while I'm away, and make some soup for him and eldest son to eat for dinner one night. I've made cookies, vegan mayonnaise and packed some things already, and the kids have some clothes packed in their backpacks too. One boy left to bath, once I've attacked his hair with the scissors.
Saturday, 8 March 2008
I'm pleased to announce that the Sunrise Circle Jacket is done! Well, except for some buttons, which I haven't bought yet. But the knitting is finished, and it took me the whole of Friday evening to sew it all together, snug in front of a wood fire. I would love to wear this to Vancouver on Monday, but it really should be properly finished first.
A friend of mine is driving us to Vancouver so we (two mums and three kids) can enjoy a sleepover at the Aquarium with a group of about 35 homeschoolers on Wednesday night. We're going on Monday, though, so she can spend some time with her mum, and we're all staying at her mum's house for a couple of nights.
I decided, as knitters do (any excuse for knitting), that a thank you gift for her mum was necessary, so of course a visit to a yarn shop was then essential! I went out early today, before the kids were up, and I arrived so early that it wasn't even open yet. So I just HAD to divert to Michaels, where I picked up some beads and earring hoops and posts (this wasn't an impulse buy, I had been planning to buy these for some time - honest).
I also bought a skein of Homespun - I think the colour is called Edward - very masculine charcoal shades. It will work well for a scarf for my dad. I don't know if he wears scarves, but maybe if he has one this winter, he will wear it, don't you think?
I plan to use something called Cartridge Belt Rib, which is a stitch I used for a scarf for myself a couple of years ago. It's not really rib, it's a combination of knit and slip stitches, but it looks good and doesn't curl. I thought it would make a good airplane project, but do you really think I can resist knitting this before May? No, I don't think so. In fact, it might just get knitted this week as I'll be a passenger in my friend's car for at least 10 hours.
When I finally reached the yarn store, I bought three skeins of the James C Brett Marble DK, which I'm still in love with, in Moss, which is mostly green with some pink and other colours twisted in. I have the rest of today (Saturday) and Sunday to whip up a scarf on the Bond - it'll just be a plain scarf, knitted twice the width so I can sew it into a tube. I envisage having the reverse stockinette stitch side showing, as the colours always look better on the "bumpy" side.
Off to get some belated breakfast now and make sure the kids are getting ready to go the library.
Oh yes, and I nearly forgot - raw scores for the last four days - 87%, 86%, 80%, 87%. Not sure how easy it will be to maintain my willpower while I'm out of town, and I certainly won't be keeping score!