Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
My mom taught me that a hostess gift should be "what it is: a gift for the woman who did all the darn work!" So... here are some of my ideas:
- Flowers. In a vase, even a cheap one. (Never make a host/hostess hunt for a vase when they are mid-meal prep).
- Plant. No vase needed and can perhaps be transplanted to the yard.
- Candle--- go with pretty and unscented unless you know them really well. And their allergies. Soy candles are great.
- Hand towels or dish towels. A nice dish cloth or hand towel (embroidered, or having a design) is a nice gift and always handy!
- box of chocolates. I always add a note "for you to enjoy later," so they don't feel the need to share it with us.
- seasonal or themed notepads, sticky notes, etc.
- a favorite coffee or tea--- make sure the coffee is already ground.
- an ornament for their Christmas tree (this is pretty easy this time of year)
- a coffee table book or a book for the hostess to read
- a centerpiece--- who couldn't use a nice holiday centerpiece
- A bottle of wine. yes, it's traditional, but if the hostess has already paired the wine with the meal, she may feel pressured to open your bottle, even if it doesn't complement the meal. If you bring wine, insist it's "for you, for later."
- cookies/dessert: unless asked to bring something. As the girl hosting a cookie swap on Friday, the last thing I need in my house is more sweets.
- salad, side dish, etc... you may think your helping, but parties & dinners are usually pre-planned when it comes to food, so again, unless you are asked (or it's a potluck)...
- Acknowledge the gift.
- Say thank you!
- Set is aside.
- open it later.
Tuesday, December 06, 2011
|this is the exact nativity and creche that my mom had when we were growing up|
1. Dan and I buy our tree from the local Catholic Church, Our Lady's in Newton. I've never bought a tree from an organization that wasn't benefiting from the sale and I probably never will. Even this one, the attached high school, Trinity, rents the space to the tree seller, so they get the rent each year. The tree can be no higher than the top of my hand when i put my arm up. Otherwise, the topper will never get up there.
2. Making fudge. Nana J's secret recipe... and it's delish.
3. Sending cards. My SIL has the right idea- if they send an e-card, they are off the Christmas list.
4. Christmas eve at my parents. Everyone laughing and raising hell, drinking a little too much, eating WAY too much.
5. Meatballs and sauce on Christmas eve at my mom's... everyone's got a piece of bread dunked in there throughout the day... just waiting for it to be 'done'.
6. Opening stockings and presents on Christmas eve... what can I say, we're Norweigan!
7. Finding the LifeSavers storybooks and Tootsie Roll trees in our stockings... like we're still 5. And we hide them immediately to prevent theft.
8. Blue-tin cookies... you are a definite north-shore-er if you know the blue-tin cookies
9. Midnight Mass. It's poetic and mystical and soothing to me. Our church has the holy spirit knock on the door and the congregation invites the spirit into our church and our lives. It moves me.
10. My cookie swap... it's silly, but fun and everyone has a great time.
Monday, December 05, 2011
So, I dropped my knitting needles and grabbed the felt, scissors and embroidery needle and off I went. To my chair, in the living room, drinking hot tea and cutting, assembling, adorning mittens.
|Love these little mittens, #25 is the only white one and the only one with red letters. The rest are gold.|
|At the corner of each mitten, I strung them with embroidery floss and tied in 3-7 small jingle bells, so it makes noise as he runs down the stairs :)|
The verdict? He loves it!
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Thanksgiving was pretty good, but I still can't hear out of my left ear. I've got to see if I can get into the doctor on Saturday.
The 10 on Tuesday is "ten favorite musicals." Hmm.. i've never been a HUGE fan of them.
1. Legally Blonde, the Musical. I saw this a few weeks ago for a Girls' Night Out and it was great!
2. Christmas Carol, but ONLY by the North Shore Music Theater in Beverly, MA. Anything else is just not good. (David Coffee as Scrooge is BRILLIANT)
3. The Who's Tommy. I remember liking that one, but the crack-whore scared me.
4. Wizard of Oz... is this a musical? Or a movie with songs?
5. Lion King--- PC took me one year and it was pretty awesome.
6. Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreancoat
9. Sweeney Todd
10. Le Cage
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
My un-diet is very much mental. I'm not feeling deprived, my cravings are lower and I'm feeling better (and sleeping more!) each day. I can go to a restaurant. Or eat a fiber festival. Or work a conference (thank you, Whole Foods Whey protein & shaker bottles). Nothing is off-limits. NOTHING. I can eat cake. I can eat cookies. I can eat meat. (though, I've reduced my meat-based protein intake to once per day)
Today, I'm sharing with you a few things that are getting me on-board with the diet. As you know, this blog is my dumping ground for my life...we'll get back to knitting tomorrow.
1. My nutritionist. Honestly, if you had told me a year ago that I would look forward to hauling up 3 flights of stairs to see Paula (at MetroWest Nutrition in Newton) every few weeks, I would have called you a crack monkey. Every experience I've ever had with a nutritionist has been "this is a small apple. This is a medium apple. They are different." Seriously? I've been on Weight Watchers, TOPS, jenny craig, nutrisystem, Atkins, South Beach and you think I don't know a small apple? I've never NOT weighed my food.
Paula's different. She's encouraging, full of ideas and really wants you to succeed. And she doesn't let you get away with anything. Don't like broccoli? Find something else. Set limits. Be strong. She talks about having a "bank of self control" and to identify who's trying to rob the bank! Like the well-meaning co-worker who offers to pick up take-out. Every. Day. Or the relative who pushes the chocolate pie toward you after you've said no. (Or the wretched people at Stop & Shop who comment on our produce-laden grocery cart and tell me all about Nutrisystem and packaged foods. Okay, maybe that's just b/c I hate people who try to publicly humiliate me.) We're working through some of my food issues and she's helped me be more aware of me, my body and my health. Thanks, Paula!!!
2. My endocrinologist. Dude, he's awesome. Every lb gone gets a high-five. Every minute decrease in hA1C gets a "way to go." And, he hates the treadmill too, but he does it. Every night. And he tells you : he hates it, but he does it and he has to work at eating healthy and staying in shape. He's a great doctor, has helped me truly believe that I can and WILL beat PCOS. He's current on all the research, loves the ideas my nutrionist has and is dedicated to working with me, not against me.
|www.myfitnesspal.com or download the app|
3. MyFitnessPal. A kick-ass app for my android phone that is also a website. I can scan the barcodes of food to enter them. The database is extensive and my nutritionist can log in to see my diary. You can learn more at their site, but wow... has this made tracking and eating so.much.easier.
|See? Kicking things!|
4. Steve, from BlackBelt Fitness. Steve's a fairly non-traditional trainer... more like a nicer weekly version of the trainers from Biggest Loser. We do a lot of martial-arts based workouts and I get to kick him. Well, the pads, but seriously? How good does it feel to kick something after work on Thursday? Amazing! Lots of stretching, weight stuff and cardio... it doesn't get boring and I've never had to run on the treadmill. A weekly personal trainer? Well, someone must be made of money right? Nope. Steve's reasonable and you can buy packages that reduce the cost as well. Both PC and I see him and we agree: Steve's pretty great.
|Siggi's is the lowest carb, fewest ingredient yogurt I can find. No HFCS, no aspartame..just milk, agave, vegetable rennet and good "bugs"|
5. New foods. New food choices are keeping me going. Last week, I roasted brussels sprouts. I never liked them, now I love them! And tonight, we're having seared endive with our dinner. We're boosting our options at home, getting creative and embracing new recipes. PC's been grilling up a storm too... which is nice because grilling reduces the oil that we use for our foods.
So, keep an eye on the weight loss ticker in the corner there. It's going to be moving and I hope to hear you cheering me on!!
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
|depending on where you live, this is what you think of when you think "cranberry"|
|But, here in MA, this is what we think of!Industry! Jobs! Bogs...|
(Raise your hand if you have ever taken a school bus to a cranberry bog...)
So what to do with all those riches?
1. Make cranberry sauce. Every Massachusetts elementary schooler knows how to do this (you learn at Plimoth Plantation after you go see the very unimpressive Plymoth Rock): water, sugar, berries: boil, cool and squish.
2. Cranberry muffins. Take you favorite blueberry muffin mix, add cranberries instead.
3. Cranberry-Onion relish. PC's aunt makes a good one... so good, I beg for leftovers at Thanksgiving. And eat about 2 cups of it on my mashed potatoes that day. :)
4. Cranberry pancakes. I had these one weekend in Maine while at the NETA Spa, Sit and Spin event. Delish.
5. Cranberry cocktail. I buy it in the store and I dilute it with sparkling water. Not only does it taste great, cranberries are great for your kidneys and bladder. And will quickly stave off a UTI.
6. Cranberry ginger ale. Add some crushed cranberries to a glass of ginger ale. Yum. Add some gin and you have an adult beverage. Leave out the gin and the kids table looks pretty darn fancy.
7. Cranberry scones. I don't make these, I just get them at the Celtic Corner bakery in West Newton. To.die.for.
8. Fight cancer. Tons of antioxidants are in these wee, bitter and sour berries... so, adding them to your diet can help you prevent cancer.
9. Put it on your face. Cranberry oil is supposed to be good for your skin.
10. best of all... in the can, with ring "impressions" and all... as a yummy low-calorie snack.
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Is three little girls running around a kitchen yelling meow! Meow! All the while, wearing their handknit cat hats! And hearing that a certain tres chic 14 year old still carries the first purse you knit her. When she was 2. She keeps it in her purse, filled with her essentials. Yup, love my family.
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Thursday, November 10, 2011
I'm a sparkling water addict. Since Ive recently tried to really cut out the soda, seltzer and sparkling water are my new bff. And we know I love all things pumpkin, right? Not this.
Pumpkin spice and egg nog water? Gross. The granny smith flavor was pretty awesome, but egg nog????
Wednesday, November 09, 2011
Tuesday, November 08, 2011
|the common cold virus; quite pretty, considering|
- Advil Cold & Sinus. The good stuff. The pseudoephedrine loaded cold medicine.
- Good tissues. With aloe. Your nose is so nice to you the rest of the year, it deserves an upgrade to the good tissues.
- Slow down. Ha! PC is killing himself laughing right now, because I don't slow down when i'm sick. I should, but I don't. But I do think you should.
- Tea. Lots of tea.
- Grilled cheese sandwiches. Peanut butter & Fluff on Saltines alongside Campbell's chicken and rice soup. Scientifically proven to make you feel better.
- Nyquil. The nighttime-sniffling-sneezing-stuffyhead-medicine-that-helps-you-sleep. 'nuff said.
- Water. Water. Water. Colds love a dehydrated body...so, fill up on cool water.
- Quilts. Get on the couch and grab one. Snuggle. Add cat if needed.
- Pajama pants. When you have a cold, there is no reason to wear real pants. Get up and shower , but change into clean pajama pants.
- Steam shower... nothing like the feeling of the steam working its way through your nasal passages.
Monday, November 07, 2011
Hello, Pumpkin here. I have to blog for the Lady Who Carries Me ( let's call her Momma today because she has.something called jury duty. She says its a pain the ass, so I think it's like going to the vet. Very pokey.
I wanted to show you that I, too, love sheep. Not only for their delicious yarns, but for their ability to keep me warm. Take the yarn. Momma brought more home this weekend even though she's not done playing with the ones she has. You know she's done when it's wet.
My sheep is a very warm sheep. She is a little shy, and doesn't sat much, but momma and the Man Who Feeds Me must heat up her food, because she comes back from the Food Place and is all warm. My food is never warm.
Sometimes momma needs to snuggle the sheep, but I am sure glad I am NOT that sheep, because she squishes her! sheep never complains, but I'm glad momma doesn't squish me. The hugs are bad enough.
Sunday, November 06, 2011
|One end of the market|
Aisle after aisle of vendors, all hawking yarn, fiber, spinning wheels, spindles, and much much more. We saw at least 8 kinds of spinning wheels, more spindles than you can shake a stick at (mostly at Amy- Spunky Eclectic's booth) and oodles of sock yarn. If you are a sock yarn ho, this is where you need to be. MILES of it.
After catching up with friends and chatting while walking, we had a yummy and relatively healthy lunch (grilled chicken wrap with blue cheese, crumbles, cranberries and pecans) with a questionably
healthy snack (cheese fries), we headed back to finish off the shopping. I started to feel like this:
|the other end of the market|
I left with enough sock yarn from Dorchester Farms for two pair, and a shawl kit from Judy's booth. And a few patterns. Not much more. I've been pretty underwhelmed with what I see in the booths, mostly because I know how much I have in my stash at home.
All in all, a great day with great friends. This is a festival I can see myself going back to, but i'll be honest, I miss the "outside"-ness of an actual sheep fair. And it was a nice trip to Springfield. In my part of the state, the Snowtober storm didn't really impact us ---some crappy slush is all we got. But, my friends to the west? Hammered. So many trees down, so many STILL without power, but what great stories of compassion and fellowship: neighbor helping neighbor. Say a little prayer of thanks for the hard working line crews and tree trimmers. We saw them still hard at work on Saturday, clearing the roads to make them safe and passable.
Mouse mittens will be appearing here soon. Pattern is being written for them soon.
Friday, November 04, 2011
|Saint Anselm College, Mancheseter NH- winter|
Thursday, November 03, 2011
That's PC, holding up Livvie's new hat. It's the Temple Cats pattern, gifted to me by a friend, in Cascade 220 Superwash (Sue: toss right into the washer and dryer, but it'd prefer to lie flat to dry). It's hot pink and baby pink and it's perfect for that 4 year old in your life who loves cats.
I have to admit, the braided band makes me giggle. I love it, but braids are one of those things that are 0% intuitive to me when knitting. They never look like they are supposed to until after you've knit a bit beyond them. This is unfortunate because if you don't like the look, it's ripping out good knitting to get to bad.
The yarn. Cascade 220 Superwash gives me fits. I *love* it, but it's not the same gauge as regular Cascade 220, I don't care what they tell me. I knit this hat on US7 and it needs a good blocking over a vase or bowl to even out the colorwork a bit, but I would highly suggest a US6.
So much of my holiday life is 'knitting' but not this year. A few special hats for a few special kids, some non-holiday mittens (hang on, Jack--- I'm perfecting the dino hat and dino mittens for you this year!), and everything else is coming from a shop. Nice shops, but shops nonetheless. It's not that I don't think people will appreciate them (seriously: my SIL's reaction to handknits needs to make youtube... it makes any knitter proud), but the time. Some of the fam & friends will get handknits but some will not.
More tomorrow... I'm thinking we'll discuss something a little lighthearted and something a little politico-- like something I like to call the Snowflake People. :)
Wednesday, November 02, 2011
Tuesday, November 01, 2011
Top 10 Interview Questions.
As someone who has had *ahem* jobs, and therefore a LOT of interviews, I consider myself an expert in this, actually. And I have helped coach a few friends through the interview process. 3rd career calling?
The usual suspects:
1. Tell me about yourself. It's not really a question, but a directive, and it's usually what everyone screws up. This is the point in the interview that you let everything fly out that they aren't allowed to ask you: I'm Sally, married, 3 kids, etc... Nope this should be your "elevator pitch": I'm a hard working, diligent widget maker, with a proven track record of applying continual improvement processes in widget making for 15 years.
2. What are your strengths/weaknesses? Has anyone ever said "I'm lazy and take really long lunch breaks" when asked this one? I work too hard and love my job too much. I'm pretty terrible at time management, so I tend to be honest and tell them time management is something that I continually work to improve (note: i don't tell them the starting point, do I?)
3. Describe how you got here in 10 steps or less. Okay, so this gets to a particular type of interview that I normally encounter: logic and reasoning. This actually tells you a lot about how someone thinks and if they can break down their thought process into constituent steps. Good for scientists, not really needed for dock workers.
4. What motivates you? Money. What motivates you?
And now a few of my faves from interviews I've been on....
5. If you could be a small kitchen appliance, which would you be?
...Kitchen Aid mixer b/c I like to stir things up?
6. What quality do you most admire about your pet?
... her ability to sleep 20 hours a day?
7. Can you name the hierarchy of our R&D team?
2nd question... hadn't met anyone yet!
8. We may require that you work overnight, weekends, or holidays without notice... how flexible are you?
umm... well... no notice? None at all?
9. Explain why you should replace me in this position?
1.5 hours into the interview, I found out she had been let go and was staying on for two weeks to find her replacement.
10. Create a fictional product within our product line and pitch it to me.
last question from a start-up company that interviewed me at Starbucks. No product line. No business plan.
Friday, October 28, 2011
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Also, I've been working on some new mitten patterns, those links will be going up on the side there too. The #s are being worked on and I'm hoping to get some test knitters soon. Photos by Thanksgiving.
So... changes. It's a good thing.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
- Daschunds as hot dogs. I hate costumes on dogs, but this one cracks me up!
- Couple dressed as elderly husband & wife, cross-dressed
- our friends have passed around an infant Yoda costume, which is adorable.
- I made my brother, J, a dog costume once that was pretty outstanding... he won 1st place at two parties that year!
- I love me a chubby baby as a pumpkin, a lobster or any other creature!
- I was once a bag of jelly beans: balloons stuffed into a clear plastic trash bag.
- My mom dressed me and my brothers as the California Raisins once, also, involved trash bags
- My best friend, Sylvie, dresses her baby up in a dragon costume (first her oldest: he wore it twice , and her newest, he'll be in it on Monday!)--- but the costume is SO big and the baby's so small, it's known to friends as the "dragon-eating-the-baby" costume. :)
- a sweet little Indian girl came to our door last year as "Jasmin" from Alladin...I oohed and ahhed over her costume, but she set me straight: it wasn't a costume, it was "what my mom made me wear to my cousin's wedding." lol... well, that's one wedding outfit that did double duty!
- and lastly, I loved the year my brother was mailbox. My mom made him look like a real USPS mailbox... :)
Monday, October 24, 2011
Kate's Caramel Apple...Sauce.
Add everything to a stock pot and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat for 2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes. Cool to room temperature and pulverize in a food processor. Makes 8 1-cup servings, at 98 calories per serving.
- 8 medium apples, skins on, cored and cubed
- 2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
- 7 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 cup water
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
The large orange member of the squash family that we carve up, dice up, puree and spice to our hearts content. The ubiquitous image of October, fall and Halloween. Anyone who has met me knows: I love all things pumpkin. Even so much that I didn't want our cat at the shelter, until Dan said her name was already Pumpkin. Then it was fate. And then she jumped in my arms. Game over. Sign us up.
So, it's no surprise that I like to EAT pumpkin. And I'm happy to share with you my favorite ways to do so...
- Pumpkin beer. Oh, the varieties... our house is lovin' Harpoon's UFO unfiltered Pumpkin Ale, but i'm a die-hard fan of Cambridge Brewing Company's Pumpkin beer. (available at the bar, in the restaurant, in growlers "to-go" and now, your local Boston area packie).
- my alternative to too sweet pumpkin pie: pumpkin fluff pie
- Pumpkin risotto. I had this for lunch today--- yummm.....
- Pumpkin Latte (nonfat, 2 Sweet & Low, please!) at Dunkin' Donuts
- Green Mountain coffee company, Pumpkin Spice coffee. Available at Mobil gas stations... and i'm usually a Mobil girl during October just for the damn coffee.
- pumpkin muffins
- Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies. PC's mom makes the BEST pumpkin chocolate chip cookies EVER. And, I usually get a dozen for my birthday, which I flat out refuse to share, but none so far this year. :(
- Edy's Slow Churned Pumpkin Ice Cream. Or go to Christina's in Cambridge and order the following: 2 scoops Pumpkin, 1 scoop Burnt Sugar. OMG. To quote Rachel Zoe: "I die." or Soc's in Saugus. Add chocolate jimmies for some flair. And don't call the sprinkles.
- Thai Spiced Pumpkin soup.
- toasted pumpkin seeds... with salt.
Monday, October 17, 2011
Martita... you won! Send me your addy via email: kskaare (at) gmail (dot) com and I will send you an awesome prize!
Everyone else... send me your addresses too! I have "booby" prizes for all of us who just couldn't get to Rhinebeck this year!
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Reason #2? Money. Quilting supplies have been creeping in on my yarn budget. And I'm trying to stick with my budget.
Reason #3... space. I'm out of yarn storage. Yup. I've hit capacity. And now I have to knit it all. That's a LOT of knitting. I'm trying to finish 2 sweaters (adult) before Christmas, 3 kids sweaters, and 4 pair mittens and 2 scarves. Wish me luck. :)
Reason #4... time. I've been traveling for work, traveling for personal and really ready to have a weekend where i'm staying put. But, of course that means I've planned a day out with a girlfriend to go shopping.
So, why aren't you heading to Rhinebeck? I'll draw a winner on Saturday morning... and there will be a nice prize.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
1. Turned 34. Never done that before.
2. Slept in a tent for 2 nights (first night was hovering around freezing).
3. Sat by a campfire with my honey.
4. Drank a pumpkin beer, a gray lady beer, and a Leinekugel Oktoberfest beer.
5. Went to the Fryeburg Fair in Fryeburg, Maine.
6. Rode a ferris wheel.
7. Smooched PC at the top (we always do that... don't you?)
8. Watched a chariot race.
9. Started a stranded mitten and knit on a scarf.
10. Finished 3 books.
Yup, I turned 34 over the weekend. It's a bit bittersweet... I feel ahead of and behind my contemporaries all at once.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
- Fight my alarm/phone. Yup. Every dang morning. If I'm on vacation, I'm up at 5a.m., but for work? 7 am.
- Pack a lunch. This is for workdays, but I pack my lunch every.single.day. It's not always a sexy lunch, but it's saves me $5-8 per day. And it's healthier. And I have a weird hang-up about eating salad outside of my house.
- Make my bed. I don't know why, but it makes me feel better to come home to a made bed. So, every morning, I re-tuck the sheets, straighten the coverlet and fluff the pillows.
- Hold my cat. She likes to be held and carried around, so I indulge her while sniffing her head. Her head smells like rain and I don't know why.
- Tell PC "no fighting, no biting; be nice to the guys at work!" and "have a wonderful day!" before he leaves for the plant. He's a boss now, so this has actually gotten funnier as he got promoted.
- Answer over 300 emails. Yup. I average 300 email replies per day and 25 phone calls. Needless to say, I am RARELY on the computer at home. or the phone.
- Sing Yellow Submarine by the Beatles. I have no idea why, but it's on permanent loop in my head, and I sing a part of it OUT LOUD every day. It's like a pleasant version of Tourette's.
- Pray. I do this every day, silently, for compassion, tolerance and humility.
- Cook. I cook 99% of the work nights for PC and I. And whatever we're having for dinner is lunch the next day. It's really, really hard to have a new exciting something to put on the table every night.
- Wash my hair. I'm a compulsive hair washer. I hate unwashed hair on my head... it makes me itchy.
Sunday, September 25, 2011
Saturday, September 24, 2011
I'm knitting. A lot lately, actually. I cast on for this scarf and the next thing i know, eight inches are done. Magic? Perhaps. Getting close to Christmas? Yup, that is probably it. I have two of these to knit this fall, so I better get a move on.
Friday, September 23, 2011
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
- Elvis died, so did Groucho Marx, Charlie Chaplin and Bing Crosby
- The Bruins lost to Montreal in the Stanley Cup
- The Yankees won the World Series
- Star Wars came out in movie theaters: so did Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind (a much better movie, in my opinion)
- The Apple II computer came out (with a color screen!!)
- Jimmy Carter (the peanut farmer) was President (inaugurated in 1977) and grants amnesty to draft dodgers from the Vietnam Conflict (did immigration from Canada increase as well?)
- Son of Sam serial killer is killing couples in NYC (on orders from a dog) and subsequently captured in NYC
- Inflation hits 11% (wow)
- the Love Boat airs (I only remember it as re-runs)
- the U.S. Department of Energy is created