My 1 Million Row Challenge

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How I am Keeping Busy

It has been almost a week since I last blogged. Since then Eric has gotten sick yet again this time a tummy bug that entailed wild eyrping for 24 hours straight, the poor guy. Just when I thought I might get him out the door this week he started showing symptoms of a head cold. I swear the little dude has not been out of the house since the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. I do have one suggestion for PBS and Sprout, for the sake of parents of sick kids please don't put your shows on a 6 hour loop. There are only so many times I can watch the same show on the same day before I go nuts.

I am happy to report that Teri has made it through her first final with only  3 more to go.  That achievement should not be taken lightly. I can't begin to tell the whole world just how proud I am of her. It is truly a blessing that she is in my life. Teri is a wonderful part of our family.

I have been spending my days knitting and cleaning, aside for hanging around with Eric.  I think we are in week 5 or 6 of Eric being home and I am trying not to go stir crazy. I am taking every opportunity to get out of the house for a few minutes when I can. There has been plenty of laundry, which I am happy to say that up until this point I have been keeping up with. I have not had much time for spinning, weaving or sewing. I am beginning to think I will not have a new quilt for John with no time to go into the sewing room or have Teri's new blanket finished as it is to big to take to Eric's room. I am publicly rethinking my holiday presents. Yes, Teri I know I just announced it to the world.

I have added some new items to my etsy studio and have a small pile of things that need photos before listing. I hope to get that done tomorrow. Well it is getting late so its time to say goodnight.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Were Still Here

We have not fallen off the face of the earth. I got Eric to school on Monday and Tuesday. Needless to say I got in as many errands done on those 2 days as possible. I meet with the girls to knit.

Tuesday I even went to 2 different stores to get my holiday shopping done. Not everything I needed was at Trader Joe's. Although I did score my turkey breast at the 1st stop. So a trip to Basha's after my eye doctors appointment seemed like a strategic move. They are right across the street from the eye doctors.

Wednesday with both Eric and John home I did some of the prep for Thursday. I made homemade cranberry sauce from scratch if you want the recipe let me know.  And kept very busy. Thursday was spent with the guys, watching the parade on TIVO after my nap. Then there was more cooking while John and Eric napped.This was the first Thanksgiving in I don't remember how long that I was able to do all the chopping and cooking all by my self. It was one small victory over my arthritis.

Friday I left the guys at home and meet the girls for knitting. I had lunch with Nancy and then went home. We hung out and watched a little bit of TV.

Today Nancy and I went to the Reid Park Arts Festival. I came to the conclusion that art shows in the park were not going to be my thing. First of all a lot of the scarfs were made from polyester most were $15.00 or under. They were not my kind of knitting. I left wondering how they were going to break even let alone make any money. Yes they priced their items to sell, but the fiber artist should not have to sell handmade quality at discount store prices. We need to educated the public about the value of handmade and the need for the fiber artist to do more then break even or sell at a loss.

We stopped by Kiwi ( one of our local yarn shops ) to support a local business today. We stayed and did some knitting and chatting too. By the time I got home I took care of Eric's immediate needs then took a nap. John and I made it to Cafe Ole for dinner. Another one of our favorite locally owned restaurants. Dessert was curiosity of Frost another local Tucson favorites.

Well it is time to get Eric to bed for the night .

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Whipped Sweet Potatoes

This recipe is a family favorite for Thanksgiving and when ever they can persuade me to make it for them. It is a very easy recipe to make but I like to keep a few things special. So with out further ado.

Whipped Sweet Potatoes

2 - 29 ounce cans of Princella Cut Sweet Potatoes in light syrup - drained
1  - 20 ounce can of Dole Crushed Pineapple in its own juice. Drained and the juice put in a separate glass on ice
1 - stick of margarine
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 cups of miniature marshmallows. Reserve the extra from the bag for the topping.
A dash of Cinnamon

1 large casserole dish sprayed with Pam or greased. For the holidays I sometimes use an aluminum foil pan to save on clean up or so I don't have to worry about taking the dish back from the party.

I use my Kitchen Aide K-5 to do the mixing but you can do it by hand or with a hand mixer.

Add the Drained Sweet Potatoes, pineapple, margarine, a dash of Cinnamon and brown sugar to the mixing bowl. Beat on a slow speed until smooth. I typically start on speed 1 and work my way up to speed 4. It is important that you scrape down the sides of the bowl often. After the mixture is smooth turn the mixer to the lowest speed and stir in 2 cups of marshmallows.

Pour the mixture into your greased casserole dish and smooth out the top in a nice design. Liberally cover with more of the marshmallows. Cover with the casserole lid or foil.

For a GLASS CASSEROLE put the casserole dish in a COLD oven and turn the temperature to 325f and bake for one hour. For all other pans pre-heat the oven to 350f and bake for 45 minutes. You might want to take the foil cover off for the last 10 minutes if you want a bubbly brown top.

This recipe can be modified for a variety of diets.

For the diabetic reduce or eliminate the brown sugar and cut the amount of marshmallows in half.
For a low fat diet cut in half the amount of margarine or eliminate it entirely.

Now you are probably wondering why you put the pineapple juice on ice. After you clean up the pans it will be time to kick up your feet and and have a nice cold glass of juice.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

More Milestones

As we celebrate another milestone in Eric's life. I would like to ask you to help us reach more milestones in his life. There are two organizations that play a vital part in Eric's life.

First there is the ML4 Foundation. Eric's primary diagnosis is ML4.  Mucolipidosis Type IV (ML4) is a horrible genetic disease effecting children across the world. Doctors say that children with ML4 will likely never walk or talk, have a maximum mental capacity of about 18 months, go blind by twelve years old and live only into early adulthood. The mission of the ML4 Foundation is to promote and fund medical research to develop treatments and find a cure for ML4.

Any amount will help fund this research. Just think that in Eric's life time we have already found the gene mutation that causes ML4. We as a family know that anything is possible.

ML4 Foundation Donation Page

The second organization that we would like you to consider is the Tucson Jewish Community Center. Eric has been going to summer camp at the TJCC since he has been 4 years old. Over that span of time the inclusion program has grown from just a few special needs children mixed in with other campers to a full inclusion program with a wait list. The program has also evolved over the years to include a young adult program called Tag-Lit which is for high school age and older campers. Tag-Lit also has a year round program which Eric will transition to after high school and join the year round program.

This program is funded primarily through shrinking state dollars and grants. Any amount of money contributed to this effort would go a long way in helping Eric and his friends. Eric has been together with some of his friends for 17 years. I know it is very hard to believe that these wonderful people have kept the program going for so long.

Please use the pull down menu to the inclusion fund designation and this money will go to special needs programs and equipment at the Tucson JCC. They can stretch a dollar like no other organization I have seen.

Tucson JCC Donation form.

My Family and I would like to thank you in advance for your support. I would also like to thank you fror lending an ear over the years.. Sheri

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Party Day

We had a small party for Eric today. We had 1 friend for Eric and just did a little hanging out and relaxing. A lot of the Elmo's made it off the shelf. At one point we had a Sesame Street video going plus a few Elmos' sing and one even telling stories. Eric reached for every Elmo that made it to the bed. Matthew even managed to find and get John to open 2 more Elmo's that were still in the boxes. Eric and Matthew had a great time even though I fell asleep this morning instead of making a cake. I don't think it made a difference to either of them.

The party favor was a new dog pillow for Matthews dog. I had enough scraps to stuff a dog pillow for Frank. I made the mistake of putting my hand in the stuffing mix and have a nice blister on my hand. Polyfil is great to stuff dog pillows with along with yarn and spinning scraps, but my skin does not like it. When will I ever learn. sigh.

I did manage to score a Phat Fiber sampler box on the second drop today and it should be here before Thanksgiving. I did not find time to spin but I did get a few rows done on a hat and 1 1/2 squares done on Teri's blanket. I think the month is catching up with me so it is time to call it a night.

Friday, November 18, 2011

TGIF

Well we made it to Friday in one piece.  John had the day off so I took advantage and went to knitting. I had fun with the girls. You should see all the creative Christmas decorations they are knitting up for their trees. There were baskets, pine cones and miniature sweaters. Me on the other hand a knit 1 purl 2 scarf pattern, it is a very steady pattern that comes out quite nice. Oh I forgot cast on in multiples of 3.

I did get some spinning time in today. I am 2/3 of the way through one of Kathy Withers batts. I did notice that she did not have any listed in her shop, but if you send her a note through her etsy shop she might be able to come up with something just for you.

At dinner, yes I take my knitting when we eat out, I found a very large mistake in the red cowl I was 2/3 of the way done and it was not a recoverable error. Believe me I did try that first before I frogged the whole thing. I had the project re casted before we went home.

A little more knitting tonight. Two more squares were finished on Teri's Queen size blanket. Just in case you were wondering why the blanket is taking so long to knit;it is being knit on US size seven knitting needles.  So unless I love you as much as I love Teri I will not be making you one on size 7 needles ever. If it were for anyone else but Teri I would have given up on it a long time ago.

Well it is getting late so 1 last quick reminder. the contest is open until November 20 at midnight MST. I have 3 prizes and only 2 entries so far so you chances are very good so far.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I Will be a Willow Tree

Sometimes I wonder why I bother to make plans at all. About 50% of my plans land in the blender. Take today for instance. I had planed to go to the knitting guild meeting today and hang out with some friends and maybe have lunch. So to that end I called and scheduled a nurse for today last Friday, because Eric is still home. I figured 6 days in advance was enough. Well 8:00 am came and went. We are suppose to wait a reasonable amount of time in case the nurse gets lost. By 8:30  still no nurse and they have 2 hours to find a replacement. So much for the guild meeting and lunch with friends.

So instead I went to the pantry and filled a bag of food for the annual stuff the Mayflower for the Tucson Community Food Bank that our local radio station 94.9MIXfm puts on. Let Eric watch some TV while I got ready. Negotiated with Eric what shows he wanted to watch before we dropped the food and check off. Yes we had to wait until Sesame Street was over.

Then it was getting Eric ready to go and all that that entails. Load Eric in the car and drive down to the drop off site. Then I had to explain that Eric wanted to make the donation of the food so I put it in his lap so the volunteer could take the bag of food from him and then they said thank you to Eric. I also took a moment to drop the check in the collection bucket.

Back home again and it was time for my lunch and then to put Eric down for a nap. Eric wanted company so I did some knitting. When he dozed off I did some pretty awesome tossing of junk into recycle. Then Eric would squeak and I would go back to his room,  knit some more until he dozed  and then it was back to cleaning.This went on for 4 hours this afternoon. But the net result is a cleaner section of the house. And enough magazines tossed to compress the recycle bin a little.

I also figured out what was causing Eric's bed to act all funny. Yes I fixed that too. I just love duck tape, I just need to get more of it. An darn if I was not at the hardware store just last night and walked right past it thinking that I had enough of it.

Eric's afternoon aide was late too. He showed up 25 minutes after the start of the shift and then tried to play the we need to fill out the time card in pencil routine, yes like I have never seen that done before and did not know he was going to erase the time he was here with the time he was suppose to be here. Pencil really who was he trying to kid? I wrote over his pencil in black ink.

I can truly say that I am very tired and that it was a long day. Other than the disappointment of not being able to go out or have the energy to take pictures for my on line shop the day did turn out all right.

Now if Eric would only sleep through the night tonight.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Hump Day

After a long night with Eric, I decided to take it slow today. Actually my body did not give me much of a choice. Even fully caffeinated Eric and I managed to take a couple of naps today. To clarify I had the caffeine and not Eric, I am not that brave to try and give him caffeine.

More napping than knitting got done. On Eric's 3rd nap of the day I did manage to do some finishing work. If the nurse does not show tomorrow I will spend the morning taking pictures with Eric. I have incorporated some of my own hand spun in 2 of the hats.

When the mail came today Eric decided that he wanted the t-shirt that I had won as a prize from Pepsi. So I told him if he really wanted it he would have to take it out of my hands. He  really surprised me by reaching over with both hands and really giving it a tug. So now I would like to thank Pepsi for the new t-shirt for Eric from the Pepsi Refresh Project. As a reminder for everyone. Eric is still collecting tabs for the Ronald McDonald House here in Tucson for his charity work. He Just loves it when you send tabs his way.

I know the blog is rambling tonight so I guess this means it is time to go to sleep. Night all.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Pretty Good Day

I had a pretty good day for being in the middle of week 3 home with Eric. Eric is starting to feel better and is not quiet as grumpy as yesterday.  This left me with some time to do a little pick up around the house and make a home cooked dinner.

I managed to finish some UFOs. One was an order due next Monday and the other was a hat for the online shop. I plan on doing the finishing work tomorrow. One of my circular needles got lonely so I cast on another hat to work on when I am sitting with Eric. Yes I know I just created another UFO but what can I say. The needles were lonely and the yarn was there. If the boss is in a good enough mood I may even be able to take some pictures and list some items tomorrow.

I did manage to get some spinning done today. I am working with one of Kathy Withers batts in apricot. It is just so lovely to spin. I find that spinning can take me to a nice place of relaxation. It is just me and the fiber. Nothing else happens when the fiber is being spun. I have come to the conclusion that spinning is as good as chocolate but less fattening.

Even with such a good day, I think I am slowly creeping into a snarky mood which will have to be sent packing tomorrow. It might have been do to the fact that I woke with a raging margarine at 5:15 this morning.  Yes it is very easy to be snarky, but I still strive to be the nice gentle optimistic person I usually am and want to be.

It is getting late so I will try to get some sleep so I have the energy to deal with Eric tomorrow.

Monday, November 14, 2011

On and On

We are now at the beginning of week 3 of Eric being home sick this time. Yes really this is week 3.  We are on our second round of medicine. His sleep is still very erratic.  I have continued to master sit down and take a nap at the drop of a hat. Which means not much is getting done around here but the essentials. By the way are clean laundry and home cooked meals really essential?

There are plenty of things on hold such as working out and test knitting new patterns, listing the few finished things I have in my on line shop, cleaning, spinning, sewing. The one thing I have been able to do in bits and pieces is knit. I have been going through yarn at a good clip. The hats are getting very creative. I have started mixing commercially and hand spun yarn in the same hat for some really neat texture and color combinations. I also have finished a few cowls.

I hope to have Eric out the door to school by next Monday which will give me exactly 2 days off before he is home for the holiday weekend.  Before I ramble any more I hear laundry calling my name.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Rainy Days and Monday

Today did not start off in a stellar fashion. By 8 am I wanted a do over. Yes, really seriously. As I got out of the shower I thought I heard the low battery on a smoke alarm. Since John did not change them Halloween weekend as is our custom. So out came the step ladder and the 9 volt batteries. I changed all the batteries. On the new models we got they are a lot easier to change the batteries than the ones we bought in 1994. Did you know the life span of the average smoke detector is 10 years. Have you replaced your units if the are over 10 years old.

Back from the random tangent. I still heard the beeping after changing all of the batteries. Upon further investigation I found John's pager going off like mad. I wish I knew how to turn it off. Just for a point of reference it went off so many times this morning it bounced it's way off the shelf.

Eric spiked a temperature this morning. So my anticipated day of freedom will be put off at least another day or two. To add to the morning jumble the wrong trash can was out this morning, so we have to wait another week for recycling to go out.

The best part of the day was that we got 1/2 inch of a nice gentle rain this morning. Oh how I love the rain. Yes it does not rain much here. It was also the second day this week that we got snow on the Santa Catalina's. Not a whole lot just enough to make me want more so I could take a picture.

I seem to be in a knitting funk. I am busy starting new projects without finishing old ones. I have at least 10 small projects going and I really need to finish Teri's blanket. The spinning front is not going much better. I have wip's on my wheel and on all but one of my spindles. I am hoping to finish some of the smaller projects tomorrow and Wednesday. When I finally get Eric out of the house I am going to be in desperate need of girl/knit and chat time.  So please be prepared for a random phone call, you know who you are.

Well it is almost time to get Eric ready for bed. Yes I know he has been in bed for most of the day but it is now really bed time.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Old Fashioned Beef Stew

This is what I served John for dinner last night. It takes a little more preparation than my usual recipes but the taste is well worth the effort in my humble opinion.

Old Fashioned Beef Stew

1 pound beef stew meat
24 ounces of mini potatoes washed
1 medium sweet onion coarsely chopped
6 large sweet carrots peeled and coarsely sliced
1 whole celery washed and coarsely sliced
1 pound frozen mixed vegetables
salt and pepper to taste

Three and one half hours before dinner get your 4 1/4 quart Le Creuset pot or a similar sized pot. Make sure it will hold the steam in. I did not add any extra liquid to this recipe so it is important to not lose steam or liquid during cooking. If you pot lets out to much steam you may have to add water to keep this from burning.

On a medium heat add the stew meat with the salt and pepper to brown. Once the meat is no longer bright red add the onions and cook covered until the onions are soft. Then layer in the potatoes, carrots and celery. Cover and continue to heat on a medium heat for 30 minutes. Carefully take the lid off the pot to keep as much of the moisture in the pan as possible. Stir the pot and put the cover back on. Lower the temperature to medium low and cook for 1 more hour. Carefully take off the lid to preserve the moisture in the pan. Add the frozen vegetables and cover for 30 minutes. Stir and cover for the last half hour.

Serve with fresh bread or biscuits. Serves 4.

You may substitute fresh lamb, or chicken in the stew but the flavorings may have to be adjusted.

Friday, November 4, 2011

A New Contest for a New Shawl Pattern

I have just listed my new pattern called Handspun Sherbet Shawl in my etsy shop http://www.etsy.com/shop/skaro964 . So In honor of the release of this pattern, I am having a contest.

The First Prize winner will win a copy of the pattern and enough yarn to make the shawl. Please note that since this shawl is made with hand spun yarn and I bought and used the entire batch of the yarn for this shawl.  This means that your yarn will be a different color.

The second prize winner will win a copy of the pattern and a set of stitch markers.

The third prize winner will win a set of stitch markers.

To enter just leave a comment about the shawl or my new etsy shop which is a little on the bare side now, but more goodies will be going in soon. Please leave a way for me to contact you. I will use a random number generator to pick the winners.

Contest ends November 20, 2011.

Of course if you can't wait to get a hold of the pattern please feel free to use the linky above to get to my shop.. Good luck and have a great weekend.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Day that Went On and On

After my post yesterday, the day seemed to go on and on. I was up until 3:30 am with Eric. It was one heck of a night. We had it all fever, chills, icky tummy, tears, almost eyrping, sinus infection and almost anything thing else you could think of.

My day started at 7:00 am this morning. Eric's aide left at 8:00 and was suppose to be followed by a nurse. I tried calling the nursing agency several times but could not get through until about 10. I asked where Eric's nurse was and they told me she was here. You just gotta love the system. NOT. It took them until after 1pm to figure out where she was and offer to to get someone out in a few hours. Yeah right his afternoon aide comes in at 4:45p and there is a 2 hours minimum. So much for the extra help today.

The phone also was ringing non stop today. One place even called 3 times to confirm the same appointment for John. By the third call I was really annoyed. I think tired was setting in. The very bright phone call was from Teri. Eric and I had a good time chatting with her. Eric was really animated and did a lot of signing and sending hugs through the phone. I really have to add skype to my ipod.

On the bright side I got a small pile of bills paid and 4 boxes labeled and out to the car. That includes 6 pounds of left over Halloween candy and 10 scarfs to Operation Gratitude. A special box for Teri. Since she reads my blog I will not divulge the contents. The last box was filled with some items from Handmade~by~Sheri for on on line auction to help a mom pay for some cancer treatments. I will include a blurb around the time of the auction so you can check it out.

I also got some knitting done. Although I can say with certainty that I don't knit as fast when I am running on a sleep deprived cycle. I also do a lousy job of matching colors in the middle of the night so I have 2 hats on the needles at the same time. Something that I really don't like to do with scrappy hats.  My hope is that Eric sleeps tonight and that we get him out the door by Monday.

John will bring home dinner tonight. You just got to love a guy who works all day but still brings home dinner.  I would like to spin but I am so tired my eyes and hands are not working together. Things can only get better from here. A few good nights worth of sleep for all of us will fix everything.

I hope my blog is not to incoherent tonight, but I plead exhaustion. Enjoy your families.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wild Eyrps and Other Things

Day umpteenth and 1 of Eric being sick. He has also shared his latest cold with me. He gave me one of his huge smiles when I thanked him for the cold.

It was a very busy but productive day. Eric had not 1 but 2 doctors office visits. One in the morning and one in the afternoon. Yes he did manage to eyrp at both offices. I have to say Dr. Williams and his staff handled the eyrping better than UPH. Luckily for me he did not eyrp at my doctors appointment. Other than a sinus infection Eric seems to be doing OK for Eric. My Arthritis seems to be OK and the meds seem to be working. By the way did you know your whole hand can act like a trigger finger? Its just something I thought I would pass along to you. Just in case you needed a random oddity to discuss.

I did bring a drop spindle and knitting with me today. I finished knitting one cap and started knitting another one. I also got a little spinning done. My to do list is a mess having only accomplished the doctors appointments and nothing else.

Well I think I will go get Eric's medicine and leave him with the nurse for a few minutes.  Then either collapse or work on Mondays to do list. That is yet to be decided. I always have to end a a bright note and today that note is dinner is cooked for tonight already. So have a good evening and enjoy your families.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy November

I hope every ones November is off to a great start. Mine has not started off well but will get better. I am home with a sick kiddo for it seems like the umpteenth day in a row. Yes I know it has not been that long.  It just seems like it. I hope to have time to post some new things in my etsy shop soon. I also need to go to the post office, do paper work, make phone calls and some serious straighting of the house.  Yes I will even try to get a nurse for tomorrow.

After I get Eric better, I will post a new contest. So be on the look out for it.

Well I am off to knit and hang with Eric.