Monday, July 28, 2008

Baby booties


Aren't they sweet? I love them. They are meant to go with this hat and these mittens. All three are made from Plymouth Yarn Dreambaby DK.

Making this set represents a lot of time watching Sunrise Earth. Last night we were watching an episode about Alaska and Erin was so excited she was right up to the TV, standing on her back paws with her nose practically touching the glass. I'm not sure what kind of birds they were but she couldn't get enough. So funny!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

CSA week 10

This week we have carrots, apricots, plums, eggs, beets, eggplant, onions, and tomatoes.

Now that the tomato scare is mostly over, we've started seeing a lot more tomatoes in our weekly produce box. The teeny tiny ones will be great for a pasta salad and the big ones will definitely make their way into some sandwiches. Carrots will be great for salad. Just made some hard boiled eggs for Max to have later. The eggplant and onions will probably hit the grill sometime this week... but the beets, I think those will be given away to someone who can appreciate them more than us.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

NatureMill follow-up

How is the composter so far? It's good for the most part. Like anything of value, it needs to be taken care of and treated well. For us that means putting in the right amount of brown to green. Luckily I was checking out the pantry at work yesterday and discovered a box of cereal from 2002 - yikes! But that came home with me to serve as the brown component to go with the egg shells and eggplant top from yesterday's dinner.

How is the compost? It seems good. The top layer is always a little brown and dry but underneath there's a layer dark rich brown matter covering the bottom of the bin.

Is it easy to use on potted plants? So far, no problem. I've just been adding it to the top and it soaks in as it rains or when I water them.

Any comments so far? We had to move it outside because of the smell. It's not noticeable most of the time but it's pretty powerful when you open it up. If you're contemplating getting one, I'd still say go for it. It seems like we take out the garbage half as much as we used to... which is great because it's one less thing for Max to have to remember!

Any other questions?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Currently reading

Max picked up American Shaolin by Matthew Polly to read on the plane ride from Chicago to DC. With the delays and the engrossing nature of the book, he was almost done by the time we got home. I started reading it over the weekend and I can see why he finished it so quickly. The story is funny and well written. And since Matthew Polly was in Shaolin around the same time as Max and I were in highschool in Beijing, there are many familiar references that are both 90s and China in the 90s. Which is to say, I can relate... at least to part of it. Like the long letters home to friends (some were answered, some were not), missing food from home, and the feeling so isolated in a sea of Chinese people.

I highly recommend it. Definitely a good read!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Pink mittens

I finished the first one on Saturday and the second one on Sunday. For the tie, I crocheted a single chain from one mitten to the other and then single crocheted back into it to reinforce it.



Now, onto the hat! I started it last night while watching the season premiere of Project Runway.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Deadlines are necessary

I started this little hat back in June while I was on vacation in Michigan. Then I got home and got caught up in another project (Apple) and probably would have finished it except that I got the invite for my friend's baby shower - the one who is having twins... who will be getting a pair of mini mittens and matching hats. I knew her due date was sooner so I should have been working on the mini mittens and hats all along but sometimes you get swept away. Well, thankfully babies wear small items that knit up quickly.

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I finished the yellow hat on Saturday. Thought about making a pompom for the top but I'm not sure... what do you think?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

CSA week 9

This morning when Max and I stepped outside at 9:30am, it's was already 83°F. Ugh, and humid with a hot breeze. We made our way to the West End Farmer's Market (a few blocks later I was already sweating), bought some ready-to-eat ripe peaches, local cheddar cheese, and a bunch of basil. From there we went to Food Matters to pick up our dozen eggs and produce.

Green onions, potatoes, roma tomatoes, pickling cucumbers, arugula, a red onion, and apricots. I had an apricot as soon we we got home - very ripe and so delicious! It's too hot to think about cooking anything (current temperature is 91°) so I think dinner tonight will be cheese and crackers, a cold pasta salad (using some leftover pasta that was chilling in our fridge) with tomatoes, fresh basil, and a simple vinaigrette. Peaches and apricots for dessert.

What do you have for dinner when it's too hot to cook?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Lobster Harbor

Today Erin is fascinated with the seagulls. Look at her! She's so
funny. We like watching Sunrise Earth best when she's watching with us.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Sunrise Earth

Here's Erin watching the manatees on Sunrise Earth. She super loves
them and is totally enthralled.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

CSA week 8

This is the first week since the beginning of May that we did not get any lettuce in our weekly batch of produce. Yay! I'm all for salad but we have had to give some of the lettuce away because it is too much for us. This week we got eggplant (um, that's all Max), fennel, some tomatoes (which are presumably safe), fresh garlic, half a head of cabbage (ick), pickling cucumbers, more green beans, and of course, a dozen eggs.

For dinner I made some tomato and fennel bruchetta (minus the shallots, for Max). The flavor is subtle, first you taste the tomatoes and then this anise flavor follows. It's good. We'll definitely make it again next week if we get more fennel.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Stash enhancement

While I was in St. Joe, we went to the local yarn store in Benton Harbor, Michigan. It is much bigger than I expected! And quite a range of products... everything from Malabrigo to Lion Brand, from Pony needles to Addi Turbos. Several ladies offered to help me find what I was looking for... but mostly I wanted to browse.


As you can see, I ended up picking up a red skein of Malabrigo (perhaps for a scarf to match my red mittens), some Fortissima Colori Socka Color yarn with a little sparkle for a baby hat I have in mind for one of my pregnant coworkers, and some Plymouth Royal Bambooo just because it's so soft and lovely. Not shown: Addi Turbos 12" size 1 needle

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Omnivore's Dilemma

I just finished reading this last night. It's a good book but I have to warn you, right from the introduction (which you can read on Michael Pollan's website) the beginning is dark and awful... mostly because I didn't really know what went on at CAFOs, how much corn is a part of every processed food we eat (not to mention the container it's in), and how industrial organic is not really as good as I thought it was (sadly more industrial than organic). Once Michael Pollan gets to Polyface Farms though, it's uphill from there... resembling more the farm I imagine when I think of where I once visited my godparents when I was a small child. I also really enjoyed the forest section and hearing about the perfect meal. This kind of food is actually scientifically, quantifiably more nutritious. I love it.

What would I do if I could?
1) Cut out most processed foods
2) Eat more local food
3) Switch to real grass fed meat (not just grass finished)

I've started doing some of these things but to make a complete switch, I'd need to get Max on board. He's pretty good about this "green" stuff but it takes more time and money than we are willing to put into it (gradually more but it's a slow process). This morning I just started reading Fast Food Nation. Hopefully this will help to further improve my food choices... if not, there's In Defense of Food.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Baby bag

I have three pregnant coworkers right now. We already had the shower for one of them and the other two are due in the fall. One of the fall ladies is a knitter and so she gave me some of her yarn to make something for her baby. I started right before I left for Chicago but then left it at home... since I got back, it's all I want to knit. The pattern is easy. Here's what I have so far:

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The opening is for the button band. I'm using the Apple pattern from Magknits... luckily I had it printed out before the site was taken down!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

CSA week 7

This week we have double because we were out of town last weekend... slicing cucumbers, romaine lettuce, red potatoes, scallions, and green beans. Max is very excited about the potatoes, as am I, but I'm also psyched about the cucumbers (and, let's be honest, the smaller heads of lettuce).

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Italian Restaurant in Oakville

My brother just started working at a new Italian restaurant in Oakville, Ontario called The Olive Press. There was a family dinner last week for all the family members of the staff working at the restaurant. My parents and my sister went for dinner... everyone ordered something different and they had a really nice evening out. Max was drooling over the menu earlier... we'd be going for sure if we were going to be in the area. The restaurant is open now so if you're in the area, please stop by and let me know what you think!

The Olive Press
2322 Dundas Street West
Oakville, ON L6M 4J3

11am to 11pm, Monday to Sunday

Thursday, July 03, 2008

South Cliff Inn

As part of my big three-oh celebration, Max planned our trip to St. Joseph, Michigan. On a friend's recommendation, we stayed at the South Cliff Inn (and it turns out that my parents stayed there almost 16 years ago when they were first planning our move from Canada). Their website does not do them justice! We stayed in the Harbor Room and this was the view from our room:

At the back of the house there's a porch where people regularly sat each evening to enjoy their wine and cheese. Max was partial to the Chardonnay and the cheddar cheese. There's a lovely garden that leads to the edge of the bluff and a patio that overlooks the lake. I could have sat there knitting and reading all day. Very relaxing.

And then there's the breakfast! I wrote this on my review form too... Breakfast at the South Cliff is the best breakfast we have ever had at a bed and breakfast anywhere. Overwhelmingly generous and incredibly delicious, with many choices everyday. There wasn't a day that we didn't both have seconds. Bill and Jodie really outdid themselves. Each morning there was sausages, fresh fruit, orange juice, and coffee.

On Friday, my favorite was the blueberry peach crumble. There was also a spinach quiche that Max really liked, chocolate chip coffee cake, and bread pudding.

On Saturday, the cream cheese danish was my favorite - and everyone else's too! There were only a few pieces left at the end of breakfast. Max really liked the ricotta egg casserole with mushrooms. There was also an almond coffee cake and bread pudding.

Sunday's breakfast was delicious sticky pecan rolls covered in caramel sauce, a sausage egg casserole with mushrooms, and mandarin orange coffee cake with icing. Unfortunately there's no pictures because I was too busy eating! :)

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Driving in St. Joe

It's so easy! At least, that's how it felt this time around compared to how it felt when I was 17 (or what it's like to drive where I live now). No one drives more than 5 over the speed limit and there are so few cars on the road, which really helps.

1st time:
Thursday night, when we finished eating our ice cream, it was still light out (even at 8:30pm, because they're at the edge of the time zone) and so Max suggested that I might like to drive. There were barely any cars on the road and I was completely familiar with the area, so sure. Even driving a rental car that was completely unfamiliar, it was fine. No anxiety, just comfortable, even able to hold a conversation with Max - which is very unusual for us!

After breakfast on Friday, I went out driving with Max again... driving is just so much easier in St. Joe! I was actually comfortable and not nervous at all. What a difference 12 years makes!

Saturday afternoon, I drove by the site of the original accident that put me off driving in the first place. Driving up the street with the alley and then past the alley, I was anxious (please don't happen again!) but it only lasted a minute and then I had driven past the spot and nothing happened! It was like a weight had lifted off my chest.

Saturday night, after dinner, on wet roads at dusk. The sun had gone down and I drove from the downtown back to the inn. A short drive but in conditions that I would never normally drive and it was totally fine.

Sunday morning after we checked out, I drove from the inn along Lakeshore Drive to a gas station in Stevensville. The car in front of my for most of the way was very slow, going under 5 under the speed limit (which was even driving me crazy, nevermind Max!). I had to do a little turn around to go to the station that Max wanted but even that was only a minor disturbance.

All in all, it was the best driving experience I've ever had. Coming home, the roads are looking a lot less friendly but I'm hoping that driving in St. Joe was a life changing experience that will help me the next time I get on the road. In the meantime, I will give myself a little pat on the back. You can too if you want. :)

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

St. Joe

Happy Canada Day!

(Just had to get that in there before I continued my vacation story)

Max and I drove from Chicago, Illinois to Michigan City, Indiana to St. Joseph, Michigan in alot less time than I thought we would. So we stopped in Michigan City for a little outlet shopping. I picked up a few cute tops at Ann Taylor and Max (finally) bought himself a new pair of sunglasses.

And that mitten I was knitting in Chicago?


I finished it on the way to St. Joe, so now the pair is done. And I also started the second pair while I was there. Here's as far as I made it:


Because I also started this:


Any guesses? Yep, it's a hat. Plus I was distracted by the view:

On Thursday night Max and I had dinner at Shu's and walked down to Silver Beach. Then we went to Dairy Korner. I had the pina colada flurry - same thing I used to order in highschool. Max had the Oreo cookie flurry.

Friday morning we stuffed ourselves at breakfast and chatted with the two older couples staying at the inn with us. Then Max and I went to the beach at Tiscornia Park. Since we were there pretty early, there were very few other people there. Probably only a few dozen. We walked down the pier to the lighthouse and then set up at the end of the public section of the beach - it was like we had the place to ourselves. We played in the water (after taking some time to adjust to the colder temperature of the water), picked up seashells, and skipped rocks on the water.

For dinner we went over to the Rimes' for a BBQ. We brought cherries from Nye's Apple Barn and well as some knitted goodies. Paul and his wife were there, as well as another highschool friend, Alycia. It was really great catching up with everyone and it was a really fun evening.

On Saturday Max drove us out to the yarn store in Benton Harbor, Ivelise's Yarn Shop. I lucked out! They're having a sale and it started on Saturday. We strolled along the downtown shops in St. Joe, picked up some books for the plane at Forever Books, and had dinner at the Bistro at the Boulevard Inn. After dinner we walked along the bluff and watched the sunset. A great way to end our trip.

On Sunday we woke up early and walked down to the beach. It was cool out because it had rained the night before but it was sunny and clear. After our last look at the water, we went back to the Inn for breakfast.

The few days we spent in St. Joe was a great way to offset the crazy busyness of my trip to Chicago. Almost the complete opposite in every way... quiet, relaxing, and low-key. Not as much has changed in 12 year as I thought it would but that's what made it so great to go back. Got to share a lot of stories with Max and he was able to visit the location of where they happened. It was a great trip for the both of us.