Friday, August 27, 2010


Dear Mom,
Before this turns into Patsy's blog, I am gonna hurry up and show you some knitting. I finished Ishbel last night during Project Runway, blocked her during Austin and Santino, and she is ready for her debut.

I used about 1 1/2 balls of Panda Silk, a beautiful blend of bamboo, merino wool and silk. This was a well written, easy to follow pattern and I feel like it was finished pretty quickly. I can't remember when I started, but I think it was all done within a week. I will definitely make more of these.


p.s. I know you don't watch Project Runway, but I really wanted Gretchen to go home.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

This is getting to be a habit

Dear Mom,

I need  Mr. Dyson to invent a wood chipper attachment for my vacuum cleaner.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Dish cloths and tennis meets and other stuff

Dear Mom,
I've been watching a fair amount of high school tennis these past couple of weeks, and I take knitting along with me to alleviate some of my nerves. It helps my stomach not to churn itself up too much if I have knitting in my hands. Unfortunately, the knitting I would like to be working on is at the point that I really need to pay attention which means it has not been tennis friendly. So it shames me to admit that I have been knitting dish cloths in public. Not that there is anything wrong with knitting dish cloths. Nothing AT ALL. Because actually my favorites are the hand knit ones. It's just that this sort of public knitting is not going to do anything to promote the art of knitting.

But, they (the dish cloths) are mindless knitting and heaven knows I need some new ones. Why is it that the hand knit ones are always the ones to get chewed up in the garbage disposer? The store bought ones never sneak down there. Except I am pretty sure that this one has Patsy's name all over it.....

And speaking of Patsy....
She keeps trying and trying,

and trying to sneak this through the dog door and into the house.

Let's just take a step back and take another look at that last photo. Just promise you'll pretend not to notice the clutter on that kitchen desk.

Because even Bumper knows that this isn't right.

Ishbel is moving along rapidimento. I have a scant 15 rows to go to finish!

I'll show you once it is blocked. This could easily be the start of Ishbelitis.


Monday, August 23, 2010

Pickin' Time

Dear Mom,
We have a bumper crop of cherry tomatoes this season. The Captain picks tomatoes every day. come the scavengers helpers. 

It didn't take the girls long to figure out how to pick their own tomatoes.

Golda can pick and eat a tomato in two bites!

She loves tomatoes so much, she will "fetch" when I toss them into the yard.

Captain is preserving the tomatoes by drying them and then layering them with garlic, oregano and basil in mason jars topped off with olive oil.  
Love, Bonnie Jo

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Dear Mom,
I finished the cotton sweater I've been working on, just in time for the return of heat and humidity. Oh well. I was foolish to think the 90 degree/90% humidity were behind us.

The pattern is Kira, and the yarn is Cascade Yarn's Ultra Pima, color Marigold. The sleeves have a pretty lace detail:
 The thing that attracted me to this sweater pattern is the unusual neckline detail. I liked the option of wearing it open as shown, or buttoning it closed-

I covered buttons-

This was a pleasant knit. The instructions were well written and there was just enough going on throughout to keep the boring parts interesting, but not so much that I had to concentrate too much and the lace pattern on the sleeves was easy to memorize. 

Up next....

And I know I am still in the easy part, but this is fun already AND! the start to this shawl is brilliant. BRILLIANT, I tell you!

There are designs of my own swimming around in my head and making there way into my sketch pad, but right now it is a joy to be working my way through yarn and patterns that have been patiently waiting for me.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Fingerpainting and Facepainting

Dear Mom,
Fingerpainting of a different sort.

and face painting, too.

Apparently Magic Sorcerers need purple eyes and yellow stars.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Fingerpainting and Brownies

Dear Mom,
Today marks the first day of the last full week of summer vacation.  And the weather is beautiful.  Perfect for fingerpainting.

and brownies.

Double Chocolate Espresso Brownies

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
14 oz. semisweet chocolate squares, finely chopped (I use Scharffenberger; expensive but oh! so! worth it!)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup brewed espresso (Starbucks, of course!)
3 large eggs
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 cup coarsely chopped nuts (I used hazelnuts)
6 oz. dark chocolate, coarsely chopped (Scharffenberger again)

Coat a 9x13-inch pan with cooking spray.  Line pan with aluminum foil, allowing ends to hang over short sides of pan.  Tuck overlapping ends under rim on short sides.  Coat foil with cooking spray; set pan aside.

Combine flour and next 3 ingredients in a small bowl.  Place chopped semisweet chocolate in a large bowl; set bowls aside.

Combine sugar and next 3 ingredients in a saucepan.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar and butter melt and mixture comes to a rolling boil.  Remove from heat and pour over chopped chocolate in bowl; let stand 2 minutes without stirring.

Beat chocolate mixture at low speed with an electric mixer until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth.  Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add flour mixture; beat at medium speed until well blended.  Stir in vanilla, hazelnuts and dark chocolate.  Spoon batter into prepared pan, spreading evenly.

Bake at 325 degrees for 38 to 40 minutes.  Cool completely in pan on wire rack.  Cover and chill at least 2 hours.

Carefully invert brownies from pan, using overlapping foil as handles; remove foil.  Invert brownies again on a cutting board; cut into squares or circles.  Drizzle with mocha syrup (I used Starbucks again!)

Next week school starts.  I have really, really loved my kids extra much this summer.  We did a LOT of swimming, baking, playing and dancing.  I will miss hangin' out with them.  So we will spend our last 10 days of summer vacation playing harder.  More.  Washing the car.  Listening to music.  Laughing and loving.
Enjoy your days . . . .

Back to School

Dear Mom,
The kiddos are back in school and we are trying to re-adjust to the routine. I have to say it is easier to fall into the semi-nocturnal summertime routine than it is to adjust to the 6am alarm clock. For all of us. That first morning the dogs didn't even come downstairs until it became clear that we were up for real- or at least until they heard milk being poured into bowls of Cheerios.

Bumper is an old veteran of the school days, but I think Patsy forgot all about it. She watches mournfully as they walk to the bus stop.

The longing is so bad, that coupled with Patsy's speed and expertise at jumping over the gates (and earning her the nickname FloJo), I have had to close the back door and keep her inside to prevent her from joining the queue at the bus stop. (Having your MOM chase down the dog while wearing her pajamas in front of everyone on the bus is mortifying for anyone after the age of 11.) (The MOM doesn't like it either, but that would never occur to the wounded.)

At the parent meeting for the tennis team, another mom and I volunteered to make locker decorations for the team. I have finished my half, will pick up the other half at the meet tonight and tomorrow afternoon I will hopefully not get lost in the high school as I go searching for the lockers to put them on. I am confident that I will only go missing until supper is late and my family is hungry, when they are sure to send out the search party. When I volunteered to make the decorations, I didn't realize how sadly under-represented the sport of tennis is in the craft/party/scrapbooking department. It just would have made things so easy if I could have purchased a bunch of paper dessert plates that look like tennis balls - they have baseball plates, basketball plates and even football shaped plates. NO TENNIS. However, I think that what we came up with is even better. We used the stiff felt you can find in the craft store, cut it into 5 inch circles, used a white paint pen to draw the tennis ball lines, added a Shamrock sticker (the school is the Westfield Shamrocks), added the names with a green paint pen, stuck some magnets to the back and TAH DAH locker decorations.

Also, today is my day to provide the pre-meet snack for the team. To say "snack" is deceptive. These are highschoolboyafterschoolbeforeamatch kind of snacks. Which really means that I just packed 26 sack lunches and took them up to school- turkey sandwiches, apples, pretzels, cookies and water bottles.

On a more fun and creative note, CarolWhoseHouseGotStruckbyLightning asked me last week if I had an---get this-- extra bucket hat  that she could borrow for an upcoming fishing trip. Well. yeah. But I didn't want her to have to borrow an extra hat and seized upon the opportunity to make another bucket hat. This time I had a theme. Behold, Carol's fishing hat:

side a
side b

If you look closely, you can see that I used the freezer paper/copier trick on this side to designate it as "Carol's Fishing Hat- made by Kim- August 2010".

And, needless to say, there is knitting. I am nearing the end of this cardigan, which is going well, but it feels like I have been at it long enough and I am ready to be done. Silly, to be finishing a cotton sweater at the end of summer, but this summer was too hot to wear it anyway, and maybe I'll have a few days in September when it will be just right. Time to start thinking about what's next for the needles. Definitely something wool.  I much prefer the kindness of knitting with wool.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

MMMMMMMMore Baking

Dear Mom,

We have been busy baking (and eating!) our Farmers' Market blueberries and peaches.  Blueberry Muffins and Peach-a-Berry Cobbler were yesterday's treats.  I got the recipes from Acorn Farms and share the Peach-a-Berry Cobbler recipe here.  OH. YUM!!!  My favorite cobbler so far . . . .

Peach-A-Berry Cobbler
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 cup cold water
3 cups (approx. 5) fresh peaches, sliced and peeled
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
100% TLW (Tender Loving Wendy = cinnamon-sugar-nutmeg sprinkles for top)

For topping: stir together flour, sugar and baking powder.  Add the milk and butter all at once.  Stir until smooth; set aside.
For filling: in a medium saucepan, stir together brown sugar and cornstarch, then stir in water.  Add peaches and blueberries.  Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly.  Add 1 Tbsp. butter and lemon juice and still until butter melts.  Pour into a 1 1/2 qt. ungreased casserole dish.  Spoon topping in mounds over hot filling, then spread evenly over filling.  Sprinkle with 100% TLW.
Bake cobbler in a 350-degree oven for approx. 35 minutes.  Serve warm with ice cream!

Love, Wendy

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Bees and Water

Dear Mom,
One of the first things I learned in beginning beekeeping class was the importance of having a water source near the hive.  A full-sized colony of bees can use up to a quart of water a day!  It is in the beekeeper's best interests to keep the water source in his/her own backyard.  Since my yard contains a small pond, I was confident that the bees would be attracted there.  Instead, they seem to favor the birdbath in the side yard!
The bees will remain loyal to the same water source.  If that source dries up, they will find another one.  I keep this birdbath filled because I don't want the bees visiting my neighbors' yards to get water!
Occasionally a bee will fall into the water.  I rescue her with a twig or a piece of mulch and she crawls or flies off.  This one appears to be doing the backstroke!
Yesterday a bee crawled up the mulch and onto my finger, and I promptly shook her off!  (For our blog readers who may be wondering...YES, I have been stung - twice!)  I doubt she would have stung me, but I didn't want to take the chance...

Love, Bonnie Jo

Monday, August 9, 2010

Judy and I are at it again

Dear Mom,
Judy Jetson ( my early 1960's Singer Slantomatic sewing machine- she just so Space-age) and I have teamed up once again, this time making tops for the Young Lady. Yes, actual clothing this time.
This latest project was fueled by a trip to the mall in the annual hunt for age appropriate school clothes. For me, a trip to the mall is an event in itself. It is no secret that I hate to shop. But it had to be done and I took a deep breath and cleared the day and off we went.
Our first stop was fruitful and we found a flattering plaid top that reminded me of tops Bonnie Jo, Wendy and I might have worn, tops that you would have sewn for us. The Young Lady loved it. I suggested to her that once we were done with the mall, that perhaps we could stop at the fabric store and find a pattern and fabric for tops just like this one and that is what we did.
The Young Lady was not so confident in my sewing skills and I informed her that I used to be good at it. "Then you started knitting", she replied. So, armed with the pattern, and enough plaid fabric (The Young Lady is into plaid right now)  for 5 tops (and Yes, the pressure was on!) I began. She must have been nervous, because I had several interruptions for progress reports. Hard to PROGRESS with interruptions. Yet, I acted more sure of the process than I felt and when the first top was completed, I actually got her out of bed to try it on. There would be no waiting til morning. I think we both slept better that night, knowing that the top fit, and that both of us were happy with how it turned out.

this is the first one
And no! I didn't match the plaids. I am sure Mrs. Goodwin and Mrs. Roose are disappointed.

We decided the top needed a little more length, so top #2 is about 2 inches longer.

Aren't they cute? Simple, I know. But flattering. Three more to go.


p.s. School starts tomorrow. I didn't think I was ready until last week, when the calendar was suddenly filled with back-to-school obligations, schedules were picked up, we toured the building, found the classes, bought the school supplies and loaded them into the locker. I decided if we had to do all that, they might as well be AT SCHOOL. And while I dread that 6am alarm tomorrow morning, I am giddy with the anticipation of 7+ hours of Alone Time!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

From My Kitchen

Dear Mom,
We hit the Farmers' Market on Friday and came home with 25 pounds (a bushel?) of fresh peaches.

Besides snacking on fresh peaches, we have baked 3 peach cobblers which we shared with friends and neighbors and 2 batches of baked peaches.  More cobblers, peach muffins and peach ice cream on the baking list soon!!

Peach Cobbler

4 cups peeled, sliced fresh peaches (approx. 6 peaches)
2 cups sugar, divided
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 1/2 cups milk
100% TLW
(TLW= Tender Loving Wendy, otherwise known as the cinnamon-sugar sprinkling for the top)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine the sliced peaches, 1 cup of sugar and water in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil and then simmer peaches for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat.

While the peaches are simmering, place butter in a 3-qt. casserole dish and place in oven to melt.

Mix remaining 1 cup sugar, flour and milk VERY SLOWLY (to prevent lumps).  Pour mixture over melted butter.  DO NOT STIR.  Pour fruit on top, gently pouring in syrup.  Sprinkle the top with TLW.  Batter will rise to top during baking.
Bake for approx. 45 minutes.

Serve warm with ice cream or fresh whipped cream!
(Especially good at about 2:30 in the afternoon)

Enjoy your lazy summer days!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Doris, ii

Dear Mom,
With her secret compartments and her technical wizardry, Doris has been given a full name.  She is officially Doris Jane Moneypenny.  She does look rather like a KGB Russian Spy Car.
Doris for when I am a Mom, driving the children around in our day-to-day activities.  Jane Moneypenny for my undercover secret missions (without the children)!!