JB is Three!

Three years ago today, I was exhausted but my heart was bursting with love and admiration of this new life entering our family.

I knew our lives would never be the same, but I didn’t know just how loud, rambunctious, fun, silly, and happy we would be.

He still loves to eat. He likes helping people. He has a mechanical sort of mind and likes to work with his hands. He adores his sisters. And he still loves to cuddle, which I hope he never outgrows.

Happy birthday, my sweet boy. I can’t and don’t want to imagine my life without you in it. ❤️

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She Knits: Squirt’s ’18 Sweater

I have a dream/goal/aspiration that every year, all of my kids will have a handmade sweater and hat for winter. So far, I’ve kept up. This year, I’m running behind schedule. The temperature is slowly dropping, and I’ve only just begun Sprout’s sweater.

But I have already finished JB’s set. And now, I’ve finished Squirt’s sweater. The hat will eventually be improvised from the colorwork design on this sweater, I hope.

Progression Info
Started – July 27
Completed – September 25
Duration – 60 days = 8.6 weeks

I took several many-days-long breaks on this one. I flew through the yoke because it was quite fun, and then drudged through all the plain knitting on the body and sleeves. It sat with a single half-finished sleeve for 2 full weeks at some point.

Pattern Info
Aneira Minikins by Rhiannon Owens
Size – 12 month
Ravelry

I found this pattern a long time ago and always wanted to knit it. With two girls now, I finally decided to make this for each of them, in slightly different color schemes.

I modified the pattern. I grew frustrated with the tubular cast-on, so I did a regular long-tail cast on and knit a half-inch of 1×1 ribbing for the neckband. I used kfb instead of m1 for the yoke increases and kind of regret that — the m1 increases would have been less noticeable. Although, the increases are done all in one round, so I think will be noticeable no matter what type is used.

My gauge is off by a few stitches per inch (too large). So the sweater is bigger than it ought to be, but I still think it will fit Squirt this winter, especially if I fold the sleeves up a little.

Yarn Info
Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Sport
100% wool
Rouge (pink) – 2.38 skeins = 325.3 yds used
Oyster Heather (tan) – 0.56 skeins = 76.6 yds used
Bramble Heather (brown) – 0.16 skeins = 21.9 yds used
Total – 3.09 skeins = 423.8 yds used

This is a good, affordable yarn for colorwork. It doesn’t bleed (or at least, hasn’t ever for me) and is spun tightly enough to make switching colors easy. And my kids don’t find it too scratchy to wear against their skin.

Photos

What Have I Become?

I have become an Appliance Person.

You know the kind of person I mean. The person who has a dozen kitchen doo-dads that each have a single function that could be accomplished in some other bigger, more standard kitchen appliance. Slow cookers are great and have several advantages, but they are essentially just electric Dutch ovens. Stand mixers make the job of mixing or kneading dough much easier, but two strong arms can do the same job. Food processors can achieve more even cuts, but a knife and cutting board are much less expensive.

I’ve never been the sort to have or enjoy appliances. But here I am about 8 years into this homemaking journey, and I’ve used four small electrical appliances in the past 36 hours. So I guess I have to say now, I am an Appliance Person.


I used my immersion blender for the tomato sauce to cover cabbage rolls yesterday. I blend my home-canned tomatoes into tomato sauce (of sorts). I add home-canned tomatoes, drained, into a wide-mouth canning jar, season it (for a basic marinara or pasta sauce in a recipe, I add salt, garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning, ketchup, and Worcestershire sauce), and blend it. Did you know most immersion blenders fit into a wide-mouth jar? Well, now you do. You can whip cream like that if your model has a whisk attachment. You can blend salsas that way, too. It’s very handy. I don’t buy tomato sauce since I have my home-canned tomatoes and an immersion blender.

That sauce was used to cover cabbage rolls I cooked in my slow cooker. (Okay! One of my slow cookers.) How nice it is to spend, at most, a half-hour in the morning while the kids do schoolwork or play outside preparing ingredients, set an appliance, and have a hot supper 3-7 hours later! Not to mention the smell of supper cooking all day. (Okay, so the cabbage rolls didn’t smell all that good while they cooked, but they tasted great!)

I was given a bread machine recently and have started making all of our family’s bread. Not only is it healthier (no extra sweeteners, dyes, or preservatives), but it tastes better, is less expensive, and makes the house smell heavenly, I tell you. Yesterday, we were out of sandwich bread, so I made a loaf of whole wheat in the bread machine. It’s so easy! I add ingredients to the insert, close the lid, set the program, push Start, and walk away. When it beeps a few hours later, I dump a fresh, hot loaf of bread onto a cooling rack. The neat thing is now I can make bread (and save money!) without an oven. I used that machine again today to make a sweet cinnamon raisin bread, which we will eat as toast in the morning in place of our usual oatmeal. (We’ve given up cereal! I hope to write about that soon.) Cinnamon raisin bread baking smells even better than whole wheat bread baking. Who needs candles? Use a bread machine!

Yesterday evening, when those cabbage rolls were about ready, I used an electric steamer to cook rice as a side dish. Yep, that’s right. My steamer has a “rice bowl” inside that can be used to cook rice (duh!) or oatmeal and warm leftovers. I poured water into the reservoir, added rice and water to the rice bowl, set the machine, and then had 35 whole minutes to lay playing with my third baby while supper cooked itself. When the rice was done, so were the cabbage rolls from the slow cooker. Supper. Done. Easy. I had also used that steamer to cook our morning oatmeal, and used it earlier in the week to steam hard-cooked eggs that peel easier than any I’ve ever boiled!


So maybe I don’t have an oven. But now that I’m an Appliance Person, I don’t need one. 🙂 The best thing is that I haven’t bought any of these machines. One was a wedding gift, one was a birthday gift, one was an any-old-time gift, and one was a getting-rid-of-junk gift.

I don’t really know how this has happened to me, but I’m accepting my fate while eating homemade cinnamon raisin bread. 🙂

FoP: Slow Cooked Cowboy Pinto Beans (Recipe)

Beans are on the menu often at our house because they are an inexpensive protein. Canned beans are easy, but dried beans are cheaper.

This recipe is from The Lady Behind the Curtain blog. These beans were delicious. I didn’t modify the recipe at all — it was perfect as written.

I intended to have these served atop baked potatoes, which I tried to cook in a slow cooker. But they didn’t cook in time (I do intend to try that again someday). So I cubed the partially-cooked potatoes and fried them in bacon grease and salvaged supper. We layered the beans on top of the potatoes and added crumbled bacon, shredded cheese, and sour cream. Pickled jalapenos would have made the dish perfect. We called this “cowboy nachos.” The next night, I sliced potatoes very thinly, boiled for just a minute or two to soften, and then pan-fried them, like French fries. They didn’t stay crisp once under the beans but were still very tasty. I’ll certainly make this whole meal again sometime. 🙂

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Slow Cooked Cowboy Pinto Beans | Beloved Brown-Eyed Girl Blog

FoP: Copycat Chick-fil-A Coleslaw (Recipe)

Everyone needs to know a good coleslaw recipe. This is the one we like. I’ve made it a few times — it’s usually the pairing for French dip sandwiches at our house. However, we found it a great accompaniment to the one pot chili mac and cheese recipe I tried recently. You can find the recipe all over the Internet, now, but here it is from Chick-fil-A itself. They retired the side item a couple of years ago, but were kind enough to offer the recipe.

Sometimes, I buy coleslaw mix for this recipe. Other times I shred cabbage and carrots myself. But otherwise, I don’t modify the recipe at all. It’s best made a half-day ahead of time. 🙂

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Copycat Chick-Fil-A Coleslaw | Beloved Brown-Eyed Girl Blog