2012 Ups and Downs

2012 is over and done.  It wasn’t a bad year.  Lots of good things happened with the bad and I’m thankful for all of it.

Probably the biggest thing that happened was figuring out my soy allergy/sensitivity.  Call it what you will, but I’ve been doing fantastically since cutting out every last little bit of the nasty substance.  Only once in a blue moon (I’m talking really only once every 2-3 months) will I have an episode and only after eating things that I know I shouldn’t eat!   I’m really glad that Darling Hubby was able to figure it out and that it wasn’t milk.  Despite the friendships I lost during the whole brouhaha, I feel I’m better for having the whole thing happen.  I’m feeling better overall.  I don’t wake up feeling like crap every morning and don’t go to sleep in pain every night.  And, it was all because I simply changed my diet.  Who’d have thunk it?

Another good thing that happened was that I learned how to knit socks.  I’ve made 14 pairs of socks since the start of March.  They are all pretty simple socks, but I love them simple. I’m not a real fancy lace and pattern girl.  I even challenged myself to do some unusually constructed socks like the carousel socks and the sideways socks.  Unfortunately, I didn’t finish the Owlie socks my friend Barbara and I started as a knit along.  I just had a bunch of other projects come up that took precedence.   I wear a knitted pair of socks practically every day and most members of my family have received a pair of socks at some point.  The only one who hasn’t is Fidget…

Another good (and bad) thing was that I opened my own shop on Etsy.  It’s been open since April and I’ve only had one online sale and that was a custom order for a friend…but, the recipient of that custom order Cthulhu hat is delighted with it, so that’s what really matters.  I will admit that most of my sales have been off etsy to friends or at the craft fair I did in September with some of the girls from the library knitting group.  I made 3 blankets for a friend from back home for her to give for Christmas gifts.  I also made another blanket for someone at the knitting group at the public library after she fell in love with one of the 3 that I made.  I haven’t had much time to do my own knitting lately because I’ve been doing projects for the shop.  I’m still excited to have the shop open…I’m just a little disappointed that it hasn’t done as well as I’d hoped.

Another good thing is that I went to Rhinebeck for the first time for the Sheep and Wool Festival.  It’s where I got bitten by the spinning bug.  I came home with a drop spindle and taught myself to spin yarn on it.  Of course I couldn’t just stop with that.  I’ve fallen in love with wheel spinning.  I’ve been getting better by leaps and bounds and just learned how to Navajo ply and I might even list this most recent yarn in my etsy shop (if I can talk myself out of keeping it!)  I’m hoping to save up enough money to buy my own wheel at some point.  I’ve tried a Kromski Sonota and an Ashford Kiwi and so far I really like the Kiwi, despite the nasty creak that it has in one of the treadles.  But, I’ve heard that Ashfords have a tendency to creak…lol

The bad was, thankfully, few and far between.  Things didn’t really start to get bad until November, which seems to be a pretty crappy month for many people.  Darling Hubby was off for the week of Thanksgiving and we woke up that Monday to a very cold house.  Despite the fact that the furnace was running all the radiators were stone cold.  Turns out the circulator pump blew and a day of waiting for the technician to come to fix it and $700 later we had a warm house.  Thankfully we have the wood fireplace for back-up warmth…then, Darling Hubby had to have his car inspected and that needed $400 worth of work…so in 2 days we’d spent over $1100…and we hadn’t even started to buy Christmas presents.

Probably the worst and absolute last thing that happened in 2012 was that on New Years Eve around 9:30 pm, our little dog Spiral passed away peacefully in her box.  It’s something that we’ve been expecting could happen at any time due to her age and health, but it was pretty sudden how it happened.  Literally it was she was alive one minute and gone the next.

We came home early from a New Years party, Darling Hubby walked the dogs and I started ushering the kids upstairs.  I filled the dogs water bowl (both dogs were happy and dancing around) and headed upstairs to do the bedtime routine while Darling Hubby went out to plow out the bottom of the driveway, thanks to not 1, but 2 plows coming through right after we got home.  Anyway, Fidget left his new Buzz Lightyear downstairs and wanted to sleep with it, so I went down to get it.  I noticed Spiral was laying with her nose down in the blanket and not on her paws like normal and I got no response when I called her name.  I’d seriously only been upstairs 10 minutes.

It came as a complete shock to both me and Darling Hubby as to how sudden it was, but like I said it was expected.  We’d had her for over 9 years and she was estimated to be around 2 when we adopted her.  She had bad teeth and a severe heart murmur that had progressed into congestive heart failure where she was constantly coughing, but she was still active, ate well and seemed happy.  I’m thankful that she seemed to go peacefully and that she’s in a better place and has hopefully been reunited with her best friend, Grace, who passed away nearly 2 years ago.

So, the bulk of 2012 was good (oh, and I should add that we didn’t die in the apocalypse that didn’t happen!)  I can only hope that 2013 is even better!

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I’m Thankful For…

This week was spent mostly with my little family of 4.  Darling Hubby had the week off from work and Bug had Wednesday through Friday off from school.  Darling Hubby, Fidget and I did a little Christmas and clothes shopping on Tuesday and on Wednesday I went to Bug’s Parent Teacher Conference.  I’m thankful for my sweet, sensitive, and super smart six year old.

Thursday we made the 2.5 hour drive to visit with our parents and Darling Hubby’s Grandpa and various Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins.  It was actually a relatively quiet (compared to past meals with 30+ people) and was enjoyable.  I even tried a new food – orange jello with carrots and pineapple.  It was interesting and good.  Fidget was eating it by the handful!  There was some drama brewing, things not meant for the public, but everyone managed to get through the day without saying something they’d regret.  Despite all the ups and downs and the drama, I’m thankful for my family.

Grandma M & The Boys

Grandma M, Bug and Fidget

Bug, Fidget and Great Grandpa

Great Grandpa, Bug and Fidget

We also visited my parents.  By the end of the day Fidget was tired and cranky from not having a decent nap, so he was pretty cranky.  I tried to get pictures of him with his brother and grandma, but he wouldn’t cooperate.  I did snap this picture of Bug with my mom.

Grandma R & Bug
We came home late Thursday night.  Fidget was exhausted despite sleeping for at least an hour in the car.  He went right to sleep.  Bug insisted on a chapter from Harry Potter and ended up not going to bed til 9.  I was thankful for some quiet time with Darling Hubby.

We stayed home Friday and Darling Hubby and Bug hung the Christmas lights up outside.  Darling Hubby followed Bug’s orders for light placement and it actually came out looking pretty good.   Saturday, we decided, was going to be our own Thanksgiving.    Early afternoon we ran out to get some more outdoor Christmas lights and the fixin’s for dessert.  Around 3, Darling Hubby and I cooked a 13lb turkey (using Alton Brown’s recipe – you must do this with your next turkey!  It’s so darn good!), stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, crescent rolls, cranberry sauce and french cut green beans.  I also made a peanut butter cup pie for dessert.

Sunday we decorated inside for Christmas with a Christmas candle burning and some Christmas music playing on the tv.  The tree is up, the stockings are hung, the wreath is up and the garland is on the stairs…the only thing I need to get out is my winter Eeyore collection to go on the stairs.

Fidget helping decorate

Fidget Helping Decorate

My only task between now and Christmas is to keep an 18 month old Fidget from destroying or breaking any ornaments!  At least I don’t have to contend with the cat in the tree…she prefers to sleep under it or on the radiator behind it.  And yes, we did decorate while still wearing out PJ’s!  I just wish I could put some presents under the tree…we just know they’ve never survive til Christmas.

Bug putting the Santa on the tree

The Two Best Presents!

The Two Best Presents!

Thanksgiving Dinner Meatloaf

When someone mentions comfort food, I usually think of Thanksgiving dinner, and with Thanksgiving in 2 weeks I’m already drooling for the roast turkey (check out Alton Brown’s Roast Turkey – it’s the best, ever!), mashed potatoes with gravy, sweet potatoes with toasted mini marshmallows (or baked since Darling Hubby doesn’t care for the marshmallows), green beans and who could forget cranberry sauce.  Mmm…makes my tummy rumble just thinking about it…But, in today’s busy world, who has time to cook a turkey with all the fixin’s for dinner during the work week when you are craving that comfort food?  Well, aside from me, being a stay at home mom, not many people do.

I don’t know if this recipe exists in the world already, but it’s something that I made up based on another meatloaf recipe.  I like to call it Thanksgiving Dinner Meatloaf.  It’s nice served with mashed potatoes (or sweet potatoes and marshmallows if you desire) and veggies to round out your weeknight meal.

Ingredients:

2lbs ground turkey
1 6oz package of your favorite stuffing mix (turkey flavored)
1 cup water
1/2 cup whole berry cranberry sauce, divided
1/4 cup of dried cranberries (optional)
2 eggs, beaten

Mix the turkey, dried stuffing mix, water, 1/4 cup of the cranberry sauce, dried cranberries and the eggs together until well combined.  I do this in a bowl with my hands, but you can also put everything in a large zip top bag and mix it that way.  Shape into a loaf and place on a rack on a sheet pan (or on another pan that will allow for drainage of any grease).  Top with remaining cranberry sauce.  Bake for 1 – 1.5 hours at 375*F until internal temperature reaches 165*F.

Slice and serve with your desired fixin’s and enjoy!