Friday Review

It was a busy week. On Sunday we went to the park. John pulled the kids in the bike trailer and I ran to meet them. It was really hot, so I sat on a bench trying to stop sweating and ended up talking to another mom watching her kid play. I don’t normally have a conversation with people at the park, other than polite chit-chat. On Sunday I talked to the other Mom about parks. She suggested some of her favorites around Des Moines. I made a list and hope to try them all. I wonder if this means I should start being more social at parks.

On Monday I decided to try the park most recommended by Sunday Park Lady. That park, Quail Cove Park, is in West Des Moines. There were two playground areas and a half mile trail. We checked it all out. One of the playgrounds is for bigger kids, which didn’t stop Audrey from climbing to the top and terrifying me.

I really liked the park. As an added bonus, it pretty close to John’s office. It will be a convenient way to wear the kids out before a trip to Trader Joe’s, Costco, or lunch with John. It also has flush toilets, which is something I really look for in a park.

On Tuesday we went to the grocery store and played outside in our yard. It was a pretty low-key day for us.

On Wednesday we went to story time at the Des Moines Public Library. They had a craft for the kids, they made tool boxes and colored tools. The craft was a huge hit with both kids. They played with their paper saws and hammers all day. When I saw the craft I did not expect them to play with it all day. Elliot ran away from me while I was checking out DVDs. Luckily I could see where he was going and I found him jumping off of benches and playing with puppets.

On Thursday we headed to the wading pool at the park closest to our house. It was a little chilly, but that didn’t stop the kids from playing in the water for an hour. We stopped by the playground on the way home, where Elliot showed me his terrifying new-found climbing skills.

Thursday afternoon we had about 15 minutes free between errands and dinner. We drove right past another park Sunday park lady recommended, North Karen Acres. We stopped to check it out. Audrey saw the pirate ship and yelled “THE RUSTY HEAP” a sign that we read a lot of Ned The Knitting Pirate (his ship is named the Rusty Heap). The kids had a really great time playing at that park. Elliot threw his biggest fit ever when it was time to leave. We will be back to visit. It is right by the Aldi we go to, so there might be some Aldi/park time in our future. 20180719_1636308274963177810840137.jpg

Today we played at a friend’s house. He has two little boys. The kids played well together for about an hour and a half. I was actually able to sit and have a conversation with my friend. I love it when that happens.img_20180720_124541_4442399213523935107956.jpg

We don’t have anything planned for tomorrow. I hope we get out to a park. Maybe we’ll even fill up the pool in our backyard and watch the kids play from the comfort of the patio.

I hope you had a fun week! Do you have any parks in the Des Moines metro you would recommend?

Dude Dinner

Once a month we have my friend Tim over for dinner. Tim is really easy to cook for. He doesn’t cook, so everything I make impresses him. He is recently divorced and his wife didn’t cook either. I once made crock pot white chicken chili for him and he was impressed (the hardest thing about making that dish is chopping the onion). I love that the bar is low.

Today I decided to really wow him. I made Cook’s Illustrated’s version of Juicy Lucys. A juicy lucy is a cheeseburger with the cheese on the inside. You bite into the burger and cheese oozes out. It’s delicious. It’s also something so bad for us that I only make it once or twice a summer.

At 5 o’clock, as I was getting the kids their dinner I realized I had been so excited about the burgers I didn’t think about the sides. I had nothing planned. I was worried I was going to have to pull a vegetable out of the freezer and pretend it worked with burgers.

Amazingly, my refrigerator provided me with two sides! I had a salad in a bag forgotten in a drawer that somehow wasn’t spoiled (I buy a bagged salad almost every week, I also throw out a spoiled bagged salad almost every week. Will I ever learn?). 20180719_191313421691303129252299.jpg

I decided to throw together some Baja bean and cilantro salad. I have been living off of this all summer. In a shocking turn of events I had cilantro in my produce drawer. I also had 1/4 of a red onion in my fridge, the perfect amount for the salad (also the first time I’ve ever used all of a leftover onion instead of throwing it away a week later). 20180719_1913166680663210320592023.jpg

This salad is easy to throw together, and a great side to bring to a pot luck. It couldn’t be easier to make:

1 can chickpeas (rinsed and drained)
1 can red beans (rinsed and drained)
1 can black beans (rinsed and drained)
1/4 chopped red onion
2 T chopped pickled jalapeno peppers
1/4 c chopped cilantro
Mix that stuff all up. In a measuring cup mix together 1/3 c red wine vinegar and 3 T sugar. Pour it all over the salad. Put it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to meld.
It is good for a week.

The sides were well received by Tim and John, but if I was really being honest I think they would have been fine with a big burger and a few glasses of wine.

Do you ever get so excited about a main dish you forget about the rest of the dinner?

WIP Wednesday: 28/52

Happy Wednesday!

I’m making progress on John’s socks. I’ll be turning the heel the next time I pick them up. I’m doing a 3×2 rib, which is pretty mindless. The yarn is pretty though, so they feel like they are going fast.20180718_1311592136061709944270993.jpg

The sweater still appears to be cursed. I pulled it out to take a photo of it and pulled about a dozen stitches off the needle. I was able to pick them all up, but it made me panic. I’m starting to worry I’ll run out of yarn. I have enough according to the pattern, but I didn’t swatch so I could be off significantly. I’ve decided if I run out I’m going to do a block of charcoal below the stripes and I’ll be happy with it. It will be fine. I swear. 20180718_1315135617852470646930310.jpg

As cursed as the sweater appears to be, I love it. I enjoy working on it. The colors and the stripes make me happy. It is slow going (oh boy, those rows are getting long, and I still have 30 more rows of increases to do). I keep reminding myself how short the rows will seem once I put the sleeves on waste yarn. I’m also reminded that set in sleeve sweaters seem to knit up much faster.

What are you working on this week?

 

Sweater Trouble

Have you ever wondered if a project were cursed? I’m starting to think that about my Caramel sweater.

Last night I headed to knit night, excited to get to work on the sweater. I couldn’t finish a row before the biggest knot I have ever encountered in a yarn cake slowed me down. It took about 45 minutes for me to untangle the mess and finish the row. It was frustrating.

After that row I changed colors. I was almost to the end of the row when I discovered a weak spot in the yarn.20180717_1352529042863302674257766.jpg

Now I’m trying to decide if I should just cut the yarn and keep going or tink back to the beginning of the row and start fresh so there are fewer ends. I normally would make a decision and get to work completing the project, but for some reason I can’t decide. What would you do?

In positive news, my friend Beth brought me a bunch of leftover fingering weight for me to use in my blanket. I was getting really low on fingering weight scraps, so it was especially wonderful to receive.

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I’m planning on making a decision on the sweater soon and getting on with it. It won’t matter much either way, but for some reason I feel blocked by this decision. Luckily I still have to knit my daily square, so I can use that time to mull my options over.

Simmer Socks

Happy Monday! I used nap time to finish my skimmer socks. I love how they turned out. They were such a fast knit (once my 40 inch size 0s arrived) and they don’t use much yarn.

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I have not tested them out in shoes yet, so I do not know if they will get sucked down into shoes. The feel snug though, so I think they will stay up. Even if they don’t they are a great way to get the comfort of a hand knit socks in the heat of the summer. I might just call them summer slippers and wear them constantly around the house.

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I am not off to refinish the socks, because there is a bit of a weird pokey bit on the toe and I want to sew that in. I should have done that before I told you about them, but I was too excited and wanted to share them right away.

Pudding Pops

I’m kind of a food snob. I think it’s because John and I spent so many years in our 30s with good jobs before kids. We went out to eat a lot. When I cooked I had the luxury of quality (expensive) ingredients and time. The things I loved as a kid I no longer like. Things like cool whip and boxed pudding don’t appeal to me at all.

I believe pudding should be homemade. It should involve egg yolks, whole milk, half and half, sugar, and corn starch. It should be a project. I also believe in having the kids help me in the kitchen (well, mostly Audrey because Elliot can be a challenge in the kitchen). Fancy shmancy pudding and kids don’t mix, so for the sake of kitchen help I occasionally reach for things I don’t particularly like. Like boxed pudding.

Do you remember back when Bill Cosby wasn’t a sexual predator? I do. We watched him every week on the Cosby show and we ate pudding pops. They were delicious. They still are, and they are also really easy to make (Step 1: make pudding. Step 2: freeze it).

Audrey helped me pour the milk and stir. She took the job very seriously. At one point she stopped stirring because she forgot to put her apron on.20180713_1618042333065902660222817.jpgElliot taste tested the pudding. He took his job seriously too.20180713_162242826647738028744168.jpg

I poured the pudding into the molds. I think I waited too long, as the pudding had started to set up and it was a very gloppy job.20180713_1625457881662914017156109.jpg

When we were done we ran to the store. Audrey was so excited about cooking she wanted to wear her apron. She was very proud of herself.20180713_170709(0)-12986365372933638748.jpg

I hope that having the kids involved in cooking now will keep them interested in cooking. Elliot really wants to help, but he destroys so many things. I need to find something easier than pudding for him to help with. Do you have any ideas?