Wednesday, July 31, 2013

New Blanket and Dog progress

Here is the current project on my little dog project.

And here is a new blanket I started based on Brenda's new pattern over at Loom Lore.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Some Actual Stitching

With school winding down, I got some actual stitching in today.  I decided to work on an ornament for Emily's ornament box.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Downton Abbey and other matters

Last week, I ordered something off Amazon and I decided to sign up for a trial of Prime.  My Vizio TV actually links directly to Prime instant videos so I decided to see what was on there.  And I discovered this:

I'd seen it mentioned by Edgar on his Blacksheep Blog so I gave it a try.  I am hooked.  A wonderful side effect is that it puts the girls right to sleep if we watch it at bedtime.  Just started season 2!

I have only a few more projects to go before I finish Summer semester.  I have most of August off.  My mother is coming to visit the first week in August so I'm sure the girls will have a blast with Grandma.  This summer has been cooler so I'm hoping it's not too hot for her.

Decided to share some loom knitting projects I've kind of worked on.

Baby Afghan for the grandbaby

Westminster Eyelet Scarf

Monday, July 22, 2013

The End is Near!

....of the semester that is.  Hope to be able to blog a bit more as I'll be free for most of August.  Fall semester will bring 10 credits of Masters work (doing 9 this summer).  Not for the faint of heart.  I've actually completed one course and got an A.

Got a new phone last week.  My HD7 was getting old and I haven't had a new phone in two years.  So it was time.  And also, I've been waiting on this phone since January.  Absolutely loving it.

Nokia Lumia 925 - Windows Phone 8
Ok, so this commercial is about the 920 which is not exactly the model I bought but still applicable.  Windows gets a bad rap but in my professional opinion, as someone with experience in the cell phone industry, it has awesome features. I have the tech knowledge to successfully operate an Android phone but I chose Windows.  Ought to say something.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Boycotting Bakers

Most of the products I use in baking, I picked up from my Mom.  She always used Bakers unsweetened chocolate.  I have always insisted on getting the Bakers brand because it worked so well for her.  I didn't even look at the new packaging when I picked up a new box a few weeks ago.

They SHRUNK IT!  Literally, halved the box.  And the price didn't change much.  Actually, I think the price stayed the same at the local grocery store.  I opened the box to get the chocolate to melt for the frosting for the Boston Cream Pie I made and said "What the *%$^ is this?"  It's a Hershey bar.  No more individually wrapped squares.  I had to cut the bar and then try to rewrap it and shove it back into the box since I only needed an ounce.  

I called my Mom who had not seen the change but she had bought off brands of unsweetened baking chocolate before and it had been in the Hershey bar format.  She hated it.  With the individual squares, she could melt it right in the paper in the microwave.  Much less mess.  She has switched to Nestle's chocobake.  
I called Kraft (who owns Baker's) to express my displeasure.  They told me that consumer feedback told them that 8 oz was too much chocolate, prompting the change to 4 oz.  "I can understand that," I said.  "But have you ever tried to rewrap a Hershey bar if you only eat half?  I can't work with this stuff."   What I didn't tell them was that this stuff has an incredible shelf life.  The new box I bought was good for another two years.

So, I have decided to boycott Baker's until they at least bring back individually wrapped squares.  I cannot find chocobake so I have been using 3 Tbsp of unsweetened cocoa + 1 Tbsp of oil for 1 oz of baking chocolate.  I use Safflower oil which I find awesome for baking as it has very little flavor.  I used it for making my chocolate butter frosting yesterday and it tasted about the same.  

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Wii - hee - hee!

My husband came home with a Wii a few weeks ago.  He saved up his tip money and bought a pre-owned one from GameStop.  We traded in our PSII and my Nintendo DS Lite and used that money to buy accessories and games for our new system.  He had thought about getting an XBox 360 but the Wii is definitely more family friendly.  Zoé, especially, likes to watch me play games.

You would think that Mario would get old after awhile but the trade in values and prices of used Mario games are definitely testimony to just how fun his stuff is to play.

My friends had this game on their SNESes.  Now I can play it on my Wii!
The New Super Mario Bros for the Wii is extremely challenging.  So is the Mario Kart Wii.

I am also playing Epic Mickey.  It's a very dark game considering it's Mickey Mouse.  

We also have Wii Sports Resort.  Fun with ping pong!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Mostly cleaning and not stitching

Well, I've now officially survived one month of grad school.  I have not stitched anything lately.  I did start a loom knitting project but sadly no pictures of it yet as it's really in the preliminary stages.  

The only thing I have been doing is cleaning.  Now that we have a little extra money coming in from my husband's job we've been able to buy some much needed cleaning supplies.  The first thing we got was a Bissell steam cleaner from Sam's club.  It does a nice job.  The girls really mess up the carpet and the idiot who designed this house put carpet in the dining room.  If we owned the place, we'd rip it out but since it's a rental, we have to live with it.  

We also put a Pur filter on our faucet and a new filter in our fridge (the fridge filter was like 3 years over due).  Now all our water tastes great (and tea, and coffee).

I've rediscovered Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.  Zoé had drawn on the walls with crayon and I remembered that they took crayon off really well.  She has also been painting on the walls with poop (I can't wait for that phase to be over) and this cleans it up well as well.

I got a variety pack of them from Sam's that also included the kitchen erasers (with Dawn) and the bathroom erasers.  The kitchen erasers will clean tea and coffee stains off your counters with ease.  The bathroom erasers cleaned up rust stains on the first swipe and got rid of a bunch of mildew along the caulk line.  I am in love.

I had some other areas that needed a really good scrubbing so I picked up this stuff

I also got myself a dedicated bucket and some new sponges that are non scratch scrubbing sponges.  After I was done, the bathrooms were sparkling and smelled excellent.  

To keep the bathrooms smelling great, I decided to try these

So far, they are still smelling great.  And they look nicer that Renuzit and also smell better and they don't tie up a plug.  I call that win/win.

I've also rediscovered these for the kitchen:

And today, I picked up this to experiment with:

The Sam's club pack had two bathrooms and a kitchen so I'm trying both out.  I thought it could be great for cleaning up small messes in the bathroom especially (like toothpaste on the mirror).  I'll let you know what I think after I've used it some more.