Whatever!

What to muse about today?

November 2, 2016 ~ Shoulder?

Nature Trail

Nature Trail

Today I was back on Sleeping Giant, this time on the Nature Trail, a self-guided walk, or rather, hike.  They had booklets at the main parking lot, so I grabbed one, checked my clue list for the letterboxes I was hunting for, and set out.

It was a fun trail, not too long – with super-fun trail blazes – an evergreen tree!  The hike starts off pretty level, and is easy going.  Eventually, it gets steeper and steeper.  Which was kinda fun today, it was mid-60’s!  November and 60’s!  And super sunny.  Just a lovely day for a walk.

The first box in the series was a bit tricky.  I got caught up with one of the former numbered trees instead of walking a bit further to the current number tree.

It was too warm for ice cream!

Ice cream melted in today’s heat!

But no matter, I eventually figured it out, and found one of the BEST letterbox containers I’ve seen so far.  A Talenti pot!  I may suggest using one of the few we have at home for Teagan to plant her letterbox in.  (She needs to plant make one to earn her Brownie Badge.  She knows the general area where she wants to plant it too).

Anyway, the Nature Trail was pretty fun.  The guide book was informative, pointing out interesting things along the way.  Several different types of trees, rocks, geographic and environmental features.

Sandstone

Sandstone

Trap Rock

Trap Rock

The stamps in the series were beautifully carved, and were coordinated to the locations on the trail where they were hidden.  One of the more lovely stamp series I’ve found so far.

It was a lovely day.

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October 24, 2016 ~ Left Knee

Violet trail at Hobbomock's left leg

To Violet trail at Hobbomock’s left leg

Today I found a bit of time before grocery shopping to go to Sleeping Giant again.  The girls and I went hunting letterboxes on Sunday along the east end of the Violet trail.  We were looking for a box but had to turn around to get home.  Turns out we called it quits something less than a quarter mile before the clue.  Just around a corner or two.  Who knew?

I went back today, parked along a the red trail and quickly caught up with the violet trail and headed west towards the clue.  The trail and the glittering sun distracted me enough that I walked past the clue.  Walked almost a mile past the clue, not even worrying about it.  Eventually, I came to enough to realize that I should turn around and head back.  I decided that where the trail went over the giant’s knee was a good place.  A part of the trail that I probably shouldn’t be on alone.  I went halfway – because I could do it – then turned back.  I love that the trail goes over this jumble of boulders.  Can you see the three blazes?  the one at the bottom is an arrow, then there are two more.

I need to do this trail properly one of these days.

Clue!

Clue!

I had no problem finding my clue, once I was actually looking for it.  Lookie!  There it is.  The box was exactly where it should be and the stamp was beautiful.  Made the almost 300 foot ascent worth it.

It was really such a beautiful day.  The sun was just right.  Crisp air and leaves to shuffle through.

Falling leaves and sunshine

Falling leaves and sunshine

I’m lucky that I can find time to enjoy the outside.  I know the freedom won’t last much longer, nor will the weather.  But for now, I’m going to take advantage.

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October 14, 2016 ~ Like a Fairy Forest

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Green and Orange and Gold

Just about three weeks ago, Teagan and I went on a Girl Scout Letterboxing Adventure.  I’d always enjoyed hiking, walking through a forest, being outside.  As long as it’s not too hot.  Then it’s not fun at all, and I’d rather be by a pool.  But it was a lovely day, and combined with the treasure hunting aspect of letterboxing, we all had a fun time.

 

I’m not quite sure why it’s as fun as it is.  You go hiking with some clues and try to follow them to find a plastic box hidden under leaves and rocks.  The boxes are often dirty and there are spiders and bugs and stuff.  But it is like a treasure hunt.  Inside each box is a stamp, usually hand carved.  Often, the stamps are fun, sometimes they are beautiful. That’s probably why Teagan liked it, she had permission to get herself dirty and dig around for “treasure.”  I liked being outside and enjoyed the challenge of solving the clue enough that I didn’t mind too much.

For whatever reason she liked it, and I had enough fun to humor her when she asked to go again.   So I told her we would see what we could do, and looked at the websites listed on the simple logbook they gave us on our adventure. And I found letterboxes around us.  And more letterboxes around us. And it was more fun finding boxes “in the wild” instead of planted for a bunch of girl scouts to work on a badge for the day.

We all went letterbox hunting.  Even Stu tagged along, though I think he’s indifferent about it.

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Ashin’s Log Book After Our Mystic Hunt

As Teagan, and I, both enjoyed it so much, I looked around for books for us to use as log books instead of pieces of paper. And once Ashlin expressed how much she enjoyed it, and how excited she was to make her own stamp, I ordered a book for her too.  She was very, very happy to get it and put her first stamp in it.

We’ve gone out almost once a weekend since then.  Sometimes even after school if the boxes are close by and the clues seem straightforward enough.

I’ve even gone out myself a few times.  I admit it.  I love hiking this time of year.  It’s just the right temperature – not too hot, not too cold – and the forests are almost magical.  Like today.  I went to a park not too far away – Alice Newton Street Memorial Park – and walked almost two miles looking for letterboxes.  I didn’t notice that I walked through lunch.  The park was so beautiful.  It felt cared for.  Not necessarily cleaned or maintained, but that it was groomed and encouraged to grow.  Almost magical.

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Magical Forest

I have a few more boxes in my log book than Teagan, and of course Ashlin.  Some of the trails aren’t quite suited for a five year old, though don’t tell her that.  Some of the trails, like yesterday, although pretty, I wouldn’t want Teagan on either.

 

But trails like today, I would go on again, and again, and again.  Even though I have already found all the boxes that forest contains.

 

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Falls

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Panorama from the top of a cliff – Yesterday

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Super tall cliff – Yesterday

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January 26, 2016 ~ Dark Vader

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Brave Girl Sleeping During A New Hope

Over the past few weeks we’ve started watching the original Star Wars trilogy with the girls.  Of course we started there.  There’s no way we’d let their first impressions of Star Wars be of JarJar Binks.

Each movie needed at least two attempts.  The first time there were too many questions and Ashlin fell asleep.  The second viewing of A New Hope went much better.

This past Sunday we tried The Empire Strikes Back.  This screening went much, much better although there were still a bunch of questions, and Teagan was a bit confused by Leia’s hair change (though she remembered the buns) and she couldn’t remember Han from minute to minute.

A couple of the questions from Teagan were:

  1. Can we live in a snow fort too?
  2. Why did they change Leia’s hair
  3. What’s the aminal-friend (wookie) doing to the ship?
  4. Did the ice monster hurt Luke?
  5. Why did they cut the aminal open?  (Tauntaun)
  6. Can I have a light saber?
  7. What is a swamp slug?
  8. How do worms live in space?
  9. Why is Yoda so short?
  10. What’s a bounty hunter?
  11. Is [that boy] Han dead?
  12. What is suspended animation?
  13. Will they get him out?
  14. Why is Luke sad if he found his father?
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Questions.  She’s Full of Questions

She went to talk to Stu (who had to get some work one) before she went to bed.  Initially, she didn’t like the dark side, but thanks to Stu, thinks it may be better because they have cookies.  Well, she’s not sure…

Ashlin was pretty good, she had her own questions along the same lines as above.  But she was very excited to see her SW Advent Calendar figurines in the movie, more so than she was during A New Hope. (We really only saw the Jawa and their sand crawler, the storm trooper and the imperial destroyer in that movie.).  Eventually her questions petered out as she fell asleep right after Luke got to Dagobah.  She and I watched what she missed Monday after she got home from school.

Both girls found lots of joy in telling me that my phone was ringing..  I have had the Imperial March as my ringtone for the past five years, at least.  My girls think they are the funniest people in the room!

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The Snow Tired Her Out!

I still need to share Ashlin’s questions/brain dump, because well:

We had to discuss the exogorth again, and how worms could live in space. She wants to have Yoda’s soup for dinner and IG-88 is her favorite bounty hunter. Bossk is a bit scary, and she likes how Darth Vader snores.  She cried over C3-PO being torn apart, Han being frozen and Luke losing his hand.  She cried because Luke was crying.

My favorite parting thought of hers was “Maybe Darth isn’t nice because he misses Luke.  Everyone needs to be with who they love.”

 

 

PS.  Teagan calls him Dark Vader.

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August 7, 2015 ~ Aquaman is Awesome

We are geeks

Stu got me the DC Comics Deck Building game for my birthday.  We didn’t get to play for a while, our first game being a week ago.  It was fun!

Since that first game, (I must have been so involved with the game that I couldn’t take a clear picture), we’ve played twice, the last tonight. Yes, I’ve sacrificed yarn time to play this game. Somehow, I seem to be undefeated.  Yay me!  It appears that my Talisman curse doesn’t carry over to this game.  I always die or lose when I play Talisman, no matter who I play with.  Always.  Victory is quite fun.  Maybe that’s why I don’t mind missing out on knitting a few times.  That, and the foe is usually entertaining.

So far I’ve played Green Lantern, the Flash and Aquaman.  (I have always loved Aquaman, it must be the swimmer in me).  Each hero has been enjoyable to play.  Green Lantern was strong if you had three different (good) cards.  The Flash had ability to draw a card quite often.  Aquaman had you put most (good) cards on the top of your deck to deal out next hand.  I really liked the Flash.  Stu played the Flash today, but he was no match for my Aquaman.  Muahahahaha! I think Stu played Batman against the Flash and Cyborg against the Green Lantern.

The dynamics of this game are random enough that it works well with only two players.  Bonus for us, as we can’t always get additional players.  Eventually, that will change, but for now, it’s usually only Stu and I.  And this game works very well for just us.

I’m looking forward to playing some more superheroes.  Soon.

 

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May 20, 2015 ~ Finished Objects

Teagan’s Slippers

I finally finished a few things this week.  Some slippers and a shawl.  I made my very first tassels!

Ashlin’s Slippers

A few weeks ago, or months, I had made some slippers for Ashlin with some left-over sock yarn.  I had quite a bit of two or three different yarns after I made the socks.  A bit more than I wanted to use for the patchwork quilt I’m making with the other leftovers.  I decided to make up some slippers to use it up. A super fast, double-stranded pattern.  I quickly seamed up Ashlin’s and then started on Teagan’s, but got sidetracked with a crochet sundress and another project or two.  Teagan was eager for me to finish, she would look longingly at the flat pieces of knitting, asking every few days or so when they’d be done.

I can’t wait for her to see them tomorrow.

The other project I finished was the Christmas Shawl I made using the Baktus pattern, a pattern where you increase the row width until you use half the yarn, then you start decreasing.  Eventually you use all the yarn and have a triangle shaped shawl.  I used this project to try my first color work, alternating a red and green cotton yarn I had been gifted.

Tassels!

Working with two strands of yarn is a bit fiddly, but not too bad once you get the hang of it.

I’m glad to finally have the tassels done.  They weren’t as annoying to make as I thought.  I had avoided making them once I finished the body of the shawl, wearing it with the yarn tails hanging, unfinished.  It was the perfect colors for Christmas :D

Now, I can put it away with the other winter things.

Next up, finding the time to get Teagan to sit still long enough for me to place the straps on her crocheted sundress so I can finish that as well.

LOL.

 

 

 

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May 5, 2015 ~ Spring Clean

Finally Blocking

I must have been nipped by a spring cleaning bug or something.  The past few days I’ve been slowly straightening up long-neglected corners of the house and getting projects finished up.  Finally.  Today I am blocking the two lace doilies that I finished back in November.  They match (sort of!) the star table runner I did for Teagan.

I’ll get some better pictures once they are dry.

These doilies have been sitting right next to the Christmas shawl I still need to put tassels on and the picnic quilt that still needs borders and backing.  I did get the patches finally put on to the size 4 pants to cover the holes that Teagan put in the knees.  She’s almost six.

I’ll get the size 5’s done next.

 

I know.

I’m getting there.  I’ll get there.

Bigger

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December 5, 2014 ~ Say Cheese!

Say Cheese!

Today, I finally used one of the more awesome Christmas presents I’ve ever received and made cheese. Yes, cheese.  Fresh Mozzarella, even!  I’m not sure why I hadn’t tried before.  Maybe it was because I had one or both girls whenever I was mostly awake, or the fact that the package came with rubber gloves.  I don’t really know.  And I’m kicking myself about it.

The cheese was fantastic.

Small curd

And not very difficult to do, maybe an hour for the first batch.  And yes, I said first batch, because, oh yes, there will be more.  I’m sure that when I make the Mozzarella again it will only take about half the time. I will need to get a better thermometer – a digital one, that goes below 100°F.

It seemed crazy to start with one full gallon of milk, but that was the recipe. After adding in the citric acid and heating it up, small curds formed. Once the rennet and calcium chloride were added it changed pretty quickly to much larger curds with clear whey.

Curds and Whey

Straining the whey and getting the curds quickly into a separate bowl was a bit tricky, but eventually I got them all separated. I was amazed at how little cheese curd there was.  Almost all the volume of the gallon was whey.

A quick run through the microwave and it was ready to mix and form into balls.

Warm mozzarella. Omnomnom

I tried some when it was still warm and gooey.  Oh.  It was lovely. Yum.  I haven’t had mozzarella like that before.  Stu also got to try some still warm and thought it was very good.

 

I decided to make just three balls from the batch, I didn’t have much time before needing to go get Ashlin.  They got nice and shiny as they cooled and I dropped them into the brine just before I left.

Ashlin didn’t believe me when I told her I made cheese while she was in school.  I let her try some after it was brined and she approved.  She may have been impressed I actually made cheese.  (It’s not marshmallow fluff or cookies!  LOL!)  She was sad she didn’t get to help though.  I told her that she could help next batch.

Balls brining

We may be making home-made pizza tomorrow.

I have two thirds of it in the fridge, in brine, and the last third is wrapped in plastic in the freezer.  It may not last the weekend.

 

PS.  The cheese making kit came from Standing Stone Farms, and their recipe is similar to this one.

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September 11, 2014 ~ Legwarmers

Ashlin is on the brink of outgrowing her pink leg warmers I made last year, so I’m making a new set. These may be a bit too long though.

I think they should be pretty well matched. I hope they will be!

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First one!

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Close!

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September 8, 2014 ~ Fluff!

It’s so fluffy!

I made fluff! Home-made marshmallow creme! From scratch. It wasn’t too difficult at all.  Surprisingly easy, actually. I’m not sure where I came across the recipe, but it caught my eye and I pinned it.

While Ashlin was upstairs for a bit of quiet time – or morning nap – I set up all the ingredients, pulled out the stand mixer and opened up my shiny, new candy thermometer.

Ashlin helped me put most of the ingredients together, though I did separate the eggs.  She really enjoys helping to cook.  She did get a bit tired watching the corn syrup and sugar boil, getting the mixture to 240°F took a bit too long for her attention span.  I don’t blame her.

Not quite 240F

Eventually, the mixture did get there, and the egg whites peaked softly.  Tempering the whites wasn’t too bad, though the syrup was very sticky and spun strings when it got cold.

I mixed till glossy, added the vanilla and let it whip away.  I did stop to scrape down the sides once, but other than that, an easy enough recipe.  Other than getting the syrup to the require 240°F, spooning the mixture into a jar was probably the most difficult thing.  Not an easy task, it was thick and sticky!

The recipe made about 2 1/2 cups of fluff.  I will probably make this again, and I’m sure it will take about half the time.  It’s always easier the second time.

Ashlin claimed it “deeeeelicious!” while licking the spoon I gave her.  It had a fresher taste, texture, than the store bought fluff.

Then, while eating her much wanted fluffernutter, she said that that it made a “tasty sandwich, mama!”

That’s good enough for me!

 

Tasty!

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