My Top Five – for the Week

Dear Kristen,

I like your idea of giving the top things going on this week over there in California, so I think I’ll copy.  Besides, imitation is the highest form of flattery, right?

1. Potty progress – Its getting better every day!  Sometimes she’s still too into whatever she’s doing to recognize that she needs to go.  The most frustrating is when she goes (not on the potty) and then lies about it.  That’s not awesome.  But those moments have an increasing amount of time between them.

2. Utilizing my crock pot – twice!!  I read that you could roast a chicken in your crock pot and figured I’d give it a try.  And it worked!  And was good!  And so I did it again the next day.  Also successful, but I decided that my house smelling like a chicken shop for two days in a row was a little too much.  I couldn’t crack the windows cause its 20º again, so getting the smell to evacuate was challenging.  And slightly nauseating. (So I’ve opted to wait another day or so before making chicken stock from the bones.)

3. Another fire!  In the fireplace, of course.  Well, it was 20º.


4. Today, I am looking forward to two fun meals!  The first, lunch with a dear friend.  She’s interviewing for a job, so we’re grabbing lunch and praying beforehand.  Then tonight, I’m meeting with some other friends for dinner at Mellow Mushroom.  I’ve been to a Mellow in North Carolina, Florida, and another city here in Virginia, but never the one in my home town.  I’m VERY excited.  I love pizza and I love Mellow Mushroom and I love these friends.  A match made in heaven.

5. I’m also excited about a conference I’m going to this weekend.  I know there will be good teaching, good worship, but mostly I’m excited that I get to see friends that I rarely see during the year.  And some will get to see Munchkin since she’s coming with me for part of it.  They haven’t seen her since she was an infant!  The rare times we get together are work related and children stay home.  She looks a little different now.






There you have it.  An overall great week with fun nuggets of time with friends and family.  (Does “fun nuggets of time” even make sense?)  Anyways – Happy Friday!


Top 5 of the Week

Dear Erin,

It looks like your new chalkboard fits its new space perfectly, and not only will it be fun for Munchkin in the years to come (once she can reach it) and useful for you and Matt, it’s really cool that it has those special, personal memories that are part of its creation. It also looks pretty much gorgeous. 

Speaking of gorgeous, that picture of the farm is amazing. If you haven’t printed and framed that one, you should give it some serious consideration.

My post today isn’t very unified either. There’s a little of this and a little of that to tell you, and none of it is closely related. Oh, I know! I’ll do a list.

1. It’s raining today. Yay! There’s not much in the way of thunderstorms around here, as I think I’ve said before. No bang! flash! downpour! done! Instead, it will be gray and soft and wet all day today (and hopefully for a good chunk of tomorrow as well), while the rain drips down lazily. It makes us all sleepy, but we’ll take it! Any rain is good.

2. Here the progress on my Empty Shelf.

Empty Shelf Feb


The post-it says +375 (pages). So, making progress. Slowly. I feel like I’ve read more, but those were audiobooks, which don’t have pages, and which I am consequently not counting.

3. Speaking of audiobooks, I’ve started listening to The Fellowship of the Ring again. I got this for Christmas, and it is so good. I already knew this, having listened to it before, but it’s been several years, and it’s quite a pleasure going back into this world as read by this reader. I still know many of the inflections of his voice, which implies that I might have listened to it a little obsessively last time around.

4. This week’s knitting update also comes from Christmas time. Remember how I was worried that a blanket I was knitting was going to be too small? I was seriously debating getting another skein because the two I had were just going to produce this tiny scrap of cloth. As I recall, you and Mom talked me out of it, and it’s ended up turning out fine.

Chalice Blanket 5

Chalice Blanket 2-001

Chalice Blanket 4-001So, it was a scrap of cloth when I finished it, around the time we returned from Christmas. But then, last night I blocked it, and it made all the difference! It’s still a bit smallish, but a good size for a little one to carry around and love on. Blocking it (which, in case you don’t know, is gently washing it then allowing it to air dry in the position and dimensions you want the finished product to have; most knitted things will keep this shape for awhile as long as they’re dry) really opened up the lace and thinned out the whole fabric. I’m very happy with how it turned out. Pattern: Baby Chalice Blanket; Yarn: Three Irish Girls Springvale Worsted in “Aileen”. (The color is much more vibrant than it appears in the pictures; maybe when we have sun again I’ll reshoot it to give you a better sense of it.)

5. Have to have a fifth thing, right? Otherwise, it wouldn’t be a Top 5 list, at least not officially. I suppose I could talk about personal stuff, but let’s keep it light. Last Saturday, Charles and I spent a nearly perfect afternoon together. We went up to Palo Alto for lunch and ice cream; then took the scenic route home, through Los Altos and Cupertino and up into the mountains (where it was chilly and fresh), then down into Saratoga and back into San Jose proper; and finally we went to see the Lego movie.

After all the raves I’d heard about it, I was expecting it to be utterly transcendent, but it didn’t really get there. Still, it wasn’t a cleverly disguised feature length ad for Legos. Or at least, it wasn’t only that. The movie was cute and clever, energetic and good-spirited. (It’s maybe worth noting, though, that one of its main messages – that everyone is special – seems to be in direct conflict with the message of The Incredibles, where that sentiment is what comes out of the mouth of the bad guy. It’s a contrast I find interesting to ponder when I’m not listening to Frodo and Sam on their perilous journey.)

Matt’s Creation


Keep the tiny things coming!  They are adorable and the more the merrier.  This past weekend I saw a tiny thing for a tiny person that I will probably get before I make the transcontinental trek.  It was ALSO adorable.

And I am happy to report that I started on a project that’s been sitting on the “To Do” list for quite a while.  But, all going as planned, it will move to the “To Done” list by the end of the week.  Woo Hoo!

AND (lots of “ands” today) there is something that DID move to the “To Done” list that I must show you.  We have never put anything on the wall in the hall downstairs.  Its an awkward size – something large needed to go there, not your normal sized framed art.  Something BIG.

So Matt came up with a plan and he finished it (and started it!) this weekend.

It started here:


This is his family’s farm.  In the loft of the barn (a place I’ve never ventured due to my fear of heights) is some very old weathered wood.  And we picked up some pieces the last time we were there.

From that, he made this:


A huge chalkboard!  Its very fun and just itching to have fun scribbles and messages written on it.  The pain still needs some time to set, so the scribbles will need to wait a little longer, but isn’t it cool??


He did awesome!  Here is a close up of the frame.  (There’s also a little hook you can’t see in the picture that we’re going to hang a bucket of chalk from.)

Love it.

More Tiny Things

Dear Erin,

If you’re behind on your resolutions, you can always blame the lack of hoppin’ john consumed on New Year’s Day. I hadn’t really thought about my resolutions for awhile (except for the Empty Shelf Challenge), and then yesterday I happened to notice the file of personal resolutions on my desktop. I made the mistake of opening it up and was reminded of how much I have NOT been keeping up on my personal resolutions.

I’d say I’d get right on that, but realistically it’s probably not going to happen any time soon. (Do I sound fatalistic to you?)

But, hey, let’s change the subject! I wish I lived at your house; pie and cupcakes – yum! Here is my project from this week. Definitely not edible.

Cozy Toes Booties Light


Little, tiny things, and kind of addictive to make. (Pattern: Cozy Little Toes; Yarn: Miss Babs Yummy in “Oregon Mist”) I’ve already started another pair in a different color of the same yarn, although I had planned to make a rainbow dragon next. But he’ll keep for a bit, and the new booties won’t take long.

And that’s about all I have to share for today. I did go back and put in the patterns for the sweater and hat I showed on Monday, in case you’re interested. Other than that, it’s just been fun with photo editing software. Have a great Friday and an awesome weekend, full of pie and hopefully not full of snow!

Bootie Collage 2

Trying Old Things

Dear Kristen,

Beautiful job on the knitting!  The sweater turned out gorgeous.  Munchkin has enjoyed all her Aunt Kiki hats so I know the little one will love that one.  I am impressed that you are getting those things done.  My New Year’s Resolutions for this year?  Failing.  Dramatically failing.

Projects are piling up and not getting done.  I blame…

I can’t blame anyone or anything but myself.  Gotta get on that.

I have been trying some new old recipes, though.  Here are the books I’ve been contemplating as of late.


The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook was a gift from a friend after she and I and another friend visited Magnolia in New York City.  It was delicious and I have an affinity for cupcakes.  It was a match from the very beginning!  Originally I only used the cookbook for cupcakes and icing, but recently I’ve been taking a turn down a more simple road.  Muffins and breads.

Last night we had corn bread from this book, and I’m a big fan.  It was the perfect accompaniment to chili last night.  And the zucchini bread??!!?!  Yum!


The Mrs. Rowe’s little book of Southern Pies is a collection of classic pies.  I’ve never been much of a pie person, preferring cakes and cobblers, but my tastes are becoming refined I think.  That doesn’t mean I like pumpkin pie, yet (sorry Mom!) but I have enjoyed some good pies recently.

For instance, there is a local cake place that also sells pies.  Everything from this heavenly spot I’ve tried so far has been DELICIOUS!  The most intriguing though, was Crack Pie.  I don’t know the specific recipe for this addictive pie, but Mrs. Rowe’s Brown Sugar Pie seems like it might be very close.

Perhaps my resolutions should have included pie baking.  Or eating.