Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Wrapping Up a Few Loose Ends

It's been hot and I've been tired, so I'm still just knitting up things that need to be finished. This week I finished a bath mat . . .

and a pair of slipper socks for Milo.

I'm still working on the fingerless gloves for the yarn store sample, but it isn't going well. I reversed the colors on the back of the hand.

Had to rip back 12 rows and start that part over.

Thanks go Grandma Gaye, the boys are all doing fine. They're enjoying their easy-going summer.
Vegetables are growing. We ate our first zucchini this weekend. There are some jack-o-lantern pumpkins growing. I don't know if we'll get any watermelon this year though. There is some corn growing--no tassels yet. That's fine. It's not tall enough yet. And there are some tomatoes, although they looked mighty parched the last time I looked at them. We're due for some rain this week, so hopefully that will help.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Strawberry Jam Day

I wasn't so sure about this day at points. We're in the middle of a hot and humid heat wave and heat waves make everyone grouchy. But the twinks had a church activity this morning and I had a grocery list--so we went ahead and jumped into the day. Chris went to play raquetball with some friends, Max and I dropped off the twins at church and went grocery shopping, then came home to change into church clothes. Chris came home and showered and changed into church clothes, and we all headed back to church to witness the baptism of one of the 8-yr-old girls. That was a lot of fun.

When we got back home there seemed a mountain of laundry and dishes waiting for me. In the heat, the grass is not growing as fast, but Chris was planning to mow anyway. "Do dishes and laundry with me instead," I begged. And he agreed. So we spent the next three hours doing dishes and laundry (there were baskets and baskets of clean clothes waiting to be put away and then I need to do a few loads of dirty clothes, too. I just didn't get any laundry at all done this week.) and then had dinner (BLTs) and then Chris and Max went off to do a guy thing for a few hours and I canned up the strawberries we bought back on Father's Day weekend. I probably used too much pectin, and I know I tried to do too big of a second batch--but now we'll have strawberry syrup for pancakes tomorrow. Lots of it. Way too much of it. Oh, well :)

So now, in between a few last loads of laundry, I'm going to put my feet up and knit a bit.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Spontaneous Dinner w/ Friends

Tonight we had a spontaneous dinner party. Last week we got a new Elder in the ward--he's from Arizona and at one point attended the same elementary school at which I had taught a few years before. The kids I taught are 24 and 25 now. Hard to believe. Anyway, I'd signed up to host the missionaries for dinner this week, and when I had met the new missionaries, I decided we needed to have Navajo tacos.

Then this morning Chris decided it could be fun to invite another family from the ward for dinner, too. And I agreed. So he invited and they accepted--but this all happened with a busy Friday happening around it, so it wasn't formalized until 5:30 at night. We didn't sit down to eat until 8:00 pm. But the fry bread turned out and the toppings were a hit and there was enough--it was close--but there was enough to go around. Enough beans and enough meat and enough fry bread. I did the fry bread on the side-burner of the propane grill because even in this heat wave, doing the fry bread in the open air was better than filling the house with the smoke from the hot oil. I did two batches--one with yeast dough and one with baking soda dough. As usual, the yeasted dough turned out better fry bread for me. I don't know why that is. The baking soda dough is more authentic, but I've never really mastered it. The best I can say is that the baking soda dough turned out edible and that's improvement for me.

Anyway, the company was fantastic, even I loved every minute of the little party (Chris will say that's because I spent half of it on the porch watching through the window, but, well, so?) and Elder Norton, the new missionary, gave a lovely lesson at the end that was really quite moving.

I really enjoy feeding the missionaries. We always get so much out of it and tonight was an especially enjoyable example of that. An exceptional Friday evening.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Art and Blueberries

We started off the day going to the local People's Choice Arts Festival, which is the "local" version of the Central PA Arts Festival--which takes place concurrently, but in downtown State College. The Central PA Arts Festival is collector's art done by people who can get hundreds of dollars or more for their pieces. The People's Choice Arts Festival, mostly, isn't so spendy. I mean, you CAN spend $1,200 on a piece of custom furniture and you can spend the same on a gold ring, but you can also buy a nice $18 piece of pottery. Chris and I mostly just looked this year, but Gaye got herself a ring and a plaque for her wall and she got me one that says, "Laundry today or naked tomorrow" as an early birthday present.

We spent money on lunch and the twins collected free balloons and Max bought two glass beads and then went to Michael's to buy a clasp and he made himself a nice necklace.

Then we headed home. I tried to take a nap but my mind was on the 10 lbs of blueberries that had been in the fridge since Monday. I wanted them canned before they were over ripe or worse. So I got back up and headed for the kitchen. The first batch had some fatal errors and is only good for pancake and ice cream syrup, but it was a small batch and I'm content with that. With the second batch, I ignored the directions and added pectin and although this batch hasn't come out of the canner yet, I'm more optimistic.

The day is winding down. My only plans are to wash the clothes for church tomorrow and knit this evening. I'm making good progress on the fingerless mittens.

I have more photos and will add those later.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy Independence Day

Ben made lunch for his brothers today. He made peanut butter and blueberry jelly sandwiches, making sure not to add jelly to Milo's and giving himself the heel of the bread. How quickly they grow from tiny little demanding infants to independent, generous first-graders.

It's a quiet day here in the Hults household. Chris and I slept in until 9am and then, after deciding it was too wet to mow, Chris went off to run an errand and play raquetball with a friend. I'm trying to catch up on dishes and laundry. Both tasks are Herculean. The first because a friend who is selling his house has been giving me a life-time collection of his canning jars and they all need washing and I . . . well, let's just say I really miss having a dishwasher. The second because I just let it get too far behind. So I'm content to be working on those projects, with a tiny smidge of knitting in between loads.

I am knitting again. Not with my previous fervor, but I'm in the mood to finish the things I have begun over the last year and so, that's what I've been doing. More or less picking one project to focus on until it's done and then moving on to the next one. I say more or less because I do take the occasional detour onto one of the other projects, but mostly I'm working on just one project. Right now it's a baby sweater--it was supposed to be for my cousin Tracy's baby girl, but she's probably too big for it now, so it will wait for another baby girl.

The next unfinished project will be the marvelous mittens pattern because I need samples for the yarn shop. It's the class I'll be teaching in October and November. However, I have a sweater for Milo competing for attention with that one. He may outgrow it before it's done AND cool enough for him to wear it.

The kids are all doing well. Gardening has been . . . weird this year. It's been cool when it's not unseasonably hot, and nothing is growing at my house as fast as normal. At G'ma's house where it gets much more sun, things are growing like gang busters, although we're still not taking the survival of the corn for granted. Interestingly, the variety that did the most poorly last summer is doing the best this summer. If today is "work indoors day," then tomorrow is "work outdoors day" and one of the things that gets done is the lawn gets another application of weed and feed and the corn and the blueberry bushes get fertilizer.