Thursday, October 25, 2007

Half term

A week of fitting work in around the kids

scarily high bills

annoying bureaucracy

and cleaning

but also cooking
cold weather = candles and cosy fire

a day at the zoo

lots of knitting (yes I managed to finish the second sock, just need to graft the toe stitches which I'll do this afternoon - I can't believe they're finally off the needles!)

and meeting old friends (I. and her greatgrandmother, who's 90 and whom she hadn't seen for almost 2 years)

Off to Holland this evening. Fingers crossed by the end of the week my mum will start to feel a bit better...

Monday, October 22, 2007


Cooking is one of the things I really enjoy. However busy I get, most days I make time to cook us an evening meal, although I cook very different things for B. than I do for the kids. B. is a dustbin who will eat anything, is actually a very good cook himself but also a very grateful recipient as he doesn't give himself any time to cook. N. and I. are a lot fussier, I'm sure as most kids their age are!

Tonight's supper went down fairly well though.

This is leek and potato soup (from Delia Smith's Complete Cookery Course, which I got as a birthday present when I turned 19 and still use on a regular basis). It's probably one of my favourite soups which I make throughout winter when leeks are in season. It's easy to make, it's pretty and it tastes good. O and it's low in calories!
We usually have cheese and herb scones to go with it, which comes from Baby and Child Vegetarian Recipes. I bought this book way back when I was weaning I. and it still comes out from time to time. I should use it more often as the kids always seem to like what I make from it.

For dessert we had apple crumble. I made one for B. and me last weekend as they have an apple tree laden with fruit at the moment, and as N. regularly asks for crumble, I thought I'd make some for the kids too. We ended up making it all together, I. mixed the crumble, I peeled the apples and N. cut them up in small pieces. The topping was half wholemeal flour, half porridge oats, and the fruit was just Cox's and a bit of cinnamon. Made some custard to go with it which went down well. A real seasonal meal!

Talking of seasons, I receive a weekly e-mail from here. The website has links to recipes, we've had the bramleys with beer and walnuts, and that was very good. It's a very informative site if you like to eat food when it's in season.

Friday, October 19, 2007


Yay, a tiny bit of progress! I met up with three friends for coffee this morning to celebrate one of them turning 40. She's got a snazzy coffee machine and lives on this big farm with plenty of room to roam around. In other words: 8 kids running around getting rid of some energy outside, giving their mothers some time to have a bit of a gossip...
I suddenly thought if I really pushed it, I could finish this sock for dad before I go over to Holland in ten days' time. So I sat and knitted while we chatted. And got a fair bit done. It'd be so good to get these out of the way and move on to something else - I want to knit some socks for ME!
My friend's boy ran past, took one look at my knitting and said 'mum, I want to learn to do that' (this is the same boy who was over here earlier in the week). I'd already rung my mum to ask if she could find him anything so I can teach him after halfterm. Not sure how his dad feels about it ;-)

On another note, what sound is much better than a 5 year old giggling at a Kipper video?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

enough to do and getting nothing done

Why is it that I get so much done when I have lots of work on, and do nothing when work's quiet? How come I can think of a hundred fun things to do when I'm bogged down with thousands of words to translate, and can't think of a single one when no work comes in?

I had an evening 'off' tonight. I had several things I should have done, and several things I could have done. I didn't do any of them. I thoroughly dislike myself when I'm at a loss like that. It's not boredom, it's just restlessness.

Progress on N's room is frustratingly slow. The walls are done now, two coats of turquoise paint and it doesn't look too bad. I'm not sure about the colour but N. loves it. Next is the woodwork and yesterday I started cleaning and sanding the window. Only to find all the putty was coming out too. So instead of painting, I'll be on a hunt for putty this weekend. B. is going on a shopping trip for house supplies anyway, so with a bit of luck the putty will fall into his basket too. So instead, I painted a shelf. Now the walls need touching up again. Argh. Some days I wish I'd never started this redecorating lark. But then I tell myself that one day it will be all finished and I will actually be quite pleased with myself for doing it.

Last Tuesday was parents' evening at the kids' school and I had a friend's oldest boy over to save my friend a trip to school. He's practically the same age as I. (8, almost 9) but a totally different child. I. loves reading and writing stories, L. is into motorbikes and is 'building an extension' in the garden (his dad's a builder). He also likes cooking and last time he was here, he left with printouts of three recipes. This time he saw me knit on dad's sock and he was *fascinated*. He wanted to know all about it, then grabbed I.'s knitting off her and had a go. When he got home, he took his mum's sewing box and tried to knit with two darning needles. I think I know what I'm getting him for his birthday in January!

I'm off to Holland for a few days after halfterm. Mum's got to have an endoscopy and I want to be with her in the hospital, especially as they're keeping her in overnight. She's been ill for a few weeks now and for the first time I've found it hard to be living in a different country and not being able to see her, to see for myself how she is. I. and N. are staying with J. and seemed fine about it - N. wanted to know if I was going on the night boat and sleeping on the top or the bottom bunk... I'll miss them. I've not been on the ferry on my own before, normally I have two excited children and bags and bags of luggage with me, or B. who tells me all the technical details of the ferry, checks out the plumbing and discovers the bathroom of the cabin now has underfloor heating. Anyway, in November we're still going over for Sinterklaas, all being well with mum, so I'll look forward to that.

PD day here tomorrow, and half term next week. What's the chances I'll get even less done?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

coffeeswap three questionnaire

1. Whole bean or ground?

Definitely ground - beans would end up in the back of the cupboard!

2. Fully-loaded or decaf?

Preferably decaf, but when I'm out and about and fancy a coffee, I tend to have 'fully-loaded' which is fine too.

3. Regular or flavored?

Mostly regular, as the flavoured ones tend to taste a bit artificial. Having said that, I love vanilla flavour and vanilla and coffee seems an irresistible combination to me!

4. How do you drink your coffee?

With hot milk, no sugar

5. Favorite coffee ever?

I don't think I have one... I remember a particularly atrocious coffee at McD once!

6. Are you fussy about your coffee or will any old bean do?

Definitely getting more fussy but it's more a case of 'o I like this one' rather than knowing what bean I'm drinking.

7. Favorite treats to have with your coffee?

Probably the rocky chocolate type thingy at Starbucks, or 'stroopwafels' (Dutch biscuits, they're waffles sandwiched together with syrup, you lay them on top of your cup and the syrup starts to melt - mmmm!)

8. Anything else about your coffee preferences?


9. Yarn/fiber you love?

Anything natural.

10. Yarn/fiber you hate?

Anything synthetic.

11. What's on your needles?

A pair of socks for my dad (see previous post), Sitcom chic and a cabled scarf for N., my 5 year old.

12. Favorite colors?

Blue in every tone and hue. I love the colours of the sea.

13. Allergies?

Have you got a few hours? ;-) I used to suffer badly with eczema, although since the birth of my youngest, I'm a lot better. I'm still allergic to most pets and dustmites, and often have a stuffy nose.

14. Anything you really love, really don't like, or just need to get off your chest?

Really love: my kids, my partner, the house he's building, knitting, having time for knitting...
Really hate: intolerance.

And I think I've gotten everything off my chest in this post ;-)

Friday, October 12, 2007

no knitting or sewing

Work has been very busy this week, much as usual. Every time I make a few plans to either knit, sew or possibly do some house cleaning (gasp!), an email will come in asking 'have you got time for this for tomorrow' or 'do you think you can possibly work extra this week?'. After an inwardly 'nooo!' and a deep sigh most return emails start with 'yes of course...' I'm not complaining, but it means when I have a little bit of free time I'm torn between desperately needing to do some cleaning or sitting down and actually relaxing - that is, if I still know how to do that!

I had to rip back the second sock I'm knitting for my dad. In February we went on our annual trip to Lyme Regis (my dad, I. and N. and I). This year for the first time in ages it was actually quite wet, windy and cold, and I noticed my dad wearing quite thick socks. His birthday was in March. I thought, optimistically, I'd knit him a pair of socks for his birthday. Ha! At this rate he'll be lucky to get them for our next trip! I've had to unpick these socks so many times, it's unbelievable. And it's not as if I've never knitted a pair of socks before, and it's not as if it's a very complicated pattern (garter rib from Sensational Knitted Socks. Either way, I keep making mistakes, and stupid mistakes, which means I've got to rip back. This time I was halfway down the foot when I noticed this sock was using up more yarn than its mate (who's feeling decidedly lonely). I counted the stitches of the cuff. And again. And AGAIN. Okay, 8 stitches more on the second sock than on the first. For three seconds I wondered if dad would notice. Then I pulled all the needles out and ripped. Again.
I have cast them back on again and have done about 6 or 7 rows of the cuff, but not had time for much more. I thought about forcing myself to just knit this one until it's done, but I know I'll get bored with it and not do it at all. I just want to get on with other socks by now!

On the decorating front, I managed to fill a few more holes last night and put the second coat of base paint on the wall in the alcove. Basically I can now put the final paint colour on. B. is probably off to work tomorrow, so I might drive back home and see if I can do the whole room in one go. I'm sure it'll need two coats and I'm also sure I'll end up going back to B&Q for some more paint, but so far I've only managed to do one wall at the time - it'll be good to get a bit more done and see a bit of progress. I'm getting fed up with tripping over Playmobil in my room and having to share my bed with a dozen teddies.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

As if I didn't have enough to do yet...

I have resisted starting a blog for the simple reason that I didn't think anyone would be interested in reading about me. The internet seems to be full of blogs written by people like me and how would I be able to add anything meaningful to that? But, I greatly enjoy reading blogs, and it seems to rub off, so here we are... I don't even really know what this blog is going to be about yet, although it will be mostly knitting, sewing and cooking related, and at least it'll be a place to easily show the things I've made. I'm sure some other subjects will creep in from time to time!