Author: Groovy Mom
Gifts In A Jar
I’m always on the lookout for simple ideas the kid’s can make for Christmas gifts. A gift in a jar has become pretty popular. Just get your recipe(s), grab a case of 1-quart canning jars, your ingredients and voila. You can find free recipes all over the internet. Here’s one that looks tasty:
1 C. chocolate chips
1 1/2 C. miniature marshmallows
1 sleeve of graham cracker (ground into crumbs)
1/3 C. brown sugar (packed)
Pour SMORE BAR mix in large bowl. Melt 1/2 cup butter, pour over mix. Add 1 tsp. vanilla; mix. Place in greased 9×9 baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes at 350.
Here’s a good list of some great free resources:
geocities.com/giftsinajar – tons of recipes and wonderful tips.
recipezaar.com – Butterfinger cookie mix (yum!!)
I have to admit, though, when I get a gift in a jar I rarely eat them. OK, I don’t eat them.. anymore. See, a couple times I’ve opened it up and the stuff tasted like crap. The way the ingrediants are packed in like sardines kind of grouses me out. When you attempt to empty the jar, each layer resembles a hockey puck, clanking against the rim, screaming for Sharon Stone and her ice pick. Turned me off of eating them. So if anyone has some recipes that are actually GOOD to make and consume, I’m all ears. Maybe you can convince me.
If YOU get a gift in a jar, do you actually consume it or do you toss it?
Earflap Hat Finished
Remember that earflap hat I was working on? Well, it is finished. It is basically this pattern with some variation (because I can’t seem to just follow a darn pattern, got to stray a bit). Mainly I went a bit larger because of the big hair issue I have. I used Bernat Softee Chunky in Carnival. I’ll try and note the changes I made in red, but about half-way through I stopped writing them down.
First, you have to make the ear flaps. With two double point needles cast on 2 stitches. Purl 1 row. Work back and forth in stockinette stitch. Every time you do the knitting side, increase the first and last stitch. This will create the triangle shape. Keep going until there are 16 stitches for the XS, 18-S, 20-M, or 22-L 26-XL. Place these stitches on a holder. Make sure to make two!
Hat: With the circular needle, cast on 12-XS, 14-S, 16-M, or 18-L 22 stitches for the back of hat; knit across stitches of the first ear flap. then cast on 20-22-24-or26 30 stitches for the front; knit across second ear flap. There will be 64-72-80-or 88 101 stitches in all. Join stitches carefully without twisting. Knit 2 purl 2 on the front and back part of the hat (regular knit the ear flaps) for four rounds. This will make the nice ribbing and will prevent the hat from curling up.
Continue knitting until the hat is about 5.5 inches tall. Then start reducing as follows: (here’s where it gets screwy for me… the vino+knitting= I forgot to write down what I did)
Round 1: Knit two together, knit 6. Repeat for one round.
Round 2 (and all even rounds): Knit
Round 3: K 2 together, K 5 for one round
Round 5: K 2 together, K 4 for one round (this is where you should probably switch to the double points).
Round 7: K 2 together, K 3
Round 9: K 2 together, K 2
Round 11: K 2 together, K 1
Round 13: K 2 together
Gather remaining stitches with a darning needle and fasten off. Weave in all tails.
OK. Pictures, shall we?
Family Board Games
Yesterday my Middle Son yelled, “We have a Special Delivery!!!” Sure enough, look what Amazon.com brought us:
12 Foods You Should Buy Organic
For a few years now, we have made a conscious effort to feed our family healthier foods, opting for items made with natural ingredients and minimal chemicals. I have to admit, it isn’t always easy on a limited budget.
We do some of our shopping at Whole Foods, but don’t/can’t do all of our shopping there because it would break the bank. Though we purchase more organic foods than we did five years ago, instead of simply buying blanket organic, we buy organic for many of our “staple” foods (milk, eggs, olive oil).
It helps to know what foods are “worth” buying organic and what ones we can skip, if necessary to help save us some money. I found this little list of the “Dirty Dozen” foods you should buy organic, based on the high level of pesticide contamination:
Apples, Cherries, Grapes(imported – Chili) , Nectarines, Peaches , Pears, Raspberries, Strawberries, Bell Peppers, Celery, Potatoes, Spinach
In addition to those 12, the following three were also recommended:
Milk, Beef, Poultry
As always, it helps to comparison shop. Where I live, one store has better produce, once has better bargains on dry goods, and depending on the season, the farmer’s market is another option. We are also fortunate enough to have a relatively large local grocery store that carries a good variety of organic items at lower cost than some of the more upscale grocers supplying identical products.
*Photo credit fallingleaves.
Chicken and Rice Casserole
I made this chicken casserole the other day for dinner. It was delicious. I’m constantly clipping and printing recipes, and so many of them I forget to try. Really glad I tried this. It was easy to make and fed us for more than one meal — and was one of those leftovers that tasted just as good if not better the next day.You can find the recipe here.
Oooh. A four-day weekend. Yeah.
The kids have off of school for two days and I have off work for two days, too. So, me, my 16-year old daughter and my mother went to see the movie, Things We Lost in the Fire. We set out to see a movie, not really intending to see this movie, but I’m glad we did.
It could have been very cliche and sappy, but it was not. Benicio Del Toro was fantastic. Both my mom and myself decided he should get an Oscar nod. It was one of those movie where you end up with tears running all the way down your neck. Or, well, at least I did.
Though I’ve been off, I’ve still been working. I have the kind of job that, if I take off, my work piles up. I don’t really like that and didn’t anticipate it when I was hired for the position. But it is what it is. Since is is newsletter crunch time I’ve been working on that from home to help ease the burden of work when I return.
It was Frank’s birthday yesterday and we went out with friends, had some beers (well not me because beer keeps me up at night — I had a Bloody Mary and cranberry and vodka). We played darts, ate a slice of New York (style) pizza, came home. Today we shop a bit. I don’t have the brain power for an all out BIG shopping trip right now, but I can pick up some veggies, snacks for the games tomorrow (the twins and middle child’s season-end games), things like that. My daughter desperately needs a dresser, but we’re not having much luck finding one that fits our budget specifications (under $100).
PS – Anyone else having site troubles? Things look fine to me in my lower-resolution PC but are compacted to the left on my laptop. One person said her computer froze up while trying to view the pizza picture. Let me know if you’re having issues.
Every now and then we order pizza from Rossi’s in Monona. The pizza is good, but I gots to show you a picture of it. Keep in mind that we’re a family of seven and never (well, almost never) does one pizza work for feeding all of us. This pizza is the exception. It is huge. If I remember correctly, it is 30 inches.
Frank is holding it. You have to turn the box sideways, carefully, to fit it through the door. The big factor isn’t all, though, it is a tasty pizza as well.
Maine Middle school Offers Birth Control
After an outbreak of pregnancies among middle school girls, education officials in this city have decided to allow a school health center to make birth control pills available to girls as young as 11. – link
Wow that is absolutely ridiculous. Beyond middle schools taking the initiative to provide birth control to kids… the pill? The pill, a synthetic hormone, prevents pregnancy, if taken properly. It also regulates periods. It does not prevent AIDS, herpes, hepatitis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and on and on. A child as young as 11 years old has no business pumping synthetic hormones in their body, goodness knows there are grown woman that would think twice about putting that in their bloodstream.
At my kid’s school, you can’t take a Tylenol without parental consent — and often without a doctor’s written approval. How the can this even be legal?
…treatment is confidential under state law, which allows the students to decide whether to inform their parents about the services they receive.
Maybe the problem isn’t so much the lack of available birth-control methods, but the lack of sound education and leadership in the school’s environment.
Wow, wow, wow.
Knitting Earflap Hat Progress
I’ve finally made the transition from MT over to WordPress. Comments were always such a headache with MT, but I liked the format. This will take a bit of getting used to. I still have some tweaks to do, too.
Knitting: Working on a hat with ear flaps. Due to the girth of my hair, I need a large hat. I can’t seem to find large hats!! Frustrating. So, I decided to make my own. This is the first time that I’ve worked (successfully) with circular needles. Progress Picture?
I hope to have this finished before the end of the month. We go up to the cabin next week, and that will give me some time to work on it. Knit, read, knit read…
Edit: Update, finished hat is here.