Test, test… anyone there?

It has been an entire school year since I have visited this space. Work and family life have kicked my posterior – too much to do, no time for everything. And we are even currently halfway through the summer. Whew. But, as I blog mostly to record the events in our lives, I need to get back to it, updating and keeping track of our family’s history. So, if anyone is still reading, stay tuned…. and if not, that is okay…this record is mostly for me. 

The time of year when picking and processing garden goodies takes a great deal of time.

The time of year when picking and processing garden goodies takes a great deal of time.

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Finished a sweater….

Labor Day is here – and we have been recovering from the first week of school. Here is where I am at – sorry for the bullet points, but time is of the essence.

http://www.wral.com/low-pay-forces-nc-teachers-to-choose-between-profession-state/12828323/

http://www.pewstates.org/projects/stateline/headlines/north-carolina-ends-teacher-tenure-85899493655

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/08/07/nc-law-ends-pay-raises-teachers-masters-degrees-blow-college-finances

**Morale amongst teachers is at an all time low, thanks to local government and all the policy changes.

**My work week to prep for students was useless because every piece of technology I was supposed to use to teach my class broke. Projector broke on my smartboard – all my lessons are designed for this. No bulb in the building to replace nor anywhere to steal one from. Finally obtained the expensive bulb, to find it is the projector – and no spare projectors. Phone, desk top, everything broke. Week was rather hard to deal with.

**First week of school. My lower level classes are not supposed to be over 25. A stretch at 29. Right now I sit at 33 and 33. Plus 32 IB Students.

**By end of first week of school another teacher had quit to go elsewhere. In the math departments of the 2 high schools, we have lost 2 teachers to competing districts where the supplement is higher, 1 to stay at home – too expensive to have children in child care on her salary – 2 to pursue alternative, more lucrative careers, and 2 we know are finishing out this year to move on to different pursuits next year. Enrollment in teaching programs in the state went down 17% this fall….so soon, there will be no one to replace missing personnel with. Not to mention, enrollment is the highest its been – class sizes should require more staff.

**Am trying and failing to be positive. But will continue for the student’s sake. But it is one tough road right now.

**2 late nights this week, working a football game and Open House. At least those are out of the way.

**Surviving early morning PT for my frozen shoulder – making good progress and grateful there is a time that fits into my day and gets me to school by 8.

**Have manged so far to not miss a run in the couch to 5k program I started. Not planning to run any specific 5 k, but did want to amp up the exercise. Walked all summer long, but don’t have an hour to walk a circuit as I did this summer – by running I can cover more territory more quickly. But I am not a runner. So starting small, and sticking with it. Must be healthy.

**Garden overhaul right before school started, and fall garden planted. Peppers still coming in faster than I can handle, so dealt with 2 basket-fulls today.

**Sweater finished. Looking forward to cool weather to wear it. So here are some cheerful sweater pictures to round out this depressing post.

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Posted in Gardening, Handmade, Handwork, knitting, Plain old everyday, Whinging | 1 Comment

Minion Cake Pops

The middle son will soon be 17, and the youngest son and I decided to make him some Minion Cake Pops because  - well, you just have to know our middle son.

It started with Bakerella – she is just so talented. Here is her version of the minion cake pop. http://www.bakerella.com/mini-minions/ We used a lemon cake and lemon icing to make ours. We had never done cake pops, but she has basic directions that are easy to follow and we had no trouble with the making of the pops themselves.

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But I had also seen these on Pinterest, and this video tutorial made me think we could do them no problem.  The woman doing this tutorial has an entire You Tube Channel: Mycupcakeaddiction….

http://pinterest.com/pin/262686590738322481/

The video is very clear, and the means of decoration made me feel my 12 year old could do alot of it, so we followed her guidelines.

P1110006A couple of tips from our making of the cake pops….

  • You need enough space to stand up your cake pops… we had a square of styrofoam we thought was large enough, but we did have trouble banging into not dry cake pops. A cake will make about 48 pops, and they need space for you to reach between them and place them in the foam. We found when a stage was dry – for example all the blue pants were done and dry, we could lay down the pops on wax paper and start with an empty square.
  • You really want fluid candy melts. Watch the video and notice when she bangs the cup to settle the candy melts. It took us a try or two to get the right consistency – and we ended up adding Crisco per the instructions on the candy melt bag, and it was also mentioned in the video.
  • We used store bought eyes, but really liked the rim around the eyes she made in the video from candy necklace pieces. So we put a dot of chocolate on the dried yellow cake pop and then pressed the white candy eye into it – same effect achieved.
  • We did hair, eyes, and face- but called it quits when it came to arms and hands. At that point, the 12 year old boy was done, and so was I.

P1100998P1110008P1110009P1110012P1110011P1110014Yes – there is a three eyed Minion – youngest son’s creation. And the middle son was thrilled and ready to eat them all. Alas, he is having to wait until after dinner.

 

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Visitors

 

 

P1100982 We have had an abundance of deer this season. I like deer, and think they are lovely in the landscape – but I do get tired of them foraging in my flower beds and eating our apples off the apple trees. This was the smaller of 2 bucks on the dam.P1100983IMG_0212 IMG_0213IMG_0214And this a mom  - she has twin fawns – and she is dangerously close to my flower beds and veggie garden. Shooooo…..

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We have one less teen in the house….

For a short period of time, we have only one teen in the house. On the 14th, the eldest turned 20. It is so hard for me to comprehend having a 20 year old.

He asked for a surf and turf recipe from pioneer woman: Surf and turf Cajun Pasta which I made in 3 different forms – one with cajun seasoning for the older 2 boys, one without the seasoning for the husband (Crones disease) and the youngest, and one without any dairy for the youngest. All in all the birthday boy was very satisfied with it – it was spicy enough to make him happy.

He also asked for a pineapple upside cake. For years my mother in law claimed it was my husband’s favorite birthday cake – and for years my husband let her do it, even though it wasn’t his favorite, but his brother’s. It was kind of a laugh in our family for a few years until he finally reminded her she had the wrong brother. In any case, the cake didn’t last long.

P1100984The birthday boy got a gas card and an auto parts card and some sort of injection cleaner – being a car owner is expensive. So this was much appreciated. And the husband took him out on a fishing trip, which was very much enjoyed!

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Summer days drawing to close

  • Attended a week long professional development session concerning the new Common Core curriculum. Unpaid, during my “vacation”, trying to better myself.
  • Attended the Moral Monday for Education to protest a state government that seems determined to undermine education. Here are some links if you are interested:

http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/07/30/3070787/on-moral-monday-teaching-with.html  or http://www.wral.com/-moral-monday-organizers-want-meeting-with-mccrory-plan-future-protests/12716757/ or http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/07/29/4199729/largest-moral-monday-crowd-yet.html

  • Back to school shopping on last tax free weekend for NC. Saving $7 on every $100 doesn’t mean much to some, but when buying shoes and clothes and school supplies times 3 boys, it is helpful. So we gather a list all summer and take advantage of sales and tax free on that first weekend in August.

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  • Some knitting – down to the sleeves on my Moonshine sweater.

P1100930Raveled here.

Here is the crowd of baby owl gifts. Each one a bit different.

Here is the crowd of baby owl gifts. Each one a bit different.

The back side is minky fabric, and I put a little owl pocket on it with the flannel scraps.

The back side is minky fabric, and I put a little owl pocket on it with the flannel scraps.

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Each face was created with some wool felt leftover from my Waldorf mom crafting days.

Each face was created with some wool felt leftover from my Waldorf mom crafting days.

Because I was using scraps, each face is a bit different. And I like them all.

Because I was using scraps, each face is a bit different. And I like them all.

I am including some plastic links with each one.

I am including some plastic links with each one.

I used a satiny ribbon and a grosgrain ribbon for different textures - and quadrupled stitched the loops hoping they will hold up to use.

I used a satiny ribbon and a grosgrain ribbon for different textures – and quadrupled stitched the loops hoping they will hold up to use.

These are flannel, batting and minky - nothing crinkly. But hopefully the new babies will find them snuggly, and the new moms will find them a useful distraction for restless babes.

These are flannel, batting and minky – nothing crinkly. But hopefully the new babies will find them snuggly, and the new moms will find them a useful distraction for restless babes.

  • PT continues for my frozen shoulder. I am getting a bigger range of motion, but progress is so slow, and working at it takes so much time, and always leaves my arm sore and aching. Ugggh.

Next week I do more curriculum writing, have a son turning 20 and a son turning 17. The following week the youngest son starts school, I return to work, we celebrate our 23rd anniversary, and by the 26th we are all back in school. So blogging returns to its intermittent posting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Another finished quilt project

Once again, I cannot believe how long it takes me to finish things up. During the school year, there is only room for work, and housework, and boy activities…. and precious little other time. I started this table runner in Jan 2012. It has been hanging over a door and folded up in a box since then, needing quilting and binding. You can see the beginnings of it here: http://willowcaroline.wordpress.com/2012/01/02/january-2nd-acck-the-holiday-is-over/

P1100174I love the wonky stripes. I chose to play with my machine and tried a different machine quilting pattern in each stripe. Considering I did no practice, and am a total newbie, I was very pleased with the results. Yes, the stitches have varying lengths and the patterns show I wasn’t completely used to how to make it flow – but I jumped right in and now have a fun springy quilted table runner.

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I chose the colors to go with the crazy green wall color of my kitchen. The light we get in the kitchen is so perfect for this green at all times of day and in all seasons. I just love this green.

P1100179The runner matches some ‘mug rugs’ I made.

P1100173I had bought some binder clips a while back, and finally tried them out. I really liked using them, although at least one immediately sprang apart and had to be thrown away. Hopefully the others will hold up better, as I can see myself using these frequently.

P1100177You might be able to see some of the patterns I tried. In the solid sections, I played with designs – flowers, ferns, etc. In the polka dot sections I tried to play off the circles – some more successfully than others.

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P1100172And here are some views of the back side.

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P1100169Probably the biggest issue at this point is keeping all the layers together and smooth to prevent bunching as I move the piece about under my machine. I did no basting on this – of any kind – and it shows. It is in the washing machine as I type, so hopefully the bunching will disappear a bit as the layers do their thing with the batting. Not that it matters terribly for this project – as the back isn’t really going to be seen.

All in all, a pretty good first attempt!

 

 

 

 

 

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