Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Things I Like to Do Outside

Today's Ten on Tuesday topic is: 10 Things You Like to Do Outside.  Here's my list:

1.  Read.
2.  Knit.
3.  Mommy/Baby Adventure with my daughter.  This often consists of reading and/or knitting, but not always.  Sometimes it involves photography.  Sometimes we see things like hot air balloons landing.  Sometimes we just walk and talk.  The "adventure" part is our little joke, because we're not all that adventurous (by most people's standards).


4.  Camp.  I enjoy camping.  Last year, I discovered Assateague, which is beach camping, and now I dream of Assateague.  I grew up in San Diego, so beach camping was the norm (when I was in Girl Scouts).  Sure, I also camped in the mountains and in the high desert, but I love beach camping!  Especially now that I live in PA (I miss being close to an ocean!).  Sadly, we are unable to go to Assateague this year, so I'll have to wait til 2015 for my Assateague fix.
5.  Sit.  I love to sit outside.  Preferably, near water (a stream, creek, river, pond, whatever).  It's very peaceful for me.
6.  Hike.  Ok, by "hike", I mean walk on a fairly level, well established trail.  Like this one.
7.  Playground.  When my daughter was young, I would take her to one of the playgrounds nearby.  I love watching kids have fun.
8.  Garden.  I'm more of a planter than a person who actually takes care of the garden.  Part of that is that I hate the heat/humidity that is Spring/Summer in South Central PA.  When my eyelids stick and I feel like I'm sweating just because I'm exerting myself by breathing, I have no desire to be outside, picking crops and watering things and pulling weeds.
9.  Swim.  By "swim", I mean play in water.  The ocean, or a lake is fine by me.  I don't spend time in the rivers around here (snakes), but there is a man-made lake close to us that's nice to go to.  I also like pools.
10.  Baseball.  We have a minor league baseball team in Lancaster (the Barnstormers).  I enjoy going to games.  I'm not really into sports, so I only go to games occasionally.

What do you like to do outside?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Spring = Fresh Produce!

One thing I love about Lancaster County is the availability of fresh produce.  In Spring and Summer (and into Fall), you can buy fresh, local produce all over the county.  There are numerous road-side stands, there are farmers markets, there are farm stores, and even the grocery stores carry local produce.  Fresh, local produce is a dream come true for vegetarians.

I love being able to support local farms.  I love eating produce that was picked when it was ripe (instead of ripening while it's being transported somewhere).  I love being able to talk to the farmers, and find out about the pesticides they use.  And the flavor!  There is nothing better than produce that's been picked when it's ready to be picked.  The flavor is amazing.

I often feel bad for people in big cities.  I've seen the produce there and it just doesn't compare.  I can understand why so many people don't like vegetables.  I believe it's simply because they haven't had good vegetables. 

Spring always excites me because I know that local produce will soon be here.  This year, I'm joining a CSA (community-supported agriculture).  You pay a certain amount, up front, and then you get produce every week during the growing season (my CSA's growing season is June-mid November - that's almost 6 months of fresh, local produce!).  My CSA also has pick your own flowers, herbs, hot peppers, strawberries and blueberries that are included in the "share".  I am SO excited!

Participating in a CSA forces you to eat produce that's in season (where you are).  I believe that this is the best way to eat.  It's good for your body, it's good for your local economy.  It also encourages you to try new things and to be creative (you know, come up with 30 different ways to prepare tomatoes).  I believe the benefits outweigh the struggles.

The CSA I'm joining doesn't use pesticides.  They practice good soil management (rotating crops, growing cover crops).  They also work with Goodwill Industries and provide jobs for people with disabilities.  Jobs for local people, supporting local businesses, and fresh produce?!?  It's a win-win situation!

I recently purchased a new cookbook:  The Oh She Glows Cookbook, by Angela Liddon. 



It's a vegan cookbook.  I'm not vegan (vegans don't eat dairy or eggs or honey), but I'm not opposed to eating vegan.  This cookbook is based on Angela's popular blog.  Her recipes are great for anyone with dietary concerns.  Many of her recipes are gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free.  She also includes adaptations to make the recipe (gluten, nut, grain free).  One of the things I love about this cookbook is that Angela doesn't rely on commercially prepared meat substitutes.  She also tells you how to make things for yourself - like almond milk, or vegan mayonnaise. 

The first thing I made, and my snack for today, is the Roasted Chickpeas.  The preparation is so simple, and they are very yummy!  One of my co-workers is allergic to peanuts.  She tried the roasted chickpeas and said that they are a good peanut substitute (she misses eating peanuts).

 
In summary, I'm so excited about Spring because of good food and new recipes! 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Some knitting...

I haven't been doing a lot of knitting.  I still have a few things on the needles - the Custom Fit sweater that only needs the sleeves knit (in the round), the Paper Lanterns shawlette from the January Rockin' Sock Club shipment, and now, a cowl:

I started it Wednesday night, while watching some episodes of season two of Covert Affairs.  I got a Kindle (Fire HDX) for Christmas & have recently discovered how much I love watching shows on it.  I discovered this in March, when I got hooked on House of Cards (and ended up watching both seasons in a two-week span).  Now I'm getting caught up with Covert Affairs.  This is a show that I've watched sporadically over the years.  I decided to start over, with the pilot, and then move through the seasons, so that I don't miss anything.  Plus, I like to watch shows (and read books) in order.

So, last night I cast on for this cowl.  The yarn is from Phydeaux.  *That's pronounced like Fido.  It is a merino/cashmere/nylon blend.  This is a super  soft, strong yarn.  It would show cables beautifully.  I'm loving this yarn!  I got it in a Yarnbox shipment.  The pattern?  Well, it's just one I made up.  I cast on enough stitches so that I could easily join the stitches to knit in the round (I could only find one needle cable, and it's a little longer than I'd like).  I k2,p2 until I was tired of doing ribbing, and then I switched to all knit.  I did do some decreases, because I feel there were too many stitches.  I'll knit until I'm close to running out of yarn (I have two skeins of that yarn), do some more ribbing, and then bind off.

I'm looking forward to some knitting/Covert Affairs watching time this weekend.  Sadly, it's Spring, which means that weekends are now BUSY.  People in PA don't plan many events for weekends in the Winter.  But Spring?  EVERYTHING happens on the same weekend!  I just want to knit and watch Covert Affairs...

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

10 Foods That Belong Together

Here are my top 10 foods that belong together...

1.  Peanut butter and jelly (sandwich).  I took this to school for lunch every day in 2nd grade.  I still love peanut butter & jelly sandwiches.  Black raspberry jelly is usually what I use, but I like most flavors of jelly.
2.  Rice & beans.  I love arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas), but I will eat rice with most kinds of beans.
3.  Grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup. 
4.  Swiss cheese and mustard.
5.  Sauerkraut and mashed potatoes.  This is the New Year's Day "good luck" food here in Lancaster County (along with a pork roast).  Since I don't eat meat, I just eat the sauerkraut and mashed potatoes.
6.  Buttered bread and apple butter.  Yes, I know that's really three things.  In Lancaster County, it's common to have buttered bread (we usually say, "butter bread") with supper.  Apple butter absolutely should be added to that buttered bread.
7.  Soup and crackers.  Some soups require saltines (tomato soup) and some require Ritz crackers (vegetable soup).
8.  Peanut butter and marshmallow (cream) - this combo can be on crackers (Ritz), or on bread, as a sandwich.
9.  Honey and lemon.  I drink this in tea, or just in hot water.  I use raw honey.
10.  Cream cheese and pepper jelly.  Around here, you can get pepper jelly made out of sweet (Bell) peppers, or out of hot peppers.  It's sweet and somewhat tangy.  Spread the cream cheese on a saltine type cracker, add the jelly, and it's so yummy!

There's my list.  What are some foods you like to eat together?

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Reveal

This week's Ten on Tuesday was fun for me.  I've done this type of thing (tell 2 truths and 1 lie about yourself) many times as an "ice breaker" or "get to know you" type exercise (in trainings, staff meetings, etc.).  I usually dislike ice breaker-type activities, but this one I like.  I think it's because I have control over what I let others know.  Anyway, here are the answers to my April Fools Ten on Tuesday:

1.  I was born in Key West - at Key West Naval Hospital.
2.  I did go to three schools (in two states) for third grade.  It was the year that my family was moving from Great Lakes, IL to California.  My Mom & I stayed in PA, with her parents, while my Dad went to CA and got us a house and car & started work.  Then we joined him.  So, I started third grade in PA, then we moved to Long Beach, CA, where we lived for 6 months while my Dad's ship was in dry dock.  After that, we moved to Imperial Beach (San Diego County), CA.  We lived there until I was in high school.
3.  I do not love steak.  I don't eat meat at all.
4.  Summer is not my favorite month - especially in PA.  I hate the heat and I hate the humidity.  I love Fall.
5.  I am an only child.
6.  Neither of my grandmothers knit.  A great-aunt tried to teach me when I was 17 or 18.  She is right-handed and had a really hard time teaching me (I am left-handed).  I have since learned that many right-handed people think that left-handed people need to knit differently.  The fact is that everyone holds one needle in their left hand and one in their right.  So left-handed knitters don't have to knit any differently than right-handed knitters.  Then, when I was in my 30's, I read Debbie Macomber's Blossom Street books, was enchanted, and decided to learn to knit.  I learned by watching an episode of Knitty Gritty that Vickie Square was on.  I knew of Vickie because I had this book.
7.  Like Jack Reacher, the hardest question for me to answer is "where are you from?"  I was born in FL, and grew up all over the country.  We moved every three years or so.  I don't know how to determine where I'm from.
8.  Pink is not my favorite color.  In fact, I very much dislike it.  And don't even get me started on how all things marketed towards girls and women have to be pink!  Blue is my favorite color, although, as I get older I select greens a lot.  The fact is, it's hard for me to pick "favorite" things.  Especially colors.  I like so many colors!
9.  I do not like to talk on the phone.  I am so glad I live in a time where there's email and texting!  I talk on the phone for work, but rarely outside of work.  I believe it's part of being an introvert.
10.  I am so not a project knitter!  I never only have one project on the needles and have many UFO's.  I am a total process knitter.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Ten on Tuesday - The April Fool's Version

Since today is April Fool's Day, Carole came up with a special Ten on Tuesday.  Today, I will tell you 10 things.  Some of them are true, some are not.  Can you guess which are which (or what) ? 

1.  I was born in Key West, FL.

2.  I went to three schools for 3rd grade (in 2 states).

3.  I love a good steak.

4.  Summer is my favorite season.

5.  I am an only child.

6.  My grandmother taught me to knit when I was a child.

7.  One of the hardest questions for me to answer is, "Where are you from?"

8.  Pink is my favorite color.

9.  I love to talk on the phone.

10.  I am a "project" knitter - meaning that my knitting enjoyment comes from finishing a project (before I move on to a new project).

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Ten on Tuesday

Today's Ten on Tuesday post was created just for me.  Well, not really, but it could have been.  I LOVE to read and today's post is "The Ten Last Books You Have Read."  See what I mean?  It could have been created just for me.  Here's my list:

1.  Pack Up the Moon, by Rachael Herron - aka Yarnagogo.  I pre-ordered this book last year.  It came out the week of my birthday, so I consider it a birthday present.  Many of Rachael's stories take place in the quaint (knitter friendly) town of Cypress Hollow.  For the record, Cypress Hollow is where I want to live.  But this book does not take place there.  In fact, it is a totally different kind of story for Rachael.  One of the things I love about Rachael's stories is that she develops the characters until you feel like you know them - or, you want to know them.  This story is no different.  The characters are so real.  Rachael shows us their flaws and we fall in love with them anyway.  This story is sweet, and heart breaking, all at the same time.  It will make you laugh and cry and feel angry.  I finished it in a day or two.

2.  The Amazing Thing About the Way it Goes, by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee - aka The Yarn Harlot.  I also pre-ordered this book, and it also came out in my birthday week.  Two presents!  This is not a book about knitting, but is (funny) stories from Stephanie's life.  So, knitters and non-knitters will enjoy it.  If you read the Yarn Harlot's blog, you already know how entertaining she is.  I read this book straight through, too.

3.  Anne of Green Gables Stories, by Lucy Maud Montgomery.  I read these books in (maybe) elementary school.  I don't have a clear memory of the year, but it was a long time ago, and I always think of them fondly.  I decided to re-read them.  It turns out, I still love Anne!  And, there's lots of knitting in the books!

4.  The Secrets of Mary Bowser, by Lois Leveen.  I loved this story! 
Much of the story was made up, because there isn't a lot of documentation available, but it's a great story that really made me think.  It's about a slave, who was freed.  She was educated in Philadelphia.  During the Civil War, she returned to her hometown in Virginia, as a spy for the Union soldiers.  This story made me want to learn more about the Civil War.

5.  The Scavenger's Daughter, by Kay Bratt.  This story takes place during the Cultural Revolution in China.  I loved this story, and it made me want to learn more about the Cultural Revolution.  It's about a couple who takes in the infant/child girls who have been abandoned by their birth families.  The couple is poor, but they keep adopting these cast-off girls and consider all of the girls to be their daughters.

6.  The Taliban Cricket Club, by Timeri N. Murari.  This story tells about how women's lives change as the Taliban take over Afghanistan.  Again, this was a topic I didn't know much about and the book really made me think.  One of my first thoughts was that some of the things going on in this country, today, are so similar to how the Taliban took control of Afghanistan.

7.  UR, by Stephen King.  A short story, but one that makes you wonder about things, as only Stephen King can.

8.  Mile 81, Stephen King.  Yes.  I love Stephen King, and was on a Stephen King book kick.  Really, I haven't read one of his books that I wouldn't recommend.  He writes stories so well, and he writes more than just horror stories.  When I read his stories, I feel like I'm in them.

9.  The Shining, by Stephen King.  I read this book many years ago (again, I want to say in elementary school).  I re-read it so that I could then read....

10.  Doctor Sleep, by Stephen King.  If you've read The Shining, you should read this, so that you can find out what happened to the characters from The Shining.  This book also touches on the disease of addiction.  Since I work in the field, this always interests me.

I now have a Kindle, as well as having the Kindle app on my phone.  So, I'm never without books.  I do still read actual books, but the Kindle is very convenient.  :-)