Saturday, September 24, 2011

Completed Project

I completed a project this morning. While I was busy packing I decided to take a quick break and finishes cabeling this scarf. The scarf took me about a week to complete. It has a full cable down the middle and is entirely hand knit with 100% merino wool. The wool is from a small herd of sheep in the Catskills and was purchased at their stand at the Union Square Farmers market in Manhattan. This is the first thing I have ever knit for myself! I love it and can't wait to bundle up and for it to keep me warm this winter!



Friday, September 23, 2011

The Love of my Life

I just don't express it enough, but the fact is, I have one amazing man whom I am deeply in love with. In the last two years he has given me a wonderful marriage, baby, and a new home for us. I couldn't be happier and more in love with him. So, tonight, my little blog post is for you, Joey :)



Tuesday, September 13, 2011

We have a winner!

Congratulations to Alycia Hennis, winner of the wool soaker giveaway! I will post pictures as soon as Alycia has picked the Leaf PEEper color she prefers and I have completed the knitting.

Thanks to all who entered. Check back soon for another giveaway!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

What's for Dinner?

Well, at my house it's flat wraps filled with amazing veggies, hummus, and a hint of cheese! To make a yummy wrap follow these simple steps (but do remember that not all wraps are created equal - try and stay away from the white flour tortilla type): Spread 1-2 tablespoons of hummus on wrap (I used Sabra Classic hummus on a flat, whole wheat wrap made by Damascus Bakery) Grate 1/2 cleaned and peeled cucumber on top. Add 1/4 cup fresh, chopped tomatoes. Top with a small handful of leafy greens (I used a baby spinach and arugala mix). A sprinkle of fresh shredded cheese. So perfect for a quick, inexpensive dinnner! I haven't worked out the pointsplus yet, as I have switched to the simply filling plan on weight watchers but I would hazard a guess of about 6 pp, using this brand of wrap. Enjoy!

It's a Giveaway!




As we prepare to move and our lives are changing in so many ways, I thought it would be wise to start monitoring traffic on this blog and see if I can begin to build a following - maybe with our move I will change the Brooklyn Clothesline to the Isle of Long Clothesline! So, in such an effort, I've decided to hold a giveaway!



I will process a drawing on September 13th, 2011 for one of my hand knit, Leaf PEEper diaper covers. The cover is made of 100% pure merino wool. The hand knit leaves that are knitted onto the cover are made of 100% acrylic. This is not a concern for diaper wearers, as there is a layer of wool beneath the leaves. You can wash and lanolize as usual. I will also include a surprise gift with the giveaway! You may choose from green, orange, or brown as your main color, and several different colors for the leaves. I will customize the soaker to fit your baby!


In order to enter, please leave a comment below. If you like, tell me why you love cloth diapering and/or what you love about wool!




I will use a random number generator to select a winner. Winner will be announced at 3pm on Tuesday, September 13th, 2011. Good luck and thanks for visiting!

Projects

Monster Longies. Pattern courtesy of Hrönn Jónsdóttir. Her pattern is easy to work up and would take a beginner knitter just a couple of weeks to work - assuming you are just doing a little a day. As a "beginner" knitter myself, these longies were easy to knit up, but I am a rather slow knitter, and relatively new to circular knitting (these being my second circular knitting project). I would imagine a more experienced knitter would be able to knit these in just a few days. The pattern can be found on infobarrel by clicking here. Additionally, Hrönn has a Ravelry account where you can find the original pattern.
This next project was quite easy. I found the free patterns on a lovely Blog called Natural Suburbia. Linda's patterns are very easy to follow, well written, and simply wonderful. Thanks so much for sharing your patterns, Linda. You can go directly to Natural Suburbia by clicking here. Linda has so many wonderful patterns. I also made a small apple and pumpkin for Michael to play with.
My own little masterpiece(s). Here is Michael sporting a fall wook soaker. I named these soakers "Leaf PEEpers". They are made of 100% merino superwash wool, with the exception of the leaves, which are knitted from acrylic yarn and knitted onto the soaker, not knit in intarsia.

Looking forward to sharing more projects in the near future!

A Very Happy Baby

Since my first mobile to blog entry worked so well, I figured I would go ahead and give it a go with a picture. Here is my very happy baby, playing in his room, in his favorite "outfit" of a cloth diaper and leg warmers. This has been his "uniform" so to speak, for the last few weeks. So comfy in warmer temps and the leg warmers help protect his crawling legs!

School Days

I figured since I am up and have some time to kill I would test my mobile to blog feature and write a bit this morning.

As I drove to the car dealership to drop the car off for service I noticed something quite interesting. So many stops as I drove because children were being picked up by carpools in private mini-vans and SUV's. No doubt filled with eager children - excited, nervous, happy, scared but ready for their first day of school. It made me think of two things. The first thought that came to mind was that this sort of site is quite familiar to me, as I was raised in the suburbs where more children were driven to school in cars, than those whom rode in buses. A very interesting sight, as most schools are neigborhood schools and are within walking distance. Even in my own hometown and little village it was common to see at least several dozen children slowly making their way, by foot, to school; myself included as my age permitted it. Of course there was always the line of SUV's in front of the school dropping off one or more children. Just an interesting
observation, I suppose.

My second thought was more of a feeling. How I miss the excitement of a new school year. Even in college, I can still remember the first day, of my last year of grad school. I remember telling myself how this would likely be the last "first day of school" I would ever have, as myself as the attending student. School days make me think of fall, cool weather, school holidays, new teachers, and new friends. I remember most of my first school days and must say that I got a bit teary thinking of the next time I "experience" a first day of school. Yes, that day when Michael first steps on a yellow school bus and leaves the comforts of the home we have made for him and enters a whole new world of learning and discovery; it is both incredibly exciting and scary at the same time. But, I've got five years to prepare myself for that, althought I know that's simply not enough time.

In other news, unrelated to school, I have been busy working on knitting projects and trying to mentally prepare myself for our move. I'm so excited about starting our life together in a new home and waiting on the closing has been a true test of my patience - of which I have very little of.

If all goes well I will post some pictures later today of my recent projects and of course, my beautiful, growing little boy.

Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Almost ready to move...

I have this overwhelming feeling that in about 10 days our lives are going to become very, very busy! So, for the past week I've been busy wrapping up projects, making lists of things to do, and trying to really enjoy our last days living in Brooklyn. I completed my first pair of Monster Longies (wool pants) for Michael, as well as two more fall inspired Leaf PEEpers wool soakers (diaper covers). This week I will try to finish up a pair of longies I am making for a friend and wrap up a scarf I started a few months back. Pictures to come of all the projects.

I was able to finish a few small acorns and leaves for my aunt as well, and hope they will be a nice surprise and welcome sight in her home in sunny Florida!

Cloth diapering is coming along well, despite a minor setback. When we originally decided to cloth diaper, I had ordered a dozen Charlie banana diapers from Zulily. It took weeks for them to get her, but that was fine because we needed time to build up more diapers. In that time I was able to acquire about a dozen more diapers. When the CB's arrived, much to my disappointment, I realized they did not fit Michael very well. Since I had prepped them and washed them, I could not return them and worse yet, I was out 12 diapers in my rotation. So, back online I went - stalking my favorite brand in the hopes of scoring more coveted Ragababe diapers, and buying a few other brands to try out. I am happy to say we now have 16 diapers and one more on the way. Ideally, I would like to have 30 so I have plenty for a three day rotation.

Finally, our days have been getting nicer as cooler weather approaches and we can finally head outside and enjoy cool breeze and sunny skies. The sweltering heat of the summer this year was not favorable for outdoor activities with a small baby in tow. So sadly much of our summer was spent indoors in the air conditioning.

I will post again soon, hopefully shortly after we move into our new place. We've had a set back in the closing date as the seller was not ready back in august, so we are all finally ready to move forward. Mikey is anxious to play in his new room and I am very anxious to start our new life in our new home!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Lots of Changes




Here it is, August, and I promised myself I would update my blog more frequently, but it's been a very busy few months for us.

At the end of May we began looking for a new home, as we have outgrown our old home and the little space we had was becoming smaller and smaller with a growing baby. We expected to be in the "hunt" mode for a long time; however, we were very lucky to find the perfect home for our growing family and we were in contract by mid-July.


Since then it's been a waiting game, waiting for search, survey, home inspection, etc. Finally, we are approaching our closing date of August 15th and we are very excited to be movng forward. Although I am sure Joey is much more apprehensive about the move as I am; my feelings towards moving do not all come with positive thoughts. I am, of course, nervous about how we will fit into our new surroundings, intimidated by moving to a completely different area, and getting to know brand new people. But with those feelings come obvious excitement. A 2 car garage with garage door openers, brand new appliances, a beautiful new kitchen to cook and create wonderful things for our family, an inground pool (which makes me more nervous than excited, especially with a baby that just began crawling); modern amenities that I've not had before and I am excited to see how they add to our lives.

The community we are moving to is much different than living in the city, and part of me believes it will be lacking some of the conveniences of which I have become accustomed. However, I do believe that this is where we were meant to be at this point in our lives. We carefully selected the area based on school district ratings, home values, parks and recreation, and proximity to airports and the city.

So, as our closing date quickly approaches, we have been busy bees - organizing, packing, scheduling movers, changing our address with businesses and banks, etc. Amongst all the busy work we have, we've also made a change to the way we care for our little baby - we've switched from disposable diapers to cloth -and we are very excited about it!


We still have not moved to cloth full time, as all of our diapers have not arrives yet, but we have a good stash so far; a mix of BumGenius Elemental, Charlie Banana, Fancy Pants, RagaBabe, and Sustainablebabyish/Sloomb. I've made a few wool soakers for the cloth inserts and I plan to make more, as well as some longies for winter. I also picked up some Nellies Laundry Soda, Bac-Out, a planet wise wet bag and pail liner, and Nellies dryer balls. As soon as we have settled in the new house in a little over a week, we will move to full-time cloth diapering.


There are still a lot of unknowns as we enter this new phase of diapering, but we are excited about it and truly feel we are doing the best thing for our little guy. A cost savings down the road would be great as well, although I'd have to have bette control of my diaper obsession spending first!


That's all the news from our front. Over the next few weeks I am going to update the blog with pictures of our new place, along with our experiences with cloth diapering.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Bye Bye Winter, Hello Spring!




This week we are officially, at least in our home, saying goodbye to winter; we are sick of cold weather and ready for a new season. I've decided to start a new tradition for our family.


Recently, while surveying our cupboards and panty, I noticed that I had a lot of leftover beans, lentils, frozen veggies, tomatoes, and other foods that could be used to make a lovely soup - the last soup of the winter, so to speak. I love making, and eating, soups in the winter, but I don't enjoy them as much in the spring and summer. I thought that by starting this tradition, we could usher in the new season by using up all those leftover canned goods, and frozen items that accumulated throughout the winter, and to make room for all the spring and summer goodies that come only with warmer weather!


So, while doing inventory, I came up with a recipe for a beef minestrone soup. The following is the recipe for the soup I created using ingredients I found in my kitchen. On the flipside, I follow the weight watchers PointsPlus program and have included the PointsPlus (insert trademark here!) value for a serving. I should note, for legal purposes, this soup is not endorsed in any way by Weight Watchers or any of it's entities. Now that I have that out of the way, here is the recipe:


Elizabeth's Beef Minestrone Soup

1 large can of crushed tomatoes

1 can of green beans

1 can chick peas

1 can lentils

1 frozen container (about a cup and a half) of peas and carrots

1 lb ground beef

4 beef broth cubes

2 cups water

2 cloves garlic

2 onions (I used one small spanish, and one large vidalia)

1 teaspoon of Olive Oil

2 cups cooked macaroni (or other small pasta)


NOTE: If you do not have these specific ingredients, its ok to be creative. Really, any bean will do! If you have kidney beans, use them! If you have black beans, or cannelli beans, use them too!! (Soup without Macaroni is 3 PointsPlus per 1 1/4 cup servings. Soup with macaroni is 4 PointsPlus per 1 1/4 cup servings.)


Prep: Spray a non-stick pan with cooking spray. Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Dice onions, and pulverize garlic. Place onions and garlic in pan and saute on medium/low heat until just before translucent. While the onions saute, boil 2 cups of water. Add beef bouillion cubes. Dissolve and stir.


Strain and rinse all beans and veggies. Place in crock. Open can of tomatoes and add to crock. Add beef to crock. Add broth to onion mixture on stove. Stir. Add onion and broth mixture to crock and stir. Cook on high 4-6 hours. Season to taste. I added freshly ground garlic salt and pepper. If you want to add macaroni, simply cook macaroni al dente, and add to soup before serving. The prep on this recipe takes about 10 minutes.


Can be served with the following recipe for fresh, country white bread. I like to toast this bread and smoother in fresh, local honey. But the bread goes with EVERYTHING and once you make it once, you will never use another white bread recipe again!


White Bread Recipe

2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C) '

2/3 cup white sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/4 cup vegetable oil

6 cups bread flour


Directions: In a large bowl, dissolve the sugar in warm water, and then stir in yeast. Allow to proof until yeast resembles a creamy foam. Mix salt and oil into the yeast. Mix in flour one cup at a time. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Place in a well oiled bowl, and turn dough to coat. Cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Punch dough down. Knead for a few minutes, and divide in half. Shape into loaves, and place into two well oiled 9x5 inch loaf pans. Allow to rise for 30 minutes, or until dough has risen 1 inch above pans. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes.


Enjoy and Happy Spring!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Happy Easter!






As a child, we had the most wonderful holidays. This was mostly due to the hard work and creativity of my parents. Easter was one of those special holidays where it was always less about the presents and more about being a family, enjoying spring (even on those rare snowy ones) and dressing in our best Easter outfits. When I think back I can recall several special Easter's where my memories are so clear it's as if it was yesterday. I remember Mom making us the best and prettiest dresses, and going to spend time at Grandma's where we would look for Easter eggs and just have good old fashioned fun. But, it was not always easy for my parents to make holidays happen without us knowing that our family may have had less in the way of finances and for what it's worth, we never really knew until later in life how our parents struggled.

My mother would work extra jobs to buy us nice things and my Dad would spend his weekends, literally, in the swamps, trimming down pussywillow bushes and hauling them back to the minivan, to later trim, bundle, and sell to a dealer at the Broadway Market. On Easter Sunday, our traditional and often times antique or handmade baskets, were filled to the brim with the best chocolates from local confectioners. We would race downstairs to seek out our baskets that the "bunny" had hidden about the house and he always found clever places to hide them. One year, after searching all about and feeling quite defeated as my siblings had already found their baskets, my big brother pointed one small finger up to the ceiling. There it was, my basket was hanging from an old beam in our 100 year old house. I never noticed it, as my Mom had always displayed baskets from the beams.

Sadly, so much of this type of holiday fun is taken for granted by so many. But, not by me. I understand the sacrifices my parents made to ensure we had the best holidays and best memories of home and family. I consider myself very fortunate. I hope that by realizing these sacrifices and having such wonderful memories, I will be a better parent myself. I want my own children to have wonderful, special memories of their holidays as well as their every days.

This Christmas passed and, due to Michaels early arrival, I was barely able to make a dozen Christmas cookies. I excused myself from it this year, but next year will be different. This Easter Michael will have his own antique Easter basket, just like I had. He will have pictures taken with pussywillows, peeps, and his basket - of course dressed in his best Easter clothes. He won't remember this Easter, but I won't ever forget it. My little one is growing fast and it's these times that I want to remember most so I can tell him all about it as he gets older.

I think Easter is a great time to reflect and remember that being thankful doesn't just come at thanksgiving. It comes at all different times in our lives, and this Easter is definitely one for us.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Daylight Savings Time, St. Patrick's Day, and Spring!


In that order! What I would like to know is, when I get to save some time? Interestingly enough, over the last few days I've read several articles relating to helping your children cope/deal with the time difference. Really? I don't remember daylight savings time affecting me, when I was a child - but maybe that's just me. However, as an adult, and for the first time as an adult, springing forward didn't just mean losing an extra hour of sleep - it meant losing an hour to tackle projects that are in desperate need of attention. For example - some "new" antique crystal glasses my mother bought for me as a gift still sat on my wine refrigerator, weeks after they were delivered! I had not sanitized the baby's bottles in over a week - instead I was washing thoroughly, letting them soak in hot, soapy water, and then washing and rinsing again (I think it would have been easier just to stick them in the micro-sterilizer). I also lagged behind on work, repacking Michael's diaper bag with a fresh, fitting outfit, and organizing his clothes, yet again. Those are just *some* things off the top of my head that I could have partially tackled in that lost hour. Shucks!


Moving on, today is St. Patty's Day, and I've neglected my blog, yet again! But here I am, entering a very hurried blog so that I can share a few pictures and then get outside to enjoy....


SPRING! Because it has sprung here in Brooklyn, and I intend to enjoy today as much as possible! Leaving you with a picture of Michael dressed in his St. Patty's day green polo and "cheers" headband. I hope you all are experiencing wonderful, warm weather and have a bit of Irish luck on this very beautiful day!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

He has arrived!


He was 2 weeks early and caught us a bit off guard, and I am posting this almost 5weeks later!
Michael Anthony Dagostino was born on December 13 at 11:53am. He weighed 7 lbs, 2 oz, and was 19.25 inches long. He is the most amazing baby! He sleeps well, eats well, and is all smiles already!

I had a relatively easy labor and delivery - about 13 hours of labor and only about 15 minutes of pushing and he was here. A nice end to a very easy pregnancy - hopefully I will be just as lucky with subsequent children! We arrived home two days after delivery and I had about 4 days off before I started back to work. Tonight marks my last full day of work until the end of March. As much as I love my job, I am so happy to be able to have some Mommy and baby time, finally!
Michael is truly a joy to have and we are so grateful to have such a wonderful addition to our family. My husband is over the moon and absolutely in love with his new buddy!
Will post more soon, when things calm down a bit here.