Shawl + Strawberries

+ little boys + flowers

All good things.

I finished up my Gotland shawl, got it blocked, and will now tuck it away until I figure out who needs it (Beatrix says that she does, but I’m not sure.)  It turned out a little smaller than I expected, but is still very pretty.  The pattern is called the Lonely Tree Shawl and it was a very quick, fun knit.  The Gotland yarn was great to work with, unlike any other yarn I’ve used.  It has a luster that is just lovely, and a really nice drape.

It’s strawberry time at our house and I’ve been making these yummy strawberry shortbread bars.  I started with this recipe, subbed butter for shortening, and omitted all the sugar, subbing maybe 1/4 cup of maple syrup, maybe not even that much.  I have made them with a couple of different gluten free mixes rather than regular flour and then added the oats just as called for.  For the filling I use strawberry chia jam, which is surprisingly very good.  The recipe is from The Grain-Free Family Table.  Lightly mash 10 oz fresh strawberries with 1 Tablespoon honey.  Let sit for about ten minutes then add 2 1/2 Tablespoons chia seed + 1 Tablespoon lemon juice.  Chill for at least 30 minutes.  Use this jam instead of the applesauce called for in the recipe for the bars.

My kids were skeptical about whether or not these would be edible considering that I only used a little maple syrup rather than the cup of sugar the bars call for, but then I couldn’t keep them out of them.  I really like them too!

small things

20140614-DSC_177420140614-DSC_177820140614-DSC_1821 20140614-DSC_1919Job has gone from sitting to thinking about crawling so quickly.  He’ll be on the move soon, but right now he’s surprisingly content sitting on the floor with a few toys.  I’m going to a homeschooling conference this weekend, and my original plan was to leave Job with Jonny and the rest of the family, and have him brought to me for nursing sessions here and there.  I think that he may be happy to sit with me while I attend some of the lectures though, so I’m going to try bringing him along.

The bookcase that I painted a month or so ago has made it’s way into the kitchen sitting on one side of the fridge, while the chicken wire painted hutch (same color) is on the other.  I like this arrangement right now.  I try my best to keep the top surfaces free from clutter, but as you can see from both the bookcase photo and the hutch photo earlier this week, it’s a losing battle.  The aquarium is gone now though; it’s temporary snake resident was released a few days ago.

I made millet tabouleh for the first time in ages recently.  I think my recipe originally came from my friend Summer:   Toast some millet (go with a 1 cup increment) in the oven, and then cook it on the stove-2 parts water to 1 part millet.  I started with three dry cups of millet, you might not need quite so much!  I simmer it on the stove (without a lid) until all the water is absorbed, then fluff it with a fork, let it cool a bit, and then refrigerate.  Meanwhile, chop veggies:  tomato, cucmber, green onion, and some parsley.  The dressing is simple:  per dry cup of millet add the juice of one lemon along with a couple tablespoons of olive oil and some red wine vinegar to taste.  And of course salt and pepper.  That’s it.  Looking at one of my photos above, I see a big sprig of mint on the table next to my tabouleh.  I didn’t add mint to the salad, Seth was making some sort of coconut oil fresh mint concoction that day that ultimately made him sick….

After taking Keats along with Seth and the girls for their golfing date on Monday, our friend Mike commented that Seth and Keats are like oil and water.  It’s true that they’ve never really gotten along, and I don’t think they would mind my saying so here.  I’ll refrain from pointing my finger at the child whom I think is to blame for the relationship failure though.  As they are getting older, I am finding that they do, every now and then, find something that they can do together without fighting for a few minutes.  I’m always very grateful when that happens, even if I realize that one of them shouldn’t be playing because his chores or schoolwork aren’t done.  I find myself tiptoeing away during their rare moments of camaraderie.  I truly hope that one day these two might be great friends, and we’ll come back across this old blog post and laugh at how silly they were as kids to fight so much.

Jonny and I are still having so much fun with our bees (Although I haven’t been carrying my camera down there.  I need to!)  There’s lots of exciting stuff going on in our little apiary as the result of the swarm a few weeks ago.  The nervousness I was feeling around the bees a couple of months ago has passed.  I think it was more related to my mental state at the time, than it was the actual bees.  We have a little three compartment “queen castle” set up in an effort to raise a couple of queens from extra swarm cells that we pulled from the hive that swarmed.  I only filled two of the compartments though, leaving the third empty.  I can hardly type the name of the insects who have taken up residence in that compartment… cockroaches.  I don’t mind telling you that I have a cockroach phobia.  I can hardly handle the bees in the other two compartments, knowing that there are roaches scurrying around in the other, even though I keep the lid on.  Jonny opened it the other day, telling me to use the empty space to put things while I was working and I had to just walk away from the whole scene.  I’m not afraid of bees with stingers, but cockroaches are TERRIFYING.  Thankfully the queen castle is a very temporary thing, and those bees will be moving soon.

Speaking of bees, Wanda sent me a surprise earlier this week.  “This fabric made me think of you,” she wrote.  My knitting is very happy I’m sure to be residing in a honeybee themed project bag.  I love it.