Sunday, October 25, 2015

A Cobbled Cowl for a Friend!

So I have been knitting now for about a month! I have finished 2 cowls now and probably could have done more BUT I didn't knit every single day! I finally got the hang of how to hold your yarn with continental knitting so I have literally shaved 3 minutes off my knitting time....I have a tendency to kind of zone out with knitting anyway but it felt like it was taking forever before so I hope I can get much faster but still be efficient! So the first cowl was for my husband BUT I made a mistake for the entire cowl and thus it ended up a little wonky, which is why that one didn't get a debut!Hehe! I guess my only consolation was that I at least made the same mistake the entire cowl!:) So after that I was determined to make another one and do it right this time! My friend Mary Cullinan of Jubilee on Etsy lives in a very cold climate SO I thought I would knit her a cowl to keep her snuggly in the winter!:)(Please check out her shop and blog if you get a chance, there are links to the right! Just click and away you go! Really, she makes AWESOME ceramic and raku beads and little houses that I LOVE!) So here is my first official, non-messed up cowl! I used MadelineTosh Vintage in the firewood colorway and it is very, very pretty. It reminds me more of the woods than it does firewood but I get the name! The pattern was by Annie Riley called Cobbled Cowl and she has some fantastic patterns if you knit! Here is a link to her website: 
She does yarn too! How fantastic is that?!?! I hope to get my hands on some of her yarn soon!:)Thanks for a fantastic pattern Annie! I will definitely be using some more in the future!

So I hope you like it Mary and I hope it keeps ya warm with all that snow!:)

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Hiking Margarette Falls in the Cherokee National Forest

Yesterday my parents came down and wanted to go hiking so we could see all of the leaves changing....sooooo that's what we did! We packed a picnic lunch, the baby sling for my daughter and plenty of water and we were off. We hiked a trail called Margarette Falls that lies in the Cherokee National Forest. It was a fairly tough trail, especially considering that it was up a rocky and steep slope most of the way AND considering the fact that I was carrying my 32 lb 2 year old daughter in a front sling the majority of the way, made for one tough hike! She slept in the sling the last 3/4 of the hike up the hill!:)  The trees were absolutely gorgeous with many yellow maples, red maples and lots of sweet birch trees amongst my favorites. There were lots of tiny waterfalls before we got to the major one at the top but each was lovely in it's own right. When we got to the top, needless to say I was exhausted but the view was absolutely gorgeous! There was a nice breeze blowing from the waterfall and it helped to cool things down! It was soooo very much fun and we enjoyed the time we were all able to spend together. Here are some pictures that I took yesterday with my mom took a lot of pictures too but I will have to get those from her....but for are the ones of our hike! I can't wait until next time!:)
My son Sebastian took these two photos of us on the rock before we started!

The trail before the steep and rocky grade!

At one point my oldest son and I were racing just to have fun! We hadn't gotten to the rocky uphill part yet!

You can tell from the look on my daughter's face that she thought it was GREAT fun! My son took these two pictures while we were racing! Kiri said, "Eat my dust, Brother!"

Margarette Falls!

My boys!

My husband Chad and I and our sleeping baby koala bear, Kiri!:)

Kiri finally woke up after we had come back down the steep, rocky parts and decided to take off!:) She only had to walk for a few hundred feet! Riding in the front pack is apparently the way to go!:)

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Cardamom Coffee

I absolutely LOVE cardamom coffee! Cardamom is one of those spices that always reminds me of fall and it is such a warming and comforting spice. My husband introduced me to cardamom years ago when we first met and thus I fell in love with both. I have used it in breads, dishes and coffee. It can be bought on Amazon or if you live in a bigger city at some local stores. When we lived in Michigan my husband would by it at the Indian markets(also curry)! Now since we don't live in a larger city we have to settle for purchasing it online and sometimes it can be a bit pricey! I always try to wait until the price seems more reasonable...but keep in mind that one 1 lb bag can last for months, especially if you are just using a pinch here and there for your coffee. It is quite a strong spice so how much you use will completely depend on your personal preference. I generally open 4-5 pods and grind it using our spice grinder(but if you don't have one then you can do a quick chop with a knife to break up the pieces) and use 1-2 pinches depending on my mood and then still have some left over for the next day! My husband purchased a milk frother on Amazon as a warehouse deal and I was incredibly skeptical at first and didn't think I would EVER use it to froth milk...Why would I NEED to froth milk for my coffee? That's what creamer is for, right? Well after seeing my husband use it and the layers of frothy goodness that he produced, I of course had to try it myself! I failed miserable the first few times and nearly fell into milk froth despair! However, I have to say I so LOVE the milk frother now and have been able to achieve upwards of 4.5 inches of froth on one very large mug of coffee...yes, I am a milk frother overachiever!:) If you don't have a milk frother, then regular plain old heavy whipping cream or half-half will work just just don't want any extra flavors interfering with the cardamom, although cardamom does play nicely with vanilla! So that being said, let's get to the recipe!

Here is my recipe for a refreshing and warming cup of cardamom coffee!

Cardamom Coffee
Your favorite mug
Instant coffee: I like Nescafe Clasico or you can use your regular coffee
3-5 Cardamom pods
A spice grinder or a knife to chop the cardamom once it is removed from the pod
Sweetener of your choice: I use stevia and a little brown sugar
Milk, Cream or Half-Half
Milk frother, Optional

Open your cardamom pods and remove the seeds from inside(be careful cause they like to jump), grind the pods or coarsely chop them.
Place a pinch or two of the ground cardamom into your cup.(If this is your very first time trying cardamom go on the lighter side with adding the spice! You don't want to overwhelm yourself!)
Add 1 tsp(or two) of instant coffee to your mug.
Add your sweetener.

Then add your hot water(depends on the size of your cup and your particular directions) and stir gently. I usually do 1 tsp for 6 oz of water and 2 tsp for 12 oz and a larger mug!
I usually froth my milk while the Keurig is doing it's thing with the hot water!
So then add your frothed milk, cream or half-half.
Sometimes I like to put a tiny pinch of cardamom or light brown sugar on top of the froth but it is completely up to you!

Cardamom after it has been ground in the spice grinder!

A finished cup of cardamom coffee and the cardamom pods!

Enjoying a cup of coffee!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Daisy Dog: A Warning

Yesterday morning dawned as any other! The day however, turned into a day like no other. I was up early to let the chickens out, let Daisy out and try to get some more nesting boxes made for the chickens. Daisy wanted to come back inside while I was fixing the nesting boxes in the backyard. I was out for about 30 minutes when I realized that I had forgotten something inside that I needed, so I went back inside the house. Daisy peeked around the corner of the counter and I automatically knew she was up to something aka getting into the trash. I caught her before she got too far with it and took the moldy cream cheese away from her. She had taken the paper wrapper as well. I was doing some spot cleaning in the fridge the night before and had thrown away some old moldy cream cheese. Well I don't know if your dog is like Daisy but she LOVES anything icky: chicken poop, anything from the trashcan or a trash bag, she likes to drink out of the toilet! Never in a million years did I think I would have  dog that relished toilet water as their dog bowl! EWWW! So needless to say, we have to keep the lids down, etc. Well back to task! So about 45 minutes to an hour go by and by now the whole household is up for the day. I am still trying to get the nesting boxes finished and my husband is fixing breakfast for the kids. He lets Daisy out again and yells to me in the barn, "Daisy is acting weird! She is trembling all over. I observe her in the yard and she is indeed trembling all over and is having a hard time walking. He lets her back in and I follow back inside. I have a feeling and tell him that I am quite sure it is because she ate the moldy cream cheese. Within a few moments, she begins to have tremors, seizures, panting violently and can't stand up. Please believe me if you have a pet that this is NOT something you ever, ever want to see( nor would you want to encounter this with a human either.) It is a horrible thing for your pet or anyone to go through. She was so scared and so were we...our kids were unsure of what was happening. We knew that the only thing we could do was get her to the vet. We called the vet to let them know we were coming and we were on our way.  I got her to the vets office and they immediately took her back and started trying to help her. I was already crying and was having a hard time keeping it was one of those crying things where if anyone talks to you, you automatically burst into tears again. It took about 20 minutes and finally they got her stable (I was finally stable as well!:)and I was able to go back to a room to talk to the vet. Daisy had mycotoxicosis, It is where a pet or human ingests moldy food(remember that moldy cream cheese?) and the toxins(called mycotoxins) produced by the mold cause a vast range of problems. In Daisy's case some symptoms were tremors, seizures and excessive panting. If untreated it can cause death. They gave her medication to lessen the degree of the seizures but she was still having some severe tremors when I got to see her. Of course I started crying again and I petted her and loved on her. She tried to lick me and then she put her nose under my like a dog to try to comfort you when they are hurting too!:) I told her she was going to be okay and that she had to stay there for a few days so she could get better. I called yesterday evening to check on her and she was doing much better but still having the tremors. She had thrown up 2 times, which was a good thing and had tried to get up and walk around but was mostly sleeping a lot. They have to wait until the mycotoxins are out of her system and it usually takes anywhere from 24-72 hours and in some cases much really depends on how much of the moldy food was consumed and how her body handles the toxin.

I wrote this in hopes that it will help people to be more aware of the dangers surrounding moldy food, so it won't happen to your pet or worse a child or family member. Like I said earlier, our Daisy dog absolutely is one of those dogs that LOVES icky things...the more gross the better and I just did not realize how dangerous moldy foods can be to our pets or ourselves until yesterday. This type of poisoning by mycotoxins is almost always accidental, think a pet eating moldy cream cheese or a child getting in the refrigerator and accidentally eating something moldy. I am probably not alone in saying that I myself have accidentally eaten moldy foods before...bread and cheese! So it CAN happen. So just remember if you have a dog like Daisy that finds ANY way possible to get into the garbage(or small children that don't have that sense of danger), remember to remove any moldy food contents or bags containing moldy food from your house as soon as you can. It most definitely can save a life.

My oldest son, Sebastian made this collage cause he misses Daisy! We lovingly refer to her as Daisy Dinkums!