Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Homemade Granola

I am not sure why, but I have not made homemade granola in a long time. Maybe because when I make it, I can't stop myself from eating it. My house smells wonderful! I wish you could smell it.

Cooling off a bit in the oven a bit.

I played with my recipe a bit when I made this batch. If it turns out well, I'll type up the recipe in case you are interested. For now, I'll tempt you with these photos...

Dinosaur bathcloth

For my coworker's boy to make bath time more fun! Mrs. W and her family recently went to "Walking with the Dinosaurs" (it's a big production which travels the country if you haven't heard of it). Her four year old son is now obsessed with dinosaurs... so much so that I think OBSESSED should be in all capital letters... too cute! Both sides look equally nice!

Back to crafts

I've been a travel blogger lately, haven't I? I mentioned in a previous post that I did not knit on vacation. Instead I did some crocheting. My mom has been keeping me well stocked in yarn for dish/face/spa cloths (Thanks, Mom!), but I got inspired to make some mesh bags with the colorful cotton yarn. I intened to make a few bags to bring to the grocery store. I figure if I make a few of these, that will eliminate some of the plastic bags the grocery store has to give to me each and every week. Good for the environment! I don't do enough good for the environment, but small things add up. Just think, if I use three fewer plastic grocery sacks each week, that adds up to over 150 plastic bags a year. Very cool! So far I just have one grocery size mesh bag completed (peach colored Lily Brand "Sugar 'n Cream" cotton yarn).

So you can see the texture a bit better... I put a white napkin between the two layers. Same bag... color looks so different in each photo due to the camera's automatic flash.

I got a little creative on the next bag... but I do plan to make more grocery size bags. This one is smaller in size and would be great for bringing lunch to work. Also would be good for small knitting projects (such as socks) or maybe carrying suntan lotion, sunglasses, and a paperback book poolside at a great resort in the Caribbean.... oh, excuse me... I just got side tracked there
dreaming about going on vacation again... silly me! Maybe it was the bright orange, yellow, and white cotton yarn which got me thinking of sunny, tropical destinations?!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

My souvenir from Moab

Posting about my cute M&M mug got me to thinking I wanted to tell you about my souvenir from Moab! This is my "dirt shirt"! It's actually a hooded sweatshirt with a zipper in the front. It presumably started out as a plain white sweatshirt, but has been washed and permanently stained from red dirt from Moab. This is a photo of the back of the garment.

You be the judge... look at the dirt at the base of the rocks... looks pretty darn authentic to me!

We saw similar garments featured on the show "Dirty Jobs (with Mike Rowe)" on the Discovery Channel. Apparently, they make similar shirts with red dirt found some place in Hawaii.

M&M's World in Las Vegas

M&M's World is wildly popular!

Cute murals on the wall as you go up the escalator.

Mugs in all shapes and sizes and colors... depending on your favorite color.

T-shirts, pajamas, even leather jackets with M&M's characters and logos.

The wall of M&M's. You can pick plain, peanut, dark chocolate, almond... in whatever color or color combination pleases you.

I had to go to M&M's World twice when we were in Vegas. I know Disneyland is supposed to be "the happiest place on Earth" (that's what the sign says!), but one step inside of M&M's World makes me beg to differ! Four stories of everything related to M&M's... how can you go wrong? In all the store, would you like to see the treasured souvenir I selected? Here it is... I am enjoying using it every morning... I am partial to peanut M&M's and my FAVORITE color is yellow...

My Favorite things about the NY-NY Hotel and Casino

We really enjoyed the restaurants and the ESPN Zone at the NY-NY Hotel in Las Vegas. There are family-friendly things to do in Las Vegas, but it takes some effort to find them and get to them. We picked this hotel because it included an ESPN Zone, which is something we enjoy in when we visit bigger cities such as Denver and Chicago. Here are hubby and son at the football game... the football version of a batting cage. You throw footballs at moving "targets" which are shaped like "receivers." They are plexiglass shapes (which resemble human forms) which move back and forth and you have to get the ball through the circular cut-outs to score points. We all played this game and enjoyed it. Zach scored a 111 which is great. I took these photos when he scored 111. Later in the day, he scored 113, but I did not have the camera then! Darn it! He was very proud!

These three photos show the food court area at the NY-NY Hotel. It is indoors but made to feel as if you are outdoors. There are even parking meters next to the tables. We especially enjoyed the Starbucks in the morning, Krispy Kreme donuts, Fulton's Fish Frye, the NY style pizza, and I had a great Reuben at Greenburgs Deli! Did I mention... we ate horribly while on vacation! I snapped these photos in the wee hours just before we left, but ordinarily this place was bustling... made for some fantastic people watching at night time.

New York-New York Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada

"The Brooklyn Bridge" outside the New York-New York Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, on the Strip.

I have so much to share about our recent vacation; I hardly know where to start. I posted about Moab, Utah, yesterday... so today, I'll tell you a bit about our time in Las Vegas. We stayed at the New York-New York Hotel and Casino. The nightly rate is not too bad, but there are so many other ways to part with your money in Las Vegas! We reserved a room with a view of the strip for a bit extra. Here are some pictures of the view from our room:

We were just across from my favorite place in Las Vegas... M&M World. Four stories of everything M&M! Will post more about that another time! The M&M sign is really cool at night... all lit up with blinking lights!


We were directly across from the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino. Also, the NY-NY roller coaster was literally right in front of our room on the roof of the hotel! When we went to sleep at night, we could hear the roller coaster rumbling and also the screams of the folks riding the roller coaster!

Yep, my son and I were brave and rode the roller coaster one evening when the Strip was all lit up. I am not a fan of roller coasters and pretty much had my eyes closed most of the time. But I wanted to be a trooper for my son. I am glad we did this in the evening. I felt pretty green afterwards and went to bed! My husband bought us some ridiculously big strawberry dacquiris as a treat; he gave it to me a few mintues after we stepped off of the roller coaster. I had about four sips and called it a night. (Ridiculously big strawberry dacquiris in the casino are $16.00 just in case you wanted to know! They are similar to a 7-11 "Big Gulp"! Crazy, huh? Such a waste! And a ride on the roller coaster... $14.00 per person! Yikes!)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Delicate Arch

Delicate Arch from a distance... I was amazed I could spot it from so far away. (Click on photo to enlarge).

Here's a "zoomed in" look. Now I bet you can see it!

Some more photos from Moab

Snow on the peaks in the distance in early morning light.

Broken Arch.

Clouds shortly after sunrise.

I enjoyed these metal sculptures at the Visitor's Center at the entrance to the park.

Early morning light.

We enjoyed hiking here.

We learned these pools of water are teaming with life which lies dormant when the water dries up.

Balanced Rock. Our last morning in the park was cold, windy, and cloudy.

Great early morning light.

Back from vacation

The morning sun was nice... I like the dried foliage in the foreground.

Just returned from a Spring Break family vacation. Spent time in Moab, Utah, and Las Vegas, Nevada... a little country life and a little city life. We decided we are more Moab people and not so much Las Vegas people. As Dorothy would say, "there's no place like home!" and we are SOOO happy to be home. They say, "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas"... well, the bathroom scale doesn't agree! I tell ya, it's difficult to eat healthy when you are on a road trip like this. I started eating french fries in Grand Junction, Colorado en route to Moab (the grilled chicken sandwich I ordered was terrible... but, boy-oh-boy, the A&W rootbeer and fries and the fried shrimp my son couldn't finish sure were good! It was all down hill from there!). I ordinarily don't eat fried food, but I made up for that over the past several days! My body has let me know it doesn't appreciate the change in diet, so today (in addition to doing piles of laundry), I stocked the refrigerator with healthy eats and spent the better part of the day cooking up a storm. In case you are wondering, I did not knit the entire time I was on vacation; however, I did spend a bit of time crocheting! I will post more about that later. I have so much to share about our trip so each day, I plan to to post a bit about some of the highlights over the next several days. My photos from the trip came out great and I am excited to share them with you. The Arches National Park in Moab, Utah, is amazing and it turns out March is a great time to visit! Let me start with a few photos and I'll post more over the next several days! I tell you, it's hard to takea bad photo in Moab... it's so beautiful there!

A pool of water in a rock... shaped like a fish.

One of the two "Windows."

Two "Windows" side-by-side.

Sand Arch.

Park Avenue.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

25 blocks complete!

I actually took these photos on Thursday before I did so much work (duplicate stitching) on the Happy Anniversary block and Son's block. I am still working on layout which is turning out to be much more difficult than I expected. I have been working on this project since October 2009. I am actually kind of sad it's coming to an end. I would like to get a quilt rack (like folks might put at the end of a bed) and this is actually the corner of our great room where I'd like to display the afghan once it's all done. If you click to enlarge either of these photos, you might see the purples and greens in the wallpaper in the background.

Son's block is nearly complete!

This is the "Socks, Socks, Socks, Socks" block from the Great American Afghan. It was my inspiration for my personalized blocks.

Son's name, date of birth, weight, and time of birth. Yep, he was a big baby!

Duplicate stitch was fun and pretty easy once I got going. It's a great way to add color or personalize a project. I am sure I'll use it again in the future. My plan is to make a pair of little socks or baby booties to stitch onto the block like you see in the "Socks" block pictured above. I'll be working on the socks/baby booties next... then it will be time to start stitching this afghan together. I am also exploring options for a border to go around the entire afghan to bring it all together.

Happy Anniversary block is complete!

Here is our Happy Anniversary block. Yep, we've been married for 19 years this month!

This week's knitting was pretty much consumed with learning and doing "duplicate stitch". It's used in the "Socks" block in the Great American Afghan, but I pretty much took the idea and ran with it. I've used this block to make two personalized blocks for my Great American Afghan. Like cross stitch and needle point, duplicate stitch is worrisome because you don't want the backside of the project to look cruddy. Some of my work looked good on the backside, but some really made me unhappy. Here was my solution:

Since the back side looked rather sloppy....

I made a small rectangle with matching yarn just large enough to cover the offending area...

Then stitched it down.

I can hear the ladies in my knitting group saying I am being way too fussy, but my fear is that when I launder this afghan, the duplicate stitching will unravel. I want this project to last for decades.