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January Is Almost Over
8:19 a.m. - 2014-01-25

We seem to be at the beginning of a drought, but you never really know until after March. I can remember years where it was dry until March and then rained for three weeks straight. Fingers crossed anyway. Knowing that there may be no water makes me wonder if it is worth doing a seed order this year, but hope springs eternal.

This week was the week of knitting UFOs. I had four unfinished sweaters that were completely knitted and sewn together but needed buttons. Three of those now have their buttons but the fourth, a round-yoke cardigan, needs the dozens of ends woven in and some new buttons. I had some buttons picked out for it but now don't think they match very well so I'll have to go out and get some more today. It will be nice to have four new cardigans, but all this button sewing has soured me on cardigans for the time being. It will be pullovers for the next while. I am working on a light blue pullover with lacework. The lacework is being done by hand, and then I will hang it on the machine and do the yoke portion.

After falling off the healthy eating bandwagon over the holidays, I am now back on track. Just this week I lightly steamed a lot of broccoli and eat it for lunch cold with a little mayonnaise and find it strangely delicious. I never was that big a fan of broccoli before. I am trying to have one soup night and one vegetarian night on the weekly dinner menu, and so far there are no complaints from the spouse. I'm also trying out new recipes. The latest was Honey Garlic Chicken from a crockpot cookbook, and I tried it because the author said her kids love it. We found it a trifle sweet and a little strange, so that will not be a keeper. I also got lazy with the cookie baking by using regular recipes and just putting the dough into a big pan and making bar cookies instead of scooping out the dough for regular cookies. In this way I came up with a really good cookie this week. I found some recipes online for peanut flour ( which used to be available at Trader Joe's. In the leaflet online is a recipe for peanut butter cookies that I mixed up and put in a pan for bar cookies. Then I sprinkled the top with sugar and some fancy schmancy gourmet salt the spouse had brought home as a gift one time. Wow, the salt really is great on these, and I'll have to try it again on other cookies. The peanut flour isn't carried by TJs anymore so I just ground up my own peanuts in the food processor, accidentally making peanut butter, but that was OK since the recipe calls for that, too. I found that by adding about 3 T of flour to the food processor with the peanuts, I was able to make the peanut flour.

We are continuing our efforts to declutter. This week I rounded up all my specialty cookie sheets, the ones with fancy shapes from Wilton, along with all the other mostly thin flat baking sheets and put them in a special rack in the newly organized kitchen cupboard. I got rid of a few cookbooks and reorganized the kitchen counter. I have a really old little crockpot that does a great job on oatmeal so that you can start it up the night before and have a nice hot breakfast waiting for you in the morning. The only trouble is that the old appliance does not have an off and on button, you just plug it in and it is on. There is a spark when you unplug it, and that makes me nervous. I installed a small power strip that has an on/off button onto the wall under the upper cabinets and can now turn it off before I unplug the crockpot. Works great and was a really cheap solution. I tried finding a new 1 quart crockpot but they don't make one, and the newer 1 1/2 qt and 2 qt ones run way too hot for overnight oatmeal (it ends up too mushy for the spouse's taste).

We still haven't gotten the desperately needed new shelves for the living room, and books are stacked up all over the place, but A told us that she found a furniture store over on the peninsula that has wonderful, not-crushingly-expensive shelves that might work, so we are going to go over to look them over next month. I would like my living room to look less like a hoarder lived there, but I do love my books. We want to use the lost space between the top of our not-very-tall shelves and the ceiling, and this store makes shelves in many different heights.

So it looks like a busy spring with improvements in store, and hopefully I can get the sewing mojo restarted.

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