Saturday, July 31, 2010

The weekend started with a little fishin'

Friday morning we woke up to a very cool and foggy morning, which typically is pretty good for fishing. As mentioned in another post, we decided to return to the regional park we hiked last Sunday because we found a wonderful pond that was stocked with Bass and thought that the boys would enjoy their hand at fishing -something that we haven't done in years. So while I had been up early to get in my morning spin, the wake up call for the boys was set for 6:30am - a time that they haven't had to see in quite a long time. They did "pop" out of bed with excitement for the morning activity without any problems.
As soon as we turned off onto the one lane road that lead up a climb to the park, we left the fog bank behind us and was greeted by the sun and blue sky (that is the interesting thing about the weather here in Northern Cal - it might be cool and foggy where you are, but drive a little ways and the weather can be different).

With fishing gear in hand and a small backpack with water & snacks, we hiked into the park towards the pond. On Sunday, we were told about the pond by the park ranger who also informed us that it was "catch & release"...so we were prepared to leave them behind - if we caught any, that is.

Hiking to the fishing pond
The hike in took about 20-30 minutes. I let the boys go ahead and took my time looking at the surroundings...taking in the goldness of the summer grass and the greeness of the tree leaves. It seems that the cool morning air made this contrast more vivid than the later afternoon sun. I finally caught up with them at the pond.
Dad and Matthew fishing
It took us awhile to get settled - each kid had a pole with somesort of lure, hook and/or bait (we found out that some of the fish did enjoy a good Oscar Mayer hot dog). Matthew was on one side of the pond fishing and Robert on the other - found that this method worked best...keeping the brothers from arguing and crossing their fishing lines. It wasn't too long when Matthew caught the first fish...and then Robert caught the second. In the four hours we were there, it was like a game - keeping score of who caught more and who caught the biggest.
Robert caught 14 fish and largest was about 14 inches.

Matthew caught 7 fish and his largest was about 15 inches.
By 12:00 noon (got there are 8am), the high sun was taking a toll on most of us and so were our rumbling tummies - so we departed the fish pond and headed back to the car...looking forward to getting back home for a nice shower and lunch...popcorn shrimp and fish sticks from the freezer :)

After lunch, a "much needed" shower it was time for the "well deserved" nap...followed by a little stitching.

I hope that you all are enjoying your weekend activities...and until next time, remember:
Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch often!
Lisa

Friday, July 30, 2010

It is Friday - yahoo!


I thought I would start out my Friday post with a status snap of "Eat, Sleep, Stitch", especially the band at the bottom I have been working on this week. The pattern for this (information regarding the pattern can be found on my post titled: Tuesday) does call for all cross-stitches, but I have been having fun playing with some specialty stitches, which might show up in the photo (you might be able to click on it to enlarge if interested). I think that they are called Rhodes Stitch (?).
I have also been playing around with the size of the x-stitches...the majority of the motif-band design was stitched 2-over-2, with some stitched 1-over-1. So, again just having fun using some different stitches, while using some quaker-like motif patterns I have in my stash, to create my own sampler-of-sorts around the inital "Eat, Sleep, Stitch" design.
Did any of that make sense?

So, we find ourselves at Friday...the end of the week and the end of another month. We will say 'good-bye' to July and 'hello' to August over the weekend...and with the beginning of August, the smell of change is growing stronger. Summer camp for the boys will be concluding soon, the first hockey practices will be starting up, paperwork and dues for the upcoming school year will be turned in. And when the sun comes up on August 24th and the school bell rings - summer vacation will be over.

But let's not rush it, for we still have 3.5 weeks left - which we plan to enjoy and make the best of every moment!
I hope that you can find enjoyment in every moment today, tomorrow and beyond.
Until next time, remember:
Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch often!
Lisa

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tuesday

And now onto the week ahead..
We find ourselves at Tuesday already (edited and reposted - post) - the second day of another easy, quiet week. Robert (older son)'s junior camp leader assignment is at the local summer preschool this week - "working" a morning shift, coming home for lunch, and then going back in the afternoon; while Matthew (younger son) attends the local afternoon camp. I go to work in the mornings, while DH is at home with the boys. And NO HOCKEY during the evenings again this week.

With the low key weekday/nights, I have found more time to stitch at home. And while I showed off my finish of "Eat, Sleep, Stitch" over the weekend....well....I have decide to continue stitching on that piece of fabric - kind of creating my own sampler of sorts. Here, take a look at it:
I decided to keep it in the Q-Snaps and stitch other shapes and things around the "Eat, Sleep, Stitch" until the area is basically filled up and then I think I will frame the piece. Using greens, blues, yellows, ecru and a similar pink, I stated stitching from a pattern I purchased at the Jamestown Settlement gift shop during the Wash DC trip (the 8th grade trip I took with Robert & some of his classmates last spring). This gift shop had a small endcap of needlework - predominately sampler motifs...some small designs and some larger ones. According to the information included with the pattern, the needlework patterns being sold in the gift store are representative of what seventeenth century girls in England and Virginia would have stitched...

"Fine needlework was a highly valued skill in seventeenth century England and Virginia. Girls began learning to embroider at an early aga, and by their teens they often became very proficient at this art. Samplers were used to demonstrate their embroidery skills. typically, the sampler had no practical function except as a display item, but samplers would have been present in almost every middle and upper class home. The importance of needlework in seventeenth century Virginia is demonstrated by the large numbers of pins, needles and other sewing related artifacts that have been found at Virginia archaeological sites. The samplers themselves have not survived from archaeological sites, but this particular example, although it is from England, is still representative of the sort of needlework seventeenth century virginia girls would have been producing.
~taken from the insert in the purchased pattern.

This paticular design is a section (one band) from the pattern called "Tree". There are 3 bands in the pattern, but I probably will not stitch it as per the layout of the pattern...just choosing what will fit and look good in this spontaneous sampler I am stitching.

So, there you have it...I hope that you have a wonderful day and until next time remember:
Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch Often!
Lisa

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Heavenly...'til the last crumb!

So, yesterday I posted this photo (here and on facebook) and asked you all what it was...the majority of the guesses were right on as this was bread dough rising. But I do have to give Jayne @ an eye for threads a creative pat on the back - "peanut butter waiting for the rest of the cookie batter...something teadyed....or that old kitchen sponge in bleach." The comment definitely got me rofl-ing :)

What kind of bread dough you might ask...Honey Challah (or egg bread).

So, first a little story about Challah...when I was a little girl eating a braided loaf of Challah on Friday nights was a tradition: but so was having it on special holidays. Growing up there were several occasions when my father tried his hand at making homemade Challah, using the recipe that his Bubbie (yiddish for grandmother) used. The recipe called for the basics of flour, oil, yeast, water and 6 eggs. I would say most often than not, the dough wouldn't rise and we would be eating the sweetest tasting "brick-like" bread. However, when I was in high school, my mother got a new cook book (Cooking for Show on the go) which contained many Jewish/Eastern European recipes that could be made easily (it was kind of like your Jewish potluck recipe book written by the temple sisterhood). So, after my first couple attempts at Challah, I was pretty much awarded with the responsiblity of baking the bread during high school. When I went away to college and had my own apartment, making challah bread was a stress reliever...and when the aroma of fresh bread hit the room...well, it was comforting. So, I did become known in my family for making the challah and there were times that I would make it and FedEx it to family members (it never tasted like it did when it first came out of the oven, but at least they had some sweet homemade bread to enjoy). After awhile, it became such a routine to make the bread that my patience to make it started to wane, and the yeast stopped doing its job...and my bread started to resemble the sweet bricks that I had when I grew up. So, it has been awhile since I made Honey Challah...and I was started to desire to cook and feel the dough in my fingers and crave the taste of the sweet bread.

Here are a few more snaps to share with you, which will show what happened when the rising dough was let out of the rising container...
1. Out of the rising container and knead
2. Divide dough into 3 (to make 3 loafs)
3. Knead each ball again and divide up into 3 again - to make long snakes to braid together
4. Put braided loaf on greased pan to rise again

After the second rise, I brush on some egg whites to give it a shine...if you like you can sprinkly poppy seed or sesame seeds on to it (I chose not to just incase the boys wanted to try it - they are not a fan of the seeds). Put the loaf in a 350 degrees oven for about 30-60 minutes and here is what you might find:


If you are interested in the recipe, here it is...

Honey Challah
1/4 cup of honey
2 pkg of yeast
1-3/4 cup of warm water
2 cups of flour
1/4 Tbs salt
1 cup of oil
3 eggs
6 to 6-1/2 cups of flour
Secret-additional ingredient...a handful of white sugar :)

Mix honey, yeast and warm water together in a mixing bowl and let it sit for at least 5 minutes. Add 2 cups of flour and the salt and mix until well incorporated. Add the oil and the eggs one at a time mixing well in between. Add the remaining amount of flour (tip: I typically use my big mixing machine for making bread, putting all the ingreadients in the bowl and mixing as per the instructions, and then after I add the last part of the 6 cups of flour in, I change the mixing tool to the kneading tool and knead the dough that way for a while until it feels "ready" to dump it out and knead it by hand). And then...for my secret ingredient...and handful of white sugar to give it that added "goodness" :)

Knead by hand until the dough is smooth and put in an airtight container to rise until it doubles in size (about 3-6 hours...I sometimes let mine go overnight). After the first rise...knead again and then form into shapes...let rise for another 1-2 hours and then bake in a 350 degrees oven for about 30-60 minutes depending on the size of the loaf.

Well, because I made the dough on Thursday evening, I was able to knead it and bake it in time for breakfast on Friday morning...by bedtime all that was left of the 3 loaves was the nice one pictured above (which is about a foot long) and this:
This is a photo of the last slice to a loaf that was over 2 feet long...the third loaf (another foot-long) was consumed right out of the oven for breakfast. Let's just say DH and I definitely consumed our carb quota for the next week or so :)
Well, "kiss that slice good bye"...DH just walked in the room carrying that last slice and was finishing it off, as I was writing about it....
Well, thank you for visiting and thank you for your comments on my Eat, Sleep, Stitch finish...I certainally have been following those guidelines this weekend already :) Take care and remember...

Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch often!
Lisa

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday's Finishes

I am FINISHED with work for the week - Yay! it is the weekend!
I FINISHED folding the laundry for the moment - until the kids throw some more in the hamper.
I wish that I was FINISHED with my morning spin, but I still have another hour and a half to go.

..but those are not the real finish that I am excited to show you...
drum roll, please:
I put the last stitch...and attached the flower button I had in my stash to:
"Live Life Simply...Eat, Sleep, Stitch"

As I mentioned, the basic concept for what I stitched came from the Eat, Sleep, Stitch Pattern by Cherry Wood Design Studio...
but I didn't "totally" follow any of the patterns published (see the cover of the pattern above). I started out stitching the pattern for the needleroll using thread color of my choosing...then when the word "Simply" wasn't going to fit on the same line as "Live" and "Life", I decided to center the rest of the words. Lastly, loving the daisy that was included in the patterns, I added that to my creation.
The words and the large daisy are stitched 1-over-1 on 28ct evenweave - using my color combonation. The border is stitched 2-over-2...and the daisy button is my own additon, something that I had in my stash which I thought would be fun to add.
So, now what...how am I going to finish it off? Not sure...pillow? needlecase? try my hand at a flat fold? I am going to have to ponder that one - still...what do you think?

Well, while you and I think about that - here is something I want you to take a look at:

What is in this container?
What is it doing?
Take a guess...and then come back tomorrow for the answer.

In the meantime, have a great Friday and remember
Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch often!
Lisa
BTW...for multi-taskers...stitching and exercising on the stationary bike and/or walking are near to impossible (tried it and the whole generations of frog families came to visit right after I finished my workout). However, simple knitting and exercising, that can work without too much trouble - - - yet, you do have to watch where the ball of string goes so it doesn't fall to the ground and get wound up in the pedal arm of a stationary bike :)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

As mentioned on Monday, with hockey tryouts over and all the hockey camps/clinics we signed up for also complete, we are enjoying quiet evenings at home. Throughout the day...I go to work from 9-1, DH & the boys do their morning workout program followed by some reading and then lunch. The boys still attend their summer camp in the afternoon - which they are enjoying it. In the afternoons, DH is doing a little job searching while I work around the house.

Yesterday I finally made it over to the post office and mailed the ornament I finished for the Ornament Swap - it is travelling to The Netherlands, so as soon as I hear that Conny received it I can show you what I stitched for her. The next mail date is September and the next round of ornaments is for ME :)...yahoo (sorry, just a little excited to be on the receiving end...hope you all will forgive me).

With these quiet-at-home-evenings I have been able to find time to stitch on "Eat, Sleep, Stitch". I finished the daisy and started a green border last night. Not enough of a change to post a photo right now, but I will when there is more progress to share.

Well, that is about all to report right now - just wanted to post a quick status while multi-tasking on my stationary bike before I started to read all of your updates (reading your updated blogs is a very entertaining way to pass time while getting in my bicycle spin in the morning...I definitely thank you for your help!)

Have a good day my blogging friend...and remember:
Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch often!
Lisa

Monday, July 19, 2010

And now we are headed into the "quiet" summer routine

Hello Blogging Friends,
Welcome to Monday. How was your weekend? Mine consisted of hockey tryouts - which went very well! For Robert (older son) made the Bantam AAA team...which is the age division and the level he skated at last year; I would have said "the same team" as last year, but with 95% new kids and a new coach it seems more like a new team within the same age/same level as last year. For Matthew (younger son) made the Peewee AA 99 team...he moved up to the Peewee level this year, for he is 11 years old, but this is his first year at a AA level, or Tier hockey as they call it.

DH and I were very proud of our boys, they both had good skates all three days of the tryout. I only really watch 1 full day - for Friday and Sunday, I played a true "hockeymom" which is doing more of the behind the scenes work (providing shuttle service from home to rink and back so one kid didn't have to sit at rink long and/or was able to sleep in longer and/or was able to get to bed earlier; go to the parent meetings after the announcement were made...basically to sign the financial agreements, etc.).My DH stayed in the rink and watched all the skating sessions and would text reports to me, letting me know how the boys were doing. How did we ever survive with our texting?

With a new hockey season, comes with a new opportunity to volunteer...which I have already stated I would be a team manager of Robert's team this year to help with the paperwork and travel arrangements for the group. Been doing this for so long, it is hard to stop now!

Since the weekend was all about "Eating, Sleeping and Hockey-ing"...to keep my sanity, I did find time to counteract it with some stitching!

If you are familiar with this design (there are 3-4 different layouts noted in this project) - I am not really following any of the layouts designed or really following the colors called for...just kind of using the designs and creating my own thing. After stitching "Eat, Sleep, Stitch" I did notice that my count was a little off and it didn't center perfectly under the other words - but I wasn't too worried because I knew that I wanted to stitch the daisy...even though I had some concern that the white petals of the flower might not show up well on white fabric. So, when it was time to start the daisy, I remembered the DMC overdyed white/ecru color that I used on the Quaker Patriotic Heart, I decided to use that...which I am happy I did. For I love the way the petals are coming out...they kind of look like they have some depth to them...and I love the way the middle of the flower came out. I used a NeedleNecessity overdyed thread that consisted of yellows flowing into reddish color; and I stitched it going around from the outside to the inside creating the effect of outlining it. My plan is to finish the daisy, add some back stitching leaf-like design around it and then stitch some kind of border around the whole thing. So stay tuned :)

As the title says, we are headed into a "quiet" summer routine this week and maybe for the next couple of weeks. I head off to work in the mornings while DH and the boys are home doing their morning routine of: breakfast, followed by some hockey skills practice in the garage for a hour or so, ending with a brisk walk with the dog. Then, after they cool off and wash up, they get in a hour of reading before lunch...then it is off to their afternoon summer camp down the street. And in the evening...we have no HOCKEY! All of the major summer hockey camps/clinics are prior to tryouts - so now that the tryouts for the boys are over, there is a little break until the weekend of Aug. 14 when practices start up. And with school not starting until the 24th of August, we can have a little taste of a summer vacation...just enough that there shouldn't be any whining about being bored.

Take care my friends and remember...
Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch often!
Lisa

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Multi-tasking to a new level

Hello blogging friends, it is Thursday morning and I was able to drag myself out of the nice, warm, comfort of my bed and plop myself on this uncomfortable, hard bike seat of our stationary bike so that I could get in my 2 hours of sweat enduced spin before I have to face the day's activities. As many of you know, I am able to read my emails, update facebook, post to my blog and read your blogs while spinning due to having my laptop stationed on the book platform of the bike (how on earth did you think I managed to spend 2 hours - it would be boring if I didn't get to facebook, email and blog...lol). Anyway, I took this multi-tasking to another level this morning as I decided to photograph the status of my "Eat, Sleep, Stitch" project...
I "plopped" the project on the book stand in front of the computer...and while pedalling, "snapped" the picture (so you will have to forgive the slightly dark and blurry photo...BTW the fabric is white). Call me crazy! - most people do :)

Anyway, I have been able to finish the word "Simply" and "Sleep" as of last night while watching Top Chef. Technically, I am not follow any one of the patterns as listed in the instructions. The one I started to stitch had the words: Live Life Simple all on one line with Eat, Sleep, Stitch on the second and shown it finished as a needle roll or a long pillow. But it didn't look like I was going to have enough room to put Live Life Simply on one line, so I improvised by trying to center Simply and then I am centering Eat, Sleep, Stitch. Once I finish all the wording, I will then determine where to go from there. There is a neat looking daisy on the pattern...but I am not sure that white petals will show up well on the white fabric...anyway, that is where things are at with my stitching.

I took yesterday off from work to spend the day at home with the family. At our local movie theater, they have a special summer program where they run "free" movies on Tuesday and Wednesday at 10am. There is usually a G-rated and a PG-rated movie. This week, one of the movies was "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" a movie only DH & Matthew (younger son) had seen, which I have been wanting to see but too cheap to rent the video or order it on our cable box. So, I took the day off and we went to watch it. With these free movies, you have to show up at least a half hour to stake our your seats. We like to sit in the row right behind the bars so we can put our feet up - which we were able to get being as we arrived at the theater exactally at 9:30am. The movie was as cute as Matthew promised it to be - and we had fun watching it as a family. The rest of the afternoon was spent on catching up on a few household things as well as just plan resting (the boys read and napped, believe it or not. DH and I just vegged out).

In the evening, DH took the boys down to the rink for the hockey clinic they are attending this week (and for the third night in a row, I have had the house to myself - what a blessing). Tomorrow starts tryouts for the upcoming 2010-2011 hockey season. I am sure that as much as I talk about hockey stuff, you all didn't realize that the last season was over back in April...but it was. All the hockey activities since then have been camps/clinics that the boys have been going to - to keep in shape and to continue their skill development in the "off" season and in preparation for the upcoming season. Tryout weekend always promises to be filled with tramas and dramas - most of the issues created by the parents :) Hopefully it will be a easy and fun tryout for the kids!

Today it is back to work for me this morning and back to camp for the boys...and then the last night of the hockey clinic (maybe I will go tonight and watch the boys on ice with my DH). Hope everyone is doing well! Take care and remember...
Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch often!
Lisa

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Eat, Sleep...Stitch

First - I want to apologize to those who thought the frogs came and "attacked" a stitching project...I didn't mean to cause any panic :) Second - I do want to thank you all for the kind comments about the Quaker Patriotic Heart pillow. It was fun to stitch - and felt good to use some of my Hardanger skills that I haven't used in several years. The last time was when I stitched my sister's ring pillow (unfortunately I cannot find a photo of it right now...I hope that I didn't loose the photos when our main computer crashed a couple of years ago). Anyway, on to the next project - for I am procrastinating the bringing out of the MW project (shhh! you might wake her up).

"What am I working on now?" you so kindly ask, well I am working on this:
Purchased last month from http://www.123stitch.com/ when I bought LHN's Monthly Sampler Series "July & August" (the monthly sampler series will probably be my 2011 yearlong project - just collecting the kits this year). I saw "Eat, Sleep, Stitch" and felt that I really, really needed it to counteract the "Eat, Sleep, HOCKEY" that goes on around here 24/7. So, after I finished up the ornament and the pillow on Sunday I got a start on "Eat, Sleep, Stitch"...
(picture taken with my phone camera while biking on the stationary bike this morning...wanted to make sure that I got a shot of my status to show you this morning - just a little multi-tasking occurring at 5am this morning)
I am stitching this on the remaining 28ct white evenweave linen which used for the Quaker Patriotic Hearts -  using my own color combinations...currently using Weeks Dye Works...and stitching 1-over-1 (you can see some of my "playing around" on the bottom...stitching the patriotic hearts in different colors).

We started a crazy week here in my house hold. Robert (older son) started "working/volunteering" at an all day camp this week - working 8am-4pm. He is assigned to this camp this week and then,next week, will go back to working at the afternoon camp Matthew (younger son) is attending. However, in addition to the camp this week we are back to driving to the rink for a hockey clinic - this one is only 4 days and leads up to tryouts, which start on Friday evening and continue through the weekend. Hard to believe that the boys will be trying out for the 2010-2011 hockey season already. Well, I guess that is what we get as we treat this sport as an all year round one.

As I catch my breath, I want to thank you for visiting! Hope you have a terrific Tuesday!
Remember...Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch often!
Lisa 

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Frogs...Frogs...Frogs...did someone say frogs

Well, the only frogs that were seen around here were on our Sunday morning hike. Yes, that is right, before I share any of my finishes with you - you have to deal with reading another one of my hiking stories :)
Today, the family (DH, Robert, Matthew and I) went to the Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park for a morning hike before watching the World Cup Finals started. We hiked 5.4 miles up & down some step hills and through a grove of green Oak trees. Mid-way through our hike we stopped at a little pond...
and anytime you have a couple of boys and a body of water, you have to go exploring for anykind of wildlife. It didn't take too long for the boys to find some small frog & toads hanging out in the deep, shady holes around the edge of the pond (the holes were actually dried cow tracks) - trying to stay cool. Well, it didn't take too long for Robert to catch the first one that tried to hop away...and soon it was a game between the boys who could catch the most. They did let them go into the pond, for it was fun to watch them swim - they were masters at the frog kick, ya-know!

Well, we left the froggies at the pond, for I wouldn't want them coming home with us, and finished our wonderful hike...and we did get home in time to watch the soccer game while eating lunch.

While the boys watched the game, I took the opportunity to finish the ornament for the ornament swap as a circle ornament...and took some photos of it, which will be posted as soon as Conny (the July ornament swap recipient) receives it. Nevertheless, I will not disappoint...here is a photo of my Quaker Patriotic Heart pillow:

That is the front and the back of the pillow.
Here is the top - which is the 2009 Quaker Patriotic Heart Freebie 
 
Fabric: 28ct evenweave white linen
Thread: Red=DMC varigated #115; Blue=Threadworx #1016; White=DMC overdyed #4150; for blue/red border: NeedleNecessities #2152
Specialty stitches (top): Satin stitch border (blue/red) with Rhodes stitch (DMC overdyed #4150)
Specialty stitches (bottom): Satin stitch border (blue/red) with hardanger corners (DMC overdyed #4150) kloster blocks, wrapped bars and dove eyes.

Two finished projects - one shown/shared and the other to be shown at a later date. Now onto an new project, which I will unveil to you in the next few day. Hope all had a good weekend!
Remember...Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch Often!
Lisa

Friday, July 9, 2010

A "Hockey Hike" and a stitching update...

This is part of a trail Matthew (younger son) and I walked last night which is located at one of the nature parks in San Jose. He and I took Robert (older son) down there so that he could participate on a "hockey hike" lead by his coach from last year. Coach John has been holding these "hockey hikes" to give the boys an additional way (versus skating & fitness room) to keep in shape over the summer in preparation for hockey tryouts coming up next week...Coach John has also been using these opportunities for him to get in some exercise, since he is not on the ice as much as he is during the season..and to loose a little weight :)
Robert requested that Matthew & I either walk" in front of" or "in back of" the group...I don't think that he wanted his younger brother or his mother hanging around his hockey-mates (too embarrassing, I am sure). So, Matthew and I basically went off ahead of the group.
So here is my walking partner, before I really made him sweat...see, he still has the smile on his face and the color in his cheeks :) Actually, we did have a nice walk...going about 5.4 miles in about 1.5-2 hours. We did have some periods of brisk walking up very steep hills that took our breath away - followed by scenery that, also, took our breath away!
This was the view from the vista/summit - looking over the San Jose Valley...or some of the "Silicon Valley" as it is also referred to. In the distance you can see the south part of the Bay (the San Francisco Bay) and all the hills that surround this area. It was very beautiful! Once we reached the top, we got concerned as we weren't sure if the path we were on really looped around to the parking lot and since we went out ahead of the "hockey hikers" we didn't know which of the many paths they were going to take. So, after walking a little over a hour, we debated whether to turn around and walk back the way we came or keep plodding forward in hopes that the path would lead to the car. Looking at the sweat on Matthew, I decided maybe we would retrace our steps. We turned around and within a couple of minutes saw that the "hockey hikers" were in front of us running sprints up and down one of the steeper hills (the Coach tends to walk for a while and when he gets up to the top of a hill, he makes the boys run up & down while he catches his breath...good way to work those boys!). With them in sight, Matthew & I figure that we are on the "correct" path and decide to turn around again...well, long story short, after asking some of the passing walkers and joggers, we found the correct path down the hill which eventually lead us to our car.
As you can see by Matthew's smile (yes, it did return...and the nagging feeling of being lost in my stomach was disappearing) we were on the right path and going the right direction to find the car. Along the way we saw a lot of mice and bunnies...
We heard that this week was the "catch & release" week for rattlesnakes, but thank goodness we didn't see any...however, the "hockey hikers" came back and reported that they saw a King Snake. Well, that makes me doubly glad that I didn't tag along with them :)
It definitely was a very nice evening and I enjoyed "hanging with" Matthew!

On the Stitching Front...
I have finished stitching the ornament for the Ornament Swap and will be in finishing mode this weekend so that I can get it into the mail. With the stitching of that complete, I have put some decorative, or speciality, stitches in the Quaker Patriotic Heart I have been working on...kind of making the design up as I go now that the hearts were completed as per the directions. I will have a photo of it as soon as I finish up the Hardanger corner I am doing so that you can see it.

That is about it from here...getting ready to start the weekend which consist of only one hockey obligation. Have a great day and weekend and remember....
Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch often!
Lisa

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Summer Vacation: 4th of July-the last day

Yesterday was the last day of the 4 day weekend and, as predicted, we just really vegged at home and got some things done around the house. First thing in the morning, DH took the car over to the shop to have the brakes looked at. Instead of me driving over to pick him up, he decided to walk home (which is about a 4-5 mile walk...not too bad). While he was walking, I got breakfast around for the boys so that they would be finished and ready to do their hockey shots in the garage when DH arrived. Then it was time for the walk up the hill with Bruno (the dog)...which I took the camera on, so here are some photos from our vantage spot.

So, basically this is about all we do up at our vantage point...look around at the houses below (ours being one of them) and look at the surrounding hills and spend some quality time with Bruno, the dog.
Bruno...the 85 pound mutt we got from a rescue center over 7 years ago. He is a mix of retreiver, shephard, terrior, collie...you name the breed, he probably has a little in him :) According to the vet, he is a healthy senior citizen right now and we have seen some changes over the last year; like being a little slower on walks and, lately, wanting to stop and roll in the grass. Once we finish viewing 'the world' from our vantage spot, we grab a snack...
and head back down the hill to home.
The rest of our vacation day we spent at the house...DH & the boys played an interactive game on the computer while I stitched more on the ornament for the Ornament Swap: got all the stitching done...thank goodness, I was loosing my patiences with the Krenik blending filament - it really does enhance the ornament, but it does take some patiences. All I have left to do is back stitching and then finishing it, which shouldn't take too much longer. Later in the afternoon, DH picked up the car, which received new brakes (yikes-$$) and stopped at Lowe's on the way home to pick up a new garbage disposal to install as our 10-year old one died.

Now, we are at Tuesday, July 6th...the 4 day vacation is over and we find ourselves at the beginning of a new week. This morning I go back to work and the boys go back to camp. Robert (older son) starts the new week out as a Junior Leader at the pre-school camp, which he has enjoyed the last two years. He will be volunteering there for the next 2 weeks and then he will go back to helping out at the afternoon camp that Matthew (younger son) attends. This week we have a little break from the evening hockey clinics, but Robert is still going down to San Jose tonight and Thursday evening, where his Coach from last year is doing a "hockey hike". He facilitates hikes at different nature reserves a few times during the summer - making the boys run sprints up & down the hill, while he climbs up. By the time he makes it to the top, the boys have run a great deal :) DH is taking Robert down there tonight and I will go down on Thursday evening.

Well, that wraps up another edition of Hockey Mom's Stitchin' Hobby. Thank you all for visiting and reading about my 4-day holiday weekend. It was truely a wonderful weekend and I am glad that you came by to share it with me. Have a great week and remember...
Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch Often!
Lisa


Monday, July 5, 2010

Summer Vacation: 4th of July weekend-Day 3

I hope all my US blogging friends had a good 4th of July holiday...and all my blogging friends had a good weekend. We are certainally taking advantage of a weekend without any hockey obligations - which has been filled with fun, love and laughter...and yesterday was no exception.
OPTIMISM is a HAPPINESS magnet.
If you stay positive, good things and good people will be drawn to you.
~Mary Lou Retton
Once again, we followed what has become known as the "morning routine" yesterday morning - everyone getting in their exercise and their hockey shot practice. The plan was to drive over to Half Moon Bay for lunch at our favorite: Sam's Chowderhouse and then to settle at a beach there or maybe even travelling further up the coast to another beach we haven't been to. Starting out from our house around 10:30am, we had clear warm weather already...assuming the same for the coast everything for "a-day-at-the-beach" got packed up in the trunk of the car except for sweatshirts.

Leaving a little later than typical for a drive to Half Moon Bay, concern regarding traffic is always on our minds; for after crossing over the San Mateo Bridge you eventually end up on a divided road (basically a one lane going our direction) which usually backs up quite a distance the later you start out. And it did. There was traffic...it was backed up...and moving like an inch worm.

Thoughts of a crowded restaurant and a crowded beach started swimming in my head. I could feel the anger building - about leaving so late - and resentment of having to wait for "the guys" to finish their morning routine, while I was done; because I have been "forced" to get up earlier and get mine overwith. But I took a deep breathe - exhaled - took another...the smell of the eulypticus trees filled my lungs reminding me to "...relax! It is vacation time!" With the boys entertaining themselves with their iTouch games, DH & I were talking over the plans for the day...check in at the restaurant first. Even with the traffic, we were OPTIMISTIC that be able to get up there around 11:40 or so, which is still a little early for the main lunch rush. Well, we did arrive there and while they were busy, we put our name in for a 20 minute wait...not too bad...and the food was pure heavenly, made our tummies HAPPY. For if you ever find yourself in Northern California and have a craving for a good Lobster Roll, which was voted as one of the top 5 sandwiches on the Today Show, or just great seafood, you have to go to Sam's Chowder House!

During lunch, we were bummed as the fog hadn't lifted by the coast and the temps were in the mid50s...not great for playing on the beach and definitely not good for getting in the water. And...we forgot sweatshirts for the boys. So, throughout our enjoyable lunch, Robert (older son) was negociating the purchase of the $45 Sam's Chowder House sweatshirt in order to go to the beach in Half Moon Bay (he is the one that should go to law school!) Since I had done a little research on the beaches around this area, I knew that there were a few more State Beaches north of Half Moon Bay - all of which we had never been to and might be interesting to drive to. It couldn't be any cloudier or colder than it was where we were...so by the time were were overly stuffed with good seafood, bread and salads, I stated my idea of getting back in the car and heading further up Highway 1. Pointing out on the maps I had in the car, there was Montara and Pacifica up there...and as we started to drive North, I could see blue sky...so I was OPTIMISTIC that we would see some sun if we went to one of the other beaches. It was on the Pacifica Beach, where HAPPINESS over took "the guys" as we found the beach to play at, where the sun was shining at the warmth of temperature was wonderful!

(Again, I apologize, as we left the camera in the car so we didn't have to worry about leaving our spot if we would take a walk on the beach...so no photos.)
This beach was filled with local families celebrating the holiday and surfers...for the waves were perfect for the sport. Robert and Matthew brought their little swimming pool kick boards in hope to slide them along the surf...but it just didn't work like they had hoped. They would throw the board down into the surf and then do a belly flop on it when the surf when out...only to stand up laughing with a sore belly. It was comical. After several tries, they surrendered their kick boards for a frisbee. Playing frisbee in the ocean didn't last too long, as they came back empty handed and got the soccer ball. This provided a lot of entertainment and enjoyment- for you throw or kick the ball into the ocean and the waves bring it back. They also played in the sand and jumped in and out of the waves for quite a while. This beach proved to be a fun place! Around 4pm, we packed up our belongings, cleaned off the boys and allowed them to change into dry clothing (which they had to do the "old fashion way" with DH & I holding up towels while they stripped off their wet items and put on their dry items by the car in the parking lot. This proved to be a very comical experience, which caused loads of laughter and sometimes dropping of the towel).

We arrived back home around 5:30pm - the boys showered while I quickly fixed them a little dinner. After showering off myself, we all congregated in our little room to watch "Grease". I worked on my Ornament for the Ornament exchange and the rest of the "guys" played games on the multiply laptops/computers we have in this room. We relaxed this way, until it was time to climb the hill to our vantage point to see if we could spot any fireworks around the city. We took the dog with us so that he would be able to get in his evening walk. Some of the neighbors were setting off their fireworks inthe street, which Bruno (the dog) didn't really like and seem to coware over to me when the big ones exploded. We were able to catch some of the big displays in neighboring cities, but mainly just enjoyed the night air and the twighlight sky. It was a wonderful way to end a wonderful holiday.

Today is the last day of our 4 day weekend. I think that we will probably just find ourselves staying home...I think that we are sort of beached out, tired of eating out and have some things around the house that need attending to before we start the back to work/camp routine (like getting the breaks on DH's car looked at and buying a new garbage disposal for the one that died over the weekend).

Take care my friends...and thank you for reading about my family weekend. Remember...
Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch Often!
Lisa

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Summer Vacation: 4th of July-Day 2

The real joy of life is in its PLAY.
Play is anything we do for the joy and love of doing it, apart from any profit, compulsion, or sense of duty.
It is the real living of life with the feeling of freedom and self-expression.
Play is the business of childhood, and its continuation in later years is the prolongation of youth.
~Walter Rauschenbach

Saturday, July 3 started off very similar to Friday..."the guys" got up and ate their breakfasts; made their beds and got dressed; went outside to practice their hockey shots and puck control; and then we all went for the daily walk up the hill. The morning routine was just a little more leisurely this morning as we were all a little tired from playing on the beach Friday afternoon. In fact, the boys developed a painful sun burn on their lower backs (fyi...best if mom or dad applies sunscreen on kids; kids tend to miss areas on eachother and then suffer later). Yes...while they were very nice to eachother on Friday afternoon, assisting the other with the application of sunscreen on the back -  well, you can tell the areas they missed :(

So, what would our plans be for Saturday you ask, since we all were home and had no committments? Well, the boys decided that we would go see Toy Stoy 3...
and DH decided that we would grill something (I alway keep a variety of proteins in the freezer, ready for spontaneous family meals) and have a family meal at home in the evening. With the plans set, I took out a bag of frozen scallops and 3 chicken breasts and put them in the refrigerator to thaw...and then we were on our way to the movie.

Well, if you haven't seen Toy Story 3...I recommend it!...and bring a box of tissues, too. True to Disney's and Pixar's movies, we all were drawn into the story line pretty quickly. Especially since Andy, now 17 years old, is getting ready to go to college and his mother has asked him (several times - for they never seem to want to do anything you tell them to do the first time you tell them) to go through his stuff and organizing it into boxes/bags: "trash", "college", "donation", and "attic". After some sighing, Andy starts going through his stuff and eventually gets to the Toys - with decisions made a mix up occurs and that is what most of the story is about ...how to rectify the mistake. The tissues are needed at the end, when mother comes into Andy's bare room to say "good-bye" before he heads off to college. But right before he drives away, Andy heads over to a little girl's house to drop off the box of toys to the new, "approved" owner. And right before he departs her house, he stays...and PLAYS...holding on to his childhood a little longer.

DH and I were in tears...and Matthew (younger son) was crying, too.

Back home, we had the afternoon to relax before dinner - DH stayed downstairs to try and finish a book he has been reading and I went up to my needlework perch ('my special place' on the couch) and worked on my Ornament for the Ornament swap. A part of the ornament is stitched using Krenik blended thread, which takes some patience - meaning no distractions; so since I had a couple hours of peace, I decided this was a perfect time to PLAY with the blended thread. The boys also took this opportunity to read.

Dinner was very nice and simple to throw together. With the scallops, I marinated them in a citrus-balsamic sauce and put them on skewers with some apricot halves. A bite of grilled apricot and scallop together..."yummy"...pure heaven. It is fun to take time and PLAY with your food.

After dinner...a trip to the grocery store for DH & I for he was looking for some ice cream sandwiches (for a summer holiday weekend is not a holiday unless you have ice cream...something that we learn in our childhood). And the boys took out their Legos (something that they haven't done in a long time) and PLAYED together until it was time to get into bed.

Now we are starting Day 3...and it is the 4th of July.
Happy 4th of July...Happy Independence to you!
Only TIME will tell where we PLAY today. So, stay tuned...but remember:

Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch often!
Lisa

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Summer Vacation: 4th of July Weekend-Day 1

What do I want to take home from my summer vacation?
T I M E.
The wonderful luxury of being at rest.
The days when you shut down the mental machinery that keeps life on track and let life simply wander.
The days when you stop planning, analyzing, thinking and just are.
Summer is my period of grace.
~ Ellen Goodman

With my office closed for the holiday weekend, no camp for the boys and no hockey clinic...the 4th of July summer vacation weekend started off on a good note yesterday; though it did take me a little while to "chill"! The night before, we decided that we were going to go to a beach for the first day of our holiday weekend...so, I basically got up and got going; I was on the "get around" mode so that we can be on the road early. Well, I was the only one with that mentality as DH & the boys were on their typical summer schedule which has become their morning routine:

8:30am - eat a leisurely breakfast, get dressed, make beds
9:30am - go out into the garage and practice their hockey shots & drills
10:30am - take the dog for a walk up the hill, to enjoy some apricots right off a neighbor's tree while enjoying the view of our city
11:30am - "ready to go" for the day

Since I have typically been leaving the house around 8:30am to go to the office, I have not been around to observe the "morning routine" and, nor, did I realize that the "guys" were going to do the FULL "morning routine". So, all prepared to go with the basket of towels, sunscreen & books pulled together and a grocery bag packed with a change of clothing and the bathing suits...I was ready to go. Mumbling under my breath all morning at the thought of getting to the beach after noon...I stomped around the house muttering "how stupid it was to leave the house so late in the day to go to a beach in the middle of the afternoon, only to have an hour or so to veg before having to drive all the way home."  Nevertheless, I did take time out from all the stomping and mumbling to enjoy the walk up the hill with the guys & dog...and did enjoy the ripen apricot off the neighbor's tree - now I am officially part of the Apricot Club and, during the walk, felt the layers of resentment peel off allowing relaxation and the enjoyment of being with the family start to sink in.

Around 11:00am (the boys cut some of their routine short), the dog was back in his "house", the car was packed and we all hit the road and headed northwest to Stinson Beach (this beach is located near the famous Muir Woods on the famous Highway 1). After about an hour and a half...and 15 minutes of severe twisty-turvy, narrow roads that Hwy 1 is famous for...we stopped to take our first look of the Pacific Ocean and our destination below (and to give Matthew's & my stomach a little rest from the windy, twisty, turvy of the roads)


You might be able to see the windy road on the first photo...we still had some twisting to endure.
We finally got to Stinson Beach and stopped at the Parkside Cafe for a bite of lunch. Matthew's stomach settled enough to enjoy some penne pasta "plain" with the marina sauce on the side; I enjoyed an organic green salad with mangos, goat cheese and roasted almonds; Robert had the fish-n-chips and DH enjoyed a fancy juevos rancheros. While enjoying our lunch, we decided to stay at Stinson Beach...for the true plan was to head a little further up the coast to the hidden town of Bolinas and plop on the beach there (the city of Bolinas is very interesting - it is like an old hippie town; and the locals don't really like visitors, so they have a habit of taking down the sign on Hwy 1 that points you to the city). Stinson Beach looked very inviting and not as crowded as you might expect for the beginning of a holiday weekend (I guess it was only Friday afternoon).
With the boys adorned in their bathing suits; the towels, sunscreen and books in our arms, we headed to the beach.
To the "left" was the People ONLY side...to the "right" was the Dog Friendly side. Even though we were sans dog, we decided to find a spot on the Dog side and veg out. As soon as the spot was picked, the sunscreen was applied and the towels laid out - the boys ran for the water allowing DH & I to veg-out with our books.
It was truly a wonderful afternoon! I enjoyed reading some of my book, "Amazing Grace" by Sherryl Wood, relaxing in the sun and watching all the people and their dogs. DH & I also enjoyed a long walk together while the boys dug a deep hole in the sand (I am sorry to say that I do not having any beach photos, for I locked the camera in the car so that we didn't have to worry about leaving it on the beach). We were so relaxed and had so much fun, that we were surprised to look at a clock and find out that it was 5pm. After 4.5 hours on the beach, it seemed like a perfect time to depart and head back.
DH had me drive home, as I drive like a "grandma" on the windy-twisty-curves; which made the drive back a little more comfortable for all those who have weak stomachs :) And Matthew even said that he enjoyed the ride back better than the drive there :)
Since both boys fell asleep on the ride home, we decided just to do dinner there instead of finding another restaurant to eat at. This was a perfect idea, as it allowed everyone to get home and showered before eating.
Before bed, we walked up the hill again...with the dog...and perched above our little city. From this vantage point we watched the last of the twighlight darken into a starry sky while enjoying the 4th of July firework display the Alameda County Fair does for Independence day. It was a perfect way to end the first day of our 4th of July holiday.

BTW...I came home with these:

Sand-Quarter, Sand-Dime and Sand-Pennies...guess the bad economy has hit the beaches hard too :)

Enjoy your weekend and remember...
Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch often! Lisa