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I have a confession: we eat out a lot. Some months more than others, but its overwhelmingly more than we should be.

I did a very unscientific poll elsewhere online because I was curious as to how often other people ate out. I didn’t know if maybe it was just me, or if there were others out there that ate out a lot.

The very unscientific results? Most people seemed to eat out only once or twice a month. Us? 12 times so far this month alone. And that’s not counting the other night that I hit the coffee shop up and had a hot tea and a slice of bread as my dinner.

This eating out business is obviously affecting my waistline. And my budget. And my overall energy level.  The thing is – I love to eat. And I like to cook. But… on most nights I get lazy and we either eat crap processed foods, or we eat out. Neither of which is really a good alternative.

SO! I present to you, the Fail Better Farm Get Cookin’ Challenge!

The game? To cook and eat in every day for the entire month of November. Absolutely no eating out. This means planning ahead if you know you’re going to have days where you’re busy and are going to want to eat out because its faster/easier. I know we all have those moments where something comes up, or something runs over, and we haven’t had time to eat. Those are where our weaknesses are in our house.

How to play: If you want to join in on this challenge with me (come on, you know you do!), link up your blog below and let others know you’re playing with us. Then, once a week, make a post about the challenge and share what you did that week for meals. You can include recipes and photos, or you can just write about it. Then come back here and share the link to your blog post letting all of us know how you did.

I’m working on trying to come up with some sort of prize to give away to one lucky participant. Perhaps a jar of homemade apple butter?

Get started now! Leave a comment and link your blog to sign up!

A little shopping adventure

Yesterday the husband and I took a little shopping adventure to Lehman’s to see what it was all about. They have this massive store in Ohio in Amish Country and I’m not going to lie – I was pretty overwhelmed. There was just SO MUCH to look at. And there were so many people there, which made navigating to see everything worse.

Part of me loved the place, part of me hated it. I did find the Tattler canning lids I’ve been wanting to buy so I snatched those up. There was definitely a lot of interesting things there. But, like I said, it was very overwhelming. A lot of things that I wouldn’t buy or couldn’t buy. I think part of it was that I didn’t have a plan set before I went to the store – I didn’t have a list of things that I wanted to get that I could find there (except for the canning lids). There were things that I’d love to someday have… but there was a lot of just… stuff.

The biggest score of the day was at their Outlet store located right behind the main store. It was this tiny little shop that was just some rows of shelves piled up with things for sale. It reminded me of going to a Goodwill in that its just a mix of everything for sale. But, lo and behold, I found the thing I’ve been wishing for ever since I had to stand and peel all those apples by hand a few weeks go: an apple peeler/corer! The peeler was marked down to $10 simply because it was used (which… I don’t understand. You can’t return most items to most stores once they’ve been used unless they’re broken, but this one is perfectly fine…. but, I also shop at the Goodwill so I’m not one to shy away from used things so whatever). But then I got up to pay at the counter and it rang up as $5 – HELL YEAH! Now next year when we go apple picking I won’t have to hand peel all of them. And next year I think I’ll get a full bushel now that I’ve got this.

Also, there was a spinning wheel sitting there. In the outlet. Right in the middle of an aisle – which excited me greatly!  Until I started to mess with it. It was a Green Mountain wheel… but this one wasn’t working. Someone had been messing with it and had taken the flyer out of the maidens so I set it back up. Getting that back on was difficult, and then I tried to treadle it… which wasn’t happening. It was difficult at best. Also… and I didn’t pay 100% attention to this because I knew I couldn’t take it home with me anyway… I’m pretty positive the price tag on it said $400-something for it and it had a broken leg (which that may have contributed to the treadling issues). A new (unbroken) one is $500… so a broken one seems hardly worth $400-something to me.

 

Anyway.

The rest of the trip was overwhelmingly disappointing. The view on the drive was nice, but we drove down to Berlin to peruse some of the local shops. Sadly it was a lot of the same stuff. A lot of shops selling primitive decor. It just all looked the same to me no matter what shop we were in. There was a shop labeled as fabric, scrapbooking, and wool and I got excited thinking maybe I’d find some yarn. I always look for yarn when we go on trips – I like bringing back a skein or two with me so I can knit something up to remember the trip by. They only had a small corner of it, however, and it wasn’t anything I couldn’t already get at my local shops. Disappointing 😦

I think next time we decide to make a long-distance trip that direction we’ll stop by some of the other areas (Sugarcreek, Walnut Creek, etc). If I remember right, the last time I was there (a loooong time ago) it was less busy and some more interesting shops. And probably get a hotel and stay the night, because the drive time there and back was reallllllly long. And long drives without being able to knit (damn my tendencies to get car sick so easily) makes it kinda torturous.

I got nothing. Except this quilt.

I was a huge slacker this weekend around the house. Sure, there was garden work to do. And there might have been winter prep to get started. But did I do any of that? Nope. Instead, I worked on finishing this. A baby quilt for someone (not me). It’s really imperfect. The corners don’t match up perfectly in the center. And the bandannas weren’t even close to being perfectly square after I washed them. But I had already bought them and washed them and was determined to just make do and use them anyway, crappy sewing skills and bad fabric choices be damned. Because babies don’t care about any of that, right?

This quilt is 4 bandanna squares for the top, a layer of white flannel for whats supposed to be the batting and a layer of the crosshatch flannel for the back. There’s no binding around the edge, I just sewed it all up and turned it right-side-out and then tied yarn all over it to hold the layers in place. I have no idea how to properly quilt – the few attempts I’ve made have turned out pretty bad. Warm, but bad. And binding? How the hell does that work without looking wonky?

On a Thursday

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There’s rain gently falling and cars whizzing by the house splashing through the puddles. I have ivories at my fingertips, a glass of wine, and a house to myself.

And I can’t play worth shit. I’m lucky if I can even remember how to read the sheet music that used to come so naturally to me. But I try anyway.

Woolly Heaven

198 Yards of Heaven, to be exact!

This is such a pretty shawl. It doesn’t use a ton of yarn, and since its worsted weight yarn it comes out nice and warm. I knit an extra repeat of the first chart and cut the edging short. This one goes in a swap I’m doing so I don’t get to keep it. But I’m pretty positive I’ll be knitting myself one later this fall/winter. A lot of the shawls I’ve knit have been a sport weight or lighter, so it’ll be nice to have something warmer to wrap myself with in this drafty old house come winter!

My new obsession

I’m not sure how, exactly, I came across this site today. I tend to have an obscene amount of browser windows open at any given moment covering a variety of topics. My attention span is short, lol.

Anyway, so I found this place and I immediately fell in love. Its a website dedicated to archiving important/influential American cookbooks from the late 18th-early 20th century. I always love reading/learning about how past generations lived. I love reading about how they lived, worked, ate, made do. It’s always interesting to read the same advice that stands the test of time – live below your means, don’t be wasteful, etc.

The first one I downloaded was “The Frugal Housewife, Dedicated to Those Who Are Not Ashamed of Economy.”   It immediately captured my attention within the very 2nd paragraph with the following: “‘Time is money.’ For this reason, cheap as stockings are, it is good economy to knit them. Cotton and woollen yarn are both cheap; hose that are knit wear twice as long as woven ones; and they can be done at odd minutes of time, which would not be otherwise employed!”

How smart! As a knitter, I already grasp the concept of making use of free moments. I can’t just sit and watch TV or a movie at home – I have to knit at the same time. I just can’t sit idly – knitting while I watch means I’m still being productive in some fashion, even if my knitting isn’t really a necessity (because let’s face it – those of us who knit do it for the pleasure of it, certainly not because we have to to have socks and sweaters!).

I can’t wait to read through all of this one I’ve downloaded and explore some of the cook books and their recipes!

Picnic

The weather this weekend was absolutely amazing. Warm and sunny, but with that perfect fall feel to it. That scent in the air. Perfect weather for a picnic in the park.