Yarn Geek Vacation!!

If you remember, I recently talked about how I was asked by the group Halos of Hope to allow them to use one of my crochet patterns at this convention.  When I told them that I wasn't far away and would love to make a trip there, they asked me to come and sign patterns, answer questions, etc.

I've always been a big believer of giving back where you can.  For the past 15 years, I've been growing and donating my hair to Locks of Love.  I recently made my 5th donation, bringing me just under 7 feet of hair donated in my lifetime.


This year, one of my big goals was to crochet or knit for at least 24 hours (not necessarily straight) for charity.  I made a total of 21 hats for a total of 21 hours of charity crochet time!  (It takes me roughly an hour to make one hat, depending on size and difficulty, and several hats were brand new patterns that I haven't made public yet :)  



 Here's a peek at some of the hats I donated.....

And the whole stack before getting bagged up to go!

So this weekend I made a quick trip to Illinois with these hats for Stitches Midwest, which is an annual Knit and Crochet convention in Schaumberg.  My goodness, let me just say it is truly yarn heaven.  

I met with a super sweet gal named Laura who showed me my way in, provided me with my pass, and led me slack jawed into the convention center.  We went to the Halos of Hope booth, where I handed in the hats that I brought to donate (43 of them between myself and two wonderful gals that I work with) which was met by a very large cheer.  They were keeping track of how many hats had been donated, and cheering whenever they got one.  (So much fun and so much enthusiasm!)

I had so much fun!


 All the beautiful hats they brought and were donated.  Mine is the teal hat in the front! :)


 Some of the lovely ladies working the booth :)

 Someone spotted me taking pictures... :)

Here I am in the booth.

And next to the sign advertising my Pattern signing!

I met many wonderful people, advertised the cause for Halos of Hope and had a great experience.  

After the signing, I ventured out into the market.  I wish I had taken a picture of every single booth.  They were all amazing!  There were so many unique yarns from indie dyers, buttons and pins for shawls and garments, bags of unspun wool, books for sale, and hooks galore.  Here are some of my favorite scenes in the Market:

The Stitch Red organization's booth:  They're a great group that raises money through stitching to combat heart disease.

Love love love these dyed and unspun materials!  They look fantastic!

 Aisles and aisles of yarn and other supplies.

Some more fantastic unspun yarns.

Lion Brand!  {love}

Just look at all these fantastic yarns!

All in all, it was a great experience!  I've never been with such a large group of yarn enthusiasts and I may very well be addicted!  I can't wait for next years convention!!!

Saturday Savings- Free Sesame Street Happy, Healthy and Ready for School

Now that you've had your breakfast and your coffee... lets start thinking about school!  It's coming rapidly and before we know it, the kids will be off and learning.

This is my daughter's first year of Kindergarten.  As a mother, I hope she's prepared, excited, won't be afraid, will do well, will listen, won't cry, won't make me cry, and many other mixed emotions.  Well, as a parent, we all have responsibilities to our children to give them the best opportunity possible.

Thus one of my favorite Freebies today is from the PNC Grow Up Great program.  As you all know, I've talked about this program, and if you've had children that watch sesame street, you all know the program as well.  They have a very nice module for parents called Happy, Healthy, Ready for School and it has a video, activities, a workbook and a magazine for mom and dad.  There is also a Math Is Everywhere kit, which also has activities and a magazine.

These are great resources for a parent to make sure that their child is headed on the right track for school.  If you're a parent, you should definitely check it out today!

Sesame Street, Happy, Healthy, Ready for School Freebie!

Pizza (or anything) Pockets {Recipe}

So both of my kids seem to love anything that has pockets, or that has to do with pizza.  One day, I was willing to experiment with both and so we had fun with it.  This is what I did to come up with our delicious pockets:

We started with two tubes of already made Pillsbury Pizza Thin Crust Pizza dough.  This made 8 pockets, and each were a decent size. 

We started by cutting the roll of dough in half.

We set aside one half and unrolled the other, and then cut it in half.

I had all of our ingredients pre-chopped and on a tray ready to use.  I did this the same day I went grocery shopping, so this was fun, I grabbed little bits of all the produce that we would use in the days to come: 1/2 a pepper, one little floret off the broccoli, a handful of black olives, half a zucchini, 3-4 mushrooms and a half a tomato, and some spinach.  I also used a can of pizza sauce, and opened up the alfredo sauce we would use the next day in fettucine alfredo (incidentally, my husband made that, and also threw in some of those mushrooms and zucchini and it was fantastic!).  We also had pepperonis, mozzarella cheese, and some diced chicken I bought to top off salads with.

We spread sauce on half of the dough (pizza sauce on left, alfredo on right)

And then topped the sauce off with all the toppings.

then, fold over the dough, and take a fork and press in all around the edges to seal.

I then also took a basting brush to my margarine tub...

And gently brushed over the top of the pockets to help them turn that wonderful golden brown color.

Don't they look delicious?

They were golden brown and crispy all over after about 7 minutes in the oven set at 425 degrees.

This next picture they had started to cool so the cheese wasn't as gooey as it was when they first came out, but they were wonderful!

My favorite combination was Alfredo Sauce, Spinach, Tomato, Broccoli, Black Olives and Cheese.  Nom!

Overcoming obstacles and unleasing my inner Super Woman!

Hello there.

It's been a while.

Lately all I've had time for is to quick post tutorials or patterns, and haven't really had time to myself or to think about all the things I've been doing.  So hello again, my friends.   Let me share a recent triumph of mine with you.

In the month of July I rode 359 miles.  Out of those miles, 42 were done during RAGBRAI (Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa) from Cedar Rapids to Anamosa.  When I decided to start to get in better shape, I decided to try cycling.  I snagged my ole Huffy 10 speed out of my parents storage shed and took it for a spin.  It didn't take long for me to decide that this was my thing.  I love it.  But I digress.  RAGBRAI was an awesome experience, and one that I am sure that I will repeat again, and again, and again.  This year, we formed Team Pansy Pants, which consisted of 12 awesome people who both rode and drove, and ate and drank together.  We climbed hills, we felt pain, and triumph together.

Yep, that's my team full of dorks showing their muscles.  :)

 and here I am ready to start!  Lets get this show on the road!

This isn't too far in, but there I am waving at the camera happily!  (I know, I'm an idiot)

I had to pose with Herky!  And yes, I know there's chain on my shirt.  

Halfway through and still going strong!

I won't talk about the food, since I know that my good friend Adam, a fellow blogger from Adam Does It and 101foods, will certainly want to take that one, but I do have to say that I had the BEST pork chop of my life at this gigantic pink bus that served them out of coolers filled with juices.  I might have been starving, but i remember it as being this delicious drippy delicacy. 

Ahhh Mr. Pork Chop you have a place in my heart. :)

I couldn't resist getting a picture in front of the beautiful Iowa Countryside :)

aaaaaaand, I'm spent.  :P

Will I do it again?  Heck YES!  It was a blast, I felt I overcame obstacles that I wouldn't have been able to a year ago and I'm super proud of myself for doing it.  (And you know what?  Over the course of training I lost 46 pounds!!!  Added bonus!)

When was the last time you did something extraordinary?  Or something that made you FEEL extraordinary?  I'd love to hear about it!