Monday, November 02, 2009

A Little Taste of Fall

Yes! Soccer season is officially over, except for the awards ceremony, but the driving around, the daily interruption at the most inconvenient time of the afternoon, the waiting in the hot sun, or the cold wind, or in the van... yeah, that's all done. Yay! We made it!

The Teenager had his final tournament this past Friday and Saturday. They didn't do so hot, but they played their hearts out and had a lot of fun in the process. Now it's time for some longer school days here at Springvale Academy (I named our homeschool, we even have a fight song!) and I suppose we'll have to think up some indoor physical activities soon, as the inevitable frigid temps will be moving in to the Frozen Tundra* any time now. Since we haven't robbed from Peter to pay Paul for a Wii and a Wii Fit yet, though I really do think they need to be in our future, maybe we'll pull out some old Pilates or Tae-bo DVDs. We'll call that gym. It works. I remember playing table tennis and shuffle board in gym, maybe we can find a nice foosball table... Hmmm, we have friends with an air hockey table. I digress...
*Minnesota, or MinneSNOWta, or Land of 10,000 Lakes and many more mosquitoes, take your pick.

After our premature blast of arctic air, things have been warmer, though not actually warm. 50 degrees is, after all, warmer than 37 or whatever unbelievably unseasonal number called itself the high that weekend... We've been kind of stuck in a 50 and drizzly cycle, yuck, it's cold, wet (poor farmers haven't been able to get their crops out), and downright depressing, making days like yesterday seem like an island vacation.

The sun made an appearance, and we headed outside! I wouldn't mind a few more afternoons like that before we hunker down to await the great thaw...

Fall in the Frozen Tundra (even though it's not frozen yet) means time for hats and scarves and mittens, oh my! And warm cozy sweaters, can't forget the sweaters. I've waited several months to don a cozy sweater. I've even worn a couple prematurely, only to peel it off in haste as I started to overheat. I have the narrowest of temperature comfort zones, 68 and I'm cold, 72 and I start to break a sweat, and I'm not even kidding. Is there a climate where it's 70 degrees year round, with plenty of happy light (that would be sun)?

I've been wearing my Drops Jacket anytime a cool breeze even thinks about blowing by, and yet, I have not taken a single picture of it (on my person), my bad, I know. I've been wearing it so much that I had to go out and buy a sweater shaver, something that has always been on the 'you know, I could really use a...' list, so I can clean it up a little bit. I love, love, love, knitting with, and wearing, alpaca, and I think Blue Sky Alpacas' Worsted Hand Dyes is like knitting with butter (that's a good thing, I like butter) but it can pill a bit, especially when knit at the loose gauge used on this sweater, and when it gets a lot of wear, enough that I finally got me a sweater shaver.

My Vine Lace Top Down Cardigan is finished, except for blocking and buttons. Dunno when I'll find the time for hunting down decent buttons (this is why people have a button stash, isn't it?), but now that soccer season is done I will have some free afternoons...

Not too many this week, though, as there needs to be some serious cleaning done before allowing anyone to step foot in my house on Saturday, when we have our Annual Soup Party. I've never kept a Martha Stewart magazine cover home, and it won't be picture perfect on soup day either, but it sure better be a sight better than it is today, ehem. Enough said.

If you've never been to a soup party, you're missing out. If you've never hosted one, you should, hehe, you might even decide to make it an annual thing. Here's how it works, everyone brings soup to share, preferably in a crock pot, as there are only so many burners on the stove top, and maybe something else to share (crackers, cheese, veggies & dip, beverages, cookies, bars, beautiful cupcakes, anything goes, just bring food!) and spend the afternoon or evening (or both, we usually make ours a sort of open house and people come and go and the crowd fluctuates from noon to midnight) enjoying good company and loads of good food. It's a great time to either share your favorite soup recipe, or to experiment and try out something new, that is, if you're brave, and a good cook...

I still haven't decided which soup I'll be making this year, it's so much more fun to wait until the day before. I always did love a good challenge, especially if I could get extra credit for it. Extra credit rocks, or at least it rocked back when I could get it. These days I just challenge myself with my procrastinating so I have a good excuse to drink more coffee...

While I think about soups, I'll leave you with my other sister's recipe for her fabulously easy pumpkin bars. I'm pretty sure she got the recipe from my mom, who always seems to have a pan at the ready, those or rice crispy bars, it's for the children... (I know this, because they usually get sent home with us!)

Pumpkin Bars
2 coups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves
4 eggs
2 cups pumpkin
2 cups sugar
1 cup oil (your choice of oils, use your favorite, I haven't tried the applesauce trick with these yet, though I may give that a try...)

1 (3 oz.) pkg. cream cheese (softened)
3/4 stick butter (softened)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
Combine flour, baking powder, salt, soda, and spices. Add eggs, pumpkin, sugar, and oil. Blend well (and stir in some nuts here, if desired, or raisins, or choclate chips...) Grease and lightly flour two 9 by 13-inch cake pans or one jelly roll pan. Spread dough in pan evenly. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes (or until toothpick comes out clean).
Frosting: Mix together all ingredients until smooth. Spread over cooled bars.

Oh, yum! What's not to like about cream cheese frosting?! My husband says "that stuff will kill ya", to which I just say "leaves more for me". You could always leave one pan unfrosted and just put more cream cheese frosting! on the good pan, ehem.

Here's hoping for a few more fine fall afternoons,
Happy knitting-



Anonymous Amanda said...

The soup party sounds fun!

ANd cute sweaters!!


11/02/2009 7:00 AM  
Blogger At Home Mommy Knits said...

That soup party sounds like a blast! I've always wanted to host one and now I think I might :)

11/02/2009 9:09 AM  
Blogger Christina Lane | The Sometimes Crafter said...

There are so many things on my "to knit" list, I wish that I was a little faster. I would love to knit Brice some cute sweaters, but he would out grow it before I finished. There's no guarantee i'll have another child, so therefore no passing it on. Maybe I need to find a cardigan to knit for myself... :) Cowl first, then cardigan.

11/02/2009 12:11 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Did you knit your baby's little cute booties?

I love the idea of a soup night. A group of us used to take one night a month and do a group dinner where we picked a theme and everybody contributed some 'course' matching the theme. It was great fun and I wonder why the tradition seemed to cease. This post made me think about starting it back up again.

11/03/2009 12:25 AM  
Blogger Ruth said...

Your sweaters are so beautiful. I haven't been brave enough to ever try a sweater pattern. I hope to overcome that soon.

The soup party sounds so great. Wish I could be there.

What kind of sweater shaver did you get. I have seen some that don't look too great.

11/03/2009 9:13 AM  
Blogger Kristyn Knits said...

a soup party?? what a wonderful idea!
your knitting is beautiful!
we're enjoying the sun every now and then here too!

11/03/2009 10:24 PM  
Blogger t does wool said...

How can I be so behind?? Everything you do is wonderful Alison,love all the knits......and these pumpkin bars! Just the thing I was looking for!

11/04/2009 5:58 PM  
Blogger Kate (KnitsInClass) said...

Gotta love the Minnesota weather. (I guess it makes us appreciate the nice days even more?)

We broke down and got a Wii - I think Wii Fit will be a Christmas present.

11/05/2009 11:09 AM  
Anonymous kim said...

What great shots. The little ones look like they're having such fun. That car is so great. Enjoy the weather while it lasts.

11/07/2009 10:06 AM  
Blogger stitching under oaks said...

those sweaters are great! I hope it stays warm for a bit longer so you don't have to put them on just yet. A soup party sounds fun. I participated in Jessica's soup swap and it was fun!

11/10/2009 12:47 PM  
Blogger Alison said...

Great post!...knits, soup and pumking rock! What is it about the eleventh hour that's so compelling...I almost always wait till then...must be the adrenaline and the "will she make the deadline this time" mystery. Thanks for sharing the view from your happy corner.

11/11/2009 4:00 PM  

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