Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Casa de Pirie the Second


After! Here's the back door.
Side view of the front.
Front door...come visit any time!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Count down begins....

With Christmas approaching fast, less than a week now, I'm constantly running through the "lists" in my head. I'm in good shape, getting-ready-wise, but the lists are always there "Don't forget this!" "Don't forget that!". And here I am up at my usual time (butt-crack of dawn), the kids still asleep...I just can't sleep in.

Today I HAVE to mail my last package after work. I bought a Gingerbread House kit for the kids, so that needs to be put together (by them, not me...haha) probably today or tomorrow. Gotta hit the grocery store for some serious shopping, in preparation for Wednesday. Wednesday is Christmas Baking Day! Thursday is up in the air...then it's Christmas Eve! I only work Monday and Tuesday this week, so I'm very thankful for that! I'm picking up coffee for me and Diane this morning, too. We'll need it...baby it's cold outside!

There was frost on everything this morning! Veronica calls it "Florida snow". Mike even had ice on his windshield. Burr! It's wool for me today...socks, scarf, mitts, sweater, etc.

Here's some very cool news on the Band Front: The band has been invited to Tallahassee for the Governor's Inauguration Parade on January 4th! Awesome! I guess word of their Championship status got all the way to Tallahassee. Gov-to-be Rick Scott is one lucky devil to have them!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Last night was my last big shopping trip for Christmas. I really wanted to get it done before the weekend when everyone and their mother will be out shopping. I went right after work and was home by six...sweet! Everything fell into place, I got exactly what I wanted for everyone and a few unexpected things, too. It was one of those shopping trips where, as I started to acquire bags, I got warm so I had to carry my coat, too...and my purse. I couldn't decide which was more worn out, my feet or my arms! Usually I don't wear a coat because I know I'll have to carry it around, but it was 46 degrees at 3pm yesterday...burrr!!!

I went into one store to get some stocking stuffers for the girls and I literally could barely make it around the display carousels. I was knocking stuff off...it wasn't pretty. I have no idea how people get around in that store...I had bags and stuff, but if you were a big person with bags and stuff, you wouldn't be able to move through the store. Ugh.

What's for dinner Wednesday is kinda fallen by the wayside. I'm trying to come up with something fun for blogging for the New Year. Any ideas out there? Oh, dinner tonight? Left overs. There's ravioli, potato soup, spaghetti, grilled ham and cheese, Caesar salad and chicken nuggets...take your pick. Think I'll have soup and salad. Then off to knitting! Yeah!!

Stay warm today, if you're somewhere where it's cold (like here). If you're somewhere it's warm, well pftttt to you!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Festival of Lights 5K

Last night Mike and I ran the Festival of Lights 5K with Jen & Archie. It was so cold...still we started running, then it was rather nice. Talk about crowded...over 3, 000 runners. It took almost a mile before it thinned out enough to run comfortably. My left knee is giving me some pain, so between that and the crowd, my time wasn't so great. I went into the race knowing it would be bad, but that's ok with me. The route was so nice...a little dark at times but the entire route was lined with luminaries. Very cool! I really enjoyed the run. At the finish there was this crushing sea of people...that was a little uncomfortable, but luckily Mike found me quickly. Afterwards, we all went out for dinner!

I think next year I'll do this again, but get more into the spirit of the run and dress up. Some people had on pajamas, red/white stripped socks, Santa hats, etc. There were runners with Christmas lights attached to themselves! It was a big family run, so TONS of strollers and dogs...and kids! I saw so many kids running (with little whining) and having a blast. One stroller was decked out with Christmas lights...so cute!

Mike's time: 32:53
My time: 42:32

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Eagle Harbor Christmas Parade

Veronica's alter-ego...symbol playing band member when not playing marimba.
Trumpet dude...who forgot to wear his Santa Hat his mother knit for him.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Two weeks from tonight...

Two weeks from tonight is Christmas Eve!

Science Fair

My chocolate covered peanut brittle came in the mail yesterday. To say it's delicious is an understatement. The brittle part has tons of peanuts, and it's not too hard...covered with milk chocolate; it's a great combination. Mike loves it, I mean he LOVES IT! I have a feeling it will go fast.

Last night was the Science Fair Awards Dinner at Justine's school. The dinner was a complimentary spaghetti dinner...not bad either. Justine didn't win any awards, but it was fun to see the kids who did...they were super excited about science (go figure!). Some of the experiments were very clever. Nine kids made it to the district level and will compete again. We really are so proud of Justine, she stayed organized and on schedule with her project (with little to no nagging from yours truly). SHE was very proud of her project and that was very cool to see.

Going Christmas shopping today...wish me luck!
And on a date with my husband tonight...woohoo!!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Fish Hat for William

I finished William's hat for Christmas!
I hope he likes dead fish.

Christmas Concert

Last night was the Christmas Concert for the band and choir. A little too much choir, if you ask me, but I am a band parent so...
Joey had a solo in the concert band performance (Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas) and he also played in the Jazz Band. Jazz band is so awesome! They sound great and get the audience all charged up. Joey was one of five trumpets, who stood up the entire time during the jazz band performance...it was great, because we could see him! And when concert band played, since he's First Chair, he sat on the end and we could watch him the whole time.

Veronica played with the percussion ensemble and the symphonic band. When she plays with the whole band, she's always in the very back and usually plays auxiliary (all those funny sounds that make Christmas music so fun). They played Sleigh Ride and Veronica did the bells the whole time. A mom next to me asked if Vs arms fell off after jingling those bells through the whole song...haha.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


This is what happens when you have The World's Best Mom. She sends you Chocolate Covered Peanut Brittle. It's on its way, so I'm trying hard not to stand by window and watch...and wait.

It's almost cold enough outside this morning to build one of these guys...if we had snow, that is.

Monday, December 6, 2010


He's making a list and checking it twice!

Oh crap...missed blogging yesterday. Hope you'll forgive me. I was so busy...took Joey shopping for his "concert band" out fit. He looks like Johnny Cash...head to toe black. Pic to come soon. I baked yesterday and had the Bunco ladies over for a little Christmas party. We didn't play Bunco, because currently we're short 4 players, but we did play Harry Potter UNO. The ladies from England who brought the game, pronounce the name as You-know, which was cracking us Americans up! By the end of the third game we were yelling: You-know UNO! It was super fun, but I lost miserably (probably a good thing we weren't keeping score).

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Me, the kids and the tree

We went to Christmas on Walnut Street tonight. Mike took this cute picture of me, the kids and our JaxKnits tree.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Day of the Dead Fella

This is a new ornament I bought this summer when we were visiting family in San Diego. It was at a little shop in Old Town. I always forget about Old Town when I think of San Diego, but it's a really cool place. San Diego Avenue, which runs down the middle of Old Town was built over a huge cemetery, part of which still exists. I find that creepy, driving over a road that's paved over where people are buried. Ewww. It also has one of the most haunted buildings in the country: The Whaley House. Regis Philbin used to be a local news-magazine type person in SD and one time he tried to stay over night in the Whaley House. He couldn't do it! Got scared and had to leave...too funny! There are some of the best Mexican Restaurants in town there plus tons of shopping. This little guy looks like he's celebrated Dia de los Muertos pretty hard...Corona still stuck to his clothes. I just couldn't resist him! I found him in an old fashioned Tin Shop.

There's no yarn shop, but there's a Tequila Museum in Old Town. I know some knitters who would love that!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Gingerbread Lane

I have one of those artsy-fartsy kids, one who from the start could paint, read, color, draw and write. Now she's also into photography and decorating. She's been writing stories in journals for years and will spend hours drawing...alone in her room, perfectly happy. It's Justine. She's also my drama queen...go figure.
This little house is from a kit we got at Michaels. It's one of three that she built.
I love the photo, it looks like it's taken at night with stars twinkling in the back ground. (That's our big Christmas tree making the "star" effect.)
Our knit group decorated the tree in GCS for Christmas on Walnut Street, which starts on Saturday. It was dark and very cold. My fingers were numb! A bit of a challenge too, because we had to do it by flashlight! We did the job though, zip tied all the garlands and ornaments to the tree, in an effort to stop any thieves. After, we drove to FI for some knitting and coffee at Starbucks (the one in GCS was closed...still can't believe that!). Fun!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Well, here it is, December 1st. Christmas is a mere 24 days away. I've only bought one Christmas gift, but I do have my Christmas trees and decorations AND lights up. Did you catch that? Yes, this year we have two trees. We've had a fake tree for years (since the year the water stand leaked and ruined my hard wood floor), so this year I requested we get a small real tree. Lord knows we have plenty of ornaments. I could probably have three and still have plenty, only problem is space...where would I put a third tree?!
Anyway, I'm going to post every day till Christmas! It'll be something related to Christmas...a picture, something fun and Christmas-ie we did as a family or with friends. Hope you enjoy it! A couple years ago I did this, but I featured a different ornament each day. It was in 2008 if you want to take a peek.

This is what setting up the fake tree looks like in our house. They eventually got it set up.

Christmas just isn't Christmas unless these three Santas are hanging up! My mom had a set of these when we were growing up (still does, in fact) and us kids would jump to see which one we could reach...this would change over the years as we grew taller. One year I copied them and made a set for me and my three siblings. One of my coolest gifts ever, if I do say so myself.

Now my kids are jumping to see which one they can reach...very cool.

What's for dinner Wednesday? Tacos tonight! Then our knit group is heading down to Green Cove Springs to decorate our tree for the Parade of Trees. You can look for an update on that tomorrow.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Bad Kitty!

Just thought you might want to know what Lyra's been up to lately.

Family Traits

There's something about Mike's family that compels them to photograph people while they're eating. Really annoying, especially when you've got a mouth full of food! I think the trait has kicked in in my own kids! They took these photos...

Justine about to shovel food in...

Oops...caught you, Mary Lou!

This was just before we sat down to eat. Everything turned out great. It was touch and go for a while, and here's why: I didn't have a turkey baster!! Ok, if you've never cooked a turkey, you probably don't know that this kitchen tool is essential for taking out the turkey "juices" and adding them to a pot to be used later for gravy. I guess I forgot I threw my old one out.
I was struggling to spoon out the juices (and not very successfully, I might add). Then, I called my mom to wish her a Happy Thanksgiving and told her about not having a baster. She says, "Tell your driving teenager to go to Walmart and get you a baster!" So I did. It was smooth sailing from then on...you see, you're never too old to get advice from your mother.

Here's my helper in the kitchen!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Turkey Day!

Happy Thanksgiving to you! I miss my California family, but I'm so grateful to have Mike's folks here to celebrate with us. Hi to everyone at mom's house today...we miss you guys so much!!

Are you going shopping on Black Friday? If you are, please be careful! Drink plenty of coffee so you're wide awake for those bargains you couldn't live without at 3am in the morning. Yeah, did you see that...Kohl's is opening up at 3am! Good grief!

I'm not shopping on Black Friday...not sure what we're doing. We're probably start on our Christmas decorating. The kids have a football game that night, a play-0ff game. We probably won't go because it's supposed to rain. The weather is supposed to cool off, too. Highs going down to the 60s and lows into the 30s...oh good! Bring on the wool!!

Have a fun, safe holiday!

Wonderful Wednesday!

We celebrated Al's 77th Birthday last night!
Wednesday's dinner was chicken tacos!!

We went to Green Cove Springs and walked around Spring Park. The weather was beautiful...the sun was shining and the water was sparkling!

So what do you think...would this make a good Christmas card or what?!

MaryLou and Al enjoying their vacation!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Playing and Knitting

Mike's folks arrived safe and sound Monday evening. Tuesday we just hung out at home, playing games, knitting, eating a lovely lunch on the patio and just catching up.

Mary Lou said she got pulled aside at the SD airport for a "pat down". She had surgery on her knee a couple years ago and it always sets off the machine. Anyway, she said the gal was very polite, explained everything she was gonna do before she did it and for the most part it wasn't all together totally unpleasant. She didn't think it was any big deal. Good to know. I hope it never happens to me though.

These pictures were taken at our local park. Lucky for us, we have a park within walking distance of the neighborhood. If we lived in the city of Jacksonville, this would be a non-issue. Jacksonville has the largest urban park system in the country. Want to see how many? Go here.

I knit a sock yesterday:

This is Anastasia.

Kelly have me the pattern and I finally gave it a try. It has a short-row toe and heel (toe up sock). I did a regular toe (Turkish cast on and inc around). I tried something new though, I did the short-row heel! It took a couple tries, but I had my Wendy Toe Up book close at hand, and that really helped. On the second half of the heel, when you knit/purl the double wraps...ugh! What a pain. I had the crochet hook out for help on that one. It looks pretty good, but I will probably stick with the slip-stitch heel in the future. The pattern on this sock wraps around the leg...very cool! It's easy to memorize, too. I love the look of the pattern with the subtle striping of the yarn. The yarn is Knit Picks Tonal.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sabado Gigante!

Saturday was great!
Veronica and Joey had their last band competition of the year, Championships in Tampa. They made 5th place in their class in prelims (drumline got 2nd) which qualified them for finals! They were so excited about just making it to finals that they were totally unprepared for the rush of joy when the band placed FIRST in their class and 5th over all in the State of Florida!!!!!!! They can't stop talking about it. They had a great season.

Now they're looking forward to Winter Drumline aka VELOCITY!!

Mike, Jen and I did the McKenzie RUN. There were over 2,000 participants. I couldn't believe the amount of people! It was difficult to run; I usually enjoy the scenery when I'm out for a run, but this crazy race...I spent the whole time dodging people (mostly walkers). My finish time was just over 35 minutes, which was great for me. I ran almost the entire time, which was also good for me. Mike had a great time, and got just over 30 minutes!!

Here we are before the race!

Um, it must be the camera or lighting, cuz I swear, my legs aren't that white!

Friday, November 19, 2010

What's Happening

This week has been very busy. I didn't even post my Wednesday dinner! Yikes! We're getting everything ready for MaryLou and Al (in-laws) to visit. The house is kinda torn apart for the carpets to finish drying. I get a bit frazzled when my little world isn't in order, but I'm coping. Today I cleaned the fridge and pantry. The BIG CLEAN will happen this weekend. Now, I know if my MIL, MaryLou reads this, she'll say, "Oh, don't go to all that trouble." I love her. It's because I do that I clean for her! Oh, and Al, too. haha
Here's the latest on the computer: Mike got us a new version of Windows xp and now we're back on the old computer. Good thing, the temporary one was attacked by a virus...pretty nasty stuff. Um, not nasty-nasty, just extremely invasive. Anyway, we're still waiting for him put the old files back on the computer, but that may take a while. Hey, it's been since July, so I know how to be patient.

Here's a goofy pic of me with the beret I knit for Charlotte's mom who is going through chemo. A head with no hair needs a soft hat, don't you think? Here's the pattern if you're interested...another wonderful freebie on Ravelry. Thanks for the photo, Jen!!
I just finished another one, for me, of course. It's blocking but if you want to see the pattern go here. It's red! I used "Vintage" from Berocco...a wool/acrylic blend. Very soft.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Velocity Update

Veronica and Joey had Velocity (winter drumline) tryouts on Saturday. They got the results yesterday. Veronica will be in the "pit" again and will either play vibes or marimba, apparently she won't know till she gets her music. Joey is playing cymbals. There are 20 kids total.

The music is going to be songs you know...the kids couldn't remember them all, but one is Dream On. I guess it's going to take on a "darker" theme, in contrast to last years "Love in Suspension" theme. The first practice is the first Monday back after Thanksgiving. They're super excited! Me too!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Mama

I had some company knitting today. No kidding...they wanted to knit without any prompting from me. Sweet...a knitting mom's dream come true!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What's for Dinner Wednesday!

I actually had a couple requests for last weeks dinner recipe, Tuna Broccoli Casserole...so here it is. It's just a guideline, but don't panic, it's really hard to mess up.

Tuna Broccoli Casserole

1 can tuna, drained

broccoli (about 2 cups chopped, fresh or frozen...fresh is better cuz you get the crunch, but frozen works, too)

Elbow pasta...or any kind of small pasta (not spag noodles, in other words) about 1.5 cups uncooked

1 can cream of mushroom soup

french fried onions

2 cups grated cheese (cheddar or jack)


Cook the pasta just under al dente (it'll finish cooking in the casserole). While the pasta is cooking throw the chopped broccoli, tuna, soup, cheese and about a cup of the ffonions in a bowl. When the pasta is done, drain it and throw it in the bowl with the other stuff. Mix it together...add some milk to this, maybe 3/4 a cup, you want it moist, but not runny. Pour it in a 2 quart casserole dish (Spray it with Pam for easy cleanup, but you probably do this automatically, huh?). Top with more ffonions...or if you're not a fan of those, cheese. I usually bake it at 350 degrees for about 1/2 hour. It's weird, but oh, so good!

Ok, now onto tonight's meal!

Black Bean Soup

This is a recipe I got out of a Cooking Light Magazine and have been cooking since 1997.

Here's the recipe:

Black Bean Soup

1 tbl. oil

1 cup chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 (15 oz.) cans black beans, drained (I usually get the low-sodium.)

1/2 c. water

1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1 (14.5 oz ) stewed tomatoes, undrained and chopped

1 (10.5 oz) can chicken broth (I just pour out a cup or so from one of those box thingies.)

1 (4 oz) can chopped green chiles, undrained

1 tbl. lemon juice

plain low-fat yogurt

Saute onion and garlic in the oil till tender. Add 1 cup of the beans and mash with a potato masher. Add remaining beans, water and next 5 ingredients; stir well. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and summer 15 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in lemon juice. Ladle into bowls and top with a dollop of yogurt.

This is real quick to throw together and tastes super good. The soup is tangy and that dollop of yogurt is kinda sweet...great combo. The knit group is meeting at Panera tonight...so you know this is good if I'm passing up Panera soup for this! I do wish I had some of their bread to go with this...hmmm...I might have to make a quick stop for some bread after I go to Target. That's the ticket!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Day Off

So today is my day off. I'm not doing a whole bunch. It's cold outside today, for Florida anyway. I think the high today will be 63 degrees. It was in the 40s this morning and tonight and tomorrow night promise to get in the mid 30s. Burrr. Good knitted sock weather though... :D!

I cleaned out a few drawers (I had Justine cracking up this morning when I told her I was going to clean out my drawers.), gave clothes to the Goodwill and threw a bunch of old stuff away. I now have expanded my sock drawer to two drawers. I have...wait......for...........it................36 pairs of hand knit socks. I didn't knit them all...Jen knit two for me. I was curious how many 2x2 rib socks I had compared to how many non-2x2 socks. Twenty-two 2x2. (Weird.)

Anyway, I'm doing some knitting today, it is after all, my day off. I'm working on Meret (lacy beret) for Charlotte's mom, who's going through chemo and will need to keep her hairless head warm in the months to come. I need to weave in the ends on a pair of socks I just finished (they're going into the Christmas pile, so they don't count toward the sock stats). I really wonder; just how many socks have I knit? You know, all together, over the years. Hmmm. I really do need to get to work on the last of my Bridgewater shawl...that lace around the perimeter is going to take a while, but it'll take much, much longer if I don't get crackin! Um, I mean clickin!

Hope you're having a good day, too!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Next Race...bummer

The Mallrat Duathlon has been cancelled!
Due to a scheduling conflict with the mall, the November 21st date was
cancelled and with limited time to find an alternate date for the event,
we are unable to reschedule the duathlon for the remainder of this year .
Those athletes that had signed up for the event will be receiving a full refund
and an email within the next week or they can email info@drcsports.com.
We apologize for any inconvenience.
We look forward to bringing this event to Jacksonville in 2011.
(This is what was posted on the DRC website.)
Jen, Mike and I are so bummed.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What's For Dinner Wednesday

A long time ago, when I was a young bride, my husband used to cook for me. Oh what sweet days those were. Ok, he cooks now, but only if it's on the BBQ. When we were both working (before kids) we used to take turns cooking dinner. His speciality was "Tuna Broccoli Roll-Ups". Sounds gross, but it's really good. Then the kids came along and I started making this dish. You make a filling, use flour tortillas, fill them, line a 9x13 pan, make a sauce to cover, add grated cheese...it's a bit of work. I have since modified the recipe to suit my busy working-mom lifestyle. Now, I mix everything up in a casserole (substitute pasta for flour tortillas...for that comfort food feeling), top with cheese and french fried onions. Here's the ingredients for "Tuna Broccoli Casserole":

Here's the casserole after cooking:

It's so yummy...crunchy onions on top with pasta, cheese and broccoli (with a little crunch still in them). It's weird, but really, really good.
Gotta go eat now...

Happy Halloween!

Justine and Veronica's pumpkins.
Justine and Katie go trick or treating!

Joey interference.

V in her awesome skull socks from Aunt Barb & Uncle Mark.