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Things have changed

January 22, 2015
by Erin B

January 1st I started a part time job.  I get about 20 hours a week and I am happy to  have something reliable.  Unfortunately, I has signed up for quite a few extra shifts at  the other places I work as a casual.  Now, I could just flat out quit those other jobs but I am resisting.  Partly because if the new job goes south, I may need to go back there.  Largely because my profession is fairly small.  There are about 300 of us in the whole province who are licensed and insured.*  It’s a fairly small community and I know that if I just pull the plug people I know (and who know everyone else I might ever work with) will have messed vacations and not be able to  travel to see their first grand-baby.

The down side of this is that I am currently working more than full time.  Some weeks, it’s a lot more than full time.  It is really hard and I have been kind of grumpy.  Throw in a sleep disorder and problems at Little Girl’s school and I just haven’t been up to blogging.

I have joined a sock club, so if you are interested in knitting there should be pictures soon.  I am also going on a retreat this weekend and hope to be refreshed and less irritable by Sunday night.  Which is good, because starting Monday, I work both in and out of town and it will be …. busy.

Now, if you will excuse me, I have an hour commute, in the dark to a job where I have to wait in the parking lot for someone with a key to arrive and let me in.



*Who knows how many people taking blood, running lab tests and exposing people to radiation without insurance.  We aren’t required by law to have insurance or continuing education.  Our professional body has been working for years to try to get something in place to change that.  Please right to your SK-MLA and complain that CLXT’s should be self regulated.

T’s Mom’s Internet Irish Stew Recipe

January 18, 2015
by Erin B

T’s mom, Y, makes an amazing Beer Braised Stew with Colcannon.  She got the recipe off of  If you have ever read the recipe comments on, you know that almost no one actually follows the recipe as written.

We aren’t any different.  Here is T’s Mom’s version as made by me.

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 (3 pound) beef chuck roast, trimmed of fat and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 coarsely chopped onion
  • 1 lb baby cut carrots carrot
  • 1 can Big Rock Scottish style beer
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt omit, the beer was salty enough
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • slices bacon
  • 2 lbs. russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 cups thinly sliced cabbage
  • ¼ cup milk, warmed
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1.Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
2.Heat the vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until very hot, and brown the meat in 2 batches, stirring to brown the cubes on all sides. Return all the meat to the Dutch oven, sprinkle with flour, and stir lightly to coat the meat with flour.
3.Stir in onion, carrots, dark beer, bay leaves, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, garlic, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring the mixture to a boil, and cover.
Now, Worcestershire sauce can be a bit tricky to measure.  It kind of shoots out of the bottle when you shake it.  Personally, I always measure it into a cup rather than a spoon because it is less messy that way.
4.Place the Dutch oven into the preheated oven, and cook for 45 minutes; uncover, stir the stew, and cook until the beef is very tender and the liquid is reduced by half, about 45 more minutes.
5.Place the bacon in a large, deep skillet, and cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until evenly browned, about 10 minutes. Drain the bacon slices on a paper towel-lined plate. Crumble the bacon and set aside.
6.About 30 minutes before the stew is ready, make the colcannon: Place the potatoes into a large pot and cover with salted water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes.
7.Drain and allow to steam dry for a minute or two. Place the cabbage into a microwave-safe bowl, and add 1 or 2 tablespoons of water. Cover and microwave on High for about 2 1/2 minutes; uncover (watch out for steam) and stir the cabbage. Cover and microwave for about 2 1/2 more minutes, until the cabbage is slightly tender but not mushy. Drain excess liquid, and set the cabbage aside, covered.
8.Place the potatoes into a large bowl, and add milk, butter, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Beat the potatoes with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Stir in the cabbage, crumbled bacon, and parsley until well combined. To serve, place a scoop of colcannon onto a plate, make a hollow, and fill with braised beef stew.


January 9, 2015
by Erin B


And it’s done!

December 19, 2014
by Erin B

All the holiday knitting is done and is blocking on my bed.

I will take pictures before I wrap it to post later.

That is all.

Holiday Knitting

December 7, 2014
by Erin B

I have reached the point where I am sick and tired of working on the last couple of gifts I have to knit before the Holidays.  Unfortunately, this does not coincide with them being finished.  You all will be ok with getting your gifts sometime in March, right?

In the mean time, C is over the moon with her knitting project bag from Chicken Soup Designs.  I have finished the Lorna’s Laces Socks that I have been knitting as the back up project for months.  Picture to follow.  Opal Sweet and Spice Plum sock yarn is cast on as my back up project.

I am giving up knitting patterned socks for a while.  Plain socks for a couple of months.  I can bust out the patterns again in the new year.  The funny thing is, the socks I reach for the most are the boring ribbed ones.   So, let stick with what works for a while.


November 25, 2014
by Erin B

I have been busily painting a chalkboard wall in my kitchen, but in other news.

Last night we ran out of milk.  I am lucky enough to live in a place with a 24 hour grocery store and have money enough to be able to run out and get milk.  At various points in my life, these were not always true.

It’s 10:30 when I head out.  I get most of the stuff on my list except for Jujubes (for T) and Mini eggs (for V).  I generally make a point not to buy candy, but there are extenuating circumstances.  None the less, it’s almost 11 at night and I can’t find the bloody things in my local grocery store.

So I find a clerk and say “I’m looking for jujubes and mini eggs for my daughter”.

He is a good foot or more taller than me.  He puts down his scanner and gives me a hard look.  Then he looks at his watch.

“Do you need “it’s 11pm and my kid just told me I need to bake 18 dozen Christmas cookies for tomorrow” jujubes, or “I’m 13 and have PMS and the world is horrible” jujubes, or “I have a huge assignment due tomorrow and I’m pulling an all nighter” jujubes?”

I burst out laughing and admitted that it was the huge assignment jujubes.  Then I asked a bewildered, is there a difference?

Still totally straight faced he explained that yes, there is a difference.  If I had said Christmas cookies, the red, green and white jujubes are in the baking section.  The PMS jujubes are in the bulk section.  The all nighter jujubes are in the main candy section and come in about a 1 kg package.  Alternately, there are also the “I just need a snack” jujubes that are in the 50g packages by the check outs.

Who knew?

This morning I made a point of calling and telling the manager how much I enjoyed this night service.

It’s That Time of Year part 5

November 13, 2014
by Erin B

A long, LONG time ago, I bought a vintage wooden school desk at a garage sale for about $5.  It had been coloured by the previous child who used it.  I very carefully took it all the way a part and packaged up all the hardware.  I sanded the wood and primed it and then the weekend ended and I packed it away.  In pieces.

Little Girl was barely Toddler Girl back then and the desk was humourously too large for her.  I wasn’t in a  rush.  It wasn’t something i could work on while taking care of her at home when it was just the two of us and it wasn’t pressing enough to make other child care arrangements for me to work on it.

Little girl is suddenly too big for the little antique table and chair that were vintage and second hand when MY mom got them as a child.  So they went down to my sewing room and I spent last week finishing painting and rebuilding the desk.  It turned out well.

No before pictures I’m afraid.

But in order to get it into her room, we had to do a major purge of the crap stuff she is hoarding has in her room.  That took fours hours and some serious negotiation on Saturday.  We ended up with one bag of garbage, one of donation stuff and a big box of “treasures” that we off loaded shared with the mommies from the local mommies group.

Yes, it would have been MUCH faster to just do it while she was at school, but I am not tossing/donating/rehoming her things with out her permission.  Which meant that every scrap of paper, every broken “free” from the grocery store/dentist/who-ever gives-out-this-stuff-to-keep-kids-quite toy, every crayon we have ever gotten at a restaurant and brought home despite them not colouring very well was a negotiation.  And then we vacuumed.



IMG_0565 IMG_0566

IMG_0567We are both really happy with the out come.  I just which I could find the butterfly rug that we had in her “library” under her bed.  My knees are getting to old to climb under there to read books to her without the carpet to soften the floor a little.


It’s That Time of Year part 4

November 12, 2014
by Erin B

Of course, in order to finish C’s socks for her, I needed to take a stalled pair of online socks off the needles.  They went back on the needles last week and I finished they by Saturday.

Honestly, I’m not sure why I keep buying OnLine. I don’t really like the yarn. I like the self patterning. Same thing with Regia. Every ball I say, I’m never buying this again. Then I do. The colourways get me. Until recently, Opal was not available locally. I have a ball of Opal waiting to cast on and I am looking forward to trying it.


Less proud of these ones. I was experimenting with a new toe and I’m not sure I like it. Not a big fan of the feel of the yarn, but they fit perfectly. I now have three pairs of this OnLine Jupiter series socks and one more ball lurking in my stash. I will knit it. It’s pink and orange. Really, though, I would trade for a ball of Sock It To Me in tweed by Estelle or anything Opal in a heart beat.


It’s That Time of Year part 3

November 10, 2014
by Erin B

I finished C’s Rainbow socks.

Fuck, I hate that yarn.


C, I am so, SO Sorry I suggested that yarn.  As in David Tennet, Doctor Who, so, So Sorry.

I talked C into trying to knit socks.  I helped her pick this yarn.  It’s Chroma from Knit Picks.  It’s horribly splitty single.  The colour progression is crazy gorgeous.  Even more so in real life.  They are the first pair of socks I have knit where someone tried to buy them off the needles.  She got mad when I said that they weren’t for sale and for the hours of work they took, even if I charged $200 and I still would not be making minimum wage.

I finished them at the end of October at Fall Conference.


IMG_0560C is trying socks again, this time with some well behaved Paton’s that was a trade with another knitter.

These ones were a plain Two at a time, toe up, but I used the Fish Lips Kiss Heel.  Then I think I bought that pattern for everyone I knew who knit socks.  It was so helpful.  There is no way I would have tried this without the recommendation for how to knit off a foot template.  Go. Buy it.  It’s only a dollar.


It’s That Time of Year part 2

November 9, 2014
by Erin B

Then those socks I started in March of 2012.  It took me a year to finish the first one, then it got lost for a year and I eventually just frogged it and started over.

Round two, took them on a trip to the USA hunting for tractors:







Well, they were done by the beginning of October.  Two At A Time toe up adaptation of Octopus’ Garden, using Cascade Heritage Paints in Aqua Sol, and a Sweet Tomato Heel.


IMG_0543I could happily enter a monogamous relationship with this yarn.  The only thing stopping me is that it isn’t available locally.  That and a brief staff discount at the LYS filled my stash with Alegria, which is even MORE squishy, but I really like the Cascade colours.