This year, after turning down party invites and planning our own party too late, we decided to let our sons invite some of their closest friends over for New Year's Eve.  Here are five reasons it was a terrific decision.

1.  Expectations are reasonable when you're dealing with kids.  The house doesn't have to be spotless, you can wear comfy clothes, and paper plates are more than okay.

2.  You get to cook all of those foods that were too kitchy for your grown up swoirees.  Pigs in a blanket, chips and dip, chili cheese dip and s'mores are kid pleasers....and I secretly love them too.

3.  You can get rid of all the cookies, fudge and other goodies you've got leftover from Christmas.  I'd rather have kids eat them than have them sitting around into January.  And the kids will think you're a rockstar too.

4.  You can have a few beers with no worries about trying to drive home...and no hangover in the morning.

5.  The most surprising thing is, it's really a quiet evening.  The kids entertain each other and there are plenty of new toys and electronic gadgets to play with.  I even had time to write blog entry! 

I have a feeling this kind of New Year's Eve party might become a tradition at our house.

This, my second infinity scarf, may be my favorite of the two.  The free pattern comes from Stitch DC, a yarn shop, DC.  It's a very easy pattern, and ends up much longer than you think it will.  I found it easier to knit than my previous scarf because it was on a 24" round rather than a 42" round.  Also, because I used smaller needles the finished scarf looks more polished.  The scarf is stretchy, allowing it to be worn three ways.

Here it's looped three times, warm and snuggly...


...looped twice...


... and unlooped, an open cowl.

I hope the boys' piano teacher likes it!

  This was a fast and easy weeknight dinner that everyone loved.  I always have these ingredients on hand

For four servings you will need:

One bag of frozen turkey meatballs
Olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon alspice
1 large can tomatoes, crushed or sauce
1/2 cup slivered or sliced almonds
1 tablespoon butter
Cooked rice

Toss the meatballs on a sheetpan and roast them in a hot oven while you start the sauce.  Drizzle olive oil in the bottom of a large pan over medium heat.  Add the onion, salting to soften while you saute them.  When they are about half done, add the garlic and ginger, stirring frequently so that they do not brown.  (If they start browning I just add 1/2 cup of water so that they cook thoroughly without browning.)  When the onions are transluscent add all of the ground spices.  Stir to combine the spices with the onions.  Add the tomatoes, stiring to combine.  Add a little water or chicken broth to the sauce.  Stir in the turkey meatballs.  Allow the sauce and meatballs to simmer together for 5 minutes.

Now, to gild the lily.  Put the butter on a microwave-safe plate.  Spread the almonds over top.  Pop them into the microwave for one minute.  When you get them out they will look like this!  Cook trick, eh?

Now, to gild the lily.  Put the butter on a microwave-safe plate.  Spread the almonds over top.  Pop them into the microwave for one minute.  When you get them out they will look like this!  Cool trick, eh?

Stir the almonds.   Use half to garnish the meatballs and half to garnish the rice.

1. I wish you a calm and peaceful holiday season.

2. I'm ready for congress to go on recess...that's what I'm thinking.

3. Please bring me a case of citrus fruit.

4. My job is so amazing.

5. One of my fondest hopes is that my house will stay clean for 5 minutes.

6. My mom and dad taught me how to cook, and I just wanted to say thank you.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to knitting in bed, tomorrow my plans include staying overnight in Kalamazoo and Sunday, I want to clean house and get ready for a fun and busy week!

Below are the first letters of the first line from well-known Christmas songs.  Can you figure them out?  Honestly, I love Christmas music and I've only figured out two!

I followed the lovely and simple Ann Marie Infinity Scarf pattern.  This type of scarf goes by many names, but simply put, it's a scarf with no end.  Some knitters deliberately (or accidentally) put a twist in their scarf, resulting in a Moebius Scarf.  Wide versions of these scarves can be pulled over the head like a hood and are called "Smoke Rings and still others are called cowls.

I knit this on size 9, 42" round needles, casting on a bizillion stitches and working a 5 x 5 rib with sock yarn.  I bound off a bit too tightly but the result was an interesting, wavy scarf.  All in all I'm happy with the result.  I plan on giving it to my student teacher and I promise not to wear it (too much) this weekend.