Tuesday, February 28, 2006


I got it! I got it! See my beautiful gold medal on the sidebar? I'm so excited!


Ever feel like this?

Monday, February 27, 2006

This one's for Kathy


How about this? Take a picture of coffee in one of your favorite coffee mugs and when we want to have a "cuppa" coffee we'll just publish a post with the coffee picture. It will be a nice surprise when we check each other's blogs! It's a high-tech, 21st-century way to be together! Miss you!

Post-Olympic Blues

I really miss the Olympics; both the Knitting Olympics and the Torino Olympics. It was nice to have something interesting to tune into. And the blogging community made it even more fun because people were commenting on the games and the personalities. I think there must be more Canadian knitters/bloggers than anywhere else??!!! What's up with that?

Keith says that March Madness will start soon,but we're really not too terribly excited about that. Know what else I miss (and this is really pathetic)? I miss the cool way that Google was changing their logo to fit the various Winter Games. They are so creative! I know they change them throughout the year for holidays or special occassions, too. It's just not the same. (pout) Since the Olympic knitting is finished, I have turned to new knitting adventures. I could have resumed work on Danika's sweater (see "Good Results"), but I just didn't want to dig in to a child's sweater right now. So, I started a bear's sweater instead. You can view the pattern here. The sweater is for Candy, my daughter's friend from the Build-A-Bear Workshop.

I've been checking out the other blogs to see what they say about their Olympic outcomes. As of this morning, Yarn Harlot didn't even have a post about weather or not she finished her sweater. Gee, I just feel so lost! Congratulations to Anny for finishing her beautiful sweater...and an adult-sized sweater at that!!

Now, one last thing. Can anyone offer suggesting for getting good pictures of detail when photographing knit items? I have a pretty decent digital camera that I basically know how to use, but I still get frustrated. I know it's a flash adjustment or lighting, but thought I might get some good advice from you knitting bloggers out there. I see wonderful pictures on your blogs, so share! Share!

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Official Knitting Olympics Qualifying Post

Guests for lunch in two minutes! The scarf is officially done (ends woven in, blocked, etc.). I am really happy with it. Now what do we all do? What is going to happen to the Olympic timer when it runs out??! We may shut down the entire Internet with our Olympic madness! Congratulations to everyone who took time out of their busy lives to do something just for fun! Yay!

Saturday, February 25, 2006


It's done! It's done! See how happy I am?

Remember in grade school when you'd take a test and then slam down your pencil and yell, "Done!"? That's what I felt like. Unfortunately I was at a church meeting for Vacation Bible School, so I just kind of set it down and grinned and looked at Keith and whispered, "It's done!". This was really fun. Now, technically it's not completely finished. It still have ends to weave in and it should be blocked because some of the sections are a bit narrower than others. But that's no problem. Yippee!!

Friday, February 24, 2006

Good results

Well, last night was the big weigh-in (probably shouldn't use the word "big" when talking about "weigh-in", huh?) I didn't feel too great about my results, but I lost 2.5 pounds this week. Doesn't seem like much in the big picture, but I know it was a healthy weight loss and the good thing is that I really did have enough to eat all week. I worked out 5 days this week (as planned) and so I suspect that I put on some muscle as well. However...today I've totally blown it. I was perfectly happy to get right back on the wagon this morning (it's a Thursday night ritual for me to eat whatever I want after my Weight Watchers meeting) and did fine until about 11:00. Then for whatever reason, the dam broke. I have been eating ever since. I'd better get back on track or next week's results will not be very nice! I guess I need to just forgive and forget! Forgive myself and forget about letting it get out of hand!

I'm nearly done with my scarf for the Knitting Olympics. I only have one section left to do and probably I'll finish it tonight. Wonder what I'll make next? Suggestions? I keep thinking maybe I'll make something blue. I don't know why, but I keep seeing blue yarn in my head. Is that a sign of insanity? (Look who I'm asking??!!!) I'm so inspired by the Fair Isle knitting I'm seeing on other people's blogs, but I don't know if I can handle that on my own. I don't have a friend or neighbor that knits near me. I suppose I could give it a try. I think I have a pattern for a hat somewhere. Oh! I have a little baby kimono I have to finish first for cute-as-can-be Danika that goes to my church.

Anyone want to come by and show me how to put it together?? My last attempt at putting a sweater together was, shall we say, unpleasant. You can see the Revenge of the Rainbow on the Finished Knitting Projects page. It looks okay in the picture, but I really threw it together. Let me know the way you usually put projects together.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Go figure!

I only have time for a brief hello this morning. It's nearly lunch time and I have to get something for Elliot (who is feeling a lot better today). I tried to surprise him by asking if he wanted to go to the new Curious George movie this afternoon. His response? "Nah...I just want to stay home." Go figure! I kept waiting for him to recover from his cold because I had been planning on taking him to the movie this week. It's not that often that I have the time or money to actually go to the theater. But, "nah...we'll just stay home".

Tonight is weigh-in at Weight Watchers. I have been on the program every day and exercised every week day like I planned. We'll see how it goes. I'm not real optimistic for some reason. I guess I just don't feel lighter. Go figure! I'll post an update tomorrow.

Watched American Idol last night. So far I'm not too terribly impressed with anyone, but some of the performances Monday night (the women) and last night (the men) were okay. Everyone in my family has their favorite and Keith has done a whole post about his opinion. I guess I pretty much agree. More on AI later.

One more thing. My husband has delighted in informing me that apparantly Jude Law, who I think is just absolutely lovely, is having some kind of fling or something with Jessica Simpson.


Not that I personally have anything against Jessica Simpson. She may be the sweetest girl in the world and she certainly is pretty. So why does this bother me so much? It's just so...obvious. I guess I'm disappointed in Jude for going for the blonde bombshell type.
Sienna Miller, Law's ex-fiance is beautiful and talented. I know he cheated on her with the nanny (???????). Perhaps dear Jude just doesn't have a brain in his head. Oh well...he's awfully nice to look at! Go figure!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Priorities II

I've managed to do everything on the list except "make dinner". My wonderful husband did that for me. The laundry isn't actually done, but I did do some, so that counts, right? I did work out, but I didn't do the ballet workout I had on tape. I previewed it and it was more toning than aerobic and I am concentrating on aerobic right now. So, I did this instead. Little Guy is feeling much better, the kids have been delivered by hubby and will be picked up by me. Worked on the scarf. Hmmm, what else was on that list? I guess that's it. I guess I accomplished something today, but the computer took up a lot of my time! I feel like I could tuck myself in bed right now, but band pick up isn't until 8:30 and American Idol is on tonight (I know, I know...I can't help it!)


Today's priorities are as follows:
1) Take care of my Little Guy...Elliot is still battling a cold
2) Get the laundry done (or as close to done as is humanly possible)...does anyone else have one of those trick hampers that can be empty one minute and full the next?@#$^%!
3) Workout at some point...I have a new show on tape that I haven't checked out yet...I believe it's ballet-based. Wonder if this old dancer can still do any of that stuff?
4) Make dinner
5) Taxi the children to their various events...Tuesdays are so incredibly busy and tonight is Keith's meeting night as well...uggh!
6) Do a good bit of work on Olympic scarf...I just realized that I need at least a day to really block the scarf nicely to consider it done by the Closing Ceremonies.

The picture is my "award-winning" photo. I entered it in the Dawson Grange Fair last summer and won First Place. Now, while you're understandably really impressed, keep in mind that Dawson is a really little place and most of the exhibits were agricultural. There were some photo entries, but not hundreds. Still...I think it's pretty.

I also posted a page with some photos of "the nest". Someone had pics of their house on their blog and I thought I'd put these up, at least for a while. This is the parsonage of the Dawson United Methodist Charge (a charge is a grouping of churches...we have three). It is a lovely house and the church next door is on the National Historic Register. We are very blessed to be able to have such an intriguing house. It was built by Sarah B. Cochran for her brother. The church was built by Sarah in honor of her son, Philip. You can read a little bit about the Cochrans and Dawson here.Eugene Lint, mentioned in the article is the organist at one of our churches and my daughter's piano teacher. He and his wife, Patty, are two of the most generous people we have ever met. Patty has made two trips to Louisianna to help the Katrina victims and the Lints have done an unbelievable amount of good for Dawson and its residents. They are a lot of fun, too! Eugene is never at a loss for words!

Monday, February 20, 2006

Pot luck

Today's been a laid back day at our place. The kids didn't have school because it's Presidents' Day, Keith had a funeral (he's a pastor, not an undertaker), and I didn't plan to do much of anything around the house. It's cold outside, but not nearly as cold as this weekend! My mom and dad came up from Pittsburgh just to visit for a bit. Dad took off for the Tractor Supply and Mom visited with me and the kids. She thinks my knitting is bordering on the obsessive. She's so astute.

Poor little Elliot is battling a cold. He is randomly 1)grumpy, 2)rowdy, 3)sleepy, 4)cuddly or 5)talkative. Go figure. We've had the Olympics on, of course, and were watching something on the Discovery Channel about gigantic earth excavators. Wow! Those vehicles are huge. Elliot was intrigued and since he was in his sleepy/cuddly mood I sat on the couch with him while he relaxed and said how "cool" the trucks were.

Dinner's in the crock pot so I have a moment here. We're having boneless pork ribs, scallopped potatoes and broccoli. I'm going to post the recipe for the ribs. It's so easy to make and I think it has a great flavor. I don't usually stick them under the broiler or reduce the sauce like it suggests, mainly because I'm happy with them straight out of the crock pot.

I have been having a great week on my diet, too. I'm looking for a way to record my progress in some organized way. Weigh-in is Thursday night and then I'll start all over again.

All-in-all, it's been a nice day. I wish Elliot was feeling better, but at least we all had the time to baby him a little bit. He is, after all, the baby!

Here's the recipe for the ribs (from Real Simple magazine, March 2004)

1 small onion, finely chopped (1/2 cup)
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt (I usually just use regular salt, but not a tablespoon)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon ground chipotle chili powder (I use regular chili powder)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
4 pounds pork country ribs

Here's what you really need to know from the wordy recipe...mix all of the sauce ingredients (everything but the pork) in the crock pot. Add the pork and coat with the sauce. Cook on high for 3 1/2 hours or low for 6 hours. If you want to make the ribs a bit crispier, place them under the broiler for a while. To intensify the flavor of the sauce, place in a saucepan and boil on the stove for about 15 minutes.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Curling and Purling

Is that title too cute or what? For some unknown reason, my husband is really obsessed with Olympic Curling. Tonight we've been watching the U.S. play Great Britain (which is basically Scotland for this event). The kids and Keith are actually cheering and clapping! It's crazy. Maybe it's so addictive because it's so odd. We also spent some time today watching the Daytona 500. My little guy, Elliot, loves anything with wheels and thought the car race was really cool. He kept pulling out his Hot Wheels cars that matched some of the Nascar cars on the track.

I've realized that I'm spending more time learning how to write this blog about knitting than I am actually knitting. I am making great progress, but I could accomplish so much more! My 15-year-old son, Christian just said while helping to clean up the livingroom..."Gee, Mom, do you think we have enough yarn in this house?" Do you think he was being sarcastic or was he genuinely concerned? After all, it is important to have enough yarn in the house.

Time to get off of here so hubby can use the computer. We're just a bunch of blogging fools!

Friday, February 17, 2006

Half Way There!!

Well, the Olympics are half over and my scarf is officially half done. I really didn't like the middle square that the pattern called for, so I took a little bit of time to find another one that would fit well with the rest of the scarf. I chose the Diamond Brocade stitch pattern. It's turning out quite nicely.
It was so hard to watch the Olympics tonight! The awesome Snowboard Cross event was tragically disappointing for American snowboarder, Lindsey Jacobellis. She was so excited going into the very last jump of the run that she blew the jump and landed on her butt. Was she showing off? Was it unchecked enthusiasm? Who knows (except Lindsey), but she was still amazing. She's being hounded by the press and there's no compassion at all. I've been impressed by how well-spoken and gracious she's been. I say, if she was showing off...good for her! She got the Silver medal for cryin' out loud! A little American arrogance is good for the soul!

Day One

"How can it be Day One," you ask? Haven't I had many entries already? Well, this is "Day One of Robyn's Return to Being Serious About Her Weight Loss" (cue "inspiring underdog sport movie" music). For those of you who don't know...about three years ago I lost nearly 60 pounds by going to Weight Watchers (see the link to the side if you want more info or e-mail me directly). With only 9 pounds to go until I reached my goal weight, (yes, that's NINE pounds!!) I managed to put on about twenty pounds. And guess what? I did that twice! I swore I would never put that weight back on. How, then, did I do this? One or two pounds at a time, slacking off, getting sloppy, the holidays, the Super Bowl, blah, blah, blah (insert favorite excuse here). So...it's time to get to work. I thought that maybe putting this down in writing for the whole world (i.e. the three people that read this blog) to see would help me focus on what I have to do. Now, I know this program works. I need to just stick to it...drink a lot of water, portion control, fruits and veggies and work out. Simple. I can do it. Right?? (Sorry folks, no picture this time! Maybe I'll post some of those dramatic "before and after" pictures when I'm all done...probably not.)

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Blogger Envy

I have discovered that I have Blogger Envy...everyone's blog seems so much better (more interesting, better organized) than mine. Is this feeling of disappointment normal? Just when I think I'm happy with my blog I make the mistake of looking at someone elses!! I don't even know if anyone is reading my blog!?? If a woman blogs on the World Wide Web and no one reads it...

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Quick Update

Here's the Olympic scarf wrapped around Valentines Day tulips from my hubby. Aren't they pretty? I have 6 sections out of 16 done...good progress considering I still have twelve days before the flame goes out!

Saturday, February 11, 2006


I've made really great progress on the scarf I'm making for the Knitting Olympics. I'm way ahead of schedule, so I thought I may make some mittens too, if I have enough yarn...don't know yet. I hope I'll be happier with it when it's blocked...it's a bit wavy for my taste now. Here's a picture of the scarf and another with the stitch samples identified. It is really hard to photograph knitting so you can see the stitches well. I don't know how other folks do it...I'll have to do some research. Thank you to Kate for showing me how to put the text on the photo!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Let the knitting begin!

I was waiting for the lighting of the torch here in America before I start my Knitting Olympics project, but have recently reviewed the rules. Because of the time difference between Italy and the U.S., the torch has already been lit (which I knew). The official rules of the Knitting Olympics state that we are to wait until 2 P.M. to begin our projects. Know what that means?? I've already lost 3 hours and 29 minutes!!!!!!! Gotta go! Wish me luck.

And, one additional quick note. For those of you who think I've cracked...there are over 3,000 other participants (athletes) that have signed up for the Knitting Olympics with me. That's more than the "real" Olympics!!

These are some funny buttons I found on the web. I haven't connected them to anything. Just thought they were cute.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Knitting updates

Well, I finished Elliot's sweater. What in the world was I thinking using that awful rainbow yarn? I can assure you that Elliot has no interest in wearing this sweater and that's OK with me! I am glad that I finished it and I learned a thing or two about making a sweater. For one...stockinette stitch for any amount of time is absolutely unbearable. I wanted to hang myself with my bargain worsted weight acrylic. For another...even though Elliot is really into rainbows, he has the good sense to never be seen in this sweater. I also have learned that I really need to know more about joining all of the sweater pieces. I really threw this one together to get it done, but I know I didn't do it right. Tomorrow night I can begin my sampler scarf for the Knitting Olympics. Today I made a swatch of one section...this is not cheating, it's training. I have never made cables before. They look good, don't they??!!

And this is the progress I've made on Danika's sweater, but it will have to be put on hold until the Olympics are over. It will be really lovely for spring.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Yarn Heaven

Today, I didn't die and went to heaven! This was my first trip to a shop specifically for yarn. It is called Knit Wits and it's in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. There's a link to their website on the side. Here I am about to go into the store. Don't know why I don't look happier. My darling husband took this picture and actually came in with me. Then, foolish man, he left me there on my own for a whole hour!

The ladies inside were so nice and helped me look at all of the yarn and select what I needed. I've changed my mind about the Knitting Olympics. I'm still participating, but I'm making a sampler scarf by Ann Norling instead of the Liesel scarf (see "Slowly But Surely"). I'm just concerned that the mistakes I am bound to make on such a lacy pattern will be too hard to correct. So, I picked this new pattern because someone at Knit Wits had made a swatch and it really is a lovely pattern. I got this Plymouth Encore yarn...it's acrylic and wool and really really soft. It's not as dark a cranberry as I had planned, but I think it will look lovely with Doreen's charcoal coat.
Now, if I can just wrestle it away from King Kong.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Why "Prettybird's Nest"?

Maybe some of you are wondering why this blog is named "Prettybird's Nest". I think that's a reasonable question to ask. I'm always very interested in the titles of the blogs I read. One of my favorites that I've come across so far is titled "Imagine Creative Name Here". Clever. It's hard to think of something catchy without appearing to try too hard. Here is the origin of the whole "Prettybird's Nest" thing.

My husband's nickname for me is "Prettybird". My name is Robyn, so the bird analogy always made sense to me, but it wasn't for years that I realized where he got the name. Let me back up.

Keith is a huge comic book fan. He's not so much involved in collecting, but in reading and writing comics. His favorite DC Comic character is Hawkman. He loves the huge wings and says that Hawkman is ripped.

Here's a picture. Keith is convinced that when an angel gets its wings (every time a bell rings) that this is what they look like. Powerful stuff! (And, incidentally, Keith is the spitting image of this hunky hawk.)

Well, Hawkman's girlfriend's name is Black Canary and his pet name for her is...yep, you guessed it...Prettybird. And here she is (I am, by the way, the spitting image of her as well).

Together we make a remarkable pair.
I love my nickname. I love you, Keith.

I like the whole comic book thing. I love the stories and the art, but I just can't get into the comic book medium...the pictures and word bubbles. I know it is serious literature, Keith. I know it is serious art, Keith. But it's really the format that hold me back. Give me a good novel anytime. You can have your picture pages.

As for the blog name...I used Prettybird as a username because I can easily remember it. Actually, I had to tag on the "70" because someone else was using the name "Prettybird". (Must have been some of Keith's people.) The "Nest" part just followed because it was logical; not as creative as I'd like, but it's a start.

And now you know.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Sweet Sweet Victory!!!

Steelers won the Super Bowl!

Where do I begin?
Jerome Bettis, The Bus, #36, wins the Super Bowl in his home town on the 36th day of the year??!!!!!!! Ben Roethlisberger promises Jerome Bettis last year that if he stuck around he'd get him to the Super Bowl and he DOES!!???! Hines Ward wins the MVP and then sends Jerome Bettis to Disney World in his place??!!! My goodness. What a team! What a night!
I am so glad that my kids got to have a taste of what I experienced as a Pittsburgh Kid in the 70s.

And to Keith, I'm so glad we got to have a Super Bowl win together!
It's OK, Ben. You can relax now...good job. Thank you.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Steelers are going to win!!!

I'm taking a poll. Maybe I'll make it a weekly event, too.
Since we're about to watch the Steelers in Super Bowl XL ("Here We Go"), I have to ask...which Big Ben do you prefer?

Scruffy Ben
or Clean-Shaven Ben

Friday, February 03, 2006

Food Friday

I thought it might be fun to post a recipe every week. Most of these will be recipes I've tried and probably made a million times. Some might be new. There may even be stories about the recipes or some silly history behind them.

This week's recipe is Chocolate Cake Mix Cookies (or The Official "I-have-to-take-cookies-to-school-tomorrow" Cookie of the McIlwain Family) These cookies were made last Valentine's Day. The round chocolate cookies are the cake mix cookies.

1 Chocolate Cake Mix (prefereably generic)
2 eggs
1/2 Cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
granulated sugar or other toppings like sprinkles

Mix everything in a bowl with a large wooden spoon, or fork or whatever is handy. The main point is that you do not need to drag out a mixer to make these cookies. The dough will be very thick and greasy. Roll into balls (about walnut size) and roll in the sugar. Place on cookie sheet (about 2 inches apart to allow for spreading) and bake for 8-10 minutes at 375 degrees. One box of cake mix makes about 3 dozen cookies.

They look beautiful when they are done...all crackled on top sort of like a macaroon. You could easily substitute peppermint extract or almond extract or any other flavoring for the vanilla. They are also perfect for every holiday...just use different colored sprinkles for each holiday (red & green, or orange & black). These cookies are so delicious!

If you want to know how long it takes to make 30 dozen (yes, that's 30 dozen) of these wonderful cookies, just ask our son, Christian. He knows all about it! You see, he was grounded, but desperately wanted to go see the latest Harry Potter movie. The church desperately needed 30 dozen cookies for its Christmas cookie trays. It was a perfect match. Everyone was happy...right Christian?? He still has a bit of a twitch if you ask him to bake anything. A Saturday afternoon spent "8-10 minutes" at a time is bound to leave an impression!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Hillbilly hello

Happy Groundhog's Day! Punxsutawney Phil says there will be "six more weeks of mild winter". He did say "mild winter". Let's hope so.

This morning I checked up on the Povertyneck Hillbillies...Western Pennsylvania's best country band. See their link for their home page to the left. Congratulations guys! They just signed a 5-record contract with Rust Records, a division of Universal Records. These are the nicest guys; they deserve every success. Here are some pictures from the Pittsburgh Steelers Pep Ralley last Friday in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. PNH (Povertyneck Hillbillies) were the opening act and are the official band of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The whole Ralley was awesome and the band did a great job getting everyone on their feet. That fiddle player is Chris Higbee, a friend of ours, member of our church and my daughter's violin teacher. You'll definitely be seeing more of these great musicians!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Sweaty hello

Just finished working out! Yay!

(that's all)