Halloween peanut butter cookies

I had to share this cookie idea I found on Pinterest. There it says to use a cookie mix, but I tried it with my peanut blossom cookie dough recipe and I think it was well worth the extra time.

All you need to do is add about a cup of peanut butter chips and a cup of Reese’s Pieces candy to the dough. Then you press it into a 9×13-inch pan and bake at 350 degrees until it’s just starting to brown on top. Maybe 20 minutes?

When the pan comes out, press in a few candy eyeballs (which you can find at craft stores like JoAnn and Michaels). Let the pan cool, then cut the cookies into rectangles. They are SO GOOD, especially when they are still a little warm.

My next Skillshare class

If you’ve ever wanted to try arm knitting, here’s your chance! I just put up my second class on Skillshare.
Intro to arm knitting: make a quick cowl

As always, you can use my link to get a discount on signing up for Skillshare.

The class teaches you single and double loop options.

And, for the rest of October, a limited number of students can take my class for free.

Now that Max is in daycare, I have some free time to film more classes, so I’m working on some for my giant knitting channel. If there’s anything you want to learn, let me know!

Max 7-9 months and Harper 3.5

I had to take this picture to document the fact that prior to this I had left him sitting on the floor on the other side of the room. Apparently he can pull himself to standing and push his little play table several feet.

At 9 months, Max is doing a lot of the same things Harper was at that age.

Yup, that was Harper!

He can balance standing up as long as he’s holding onto something.

He really likes to be walked around the house. He doesn’t quite crawl, but he seems close to crab crawling with one leg out the way Harper did.

For a while I had him rigged up in the Jenny Jump Up so that he could stand at the table, but he already doesn’t need it.

We learned the hard way that you can’t leave him on a couch or bed anymore. He will totally roll off (head first, of course).

7 months.

8 months.

It seems strange to say, but the last 3 months have been much harder than the previous 3. I think it’s mostly because of teeth. Max has 6 now, and every time he gets a new one, he is miserable and sleepless.

That picture pretty much sums up how I’ve felt lately — tiiired.

Then a few weeks ago, we all got sick, but Max got it the worst. He had a fever for like 4 days, and he couldn’t sleep for being so stuffed up. And we just could not get his sleep on track after that.

He was so tired he fell asleep playing with toys.

Fortunately, we accomplished a couple of things after that. We got a second car (an electric Leaf!) and I found a daycare for Max. I’m not sure if it’s related to his daycare provider or not, but he’s been sleeping most of the night ever since.

So we have our happy Max back, and it’s great.

The biggest thing that happened over the last 3 months, though, was our vacation to Portland and Seattle. Traveling with two little kids was tough, but they did great on their flights.

The hardest part was lugging around all the stuff (stroller, 2 carseats, luggage, diaper bag, etc.). And then traveling between the two cities, which took WAY longer than we had anticipated.

We did get some family photos, which was nice.

This one, from a Portland breakfast spot, is my favorite.

This one kind of sums up the chaos of our trip.

We stayed at Air BnBs, which worked out great. Plus, I got two blissful days of wandering around Portland while the kids had free daycare from Mike’s conference.

Still dreaming about Blue Star Donuts.

We took a break for a mall carousel.

Max loves playing in the grass.

One of the best things we got to do was meet up with an old friend from Kansas and ride on her family’s boat. They took us around Lake Union in Seattle, which was just unbelievably beautiful.

Harper was a little scared, but she did great.

We tried to do the public market in Seattle, but it was too crazy crowded.

Instead we headed to Discovery Park for a hike.

This picture is so Harper — all dirt and shin bruises.

On our last day we took the kids to Alki Beach and we got some great photos of them playing in the sand together.

They still get along really well. These pictures of them with Harper’s Soccer Shots headband crack me up.

Grammie came to visit for a couple weeks, which was so nice.

We are planning TWO trips to visit family for the holidays, so it will be fun to see everyone we’ve missed.

I’ve been super busy and stressed from all the knitting orders that have come in, but it’s kind of par for the course.

My boss is opening another store in Breckenridge, so I am making a whole bunch of items for that.

We did have a nice respite at a local beach we found. There are so few really quiet places around, so we’ll have to remember this one.

This time with two little kids can be really brutal some days. But I also feel this sense of fulfillment I never have before. It’s not perfect, but I have so many of the things I always wanted. And especially now that we have the house pretty much finished and I’m back to work, it’s easier to appreciate it all.

I love this picture. Oh, to be 3 again.

As Harper gets closer to 4, I think she’s calming down a little. She’s learning how to spell and how to communicate better, and she says the most adorable things like, “mommy, you’re my best friend.”

Harper’s taking yoga and I bought a jogging stroller so I can run. Hopefully if Max keeps sleeping well we can all come out of the haze and feel normal again. I have some new products, including these adorable crowns.

I should have more to share soon!

Garden update

I think it’s fair to say that we haven’t had a lot of time to work on the garden this year, but we’re finally getting around to making some progress. We did plant a lot of vegetables earlier this year, and they are really thriving now. Not surprisingly, the tomatoes have gone NUTS.

The red cherry tomato plant got so heavy it toppled the cage and I’ve had to cut it back several times.

The orange one spread out a lot, but hasn’t gone quite as crazy. It makes these huge bundles of tomatoes.

Then we had this volunteer pop up next to my pot of lavender. I probably should have pulled it out, but I just left it, and now it needs its own cage.

It kills me that Harper pulled all the blooms off that orchid (above left) since it only blooms once a year. It looks healthy enough to come back next year though. 

I’m not really sure what kind of tomato this is.

The tomatoes are medium-sized and kind of orange-red in color, so it’s hard to tell when they’re ripe.

The sauce tomatoes are looking good. Hopefully I’ll have my first batch ready to roast soon.

And then we have these regular round tomatoes that should be ripe soon. I see a lot of caprese salads in our future!

This is the first time I’ve really successfully grown bell peppers. This one plant produced a bunch of good-sized green ones, so I’m leaving them on there in hopes that they’ll turn red.

We also have some jalapenos that I used in tortilla soup last night. I’m not sure why they’re turning black, but they taste good.

I also had a purple kale plant that did really well, but I just cut it down because it was overtaken with bugs. Does anyone have a good remedy for that?

One new addition this year is rhubarb! Mike got this plant from a neighbor and it seems to be happy.

We bought 2 other baby plants at the garden store, but only one has survived so far.

Our berry patch is not faring as well as the veggie patches.

We have three raspberry plants that have produced a few berries, but the blueberries are mostly dead. I think the soil pH is off, so I will work on that.

The strawberries have done well and I think they are coming to the end of their season. I froze a bunch to make jam or some kind of dessert later. Maybe something strawberry-rhubarb if the rhubarb gets tall enough?

The orange tree has some oranges starting to turn yellow, but overall it seems to have a lot fewer than last year. Since the tree looks very lush and healthy, I think it just might be cyclical.

Our neighbor’s apple tree is full of yummy looking apples right now. Hopefully some fall into our yard!

This area is kind of a work in progress. The flower bushes took a big hit during the drought last summer, and never really recovered. Basically, they dry out and then become vulnerable to fungus. By fall they look like they’re dying, but then with winter rain they come back.

I really want to save this one because it has such pretty flowers and smells like lemon when you touch it.

And of course I love my red and white fuchsia.

I bought another hanging planter with fuchsia and it got fried in the sun. But I moved it to a shadier place and it’s coming back now. I feel like our yard needs more shade generally. Even with our moderate temperatures, things get fried in the full sun.

One bright spot is our hydrangea (two actually). They were looking pretty bad last year, but with some pruning and extra water they filled out this year and they’re looking great.

And then there’s this amaryllis my mom planted forever ago. It finally shot up into this brilliant bloom.

And now it is blooming again.

We have a plan to completely redo our front yard and make it into a succulent garden with a citrus tree, but we’re waiting until we get some rain so the ground isn’t so tough to dig into. Mike also wants to build a little fence for it. I’ll update when we get to it!

My first class on Skillshare!

I feel like my personal motto these last few years has been “be brave.” So when I’m afraid to do something I try to keep that in my head. And so even though the idea of filming myself teaching a crafts class was a little overwhelming, I decided to do it anyway!

I recently published my first class on Skillshare. If you’re not familiar, Skillshare is an online platform where you can pay a monthly fee to take as many video classes as you want. A lot of them are crafts/DIY related (knitting, calligraphy, drawing, etc.), but a lot of them are things like editing in Photoshop or getting more followers on Instagram. Good stuff!

One of my most popular patterns on Etsy and Ravelry is for a rope basket, so I decided to flesh that one out and explain in more detail for my first class. I really think it helps to see someone knitting the stitches and doing all the different steps in real time. 

So, if you want to take my class, you can enroll here. You should be able to use that link to get your first 3 months of Skillshare for $.99. BONUS: The first 25 students can take the class for free! 

As intimidating as this was, I still really enjoyed it and am already thinking about what classes I can teach next. 🙂

Max, 5 and 6 months

OK, get ready for cute overload because I have SO MANY good pics of my kids this summer.

I can’t believe Max is 6 months old, but it’s true. Here he is at 5 months.

And then at 6 months.

He is still our Mr. Smiley Guy.

If you tickle him or do a high-pitched sneeze, he has the cutest giggle.

He’s had a pretty big couple of weeks. First, we started him on solid foods.

I decided to skip the rice cereal this time and just do purees.

Then he got two teeth! So we’ve also given him some mum-mums and crusty bread to chew on.

Obviously the Bumbo is getting a lot of use since he’s still a little tippy.

He loves playing with Tupperware containers and various other things that are not toys.

I have even put him in a laundry basket with some toys, since it is sort of like a mini playpen.

Other times I kind of prop him up in the Boppy so I can play with him.

The teething has definitely affected his sleep, although I would still say he is a much more consistent sleeper than Harper was at his age.

Occasionally he takes a long nap, but his are usually only half an hour. So I am struggling to get much of anything done during the days I’m home with him. But I feel like the alternative is having him sleep less at night, and I don’t want that either.

He has also become really grabby and interested in rolling or lurching for things, so I really have to watch him closely.

He likes to grab his feet, and he can get his toes in his mouth.

He still has really bad cradle cap, so sometimes I put lotion on his head and it makes his hair stick up.

He was 18.5 pounds at his last appointment and pretty tall.

I’m looking forward to what the next few months will bring. Before we know it he will be walking and talking!

Harper has been a handful and a half, but she is also progressing so much.

Her teachers tell us she has completely come out of her shell at daycare, and now she plays with other groups of kids, no problem.

She tells me about her day now, and has gotten a lot better at asking for what she needs.

What’s hard is that she has both an immense amount of energy and a LOT of feelings.

We took a trip to the petrified forest in Calistoga, and without a nap that day she whined/cried/yelled the whole ride home.

So I’m a little nervous about traveling with two little kids for a whole week, but I think the key is not trying to do too much. And snacks. So many snacks.

She calls this her swimming costume. 

Harper started playing soccer at school and I think she would like swimming lessons too. Although I think she would be really great at tumbling.

Toddler lunch of champions. 

She has a great sense of style (hat tip to Grammie!) and she is an amazing artist. I love seeing her creativity shine through.

There are still a lot of kids activities in the Bay Area that we need to explore, so hopefully we’ll get to do some of those things soon. We’re still finding our new rhythm without Grammie and with me working 2 days a week, but we’re getting the hang of it.

More pictures soon of Max’s finished room and our solar panels!

*I also wanted to mention that you can follow me on Instagram. I wish I had more time to blog, but since I don’t I try to at least keep the photos coming.

Master bedroom makeover

When we bought our house, I never actually thought about living in the master bedroom, since it was always going to be mom’s space. But since she left, we have the opportunity to change rooms and give the kids their own bedrooms. So of course we couldn’t just move the furniture. We had to make a few upgrades. 

We started by taking out the dated light fixture and replacing it with one that is more modern, but still gives a nod to the house’s midcentury style.  Then Mike painted the walls a nice neutral color and updated all the baseboard trim. 

The curtains and rods were OK, but we wanted some that made the super short windows look bigger. So we got some floor-length curtains and put them high and wide over the windows.

I think the result of all that is a bedroom that looks a lot brighter. But we also got some light-blocking roller shades to help us sleep at night. 

It’s funny — when we first looked at this house it was so dark. But it actually has incredible natural light. The window coverings make such a big difference. I’m having trouble finding any pictures of the original bedroom, but I did find one of the horrible vertical blinds.


Our old bedding was pretty gross after a few years of use by us, babies and dogs. So we just threw it away and got new bedding. The next phase will be painting our old room the same neutral color and then moving Max’s crib in there. It will also double as a guest room since it will have a full-sized bed in it.

Blank-slate bedroom.

And, super awesome bonus, we will have a whole extra closet to use for storage. Lack of storage space has been one of my only complaints about this house. 

We can also move a lot of toys out of the living room and into the kids’ rooms. We may have to buy one more dresser, but other than we shouldn’t have to do anything to Harper’s room (whew). 

We’ve been doing a lot of work on the yard and gardens, and I will share that in another post.

The tomato plants have gone even crazier than last year!

It’s nice to finally feel like we’ve completed most of the projects we wanted to do on the house and can just enjoy them. One kind of crazy thing — we’re actually thinking about getting solar panels and an electric car. We have so much sun and utilities and gas are so expensive, it just makes sense. 

OK, two crazy things. Now that the rest of the house looks so good, the kitchen is really starting to bother me. All I really need are better cabinets. But once we got started on that I know we would want to redo the whole thing.

Sigh. For now it’s just a very expensive thought. 

Also, next month we are finally going on a family vacation!  Mike has a conference in Portland with free childcare, so we decided to make a trip out of it. It kills me that we have lived on the west coast this long without having been there, so we’re doing it. 

Max: 3 and 4 months

These last two months have flown by. All the sudden Max is a plump, drool-y baby who can almost sit up and grasp toys in his chubby hands. Looking back at those 2-month photos, he looks so skinny!

Here he is at 3 months.

And then at 4 months.

I just took him to the doctor and he was a little over 16 pounds. Pretty much right down the middle as far as height, weight, and head size. For comparison, Harper was 14 pounds, 10 ounces at her 4-month appointment.

Just like Harper at that age, Max went bald in some spots, but had a swirl of hair in the middle.

He also screams now, for no apparent reason. Can’t wait to see how that goes over in public!

Generally, though, he is sweet and so smiley and giggly. He’s started responding to toy squeaks and peekaboo. So cute.

Last month, Grandad and GB were here, and they got to see what a smiley, happy baby he is.

We took him on all kinds of outings and he was as sweet as can be. I think it helped that he would fall asleep in the car and then be really well rested wherever we went.

We stopped letting him nap in the carrier, and so he switched to taking 4 or 5 shorter naps throughout the day. Much like Harper, he only stays asleep for about half an hour at a time. I’ve basically decided not to fight it. Harper would only take about 2 of those naps a day, which was brutal. At least he gets enough rest in total.

His funny thing lately is falling asleep in the jumparoo. He’ll be bouncing in there and then I’ll look over and he’ll be asleep!

We still have him sleeping in the rock ‘n play at night, but he is going to outgrow it soon. At the end of this month, my mom will be moving back to Kansas (sniff…) so we will move into her room and then move Max into his own room. At that point we can put him in the crib without worrying about him waking up Harper.

We sure will miss our Grammie!

Harper still likes to entertain Max while he lays in the crib, and he likes to watch her, too.

She is still pretty good with him, but I see some jealousy creeping in. Age 3.5 seems filled with whining and tantrums, so we are just trying to power through it.

It is also filled with pink. So much pink. All the sudden every outfit has to be pink, head to toe. She’s big into the princess thing, too, although her version might include cowboy boots and binoculars.

Harper’s diet pretty much consists of cereal, ketchup, and whatever else she feels like eating at any given time.

And it has to be served in the bunny bowl, with the yellow cup and the purple spoon. OK?!

I can’t believe Max will be eating solids soon. I really feel like he is growing up too fast, but what can I do? I just love ’em both and try to appreciate the cuddles when I get them.

Max has been making this face a lot lately.

Talk about a flashback – here’s Harper making the same face.

I have thought for months that it seemed like his bottom teeth might be coming in early, but they never do.

I guess babies are just orally fixated and drool-y in general.

I just started working some short shifts at the store in Sausalito this week. Harper is in daycare full time and I’ll have to find a nanny for Max soon. We’re shifting into a new normal. It’s a little scary, but also good. I just don’t feel like myself unless I’m working, and I really did miss it.

Spring show!

I haven’t done a show for a while, so I thought it was about time I signed up for one again. Shows aren’t really my bread and butter anymore, but I love doing them because they kind of energize you in a way that online sales can’t. You get to meet and talk to your customers and fellow vendors and see what else is out there in the handmade community. 

Having recently joined the SF Etsy team (which numbers 1,800!), I’m excited to be vending at their spring indie emporium in San Francisco. Here are the details. If you’re in the area, I hope you can make it!

Grandma’s potato salad

I finally did it. I took a stab at making my grandma’s famous potato salad, and I think I nailed it. Her recipe is legendary in our family. And while I could never make it as well as she did, I couldn’t imagine not having it anymore. So I dug out her handwritten recipe and tried it.

I’m going to share it here because I love the way she wrote it with such detailed and funny notes. It cracks me up that she referred to the cost of the celery seed, because her thriftiness is one of the things I loved most about her.

I remember watching Grandma cut ingredients into the tiniest pieces without even looking. She was a pro!

Really the only thing I changed was to use real mayonnaise instead of Miracle Whip. I wasn’t sure if she used regular mustard or mustard powder, but I used powder and I think regular mustard would work just fine.

I always thought it was the pickle juice that was the secret ingredient. But now I think it’s the egg-to-potato ratio, which makes her recipe like a combination of egg salad and potato salad. When I took the bowl out of the fridge after mixing it up, the smell made me tear up. It was just like hers. I love how a recipe can do that for you.

Here’s another kind of unusual thing — have you ever boiled whole russet potatoes with the skins on? I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get the potatoes cooked without being too mushy, but it worked just fine. I tested them with a fork a few times until they seemed soft. Actually one potato completely fell apart, so I just tossed it and used one less egg.

I like that you can adjust the recipe for how many people you’re feeding. Grandma always had a HUGE bowl of potato salad in her fridge, but we didn’t need quite that much. I’m excited to make it again for our next potluck or family gathering!

Grandma's potato salad
Serves 12
Our family recipe is like a combination of egg salad and potato salad. Perfect for picnics and family gatherings!
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  1. 8-10 medium-sized russet potatoes
  2. 8-10 hard boiled eggs
  3. 1/4 cup green onions, or 1/2 cup white onion, finely chopped
  4. 2-3 tablespoons sweet gherkins, chopped (about 1 or 2 pickles)
  5. 2 tablespoons pickle juice
  6. 1.5-2 cups mayonnaise
  7. 2 teaspoons dried mustard
  8. 1 teaspoon celery seed
  9. 1 teaspoon salt
  10. 1 teaspoon sugar
  1. Boil potatoes with the skin on until they are soft when you poke them with a fork. Make sure you season your water with a little salt.
  2. When your potatoes are cool, chop them into small pieces. Peel and chop your hard boiled eggs into small pieces, too.
  3. Add onions, pickles, and pickle juice. Then mix in your mayonnaise. Add enough so it's moist but not soupy.
  4. Add seasonings and stir to combine. Taste the potato salad, and if it needs a little more of anything, now's the time to add it!
  5. Cover and refrigerate for 6-8 hours before serving.
Cara Corey http://www.caracorey.com/