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2011

Happy New Year! It’s 2011 already, really? Time flies when you’re ridiculously busy. I so didn’t get 20 hats knit for the ‘Big Knit” maybe about 6 in the end, I’ll just have to start earlier next year. My exams in December were pretty grim, I’m still waiting for the results so fingers crossed they’re not as awful as I’m expecting. Ireland was buried in snow for a few weeks, the most snow since records began, so the libraries and then the college were closed for a few days, not very helpful when you’re trying to cram. Our last exam was very nearly canceled because of the weather, in the end I’m glad it wasn’t, it’s one less exam i’ll have to think about next semester.

I may have got bored of the snow quickly, but I know someone else who definitely didn’t…

The photo above won a competition on facebook- I got a €100 voucher for a pet shop!! I’m considering using some of it to buy Grizz a coat, I know he’ll look ridiculous, but he shivered so much in the bad weather when we took him out I felt cruel making him go for walks. On one or two really icy days he downright refused to go out! Most days though he just loved jumping around in it.


I had a nice quiet Christmas at home in Dublin with my family, we usually go to our holiday home in West Cork for Christmas but this year the weather was insanely cold and the roads were icy, so we stayed in our nice warm house until the 28th when we headed south. The house was freezing for the first day or so but the sense of community we have down there more than makes up for it. Grizz loves it as he can run free across fields and along the beach every day, and play with his doggy friends.

I finally finished knitting this hat, I finished it before, then realised it was too small as I did one less pattern repeat than i should have before the decreases, woops. Oh well it’s finally done now and its very cosy. I think dad is jealous, I might have to make him something similar for his birthday in February!

I didn’t get to do nearly as much baking as I would have liked over Christmas, mainly because we seemed to already have a mountain of sweet treats to last us until March! I made some Peanut brittle for the first time for my mum for part of her Christmas present and it worked out amazingly well for a first attempt. Unfortunately I didn’t get a photo of it, but I imagine I will be making it again soon as it was very popular! I needed a recipe with no sugar thermometer required, and no corn syrup. You can’t really get corn syrup in Ireland but sugar syrup does the job. I subsequently tried to omit the sugar syrup and change the sugar and water amounts to account for it but it didn’t turn out as well at all. I also changed the measurements to metric for those of us on this side of the atlantic!

No Thermometer No Corn Syrup Peanut Brittle!

edited from http://www.couldntbeparve.com/2010/12/peanut-brittle-2/

Ingredients
400g granulated sugar
240ml water
120ml sugar syrup (recipe below)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp margarine
1/2 tsp baking soda/bicarbonate of soda
200g peanuts

Sugar Syrup = 200g sugar, 80ml water (makes more than is needed for this recipe)
Directions: Add sugar and water to a pan, gently boil until sugar has dissolved and mixture is syrupy (about 5 mins). Keep excess to make more brittle later!

Directions:
Line a rimmed baking tray with parchment paper. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, water, syrup and salt. Bring to a rapid simmer over medium-high and cook until deep golden/until mixture has reached hard-crack stage, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Stir in margarine, baking soda, and peanuts (mixture will foam). Stir until mixture is no longer bubbling and caramel is smooth, 1 minute.
Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and spread with a lightly greased spatula. Do this quickly as the mixture sets quite fast. Don’t be tempted to have a taste until it has cooled completely- it’s REALLY HOT!!! keep kids and unsuspecting family members away! when it has cooled break into pieces, SMASH tray on a hard surface so peanut brittle dramatically shatters- clearly the best way to do it!

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So Long Summer!

Well, Summer has been and unfortunately is gone, far too soon if you ask me. It has been pretty hectic, hence I haven’t had a chance to post in months. Grizz is a tiny puppy no more, rather an 8 Kilo lump, but still pretty cute if you ask me.

Here are some of the things I did this summer

Taught sailing for 6 weeks
Went to Essex with the scouts
Taught the dog to sit, give the paw, lie down, roll over, spin around and high 5!
Saw a big air-sea rescue operation up close
Lots of walks on the beach
Learned how to play flip cup
took 26 kids on the london tube at rush hour
Went to a high ropes park
Didn’t teach the dog to come when called, hmm i gotta work on that
Failed two exams but repeating them next week
Made marshmallow fondant icing
Went to Thorpe Park
Got Grizz a lifejacket and brought him on the boat
Ordered some cool stuff from threadless.com
Won a €50 token for an online pet shop
Went to the cinema
Made a campfire blanket
Turned 24

Made new friends and caught up with old ones. That was the best part.

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Puppy Puppy Puppy!

He’s finally here!

We Brought Grizz home on Wednesday, he was good as gold in the car and jumped straight into his crate when we introduced him to it. I had given the breeder a blanket and toy so that he had something with a familiar smell on it and it seemed to do the trick.

Boy does he take up a lot of time, it’s very hard to get any work done with a puppy around. I’ve been trying to write this post for three days! He is very wonderful though, everything he does is unbelievably cute. Well, nearly everything, peeing on the floor and waking me at 5am isn’t that cute, but I forgive him! He has settled in pretty well and even Tigger has started to come around a little bit. She is still very wary of him but they have been within about 2 feet of one another without anyone losing an eye.

He has been scratching a lot so I got some Stronghold flea treatment from the vet on Thursday. This didn’t make a difference so I gave him a bath (very cute!) but again this didn’t help. The vet recommended a bath in Baking soda (aka sodium bicarbonate or bicarbonate of soda- not baking powder!) so the poor thing got 2 baths in one day! He’s much softer and less dusty feeling, although he is still scratching a bit, so I brought him to the vet this morning.

The vet thinks he’s ‘the best puppy you could get’, and agrees he was worth the wait, which is very complimentary for someone who sees tons of dogs every day! He squeezed out his anal glands- lovely, and wormed him with Milbemax (the rolls royce of wormers so he says) and put drops in his ears, so he’s well and truly covered. He said not to worry too much about the scratching as long as he’s not loosing any hair, but I’ll keep an eye on it.

The new camera is brilliant and I’m so glad I got it now so I can capture his puppy days, as I’m sure they will go very fast.

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Little does she know…

This morning I was talking to my mum about all things dog related (Read: she was just about humoring my gushing about the dog, again) and she suggested that I should write a blog about it, heehee.

Well, back to the study, urgh…