Water-logged WIP Wednesday

Mr. H and I were soaked (despite wearing raincoats and wellies) on the way home from school so we decided to forego our outing for today in the hopes that we'll have better weather next week during half term. I'm not sure how thrilled he was with the idea of seeing Kensington Palace anyway, although the promise of a trip to the pirate-ship playground next door in Kensington Gardens seemed to be working.

I'm thinking half-term might be a good time for Mr. H and I to visit the Thames Flood Barrier and learn how it works.

I'm thinking half-term might be a good time for Mr. H and I to visit the Thames Flood Barrier and learn how it works.

In any event, the torrential downpour this afternoon is the perfect excuse to catch you up on what I've been working on.

10 squares down, 43 more to go!

10 squares down, 43 more to go!

Of course you all know about the crochet squares in SweetGeorgia's gorgeous semi-solid colourways that I've been making into Bear's Rainbow Blanket in preparation for Unravel. It's knit night tonight so I'm hoping to chug through this pile some more.

I have exactly 49.5g left of a 100g skein to knit the other mitten. It's going to be close...

I have exactly 49.5g left of a 100g skein to knit the other mitten. It's going to be close...

More "work knitting" includes the commission I have for a pair of simple, fingerless mittens. A fellow in Jordan's office admired his and asked if I'd be willing to make a pair for him. We've happily agreed to barter. He's getting mittens and as he's a graphic designer, I'm getting a professionally-designed flyer for this year's Great London Yarn Crawl. Hooray! The pattern is Ysolda's Garter Stitch Mitts, knit in Spud & Chloe Sweater.

No lace charts. Just 9 pages of line-by-line instructions. Just the way I like it!

No lace charts. Just 9 pages of line-by-line instructions. Just the way I like it!

And then of course there's my "Olympic Knitting". This year I've joined Team Canada to try and stay motivated with the knitting and the various groups and activities going on on Ravelry. I've generally tended to do this sort of event-based knitting on my own but I think that this time around, being away from Canada, it's important to me to feel more connected. I don't agree with the politics of this winter games' host country or how scary it must be for some athletes to not be able to be themselves at these games. Rather than boycott though, I'm knitting to show as much support for our Canadian athletes as I can. In their honour, I'm knitting the Maple Leaf Knit Shawl in some Canadian Fiddlesticks Knitting lace-weight yarn from deep in my stash, held double to get closer to gauge.

What have you been working on lately?

Best-Ever Banana Bread

Mr. H and I decided that our adventure on Wednesday this week was going to be a baking one. We've had some overly ripe bananas here for a while that no one wanted to eat. Funny, when they get turned into banana bread or muffins, they sure disappear fast enough!

Recipe:  Best-Ever Banana Bread  from The Best of Bridge Series. If you grew up in Canada, chances are someone in your family has one, if not all, of these cookbooks. They're delicious!

Recipe: Best-Ever Banana Bread from The Best of Bridge Series. If you grew up in Canada, chances are someone in your family has one, if not all, of these cookbooks. They're delicious!

Interestingly enough, this is one of my favourite recipes that I still hadn't manage to try out here. See the notes written on the recipe? They were for our old house in Toronto that didn't have the greatest (or hottest) oven. Luckily, I thought to turn down the heat a bit on the oven here (it has a convection fan that circulates the heat really well), and also put the two muffin tins in for even less time. Which was a good thing as they were done when the time went off! I think next time I'll even shave another 2-5 minutes off.

We chose to make muffins this time, but there's something to be said for having a nice, thick slice of banana bread with a warm cup of tea, non? I'm thinking a single tin of muffins and a loaf next time.

Update: I had wondered about the difference in country, altitude, oven etc and if the recipe might turn out differently and these did - SUPER light and fluffy! Still rich in flavour but not as dense as I remember the recipe being. When I was cleaning up the kitchen I noticed that I'd inadvertently bought (and subsequently used) bicarbonate of soda instead of baking soda. They are not the same! Joy the Baker has a good blog post about this. Always good to have an excuse to use up more bananas!

Wednesdays with Mr. H

There's a tradition in the French Lycée system to not have classes (or homework) on Wednesday afternoons. That time is dedicated to les ateliers - sports or other activities and school clubs.

It was a definitely something that took a while for me to remember (except that first week when I didn't know that I had to pick him up after lunch and showed up at the regular time to learn that they'd just popped him into an atelier anyway!). As a result, for the last year and a bit Mr. H has always participated in the school-offered ateliers so that pick up times are the same for me most days - it just makes scheduling easier.

The entrance to the Natural History Museum, aka "the dinosaur museum"

The entrance to the Natural History Museum, aka "the dinosaur museum"

After doing sports last year and trying out patisserie last term, we decided to try shaking things up a bit so this term Wednesday afternoons are dedicated Mr. H and Mommy time. I originally thought we'd do our own version of patisserie at home and expand the cooking repertoire that we've been doing together but yesterday Mr. H had other ideas and wanted to "go to the dinosaur museum". Who was I to argue?

A ferocious sabretooth cat - look at those fangs!

A ferocious sabretooth cat - look at those fangs!

Having only ever been to the Natural History Museum on a weekend, or as a parent accompanying a field trip, it was unusual to be there mid-afternoon and mid-week. No queues! No crush of strollers and tourists! That's not to say that weren't any, but there wasn't the same volume, which was refreshing.

Getting ready to see the T-Rex!

Getting ready to see the T-Rex!

The dinosaurs exhibit is well set-up, winding you through the dinosaur hall and the different dinosaur periods while alternating between displays of full skeletons and fossil samples (or recreations that you can touch). There's a catwalk too that takes you over the exhibit initially as well, so that you can more fully appreciate the full scale of some of the bones. And the animatronic T-Rex is his dark enclave is always a treat.

This animatronic T-Rex is a highlight of the exhibit, except for maybe the smallest children

This animatronic T-Rex is a highlight of the exhibit, except for maybe the smallest children

It was also really neat (for me at least) to see how much Mr. H remembered from the unit on dinosaurs they did with his class last year. We talked about herbivores, carnivores and omnivores and he told me his theory on how the dinosaurs became extinct (it involved meteors hitting the earth and subsequent explosions which caused an ice age that killed the plants. Then when the plant-eaters didn't have anything to eat, they died and that meant there was nothing for the meat-eaters to eat so they died too).

Lots of big mammals on display!

Lots of big mammals on display!

Following on from the dinosaur exhibit we checked out the large mammals room. There's always so much to see that you really have to plan your visit in advance as it's really easy to get distracted while wandering around. Next time I want to check out the Room of Hidden Treasures as a one of the mums at school calls it. Apparently there is a room that is good for about a 90min to two hour visit - great for kids! - and it features a rotating selection of some of the weird and wonderful exhibits that the museum holds but doesn't have on a permanent display anywhere. Anything from pages from an early book to shrunken heads, you never know what you're going to find there.

Besides the wonderful exhibits, the architecture inside is also breathtaking!

Besides the wonderful exhibits, the architecture inside is also breathtaking!

Afterwards we were pretty hungry so we popped into a family-friendly Italian place for dinner. Mr. H must have been starving because not only did he order a babyccino for himself and eat all of his spaghetti and meatballs, but he at most of the calamari that he insisted we get too, and then still had room for ice cream for dessert! For such a skinny kid, I'm not sure where he put it all.

Twirling spaghetti requires serious concentration

Twirling spaghetti requires serious concentration

Spaghetti success - mostly!

Spaghetti success - mostly!

With all the stuff there is to see and do in London, I'm not sure how much cooking or baking will actually get done on Wednesday afternoons but I'm looking forward to more adventures with Mr. H.