Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Yarn Along

hats, hats, and more hats

the simple baby cardy 

the books i have been reading
I am making a sneaky post. We are on vacation and there was to be no internet... hehe. But I have been so busy knitting. I have knitted a hat every single day. I made two Zsa knitted mask hats. Cae wanted one and after I made one for him, Fiona Rosie wanted one too. She calls it her cat hat! I knitted it in the round instead of flat which I liked better. I made two pointy gnome hats for wee little babes that will be joining the family in the fall. (Those are so so much fun to knit and work up so quickly.) I also restarted Fiona's baby cardi from "More Last Minute Knitted Gifts". I had to frog the whole thing because it was way too small for her, and since I took this picture I had to restart again because it was way to big for her. Ah well, at some point it will be a lovely gray and white sweater with beautiful red owl buttons.
Lastly... BOOKS! I am reading the grammar book. I will be doing grammar lessons with Sagan and Cae this fall, and honestly I need a refresher course. I have been reading to Cae and Rowan off and on during this vacation, mostly when it has been raining too hard to play outside, which for the boys pretty much means you can't see across the street do to the down pour. Fiona is totally in love with "Each Peach, Pear, Plum" I think I read it 10 times a day. Which is completely fine, because it is such a sweet book.
I am joining Ginny for the weekly Wednesday Yarn Along.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Mama is packing


I am getting us all packed up for our much anticipated vacation. It has been years for us, for all of us, to get all packed up and make a trek someplace together. We will be off to the Mogollon Rim.
I spent the morning cleaning the house (I just hate coming back from a vacation to a messy house), we took a break to go to the pool for a few hours and then back to it! Now the task of packing. But who needs clothing, food, and pillows when you have a basket of goodness like that! A wee bit of easy peasy knitting, some light reading, and a journal to jot down ideas, daydreams and plans. Would it be bad of me to not pack clothing?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Coffee, Bills, and Rowan's goofy movie



After almost 40 years I have started having a morning cup of joe. Yes, it is sweet and milky and on ice, but still... every morning now I gotta have my coffee. Mike is actually very excited about this. For years I have shunned the nasty, bitter brew but lately, man, I just need me a cuppa. Especially on morning where I must pay the bills. Why is it that no matter how much money comes in, the bills always seem like they take almost all of it? Ah well, I try to practice my gratitude here: I am grateful for the bills, it means we have cool air, drinkable water, a place to live in.

I was downloading some pictures from the camera and ran across some videos Rowan made. He was trying to make a movie using his fingers as the characters. Hilarious. Nothing like movies made by a 5 year old to wipe away any anxiety over money.

video


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Yarn Along

my reading

my knitting
 I have been reading all sorts of homeschooling books, getting ready to get stuff going for the fall. (Well, really late summer here.) I have also been reading my all time favorite magazine... Seeing the Everyday. A friend gifted me a free issue at Christmas time and I had to order it. Such a lovely magazine. I look forward to each issue.  In the spaces between I have been slowly working on the dress for Fiona. I think I have frogged the thing about 7 times. I am still not sure how I feel about it yet, but I think I am going to give it a few more colors and see how I like it. I have been toying with the idea of the bodice part of the dress just one solid color. But we will see.

Once again I am joining Ginny for the lovely Yarn Along!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Caelan Roy





Caelan Roy, my sweet boy turned eight on Sunday. For some reason I kept thinking he was just going to be seven. I guess I am just not ready for him to be eight years old yet. He had a quiet birthday, just some family over, a few gifts and just what he wanted for breakfast and dinner. And a super awesome ice cream cake.
As we have for years now, we looked at a book a friend made of his birth, we talked about how amazing it was, and how blessed we are that he has come into our lives. And we are, we are so blessed to have that crazy, happy, mind blowing child in our lives.
Happy Happy 8th birthday my dear sweet Caelan.

First time quilting


After reading on the "Small Things" blog that she made a sweet simple quilt for her youngest's 1st birthday, well I was inspired. I have never made a quilt, but I felt like this pattern was simple enough that I could tackle it. SO I went with a couple of the kids and we picked out some "fat quarters", a nice solid back fabric, some batting, and green bias tape.


I called up my mother in law and asked her if she could bring over her super awesome, super simple, old 1950's singer portable sewing machine. She said YES! We were in business.


I bought 6 fat quarters in different colors and patterns. Then sewed two together and cut them in half. (Well, sort of in half, a little bit different with each pairing to have a bit of difference in the pattern.)


Then I sewed all of those together. We set the back fabric, and batting on the floor and set the top on top. Then I cut around the whole mess to sort of make it all even. I pinned the green bias tape around the whole thing.



And then I sewed all the layers together. (The corners were a bit tough, so I hand sewed those, they look a bit freaky, BUT I will get better as I keep doing this).


The next day while watching a movie on netflix when Fiona napped I tied the whole thing together.


TADA! Quilt! It turned out great (except the corners. lol) I am so pleased and proud of myself. I am so excited to make more of these. I have already ordered fabric for Fiona's quilt (I am going all gnomey with it!), and have plans for quilts (or lap quilts for the bigger kids) for Yule this year. 
I think the whole thing took maybe 4 1/2 hours total. And that is two non-sewers doing it. I can't wait until my sister in law sees it!


Oh, and this is just a super cute picture of Fiona Rosie. :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Yarn Along


Fiona's dolly "Bea's" dress. I think it turned out pretty good. I want to add a bit of ribbon through the eyelets at the bottom. Also when I do Fiona's dress I think I will add eyelets around the waist and add a ribbon and also maybe a pocket on the chest. Cae thought up that idea. I am still ironing out the kinks.



So, I was toying with maybe doing Fiona's dress in the same pink cotton yarn as I did the dolls dress, but I think I am still do it in the different colored yarns. I don't know. Maybe I will do one of each. I am reading some stuff on Waldorf homeschooling. Sort of prepping for the coming "schooling year". It is really inspiring.


Ok, so I need some advice... owl buttons OR hedgehog buttons OR chuck those buttons and get some other ones? (It is for the baby sweater vest I am making for my SIL.)

Joining Ginny's Yarn Along!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

:: Right Now ::




Right now, we are:

listening to Ben Kweller's "Penny on the Train Track" about 12 times a day

enjoying the early morning mild weather outside

playing in the monsoon rains

reading many books (Waldorf home education for me)

working on knitting patterns and making home made board games

eating local goodness

hanging out the wash every single day

watching all 6 seasons of Dr Who

planning our summer vacation (Show Low for a week!)

Monday, July 16, 2012

It's OK to grieve

I have had three miscarriages. Each of those babies was wanted. We loved them all as soon as the pregnancy test came back positive. Each loss was devastating. I think it makes people uncomfortable when someone grieves a loss of a child that no one could see. I remember after my first miscarriage people at work saying "Well, be grateful you have a child" like some how i wasn't grateful. But I was grateful for my dear Audrey Jane, that doesn't take away from my sadness over the loss of this other baby we had tried so hard to conceive. My other two miscarriages were early on, about 8 weeks and one after another. Again, people seemed to be at a loss as to what to say, some how just saying "I'm sorry" didn't seem like enough, they had to again throw in the "Be thankful" bit, or "it is in a better place", or "well, maybe god is trying to tell you something" or "don't you have enough children already?" Those stung so bad. All I wanted was someone to say "I'm sorry", I would have been ok with people's stories of their own losses, a hug, anything. I felt as if my grief was being tossed aside. Just because it wasn't born yet, didn't make it less our child.
While pregnant with Fiona Rose, I posted on Facebook that I realized I had lost 1/3 of my pregnancies, and how sad that made me. I feel blessed for all of my children, but still sad for those that never made it Earthside. Someone posted that I should be grateful for the 6 healthy kids I had. Was I not showing enough gratitude because I was openly grieving? It is ok to grieve the loss of a child whether they were born or not. It is ok to be sad even if you were pregnant for only 6 weeks, or 5 months. That child was already in your heart even if they were not yet in your arms.
And it is ok for someone to grieve openly, it is ok to say you are a sorry for their loss and to offer a hug. You do not need to make it better, or try and make it go away. If it makes you uncomfortable, look inside yourself and see why that is. Even if you had a miscarriage yourself, that doesn't mean that everyone deals with the loss the same way. It is ok for the mother to weep, and be angry and feel as if they were unjustly hurt. Look at the loss the same way you would if they had lost any child. What would you say, what would you do for them? And please, please do not tell them they are better off. It never feels that way, ever.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Diapers

I am going to admit an addiction of mine. I LOVE cloth diapers. I love them. I love their softness, I love their environmentalness, I love all the different kinds there are, I love that you can support a SAHM who knits wool covers or sews these beauties up, I love that they last for YEARS and you can use them for more than one child and/or pass them on to friends. I could spend a fortune on them and I have in the past!
Right now, the system I am using is Fuzzibunz at nights and a combo of Green Mountain Diapers "workhorse" diapers and Kissaluvs fitted diapers (usually without a cover because Fiona doesn't like covers and takes them off).
In the past I have used birdseye flat diapers which are great if you are short on money up front and live someplace that rains alot and want to hang them out to dry, those puppies dry super fast. And if you can knit, even a wee little bit there is this free wool diaper cover pattern that knits up super fast (I made one for Fiona and it took me about 10 hours total). You can get started with cloth for under $100.00, and those diapers would last for years!

I have been washing the diapers in the homemade laundry soap, rinsing them in vinegar, and hanging them up to dry. They have yet to get a funkiness to them and are holding up really well. You know, as much as I dislike folding the wash, I have to admit I love to fold and put away the cloth diapers.



Thursday, July 12, 2012

Cleaning

Trying to keep with the environmental idelas I have, and wanting to sort of cut back on the amount of money I spend on all sorts of things I decided I would start making some of our cleaning products. I have made laundry soap in the past, both liquid and dry. Personally I like the dry better, BUT the liquid makes up a heck of a lot of soap, like 10 gallons!
I have used this recipe for liquid and this for dry. You can also add white vinegar to you laundry load to help with odors and as a fabric softener!

As for a counter/multipurpose cleaner I found a great recipe someplace and I have no idea when I found it, so here it is:
2TBSP vinegar
1tsp borax
a few drops mild dish soap or castile soap
10 drops of essential oil
2 cups HOT water
Mix the vinegar and borax in the hot water, add the dish soap and EO. mix well. Pour into spray bottle and top off with tap water.

I wasn't sure how this stuff would work on a hard job (like a bathroom that 5 kids use every single day!) but it cleaned great, even did mirrors with no streaking. And it cuts through grease on kitchen counter tops, another plus! It literally cost pennies to make and I had all the stuff in the house at the time! I really like this stuff. And you can change up the scent with what ever EO you have on hand, OR not add any if you wish it to be scent free.

As for most every thing else it is vinegar and baking soda. I found that apple cider vinegar works great for tough toilet rings, better than regular white vinegar.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Yarn Along



Joining Ginny for the weekly Yarn Along:

I am working on a dress pattern of my own design. I am starting with a doll sized pattern and then I am going to see if I can make it Fiona sized. So far it is pretty simple, but fun to try out stuff and not worry about not following the pattern just right. :) I am using some cotton yarn I got forever ago (maybe 2 years ago) that was in support of breast cancer awareness month. I am going to make Fiona's dress out of cotton as well, but I have some lovely rainbowy goodness for hers. I figure the baby doll doesn't care what sort of yarn it's dress is made from. LOL

I promised Logan I would read this book... "Wild Fire". It is suppose to be sort of a post 9/11 thriller. So far I am not to impressed with the writing or the main character, but I did tell him I would give it 50 pages, so we will see.

Because people just rock


This video gets me every time. People are just amazingly beautiful.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Changes so far

Since we started this sort of lifestyle change, we have made some pretty good steps in the right direction. In just a couple weeks we have decreased our trash out put by 50%, going from two 13 gallon trash bags a week to just one. We have started composting all of our compostable food waste, I still haven't gotten the worms yet... but that will be coming soon.


I hang all the wash up outside, that is something like 12 loads a week (which we are working on getting that down to 9 loads a week soon).



I did some looking int which is better dishwasher or hand washing (in the use of water and electricity) and found that IF you have an energy star dishwasher it would possibly be better to use the dishwasher as long as you didn't have to pre-rinse them. Since we do not have an energy star dishwasher in the house we are renting and because we have to pretty much wash the dishes before they go in the dishwasher we have moved to handwashing the dishes. Surprisingly it takes about the same amount of time and effort, uses less water and electricity and causes Audrey and Logan (or Mike and I ) to actually spend time together talking. Who would have thought?



Another water saving thing we are doing is... "If it's yellow, let it mellow". I know, I know, it seems a bit gross, but what is grosser is the waste of drinkable water. In our house if you calculate that it takes about 3.5 gallons to flush our toilet, there are 7 of use who use it every day and may go to the bathroom at least 4 times a piece.. that is almost 100 gallons of water flushed every single day, that is almost 3000 gallons a month! If we cut that down by even 1/2, what a vast improvement. Right now in Arizona alone we flush 11 BILLION gallons of drinkable water down the toilet (that is like 450,000 swimming pools full of water every month!). If everyone cut down on flushes, even by just half well that is just an amazing amount of potable water saved.



Some of the most challenging changes have been keeping the cooler at 84. That has been tough and we have set it down to 82, for about an hour at a time (remembering to set the egg timer), also leaving the lights out. That has been tough! This house actually gets alot of sun light during the day, yet every room will have a light on during the day.


The next big step is the eating locally. I am going to start hitting the Saturday Farmer's Market every week. Which is really close to the light rail line. I would like to find one of those foldable basket things with wheels, so I can get enough food for a family of 8 and still take the bus and light rail. Maybe the Goodwill will have one.



We clearly have many more steps to take, but I feel we are off to a great start!

Also if you are interested, there is this neat video on how the "No Impact Week" experiment got started, which, by the way, is a great jumping off point in getting started in your own "Lower Impact" life!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Yarn Along

reading and knitting
I am still working on the baby sweater vest, it is coming along great, I am about 3/4 done with it. I am really wondering what to do about the buttons. I have a few really cute ones, but I am not sure if they will go with the color of the yarn.
As ofr reading it is mostly magazines and "The Low Carbon Diet" which has great information on how to decrease your carbon footprint by 5000lbs in 30 days. I would love to do this with others, it is set up to do that, so you have a sort of community involvement sort of thing. Pretty cool.

If you want to be inspired on what to knit and what to read check out Ginny's blog or the weekly Yarn Along!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

An early 4th of July Celebration

rowan in the pool

ready, set, go

fiona and mama in the pool

fireworks

this one looks like a dandelion puff

just like this shot

part of the finale 

more finale

fiona rosie
The park near where my parents live holds a pre-fourth of July fireworks celebration. We try and go every year. So much fun! Go for a swim and Grandma and Papa's, have some BBQ meat and then walk over to the park to watch the fireworks. Fiona did great, I was a bit worried that the sounds would freak her out, but she really enjoyed herself.
I really like this little pre-fourth deal because every other place gets so crowded on the 4th we usually just stay home, and I LOVE fireworks. I hate to miss them. Personally I could do fireworks every single night, that and Christmas lights on all the houses and rainbows every single day!