Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Words and Wool

I recently finished reading In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed (Plus) by Carl Honore. The subtitle caught my attention: "How a worldwide movement is challenging the cult of speed", and I had to read more.

The book looks at how fast-paced everyone's life seems to be in this present age and counters with a "slow" response to different areas of life: food, cities, medicine, work, leisure, children, etc.

Honore did an excellent job of describing our problem -- our addiction to a fast-paced life. He also did a great job of describing what a slow-paced life can look like. However, he didn't provide much in the way of "how" to get to that desirable slow-paced life. More importantly, he did not really answer the question of "why" -- why should we want a slow-paced life? I think he did acknowledge that all this leads to the question, "What is life for?" Of course, that question is religious and therefore out of his realm in a secular book.

I found the book very thought provoking nonetheless, so much so that I want to write a longer book review/discussion of this subject tomorrow........

As for wool, I feel as though I'm in a knitting rut, not sure what to do next. I like smaller projects that are easily finished. I am also very inspired by a lot of crochet, but don't tend to crochet as much as knit. Where am I going to find inspiration?????

I did knit this cute little Union Jack this week. I have yet to make it into a proper flag. I found it in this book:

The Knitter's Year: 52 Make-in-a-Week Projects-Quick Gifts and Seasonal Knits by Debbie Bliss is so lovely to browse through. I have started on a shawl, and I have one gift to finish up, as well as a few things that have been sitting in the basket forever......I do hope to find more inspiration soon.

Really, we should all head over to Ginny's blog for more great reading and knitting ideas on her Yarn Along.

Note: this post contains affiliate links.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Mondays are for Grace

" times come to us through our labors,
and at times without our labors,
but never because of our labors....only God's undeserving mercy."
--Martin Luther

Friday, May 25, 2012


My friend, Heather, introduced me to the idea of making a poster that encapsulates your family's ideas for summer. So, we had to come up with one this week to get us in the mood and brighten up our kitchen.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! It's a holiday weekend here and I've seen predictions of our temperatures reaching as high as 99. Yikes! Summer is here!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Catch Up

It seemed as if a post on random family things is in order, to catch up on our lives........ Michael's dad visited us last weekend! In town for business, it was easy for him to add an extra day on and come to visit! We loved having him come. The only sad thing was that Michael ended up being out of town at the very same time. But, that just meant we got Grandpa all to ourselves.

The kids had their spring piano recital. They are all doing so well. I always enjoy the last song of the recital in which all the students take the stage to play a folk song together.

I'm still cooking. You can find my latest Aldi-licious recipe over on Simply Frugal Living today.

 Laura is doing so well!!! Did I mention she is up to 25 pounds!!!!!! That puts her in the 25th percentile which is very good for our family. Her latest doctor visit yielded good reports. It's "wait and see" for awhile now.

James thought this would make a nice wig for himself. :) All the kids are enjoying being out of school. I'm in recovery mode and hope to have our summer schedule organized and posted by Monday.

I've spent the last week weeding, digging garden edges, and moving 2 1/2 cubic yards of mulch. A lot of work, but very good results. The vegetable garden is looking good, although also requiring work. :) My peonies have made me so happy this year! To think they should only grow and multiply in the years ahead!!

Laura and David have a special little friendship since they are closest in age. It's cute to watch them together.

I love how multi-cultural my Ladies' Bible study is. I believe we have 4 cultures represented in the 5 of us. Food is always interesting, believe me!!! For instance, these baked sardines which showed up a few weeks ago.

Or this gorgeous Portuguese frittata. I'm so glad the world is so big and full of amazing people.

It looks like our temps will reach 95 this weekend. Oh yeah, we do live in the town where the BIG RACE is happening this weekend. Sometimes I forget. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Words and Wool

 This week I have been glued to the book Rose: My Life in Service to Lady Astor. This book tells the story of Rosina Harrison who served as Lady's Maid to Lady Astor for 35 years, beginning in 1928.

If you like Downton Abbey, you'll love this book! Rose writes in such a readable and interesting way. I found myself dropping every other book I was reading just to concentrate on this one.

As for knitting, I still have not posted a picture of the knitted cupcakes I made for Laura for her birthday.

I made six cupcakes in three colors and the cupcakes go with Laura's play stove. I can't find them all at the moment, so this photo will have to do. Christina knitted the gorgeous doll from one of Ysolda's patterns.

The cupcakes were made from a pattern by Susan B. Anderson and found in her book ITTY-BITTY NURSERY.

For more interesting books to read and patterns to knit, hop over to Ginny's for the Yarn Along.

Please note: This post contains affiliate links.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Lewis and Clark Expedition

We've spent the last two years studying US geography as well as finishing up our years-long study of American history. Our geography study ended with the reading of a great book about Lewis and Clark (The Captain's Dog). We are also listening to the book Swallows and Amazons (Godine Storyteller), which is all about children spending the summer with their little sailboat. I could hardly take all this talk about boats and adventures without having one of our own!

So I decided to buy a little blow up boat and have an exploration adventure ourselves.

We have a small creek that runs through our development and we decided that we would start at our bridge and explore right up to the other end of the development.

James and David got precedence of riding in the boat since the water varied from very shallow to above my knees.

Rachel took on the job of pulling the boys in the boat.

It was all so much fun!

Although, it was a cooler day and everyone got wet quite a bit which made for some very cold little people.

There was plenty of portaging to do around the bits that were too shallow. I was disappointed that the river was so low, but considering how deep it did get in parts perhaps it was best the way it was.

Along the way we found many, many raccoon tracks and plenty of deer tracks.

I got the job of carrying the lunch supplies and the wooden rifle which was so important to the adventure until we got to the stream at which point it seemed better for mom to carry it.

A few low-hanging tree trunks......

It was so fun to be on our own with no one nearby and just the beauty of the stream.

We followed a pair of mallards upstream.

And we stopped at our "secret beach" for a little snack of beef jerky, in keeping with Lewis and Clark.

I had to give the boat a try but it didn't work so well since I wasn't willing to actually sit down in the wet, dirty boat.

Then we pressed on,

Until people were too cold to continue. We stopped at this point and ate our lunch of nuts, dried fruit, and chocolate chips, and apples. Rachel and Andrew played around with the boat.

This was as far upstream as we could see. But, now we know that the stream continues at its full size all the way past our neighborhood.

And now school is over for two months and we are working on our summer routine. It's off to Ancient History next year!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Mondays are for Grace

"The making of a life is infinitely more important than the making of a living."
-- Mrs. Sharp

(i.e. who you are as a person is infinitely more important than what you do)

Friday, May 18, 2012

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is my new go-to gluten free chocolate chip recipe. The only change to the recipe I made was to beat the dough for 4-5 minutes on medium high after all ingredients except the chocolate chips were added. This activates the xanthum gum.

Michael has just left for a board meeting and Michael's dad arrives today for a short visit after a business trip in town here. We're working on laying 3 yards of mulch, celebrating the last day of the school year and getting ready for the children's piano recital tomorrow. Life is happening!

Some of the things making me happy right now are: the peas growing in the garden, how nice the weeded and mulched gardens are looking, thinking of the progress the kids have made in school this year, summer ahead, maybe ordering my new camera lens this weekend, and the installation of two new elders at church on Sunday.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Words and Wool

This week I'm beginning with the "wool" part of this post. I've just created my very first pattern! It's for this Jubilee Union Jack Tea Cozy. I wanted to make something for the upcoming Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. This is what I decided on and I'm so pleased with it!

The tea cozy is based on granny squares and was fast and easy to make up, except for weaving in all the little yarn ends! I can't wait to use it for our Jubilee Tea!

 As for reading, this week the kids and I finished The Captain's Dog: My Journey with the Lewis and Clark Tribe. We loved this book. It is narrated by Seaman, the dog who accompanied the Corps of Discovery on their journey to find the northwest passage. I was excited to see how excited the children got about learning about this expedition. We are planning to end our school year tomorrow with our very own Lewis and Clark Expedition.

For more posts about reading and yarn, hop over to Ginny's for the Yarn Along.

Note: This post contains affiliate links.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mother's Day

I really enjoyed Mother's Day this past Sunday. 

We had a yellow-themed lunch. I used my new vintage sheet for a table cloth. Taking a few cues from my mom I went with a flower arrangement that was mostly greens from my garden but added one large flower ($3) to make a statement. I loved it!

After my "menu post" last week you will know that I thoroughly enjoyed the more exciting meal I cooked for Sunday lunch. I made Delia Smith's Marinated Chicken Kebabs and Spiced Pilau Rice. I tried the Fresh Coriander Chutney for the first time and it was amazing!!!! I had to make my creamy beet salad to go alongside because the color is just so incredible. Friends brought the delicious green salad.

I managed to find 3 yellow teacups in the collection to use for dessert.

We ended the meal with this scrumptious Flourless Chocolate Cake, topped with whipped cream and berries instead of the meringue. I used Trader Joe's dark chocolate and it certainly added a whole new dimension to the richness and taste.

Of course the day wouldn't be complete without special little cards and homemade presents from my kids. I love watching their creativity develop.