First Day of School 2014

Today was the first day of school here.  Bug started 4th grade and Fidget started Pre-K.   Both were pretty excited about starting a new adventure.

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Here Fidget is waiting outside his classroom before he could go in with his new teachers and classmates.  The school my boys attend is an awesome school.  It’s a Montessori school and they have combined classrooms for the Pre-K/K classes and the 1/2 classes.  This means Fidget will remain in the same class for 2 years, with the same teacher and half of the same kids.  They do a lot of hands on activities and they teach in a child led manner (despite the fact that NY is unfortunately a Common Core state).2014-09-04 08.14.52

 

I will say that Fidget was a bit hesitant and scared about starting something new, but he did it with no tears.  He did try to make not one, but two attempts to leave with me, but once he was significantly distracted finding his cubby he was fine.  When I picked him up at the end of the day he said he had fun, left his lunchbox in his cubby and was very distraught over the fact that he couldn’t bring his nap blankie, that I knit for him, home.  He doesn’t quite understand that he’ll get to see it again every school day.2014-07-22 19.45.56My day was a typical housework day and while I was sad that my baby isn’t a stay at home baby anymore I was glad to have the break and the quiet, even though it meant cleaning.  I had the sheets off the beds and into the washer before we left for school, had them hung up on the line outside just after getting home, opened all the windows, had breakfast, put away some clean laundry, cleaned the living room and vacuumed it, put new sheets on the beds, cleaned one of the bathrooms, and gathered all the garbage and put it in the bin outside.  

After all that cleaning I did manage to do some crafting.  I’ve been spinning up some wool that I brought home from the Estes Park Wool Market this past June.  After attempting to dye it, I found that it’s rather sticky (almost like there is lanolin that won’t come out) and it felted with hardly any agitation.  Spinning it seemed to work better for it and I am actually liking how it came out – despite the fact the my fingers feel sticky whenever I touch it.  I finished the second bobbin of singles last night before bed and today I wound it into a center pull ball and made a 2 ply today, all while watching a couple episodes of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman on tv.  The first skein I made, which I re-skeined today, is 140 yrds of DK/sport weight (13-15WPI).  I also found that soaking the yarn in super hot water with dawn, followed by 2 hot water rinses and a conditioning rinse alleviated the sticky factor and the yarn is a bit softer.  It’s actually a very pretty ecru color…not sure if I’m going to bother dyeing it.  I think I might leave it plain.  

Not sure what tomorrow will bring…I need to clean the other bathroom, at the very least.  I’m hoping to do a little spinning.  I’m thinking of having a giveaway contest on my shop facebook page when I reach 300 likes.  I think I’m going to offer a skein of handspun faux cashmere as the prize.  If you are interested, hop on over to facebook and give my page a like – if you want to make sure you get in on the contest you can request notifications whenever I post anything…it will go directly into your notice bar.  🙂

 

 

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Shop/Craft Update – Let’s Get This Blog Going Again!

I really suck at this blogging thing…with the end of school and the summer having the boys home I just never found a quiet moment to sit and type.  I’ve had ideas floating through my brain for what I could write about, but never put my fingers to the keyboard.  With school starting back up this Thursday I’ll have the house to myself for almost 6 hours a day!  Yay for peace and quiet!  

I still have my normal housework to attend to, but I’m sure without someone underfoot or needing me to do something or help with something I can get it all done fairly quickly.  I also plan on working on my shop/stock, advertising, and my crafting/spinning.

I currently have 3 knitting projects in the works.  The first is a hat, following this Cabled Dad Hat pattern, worked in Premier Yarns Alpaca Dance.  It’s a lovely silver color (silver fog) and is super soft.  It has a slight aura to it as well.  I’m 4 repeats into the first chart.  I’m not sure if I’m going to keep it or not.  I haven’t decided just yet.

The second pattern I’m working on is for 4 year old Fidget.  I’m making him a new pair of socks.  I’d planned to get it done before he starts school – he’s going into Pre-k this year – but I just didn’t get it in progress in time.  I finished the first sock today and with a little luck I can get them finished by next week. 

The last thing I’m working on is a shawl.  I’m actually using my own handspun for this project.  It’s a mix of corriedale, finn, and rambouillet cross spun into a laceweight singles yarn.  I called the colorway Little House on the Prairie because it’s a brownish green mix that reminded me of the cabin and the fields from the old 1970’s TV show.  I just finished watching the 3rd season on dvd with the intention of watching the rest when I get around to checking them out from the library.  The shawl is knitting up very nicely, using this Swallowtail Shawl pattern.  I think I made a mistake in the last row that I worked, but thankfully I put in a lifeline strand so hopefully I won’t lose too much of my work when I “tink” it back.  

As for my shop I’ve done some new colorways that I’m really proud of.  My favorite so far is Laetiporus, which was inspired by an awesome shelf fungus that I found in the woods at my parents house.  You are probably thinking, “Eewww!  A Fungus!  That’s disgusting!”  That’s where I think you are wrong…just look at this amazing, bright color that was created by nature.  

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Here is the colorway that I created.  This is dyed on a Merino/Firestar blend (85/15), this bright colorway closely matches the inspiration photo and sparkles slightly like it’s dew covered!  Click the image for the etsy listing.

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I’ve also been spinning, too.  I recently finished up an amazing faux cashmere handspun from fiber that I dyed myself.  This bright colorway is called Neon Lights and is available in my Etsy Shop.  This has all the amazing softness of cashmere without the high ticket price of the real thing!  

A2014-08-01 11.27.25Well, it’s almost bedtime for the boys.  Hopefully this post won’t be the last one for another 5 months.  I really do have plans to update this blog more often.  I may even try to offer photo or video tutorials.  

 

Happy First Day of Spring

Spring is finally here, though you wouldn’t really know it by looking outside.  It’s very dark and dreary with a fine rain falling on the layer of sleet that fell yesterday.  Hopefully, the weather will start improving, the buds will start popping up and Mother Nature will show her true beauty in all the flowers and green leaves.  I’m looking forward to the snow going away!

I’m also hoping that I won’t need all the winter woolies anymore.  Though, that will make me kinda sad as I just finished a pair of fingered gloves for myself.  I’m loving the colors (black, red, green with a hint of white and blue) and they match my winter coat and hat perfectly (well, the black and bright green do anyway), but I’m kinda sad that while I made them to fit me perfectly, they have stretched a bit with wearing them a few times and now feel like they are floating on my hands.  They are still warm, though and I’ll either keep them or give them to Darling Hubby if he’d like them.  I was considering making them with a mitten flap to go over the fingers, but I don’t think I have enough yardage leftover to do both flaps…Oh well.

I haven’t been spinning since the Ravellenics ended in February (geeze, that was a month ago almost!).  I went to Open Spinning at the LYS last night and finished up the 2nd skein of my X’s and O’s worsted weight Navajo plied yarn.  It felt good to finish something.  I finally washed the first skein of X’s and O’s and the skein of Ten and Tardis singles that I spun.  Now I’ve got 3 skeins of yarn drying.  I’m hoping the weather improves so I can get out on the porch to photograph.  The dark and dreary light of today isn’t great for photography…and my attempt at making my own light box was a failure.  😦  Sometimes I’m crafty, but this wasn’t one of those times!

Oh, and I have added one new project to my WIP list.  Little Fidget will be turning 4 in May and along with that he has the opportunity to go to pre-k.  I’ve already put his application in for the district pre-k lottery which will be drawn on 4-11-14.  We should hear if he got into our chosen school by the following week.  We’re really hoping that he gets into the same school his brother currently attends.  It would make life so much easier!  lol  Anyway, since school starts in 6 months I figured that would give me plenty of time to work on a “nap blanket” like I made for Bug when he went to Pre-k.  Fidget decided that he wanted something simpler than the Wheels on the Bus blanket I’d made for Bug.  In a way I’m grateful that he chose something simpler.  While the Wheels on the Bus was a cute blanket it was a lot of work and after a school year of weekly washing it didn’t hold up as well as I’d have liked. Plus, sewing all those 2 inch squares together was a right royal pain!  lol

Fidget chose a red blanket at first, then chose a red and black blanket.  I fell in love with the Moderne Baby Blanket from Mason Dixon Knitting so we scoured Ravelry together to find red and black blankets to give us ideas for 2 more colors.  We settled on black, red, white and dark grey.  So far I’m on block 6 and only messed up once, putting block 4 in the wrong place, but it will work out in the end I think with a bit of fudging.

Sadly, I don’t have any new photos.  Hopefully I’ll get something this week to share.  It’s weird, but I don’t like talking about my craft projects without photos to share!  Better get back to knitting.  Happy Spring, Everyone!

One Proud Mama!

I went to Bug’s first 1st grade Parent Teacher Conference this morning and I couldn’t be prouder of my boy.  He’s doing fantastically!  Both his teachers just love having him in class (and they told me they weren’t just saying that!)  He makes them smile everyday and his excitement at learning  is contagious!

I already knew that Bug is a phenomenal reader, but Mrs. J confirmed that he’s reading well above the typical 1st grade level.  He’s actually reading at a 5th grade level (S on the Fountas & Pinnell Test)…and the only reason it’s not higher isn’t because he can’t sound out the words, it’s because he doesn’t understand the unspoken/inferred things and feelings between characters.  Our challenge is to find works that will hold his interest and are age appropriate.  Mrs. J gave me 2 huge lists of books to try to find something that takes him longer than 5 minutes to tear through (like the library book he brought home last week that was a level 2 early reader that he polished off in 4 minutes flat and correctly answered every question I asked.)

I did find several Beverly Cleary books on the list and we stopped at the library this afternoon and picked up Henry Huggins and Ribsy.  He was already eyeballing the other Henry books.  Hopefully those will be age appropriate for him and will hold his interest.  I also found some of my old non fiction books that I had when I was in college for elementary education and had to write lesson plans.  I found some books on the human body and several on mummies/pyramids.  He took right to the grossology book (of course!)

Over the summer I read a children’s version of Homer’s Odyssey written by Mary Pope Osborne (the author of the Magic Treehouse series) and last week, we started reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and he seems to be really enjoying it.  I’ve been reading a chapter to him at bedtime and if I know there is a word he wouldn’t know I take the time to explain it to him and he’s been good about asking questions if there is something he doesn’t understand.  I actually really enjoy reading chapter books to him.  Picture books are great, but sometimes making him think about what we read the day before is better.

We’ve also noticed that his handwriting and word spacing has improved ten fold since the start of the year.  It’s so obvious in his personal journal entries he does each week.  Now if we could only get him to enjoy the drawing and coloring portion of the journaling we’d be golden…though he’s never been one to color or draw…it was always like pulling teeth to get him to draw pictures at home…even before he started school.

The only downside is that Mrs. J is concerned that he’s not going to show a lot of growth in the reading department.  There’s always room for improvement, but if he doesn’t at least show some growth by the end of the year, the district may complain to the teacher that he didn’t make some improvement.  They only look for improvement, not the fact that he’s reading at well above his grade level…  We are all going to continue to encourage him with his reading and find things that interest him to keep him going.  He’s such a smart cookie that I’d hate to see him plateau out.

He’s also doing really well in his math.  I love that Mrs. J doesn’t want the kids competing against one another.  I can remember when I was in 1st/2nd grade we had to tear through a page of math facts and see how many we could get correct in a minute.  I always felt bad if I didn’t score high.  Mrs. J plans to have the kids compete with themselves and challenge them to improve upon their prior day’s score.  She gave me a set of flash cards that I have to cut out and a chart for his MOOSE book (Management of Organizational Skills Everyday).  I’ll time him and keep track of how many facts he gets correct and chart it.  I’m sure we’ll see improvement.

Needless to say, I’m one very proud Mommy!  It’s great seeing Bug make such strides in his learning.

Overdue Update and Food For Friday – 9/14-9/27

Wow!  I can’t beleive it’s September already…Where has the time gone?  I’ve been so busy with things that I’ve been neglecting my blog pretty severely and it’s time I get back into the swing of things.   Here’s e a quick update on what we’ve been up to lately…

Let’s see…gosh, I don’t even know where to start…At the beginning of August, Darling Hubby and I went on a mini vacation to the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, NY.  It was a lot of fun and a very memorable trip…I have tons of pictures that I wanted to share, but I haven’t really had much time or inclination to edit them.  We didn’t take Bug with us, as we wanted to get away just the 2 of us.  He stayed with his “Auntie Shannon” and they had a great time together.  They went swimming in her pool, went to Friendly’s for dinner and ice cream and even went bowling.  He talked about everything and her cats for weeks afterward.

On September 1st I officially became a big girl…I passed my road test and can officially drive the roads of NY.  Scary!  It was something that I should have done many, many years ago and just kept putting it off.  The sad thing was that we had to drive 2+ hours back to my home town where I should have taken the test to begin with…it seriously took less than 10 minutes for the test….then we had to drive 2+ hours back home…But, it’s done and I passed.  It was necessary for me to get it so I could drop Bug and Darling Hubby off at school and work and pick them up, too, since logistically, it would have been impossible for Darling Hubby to do it all.  Actually, it’s been rather fun driving around all alone in the car.  I get to pick my own music and I have freedom.  This morning I went to Walmart all by myself…it was just to buy dog food, which isn’t all that exciting, but I did it and I enjoyed it!  lol

On the 8th Bug started Pre-K.  So far he’s loving it and the first few days he cried cause he didn’t want to come home…I’m not sure if it was because he loved school that much or if it was because he loves their awesome playground!   In just the past couple days he’s come back with little school art projects…things I could never get him to do at home.  Maybe he just needed that extra peer pressure from the other kids doing the projects.  I’m thinking school is going to be really good for him and it warms my heart that he enjoys it so much.  I’m enjoying having quiet time at home, which allows me to get my cleaning done quickly and not have to worry about ignoring Bug while I scrub a toilet or something he can’t help me with.  It’s hard to take care of a house and a kid at the same time…something is going to get neglected.

As for me, I’ve been working on my crochet projects and recently decided to start working on Christmas presents.  I want to get a head start on everything this year so I don’t feel like I have to rush.  Right now I’m working on a blanket for a certain someone who may or may not read this blog, so I’m going to keep it a secret.  Once I finish this blanket, I’m going to start on something for my mom, who I know doesn’t read this blog.  I’m thinking of making her a snuggy…you know, one of those blankets with sleeves…essentially a reverse bathrobe.  I think it might be something useful for her…maybe I’ll even make one for my dad, too, in nice manly colors!

Monday – Craft night – my turn to cook –
Tuesday –  Pizza
Wednesday Beef Stew
Thursday – Game Night – Dinner TBD
Friday – Cabbage Casserole
Saturday – Pan Fried Chicken
Sunday -Southwest burgers

Monday – Craft night – Leana’s turn to cook
Tuesday – Rotisserie Chicken with veggies and mashed potatoes
Wednesday – Homemade Chicken Soup
Thursday – Spaghaetti with homemade sauce
Friday – SPAM and eggs
Saturday – Fend
Sunday – Fend