Friday, November 28, 2008

Sister Scarf #6

Here's what I finished yesterday. After my "learning" scarves, I wanted something easy. Finding the right size needle was not so easy. After five tries, I finally settled on US10.5. Yarn: Homespun - Color: Plum - Length: 67 inches - Width: 6.5 inches - Stitch: Garter

The ear warmer was done on a whim with what was left of the skein, plus some length of the scarf. I only have one set of circular needles, size US5.5. I just went round and round. There may be a pattern out there like this, but I'm not taking the time to find it.

You may wonder what happened to Sister Scarf #3. It's beautiful, but is more my MIL's color, AND I learned an important tension lesson halfway through. Needless to say, it is not ready to be gifted. I'll fix it for next year.

And an update on Sister Scarf #2. I found it's wrap - Lion Boucle color Popsicle. So it's not wool, but acrylic and mohair with a tad of nylon.

Sister Scarf #5

My first color work! I love it! If you do too, sorry. I already have a sister in mind for this one. ;)

I love, love, loved working with this yarn. It has texture, is soft, easy to work with, just all around beautiful. It's Moda Dea's Metro in chocolate, berry and grape jam. Yummy stuff, I tell you. I found the pattern at The Inside Loop. I used US8 needles and cast on only 24 sts, so it is 6 1/2 inches wide and 54 inches long.

Sister Scarf #4

After two weeks of no knitting, my fingers were itching to get into some yarn. I finished this three weeks ago and haven't stopped since. Deadlines help.

I tried a keyhole scarf, based on a pattern on the yarn wrap. It's two strands - Lion Fun Fur in Sandstone and Moda Dea Jai Alai in Raffia, seed stitch, 10.5 needles, 43"x8".

This is so soft! Leah calls it her "tickle scarf". She carries bits of the yarn in her pocket and tickles herself with them throughout the day. Silly girl!

See the keyhole? That's so you can tuck the other end in there and your scarf is held together. =)

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Both Jess and I wanted to be in PA. We miss our families. With Thanksgiving so late, us traveling there in 20 days, and me being 6 1/2 months pregnant, we decided to stay home. I relaxed, all day, and knit. I finished the homespun sister scarf, an ear warmer to go with it and a scarf for Bitty Baby. (With all the scarves I'm making, Leah wanted one for her doll too.) Pictures forthcoming.

And I made a pie! Jesse really wanted a pumpkin pie. I reminded him that the last pie I made was pumpkin, vegan and gluten free. There is a very good reason why I have not attempted to make another pie for 9 years. I went with apple instead. Success! The crust and filling were from Moms Naturally. Thanks Jen! I made a half recipe of the crust, and made up my own crumb topping. Oh goodness this was good!

With our pie we had a ham, venison roast, tossed salad, brown rice, sweet potatoes, pickled beets, brussel sprouts, pickles and cranberry sauce. I forgot the mandarin oranges, carrots and applesauce, but no one seemed too hungry. =)

I am thankful for my Faith, family, friends and freedom. Pretty general, but all extremely important to me this year. I'm especially grateful for our "new baby sister" and the growth in mine and Jesse's relationship.

How was your Thanksgiving and what are you thankful for?

Monday, November 24, 2008

menu Monday 1

Numerous people have asked for my menu, or at least asked what I eat. ;) So here it is. I got the idea for Menu Plan Monday from I'm an Organizing Junkie. However, I don't think I can really participate. I only sit down once a year, pick 28 meals and throw in something new once in a while. My shopping list is always the same. I do one big shopping trip each month. I've done this fairly consistently for the last 9 years. When I didn't have kids, I also cooked/prepped for the month. Now I'm just happy to get the next week's meat thawing on Thursday. I've had a few random, happy Saturday mornings cooking for the week, but that hasn't happened since May.

Anyhow, I'll post four of these and then you'll know what we eat.

M. hamburger rice & green beans
T. teriyaki burgers
W. sausage & lentil soup
R. lasagna
F. salmon & pineapple sweet potato casserole
S. teriyaki meat loaf
S. glow pork chops

Those are the dinners. This week will look a bit different with Thanksgiving and all.
R. way too much food
F. leftovers
S. leftovers
S. leftovers

Lunch is always left-overs. Breakfast is the same each week and served with sausage or bacon.

M. muffins
T. toast
W. waffles
R. grits
F. fruit, ice cream, oatmeal
S. pancakes
S. dry cereal

Almost everything on my menu is gluten, dairy, egg, nut, everything else I'm allergic to - free.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Birthday Bean!

Today you are 4! - and proud and loud and deliciously cute. In the last year... Your imaginative play soared. You started to read. I thought I might be able to say that you weaned, but after your fingers were closed in a door last week, you remembered. You got your own bed, that you sleep in at least half the night. You stopped nodding on the phone. I can decipher most of your drawings now, and all the people and animals have belly-buttons. You ask if they are beautiful enough to hang on the fridge. They always are. Your favorite food is "bisghetti." You still love Cinderella, cats, fairies, the color yellow. You started dance class and love, love, love it. You dote on and care for those younger than you. You give me the random hugs and kisses a mama needs. You grew!
from Christmas '07
to your princess party!

I love you Leah Bean!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

party time!

We went to the best party playtime today! With the craziness I have planning Leah's party on Sunday, Amy said she'd host. (What a dear! Plus, it was Audy's actual birthday.) All the kids played and cooperated. The moms socialized. Sarah was super great with baby Cassidy and reading stories to all the younger ones. The snacks were delicious. And, I got some more yummy yarn for Blessing Ways. =) Just all around good times! We had a blast!

Happy Birthday girls!!

(not the best shot of Audy and Leah, but I love how it shows off the hats our good friend Anna made for them)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Saturday, November 15, 2008


So this is why no one wanted to car pool with me to our MNO. ;)
It was my first ever surprise party! A baby shower that was kept very well concealed. I was so clueless, the baby balloons attached to a bag by the wall did not give it away. I feel so blessed, so loved, so accepted. (thankful post coming soon)
Tonight, thank you and hugs and kisses to Shell, Kim, Shez, (no kissing ;) Ginny, Lydia, Melina and Tina. You all are the best!

Friday, November 14, 2008

stolen secrets

The season of secrets is in full swing here.

Leah in a whisper: Mommy, look at this beautiful ring!
my quiet reply: oh! do you want to give Sarah a ring?
Leah: No! I'm going to give her something I stole from her!
me: something you stole from her?
Leah: Yes, it is nice to give back things you stole.

All I could do was stifle laughter.


Jesse's been gone for three days. This was made harder by my needing a few days of bed rest just as he left. When he got home today he said and did the three most perfect things.
#1 "Wow! the house looks great!"
#2 lovely kiss
#3 gentle rub of my growing belly

Love you, Hon! It's always good to have you back.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Rain, rain, go away,
So Fall can come again and stay,
And when my children go out to play,
There are not wet leaves on the floor all day.

Oh, I live in southern Virginia, near the shore. This is Fall.
But for days on end?
I miss the sunshine.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Earth is enormous
Animals thrive
Riches await the eye
Trees give off oxygen for us
How would you like to visit us

by Sarah

(I mentioned this in last night's post, and thought I'd share.)

Monday, November 10, 2008

One Fine Day Learning

Oh! do I love these days! It is the kind where I wish I had a video camera capturing each perfect moment. However, I know if I did, everyone would pay attention to the camera, and my actual picture would be lost.

We have plenty of "real" days. David says his eyes are tired after three pages in his reader. Leah says she can only do school with Mommy, not Sarah. Sarah gives up on our politics unit study and only wants to do her Earth science.

Occasionally we have a picture perfect day when everything flows. I want to remember this when we have more realistic days. I want to remember that this is why we are learning at home, to instill and nurture a love of learning in our children, follow their paths and connect with them in a special way.

Here is a snapshot of our fine day. It started with my morning walk. Before I left, I asked Jesse to work with Sarah on her citizenship lesson. When I returned, the activities were finished. They made webs describing their rights and responsibilities in our home, discussed how people help their communities and listed what the consequences might be when citizens do not make good decisions.

We said good-bye to Daddy and started our reading. Sarah read You’re Aboard Spaceship Earth by Patricia Lauber. David and Leah chimed in that Earth is a sphere and began collecting balls. They soon were off to play while Sarah finished. When it was time for David to read Gus the Bug with me, Sarah did “sister school” with Leah. They classified and matched shapes and colors. This was very simple for Leah. On their own initiative, they started to create more classification sheets to challenge each other further.

For David and Leah’s attribute unit, we experimented with standard and nonstandard measurement. When Sarah saw how much fun we were having, she soon joined us. How long was our big doll when she was measured with a short pencil, a long pencil, Leah’s hand, Mommy’s hand or a ruler? David also measured numerous toys to predict if they would fit in a bag. Although our monkey puppet is 10 inches wide and 38 inches long, she still fit in a 7”x10” gift bag. One of the sentences David dictated for handwriting was, “Chee-Chee [the puppet] is long but flexible.”

While I prepared lunch, Sarah wrote two letters to an alien friend who wants to visit Earth. I was so impressed to see an entire page filled with her writing. Her creativity continued with her first acrostic poem describing Earth and a letter to Ranger Rick, with yet another acrostic poem describing their magazine.

Our full, smooth day finished with Miquon Math. Sarah used Cuisenaire rods to begin her division exploration. David hopped along number lines by 2’s, 4’s, 8’s and 16’s. At the end, we were all smiles, ready for a photograph that never happened.

What special days or moments do you have with your children? As I continue to take baby-steps forward on our homeschool path, or large leaps back, I find these days more frequently. It is part of my own learning process as a parent, finding the best paths for each of us. I wish you many fine days learning with your children!

ps. Today was very "real" and is described in the second paragraph. Our "fine day" happened last month. =)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Apples and Oranges

Today we have a president elect. Not my candidate of choice, but I'm still curious/excited to see what the future holds.

Yesterday I held my own little election in class. I brought a treat, orange juice and apple cider. We held a vote on index cards. Not many of my students are reading, so I wrote orange juice with an orange marker and apple cider with a red marker. Crayons were passed out. I asked them to put a mark under the one they wanted to have. These kids were great! They didn't quite grasp the concept of keeping their choice a secret, but when you're 3, 4 and 5, it may not matter. Two girls volunteered to tally the votes on their fingers. Everyone counted. Apple cider won, 5 to 3. Two votes came back undecided. Working with young children, I try to be as flexible as I am comfortable. So when we sat down, I served whatever they wanted, however much they wanted. When I got home, there was noticeably less orange juice than apple cider. Interesting...

I know at least one child cast his vote because apple cider was written in red. He loves the color red. He'd never had apple cider. He did try a bit, but was soon drinking orange juice. Some may have thought apple cider would taste more like apple juice? I'm not sure. For whatever reason, one was chosen, but when it came time to consume, they found a preference for the other.

I wonder if our nation will feel the same way in a few years.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day

If you are married to a political scientist, you see them very little on election day. Especially if they've become a favorite with the local TV stations. Numerous interviews over the past few months has led up to today and a two hour blogging session. We decided it would be best for him to do this at the office. So back to work he went. I've got the kids watching a "bedtime movie", hope to get some blogging and cleaning done, and will follow the results on the radio and Jesse's blogging.

I voted at 2. Voting here is nothing like rural PA. First, there are computers. Second, there are lines. Third, there are no friendly volunteers to take your children to the next room to use a sample ballot to vote for George Washington or Abraham Lincoln. This was my second time using the computer voting machine. I'm still nervous my card will get "lost" somewhere or will not record my vote accurately. I did not have a line. It did take 20 minutes, but most of that was spent waiting for the two ladies to validate voters, trying to keep three children close, but not touching the screen and waiting for the little old lady to give my little people "I voted" stickers, since they were so "precious." I guess instead of punching chads, they get a sticker. =)

It just dawned on me that I wore red today. My poor, pregnant foggy brain didn't make the connection. I just wanted to wear something with an American Flag. I was given a cute maternity tee with one on it, and it's red. I also had my first hormonal breakdown this morning, due in part to what I could, or rather could not wear. My size is in the middle now. Maternity bottoms fall off. Everything with a closure is too small. Elastic is uncomfortable. *sigh* The other part was dh reading a story to our children this morning. Don't ask. It was 100% hormonal.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


Here is the BEST way to prepare venison. Sarah said she wished this was handed out on Halloween. I have no pics. I'm lucky I got a taste, everyone ate this so fast.

#1 Have family that hunts and gives you free, organic meat.
#2 Plan to have meatloaf using ground venison, but discover you only have small steaks and a roast left.
#3 Have your dh botch a recipe. Say, instead of a 1/2 c. of red cooking wine he accidentally uses red wine vinegar. Then he saves the mistake to use as "salad dressing."
#4 No one uses said dressing for over a month.
#5 You plan to throw it out.
#6 Start pounding the steaks with a meat hammer. You want them thin and moist. No one likes thick raw-hide for dinner.
#7 Ponder what will provide the moisture and recall the "dressing."
#8 Soak steaks in "dressing" for 10 minutes or so before browning.
#9 Serve delicious dinner with steamed organic peas and organic brown rice. Warning, have the peas and rice ready. 1/3 of the steaks may be consumed before they even get to the table.

Here's the dressing:
5 oz. soy sauce (We use Amino Braggs.)
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. red wine vinegar
1/4 c. oil?
Sorry, I'm not sure about the oil. Jesse added it for "dressing" purposes, so it was not measured.
I used this on about 2 lbs. of small venison steaks.

Enjoy! (I know only a few of you will, but maybe others will not be afraid to try venison if it tastes this good. ;)