Yarn-Along: Action Shots!

Spring in the Deep South is not exactly the most motivating time to knit a dark gray wool sweater (it’s already 80 down here).  After sinusitis, school, and solemn days (Holy Week, but hey, it followed the “s” pattern) forced me to take a break, it had been three weeks since I’d stashed Armas back in the bag. With flowers blooming and the pollen dusting everything chartreuse. I decided to do something about the bright cotton yarn instead. Haus Meister gave me his bemused blessing, so over the last week I didn’t take out Armas but instead I knit a giant dishcloth.

I used the tried and true “Grandmother’s Favorite” pattern but this time I used two different colors of cotton yarn at the same time.  It knit up nice and thick and I kind of enjoyed it (although I think I need a new quick dishie pattern).  Today at lunch we tried it out, since I’ve converted the household to handwashing the dishes.  It’s almost too thick for thin glassware, I believe, but it scrubbed everything else beautifully.  Gets a little heavy, but there’s plenty of it so when you wash down that table it really gets a good swath done. :) I think I am going to put a few of these on our Etsy store!

Meanwhile I’m reading and pondering how best to implement The Everyday Family Chore System.

Here’s very unprofessional action shots of the giant dishie, with Posey Pie trying to help.  She liked it so much she didn’t want to give it back. Remind me to make more pink dishies for my little helpers….

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That girl!

The mischievous, marvelous Miss M has always been able to sniff out candy, no matter where it is hidden.

  

I’m not about to tell her that she was ~2ft from the Easter candy stash.

{P, H, F, R} on Maundy Thursday

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I’ve always kind of liked the term “Maundy Thursday,” and that’s my random comment of the day.

Pretty

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Sweet sisters, Princess & Miss M, in April of last year….

and still, of course, charming the camera this year:

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I think the spoonful of peanut butter is a nice touch.

Miss M, she of the wild untamable curls, has recently been asking me to do her hair (finally!) and yesterday she liked my work enough to ask me to do Princess’, too.

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So I complied.  And then I reminded the kids it was past time to sweep the floor.  Just trust me that within the hour after the picture was taken, the floor was much less cluttered. ;)

Happy

Hear that? It’s the sound of time flying.

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Littlest is 11 months old today!

Haha–I had turned that Resurrection Icon around for Lent. Someone keeps turning it back around. ;)

Funny

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Last weekend we had to cover our apple trees and blueberry bushes from a late freeze.  Dino took the role of defending our produce very seriously. ;) But hey, it seems to have worked, as our “Pink Lady” apple tree has the loveliest dark pink buds this week.

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This is what you get when you try to take a picture of the dogwood tree one-handed with a phone (the other hand holding a chunky baby on my hip).

Real

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One screw on the road can take out the mightiest Beast.  I asked Haus Meister if we could put the van on blocks while the wheel was fixed, because “for what do we live but to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn”?   He didn’t buy it.  Also the wheel can’t be fixed–both front tires need to be replaced! Ack! By Divine Providence Haus Meister now has a car with automatic transmission so I can still get out to the store if necessary (like last night) but I tell you, five years of driving ye old Beast and I am not used to driving a CAR.  For one thing–I can’t see! I’m used to having a commanding view of half the neighborhood* from the driver’s seat.  The first five minutes of being in his car, I feel like I’m seeing things through a basement window. This is not knocking his car, which is a great car, fun to drive, twelve times classier than my vehicle, and a better grocery hauler.  It’s just my other random comment of the day. ;)

A blessed Triduum to you all. See you on Holy Saturday or so….

*This may or may not be an exaggeration for effect.

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}

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Random observation: tearing open the package of tonight’s Yogi “Breathe Deep” tea (for respiratory ails), I notice the tag of the tea bag telling me an uplifting printed message.

“The voice of your soul is breath.”

Now, this week 75% of the house, myself included, have been suffering from either seasonal allergies or downright sinusitis. I thought that tea bag was being kind of cruel. ;) I personally am pretty much on the mend, but we won’t discuss two nights ago, when my head felt the woes of a sinus headache.  You know how Wodehouse always uses the Biblical analogy of the tent spike wielded by Jael, the wife of Heber, to describe Bertie Wooster’s head after a night on the town? Being the type that looks for silver linings, I wish I could have remembered some of those Wodehousian lines at the time.  But laughing would have made it all worse.

Anyway, here’s someone pretty. She decided to say “Boo!” instead of “Cheese!”

We're holding our breath that she lets her hair grow out more this year.... Please?

We’re holding our breath that she lets her hair grow out more this year…. Please?

And someone Happy who received the second of seven sacraments offered by our Church last Sunday. :)

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His First Communion suit arrived and it wasn’t a terrible thing to wear! When Rascal made his First Holy Communion almost two years ago, Dino told us that never under any circumstances would he make his First Communion if it entailed wearing a SUIT. Fortunately time has mellowed things. I mean, this kid would probably come to Mass in a storm trooper costume if we’d let him.  He’d be a good stormtrooper, mind you. Those exist in his stories.

Ah me, my funny Miss M. She is at last allowing me to (occasionally) do something with those wild curls.  I’m not sure why the bread is being worn as bracelets.

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Now that I think on it, I don’t know whether she even told me.

Real — Littlest is a force to be reckoned with!

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“Mwa-ha-ha-haaaaa, Just when you thought your 50-piece puzzle was safe!” Incidentally, we do still have all the pieces, and I’ve moved it to a higher elevation.

Now that I’ve reached “real,” I’m going to confess my latest form of insanity.  I have been washing dishes by hand for two weeks now. GASP! I know! Insane! That’s what a dishwasher is for, right?

Sure, until two weeks ago, when it growled at me four times and refused to start.

So I grabbed my favorite Mrs. Meyers dish soap (Lemon Verbena) and my new dishtowels from IKEA (dangerous store) and set to work having fun.

I grew up without a dishwasher, you see.  I was married before I ever used one daily.  My sister and I were the dish detail and we had lots of fun conversations during that time.  Of course, there was also the times she’d skip out on me (she was “dry-and-put-away”)  until eventually Dad or Mom had pity and stepped in as I kept the dishes mounting higher.  It was always funny how she’d return when she’d hear the disposal running. ;) HA! Anyway, I’m in no hurry to get this dishwasher fixed.  I have until December when the warranty expires. ;)

Am I going crazy? Well, the dishwasher wasn’t on the top five “Must Replace Appliance Because Our Life will Be A Mess if we DON’T” list. That list runs as follows:

1. Washing Machine

2. Dryer

3. COFFEE MAKER

4. Oven

5. Refrigerator

In fact, I sometimes wildly dream about living without a microwave! As for the dishwasher, I wonder retrospectively if I didn’t get lazy using it. I had a very bad habit of letting the dishes pile up between loads.  Why bother handwashing them–isn’t that what the dishwasher is for? Now almost every night I wake up and my sink is clear. My counters are clear(er), and there’s the satisfaction that the dishes are DONE. There’s not a few lights on an appliance reminding me that I still need to put them away. I don’t know. It’s something, anyway.

If I ever go back, I’ll let you know just to “keep it real.” ;)

Played so hard, she crashed on the kitchen floor. We woke her up after the picture was taken so she could nap somewhere more comfortable. ;)

Played so hard, she crashed on the kitchen floor. We woke her up after the picture was taken so she could nap somewhere more comfortable. ;)

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} Contentment

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So this poor blog has been sparse but I’m going to quickly discuss what else we’ve been up to besides homeschooling, working, knitting, and occasionally rowing…interspersed with current pictures. :)

Need some Spring?

Need some Spring?

I have always liked this Thursday link-up series because it challenges us to find contentment in our everyday lives.  The little things that are, heh, pretty, happy, funny, and real.  I’ve struggled a lot over the years with being content in some of these areas–mainly in being content with the house we’re in.  Raising five toddlers/small kids in the Old Haus challenged that to the nth degree! And just when we finally found contentment in our little cottage, we found out that Miss M was coming and bam–we moved. :)

The lovely Miss M, a mover and a shaker since 2011.

The lovely Miss M, a mover and a shaker since 2011.

Ostensibly the instant we moved into a house with twice the living area you’d think we’d have contentment, right?  And there was a lot less stress. But there was the niggling reminder as well that we couldn’t seem to find a buyer for the Old Haus.  The market isn’t kind to starter homes of a certain vintage that need flood insurance. In fact, we still haven’t found a buyer. The Old Haus is on it’s second set of tenants in four years, and from August ’13 to August ’14 it stood empty.

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Did I mention Posey turned 2 on Pi Day? ;)

That was a low point.  We poured our energy and money into repairs to the Old Haus, as much as we could reasonably do, during that year,  We put off things that we wanted to do with this house, the one we’re living in. It got frustrating that at last the Old Haus looked as I had wanted it to while we were in it, but we weren’t going to be in it.  We had three more children (Littlest on the way at the time)! There wasn’t room! And we had the house we’re in!

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Add to that the fact that the summer failed at being very restoring. It felt like we were still in “survival mode” from the baby coming, and the plans for extra help had a hiccup.  Haus Meister worked a lot of overtime toward the end of summer, all the way through Christmas.  The Old Haus had a renter, but our house looked tired and as if we’d been in “survival mode.” ;) I walked down to the mailbox one day in September and looked back at our house and thought: Why do I still feel more as if the old place is “home” when THIS is my home now? We’ve been here three years; why doesn’t it feel like home?

I made her the pillowcase and duvet cover. Now all the girls want a custom one! :)

I made her the pillowcase and duvet cover for her birthday. Now all the kids want a custom one! :)

It may have been the next day, or the next week, when Haus Meister–who rarely complains–confessed to me that he felt tired (as in physically drained). Now all wives know there’s two responses to this: the “how can I help?” response or the “You think YOU’RE tired, well, that’s nothing to MY tired…” martyr rant.  Thankfully I did the former–this time. ;) But instead of asking I began to think of ways to improve the looks of the house.  After all, don’t we all like to find rest at home? And as I said, it was time to get out of survival mode.

I started in our room.  The day he left on a two-week outage trip I whipped out some paints.  I painted over the Sharpie marker “art” that Sunshine had attacked our closet doors with shortly after we moved in.  I tore out the ugly wallpaper in our bathroom, rendered even less appealing due to pen marks from the same daughter around the same time.  Do not ask me why it took me three years to do this; suffice to say there was always something else to do.  But amazingly, not seeing that wallpaper or those penmarks immediately improved morale. ;) I also discovered that a lamp behind the bed for nighttime reading/knitting surely improved the ambience.

Our room as of yesterday. He finished laying the floor this weekend.

Our room as of yesterday. He finished laying the floor this weekend (trim coming soon). Like my yarn mountain?

I grew bold.  I tore out the wallpaper–even uglier–in the main bathroom. I painted it a reddish/rust tone.  Admittedly I didn’t do as well of a job in this bathroom, perhaps because the hours of 11pm-2am was my best painting window. Yet I was determined to finish, as I knew his work schedule wasn’t slowing and the last thing he needed was to come home to my unfinished project.  Luckily he was very pleased when I skyped him and showed him the finished product. I was too proud to wait and surprise him.

The piece d' resistance was the sign I found on Etsy.

The piece d’ resistance was the sign I found on Etsy.

This was the thing we both needed.  From then to now we’ve been busy working on this house.  We’ve torn up all the carpet except what is on the stairs.  We figured out new ways to organize things from the plates on the sideboard to the laundry bins in closets.  We discovered IKEA (so glad we live too far to visit the store often–it’d be too dangerous).  We fixed the old light fixtures and replaced the basement bulbs to brighten the area. The puppy-chewed, toddler bounced & stained thrift store furniture finally made it out the door. There’s a bare spot in our upstairs that is waiting for just the right couch but this time I am waiting for just the right couch instead of buying a junk one in an effort to feel frugal (the frugality is questioned when you consider I did this twice over the period of three years).  Outside, we potted mums in the Fall and this early Spring we planted apple trees.

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Why is Sunshine helping in the dirt in such a dress? Only she knows. ;)

 Meanwhile life goes on and there are, of course, still days where we fall into bed exhausted.  The kids keep us on our toes and there’s still the chance that the renters will move out in August and we’ll be back playing the market game again.  But we do not regret the time and effort we chose to put into our house at last.  And came the day that we stood in our front lawn and he said, “You know, I could stay in this house till I died.”

And I knew I could too, and that at last, we were content again.

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