Friday, January 27, 2012

Moments from the week

It was a full week, but a wonderful week!

There was lots of playing with babies
 Watching in amazement as a Red Tailed Hawk perched in our neighbors tree for hours and then saying hi to our friend the very next morning on our walk
 Kneading, squishing, rolling, cutting homemade playdough 
 A trip to the library to add to our already large stack of books in rotation
 Taking in the beauty of these late winter sunsets.  A moment to pause and breath before the bustle of nightime routines
 Enjoying homemade pretzels (recipe found in the Waldorf Kindergarten Snack book)

 Hauling and stacking stone bricks, filling of dirt, placing plants and watering the new children's garden (all work done by Jacob and Parker)
 Ending the dreary, mostly rainy week with a glorious warm spring-like open, fresh air ushering out the stale air of winter

The kids left this afternoon to enjoy a long visit with grandma and papa.  It is always a strange feeling-the house feeling so empty, quiet.  Something I enjoy for a bit, but usually quickly long for the bustle of children about me.  I am hoping to get more progress done with Blake's sweater as well as some small sewing projects done (and maybe start some bigger ones) and of course, there is lesson planning and house chores that need to be done.  Tomorrow, Peter and I will go see a movie in the theatre...something we haven't done in years and years!  It looks like it is going to be a great weekend indeed!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Around Here

It has been gray, rainy and cold for what seems like weeks now (really it has only been almost a week, but for this mama who is sooo affected by sun or lack thereof, it feels like forever!).  But we have been managing to keep ourselves busy none-the-less.  Some form of baking occurs several times a week, usually muffins or occasionally cookies in addition to our weekly bread making.  And I never have a shortage of help in the kitchen.  Parker and MaKenna especially enjoy baking with me and I try to let them do everything themselves.  Kenna has now started to ask before we start, no matter what we are making, "do we need to knead it mama?"  Kneading is her favorite part...and mine too :-)  As of late, we enjoyed chocolate chip banana muffins and chocolate chip butternut squash muffins.  

 And most often than not, sink play follows up baking...naturally.  The other day, MaKenna discovered the wonder that is the sink sprayer.  I made the mistake of leaving the kitchen only to return to a mini flood.  Lesson learned ;-)
 This morning the boys and I were busy with main lessons and I looked over to see Kenna occupying herself with the basket of embroidery floss.  Usually, she tangles up a bunch of floss or grabs some only to cut it up into tiny pieces.  But she sat there for at least a half hour and I couldn't for the life of me figure out why she was so happily busy until I noticed...she had gotten a hold of a tapestry needle and threaded it!  She told me she "licked it and stuck it through".  Blake and I were super impressed and asked her if she wanted to make a button necklace.  She said yes and we both picked out buttons while she threaded them through.  The only help she needed was tying a knot at the end!  And she was so proud of her necklace, as was I!  Grandparents, be prepared for gifts in the future, this girls has plans!

 Jacob and Parker have been engaging in lots of imaginary play as of late.  I love seeing what sorts of plans they work out and how they go about the house busily collecting everything they need.  Today, an elaborate log cabin was constructed complete with enough fire wood to last through the winter and a garden large enough to have enough food for them to eat.  They worked hard at stacking firewood pile after firewood pile and even reconstructed the whole thing after baby sister accidentally fell into their home.
 And I suppose all that talk of gardening inspired some real garden play in the yard.  Today the clouds parted, the sun came out and treated us to some warm weather which was perfect for getting out the shovels and hoes and playing in the mud.  What started as a simple digging up of the yard soon led into grand plans of a children's garden.  I was told they would plant all sorts of vegetable plants, including ones I like to eat like tomatoes, a banana and an apple tree.  Tomorrow, there is more gardening work to be done and I am starting to feel the need to dig in the earth too.  Soon enough, we will be sowing seeds in earnest.

Can you read what the sign says?  "please don't come in".  Jacob wrote was mostly meant for me.  The little kids had set up a cargo room in the school room and it was all blocked off with chairs and jump ropes.  I am not sure exactly what a cargo room is, but the school table was covered with rocks, shells, feathers, nuts, and gems.  I was informed on several occasions not to come in.  Then a little while later Jacob was walking around with two cats following him, Treats and Pretty.  They seemed like nice cats.  They certainly didn't cause as much trouble as Chloe.

This week, we are finishing up our math block before moving on to Norse Myths with Blake and a late winter nature block with Jacob.  The kids are also being wisked away to my parents for 5 days!  I have lots of plans for while they are gone...decluttering, sewing, lesson planning, dates with Peter, knitting, knitting, knitting on Blake's birthday sweater and possibly a bit of painting.  But I know I will miss them terribly as well.  It always is too quiet when they are gone.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Handmade Holiday: Christmas III

I am finally posting the last of the homemades albeit almost a month later, but oh well!  The first gift that was off the needles was a sweater for MaKenna.  It is the Tiny Tea Leaves pattern knitted up in Cascade 220.  She chose the yarn herself on a trip to a local LYS with Daddy <3  This was the first sweater I had ever knitted, besides a few smallish ones for the dolls.  I am really proud of how it turned out despite a few mistakes.  I did a few alterations to the pattern- the neck is knitted using size 5 needles to tighten up the neckline a bit and I also knitted the sleeves and body full length.  I am hoping this will get her through the next year as a full size sweater and then after that, she will be able to wear it as the pattern calls for (3/4 sleeves and shorter bodied).  I am waiting on the buttons.  I ordered some white ones with etched flowers on them and will compare them to a plum button I have to see which I like better.  I don't know why, but I always have a hard time deciding on the finishing touches!  Thankfully, she loves the sweater even without buttons, but I know she will be even happier when they are on.

 For Blake and Jacob, I knitted them simple beanie style caps and a pair of matching mittens.  Again, these both were first time knitted projects for me!  I used to have a strong despise towards double pointed kneedles...I always felt awkward using them, but after knitting these up, I found I actually like knitting with them!  The boys wear their hats just about everyday and Blake even wears his around the house <3  Unfortunately, it hasn't been cold enough for a lot of mitten wear, but they do wear them on our morning walks.

 The last mama knit was a sweater for Parker.  This is a Henley Raglan Pullover by knitting pure and simple.  I used Berroco Ultra Alpaca in chocolate brown (love this yarn!).  I am also waiting on buttons for this, but have decided on a wooden button which I think will look very sweet.  I really wanted to take a picture of Parker wearing this, but he said he didn't want me to take his picture and so I didn't.  But maybe someday he will change his mind...he really does look very nice in it!
I had wanted to knit up a sweater for both Jacob and Blake as well, but seeing how I would have had to knit day and night to do that, I decided I would save my sanity and hold off for another occasion.  I have plans to make Blake the same sweater in a blue and will probably wait to make Jacob's in fall.  We will see! 

Parker's Birthday Party

Yes, I am most certainly behind on blogging, again.  But for good reason this time (other than lack of just not wanting to take the time to do it).  Peter ended up with a horrible tooth infection that led to oral surgery last week and was pretty much out of commission for an entire week.  Thankfully, he has made a full recovery and we are all back to good health.

On to the was a beautiful January day!  Thankfully so as we had a lot of kids.  Parker wanted to invite all of the families that belong to our homeschooling group and they were all able to come!  As I said before, this was his first "real" birthday party, so he was pretty excited.

 Even when we host birthday parties, we tend to keep it pretty simple and "old school".  Some of the kids had never played musical chairs before and it turned out to be one of the highlights of the party.  I was expecting them to only want to play once or twice, but after three rounds, we convinced them to move on to something else.
 Since it was his special day, Parker got to decide the order of events and he chose gift opening.  Our group always comes up with such thoughtful gifts...he received modeling dough, yarn for finger knitting, jars of feathers and bottlecaps, books, a pan flute (from my parents!), a card game and a little matchbox car.  He couldn't have been happier!
 For his birthday cake, he requested a homemade ice cream cake made by Daddy.  He was very specific on the design...a falcons symbol (which is slightly ironic as he really doesn't even like football, but sometimes big brothers' influence is too great).  It was a vanilla and chocolate layered "cake" with hot fudge in the middle.  And not one bit was left :-)

My parents made the drive up for the day and as always, they brought their little mini schnauzer with them.  I thought this moment was too sweet to miss- all the little girls surrounding Bandit and giving him some love!  At one point my mom had to gently remind them to leave him alone as he was starting to feel a bit anxious.  I remember being the same way as a little girl and of course I now have one of my own <3

All in all, it was a great day, but I do believe this will be his last big party.  My boy is still a bit reserved and I think having all those kiddos over left him feeling a bit out of sorts.  Even though he is six (!) he really does play well with the younger crew and I love him so much for that!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Handmade Holiday: Christmas Part II

I wanted to share with you some of the gifts Peter and I made for the kids this Christmas.  For MaKenna (well all the kids really), he made a fridge to go with the play kitchen.  It couldn't have been more perfect timing...just a few days before Christmas Blake announced that we "need a fridge" to go with the play kitchen.  I just smiled and said "mmm-hmm, we sure do".  But it turns out the fridge is also a great place to stash babies.  Sometimes as I am tidying up, I find a baby or two taking a little nap in there ;-)

The boys and I also dyed playsilks for MaKenna.  Several of our playsilks had gone missing (I am afraid they accidentally made their way into a Goodwill box) and I knew this would be a fun and simple gift to make.  I had never dyed silks before, but I found a great tutorial here.  I purchased the 8mm silk scarves from Dharma Trading company.  This was such a great experience, we plan on dyeing more silks in the spring!

 One of the handmades I made for Kenna was a pair of flannel lined corduroy pants.  I am not going to lie and say this was a great experience...there was a few seam ripping, some naughty laungage, a fight or two with my machine, but two days of blood, sweat and tears and they were done!  My first pair of pants (or any garment) sewn by me!  I couldn't have done them without Kate's help.  She was able to show me how to actually get the flannel lining sewn into the pants correctly.  The pattern is her own based off of the reversible pants pattern in Handmade beginnings.  I think if I can get over the trauma of it all, I may make her another pair in the future.  They are pretty cute. 

 don't look too closely at that hem!  The cuff fabric reminded me of the sweet fabrics from my childhood.
 After seeing these snack boards here and here, I knew our kids would love to have one.  Daddy came up with each of the design and he did a fabulous job at matching them up with the kids' personality.  Blake loved his so much he said he didn't want to use it!  The fish is Blake's, the strawberry is Kenna's, the apple is Parker's and the watermelon is Jakey's.  He woodburned all the details and they are sealed with a food safe sealent.

I have one more post rounding out the last of the gifts and they are of all the mama knits! 

Friday, January 6, 2012

From our week

This week we experienced some of the coldest temps this winter which kept us indoors.  It only lasted a few days, but it was enough to spark some new play in the kids. We also started back up with homelearning which meant easing back into our rhythm.  There were a few bumps as to be expected, but for the most part, it was a most welcomed change after the busy holiday season.

lots of games involving costumes were played this week

 there was also some music making
 and a birthday party for a very special girl!
 we started working with fractions for our math block with Blake (which he loved!)
 and he spent the rest of his days buried in a Harry Potter book
 Kenna has been playing with the babies a lot as of late.  She is such a sweet little mama!
 and there was a little bit of crafting too-homemade pomanders filling our living room with the sweet and spicy aroma
when the mild weather returned, we headed outdoors and noticed the daffodils are coming up already!  I am not sure when they will bloom.  This winter has been so warm, it's strange.

This weekend will be a busy one.  We are having a belated birthday party for Parker.  His first real birthday party and he is really excited!