Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Yarn Along--little gifts and even littler gifts

Back with Ginny at Small Things for another Yarn Along...

Well, I am still on a roll knitting hats.  I have finally ceased knitting the Turn a Square hats, after knitting five or six of them, and I knit two The Perfect Beret hats for my God-daughter and my niece (in the photo above).  The tiny hat and sweater set is for Gemma's littlest baby-doll, June.  I have a long list of things to make for her beloved babies, and I really enjoy knitting for them--it's near-instant gratification!

Not sure what's next on the queue.  I have hats to knit for all of my family, more doll clothes and a pair of mitts to make for my sister.  Bret would like a cowl.  I hope I don't run out of time!

As for reading, I have finished Swag and Stein on Writing.  I'm about to pick up Running With Scissors.

Are you trying to tackle a heap of Christmas knitting, too?

Living in the moment

It's been no less crazy than usual around here.  My determination to stick to some sort of framework for our schooling is not so much born of a need to organize (I have gone from hyper-organized to a happy, disorganized mess over the decades), but from a need to keep the kids occupied enough to make a dent in the petty bickering.  Seems that too much free time is not a good thing in this house.

Anyway, between staying on top of schooling 6 kids from Kindergarten through 11th grade, trying to keep up with the household stuff, making things and being the shipping department for our Etsy shop and attempting to cook everything from scratch these days, I barely have time for any hobbies.  I do my running at 6 a.m. for an hour, I exercise for 30 minutes in the evening, I knit in the van and occasionally in my chair when there's a good movie to watch, and I read for maybe 30 minutes before I slip into my 6 hour, nightly coma.  That is how I squeeze in personal time.  Which is why this blog has suffered such neglect.

As I write this at near-10 in the morning, I am looking out my workroom window at the pasture and the changing colors of autumn, my favorite time of year.  I have a few Etsy shop orders to pack up and of course school stuff to attend to, but I'm hoping to bake pumpkin bread this afternoon and maybe make some miniature cakes with Gemma in her little cake pans.  I like the kitchen so much more this time of year, when I'm not constantly perspiring.

This year is quickly drawing to a close, and it has been a hard one.  Financial struggles, personal demons to fight, worries about family members...I'll be 51 next month, and in all honesty, I think that 50 has been one of my more trying years.  Definitely a milestone year, and one I'm not unhappy to bid farewell to.  There's been ore inner upheaval than I've felt in decades, but it is finally winding down and I am finally feeling more settled...not totally at peace, but better.  The trick is to work very hard at living in the moment and casting one's gaze neither backward nor forward.  That's the key.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Crafts for the shop

I've spent the past week making things for our Etsy shop, Frost Lane.  It's been a while since I've done any crafts (I'm a wee bit put out by the fact that only my youngest two like playing with craft materials when I have an assortment of them that would stock a small craft supply store!)  I worked on wood-burning some one inch buttons, made some more toadstool-pendant necklaces and made some little autumn gnomes with acorn cap baskets.  I think they came out really well!  I hope to have them in the shop later today...

Thursday, September 18, 2014

I'm late! I'm late--for a very important date!

Nicole of Frontier Dreams is generously hosting a giveaway for our shop, Frost Lane from today through Saturday in honor of Michaelmas (September 29th).  We are giving away a very lovely sword and shield set (or toddler-sized dagger and small shield set, winner's choice) and offering a discount in the shop for the rest of the month.  Stop by Frontier Dreams and leave a comment to enter!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Yarn Along--hello old friend

I am back for Ginny's Wednesday Yarn Along for the first time in what seems eons!

I took a long break from knitting as I began to focus more on writing, and my knitting bag in the van was replaced by my notebook.  I still keep the notebook with me, and I am still working on writing, but with Christmas approaching, a tight budget and lots of people on the gift list, I decided it was high time to pick up my needles.

Right now I'm knitting hats, specifically these wonderfully easy stash-busters, perfect for using up the odd ends of Noro I have.  I am perfecting my jogless stripes, too.

As for reading, I've mainly been reading books on writing.  I'm a little ways into this one, and about halfway through a paperback crime novel (Swag, by Elmore Leonard).  Not my usual cup of tea, but he's a favorite author of a good friend, and I thought I'd give it a go.  It's actually fairly entertaining.

Hope to see you back here next week!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Monday Musings--15 September 2014

Right now...nearly 8 p.m.  It's been a busy day.  We just finished the rosary and I'm feeling like I'm ready for bed!

This weekend...was very nice.  Bret and I went into Gallatin on Friday to stop at Lowe's and look at flooring.  We are choosing things for the new house.  Would that money was no object!  Then we went to Aldi and Walmart to do our grocery shopping.  It always feels like we're out on a date when we go anywhere without the kids.  Of course, it was exhausting getting back, unpacking half the groceries, making a quick dinner, unpacking the rest of the groceries...I was fairly trashed by bedtime!

On Saturday we went into Bowling Green and hit the Goodwill there.  Still looking for some clothing items.  Then we stopped at the square downtown and saw some great vintage cars.

And Sunday was very relaxing with no stops to make after Mass...I did a little writing, wrapped up two Etsy shop orders and gathered photos for a giveaway we are going to do this week on Frontier Dreams.

Catching up:  Where to begin?  Let's see...Dominic turned 8 on August 4th, Bret had a birthday on the 18th.  Our rooster, Barney, died and Ruthie Weedeater, our goat, had a kid, which we named Louis (he was born on the feast of St. Louis).  We have started out new school year.  The weather is finally getting cooler.  It would be nearly impossible to go into any real detail...

Some plans for this week:  Baking bread, making yogurt, putting up wine.  There are a few bills to be paid and I have to list some school books I want to sell on Cathswap.

If I find some time for myself, I want to...get some knitting and sewing time in and do a little writing. I'm making a bunch of hats and mitts as Christmas gifts and I want to sew up some doll outfits for Gemma, who really loves her baby dolls (she has 4 babies already and wants another for Christmas).

I am grateful for...my friends and family.  I have some of the best people on this planet for friends (you know who you are!), and their prayers and acts of kindness hold me up when I feel l don't have the fortitude to hang in there.  I am also grateful for the fact that my kids are so loving and affectionate.  I get numerous hugs and kisses throughout the day, and that, too, keeps me from becoming too gloomy.

In my prayers:  My friends and their families; my nephew Thomas who has a birthday this week; my nephew Matthew, and for the completion of the new house this year.

Something that makes me smile:  quirky people who drive around with a stuffed tiger on the roof of the car (seen in Bowling Green, KY this weekend.)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Escape from the kitchen...

We always dreamed of having a cow that could really produce some milk.  All the cows we have milked previously averaged about a gallon a day (milking once a day) after the initial freshening.  We would hear of these Jerseys producing 3-5 gallons a day and wonder why our cows never reached such amounts.  Well, Fiona has become one of these mythical cows, and is giving us 2-3 gallons a day with one milking and--and--feeding her calf Lola as well.  This is wonderful for us, but without a pig to drink up the excess, I am constantly working to make use of as much of it as I can.  My sister takes a couple of gallons a week, and I clabber some for the chickens, but I'm making a gallon of yogurt a week, queso blanco twice a week, a half gallon of pudding once a week, ice cream, chocolate milk and smoothies.  I skim most of the cream from the gallons for butter and make that, too, as often as I am able.  Am ordering citric acid and mesophilic starter to start making mozzarella and hard cheeses soon.  I am the Dairy Queen...

Top photo:  the kitchen in a typical state of crazy.  The makings of Best Blueberry Birthday Pancakes for Dominic.  He turned 8 yesterday, although we are putting off the celebration proper until Saturday.  There is also the stuff for making the cheese, cream ready for churning, and the rice and lentils out to remind me to fix up a pot of my lentil and rice "beef-filler".

Second photo, at the end of 5 hours.  In the peanut butter container is 4.5 lbs. of chocolate pudding mix (I had two quarts of pudding in the fridge); there's a couple of pounds of the lentil-rice mix, which I keep in the freezer; 1.25 lbs of butter and 10 oz. of queso blanco.  There's also a bag of leftover pancakes from the bazillion that I cooked up, and 3 quarts of whey, left from the bit of cheese.  I use it for cooking with, or, more popularly, for whey lemonade.

School continues, as we school year-round and take our days off as needed.  Una and Sebastian have been taking Mondays and Fridays off from school to help paint at the new house.  Yes, we are painting, which means we only need doors, floors, trim, electrical fixtures and the whole kitchen before it is done--or at least ready to move into.  Certain things, finishing touches, will have to wait until we are already in.  Things like bookcases and crown molding.  I'm praying for money in the budget for a well, as I hate the thought of paying for city water with what we do here on laundry and showers, not to mention the animals and garden we have planned...

Well--just thought I would drop by to let everyone know that I've not completely dropped off the face of the earth.  Oh, and Annita, I know that Gemma's half-naked in the photos again.  Even with the pretty T-shirts you sent her, she still is constantly peeling them off and leaving them lying about...!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Birthday princess

Our littlest family member is five!  We celebrated her special day on Saturday with a carrot cake and presents from friends and family.  She had a wonderful day.  Gabriel commented that Gemma's birthdays are the best because of her enthusiasm.  She put on her "princess dress" and birthday crown, had her sister paint her nails with sparkly pink polish and made the most of the day.

With her being the youngest, such banner days are bittersweet, as I know that there are none to follow her.  But I cherish her special days and milestones all the more for that.