Three Months!

That’s right, it has been nearly three months since this cheerful little bean came into our lives. I may have done this twice before, but I have learned so much from this little guy. He is cheerful, and cuddly, and pretty chill. He is also growing way too fast. My days, even when they’re rough, just fly right on by.

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Having three children under 5 is definitely overwhelming at times. I am very lucky in that my two eldest are very mild-mannered usually, and really great at doing the things I ask most of the time. They both love their little brother dearly, but it’s hard not to love this guy and his generous wide-eyed grins.

I’ve got so much on my plate right now, but it is entirely my fault. I can’t help it, there are so many things I want to do. I want to cook all our food from scratch, and I have been working my back to that fairly well. Sometimes I forget to refrigerate some stock and have to toss it, or don’t use up something before it goes bad. I’m working on it. Then there’s this big gardening project I want to do this summer. I have been obsessed with this, despite the fact that I don’t generally enjoy gardening and can’t keep plants alive unless they’re succulents. Cutting our grocery costs is the driving factor behind this project. I’m also trying to start homeschooling our eldest to see if that is something that will work for our family. She is going to be 5 this summer, so the right age for Kindergarten in the fall. I don’t need to sleep, right?

I take heart in the fact that my good days are growing, and generally outnumber the really challenging days. Even when it is really tough I take it moment to moment, and every day has at least a few successes.

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A year in abstract

So much to say and so little time! Let’s see if I can make a quick list of the most important.

1. New addition to the family! Baby Lachlan, our first little boy joined us in January.
2. Attempting to home school kindergarten for our eldest. More musings on that later.
3. A new project A Yankee Girl’s Guide in which I attempt writing, and brushing up on my coding skills.

Soon after we met our little boy…
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I can’t believe he’s almost 3 months!
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Local Farming

This is a topic that gets me really excited, so I will try very hard to keep the exclamation points to a minimum. It’s something that touches on the thing that makes me excited about making things. We live in such a factory created world, I have become very fascinated with more humble (and human) means of creation. It should be no surprise that with summer on its way, I am thinking a lot about local farming.

At the CSA farm in the summer of 2012At the CSA farm in the summer of 2012

Our family lives a very frugal existence, but we are very lucky to have access to fairly affordable local (even organic) food. I can’t really do organic in the grocery store, because it is sometimes 2-3 times more expensive. However, this region has a large number of CSA farms which has made such foods very affordable.

CSA stands for community supported agriculture. While that may sound like I’ve gone in for the back breaking work of weeding and planting (our CSA farm *does* encourage its members to help weed but only if they want) that’s not what it’s all about. At its most basic, we buy a “share” for our family, and we get a certain amount of the harvest throughout the year based on this share.

Sure, it’s taking a risk if crops don’t do well. However, the more skilled farmers learn to diversify. If one crop does poorly that year, the idea is that you have a variety of others to rely on. It’s very seasonal, and we tend to get more in the middle and late summer. However, I have found that the grocery savings throughout the 22 weeks that ours runs has more than made up for the high up front cost. Plus, who can pass up locally grown super sweet ripe strawberries!!

We’re not only investing in good food for our family, but we are also investing in a learning experience for our girls. My husband and I really try to discuss the source of our food, about how the farm works, and I think my oldest has learned a lot of valuable stuff. They see where their food comes from, and the people that grow it. They even get to help with the pick-your-own selection the farm has every week. The strawberry season is quite exciting, but tomato season is just as mouth watering with the amazing cherry tomatoes we get to pick as a family.

It has been quite a challenge to make sure to use all the vegetables. Some of the stuff we have gotten I do admit to thinking “What the hell do I do with *this*?” We get weekly e-mails with suggestions and/or recipes for the more uncommon vegetables we receive. However, not all CSAs are you-get-what-you-get. Sure there’s some input from year to year, but essentially we receive what is given to us. Some CSAs have a more pick-and-choose set up. As CSAs are becoming more common there are more options for families to find the right farm for them.

I am so glad that we were financially able to buy a CSA share again this year. This is our second year and I look forward to a very tasty and educational summer. Today I pick up this week’s vegetables, and included will be some asparagus, bok choi, baby spinach, mesclun greens, scallions, and collards. Lots of salads and greens this week!

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Spring Cleaning

I got this intense urge to clean and organize the kids’ toys and play area in the living room. So glad I did. Hopefully I’ll have more motivation to get into a routine of picking up regularly with the girls. Now that everything has a home it will be easier!

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They have lots of little things with pieces, and I finally found a way to keep them all in their place. I even filled a bag with some travel toys that we can take out when we go places to keep them occupied. Those girls are so lucky for all they have.

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In other news, Elowen has become quite the talker! She’s still working on her pronunciation of certain words, but she’s speaking in several word sentences, and repeating things like “All aboard the choo-choo train!” It’s so exciting to watch them learn and grow.

Then of course Katie is drawing recognizable shapes and figures. I love her people drawings. It was like an explosion of interest in drawing in the last few months.

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Spinning…weaving…not knitting

So, a bad thing has happened in my life, that has really turned out to be a good thing. At least that’s what I keep telling myself. About two weeks ago I developed a pretty bad case of self-diagnosed carpel tunnel. Numb hands off and on all day at its worst. It started off fairly mild and built up to being pretty all-consuming by the end of the week.

All knitting stopped. Well, it mostly stopped as much as I can cut knitting out of the picture. I kept myself away from the computer as much as I could over the weekend, and tried to spend two days to recoup. You see, my job involves a lot of typing and I was pretty desperate to find a way to keep doing it because you know..I really enjoy it.

Strange things have been happening. My house has been cleaner. My laundry got done and folded. I’ve never been a very good housekeeper, and I’m still no great example. Still, I have been forcing myself to do other things.

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This has been a good lessen in moderation.

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Long forgotten skills have been remembered.

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I have been forced to do this against my will but…It’s not so bad. I’m still grappling with the depressing realities of this issue, and I don’t want to go too far into detail. Let’s make a quick mention of a languishing hat design and leave it at that just now.

For the moment I will stick with doing what I can to keep busy and happy.

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Growing Up!

My youngest has reached a milestone. Her own bed! She’s so excited.

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In other news, 20% off all my patterns for the month of March! (Price will be discounted at checkout)

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Hats

I don’t do hats. Oh I’ve done hats, but I don’t do hats. I can’t tell you how many hat failures I’ve had. Sure, there have been successes (the plurality of that word is a slight exaggeration). The failures outnumber the successes to an embarassing degree. OK sure we all fail sometimes, and we learn from it, and we move on. But I’ve always been a competent knitter, adventurous, inquisitive. Sure I make mistakes here and there, but I’ve never had a whole category of knitting to drag me down. Well, except for hats of course.

Until of course this happened…

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I know a little baby who is going to receive two of them, because I couldn’t decide which yarn I really wanted to use. I got quite far on the yellow one that I couldn’t rip it out, but felt it was a shame that it didn’t have the softness and drape of the others. So I started the purple one because it’s the mother’s favorite color.

I don’t think I’ll stop there.

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Are you counting?

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Apparently I should be crocheting my hats.

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Crochet Obsessions

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This is what happens when an obsession comes on. I finish something like this in one night. Then I dream about all the others that I can make with my various stash yarn.

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I put some ribbon on the first one, and start another one. I’ve already got plans for four more including this one. It’s just like crocheting dish cloths. I just go and go and go…It’s relaxing.

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Please don’t ask me about the state of my house, OK?

Details @ Ravelry

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Catkin

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Details @ Ravelry

What can I say about this one aside from WOW! Made from Cascade Heritage Silk (brown) and Ella Rae Lace Merino (green) using the Catkin pattern. this pattern is wonderfully designed. I think my gauge was ever so slightly smaller, so the shawl is a bit shorter than intended. It’s still beautiful, and I want to wear it all the time.

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New pattern: Tree Bark Mitts

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I’ve been working on this one for months. First, I wanted to make several samples (Christmas presents that still need to be sent!), and then I wanted to have some testing and editing done (thank you to those that helped!), and third I’ve just been so busy!

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These are really cozy and warm, and I love the Valley Yarns Northampton Sport used. The texture is really fun, and pulls in nicely to hug my cold wrists.

I’ve included written instructions as well as a chart for the pattern. The skills involved are really quite basic, just knit and purl and some increases and decreases. You do have to keep track of where you are in pattern or on the chart, but stitch markers can help with that.

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