Friday, October 30, 2009


Have a spooktacular Halloween. Here's hoping the Ring Wraiths don't find you like they did Frodo.
How can you not adore this kid?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Knit One, Purl Two

Today was the first day of the Springville Ladies' Knitting Circle. I taught 3 to knit and purl, 5 to cast on and 1 needle felting. It went so well that we decided to do it again next week.

Later, my friend Kristen (who is also my visiting teacher AND we recently found out that our parents were friends back in the high school days) and I took our children to Multnomah Village to do some wool shopping at NW Wools. A great time was had by all, even Boba Fett who smashed his finger in the car.

Later, still giddy with knitting euphoria I carved a ball of yarn jack o' lantern.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Antler Damask in Sky

Another Margaret Bag this time 80% in Antler Damask Sky with Lattice lining and red rick rack trim.
I am not wild about the button, which is perhaps why I dreamed of the antique store with the "button bar" last night.
I have been trying to figure out a way to read while knitting for quite some time. A few months ago I decided that this pattern from Sew Liberated was just the thing. I had hoped to receive it for a birthday present but that didn't happen so I bought it for myself.
I used Antler Damask and Lattice along with red rick rack again. I appliqued little birds from Antler Damask onto the Lattice side.
It works okay, it holds a hardcover book like nobody's business, but paperback books not so much. Since I mostly own paperbacks because I find them easier to hold while reading, this is a problem. I restuffed the pillow to see if more batting would solve the problem. Gothic Tales would not be held under any circumstances but the paperback of Sense and Sensibility I read last night stayed in firmly as long as I didn't wiggle much.

So, I have mixed feelings about the pillow, it is cute, it works after a fashion but I find myself debating whether or not there are mods I can make to make it work better and the reason I spent $14.45 on a PILLOW pattern was so that I wouldn't have to reinvent the wheel and just a have a pillow that worked, to save time and frustration. I feel a little cheated. I never spend money on patterns and certainly not $14.45 for ANY pattern.

5 out of 7 thimbles for the Sew Liberated Reading Pillow pattern but I am not 5 thimbles happy.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Spooky Tales

It was our Annual Spooky Stories and Carmel Apples Night last night. We invited Los Dominguez and Luke. This year we simply sliced the apples and poured the carmel on top since last years melon ball experiment didn't work like we had hoped. We melted the Carmel candies in the double boiler with some marshmallows and cream. Success!

Commander C and Jonah told the same story trying to one up each other, Spencer told of a spider with long legs and Laura told a timely tale about the mortgage crisis. I told The Owl Witch and a story I found in a book but I changed the names to people we knew to make it scarier.

Last year I recommended this story by Elizabeth Gaskell. I liked it so much that I bought a copy of Elizabeth Gaskell's Gothic Tales and saved it to read this October. Now I have a new tale to recommend. It isn't really a ghost story like "The Old Nurses Tale" but "The Grey Woman" involves deception, a spooky castle and a brigand!

There are other good stories in Gothic Tales some more suspenseful than others. For example with the title of "Lois the Witch" set in 17th century Salem you KNOW how the story is going to turn out.

Six out of Seven thimbles for "Gothic Tales."

Monday, October 26, 2009

In Which I Come Perilously Close to Becoming A "Look How Smart My Kid Is" Blogger

Last night Nutmeg wanted me to teach her how to knit. The thing about Nutmeg is:
1) She is very persistent as in "This reading lesson will not end until I can read the entire book."
2) She does not like to be helped, she wants to do it herself.
3) She is a perfectionist and gets frustrated and quits. I have seen her crumple up an entire drawing because she made an accidental mark and "ruined" it.
We started out last night with some worn size 13 bamboo needles and some bulky wool. It didn't go very well so I sent her to bed, dug through a foot of knitting stuff to find my very pointy plastic needles size 17 (I think) and some extra chunky acrylic yarn. A much more slippery combination .
Then I turned to that marvelous tool the Internet, looked up "How to teach kids to knit" and found this poem:

How to Knit:
In through the front door
Around to the back
Out through the window
And off jumps Jack

How to Purl:
Under the fence
Catch the sheep
Back we come
And off we leap.

It worked like a charm. She is knitting, alone, gets mad as a hatter when I try to help. One 10 minute lesson.
Watch out world there is a new knitter in town, age 3 3/4.

*At the risk of turning into a silly mommy blog can I just say I am so proud of Nutmeg? I have been looking forward to the day where I would teach my daughter to knit for a long time. Of course I thought that the day would be a little further along down the road!*

Friday, October 23, 2009

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday Moose

I was going to post a picture of the oft requested but rarely received "fudge frosting" which takes hours to make. But since it didn't turn out there is no picture. You can enjoy the video instead

Monday, October 19, 2009

One Good Thing About the Swine Flu Hysteria

The one good this as far as I can see about the Swine Flu Pandemic Scare is that finally our nation's school children are allowed to actually stay home when they are sick. Attendance policies are being loosened so that sick kids can stay home and not infect others (never mind whether it is better for their ability to get well.)
Imagine that. Sick people staying home so that they don't infect others and their bodies can heal. Am I the only one that thinks that this should be standard policy not just pandemic hysteria policy?
I remember going to school so sick that I could barely stay upright but I had to be there because I wasn't allowed to miss anymore days of school and still be able to graduate regardless of my B/A average.
One of the things I appreciate about homeschooling is not having to send my children to the germ infested school everyday and then deal with all of the illnesses that they contract from the sick children who came to school. We don't get sick very much around here and I give a big chunk of the credit to not sending my kids to school.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Community Autumn Fair at Bethany

Yesterday, we took Nutmeg to an Community Autumn Faire, it was a fund raiser for a local Waldorf school. Knowing that "Waldorf" means nature, fairies and handcrafted goodness I was happy to go.

I have been looking for an Autumn fair to go to ever since Moose and I went to The Feast of the Hunter's Moon back when we lived in Indiana. They are so friendly and gentle. There is nothing like decorating with pumpkins and hay bales with the smell of cider in the air. The fair we went to yesterday was full of families who knew each other and we chatting and having a great time together as a community.

I wanted to do that for my community. So Bethany, Portland, Oregon I want to have a community Autumn Fair next fall. Will you support me in this?

I am thinking about crafts for the kids, apples, pumpkins, hay and cider. Music from people in the community, performances of all types. Maybe the Indian dancing group will preform. Food stalls, and items for sale. Booths hosted by our local shops and institutions. Stalls for learning, places to sit and chat with your neighbors.

I don't know yet if we will just try to break even or benefit a local charity but whatever we do the main point will be becoming a community.

I want to celebrate our community because I LOVE living in Bethany! So what do you say Bethany? Will you support a Community Autumn Fair (and me) in Bethany in 2010?

There is a poll to the right of the blog. Let me know whether I want to jump into this big, scary and wonderful commitment.

Friday, October 16, 2009

One more "Before" and "After"

Just one more "before" and "after" post. This one was not planned, not expected, and I am not happy about it.

Nutmeg's hair before:
Nutmeg's hair after:
"Not too bad." you say? Well, turn to the left,
and the right,
and behind.
The first thing I did was freak out and scream "NO! NO! NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" Then I went looking for the hair. I said aloud "Where did Nutmeg cut her hair?" Boba Fett piped up "In the living room." How did he know that? Well, he watched her do it! I found the huge pile of hair as I wailed and found my phone and called the hair lady, Julie."Are you Ok?" She kept asking. She has been through this before.
We paid Julie a morning visit and I think I am going to be alright. In fact, this is the haircut I wanted for Nutmeg a couple of years ago.
I have done a bit of thinking about this in the last 15 hours. Even though she has never had much hair and I was just thinking for the first time in 3/12 years how it was finally looking good, hair WILL grow back. She didn't cut the front or close to the scalp in the top.
And honestly, she is my daughter and I don't love her for her hair, or what a pretty pictures she makes. If she had been injured in an accident or burned on of most of her body, or a mad barber had taken her captive I would be so glad just to have my daughter here with me.

Having a daughter is more than hair bows, cute outfits and painting fingernails. Having a daughter is about love and spending hours together, teaching her how to be a caring, nurturing woman, about loving each other, having girl's night, reading stories and being best friends.

I think we will be O.K.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Kitchen

I don't know that there is much to say about this kitchen revamp. I think the pictures speak for themselves. Old red paint - replaced with our favorite shade, "Marital Discord". Itty bitty shallow sink and tiny old faucet - replaced with decent sized sink and a tall faucet. Gross, stained sea green laminate counters - gone now with a fantastic faux granite laminate. Worn, dirty, whitewashed, dated cabinets - refaced and replaced with shaker alder doors. Hardware is still to be added, back-ordered you know. Clutter - found a home.

The house looks SO much better and fresh. I have even been KEEPING my kitchen clean. The drawers are all new which means I will no longer have drawers falling out or leaving flecks of mystery metal in my casserole dishes. The drawers are narrower and my silverware tray no longer fits and I am not happy with the options in the stores. I know what I want but "Ouch!" expensive..
Remember the 10 year old tea kettle?
Meet my new tea kettle. It whistles, I have always wanted a whistling kettle.This is the old chair we salvaged from my in-laws 5 years ago. It is so comfy I had to save it.
My mom recovered it with my inspiration fabric for the school room/ kitchen. What a dear. I was supposed to help her but she did it all without me. I love her even more than I love my new chair! She did it with supplies from my stash - we only had to buy a little bit of extra cording and some Velcro.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Into the Land of Respectability

As you might have guessed we are in the midst of getting the house into a condition where we can sell it, luckily the few changes we have just finished have made a HUGE difference. First, the siding, it needed to be replaced badly and the paint job was the laughing stock of the neighborhood. The peeling paint was SO bad. It was embarrassing. It was shameful. On the bright side, I think my neighbors might start talking to me again!

I know that I told my dad I had taken "before" pictures of the house, but apparently I have gone to great pains over the last few years NOT to capture my dilapidated house in a photo. Any photograph I have has been carefully arranged to show as little of the actual exterior of the house as possible.

This is the only photo I can find and it is from 2001 BEFORE we bought the house, so add 8 years and lots of peeling paint on the green trim.
And the "after"
Isn't it amazing? ( I know the yard is a disaster but give me a break I have had workers tramping all over my yard for a month.)
The back...
This was our "deck" before, gross, I know, it was dangerous too.
Our deck now....snazzy. I designed it.The view from our glass door before complete with Bendaroos artwork on the glass
The view from my door now. Beautiful. It just opened up the whole yard and made it feel so much bigger. We might actually use it now.
I am tickled pink. If anyone wants to use Forest Hills Builders and Steve Matiaco's team I fully recommend them.
The Colors: Sherwin Williams Roycroft Pewter, Roman Column and Roycroft Copper Red
The Deck: Trex Decking in Woodland Brown
Tomorrow, the kitchen renovation!!!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

You Can't Raise a Baby Without ... Signing Time

My baby days are over. Little potties, baby carriers and nursing are a thing of the past at our house. Since I am not currently doing those things I don't have much occasion to blog about them, so I am going to do a little series called "Samurai Mom's You can't raise a baby without." I will be sharing with you the things that I would never ever raise a baby without. Whether you chose to adopt these practices or not is completely up to you, please don't think I am being pushy, I am simply sharing the things that have made my life easier.

Enough with the explanations and on the the advice.

#1- Signing Time Videos

This one is not hard, anyone can do it, and with library access everyone should be doing it (yes, that means you La Keira)

This is as difficult as putting in a DVD for your baby or toddler to watch on TV, that's it. They DVDs even play on a loop if you are too lazy to use the remote.

Signing Time DVDs teach you and your baby American Sign Language and help them you communicate before their verbal skills have developed

What are the benefits? Well let me tell you a little story. When Nutmeg was 12 months old she started watching Signing Time. By the time she was 18 months old and most children are in prime tantrum phase Nutmeg was clearly communicating her desires with a vocabulary of about 70-100 words. Instead of whining and pointing she would simply sign what she wanted. Not tears, no frustration on her part or mine.

I remember one time when she pointed to a tree, I assumed she was interested in the tree and started talking about it, then she signed bird, I looked up and saw a bird. I had completely misunderstood what she wanted to tell me until she signed. Signing Time makes your life much easier and it helps you communicate and understand what is going on inside of those little heads.

So exert yourself so much as to click on Youtube or reserve a copy of Signing Time at your library, plop your kid in front of the screen and change your life!

Friday, October 09, 2009

Ten Years

October 9, 1999
Moose and Samurai Mom
Still Happily Married

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

O, That I Were an Angel

"O, that I were and angel and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God with a voice to shake the earth..." Alma 29:1

I was able to watch 2.5 sessions of the 179th General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints this weekend in amongst the business of a wedding. What a blessing.

Elder Holland's talk had me riveted. Glued to the screen, I hardly dared breathe for fear that I would miss a word. He spoke with such force, the Spirit was so strong. What an amazing testimony and a phenominal speaker.
One day I hope to be able to speak so well.
I love that he spoke the truth and did not mince words.

What more can I say?


Sunday, October 04, 2009

Sense and Sensibility

"I don't know what to wear tomorrow." I told Moose as we packed for the return trip to Portland. "This is the most comfy." holding up my 'I Love Reagan' shirt. "But I don't want to be killed in a gas station for my political beliefs."
"That is unlikely." Moose replied "What you should say is 'I don't want to get into a car accident and have the paramedics cut it up, because statistically that is way more likely."
Isn't he sensible?

Thursday, October 01, 2009