Monday, April 23, 2012

Where its at!

I got two turn tables and a microphone.

That has nothing to do with anything I am about to say.  I finished a blanket. I even used a sewing machine and feel confident that I could use one again in the future for some basic projects.  I am trying to resist making my list of things to make that I had always said I would like to do if I could use a sewing machine.  I do believe my mom is giving me a sewing machine, so I have a feeling the projects will begin sooner, rather than later.

Anyway, here is the blanket I made.  It isn't perfect, but I do love it and it will actually be kind of hard to give away.  Not that I need another baby blanket in this house.  As it is I need to go through all the ones we have and secretly get rid of the ones that aren't favorites.

I made crocheted one side of the blanket using Dreambaby DK yarn with a G hook.  It took 5 skeins of yarn.   I then put on a backing of flannel and trimmed it with pre-trim.  (My mom sewed on the trim.)

I am very sorry. I don't take good pictures of my projects at all.  I use my phone and natural light when I can.  That is about as far as I get.

The entrelac is currently on hold.  I don't not like it.  It just takes concentration and I didn't have time for it right now. So this is where it stands.

I have started a new blanket.  I think it should go pretty fast.  It is kind of lacy looking though.  Originally I had it in mind for a baby boy, but now that I have seen it, I am not so sure.  Thoughts?  If you had a boy would you think this was too girly?  I am anti-typical gender roles and Rhys was often in a pink blanket because I didn't care, but I know other people do.

I am excited about making more backed blankets.  I am wondering how many different patterns of blankets would work well with a backing. Hmmmm.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The never ending school debate

I have been debating what I should do about school since Ava was about 3.  I am exposed to so many people who have chosen different paths for education that the obvious choice of public school no longer became the obvious choice.  It came down to what I wanted for Ava and her education.  (These all apply to Rhys too, she just came first.)  I wanted her to be challenged and learn to think.  I wanted her to develop a real love of learning.  I wanted her to do more than sit and fill out work sheets.  I wanted many other things, but those are the major ones.  I looked into our public school.  I read all the reports from the state on performance.  I read all about the curriculum.  I even went and found some newsletters to parents to see what they were sending home.  I decided it wasn't an option for us.  I am not going to go into all the reasons why I didn't like it, but I will just say I didn't.  It fell short.  It just didn't have the qualities that I was looking for.

Based on a referral, we had found a preschool that we really liked.  It was part of a K-8th grade school.  We had pretty much decided to go ahead and do public school for kindergarten until I had spent a lot of time in the pick up line watching all the older kids interact. I started to think, "Oh I would love for Ava to have a school experience like that."   Over the next few months, I really researched school options.  We debated public school, homeschooling, and the different private schools in the area.  We decided on the school where Ava had been going to preschool.  We have been very happy this year.  It has met all of our expectations for sure.  We went ahead and registered Rhys for preschool and Ava for first grade.

Next week I have to pay the tuition for Ava.  Maybe it is because I will be writing such a big check.  Maybe it is because as of right now I am not able to see the long term sustainability of this educational choice.  Maybe it is because the school board mysteriously voted to not offer the principal a new contract for next year.  Either way, it has made me go into a mini-panic.  Are we making the best choice?  I feel very confident that public school is still off the table.  It hasn't suddenly improved academically.  My debate is private school vs. one of the many home school options in the area.  I just know I don't want to go back and forth.  If I decide to home school, we will home school through at least all of elementary school.  Maybe we will get to the point where private school isn't financially possible.  At that point I will probably look into some form of home schooling.  Then I follow my thoughts down that little wormhole and think, well if I am willing to do it when we can't afford private school, then why not do it now?  Then I remind myself that I don't think that I am the best teacher for Ava at this stage of the game.  So for now, I think we are sticking with private school.  This doesn't mean that I am not going to rehash my thinking for the next 12 days until I write that check.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Organic transition

I just thought I would follow up on a previous post where I talked about transitioning to organic food choices.  I will admit that I often don't stick with any types of changes I try to implement.  I always think things sound great but then I don't actually like them.  We have really stuck with the organic thing.  Since Justin's job change and the financial changes that have come along with that, some things we haven't been able to stick to.  Other things I am not ready to change.  I loved the grass fed meats that we got.  I have been getting organic meat instead lately out of convenience but it really isn't any cheaper so I will probably go back to the grass fed.  I am really not willing to compromise on that, though that also seems to have the biggest financial impact.  We have been sticking with organic fruits and vegetables when we can.  Whole Foods has a bad reputation, but if you shop the outside of the store and sales, I think it is pretty comparable to other stores.  The processed and packed foods are more expensive for sure though.  Though when you go to more of the organic pre-packaged foods, it is always expensive.  We have stuck with the organic, cage-free eggs, thanks to Costco.  Recently we gave up the organic milk and are now drinking the hormone free milk instead.  It was just too expensive.  I am still transitioning into organic grains and sugars.  We have gone back to commercial cereals and cheeses because of cost alone.  It turns out I didn't like traditional maple syrup though the fake stuff is horrible for you.  I would say at this point in time, we are about 35-50% organic.  Some meals are completely.  Some not at all.  So that is where we are at.  I am happy that 6 months later we are still on track.  I also think that more and more organic options will become available and make this easier.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Wooohoooo!!!!!!  Yesterday's post was my 400th post!!!!!  I must have posted much more frequently years ago. 

Ava had an eye appointment today.  It was just a quick one.  I was dreading the wait, knowing that it was spring break and in the afternoon.  It wasn't bad at all though.  The place was pretty empty.  Anyway, everything looked good.  Her pressures were 20 and 20.  That is still in her good range, so nothing is changing.  She can throw a fit all she wants about getting the drops.  She still needs them because they are keeping her from needing surgery.

The yarn I ordered yesterday shipped.  I am hoping it comes by Saturday so I can give my sister in law hers.  That wasn't a very exciting update.

We have started planting our garden.  I should have gone to water today, but I honestly didn't have any time.  Hopefully tomorrow we will get out there.  I also need to get some carrot seeds and this round of planting will be done.  When Ava and I were out there Tuesday, our plot neighbor offered to rototil our patch for us.  I said no because we were on a time crunch and I didn't want to have to be rude and leave while he was in the middle of things and Rhys and I had already planted some seeds the day before.  I am definitely going to have to leave some spots clear of seeds.  I thought Rhys and Ava might be more interested in planting but they aren't.  We will clearly have some semi-neat rows and some clusters where they each gave up and dumped out their hand.  They pretty much each just want to dig.  The need their own shovels and their patch of dirt that they can dig in.  They also want to get some decorations so we are going to have to see what the dollar store has to offer.

Rhys is 90% of the way potty trained.  He just can't do #2.  He says he doesn't feel it until it is too late.  I say 90% because he only goes #2 once or twice a week.  He is dry at night most of the time too. He hasn't wet the bed in a month.  Until last night.  It was my bed. That is all I have to say about that.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Babies, babies, everywhere!

So in the last few weeks, there has been a pregnancy explosion. I have quite a few very good friends who are expecting. Some have actually requested that I make their baby something which means I have a lot of things to make. It is so much more motivating to work on a deadline and babies definitely have deadlines. I have about 5 months to make 4 blankets and whatever else I can make to coordinate. That is definitely doable, but sometimes, depending on how much my hand lets me work, it will take a month to make a blanket.

So due to fiscal responsibility, I have to rein myself in when it comes to the yarn. I don't like giving gifts that don't look good and feel good. That is part of why I am so picky about yarn. So as a compromise with myself and with the assistance of my sister in law, I came up with a plan. I am going to try to do a backing and trim in fabric. They should hopefully be variations of this:

I am going to be following instructions on assembly from Nikki In Stitches. Hopefully it will turn out well. I am not sure if this style of blanket will be desired or not or if they would rather have the drape of a good crocheted or knit blanket. I guess it depends on the feel of the yarn. So on to part one of my yarn compromise. was having their anniversary sale and they also discount yarn when you buy over a certain amount. This is typically not hard if you are making a bigger project, but since I was buying cheaper yarn, my sister in law and I combined orders to get the discount. This got me a full blanket of yarn for $15 plus shipping. Not too bad! For reference Ava's blanket cost about $60 in materials. It was probably more than that, I just don't want to think about. Darn you Spud and Chloe! I love your yarn so much! Why must you be so expensive!!!!!!!

Part two of my yarn compromise was to actually use yarn I already have. I know, I know. Common sense, but yarn inspires me and if a yarn lost its mojo, chances are, it isn't coming back. I had bought a yarn that I love the colors of for a sweater for Ava. Turns out the yarn kind of sucks to work with and the project was horrible and tedious and not looking good at all. So I pulled it all out and then was left with an assortment of colors in various amounts and couldn't figure out what the heck to do with it. Until now! The yarn still sucks to work with. It is Cascade 220 Fingering weight. I just find the texture odd and it is really splitty. I am glad I have a plan to back this particular blanket because it is really thing and has no drape.

Anyway, on to the cast of characters. Here are the colors I am using.

I also found directions on youtube for an entrelac style crocheted blanket. It is using a technique called Tunisian crochet which combines knitting and crocheting all at once. It turns out that I had a Tunisian crochet hook and didn't even know. It just thought it was kind of cool looking and I bought it because it was on clearance. This blanket will build from the middle out.

So that is where I am at with it today. We are on spring break so I have high hopes of getting a lot done but if I look at our schedule for the rest of the week and my work schedule, I don't really see that happening much. My hand is also killing me so I should maybe just really try for one hour a day instead of a marathon afternoon.

Now that I have made my triumphant return to blogging, maybe I will post again this month. It is only the beginning of April so chances are good!