Friday, November 27, 2009

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Giving Thanks

I read today a post about Christian Thanksgiving by Albert Mohler on the Gospel Coalition Blog.

I needed that.

I have been busy thinking like Martha today instead of being Mary. Martha's work is important, but I need to remember to reflect on God's goodness foremost. And to bring my children into that reflection with me.

In light of that, I will not spend much time on this post today, but will list only five of the things I am thankful for.

1.    The Almighty Supreme Being loves ME, who deserves nothing. He loves me enough to have suffered and died  for me and for us.

2.    Love. The reflection of Him in our lives.

3.    Family. Not less than the foundation of civilization and a source of refuge and great joy.

4.    Justice. The peace in knowing that we may not have justice in this world, but it will come.   

5.    Beauty. Glimpses into the heart of God.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving as you also reflect on God's many gifts!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Pony Rides and Mittens

Sunday was a beautiful day. Perfect for pony rides. Cupcake is such a sweet pony. He is very patient and gentle. My dad's chickens (who have moved to our place) looked on.

Both kids got their turn. Daddy enjoyed himself too. Grandma and I watched and chatted. These are the kinds of days our happy memories are made of.

It's been a beautiful November, but this is Minnesota. We're getting ready for winter. I've been knitting mittens lately with bits of leftover yarn. It's a good feeling, like making something out of nothing.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Memorizing the Ten Commandments

The kids and I had been working for weeks on memorizing the Ten Commandments. I don't know what the problem was, but we just couldn't get them solidly memorized in order. Especially me.

Today I read this post:

We know them now.
What a fantastic help this was!
(Thanks Kristi!)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Baking and Trapping Gophers: My Well-Rounded Daughter

Ellie adores her Daddy. She follows him everywhere and is interested in everything he does. He has earned every bit of that adoration, as he is a loving, gentle, patient father who dotes on her. They have been trapping gophers out by the pasture this week. Tom is holding today's catch and Ellie is holding the traps. Spot the cat is waiting to see if they will share their booty with her. They did, and Spot was very pleased. Some of Tom's happiest memories are of trapping with his dad, and he is enjoying doing the same with his children.

Later, Ellie decided to bake some pumpkin bars (Daddy's favorites) all by herself today. It was the second time she had baked anything and even though I felt compelled to loosely monitor her activity, she read the ingredients and put the recipe together herself. I helped put the pan into and out of the oven, but that was all. I am so proud of my big seven year-old.

School subjects learned and practiced today?

History in the morning, her favorite subject. (Today: The ancient Phoenicians, Tyre, and the establishment of Carthage. We watched a demonstration of glass blowing and she worked on a map of the major colonies and Mediterranean trade routes and colored a drawing of a Phoenician trading vessel. Later this week we will be dyeing some fabric purple, but won't be using snails to make the dye like the ancient Phoenicians did!) I feel I owe a debt of gratitude to Susan Wise Bauer for her history books and workbooks. They are simply wonderful. Ellie and I both love history with Susan's books.

We did some work in her Explode the Code, book 4, I read aloud from their current "fun" book, Stuart Little then...

Baking was a great exercise in general math concepts as she's beginning to understand fractions and measurements without even realizing it. She also got in some great practice reading. I was surprised at how easily she read the recipe as she seems to struggle more when doing reading as "schoolwork". This type of activity is a great confidence-builder.

I'm learning to be more relaxed and deviate from our schedule when opportunities arise. I love homeschooling. There is reward and satisfaction around every corner.

Tomorrow is Tuesday, the day we have scheduled for Science. I think we'll study gophers.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Seen Enough Hats Yet?

Help! I can't seem to stop the hats! This particular pattern by Tienne is very rewarding and knits up so quickly, it's like almost-instant gratification. I have another one in the planning stages as well. My husband wants one in this style. I'm digging through my stash for some manly colors. I may have to get out the dye pot... Hard to picture this as a manly hat when looking at this cute little number isn't it? It can be done! I've been looking on Ravelry at this pattern (here for Ravelry members) already done for men, and some of them are really good. Of course, it will be about twice as big so it won't be quite as quick, but I will be satisfied if he likes it.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Sweet Little Baby Hat

Another project done. I was surprised it went so quickly. It was my first attempt at Fair Isle (stranded color knitting in two colors). It was also my first try at I-Cords (the ties). The pattern is the Norwegian Star Earflap Hat (pdf) by Tiennie. I knit it in Knit Picks' Andean Silk, Chocolate and Bluebell. Andean Silk is lovely yarn, made with 55% Super Fine Alpaca, 23% Silk, 22% Merino Wool.

I knitted it as a gift for the baby boy of an old friend. I am quite delinquent in sending a gift. (So what else is new?) I really hope she likes it and forgives me for ignoring her new baby.

I am a member of Ravelry, an exceptional online knitting and crochet community which has been an incredible benefit to me in learning to knit, as well as a source of inspiration and patterns. If you are a new or experienced knitter, this is a must-join site. If you join up, look for me and "friend" me! I am YellerDog (formerly CarolJumpIn) there.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Slow Going

I've been working on this shawl since July and am only about 20% done. I had hoped to be done by fall. - Missed that mark by a long shot!  The pattern is Madli's Shawl from Nancy Bush's book "Knitted Lace of Estonia". I am doing it in a silk/yak blend cobweb weight yarn that is a beautiful taupe color. Because the yarn is so fine, it is slow going and very fussy. I like the result, but it is much harder to work than laceweight yarn, which my other shawls were done in. Next time I think I'll go back to laceweight for a big project.

Lace looks clumpy and messy until it is blocked. That's the last step in the process which really brings out the beauty of the stitches. Even this last picture with the lace spread out gives only a hint of what the finished shawl will look like. The little balls of yarn you see in there are called "nupps" and are a feature of Estonian lace. They add a lot of interest and texture to the pattern.

Because I've been running out of steam on the shawl, I've been knitting socks and hats. I'm working on another hat now, my first try at stranded colorwork. (Just two colors though.) It is quick and going fine. Maybe this weekend I'll get back to the shawl for awhile. I would like to see it finished.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Thomas the Train, Hula Girl, and Socks

Once a year the kids have a great excuse to leave the house in costume. They go to a sweet little party at our church where the older kids have planned games for them with prizes of candy and small toys. Some of the games are Bible-themed with points for knowing Bible verses and such. The costumes and decorations are not scary, but fun. It is great to see the older kids interacting with the younger ones and is a good experience for both age groups. The parents sit around eating popcorn, cookies, drinking coffee or cider and chatting. This is our church's answer to Halloween, and I think it works. The kids look forward to it all year. The older kids benefit as well because they have something to engage them during this very active secular holiday. I believe this is a God-honoring way to deal with the culture, and I am grateful that our church supports this event.

I finished up a pair of (luscious Merino/Silk leftover yarn) socks for the Little Man. He likes them, which is all the thanks I could want. They are not the best pair of socks I've ever done, technically speaking, but how fussy do you get with socks for a 4 year-old?