Friday, February 1, 2013

This Week

{To help me pull my thoughts together on the many areas 
we pursue through the week I'm borrowing from the day book format. 
I'll plan to post on Fridays about the many goings on around this little place.}

On the Needles... 

I'm working mostly on baby things, aiming to finish up in the next few days.

I read... 

I'm working through Respect the Spindle by Abby Franquemont and started The Mysterious Benedict Society.

Learning all the time… 

We're finishing up CC Cycle 1 week 3 this week. Ezra is trying to master the silent e, and our human body models are looking more and more complete.


The West Wing mostly, but we also took another run through Avengers a few nights ago, this time with Joss Whedon's brilliant commentary.


a little bit more of the Nerdist, and the new-to-me podcast Stuff You Missed in History Class. 

I didn't get to... 

a lot of things this week, but that's okay. Ellie needed to hang out on the couch and in bed so that's what we did instead. Time well spent.

This weekend... 

I'm going to my first spinning class! I'm so excited. I've watched Abby Franquemont's youtube videos, I've read a few books, I'm ready to try but I really need some hands-on help. 

I'd love to hear how your week went... feel free to post a link in comments!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Our Homeschooling Day

I have really enjoyed doing a Day in the Life posting each year. This is really a perfect point in our school year to do so- we've worked out the kinks by now and eliminated or changed anything that wasn't working, but it also helps me to notice anything else that might need freshened up.

Ender is 7 this year and having a 1st/2nd grade year. Ezra is 5 this year and in Kindergarten. Ellie is 9 months old now and adds an interesting aspect to the day (mostly keeping paper and other goodies out of her mouth!

Each of our days is a bit different. Brian and I are both in client-based work, but my hours are set. His are set too, but it is a really screwy schedule rotating schedule that takes a full month to go through one round of the schedule. This actually allows one of us to be with the kids all the time, aside from a few days per month that our schedules overlap a bit. That's when my mom swoops in to save the day.

6:30/7:00 I am up and prepping for the day. I sometimes don't get this time on my own if the sleep is more important, but my day goes noticeably better when I do.

Ellie wakes between 7:00-7:30 and she has a bottle and breakfast. If she's up early we hang out in her room until the boys join us.

7:30 The boys get up. They have a "morning routine" that they are in charge of completing, including breakfast, brushing teeth, getting dressed and making their beds. I make breakfast for them about half of the week, and they do frozen waffles, pancakes or cereal the rest of the time. I try to make a big batch of waffles and pancakes ahead of time to freeze for the mornings I need them to be more independent. My morning routine involves starting a load of laundry, making sure the kitchen is clean after breakfast and cuddling the baby.

8:30-9:00 We aim to "start school" around this time. We don't have all day to school, so for now in this season we must start "on time" if we are going to get our state required hours in.

During this time the Ender works on anything he can do independently or with minimal supervision. I'm right there to answer questions or to listen to some reading, but mostly Ezra and I work together on phonics, reading and math.

Around 9:30 Ellie goes down for her morning nap and the boys and I get to work on the things we do together- history, science and memory work.

By 10:30ish Ezra is done for the morning and he gets to go play. Ender and I stay at the table just a little longer to work on Language Arts- we review spelling, writing rules (we're learning about punctuation and capitalization right now), practice copywork, etc. I also look over his work from the morning if I haven't already checked it and we talk about any corrections that need to be made.

By this time it's usually about 11:00 and Ender heads off to play too. Ellie is usually up by now and so is Brian. He takes over with the kids so that I can run on the treadmill, take a shower without interruption and get ready for work. Brian takes care of lunch time and supervising chores the boys are responsible for.

Early afternoon sees me at work for the rest of the day. I will be back out of the studio in time to help with bedtime.

In the afternoon the boys follow up on anything they need to finish. Ezra reads out loud to Brian, and both boys practice their memory work again. They usually do a short math drill on and Ezra usually plays a bit on Brian takes care of the kitchen and laundry on my long teaching days, which is such a blessing. Otherwise afternoons are pretty free for them to do whatever they'd like. A few evenings a week Brian manages the runs to soccer or baseball practice and church. I usually finish in the studio just as they are getting home.

At this point Brian heads to work if he is on-shift and I manage bed time with the kids then spend most evenings with Netflix and knitting if I do not need to follow up on any work issues.

If Brian is off-shift we tackle kid bed time together. Usually we both have a little bit of work to follow up on but then the evening is ours.

You can see our past years here:

I know our day isn't the norm for homeschooling families, but we make it work. 

How do you spend your homeschooling day?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Baby Knit Along

{Knitting along with the lovely Ginny}

I am really loving this season of knitting life- baby knits are everywhere! They are so satisfying to work up and finish in just a few knitting sessions, and right now I need that in my knitting world.

I'm still working on the blue Vertebrae for a new nephew coming our way, and the white is a Daisy cardigan for a new niece due shortly. I'm still at the sleeves on the Vertebrae and I finished the sleeves for the Daisy but still need to pick up for the collar and then sew everything together.

I'm reading mostly on the kindle right now, which makes for boring Knit Along pictures. It's such easy access for me though since I can borrow kindle books through my library. The added bonus is being able to read while knitting stretches of stockinette since I don't have to hold pages open. It's lovely!

The boys and I are still reading Ramona the Pest and I started reading The Mysterious Benedict Society. After that I think I'm heading into Gaiman territory, but we'll see what I'm in the mood for.

What are you knitting?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Ender's book

I feel so silly now that I have spent so much time worrying in the past about Ender not writing. This year he writes so well and so much. I tried to listen to everyone telling me to not worry and to work really hard not to push him, so I didn't push. I tried to make writing all about special projects and fun activities aside from Handwriting Without Tears, which has been such a fabulous program for Ender and has made writing so approachable and easy for him.

Narration has been the other key component. For the last 1 1/2 years he has narrated about twice a week from whatever we were reading for school. We started with 1 paragraph at a time from the Christian Liberty Press Nature Reader for Kindergarten and by the end of the year he was narrating from the entire reading at his request.  I would have him read the material on the first day and we would talk about what he remembered. The next day I would read the material aloud to him and he would give a narration that I would type into a word document. I printed that out for him and he illustrated the narration.

And now we have little books everywhere.

Did I mention that this book is volume one? I've been told it may be quite a lengthy series.

And now I find signs like this and handmade calendars and little books and projects all written by him. I will be so sad when these little signs disappear from our house. It reminds me of all the sweet little signs in the Winnie-the-Pooh books, complete with tiny misspellings.

Monday, January 28, 2013

FO: Selbu Mittens

Project: Selbu Mittens (aka The Mittens of Shame)

Yarn: Lion Brand Vanna's Choice

Needles: US size 3

For: my long-suffering mother

Cast On to Cast Off: a little over 13 months (Dec 2011 to January 2013)



First and most importantly: The issues that I had with this project are NOT a reflection on the pattern itself or the designer. I over-reached and the project bit me hard.

I figured that with the little tiny bit of color work I had done in the past I was totally ready to attack a bigger color work project. And I *was* ready, but not as a last minute Christmas gift. Not sure where my brain was when I attempted that one (Well, I do actually. I was pregnant, and pregnancy brain only gets worse with subsequent pregnancies).


As I wrote in the notes on my ravelry project page, if something could go wrong with the project it did. Mistakes in my reading of the chart (again NOT mistakes in the pattern, mistakes in my failing to read the chart as it was written) led to ripping again and again. These mittens spent the better part of the year in timeout because I would banish them every time they needed to be ripped back and then I'd avoid them for a few weeks because I knew working on them again would mean ripping back before knitting more.

Then for awhile I was hung up on the thumbs because every time I tried to get them started I had issues with tension on that small of a circle.

So as I worked on setting my fiber goals for this year I had a little moment where I finally got stern with myself and decided I would definitely finish these mittens so that I could finally knit with true freedom on other projects- the guilt of these mittens was just too much hanging over me!

I set a deadline for January 31 and last Thursday night I grafted the second thumb tip and cried out, "I'm done! I'm done!" And I reached in my bag for the other mitten and put them side by side.

My stomach dropped.

All that joy fizzled out and I stared in horror at two mittens that were not the same size.

I have always had a very consistent gauge, no matter the type of yarn or needle. However, my gauge changed significantly on this project- I suspect it's because I got better at managing the two yarns and treating the stranding on the back more consistently.

The difference is like the difference between a small and a medium.

I called my mom to tell her the horrible news, and she reassured me that it was probably not that bad. She had a look at craft night Saturday night, we all had a really good laugh as I threatened to take them out back and burn them, but Mom declared them completely wearable and took them home with her.

And now I'm knitting her a cowl to make up for the LOOOOOONG wait for mittens that don't even match each other.

Things I Learned: 

1} Don't plan to gift a project that involves new techniques until after the object is complete and worked out just fine.

2} Don't let knitting hang over my head. There are much bigger things to worry about.

3} Pay closer attention to my gauge consistency when a project involves new technique. This one thing could have saved the whole project.


The pattern itself was great. My reading comprehension not so much overall this project was a giant bust for me, but I'm glad it's finished and that my mother doesn't mind one of her hands appearing to be larger than the other.

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