Saturday, August 31, 2013

~Cherry Peds~

Today I finished a pair of socks! All I had to do was kitchener one toe closed. That's it! I already had all the other ends woven in, and the other sock was finished.

I love how closely the stripes match up!

When I got the yarn at Hobby Lobby, I wanted a simple footy, so I wouldn't have a ton of knitting to do, but also because I don't like long cuffs on my socks, even in the winter. So I searched and searched and ended up using a pattern I had favorited on Ravelry a long time ago. Doesn't that figure!

The second sock had a very tiny amount of brown striping on the toe. That bothered me a lot because the other toe did not have that striping. But when I finally got them off the needles and on my feet, I realized something: I can't see that color variation when they are on!

So--another pair of socks to tuck into my drawer and wait for cooler weather (though we've had plenty of cool weather this summer!).

Yarn: Cherry Sours by Paton Stretch Sock
Pattern: Pom Pom Peds by The Purl Bee
Needles: US 2

More project details here (Ravelry link).

Monday, August 26, 2013

~Garden Update~

The last two years, we had a spot at a community garden. When they raised their prices, we started looking for a different community garden. But the others were just too far away. So then we discussed our yard. While it isn't "perfect" it has been a great option for us. Our back yard is too shaded, so the only option was our side yard.

This picture was taken about a month or so ago, but it gives a good idea of what our garden is doing:

Unfortunately, the soil at the very back was not very supportive for the crops we had, so our yield for that area was not that great. The zucchini and corn have been taken out. The green beans had a slow start but are now producing well. We have three varieties of tomatoes which are all doing well, plus a cherry tomato. I've been canning and putting up tomatoes like crazy. The peppers went bonkers, as have the tomatillos. We tried a new variety of bean this year, a golden bean, and they have produced well also. Our cucumbers didn't do very well, in fact I ended up buying a peck of cucumbers so I could get the pickles I wanted.
The radishes, carrots, green onions, and sugar peas all did well this spring. We talked about planting more for reaping in the fall, but we didn't do that this year. Maybe next!
All in all, it has been a good first year of gardening from our yard! Next year, we hope to build raised beds and bring in some good soil, enhancing it with compost from our compost bin.
Our weather this summer has been very cool, so some plants have been quite slow to produce. But that's ok - if the tomatoes were coming on any faster I would go crazy. ;-)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

~Spiral Binding~

It's the little things in life that make me happy. Case in point:

Spiral binding!!!!!!!!!

I had the brilliant idea to get my canning book spiral bound. I use this book often throughout the canning season, and it is always a fight to get the book to stay open. A quick call to the copy shop and voila! No more holding the book open with other objects!

It even flips nicely, so I can use up less counter space with my recipe book:

This is the next book to get the beauty treatment:

It cost right around $5 to get it done. I definitely feel like it is worth it for a well-used book. I also think book publishers should take user-friendliness into account. But, when they don't, this is a good option!

(Affiliate link in post)

Friday, August 16, 2013

~Classical Conversations~

Last night, I was at a planning meeting, which involved this book:


We are going to be involved in Classical Conversations this year, and not only will my daughter be enrolled as a student, but I will be tutoring. It is exciting. And a little nerve-wracking (the tutoring aspect)! My husband and I really feel God is leading us down this path though, so I am trusting in Him that He will help me through! :)

It's a little difficult to explain in a few sentences, but Classical Conversations is a homeschool curriculum/group/method that endeavors to teach students classically. I'm still learning a lot about what makes the difference between a classical education vs. the typical education model in most schools. I really like what I see and I feel like it is a good match for our family.

We will be meeting with our group once a week, broken down into age groups, and each class will have 2 1/2 hours in which new material is presented for the week, a science experiment is performed, and fine arts is studied. The motto for Classical Conversations is, "To know God and Make Him Known." I love that.

Many years prior to our daughter's birth, Kevin and I had discussed our desire to homeschool. But when our daughter was just a baby, we discussed in earnest the whys and hows of homeschooling. We knew that since most likely our daughter would be an "only" that we needed to have some sort of way to be out of the house on a regular basis. Yes, we were choosing homeschooling but we felt it was also important to not to become hermits either! And so, this last winter I started looking into what exactly we were going to be doing, and I kept coming back around to Classical Conversations. One thing led to another and here we are - ready to start in a few short weeks!

I'm excited to see what God has in store for us!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

~Today Looks Promising~

What day isn't good when it's started with a puff pancake? Doubled, of course, so I had something to eat for breakfast as well.

I forgot to put the blueberries on top while it was baking, so we served them on the side. Doubling the recipe made for just a bit more than my daughter and I could eat for breakfast. Having leftovers is better than me prowling about after breakfast looking for something to eat since my daughter ate up everything . ;-)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

~A week of Mondays~

Do you know the tale of the man who wished for every day to be Sunday, and he was granted his wish? His wife wasn't happy with him because she had to fix a big roast dinner every day. Eventually he got his wish changed around and learned to be happy with each day as it came.

Mondays are pretty choppy around here. Sundays do take some "recuperating" as it were, for the whole family, but they are hardest on our daughter. We have a 35 min. ride each way, which means over 2 hours in the car each Sunday; the expectation to sit still and behave through Sunday school, junior church, and evening service; and meal times all changed up. If I were four years old I'd have trouble on Mondays too!

But this week it seems as if we're getting a week of Mondays. What is up with that? Last night there was an unusual amount of drinking-pottying-sing me a songing-bed bouncing-even more drinking-in-and-outing than normal. That led to a child who went to sleep past 10 pm in spite of my best efforts to get her in bed on time. She seemingly has not gotten my sleeping genes and to prove it, she bounced out of her room before eight this morning! So yeah, this day has seemed like a Monday. As did yesterday, and of course Monday was Monday!

Here's hoping tomorrow is a Thursday-that-feels-like-Thursday!

What's the hardest day around your house?

Sunday, August 11, 2013


On the Fourth of July, we went cherry picking. Underneath the blue, blue skies, with such lovely warm weather, we picked and picked and picked. We just couldn't seem to stop. In the end, we had 34 pounds of cherries.

In case you wondered what 34 pounds of cherries looks like, here you go:

If you want to know what your arm will feel like after pitting 30 or so pounds of cherries, well, I'll leave that up to you to see if you want that experience. :-)

What did I do with all those cherries? Well, we ate a lot! In fact, I washed a large container in water with a bit of vinegar, and they lasted a long time in our refrigerator! I gave some to a friend as a "thank you" for letting me use her food dehydrator. And then I spend an inordinate amount of time at the kitchen sink, pitting them! In the end, I had a sore shoulder and plenty of cherry goodness in the freezer and in jars!

I put this info on my 2013 page (see tabs above), but here's what I did:
Frozen - 4 quarts
Frozen in simple syrup - 4 pint jars
Honey Cherry Jam - 9 8-oz. jars
Black Forest Preserves - 6 8-oz. jars, 1 12-oz. jar
Dried - 14 oz.

I've yet to try the cherries which were frozen in simple syrup, but I'm looking forward to testing them out! Also, my husband is anxious to eat the dried cherries but so far they're under lock and key. ;-) Do you do that? I put so much work into everything I want to look at it for quite a long while before it is consumed. LOL Also, a note on the Black Forest preserves: chocolate in cherry jam? Oh my! It is amazing!