Friday, October 2, 2015

Tea and Honey on a Chilly Day

A few weeks ago I asked some fellow-moms on Facebook about buying local honey in Pittsburgh. It was something I'd thought about ever since reading this article, but had been too lazy to pursue. It wasn't until I found myself swallowing spoonfuls of honey at a time that I thought, "It would really be better if I knew where this was coming from."

Today on our way back from the homeschool co-op, Michael and I stopped by a local tea shop that I'd passed the sign for many times. Getting there is a little funky--it's in a very industrial sort of plaza, and you have to go through a warehouse to get to it, but as soon as you open the door the wonderuful smell of tea drifts down the stairs to greet you. It's a cozy little loft filled with lovely teacups, handknit cozies, and an entire cabinet full of honey. (I almost bought one of the little wooden honey dippers, but stopped myself after the jar of honey and a box of tea samples ... maybe next time?) There was even a little table painted with chalkboard paint and chalk for scribbling--a handy way to keep little hands away from breakables!

Among the samples I bought are two kinds of chai. Today is quite chilly, and it seems a good day to drink it! I haven't drunk much chai in a few years, and am looking for the perfect blend--not too spicy, just a touch of sweetness. I have high hopes for these! (Any recommendations? I'm also open to mixing my own!)

(It may be that my reentry to blogging will consist of elaborations on Instagram pictures. I guess I'm okay with that!)

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Of Mice and Motorcycles

Keith starting reading The Mouse and the Motorcycle to Michael a few weeks ago. I wouldn't have thought he was ready for it, and I think there are lots of things he misses or doesn't follow. But he understands the story. He loves the idea of a mouse riding a tiny, mouse-sized motorcycle that moves by making an engine noise. He loves the interaction between the a mouse and a boy, and he loves the threat of owls outside.

We've been reading it before his nap, and sometimes afterwards over a cup of tea. Today I came down from putting his brothers to bed, and he'd opened it and found the chapter where we'd left off. We read two, because he asked for another (happy Mama heart!), and now there is just one left.

I am so pleased that this world has opened for him, for us, especially just as the seasons start to turn. How wonderful to settle in to read when the winter is all outdoors; to be cooped up inside and enter the wider world of a story.

(I may be thinking of doing 31 posts in 31 days? Or some version of it, just to get blogging again? Just noticing/reflecting on/documenting moments from our daily life? Not sure I have the guts to commit ... but we'll see. :) )

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Stocking Progress

I just realized that in addition to not being very well-lit, you can totally see where Michael scribbled all over the couch with a ball point pen in this picture.

But I'm trying to participate in the yarn along regularly again, and it's this or nothing.

So there's your dose of realism for the day. ;)

I've been hearing about The Penderwicks a lot lately and bought myself an inexpensive copy to read. So we'll see! I am about halfway through the leg of the stocking. I know I will have Second Sock Syndrome when it comes to knitting the next one. I don't hate knitting these, but I don't particularly enjoy it either.

I will probably take a break to knit myself some birthday socks.

Linking up with the Yarn Along.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

A yarn along!

Wow. It's been ... a long time.

Well. I have been knitting quite a lot these days. Mostly hats. (And painting. But that is for another post.)

Seedling and Lucy

Not pictured: a purple beret (this pattern) I already mailed off to a cousin, and a brown cloche-style hat (this pattern) for her sister who entered a Carmelite monastery last month and need "a brown woolen hat."

And I finished Michael's leaf blanket. I need to take proper pictures, but here is a quick shot of it in its natural habitat.

I went on the Steel Valley Yarn Crawl and managed to make it to all eleven shops (!!!), which is where I picked up yarn for the hats and a future shawl.

And now I have settled down to a Christmas stocking. I forgot what slow knitting this is--a huge sock with not-so-huge yarn. And I've made a mistake. I forgot to continue the pattern on the sole while doing the gusset increases ... I still haven't decided what to do about it. I tried knitting back on just those stitches, but discovered it to be well nigh impossible when dealing with the strands at the back. So it's either pull out five whole rows, or just move forward with a new "design element."

This is the first book I've read by Chaim Potok, at the recommendation of my *other* cousin (brother to the two mentioned above). I am really enjoying it. And in fact, it is making me think about visual art in a way that I love. A way that excites me rather than exhausting me. ;) (I asked my cousin if this was a read that required one to think. He responded with praise for the book. I don't think he understood the question, not being a mom of three whose brain space is limited. ;) )

Linking up with Ginny.

Friday, July 24, 2015

And then she said ... (miscellany)

(mostly written on Monday morning, sitting in my drafts folder since ... I am going to post because it's this or nothing!)

I had (have?) Big Plans this week to start a new habit. (Maybe because I've been reading this book?) I want to get up a smidge earlier--giving myself a half an hour before my kids usual wake time rather than my 10-15 minutes--and write letters and emails, keep in touch with those I love who are far away. (I love the old-fashioned-ness of letter-writing, but it is also immensely practical when one can't talk without multiple little hands and voices pulling at you and insisting on attention whenever you pick up the phone.) And then, caught up on all my correspondence, I would blog.

Welllll, getting up early. Such an easy resolution to make before you go to sleep, right? ;) Also it seems that getting up earlier entails going to bed earlier. Hm.


I think the moths are living in my air ducts.

One of the previous owners had a dog, and my theory is that they are munching happily on dog hair somewhere inaccessible. Or thriving in a bird nest in our chimney. Those are the only two explanations I can think of for why moths keeps fluttering through my living room and kitchen despite every last bit of everything having been vacuumed, laundered, etc. Repeatedly. As I work my way through the house I've even found them dead in my kitchen drawers. (And yes, they are CLOTHES moths in those drawers and in my bathroom, not pantry moths. I have double-checked more times than I can count.)

My house is very clean. I am very exhausted. I am going to call a professional sometime this week. I hope to avoid anything chemical; even exterminators say on their websites that this isn't a pest you generally spray for. The vacuuming, dry-cleaning, and baking of yarn should be enough. But it isn't.

And I am over this.

[Note: no moths spotted since Sunday. Fingers crossed. Will call exterminator if I see another one!!]

Happier things ... our fourth anniversary was last Thursday. :)

On Friday, my parents came over to spend the night with the kids, and we got away together, on our own, for the first night since having children! Keith planned it all and kept things a surprise. We stayed in a very nice hotel, had our pictures taken at the Point--the place in Pittsburgh where the three rivers meet, ate dinner at a nice restaurant, and watched a ballet. It was perfect and wonderful and I hope we do it again before another four years pass. :) It was also very nice to come back to where our children were waiting--to have that time to focus just on each other, to renew the roots of our love and then come back to its fruit.

It is not naptime. My children are happily wreaking havoc upstairs, and I have another room to vacuum (sigh). Until next time!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Knitting in the Time of Moths?

Hey look! I'm sewing leaves together!! Yay!

Or at least, I was up until a few days ago. I decided I've found a few too many moths in my pheromone traps and am now in full-throttle de-mothing mode. Which is exhausting. And despite having thoroughly cleaned the upstairs and moving all potentially affected laundry out to be laundered ... I caught ANOTHER moth last night. I feel like this either means that I don't actually have a moth problem--that they are just flittering in from the outside and that is why I'm not actually finding much damage--or else ... it means I have a major problem somewhere. Argh.

So the only times I've been touching this blanket lately have been to pull it out of the basket and give it a good shake. Just in case someone decides to munch on it.

I've also found carpet beetles, so I guess deep-cleaning is a good thing right now. But so stressful.

Anyway, the blanket is a little less than halfway put together. It will hibernate until after I finish cleaning, and then I need to knit a hat for my cousin who is entering Carmel in August ... and then I will finish this beastie. It is turning out beautifully--I'm half-tempted to keep it for myself, except Michael would never let me get away with it--but I am not enjoying the seaming process. Oh well.

Reading: Better Than Before, a book about habits that wasn't quite what I thought it would be, but the writing is engaging enough to keep me going. The Green Ember is a book much loved on this blog and so I thought I'd give it a read and keep it for the boys to grow into.

Linking up with Ginny!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Getting Close ...

I've bought the last of the yarn for Michael's blanket. After knitting up these skeins, I'll add as needed from a few odd and ends to make up the full count.

I almost didn't pick this book up because I felt the need for something narrative, but it turns out that this is basically a memoir, rather than a parenting handbook. I'm enjoying it. I've fallen into some bad habits of using food as motivation for good behavior ... Gregory in particular is addicted to "cackies" (Graham crackers). Time to change that!

Linking up with Ginny.