Friday, September 12, 2014

Audrey the builder

Audrey built a pencil holder crate at the August Home Depot kids event.
Audrey building a tree house at the September Home Depot kids build event.
Audrey and Jacob (our neighbor) at the HomeDepot Sept kids event.
Audrey has been talking about designing and building her own house for many months now, maybe even years.  So in order to get her some basic building skills for free and to let her see if she actually enjoys it, I have taken her to the monthly Home Depot kids workshops.  So far she has loved it and walks away wishing she could build something bigger and more complex.  

All of her talk about building reminds me of how Claire and I used to talk about building our houses right next door to each other when we grew up.  We would come up with new designs nearly every Sunday during church service.  We each made sure to grab a program and we would draw our designs on that.  It was a lot of fun.  I remember one design idea in particular that still makes me smile - the teddy bear shaped house.  Only a kid would think that is an optimal house design...
Meredith hamming it up in Walmart.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Audrey starts 4th grade

Audrey ready for 4th grade

Meredith ready for Amineh's house
Aren't they just precious!

silly girls, posing and making faces
The plan for awhile has been to have Meredith start at the Montessori preschool near us today too, but over the last few weeks we have just been feeling like she is a little too young.  So Friday morning, we postponed her enrollment by a year.  Then I went and talked to Amineh, the wonderful woman across the street who runs a care center in her house, and asked if she happened to have a bit of temporary room for Meredith to come in the mornings a few days a week.  As luck would have it she does, so today Meredith went to Amineh's house for the morning so that I could start studying for the Biology test that I have to take and pass before I can even apply to teach.  She was very excited and practiced her letters.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Career thoughts

For years, I have had teaching on my list for possible career choices.  However, I have had enough hesitations that I never felt confident enough in the choice to bite the bullet and start down that path.  Recently, however my hesitations have dissipated and I have really felt like that might just be a good career for me.  So I found a couple of career switcher programs in my state and it looks like I should be able to start the process towards a teaching license within a few months.  

I am going to try to teach secondary biology and math.  I found a federal grant program that offers money towards people teaching in math and science in low income schools.  Luckily for me, that is what I want to teach and most of the local schools qualify as low income. :)

 

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Audrey the builder

Audrey has told me she wants to learn to build stuff. So I signed her up for the home depot kids workshop. She made a pencil crate and loved hammering away. We will definitely be back to do some more projects.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Outdoors adventures

I went to a free class at rei (we have one right next to our grocery store) tonight called backpacking basics for women. In some respects it was a sales pitch for lots of cool camping gear, but it was also a really cool basic class where the instructor talked about experiences she has had and when various gear comes in handy. It got me really excited to go camping with Audrey (this weekend if the weather cooperates) and to do bigger hikes and camps in the future. The woman sitting next to me was about to do her first section of the Appalachian trail with her girlfriends this week, that sounded awesome. I would love to do that. And I would also love to hike machu Picchu and Kilimanjaro before I go the way of all the earth. Considering I haven't backpacked in a decade, I've got some work ahead of me.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Spring Break

Audrey's spring break is usually the week before Easter.  For the first part of her spring break, the girls and I drove down to North Carolina with Ryan's mom to visit Ryan's sister and her family.  They have four kids and two of them match up perfectly with the ages of my girls.  We arrived Saturday afternoon and returned Tuesday afternoon.  The drive there was slow - we hit all kinds of traffic, but it was so lovely to see spring starting.

The girls had a wonderful time.  Audrey and Tori had a sleepover every night.  They were inseparable the whole trip and got along great.  Audrey, Tori, and I played a game of Ticket to Ride (which is definitely one of our favorite games). Meredith would not take any noteworthy naps, however, she maintained a sweet disposition and loved playing with the baby and Ellie (the cousin who is about 6 months older).  Meredith also went and found quiet spots to play on her own whenever things got chaotic (with six kids and four adults under one roof, that was often).  That was interesting because at home she usually just wants to play with me.  It was good to see her becoming more independent and finding fun things to do for herself.

The girls and I were able to visit some old friends/neighbors who lived a few houses up from us for several years.  It was a lot of fun to catch up with Chris and Amanda and to see their kids again.  It is amazing how fast kids grow!

The highlight of the trip for me was a stop at a little local yarn (and quilt) shop, A Fox in the Hen's House.  It is right by Alisha's house and so Margaret dropped me off on the way back from our activities on Monday and I was welcomed with that famous southern hospitality.  I had so much fun that I stayed for a couple of hours, just knitting and chatting with the other ladies there.  Since then I have been wishing I had a good local yarn store here.  (Perhaps I should open one.)

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Basic Easter Egg Knit Pattern

All of our Easter decorations are a little too fragile for Meri and Audrey to play with.  Audrey can help me put up the Easter tree, but since many of the ornaments are glass, I then put the tree up high.  Lately, I have been thinking about knitting up a few eggs for the girls to play with.  They loved to throw the knitted ornaments about when I made those, so I figured eggs would be just as fun.

The first egg I made using some cheap acrylic yarn.  I bought it for the girls at Walmart because they *loved* the color and begged me to get it.  I figured it would be a great way to let them play with yarn and not mess with my fancy yarn.  So far, I have used it to make a heart garland for Audrey's bed for Valentine's Day.  I let the girls make necklaces using this yarn and various cereals (cheerios, fruit loops, apple jacks), they both like to "knit" (make knots in yarn with needles), and generally tie their toys up and drag them about the house.  

Back the eggs, I made an egg out of this yarn because I knew the girls would love a hot pink egg.  Even though I did not really enjoy working with this yarn, I will probably make another one, because they really do love it.  I found myself wishing that I had other colors of acrylic so that I could do a little fair isle into the egg...

I also pillaged my cotton yarn supply.  I have a weakness for cotton yarn.  I love homemade dishcloths, so whenever I see a cool colorway for a dollar or two, I just grab it.  At least I used to, until I realized I had an entire large tub full of cotton yarn...  So I started raided the cotton yarns stash and grabbed bright spring colors.  I love the way these eggs are so bright and colorful with the variegated cottons.


Basic Knit Eggs
Yarn: worsted weight
Needle: size 4 DPNs - 4 needles

Abreviations:
k: knit
k2tog: knit 2 together
kfb: knit front and back of the same stitch
ssk: slip, slip, knit together the slip stitches through the back
st: stitch(es)

Directions are the same for each needle, the instructions are given per needle.

Cast on 12 stitches using long-tail cast-on method.  Being careful not to twist the stitches, spread the stitches over 3 needles (4 st per needle) and join.

Bottom of the egg
Row 1: k
Row 2: kfb, k, kfb, k (6 st)
Row 3: k
Row 4: kfb, k3, kfb, k (8 st)
Row 5: k
Row 6: kfb, k5, kfb, k (10 st)
Row 7: k
Row 8: kfb, k7, kfb, k (12 st)

Body of the egg
Knit in the round for 12 rows

Top of the egg
Row 1: k, ssk, k6, k2tog, k (10 st)
Row 2-3: k
Row 4: k, ssk, k4, k2tog, k (8 st)
Row 5-6: k
Row 7: k, ssk, k2, k2tog, k (6 st)
Row 8-9: k
Row 10: k, ssk, k2tog, k (4 st)
Row 11: k, ssk, k (3 st)

Cut yarn and pull through the remaining 9 stitches as if to knit.  Secure the yarn and pull the end into the egg.

Stuff the egg with fluff from the bottom.  Using the rest of the cast on tail catch the end of each stitch and pull it tight.  Secure the yarn and pull the end into the egg, trimming as necessary.

Variations:
 - The main body of the egg is just begging for a bit of color work.  I would love to do some little flowers or animals - a bunny or chick - something in the main body with fair isle.
- Sock yarn and size 0 needles would be really neat for smaller eggs.