Friday, October 24, 2014

Friday Focus - Books

This is what is on my reading list this week:

1. Vegan Express by Nava Atlas. A sort of you-can-make-it-in thirty-minutes-or-less for the veggie crowd.
2. Better Homes and Gardens October 2014- lots of neat decorating ideas for Autumn
3. National Geographic November 2014- armchair traveling at its best.
4.  I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai - Her story is a good read for those of us who take the right for an education for granted.
5. The Bible- a special focus on Matthew 5:1-12

What are you reading this week?
Have a great weekend
I will be trying to finish Nana's scarf this weekend.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

It's Begining To Look A Lot Like Autumn

It starting creeping in little by little: a few apples here, a pumpkin or two there, and finally this week a scavenger hunt at the Bumper's school yielded a bag full of pine-cones, acorns, and brightly colored leaves. The days have been cool and damp and the nights appropriately chilly. Now is the time when I start making soups, stews, and fresh bread. I love this time of year since I am a comfort food cook.

A couple of days ago the Bumper and I took a trip to our local farmers market. The Bumper took an unexpected nap that day,so we made it there just as the doors were closing. I took the chance to pick up some wonderfully homemade pecan bars, but now I want to figure out  how to veganize them without losing any of the flavors.
The progress on projects is slow but steady. I actually got to the chance to write on the novel during the Bumper's nap, I was so happy I didn't quite know what to do. Nana is eagerly waiting for her scarf to be finished. In the next day or so it should be done. The sock? Well, that is a different story; I switched to smaller DPN's which makes for faster knitting, but is a little harder on the eyes. I am still enjoying the knitting, but I mist admit to being impatient with getting it done. I want my socks finished now! I have consoled myself with the promise of working up Attic 24's granny stripe ( blanket this winter as a reward while I work on the novel.  Maybe a stripe for every chapter I finish?
I think I am a glutton for punishment.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

Busy week. I'll be back soon. The pumpkin patch trip was a no go today because of the rain. So I do not have the cute pictures I wanted, but I decided to share these:

Friday, October 17, 2014

Randomly on a Friday

1. I tried to give up caffeine, I really did, and for a while I was a lemon water and cayenne pepper devotee. Then the Bumper got sick, and I got sick and Nana got sick, and there were one too many all nighters, and well all I can say is if you tried to take my coffee from me this week  you probably came back with a nub instead of a hand.

2. The weather has been deliciously warm and breezy, perfect for planting the bulbs for next Spring.

3. The scarf for Nana is coming along nicely and I finished a second baby hat.

4. This bouquet of Autumn blooms is gracing my kitchen table thanks to the Bumper who wanted to make it pretty.

5. Yesterday I spent the day introducing the Bumper to the wonder that is watercolor (washable) painting.

Have a good weeeknd,

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Sock It To Me

I don't know what possessed me to think that knitting a pair of socks would be easy. I think I was lured in by the fantastic looking pair on the Crochet with Raymond blog. They were a tranquil aquamarine that is one of my favorite colors. I wanted them, then I read a little further and discovered that the pair I so desired were not bought, but made. I went hunting for the pattern the next thing I knew I had four balls of sock yarn and a collection of DPN's (Double Pointed Needles) I figured I could already crochet why not knit?

I was so wrong.

 Crocheting granny squares is a walk in the park compared to knitting on DPN's and it took me two years to learn how to make a granny square! Yet I remained undaunted. I started with the basic chain to re-learn crochet, so I started with a basic cast on and garter stitch to learn knitting. After making a dishcloth, I decided to try the object of my desire and cast on for my very first pair of socks. For months I have worked on this project, only able to knit in about five to ten minutes stretches before the Bumper has needed my attention or gotten into mischief. I successfully made the cuff, but thereafter the sock kept getting bigger. Undeterred, I knit on and on until I had turned the heel, done the gusset and started on the foot proper; then something happened that halted all progress. I dropped several stitches without realizing it. I was knitting merrily along and all of a sudden there was a huge, honking HOLE in my sock. I froze in mute horror, as I came to grips with the knowledge that I was going to have to rip back all of those months of work and start over. I was not amused, I was downright demoralized. Then I remembered the  P's - Patience, Persistence and Perseverance.
I took a deep breath and cast on another sock.
 So I give you- My First Sock Part 2:

Now I think I'll go crochet another baby hat to make myself feel better.


Monday, October 13, 2014

Meatless Monday

I will be the fist to admit that this Meatless Monday is a bit on the boring side, but I have been nursing sick people for a week and living off of Chinese take out and frozen pizza-- thank goodness my local store now carries dairy free pizza! Without further ado I bring you what I did for Meatless Monday

Breakfast - Oatmeal
Lunch - Chickpea salad sandwich
Supper - Leftovers (Chinese Takeout)

Next week I will be more inspiring.
Now I have to take the Bumper to the doctor. She still has a cough.


Friday, October 10, 2014

Friday Focus - Parenting

My Bumper is a precious little girl. She is three and a half years old. I am in shock and awe. Sometimes I can hardly believe I  have been a mom that long and other days it seems like I have been a mom forever.

Most parenting books and well meaning advice givers have warned me about the terrible twos and threes, and I have had my share of days where everything is a battle and I collapse into bed with a Thank You God as my only prayer, but what I find often gets overlooked is how delightful this age can be. The Bumper's personality is really starting to develop and it is fascinating to watch!

 She has questions about everything, Why is the sky blue, Can I talk to God in the car? If God is everywhere why do we have to go to church? Why does the boy next door go to a different church than we do? Why are spiderwebs sticky? Do worms have dreams? Why do ducks like the water?

 The Bumper also has opinions on everything: I like to swim. I like to slide on the slide, I don't like cherry flavored medicine its yucky! Clouds are in the sky because God made them that way! Read me the nut brown hare book, but not the weasel book because that gives me bad dreams.

I do my best to answer her questions and many times I am stretched to the limit of my knowledge and patience. When I have those days when my patience and temper fail, I find myself turning to God and the example he gave us in his Son Jesus. Sometimes I take a mommy time out and sit down and read a verse from the Bible, other times though; that opportunity does not present itself until well after the Bumper is in bed, then I pray for the strength to do better the next day.

More often, though, I find that I genuinely like trying to answer her questions and I enjoy watching her try new things. For example we went to the zoo yesterday and for the first time the Bumper led the way to all of the animals she likes, excitedly telling me everything she has learned abut those animals-- Mom did you know buffalo have hair! Mom otters eat fish! I encourage her to test her limits on the things she can safely do and she surprises herself by doing things she thought she couldn't-- like put on her own shoes or reach the tap in the sink to turn off the water. It is in those moments when I realize she is growing up and I am teaching her to be her own person and I am filled with a quiet joy I never expected.

It is an awesome responsibility to be a parent. To love, to teach faith and morals, and the shaping of a person, but I believe that in this moment that is exactly what God has called me to do and with His help the Bumper and I are growing, loving and learning. Do I make mistakes? You betcha! Do I do the best I can each and every day- Yes!


P.S. I may be a single mom, but I have lots of help-- that is a post for another day!
P.P.S. Why do ducks like the water?


Thursday, October 9, 2014

What I Have Been Up To

After blogging about vegan food for a whole month I now feel kind of at a loss. I don't really consider myself a food blogger per say, but I do blog about food. Without that focus I find myself wanting to talk about not only food but writing, daily life with the Bumper, progress with learning to knit, crochet, sew and cook from scratch, and so many other things that I hardly know where to begin.
All of September I made the effort to cook, eat and blog vegan. I learned that it was far more easy than I thought it was going to be. As long as I thought vegetable centric in my meal planning I made vegan meals without much trouble, so I have decided to give it another go for the next month. I won't be only posting about food, but the recipes I do post for the month of October will be vegan. Look for them on Meatless Mondays.

The Bumper, Nana and I  have been been sick for the last couple of weeks. We are playing round robin with a couple of viruses, just sort of passing them back and forth. Any suggestions on how to break the cycle are welcome. Last night we took a trip to the local Emergency Room because the Bumper had spiked a fever of 103F.

 The Bumper is taking swimming lessons which means she (and I) have passed a milestone. She is out of diapers and firmly left babyhood behind. The Bumper proudly tells anyone who will listen that she is a big girl. Her next step will be to sit still in Sunday service. When we go to Mass with Nana it is a little easier because it only last for an hour. When we go to the Mennonite church things get a little dicey. Last time she made it through all of the opening songs, the devotional message and part of the main message before she gave in to her wiggles and just could not pay attention any more. All in all she was able to stay for an hour and forty-five minuets. Home training is the most important part of this and that is where  I struggle. The only time the Bumper sits still during the day is for bedtime stories. I am trying to get her to have a quiet time during the day where she sits and draws or looks at a picture book or puts together a puzzle, but so far she resisted unless she asks for it.
I thinking of sending her to our local Church school, but that will take some prayer, faith and figuring out how to finance it all.
I have finished crochet one baby hat and nearly finished with another. The sock is becoming an albatross, but I am determined to finish it. I haven't sewn anything in awhile but now that the Bumper is back in school I have a little more time to work on such things. Nana's scarf has been cast on, and I will be picking up the yarn for my sister's scarf very soon. I have a lot of projects on the needles, and I am excited by them all. The Bumper has requested I crochet her a purple hat and mittens for her birthday so my next few projects are all lined up.
My book that is out on Kindle has finally started to earn royalties this month. It was a very small check, but a check nonetheless and one I earned from fiction writing to boot! I am quite proud and it put a much needed jolt into the desire to make a living from my writing.
Whew! Now I am all caught up in time for the weekend.

Monday, October 6, 2014

A Quick Word

Your regularly scheduled blog: aka Meatless Monday, has been interrupted by the pre-school
plague. Last when when I declared a sick child trumped blogging and Vegan Month of Food I was no I idea I was setting myself up for a week of illnesses. First the Bumper, got sick , then I got sick - two whole days in bed-- then I got well enough to be the parent helper at the Bumper's pre-school. Unfortunately while I was there one of her classmates decided to cough right into my face! You gotta love three year old's. So I got sick again, and now Nana is sick. The Bumper is completely recovered.

While I was sick I did manage to get a little crochet done. I made a baby hat for one of my exercise instructors who is due later this month. I love making baby hats, they are quick and cute. Now please excuse me while I go rewash all the bedding and disinfect all porous surfaces.