Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Nearly Wordless Wednesday and New Years Eve Musings

It is New Years Eve. It feels weird. I am at turns melancholy and excited. 2014 was largely in the shadow of the tragic events of the end of 2013. Grief doesn't end with the funeral, I learned I can not allot a certain time and place to grieve and be done with it I had to let the feelings come and go as they willed, and still do. Yet there was plenty of joy in 2014, I got to watch the Bumper grow, make friends and learn new skills ( I am most proud of her reading the letters in her name, she is most proud of walking the balance beam at her school, climbing trees and jumping from swings).

I am looking forward to making my New Years Goals, and challeging myself in the coming year. I make goals rather than resolutions. In my mind resolutions are easily made, easily broken, and easily forgotten. Goals on the other hand give me something to strive for and work toward accomplishing. If I did not accomplish some of them I can revise and try again next year! When I do accomplish one I cross it off the list and make another to put in its place.  I have cherished the still quiet moments of this past year, and small things have given me happiness and joy. My faith was tested, stretched, and I hope grew. May this continue in the New Year.

Let' s Ring in the New!


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Hooky Happiness and Knitty Goodness

Well the Christmas crochet frenzy is behind me. I made a hat and scarf for Nana, a scarf for my sister and hat for the Bumper. I gifted Nana with yarn in the colors of the hat and scarf she wants me to make next, because there just was not enough time in the days before Christmas to get it all done. So now I am looking forward to new projects. I am so excited because there are several things I want to to try and make this year.
Hat and Scarf to Go
Think of all the wee little hats!

First up will be Nana's gift. Hopefully it will be done in time for the annual February cold snap. Next will be the baby hats I am working on for a hospital in need of hats for newborns -- a stash buster and I get to give something back -- win win! Here is the address if anyone else is interested:
Attn: Rachel F
 5007 Opal Drive
Cheyenne, WY
82009 USA

Cozy Blanket here I come!

The Bumper is still asking for mittens and I am looking for an easy knit pattern. Then I will create something just for me and I am so excited. I did not get my act together in time to do the Crochet Along with Lucy at Attic 24  
 but I still want to work up the blanket and am looking forward to it. 
And the sock is still here

Last but not least is the sock that never ends. I have not forgotten about the sock, but I can crochet faster than I can knit. I am still a beginner when it comes to knitting, however; I have a goal I am working towards and it is something I have wanted to knit ever since I was ten years old. Can anybody guess what it might be? It is not socks, but they are a good and challenging starting place.

p.s. It is not a hat, I have a gauge story about hats that put me off knitting for a good many years.


Monday, December 29, 2014

Meatless Monday and Christmas Catch Up

Candles to welcome the Light of the World

The Christmas holiday is still going strong over here. In my family we celebrate the twelve days of Christmas. We will take down our decorations after the feast of the Epiphany, in the meantime we are still singing carols and rejoicing in the birth of the Savior even as the rest of the world has moved on.
The Bumper has thoroughly enjoyed herself. She was much more aware of what was going on than in past years. Nana and I definitely caught her excitement and I was willing to stay up late and fill her stocking. The look on her face Christmas morning was well worth the extra effort. The best part for me was when she snuggled down in her bed that night and said: "Mom I love our family. I am glad God gave me our family." We then had a still quiet moment as the Bumper asked God to take care of her Daddy, who she wished could be with us but understands that he is with God.
Happy Birthday Baby Jesus

On the other hand my sister and her husband were not able to join us for Christmas this year because they were laid up with the flu and were bedridden the entire week. Well they say misery loves company, and I caught a sympathy cold that had me out for the count Christmas night and all the day after. The Bumper now has what I had and is being very quiet today.  I am on the mend but am dragging a little bit.

Now here is the thing, I like m y cuppa in the morning (whether green tea or coffee or lemon water depends on my mood), and I especially like pumpkin spice latte. Yeah I know I am late on the pumpkin bandwagon, but as far as I am concerned pumpkin can be eaten all winter long. What I don't like are coffee house prices and fussy recipes. Don't get me wrong, I have found some wonderful vegan recipes, but frankly I don't have that kind of time.  So I give you Busy Mom's Pumpkin spice latte:

 8-16oz Hot brewed coffee
2-3Tbs non-dairy creamer of choice
1tsp pumpkin pie spice

Add the creamer and sprinkle spice on top and voila:  Pumpkin Spice latte (vegan).  The way I figure I all really wanted is the spice taste, if I am trying to add nutrition to my coffee I need to rethink my breakfast choices!

Happy Drinking,

Finished the Bumper's hat with not a moment to spare!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas.
Glad tidings of great joy.
Today is born our Savior Jesus Christ the Lord/


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Randomly on Thursday

1. Feeling a little aggravated and stressed today. I wanted to be all in the Christmas spirit and start cleaning and decorating but it has not worked out that way. Nana decided to be a lady who lunches with her friends, which of course she has every right to, and the Bumper decided to overturn the living room chaise lounge to use as a tumbling platform and then dump all of her toys out onto the floor so she could find her favorite stuffed kangaroo, perfectly understandable, but she refused to pick up afterwards.

2. Started the Bumper's hat yesterday. It is a pretty easy and fun crochet pattern, but the author stated it could be worked up in an hour. The author probably does not have a small child who thinks it is the height of hilarity to unravel balls of yarn. The result being I have to work on such things after the Bumper is asleep.

3. We have company coming tomorrow. A friend I have not seen in fourteen years, it will be fun catching up. She has three kids and the third is not yet sleeping through the night , while I only have the Bumper I still feel her pain.

4. This Saturday the Bumper starts dance practice for the Fiesta. I think I am more excited than she is. I can't help myself the little kids always look so cute in their costumes.

5. I love Christmas carols.

6. I wanted to post yesterday, but I was still too upset about the news of  yet another Taliban school shooting. This time 148 people lost their lives. Most of them were children, just trying to get the kind of basic education we here in the States take for granted. I feel angry and helpless. All I can do is pray. I pray for the victims, their families, and the shooters and their families. Only God can change the hearts of such wicked misguided people. It is especially hard as we heard toward the celebration of the Birth of He who came to reconcile God and Man.

7. I am currently trying to decide if it will be worth it to make butter tarts and if it is possible it make a vegetarian version of French Canadian Meat Pie?

8. Famous last words: Next year I will be more organized.

9. The Bumper has been busy conducting water experiments in the bathroom. It is the least destructive thing she has chosen to do today.


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Drummer Girls, Cookies and Decking the Halls

Cookies by Bumper
There are only nine days left until Christmas and except for the Bumper's Advent Calendar from school and the few other decorations she has made, the house is alarmingly barren.  I am not really worried though, because our family has a habit of waiting for the very last minute to put up the nativity, the stockings and the tree. Last year we were a bit more organized and the Bumper was able to move the baby Jesus and the wise men closer and closer to Mary and Joseph each Sunday in Advent, this year she will probably be putting Him in on Christmas Eve. Last year I did everything in a haze of grief and forced cheer. This year, while I am not as "merry" as I normally get during the holidays, I am a lot more calm and having a lot more fun with the Bumper. We made sugar cookies together for the first time this past week, she used the cookie cutters all by herself and she decorated them too! I have been reading the nativity story from her Children's Bible and she is full of questions. Yesterday we sat and drew candy canes together and she has been asking to start decorating the house.

Happy Birthday Bumper!
We have just been so busy. On the 6th we celebrated the Bumper's fourth birthday. There were fifteen kids at the party plus two sets of grand parents, and her aunt and uncle  and cousins from Baltimore. The Bumper thoroughly enjoyed herself. She especially liked the pinata in the shape of a cupcake. Last week the Bumper had her school play and we had a Christmas party to go to. I discovered my Bumper is quite the party girl. She enjoyed playing with the other children at the Christmas party it was hard to convince her to leave! We also went through the Bumper's toys and she picked out the ones she wanted to give away, along with the shoes and pajamas she has outgrown.

We will probably put up the tree in the next day or so, or maybe not, but one thing is for sure-- we will be enjoying our friends and family to the fullest this season.


Monday, December 15, 2014

Meatless Monday -- It's All About Soup

Winter is upon us here in the Northern Hemisphere. Where I am on the Mid-Atlantic coast of the United States that means the weather has decided to go from too cold to play outdoors to just warm enough for chilly rain and no snow. Miserable weather. Huddle indoors, staring glumly at the pellet stove because it is not quite cold enough to justify turning it on during the day, glaring out the back window because it is raining weather. Soup making weather. I know most people don't associate soup with Christmas, and quite frankly neither do I, but sometimes a warm you from the inside out soup is what is needed to chase away the winter blahs and get me motivated.

 A squash soup from Weight Watchers did the trick. It was warm, it was soothing, had just the right amount of sweetness spice to be satisfying after one too many Christmas treats. the only problem with this soup was the fussiness involved in making it.  There were a lot of steps and when there is a little one under foot, I much prefer a soup you just throw together and let simmer. Final verdict -- really good and will make it again but will be reserved for special occasions. I served the soup with slow cooked greens (a mix of Collards, Kale, and Turnip, seasoned with olive oil, salt and pepper, and left to simmer in vegetable broth).

Happy Eating,

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Randomly on a Thursday

1. Bought pinata. Not enough time to make it and treat bags too. What does one put in treat bags for four year olds?

2. Spent the better part of yesterday shopping for the Bumper's birthday party.  She is worth braving department stores during the holiday season. I ran into three people I knew so the trip took longer than expected. Living in a small town this sort of thing is expected, but I don't know that many people.

3. The requests for Christmas are in; The Bumper wants a purple crochet hat with a pink flower (She was very specific), Nana wants a crochet blue hat with a black band and a scarf to match (She was also very specific). My sister and her husband are getting a new stove from us so they are set.

4. I ran out of yarn for my sister's scarf, when I went back to the store to buy more they were out of that brand and dye lot. I thought I bought enough, but I miscalculated when I doubled the length. Her scarf will just have to be ten rows instead of thirteen.

5. Instead of a live Advent wreath I used construction paper to make one and put it on the wall to help us count down to Christmas. The Bumper loves it.

6. Need to make banana bread for the Bumper's class tomorrow. Last year they really liked it. This year new kids, new tastes-- we'll see.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

It is Raining and I am Party Planning

 The picture is from September 2013, but the view today is exactly the same: cold and wet!
The Christmas rush is upon us and I am feeling stressed. Today is also the 1yr anniversary of my husband's funeral. It is raining just as it did on this day last year. I am trying not to dwell on it, but it is very hard. The Bumper's birthday is Saturday and we have a party to prepare for. Part of the stress I am feeling is unwittingly caused by the Bumper. She is old enough to tell me what she wants this year and in a word: Everything. Pretty much every toy she sees in the toy store she wants. This is a completely new experience for me. She has never asked, pointed out, or dragged me to what she wants before. Before now, I have been able to get by with telling her toys are only for birthday and Christmas. Well now her birthday and Christmas are finally here and she has a year's worth of pent up wants!

I have never planned a kids party before. I feel way out of my depth. I am not crafty and I am not very organized. We received an invitation to another little boy's party on the same day a month ago. His parents are hosting a party complete with a magician! That makes me want to stick my head under the covers. I wanted a small at home party with family, but circumstances being what they are that is not possible. So we are having an event rather than the small party I had hoped for. I wonder how I am going to convey my values of simplicity , warmth,  and family, when I don't seem to be able to live them? I certainly don't want to get caught up in trying to out do another parent!

Even though the venue is not what I wanted, I know the Bumper will have fun with her friends. Her Godmother is making the cake and her favorite babysitter has agreed to come even though he is sixteen. He has volunteered, or rather his mother volunteered him, to perform some card tricks for the kids. I over heard him telling the Bumper what he plans to wear ( a top hat and his band uniform), so I think he is secretly pleased to be doing this even though he pretends there are better things for him to do.

The Bumper and I are going to try an make a pinata for her birthday party-- I think I am going to need some extra prayers for patience!