Tea for Two

Wow. Today, Lorelai is two!
Tea for Two
(That's the Green Toys Tea Set - it's made out of recycled milk cartons!)

We are so very lucky to have such a great little girl - she's a sweetheart, friendly, snuggly, and a lot of fun. I still can't believe the language explosion - and there's more of that each day.

I'm having trouble coming up with words that are enough, so let's just have some more tea.
Tea for Two

Tea for Two
Love you Lorax - Happy Happy Day!


And finally, I can sit.

For a moment.

The last week or so has been such a blur - there were multiple visits with family, houseguests of all kinds for three days straight and Thanksgiving. It's been good.

We hosted Thanksgiving again - it is a lot of work, but between myself and Dan, my brothers, sister-in-law and a brother's girlfriend there were many many helpful and talented hands at work. They made it so much easier and I am so happy that they were able to be here and enjoy themselves at the same time (I think they all had a good time too!) We hosted 14 people, and I made everyone into Pilgrims for the special day.
(Some family members don't want to be viewed online. Hence, you get to see their backsides.)

I made pilgrim placecards and it was a fun craft project - drove Dan a bit crazy though with all that cutting and pasting. In the end it was worth it - everyone got a big kick out it.

Lorelai turns 2 tomorrow (OMG.) and she had a blast at Thanksgiving - she's at a really fun age.
Little Miss November

We celebrated her birthday a little earlier since the family was all there.
We like our sweets
I swear, I did not teach her to swipe a taste of frosting.

One of the best parts of the day for me was that I was able to give my uncle a kidney! He's actually going to be donating a kidney in a few weeks - just because he can and he thought it was something good to do. He's so awesome.
Kidney Donor
When he took the kidney out of the bag he told me how he was told to get a small / bean / kidney shaped pillow for when he leaves the hospital and this would be perfect, and where did I find such a thing? I told him I made it and he was floored - he got a big kick out of it. This is the first thing I have knit for him, so I am very glad it was a success!

And then on Friday we had a rather grown up yet laid back party with some friends from high school - it was nice to just hang out. And the kidlets could play too -
They had a great time (I think, I hope!)

Here we are, sunday. It's quiet. The house is mostly returned to normal. We've done a little shopping online. I need to take down the fall decorations and work on getting Christmas up, but I'm ok to put that off for a few more days. I've got some deadline knitting to work on and some other things to give a good think while I knit.


The Ugly Side of Pretty.

There's a great new blog out there on the web that you really should check out. Beauty Schooled - "An Investigation of the Price We Pay for Pretty" - full disclosure it's my sister-in-law. And I really admire her as she takes on this project.

It is a running joke among my friends that none of us were "girly girls" until two of us got married. There is nothing wrong with that. We're all awesome and are comfortable enough with who we are that that side just was not a big deal. I don't mind getting all dolled up for a special event - that's part of what makes it special. Day to day, the most I do is lotion up and be a bit crazy about my chapstick, but that's all.

It came as a huge shocker to me (and seemed to time well with the start of the Beauty School Project) when Lorelai and I were out shopping a few weeks back. She was starting to fuss and at the check out she was a bit fixated on items in the jars. So, in the interest of buying myself a little more peace and quiet, I bought her the impulse item - a tube of chapstick. I figured, as is the case of most impulse buys, it's not that much money, it keeps her happy and in the end I have a thing for chapstick and lip balm, so it was a win for me too. We continued walking around the shops and were inside one of them and I noticed Lorelai stopped at a mirror. As she was looking at herself she started to put the chaptstick tube to her cheeks, lips, eyes... where did she learn that?! - not from me. I asked her what she was doing and she kept saying "Draw on your face". She was quite serious about it.
I think I mostly kept my cool and didn't give her too big a reaction about it - but still it struck me. Maybe she actually paid attention to the make up advertisements that come on at the end of Sesame Street? (Which is stupid anyway. I know they are targeted at the moms, but really - if my kid is content to watch the show and I can get up for a few moments to put dishes away or eat my own breakfast, then I'm not always right there to turn it off.)

She's already working her skin-care routine.
I'm being sarcastic on that one. She likes lotion - that's a daily thing we do here, we have really bad dry skin.

In the end I think it's probably nothing, just something she figured out how to do, but it is still unsettling to me. I am not against make-up. I am not against getting pretty with some make-up help. I am not entirely against spa parties, but not for a 6 year old. (Ugh. Seriously.) I can't stop watching the kiddie beauty pageant shows on tv even though I am against those (and am so glad they are not a big part of the culture here in New England.)

Have you seen this as well? Operation Beautiful



(Photo Credit: Korean War Veterans Memorial)

It is Veteran's Day and I am quite thankful for the contributions of service my grandfathers each made as well as too all the other service men and women today - listening to the stories on NPR today were just heart-wrenching.

It is fitting, I think, that while I was out doing my errands today I made one special stop.
And I even scheduled my next appointment in January. Can you?

I also stopped at the local thrift shop and found this:
Nicky Epstein's Knitted Embellishments, for $2! Score! There was some very thin red acrylic yarn that I passed on and I paused to consider some white and cream colored yarn for maybe some dye experiments, but passed on those as well. I think for my $2 I will get some really neat ideas out of this book including things of what not to do, like this:
Aside from the fact that it's an.... interesting challenge to knit I'm sure, who is worthy of my knitting time? and then who loves me enough to wear it? wow. Thankfully, that's just one idea of combining techniques in the end which I believe is called "Clever Constructions". There are some neat things with icord, cables, and edgings.

At the library I picked up an interlibrary loan request (totally working my tax dollars). Erica Wilson's Children's World:
I heard about this on Ravelry - Muppets!!!!
How awesomely weird is that? They are knit too, bonus! I think these might be a must have for Lorelai. I'm trying to get her to learn who Kermit the frog is, but Sesame Street (Happy 40th Anniversary!!) no longer shows the Frog on the Street. Even yesterday's newest episode of the 2009 season had Elmo's World focus on frogs, and there was but a mere glance at Kermit. I thought for sure when it was time to "talk to a frog" Kermit would be there. Oh well. We've also watched a few episodes of the Muppet Show, but holy smokes. It's a lot cornier than I remember and borders on being inappropriate (Sandy Duncan singing in a bar about not being "that girl"?!)

But there's more!
Babar!! The book has other cross stitch, embroidery, sewing projects for a variety of characters - Winnie the Pooh, Water Babies, Holly Hobby-style, Mice. Some of it's cute. Some is weird. Whatever... MUPPETS!!

Today I had a really neat idea for a cowl. Wonder if I actually could get this idea from my head and sketches on paper on to the needles?

GiST 2 / 365

Grace in Small Things
1. Local in-laws.

2. Local in-laws who are available to babysit so I can get out to several stores.

3. Giving blood (hopefully)

4. Lorelai singing "Row Row Row Your Boat" all by herself (it sounds like "Row Row A Boot"

5. Kitchener stitch done right, the first time, without too much stress. (It's a knitting thing.)


I think we're at a new stage with Lorelai. Twice in the last week she has expressed a little interest in helping me to cook in the kitchen. Maybe it is the novelty of standing on a stool and being able to see what goes on above her head. Maybe she is curious. Maybe it is just what toddlers do at this age. Whatever it is, I think it's a good thing. She was able to hold the measuring spoon over the bowl for the spices (and even could pick out the biggest one) and then drop it in the sink when she was done. She helped push on the dough and sprinkle shredded cheese and pepperoni on our pizza bread. And then last night at dinner she reached over to my plate and took one of my carrots. That's not too big of a deal - she has shown that when she's in the mood she enjoys crunching on fresh veggies (she can tell that the bagged ones from the frozen foods aisle are not the same as the fresh from the garden steamed ones too). But the kicker was she took my carrot and dipped it into the salad dressing on my plate. So, apparently, we like (one) dip now! Very exciting.

Blogging about food, I found some great links.
*I am so going to try and Make My Own Microwave Popcorn! - and then follow Beth's suggestion to have the bowl of butter on the side for individual kernel dipping. I need to get corn for Thanksgiving decorations anyway.
*I made this Tortellini Soup - I used half the meat, half the tomatoes, and half the broth - should have used more broth. This soup was LOADED. In a good way, really filling. A nice assortment of "stuff" in there. Makes a TON! We had it for dinner (twice), several lunches, and gave some away. Holy cow. But good.
*I'm thinking about making these Edible Acorns - I wonder if Lorelai would even notice they were acorns? She really enjoys munchkin style donuts and can devour a bunch of them. Maybe for Thanksgiving? (I really need to settle on my to-do list for thanksgiving, there are so many good ideas! Like just now I also found Cranberry Nut Snack Mix that would be a good appetizer / snack to have around...)
*Have you seen EpiCute.com? It's like Cute Overload + Epicurious = delish. Love.
*Craftwise, there is a ton of crochet food to be made! Some selections from my queue: Oreo Cookies, Baking Set, Peel-able!! Orange

Lorelai takes her food very seriously.
Thanksgiving is coming...


Grace In Small Things

I stumbled across several great websites today, one in particular that stood out to me is, Grace In Small Things - with the tagline, "Waging a battle against embitterment since 2008". I'm a little late to the party, but oh well. The original intent is to focus on 5 positive things a day. That I can do.

Here's 1 / 365

1. Sharing an apple with Lorelai.

2. Fun time at the toddler gymnastics class.

3. Finding a parking spot at the rec center for the toddler gymnastics class.

4. Napping toddler.

5. New websites! Filth Wizardry - crafts with preschoolers - still a bit ahead of where Lorelai's at, but great blog name, great ideas! Sarah London - a crafty blog, a mystery crochet-a-long and how I found out about G.I.S.T., Make Your Own Hot Drink Mixes - I *just* put hot chocolate on my shopping list, but I think I may give this a try first.


Timberdoodle I Can Trace! & Pencils Review

Disclosure: This is a Mama Buzz review. The product was provided by Timberdoodle for this review.

Timberdoodle is a company that sells all sorts of products and resources for a variety of topics for homeschooling. Lorelai, who will be two at the end of the month, is not ready for "schooling" yet, but she has shown an interest in crayons, colors, scribbling and her ABCs so I was very excited when this tour became available.

We received the I Can Trace book and a package of Prismacolor Pencil Set.

From Timberdoodle's website, this book is aimed at the early writer or preschooler. Big Skills for Little Hands
Brighter Child makes the experience even more delightful with Big Skills for Little Hands, a series of six books. The Big Skills for Little Hands series supports national standards for early childhood by working to build necessary motor skills. Each paperback book is over 200 colorful pages and includes a write-and-wipe laminated page in the back of the book.

When I first looked through the book I was struck by the variety of activities - and there is some guidance for how to use them as well. There is discussion of fine motor skills, writing tools, safety, brain research and a kindergarten screening guide. I have experience teaching middle school students, so this information was useful to me especially as I can apply it right away to my own child. The book is divided into sections - tracing from side to side, paths, shapes, completing a maze, numbers and letters. The pencil set is top of the line - what I would expect from a beginning artist set! I was relieved to see that the pencils did not come sharpened - Lorelai currently uses crayons and some markers and I am a bit hesistant about giving her something sharp and pointy.

She took to this right away - I showed her the book, which caught her attention with the friendly spider on the front and we looked at many of the pages - they are bright and colorful, but not too busy. She was able to trace with her finger after I showed her an example and then she was off and running on her own. She loved the colored pencils - I didn't sharpen them, as she was content to use them as she uses her crayons!

I tend to let Lorelai take the lead on any activities we do in the course of the day. When she wants to draw or color, that's when we do it. I can see us taking out this book more as she gets older and starts to understand a bit more. The pages are perforated so they can be torn out, but I wish the book was spiral bound - it would be easier for Lorelai to look through the pages on her own. I've noticed when we do a coloring activity on a doodle pad she will frequently flip back to other pages to see drawings or letters we have done earlier.

The book retails on the Timberdoodle site for $10.50 (a sale from $13.99) - a good deal for 200+ activities and information.

Timberdoodle also sent us a package of stickers - they were like photographs and had bears. Lorelai also enjoyed sticking them to me, thank you!



Hello November! I had grand ideas of trying to do the blog post a day like some people I know (and admire them for doing it!) or even a daily gratitude entry for the month of November. But, all of a sudden it's midweek and I finally have my thoughts together (and some time) to actually make a blog post and here we are. Sure, I could just go until December 4, but I have enough on my plate currently to keep me busy: knitting, Thanksgiving (we host), Christmas, birthdays: Lorelai, Dan, Mom; my uncle is donating a kidney, tutoring, knitting. I am thinking of ways to ramp up my blog posting and I do have big plans but they are all in my head. For now. So, we'll play catch up.

Halloween has come and gone. We attended a wedding out in NJ - it was a nice time and I even wore the bat shawl! If anyone noticed the bat motifs, they kept it to themselves. That's fine. I'm proud of the shawl, it did the job and malabrigo lace was just the right weight. We did get one (low-quality iPhone) picture of the shawl in action:
Wearing the handknits!

The Lorax spent her Halloween with my folks. While I tried to get her into her costume (a gingerbread person) with some coaxing and practice,
She wanted no part of it.
(Another picture of my crying kid - remember when this blog was full of really cute pictures of the little one?)
My folks had no luck with the costume either. But she had a good time with them, giving out candy to the trick or treaters.

And then, go figure, last night she starts playing around with the witch's hat (which for the life of me I couldn't get her to put on at all during October).
Excuse the cookie crumb face, this was after dinner. And then again this morning on her way to the table to eat her Cheerios she put on the hat again. I have not yet given up hope that I will get her into that gingerbread costume.

Knitting-wise, the needles are clicking away. Many many many projects going on here. I have a renewed love for seams, thanks to knittinghelp.com - something finally clicked and look at this:
Pretty seams!! This is a little girl top for knit one, crochet too.

My other projects in progress are either under wraps for the time being or aren't much to show off at this stage.

While I'm knitting, Lorelai is still having a grand old time with the buttons - we're finding buttons everywhere. Usually I see the buttons like this:
buttons scattered
Scattered. The other day I noticed the buttons on the floor and then noticed there were some buttons in the jar.
Buttons collected
Um. It's all blue and purple buttons. No outside encouragement from me on that one, seriously! Interesting.
Give Life, Donate Blood