Friday, May 27, 2011

My Punny Family

Dominic came in moaning, "I hurt my armpit."

Gary responded, "That's the pits."

I said, "That was a pitiful joke."

When I asked how Dominic injured his pit, Gary replied, "He was making a pit stop."

Oh yes.  That's how we roll through the pits.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Yarn Along- Adult Spring Garden Tee

I'm joining Ginny for her Yarn Along.

I finished both my Cladonias, and wanted to share how they turned out.  Personally, I prefer the size of the one I added to.  I know others like a shorter shawl.  I like to be able cover my whole arm.  They both turned out beautiful, though.

This week, I am knitting Alana's Adult Spring Garden Tee.  However, I am knitting it out of Malabrigo worsted, and plan to make the sleeves long.  So, it won't be a spring tee at all.  I found the yarn while we were in Ft Walton Beach, Florida at a tiny shop named Unwind, The Yarn Shop.  They have some beautiful yarn, and fabulous people!

I am reading The Dangerous Book for Boys.  This is one of my favorite books.  It has a plethora of information, from how to build a battery out of coins to understanding grammar.  I am currently reading it in order to plan our summer school.  We plan on doing several projects from the book, including making a battery, making a bow and arrow, learning US Naval flag codes, making a go cart, learning to juggle, marbling paper, and making a pinhole projector.  

What are you working on this week?

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Tuesday, Dominic and I bought two quarts of strawberries, and a big chunk of white chocolate.

Yesterday, Dominic frequently requested that I make "white glaze" for the strawberries.  As I was not feeling well, I put him off.  In the late afternoon, I finally made a quart of white chocolate drizzled (much easier than covered) strawberries. Then, I proceeded to eat the entire quart without Dominic.  

After Dominic came back upstairs, I told him what I had done and that I would make him some.  I made the other quart.  He helped me.  (Do you think he was worried I would eat them?)  I ate a couple and handed the rest to him, with the admonition that he bring me the rest when he was done.

A little while later, Dominic called from the dining room, "Mom, do you feel shame for eating all those strawberries?"

When I responded in the negative, he replied, "I don't feel any shame, either."

Hmmm, I guess that means he ate all the strawberries.  I suppose that's only fair.  Fortunately, none of the other children like strawberries.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Chemicals All Around

I saw this ad for Glade Sense and Spray today.

As I sat there watching everyone walking through the spray, I couldn't help but think about all the chemicals they were ingesting.  Recently, I've been thinking more and more about the chemicals present in our everyday lives.

I've noticed an increase in cancer and autoimmune disorders.  Perhaps it's just because I know so many people who have been diagnosed with cancer, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, celiac disease, etc.  My grandmother, father, and Gary's uncle all died of cancer within a 4 year period.  We know 3 people with leukemia, a disease that I used to think of as a childhood cancer.  I read so many blogs that are written by women who have breast cancer.  I know women have have survived breast cancer.  It seems that everywhere around us, people have cancer.  There is no way for me to innumerate the number of people I know who have autoimmune disorders.  I don't even know that I know who all of them are.  I would guess that at least 25% of the people I know have some type of autoimmune disorder.  How is this possible in a country with medical care such as ours?  Don't even get me started on the increased incidence of autism and allergies.  Looking at all this, I wonder, how much of this has to do with the chemicals we consume?  I would guess that a large part of it.

My family is currently attempting to go chemical free.  The obvious place to start is our food supply.  When I think about all the chemicals present in our food supply, it makes me sick.  All of my family has taken to reading food labels.  It amazes me how many chemicals are in foods we eat every day; foods that seem 'healthy' but obviously aren't.  We've been taught to avoid candy and sweets, fats, and oils.  But, they avoid the elephant in the room: chemicals.  If we cut out all the chemicals in our diets, I truly believe that oil, fat, candy and sweets would not be a big deal.

But, then I started thinking about cutting the rest of the chemicals out of our lives.  What about our soap?  What about lotion?  What about sunscreen? Our epidermis is a huge layer of cells.  Do we truly believe that slathering our cells with chemicals is not dangerous?  We are consuming those chemicals when we put them on our skin.  It is why a girl was able to die from using too much muscle cream!  Yet, we think nothing of putting on a thick layer of sunscreen.  After all, it keeps us from getting skin cancer... Doesn't it?

And what about our housecleaning products?  Did you know that Glade Sense and Spray actually has a warning about inhalation?  Do you think that spraying several different chemicals in your bathroom to clean it is a good thing?  We have completely gotten away from commercial cleaners.  I make all our household cleaning products.  It's easy to make them, although a little harder to use them.  After all, a soft scrub requires scrubbing, whereas Scrubbing Bubbles only requires spraying and rinsing.  However, I much prefer breathing in the wonderful aroma of lemon oil and knowing exactly what I'm coming in contact with.

It bothers me that our country is so open to having chemicals in our food supply, around our houses, and in the very air we breathe.  What are we doing to ourselves?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Yarn Along- Cladonia #2

Once again, I'm joining Ginny at Small Things for her Yarn Along.


I finished last week's Cladonia, but I still need to block it.  It turned out so well, I decided to knit another one.  I am changing this one a bit.  I have more yarn, and I want to make it bigger.  So, I am adding four repeats to the lace pattern.  This will be the first time I really change a pattern like this.  I've adjusted size before, but nothing with a 'pattern.'  I'm excited to try with this.  I'm still pretty early in the pattern, since I haven't had much time to knit.  Hopefully, I'll be able to show you pictures of both shawls next week.


I'm also reading The Kane Chronicles, Book Two: The Throne of Fire.  Well, I've started it, anyway.  I've only gotten to read a few pages, when I've been able to steal it from Xavier.  We love all the Rick Riordan books, but Xavier especially loves the Kane Chronicles, since they focus on the Egyptian gods. Xavier has a passion for the Egyptian gods.  The rest of us just have a passion for Rick Riordan.  If you haven't found his books yet, I highly recommend them.  Fortunately, he's a prolific writer, and we get a new book about twice a year.

Monday, May 9, 2011


I've never done a knit-along before, and I'm very excited about this first one.  Granted, I've now made this pattern three times, but I love it!  I'm going to be knitting another Baby Surprise Jacket.  I don't have the yarn for it (I'm a little behind on that aspect!), but I plan to acquire it tomorrow.  I'll be trying out a new yarn store at the same time.  I can't wait!

Baby Surprise Jacket KnitAlong

I'd love to have you join me.  This KnitAlong is being hosted by Elizabeth at In the Heart of my Home.

It hasn't started yet, and I think you'll love this pattern.  It is so much fun, easy, and so incredibly adorable when it is complete.  You only need to know how to do a knit stitch, and how to do increases, both very easy things to do!  Come along on this journey!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Children and Money

When Xavier was a baby, we opened savings accounts for both he and Gabriel.  At the time, Gabriel had almost $200 saved up.  Any time he received money for anything, he immediately stuck it in his bank and thought nothing of it.  

However, when he was 4, Gabriel started getting a serious case of the 'wants.'  Every time we went to the store, he wanted everything, and would spend much of our time at the store begging for various toys.  Don't get me wrong.  He wasn't obnoxious.  He was just annoying.  We decided it was time for money to have meaning and told him we would no longer be buying things for him except on gift giving occasions.  If he wanted to buy something at the store, he had to bring his money and buy it himself.

Gabriel quickly learned the value of money.  He also learned the concept of saving part of his money and spending part of it.  To this day, Gabriel assiduously saves his money.  He almost always has money to spend.  He saved for almost a year to buy himself an iPod touch.  And, because he paid for it, he takes extreme care with it.  He has also discovered the value of buying second hand.  He almost refuses to buy a new book.  He much prefers to buy books at our local used book store.  He will, however, buy new books from authors he loves.  He's just very picky about them.

Xavier is not as careful with his money.  He likes to spend money on Tic Tacs.  However, we quickly put into place a savings plan for him.  So, each time he gets money, he puts half of it in his 'save' envelope and the other half in his wallet.  (We do not tell our children how much to give; instead we encourage them to see what is needed around them and give as they can.  They have all proven to be very generous with their money, so I think this is a good policy for us.)  

Xavier recently decided that he wanted to buy himself a Nintendo DS.  I found it amusing, and wonderful, the way he compared prices between the versions and what they could do.  He finally settled for the oldest style because it was cheapest, and he could find it used very easily, leaving more money to buy new games.  It also takes Gameboy games, so he could use the games he already had.  I was proud of this analysis.  He still has a lot to learn, but he's enjoying buying things for himself.  It really makes them proud.

Dominic, well...  Dominic is the baby of the family.  I am finding that no matter how much I try, I can't seem to keep the stereotypical birth order things from happening.  He spends money like water.  While the other two have blown money, Dominic has gone into debt to his brother to buy things.  Gabriel could start quite the scam business at our house, between me having to borrow cash from him and Dominic just flat out borrowing money.  

After having to give Gabriel a portion of his allowance ever payday for two months, Dominic has gotten on the debt free bandwagon.  In fact, he has decided that saving for things is a good idea.  he's been very assiduous about saving his money.  The only problem is that he wants everything.  He especially wants Legos.  For about a year, he had pictures cut out from a Lego catalog and taped to his wall.  Any time he would get enough money saved up for one of the items, he would bring me the cut out and his money and request that I place an order on  

Fortunately, Dominic has recently discovered the idea of his money earning interest.  He has had a bank account since he was a baby, but it has always been long distance.  He has never had a local bank account.  So, when I opened a local account for myself, he asked if he could have one, too.  I took him to the bank, and he deposited all the money he had saved.

He is thrilled.  Now, he is more willing to save his money.  He loves the idea that the bank is borrowing his money and he'll make money from that.  I love his enthusiasm and I hope he will always have a good money ethic.

I Insist

Dominic came to me and said, "Mom, just let me clean the toilet.  I insist."

I'm not sure why he was insisting.  I have no problem with him cleaning the toilet.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Yarn Along- Cladonia 2

Once again, I'm joining Ginny at Small Things for her Yarn Along.

I have almost finished the shawl I cast on last week.  I am currently binding off Cladonia.  I am thrilled with how it is turning out!

I am also reading my favorite book about raising chickens, The Joy of Keeping Chickens by Jennifer Megyesi.  I love how thorough this book is.  The pictures are fabulous as well.  I like her sense of humor,
Just because you have observed an animal that could potentially prey upon your birds does not mean that you should break out the AK-47... yet.

I thought you'd enjoy some gratuitous pictures of our hens.  All but one are present in these pictures.

This is 4 of our fully grown hens.  We got the reds last spring and the Easter Eggers last summer.


This is one of our new hens.  They are eight weeks old and were raised by a friend until they were ready to join our flock.

Stumpy- She likes to hide in a stump, with her head stuck in a hole.

Xena and Goldilocks


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