Thursday, October 11, 2012

Herbal Conference

Starting tomorrow I will be attending the Southeast Women's Herbal Conference, in Black Mountain, NC.  I attended last year and actually participated in the work exchange program.  For 16 hours of work I was able to attend for free.  This year I decided to let someone else benefit from the work exchange program and pay the price for admission.  It was so worth it last year and this year's line up looks even better.  Such a beautiful setting to begin with, fall in the Appalachians, doesn't get much prettier, and the crisp fall air is so rejuvenating.  I learned so much last year, many wonderful speakers.  And it just reinvigorated my love of herbs.  This past year I have been focusing on wildcrafting herbs and using what is local to me, my area, the pasture and forest behind my house...amazing what is in your own backyard.

So I am looking forward to the next few days.  Learning so much more, meeting so many wonderful herbalists.  And the being prodded in new directions, expanding my knowledge base, inspiring my curiosity about the plants and trees around me.  If you are at all interested you can still pay the "at-the-door" price and attend.  I will say it is worth the price!  So check out the site and if not this year, plan to attend next year.  I am sure I will be there!

Thursday, September 20, 2012


I have been on an organization kick.  It used to be that I could tell you where any item in my house was, I just knew where things were, where I put them, what bin or cabinet they were in.  But now it seems like this organization has slipped away.  And that isn't necessarily a bad thing, but some days I spend so much of my time LOOKING FOR THINGS.  I get frustrated, and just don't feel at peace being disorganized.  So I am working toward a better level of organization for myself.

One project was our living room cabinet.  Our house is an older house, built in 1950.  Has no storage except in the basement.  No real closets except small ones in the bedrooms.  We bought this hutch to go into our living room for things like computer accessories, paper, envelopes, general office supplies, candles and things that are used in the living room.  Just to make life a little easier.  We don't have to hunt in the basement every time we want to light a candle or find a power cord.  Now I didn't take a before picture, but before my organizing effort I would not have wanted anyone to look in this cabinet.  We had not cleaned it out in a very long time, it just needed to be cleaned and organized.  So here is the after picture.

Isn't it beautiful.  Now I am loving my new bins from Thirty-One.  No I am not a consultant, I just love the products.  They hold up so well and I can store so many things in them, they come in different sizes to fit what I need.  The products I used in this hutch include the Large Utility Totes on the bottom shelf, in Spirit Purple, although they look at little blueish in the picture. They hold my printer paper on the left, the center two hold moon circle kits, and the one on the right holds things for our computers, cords, manuals etc.  

The All in One Organizer, on the next shelf up.  Although it is sitting sideways so you can't see it as well, it is next to my candles on the left.  I have it in a bird print which is no longer available, but they have so many new colors to choose from.  I am using this organizer to hold mailing supplies.  I don't do a lot of actual mailing but occasionally I have to mail something so this has padded envelopes in it, regular envelopes, a little paper, and then stamps, pens, and tape in the end pocket.  

The black and white print on the right, third shelf up, is the Black Parisian Pop, and I have two things in that print, the one toward the center of the shelf is the Little Carry-All Caddy and next to that are two Mini Utility Bins .  The Carry-All Caddy is holding pencils.  YES PENCILS.  How in the world did I end up with SO MANY PENCILS.  Must have been a back to school sale.  I just love office supplies, LOL.  One Mini Utility Bin is holding cell phone stuff, cords, manuals, cases, etc.  The other Mini Utility Bin is holding misc. cords, to DVD players, car chargers, walkie talkie sets, telephone cords, battery chargers, etc.  

One step on my mission to organize my house....just a little bit.....

Monday, September 10, 2012

Shell Afghan

I crocheted this small afghan while we were traveling, to take up the time when I am not driving, which is a lot since my husband likes to drive.  It took maybe 8 or so hours or work, not bad.  Like I said it is small.  Larger than a baby afghan but smaller than most for an adult.  It is like a lap afghan size.  I made it for a toddler, in pink and purple baby yarn, so it is soft.

Below you can see a close up.  I haven't been able to find directions online, but I am sure if you look through the masses of patterns on Ravelry you will be able to find something similar or exactly like it. 

Chain 126
Row 1: sc in 2nd chain from hook and in each chain across, turn (125 sc)
Row 2: Ch 3, sk next sc, *5 dc in next sc**, skip next 3 sc, repeat from * across ending last repeat at **. Skip next sc, dc in last sc, turn.
Row 3: Ch1, sc in first dc, ch 2, sc in center dc of next dc group [ch 3, sc in center dc of next dc group] across, ch 2, sc in last stitch (which is the first ch 3 of row 2) turn.
Row 4: Ch 3, 5 dc in each sc across, ending with dc in last sc, turn.  Repeat rows 3 and 4 until it is as long as you want.  Then you will crochet 5 dc shells evenly spaced at the ends and beginnings of each row plus the un-crocheted side of the initial chain.  

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Rights of Women:Two Powerful Speakers

Here are two women who express my feelings, in the short and sweet version, eloquently.  First Madeleine Albright, in an interview titled "Madeleine Albright: 'I Can't Understand Why Any Woman Would Want To Vote For Mitt Romney'"
In part the article says "...But for all the talk of Romney's trouble among women voters, no Democrat has put it in the terms that former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright did in an interview with The Huffington Post on Monday.

"I'm not sure I'm going to state this exactly right," she said, sitting amidst a sea of convention-related activity and daytime wine drinkers in the Westin hotel lobby in downtown Charlotte. "But I think there are some who believe they are actually protecting women, you know, and that it is better for women to be taken care of. I think women want to take care of themselves, and I think having a voice in how that is done is very important. And frankly, I don’t understand -- I mean, I'm obviously a card-carrying Democrat -- but I can't understand why any woman would want to vote for Mitt Romney, except maybe Mrs. Romney."
Albright then revised her pool of rationally thinking female Romney supporters to include his five daughters-in-law, an obvious but hardly generous expansion. Even with the rhetorical flair, however, Albright's comments reflect a genuine disturbance that many Democrats -- women and men -- feel about the tone of the discussion of women's issues during the course of the campaign.
The former secretary of State, who has been an outspoken advocate for women in the workplace, said she found the assertion by Missouri Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) that a rape victim can shut down her body to avoid pregnancy to be "one of the more outrageous" comments she's witnessed in her 75 years.
"It was appalling and disgusting," she said. "But if I may say so, the things that he said in one form or another are in the Republican platform. So [while Republicans are] saying he is a nutcase and they have to move away from him, they did not move away from their platform."..."
If you want to read the entire article you can find it by clicking here: Madeleine Albright 'I Can't Understand Why Any Woman Would Want to Vote For Mitt Romney.'
And one more is Sandra Fluke, she gave such a wonderful speech at the Democratic National Convention.  Here is a part of her speech, and the part that makes me cry every time I read it:
"...We've also seen another future we could choose. First of all, we'd have the right to choose. It's an America in which no one can charge us more than men for the exact same health insurance; in which no one can deny us affordable access to the cancer screenings that could save our lives; in which we decide when to start our families. An America in which our president, when he hears a young woman has been verbally attacked, thinks of his daughters—not his delegates or donors—and stands with all women. And strangers come together, reach out and lift her up. And then, instead of trying to silence her, you invite me here—and give me a microphone—to amplify our voice. That's the difference.
Over the last six months, I've seen what these two futures look like. And six months from now, we'll all be living in one, or the other. But only one. A country where our president either has our back or turns his back; a country that honors our foremothers by moving us forward, or one that forces our generation to re-fight the battles they already won; a country where we mean it when we talk about personal freedom, or one where that freedom doesn't apply to our bodies and our voices."
You can read the whole speech by clicking here: Sandra Fluke Speech Text
Or even better, watch it:

I find these two women amazing!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Knitting Socks #8 Decreasing for the Toe and Binding Off

Now you have a sock with a foot that measures 2 inches shorter than your foot length.  The last two inches will be the toe.  You have 14 stitches on needle one, 28 stitches on needle 2 and 14 stitches on needle three.  We will be decreasing with every other round now:

Round 1: Knit needle one until you have three stitches left un-worked, knit the next two stitches together (decrease) and then knit the last stitch on needle one (you now have 13 stitches on needle one).  Knit one stitch on needle two, SSK the next two stitches (decrease), then knit until you have three stitches left un-worked on needle two, knit the next two stitches together (decrease), and knit the last stitch on needle two (you now have 26 stitches on needle two).  Knit one stitch on needle three, SSK the next two stitches (decrease), then knit the rest of the stitches on needle three (you now have 13 stitches on needle three).  A total of 4 stitches decreased for this round.

Round 2: KNIT

Repeat rounds 1 and 2, decreasing 4 more stitches with each round 1 you work.  Stop when you have 5 stitches on needle one, 10 on needle two and 5 on needle three.  Your last round will be a decrease round (round 1).

Now you will knit the stitches from needle one onto needle three, leaving you with 20 total stitches, 10 stitches on each of two needles.  And it will look like this:

And the picture above shows you how you will be holding the two needles.  You can see the tail yarn is on the upper (or back depending on how you are looking at it) needle, to the right.  Cut the yarn leaving about a 1 foot piece of "tail" to use when binding off.  

OK now we are going to bind off.  Thread the "tail" yarn onto a darning needle.  

Holding your work as pictured above you will use your darning needle as if it is a knitting needle and the first thing you do is insert the darning needle into the first stitch on the bottom (or front) needle as if to knit and slip that stitch off the knitting needle.

You will pull the darning needle and yarn through the stitch, pictured above.  

Next we are going to use the darning needle and insert the needle into the second stitch on the bottom (or front) needle as if to purl, and leave that stitch on the knitting needle.  

Pull the darning needle and yarn through the stitch (but remember to leave that stitch on the knitting needle) pictured above.  

Now we move to the top (or back) needle.  Using the darning needle, insert the needle into the first stitch as if to purl, and slip that stitch off the knitting needle.  

You will pull the darning needle and yarn through the stitch, pictured above.  

Now take the darning needle and insert the needle into the second stitch on the top (or back) needle as if to knit.  And leave this stitch on the knitting needle.  

Pull the darning needle and yarn through this stitch but remember to leave the stitch on the needle.  We have now decreased one stitch on each of the two needles.  You will keep alternating from the bottom (or front) knitting needle to the top (or back) knitting needle and repeat this whole process.  

First stitch on the bottom (or front) you insert the needle as if to knit and slip it off, then the second stitch on the bottom (or front) you insert the needle as if to purl and leave it on the knitting needle.  Then move to the top (or back) needle and the first stitch you insert the needle as if to purl and slip the stitch off the knitting needle.  Second stitch on the top (or back) you insert the needle as if to knit and leave it on the knitting needle.  REPEAT until all stitches are taken off the needles.  The last stitch you will not have another stitch to leave on, you will just insert the needle into the bottom (or front) stitch as if to knit and slip it off, then move to the top (or back) needle and insert the needle as if to purl and slip it off.  

Using your darning needle just bring the extra yarn to the inside of the sock, turn the sock inside out and weave it into the stitches so it can't be seen on the outside but the yarn is secure and snip the extra yarn.  I do not knot the yarn when I am making socks.  I just wouldn't think it would feel good to be walking on a knot.  If you weave the tail in well it will not come undone.  I have not had any of my socks come undone.  Now weave in the extra yarn at the cuff of the sock, where you started, into the inside of the sock and snip it off and you are DONE!  

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Consensual Living and Teens

I am hoping my words make sense here, I was thinking as I was driving and wanted to spill it out on *paper* before I forgot the details.

At the coffee shop this morning I happened to be googling different things, one was Consensual Living, just to see what people are saying these days about the concepts.  I happened across a post from a mom, I am not sure if this was her blog or a post on a parenting forum, really I had to get going so didn't read beyond the original post and a few of the comments.  This mom had read the Consensual Living web site, a site created by me and two other moms also living consensually in NC.  The mom quoted a couple of short blurbs from different essays.  She had the premise correct, that children and adults live together and all feelings, wants, needs, thoughts and ideas are held gently with high regard.  No one person's wants/needs out weigh another, and when conflict does arise a solution that is agreeable to all parties involved is worked out, finding the common preference (that's the short of it).

But at the end of her post she mentioned that she asked her daughter for her thoughts on Consensual Living, I was thinking I read that the daughter was 5 but could have been a little older, it was pretty young though.  And the daughter said that she thought the kids would be bullies, the mom (poster) agreed, and also added she didn't know how they would cope with life when they were adults.

I wanted to comment on the post, but couldn't find the comment button, and really needed to head out.  So thought I would comment here, on my own blog.

As a mom of two boys, 15 and 18, I can tell you that my boys are not bullies, and in my experience with other families also living consensually, their grown, and younger, children are not bullies either.  Actually I have found the opposite to be true, these children are very respectful and considerate.  They have a sense when things are not consensual and, if involved, work toward consensual solutions.  I can't tell you the joy I feel when I see my children in a situation where there is a conflict of some sort (usually it is concerning something they want to do, and maybe someone else wants to do something different), and to see them helping to identify what each person wants, and work within the group toward an agreeable solution, where every one's wants are met.  It is the opposite of bullying, which, by definition is "a blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people."

We see very little bullying in our circle of friends, most of whom live consensually or lean toward that style.  And actually we see very little bullying in our extended circle of friends either.  But the bullying we have seen has been by people/children who have very little autonomy, few choices in their own lives, are told what to do, how to do it, when etc.  It seems they have so little control over their own lives that they need to control others.  But as I said I have very little experience with bullying, so my perceptions are not based on a large scientific poll but rather a few isolated incidents.

So as a mom of older teens I want to assure anyone out there that my children, raised in a consensual household, are not bullies, and have a great grasp on life in general and their interests and passions more specifically.  They are happy, joy filled individuals who understand how to problem solve in all different types of situations, and how to work toward the win-win solution.  They understand AND implement this in their own lives.  So no need to worry, they have many coping tools in their tool belt and know how to use them.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Great Parents

I think I posted a while ago about finding the great parents out there.  It is so easy to spot the parents that are not connected to their kids, the ones who spank, yell, drag their children by the arm away from any scene.  But I love working to spot those parents that are just wonderful.  Not as "easy" to spot, for me, I guess because they just don't stand out.   But tonight I had the opportunity to see one great dad.  Jackson, the boys, one of their friends and I went out to dinner at Red Robin and there was a family of four at the same restaurant.  It could have been a bad situation, there are gamers of every age here at the Gen Con Convention, and it has been a LONG day.  Lots of walking and people, and noise, and it relatively late, for me anyway, it was around 7:30.  This dad was so engaging with his children, both young, around 5 and 6 I would guess.  He talked and giggled with them, a couple of "high-fives".  Then he would turn and chat with mom for a bit, turn and reengage with his children.  I so enjoyed watching this family, and you could tell how thrilled his children were, laughing, and talking and playing.  Gotta love it!  Keep up the good work you dads out there!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Vipassana Meditation in Prison

I had not heard of this movie before, but on a dreary, rainy Tuesday morning I decided to just sit and knit and see what was on Netflix.  The Dhamma Brothers movie is a very worth while watch.  It is amazing how life changing meditation can be, and to see it on this level, with a group of people you normally view as being extremely violent, is inspiring. The intensity of this Vipassana program would seem hard for anyone, let alone someone already separated from most of society.  And if you have a Netflix account you can watch it instantly.

Saturday, July 28, 2012


LOL, that dreaded topic, don't you just wish sometimes that it would go away.  I have been mulling over the events of the past few weeks.  First finding out that Chick-fil-A donates money toward organizations that actively work against legislation that is pro equality for the LGBT community and for legislation that is anti LGBT equality.  That was a blow. I  have always known that Chick-fil-A was a Christian organization, that doesn't bother me at all.  And living where I do, most of the time Christian views go hand in hand with an anti LGBT philosophy.  But money talks, and supporting anti LGBT legislation, thoughts or ideas really puts your money where your mouth is.

Now with several mayors pledging that Chick-fil-A will not find a home in their communities.  I am so supportive of that move.  Communities and community leaders decide, each day, how they want their communities to grow, in which direction, how much, how little, what elements support the citizens there, which do not.  There are communities that have decided alcohol, which some exceptions, is not desirable.  Communities that have limited trailer park growth, furniture on your front lawn (what kind and how much), Wal mart movement into a community, etc.  Those are decisions that are made each day.  So I am happy to see mayors starting to take a stand and decide that a company, like Chick-fil-A, that actively endorses, by monetary donations, anti LGBT thoughts, ideas, and legislation, is not welcome in their community.  An organization that works toward continued suppression of even a segment of their citizen's rights, is not positive community growth.

I decided to post my thoughts and support here, as I don't want to get into a big discussion.  I realize that those who are not supportive of this move are just as strong in their beliefs.  And I don't want to inspire a huge discussion.  Just wanted to organize my thoughts and put them out there.

On another note... I have been so busy with gardening and living that I haven't had time to blog.  I am hoping that changes in the near future as I do have things about which to blog.  Have a great Saturday all!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Bedside Organizer

OK anyone that knows me, knows that I try to be so organized.  It is just my nature.  And I have lots of pinterest pages flagged that are different ways to organize your life, menu planning, chore planning, organizing your pantry etc.

Today I decided to start with some sort of pocket for the bedroom TV remote and my nook.  You can see I have a dresser right beside my bed.  I wanted something that would cover the top of the dresser and have pockets in the side.   My goal is to NOT buy anything, to use fabrics I already have.  So this fabric was in my stash, I have a lot of it, not sure why...must have been on sale at some point.  I didn't want to use any of my nice quilt batting, so I decided to use a piece of an old blanket I was going to throw out.

2 pieces of fabric 18 inches X 64 inches
-1 piece of that old blanket 18 inches X 64 inches.
-1 piece of fabric 18 inches X16 inches

Lay the two larger pieces of fabric out, right sides together, and lay the blanket on top.  Pin.

I used a 5/8 inch seam allowance and sewed around the base leaving about an 8 inch hole so I could turn it right side out.  Once it was turned I pressed the piece, and also aligned the edges of the hole, turning the raw edges inward, press and pin the hole closed.  I then top stitched around the piece using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  This will stitch the hole shut for you.

Now you want to take the smaller piece of fabric, fold it in half, right sides together, so it measure 18 inches X 8 inches.  Sew around one short side and the long side, using a 5/8 inch seam allowance.  Turn and press,  folding the edges of the open side inward 5/8 inch and pinning closed.  Now again top stitch around all sides of this small piece, using a 1/4 inch seam allowance, this will again sew your open end, closed.

Place your smaller rectangle on top of your base piece, you will see it will fit edge to edge.  Pin it in place and sew where your top stitching is around both sides and the bottom, leaving the top open (remember it is a pocket...and yes I have made that mistake before  LOL).  I just aligned the pocket piece on top of the base piece using my eye, but you could measure to be sure it is exactly level with the bottom of your base.  Also before you sew make sure to try it on your dresser to be sure the pocket is as high or low as you want it.

Now all you have to do is figure out if you want small pockets, one big pocket etc and you can sew it how you need it.  You could also add another pocket to the other side of the runner if you like, but in my case on the other side is the dogs kennel, so for right now this is all I need.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

My New Bumper Sticker

OK so yes, that meant I had to actually clean a spot on my car, so the bumper sticker would stick to the car and not the dirt, LOL.  But I have my new bumper sticker!  Like it?  Actually please don't feel like you HAVE to answer that question.  But I will be voting against Amendment One on May 8!  There are a lot of reasons, but I guess my biggest reason is that equal should MEAN equal.  If you want a whole list of reasons why, you can visit this site:  Protect All NC Families.  They have all the latest news stories plus a well laid out page of how the passage of this Amendment would effect NC families.  So go take a look.  Be informed.

And maybe you will join me in voting against Amendment One on May 8.  If you are going to be out of town on May 8, you CAN vote early. Here is a link to the One Stop Voting Site page, select your county from a drop down menu and it will give you the places you may vote early, as well as days of the week and times they are open.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Linen Stitch Scarf

I have finished my scarf, and I love it.  A friend helped me pick out colors, that is just not my strength, I know that sounds odd, but  I acknowledge my limitations and "matching" colors is just not one of them.  I knew I wanted to stretch outside my comfort zone, so a friend helped me pick out a multicolored yarn, a green color and also an orange colored yarn.  And she was right, it all blended into a beautiful scarf.  Now it is unseasonably warm here in North Carolina, so I will tuck this gem away for next winter.

Here is the pattern:

Cast on 450 stitches (pick the size needles that work for the yarn you are using) on a circular needle

Leave a 6 inch "tail" at the end of casting on stitches

Row 1:  Leave a 6 inch tail at the beginning of the row.  Knit the first stitch, move the yarn to the front, then slip the second stitch as if to purl, move the yarn back to the back.  Repeat these two stitches (knit one, slip as if to purl) across the row.  Leave a 6 inch tail at the end of the row.

Row 2 :  Leave a 6 in ch tail at the beginning of the row.  Purl the first stitch, move the yarn to the back, slip the second stitch as if to knit, move the yarn back to the front.  Repeat these two stitches (purl one, slip as if to knit) across the row.  Leave a 6 inch tail at the end of the row.

Repeat rows 1 and 2 until your scarf is as wide as you like it.

Cast off and leave a 6 inch tail after casting off.  Now you have all these tails at the ends/beginnings of each row.  You are going to start at one end and take three tails in a row, pull each one snug, then knot them together. Move onto the next three tails.  And do this on both ends.  Now trim the tails so they are all the same length and look good.  So this pattern is self fringing.

You can use any number of colors of yarn, you can use one color of yarn.  I used three colors.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

San Antonio

What a wonderful, refreshing, family vacation.  It has been a while since we have taken a family vacation, no one else along, just the 4 of us.  It was so nice.  We decided to visit San Antonio.  One reason was the giant cinnamon buns Phillip saw on Food Network that were at Lulu's in San Antonio, that was one thing specifically that he MUST try.  Of course it was delicious, enough for the 4 of us for two desserts.  LOL.  But we saw so much more.  I had not been to San Antonio since Officer Basic back in 1990.  Much touristing going on.  We all decided that our favorite place to eat, even with all the rave reviews of all the other restaurants was....Green, Vegetarian Cuisine.  Just delicious!  I think we could easily stick around and go back to that place every day and just go down the menu trying everything!  One interesting tid bit we found out while at Green.  The chef/owner of Green used to own Lulu's.  He needed a "health check" and decided to switch gears, instead of the chicken fried....etc of Lulu's, to start a healthy restaurant.....thus Green was born. So glad he did! (OK that was the very short version of the story, but if you visit Green you can read the long version).

Here are just a few pictures from our visit.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Knitting Socks #7 Knitting the Foot

Once you have decreased the gusset so that the number of stitches now on your needles is the same number as the number of stitches you started with, you are ready to just knit-knit-knit.  Knit each row (no increases, and no decreases).

Measure your foot.  Just lay down a tape measure or ruler and stand on it.  Put the back of your heel on 0 and see where the longest toe lands.  For me that is 9 inches.  You will continue to knit until the foot of your sock is 2 inches less than your measured foot length.  So for me I knit until my sock measures 7 inches.  When you measure your sock you will measure from the back of the heel out.  My socks (made to a completed length of 9 inches) will fit women who wear a shoe size  from about a size 6 to about a size 9.  There is stretch in the socks.  This helps when I am making Christmas presents!  I don't have to have everyone measure their feet.  Here is a general guide for sock sizes, I pulled this from this web site.  So if it is a little blurry, please go back to the original site.  So if you know a person's shoe size you can knit them a pair of socks.

This is how you measure the foot of your sock.  The sock pictured is a finished sock, but you can see it is 7 inches from the heel to where I started decreasing for the toe.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Evil and the Super Nanny

OK I have not seen the *new* Super Nanny show, so I may be getting the totally wrong vibe here but yesterday I saw a commercial for this new show, and I saw the same commercial today, so I really feel like I need to get this out there, and maybe then I will be able to move past it.

The commercial depicts a family, not sure if they only have one son, but the one son on the commercial was shown as a child out of control, of course he was being filmed, and I know that they edit this show.  But the words on the screen as he was tearing things apart was "Evil....Has...A....New....Name".  One word appeared on the screen in large letters, at a time.  And I do want to say that they never said that Evil's new name was this child.  But that was CERTAINLY the implication.  I could not believe this....not at all.  I can't even imagine equating evil with a child.  That is such a powerful message.  I can't imagine how I would react if someone equated me with evil and we are talking about a child.

I have seen the *other* supper nanny show, the one that has been around for a few years.  And while I don't parent the way she instructs the families on her show to parent, something she generally started every *meeting* with is "you have such wonderful children", or "you have two beautiful girls" or some kind of compliment like that.

I know the commercial can be totally different from the program, which is why I said up front that I have not seen this show (and don't plan to).  I just wonder how this child will feel when he sees the commercial.  How he was portrayed for ratings.  How can you approach anyone, any situation, with a feeling that the other person (or in this case the child) is evil.  How can that bring any peace, any love, any comfort, any communication, any resolution, any common ground to any situation.

I try to approach situations of disagreement feeling that the person is doing the best they can in the moment, the intentions are the best, and solutions can be found.  Acceptance and understanding lead further than name calling any day.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Circle Sweater

I had quite a bit of extra yarn left over from the Christmas afghans I made.  So I decided to make myself a sweater with some of the left overs.  Not an easy task, I have not had great success with sweaters in the past...arms too long, shoulders too wide etc.  Just not a great fit.  But this sweater is so cute and REALLY EASY.  It is one big circle with two sleeves.  It is made all together so NO sewing, I dislike sewing things together.  You make one big circle, crocheted, and leave two slits for the arms.  Once the circle is done you crochet around the slits making your sleeves.  Easy peasy.  Here is the link to the pattern, called Lyon Circle Jacket. I found the pattern through Ravelry.    I used the Caron Simply Soft yarn, and as you can tell from the picture, lots of left over colors.  The sleeves, which you can't see in the picture are black, with green and brown down toward the cuff.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

After the Rain

For the past few days it has been rather dreary, overcast, on and off rain.  Yesterday it rained ALL day, did not stop for a minute.  We kind of huddled up and stayed warm and dry inside for the most part.  Comforted one of our dogs during thunderstorms, as she shook with fear.  Now this morning it is like the pastures are starting new, refreshed by the rain, enveloped by the sun.  It is so beautiful looking at the rain drops, dangling from the trees, the fog rising up from the pasture as all that water evaporates in the morning sun.  The day is a little chilly but the sun feels so warm on my face.  The hens graciously gave me 6 eggs this morning.  I may just take my cuppa chai out there, watch the hens play and bask in the sun.  Ahh life sure is good!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Parenting and Being Prepared

Jackson and the boys decided to make a trip up the hill the other day to snow board.  I decided to tag along as usual.  I don't ski or snow board but I bring the snacks and hot chocolate, stay nice and warm in the lodge, knit, read, and when the boys come in to warm up and take a break I have everything ready for them, and sit and listen to them talk about how they are progressing.  Generally a nice relaxing day, especially after the public school children are back to school, it is generally nice and quiet.

Wow was I wrong, turns out after talking with a couple of other moms, in other states the children do not go back to school until this coming week, so many families were up in the mountains enjoying a vacation until that time.  So it was packed.  I read some and just watched the families coming and going, skiing and getting lunch, etc.

There were definitely two different sets of parents there.  One group was well prepared and one had higher expectations, with little preparation.  You could see families with children of all ages, some, like mine, with kids old enough to come and go as they saw fit, with a parent near by (on or off the slopes) to touch base with. And there were parents there with younger children, toddlers and slightly older.  The children that need almost constant direct supervision, with short attention spans and a high need for multiple snacks, drinks etc.

The prepared parents were so nice to watch.  They knew that the children would need more attention.  They brought games, toys, coloring books and crayons, snacks, lunch, drinks, cold clothing so the little ones could be taken out back for a few minutes of fresh air and play in the snow, and warm clothing so they would be comfy in the lodge, where it was warm with a nice roaring fire.  These parents were not expecting to spend all their time on the slopes, knew that wasn't possible.  They would tag team, with mom and dad switching off so the parents could ski and also be there for the young ones.  Some of the young ones went out of the slopes as well for a few minutes.  Just a joy to watch, they were prepared for all contingencies, enjoyed being with their children when not on the slopes, and were very flexible.  The kids and parents really seemed to enjoy the experience.

OK then there were the unprepared parents, couldn't watch them for long.  Their expectations of their young ones, in my opinion, was not reasonable.  They brought one toy, if that, and expected the toddler to sit and play with the one toy for hours.  You could see the stress on their faces as they were just waiting for the other parent to come off the slopes so their turn could start.  The toddlers were crying, the parents were unwilling to bend, trying to talk to their child when you could see they wanted to yell, but knew in a lodge full of people, yelling would attract attention and be judged poorly.  These parents would not let it go, wanted a day on the slopes no matter what, and were not going to go home until their time was up.  It was sad to watch, the children were not having fun, the parents were only marginally having fun, stress was building.

It just reminds me how important it is to be prepared.  Now sometimes things sneak up on you and you aren't prepared.  But in times like this, a trip to the ski slopes, some preparation could have changed the entire experience for everyone involved (including me, the innocent observer).  I remember always trying to think ahead in our day, what I could possibly need, and most times every contingency was handled.

So parents, when little ones are involved, please remember to think ahead.  I know it may seem like a lot to bring for a day of skiing, but when you see how wonderful it can go, you will wish you had.  It can be fun for everyone in the family, including those little ones.  Think ahead, plan with joy, be flexible, support each other.

What a day, but a great opportunity to people watch!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Grocery Savings

Well I was working on the 2012 budget this morning, yes my "very favorite thing to do" :-(  I did discovery, however, that I saved just over $2125 on groceries over this past year.  I have been seeing it in my monthly expenditures and knew I had saved over $1500, but was not expecting over $2000 in savings.

So many people had told me that you can't save money eating organic so why try.  They eat organic and there are never any coupons on organic foods.  And you know, they are right.  We also eat, as much as we can, organic foods, we use earth friendly toilet tissue and house cleaners etc.  So how did I save this much money....and no I did not go store to store, shopping in different places.  I stuck to my usual two stores (Ingles and Amazing Savings).

First of all the bulk of my savings this year was from shopping store sales.  I didn't have many coupons at all (maybe $200-$300), but in just watching the products I generally buy, I could see that even the organic product goes on sale.  So when the items we normally use go on sale, I buy MORE.  I buy enough to last us for a few months (until it goes on sale again).   I also buy fruits and veggies in season when I can.  That plus the few coupons I use, saved about $1700 for 2011.

We always plant a large garden, but I paid particular attention to freezing and canning the extra this year, so we have more in storage this year, for the winter months.  I also planted a fall garden so we are still eating lettuce, greens, beets, turnips out of the garden, even now.  (Although it is REALLY COLD today so my lettuce might not make it.)  The extra fruits I bought during the summer, like local peaches and apples, are in the freezer for smoothies and desserts!

I also shop at Amazing Savings, have for over a year now.  So I can get discounted organic items there.  LOVE Amazing Savings, everyone should have an Amazing Savings near them!

And one final small item this year was making most of my own household cleaners.  I make our laundry detergent, glass cleaner, and general cleaner.  Not only am I saving a lot of money but I KNOW what is in the cleaners, safer for the environment and my family!

We also found a farm not far from us that provides grass fed, pasture raised, chemical free beef.  This, you would think, would be more expensive, but it is comparable to buying grass fed organic beef in the freezer section of our grocery store, plus I have the added benefit of knowing the farmer, and seeing the cows and the farm!  Along with this we have started raising our own broiler chickens.  We raise all we need plus a few extra for friends.  What we sell to friends compensates for the chicken feed and purchase of the baby chicks, so all our chicken costs us is the labor.  This was a decision we made over a year ago, so that we know what Phillip and Jackson are eating.  Not only is it "organic meat" but we KNOW where it is coming from, what it eats, how it is cared for and how it is processed.

Coupled with all of this was a savings in our electric bill this year.  As I hang out most of our laundry to dry (always have, just love hanging out clothes), and going back to hand washing the dishes instead of using the dishwasher, we saved a few hundred dollars on electricity.

So that is how I did it!  And for all of you that swear to me you can't save money and eat organic/good/healthy food, you are wrong.  Every little bit adds up.