What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Friday, October 30, 2015

Hallow's Eve Making

We are thick in the midst of making today.  Sparkles.  Glitter.  Flowers and fleece.  Anticipation.  Children, giddy with excitement and flushed with creative doing.

Due to the nature of some costume bits, we had to start the making earlier in the week- so today is very slow and unhurried compared to most Halloweens that find me slap-dashing costumes together just in the nick of time.

And this happens to be one of my favorite years--- the kind when all the children excitedly agree upon a theme.  (I love themes!)  And maybe even a pizza from a pizza place instead of homemade...we'll see!  ;-)

Friday, October 23, 2015

Tiddle:: 9

 Living, Making, Doing:: A Countdown to Baby


Tiddle getting into (quite literally) the pizza making.


A colin vest.  My first knitted garment.  I started this little vest after my second or third knitting class at the library.  I remember we began on four needle fingerless mitts and I had a horrible time with it!  Every time I worked on the mitts at home I made a mistake and couldn't continue until class was held again in another two weeks.  I decided to start a simple knit/purl project using a single skein so that I could get the hang of knitting and purling stitches.  This was what I began.

That was two years ago!!!
(I told you I am a slooooowwww knitter!)

Actually, I set it aside for awhile when I couldn't stand knitting a baby garment with no baby in sight so it isn't THAT pathetic- but pretty close.  Knitting group has begun again for the fall season and I told the ladies that the next class I would be finishing the vest before the next meeting.  I don't think they believed me.

This vest will fit a 6-12 month baby.  The back portion was the piece I did when I was first learning and I can certainly see the difference between the back and front, when I had some more experience.  The one armpit is wonky and didn't match up on the right side and I wonder if the shoulder straps will be long enough.  But, even with all these imperfections, I pretty much love it.  I love how gradated yarn looks when knit...a totally different look than crochet.  And I think this will be suitable for Tiddle whether Tiddle is a he or a she.  

I'm glad to have another long unfinished project now complete.


I always write a few letters to my babies recalling certain things about my pregnancies with them, feelings, memories, etc.  Corynn and Andrew, in particular, really enjoy reading them now...much more so than I ever really thought they would.  I hadn't yet recorded anything for Tiddle and wanted to change that.  I'll include these letters, the photos from how I told the family and ultrasound pictures in his/her baby book.

Which, by the way, I am challenging myself to BEGIN NOW instead of waiting until this child is 5, 7 or 9 to do as I am with some of my others.  A-hem.

Monday, October 19, 2015

First Frost

It happened.  First frost.  The ending of another garden season.  I am always happy to welcome the first frost because I know that with it, the garden chores will be coming to an end.  Trust me, by October, I am ready for them to be coming to an end!  But a garden doesn't go out with a slow fizzle but with a mad dash.  In preparation for the first frost, we had to get everything we could out of the garden and off of the trees.  And that meant a very busy week indeed.

Lots of green tomatoes to line all the windowsills and too many too small peppers (if only they had a bit more time!).  Vases of cosmos and zinnias, lemon verbena and basil, squashes both summer and winter.  Digging up the sweet potatoes.  Renegade beets.  Too many apples to pick- many still hang frozen on their branches.  All week we've been digging up and bringing in.

Saturday was applesauce making day. 37 quarts of applesauce made- and only half the apples we had picked used up.  I had hoped to make at least 52 quarts (for once a week applesauce eating) but a girl can only do so much in a day even with many small, helpful hands in the kitchen working alongside her.

The children gathered 'round and dove right in to the apple chores when I first began.  Adele' said "Mama, I wanna be just like you when I grow up.  It's so fun to can."  As time went on, one by one they eventually peetered out and scooted off to do other things, but every now and again I would find myself with some more helpers before they again scooted off.  By 6:30 pm, as I was finishing off the last of the canning dishes, Adele' had come again to help with apples and was filling up the last of the jars with applesauce.  Says she: "Canning is fun in the beginning but when you work at it all day, it can make you pretty tired."  smile.  How right you are.

I had hoped to fill up many more buckets of apples before frost so that when we host a church picnic in a few weeks, we could have a cider-making party at the same time.  The rest of the apples we never sauced will go for the cider but the yield won't be nearly as substantial as I had hoped.  I was hoping to can some cider for drinking later.  The frozen apples taunt me.  

I can never seem to get everything done that I would like and, even though this is a fact of life for every single person on this planet, it has been a constant struggle for me to accept in my own life- and probably always will be.  

I don't know why I am a glass-half-full sort of girl in every aspect of life except in regard to my own personal achievements/limitations but I don't like that about myself.  I tend to see the frozen apples on the tree, wasting away, instead of the jars on the counter.  Maybe it is a healthy way to stay humble and prevents a person from becoming stagnant in life...maybe it is a good thing.  I just wish it didn't feel so much like failing.  Is this a woman thing?  Is it a me thing?  Is it the outworking of humbleness or ingratitude?  Is it a good thing or a bad thing?  

I wonder...

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

10 ::

Last Sunday marked the last 10 weeks of this pregnancy and right about now (in my mind, at least) is when the countdown really begins.  When the numbers go down into the single digits- well, things get real.

There is so much I would like to do in preparation and celebration of widdle Tiddle and what with Halloween costume making, wedding clothes sewing, Thanksgiving, Adele's birthday and Christmas preparations all sandwiched in those weeks, I know they will just fly by.  If I am not intentional about it, these last few weeks may pass overhead right alongside the geese making their southern trek.

So I decided to do a wee bit of a countdown on the blog.  Once a week from now until *the big day*, I'll be posting a Tiddle countdown.  Photos highlighting the anticipation we are all filled to bursting with and hopefully, a Tiddle project each week.   I have a whole list of them, surely I can accomplish ten.

This week :: Many moons ago someone who knew I was knitting passed along a bag with a freshly started knitted sweater in it.  Just the sleeve had been started and the project seemed too daunting for me to ever actually finish but I couldn't bear to scrap the already beautifully knitted sleeve piece- it was so pretty!  So I kept it in the mending drawer for the moment inspiration struck and I figured out what could be done with it.  I brought it out this week, pulled out some stitches to make it hat sized, seamed up the back and crocheted a quick drawstring.   Couldn't have been easier- and one less thing lingering about as a UFO!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Sugar and Spice


*photo by Corynn*

I had big plans for this weekend.  Apple cider making, applesauce canning, apple slice drying...and apple cider donut making (as requested by Matt).

But then my allergies hit and I was a mess instead.  I couldn't forgo the donuts because, really, I get so few actual requests from Matt that I want to jump on them when they come.  And, of course, the kids knew of the plan and would have been tremendously let down.  Not so, of course, for the canning of applesauce.  ;-)  And because....DONUTS.

 So we made donuts.  Delicious, spicy, apple cider donuts.  

Matt had seen the recipe in this book which I borrowed from the library and absolutely love.  (There is nothing that irks me more than a cookbook that includes ridiculously expensive and foreign ingredients and then calls themselves a simple meal.  Give me the normal ingredients please and make me drool.  That is all I ask.)   

Matt's dad was coming to help with a new papa project that day and when he heard it would be donut day, well, Linda decided to come too.  The recipe said the yield was a 'bakers dozen' and I thought- "Well, considering that there would be 8 bodies- and people would likely want more than one..." I convinced myself I ought to make a batch of yeast donuts too.  

We ended up with trays and trays of apple cider cake and yeast donuts!  Topped with apple cider vinegar glaze (from the book), regular glaze and cinnamon sugar.  Oh.my.word.  So many donuts. I managed to get them all fried up in the lard I rendered myself (thankyouverymuch) and as I fried (and sneezed and sniffled), everyone ate.  Afterward I sent the children with plates of fresh donuts to all the neighbors...five plates full and Corynn met the mailman at the box with a tray for him to pick from and we STILL had enough leftover for two donuts for all at breakfast the next day!

We never made it to a real fair this summer and I was sad for lots of reasons- but one big reason for my disappointment was that I would be missing the funnel cake.  So I decided to buy the cheapest  fryer ($19.00) at Walmart so we could EACH have a funnel cake instead of all sharing a single one as we do at the fair.  This was a great (and not-so-great!) idea.  We had our funnel cake this summer.  We made mozzerella sticks (pretty much my favorite thing ever).  And now we've made donuts.  This fryer is a dangerous, dangerous thing.

The rest of the weekend was beautiful, though I was feeling so crummy... I pushed ahead any other apple plans and decided instead to just lay in the sunshine of the flower circle.  There are so few days left to do that.  And it was glorious.  Even surrounded by the dead seedheads and stalks of flowers past instead of the vibrant glory of flowers in their prime, the flower circle holds a sort of magic for me.  

We've been soaking up these glorious fall days as much as we can, knowing that they can't be here forever.  Indeed, first frost seems to be looming ahead this very week!  We've got some serious harvesting to do before then.  And still, garlic to plant.  And the next few days look chilly, gray and rainy.  Perfect for canning apples.  It all works itself out in the end.

I have been trying to use up some of my yarn stash this year (you remember the don't buy a skein in 2015?) and I didn't make as big a dent as I had hoped but I have been chugging along alright.  It has been particularly tempting to go out and buy yarn for projects for Tiddle but I have stayed strong in my resolve!  It has been exciting, overall, to be reintroduced to my stash and to be forced to find creative ways to accomplish what I want to do using what I have.  Occasionally it is annoying, but for the most part, I have found yarn to use that works perfectly for what I need it for.  (See how perfect the orange color of the above photographed fox hat matched the little outfit I bought for a friends' baby?  I didn't even remember HAVING an orange and I had two different shades...one the perfect fit!  Fox hat pattern.)  

I had hoped to use up a lot more stash yarn than I have but, while some women can turn out impressive yarn projects almost weekly...it is pretty clear I am not one of them.  Even still,   I figure if I get a few smallish projects done now that the weather is practically demanding it (cool weather = yarny crafts.  It just does.) I will be satisfied.  I made the turquoise hat (in the woods pictures) last week using this pattern and think I may have done something wrong because it doesn't have the same brow lines as hers.  Visitors had stopped by and were chatting with us at the time when I was finishing up the hat so I'll say I got distracted and missed the last few lines of instructions.  ;-)  The kids' like the hat though and can't seem to decide who it shall belong to.  

That's good enough for me.