Living for the Pockets

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Well friends, it has been almost a month since my last post.  When going back to work full time, I had high hopes of still being able to post each day.  Now I’m thinking I may have been in the midst of a bit of a crazy streak to think that would be possible.  In fact, for a few weeks there I did feel like I was quite the loony lady, and sure I would never again be able to take part in those “homestead-ish” acts that had come to make up so much of my life since I left the workforce in 2009.  I felt like I couldn’t balance anything, and found it difficult to stay afloat.

But as always, my husband was there to tell me two things: 1.  You are crazy.  But not  headed down the path to Crazy Town like I thought.  He said I was crazy to think just because I had started back to work full time, that I would have to suddenly abandon who I was.  2.  Give it a few weeks, and you will soon be able to figure out where to fit in all you love to do: teach, raise our family and keep our suburban homestead afloat.

So I did as he directed.  I waited.  And low and behold (and as much as I hate to admit it), he was right.  I have found those little pockets of time here and there where I can still do those activities I love.  In fact, I didn’t even realize I was doing it until I went to download pictures this weekend and discovered that over the course of the past month I had been able to do quite a lot.

But these activities have taken on a different form.  Instead of dedicating several hours in the afternoon to crocheting, I sneak in a couple of rows while sitting at tumbling lessons.  Rather than having an entire fermenting-day, I whip up a quick batch of yogurt on Saturday mornings with extra milk that is about to expire, and throw together an attempt at water kefir on a Friday night after the girls are asleep.

And I think my favorite part of all has been the ability to interweave these homesteading activities into my classroom.  In the midst of a soil composition unit, we  started a worm compost bin, and a chemistry assessment turned into a soapmaking lab.  And I can’t forget the measurement conversion unit where we went outside to make ice cream in the snow.

The crazy part of this new life of mine has been how I now live for those pockets.  Those pockets of time when I can do and share those activities that make me who I am.

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I hope you all move into this week, able to find those pockets in which you can do all that you love.

At This Moment

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At this moment I am…

~continuing to stitch away at some new dish wash cloths.

~very thankful I got caught up on all things school yesterday.  I feel that I can take a big breath and a sigh of relief.

~even more thrilled I got all of the above mentioned work-type items done yesterday, because we have a day off of school today because of the frigid temperatures.  Hooray for snow days (Well, cold days) 🙂

~checking on my curing soap I have stowed away in my basement.  More on this adventure in next week’s posts.

~preparing to ferment a new batch of kombucha.  The cold weather has really slowed down my kombucha brewing, but I’m hoping I can get a new batch up and running today.

~reading Michael Pollan’s newest book, Cooked:  A Natural History of Transformation.  As with all of his texts, this one does not disappoint.  It is truly captivating, and also so informative and inspiring at the same time.

~organizing craft supplies.  My little ones mentioned before their heads hit the pillow last night: “Mommy, if we don’t have school tomorrow, can it be Valentine-making Day?”  Well gals, Valentine-making Day it is!

~flipping through Ashley English’s A Year of Pies.  I feel as if a day off school warrants a day of eating pie, right?

~wishing you all a warm Thursday, friends.

Sleep Hats

As I’ve mentioned this past week or so, my littlest one has asked for a “sleep hat” for Christmas.  Now, I’m not sure what exactly a sleep hat is exactly.  All I know is that she requested a nice comfy hat she can wear when she reads stories before bed.

My mind starting running through possibilities for a sleep hat sort of idea, and then it hit me:  ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.  You all know the part, “With Mama in her kerchief and I in my cap…” That’s what I wanted to make!  I wanted to craft a cap like I had seen in all of the illustrations of Papa in ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.

With a bit of trial and error, I bring you my first ever created “sleep hat” for my tiny ones to wear on a cold winter’s night.

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One down, one more to go, and only a few days remaining.  I better get to work 🙂

At This Moment

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At this moment, I am…

~preparing my eldest’s Girl Scout Daisy smock.  Today is her first Daisy meeting, and I am just praying her little cough from last night is better this morning so she is able to attend.  She is so very excited.

~putting the finishing touches on the sleep hats I mentioned last week.  More on this to come later this week.

~frosting biscotti.  It’s my Nona’s recipe from Italy, and they are delicious.  No worries, more on these tasty treats later this week as well 🙂

~wishing a few extra hours could be added to each day this week.  There is so much that needs to be done.

~reminding myself what is important this time of year, despite the above mentioned craziness that seems to be seeping into each day.

~awaiting an important day in my family’s life.  Check in on Friday for more about this news.

~hoping each of you has a wonderful start to your week.

Just Go With It

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Yes, it is March 27th.  Yes, it is Spring.  Yes, we are completely snow-covered and freezing.  I’ve decided I need to move to the positive of this situation instead of dwelling on the negative.  So, woolens it is.  Why not sit under a quilt, with a mug of steaming hot coffee and crochet with a bit of lovely wool.  And that’s just what I did.

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The yarn is from this farm in Wisconsin.  They can be found at the weekly farmers’ market in Madison, and they normally have their yarn for sale at their booth.  (If you have never visited the Dane County Farmers’ Market, you must go!  It is absolutely amazing…no matter the season…it’s year round and awesome!)

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This is me embracing the frigid March temps.  I’m just going with it.

Welcome 2013

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Our amarylis stretched her pedals wide to greet 2013 last Tuesday.  I couldn’t believe she chose this day to awaken, but it seemed to represent a fresh start  for our family.  We needed a bit of freshness around these parts, seeing as each of us took our turn with the nasty flu bug that has been making its way through our neck of the woods.  My illness and long recovery is the reason it has taken me so long to return to this space.

I am very thankful to be feeling back to my normal self, and to share some holiday images with all of you.  Because of our bouts with illness, this holiday season was very low key, but it turned out to be a bit of a blessing.  Instead of the constant buzzing from here to there that often takes place around Christmas and New Year’s Day, we were able to nestle in and just enjoy some quality home-time with one another.

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I hope each and every one of you had a blessed holiday season, and find yourself filled with the sense of renewal this time of year brings with it.  Can you feel it?  As I sit here, clad in wool from head to toe, sipping my morning coffee, writing this post, I can feel the uniqueness of this time of year.  It’s a stirring deep within me, telling me this is sure to be a year filled with many blessings and a whole lot challenges.  I can’t wait to dive into the depths of this newness and get started.

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I wish all of you a wonderful 2013! 

The Gift of Homemade

The season of gift-giving is upon us, and this year we have decided to take a different approach to our most-loved holiday.  We hope to create many of our gifts with our very own hands, thus giving our friends and family something truly from deep within our hearts.  Here is a bit of what is in the works right now…

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Some of you may remember that I purchased a great deal of yarn from my favorite Northwoods shop when we were visiting my husband’s grandparents last spring.  Well, the silky alpaca yarn has been sitting by patiently awaiting fall, and now its time has come.  I had been saving these eight skeins of yarn for something special for my little girls.

And now…ta da

…new hats and cowls!  Sure to keep them cozy {and stylish 🙂 } on the playground.  I love the idea of the cowl instead of a scarf because with the way these girls run around, a scarf wouldn’t last a day of tag-playing or swinging at recess.

Fruits of Labor

A while back I wrote about our trip to the Northwoods of Wisconsin and my visit to a fabulous little yarn shop.  Well, I have been working hard the past several days and have a few new pieces to share with all of you.

Here is my two-year old sporting the first finished product:  a little bitty shawl for those chilly mornings in the spring and summer when you just need a little something to snuggle up with.  I am sad to say that I have no idea how to read a pattern, so everything I make I create without a pattern.  But I did get my inspiration from this blog post.  The shawl is made with a beautiful lamb’s wool/bamboo blend, so you get the warmth of the wool without the scratchiness that sometimes accompanies woolen garments.

Next, I made a little something for Mama!  A nice cowl made with toasty 100% lamb’s wool.

More projects are in the works, especially after purchasing that wonderful yarn on our farm visit.  I will be sure to share soon.

I hope you have a wonderful, relaxing, and crafty weekend 🙂