In a little over a week I made this striped blanket for the baby. It was inspired by the Purl Bee baby blanket, but I used a more affordable yarn (Lion Brand Vanna's Choice) and I cast on 130 stitches instead of 120. I enjoyed making it because it was totally mindless and I could do it during school and while I was tired which pretty much sums up any part of the day right now. It was very satisfying to complete a project quickly and have it ready for our baby girl!
Here are a couple of sweaters I am nearly finished with. I just need to block them and put buttons on one. The pink, gray, and white is the Baby Vertebrae. I've made this in 2 different sizes now and really enjoyed the process and the pattern. The other one is the Baby Surprise Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmermann. She, and this pattern, are legends among knitters. And so I stayed away from it thinking it would be too hard. But then I bought the pattern from Schoolhousepress.com. In the pattern booklet you'll find her original version and also the row by row instructions that were written in order to simplify it (for knitters like me). I loved making it and I'm so excited to see it on the baby. I'm thinking about making one for Silas as well- in a color that I'd be happy to see on baby girl when she's a toddler too. I'm thinking a blue or brown. Or maybe gray.
Since finishing Tess of the Durbervilles I haven't really found a book I could get into. Plus I was obsessed with getting that blanket done! Just this week I started reading The Big Tiny. It's funny, I guess, considering that we're kind of a large family. But I do have a sort of fascination with tiny houses. So it's interesting to me to read about a woman who decided to simplify by downsizing. I think I could be a weekend tiny house dweller- maybe someday!
Joining Ginny's Yarn Along
My plan is to never teach math again pretty soon here. Once I'm done with the math I'm currently doing with Maddie and Teshome they'll be doing math with daddy (3rd grade math is about as far as I can go). Peter is basically my hero for dealing with these 2 at 8 am everyday.
He had just told them that if they didn't get a certain practice sheet done along with their regular daily worksheet they'll be doing math on Saturday. Charlotte is thrilled with that idea as you can see.
Four years ago today Valentine's Day took on a whole new meaning for our family. It was the day that Pete and I went before a judge in Ethiopia committing to be Teshome's parents and waiting for the judge's approval. Later that afternoon we celebrated the judge's positive judgement and the fact that we had a new son! Since then, we've enjoyed the tradition of eating Ethiopian food to remember that special day. Some years we've gone out, but mostly we make injera and various stews at home. After several years of making it, I've found the recipe and method that works best for us. And it is Teshome approved which is the best test to pass! I'll admit it isn't as good or authentic as what we get when we go out for Ethiopian, but it is good and we've served it to many guests. I use the recipe from Marcus Samuelsson's cookbook, The Soul of a New Cuisine, A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa. It's kind of a "cheater" version that uses club soda and yogurt to get the sour dough effect without actually going through the time and work of fermenting. However, I do add more club soda to it because otherwise it turns out way too thick. In case you're not familiar with Ethiopian food, it consists of a sort of spongy, sour dough flat bread made with teff flour that you use to pick up stews with. Our favorite stews are Doro Wat (a chicken stew), Tibbs (a spicy steak), and red lentils.
When I make the injera, I've learned how to get it nice and thin with the bubbles of air that make it close to authentic. You pour the batter onto a frying pan or griddle in a circle and then cover it with a pot lid that will allow steam to move around it. You do NOT want to flip it. Just check it every minute or so- it only takes a couple of minutes to cook- and take it off when the middle looks cooked through (not gooey). After I take it off the griddle I put it on a towel to cool. Then I stack it and wrap stacks of about 10 pieces in foil. It takes a couple of hours to make enough for our family so I usually make it the day before we plan to eat it and put it in the fridge. As long as it's completely wrapped in foil it will warm nicely in the oven (if it's not wrapped well it will get dried out)
it snowed all day yesterday and in the evening the strength of the wind and the sort of crackling sound of the snow hitting the house made me so thankful for the warmth of our house. we just finished listening to The Long Winter last week and it's hard to imagine enduring this kind of weather without modern conveniences. 4th biggest snowstorm on record for chicagoland. that's what they're calling it. church was cancelled yesterday and Pete and the boys spent a good part of the day trying to keep up with clearing the driveway - with shovels because the belt on the snow blower broke. the girls and I spent time painting nails, baking, making dinner, knitting (me), and playing with their dolls (the girls).we
also played a game of Settlers of Cattan. it was a very long drawn out game in which pete and teshome quit and the rest of us tied at 7 points before calling it quits to eat. in the evening we watched Little Women (the boys pretended to be suffering as they watched).
now pete and his sore back are off to work. normally when schools have snow days we just press on with our school work. i've decided to surprise the kids with an "almost" snow day. peter's monday science class has been cancelled so the only schoolwork i'm requiring is a bit of reading for tapestry of grace. the rest of their to do list includes playing in the snow and drinking hot chocolate. i'm planning to cook a couple of chickens, make soup, and knit. if i can find my snow boots maybe i'll get out and play with my camera in the snow.
At the end of last week Silas came down with a cold which he quickly shared with Ella and me. Ella has viral induced asthma so she's having a rough time with her cough and has to use an inhaler everyday (normal when she gets a cold). I'm fighting it, hoping it doesn't settle into my lungs again, forcing me to take antibiotics and steroids again and hoping Ella gets over it quickly. I'm using Doterra essential oils - rubbing Oregano and Onguard on our feet twice a day. I'm also putting Oregano, Lemon, Melaleuca, and Peppermint in a mug of hot water and then I breathe in the steam a couple times a day. And I made a blend with Onguard, Oregano, Lemon, Melaleuca, and Frankincense (in a carrier oil) that I put on Silas' feet, neck, and chest a few times each day. I'm definitely seeing improvement in him and I think the oils are shortening the duration of his cold. It's frustrating to be sick again after just a couple weeks with nobody coughing around here! Lord willing, we'll be well again soon.
A bright spot during a frustrating time was teaching the kids to finger knit today. I really got the idea because Charlotte needed something to do and she just loves crafts. After a few minutes everyone else wanted to give it a try as well.
I finally figured out how to get the photos off my camera and onto the computer. First there was software to install and more software to install and then something went wrong and Pete had to help me. Computers just don't like me. Here some pictures showing tidbits of life around here in the past couple of weeks. Birthday flowers, my new houseplant interest (that fern looked much smaller at the greenhouse were it was so sadly wearing a clearance price tag and longing for a home), the compost tea I'm making for the plants, a baby sweater blocking, toddler painting, some very handsome men
So much to do, so little time. Where do the days go? They are wonderful days (mostly) consumed by school and keeping everyone on task- and helping them get along. I have tiny moments to knit or read or think straight. These days I find, more often than not, that I have to use those tiny moments for sleep rather than accomplishing the things I really want to do. I'm not getting up as early as I'd like in the mornings and I often have to use that hour of required rest time that the kids have to actually put my head down for a bit too. Pete just got me a camera for my birthday so I'm trying to learn how to use it. I need TIME to read the manual, play around with it, and mess around on the computer to figure out how/where to store and edit the photos. I have a couple of knitting projects to finish and a few more to start before the baby is born but those all require TIME. And then there's this poor little blog that could surely use some help. Soon, soon I'll get to it. For now here's a picture (from my phone) of the yummy yarn I just got in the mail today to make Elizabeth Zimmermann's Baby Surprise Jacket (the link will show you the finished version of one of my favorite bloggers).
Each morning the kids and I gather at the table for a time that consists of Bible reading, prayer, and singing the hymn of the month. We also use this time to read/recite the poem of the month, go over some Greek and Latin word roots cards, and do our Tapestry of Grace read aloud. I also like to incorporate a separate thing I consider character study. Last fall we went through the book Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends by Sarah, Stephen, and Grace Mally. Today we are starting The Young Peacemaker by Corlette Sande. I am really looking forward to the lessons about handling conflict Biblically and hope and pray the children really take them to heart. I have seen that when we talk daily about relationships, love, kindness, and how we should treat eachother, it does make an impact. It's a lot of work, a lot of talking- but Lord willing they will leave this home well equipped to handle conflict in a way that is glorifying to God!