Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Summer Round-Up

While summer officially lasts until mid-September, in our house, tonight really feels like the end of summer. Given that Dh and I are both teachers and we both go in for staff meetings tomorrow and start teaching next Tuesday, it really feels like it's time to move on. I didn't want to wind up, though, without sharing some of our summer highlights and reviewing my summer list.

Summer Memories of this year:
1. Dancing around the kitchen to "The Siamese Cat Song" from "Lady and the Tramp" (yes, I know, we are not a Disney family but my in-laws are big Disney fans and Pk fell in love during our visit up north).

2. Sitting on the kitchen floor as the kids eat peach after peach (and the clean up of the floor afterwards).

3. Taking Little Bean for his first ice cream (he is a huge fan).

4. Endless long stroller walks to the bridge.

5. Afternoon naps with the sun streaming in the window.

6. Reporting on our weekly reading at the book club at the library.

7. Swim lesson after swim lesson after swim lesson.

8. Homemade souvlaki and tzatziki.

9. Pool party with Pk's best friends.

10. Knitting in the car.

11. Little Bean beginning to sleep through (HOORAY!)

12. Making relish and jam.

13. Swinging in our hammock in the yard.

14. Eating fresh kale and tomatoes from our garden.

15. Sharing an afternoon strawberry smoothie with Pk and LB.

16. The magical day at the cottage.

17. Going down to the city so my mom could buy Pk her first back-to-school outfit at the mall we always enjoyed when I was young.

18. The death of my uncle.

19. Watching Jack Layton's funeral.

20. My sad addiction to Top Chef Canada, Top Chef Just Desserts and Masterchef.

21. The pinata at our "Mexican Fiesta".

22. Buying dirt cheap pink floral china to plan for Pk's birthday.

23. Enjoying participating in Ginny's Yarn Along weekly link-up.

23. Savouring the moments.

Review of the summer list:

-pick strawberries and make jam - almost done
- we went crazy and gave strawberry rhubarb jam to everyone!
-eat dinner outside at least once a week
-eating outside worked for a while until it just got too hot and now, the wasps are bad and Pk has been stung several times, something I don't want to risk again
-read outside at least once
-I loved the afternoon that Pk and I read on a blanket in the yard
-make zuchini relish
-we bought too much zucchini and ended up having to make more relish than we will ever eat - I got royally sick of making relish!
-take the kids to the farm once a week
-we went a few times but there wasn't enough shade - we plan to go in the fall lots on weekends, if we can fit it in
-do something special for Canada Day
-Canada Day was spent in the city with my parents and then at the local fireworks - I will never forget standing in the crowd to sing the national anthem before the fireworks began
-do a BIG clear-out of junk at home so that I can go back to work with the house in better shape
-while we did a big clear out, there's still more to do and we haven't as yet had the big yard sale that we are going to do with several other families, if we can fit it in
-memorize Psalm 91 (one of my favourite pieces of scripture)
-I began this but didn't really stick to it - I plan to move this to my fall list
-have music on all the time
-we've done more of this but I would like to try more often
-plan Pk's birthday party with enough time before that I am not CRAZED the week it happens
-this has definitely been better this year and I am having so much fun planning - it's this Saturday and I can't wait!
-take Pk at least once to the wading pool at the end of my parents' street in the big city
-I planned to do this more often than we did but we did get there once
-have at least one picnic using my picnic basket and eaten on a blanket
- we didn't get to this one and with the wasp fears, we will have to wait until next year
-swim in fresh water at least once (probably while visit my parents or the in-laws)
-this happened at the lovely cottage day we spent up north - it was magical
-spend as little money as possible as we launch into our "Total Money Makeover"
-while I can't say that we were entirely frugal, we were much better this summer than usual and didn't use credit at all, which is real progress for us
-sit with the lights off to watch a thunderstorm
-we didn't have many good storms this summer but last Wednesday's big lightning storm was great to watch
-run three times a week and finish the 5k to 8k series I am doing
-I was good for the first half of the summer but I have to admit, I fell off my routine - it was too humid to run outside and my doctor has put me on some medication, nothing serious but it has left me quite tired and I am having some trouble getting up early - while I am not planning on working on the 8k this fall, I am definitely going to keep running 5k three times a week

I have to admit, while I have mixed feelings about going back to work, I am excited about fall, which is my very favourite season. Watch for my fall list soon!

How was your summer?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Mexican Fiesta

We have a group of good friends that has become a kind of supper club - once a month, we get together for dinner with our families and we take turns hosting. We always pick a theme and each family contributes something to the meal. This month, we were hosting and the theme was "Mexican Fiesta".

Since we were hosting, we were responsible for the main dish and I was really happy with the theme since tacos were really easy to prepare before everyone arrived. I like to do as much of the food preparation as I can before we have company since our kitchen really keeps you away from your guests if you are spending a lot of time cooking. We decided to do a few kinds of meat to try and meet everyone's tastes - we did this recipe for chicken which was delicious (although I don't use a seasoning mix for the tacos since they are full of salt, I make my own), we did plain ground beef for the littles and we did our standard beef taco filling which is just beef, jalapenos, onions and chili powder. We had whole wheat and white wraps and corn hard taco shells, lettuce, tomatoes and cheese.

Since we knew that one family was bringing a pinata, we wanted to really get into the theme as well. We went out and bought sombreros for the littles and I did some research to get some Mexican music. I quickly discovered that I really, really dislike mariachi (sorry if you like it) which is kind of strange, actually, since there are very few musical forms that I can't stand. I love latin jazz and decided that since Cuba is fairly close to Mexico and at least one of the friends coming shares my love of vintage jazz/bossa/latin music, I decided to go with the Buena Vista Social Club, which ended up being perfect. We also got some margarita mix and little umbrellas and the kids sampled virgin margaritas.

The evening couldn't have gone better. The food was delicious (we had veggies and dip, nachos and salsa, meatballs which are a tradition for the kids whatever the theme and for dessert, M made profiteroles and the most amazing smore desserts). The kids had a blast, the food was a hit and the company was great. I was a bit worried that it would be too tight for space since our house is fairly small but it seemed to be just right.

We tried to get a photo of the older kids wearing the sombreros but we couldn't seem to get them all in one place for very long. One dad was a very good sport! He's also funny because he's a big, tough guy and the babies ADORE him and he is so thoughtful - I think he ended up holding Little Bean more than anyone else.
When it came time for the pinata, two of the dads went out to hang it in the tree. The kids were bursting with excitement and I was a bit concerned for the well-being of our blinds.

Before we began, we tried to get group photos of the children but as you can see, Little Bean had gotten very tired by that point and wasn't feeling so thrilled at the experience.

It was an industrial strength pinata and in the end, the dads (very enthusiastically) had to finish it off for us. Sadly, it was at that point that poor Pk got stung by a bee for the third time this week. She was pretty miserable but at least having her friends around meant that she got over it much faster than the other two times.

Next month, we are meeting at M's house for a harvest celebration. I can't wait!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Yard Sale Finds

I've been woefully negligent about posting here lately, I am very sorry. Life has been very busy and we are gearing up to return to work in two weeks. My uncle died on Saturday, as well, which has complicated things a bit (that's a post for another day). I am going to try some shorter posts in the next few days to see whether I can get caught up a bit.

Next Saturday (Sept. 3rd), we will be celebrating Pk's birthday. She is going to be 4 and she has been talking for ages about wanting to have a "princess tea party" (and, to further complicate it, over half of her guests are boys). We modified it a bit to call it a "dress-up tea party" - we are going to welcome superheros and dinosaurs as well as princesses in their finery. It should be very interesting.

I have been having so much fun planning this. Thanks to Gin, who introduced me to Pinterest, I have found all kinds of marvelous decorating ideas and recipes. Since the beginning of the summer, I have been watching Yard Sales and Goodwill for teapots and china dishes that are ridiculously cheap. I know that there are those who would be horribly stressed out by 3 and 4 year old guests using china but the way I am seeing this, when I paid next to nothing for things, who cares if something gets broken. I know that Pk adores using our china and I am sure that her friends will, too.

Excuse the horrible quality of the photos but tonight, I spread all of the finds out to see what we have... I am very excited. I had managed to find quite a few pieces but today, I hit the motherlode - at a sale at the local United Church, I got 9 cups and saucers in pink floral china, 4 large matching plates and a cream pitcher for $6. I love buying china anyway (I am such an old lady) so this gives me a perfect excuse to relive memories of my Grandma and having tea at her place.
I have absolutely no idea what we will do with all of this after the party (I think the yard sale we are planning may contain a lot of china!) but for now, this is so much fun. I'll try and share some more of the fun planning I have been doing in the next few days.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Weekly Yarn Along

I have come to really love the weekly Yarn Along hosted by Ginny at Small Things. I haven't done a lot of posting lately (I hope to remedy that in the next few days) but I always seem to find time for my Yarn Along post. I have been doing so much more reading and I think that it is, in party, thanks to this series. Thanks, Ginny, for the inspiration!

Knitting - of course, since I don't really want to do the blocking and assembling of the sweater I have been working on, I have found something else to do and something that is perfect for my ADHD brain. I love little projects that can be done quickly and I have started to yearn for fall (my favourite season). I found a pattern for these knitted leaves (washclothes) and they have been fun and quick to make. They are supposed to be concave when you knit them and then block out flat but I am not having much luck with that... I'll keep trying, though.

Reading - I found this book by Lily King, "Father of the Rain" on the new books shelf at the library. It's good, if rather depressing (an 11 year old girl dealing with the divorce of her parents and her father's alcoholism) but it is oddly readable at the same time. I also have rediscovered a light and fluffy mystery writer who I have enjoyed in the past, M.C. Beaton, and picked up a few of her books.

What are you working on this week?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Yarn Along

Each week, Ginny at Small Things hosts the weekly "Yarn Along" - a place where we get to share what we are knitting and what we are reading. If only I could manage to do both things at once, life would be perfect :-).

Knitting - this week, I have been all over the place. I finished the hood to the cabled sweater I am working on, which means that I have to block and finish. I loathe finishing sweaters and it will be an act of sheer will to get this finished. In the meantime, I have a few of these knitting dishcloths to work on in the car - I have been trying to take advantage of time in the car (with Dh driving, of course!) to get a few little projects finished. Once September arrives, I am going to need to go full steam ahead on a few gifts for Christmas that I want to get done which means that I need to take the next couple of weeks to get everything finished that is already under way.

Reading - One of my guilty pleasures are the Amish books by Beverly Lewis. They are not my typical reading but once in a while, I love to get hooked into a series that doesn't challenge my brain too much and in which I get to glimpse the simpler life and dream a bit. The Telling is from the Seasons of Grace series, which I quite enjoyed (although the Abram's Daughter's Series is my favourite of all time). I was thrilled to arrive at the library yesterday to discover that Alexander McCall Smith's latest mystery in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series had arrived for me. I love his writing style and I haven't found anyone like him.

What are you working on this week?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Over the Bridge

It's been a really busy week, more swimming lessons, doctors appointments and needles (yuck) and having a freckle checked that I was worried about (I can't tell you the relief that it was nothing). On the plus side, the weather has cooled down a bit so we have been able to get out and about a bit more. I love walking, the kids love being outside and our walks help me get through my down time of day (am I the only person who drags from 3:30 or so until 5?)

One of the best things about living in our town is the way that the town is laid out. There's a creek that runs from the eastern end of town to the western end and there is parkland and forest trails that run the entire length of the creek. I love water - there's something about the sound of the water that calms me down immediately and I also love the fact that while we are right in the middle of town, it feels like we are out in the middle of nowhere.

Pk has developed a fascination with bridges and luckily, there are at least three over the creek. There's one that is our favourite, though - it's tucked in the woods and we have never seen anyone there. You walk along the path and the bridge is around the corner, hidden in trees. We practice Pk's hops for dance class, throw rocks and leaves down into the water and look for fish. It's strange how something so small can bring so much pleasure but when I think back to this summer and this time of our lives together, I think one of my most fond memories will be the time we have spent at the bridge.

One thing I want to do before the end of the summer with the kids is to make and sail paper boats. Pk has had so much fun dropping Queen Anne's Lace and watching it float down the river, boats might be a lot of fun.

What special place does your family enjoy?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


I'm a bit of a Facebook addict, I admit it. I know, Facebook isn't a way to truly relate to people and I certainly have "friends" who I wouldn't have time for in real life. For me, right now, Facebook fills in the gaps - I don't have the time to be in touch with the people who mean most to me anywhere near frequently enough and at least the status updates keep me aware of the big stuff that I might otherwise miss (and remind me to get in touch). Sometimes, though, Facebook drives me crazy.

Dh and I have a very bizarre circle of friends. Those of you who are like us, slightly crunchy, university-educated, formerly "big city", yet also living in a small town and Christian probably understand what I mean. We don't fit anywhere completely - we are more conservative morally than many of our friends who aren't "church" types and tend to be thought of as being a bit odd, and on the other hand, some of our church friends and acquaintances think we are bordering on un-Christian (in their minds) at times and certainly, many of them think that we are politically and parenting-wise significantly too far to the left. Our faith has a much more New Testament than O.T. orientation and we strive not to live like Pharisees (although we do have strong beliefs about what we are commanded to do in terms of our lives and we try to live what we believe).

One hazard of having this odd group of friends is that, at times, people say things and expect us to agree and they are things that shock us. I have debated whether to link my blog to my Facebook and today, I know why I haven't. Someone I know and love came out with something today that ENRAGED me and reminded me of just how much I can disagree with those I love. I need somewhere to rant and I don't want her to see this.

I have been watching the situation in the U.K. with tremendous sadness. From what I have seen and read, society in the U.K. (and more generally in Europe) has been going down a very troubled road. To me, these riots are just a symptom of a bigger problem. This is what I saw as my friend's status this morning:

RIP Broken Britain.. You went soft on discipline!.. You went soft on immigration!You went soft on crime.. Parents were told.. 'No you can't smack the kids'....Teachers were prevented from chastising kids in schools.. The police couldn't clip a troublemaker round the ear.. Kids had rights blah blah blah.. Well done Britain..You shall reap what you sow.. We have lost a whole generation.

I have spent the day brooding and arguing in my head. I don't know why, the kind of "Christians" who say things like this aren't interested at all in what I have to say (or what other people have experienced). I just can't get past this - seriously, smacking people upside the head and hitting our children is going to rectify a situation like this? Do you honestly want me to believe that the young men involved in this haven't already been abused by the adults around them? We are going to blame immigrants? I don't recall seeing many skinheads with dark skin, with kinky hair or with Asian features. In fact, I believe that the first deaths related to the riots were of three young men trying to protect their neighbours and judging from the father of one of the boys who was obviously originally from South Asia, I don't think it was the Asians who were responsible. I am SO SICK of ignorant people blaming the problems that we, those of us whose families have been around for generations, have created and allowed to fester.

The problem in England? Young men who have grown up in a society that tells them that they are utterly valueless. They are born to mothers who are using drugs/depressed/victims of abuse/hopeless, living in grim housing that looks like something post-nuclear apocalypse, taught a curriculum that ignores their learning disabilities/fetal alcohol syndrome/lack of early stimulation/emotional issues caused by lack of stability in their early years by teachers who are expected to drive a curriculum home to classes that are too large and too angry and they learn from their first school experiences that they are stupid and unworthy. They go to sleep at night listening to the social chaos around them and with no hope of a different future. They are fed constant messages that tell girls that their own value is in their sexuality and boys that they only prove their value through possessing stuff and bullying those around them. They quickly fall prey to messages that scapegoat immigrants as being the cause of the problems rather than a government system that has been mismanaged for years and an economy that has left so many behind as many industries that kept families going for generations disappear. I am in no way saying that they are right in their riots but to say that the problem is a lack of physical discipline is so utterly simplistic.

The saddest part? That we, as Christians, have missed the chance to change these futures. We could, if we tried, put across the message than rather than being worthless, these young men are created in God's image, they are loved and valued and have so much to contribute. We could have taught them how to think about others and developed their capacity to feel empathy instead of blind rage. We could have come alongside their mothers and changed the environments in which they are raised.

Yes, the Facebook poster was right - we are reaping what we have sown. Tragically, so many people are paying the price. For me, the only question is how we can change this and what I can do. I guess, no matter how much I disagree, I should thank the poster - she has really made me think about what I might do to help a child to feel his/her worth.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Yarn Along

I have come to really love the weekly "Yarn Along", hosted by Ginny at Small Things. My list of holds at the library keeps getting longer and my knitting projects are getting done since I have a weekly goal of having something to post. It's so much fun. Thanks, Ginny!Knitting - this week, I pulled out an old sweater that I started about five years ago and then put away. It was so foolish all I had left to do is one and a half sleeves and the finishing (I hate finishing, probably one of the reasons it got put away). I had forgotten how much I truly love cables and since this one is knit up in a chunky yarn, it works up quickly. I don't know what I was thinking when I picked this colour since I think it will look awful on me but who knows, I might either discover it looks better than I think or it might make a nice gift for someone. Anyway, it's been satisfying to work on and it's got me really keen to start some other cable work that I want to do (but that won't be started until the end of the summer when I have money for yarn buying). As an aside, any Canadian knitters around here, if you have any good suggestions for online yarn buying sources, I would love to know.

Reading - The 19th Wife by David Ebersol. I LOVE this book. It was suggested to me by someone who has wonderful taste in books not that long ago who predicted that I would really like it. She was right. I haven't been able to put it down. It's two stories threading along at once - the story of Brigham Young's 19th wife who left him to become a staunch critic of polygamy and the story of a young man who was thrown out of a polygamous sect and whose mother is ultimately accused of killing his father and the young man's struggle to determine what really happened. I know almost nothing about the Latter Day Saints or their history and from the little bit of research this book has led me to do, it's pretty fascinating. It's also got me thinking a bit about my own tolerance - I find some of the aspects of it pretty bizarre and, well, ridiculous but then, I guess to an outsider, Christianity might seem that way, too. It's a good read and at half-way through, I can't put it down.

I can't wait to do some visiting and see what else everyone is knitting and reading this week!

Our First Movie

I am please to say that we did make it to Winnie the Pooh. Pk was over the moon. Instead of going to one of the big Cineplex theatres, we ended up going to a small, art-deco theatre in a nearby town. I will definitely do that again. The matinee tickets were only $5, the sound in the theatre was just right (unlike the last few theatre movies I have seen, when I thought I might have to leave, it was so loud) and the popcorn was yummy. The movie itself wasn't anything terribly exciting but I did laugh out loud a few times and Pk thought it was marvelous. I love the story of Winnie the Pooh and its complexities (I plan to use it as my first read aloud this fall with my grade 2/3 class, it's much less simple than one would think) and yet, there was enough that Pk could understand that she enjoyed it, too.

It was a wonderful outing that we will definitely have to repeat again when another good film comes out - let me know if you know of anything that we might like!

Friday, August 5, 2011

When Life Gives you Lemons, Make Pizza

The last few days have been tough. My anxiety has been out of control and our vacation up north to visit the in-laws wasn't exactly what it was supposed to be. We left Tuesday after lunch. Just before we left, Dh mentioned that Little Bean had spit up a bit in the early morning and he had forgotten to tell me. Well, it turned into being much more than spitting up. In the car on the journey, he threw up hot dog three times and then, during dinner with my in-laws, he got sick again. We kept saying that we should probably come home and not infect them any more than we already had. The in-laws were wonderfully understanding and supportive and they wanted us to stay. We ended up with three days of children throwing up, endless amounts of laundry and not doing any of the things we had hoped to do.

Getting home wasn't much better. Just before we left, our dryer died. This is very bad news for us right now - as teachers, we don't get paid during the summer and the only money we get for the summer is given to us at the beginning of the summer. Given that the summer payment comes from money held back from money earned during the school year and the fact that I only worked two months due to mat leave, I didn't get much at all for the summer. Things are TIGHT. We have insurance on our appliances but the utility company that holds the insurance contracts out to another company to do the repairs. Dh called and booked the service call last Monday. They were set to come this morning. Imagine our surprise when we got home yesterday to a message form the sub-contractors, wanting to book the appointment. It took a great deal of calling to get them to come. Add to that the fact that Little Bean threw up in the night last night and woke up this morning covered in vomit, the fact that dh left his trunk of his car ajar while we were away and the car battery was totally dead this morning and the fact that we then couldn't get the clock in the car to work again (which we feared was going to relate to a bigger and more expensive to fix problem), I was having quite the pity-party this morning.

By lunchtime today, I was pretty upset so I decided that Pk and I were going to do something special. She has been talking for a while about wanting to see a movie at the theatre. I have held off a bit, not sure of what to take her to. I'm not a big Disney fan and I find a lot of films for kids are actually not especially good for little ones. When I saw that "Winnie the Pooh" was coming, I wanted her to see it. I decided that today was the day. I had checked last night and seen that it was playing at our local cinema at 1:45 and I had a coupon for two... this would be perfect.

Pk was over the moon. We had lunch, drove into town and arrived at the theatre. She was humming with excitement. We walked in, I looked at the listings and (I'm sure you can see it coming), no "Winnie". I got up to the counter, asked, and was told "they pulled the movie today." I was crushed (I think it hurt me more than Pk, she was brilliant). I decided to get her a fruit smoothie on the way home (one of her favs), which she dumped into the carseat on the way home. Could this day get any worse?

I drove home in tears, wanting to do nothing more than just go back to bed. I really struggled with myself. I had no money, no ideas and a day that was a shambles. Finally, I decided that I had to do something to make the day better. I wanted to treat the kids to a nice dinner but, in the midst of it all, dh forgot to take the meat out of the freezer for dinner so we didn't even have something planned.

I finally decided what to do. We have been making all of our bread in our bread machine lately. I want to control what the kids are eating and I have been finding it really hard to get bread that wasn't full of additives. We have gotten pretty good at making bread, now, I wanted to try pizza dough. It's not a big thing but it made me feel like we were actually doing something and something that the kids would like.

I used this recipe and while I wasn't sure that it was going to work, I have to say, the final result was delicious. I changed the recipe a bit and instead of using part whole wheat, part white flour, we did all whole wheat. Dh and the kids had their favourite - tomato sauce, ground beef and lots and lots of cheese. My part was more to my liking - pesto, parmesan, black olives and sundried tomatoes. It was delicious (and, it seemed to change our luck - the car started working and it turns out that the only problem with the dryer was a loose belt).

I really have to watch myself. It's so easy to be mired in a bad day and to let the frustration I am feeling ruin everything. I'm proud of myself that I ended up turning things around. And the nice part? My friend, the one who lost her husband to cancer last year and has been feeling really blue, found a wonderful, quaint local theatre that is showing Winnie and she (who is 65 and lonely and not a kid person), is going to come with Pk and I. That will end up being more special for us and, I hope, something special and memorable for her, too. It's been a real gift - I didn't know whether our friendship would survive my having kids but if anything, it's enriched it. She and Pk are kindred spirits I think (she's not gushy or in-your-face and neither is Pk - even when Pk made strange with everyone, she loved her "Grannie Annie", who has spoiled her rotten). I love feeling grateful at the end of a terrible day.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Happiness Project, Month 2 Wrap-Up, Month 3

This has been a good month but I have to admit, the "clearing clutter" challenge was a lot more daunting that I thought it would be. After a month of lots of clearing out, we still haven't put the Bumbo, the wonderful swing, the bouncer or the blood pressure monitor on Craigslist, we haven't held the garage sale and all of my clearing out has been limited to the main floor (and our rec room downstairs is definitely the house dumping ground and really needs a clear out). Clearing clutter has definitely given me a sense of accomplishment and I love opening a closet door and not having an avalanche. It's also been cathartic to me, I think, to get rid of baby stuff - that forces me to move on past that faint wish for another little one (although, to be honest, as Little Bean's sleep improves and the further from the memories of pregnancy and delivery I get, the less nostagically I look back, I really don't want to do that again).

My biggest struggle, really, is to make peace with the fact that, as long as we have little ones, life will not be clutter free. I love seeing a house that isn't scattered with thousands of toys (I curse all of you who have given us party loot bags!) and I really like to be able to have company in without having to do an all-day cleaning fest beforehand. In the back of my mind, I am often thinking of the Christian idea of hospitality and thinking that my house should always be guest-ready to be hospitable. I think the true secret to happiness in all of this is to let go of those expectations and accept that a cleared-off place to sit, a cup of tea and a yummy snack in the midst of toy clutter might be the best I can offer right now.

The next's month's theme is one that I am really feeling the need for right now. Faith. My anxiety levels have been really, really obsessively high (yes, I need to talk to my doctor about it, we may joke with friends about me being a worrier but frankly, the feeling of impending doom that I seem to live with at times really is rather crushing). I think that if I can find a way to pray about things and then release that, it will really help me. I have already started trying to do a few things to put more of an emphasis on my faith and they do bring me peace. Now, it's time to take a month to be really deliberate about it and see if I can turn this into a series of good habits.

1. Read the Bible for a few minutes each morning when I first get up (which I often do but when life gets busy and kids get up early, this is easy to let slide).

2. Write in my prayer journal every morning. I record my prayer requests and then go back and review them every so often to see how things have turned it. It's a chance to see clear evidence of God's faithfulness. Again, I do this sometimes but it often gets missed in the craziness of the day.

3. Do a daily Bible reading with the kids, maybe in a devotional format. Pk and I did this regularly before bedtime but we have gotten out of the habit lately (I must admit, I get so tired, I am often trying to get bedtime over with as it seems to drag out). I'd like to do a little Bible story and prayer time each morning.

4. Try and do a social thing with church friends once a month. I have many friends who aren't devout Christians (which is just fine, many of them offer me friendship that is at least as supportive and heart-affirming as my Christian friends) but sometimes, it is nice to have those special friendships. This should be fairly easy, as a group of us who live in town are doing a monthly dinner club anyway.

I'd love to hear what you do with your own kids for devotions, if you do them. Along the way, Pk and I have been pretty good about it and when I was off on leave, we did lots of work but since I have gone back to work, it has slipped.

Have a happy August!

Yarn Along

I'm not going to be able to write my "Yarn Along" post on Wednesday so I wanted to write it today. Ginny, over at "Small Things", hosts a wonderful weekly challenge and link-up - to take a photo of what we are reading and knitting to share. I love this - the only problem for me is the fact that my list of books I want to read is getting awfully long.

This week, I have taken a break from my knitting on Pk's tunic to work on some knitted soft balls for a friend's baby. We were going up north for a cottage visit and they were the perfect little project to work on in the car. My friend had seen the ones I made for Little Bean and fell in love with them so of course, I had to make her a set. The pattern comes from "Itty Bitty Toys" by Susan Anderson and couldn't be easier.

In terms of reading, I have been all over the place this week but settled in for this book, "An Irish Country Doctor" by Patrick Taylor. It had been given to be months and months ago by a friend who loved it. When I first started it, I liked it well enough but it just wasn't where I was at. Now, though, it is exactly the kind of thing I am looking for. Think James Herriot but rather than a vet, it's a doctor and in place of Yorkshire, it's Ulster. It's a lovely read.

What are you knitting and reading right now?