Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Yarn Along?

I don't really suppose that this post can qualify as a "Yarn Along" post given that I don't have any yarn in the photos.  I haven't been in much of a mood to knit and the only thing I have been working on was a really boring knit dishcloth.  It's in a variegated yarn that isn't working up nicely in the pattern I am doing but frankly, I don't care a whole lot since it's a dishcloth and I plan to use it.  I love the hand-knit ones.  I know, that qualifies me officially as an old lady but I am not apologizing.  Sometimes, I just need to work on something mindless and that won't take me very long.

Part of the reason that I have been knitting "mindless" lately is that I have been massively overtired because I have been staying up too late reading.  I finished Diva's Don't Knit earlier this week (cute - think Bridget Jones meets the local stitch-n-bitch) and have been hopping around with several books.  I don't know why I can't pin myself down.

Here's the pile on the go right now -
The Irrational Season by Madeleine L'Engle, which is book three of the Crosswick Journals, which I am enjoying but which is a very heavy read
Mended by Angie Smith - devotional stuff that I am enjoying but needs some time for reflection, which I don't really have right now
Almost Amish by Nancy Sleeth, which I have been coming back to off and on for a while, which has many great ideas but is a bit earnest for my taste

and the two books for this week:
Jane Austen Ruined My Life by Beth Patillo and 
Greater by Steven Furtick

Jane Austen Ruined My Life was something that I stumbled across when I was at the library with the kids last week.  As soon as you say Jane Austen you have my attention and when I saw that our library had at least three books by the same author in what appears to be a series, I had to give it a try.  So far, I'm about 100 pages in and I am enjoying it.  It's a nice, light read and given that it's set in England and has a mystery at its centre, it's right up my alley.  I hope I continue to like it since I would be thrilled to have a few other books to which to look forward.

Greater by Steve Furtick was a recommendation to me by a good online friend who I met through an online Bible study group a few years ago.  I wasn't sure whether I would like it.  I have serious reservations about anything that smacks of the "prosperity gospel" (love God enough and He will give you lots of stuff as a reward and you don't need to feel guilty about it - I still haven't recovered from how offended I was by "The Prayer of Jabaz" that everyone was talking about a few years ago).  The title made me think that was what this might be but I was very wrong.  I found Steven Furtick very human, very real (I didn't come away with the idea that I am just not holy enough to achieve this) and it didn't seem like I was making a guaranteed deal with God (as in, if I'm good enough or believe enough, God will reward me).  This book addressed things like pride, loss of motivation, how to get started and to remember that we need to put ourselves into a space that makes it possible to serve God in the way that He intends.  It was a good read and I certainly plan to go back to it again down the road.

What are you reading right now?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Snowflake Playdate

When I was growing up, we didn't have people over much.  My parents were super-loving and devoted to God but to say that they were not devoted to decor or tidiness, for that matter, would be an understatement of the greatest extreme.  It left me with a bit of a fear of entertaining - I get so nervous that people will think our house is a mess or that we aren't hospitable.  Silly, I know, given that the people that one generally invites to ones home tend to be people who one loves but there it is.  It's been something that I am determined to overcome, especially since I view hospitality as something that can be an outward show of my faith.

Pk is always asking to have friends over for playdates and since we are so busy (and overscheduled these days :-(  ), we just never seem to get around to it.  Then, over Christmas I had an idea.  Instead of trying to fit in a playdate here and there, once a month, we would have a "playdate party" and invite several friends.  It also lets me play around on Pinterest, one of my favourite pastimes, so we all win.

We had our first playdate party today and I would say that it was a raging success.  We decided to call it a "snowflake party."  I invited four girls and told their moms that they could stay or go, whichever they preferred.  Three of the four opted to stay and one of the nicest parts of the day for me what having a good visit with the moms.  It's terrific to have girlies old enough to play on their own now!

They had some free time together and then, we did some crafts.  I had three planned and we only got to two since we kind of ran off the rails with the glitter - I often forget that girls and glitter are a match made in heaven!
We started with these marshmallow snowflakes ("can I eat one? just one mommy?) which were a huge hit and then we moved onto these glitter snowflakes.  Needless to say, the table was covered in glitter (thank goodness I just had a dollar store tablecloth down, I just wrapped it all up and out it went).  I wanted to make these pipecleaner snowflakes, I thought they were really, really cute but the "My Little Ponies" and the princess costumes were calling and the girls just couldn't stay sitting any longer.

I also had lots of snowflake fun with the food.  We had snowflake tortillas, snowflake quesadillas and I cut the coldcuts, the cheese and the bread with my large snowflake cookie cutter so the girls could make their own snowflake sandwiches.  I rounded it out with some veggies and some fruit and some Babybel cheese and we had a feast perfect for a five year old.  Needless to say, I had fun with dessert too - there were hot chocolate and marshmallow cupcakes, marshmallow wands (Pk's favourite treat ever) and homemade marshmallows (which were meant for hot chocolate had we played outside in snow but the weather didn't cooperate).

I have to say, I found this party to be so enjoyable and people stayed way past the "finish" time so I am going to assume that we will do this again.  I know that Pk loved it and I think the moms really had fun just getting a chance to sit and chat.  This is definitely something that I want to repeat and there were plans today for a movie and pyjama party theme the next time round.  Guess I had better spend some time on Pinterest, LOL!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Yarn Along

I haven't been around here for this for a long time and really, given my lack of photography skills and my crappy camera, I really don't belong here but I must admit, I LOVE doing this.  Knitting and reading are two of my favourite things, especially when life is chaotic.  It's nice to be back.

As you can see from my photo, I seem to have having some trouble committing these days.  In terms of knitting, I finished not one but two of the Jared Flood Guernsey Wraps for Christmas gifts (note to self: I must make myself one someday but I honestly needed a break) and since then, I have been wandering a bit.  I made Pk a matching scarf/hat thing for her and for her Jenna doll (that's another post) and I've been doing some dishcloths and I have been printing off all kinds of patterns.  I debated making this or this or this but finally, I think I have settled on Jared Flood's Topiary, which I have started twice now.  It's a charted pattern and I often find they take me a few false starts before I really get them going and this one is no exception.  I don't know much about Jared Flood (or, to quote my English Father-in-law, "Who's he when he's at home?"), but his designs are gorgeous!

I've been no better with books.  I finished "The Year of Biblical Womanhood" by Rachel Held Evans (another post - it was BRILLIANT!) and Kathy Reichs newest, which was also super and I've been wandering since.  I had finished the first two books of The Crosswicks Journals by Madeleine L'Engle, which I had adored, and now I am on to book three.  It's good and I love the way her mind wanders but she loosely bases each chapter on a segment of the liturgical year.  We follow the year to some extent but not the way that Anglicans do and I'm finding it a bit harder to follow.  I'm also still reading "Almost Amish" by Nancy Sleeth.  I go back and forth on this book.  She has many great ideas and inspires me to living greater simplicity but I also am finding it a bit earnest, if that makes sense.  Yes, we need to live wisely and thoughtfully and frugally but there is a point at which it beings to feel a bit stark to me.  Finally, for some light reading, there is "Diva's Don't Knit" by Gil McNeil.  It's cute - think Bridget Jones meets any one of the yarn store novels that are out there these days.  I like it but it certainly wouldn't go on any top ten lists.

I can't wait to see what everyone else is knitting and reading!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy 2013

Be Still...

This is going to be my "word" for the year (although since it's two words, I hope it still counts!)  Life for me has been going at too fast a pace over the last few months and I feel like all I do is rush.  The rushing leads to not living life the way that I would like and much of the time, I am frazzled, frustrated and exhausted.  My aim for this year is to slow down, just a bit.  I want to focus on savouring the small moments, looking for rest and having fairer expectations of myself.  I know that resolutions don't often get kept but I also think that once in a while, it's not a bad thing to look at life and think about ways that it can improve.  Here are my goals for 2013:

1.  Slow down.  As myself whether I really need to be committing to whatever it is.  Build in some quiet times and block off some time each week to have a time at home with nothing planned.

2.  Pray.  I just finished reading The Year of Biblical Womanhood, which I have been savouring all fall, and that was something that kept coming back to me.  I don't make enough time for reading scripture, praying and reflecting.  My guide for the year is Common Prayer:  A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals which is a fantastic book that I have been using more and more.  I want a daily prayer and scripture time twice daily.

3.  Make time for friendship.  I have become fairly good and making time for my local friends since that it easier to make happen but I have to old and very, very precious friends who live further away who seem to be left behind in the busyness of life.  Kittenpie and W, I am going to work harder and giving you the priority to deserve since you are like my sisters and your presence in my life means more than I ever let you know.

4.  Manage my resources better.  One facet of the rushing thing is that I don't make my decisions very wisely at times.  I want to focus on saving and reducing debt and not using spending as a way to soothe myself (I am a bad impulse shopper) or to make myself feel more like I fit in.

5.  Be more mindful about diet and exercise.  In the frantic pace of life, while we don't tend to eat too badly, I eat mindlessly, snacking too much, eating crap in the afternoon since I didn't put enough effort into making a satisfying lunch and letting myself get too tired so I eat to get by.  We also are doing a farm share and I would like to put more of the emphasis back onto eating our farm share food and seeking out fair trade products and local food and to avoid all processed foods whenever possible.  I was fairly good about exercise in the fall and I want to keep that up.

6.  READ.  I have a huge pile of books beside my bed that I am dying to get through and so many things I have at the library that I want to read.  I want to consciously make more time for reading this year.

So, there you have it.  I'm going to view these as goals rather than resolutions since, once I break them, a goal feels more like something that I can try again.  I hope that you are able to achieve all of the things that you set out for yourself this year and that you are able to be still and enjoy the moments you are given

Happy 2013!