Category Archives: Homeschool

Random and Mysterious

I just looked back to see when I had last posted and was surprised to see that it was a month ago! Where does the time go? May was a flurry of things for us. There was lots of anxiety about selling the house, lots of cleaning the house to show to people who did not want to buy the house, and lots of talking about our next steps. Intermingled with that was Mother’s Day, our Twentieth (!!) wedding anniversary, a piano recital, field day, last days of school, and finally a week long trip to our new state to look for housing. That was really a lot to pack into one month of life! It would take too long to recap every event, so I will just show you some highlights.

Firstly, I am ever so proud of my boys who did a fabulous job at their piano recital. Their teacher is the best; so kind and loving without sacrificing high expectations. We will miss her! If you are so inclined, you can listen and watch here. If you click on the photo here, it will take you to my flickr page where you can watch the video.

Mothers Day 2015 Bach Prelude in C Ethan 540

Spring has been very pretty here, especially our Peonies. We missed the blooms of the purple ones while we were away, but really enjoyed the blushing pink ones.

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While we were in MA, we did make some time to go into Boston and poke around a little. The Common was a nice place to wander around and we did attempt to walk the Freedom Trail, but had to cut it short because it was unbelievably windy.

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Our next trip into the city a week several days later, we spent mostly inside in the Museum of Fine Arts, where we saw this amazing Chihuly sculpture. The photo does not capture the amazing color or the way it seemed to glow, even in low light.

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I was so taken with this color green, that as soon as I could when I got home, I dug out some yarn of a similar hue. Then, I decided I needed a bright pink to go with it and the dark blue is there just to soak up some of the luminosity of the other two.

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This trio is going to be used in Gudron Johnston’s Shetland Trader Mystery Knitalong. Yes, yes, I am starting another mystery shawl. Clearly, there are not enough uncertain things in my life right now, lol! I did manage to finish my Romi mystery shawl. It is still drying, but here is a blocking picture. I’ll try to get more pictures when it is dry.

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In other knitting, I have been working on my blue Triticum. This photo is from the beginning of last week. I am actually past the underarm now. The yarn is delightfully soft and easy to work with. The pattern is very well written and easy to follow so far. I think I will wear this one a lot once it is done.

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I also managed to finish one sock from March. Now, if I could just finish the second one! That’s always the trouble with me and socks. Knitting the first sock is fun, but the second one is often a chore.

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We are not sure what the next few weeks will bring, as we are still trying to buy and sell a house, so I may be in and out. If you are on Instagram, you may be able to find me posting there instead of here in the interim. My Instagram name is Crafteamama. I am still getting the hang of instagramming, so don’t expect too much, but I would love to see you there!

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August

The last couple of weeks have been such a mish mash of stuff that I think I am just going to have to go random with this post.

Firstly, we went away to Michigan for a week. While we were there, I got to go to the Michigan Fiber Festival. It was great fun and the highlight was meeting up with Ravelry friends.

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I was able to buy some yarn (surprise!). My new favorite find is Lost City Knits, which is where the two blue skeins are from. It’s a super soft merino fingering and really lovely to knit with. Their colors were nice and there was a lot more I was tempted to buy. I have a feeling I will be trying some more of their yarn lines in the near future. When I got it home, I wound up the lighter skein and started knitting with it, but I made a big mistake and had to rip it out.

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Secondly, did you know there are wineries in Michigan? I did some wine tasting. It was fun and yummy, especially the sparkling cherry wine made from 100% Michigan cherry juice.

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Thirdly, I got a fair bit of knitting done while we were gone. I knit all of this while waiting at various doctor’s appointments with my Dad. It will eventually be a Tea Leaves Cardigan.

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At night, I worked on the blue yarn (that I ripped out so I can’t show you) and this lovely cashmere shawl. It’s not circular as it appears here, but I am on the short rows in the middle, so it will be awhile before I can stretch it out and show you the length of it.

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Lastly, I am getting ready to cast on Oatmeal Stout with these yarns. You know that fall is coming when I start knitting sweaters and mittens again.

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Yes, the summer is over here. We have started school in earnest, which means less unstructured time, but generally a higher level of productivity, not to mention a lot less bickering because they have work that needs to get done. So do I, actually. I’d like to get that cowl cast on today. Hope your August has treated you well!

Summer Happenings

Summer has officially arrived here. School is done for now (well, except for a couple of things that we year round). To celebrate, we took the boys to Hershey Park for a day of stand-in-line-for-an-hour followed by a minute-of-excitement. The husband and I seemed to be the only ones who minded this imbalance.

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I actually got a little bit of knitting done while we were at the park. The boys went to play at the water playground by themselves, much to the anxiety of my mother’s heart. They are really growing up fast!

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Back at home, I have been making good progress on my ruby red test knit. I am quite loving this breathless dk yarn by Shalimar and am really looking forward to being finished with this project. We’ve had some days over 90 degrees recently and that’s just too hot to have a pile of wool in my lap!

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In other summery news, I have decided to take the plunge and open an etsy shop! For now, I am selling stitch markers. In my first few days, thanks to my loyal Ravelry friends in the ThreeBagsFull group, I sold almost the entire stock I had prepared, which was really surprising and exciting and scary to me.

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The shop is called 1514Homemade, a name that the older son came up with years ago. I can’t remember how it came about, but we were discussing some baked yumminess that I had made and how we could sell them. That lead to a discussion on what we would name the shop and he suggested 1514Homemade, which incorporates our house number. I considered naming it after myself or the blog, but really, every one here in this house has a hand in the things that get made. The boys have helped me a lot with the stitch markers by threading beads and helping with organization. The husband is an invaluable resource on all things related to materials science and production processes. Any venture that happens is truly a group effort here.

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Right now, the shop has a few items left, but if you look at the sold items and see something that you want, you can always submit a custom order request. For now, I am thinking of updating the shop once a month or so. Eventually, I may try selling other things besides stitch markers as well. Quilts or pillows, maybe? Or the odd knitted item. We’ll just have to see where this leads me. I’ll be sure to keep you posted.

So, how is your summer going? What new things are you trying?

Back to School Cookies

We love cookies any time of the year, but when a new school year starts, cookies start to become more important than the lovely berry and fruit cakes of the summer. Cookies are nice and portable. You can eat them with one hand while doing homework with the other. They keep for several days either already baked in an airtight container or not yet baked in the freezer.

For us, when September rolls around, we begin planning and thinking about our upcoming cookie dough fund-raiser. We are always looking to change our list a little bit so that our friends have something new to try if they want to do so. What this means is that I usually scour all my cookbooks for cookie recipes I haven’t tried yet and then make lots of all kinds of cookies for a few days. Needless to say, not all of them make the cut.

A cookie that makes it onto our short list has to meet a myriad of requirements:

1. It must be tasty, even after a couple of days.

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I made these Anzac cookies on Friday and they were tasty. I loved them. But, on Saturday, they had dried out a bit and were too chewy. It was a workout to eat half a cookie. These won’t make the list, but I will make them again for myself, maybe.

2. It must taste just as good, if not better, after the dough has been frozen and then baked.

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Most cookies are like this, but I find that some doughs bake up a little brickish after being frozen. In other words, they don’t spread as much as I would like. Slice and bake cookies are always great, though.

3. The cookie has got to fit into our lineup in a unique way. We wouldn’t want three versions of a chocolate chip cookie, right? That would be boring.

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So, I tried out a couple of new chocolate chip recipes because, even though we have a giant version on the list, I thought a regular sized cookie might be a good seller. I made one with coconut and almonds and another with chocolate chunks (instead of chips) and walnuts. Neither one really wowed us, so I may just have to keep hunting there.

4. The cookie must have the kid seal of approval.

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I was sure these Trail Mix Cookies would be popular with the kids because of the m&ms, but they were not. I think they must have sniffed the whole wheat flour and stayed clear of anything that looked like it would be remotely healthy. Kids are funny. The 50 or so kids I tried this mix of cookies on over the weekend tended to prefer the plainer cookies.

5. They must be good looking. A cookie doesn’t have to look good to taste good, but if you were going to buy a cookie, wouldn’t you want it to look good?

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Here’s the only cookie out of the last half dozen or so recipes that I have tried that has met all of the above criteria. Meet Hazelnut Chewies. These are made with Nutella and chopped hazelnuts and have an appealing powdered sugar coating. They are tasty, they bake up well, they look great, kids love them, and they will be replacing our traditional peanut butter cookie.

Time is getting short. We will be launching our fund raiser in about a month, so my cookie try-outs are coming to an end. Does anyone have a cookie recipe that I Must Try?

Clearing the Decks

Lately, I have been devoting much of my knitting energy to finishing up some things. I discovered this summer knitting challenge and have decided to take part, so until the official cast on date of June 1, my goal is to finish as many works in progress as possible.

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So far this week, I have finished my sky ladder cowl, knit with a nice sproingy yarn that I got a few years ago at the MD sheep and wool festival. I used up every inch of the skein that I possibly could, which is why the third repeat of the pattern is cut short a little. It felt a little dense while I was knitting it, but it blocked out nicely and has a lovely drape now.

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Then, I finished up the fingerless mitts to go with the billow cowl that I finished a few weeks ago. These were super quick and fun to knit.

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Hopefully, next, these socks will be finished. This is an old project that I started last year. I finished the first sock back in March and am now halfway through the second sock. It is definitely going faster the second time around, which is actually a change for me. Usually, I drag my heels through the second sock and they seem to take forever.

Finishing is going to be the focus for the next week or two, not just in my knitting life, but also with our school days. Things are finally starting to wind down and become a tad more relaxed. I know in a month or so, I might be driving myself crazy with all the unstructured time we have, but for now, at least, I am going to enjoy every second.

What have you been finishing lately?