Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Summer Days

Summer is for lazy days at the beach.

This is the beach we went to last week. I hadn't been to it before. 

It had ripcurrent and backwash warnings, so it wasn't swimmable.

It had fine sand and pretty waves and tide pools if we were willing to walk. It was overcast and a bit chilly, but some kids still got wet. Some more than they wanted, one wave tackled Trevor.

Unfortunately, my camera battery died way too soon, so those were all the pictures I got of that beach.
But, this week, we went a little further south and found sunshine. Trevor stayed a safe distance from the waves this time.

Geneva dug a couple of holes connected to each other.

Little Z loves playing in the sand and when someone filled the purple bucket with water, she sat next to it for a long time and put sand into the water.

I was trying to capture a picture of the dolphins we saw swimming past.

But, with the sun shining, I could pretty much only see my own reflection in my viewing screen.
Here is a fin!

We also saw some seals popping their heads up and an otter, but I couldn't get pictures of those.

I couldn't talk Christian into wearing shorts.

Dexter asked me if I knew where his hands were.

This is inside the little yellow bucket (above). We found these two living sand dollars with live barnacles on them. This one started poking out to find something to eat.

Venna put her phone in plastic to protect it from the sand and found she could still control it,
so she was happy with her earphones.

My friend likes to put shells on top of the sand like a mosaic.

I didn't get a really good picture of Spencer. He's in the green shirt on the far patch of seaweed.

Dexter usually starts playing in the water by the time it's almost time to go. He was jumping to make an imprint of his feet and then tapping each foot print with his little plastic rake, making four little holes in a row.

We watched these far away clouds get closer as the day wore on.

Sandy baby toes:

Z babe just looks so little walking next to her big sister.

Dexter doesn't think we should go to the beach too often, because he knows it costs a lot to buy gas and snacks, but I told him once a week isn't too often.

Pretty much as soon as we get there, Christian starts asking how long we are going to stay.
I tell him time does not exist at the beach.
He says that is not a valid answer.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Minimalist Living

I really like the idea of minimalist living. So, I'm reading this e-book I borrowed called Simple Living - 30 Days To Less Stuff And More Life, by Lorilee Lippincott.  Each chapter is about two or three pages and has an assignment to complete that is supposed to take 30-60 minutes, and sometimes there is an extra credit assignment or three.

This was going to by my June project: one chapter & assignment per day. Well, that didn't work, because I was waiting for my oldest daughter to come home from college to help me. Hep me, hep me. And then I procrastinated some more.

But, if I don't return it before July ends, then I won't get to borrow a book for July. The Kindle Lending Library doesn't roll over, you get a book a month. You can keep it as long as you want, but like I said if I don't return it in July, then I won't get a July book.

ANYWAY, there was this quote that really hit home for me in Chapter 15 - Dead Plants. First some background, the chapter begins by talking about literally getting rid of any dead plants you have around the house, "It is okay if you don't have a green thumb - forgive yourself, get rid of it, get over it, and move on."  Then, she goes on to say, "As I got to thinking about plants, I realized they represent so many parts of our life. There are so many things we think we should love but in reality don't. These things take up space, are left undone, create feelings of guilt when we see them, and are a liability to our lives instead of an asset," and she lists some examples.  I love her examples, but I'm trying not to quote the whole chapter.

This is the quote that really hit home:
"I really want to be an earthy, green, perfect wife and mother who gardens organically, preserves for winter, and cooks everything from scratch to save money and keep out the chemicals.  I also want to be the model homeschool mother with new exciting things to do every day. I should have a spotless house and obedient kids and be active at church an in the community and more.  It doesn't all fit. Not even half of it fits. I know there are women out there who can make more of it fit than I can, and I am learning to be okay with that."

And here is a little more explanation:
"These 'dead plants' we are looking at today are things in our life that we don't have to do. They are things we think we should do. Big difference. In the need-love-clutter mix, they qualify as clutter. Because you started a project, because you have all the pieces, and because you used to love it aren't good reasons to hang on to it."

Okay, I'll list a couple of examples: "tools, because you think you should be handy; sewing machine, because you think you should be able to sew (at least the simple things, right?), canning jars, because you think you should can..."

Actually, I'm saving canning jars to give back to my Mom to reuse when she comes back to the Northern continent. I'm okay with not canning.

I do wish I had a garden, or at least an herb garden. That's a 'should,' that I really don't have time for right now, because I have too many other hobbies that I love.

So, anyway, her advise for it is:
"For some people, this assignment is really hard, so it's mostly about thinking these things through. If there are 'dead plants' you can get rid of today, you are doing great! Some of these might need to roll around in your head for a while before you feel okay about moving them out.  Start the process, start thinking, keep your mind open as you wander the house or as your to-do list grows. What are the needs and loves, and what are the 'shoulds'?"

She has a blog you can check out. This is a good place to start:
Start Decluttering With These 5 Simple Steps

I spent about half the day today cleaning and de-cluttering in my garage. I only went through boxes on a couple of shelves and cleared off the top of the washer & fryer, but I filled two boxes for give-away. Yay!

Saturday, July 13, 2013


I believe I knitted all these squares about 14 years ago.  It was a good project at the time, because I could knit a square in a couple of hours and be done, if I wasn't interrupted too much. With knitting, you really shouldn't put it down in the middle of a row, so these were short enough rows to handle at the time.  I do remember having a somewhat small baby back then, and I think it was my third, but he wasn't newborn, because it's to hard to accomplish anything with a newborn. 

Then, when I had used up a lot of yarn, they were put in the back of the closet. I did get them out once or twice to sew them together, but I didn't get very far, because that is not my favorite part. I had four squares whipstitched together and was working on the next set of four, but they weren't finished.

I think I may have even donated a bunch of squares to Warm Up America, which had a donation collection basket in Michael's, when I had mostly given up hope of finishing. I'm sure I used up a few skeins of blue yarn making these squares.

I couldn't bear to give them all away and so they were put in a bin in the garage when we moved a couple of times.

Thankfully, sometime during those years, I learned to crochet and thanks to the magic of the internets, I found an interesting joining technique.  I started with these instructions, because I like the way it looked: simulated-braid-join. Mine looks the same on the front and back though.

I didn't trust joining yarn back then without tying a square knot (like in the blue and brown square above), so there are a couple of those knots, not so pretty. If I get ambitious I might add an appliqué shape to cover it, but then that's more ends to weave in, so maybe not.

It took me a couple of weeks to get it done, including deciding in what order to put the colors and weaving in ends (my other least favorite part).

I had 44 squares, but couldn't figure out how to use them all, so I ended up not using two, so I could make it seven by six, almost square.

It just occured to me that I have a ravelry account that I haven't done anything with; I should be posting this there!  Anyway, what I did was: single crochet, chain three, skip next two spots and sc in third spot. Can't really say sc in the next sc after skipping two, because it's knitting not crochet, but anyway, you can see it in the picture. Then on the corners, chain three and attach the next square with a sc in the corner. If it's an edge piece, then sc in the corner spot and chain three in the same corner spot.

So, when attaching the next square after the corner spot, you chain two, then slip stitch over the chain three, then chain one, then sc on the new one after skipping two spots. Or if your gauge isn't exactly the same from square to square, you can skip four or just one if necessary. When you join in a corner where there are already two squares, you can chain two, slip stitch in the middle of the chain (see above pic) and then chain two more and sc in the new square to join. You get used to the pattern.

So, here is a drawing of the order in which to join them, because that was a brain workout, like those plastic puzzles with one piece missing and you have to slide them around to get the puzzle in the right order; not exactly, but I can never do those. Hmm, I rotated this before uploading, but now it's sideways again, 'begin' was in the lower left hand corner, but now it's in the upper left hand corner.

Anyway, you just pick a corner to start at and only go around two sides of the square, then join the next square and go back the way you came along one side. Then attach at the next corner, all the way up as many rows as you are going to have, then go across the top and then all the way down all the rows back to the bottom, attach begin working your way back up. Then, when all your squares are attached, you go all the way down the last side and all the way across the bottom.
Clear as mud? Good.

I made the mistake of going around all four sides of the first square, then I was stuck at the bottom of the second column, not able to attach without crossing back over where I had already gone and keep going. I had to tie off the yarn and reattach at the next column.

Geneva wants this blanket, so I'll let her have it,
because it's nice when someone wants what you make.

I'm thankful that I was able to finish this UFO (UnFinished Object).  It clears some cobwebs out of my head to have this out of the bin that houses my yarn stash.
Hurray for skills increasing over the years!

On to the next project!  I have three or four in mind that I'm eager to get to now that this is done. Funny that wanting to start the next project is big motivation for FINISHING the current project, but something has to motivate me to weave in those ends. There is also the satisfaction of having a work complete.  Yeah, that's a good one, too.

Monday, July 8, 2013

I love a parade

We attended the local parade on Independence Day, well most of us. I let the oldest two be party poopers, but happily my husband came along when I was mentally prepared to go without him and almost left him for spite when we sat in the car for ten minutes waiting for him to come... but I digress.

I do love parades, probably because I marched in a few when I was in high school, even though they were somewhat tortuous, they were also fun; and because of that feeling of nostalgia, I took way too many pictures.

I took this one, because I wish it was my family vehicle, at least for getting to church and back.

Fire engines, increasing in size and modernity:

This truck had a band playing in back.

This is how Dexter looked during most of the parade.

These two were happy!

This float sounded delicious.

Cable cars are awesome.

The kids loved the Trader Joe's float, especially the super huge Joe's O's, a staple in our house.

Random red mohawk wig guy with a dog:

This was the first high school band we saw sitting in the flatbed of a big rig.  We thought they were a very lazy marching band.  Sorry you can't hear the music.

Awesomely decorated bicycle riders:

I think these were the first horses we saw.

Cool three-wheel three-person bike, the person in the middle doesn't get to peddle.

Couldn't decide whether to take a picture of the Coast Guard boat until it was almost too late.

Another lazy marching band, they even have music stands! Whatever happened to memorizing music for parades?

Amazing balloon octopus:

People really cheered whenever any military went past:

Float of the tomb of the unknowns:

Here are lots of Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts on bikes:

Not a great picture of a kid on stilts:

Unicorn man pulling a rickshaw:

What are these silly kids looking at?

This awesome helicopter, of course! It circled around a few times. 

Cool 'do on this horse's mane:

My favorite were the horses that can dance to the music of the salsa band they were following.
(I didn't get a picture of them, but people also cheered for the manure scoopers that were following the horses.)

This is the biggest wagon I've ever seen. It looks like no one is steering it.

Another lazy marching band with music stands: (However they did play well.)

I love the Taiko drums!

My favorite kind of car that I'll never own: 

The most awesome grocery shopping cart I've ever seen:

Cute little car:

There were a bunch of these old-fashioned bike riders together. It was hard to get a picture of them.

That's my brother with his baby and dogs in the back of that truck! His wife and three-year-old were hoofing it on the other side where we couldn't see them.

The end.

This is the only picture I got of my hubby and Geneva.
They were there, too!

'Course I didn't get a picture of myself. That's o.k. I was in an earlier post this year.
I'm so thankful to live in this country at this time and profoundly grateful to all those who have worked and served and given the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms.