A space where family, friends and anyone else can follow our adventures. We are a homeschooling, crafting, music-making, back-flipping wonderfully crazy family living on the coast of Maine enjoying everything life has to offer us!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Welcome to the working week

I woke up this morning with this Elvis Costello song in my headfunny how appropriate it seems for a Monday morning.  After a fun weekend for the whole family full of play dates making paper dolls using the Black Apple's Paper Doll Primer    (Lot's o' fun),  board games, and a huge most amazing 2-day snow fort building, sledding, snowballing adventure with our super-cool neighbors! More to come on this I'm sure, the forts will continue to grow.
deciding how to customize their dolls

our cat Jelly enjoying the game as well
So yes, after a fun filled weekend, I began handing out assignments this morning to two happy-to-be-schooling-in-PJ's kids this morning.  After a few weeks of this homeschooling thing I notice that we are starting to form our own rhythm within the days and find it both exciting and comforting.  I spent last evening preparing lessons for the week in Geography, Science (we'll do another experiment on Thursday), grammar, writing, multiplication and more Norse Myths. I've found workbooks to be great for our family.  They aren't all that we are using but they are great for some basics.  We've been using the math mammoth  blue series.  I like the way the books are set up individually by math function instead of grade level.  We purchased the 4th-6th grade letting the two kids work at their own pace.  We're also supplementing with some other books and websites to keep things interesting (especially for my girl who though quite bright doesn't enjoy math right now).  For reading the kids are each enjoying their own books individually and we have yet to chose another family read aloud book. Any suggestions?

working hard...

He lives in these PJs right now!
So off we start on another busy yet fun filled adventuresome week!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

We need some new hats...fast!

I take a certain pride in seeing my children and husband strutting around town in lovely hand-knit hats that I have made for them.  I love to see them wearing them and telling everyone who asked "my mom made it".  However, as of late it seems that every hat those goes onto a child's head seems to slowly slide up up and up until it is merely covering the top of their scalp (I wonder when these heads and brains will stop growing so fast).

notice it starting to move up?
 Now I'd like to say that in an hour I whipped up a few new hand-knit hats, but being that I am not a speed knitter I had to think of another option.  That's when I decided it was time to haul out the Singer Touch and Sew.  

This beauty was made in 1966 before they started making everything out of plastic.  My sweet husband found it for me when we first moved from Vermont to Maine in 2002.  I have to say the bobbin is a little touchy sometimes and it's heavy as can be, but I love it and can't imagine another machine in my life.  It came with fashion disks! What more could a crafter need?  After getting out the machine we dug through some fleece we got in the stash and the kids picked out some colors they liked.  I did a quick little head measurement and went to town!  
This is what I came up with:


color blocks

the elf

All three are cute in their own special way and I did it in about an hour!  This little family will continue to wear hand-knit, but in between these fleece quickies are going to work just fine!  Maybe I should do some mittens...

Friday, January 28, 2011

This Moment

I join Soulemama  in the Friday ritual of This Moment. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment to pause, savor and remember.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Science experiments

The kids have been busy this week working on grammar: verbs, adverbs and direct and indirect objects.  I'm getting a little basic grammar review myself!  They are also writing in their journals daily, this is a space for them to write anything they want: made up stories, talk about the weeks work etc.  All that I ask is that it not be private as I do read them.  We started Norse Myths and we are having a blast (more to come on that in another post)!  Science this week has been a basic over view of physical science:  states and conditions of matter, atoms, molecules, a little on the nature of light, and today we talked about buoyancy force.  So I knew we needed to have something fun today with all this hard work.  Well, how fun to watch them perform their own experiment!

  The expressions on their faces when it actually worked was wonderful, though hard to capture with my iPhone (I really do need a decent camera with a high speed shutter).  For today's experiment they put water in a jar with a tight fitting lid, that jar was then placed inside a larger (plastic soda bottle with the top cut off) container of water. 

The jar slowly sank.  Next they removed the jar, added salt to the water and again placed the jar in...it began to float! 

As more salt was added the water became denser creating more buoyancy force causing the jar to float.

We've now decided that we should do a science experiment day every week.  Such fun!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

My helpful little people

I just finished teaching a child birth education series at the hospital.  This is class that a few of us have created trying to combine  different theories and approaches that we have found helpful with patients as well as our own births.  I'm pretty proud of the class, since introducing it about 2 years ago we have managed to increase the percentage of "natural" or un-medicated births in our hospital...in my opinion that is something to be very proud.  I am a huge advocate for natural childbirth, breastfeeding, attachment parenting and the like.  I also believe in western medicine and being that I am in the medical field I see what it can do.  However it is sad to me how as a culture we have come to fear childbirth at such an intense level. Our bodies were designed to do just this...birth babies, it is by far the most profound event one can have in their lifetime.  A normal, natural, healthy process.  I am by no means saying it is easy, just that it is worth the work and effort and nothing to be afraid of.   
Ok before I head off on that tangent (perhaps another day, or another blog) the whole reason for this post was to mention how helpful my wonderful little monkeys have always been with this little passion of mine.  Child birth discussion is just a normal part of their lives.  I remember Molly being maybe 2 1/2 years old and looking at text books with me and loving the whole process of the birth (pictures of course, she wasn't reading obstetric texts yet).  But a few years ago when this class was being created she was there for a lot of meetings (often at our home) so typical of 6 or 7 year old she was listening and taking it in even when we thought she was simply playing at her little wooden kitchen.  This is what she presented me with when we had finished the class outline and presented for approval:
"Facts About Birthing"

steps to holding a baby     
I show these to every class I teach now, I especially love the first step in holding a baby notice the baby is on the floor as the person bends strait down to pick her up, and the way cradle is spelled very phonetically cratl.
The kids also having been coming to the hospital with me before class to set up for years now (dad picks them up on his way home from work). Now that Miss Molly is 10 she decided to skip this last class that I taught in favor of going to the Y and helping with the preschool gymnastics class.  Corey, however, my every strong man loves driving the birth balls from their storage area down the elevator, down the hall, up another elevator and finally to the spot where I teach.

of course he always manages to find a little time to play with them before dad comes...gives all my pregnant mamas a little glimpse into the future I guess.  Anyway, I am fortunate to such wonderful and dedicated little helpers.  What do your little ones do to help?  send a comment or link back to your own blog.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Staying warm and feeling blessed

On staying warm:
It's down-right cold here on the coast of Maine today...a whopping 3 degrees above zero at 1:00 in the afternoon!  When Greg brought the doggies out this morning it was -9!  Apparently they did their necessities and quickly ran inside to the wood stove. 
It's hard to do anything but snuggle next to the fire and drink tea.  Funny how our little family seems to migrate each winter, we spend less and less time anywhere in our old drafty house but the living room with our wonderfully warm wood stove.  We started burning the Eco wood bricks exclusively 2 years ago and couldn't be happier.  These amazing little things burn hotter than wood, they are clean, create less creosote and ash and they are 100% recycled!  Not to mention that putting away a ton takes about 10 minutes compared to the whole day to stack a cord of wood.  The only way I see us ever going back to cord wood is if we get that big piece of land in Vermont and have plenty of free wood around:)

sipping tea

wood bricks

more than I would normally pile in, but it's cold!

On feeling blessed:
This was my "work weekend"  which means that every 3 weeks I work at the hospital on Saturday and Sunday from 3am-3pm.  This also means that I go to bed at around 7pm to get enough sleep to function leaving me very little time with my family.  Don't get me wrong I am in no way complaining I am extremely fortunate that I can work this little because my husband works so hard.  I also love my job, I help amazing, strong, beautiful women bring new babies into the worldFor the most part (about 99.9% of the time) my job is joyous and profound...of course that .1 is unspeakable and that without needing any more detail is why as my post says I am feeling blessed.  becoming a mother is a profound unforgettable unimaginable experience that we all to often take for granted.  Hard labor, easy labor, c/s whatever the story when you're children are 9 and 10 and puberty hormones start circling around your home like a tornado it's easy to get frustrated and wish for more peace and quiet, or a vacation.  This weekend however, I felt nothing but blessed to have these healthy, happy, wonderful children and vow to try and remember that.
Enjoy your children, love them lots and know that you are blessed.

Friday, January 21, 2011

This Moment

Again I join Soulemama in the Friday ritual of This Moment. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment to pause, savor and remember. 
peaceful morning

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Molly's mits

So after Miss Molly attempted to steal the wrist warmers I made for Greg I decided that she needed her own.  This is the pattern I came up with, and I call it Twisty Wristlets.

I used size 8 needles (I did magic loop, but you could also use 4 dpn) and Rios by malabrigo that I am in love with!  It's all the joy of knitting with malabrigo in a superwash!  What more can a mom ask for!  If you have not yet knit with yarn from this company you really need to it's simply amazing.
my gauge for this yarn and needle was 5 stitches per inch

with needles of your choice CO 28 stitches.  If using dpn divide evenly among them, otherwise place marker to mark beginning of round.  Begin knitting in a K2P2 rib for 2 inches (longer if you want a longer arm).
next rnd: twist (K2tog and leave on L needle, K the first st again and slide them both off needle as usual=1 twist)  **purl stitches are purled as usual, the twist is only for Knit stitches.
continue in K2P2 rib with twist every 3rd round (3x)
next rnd: inc K1 M1 K1 cont. in pattern around.
next rnd: pattern
next rnd: inc. K1 M1 K1 M1 K1 cont. in pattern around (this is also a twist round).
next rnd: pattern
next rnd: inc K2 M1 K1 M1 K2 cont. in pattern around.
next rnd: pattern w/ twist.

next rnd: BO 7 K st cont. in pattern around. At the end CO 4 st
next rnd:pattern (Knitting all 4 stitches you CO when you come to them).
next rnd: pattern w/ twist.
next 2 rnd: pattern

next rnd: dcr K2tog cont. in pattern around w/ twist.

next 2 rnd: pattern 
next rnd: dcr K2tog, cont. in pattern w/ twist.

next 2 rnd: pattern 
next rnd: B0 all stitches and weave in loose ends...voila

this pattern can be easily made bigger by adding 4 stitches to CO and ajusting length as needed.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Good to be home

Our family took a quick little trip over to Vermont this weekend to visit family and friends.  As usual we didn't have a lot of time and tried to fit in as much as we could.

We of course found most of our time with little baby Charlie, the newest Klein born 10 months ago to Greg's brother and his sweet wife.  Charlie is enough to make any ones ovaries ache!  He is too cute and sweet for words.  Seeing my children with him was truly special.  He's just a happy darling little boy that I don't get to spend nearly enough time with.  He looked too handsome in his little vest that I made and though it was hard to catch a photo as he is always on the move, I did manage to snag a few.  Before we left yesterday he slept snuggled on my chest for close to an hour and I must say at that moment I could have had 5 more babies (folding laundry, picking up after and hanging rehanging outside clothing to dry for the 2 I have has suppressed that feeling today)!

the vest

The only other folks we managed to see were our friends Dave and Meredith and their beautiful little family.  They have a melt-your-heart 2 year old boy and a brand new (1/11/11) baby girl.  Again...the ovary aching in full force!  I knit her a little dress that was of my own design and I must say I am proud.  I'm not posting pictures just yet as I may send the pattern off to petitepurls.com but soon.

Now for anyone who doesn't already know  my heart skips a beat as soon as we cross the Vermont border.  Those green mountains call to me in a way that I cannot explain.  I'm a Maine girl, grew up in Maine, love the ocean and love that I can have mountains and ocean together in one place...But something happened when I lived in Vermont that is beyond words for me.  I feel so happy and at peace there, it feels like home.  I honestly can't pin point a reason (and people ask all the time), I did find my true love there in those green mountains, and I did have both my babies there...maybe that's it.  Whatever the reason I get very excited looking at real estate magazines whenever we go, I find several perfect houses and a few plots of land...By the trip back Greg has grown very tired of my delusions of grandeur and just wants to get home, this of course makes me sad.
Of course now that I am home, it feels so good.  being next to the wood stove,  helping the children get through their daily lessons, even the daily chores feel good.  This house is our home and I strive to make it as homey and warm as I can for my family. 

So for now, I am happy and content and will continue to make our house a home...but I will  dream.

Friday, January 14, 2011

This Moment

Once again I join Soulemama in the Friday ritual of This Moment. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment to pause, savor and remember. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

a home for the peg dolls

 Yesterday while we were getting burried deep in snow Molly and I made a cute little house for the peg dolls we made over the weekend.  The origional plan was to post a wonderful How-to...but honestly as cute as it turned out, getting there wasn't pretty.  I had some interfacing and lots of scrap fabric lying around just waiting for a project. The idea came from a how-to link that a friend sent me (thanks Wendy) on paper houses, you can check it out  here. Looking at the sweet little houses I started remembering these Great little fabric houses my friend Allison makes (hint-hint Allison maybe you could post some pictures).  Finally Molly and I came up with this:

The end product is cuter than cute I must say, but not of the quality that deserves a how-to for the rest of the world.  The peg dolls are happy and so is Miss Molly.
Now I've got to get these kids back into school mode (yes we let them have a snow day yesterday), and find time to finish my knitted gifts for our weekend trip to VT.
Enjoy your day and find time to create!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

handwork aka any excuse to knit

Handwork is something that can be very relaxing and rewarding at the same time.  We've been working on several afternoon knitting projects.  Corey is still trying to get the hang of things, I'd love to see him finish a little something so that he could see the reward.  It seems to turn into an entire story while hes knitting.  The rhyme "under the fence, catch the sheep, back we come, and on we leap" for casting on turns into a very entertaining adventure, I suppose I should be recording him.
Molly actually learned how to knit in the round yesterday (something she's been wanting to do for a while).  In an afternoon she made this lovely little neck gator to keep her a little extra warm in the cold Maine snow.

I've been very busily knitting lately working on projects for our adorable little nephew Charlie and the new baby being born any day now to close friends in VT.
baby legwarmers (will look much cuter on)

man vest for Charlie

hand warmers for Greg

The legwarmers are a design I came up with myself, I can't wait to see them on the baby, just laying there flat does not do them justice.  I knit them with Malabrigo super wash which is officially my favorite yarn to knit with right now! I'm hoping to come up with a sweet little dress to go with the legwarmers before we head over to Vermont next weekend...stay tuned...
The "man vest" is from a great website petitepurls.com I've just discovered this great link to amazing FREE baby/child knitting patterns!  I had so much fun knitting up this little cutie and and can't wait to see it on the little man! (I'll be sure and post pictures).
Finally, the hand warmers that Miss Molly has commandeered were knit over the weekend for Greg and his cold hands.  I thought the fingerless option would be great for working on the computer and even playing guitar.  Now if only Molly will take them off so he can try them out!
Until next time, I encourage everyone to find a little time for handwork.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sleepy Sunday

Today was a lovely, lazy Sunday; exactly what we needed.  Yesterday was busy from start to finish, Greg coached Corey's basketball game at 8:00am, Molly left for a gymnastics meet at 9:30, the boys came home and Corey got ready for a birthday party...Dropped him off at the birthday party at 11:00 and drove the 45 minutes to Molly's meet.  3 1/2 hours of sitting on bleachers watching our lovely angel compete, then back to Bath to pick up Corey.  Greg turned around shortly after and drove to Portland to play a late night gig while the kids and I had dinner and spent a little time watching Mythbusters before heading to bed.  Greg returned home shortly before 3:00am exhausted and exhilarated from playing.

So a little quite time was perfect today.  I got up and made some yummy blueberry muffins (a recipe I've adapted from the King Arthor Flour Baker's Companion). 
While the monkey's were getting up and devouring muffins I finished a pair of simple fingerless mittens for Greg.  He's always complaining about how cold his hands get at work so I figured I'd try and warm him up.  Molly had them on most of the morning so it looks like I'll be knitting her up a pair as well.
 Corey had a friend over for the afternoon so I spent some time making cute little peg dolls with Miss Molly (a talented little crafter).

Somewhere in all of this Greg managed to cook a chicken, record a song or two and make broth and chicken soup for dinner tomorrow!  I had the easy job of making dinner for tonight; long grain brown rice and tikki masala (tofu for Mol and Chicken for us).
And finally we settle in to start the next chapter of The Hobbit before bed...a wonderful family day.