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Lately I've been working on a series of puppets as a late Christmas present for my neice and nephew. I love making toys because I can use up scraps of yarn and they come together quickly. I improvised this octoptus puppet and thought he turned out pretty cute. I went a little scrap-crazy with him! Here's how I did it: Sport weight yarn- I have no idea how much, I just grabbed reasonably color-coordinated scraps US Size 7 double pointed needes Head/Body Cast on 48 Rds 1-12 Knit Rd 13 (k5 Kfb) x8 (56) Rd 14 knit Rd 15 (k6... Continue reading
Posted Jan 3, 2015 at Everything But the Kitchen Sink
In January 2013 we had Natalie evaluated by the school system. She had been home for about 4-5 months at that point and it seemed like she was over the roughest part of her adjustment and was ready for school. Or as ready as she was going to be. The evaluation went poorly. There were 3-4 of us, plus Natalie, crammed into a small room filled with preschool-type objects. The therapists (PT, OT, speech), tried to engage Natalie in different activities to assess her abilities. They had gotten a Cantonese interpreter to come, and he was translating all the instructions... Continue reading
Posted Dec 10, 2014 at Everything But the Kitchen Sink
Today is Veteran's Day, and if your kid's school is like my kid's school, you got a note sent home on Friday reminding you to send your child to school in red, white and blue today. Here's how that reminder played out at my house. On Saturday I went through Abby's closet with her, and found an appropriate outfit. I said, "l'll be at work on Monday morning, so remember to wear this, OK?" And this morning I got a text from my husband asking if Abby was supposed to wear the outfit or bring it to school so she... Continue reading
Posted Nov 11, 2013 at Everything But the Kitchen Sink
Yesterday Natalie and I had a disagreement. She started asking for something while I was feeding her. I handed her her Communication Board to help her with the request. If you haven't seen one of these, it's basically a 10x12 laminated folder with 30 or so pictures pasted on it. Each picture had a word like "I", "put", "that", etc. Simple, and reasonably effective, if quite limited. Natalie pointed to "I", "want" and then said "Nat Nat's phone". I told her "OK, but you need to wait a minute." She waited about a second, then repeated her request. I pointed... Continue reading
Posted Oct 29, 2013 at Everything But the Kitchen Sink
Yesterday Natalie and I had a disagreement. She started asking for something while I was feeding her. I handed her her Communication Board to help her with the request. If you haven't seen one of these, it's basically a 10x12 laminated folder with 30 or so pictures pasted on it. Each picture had a word like "I", "put", "that", etc. Simple, and reasonably effective, if quite limited. Natalie pointed to "I", "want" and then said "Nat Nat's phone". I told her "OK, but you need to wait a minute." She waited about a second, then repeated her request. I pointed... Continue reading
Posted Oct 29, 2013 at Everything But the Kitchen Sink
About a week after David was born Dan said to me, "You must really like that baby. You kiss him every time you pick him up." At first that just seemed like Dan exaggerating, but I paid attention over the next couple of days and it turned out that I did. Every time I picked David up I kissed him. I hadn't noticed because it came so naturally. Because that's just what you do with babies; you kiss them. Lots. A little while after that comment it hit me- no one ever did that for Natalie when she was a... Continue reading
Posted May 20, 2013 at Everything But the Kitchen Sink
As of February 7 Natalie has been at home with us for 5 months. Tonight I was looking at pictures of her from when she first arrived, and all I can say is "Wow! She's come a long way!" So, in honor of her 5 month anniversary at home, here is a list of some of the things she has learned to do: * Climb onto the couch. That's right. When she got here, she was too weak to climb onto the couch. She now stands up on the couch, bounces on the back cushions, walks along pews at church...It's... Continue reading
Posted Feb 10, 2013 at Everything But the Kitchen Sink
"Let him who cannot be alone beware of community...Let him who is not in community beware of being alone...Each by itself has profound pitfalls and perils. One who wants fellowship without solitude plunges into the void of words and feelings, and one who seeks solitude without fellowship perishes in the abyss of vanity, self-infatuation, and despair."- Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together "One reason we can hardly bear to remain silent is that it makes us feel so helpless. We are so accustomed to relying upon words to manage and control others. If we are silent, who will take control? God will take control, but we will never let him take control until we trust him. Silence is intimately related to trust."- Foster, pg. 101 "A frantic stream of words flow from us because we are in constant process of adjusting our public image. We fear so deeply what we think other people see in us that we talk in order to straighten out their understanding."- Foster, pg 101 "If we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way."-The Bible, James 3:2 "Our tendency is to overestimate what we can accomplish in one year and underestimate what we can accomplish in ten years. Set realistic goals, but be willing to dream, to stretch....Goals are discovered, not made. God delights in showing us exciting new alternatives for the future."- Foster, pg 107-108
Some may have noticed that I haven’t written a post on Celebration of Discipline in a while. I’ve been avoiding this for a long time. In some ways, I’m still avoiding it. I’ve read the chapter several times, and I’ve found great take-home points in it. There are some wonderful quotes.* But when it comes to putting it into practice, I don’t want to do it. I’m not entirely sure how to assimilate this discipline into my life, and I don’t want to experiment with the ideas that I do have. The discipline is Solitude. Foster alternatively calls it Silence... Continue reading
Posted Feb 5, 2011 at Everything But the Kitchen Sink
I’m afraid I might have come off a bit crabby about cooking with kids in my last post on the subject. I’m not (completely) crabby about it. It can stress me out a bit to do all the prep work, clean-up and supervising of dumped flour, but overall cooking with kids is an activity that is classified as “a good thing to do” in my mind. This is why: Abby and Chris are enjoying their first meal cooked out of Abby’s cookbook Pretend Soup. They’re eating quesadillas made with refried beans and lots of cheese. Not the most adventurous of... Continue reading
Posted Jan 30, 2011 at Everything But the Kitchen Sink
Abby followed in the footsteps of many a 4 year old girl last week. She started ballet class. I know that ballet is something that most girls do at some point or another, but for whatever reason I didn’t see this phase coming. I just don’t see my daughter as a ballerina. But it turns out that it doesn’t matter whether or not I see her as a ballerina because she sees herself that way. She’s had two lessons so far, and she LOVES it. I have to admit that it’s pretty cute. She showed me first position last week.... Continue reading
Posted Jan 24, 2011 at Everything But the Kitchen Sink
When my daughter was still a baby, I eagerly looked forward to spending time in the kitchen with her. I enjoy cooking, and I wanted to share some of that passion with Abby. And kitchen time seemed like the perfect opportunity to have mother-daughter time. I have memories of making all sorts of baked goods with my mom and sisters from a pretty early age. Looking back now, I don't know how my mom did it. It always seemed like she loved having us in the kitchen helping. My memories of baking cookies and cakes are pretty calm and happy.... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2011 at Everything But the Kitchen Sink
I was trying to figure out what to call my cooking style recently, and "Scrounging" was the best term I could come up with. It's a little unfortunate because I think that word conjures up images of dumpster diving, and I like to think that the dishes I come up with are better than that, but it was the best I could do. I initially wanted to call my cooking style "Pantry Cooking", but I did a quick Google search on that term, and it seems that pantry cooking involves a little more foresight and preparation than what I do.... Continue reading
Posted Jan 11, 2011 at Everything But the Kitchen Sink
"You get what you get, and you don't get upset." In my daughter's book Pinkalicious, a mother uses that line in an attempt to forestall a tantrum. In case you're wondering, it doesn't work. But I love the quote anyway. I get a kick out of how untrue it usually is. But, occasionally there are times when the phrase is perfectly true. Recently I've realized that this is exactly how I feel about my CSA Meat Share. For the past couple of years, my family has been getting our meat through Cedar Valley Sustainable Farm's meat shares. Every other month... Continue reading
Posted Jan 7, 2011 at Everything But the Kitchen Sink
Lately people have been asking where we're at with the adoption process. My standard answer is that we're "just waiting" on a referral from Hong Kong. As I think about that response, though, I realize that it's not entirely true. Yes, we are waiting on referrals, but that sounds too passive. What we're actually doing is a more active kind of waiting. Some of the activites we're doing might not seem very exciting, but they're an important part of the adoption, nonetheless. So, for those of you who are interested in a more detailed response to the "where are you... Continue reading
Posted Jan 4, 2011 at Everything But the Kitchen Sink
I haven't felt like blogging lately, so I just haven't. I blame this on my husband. He's always telling me "If you don't want to do 'it' (whatever 'it' is), then don't." He is what some might call a bad influence. I usually ignore him and just keep powering through whatever it is I don't want to do, hoping that I'll get over the hump at some point and want to do it again. Sometimes this works, and sometimes it doesn't. My husband gets on my case when I take this approach. I try to point out to him that... Continue reading
Posted Jan 2, 2011 at Everything But the Kitchen Sink
To prepare for the upcoming Christmas season, my husband recently bought a boxed set of nostalgia: The Original Christmas Classics. Seasonal movies from his youth. Tecnically, they're from my youth too, but I had very limited exposure to TV growing up, so I actually haven't seen most of them. Last night while my daughter and I were at a craft party, my husband and son decided to participate in more manly activities- watching TV and eating Cheese Balls. They were part-way into Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, when my husband's jaw dropped. The movie was horrible, and not because of... Continue reading
Posted Nov 21, 2010 at Everything But the Kitchen Sink
It happened. My daughter has entered the princess phase. After toying with the (admittedly, more creative) Halloween costume ideas of a car wash, a sign, "a car that's standing up", she settled on "princess" and decided that our wagon would be her coach. To be honest, I was somewhat relieved. I did not feel I had the time or energy to figure out how to construct a car wash costume. We borrowed a blue princess dress and a tiara from a friend and, voila!, a princess now resides at our house. Every day, when she's not forced by an unfeeling... Continue reading
Posted Oct 9, 2010 at Everything But the Kitchen Sink
I'm probably going to step on some toes here, but I really don't like the "Thy will be done" prayer. I hear it used on and off in prayer groups. I've used it myself. I even found myself using a variation of it today. Sometimes it seems like that's the tagline on some of those big prayer requests- the ones for healing, or for a truly great opportunity to come to pass. We pray for what we want, but then stick on the "but let your will be done" phrase. It sounds good from some angles. It's in the Lord's... Continue reading
Posted Oct 6, 2010 at Everything But the Kitchen Sink
Based on our two (incomplete) experiences so far, nothing sums up the adoption process like the phrase, "hurry up and wait". There are flurries of activity, generally involving lots and lots of paperwork bookended by periods of time in which there is little or nothing to do but wait. The last six months have been taken up with paperwork collection (birth certificates, marriage certificates, etc. ), long applications, Home Study visits, adoption education and the like. Yesterday was the last of our Home Study visits. Now our social worker writes it all up, and sends it off to the state... Continue reading
Posted Sep 21, 2010 at Everything But the Kitchen Sink
My daughter has a habit that drives me crazy. I'll ask her to do something, like get her shoes on, and she'll say, "But I was just helping my brother!", or, "But I need to put this toy away, first!" Grr! In case you're wondering, when she says these things she has not yet started to help her brother and the toy that she so desperately needs to put away is sitting untouched across the room. We've had many discussions about how she needs to obey without arguing, and how she needs to do what I ask when I ask... Continue reading
Posted Sep 1, 2010 at Everything But the Kitchen Sink
About a month ago my husband went to Green Fest in Chicago and came back with a couple of very cool handmade notebooks. He bought himself a nice, book-sized leather bound journal, and the guy who was selling them threw in a couple of small ones. He gave one of them to me. As you can see, it's very cute, but also very small- only 2"x 2". I liked it, but for a while I wasn't sure what to write in it. It's so small that it really can't be used for journaling. But the fact that it's handmade makes... Continue reading
Posted Aug 26, 2010 at Everything But the Kitchen Sink
Ahh, snacks! The bane of my existence! Well, when it comes to the grocery bill, the kids, and my usage of time, at least. As I mentioned before, I'm trying to keep my grocery bill to $50 a week. This is not easy, and it's nearly impossible if I put snack food in the shopping cart. When it comes to me, that's OK. I like snacks, don't get me wrong, but if they're not in the house I'm fine. But "just don't buy them" isn't a strategy that works very well for almost 2 and 4 yr olds. And with... Continue reading
Posted Aug 21, 2010 at Everything But the Kitchen Sink
I know I was supposed to move on from the Discipline of Simplicity, but that one has really taken hold. Overall, I think a lot of my internal focus in the last few months has been movement towards more simplicity. Paring away things that draw my attention away from God. So I don't think I'm quite ready to move on. Besides the next discipline is Solitude/Silence, and I really have no idea how I'm going to accomplish that! So, what's happened during this month of focus on simplicity? It's really hard to say. Probably the easiest change to talk about... Continue reading
Posted Aug 16, 2010 at Everything But the Kitchen Sink
About a week ago my husband decided that we needed to boycott Wal-Mart. He had heard a story on NPR about Wal-Mart's operations in Mexico where it has opened numerous branches of Banco de Wal-Mart. Their target market is "the little guy"- people who have never had a bank account before because they simply don't earn enough money to consider one necessary. Not such a bad thing, except that they offer those people credit cards at 60% interest. We've heard horrible things about Wal-Mart over the years, but this was the last straw. Something so blantantly unjust towards people who... Continue reading
Posted Aug 13, 2010 at Everything But the Kitchen Sink