Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Summer fun...

Today is the last day of summer break. The kids and myself are very excited. I think as summer winds down children get bored of being home in the same environment despite the park days and swim class.

The kids really improved at swimming this summer. They took classes at an outdoor private pool that I grew up at. It was very nostalgic and had me longing for the money to afford the luxury of a membership. Hopefully next summer or the summer after next we can afford it. This particular pool has a 5 year waiting list!

We ended our summer family time with free movies in the park thanks to the city of Burien. Unfortunately Riley isn't in any of the pictures. She met a new friend and wanted to sit with them.

As school starts I am very excited to just be home with Hannah. This is the first time I have ever been a full time stay at home mother with a baby. I feel like I have really been able to just soak her in and enjoy her more than I was able to with my older children and I am taking full advantage of that. I am also looking forward to a cleaner house that isn't destroyed behind me as I clean!

Along with school comes fall. I love when summer slowly changes to fall and we cozy into the couch with blankets and read books and light candles. Maybe this fall I will get more knitting in.

I still have not come up with a new name for the blog. Some ideas are...
The Ginger Brown House
The Browns around Town
A house full of Gingers

As you can see we aren't very creative.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Looking Back

I took a few minutes to look back into my first few years of blogging. In that few minutes I found this.

I still can't believe I let myself get to such an unhealthy weight! I am much happier like this.

While I still have 40 pounds to lose to get to my goal weight I am feeling so much better in my new (what I had 10 years ago) body. Even though this is much better than I was I am trying to get back to my college self. :)

I do to knit!

Life with three kids gets pretty busy. Especially in the summer. I have been trying very hard to be a good stay at home mom. However, with all the kids home all day my house gets messy behind me as I clean. In an effort to save money I have also started canning and preparing more meals at home and baking which takes up more time.

I was knitting mostly when Hannah would nurse which is very easy. Lately though Hannah is very very curious and moving and grabbing more as she nurses. I have had my needle pulled out of my work too many times now so knitting and nursing is going to have to be a thing of the past.

I did get time to knit up this little hat. It was so fast and easy. I found some 4-ply sock yarn and knit on US 4 needles in the round. I started it in the evening while watching TV and finished it the next night. This makes an EXCELLENT baby gift. Plus when you use self striping yarn it makes you look much more skilled. Most non-knitters don't realize you didn't need to switch yarn for each stripe. :)

While I started this blog almost 6 years ago to document my knitting journey. It has turned into so much more than that over the years. I am thinking it is time for a name change as my focus has more changed into taking care of these guys.

I have been wracking my brain over the past few weeks on a new name. It hasn't come to me yet. I will keep thinking...

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Jars

I have a thing for jars. I love glass jars. If someone came into my house and stole my canning jars, new or old, I would cry. I have been known to save glass containers that I find interesting as well. For instance my Jose Cuervo tequila bottle that I got for my birthday. Well, after scrubbing the labels off it turns into a beautiful vase.

I have some small glass containers that my grandmother was giving away. I have no clue what they used to hold and they are small but they are perfect for wild flowers.

Yes of course I use them for coins. We have a penny jar. We have guesses on how much money will be in there when we fill it to the top.

My favorite, and I know this sounds weird, is the jar that is at the sink. Yes it holds my icky scrubbing brushes but I love how rustic it looks. In my dream home it would be an eclectic mix of modern home on the range and I feel like this would be a part of that.

Then there is the jar that holds my wooden spoons. See above. :)

Monday, August 01, 2011

Sisters

Growing up I always wanted a sister. I think there is something so special about having a sibling of the same sex although I don't think I want to try to give Jake a brother as much as he wants one. I keep warning him that if we did he might get another sister. Don't get me wrong I think I was fortunate to have a younger brother and I love the bond that Riley and Jake have but there is just something special about sisters and I feel so blessed to be able to watch their relationship grow.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Holy Six!

My boy is now six! On his birthday we went down memory lane and I was going over the day he was born and he was fascinated that the doctors cut him out of me. Then he wanted to know if his sisters were "cut out" too. When I said no he goes, "oh! So boys are cut out of their mommies and girls are pushed out!" Not really buddy. So then I had to explain a little more that some boys are pushed out.

It is so exciting to watch my son grow. He is so bright and loves to read. Right now he is reading second grade books. He is also now taller than his older sister! Jake said he was excited to turn six so he could be in the first grade. I just hope that his excitement for learning and school never stop.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Play Ball!

Hannah got to experience her first Mariners game yesterday. We had family visiting from out of town. My parents were very generous and bought us tickets so we could go with them all.

We started our adventure with a ride on the Sounder commuter train. This is fairly new to the area and I wish it would have been built years and years ago. There have been some people that are against building a mass transit system due to the initial costs of building. However, I think it is a great asset to our area. Not only will it ease congestion but it will also take more cars off the road. And it isn't that expensive to ride. In my opinion it is worth the extra tax money. Now I will step off of my soap box.

After we ate our hot dog from a street vendor we went to the game. We had great seats right above the center fielder. Unfortunately the Mariners did not have that great of a day and no home runs came to our area. However, we did make it on the jumbo screen! That was a first and the kids got a kick out of it.

After the game all children 12 and under got to run around the bases. It was so popular that the line snaked it's way up to the 300 level and then all the way back down to the tunnel that goes onto the field. Thankfully the staff was very experienced and it ran very smoothly. Riley was so quick that I didn't get her in any of the pictures. They did have a photographer there and were handing out cards so we can go online and order them.

It ended up being a long and exhausting day but it was very fun. The kids had a blast and that is really what is most important to me as a parent.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Mmmmm Carrots!

We have been making a very slow venture into solid foods. I am in no rush to go gung-ho. Hannah is obviously thriving with breast milk alone. Yesterday at her 6 month checkup she weighed in at 15 pounds 12 ounces. Which was a two pound weight gain in just two months.

I love the idea of baby led weaning and following her cues to know what she is ready for. I am not too big on just giving rice or oat cereal first. At this point Hannah loves the food going into her mouth. She opens her mouth and chomps down like a pirrannah. Our only problem is that she will often gag as the food makes it's way down her throat. I think that she loves that I am giving her yummy steamed and pureed sweet carrots. Or maybe it is just another game for her.

Either way it sure does make for a good photo opportunity.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

8

Yesterday my baby turned 8 years old. Honestly I really can't believe where the years have gone. Cherish every moment.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Crayon Craft

I love this craft. What I love is I can get my kids to do most of the dirty work and it is super fast and easy aside from peeling the crayons (the dirty work).

First peel the crayons. Then we break and separate them into cupcake cups. You can find craft cups at Joann's as well if you like. Cupcake cups work just as well. I say the cheaper the better since they are getting thrown away after the craft.

You can microwave the crayons directly in the candy molds but I prefer to just melt mine in the oven. I set my oven for 350 degrees. Then I just check on them and occasionally mix them with a toothpick until they are completely melted. I also have an old cookie sheet that is now the craft sheet as the oil in the crayons sometimes does seep through the bottom of the cups. In my experience Crayola crayons are less oily and melt faster and better than cheap crayons. However, I would not pay full price for crayons just for this project. I usually have the kids gather their old broken crayons. Crayola 24 count boxes were on sale this week for 25 cents each limit 4 so I bought 4 and Riley bought 4. This time I used two boxes.

When the crayons are completely melted carefully pour the wax into your mold of choice. I buy candy molds at Joann's. They are fairly inexpensive and can be reused. Again these are now only used for crafts. One thing I did that I would not do again is purchase candy molds that have a slot for a popsicle stick. If you happen to pour just a little bit too high the wax flows into this slot and then will pour all over your counter as it did to me today. I should have taken a picture but I was too busy trying to clean up the mess quickly. Then I realized I should have left it alone and just scraped off hard wax instead of smooshing it into my counter. Not my smartest moment. The molds shown here are regular candy molds

After I pour the wax I put the molds into the freezer for about 10 minutes then set them on the counter for a few minutes and then pop them out and they are ready to go!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Chubalove

This baby is definitely not missing any meals.

While I have breast fed two other children well into pre-school age it still amazes me that my milk can do this. It is crazy how my milk plumps up what was just almost six months ago a little newborn.

This baby is also cutting her first tooth and likes to gnaw on her lower lip for a good portion of the day. I am thankful that this one did not start teething until almost 6 months. My first two had teeth at 4 months of age. While I love a grin with just a few teeth a gummy mouth sure is cute!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Firsts



First I have to thank my friend Corey for taking this perfect picture. I love it! We haven't gotten a great family picture in a few years. Aside from Hannah not smiling at the camera. I will give her a pass she is only 5 months old after all.



Riley received her first communion on May 14th. Paul wasn't able to snap a picture of that as a woman stepped right in front of him as he clicked the camera. At least I have the mental image to remember which is just as special. Being raised Catholic this was such a special day to watch my first born receive the body and blood of Christ. What is even more special is that she looks forward to taking Christ into her body each week.





Riley was able to get a picture with another girl whom she was baptized with. We see this family at church and it has been so neat to see their daughter and family grow through the years.

Our family definitely needed this happy moment in all of our sadness last month. Unfortunately my mother was not able to attend as she was with my grandmother in her last days. My grandmother would have been so happy and proud of Riley.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Saying Goodbye Again

My grandmother entered the kingdom of Heaven yesterday. While I am sad I will not see her again in this life I am thankful she is no longer in pain and in the glory of God. I am also thankful that she was able to meet Hannah while she was able to not be bedridden and on medication to ease her pain. My family was told she would most likely pass over this past weekend. They were not sure why she was hanging on until yesterday. I have a feeling she was waiting for a beautiful day. In the Northwest we have had a very wet and sunless spring. Finally yesterday the clouds went away and the sun was out and we were blessed with 70 degree heat. In my opinion is was the perfect day to leave.

During all of the heartache of the past two weeks we have had joyous occasions which I will need to post about separately as I think they deserve that. The night before we put Bob down we celebrated my parent's 25th wedding anniversary. They are a true example of what a loving dedicated marriage looks like. Also this past weekend Riley received her first communion which was a very special event. So I am thankful that God has given us joy to go along with the pain.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Goodbye to a dear friend

We had to say goodbye to our very loved dog Bob. The ache I feel right now is too much to even put into words. He was an amazingly loyal, playful and gentle dog. We couldn't have asked for anything better.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Beginning my couponing journey

Here are my spoils at my first attempt at coupon savings. (Not pictured are three bags of potting soil)
Total before sales and coupons $49.95 before tax.
Total amount paid before tax $21.79. So if my math is correct that is a savings of 43.6%.

YesterdayI spent a good part of my afternoon and evening cutting coupons and comparing what I had to my local sales (split up of course to take care of Hannah as she needed me and deep cleaning my disgusting bathroom). I went to Walgreen's, a store I rarely if ever go to. My lure was cereal, which we go through so fast at home and it is an expensive part of our grocery bill. Walgreen's had certain types of Special K cereal on sale for 2 for $5. I also had a manufacturers coupon that I printed online to save $3 when I bought 5 boxes. So with the sale and my coupon I only spent $1.90 a box which is a deal considering the normal price is over $5 per box!

Because I have just started couponing I know I could have saved more money. For instance I did not have a coupon for the Lysol wipes, however they were buy one get one free. I use these all the time in my house to disinfect and clean surfaces so I bought them anyway. Also I did not have a manufacturers coupon for the Ajax dish soap to combine with my in store coupon. However, the in store coupon gave me a price of 79 cents. Still a good deal.

I am still proud of myself. I NEVER save this much. It is time consuming but then I think of the amount of money I am going to save my household in a year and I get excited. I just saved us $28.16 in one shopping trip! I can't imagine what that will add up to at the end of the year. We are not able to save as much as the people on the TLC show Extreme Couponing due to what I understand as the "rules" in our state. I am not able to use more than one manufacturers coupon per sale. So I am not able to buy 10 items and use 10 of the same coupon as I understand it. I still have a lot to learn but as my coupon stash grows I know I will save more money.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Peek

The knitting has been slow going. I do have some finished projects but I can just never find the time to take them. Plus my attire lately has been sweats and t-shirts and those don't really showcase a nice hand knit very well. Not to mention the weather here has been very dreary which doesn't make for a nice picture either. So because of that you get a few sneaks.



Here is Hannah modeling a design I am working on. I did a prototype and just need to finish writing it up then it needs to be test knit. I don't know how some designers whip out patterns left and right. They must not have three children one of whom is an infant.



Here is another pattern in the works. I just finished the chart last night using this great online tool. I should probably finish the first project but I really want to cast on for this.

I have about 10 other designs floating around in my head but don't have the time to get them down. There is always tomorrow and snuggling with red heads is more important.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Moments

One of my favorite moments in the day is Hannah's breakfast when she wakes up. It is usually calm with Spongebob playing in the background and laughter from my older children. Hannah and I sit quietly by the window and connect. I get lots of smiles which I take as "Thank you mommy this is so good!"

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Bad News

Today we learned that Hannah has kidney reflux. She has a grade four out of five with five being the worst. We were really hoping we could not have to go through all of this again. However, I like to think we are stronger because we went through this with Riley. I am praying that Hannah will not need surgery like Riley did. I am thankful that our pediatrician likes checking because otherwise we would not have known until she got an infection and now we can use preventative measures so she doesn't. We will find out more when we meet with her urologist in two weeks.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Keeping those hands warm

It has been a cold winter here in western Washington. Our hands get a little chilly when we warm up the cars in the morning. Ironically because I am late to posting these projects we are now on a heat wave with temperatures in the 50s!

The Wristler mitts were meant to be a christmas present for Paul. They were finished a week after Hannah was born. Thankfully my husband knows me well and didn't expect them by Christmas.


They are knit using Cascade 220 super wash wool. While I don't usually choose Cascade yarn much anymore as I now have a preference for hand dyed yarn, Paul perfers very simple manly colors. Something hand dyed even in a "manly" color would not be manly enough. Since Paul goes to work at 4am these mitts have proved very useful. If anyone is wondering I am modeling not him. They are fairly large on me but fit Paul perfectly.


I have been a bit ADD lately when it comes to knitting. I will blame it on having an infant to take care of. I have three sweater projects sitting around if that says anything. One only needs the collar and zipper attached. Another just needs one sleeve and a button band to knit. The other is almost halfway knit. I am not mentioning my other basket of unfinished hats, socks, and baby sweaters. So needless to say fitting in a quick two day project makes me feel good.


These are One Cable Mitts made from Malabrigo Twist. While I adore how this yarn feels it does pill considerably. It probably doesn't help that I have been wearing them non stop. Thankfully I bought them the same day I purchased a sweater stone for another garment. Who knows I would need it for these as well. Riley has requested a pair for herself with the same yarn she has in her personal stash. I think I might have her make them. Are cables too much for a 7 year old? My theory with knitting is if you want to learn something new just dive right in. The worst you will need to do is rip out what you have knit and start over.


If Hannah would have let me this morning I would have given a sneak photo on a knit design I am working on. Since she didn't you get a photo of her. Most of the pictures I have lately of Hannah include blurry limbs. Hannah has discovered she can move them all the time. This doesn't make nursing very easy anymore when we have to maneuver around punching hands and kicking feet. It is still pretty darn cute though.


Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Those Babies of Mine

I have always sung this lullaby to all of my children. I am not sure what prompted it. Dumbo wasn't my favorite movie as a child. There was just one day when Riley was a wee one and very upset I just started singing it and remembered the song! Now it is the lullaby I sing all the time. It immediately calms Hannah down. I hope my children continue this with their own babies.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

A Brown Cookie Cutter

Hannah

Jake


Riley


Looking at Hannah I definitely see similarities to my other children. Mostly Riley. They could be twins. Hannah's nose is slightly different than Riley's and she has more of Jake's brow but still so amazingly similar. I find myself calling her Riley a lot of the time. Jake definitely has his own look but he is still definitely part of the cookie cutter. My husband has some strong strong genes.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Be an organ donor



Yesterday marked the 10 year anniversary of Kris Kime's death. I went to high school with Kris and we shared a number of classes. If you asked anyone who knew Kris they would most likely say he was one of the nicest people they knew. This was definitely true. I have known the Kime's for quite a long time as my brother was a boy scout with Kris' younger brother and they remain friends. Kris' death rocked the Burien community and has changes how Mardi Gras is celebrated in Seattle. You can read the full story on his death and his mother's comments here on the B-Town Blog. In short Kris being who he was, defended a woman who was being beat in the street and a heartless 17 year old beat him to death for stepping in. The man who killed him continues to break the law and is what I consider a career criminal. However, due to the legal system he keeps pleading for lesser charges and is awarded his requests. When in my mind he should be spending much more time in prison for his actions.

The positive of this is that Kris was an organ donor. Now 5 people are living life to the fullest because of him caring enough while alive to want to help other people live after his death.

I am an organ donor. My husband is well aware that I want as much of my body donated as possible after my death. Even if there is nothing left. This body is just an earthly vessel. I do not need any of these parts in eternity with my Savior. So if you are not an organ donor I ask you to reconsider your decision if you have previously not wanted to donate for whatever reason. I also ask that if you just have not changed your status due to lack of time that you find time to do so.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Rare Moments

It is very rare with multiple small children that I capture a moment where everyone is smiling at the same time or looking at the camera or not moving, etc. Any parent will understand and commiserate with me. So I was very happy to capture this moment on my camera.



Because most of them look like this...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

How I find time to knit

I have been needing to find creative ways to fit knitting into my life lately. I figured sharing a picture of my nursing Hannah on the boppy and knitting might not appeal to all of my readers so you get to see how I knit the other half of the time.



This is one of the ways that will quickly calm Hannah down when she is over tired. However, after a few minutes my lower back starts to hurt. The pains a mother will go through to make sure her baby is not crying.

Speaking of crying have you seen this commercial? Add the hormones that are surging through my body to that and you have a good cry fest!

Coming Home

Monday, February 14, 2011

These Feet

I have a thing for baby feet. I love them! I can't stand how cute they are. So tiny and soft I just want to eat them up! The other day as I was snapping a bunch of pictures of Hannah's feet I got a little sentimental. Call it new mom hormones I guess.



These feet will take their first steps then second then so on. Where will they go? Will they grace the steps of the oval office or the surgical floor of a major hospital or maybe a second grade classroom or maybe just stay at her home with her own children? It is amazing to see your children as tiny babies and as they grow. I wonder if my mother looks at me now and maybe I make a certain face or look at her a certain way does she think back to when I was a baby and does her heart melt just a little bit? I know this happens to me with my children now.

Whatever Hannah grows up to be I will remember her baby feet and be proud of wherever those feet go in life.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Knitting Mojo

I have knitting mojo it is back! I finished Yvaine last week and blocked it and have already enjoyed wearing it. This is made from Madelinetosh Merino Light. My first project finished with this yarn. I.LOVE.IT! I did add more rows to the shawl to make it larger than the pattern called for. It is so warm and soft!