27 December 2014

December Snaps

Camellias outside my kitchen window

Holly tree in the neighbors' back yard


Preschooler and her tree (presents were already packed for our trip)


25 December 2014

All Good Things

I watched Angels Sing, a Hallmark movie with Willie Nelson as Santa. No one prepared me for its sad themes. It was good, and I liked that the main character is a professor named Walker! And they lived in Austin! Maybe someday. I also really liked the singing, especially "Christmastime is Here." Wonder if there's a soundtrack. (LOL.)

I cooked all day yesterday and a bit today. We had a huge meal, the five of us -- Shawn, Jane, his parents and me. Here was the menu:
  • Pineapple cream cheese & pecan cheese ball/dip with crackers
  • Pigs in a blanket (li'l smokies wrapped in crescent rolls)
  • Honey ham
  • Dressing (no turkey, and I made this WAY too dry/used too much cornbread)
  • Corn casserole
  • Green bean casserole
  • Parker house rolls (from scratch -- I think this is the last time for those, even though they are scrumptious)
  • Deviled eggs (which FROZE in the top part of the fridge)
  • Broccoli, mushroom and onion salad (probably not making again -- it's good, but requires too many herbs so is expensive and is overshadowed by other, traditional comfort foods so we always have too much and have to throw some out)
  • Cranberry salad (will never stop making this ... so good)
  • Mashed sweet potatoes (I forgot about this and started them too late so we only had them with the leftovers)
  • Pumpkin pie
Ever time I cook here I swear it will be the LAST time. I can't find anything, there's not a sharp chef's knife anywhere, and it generally makes me stabby, ragey and upset. But it is nice to have a clean-up crew (my mother-in-law does all the dishes and cleanup).

I also made white velvet cutout cookies for the family get together on Saturday. We'll also take the second pan of dressing, although it's not right in any sense of the word. Boo hoo.

Jane opened more presents than necessary. Her favorite was a set of Daniel Tiger figures, and she's played a lot with them already. Precious.

Merry Christmas!

22 December 2014

Stuffing a Toddler Stocking

I'm not sure if Jane is still a toddler at three, so maybe stuffing a preschooler stocking would be more accurate. I just wanted to list some of the things I have ready for her stocking this week (part of the ~30 pounds of gifts we brought on our trip that we'll have to bring back).
  • Imagine Ink mess free marker book ... OK, technically there isn't one of these in her stocking. But I did give her one for the trip (and she's used a couple others on our long road trips of late). These are a little expensive (about $6), but I've found them for $3 in the Target "dollar" spot. Amazon might be the place to go. Jane doesn't do the games yet, but she likes to see the color appear as she marks up every single page. It really keeps her still and focused for chunks of time. Might be a good church book. If only I could find more Imagine Ink books to use up all the markets we have now...
  • Color books and new crayons -- actually the books won't fit in her stocking, so she's getting a separate (Olaf) tote bag full of books that will include the color books. I bought the crayons on clearance during the year, and the color books were 50% off clearance ones I know she'll like.
  • Books from the Scholastic sale at her school. These will go in the Olaf bag too. I just kept buying more and it seemed like a good idea to hold them for a Christmas surprise!
  • Playdough -- a last minute addition when Jane asked for some. I got a pink and a white. She can play with them (and leave them) at Grandma Dale's!
  • Assorted mini toys from kids' meals. Despite my best efforts to feed Jane whole foods we have eaten a Sonic grilled cheese from time to time. I've saved the little toys from that (just to avoid/delay the requests for more Sonic trips because really a grilled cheese is a grilled cheese), so I'm giving them to her in her stocking.
  • Socks. She got new ones for her birthday but they are already starting to pinch her little ankles. I got these on Black Friday.
  • Teddy Bear. Jane randomly asked for a teddy bear, and then she kept repeating it whenever anyone asked what she wanted for Christmas. We have too many stuffed animals, so I just pulled out a teddy bear I'd bought her in Germany that had been hanging out in the "land of disappearing" (the guest room closet). 
  • Stickers and hair clips -- gifts from Gingie. There were some other stocking-stuffer gifts from Gingie too, but those are the two that I managed to bring with us.
I think there are a couple other things in there too, but even though I just packed them up yesterday I can't remember. I'll find out on Thursday with her! Next I need to catalog what I bought myself for my stocking, although I didn't cart any of it with us so will just let myself have it all when we get home.

Happy Christmas to you.

21 December 2014

The Right Way to Celebrate?

Amidst the Christmas cheer and glad tidings of great joy I harbor confusion and crankiness.

I'm not sure I'm "doing Christmas" right. Not reverently enough. Not enough attention to Advent. Not even fully understanding Advent.

Christ already came, died and was resurrected. Shouldn't we be "Easter people" all the time?

In my attempts to do everything "right," for Jane, myself, our family, I wander ... or something. Trying to mold church tradition into my limited understanding and general doubts. Turning it over in my mind without it making any sense.

Shawn had to remind me that it's really about waiting for the second coming after I expressed my unease with this repetitive calendar cycle when nothing really changes. I know I'm approaching Christmas in the wrong way. And it makes me anxious.

Will I ever "get it"? There are sparks of clarity that are fleeting. My soul does cry out for Jesus -- come, Lord Jesus, come, even while he is here with me. How does that work?!

20 December 2014

Teddy Afghan



Made for a friend's baby girl due in January. I am going to take a break from crocheting, at least through the end of this year. It's one of my favorite things though, so I know I won't stay away for long. I already have yarn to make myself a hat (treat yo' self and whatnot).

11 December 2014

90 is Not Enough

November 30, 2014
Yesterday my Gran died. She was 90 years old and tired of being bedridden. She was at home with her family. I don't know what to do except write about it while I cry.

She's the underlying hum in all my faith stories and a leading figure in my religion, a shining example of constant faith.

I grew up just two blocks from her house, so she and my grandfather were a constant in my childhood from regular sleepovers, shopping trips and just being together. I learned to crochet from her fingers, I think she taught me the summer I was 16 and helped my grandpa take care of her after she had a fall and broken bones. Working with yarn is fun on its face but it's also always connected me to her.

Gran was not just part of my history but also a part of my weekly routine and life now. I would call her two or three times a week, usually in the afternoons when her helper had gone home but before her supper was delivered. She could chat and listen to whatever was on my mind and heart. I'm already feeling adrift without those calls or the possibility of them. And oh, how she loved Jane. Jane loves her too, and navigating this conversation with her is possibly the hardest part for me.

Gran was a teacher with a 30+ year career. So she touched countless lives through her classroom and interactions with children. Her work in her church, from Sunday school teacher to church board secretary and beyond, was critical to its functioning. And these are only the things I, as a child in her life, know about. I know her life was rich and full of love.

I selfishly would have liked more time. But I know she has moved on, that she was ready to go to the Lord. And I pray that her reward for a life so well lived is more than she ever dreamed of. I miss her so much and am so grateful she loved me.

09 December 2014

08 December 2014

Santa is Not my Tradition

I am kind of a Grinch about Christmas Christmas, I think. We don't "do" Santa at our house. It's just not my tradition or something I feel the need to do. The miracle of Christmas is far greater than a funny, magical character.

But this year it is hard to be different.

Jane is three, so an age where she is putting things together and excited about Santa. It doesn't help that he's shoved down her throat at every turn. From strangers asking her "What did you ask Santy Claus for?" (and receiving a blank look until I translated "What do you want for Christmas?") to a visit from Santa during our church's Advent Festival (Advent and Santa do not compute).

At the festival, too, the single craft for kids was "Reindeer Food," a brown bag that you filled with oats, glitter (which I hate for non-Grinchy reasons), sprinkles, etc. and then they stapled on a poem about sprinkling the mess on the lawn so the reindeer see your house and Santa will be sure to find you. Cute concept, I guess, but at church?! We let Jane make a glitter-free version, but I am not carting it to Virginia. In fact, I think it's already in the trash.

Aren't I the Grinchiest?!

We do read a lot of Christmas books, and Santa is featured in some. I don't want Jane to be ignorant of anything, including the Santa myth. I know it's confusing, but I just keep telling her that Santa is a funny, pretend character. I don't want her to go around and tell other kids "he's not real" (I never say those words). Childhood friends are still a little touchy about me ruining the magic for them in Kindergarten. But I will never pretend he's more than just a fictional character. I just hope we don't piss off anyone!

06 December 2014

Sunrise Senior Living Center Holiday Fair

Today I was at the Sunrise Senior Living Center holiday market. If you stopped by my booth and are checking out my website, welcome!

silvermari crochet booth at Jingle Mingle 2014 (major bust, saleswise)

03 December 2014

Jingle Mingle: Crochet Hats

Hats made in June because I haven't taken a picture today (!)
Thursday, December 4, is the Jingle Mingle at Jane's preschool. So I'm going to have a crochet hat booth. I'm excited and nervous. I have 47 hats ready.

I also have another sale for Saturday at a retirement community, so I've also made four thread starched ornaments. I'd like to make more, but we'll see about time and how long it takes these first four to dry. I don't expect every hat to sell tomorrow, but I might be running low for Saturday and need to spend all day Friday crocheting. Good thing I like crochet.

If you're visiting my site after seeing my work at the Jingle Mingle, welcome! If you'd like to order a custom hat, see my Want to Order a Crochet Hat? post for details on what measurements I need. I can probably still make a few hats before Christmas, so contact me if you have that deadline.

30 November 2014

Ending with the beginning in mind

Oh November, you were so full of promise.

But I'm ready to see you go.

We've had wonderful weather on this trip -- not too hot, not too cold. Sunny, gorgeous. This evening it's turned cold. Brrrr. It will be a tough start in the morning when we're leaving in the wee hours of the morning. I'm sleepy just thinking about it.

Today begins Advent, and I'm looking to embrace the season in new ways. I got Ann Voskamp's.  Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas for my birthday, so we will be going through that book this season together. And at church we're doing Simply Wait: Cultivating Stillness in the Season of Advent so I need to start reading that. (Affiliate links, because why not.)

 I don't know what to do with this blog. But I will post later this week to get a crochet-related post on the top for the craft sales I'm doing. Until then...

29 November 2014

Screen Time Update: Three Years Old

'365:32 - Television' photo (c) 2009, Sarah Reid - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/What a difference a year makes.

As Jane grows up her exposure to technology and media is increasing. It's still limited, but I'm much less strict (see media use decisions post from last year). She's watching a Thomas video with Aunt B as I type this. Also at Thanksgiving I didn't keep her away from the TV playing football. And on the drive she gets to watch a couple PBS Kids shows on the Kindle with her headphones (we do the same on airplanes). And there's a Lego Duplo train game on my Kindle that she can play sometimes. I'd say we usually limit it to 30 minutes/day total screen time, and some days there's none. Usually we don't watch on the weekends, and school days are structured so that there really isn't a good time to watch.

My aunt sent me this HuffPo article with the extreme headline 10 Reasons Why Handheld Devices Should Be Banned for Children Under the Age of 12. It's typical Huffington Post extremism (and I'm certainly a target HuffPo liberal reader), but I much prefer the links to posts at the end of the original article: This post has elicited a number of responses from other bloggers. You can read some of those here and here.

In any case Jane doesn't get a handheld device of her own or unsupervised use of any technology. Her exposure is certainly all non-violent (although we went to a birthday party that had a Captain American movie playing so there was some violence there, but I didn't know what to say without being totally rude!).

We're doing our best, and Jane is developing and happy. So we'll just keep going. Meh. Meh. Meh.

28 November 2014

Reading Slump

Almost made it to the end of the 24 hour day without a post. Ah! I am sure in December some really good post ideas will come to me ... at least I hope.

I haven't been reading much lately. I've been crocheting a lot more (and watching TV while I "hook"). But I also have just been stuck on the holds list for certain ebooks through my library. I absolutely love the ebook library service, and it's well worth the wait to me to have a book to read for free that I don't have to keep or worry about whether I "own" the digital copy (as I would own a physical copy).

I thought of another thing I bought that I wanted to love but didn't -- my sparkle Toms. I wore them at Thanksgiving and my feet were ouchies at the end of the day (and honestly throughout the day too). The soles are not cushy or something, so it's the bottoms of my feet that hurt the most. And they're not that stretchy so they're a pain to get on and off. I think I just have fat feet not meant for cool, trendy shoes. (And heavy calves not meant for cool, trendy tall boots ... although I am somewhat proud of the muscles in my calves and it's just a genetic thing.) Oh well.

I failed on my attempt to totally stay away from Black Friday shopping. I bought some PJs for Jane at Walmart when I went to get her some toothpaste and me a new bath pouf -- the one I travel with smelled funky ... TMI? Well, it's late!

I'm also scrambling to get ten free Shutterfly cards with the Black Friday code. Six bucks shipping. I'm just getting Jane note cards because I already ordered cards from Snapfish for our Christmas cards. They should be there this week.

27 November 2014

Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart

We had a fine Thanksgiving. Lots of yummy food, probably too much. Jane was wild and tired most of the day. It's fun to catch up with family. Although I'm sick of being sick. Still hacking and "sinus," which is how I've heard snot-nosed referred to in polite company recently.

I'm not planning to go Black Friday shopping. It isn't something I've done in the past, none of the stuff appeals to me, and the idea of such consumer excess doesn't sit well with me. I bathe in consumer excess, literally I guess with my high dollar travel body wash, but it just seems too much. I'll probably change my tune for Cyber Monday? What about Giving Tuesday? Um...

I made a just-pay-shipping calendar at Shutterfly tonight, and I ordered a free (ship-to-store so not even shipping) 8x10 print from Walgreen's tonight. So I guess I'm not all anti-consumerism, especially when it comes to Jane's image.

26 November 2014

Birthday Bingo

This is Thirty Four
Today is my birthday, so this post feels like a "free space" in Bingo. Easy peasy mac-n-cheesy.

We are staying at my sister's for Thanksgiving, and Jane is sleeping for the first time on a mattress on the floor. The first night has NOT gone well, and going-to-sleep took nearly two hours (assuming she's actually asleep now). Back to the pack-and-play? Whatever the case she's going to be SO TIRED tomorrow -- what a peach.

I crocheted the entire way here for nearly 12 hours (and only made 4 complete hats, so these things are LABOR intensive and probably under-priced). My wrists are a little achy. I am thinking that when I go to the preschool craft fair and hand out my cards, which have my silvermari URL, I'm going to have a whole new set of problems. I haven't written anything really about preschool here, and if I've mentioned it only in glowing terms or how much Jane likes it (I think?). But do I want to essentially advertise this blog via the crochet work? Too late to print new cards and I'm not planning to move the blog part of this site any time soon. I just got the URL working.

Not that anyone is interested! Keep your perspective, "silvermari" ...

25 November 2014

Regrettable Purchases

I've thought a couple times lately about things I bought that I DIDN'T love. And since we're scraping the bottom of the barrel here I'm going to write about that. :-/

I bought some face wash, and I thought I was buying the same stuff I had been using, a Neutrogena gentle foaming cleanser. Apparently I bought one that has a fragrance. How could it be gentle with fragrance chemicals? Anyway, it's horrible and I used it once. UGH.

I didn't actually buy these, although I did pay for the return shipping, but I almost bought and WANTED to love a pair of boots from Aerosoles. They're already sold out or something because I can't find them on the site. They were knee high, black and too tight. They were wide calf and had a double zipper feature to make the shaft wider. But not wide enough! They were so cute, and I could get the zippers up but it was just too tight. Sad. Sad. Sad. That's what I get for trying to buy boots online. I did manage to get two pairs of shoes from Aerosoles that work!

 Still on the lookout for the perfect black boot. Ohm...


24 November 2014

Superstore Shopping

This morning Jane and I went shopping at Target for a church-related outreach program. Parents of kids at a local head start can earn points for Christmas gifts for their kids, and then we get to shop for each kid based on the points. We got six kids, and it took us two hours to complete our list -- you have to find wish list items and do it within the kid's budget. It was exhausting, but I hit within a few cents for every kid.

Jane mainly sat watching Daniel Tiger on the Kindle Fire. But she still slowed me down. It took me much longer than last year when I did it without her, although I think I may have had fewer kids to shop for.

Anyway, walking through the toy aisles and the kids clothing aisles really fires up my shopping jones. I could have spent another hour walking through putting stuff in the cart for Jane. So much for my Christmas present idea trouble.

When we were finished we did make a loop through the store, but only for a few things on our list (orange juice and cold medicine for the never ending sickness around here). Then we raced home to get ready and head out to the zoo with friends. It was a fun day, although exhausting.

23 November 2014

TIBTIL: PrizeFighter

I love Trisha Yearwood, and I have for ages. One of the first CDs we had in our house was one of hers, and I remember dancing to "She's in Love with the Boy" with my sister in the living room, and we even danced together to the song at my wedding reception.

Trisha released a new album last week, and I got it this weekend from Amazon. It's mostly old stuff remastered with a handful of new songs, my favorite so far is I Remember You. Lots of tears when I heard that for the first time while driving. Yikes.

Her voice can take me back to riding on the bus to a basketball game in high school. I'd listen on my disc man, and if anyone asked what I was listening to I would probably lie and say Pearl Jam (because I did/do love Pearl Jam too). Even in the country liking country music wasn't "cool." Maybe it is now? I think it's more like I don't care what's cool anymore.

I also own Trisha's cookbooks, and I've made a few recipes from them (they're not super healthy so just as treats). They're beautiful though and I love them. I've never actually seen her Food TV show, although I love Food Network too! I have just stopped watching it since I mostly watch online streaming TV and a few network shows live.

22 November 2014

Christmas Shopping for a Three-Year-Old

https://www.etsy.com/listing/33891702/wood-gift-tags
Gift tags from dandeedesigns on Etsy
I love the idea of four gifts: something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read. But I'm struggling with ideas for Jane's presents for this year.

Jane has everything she needs, and honestly more than she wants. We have toys coming out our ears, books by the dozens (hundreds?) and enough clothes (and underpants!) to last at least a couple weeks between laundry days if we really wanted.

When I ask Jane what she wants for Christmas lately she's been saying "books!" I've already squirreled away about 5 new books for her, plus we do our book-a-day Advent tradition so she'll get to revisit and rediscover all our Christmas-themed books. Her birthday is just six weeks before Christmas, so she's still got the newness of her birthday presents. I know in years to come she'll get into the cycle of greed and won't have any trouble answering the "what I want for Christmas" question.

I'd been thinking about a balance bike or something similar - a big gift that could get a lot of use and be helpful for gross motor development. But a problem with something so physically big is that she couldn't open it ON Christmas because we won't be at our house and I can't deal with the shipping.

And for something to wear I could buy her a fancy party dress or a new pair of PJs, although really she's got all the PJs she'll need for the winter and she has a lot of dresses (although most are getting too short -- she's very tall). And there's really nothing she needs because I just fulfill needs as they come up (for example this week we bought three packs of underwear -- including Ninja Turtles!! -- because I was getting tired of stressing about whether I'd done laundry soon enough to make the seven pairs that fit last). I also don't want to have a bunch of stuff to cart back home from our Christmas trip. Hrm.

Maybe I should just go with a books-only gift from us plus a stocking with various little things for her, because I L-O-V-E stockings!!! (It was so hard when I was away from home/with Shawn's family the first year and didn't really get one. But now I just do my own, which is almost as fun!) For Jane's stocking I already have a few Target clearance toys that can fit plus some random kids meal toys I've procured, new crayons and stickers. We don't "do" Santa Clause, but stockings are awesome.

21 November 2014

Crochet: Ruffle Coin Purse

I made two "bon bon kisses" coin purses for two little darlings. One is for Jane and the other for my cousin's 3-year-old (for Christmas).

I am a terrible sewer, so the kiss clasp attachment is terrible, but otherwise I think they're OK. It was fun to use the Lion Brand Bon Bon yarn too.

Jane really likes hers, and I put her Sunday school money in it. They called it her "coin purse of many colors" because they're learning about Joseph.

Sorry for the lame picture. I should take a daylight photo. 

20 November 2014

Crochet: Pink Vertical Chevron

An easy post, although this isn't something I recently completed. I think it's been done for a couple months even. It's a vertical chevron baby blanket for my cousin's second daughter who is due in January. It's a little weird, but I like it. I'm packing it up to take it home on our Thanksgiving trip. Shipping savings for the win!

I've been crocheting a ton more too lately, as I decided to actually do the preschool holiday market on Dec. 4.

I also got a custom order (!), although I need to go get some light tan to complete that. Maybe more will come in as we get close to the holidays. It's not like I need more to do though, but it's still fun.

Close up of the vertical chevron stripe

19 November 2014

Jean Shorts

Even though it's cool to cold here now, it's hot in Louisiana about 3/4 of the year. That means I have to wear shorts most of the time, but I usually can't find shorts that I like. Specifically I like longer shorts, as in knee length.

This summer I decided to make my own by cutting off some jeans. I found a few pairs at Goodwill for less than $6 and a couple Old Navy pairs on ThredUp (affiliate link). Then snip, snip across the knee or a little lower to allow some roll up room and voila -- new shorts. I thought that the cheaper Old Navy jeans with spandex might not work, but they actually worked great and made super comfy jean shorts. A few of the cheap pairs of jeans I bought at Goodwill I actually kept as jeans. Perfect for the weather now! I'm wearing a $6 pair of Levi's right now.

This is one of my favorite pictures of the year. My sister took it, and it's me and Jane leaving her first movie (Rio 2) that we saw for $1 each. I'm wearing my homemade jean shorts!

18 November 2014

Embrace the Pink

I almost forgot to blog today. This has been the worst NaBloPoMo for me, hands down. Maybe I can turn it around. Not today.

This afternoon Jane and I ventured outside in the back yard and she played with her bubble lawn mower. It's something I bought her last year, and she's played with it a lot inside but this was the first time I added the bubbles. It's so loud that it's a much better outside toy anyway.

She was running around and having a great time, although gave me a big scare when she bolted for the front yard and down the driveway, stopping in the sidewalk just as I caught up with her. She wasn't actually going into the street but she absolutely made it look like she was. Ah, we gotta fence in the back yard somehow.

Anyway, she was wearing a pink coat, which is a hand-me-down but a prized possession, pink tennis shoes and a pink crochet hat that I made her. We think pink around here!

When I found out we were having a girl I was terrified of fighting the expectations for what girls should like, what girls should play with and how girls should act (ah, especially in the South with the exaggerated, somewhat fake manners that need to be slathered on). I still, obviously, have issues with gender roles and expectations, but I am embracing the pink, so to speak.

Having a girl is the best, or at least having MY girl is the best. I don't want to give the wrong impression as I'm tapping this out with minutes to spare...

She has decided she loves pink. And so I love pink too. And I think she looks smashing in it...

17 November 2014

Resolve: No Newsstand Magazines

Most of my November and December issues
Almost 11 months into the year and I've kept to at least one resolution. I decided to stop buying magazines at the newsstand. Before I would probably buy one or two every month, just as a treat or make myself feel better. (Or if one particularly caught my eye.)

I already subscribed to several magazines, but somehow my list grew this year and whenever I would see a good deal on a subscription I would snap it up. My favorite was a year of HGTV Magazine for $5. Just buying two copies would be more than that. I can always rationalize the subscription!

I love love love magazines, and I don't regret subscribing to any of them. But it is excessive. I should let one or two lapse. When I told Shawn about my resolution success he said "you don't need to buy magazines at the store because they all come to the house." LOL!

16 November 2014

Thoughts on a Ruth Study

Biblical illustrations by Jim Padgett, courtesy of Sweet Publishing,
Ft. Worth, TX, and Gospel Light, Ventura, CA. Copyright 1984.
In September and October our new pastor led a four-week Bible study on the book of Ruth. I'd never done a study on that before, although I'd certainly read the book. I loved the study and especially our pastor's teaching style. It was engaging and interesting and reminded me some of what I loved about the First Presbyterian Church's women's Bible study I used to attend. Here are some notes I took and questions/thoughts I had:

In the Jewish Bible Ruth comes just after Proverbs, i.e. after Proverbs 31 about the Woman of Valor (which always makes me think of Rachel Held Evans).

Ruth is a conversion story and required reading for those seeking to convert to Judaism.

All translation is interpretation.

Ruth 1:13, about Ruth's devotion to Naomi and Naomi telling her daughters-in-law to return to their parents' homes. Is that end faithful? I have issue with the dead husbands and sons being God's will against Naomi. That feels self-centered to me, but I also know this is a story and requires the plot to be moved along.

Never only read Scripture alone -- apostasy and leads to confirmation bias. (Although I'd say you can get that by only reading Scripture with those who agree with you/feed into your same biases.)

Ruth 2:9 - culture of foreigner, a big deal to tell her to drink from Jewish water.

Feet is a euphemism for "below the waist"

All translation is interpretation. (This was basically said every week but I only wrote it down twice)

Ruth doesn't obey Naomi because she tells Boaz what to do -- make the proposal by telling him to spread his cloak.

To whom do we provide care and from whom do we allow ourselves to receive care?
I was one of only two mothers of young children in the study, and honestly I can't hear a question like that without only thinking of the care I give Jane. I also have a very hard time allowing others, even Shawn, to care for me. Right now I have a head cold and he's doing more -- helping with laundry, making suppers, entertaining Jane.
Ruth self identifies as "servant" then Boaz calls her "daughter."

Why is it faithful to go to him so forcefully?

Elemelech's property comes with Ruth, so there's money at stake.

When Naomi asks "who are you" in 3:16, she's really asking "has your status changed?" 

How does it risk the inheritance for the more closely related relative to marry Ruth? (I never got a good answer to that, and I don't get why Naomi didn't just try to hook up Ruth with the other relative who had the better "claim.")

Paloney almoney = "so and so" (the relative with the better claim on Ruth -- and I did my best to hold my tongue about Ruth/woman as property, but was, as usual, told to "remember the setting and time period.")

Onanism -- seed spilling

Hesed - loving kindness, devotion, exceptional love

Momentary vs. long-term care and commitment

I also learned about (at least) two Bible translations -- The Way, which the owner called her "hippie Bible" and The Voice.

Putting these together doesn't really make much sense, but I knew I wanted a post about it and a place to wrap it up for my own future reference.

15 November 2014

Exhaustion

I was talking to my Gran yesterday afternoon and mentioned that I hadn't been sick yet since Jane started preschool more than two months ago. BIG MISTAKE. Within a couple hours my throat started to hurt, and today has been a day of exhaustion and feeling bad.

Not only because of the sickness, but this was also the day for Libby's funeral and I didn't make it home.

I am halfway through November, my favorite month, my favorite season, and this year not so much. I don't think I've contributed or written anything particularly share-worthy on the blog these last two weeks. I lack focus and dedication. Even when I cataloged all my TV shows I was writing something more interesting and regular.

The project I worked on has been added to their website and officially published: https://www.cct.lsu.edu/uploads/components/2014/components_2014.pdf. It's not exactly what I had in mind but they're happy so I'm trying to be happy. The printed copy looks OK too, although the binding is just a simple staple and with 60 pages it doesn't look as good as it could. NBD though really in the scheme of things.

14 November 2014

Crochet Beret: Mama King

It started with Jane seeing me in a shower cap (I'd blown out my hair a while back and try to keep it as dry as possible when I shower to make it last). She said I looked like a "Mama King" then laughed and laughed. (Truthfully so did I!)

Then it turned cold and I got out my recently crocheted-for-myself hat and it looks like a shower cap and ilicits shouts of "MAMA KING" when I wear it.

The hat is made with some bamboo yarn I inherited from a friend when she moved. I had to buy a second skein to make a hat big enough to fit my noggin but it's very soft and cute. It's not actually very warm but it's the only one I can find that fits me. My cashmere hat is MIA. Boo hoo. I hope it turns up.

Who wore it best? Janie King!

13 November 2014

Cold Snap

The weather has broken ... finally ... and we're swinging from hot, sweaty and muggy to chilly, windy and beyond brisk. Me likey. I need to get Jane some better-fitting long pants. We're making great progress with potty training, and without the diaper all her pants fit differently, i.e. fall down.

The cold makes preschool drop-off much harder because it's indoor only, meaning all students have to be dropped off and picked up at the doors instead of half on the playground. It makes an unpleasant process even worse and more dangerous. But it is what it is, and I'm glad Jane didn't have to play outside in the cold.

I've really made a big shift in my emotions about preschool. At the beginning I was emotional and hated leaving her. Now I'm so comfortable with her teacher that we both look forward to it. Now that my university job is over I am using the time to exercise, clean a little and go to Target (huzzah!). 

I got a flu shot today, and Jane watched. She asked the lady to give me another shot in the other arm. Silly bug. We have her 3 year checkup tomorrow and that's when she'll get her flu shot. Next year I'll have to schedule a separate visit to get the flu shot instead of waiting for her 4 year checkup.




12 November 2014

Preparing for Advent

I typically don't like to start with the Christmas music until after Thanksgiving, preferably that Friday. But our church is having an Advent Festival on December 7 and all the kids Sunday school classes will be singing, including the preschool class that Jane just joined.

So we're listening to, learning and singing the songs, Silent Night and Wonderful Counselor. I don't expect her to actually sing or participate other than standing alongside the other kids, but it doesn't hurt to learn and sing them.

And honestly praising the Lord in this way has been a balm of sorts.

11 November 2014

Corduroy Day

11/11 - I don't know if it's corduroy day every 11/11 or if it was just the once 11/11/11, but it's a special day for me regardless. We brought Jane home from the hospital three years ago today.

Obviously the more important holiday today is Veterans' Day. I appreciate the service and sacrifices made by those who have served and do serve in the military.

---

The prompt for today is "If you could permanently get rid of one worry, what would it be?"

I think I would wish for something financial or career-based. Everything is fine but how great would it be to never think about making money or if my career moves are mistakes. That's not a full post, but I don't really have other thoughts about worries.

Worry seems so trivial. How can the world keep spinning?

10 November 2014

Heavy Heart

I wish I'd written earlier in the day so it could be a regular November post. Instead I got some bad news about a family member's 4-month-old daughter dying unexpectedly and I'm crushed for them. Writing about anything other than that seems pointless and a waste of words. I have no comfort and no "God needed an angel" platitudes. Just a pit in my stomach and tears filling my eyes at regular intervals.

Jane was extra fuetty tonight -- just stronger willed, really living into the terrible threes I'm expecting. (She's also still "on" for her grandparents all the time.) All I did was cry and hold her during the worst part of her tantrum, leaning into the chaos and pain. Feeling deeply grateful to hold her strong, healthy body as it rocked and kicked against mine.

I can't write anymore today.

09 November 2014

Salt and Light

Today was laity Sunday, so we had a lay speaker preach. The text (from Matthew) was about being the light of the world and salt of the earth:
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
I loved the children's sermon, although I don't know about the theological soundness. The presenter talked about salt and this little light like you're expect, but she also said something I had never heard before. She talked about how when we eat salty foods we get very thirsty. And so we're meant to be salt for other people and make them thirsty for Jesus' love (living water). I liked it anyway.

When I was in high school I had a T-shirt with part of the salt verse on it. What a funny thing to remember.

08 November 2014

A Three Year Old

My Jane bug is three today. It's pretty cool to reminisce about her birth. It seems so long ago but also like it was only yesterday. I can still feel the weight of her little body and that baby smell.

Now I've got a giant preschooler. She's 38 and 3/4 inches tall. When we go to the doctor next week we'll find out what she weighs, but I know it's perfect.

We decorated the house last night with balloons -- 30 pink balloons in two shades made a giant "3" on the wall in the sunroom. We did probably 30 more in various places around the living room and sunroom. Plus we had two helium Happy Birthday balloons that were free from Winn Dixie's baby club. (As a goodbye gift I guess, since she's not a baby anymore!)

Jane, her daddy and grandparents went to the Rural Life Museum while I baked the cake. I used the red and white checked cookbook for recipes -- devil's food cake and "truffle" frosting, which was ganache chilled overnight then whipped. The frosting didn't work so good because the chocolate didn't melt all the way initially. Also the recipe made way too much, so I only used half. I guess that's one way to cut sugar. The whole cake had 1 and 3/4 cup of white (refined) sugar, and the frosting was a bag of chocolate chips plus whipping cream. Still plenty sweet, and Jane GOBBLED and begged for more. It tasted OK but cake seemed dry. The frosting was sweet but weird. Everyone was complimentary. Better luck next year!

We had two Jane-sized friends over with their families for supper. With grandparents and us it was 7 adults, three 3-year-olds and two little baby brothers. It was a full house! Jane got a lot of great presents, including some books, a doctor's outfit and kit, Lego sets and an adorable stuffed Pluto dog.

While serving the cake one of the moms asked if Jane liked ice cream (as Jane basically inhaled it). We said "of course, and this is only the second time she's had it!" The other mom said "you're depriving your kid!" She said it jokingly but still rubs me wrong. I've written about feeding my kid before and will likely write about it again. Even in my righteous indignation, however, I feel bad after these comments that make light of my intentional parenting decisions. AM I DOING EVERYTHING WRONG?!?!?!

Even if yes I am the proud mother of a healthy, beautiful, clever, funny, brilliant three-year-old daughter. She is the best.

07 November 2014

One Week Down

Good News: I found my list of blog post ideas.

Bad News: It doesn't have anything helpful or ideas I hadn't already remembered. Dern. I may need to take advantage of some of the blog prompts.

I pretty much have Jane's party stuff prepped, although I lost some balloons. I replaced them. I'll be blowing up balloons tonight so she wakes up to a birthday wonderland!

I took advantage of in-house babysitters this morning and went to get my driver's license renewed. I still like the photo from four years ago better, but this one isn't too bad. Also they didn't ask me to update my weight. I should probably make it a goal to get back down to that lie version!

My LSU project is done, or at least sent to the printer. I'm not sure when they'll post it to the website. It's been quite a struggle, and the end product isn't as good as I'd like it to be. But it is what it is.




06 November 2014

Hair Today

Six months after my last disastrous haircut I tried again, and this time I'm happier. It's not QUITE as short as I'd like, but it's definitely an upgrade from the mullet look. And freshly cut hair always swings better and will curl up nicely after I wash it. Hair stylists are always scared to cut curly hair too short. Probably a good thing, although I've had REALLY short hair that grows out beautifully. I even made a follow-up appointment for January, so I'll do my best to try and be more intentional about personal care, at least re: my hair. My teeth look pretty good in that webcam snap though.

I'm hoping to get my driver's license renewed this week with the semi-decent hair. We've lived here more than four years, but your license expires in your birth month, so I get a little extra time. I also want to try to take some family photos, maybe even do a family-of-three shot for our Christmas card this year. (No way ... it will just be a snap of Jane because she's the cutest thing about our family!)

There are NaBloPoMo prompts that come in my email every day that I could be using instead of this off-the-cuff style I seem to be favoring so far this year.

Rachel Held Evans tweeted about this funny Tumblr, Ev'ry Day I'm Pastorin, yesterday, and I've been scrolling, scrolling, scrolling. I'm not a pastor but I find the humor so funny!

05 November 2014

TIBTIL: Fleur de Lis

Post-election sadness.

Shawn's parents are here for Jane's birthday week. I spent all afternoon thinking it was Thursday and scrambling to get some stuff I need to do the church's weekly email. It's done, but the admin can't access her computer to send it to me. SO FRUSTRATING. But at least I have tomorrow to work on it...

I bought this fleur de lis sign at the Denham Springs craft fair in early October. It's metal and really cool. Shawn hung it in front of the kitchen window, so I see it multiple times per day. SOMETIMES it gives me a fright as it twists in the wind and I think it could be a person's head walking by. I'm sure I'll get used to it! CandCMetalProducts.com.

In October I made a big list of blog post ideas, and I tore it out of my notebook and can't find it. Hrm. I better find it or at least step up my game...

04 November 2014

Election Day Cupcakes

Today Jane celebrated her birthday at school. Two kids of the nine in her class share a November 8 birthday! There was a birthday celebration last week and will be another next week (in addition to this week's two). That's a lot of cupcakes!

Instead of participating in the sugar rush, which is something I shield Jane from as much as humanly possible, I decided to provide a regular snack of some of Jane's favorite foods -- cheese, peanut butter crackers and strawberries -- as well as pretend crochet cupcakes for the kids to take home. The kids -- and adults -- really seemed to like them. Her teacher also said the kids ate that snack much better than they usually eat.

I got to go to her birthday celebration snack time, and I took pictures and a short video of her friends singing "Happy Birthday" to her. Just precious.

Each crochet cupcake took me about 45 minutes - 1 hour to make, depending on how into the TV show I was. I thought I was finished at eight but then found out a new girl came to class. Thankfully I had enough time to make nine!

I looked at several crochet cupcake patterns online, but I ended up making it up a bit as I went along. I've made a crochet cupcake baby hat and this was like that, although instead of top down I crocheted bottom up. I started with a brown circle of about 3 rows of single crochet, then chained 6, turned *single crocheted 5 in the back loop only, slip stitched into the circle and then again in the next stitch of the circle, then single crocheted 5 in the front loop only, chained one, turned, repeat from * around and then slip stitch the "tube" of the cupcake wrapper together. Then I crocheted around the edges to make the "top" of the cupcake wrapper.

I switched to white and crocheted in the back loop only for two rows then started decreasing somewhat evenly. (Single crochet 10, then single crochet 2 together, etc.) until I got close to a top. I stuffed and sewed the top closed. Then I added a row of reverse single crochet to the free loop of the very first row of white to make the icing pop (and cover up the raw edge of the wrapper).

I made a cherry with magic circle, 3 single crochet in loop, pull tight, 2 single crochet in each stitch around, then decrease around, then decrease again, tucking in the loose ends to give it some shape (the cherry isn't really stuffed though). I sewed that on.

I did the "sprinkles" differently on some of the cupcakes. At first I put them on before I stuffed and sewed up the white part, but eventually I just started adding them at the end after everything was stuffed. I think they could easily come out if pulled on, although I did try to weave in the ends to give them a little staying power. They're just random stitches in three colors to look like jimmies.

Jane will have a cake at her birthday party, and along with the sweets and treats she gets to have while celebrating others' birthdays I think she'll have enough! I hear the siren call of food dye, especially for sprinkles on the top of her cake. But I'm holding firm to my belief that I shouldn't feed her any food dyes and as few chemicals as possible. Even on, or perhaps especially on, her birthday.

03 November 2014

Crochet: Pink Sock Monkey

I haven't had any custom hat orders except this one, and I made it for one of Shawn's woodworking friends. He has a six-month-old great granddaughter. I made it a little bigger than it had to be, but it should still fit, and it should last longer.

I should really iron my backdrop, huh? And work on the lighting!

I got the folding table from the other Target today. $11 off, woo hoo. I have agreed to a craft sale at an assisted living center on December 6. I am also considering the craft fair at Jane's school, although it would be nearly 8 hours of selling. And I'm just not sure I have enough or can make enough stock by then (or if I could stand to be at a booth for that long, not to mention child care...).

Don't forget to vote tomorrow. I'm with Mary.

02 November 2014

What's Annoying Me Today

I get annoyed very easily. I take note of annoyances with the intent of writing scathing blog posts, but usually annoyances fade. Which really is a very good thing and I should "let it go," to quote one of Jane's favorite songs...
  • Target -- love the store, but not the sale management. I want to buy a six-foot folding table for future craft sales. I looked at it on Friday but decided to talk to Shawn before I bought it. When I got home there was an ad and it was going on sale for $10 less! I went back today, the first day of the sale and they had sold the single table they had in stock. The guy who helped me was pretty nonchalant about the chances of it coming back in stock during the sale. Ugh. It was also a lot to fight the Sunday traffic over there.
  • Rude emails -- I do the website, social media and some email marketing for the church as a volunteer thing. Most of the people I work with have a business etiquette that includes "could you" and "thank you." I got an email today with an abrupt "add this" and "use this language" with no thank you or please. I did it anyway (within a few hours even), but still annoying.
  • Car pool carseats -- when I drop off Jane at school on Tuesday and Thursday mornings I see many other moms unbuckle their kids and let them ride in the front seat or even on their laps for the last few car lengths. I am so damn judgy but it just seems like a horrible chance to take (and sets a precedent for carseat-free riding). Jane stays securely buckled until we're at the front of the line and her teacher comes to the car to get her.
  • Disregarding deadlines -- this is a bit of beating a dead horse, since I've alluded to the trouble in previous posts, but the magazine I'm working on is coming down to the wire. There's still missing content and the design is rough, actually what I'd have expected the first draft to be several weeks ago. I am having to adjust my expectations, and I'm not very good at that at all. I want excellence in everything I do, including one-off projects, and I hate when circumstances beyond my control keep it from being the best it can be.
I'm sure I'm annoyed by a lot more things, but these are what come to mind and what I gretched about at various points today. Hope you're less aggravated than I am. I seem to live in a perpetual state of annoyance.

01 November 2014

Welcome to November ... remix hey!

Rabbit, rabbit.

My fingers have been itching and my brain has been whirring with ideas for writing this month. I can't guarantee that anything will be good, but I'm committing to write every day this month.

Welcome to National Blog Post Month, or NaBloPoMo. Tons of people are writing this month.

My posts will be some day-in-the-life type things (including my daughter's third birthday), crochet projects (I've completed a few!), Thanksgiving travel on my 34th birthday, things that annoy me and some musings about a short Bible study I completed last month. If you have any post ideas send them my way!

This is the first I've written on my brand new computer. My old one is still technically alive, so I've had a hard time giving up Windows 7 for Windows 8 (of course I buy a new PC right as a new OS is announced). But I have pretty much everything transferred, including my browser settings. So there's really no excuse. With this one I can unplug and work for hours on the couch without moving the power cord.

I had a part-time job this fall that paid for the computer (and more). I'll write about it and share the project when it's finally complete and printed ... sometime this month. It's been a trying experience for a lot of reasons, not the least of which has been the utter disregard for deadlines and completely dysfunctional workflow. I am realizing how spoiled I've been with access to top graphic designers and working with people who care about the finished products.

Otherwise all is well in the Red Stick.

10 October 2014

I Survived Holly Days 2014

I paid $16 for the privilege of walking into a convention center to shop for cute, expensive gifts. Many were handmade and worth the price. Others seemed less reasonable. The ticket price was $11, but I also had to pay $5 for parking. Kind of ridiculous all around.

It's "for a good cause," whatever that cause is. The Junior League does outreach in the community, so spending money to go isn't something I feel bad about (although the parking fee just goes to that garage).

I carried Jane around on my back in the Ergo, since strollers were not allowed. (And a good thing too. It was crowded enough without the addition of strollers.) We made a loop, methodically, around the outside and then zigzagging in and out of the shorter aisles and middle aisle. There wasn't a clear flow to the aisles, so there were always people going both ways and clumps of people stopping to chat "Oh hi, I haven't seen you in forever."

(No surprise: I didn't see ANYONE I knew.)

I bought about five Christmas presents -- I had to feel like I was getting my entry fee money's worth. Just before we left Jane got down from my back to try out these expensive horse toys. They were more than $200, and the sales guy was weird about which ponies were for demonstration. I did not like him -- or the toy -- at all, but we'd walked past it and she'd asked to play on them. It was a small reward for not crying and bucking while riding on "mama horse" through the shops.

All together we were only there for a bit more than an hour. I could have spent more time methodically going through each shop and looking at pieces individually. There was a lot of great jewelry, although it's such a personal item it's hard to buy something like that for other people. (Hey, I have a birthday coming up though!) I couldn't last much longer than an hour with the 35 extra pounds on my back. And once she was down it would have been a matter of time before she wandered off -- or pulled my arm out of the socket by going limp/dragging me down.

Ideally I would go to a thing like that alone, with headphones, to shop in stealth, leave-me-alone mode, which is much more efficient although anti-social. I don't think I'll ever go to the Holly Days again, unless someone had free tickets or otherwise invited me specifically. But it was worth it to see what it was all about this once.

I didn't find out how much the booth rental was, although if I ever got serious about my crochet hats that would be an obvious place to sell. (I saw two booths that had crochet hats, but they were afterthoughts/not the main thing being sold and didn't have much selection -- they were also MUCH more expensive than mine.)

An idea for an entrepreneurial junior junior leaguer -- a child care service like they have at Ikea -- just a room or area where parents could drop off their kids and shop, for a charge of course. Could offer activities and crafts, games, etc. I definitely would have been down for using a service like that (at least in theory). It's probably a nightmare legally though.

Carry on.

05 October 2014

Glitterati

We went to the Denham Springs Fall Festival yesterday, and it was a very good time. There were arts and crafts, kiddie rides and loads of antique stores.

Jane's favorite thing was the face painting. In that same Daniel Tiger episode some real life kids got their faces painted to look like the DT characters. When I saw that they had a face painting booth I didn't hesitate, because Jane had been asking to have her face painted since we watched the show.

Putting toxic chemicals on her skin is never a good idea (I didn't even ask what the paint was made of), but I really did a bad thing because there was GLITTER in the paint (either that or the lady added the glitter afterward). Jane became the cutest tiger ever (chosen by the face painting lady because Jane was wearing her tiger crochet hat), and the paint itself came off easily when we got home (I was smart enough to not let her lay in her bed with a full face of paint). But even after a shower we still have glitter on her face and in her hair, and even after vacuuming the car her car seat is still sporting sparkles.

Is this my life now?!

Next time, and there will be a next time, I'll pay closer attention (rather than taking pictures of the painter at work!) and specifically ask for no glitter before the painting begins. I'll also be sure there's no paint near her mouth -- the bit on her nose migrated to her lips somehow and it was quite a mess. Who knows how much she ingested. I'm so careful about what she eats, but I didn't think about this getting in her mouth.

Rookie mistakes all around. I hope we can get the glitter out of the car with a lint roller and/or tape. Any other ideas? I'm so worried about some getting in her eye and scratching it somehow. So far it hasn't, but I'm always worrying about the worse case.

03 October 2014

Dress Up Day

On an episode of Daniel Tiger that Jane and I watched (on Amazon Prime) today the characters all dressed up and had a parade. They knocked on people's doors to show off their costumes, and instead of candy they got stickers for their sticker books. What a wonderful idea -- I'd love for that to be the m.o. for our church's trunk-or-treat. I'm not sure how I'm going to keep Jane from eating the crap she'll collect.

I'm trying to decide what we'll hand out from our "trunk." Last year I bought a bunch of things that were non-candy -- vampire teeth, some bracelets, bouncy balls, etc. I've got a cart ready for checkout at Oriental Trading just ready to hit "purchase."

But there's part of me -- the CHEAP part off me -- that realizes how much less expensive it would be to pick up a couple bags of value candy at Walmart or Winn Dixie and call it a night. (My shipping alone is $10. GAH.) I wouldn't let Jane eat any of it, but other people's kids are going to eat it anyway, so why should I shell out more money? And I'm still buying CRAP that's just different crap (and won't harm their bodies ... well, as long as they don't ingest it).

Yeah, I just placed my order... Junky toys for everyone!

30 September 2014

The Unintended Silence

I haven't written at all in September, not really. The posts for the BR Maker Faire were slap-dash necessities because I handed out more than 60 cards with my URL and I wanted relevant content at the top. Nothing has come of that, although I've been working on other crochet projects anyway.

The biggest reason for a lack of posting is a paying, part-time job I'm doing. It's for the local university -- actually one of the departments my husband works in -- writing and editing an annual magazine. I went into the process for an informational interview that turned into a job offer. I grossly underestimated the time it would take me, although the director wisely built in some overrun and I hope to at least keep it within that number of hours.

Basically I've been working 20-ish hours every week, which seems like nothing thinking back to my career-filled life, but when I'm balancing it with child care it has left me feeling as exhausted and strung out as I ever did while working (save for the morning sickness road trip of 2011). It has also involved a lot of working with others -- almost all strangers who don't want to bother with the magazine or me. And I've had a few tense gripe sessions with Shawn about him getting me into this!

Things are slowly coming together for the magazine though, and I'll find a new equilibrium once it goes to print. (I'll post a link to it on my Facebook and maybe my professional site -- keep reading.) There may be additional work with this department (their website needs serious attention), or maybe not. There's another possible website job with a different organization slated to start in January, although I won't know if I've actually been chosen to do it until sometime in late November at the earliest.

I purchased www.mariwalker.com when I saw it was available (there's an author with my name who used to own it). For now I'll use it to promote my freelance communications offerings -- although every job I've had so far has come to me without trying. Not sure if that will last.

Jane has started a two morning per week preschool program that has been the only way I've been able to work as much as I have. (I've also had to make her sit in her dad's office for an hour here and there -- which she adores because she gets to be with him ... and watch Daniel Tiger or Olivia!)

She loves school and has never looked back. She loves her teacher, her friends and all the fun stuff they do together. I lost it the night before her first day with ugly crying and straight up fear of leaving her, but after the nerves of day one I've felt really good about it too. (Perhaps in part because I've been frantically working/interviewing/writing during her school hours.)

Today was my first day without an interview, where I was at home without her (normally I have been going from drop off to the university until it's time to pick her up). It was great -- easier to fit in exercise, then a more leisurely Target run with no "get in the cart" negotiations.

I will write more in October, leading up to NaBloPoMo in November.

21 September 2014

Want to Order a Crochet Hat?

Thanks for your interest in silvermari crochet hats. Most of what I make are sized for infants and toddlers, although I can size up and down for custom orders (and based on the Maker Faire I'll be making more elementary-age girls sizes).

Please email me at silvermari@gmail.com to place an order. (I may consider setting up an Etsy shop in the future.)

I will need to know the style of hat you'd like (see photos in my silvermari crochet hats Flickr album for ideas), the colors (general or specific) and a couple head measurements. Most importantly I need the head circumference -- measure around the crown of the head. It's also helpful to have the brow height -- from the top of the head to just above the eyebrows (or wherever you want the edge of the hat to be). If head measurements aren't available let me know the age for the recipient. (I use this great chart for estimating head sizes.)

Hats range from $10-$20, depending on size and complexity. I am located in Baton Rouge, LA, and I can meet in a public place within BR to deliver local orders. Shipping costs will be extra.

I expect about a week turnaround time for each order, although that depends on other factors (including number of orders I already have, if it's a hard-to-find yarn that I need to special order, etc.), so I'll let you know in our email conversations. If you have a rush deadline let me know, and I'll see what I can do.

If you have other crochet projects you'd like to commission, please contact me for a quote. See my silvermari crochet Flickr album for examples of other types of crochet projects I've completed.


19 September 2014

Baton Rouge Mini Maker Faire

This Saturday I'm going to be part of the Mini Maker Faire at the East Baton Rouge public library. I'll have my crochet hats for sale and will be demonstrating crochet and teaching anyone who wants to give it a try. I'm confused about the way it will work, but if nothing else it will give me some stories.

If you're visiting my site because you saw my booth at the faire, welcome! I don't write exclusively about crochet, although I do post about almost every project I make. I hope you'll stick around. See more about my crochet craft.

30 August 2014

A Decade of Owen

Last visit to Baton Rouge as a 9-year-old.
It's hard to believe that "Baby O" is ten (10!) years old today.

I can vividly remember the day ten years ago, when I was in Maryland starting graduate school and my sister was in labor. Owen was almost a week late. I had been home on Beth's actual due date.

I sat in an orientation class of some sort, and for the "ice breaker" fact I shared that my sister was having a baby and I'd rather be with her at that point. The dean of the school did his best to make me feel "other" and wrong about that. He just couldn't understand that desire and mocked me for it.

Beth and I texted for as long as she could manage.

I was in Ikea looking at hanging hooks with my roommate when I got the call from my dad that Owen had arrived.

I didn't get to meet him until nearly four months later -- December 17, 2004. And in the meantime I met Shawn.

Graduate school was the right thing for me, and led me to my life with Shawn. But I sure would have liked to have been there when Owen came into the world.

Now he's a silly, smart and fun boy. It's amazing to realize how quickly the time has gone.

Here's to many, many, many more years of Owen! AMLBO!!!

24 August 2014

Feelings About Others Feeding My Toddler

So I'm not really a mommy blogger, despite motherhood being the thing that defines this season of my life best. I start and stop writing about my daughter, even though there's so much to say I try to think about her privacy vs. sharing my parenting experiences.

(Total random aside: I read a lot of mommy blogs, and one version I can't stand -- but still hate read -- are the non-stop complainers. Yeah, I get it. Motherhood/parenthood is hard. But get over yourself/mix in a little bit of the wonder and joy now and again! /rant)

Anyway, this is something that's been bugging me and I want to write about it as a way to organize my thoughts and consider my next steps.

What Jane eats is important to me. I'm not a perfect hippie, but I aspire to some aspects of the lifestyle -- in particular whole foods free of chemicals, dyes and extra sugar.

So far I've been able to do an OK job for Jane. Being in charge of her meals means she is at least offered a variety of choices, all of which are good for her. She does not eat super sweet things -- including ice cream, candy, cookies, Kool-aid or even juice -- no matter how much I know she would love them.

That's not to say things don't slip in -- she eats her share of processed crackers, cheddar bunnies or rockets (Trader Joe's brand goldfish), pretzels, dip, pizza and salad dressing. She's tried cake (and talks about is a lot!) and gets whipped cream on her berries occasionally plus sneaks a few chips every now and again too. She can eat a grilled cheese the size of her head and loves quesadillas.

Let's just say that her diet isn't perfect but it could easily be derailed. Especially as she grows and is going into more situations where I'm not in charge of what she eats. A particular sore point for me is our church Sunday school. Jane was invited to join the preschool class this fall. I've decided to wait on letting her start -- partly because I want her to be fully potty trained -- but mostly because I don't want her being fed junk food every week.

I want our church to do better by our kids -- ALL our kids. I know I can't wipe out the mentality that "treats" for kids are a way to show love, which I think is a big part of the food selection at church. Truthfully I find myself wanting to do that often -- whether with food or toys -- so I fully realize this is a "pot-kettle-black" situation too. (In more ways than one, since my own diet leaves a lot to be desired ... Diet Coke and Diet Dr. Pepper addiction are clear examples of that!) There's also the ease factor of most unhealthy foods -- packaged, keep forever and kids will actually eat them.

But I don't know if I've got the fight in me to even make the change for the littlest kids, and so I've put it off. I said I'll reevaluate sending her to the class when she's 3 in a couple months.

But every Sunday I feel a tug -- of what she's missing in the class in terms of spiritual education. The nursery where she is (and where I complained about the snacks there until they agreed to cheerios, pretzels and water) doesn't include any type of Bible story or praying, both of which Jane is ready for.

I shouldn't have to choose between her spiritual health and her physical health, and I know in both instances Shawn and I are the primary factor for now. I don't see a solution yet, except for getting into it/really pressing for better food choices at the preschool class level.

Or should I change? Am I being overly controlling about what goes into Jane's body? Is it inevitable that she consume junk, and therefore just go with the flow? It seems like the other parents at church take that approach. (And I'm not questioning anyone's dedication for their kids or their kids' health.) Can I hold it off a little longer?

How will I know?

08 August 2014

Crochet: Leaping Stripes & Blocks and Mary Jane Shoes

 I've used Mooglyblog patterns before and loved them, but I finally subscribed to the blog itself. It's amazing and full of great crochet ideas and patterns. Love.


Anyway I made the Leaping Stripes & Blocks pattern for a to-be-born baby using dark grey, white and honey bee yellow. I didn't like the color choices at first, but as I kept plugging away they grew on me. There are a lot of great yellow & grey crochet inspiration pins that I looked through to help myself believe that this combination was winning. I'm pretty much won over, although I think I would have liked it more had I made the stripes of color wider.

I added a soft ruffle edging, which I borrowed from a pattern in my Gumdrops and Rainbows pattern leaflet. It's basically *double crochet, chain 2 in first stitch, (dc ch2 dc ch2) in second stitch and repeat.

I had checked out a Crochet to Go ebook from my library and tried a pattern there too. It was for crochet baby Mary Jane shoes. I followed the pattern exactly and made the sock with my first attempt. They looked somewhat crazy, in part because I couldn't figure out what "curved part" meant when looking at an oval, and also because the sock is open in the back and very floppy.



For my second try I omitted the sock and used yellow for the sole and grey for the shoe itself. I made them in about 2 hours (watching TV, so not working the entire time). Very easy and adorable. I love the way the second pair turned out. They'll go with the blanket when it's closer to due date!

07 August 2014

TIBTIL: Starbucks Iced Coffee

This is a ridiculously expensive treat, if you look at it from the cost of brewing and chilling coffee yourself. If you look at it against the cost of buying individual iced coffees at Starbucks then it's a downright bargain! Either way it's a thing I bought that I love.

I grabbed it on a whim when I was looking for buttermilk (none to be found in my regular grocery store). I really like it -- although I'm not super particular about my coffee so results may vary! I put it over ice and add some milk or fat-free half and half. Sipping from a straw completes the experience for me.

This is not a sponsored post.

04 August 2014

Punctuality is Killing My Toddler's Social Life

I keep screwing up moms group meetings. A couple weeks ago it was because of my lack of smart phone and a non-sending text message that said it sent.

Today it was a park playdate near our house. I saw it yesterday but only decided we would go today after we did wake up and get ready and Jane agreed that she wanted to go. They were meeting at 10 at the park. A few people had written "can't make it til 11" but the others didn't say anything so I assumed it was still 10. Bad assumption of course, but I cannot bring myself to be late. Even though taking my time and being a little late today would have been so easy.

I was the first one there a few minutes after 10 -- and on our own save for another couple of unrelated to the group kids until well after 10:30. I should really stop being punctual (at least when it comes to this group).

The other moms started to arrive closer to 11 and all had brought lunches for their children. I didn't pack Jane anything other than water, so it was a bummer to her that we had to leave for lunch at home.

ALTHOUGH it was ridiculously hot and humid, so an hour and a half outside was more than enough for me anyway. Jane and I were both soaked through with sweat, despite the cool towels.

Once we were home and cooling off she was happily playing with her toys no problem. I'm still a social malcontent, but I'm really trying to make connections. I guess I need to understand the dynamic of the group a little bit more ... and always pack food!

My conversations with the other moms were fine. I do a lot of listening and not much talking. Especially with one of the moms; she told me something about her daughter and I said something about Jane to affirm that little girls act that way, and she cut me off and told me no her daughter didn't do that exactly. It was bizarre and a minor thing. Meh.

I'll keep plugging away and making it to play dates even if I don't totally believe I'll ever be able to make real friends for myself. Pessimist much?

28 July 2014

Luddite or Purist? No, I'm Just Cheap

I don't have a smart phone.

Not my current phone, but basically
the same deal.
It is usually no big deal, but lately I've missed two or three group meetings with people because I didn't have access to the MeetUp site where they posted "20 minutes late" messages. So Jane and I explored the strawberry farm and zoo without the rest of our group.

Otherwise my flip phone with a pay-as-you-go plan is just fine and a great money saver (average $8/month for talk and text) ... as long as it works. Sometimes the texting feature doesn't work correctly, like at the last zoo trip I texted the group leader and she apparently never got the message. Or when in Chicago trying to meet up with a friend her "in the lobby" texts started coming hours after we had met up. (Luckily when she called me the phone did work.)

When someone at church borrowed my phone to call her husband she said "wow, you are a purist." I'm not sure that's true. I'm also not sure I'm a Luddite, because I certainly use technology. I'm almost always at home with my wifi -- and so I have access to everything I smartphone would have via my iPod Touch and/or my Kindle Fire (both gifts from my mom ... so maybe she's the only thing keeping me from true Luddite status?). There is wifi in a lot of places out and about too -- the library, Target, etc. But there are times when I am disconnected, and to be honest it isn't that bad.

I think I'm just cheap, because I don't want to spend $70 - $100/month on something I wouldn't use so much (given that I rarely talk on my cell phone and my iPod/wifi hacks are enough right now). I'm sure that will change if my life does -- being more on the go, in a job, Jane at school, etc.