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...

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.

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.

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.

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" ...

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...

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.

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.

Christmas Shopping for a Three-Year-Old

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.

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. 

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

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!

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...

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!

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.


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.

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!

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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...

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 dow...