Friday, December 30, 2016

The Week Between

I always love the week between Christmas and New Year's. It's a great time to get "back to normal" after the holidays, to reflect on the year, and to think about the new one. It's not like a new year means anything, but it is exciting and makes the possibilities seem endless! Our week between was very busy and full of fun activities.

My FIL, SIL, and niece and nephew drove down from Michigan to spend the week. That meant lots of eating, lots of laughing children, and lots of fun! Our kids are the same age, with Mila being 6 months younger than Arthur, and Lincoln being 6 days older than Vida. Can you imagine the noise and activity in our small home!? We loved every single minute, though!

Alicia and the kids can't come down and not visit the Georgia Aquarium! We hadn't been since their visit last year, so it was great to see the dolphin show (seriously, better than anything at SeaWorld) and the new sea lion show (my absolute favorite sea creature!). The kids had so much fun, especially seeing the whale sharks, giant rays, and petting the anemones!






We've gone to the aquarium every year since we moved here in 2014. I have this exact picture taken every time... the first one has Vida still cooking in my belly!

We wanted to go to the World of Coke, one of my favorite Georgia attractions, but it closed before we were finished at the aquarium. We will just have to go another day. Charlie and I get in free because of the military thing, we just have to make the dreaded drive to Atlanta. Maybe next month we can make the trip up. After seeing all the fishes, we went down to Senoia to eat at Nic & Norman's. We really wanted to do a Walking Dead tour, but unfortunately they weren't doing them this week. The restaurant, owned by Greg Nicotero and Norman Reedus, is so good. It's mostly burgers, which were amazing. I highly recommend Greg's Pick with Brussels Sprouts as the side. The Philly cheese steak fries were also very good.

Thursday, Charlie, his dad, and my dad went to the range. Charlie's dad had never shot a gun in his life! I'm glad that he went since it gave them a chance to do something together that Charlie really enjoys. He and daddy go every week, so it was nice to have his dad included this time. Alicia and I took the kids up to Cleveland to the Cabbage Patch Babyland General Hospital.

I've wanted to take the kids for a long time, so jumped at the opportunity while Alicia was here. Mila is 4, and who knows when the next time she will be down here again... I didn't want to miss out before she got too old to find it fun. And fun it was!


It was quite the drive up there. Everything said 2 hours, which was fine, but it seemed that no matter how far we drove, the GPS always updated to say that it was still an hour away! It ended up taking us 3 hours, but it was so worth it. We got to see Mother Cabbage give birth to two baby girls, complete with an LPN (Licensed Patch Nurse) to check for 10 leaves dilation, provide TLC injections, do an easy-otomy, and make sure that baby wasn't foot-first for a branch birth. She also gave a dose of magic-cillin. Super cute!


Vidalia is the proud new mommy to Cupcakes Ana, Mila has a cute baby boy named Charlie Spencer, and the boys each came home with a new friend as well (Lincoln got a mini baby, and Arthur found the only Spiderman in the place).


There were tons of babies to be played with, lots of toys, and a bunch of beds and strollers for the kids to use. I highly recommend that anyone with kids go and visit! The exclusive dolls that are born there are only 50-70.00 each. We had an expensive week already, so Vida got a Shutterfly boxed baby (I'm definitely getting her an exclusive next time we go... newborn clothes fit them and I'm dreaming of all the cute clothes that can be knit!). It took a good half hour for her to finally settle on which baby she wanted to adopt. Then came time to name her. She really wanted to name her Hotdog, but I was able to convince her that such a pretty baby needed a cuter name. She then chose Cupcakes Cheese French Fries Hotdog (can you tell that my child loves food!?). She then shortened it to Cupcakes Ana when they told her that it can only have 2 names. Whew.

Cupcakes has been a great addition to the family! Vidalia takes her for daily walks in the stroller, tells us when she's crying and needs a paci, and also tucks her into bed beside her every night. Well worth the 6 hour round trip!

I've been going over some goals for the new year and will do that post this weekend!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Love






See this glass tea light holder? It literally came from the dollar store, yet it is my favorite gift. Arthur bought it for me at the Santa Shop at school. He stood next to me as I opened it, barely able to contain his excitement. When I got it out of the bag, he said, "Momma! It's purple how you like! I bought you a flower because I love you!"

I've never been so touched by a gift in my entire life.

Christmas

It's Christmas!

How does your family celebrate? We always open presents from each other on Christmas Eve, then have Santa presents on Christmas morning. After that, I go into full on cleaning mode, removing all evidence that Christmas even happened other than a pile of boxes by the trashcan. I love getting the house all decorated, but love getting it squared away again even more. I get it from my momma.

I think that the kids loved everything:


They were so impressed with their pile of gifts.


After we opened presents, it was playtime! Arthur spent about 4 hours playing with his Ninjago Lego set from my parents, and Vidalia was content to watch her Frozen DVD. I knit some, ate too much coconut cream pie, and visited with my parents. Then it was time to go home, give Daddy his presents when he got home from work, and go to bed for Santa!



The old man in the red suit was very good to the kids. They deserved it all; Arthur is always my little sweetheart, and Vidalia is very good despite a definite mean streak (like when she threw a ceramic toy plate at Arthur last week, chipping his tooth). They got nearly everything on their lists, plus some.


Pop the Pig! This was a huge item on his list. He was so excited.


Arthur has been playing the short demo for Lego Jurassic World on the PS3, mastering it in no time. I don't think that he was even aware that there was a full game for it, so was super excited to find this in his Santa pile. Look at that face!


I had a few of these Puppy (and Kitty) Surprise dolls when I was a child. When I saw that they've made a comeback, I just had to get one for Vida! Her dog, Mia, had 3 girl puppies, with one being a runt!


 Another biggie that he wanted! Is there a child in the US that doesn't love Minecraft? I find the concept appealing, but just can't deal with sandbox games. I need more linear games with a goal. He and Charlie really like it though.


Checking out her LeapPad! This and Elsa stuff was really all that was on her list. She was so happy to have a purple one!


An Elsa hat for my little Elsa. This wasn't actually from Santa, but I forgot to let her open it yesterday. I made it last week using two strands of KP Stroll Glimmer (Frost and Fiji) for the hat, and KP Brava Worsted in White for the hair and snowflake.

I hope that everyone is having a wonderful Christmas weekend! I'm off to finish cleaning the house (got some inlaws coming from Michigan tomorrow to spend the week) and need to pop a lasagna in the oven. Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Merry Christmas to Me!

Does anyone else buy themselves a Christmas gift? I always have. This year I made my own gift...


Since doing the craft show thing, I've become a selfish knitter. Not selfish in the usual sense of only knitting for myself, but rather in the sense that everything I make goes up for sale. I'd rather the money than the item for myself, my husband, the kids, or anyone else. That left me with no warm handknit goodies for when the weather turned cold. I needed a hat.

It's a simple pattern (generic hdc crochet hat), but the yarn does the talking. I held one strand of Knit Picks Aloft (75% kid mohair, 25% silk) and one strand of Buffalo Wool Co Lux (45% bison down, 20% cashmere, 20% silk, 15% tencel) together. The result is a very soft, warm, and luxurious hat! It has a gorgeous halo that's difficult to capture in photographs. I bought the buffalo yarn at Stitches South in 2008, and it's been my precious ever since. I got the idea to hold it double with a mohair/silk blend, so had to purchase the Aloft when it was released. Total cost of this hat is about 80.00, which is utterly ridiculous, but it's oh-so-lovely and all mine.

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We opened presents from my maternal grandparents today. They got the kids some much-needed clothes (and my kids do love clothes so it's not a boring gift for them), cute piggy banks from H-Mart full of Asian jelly candy (similar to jello, sort of), and some sidewalk chalk. Charlie got a flagpole for the yard that he wanted, and I got a cart for rabbit shows (Yes! I'm back into showing rabbits!) and the deluxe version of my rabbit pedigree program. Yay!



P.S. My time away from keeping my own blog active was also away from reading the blogs that I loved so much. I poked around at my old favorites and am so happy that most of them are still going strong! I've added my list of favorites to the sidebar, so go check them out!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

It's Beginning To Look a Lot Like Christmas...

...or not. The joys of living in the South, though there's nowhere else that I'd rather be. It has been a little cold and rainy these past few days, which is a welcome change from the sweltering and bone-dry summer that we had.

Even though we don't get snow, I am feeling pretty festive. The tree is lit and covered in handmade ornaments (having a kid in pre-k is the best, y'all), the lights on the porch are on, and there is just a general excitement in everyone. I think it's just having young children that makes it that way. Arthur and Vidalia are dying to open presents. We have Christmas with my grandparents on Friday, with my parents on Saturday (we are the type that opens gifts from each other on Christmas Eve), and then Santa on Sunday. I think both kids are going to be very pleased with what they get, even though I made it a point to spend less this year and go quality over quantity. Arthur has his heart set on the Pop the Pig game he saw on TV, a Minecraft Lego set, and a yoyo. Vidalia swears that Santa is bringing her a LeapPad and Elsa stuff. We shall see...

Anyway, my knitting time has been taken up by an too-long list of custom orders and commissions. I do this to myself every single year, and every single year I say that it's the last. This one really is. Since October, I have knit a full 12 foot Dr Who scarf, 2 child tunic to fit a 6 and 10 year old, several hats, a few Christmas gifts, a regular length scarf, several pairs of fingerless mitts, and had to restock during the days between craft shows. It's been rough, especially since I really dislike deadline knitting and dislike being told what to knit even more. I do like guaranteed sales, though. I still have a baby sweater, a wimple cowl, a hat, and an ear warmer left to make. whew. Next year I really am going to at least cut back on the orders... there's just no sense in being stressed around the holidays.

I did make a fun little hat yesterday, though:



Isn't it darling? This is the Baby Plaid Trapper Hat in size 0-3 months. I saw it on the Knit Picks facebook page and just had to hook it immediately.


I didn't have red Brava, but did have the Wine, Black, and Cobblestone Heather (I like it more than the called-for Dove Heather), so KP Mighty Stitch in Serrano came to the rescue. I am completely smitten with this little thing. I am envisioning many more in other plaid colors.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Falalala Llama!






In addition to being completely yarn-obsessed, I'm also a bit smitten with hand embroidery. My favorite is to embroider onto felt... it's inexpensive, is easy to find in a wide variety of color, and is versatile. I will admit, however, that I haven't embroidered much lately (ok, like in over a year), until yesterday night.

This cute "punimal" pattern popped up in an Urban Threads email and I just had to make it. I was able to use a few different stitch techniques, as well as my favorite multi-colored floss. I'm really quite pleased with how this ornament came out. I am gifting it to my friend, Andrew Evans, because he's helped me out a lot in my grand re-entry into the show rabbit world after a decade away, and because he and his family raise and show llamas.

This little project was just the right inspiration to make me bring all the embroidery supplies out of storage.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Something New

Hi! I used to be a dedicated blogger over on my old blog, SpinKnit Up. I suddenly just stopped posting after my daughter, Vidalia, was born in September of 2014. 2 whole years. Life just got busy after having a second child and a lot has happened since then... We bought our first home, got our little homestead up and running, went on an awesome family vacation to Disney with my husband's father's side, and my knitting "business" (craft shows and custom orders at Christmas) has really done well.

I miss writing, though. I miss having a place that I can just write about whatever strikes my fancy, and a place that I can come to to vent, celebrate, share projects. I also miss being able to look back over my blog and remember those old posts. Most of all, however, I miss the community and the friends that my old blog found me. I know that I won't have many (any?) readers for a long time, possibly ever, but I am ok with that and will just keep on writing anyway.

So, here it is. Homestead Knoll. That's the name of our humble little homestead, so I find it fitting for my humble little blog. I look forward to sharing my thoughts, triumphs, failures, animals, kids, and, of course, yarn.