Friday, December 1, 2017

Remembering November {7QT}

1. November is full of birthdays! Chris turned 43 earlier this month. We also celebrated Chris' brother and his wife's birthdays, and our nephew's birthday. I also celebrated two of my closest and oldest friends' birthdays. We eat a lot of cake and ice cream in November!

2. I love my Fitbit Blaze, but during November, I only wore it while working out. I needed a break from wearing it all day, every day. Wearing it to track my daily steps had started to feel like a negative instead of a positive thing. For example, I was allowing myself to be irritated when I needed to use both my arms to carry items while I was walking. I would think about all of the steps that my Fitbit wasn't registering, and all of those missed steps would frustrate me. All of a sudden my daily average of 14,000 steps felt like a failure because I knew that I had walked more than that amount. The worst part about my irritation was that usually, I was carrying Mary Rose with one arm and necessary items, like laundry baskets or groceries with the other hand. Seriously, I should not have let needing to carry my child while getting chores done upset me so much. I decided that I needed a break from the daily step goal, and to only focus on my workouts. Taking the break from daily wear helped me to break my obsession with the daily step goal. Looking back at my workouts for November I am not completely happy with the results. I exercised eight fewer days than the previous months. Overall, I am glad that I took the break because it did help me chill out and not focus on getting all the steps, all the time. But now that it is the first day of December, I am back to wearing it all day. I need the accountability to stay on track. Hopefully, I will remember that my Fitbit is a tool to keep me focused on my goals and not a taskmaster that makes me a resentful grump.

3. Chris was on vacation from work for a week this month. It was fantastic having him home for eight days in a row! He painted three rooms, purchased a not entirely new but new enough car for the family, fixed our roof, power-washed the patio, and accompanied me on various errands. We spent an evening at Hershey Park. The weather was mild, and the park was decorated for Christmas already. The lights were beautiful, so Mary Rose and I had a great time walking around the park looking at the decorations while the guys rode the rides. We had a great time together!

4. We had a lovely Thanksgiving day. In the morning, I made a triple batch of sweet potato casserole, and double batches of green bean casserole and pasta salad while catching up on episodes of TLC's Long Lost Family. Then in the early afternoon, we put the dishes I had prepared into the car and headed to Maryland to spend the rest of the day with Chris' family. We had such a great time, and I didn't look at my phone one time! Unfortunately, that means that I didn't take any pictures to document the day. I am hoping that my sister-in-law will email me a few pictures when she has the time.

5. Speaking of TLC's Long Lost Family, I can relate to the show since being matched with my biological father through AncestryDNA. I cry every time family members meet each other for the first time. Why I weep when complete strangers meet each other is beyond my understanding since I did not shed a tear when I met my father for the first time this past October.

6. On Wednesday I took the kids to get their pictures taken to put into our Christmas cards. It was the first professional picture of all four of the kids together. I think they turned out cute. Much cuter than the quick photos I took of them in the mall parking lot! 

7. The craziest thing happened yesterday evening. There was an earthquake! I was standing in the kitchen when I heard a loud "Boom!" Followed by a rumbling and the entire house shaking. Once it was over, we went outside to look around. Our neighbors were out too, so we talked to them about what we had experienced. All of us thought there had been an explosion, but since we didn't see smoke or hear sirens, we weren't sure what had caused it. A little later the news programs reported a 4.1 magnitude earthquake. We don't experience earthquakes often, so that is why we didn't automatically think an earthquake had caused the disturbance. I did not like it, and I hope that I never experience another one. 

For more Quick Takes, please visit Kelly at This Ain't The Lyceum.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

My Sunday Best #19: The Beach and New Boots

Happy Sunday!

Thomas has Confirmation prep class after Mass on Sundays. The class isn't long enough for us to drive home and back to church again to pick up Thomas by the end, so we try to find fun things to do around town while we wait for the class to end. Today we stopped by the beach. The weather was beautiful and a little warmer than I expected. 

I snapped a quick picture of Chris and Ralph and then asked Chris to take one of Mary Rose and me. Apparently, we were more concerned with our lovely surroundings then the people whom we were photographing! I am wearing a Lularoe dress and a cardigan from Kohl's (both have made an appearance in previous My Sunday Best posts). My boots are brand new though! I got them for a very affordable price from Amazon. 

Chris and I thought Mary Rose was awful during Mass. She entertained herself by pinching us and singing when everyone else was silent. Not a mean look did we receive, though. All of the older ladies who turned and looked had a friendly smile on their face. As we walked out of the door, Father smiled a huge smile and said enthusiastically, "There she is! She was so good today!" 
I am very thankful to be members of this parish that is full of kind and joyful people.

Please visit Rosie at A Blog For My Mom for more My Sunday Best

Monday, October 30, 2017

Five Favorites: Knitting Socks

After years of saying I was going to learn how to knit socks, I finally did it. In March I cast on my first sock. So far I have finished one pair of socks and a single sock. Currently, I have three socks on needles that are almost ready for toes. Some people knit socks exclusively, but I like to have sock projects to knit on when I need a break from my larger shawl and sweater projects. Plus, a sock project is very portable because it is so small.

I wanted to knit socks, but I kept putting it off because I am not a lover of double pointed needles or the magic loop method. I would not be a sock knitter or enjoy the process so much without these five things.

1. This YouTube tutorial by Tina of the Simply in Stitches channel.

Tina has a total of nine videos that take you through the entire process of knitting vanilla (plain) socks from cuff through toe on nine-inch circular needles.

2. ChiaoGoo 9-inch circular needles
I love these little needles. I love them so much that I own four pairs of them. They are sharp but not too sharp, and they are affordable.

3. Bulb Stitch Markers
I did not have these locking stitch markers when I first started knitting socks. I did not love using a slip on stick marker on such a small needle. A couple of months after I started knitting socks, I received a few of the bulb stitch markers in a yarn purchase, so I switched to using them. I love the way they clip onto the stitch instead of hanging off of the needle. Plus I use them to mark every twenty rows so that I know my socks are the same length.

4. Self-striping Yarn
I can confidently say that I will cast-on all future socks projects with self-striping yarn. It is thoroughly enjoyable to watch the stripes form, and knowing that the color change is only a few rows away encourages me to keep knitting. Knit Picks sells an affordable self-striping yarn called Felici, but they do not offer it all year long. Etsy has a lot of shops with self-striping yarn from independent dyers. Two of my favorite self-striping indie dyers are Nomadic Yarns and The Yarn Jar.

5. Fish Lips Kiss Heel
The tutorial above follows a pattern that uses a slip-stitch heel flap with a heel turn and gusset. I enjoyed knitting it the first two times but not as much the third time. I decided to try the Fish Lips Kiss heel from Sox Therapist, and it was a game changer. I have knit the Fish Lips Kiss Heel several times now, and I will not go back to original heel flap and gusset.

Are you a knitter? Do you knit socks?
If you are not a knitter, you may want to check out my Fall in Love With Knitting post.

Please visit Ashley of The Big White Farmhouse blog for more Five Favorites.

This month I am participating in the Weekly Writing in October challenge hosted by Bobbi at Revolution of Love. My goal is to write eight blog posts this month. This post is post #8.

post #7 Fall Fun: A Visit to the Orchard
post #6 I Am Grateful: Meeting My Father
post #5 My Sunday Best #18: A New Dress
post #4 My Sunday Best #17: Mary Rose Turns One
post #3 Day Trip {September 2017}
post #2 Blogging Like it's 2011
post #1 My Sunday Best #16: Hurrah! It's October!

Friday, October 27, 2017

Fall Fun: A Visit to the Orchard

Monday morning Mary Rose woke with a runny nose and a cough. By Tuesday evening the rest of us were coughing and sneezing. I worried that we would have to back out of our homeschool group's scheduled trip to a local orchard at the end of the week. As the week progressed our symptoms remained the same, but we kept up with our schoolwork, including getting together with another family for science and Latin class. The moms that I talked to about our cold symptoms didn't mind that we might pass the cold on to them, so we kept our plans to meet at the orchard this morning.

The weather was a lovely sixty-six degrees. It wasn't busy, so there weren't lines, and the kids got to play on everything freely. The highlight of the orchard's Fall Fest is a corn maze. The older kids made it through the entire maze, but the moms and the younger children only made it about a third of the way before giving up. While we waited for the big kids to finish the maze, we sat under a tree and ate snacks. As we left, we stopped in the store to buy donuts to take home with us. We had a wonderful time! 

This month I am participating in the Weekly Writing in October challenge hosted by Bobbi at Revolution of Love. My goal is to write eight blog posts this month. This post is post #7.

post #6 I Am Grateful: Meeting My Father
post #5 My Sunday Best #18: A New Dress
post #4 My Sunday Best #17: Mary Rose Turns One
post #3 Day Trip {September 2017}
post #2 Blogging Like it's 2011
post #1 My Sunday Best #16: Hurrah! It's October!
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