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.

The yarn on the needles is Anne with and E by Nomadic Yarns. The yarn ball is Luna Lovegood by The Yarn Jar.

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!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

I Am Grateful: Meeting My Father

Last Monday I met my father for the first time in 41 years. I didn't cry, despite being positive that I would sob. Every day for eight straight days we spent a little time together, talking, piecing together the years that we had missed. I enjoyed my time with him.

It is hard to express my feelings and thoughts over the last twelve weeks. It is a difficult situation, and I believe it has to be lived to be understood. Since the first time my father contacted me, my feelings were all over the place, from hopeful to uncertain, annoyed to tranquil. Underneath all the wavering emotions, was one worry. Could we have a relationship together as father and daughter?

Seeing my father's face quieted my concern. The DNA that he gave me is no longer just words on a screen, but flesh and blood standing in front of me. Finally, I can acknowledge who he is to me and appreciate our shared connection.

I am grateful that my father overcame his rough childhood. I am thankful that he has a loving family, friends he enjoys, and hobbies that keep him busy. I am glad that he made the time to visit with my family and me and introduce us to some of his family. I am thankful that we have the time ahead of us to learn more about each other, build relationships and be a family.

I am full of gratitude to Chris and my mother for the emotional support through the hard years of insecurity and angst. They encouraged me to keep moving forward with the meeting when I let the worry overwhelm me and were physically there for me (and the kids) last week.

I am thankful for my friend, Julie, for buying me the DNA test in the first place.

I am full of praise to God, the author of my life. With His grace and peace, I continue on this journey. My story is unfinished. May God's will be done.

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 #6.

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!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

My Sunday Best #18: A New Dress

I hope everyone is having a fantastic Sunday!

Despite Mary Rose's rambunctious behavior during Mass this morning, my family and I have had a wonderful day. After Mass, Thomas went to his religious education class, and the rest of us visited Walmart for motor oil and Halloween candy. Then we drove back to the church, parked the car, and took a quick walk around town until Thomas' class was over. Now we are home relaxing.

Earlier today in the automotive section, they looked so cute standing there in their Sunday best that I had to take their picture! 

This picture was taken before we left for Mass, hence no shoes, but after Mary Rose tried to rip out some of my hair, hence the mischievous look on her face!

I recently bought this Chaps dress from Kohl's. They sell it in two different prints, so I purchased each one. They are currently on sale. Several of the dresses that I bought from Lularoe last year are no longer suitable to wear outside of the house because the fabric is very worn out, so I have been on the search for new dresses.

This evening Chris is going to stay home with the kids, and I am going to have dinner with my father and a few other family members at a local Mexican restaurant.
Last Sunday, I asked for prayers regarding meeting my father for the first time. I know that you have been praying for me because I have felt covered with love and peace all week long. Thank you.

I pray you have a great week! 

For more My Sunday Best, please visit Rosie at A Blog for my Mom

Sunday, October 15, 2017

My Sunday Best #17: Mary Rose Turns One!

Happy Sunday!

This morning we went to the 11:00 Mass. Mary Rose was not on her best behavior. Chris and I had to pass her back and forth repeatedly, but we all managed to make it to the end of Mass. Despite her crazy antics of face smacking, hair pulling, and head-butting, the kind lady behind us made sure to let us know that she was the sweetest baby who was able to make it through Mass. The people at our new parish really are super friendly.

Thomas had his confirmation prep class directly after Mass. His class is an hour and fifteen minutes, so the rest of us picked up a snack and visited three different parks in town. The weather was warm, but not too warm, and humid. It was pleasant to be outside, but the humidity made my hair look crazy!

Chris took this picture of us at one of the playgrounds that we visited. 

Last week was a busy week for us.
We celebrated Mary Rose's first birthday on Wednesday. I can't believe that my baby is already one! She is fun and very feisty, running around the house and getting into everything. We just had a small family gathering for her Wednesday night. She liked her cake and ice cream, but she didn't love it. She only ate a couple of bites of her small slice of cake and just a few tiny spoonfuls of her ice cream. The boys really enjoyed their first tastes of cake and ice cream, so Mary Rose's disinterest was a little surprising to all of us.

These are the best photos of her birthday. Very sad, right? I need to pull out my old Canon Power Shot because I am tired of poor quality cell phone pictures!

The next day, Chris and I celebrated our twenty-first wedding anniversary. We didn't do anything special, but he did bring home gorgeous orange roses and dark chocolate. He knows me so well! I am excited to spend the next twenty plus years with him. In case you missed it, you can read how we met here.

I hope you have a fantastic week. Tomorrow my father and I will meet each other for the first time. I would appreciate it if you would please say a prayer for us.

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

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 #4.

post #3 Day Trip {September 2017}
post #2 Blogging Like It's 2011
post #1 My Sunday Best #16: Hurrah! It's October!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Day Trip {September 2017}

The last day of September was a Saturday, and Chris had taken the day off from work. Chris rarely has a free Saturday, so we were determined to do something fun. Everyone had an opinion of how we should spend the day, but after a little deliberation, we settled on spending the day hiking. 

After a bit of research, we decided to spend the day hiking at Susquehannock State Park in Pennsylvania. It was our first time there, and it did not disappoint. We had an excellent time walking the scenic trails. The park has a little over five miles of trails, most of them are easy to travel with children. The Rhododendron Trail was the most difficult to hike, as the path was rough and overgrown in a few spots and poorly marked. However, we enjoyed hiking the Rhododendron Trail, as it was only a little over a mile to walk and had stunning views. 

On our way back to Delaware, we stopped in Maryland at Elk Neck State Park to walk to the Turkey Point Lighthouse. At just under a mile, the hike is easy and pleasant, ending with the beautiful views of the old lighthouse and the Chesapeake Bay. This trail is an old favorite of ours, and I am sure we will visit it again in the future. 

The kids and I are thankful that we got to spend the day with Chris doing something that we all enjoy. Hiking is definitely at the top of our list of favorite day trip activities. 

What is a favorite day trip activity that you have done with your family in the past? What day trip are you hoping to take in the future? 

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 #3.

post #2 - Blogging Like It's 2011
post #1 - My Sunday Best #16: Hurrah! It's October

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Blogging Like It's 2011

You may have heard about the writing challenge that happens every October called Write 31 Days. It is a lofty goal, and not one that I am up to doing. However, my friend Bobbi has a more doable challenge over at her blog Revolution of Love. It's the Weekly Writing in October challenge, and it is more my style! 

For several weeks now I have been thinking about how I miss blogging and reading blog posts like in the good old days. I have made it my goal this month to blog like it is 2011: writing about family updates, my knitting, and maybe even a daybook post. I averaged eight posts a month in 2011, so I am going to write eight posts this month or die trying. Don't worry. I am only kidding about that last part! 

Random photo of trees because the post felt like it needed a picture and it's October!

You may be wondering why I want to jump back into updating the blog more regularly when I have been such a sporadic and uninspiring blogger for the last two years. I have been asking myself that question lately. I walked around for a couple of weeks trying to sort through my thoughts about blogging, until I finally thought, "Duh, you have written about this before! Go read it on your blog!" 

Three posts helped me to remember why I enjoy blogging. Tell Your Story and Eyes on the Good Shepherd reminded me how encouraging and faith building blogs can be when writers are honest about the miraculous and the mundane happenings of life. 
The advice that I shared in Evolution Of a Blogger reminded me to worry less, pray more, and write every day even if you only publish one or two posts a week or month. 

I am excited for October! This post is my second post of the month, so I only have six more to go.

Are you taking part in Write 31 Days or the Weekly Writing in October challenge? If you are please let me know in the comments. I would love to visit your blog.  

Sunday, October 1, 2017

My Sunday Best #16: Hurrah! It's October!

Happy first day of October! I love October. The cooler weather and beautiful foliage make me happy. Plus we celebrate our wedding anniversary and now Mary Rose's birthday in October.

I haven't updated this space in a while, so I decided that since it is Sunday and the first day of October that I would type up a quick My Sunday Best post. This morning the weather was cool and perfect for sweater wearing, so I wore a LuLaRoe Nicole dress and a new cardigan that I bought from Ross several weeks ago for a great low price. While Mary Rose had a lot of summer dresses, she does not have as many cooler weather dresses, so she wore a long sleeve top with leggings that have an attached skirt. I think she looked cute! Here is a mediocre cell phone picture of our church outfits.

About eight weeks ago, we started attending Mass at the church where our homeschool support group meets. We have been members of the group for around seven years, and we love the families in the group. However, since we were the only family that was not parishioners at that church, we felt that we missed opportunities to see our friends. After discussing it for almost a year, Chris and I finally decided that it was time to make the switch, and we are glad that we did. Our new parish is much smaller than our old one and does not have a cry room or gathering area. At first that made me nervous, but Mary Rose has been behaving (mostly), and everyone has been friendly and understanding. In total, we are spending about 40 minutes extra in the car, but it has been worth it. We couldn't be happier, and the kids love seeing their friends at Mass every week. 

Have a wonderful week and fabulous October! 

For more My Sunday Best, please visit Rosie

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