31 August 2015

Super Quick Update

Hi everyone!  I took the summer off from posting as other things took a higher priority, but just wanted to touch base to let you know I'm still around.  As the weather has taken a turn for the cooler, I'm indoors and on the computer more.  ;)

As you may know, Washington - as well as the bulk of the Northwest - has been dealing with drought and wildfires.  Our area has also dealt with heat that is abnormally high for this part of the state.  Some fires have been burning on our base at length, with others throughout the area.  Our home has not been in danger but we've dealt with plenty of smoke.  Last week we started getting rain and cooler temperatures, which we are grateful for, and which we hope will move east and help with the huge fire complex in Okanogan and other areas.

This weekend we got hit with an unseasonably early wind storm.  Quite a few places here lost power, including some neighborhoods on the base.  We were not one of them, but we do have a lot of clean-up to do.  Our sunflowers had to be pulled out yesterday as the bulk of them were snapped in half (or worse) by the high winds.  Our corn, tomatoes and sunchokes were all toppled over.  The tomatoes are quite the worse for the wear so they will likely have to be pulled anyway.  We had already started our fall garden in early August so now we'll just have to hope for the best with the brassicas and greens that are in and buy our tomatoes in bulk before the season ends.

I'm chugging away on Bub's sweater for fall - the urgency is definitely here now to get it done as soon as possible.  My goal was 1 September but I won't be done tomorrow.  Hopefully I can get it finished for him by Labor Day, at least.  I knit up another baby hat for donations and started on a youth watch cap - I can work on those smaller projects in the truck or at church.

I recently read Marie Kondo's organizing book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and enjoyed it a great deal.  I will not be changing my folding method since mine works very well for us, but I agreed with and appreciated the bulk of the rest of her thoughts.  She spurred me on to another "purge session" (frequent readers will know that I do that a lot anyway, thanks to moving so much) and I passed on quite a few items for my folks to donate.  (We don't have enough deductions in a year to take any write-offs, so they do it and reap the benefits.)  I was also able to cull more yarn from my stash that my mom will use to make scarves for donations to the Warm County program; I also pulled some skeins that I can use for hats for donating as well.

Lastly, if you'd like to see some of the many books we are reading, take a look at the various tabs I've added at the top of the blog.  You'll be able to click into pages that share what's in my book basket, what the kids are reading, and some of the resources we are using in our unschooling efforts this year.

Hope this finds you well ~ have a lovely week and happy September!

01 July 2015

Yarn Along/KCCO: 1 July 2015

I've begun the trim!  *happy dance*

The little line near his shoulders is a lifeline I put in
just before splitting for the sleeves.  The stray yarn on the
arms is holding the sleeve stitches.

Bub's Gramps sweater is coming along very nicely.  Yesterday I started knitting the contrast color trim at the bottom of it. (Also Knit Picks Gloss DK - in the Robot colorway. Originally we considered just using a lighter blue, but Bub loves robots and I thought that would be fun, plus it still matches.  Obviously he chose that option.)  I don't think this ribbing will take very long - I need about an inch and a half before I bind off.  I was able to do several rows last night, so I rather expect to have that portion done today.  Then it will be time to pick up a sleeve ~ woohoo!

No picture of books today as I'm between reads again and I've not quite decided which I'll start next.  I did pick up Chad Daybell's Martial Law from the library and read right through it; it was a very fast read!  I still have The Minecraft Guide for Parents from a previous library run.  I also picked up Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl (a Staff Pick on the shelf out front) and Exodus: A Memoir by Deborah Feldman, which was in their new arrivals area.  I think I'll read that next, but we have family in town so I doubt I'll get much reading in again for a few days.

Joining up with Nicole at Frontier Dreams for Keep Calm Craft On and Ginny at Small Things for Yarn Along.  Thanks for stopping by!

27 June 2015

In the Garden ~ 26 June 2015

Today's blueberry harvest - more than two cups!

Happy, happy sunflowers

TriColor Pole Beans

Harvested 3 purple beans today

Purple and green beans growing in

Wee junco nest hidden up under the cabbage leaves

Harvested most of the first sowing of spinach, lettuce
and mixed greens earlier in the week.  This weekend
I will fertilize these containers and re-seed.

One wee carrot trying to come up.  *sigh*

Dill starting

Violet was slightly less than helpful when
she ran to the fence and knocked over
several planters I started seeds in a couple
of weeks ago.  *double sigh*

The herb and strawberry beds are good -
harvested two more strawberries today.

The eggplants have bloomed!
Joining Amanda at Soulemama for a quick garden update.

24 June 2015

Worthwhile Pursuits

Knitting this week:
Last night I cast on one of my go-to patterns for donation: a Baby Amanda hat.  Since the Flashdance Shawl is officially hibernating, I think this is a much more worthwhile project when I need a break from Bub's sweater.  These knit up so fast, even for a fairly new knitter like me, and they are lovely to see on.  This one will come out to be a newborn to three months size and hopefully next fall and winter it will keep some little one in need nice and toasty.  I'm using a spare ball of Soya wool/soybean yarn that has been floating around since I got my knitting board kit back in 2011.  I just read that it's discontinued, which is too bad, as it's a rather nice yarn to work with.

Reading this week:
I finished Thriving During Challenging Times (shown in my garden update) and read through The One World Schoolhouse by Salman Khan very quickly.  The Khan Academy is a resource that is mentioned a lot in homeschooling circles, so it was interesting to read the how and why of its beginnings.  On my Kindle I tackled two books by Chad Daybell, the last of the Standing in Holy Places series and the first of the Times of Turmoil series.  I had requested book two through the library (the only one they had) and it should be in any day now as the library site says it's been shipped.  I'm down to one library book in the basket (oh noooo!), a Minecraft for parents book, so I'll have to grab some more to read when we head over to pick up the hold request.  Last night I started reading Worthless: The Young Person's Indispensable Guide to Choosing the Right Major.  Another quick read; in part because he's preaching to the choir with me.  (Disclosure: I do have a college degree along with several professional/technical certifications, but each step was paid for without debt or student loans.) While I can see a lot of folks disagreeing heartily with what he's saying in Worthless because it's so counter-cultural in today's society, it's VALID and I will definitely be recommending it to anyone (teen or adult) who is looking at post-secondary education options.  

Obviously I've been reading a lot more than I've been knitting, so Bub's sweater doesn't have any progress to show since last week.  I'll get back on that soon.

As for the green things all around, I decided to have a little fun with this shot and put everything in the herb bed of our garden.  Holding up my Kindle is the curry plant and holding the yarn and hat is one of the lemon balm plants with peppermint in the background and left foreground.  If nothing else, they'll both smell soooo good the rest of the day!

Joining Nicole for Keep Calm Craft On and Ginny for Yarn Along.  Stop on by and say hello to them as well!

21 June 2015

Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments ~ 22 June 2015

Joining The Prudent Homemaker for frugal accomplishments wrap-up.


  • Joined Costco - declined the "opportunity" to buy the more expensive membership.  The benefit of getting a percentage back didn't justify spending twice as much on the membership. (If I find us spending enough to really make it worthwhile, I'll consider upgrading; but right now I only plan to go every 3-4 months.)
  • Bub and I found organic ground beef and organic chicken that beat the commissary price by over $1 a pound.  We also saved the surcharge that we'd pay on base - our 5% surcharge is paid on ALL items purchased at the commissary, versus only paying sales tax off base on prepared foods and the vitamins I purchased.
  • Free entertainment: Manly, Bub and I went to the archery range to shoot for a bit.  [Frugal fail: I split an arrow with another arrow while learning to use the bow.  Um, oops?]

  • Went to the library to pick up holds.  While I was there, I found a big handful of magazine back issues to read as well.  They are all things I used to read years ago and enjoyed quite a bit, but not enough to justify the expense of continuing to subscribe to them.
  • Found out our library participates in Hoopla's free lending program for movies, TV shows, audiobooks and music - will investigate this further since we are considering changing internet providers.  If we do change, we won't have to count our gigabytes of usage like we do now, and can take advantage of such programs.
  • Washed bedsheets and hung them on the clothesline to dry.  Hung out our bedspread for airing out instead of running it through the electric dryer like I usually do.
  • Harvested three strawberries.
  • Resisted the urge to stop for lunch or drinks on our way back from the library. 
  • Used peppermint from the garden (dehydrated and frozen a couple of weeks ago) in my water.
  • Harvested peas and spinach from the garden; used them with leftover rice and our last few eggs to make fried rice.
  • Washed Bub's clothes and line dried them.
  • Harvested 1/3 Cup of blueberries from our bushes - YAY for first harvest!

  • Used more mint in my water in the afternoon.
  • Overcast but the day is supposed to be warm - opened the blinds on the shaded side of the house in the morning for light to read and work by, and kept everything else closed up.
  • Free entertainment: went on a hike on a trail area on the base; Bub, Violet and I had been several times before but Manly hadn't seen it yet.  Along the trails I found what I think are elderberry bushes - will go back to verify in a couple of weeks.
  • Visited family for my mom's birthday and Father's Day; picked up some books that Bub requested from library on our way there.
  • Manly fixed a hose for me - we have a backup but this one is the perfect length to water the whole garden without lots of extra hose knocking into things so I hoped he'd be able to fix the issue I was having.
  • Renewed a couple of library books online so I make sure I don't go overdue - they are due later in the week but I'm not positive I'll get them read in time. 
  • Two loads of laundry hung on clothesline instead of electric dryer.
  • Ran out of shower soap and started using a decorative soap from the bathroom.  It's a glycerin (melt-and-pour) soap that I purchased a pack of for Bub's stocking last Christmas because it's a shape of something he enjoys, but no one likes the scent of it and it's not being used for hand washing by anyone but me.  Since everyone is using the pump soap instead, I gave it a test run to make sure I wouldn't have any skin issues - didn't think I would since I haven't had an issue on my hands - since all is well, I've been using it and since it's just a little glycerin thing, the bar is almost gone in just a week!  I confess I'm not a huge fan of the scent myself, but it doesn't really "stick" for very long after I shower anyway; I figure I'll alternate between the leftover bars and other bars I've stocked that I like more and just get it used up! 
  • Harvested 3 strawberries and almost a cup (!WOOT!) of blueberries.
  • Manly took Bub swimming and for a super long bike ride. (Both free - with the joke being that it ended up more like a Mother's Day than Father's Day, since I was home alone. LOL But they had a great time together and we don't usually exchange gifts anyway.)