Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Create...a better home

As you all by now, we just put our house on the market. It's been a while coming. My husband started his new job back in December, right after Christmas. After weeks of cleaning, decluttering and rearranging, my house is ready and on the market. This has been a LOT of work.

Now my house is really clean and I have to keep it that way. Which means cleaning--multiple times a day cleaning.

I am not by nature a cleaner. I hate housework. I tend to put it off until it seems like such a daunting task that I put it off even longer. Then I get truly disgusted with myself and the state of my house and I clean.

I generally have a lot of clutter in my house and I generally only do the absolutely necessary cleaning.

In the last few weeks, I have totally decluttered and I have cleaned surfaces in my house that I hadn't touched in the over 2 and a half years we've lived here.

I thought by now I would be totally done with cleaning, burned out from it all. And at times, I have definitely felt that way.

But, surprisingly, the opposite is true. The more I clean, the more motivated I am to clean some more. I like having a clean house.

Now that my house is both decluttered and deep cleaned, it is easier to keep it clean. It is less daunting and more rewarding.

I may have discovered the secret to keeping my house clean. A little cleaning off and on each day and the whole thing seems easier---and much cleaner.

Who knew? I am on my way to creating a cleaner home for my family. And although I don't think "cleaner" equals "better," I do think it is a good start. I don't want my children to grow up thinking that cleanliness is not important. I feel good about this path I am on. I am creating a better home for my family and I like that.

Monday, January 24, 2011

All Dressed Up with Nowhere to Go

Today is THE day. The day my house officially goes on the market. Supposedly. After weeks of decluttering, reorganizing, rearranging, painting and cleaning, cleaning and more cleaning, my house is ready and it is BEAUTIFUL.

I have been waiting around all day like someone waiting for her blind date to arrive--or maybe prom date--although I've never been on either but I think this is how it would feel. I keep looking at my phone hoping for messages from the showing service, peeking out the window waiting for the For Sale sign to appear in the front yard, checking online to see my listing on Realtor.com, primping my house to make sure it's ready by wiping down cabinets, dusting shutters, wiping spots off floors. And nothing. No sign. No listing. No calls.

My house is all dressed up with nowhere to go.

Edited at 10:10PM: Made it online by 6:30PM. Sign in the yard by 8PM. Better late than never. Now just waiting for the calls to come rolling in. Fingers crossed. Prayers said.

Friday, January 21, 2011


J (on the potty, calling to N): Get me some ice cream! (Not sure why he needs pretend ice cream while on the toilet.)

N: Let me grab my purse. (As he grabs my knitting bag)

Not sure why this cracked me up so. I guess you had to be there. Just wanted to write it down so I didn't forget my funny boys.

Monday, January 17, 2011

I am so tired of cleaning, I could...

A) puke.
B) die.
C) be very happy if I never had to clean again.
D) just sit on my hiney and knit instead of cleaning anymore.
E) all of the above.

I have spent the last week cleaning my microwave, stove top, counters, cabinets, baseboards, door frames, doors, plantation shutters, windows, walls, showers, sinks, etc. (aka every surface in my house, many that I haven't cleaned in the two and a half years that I've lived here). I have gone through at least ten Magic Erasers. These are my next best friends:

Last week after several days of scrubbing, my hands were red, raw and cracking. With the help of my new lovely gloves from Target and a healthy dose of lotion, my hands are slowly returning to normal.

My brain on the other hand is really tired of seeing dirt and seeing my pink-gloved hands cleaning said dirt.

In fact, my brain is so tired of cleaning, it shut down tonight and refused to let me clean--it lead me to blog about it instead.

Okay, I've had enough of a break now. Must go clean at least a little more before I take the rest of the night off.

On a happy note, it looks like I'll get our house ready to be photographed by Friday and on the market by Monday! Say a prayer, cross your fingers, and let's hope this baby sells quickly so we can be together as a family again.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Create...a healthier me

As I mentioned one of my goals for this year is to create a healthier me (and also a healthier family). One way I've been doing this is by making smoothies. I usually make one at least every other day. I've been trying to get the boys to try them, but so far they haven't liked them (or usually even tried them). Oh well. I'm really enjoying them. So far I've had blueberry/cucumber, banana/peanut butter /dash of espresso, and peach/blackberry/spinach. All have been good and my fruits and vegetables intake has increased dramatically (sad, but true).

Tonight I created a homemade pizza which was delicious.

It had fire-roasted tomatoes (instead of pizza sauce), a little bit of bacon, a little bit of maple-glazed ham, a little bit of shredded Italian cheeses and Montchevre goat cheese. It was really good!

I also had a spinach salad with apple pear, walnuts, crumbled goat cheese and a blush wine vinaigrette.

Yum! Let's hope I can keep up the motivation to create more healthy and interesting meals for me and my family. (For those who are wondering, no my boys did not try either of these delicious items. Oh well.)

More Than I Ought to Be, Less Than I Want to Be

So I'm still knitting...not as much as I want to be, but probably more than I ought to be with all the work I still need to do to get our house on the market. I don't knit every day, but I have been working in some knit time for sanity sake.

Last night I finished up this:
It's the Traveling Cowl.

Ever since Christmas, I've been wanting to knit something for my sister. As time is limited with the house work and impending move, I decided on a cowl. When I favorited this one on Ravelry, my sister commented that it was gorgeous and my decision was made. Sticking to my goal of using stash yarn as much as possible, I decided to use this skein of NaturallyCaron.com Spa. The yarn is a bamboo blend and really slippery and drapey. It took a few tries to find the right needles, but I ended up using a size 8 and following the directions for a large worsted weight cowl. I like drapey (vs. stiff) cowls, but this may be TOO drapey. The cowl has very little structure. Even with blocking, I wasn't able to really show off the simple lace pattern at the bottom of the cowl. On the positive side, this yarn is REALLY soft and friendly next to your neck. I only used a little less than half the skein so I may make another cowl or some sort with this yarn.

Pattern: Traveling Cowl by Liz Abinante (feministy.com)
Yarn: Slightly less than 1/2 skein of NaturallyCaron.com Spa (75% Acryllic/25% Bamboo/ 85 g/ 251 yd) in Oceanspray
Needles: Size 8 16" circular
Size: Worsted Weight Large In the Round
Mods: None

Since the Traveling Cowl pattern wasn't available until January, I decided to cast on for a sweater for my niece Isla on Christmas day (knitting time as a Christmas gift for myself). She really loved the white baby sweater I gave her (pictured on J in the header of this blog) so I decided to do another white cardigan. I had a bunch of white Bernat Baby in my stash so I am using that. It's a 4 ply so it will take a decent amount of time to finish. Here's what I've done so far:It's going to be a baby/toddler version of Coraline by Ysolda Teague.

And since I got a giftcard for Christmas and The Woolie Ewe had their big end of the year sale, I got myself this yarn:
to make the Blackberry Cardigan.

I also got this yarn to make some sort of lacy scarf for my mother-in-law. She requested one after seeing my Peacock Tail and Leaf Scarf.

I still have the yarn waiting for me to make my striped raglan sweater, Tang (turtleneck sweater) and Paper Dolls (colorwork sweater).

No more yarn purchases needed for me--just need more time.

Okay, enough knitting talk. Must go finish cleaning my house :).

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Heaven...in a Workshop

Yesterday, I read a post about SAW on Ravelry and have been dreaming about it ever since.

SAW is the Squam Art Workshop, a lakeside art retreat held in New Hampshire. Specifically I was reading about their Spring session this June 1st-5th. Ravelry usually sends two of their staff to SAW each year, but this year those two people are becoming parents in June so they are sending two Ravelry members instead. So I entered my name into the drawing for a spot. I know my chances of getting chosen are slim (last time I checked there were already over 1300 entries), but I still spent about an hour reading over the SAW website.

The class offerings are amazing. I know if I won a chance to go to SAW it would take me a while to decide what to take as there are only 2 1/2 days of classes and many of the classes are full day classes. One class option is Knitting Salon. This "class" involves hanging out with a roomful of knitters and one knitting teacher and knitting for a day. As a mom who never gets to spend more than a few hours knitting (usually late at night or occasionally snuck in during naptime) this sounds divine in itself. However, the chance to learn with the amazing teachers is too much to resist and I doubt I'd sign up for Knitting Salon because the other classes sound SO interesting.

One of the teachers is Stephanie Pearl-McPhee! STEPHANIE PEARL-MCPHEE! For those of you who don't know her, Stephanie has a great blog called Yarn Harlot. She's written lots of books and has the most amazing sense of humor and perspective. I love reading her writing because I feel like I can relate to SO much of what she says. It would be amazing to see her in person much less actually meet her or take her class.

Ysolda Teague is another one of the teachers who I would love to meet. She has so many beautiful patterns. I've loved watching her knitting career evolve these last few years. At first she was just someone who I saw on Flickr and Ravelry who had a few pretty patterns. Now she's an established designer and teacher who is a real known name in the knitting world. I see Veera Valimaki as someone destined to follow in Ysolda's footsteps. Other knitting teachers at SAW include Gudrun Johnston, Cat Bordhi and Mary Jane Mucklestone.

The class topics looks incredible. Stephanie is teaching one on Knitting with Matawa and one on Knitting for Speed and Efficiency. Ysolda's class is The Perfect Sweater. Gudrun has one called Shapely Sleeves which is all about the seamless set in sleeve. Cat has multiple classes, but the one that sounds the most intriguing to me is Inventing Stitch Patterns. The class is about exactly that--inventing your own stitch patterns. It sounds very challenging, but fun. All of these classes are perfect for a knitter like me, a knitter who loves to make sweaters and dreams of designing her own knits.

Knitting is my passion, but I love all crafts and have tried my hand at beading and embroidery and some painting and sewing and the other classes are just as tempting as the knitting ones. One class, Reinvention by Maya Donenfeld, sounds incredible. In this class "you will learn clever ways to take three common discarded materials: burlap, linen and t-shirt jersey and transform them into items that are both useful and lovely." --very intriguing! There are a few classes on embroidery that look great as I'd really like to learn how to embroider for real. Rebecca Ringquist's Stitch Dictionary class looks particularly good to me. There are also classes on botanical printing, quilting, woodworking, crocheting, sewing and yoga.

Anyway, as a person who loves to CREATE. This workshop sounds like a little slice of heaven. And as I know that I will not spend the money to pay to go PLUS the money to get there, I really hope I will win the Ravelry contest. So cross your fingers, say some prayers, think happy thoughts--and hope that I somehow get chosen out of all the thousands of people who enter to go to SAW this year. I know I'd have a blast. The only thing I could think of that would be better than going to SAW, would be going to SAW with my sister. Now THAT would be heaven.

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!

Yep, snowing like mad today in Texas. Good times had by all--well, except for B who had to drive back to Houston in it. Needless to say, the boys are thrilled with our winter weather. Happy Snow, everyone!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

One Word(s)

So I'm still pondering my One Word. I've heard more great ones from friends including Mindful and Balance (see comments below). I like both of these words. They both would motivate me to make changes that I have been wanting to make in my life, but as one friend commented I want to be more original and not just use someone else's word.

Word choices keep running through my mind.

Change: There is so much of it coming in my life this year. I should just embrace it.

New, Beginnings: So many happening. I need to reach for them and celebrate them.

Blessings: All of these new beginnings and changes are really blessings in my life. I have so many blessings in my life, but I don't always remember that.

Strength: I am often asking God to give me strength. I know I will need extra strength this year as life leaves the path of the known and the comfortable. I'm not one who loves change, or even likes it for that matter, so strength will be needed. I often ask for the strength to be a good mother.

Change: This word comes up again, but this time I was thinking more in terms of changing current ways I do things, approach things. I want to change the way I parent and be a more positive parent. I want to change my lifestyle and be a healthier person.

Health: More exercise. More vegetables and fruit. Healthier lifestyle. Typical New Year's resolution type stuff.

Grow: Similar to change, but more positive. I want to grow in my friendships. Grow in my skills as a parent. Grow to be a healthier person. Even grow in my knitting skills.

Create: A word I love. Similar to grow, but even more proactive. I like this one. I will be creating a new home this year. Creating new friendships. Creating a stronger bond with my children. Creating stronger children. Creating a healthier lifestyle. Creating a better me. Creating a ton of fun handknits. Hee hee. Out of challenges, I need to create opportunities. I like create. It puts the power into my hands versus giving the power to something outside of my control. I like that. Hmm... This might be my word. Will ponder further and let you know.

I really want my word to drive me this year. To motivate me to reach my goals. I want to end this year a better person.

Create. I think that's my One Word. What do you think?

Now I have to decide if I can resist ordering my One Word necklace.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

One Word

I recently read a blog post (One Word/ December 30, 2010) by a friend from middle school and high school that inspired me. It was about picking one word that will represent your upcoming year. A word to inspire you. A word to focus on. A word to guide you through your year.

I think this is such an amazing idea and I've decided to try it. I imagine you will be hearing about my word throughout the year on this blog.

Now the hard part, choosing my word. So hard. One word for an entire year. My friend chose "joy." What a lovely word. Who doesn't want a year focused on joy?

I'm still pondering my word. At this very moment, B's new job and our pending move our prominent in my mind. I'm thinking of heading to a new place and making new friends and finding a new place to call home. So many words come to mind: change, adventure, beginnings, home, blessings.

Hmmm.... I will need to ponder this one longer. Will keep you posted on my word.

Will you have a word this year? Think on it and let me know if you decide to choose one. What a year this will be!

Happy New Year, everyone!