Fall Yarn Projects – and a surprise πŸ˜†

Good evening (or day depending on where you are in this great world of ours) dear audience.

Let’s discuss something that is close to my heart – yarn!

“But wait!” I hear you cry (I have amazing speakers on my phone/computer you know!) that is far too broad a topic.

I agree my friends, so let’s narrow it down. The dreaded C word is fast approaching you know. Yes, Christmas.

Now, I know many of you who are crafters (like me, or at least I like to pretend that is so!) will probably have already started – if not completed – some of your intended gifts.

However, this is what normally happens for me:

The Festive Season Checklist:

  1. Realise Christmas is X number of months away.
  2. Realise “oh crud – gifts
  3. Think to myself “oh, of course, I could hand make gifts”
  4. Start lists of everyone who I think I could make something for.
  5. Remember that, actually, I am a slow knitter/crocheter and so in order to do this for everyone I should have started in January.
  6. Cry at list.
  7. Throw list away and start browsing Amazon.

However, there are people out there, normal sane people, who can do this and do this well.

And for those I have some wonderful news.

This is my first-ever sponsored/requested post!

Yes I’m actually doing something practical for a change.

(Stop gasping at the back there, you there in the back row – I see you!)

So, let’s talk seasonal knitting. Now did I mention I am a slow knitter? I’m better crocheter in terms of speed, but I find making anything beyond blankets in crochet a bit head scratchy.

So I really ought to have started things like sweaters or cowls or ponchos back in the spring let alone in the summer.

(I do have a seed stitch cowl that I’ve been working on but it’s very much at the bottom of the unfinished object pile)

However for those of you who can knock up a sweater in a week – and I know people like this exist, there are several in my weekly knitting group – there is still more than enough time for my exciting news to impact you.

LoveKnittingUSA are running an amazing giveaway via yours truly.

They are offering 10 free balls of yarn for one of my lucky readers.

That’s right dear audience 10 balls of gorgeous yarn from the Simply DK range

Why DK? Well it’s from my own personal preference – I find I underuse DK (when I work on projects for myself I tend to work in fingering/sock weight) and I therefore feel that this yarn could use some love.

Isn’t that amazing? Obviously there are T&Cs but they are remarkably simple. You will need to be prepared to provide your name and address by email (so that spam bots don’t pick it up from my blog or Facebook) to receive the prize.

It will be sent directly from LoveKnitting, (due to me knowing how crazy busy my life can suddenly get, and I would NOT want you missing out) and so you would also need to contact me once the prize arrives with a photo.

And, we would very much like a picture of the winning Finished Object.

Which leads me nicely on to the next part of this post.

So, how do you win this wonderful loot?

Well, send me a comment, either on the blog directly, or through the Facebook link, telling me:

  1. Your favourite part of Fall/Halloween heck even Christmas
  2. What you would most love to make from the prize.
  3. Who it is intended for – and don’t be shy, self care is important, so if it is for yourself that’s great too.
  4. The color palette you would use – all 10 could be the same shade for a sweater, or multiple for scarves, or heck brioche colorwork it’s up to you.

The deadline for comments/entries is two weeks from the publish date of this post.

So sharpen your pins, polish your hooks, heck get out those looms people.

And get thinking/posting/writing

If you need ideas, there is this wonderful Fall inspired post which includes ideas for cozy seasonal patterns.

Or, if you are more spookily inclined, (and I have to admit that since moving to Massachusetts, Halloween is fast becoming one of my all time favourite holidays) there is also this Halloween knitting projects post which LoveKnittingUSA have already published.


Why flog a dead horse? These are amazing resources dear audience so please use them


Christmas Aftermath

Well the children have been thoroughly spoiled and I am so so grateful.

Firstly, it seems Santa got a tad confused and left presents in two places:

The kids were gobsmacked, and TT loved her “pin-gin” paper πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•

The Big Man listens you know πŸ˜‚πŸ€£

πŸŽ…πŸ»πŸŽ…πŸ»πŸŽ…πŸ»πŸŽ…πŸ»πŸŽ…πŸ»πŸŽ…πŸ»πŸŽ…πŸ»πŸŽ…πŸ»πŸŽ…πŸ»πŸŽ…πŸ»

But why all this play food and sets you wonder? Because someone dropped a line to him on what her “main” present was going to be:

(Can I admit that I’m more than slightly jealous? πŸ˜‚πŸ€£)

She has spent all day playing with it, with various play foods. I have extracted her lunch pizza from a pot on the hob, and most play foods have ended up in the freezer compartment!

Not to be outdone, #1 Son has completed construction of his main Lego set:

Even without the stickers he appears as pleased as Punch.

Tomorrow TT turns two. Tonight is therefore the last night for her in her cot.

Tomorrow she gets her first “Big Girl” bed.

Part of me is really sad about this. But she’s growing up. She’s not a baby anymore.

Tears and Tribulations

So, USA annual leave is not the most generous ever. So the hus-creature has to work.

And I am full of a rotten cold and as such am barely holding down the fort. For eg none of the new toys are put away. I’ve barely managed throwing away the paper. The rest of my (meagre) energy has been expended keeping the smalls from fratricide.

So #1 Son has not (yet) been able to build his main Lego set present – a giant Star Wars ship thing.

We told him we would help him this evening. Not good enough. He fixated on that bloody thing.

To the extent he decided to do it himself. Which would have been fine. Except he didn’t ask for help clearing a space and somehow set it up in a puddle – we assume he knocked his own cup of water over.

So all of the decoration stickers are drenched and therefore no longer adhesive in nature. So have been binned. Cue one devastated boy.

He also decided to get into one of his “adult supervision” Santa gifts – a make your own bouncy ball kit.

Which I discovered by finding a suspicious pile of red sand/grit in the kitchen.

After blaming TT (I apologised profusely) I noticed #1 Son shuffling in with something under his top. Which turned out to be a ripped open red and pink pack of the ball mix.

Which he had decided just to rip into and play with.

This child refuses to read.

So how he expected to be able to do this is beyond me.

So. One emergency shower for a shower-phobic small boy and the red and pink packets in the bin because they weren’t salvageable.

He’s distraught. We are stressed and within an hour he will have forgotten any useful lesson from it.

I’m tired. Daddy is building with him now, and I’m snuggling down with a nap-refusing TT and watching Zootopia. I fully expect she will have said nap now.

Christmas Day (2017)

Oh what a wonderful day we’ve had.

Santa visited:

#1 Son loves his Lego’s. Not so much his crayons and similar. Ah well.

TT was really happy with her hair bows and dinosaurs and other similar items.

We then had breakfast. TT ended up trying my scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, and she bloody loved it!!!

πŸ™„πŸ™„πŸ™„πŸ™„πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚

She cleared that plate! We also watched squirrels for a bit.

After breakfast we opened presents.

As previously mentioned, we left a lot of presents behind, but as a result the kids really enjoyed what they opened.

Lunch was awesome:

  • Pork with cranberry sauce and stuffing – yum! (Too much turkey previously consumed)
  • Macaroni cheese
  • Sliced potatoes – with herbs and other yummies
  • Crab cakes

TT stole a crab cake and scoffed it before we even noticed πŸ˜‚πŸ€£ and these were tasty cakes (wasabi mayo etc). Guess she’s taking after us more than her brother.

Then came dessert:

  • Chocolate peanut pie
  • Key lime pie

So. Good.

I don’t really like British traditional puddings of Christmas time – mince pies, Christmas pud & Christmas cake etc, so this was amazing for me.

TT stuck her hand in pie πŸ™„

We shouted.

The dog barked and barked a lot. She was defending TT against us πŸ˜‚πŸ€£

So she got cuddles and we were forgiven by her loyal Guard of Honour!

TT also had a whale of a time just generally:

Yep, that’s a stocking on each foot πŸ˜‚πŸ€£

Aunts Domi and Uncle Gary kindly took the kids out for a brief walk with Fluffy (the dog) and they had a really lovely time. The wagon was involved.

We just had a little rest as wow it’s tiring:

I have read a few chapters of one of my presents:

Which is bloody brilliant and hilarious and everyone should read it. Certainly every parent who worries that they aren’t “doing it right”

Because we are – it’s hard and we are doing okay 😘

We are now watching Ozark for an hour or so’s downtime then bed.

MERRY CHRISTMAS ONE AND ALL

πŸŽ…πŸ»πŸ’•πŸŽ…πŸ»πŸ’•πŸŽ…πŸ»πŸ’•πŸŽ…πŸ»πŸ’•πŸŽ…πŸ»πŸ’•πŸŽ…πŸ»πŸ’•πŸŽ…πŸ»πŸ’•πŸŽ…πŸ»πŸ’•

It’s Christmas (Eve)

And we are safely in Connecticut.

We left without incident at around 11:30.

Stopped for lunch at Mac Donald’s at around 13:00.

When given the choice of burger or chicken, TT declared “chicken burger” so this happened:

20 McNuggets was a mere 11c more than a 10 pack 🧐

I begin to see why there might be an obesity epidemic!

However as both children decided that didn’t want burgers – #1 Son because he saw the onion in the relish when I was removing Satan’s hell snack, the pickle, and TT because burger meant nuggets and chicken meant chips apparently! So those nuggets got demolished.

TT also decided that she wanted to sit in a high chair πŸ™€ she hasn’t used one in months. But she dragged it over to a booth and demanded “‘my chair” and was most happy:

#Stillmybaby

We safely arrived at around 15:30.

Got a phone call from the landlady shortly after arriving worried because she thought she could see smoke coming from our balcony.

It was her own vents! Crisis averted and I had mulled wine πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ‘πŸ»

TT has declared every adult in the house not me or the hus-creature “cake people” because Domi gave her brioche.

She then made friends with the dog by accidentally feeding her said brioche. She was sitting on the floor with her hand out, and the last piece of brioche dangling from it, and the dog snaffled it πŸ˜‚πŸ€£

Kids are now safely in bed, with stockings hanging up in the guest house.

#1 Son didn’t really eat much for dinner – no surprise there, but TT ate risotto. It was seafood and mushroom risotto at that. We let her think it was pasta!

She ate scallops! And then went for mine!!!!!

Kept a whole one in her cheek like a little hamster for about 15 min πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚

Relaxing now for a few hours before bed. We need to all be asleep so Santa can come

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A gift decision

Has been reached.

  • We have a small car.
  • Amazon have not delivered all presents yet.
  • We have a small car.
  • Parity of gifts important when away from home.
  • We have a small car.
  • We have very generous friends and family.
  • We have a small car.
  • Our kids can get “present fatigue” very easily.
  • We have a small car.
  • We are going to someone else’s house for Christmas.
  • We have a small car.
  • We will need to bring back presents we take plus Santa’s gifts.
  • We have a small car.

So, with this in mind, this is what we are taking with us:

This is what has been left behind:

Did I mention the wonderfully generous friends and family? Yes they are in my walk-in.

Christmas Eve (Eve)

Busy busy busy here.

The hus-creature braved the wilds of Wegmans to forage for our weekly shop.

Thanks to a very kind invitation, we are heading up to Connecticut tomorrow afternoon to spend a day or two with family and as such don’t have to plan a full dinner for the big day.

However it does mean that wrapping needs to be finished. Which has been complex.

I would really like to know something.

WHY IS IT SO DIFFICULT TO GET BIRTHDAY WRAPPING PAPER AT THIS TIME OF YEAR?!?!?!?

Apparently the gift wrapping fairies appear to believe that no one (apart from Jesus) is born in December!

Also, well, at least two different sets of Christmas wrapping paper are called for.

It’s a bit of a logistical nightmare.

So I have this to console me:

I don’t mind if I do 😝

In addition, some personalised merchandise came home from school yesterday:

<<<< that is artwork created by #1 Son πŸ’•πŸ’•

And to cap it all off, TT is apparently feeling under the weather today.

Death. Stare.

Visit with Santa

With the cold weather we decided that we probably ought to try and get the children some slightly warmer clothes.

We bought #1 Son snow pants last week but they were far too big. They do in a pinch for school. But they didn’t really have any appropriate footwear for snow, either of them.

So we decided to go to Payless kids and get them some new shoes. Well that went about as well as you could expect. #1 Son came away with a pair of Batman shoes (with velcro) and TT chose a pair of pink and black boots that seem to be sort of snow appropriate. Hurrah for Amazon is all I will say because it took so long to do that we have to cut it short so that we could undertake the main purpose of our trip to the mall.

Which was to see the man himself: SANTA

We decided to surprise #1 Son as he hates going out at the weekends unless it is his idea. TT had already demanded to wear a “pretty dress” and so we managed this:

The boots that she is currently wearing are way too big.

We also bought some odds and sods. I have a new graphic novel based upon The Dark Crystal (but it’s the third one in a series and it was on sale because it’s discontinued dammit. We can get the second one in the series reasonably easily for a mere $10 however the first one is not available for less than $100, yes one hundred dollars 😰😐). So I might just have it on the shelf looking pretty!!

#1 Son was desperate to buy something from the comic book shop (to the point of tears because TT was distracting us and we didn’t realise) so with a little negotiation he’s come away with a $14 bobble head cyber man. No he doesn’t know what Doctor Who is but it was better that than him buying the Bioshock Big Daddy one that caught his eye initially. And yes he used his allowance. Which reminds me I must deduct the $14 from his overall total.

So after this we went to see Santa.

Can anyone tell which child changed their mind about seeing Santa as soon as they got to see the man himself?

Still, fraught as it was, it was worth it. It probably didn’t help that TT had decided not to nap again…

And the cherry on top of the cake today was awaiting me when I got home.

I had a letter from The US Department of Immigration.

They have granted my work permit!!!!!

In typical bureaucracy fashion, it was not the permit itself but was a letter confirming that a letter has been sent which precedes the permit.

But a bloody nice Christmas present anyways. Now, I still have my surgery in early February which will take the best part of eight months to fully recover from, TT is not on a daycare waiting list, and #1 Son isn’t settled enough for me to feel remotely comfortable giving him to someone else to look after yet but, it’s happened.

I can get a SSN! Book my theory test. Pass a Massachusetts driving test!!!

Wahey!!!

I can also seriously think about opening an Etsy shop!

5 months and a Christmas Concert

So as of today we’ve been here five months.

I got all excited yesterday thinking it had been half a year, but I just can’t count πŸ˜‚πŸ€£

Yesterday #1 Son earned this:

Which is the first one this month. I suspect it’s because yesterday he had an amazing day compared to three very hard ones.

I am certain that the bar is lower for him than some of his classmates and that’s okay I’m happy that the school are being so amazing for him. It’s giving him the boost he so desperately needs.

We walked home and it was blasted cold. TT refused to wear gloves so I tried this:

She continued taking them off. Repeatedly. Whilst screaming for a “duddle”. So I put them back on and we kept walking for about half a mile. It was biting. Several people told me that “she really should be wearing gloves”

Really? Should she? HAVE YOU EVER MET A TODDLER?! After a while she began screaming in earnest. And within the shouting I could make out “owwwwww” so I stopped, put my (warm, they had been on my hands) gloves over hers.

Got a “ta mommy”. I won’t say she’s learned, but she kept them on until we got home.

We had Snickerdoodle hot cocoa when we got home though.

Cheered everyone up, because I was not stopping for ice cream!!!!

Today was the Third Annual Christmas Concert.

Some readers may remember that at his previous school’s Nativity #1 Son was meant to be a wise man but refused to actually participate until the 11th hour.

He did the same with the concert.

Given that it is a school-wide performance they split it by alphabet A-L then M-Z which made the difference between 08:30 and 10:30 performances.

However yesterday I received an email from the Guidance Counsellor telling me that they felt that since he had been struggling so much, they would prefer if we could attend the earlier performance and he could then not undertake the later one.

We were happy to oblige (the hus-creature had his big office move today, so the earlier he could get into the office the better) so we went up early.

He performed and reasonably well (though not happily). There are no photos because other people’s children.

At the end, they brought him round the front of the stage slowly, and I deduced (correctly) that they wanted him to see me and know we had been there. So I made my way to the front, gave him a huge cuddle and told him how proud I was of him, and that he didn’t have to do it again.

I watched his whole body relax bless him.

Which made it even more amazing that when the lovely J brought him home that she had a message for me from his teacher that he had performed the second time.

My heart could have burst with pride honestly.

It was a very good day.

Our (Festive) weekend

This weekend just gone, a snowstorm was predicted.

As an aside, I have been more than a tad grumpy that there hadn’t been any snow. I mean gloom and doom from predicted from November and it’s now mid-December

Anyway, my prayers were answered on Saturday and it snowed.

But not a blizzard. Just a steady, visually light, constant shower of snow that, by the end of the afternoon, left 5-6 inches on the ground.

It stopped too late to let the kids play in it though. #1 Son was most sad about this.

However, on Sunday, whilst TT was napping, the hus-creature took him out to play in it.

Behold the first ever snow angels.

He had so much fun. Then there was Snickerdoodle hot chocolate.

After TT arose we also decorated our tree. Our real non-fake Christmas tree.


I swear, I was more excited by this than the children πŸ˜‚πŸ˜†πŸ€£


Baubles were divided by coloured thread topper:

  • Purple – #1 Son
  • Orange – The Tiny Tyrant

We subsequently found the box of “special” ornaments. You know the ones, every family has them. Either bought for, or made by, the children.

Yes, those are Adventure Time baubles.

TT also spent much of the day being a modern Disney Princess

Ana with a light saber.

It was a good weekend.