GOD's my island hideaway, keeps danger far from the shore,
throws garlands of hosannas around my neck.
(Psa 32:7 MSG)


snow much fun!

today's weather: warm (a whopping 40F--that's ABOVE zero for a change), but windy.

this afternoon, bubba and i spent an hour and a half playing outside in the snow while cj was napping. i find it difficult to do much with our snow though. when i was a kid (in central wisconsin), we had the most wonderful sticky snows all winter long...snowmen, snow forts, snow balls were all easy to make. not so up here in the northern parts of minnesota. the top layer where the snow had begun to melt a little packs okay, but under that it's just powdery. like dry sand--only colder. it doesn't make very good snowmen, unless you're determined and don't mind them being a tad on the small side. i was determined this afternoon.

here's my snow art. i call it snow waltz. doesn't it look like this lovely couple could be dancing?

it's hard to get a good picture of snowmen. especially since these guys have a snow backdrop too. here's another photo. you can see how they're "dancing" in a little hollow i had dug out of the snow.

and here's bubba with his own snowman.

more kool wool!

yup. that's right. i dyed the rest of that ball of yarn night before last. was going to just do what was left as one ball, but as i wrapped it into hanks, i discovered many places in this yarn where it had been knotted back together. grrr! so i removed the knots and ended up with 5 hanks instead of one. it actually made it more fun because i was able to try a few different color combos instead of just one. i even let bubba try his hand at painting one of the small hanks of yarn--he really enjoyed it too!

ball #1: "citrus"
colors = orange, slammin' strawberry-kiwi, and lemonade

ball #2: "surf 'n' sand"
colors = berry blue, orange

ball #3: "Maui sunset"
colors = orange, cherry, slammin' strawberry-kiwi, lemonade

ball #4: "smooshed berries"
colors = berry blue, cherry (smooshed together to make purple!)

ball #5: bubba's yarn (he chose the colors and painted this himself...with a little help from mommy)
colors = berry blue, lemonade, cherry

i think half the fun was coming up with names for each color combo. it really got my creative juices flowing though! and i have plenty more kool-aid. just need more undyed yarn to paint! :-)


kool wool!

what's that cooking? nope, it's not food...

...it's yarn!

tonight i decided to try my hand at hand painting (dyeing) yarn. i had a skein of lion brand fisherman's wool in "natural" that bubba gave me for Christmas just begging for some color. i really had no clue what i was doing, but i found instructions to follow here. the best part--i could use up some of the old kool-aid packets i've had sitting in my stash for years! so i chose to do 4 colors: berry blue, pink lemonade (i ran out and used a little strawberry too), lemonade + a little berry blue to make a bright green, and also ice blue raspberry lemonade.

here's how it looked while cooling:

now it's hanging over my tub to dry. then i can wind it into a ball and start knitting! woohoo!

yarn is so much fun! i just can't get enough!!!!!


tea talk

about 2 weeks ago, when we were staying with my parents while trying to find the source of the icky smell in our house, i tried a tea sample mom had in her tea stash. i fell in love. it was seriously the best cup of tea i'd ever drank. ever. i checked out the company's website since it was printed on the package. then i did a little online shopping to see where else it was for sale and whether i could find a better deal. well, i found the exact tea that i had so totally enjoyed on ebay for a good price. so i let the hubby know and then left it up to him to decide if he'd buy me some or not. (he has me completely spoiled, btw!) yes, T placed his bid and got it for me. i had shown him an auction of one lovely little box of 18 tea bags. when it arrived today, i discovered that he bought me 3 boxes! (i'm NOT complaining!) rather, i'm feeling quite thoroughly pampered. there's only one problem. i had a cup this evening. after 8:30. i should mention that this is a black tea and is evidently quite fully caffeinated. now, i already know better than to drink caffeinated soft drinks in the evening. i guess that same rule will have to apply to my yummy new tea as well! on the bright side, it will be good to wake me up in the morning though! (and i'm gonna need it tomorrow! ha!)

so if you're into tea and would like to try a delicious cup of organic black tea, i highly HIGHLY recommend NUMI organic tea. the flavor i like is called "morning rise" and is a blend of 4 black teas. hmmm. i probably should have taken a hint from the name that it would wake me up instead of help me wind down, but it was so yummy i just had to have a cup! i suppose i should have tried the sample of "indian night" (a decaf black tea with vanilla) instead. ah well. live and learn!

and yes, i do take my tea with milk and sugar (or honey). just one more thing you didn't really want to know about me that you do now! tee hee!


Messages from The Message!

Ever since listening to Sisterchicks Do The Hula by Robin Jones Gunn (I finished this audiobook last week while knitting!), I've been pondering some of the verses she quotes in the story from The Message (a contemporary Bible version by Eugene H. Peterson).

One verse in particular has become one of my new faves:

Psalm 32:7
God's my island hideaway,
keeps danger far from the shore,
throws garlands of hosannas around my neck.

my island hideaway on maui

I love the mental picture I get now when I read this. I suppose it's partly because I've been to Maui less than a year ago, but I think it's also because of how the character in the book takes time to explore the deeper meaning of these words as well. In Hawaii, a lei is a garland that is placed around someone's neck. If I understand correctly, they used to be made by one person to give to another. Each one also tells a story. What a beautiful picture of God making me my own unique story-lei and placing it around my neck like a cherished garland of hosannas! Wow!

a garland of hosannas!

Just today I read another verse in the Psalms (also from The Message) that was, for me at least, quite poignant.

Psalm 16:11b
Ever since you took my hand,
I'm on the right way.
As a mother, I'm often grabbing my kids' hands. Usually I do this to keep them from harm or to get them to go in the same direction I'm going. In the same way, I can see now that God takes hold of my hand and guides me along life's pathways--the way He desires for me to go. As long as I don't let go and run away in my own direction, like disobedient children sometimes do, He promises to guide me, protect me, and take care of my needs along the way. Isn't that wonderful?


birthday bash for bubba

last sunday we finally got to celebrate bubba's 9th birthday. (his actual b-day is december 23). grandma patty and i planned a pool party for him at a local hotel. our first date ended up with a major storm coming and we didn't know how bad it would be so we postponed the party until after the holidays. bubba had been asking for a swim party, so when grandma suggested it, i knew we should just do it! we invited 10 or so of his closest friends from church, awanas, and also a few cousins too.

everyone had a fun time swimming. after the kids started getting tired (about 1.5 hours or so) we all got changed back into clothes and had snacks, cake & ice cream, and bubba opened his gifts (not that he needed any of them but he is enjoying having new things to play with--especially his zoob and k'nex kits!)

i only got one pic of the pool area cuz my camera fogged up. evidently it was too cold and the steamy air just clung to the lens. grandma patty got a few more so someday i'll have to get copies of them from her.

oh and cj was so funny! he enjoyed his cake so much that he was licking his plate trying to get all the frosting off! funny to think it was just a few months ago that he was having a crabby day on his own b-day and didn't hardly want to eat his cake or anything! maybe we should have taken him swimming! ha!


adventures in home ownership

i haven't had a chance to blog this week yet. it wasn't my choice though. not really. i wanted to post earlier this week. we had a birthday party for bubba that i was going to write about and everything! then we had to vacate our home.

we had been noticing a noxious smell in our house. sewer gases. (fyi, we live in an old farmhouse with our own septic system.) so we moved in with my parents, thinking we'd only have to stay a night or two and then we have the problem solved and could go home. it turned out we stayed from sunday night to thursday! we checked the roof vents for the sewer gases and found they had iced over. not too uncommon with the kind of weather we've had lately (although this is the first time we've had this trouble since we moved in 5 years ago). with much frustration and a little help from T's coworkers--it's nice that he's got connections to a bucket truck or we'd never (safely) reach the vent that's up on the high roof!--we got them both cleared and then T and my dad put together some copper piping to hang down into the vent pipes. this will keep them from completely freezing over and should allow the gases to escape like they should.

you would think that would have solved the problem. right? well, it didn't.

so T got a guy who has a sniffer machine-thingy to come over and make sure it wasn't our LP leaking. he stepped in the house and, according to T, the machine didn't go off and the guy immediately said "that's methane" (i.e. sewer gases!) aaaaarggh!!!

so where was it coming from, now that both of the vents have been and still are clear?

T took him down to our basement and they looked around again. i think it was good having another set of eyes to evaluate the situation. because he found it! our big old cast iron sewer pipe in the basement that goes out the wall to the septic had a huge crack in it!

our cracked pipe

so that's where the smell was coming from! at least, after the vents had been cleared. T used some sort of plumbing goop or something to plug the crack and then wrapped the pipe good with duct tape. it should hold until we can get it replaced this summer.

thoroughly taped! and no more noxious gases! woohoo!

finally! so what caused this huge pipe to crack? T's theory: too much pressure from having the two roof vents plugged at the same time. so one problem literally led to the other. it only took T about 2 1/2 hours of taping to get this covered. (that includes time taken every 10-15 minutes to go upstairs for a few minutes of some fresh air). poor guy. i sure do appreciate all the work he put into getting our air cleared so we can be home again!

we moved back home last night and slept in our own beds. well, most of us did most of the night. cj spent a little time in our bed. i think he was having trouble adjusting to all the craziness this week 'cuz he didn't sleep well at grandma and grandpa's either.

so that's our latest adventure in home ownership. i hope and pray that we don't have any other household issues this winter. and maybe tomorrow i'll have time to post about the party we had!


yummy yarns!

i finally took some pics of my new yarns today. these were the ones gifted to me (via cash) for Christmas. thanks, mom and dad!

yarn #1:
Valley Yarns Franklin Kangaroo Dyer sock yarn
color: frogparty

i have to admit it. i especially enjoy the name of this yarn's color. but i do love the pink & green combo and knitting with this makes me think of spring! so it's a good yarn for me in the dead of winter.

here's what it looks like when knitting 2 socks at the same time on 1 40" circular needle. it's quite ingenious and i'm really enjoying working like this!

here's sock A. you can tell 'cuz it's the one with the stitch marker in the corner!

here's sock B. i stretched it a little so you can see how the pattern and yarn will look when i'm finished and can wear these.

yarn #2:
Plymouth Yarn Company Happy Feek DK sock yarn
color: 52 (blues/greens)

this is a little bit thicker sock yarn so should knit a little faster. i only bought one skein, so might have to make ankle socks with this. not that that's a problem!

yarn #3:
Regia Design Line by Kaffe Fassett sock yarn
Exotic color: Pool (purples, blues, greens)

i've been accused of being a lover of all things blue. maybe it's true since two of these yarns are very blue-ish. hmmmm.

yarn #4:
Zitron Trekking (XXL) sock yarn
color: 52

as you can see, this particular yarn is very colorful. there are oranges, reds, blues, greens, browns, pinks, and purples!

all in all, i love my new yarns and hope that i don't knit too quickly with them since i can't afford to purchase more right now!


Happy New Year!

may your 2009 be filled with wonder, excitement, enjoyment, laughter, and lots of love and may you never forget that "God made you special and he loves you very much!" (thx, VeggieTales for that great reminder!)