Big Plans

I haven’t had a paper planner in years, and have been pretty happy with my bullet journal system.  However, the one hold up for me with the bullet journal was in setting up the new pages, primarily the month at a view calendar pages.  I liked having one each month to consult, but when a new month came and I had to set it up, I never could get going on it.

So, when Mary Heather mentioned that there was a mini-planner for the last few months of the year, I figured it was a good non-committal way of trying out the paper system before investing a lot of money in it.

I tried it and loved it, so in the last two weeks, I’ve been getting set up for 2016.  First off, I ordered the Inkwell Press A5 inserts (they are out of stock now, but they are making quarterly planners that are pretty similar to the mini-planner I have been using).  I decided to go with the inserts thinking it would be easier to also incorporate some standalone lists in a binder, rather than in a bound planner.  I love me some lists, and the bullet journal method really helped me sort out bigger projects, so I still plan to use those strategies in this planner.


Then, I picked up the pink Carpe Diem planner binder along with a few accessories last week.  The Carpe Diem planner does come with it’s own inserts, and I kept some of the pieces from those inserts in here, while primarily using the Inkwell inserts.  It came in yesterday, so I spent some time last night cutting apart my mini-planner and inserting that along with the inserts for the first three months of next year into my binder.


I basically saw the polkadots on the inside, and had to have it.  I also love the one large pocket on the inside left, along with the several smaller ones for holding business cards, receipts, etc.  I haven’t used it for long, so can’t really give a product review, but I’m pretty excited about using this for the next year or so!


I don’t embellish my planner much, but I’m a sucker for cute stationary items, and let’s face it, these stickers had me at “Like a Boss”.  I got the stickers and the post it notes bookmark, which slips in and out of the binder rings really easily so you can move it around as needed.  I liked the idea of having the little post-its handy.

So far, using a paper planner is helping me keep track of my tasks, but also, it is helping me to feel accomplished at the end of the day.  I often feel like I’m not getting enough done, but when I look back at the day and see the things that I did complete, I feel really great about it.  It is also helping me to limit my tasks for each day.  I can always add a post-it note to the page to add more things to my list, but I’ve found that if I fill up the little space available for the day, I’ve probably got enough things lined up, especially since other tasks seem to pop up. A lot of my “to do’s” are big umbrella items – like answer 75 emails – so your mileage may vary.  I didn’t really expect to be a paper planner convert, but it has happened!

Jess reminded me that Inkwell Press has a referral program that enables people to save $10 off of their first purchase of more than $50, and gives me some rewards, too, so here’s my link if you are interested!  :)

Finished Newsom!

I feel like I’ve talked a lot about my Newsom cardigan already, but it is finished now so I had to share the finished item!

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The good: The pattern was really fun! I loved the construction and it was really easy to follow. Thanks for a great pattern, Bristol! Also, the yarn is amazing. It has great drape and is so soft.  I used the yarn called for by the pattern, Mrs. Crosby Hat Box.

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The bad: The bad isn’t really even that bad, as I think I can fix it. I wish the body was a smidge longer. I may try reblocking the body to see if I can make it just a bit longer. Even if I can’t, I think this will be a great everyday sweater that will see a ton of wear this winter.


The ugly: Nothing ugly here, except maybe the fact that it took me eight months to finish. I have long arms and got stuck on the sleeves. They seemed to take forever. I’m ready to make some quick gratification projects now!


Trusting the Swatch

I did a swatch before making my Newsom cardigan.  I washed it and dried it and measured it before and after so I could see how much it grew.  I got gauge and moved forward with my project.

Then, I bound off my cardigan. And panicked a bit.  It didn’t fit! It was way too short in the body.  This is not unusual for me since I’m on the tallish side, which probably makes me all the more worried about it.  And then I remembered, my swatch grew.

To be honest, I still didn’t really trust that my sweater would work out okay.  I feared that my sweater would behave differently from the swatch, but I washed it and sure enough…it grew.


So, if I’m going to bother to swatch, I should probably trust it.  Not all swatches lie ;)  Finished pictures coming tomorrow, I hope!



Last night, I had a finished sweater.  With just ends left to weave in before blocking, I had just about reached the finish line on my Newsom cardigan.  Then, this morning, while weaving in ends, I noticed a tension problem at one edge that made it look like there was a hole in the knitting.  No amount of futzing with the problem made it look right.  It was, of course, right on the front edge of the cardigan.  I knew I wouldn’t be happy unless I frogged 2″ of garter stitch I had knit at the end of the sweater to get back past the problem spot.  That 2″ took me a long time.  I did all I could to avoid it, but it was inevitable, I had to frog.By the end of my frogging, I had these four little balls of yarn, and 2″ of garter stitch ahead of me, so I got started…again.

I feel like I have knit this sweater at least twice at this point (all of my own doing, my own mistakes, the pattern is great).  It’s a good thing I think I’m going to love this sweater and be able to wear it all the time because that’s the only thing that will make up for all of this frogging.

Scenes from Sunday

Today has included…

Setting up the tent in the front yard so we could clean it out after C1’s camp out this weekend.

Boys sword fighting in the driveway.

A little bit of bike riding close to the house.

And, not pictured, a whole lot of knitting in an effort to finish my Newsom Cardigan. Almost there!

Put me in, Coach!

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I wound up being the coach for C2’s Pre-K/K soccer team this season.  I have never coached a sport nor do I have much experience with pre-K kids beyond being a babysitter when I was younger and a parent of one now.  But, I’ve learned a lot over the span of the season, and I’ve wound up having fun, in spite of being stressed about it.

So, I thought I would share some things I have learned as the coach of a Pre-K/K soccer team.  I feel like lots of these things could be applicable to other areas of life, and dealing with people of other ages, too.

  • Make everything a game.  The activities the kids love the most are the ones that feel like games.  Their favorites have been red light/green light, freeze tag and simon says, all played with the soccer ball.
  • Give out lots of high fives and “good jobs”.  The only way to keep them going through an entire practice is to encourage them when they are doing something good.
  • Don’t be afraid to take a break.  We take at least one break in a 30 minute practice, but often we take 2 or 3.  Their attention span only lasts so long, so when they start to fade, we take a break and it’s usually better after that.
  • Try to talk to them about things outside of just playing.  We have had lots of conversations about teamwork and how everyone has to do their best to make the team strong as well as the importance of listening.  I figure even if they don’t keep playing soccer, they will be able to take these lessons with them.  I try to have a focus for each practice outside of the game itself.
  • Have a team cheer.  It amazes me how excited these kids get to do their team cheer – which is just put your hands in, 1-2-3-Go team!  Their faces light up and they are so happy when it is time to do our cheer.

While I think being coach may have caused C2 not to want to play as much (I feel like he tells me “no” when he wouldn’t tell another adult “no”), it has still been fun and it’s been great to watch the kids’ skills progress.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s still herding a group of kids around the ball, but they have started to learn some foundational skills.  I won’t miss being up early on Saturdays to do a soccer game when we finish in a couple of weeks, but I will miss the kiddos that I’ve gotten to play with the last couple of months.

Five on Friday

I like reading the five on Friday posts I’ve seen on other friends’ blogs where they just tell you about five random things on Fridays, so here goes!

  1. Are you on Periscope, yet?  I was hesitant because I don’t usually like watching internet videos.  I tend to be pretty impatient and videos seem long sometimes compared to finding the information in an article or post, but I am really loving Periscope.  So far, my favorite Periscopes have been from Kristine & Adrienne of A Verb For Keeping Warm (they are avfkw there) who have shared their natural dye process, a party at their store and surfers in San Francisco.  Even if I don’t have much time, I can pop in and see what they are sharing when I get an alert on my phone, so it’s really fun.  You can watch Periscopes on a computer when someone sends you a link, but it’s easiest to get the app and follow people there.
  2. I think I might come pretty close to finishing my Newsom this weekend!  I’m so excited and of course already planning what knits come next.  I have plans to make a stocking for a friend’s little boy, to help keep her family tradition going, and hats for the boys in case it ever gets cool enough for hats around here (I know it will but it feels like it will never be cold). I’ve been working on this thing so long that I have pictures of myself working on it in the spring, summer (below, by the pool)) and now fall!


  3. I ordered inserts for a paper planner for next year this week.  This will be the first time I have had a paper planner in years (I’ve got a small one now that I’ve been using to test out if I would actually use it). I have really liked using a bullet journal this year, and I think this will just sort of extend it.  They have plenty of inserts that are just note pages and I just did the inserts so I can add my own pages wherever I need to keep a bullet journal-type list. I got my inserts from Inkwell Press (I don’t get any money for saying that, just passing the info along).  I should say, this is all Mary-Heather’s fault. ;)
  4. Ikea has costumes! Maritza mentioned them on twitter and now I’ve decided that the kids have got to have a giant mustache. Maybe we’ll add to their costume bin for Christmas.
  5. Today, this guy asked why his sweatshirt keeps getting smaller and smaller.  Oh silly kiddo, it’s that you keep getting bigger and bigger!  I guess it’s time for me to switch his clothes again.


Advent Calendar Planning


So I’m not busting out the Christmas music just yet, I do wait for thanksgiving before doing that, but I am starting to plan the activities on our advent calendar this year. Each day from December 1st until Christmas Day the boys get to pick an activity out of our advent calendar. Sometimes it is a big event, sometimes just a small thing, but they are always fun ways for us to spend time together during the holiday season!

When I begin planning, I start by plugging in all of the things that have to happen on a certain date, like a Christmas party or performance I know we plan to attend. Then, I make a list of the things we can do on any date. As it gets closer to December, and our plans get more firm, I will plug those into the calendar.

I thought I might share a list of advent activity ideas that we have done in the past in case this is also your tradition (or you just want some ideas for holiday fun). I try to make sure we have an emphasis on doing for others and also that each day doesn’t cost money as that can add up quickly.

Advent activity ideas:

  • Make Christmas cards for soldiers or a local hospital
  • Read a holiday book or go look for some at the library
  • Go to a Christmas related performance: we have done the nutcracker and are considering a symphony performance this year but there are also often free performances at parks and churches this time of year. We have plans to see a free Christmas movie in a local park and maybe some live musical performances that are also free.
  • Make hot chocolate
  • Bake and decorate Christmas cookies
  • Deliver gifts to the neighbors
  • Write a letter to Santa
  • Volunteer at a local charity. This often requires kids be a bit older but I’m excited to have some volunteer activities on the calendar for C1 this year!
  • Pick out and donate a toy to charity
  • Make Christmas cards for grandparents or teachers
  • Watch a Christmas movie – the Prep & Landing movies/shows have become a favorite around here
  • Have a picnic in the living room
  • Make special season themed foods – we have made snowman shaped pizzas which were a big hit
  • Make Christmas ornaments
  • Wear Christmas shirts or pj’s
  • Tell a friend something you like about them
  • Give out candy canes to people who help us throughout our day with a note thanking them for what they do for us
  • Holiday parties – if we have one on a given day, that is our advent activity that day
  • Have a dance party to Christmas music
  • Go for a drive to look at Christmas lights
  • Go out for a special holiday treat (this is usually snowman cookies at Starbucks for us)
  • Go to an area tree lighting ceremony
  • Tell each other what you are thankful for today

I’m getting excited about the holiday season and the fun that our advent calendar will bring this year.

Newsom Progress

I’ve been working on my Newsom cardigan since March since it hibernated on sleeve island for a while.  But, now the sleeves are all done and I’ve attached all of the pieces.  I missed an increase after attaching things, so I had a little frogging episode recently, but now I’m almost back to “positive knitting”.  Soon, I should get to the final ribbing and have a great sweater to wear!


At this point, it’s all kind of bunched up on my needles, but I couldn’t resist the opportunity to take a picture at least of the squishy garter stitch.  I love the garter next to the stockinette!  Here’s hoping I can finish up before it gets chilly enough to wear it.

The Great Stash Re-org: Phase 2

Sunday afternoon, I carved out a bit of time to photograph my remaining unphotographed stash. Once I figured out where I got the best light, it didn’t take long to get them all taken. I discovered that I had taken 150 pictures!

To make it easier, I made a folder on my computer desktop called “stash” and I copied all of the pictures into that folder. Then, I went yarn by yarn and added them into Ravelry. As a yarn was added, I deleted all of the images of that yarn from the “stash” folder so I could easily see which yarn was next.

In case you haven’t noticed them, I loved the little buttons on Ravelry to allow you to easily add more of the same yarn or a new yarn from the page of the yarn you just added! These made it so easy to move from one yarn to the next.

Once I added the new yarns, I went through to double-check and make sure I hadn’t added anything twice.  I found the “sort by name” option at the top of the page really handy for double-checking.

While it can be a bit of a tedious project, I now know exactly what yarn I have and where it is stored, and I can access that information from my computer even when I’m away from home. I can also just go look at my pretty yarn (at least in pictures) from anywhere and search easily through my yarn or for patterns that would be good for the yarn. So, I think it was totally worth it! I’m super inspired to figure out which stash yarn I’m going to knit with next!